Law Professor Says Thieves And Fraudsters Should Not Face Jail

Not long ago, a top criminal lawyer made a proposal that changes need to be done and thieves and fraudsters do not go to jail any more. Get a fixed fee legal advice now.

According to Professor Andrew Ashworth, Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University, people who had committed offences which are not that big should not go to prison. This is why he released a pamphlet through the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Its title is ‘What if imprisonment were abolished for property offences?’. In his opinion the only people whose crimes are so serious as they deserve to go to prison, are those who have committed violent or sexual crimes or who have behaved in a threatening manner.

Instead of prison people with lighter crimes like for example thefts, handling of stolen goods, criminal damages or frauds should either be fined in the proper way or face community service.

He claims this change would slash the number of prison populations in England and Wales by nearly 6,000. BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Colman says that if this happens £230m would be saved each year.

“We should be reserving our most severe form of punishment for our most serious types of offending,” said Ashworth. “Should someone be sent to prison and deprived of their liberty for an offence that involves no violence, no threats and no sexual assault?

He added that only those with sufficiently serious crimes have to face prison.

Such property offences as robbery and burglary are of threatening nature so they have to lead to a potential stint in jail.

The aim of the mentioned pamphlet is to set the beginning of a debate on the topic when being distributed to magistrates’ courts in England and Wales.

 

 

Legal Aid U-Turn Means Defendants Will Be Able To Choose Their Solicitor

There is a great probability that legal aid defendants in criminal cases would not be able to choose their own lawyer for the future. If they want they can also go for a fixed-fee legal advice online.

This plan appeared as an opposition to the idea of the justice secretary to cut legal aid.

In the words of Chris Grayling money could be saved as young and inexperienced lawyers are hired for legal aid cases. This meant that taxpayers would not keep on paying for a “legal ‘Rolls-Royce’” to defend the people who receive legal aid.

Critics, on the other hand, claim that less experienced solicitors could harm justice seriously.

However, critics pointed out that this would leave legal aid defendants in their access to justice.

Last Thursday Tory MPs declared that the state should be banned to choose a defendant’s solicitor or barrister.

The Commons Justice Committee chairman received a letter from Mr. Grayling in which he claimed he was ready to reconsider part of his plans on legal aid only if these could help to reduce legal aid spending.

“The rationale for proposing this change was to give greater certainty of case volume for providers, making it easier and more predictable for them to organise their businesses,” he wrote.

“However, I have heard clearly from the Law Society and other respondents that they regard client choice as fundamental to the effective delivery of criminal legal aid.”

He added he would think carefully once more and define whether clients receiving criminal legal aid have to be allowed to choose a solicitor or not.

The Law Society and Bar Council were both pleasantly surprised by the news.

 

Sellers Of Lads’ Mags Could Face Legal Action

Retailers were warned by a campaign targeting the so-called “lads’ mags”, that they would most probably face legal action in case they continue selling the magazines.

According to this campaign the magazines showed naked and semi-naked women on their covers so it could be assumed as an act of sexual discrimination that staff was made to handle them.

Eleven lawyers backed up the campaign stating that these magazines also breached the equality legislation in the way they exposed them to their customers.

The campaign was launched in the Guardian with an open letter written by the lawyers.

This letter explains that there are other cases in which staff successfully sued employers for the exposure to pornographic material at work.

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, said: “For too long supermarkets have got off the hook, stocking lads’ mags in the face of widespread opposition, but this time we have the law on our side.

“Every shop that sells lads’ mags – publications which are deeply harmful to women – are opening themselves up to legal action.”

In the words of lawyers supermarkets that refuse to stop selling lads’ mags would end up in court.

The response of the British Retail Consortium was saying that BRC members did not sell anything illegal and that through voluntary action they observed whether all the front covers which may concern some people are displayed discreetly.

They announced they would not stop having conversations with staff and customers on what is appropriate and what is not.Probably a new HR policy will take place, when it comes to such materials.

 

 

 

Police search Commons office of MP Nigel Evans

Mr Nigel Evans-a deputy speaker of the House of Commons, was arrested earlier this month, because of sexual assault allegations, which were denied by him. Evans will not resume his duties, until an official outcome.  Ribble Valley was also questioned by the police, but he also classed the allegations as “completely false”.

After a warrant was approved by Preston Crown Court, an official search in the Commons office was conducted on Sunday. John Bercow (Commons speaker) said he considered the warrant and had taken legal advice before allowing the search.

The Lancashire Police said they had searched offices in London , adding that  they had “gone through all the appropriate and necessary procedures before taking this step”.

In a statement at the start of parliamentary business, Mr Bercow said he had been advised “there were no lawful grounds on which it would be proper to refuse its execution”.

He told MPs that the “precincts of Parliament are not a haven from the law”. “The Serjeant at Arms and Speaker’s Counsel were present when the search was conducted,” he added. “Undertakings have been given by the police officers as to the handling of any parliamentary material until such time as any issue of privilege is resolved.”

 

Norfolk Police Chief’s Disappointment Over Trip Legal Claim

The 33 years old PC Kelly Jones, who last year injured her leg and wrist at petrol station is now suing its owner. Her chief said he was disappointed of her decision as in fact she tripped on a kerb while attending a suspected break-in.

PC Jones could not be found in order to comment her actions.

Mr. Gormley said: “This type of claim does not represent the approach and attitude of the overwhelming majority of our staff who understand and accept the risks inherent in policing and which they willingly confront to keep the public they serve safe.”

The opinion of South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss is that all the police officers she knew were doing excellent job. This is why according to her this single case should not spoil their reputation.

Solicitor Pattison Brewer sent a letter to the petrol station in according to which PC Jones had gone to the Nunns Bridges garage at 00:20 BST.

He claimed his client went towards a gap in the fencing near a jet wash area in order to access the rear of the premises.

She was not well aware of the petrol station so she tripped and fell because of the high kerbing.

She felt the owner of the filling station did not manage to make this place safe for their clients as it was not bright enough.

In the words of the petrol station owner Steve Jones he could not do anything else for the safety of the officer as the kerb had been quite visible.

Paul Ridgway, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, said: “It’s not common, I appreciate that, but the claim has come in and we’ve honoured the officer’s wishes by putting it through to the solicitor.”

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Longer Sentences for Sex Offenders

Sentences for rape and different forms of sexual assault should be longer so that they correspond to some extent to the psychological impact on the victim.

Recently the Sentencing Council gave the suggestion that sexual offences should be treated focusing on the physical aspects of the assault and not on the lasting effects it may have over the victim.

The Sentencing Council’s consultation is set to run in 14 weeks and it suggests that there should be a greater focus on the modus operandi of the perpetrator and also on factors such as modern technology used to film the assault.

If proved that rapists have used alcohol or drugs for their victims, their sentence will be up to 19 years, which was until now the sentence for those who had committed multiple rapes.

Potential prison terms for sexual offences against children will also change depending on that whether a position of trust was abused.

If these changes take place they will have heavy impact on cases in which victims of sexual assaults were afraid to make any accusations for long time. These changes will affect sentences for 54 specific crimes connected to sexual offence.

The Sentencing Council’s Lord Justice Tracy said: “The perspective of victims is central to the council’s considerations,”We want to ensure sentences reflect everything the victim has been through and what the offender has done.”

In case you were involved in such a crime, better get fixed fee legal advice online, which might save you lots of complications on a later stage!

UK Loses Billions because of Tax Avoidance Schemes

A recent report shows that the UK loses billions just because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are unable to control the tax avoidance schemes spread across the whole country.

By the words of The National Audit Office, HMRC was dealing with about 41,000 cases with up to £10.2bn at stake. The professionals from HMRC claim that during the last two years they had successfully contested 40 schemes.

No matter one of the main priorities of the coalition government in order to reduce the deficit in the budget is to stand against the tax avoidance, according to the NAO more than a hundred new schemes became evident each year having in mind the time between 2004 and 2011.

It is determined that 30,000 small companies or individuals use the so-called employment intermediary schemes and partnership loss schemes. This way they inflate the loss artificially using “circular loans”, which gives them the opportunity to conceal other income from tax.

Despite the fact that HMRC strives for success in this area, such cases often consume lots of time and appear to be too hard to be resolved.

Litigation has opened 110 investigations since April 2010. HMRC managed successfully with most of them but according to the NAO, this does not prove that the litigation will turn out to be an effective way to stop the schemes.

“It is inherently difficult to stop tax avoidance as it is not illegal. But HMRC needs to demonstrate how it is going to reduce the 41,000 avoidance cases it currently has open.”

The NAO also mentioned these schemes are usually used by specialist tax advisors whose aim is to prevent their clients from paying taxes.

By virtue of the law since 2004, authorities should be notified but the watchdog is skeptical about the positive results of this regulation over the scale of tax.

“This changed the shape of the market, but has not prevented some promoters from continuing to sell highly contrived schemes to large numbers of taxpayers, depriving public finances of billions of pounds.”

The chairperson of the Commons Public Accounts Committee observing the work of the NAO, Margaret Hodge, shared her opinion that HMRC have to try harder in order to clamp down on promoters of tax avoidance schemes so that some evident results appear.

“People who pay their taxes promptly and in full will be dismayed to discover that the enormous level of tax avoidance taking place is overwhelming HMRC’s efforts to combat it,” she said.

As an answer to her statements HMRC claims that their successful investigations brought to court protected about £4bn.

The spokesperson later added that the Government would help HMRC giving it more powers to obtain information and creating an anti-abuse rule in 2013.

If you are worried about your company`s tax, do not hesitate to get a legal advice online.

Fathers Given Legal Rights To See Their Children

According to a new alteration to the law, absent fathers will be  given legal rights to see their children, with the exception of cases, where fathers might cause harm to them.

The alteration has been announced in a letter distributed to the MPs by Edward Timpson, Children`s minister. The letter claims that this move  has been required, as both parents should play a part of their children`s lives. The proposed changes will take effect in 2013 and have been met with controversy .

Although Fathers` rights campaign groups applauded this, the move caused wide discussions, as some legal experts questioned the need of such legal rights for the fathers and stood behind the position that this kind of law might place parental rights higher than the best interests of the children themselves.

Alan Beith, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the Parliamentary Justice committee, wrote to the Prime Minister over the summer warning that the proposal would “simply lead to confusion” and risked “undermining the central principal that the welfare of the child is paramount.”

A statement from the Law Society read: “The welfare of children must always come before the rights of parents and no legislation should create or point to a perception that there is an assumed parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents.

“While the government’s intention to promote co-operative parenting is welcomed, legislation to promote shared parenting is not needed. Current legislation adequately provides the right framework for securing a child’s welfare.”

However Minister Timpson opposed the claims and was confident about the new changes by saying:

“I know from my own experience practising as a family lawyer, that many separating couples feel the system is far too adversarial, with courts seen as creating ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. It is vital that both mothers and fathers feel confident that the court will consider fully the benefits of their involvement.”

In addition he said that there is a high demand of such a law, as currently there is no law recognising this issue, and the introduction of one would help to “restore confidence”. He said also that the time spent with the children for each parent will not be set by the legislation, but will be a matter of court decision.

According to a research, which was conducted at the beginning of the 2011 summer riots, revealed that 60% of the country`s most troubled families are headed only by a single mother, lacking a “male role model” in the child`s life.

If you need any help with custody and parental rights, do not hesitate to get a Fixed Fee Legal Advice.