Wednesday, 22 April 2015

3 Kinds of People Who Should Already Have a Lawyer

Guest Postlawyer in action
Nearly half of all human adults will go to court at some point in their lives. Most of these won’t have anticipated this eventuality, and will have to scramble to prepare themselves. As such, many will be under prepared, poorly represented, or stressed far more than is necessary when that day comes. For people like this, it would be much better if they had a plan of attack long before they knew that they were even going to court in the first place. It pays to have a relationship with a qualified attorney, even if you never use their services. That would be the ideal situation, actually, and you won’t pay anything never to employ your lawyer. But if you do need help in this way someday, you’ll be so glad that you already know who to call. A lawyer who knows you will be able to hit the ground running with your defence, or to prosecute another party in your favor. But if you’re getting a lawyer for the first time when things go bad, you’ll have to do lots of preliminary introductions, wasting time and increasing the chance that you won’t be represented as well as you could be. Considering all these points, here are 4 kinds of people who need to go ahead and get a lawyer, whether they’re headed to court or not.

1) People Who Build, Construct, Design, and Implement. If you do work on buildings, structures, or any kind of thing that people use, that their lives depend upon, it would be in your best interest to have a lawyer ready to call if something you built or designed goes wrong. If someone is injured or killed using your thing, it may not be your fault, but you can bet that someone will sue you. No Win No Fee Solicitors can put you in touch with a lawyer who won’t charge you until you win your case. So even if you are a small contractor, this can be a great investment for your own peace of mind.

2) People Who Work With Other People, Medical and Education. If you work in the medical industry, you are likely covered by your hospitals medical malpractice insurance. But it doesn’t hurt to also have your own lawyer, someone to help clear your name and get you back to work as soon as possible. This goes even more so for educators. In an industry where emotion and misunderstanding can rule the day, it’s important to have someone on your side who can help you construct the best possible defense if you happen to be sued.

3) Politicians. Even if you are a low level politician working in the public sector, emotions and perceived slights can give way to sudden lawsuits, and you will do well to be prepared. So have a lawyer who defends legislators and politicians. It’s a tricky world, and it pays to have someone defending you who already understands the ends and outs of your particular political landscape.

Really, almost everyone could benefit from having a relationship with a lawyer. Even if you are unlikely ever to go to court, a lawyer can help you draw up a will or do any of the other legal functions inherent to life.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Entrepreneurs and investors – the UK is open for business!

Guest PostInvestment
The Chinese year of the Sheep began on the 19th February and Master Hans Cua, the youngest Feng Shui master in Asia, predicted that in the year of the Wooden Sheep businesses dealing with textile, fashion, paper, rubber and wood will grow well, while technology, electronic gadgets and supplies, computers, solar power, food, those thinking invention, and new-idea-regulating industries will be making a lot of money.

The British economy has certainly got off to a good start. This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced the UK’s economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007, coupled with a recent article reporting that 60% of small businesses say they expect profit growth this year. These figures now place the UK among the best performing of all the major economies in 2014.

The economic resurgence is being further stimulated by Britain’s active support for non-EEA nationals to consider entrepreneurial and investment opportunities within the UK through Tier 1 business visas.

The Tier 1 visa rules are designed to attract high net worth individuals from outside the EEA wishing to start-up a business or invest in the UK:

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
Under a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, successful applicants can set up or take over the running of one business or more as a self-employed individual, provided the work meets the criteria for being self-employed. Successful applicants can also bring family members and dependants with them.

To be eligible for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa, applicants have to be from outside the EEA and Switzerland, and be able to show they have access to at least £200,000 investment funds and the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to establish a viable business in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor visa
A Tier 1 Investor visa allows investments of £2,000,000 or more in the UK. Successful applicants are permitted to invest in government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. Investor visa holders can also work, study or engage in business activities in the UK.

To apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa, applicants must be from outside the EEA and Switzerland, and show they want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK. The investment funds must either belong to the applicant, their spouse or civil partner and they must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and be available to be transferred to and invested in the UK.

Welcoming Tier 1 business visas
Too often the news is full of negative information regarding migration to the UK, but the doors are open for all Tier 1 investors and entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister, David Cameron confirms: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are determined to do everything we can to back business, support investment and create jobs. We are already taking action on that front including cutting corporation tax to the lowest rate in the G7 but we’ve got to keep listening to business about what more we can do to support them.”

If you have a client from outside the EEA who has a business idea or who wishes to invest in an existing UK business, please contact us to discuss the full eligibility criteria and the options available to secure a Tier 1 business visa.

Anne Morris – Managing Director, DavidsonMorris
DavidsonMorris is a modern legal services provider specialising in immigration law. We support a range of private and commercial clients with expertise in the financial services, petrochemical and education sectors, advising major multi-nationals, FTSE 100 and Global 2000 companies, to help them meet their global mobility needs. We also support private entrepreneurs and investors in achieving British Citizenship, Naturalisation and Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Broadchurch creator comes out fighting to defend second series

Broadchurch - Tennant & Colman

I came to the Broadchurch party much later than most (in fact, only since earlier this year), but I’ve watched series one and two twice now. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.

For what it’s worth, I’m also giving Gracepoint a bash – the bizarre and spectacularly bad remake of Broadchurch, re-engineered to be spoon-fed to American audiences. From the uninspiring location, poor casting, and a complete lack of chemistry between any of the actors, it’s a very poor imitation. On top of all that, David Tennant’s laughably bad American accent - which slips more often than it stays - pretty much drives that final nail home. Seriously: just don’t bother. I bet Tennant wishes he hadn’t as well.

Gracepoint10-part mystery? The only mystery is why it was commissioned in the first place.


Now the dust has settled from series two of Broadchurch, its creator, Chris Chibnall, has come out in combative fashion to defend his baby from the tirade of indignation produced in response to certain aspects of Joe Miller’s trial.

From the Guardian 04/03/15:

This series of Broadchurch, just like the first, garnered plenty of media coverage and opinions. After the early storms (Mumblegate! Music-too-loud-gate! Ratings-wobble-gate!), […] there’s one issue I do want to address: Legalgate!

There’s been plenty of discussion over the accuracy of our portrayal of the trial process. Some argued our court story would never happen. Our research and advisors suggested otherwise.

The story was devised as the result of months of research and consultation. […] The shape and detail of the series was based on their responses. As I wrote, all three advisers (legal and police) were continually consulted. They read and gave notes on every script.

Broadchurch has always been about the impact of crime, on all those affected. The research made me wonder how our characters would fare under the rigours and vagaries of a trial. What’s the emotional cost to witnesses and the families of victims in an adversarial system? It was a story I hadn’t seen and one I wanted to explore.

I knew it would be a big risk to develop and reshape the show this way. […] That choice meant complex procedure had to be compressed. […] Murder trials often last around four weeks. So exact process and wording has to be dramatised.

That’s not a scandal: it’s a legitimate dramatic technique. Drama is not a literal portrayal of events. It’s a depiction, it’s impressionistic.

Oooh. I can already sense criminal lawyers up and down the country smarting over that final comment. A TV show daring to stray from a faultlessly accurate portrayal of the English criminal justice system? Whatever next?

I’m not sure Chibnall needed to dignify the critics’ objections with a response, frankly. I don’t think I would have. People are always inclined to get their panties in a bunch over these things and lawyers are more guilty of it than most. Social media makes it all too easy.

Despite all the noise, despite the fact we took a big creative risk in our second series, our audience of more than nine million came with us, and stayed. […] Some enjoyed the second series less than the first: that’s definitely allowed. We’re now working on the third series. It will be different again. There’ll be plenty more to discuss.

So it’s pretty clear that Hardy didn’t get into that taxi at the end of series two (he finally buttoned his collar and straightened his tie for nothing, then).  But where might the story go from here? Here are some of my thoughts.

*** BIG SPOILER ALERT … I MEAN, REALLY BIG ***
(Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen series one and two.)

The Sandbrook trials are held. There’s got to be at least one ‘not guilty’ plea in there. The show’s anything but predictable after all.

There’s a significant new crime to solve (or at least cause for some more off-duty sleuthing by Hardy and Miller). Given that the Tennant-Colman interplay seems to be the backbone of the show - and the only thing to be universally praised throughout the two series - the storyline of series three has to provide enough room to accommodate more of Hardy and Miller’s inimitable set pieces.

Joe Miller comes back. How could he not? And I’ve a sneaky feeling he’ll want access to his kids. Maybe he’s also going to want Ellie to pay for her role in banishing him from the town.

Joe Miller’s guilt or innocence is confirmed. For a while now, I’ve had an inkling it was Tom Miller who killed Danny and Joe confessed to take the rap for his son. Stranger things have happened. Or what if Tom’s younger brother, Fred, did a ‘Bobby Beale’ on poor Danny? Ok – that one’s less likely, I admit.

The postman killed Danny. What were he and Danny arguing about back in series one? That was never explained, was it?

The prosecution’s contention was correct and Mark Latimer did indeed kill his son and it was Nige Carter (‘that other bald bloke’) who was seen moving the body. Mark’s ‘I-was-writing-a-letter-to-my-wife-saying-our-marriage-was-over’ thing, all after a one-off bonk with another woman on the back seat of her car, never rang true.

In a similar vein, Hardy and Miller were having an affair, and did plot to put Joe away. But that still doesn’t explain who killed Danny.

All of the protagonists were responsible for Danny’s murder – a la Murder on the Orient Express? You never know.

Whatever series three has in store, I sense it’s going to be quite a ride.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Top Five Ways to Guard Against Data Theft

Guest PostSecurity Shredding
Businesses deal with sensitive data on a regular basis – and if this data falls into the wrong hands, it could severely compromise the reputation and security of a company and its clients. That’s why it’s important for all businesses, whether large or small, to protect their data and documentation properly. Your business can ensure its data security in a number of ways. Some simply require the changing of old habits, whilst some may require a cash outlay – but such an outlay is nothing compared to the disastrous consequences should your business suffer a data theft.

Password Protection
Use password protection for all devices, including laptops and smartphones as well as your company’s networks and accounts. Encourage staff to create unique passwords for all online accounts, using combinations of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and other characters.

Antivirus Software
Protect your computer from viruses, spyware and malware by installing reliable antivirus software. A strong firewall is also necessary, as are regularly-installed updates. Many staff will choose not to install updates as it is time-consuming – but this leaves their computers at risk of attack.

Email Security
Ignore emails from unfamiliar parties, even if they have appeared in your inbox rather than your junk mail. Any emails asking you to verify details such as credit card or account numbers ought to immediately set off warning bells and should be ignored.

Employee Training
Even if you’re confident that your trade secrets are safe with you, it doesn’t mean your employees are also keeping schtum - and they may not even realise when they’re giving away confidential data. Make it clear to your employees what aspects of your business they are and are not allowed to share with others.

Data Destruction
The only sure-fire way to protect your data is to ensure that once it’s no longer needed, it is destroyed. Document shredding companies such as Datashredders can visit your premises in a mobile shredding vehicle to provide full shredding services, not only for paper documents, but also laptops, hard drives, data discs and more, providing a Certificate of Destruction upon completion of the job for added peace of mind. Outsourcing your company’s shredding to a service such as Datashredders also frees up dozens of valuable staff hours to work on more profitable tasks.

In this day and age, even information which seems inconsequential to you could be hugely beneficial to your business’s competitors and rivals. But simply by making a few small changes to staff habits, making sound investments in security and by putting data destruction into the hands of professionals such as Datashredders, you can protect your business from data theft.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Death in the digital age: managing digital assets

Sponsored Post

Death in the Digital Age
We all have scores of online accounts these days.  The value of the information associated with those accounts can be huge – both financially and in other, more nuanced ways.   Take, for instance, online storage services, to which years of photos or video footage (and the memories connected with that) can be uploaded. Or a blog with thousands of blog posts published over a period of years.  Until quite recently, this type of digital content hadn't been considered by those making wills, and even now it's the exception rather than the norm.

I’ve blogged previously about some of the difficulties associated with digital assets when someone dies.  As more and more aspects of our lives occur online, or at least have an online element, remembering to include digital assets when drafting wills becomes ever more important.

The Co-operative Funeralcare have published a report revealing that of the 94 per cent of UK adults who hold online accounts, 75 per cent of those have not considered or made arrangements for the management of their digital presence after they die. 

At best, omitting digital assets from a person’s will may leave a number of untidy loose ends.  That can bring with it additional anguish for those they leave behind - adding to their grief - and it can leave the administrators of their estate uncertain whether they are acting in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.  At worst, precious and irreplaceable memories could be lost forever - a heart-breaking prospect

Amongst other things, the Co-op’s report highlights the adverse impact that omitting digital assets is having on those who have been bereaved.  Some 78 per cent of those who have managed a loved one’s online accounts following their death report having experienced difficulties in winding up the account, and a fifth of those found it so difficult, they abandoned their attempts altogether.  

16 per cent of people surveyed for the report said they would want their next of kin to have access to their social accounts given the sentimental value associated with the data.  Even more interesting, 14 per cent of those surveyed stated they would want their families to stay in touch with the online contacts they had built up throughout their lifetime.

There’s a real financial impact, too.  The report found that the average UK adult accumulates personal digital capital such as music, films or books worth £265.  That means for the 500million online accounts and assets that exist throughout the UK, a staggering £17 billion worth of assets could be left ‘floating’ in cyberspace.  

Sam Kershaw, Director of Operations for The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “Conversations about end of life  are never easy.  However, as we increasingly live and manage our lives online, communicating with a loved one about the accounts you hold and what you would want to happen to them may greatly help should they ever need to access, manage or close accounts on your behalf.” 

But the answer isn’t as straightforward as leaving log-in details and passwords set out in wills. James Antoniou, Head of Wills for the Co-operative Legal Services, acknowledged: “It is important that people are aware that they should never leave online passwords in their will as it can become a public document after death. Individuals can, however, leave details of the online accounts they hold in a sealed letter alongside their will and addressed to their executors to ensure that their digital lives are not missed, or forgotten about, once they have passed away.”

To help consumers plan for manage digital legacies, The Co-operative Funeralcare has developed a guide offering advice and information about managing and protecting online accounts and assets, as well as identifying the accounts of loved ones who have died.  The accompanying infographic can be viewed here.  

Further information is available at www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk

Monday, 23 February 2015

Employment Law Tribunals vs The Small Business

Guest PostEmployment Law Tribunal
No company, big or small, is exempt from the potential threat of an employment law tribunal. But for the owners of smaller businesses the threat could affect their entire livelihood due to the financial consequences that may result.

However, there are certain ways that a small company can lessen the chances of a tribunal loss; namely by being fully prepared for the tribunal long in advance of the day.

The following are a few of the best ways to ensure that you're ready for all aspects of an employment law tribunal.

Analyse every detail of the case
Having a wide knowledge of the employment law legislation you're facing is vital, as you need to supply your solicitor with as much information of the case as possible, so they can judge how to prepare their strategy most effectively.

Make certain that all materials you need to support your case, such as documents and statements, are ready well in advance so you are best prepared for any line of questioning the prosecution explores.

When it comes to the materials of your defence, you are required to present the claimant's council with all documents you intend to use at least seven days before the tribunal date.

Be meticulous in your analysis of the events leading up to the claim and trace every bit of interaction between you and the employee to make sure you don't overlook something that could prove vital to your case. This could mean the difference between winning and losing.

If you have trouble understanding a particular area of UK employment law legislation, consult the UK government website where all UK tribunal laws are explained.

Urge an alternative hearing
It may be easier for both parties if you settle the case outside of a tribunal. Suggesting an alternative is not a sign of weakness but rather shows that you're willing to be fair and are prepared to compromise.

This is also a beneficial alternative for the employee as claimants are now liable for the full tribunal fee; a requirement implemented in July 2013.

There are also employment relation organisations that can help solve legal affairs independent of the tribunal system, and are able to negotiate a settlement through interaction with the employment law solicitors of each side.

Rehearse thoroughly
Be sure to rehearse the day with your employment law solicitor in order to review every area of the case.

This might include participation from witnesses. If so, make sure they are fully aware of what will likely be asked of them, and give them plenty of time of preparation time.

Should you find a witness refusing to give evidence, you can legally bring them to a tribunal by serving them with a 'witness order' through the courts.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Law Actually is eight years old

Birthday Cake

I know.  I know! I can barely believe it either.

Go on, admit it: you didn’t think I’d still be here, did you?

I’ve just spent the last ten minutes or so looking at my previous Law Actually birthday posts, and reminiscing.  What struck me is just how long eight years is, and how much the blawgosphere has evolved [read: withered and died] in that time.

There’s no point pretending blogging is what it once was.  I think it’s still got it’s place in the world, but its present status alongside some of the more mainstream social media channels is pretty insignificant.

Still, longevity must count for something.  While I preferred the first four years of blogging on Law Actually much more than I have these last four, I’m glad I’m still here, occupying this tiny little part of cyberspace.