Showing posts from July, 2013

Porn vs Real Life

There has been a lot of debate in recent months about how best to tackle the problems caused by the explosion of pornography in society brought about by the internet. Dave, over at Number 10, spoke just the other week about plans to combat the “corroding influence of pornography on childhood” by requiring customers to specifically opt-in if they want to continue to have access to pornography via their ISP. Oh, he also mentioned that it had finally dawned on the government to close that gaping loophole and bring depictions of rape within the provisions of extreme pornography. You know – 5 years too late and all that, but still. Dave’s speech, of course, preceded the strategy paper that DCMS published yesterday. This so-called ‘strategy paper’ is in place of the White Paper that should have been released long before now outlining the anticipated Communications Bill. I suppose it’s nice that the DCMS finally got round to publishing something (don’t forget – the Green Paper was scrappe…

Lawyers must show adaptability in a world full of change

Career development seminars aimed at lawyers are forever beating the drum for the need to change and move with the times. It seems that “versatility” and “adaptability” are the new legal watchwords (apparently ‘commercial awareness’ alone doesn’t cut it any longer). Chief amongst the areas in which they need to show this adaptability is how they manage information. Lawyers need to competently juggle an ever-increasing array of materials and sources and across a wide range of formats. Of course, technology can be both a blessing and a curse in this regard. (Isn’t it always?). Lawyers need to be conversant with electronic and conventional book and paper sources and they cannot afford to ignore one format over another. It’s clear that offices are slowly (very slowly in some cases) moving away from their reliance on paper, but the realisation of the ‘paperless office’ is still a frightfully long way off. Despite the lack of instantaneous ‘inline search’, conventional book sources still…

Avoid Expensive Legal Action: Improve Your Human Resources Department

Guest PostSmall businesses owners generally struggle, when it comes to maintaining a fully-equipped human resources department. And this is a shame because often a company owes its success to its fantastic HR service. Not only do they help recruit the very best in the business, but they nurture existing employees, deal with conflict, and make sure you’re protected from expensive legal action; particularly after the changes in the employer / employee claiming market. Offer Training Opportunities
As an employer, you’re always worried that any training offered will go on to benefit a competitor, if your employee decides to pursue another position at a different company. However, enriching your workers through your HR department ensures that your services are high quality and up to date. Employees like to feel as if they are moving forward and developing as a professional – it gives them confidence. Stagnant jobs lead to stagnant business. Build Team Relationships
Without a doubt, compani…

Brain Injury Lawsuits: Will They Doom or Save the NFL?

Guest Post

110 million Americans settled down to watch the 47th Super Bowl last February, making it one of the most popular sports in the US. However, ex-players have been pointing a finger at the NFL and accusing them of causing degenerative brain conditions, due to repeated instances of serious concussion on the pitch. Even President Obama has expressed concerns for the sport, saying that if he had a son, he would think twice about letting him play American Football. In 1904, before the NFL was created, no less than 18 college football players died from head injuries. Rules changed. Protective equipment improved. But it just goes to show how brutal this game can be. Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach, threw in the towel after experiencing 20 concussions. Philadelphia Eagles passer, Jon Jaworski, said he’d suffered no less than 30. A concussion occurs when the brain crashes into the skull, so it doesn’t necessarily require a direct hit to the head. Symptoms of concussion in…

Tenancy Law – “Providing a False Statement Knowingly”

Guest PostLegal 4 Landlords
Introduced by the Housing Act 1996 was an additional ground for eviction, which aimed to deal with a growing number of fraudulent tenancies. The new ground for eviction (Ground 17) was aptly names “Providing a False Statement Knowingly”. The additional ground is however only a discretionary ground, which makes a total of 9 discretionary eviction grounds, and 8 mandatory eviction grounds – 17 grounds altogether (click here for a full list of mandatory and discretionary grounds for eviction). Specifically Ground 17 is for when a tenant (or a person acting for the tenant) is deliberately dishonest in order to obtain a tenancy, which they would not have otherwise been able to secure. Letting agents and landlords where frequently frustrated by a relatively small number of potential tenants who provided both misleading and deliberately deceptive information, which did not always come to light until after the tenancy has started, at…

Closing the rape porn loophole - better late than never

From the Guardian 22/07/13: Every household in Britain connected to the internet will be obliged to declare whether they want to maintain access to online pornography, David Cameron will announce on Monday. In the most dramatic step by the government to crack down on the "corroding" influence of pornography on childhood, the prime minister will say that all internet users will be contacted by their service providers and given an "unavoidable choice" on whether to use filters. The prime minister will also announce that possession of "extreme pornography", which includes scenes of simulated rape, will be outlawed by the government. It is illegal to publish such pornography and illegal to possess it in Scotland but not in England and Wales.I remember reading McGlynn and Rackley’s* article a few years ago which criticised the omission of rape from the ‘extreme pornography’ provisions under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. *See C. McGlynn, a…

An Update from Marmite the Bunny

Marmitius Cheekius Rabbitus (Latin name, obviously). Hello there readers,

It’s been almost a year since I first graced the blawgopshere and it’s been a busy time for all at Law Actually HQ. After the cable-damage incident in the LA datacentre last June, I took it upon myself to investigate the possibility of running the electrical and computer cabling under the floors. To this end, I had to make an access hole through one of the carpets in the entrance hall – something which did not go down particularly well with all my colleagues. Despite assuring everyone that I had the business’ interests at heart, I found myself firmly rebuked for the creation of said hole. To make matters worse, my experiment wasn’t a total success either. As I submitted in my written report, “the concrete floors on the lower levels made the installation of cabling on a subterranean basis untenable.” What a bummer. Even as a bunny, you live and learn. Back in September, I appeared in the Metro “Pets of the Da…

‘Captain Sum Ting Wong’ broadcasting debacle

From the Metro 15/07/13: Asiana Airlines is considering legal action over a TV news report that broadcast four spoof names that it said were the pilot’s involved in the San Francisco plane crash. The carrier said its reputation had been ‘badly damaged’ after the bogus names were read out on the city’s KTVU-TV, along with a graphic of the burned-out plane. An news anchor kept a straight face as she read the names ‘Captain Sum Ting Wong’, ‘Wi Tu Lo’, ‘Bang Ding Ow’ and ‘Ho Le Fuk’. Despite claiming the names had been confirmed by a National Transportation Safety Board official, the anchor later apologised for the station’s mistake. The National Transportation Safety Board has also apologised, saying a summer intern erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew. Asiana is mulling unspecified legal measures against both KTVU-TV and the NTSB.I’m no expert when it comes to US law, but I should imagine the ‘unspecified legal measures’ the article refers to is defamation (that is, libel …

Apprentices: employed, but at what price?

Guest PostLegal 4 Landlords
Apprentices are usually fixed term contracts in which the apprentice expects and agreed amount of training. For this reason, apprentices are usually exempt of being made redundant (unless the company closes down). But what about their other employment rights? For school leavers, making the decision about what you want to do with your life can be an incredibly daunting one. University was a popular option, but recent rises in tuition fees mean that some people have been put off going. School leavers sometimes want to get out earning money from the time that they sit their last exam, but this cannot always be the best option for long-term career qualifications. For this reason, more and more young people are attracted to applying for an apprenticeship, because it allows them to earn a wage and also benefit from comprehensive training. Whilst this vocational training it likely to be paid at a rate less than the minimum wage, as i…

Cornish drunk death fall avoidable, says family

From the BBC 11/07/13: The parents of a 26-year-old man found dead on a Newquay beach have called his death "tragic and avoidable". Oliver Doy, from Hampshire, was found dead six days after he was last seen by friends leaving a nightclub, [having travelled down to Cornwall for a weekend of body boarding with two friends]. Police said they thought he may have fallen over a cliff behind his hostel in the town. But Deputy Coroner Andrew Cox said there was no evidence to show how he died and recorded an open verdict. Police said CCTV footage showed Mr Doy "staggering around drunk" early in the morning on 7 January 2012. A pathologist said the amount of alcohol in his blood was approaching three times the drink driving limit.According to a report featured on This is Cornwall, Doy’s parents slammed Newqay’s drinking culture saying he might still be alive if bar staff at two night spots had refused to serve him. An emotional Mrs Doy told the court: “There’s a culture of y…

Get your summer rolling with a caravan loan

Sponsored PostWith summer now in full swing and summer holidays fast approaching, there’s no better time to consider buying a caravan or motorhome. Caravans allow for unparalleled freedom when touring around the country (or abroad), unencumbered by a strict itinerary. You can go where you like, stop where you like*, all on a schedule that suits you – not your holiday operator. Owning a caravan makes packing for your trip away relatively easy, without that constant fear associated with ‘suitcase travel’ of leaving something crucial behind. You can load up your van with relative speed and ease and away you go. What’s more, with your own caravan, you needn’t worry about the cleanliness and facilities of third party static vans on camping sites. It’s very much like taking your second home with you and there’s a lot to be said for having some personal space that’s truly yours on holiday. Caravan owners are free to make more of their leisure time. A caravan can be hooked up to a car in …

Lloyds-Deloitte Scandal Muddies the PPI Waters

Sponsored PostFor followers of consumer finance news it would seem that the mis sold payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal goes from bad to worse! The latest incident involves the Lloyds Group and financial services provider Deloitte, and has become something of a row between the two. The saga involves a call centre staffed by personnel brought in by Deloitte to handle mis sold PPI claims for Lloyds’ customers, an undercover journalist from The Times, and some rather unusual alleged instructions to staff at the centre. It should be said that Deloitte is adamant it has not been involved in wrongdoing. The Times’ Revelations
The Times sent a journalist into the centre, posing as a trainee, and the report that followed alleged that not only were staff encouraged to ‘play the system’ in order to slow down or deter claims, but there were also incidences of signatures being put to agreements without consent and other misdemeanours, which The Times alleges led to the contract between th…

Motorsport can be dangerous: time to reconsider pit lane cameramen in F1?

From BBC F1 08/07/13: Formula 1 must consider introducing measures to protect people working in the pit lane from potential injury, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says. A television cameraman was injured by a loose wheel from Mark Webber's Red Bull during the German Grand Prix. "It's a timely reminder that things can go wrong," Horner said. "Mechanics have to wear safety gear and helmets. Maybe it's time we looked at some of the other people working in the pit lane having some as well." The man injured was Paul Allen, who works for F1's official television production company, FOM. He was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone and cracked ribs. Horner said: "It's a horrible feeling because your initial concern is for that individual.Watching cameraman Paul Allen being nearly flipped into a somersault in the pit lane by Mark Webber’s fly-away wheel makes for horrific viewing. For me, the fact he was looking the other way filming when…

Toilet Trouble - Not such a public convenience

From the Falmouth Packet 27/06/13: Caught short visitors to Helston are using the outside wall of shut public toilets to relieve themselves on.Well, I hate to say it, but I can’t think of a more appropriate wall to pee on. This was news from Councillor Gillian Geer, a shop owner in the town who told her fellow members that people often complained to her about the situation. “As a council and as a town we can’t have that. It turns out they are really well used – or at least should be really well used. At the moment people are using the area outside for whatever they should be doing inside,” she said. “If we want a town people are proud of we really do not need people peeing behind a wall. Shopkeepers are witnessing it in that area.”Goodness no! Have you seen some of the stains left by revellers in any town or city throughout the UK after a typical Friday or Saturday night out? And the last thing a full-bladdered local or visitor wants is a charge of outraging public decency should they…

Digg Reader: spoke too soon

After posting my review (of sorts) last week, my experience with Digg Reader took a turn for the worse. At some point before the weekend, it stopped showing the number of unread items next to each subscription and then failed to show new content reliably enough to be usable. Put simply, it stopped doing what I needed it to do. I understand it’s a work in progress and there are developments coming, but an RSS reader needs to get the basics right from day one. And for now, Digg Reader fails miserably on that front. For the time being, I’ve switched to ‘The Old Reader’ which is much uglier than Digg Reader and its performance isn’t quite so snappy. Still, it offers all the functionality I need and that’s the main thing.I’ll keep an eye on Digg Reader’s progress in the coming weeks, but they need to get the basics fixed quickly for this thing to stand any chance of surviving now it’s out in the wild.

BT engineers arrested in parking ticket swindle

From ISP Preview 01/07/13:Police in West London have arrested eight of BTOpenreach’s telecoms engineers and another thirty have been suspended after bosses at BT were allegedly tipped off about a fake car clamping business that had netted the fraudsters around £200,000. [BT] vans belonging to BTOpenreach have to pay around £1 million worth of fines in London every year. This is because engineers often have little choice but to park in restricted areas while carrying out vital broadband and phone repairs.Ah – sneaky. Still, it’s interesting that BT regard their vans being routinely ticketed for parking offences as a necessary cost of doing business. How about trying to educate their engineers to park more sensibly (I realise this isn’t always possible), but I’ve seen some Openreach vans practically abandoned they’ve been parked so badly. Time for extra training I think. [T]he fraudsters found a way of manipulating this by creating fake claims that parking wardens had ticketed their va…