Showing posts from September, 2013

New Personal Injury Law may drive up quality of care

Guest PostEarlier this year there was a drastic change in the law concerning personal injury claims. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was introduced in April 2013 and now represents a profound change in aspects of Legal Aid.. There are winners and losers with this new act but the reason it had to be done has a sound basis. It was basically to combat the many fraudulent claims being made in ‘crash for cash’ illegal groups who arrange ‘accidents’ just to claim and also the surprising amount of legal companies who were making money from this.Before the New Act:
Previously a personal injury claim was done on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis and nobody could fail to notice the intense media advertisement of the companies handling these claims. If you were injured you would actually receive the full amount of compensation due with no personal cost at all. The solicitor handling your claim would rake back any costs involved, e.g. medical reports and expenses, fees…

Pre-Approved Free Speech

Guest PostIt seems that around the United States, 1 out of every 6 major colleges have designated areas where students are "allowed" their Constitutional right for free speech. In these colleges, exercising your right to free speech requires a permission slip at least a couple of days in advance, as well as having the administration approve the contents of a student's speech.A prime example of this hilarity recently took place at a California Junior College. As UCLA LAW Professor Stephen Bainbridge reported, “a student found his exercise of free speech shut down" on none other than Constitution day, quite possibly the worst and/or most ironic day of the year for a college to make such a bold restriction.

Law graduates lose out in the early salary stakes

Sponsored PostDespite having a reputation for rewarding its professionals with high salaries, new research suggests that law may not be the most lucrative subject to study – at least in the early years following graduation. New research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that law graduates typically earn less than the average salary of their peers.Indeed, even those graduating with degrees in social studies (long regarded – unfairly or otherwise – as being less demanding subjects compared with many traditional subjects) earn more than their counterparts who opted to study law. This is unlikely to be welcome news to current law students studying in London or elsewhere.Figures from the class of 2008/09 show that law graduates earned an average of £26,000 in November 2012, £1,500 less than the overall average of that year’s graduates. Social studies graduates earned an average of £3,000 more than their peers who studied law.[1]On the flip side, however, law has one of t…

Even lawyers need a break from the day job

According to the ABA Technology Survey (which the Lawyerist blogged about here) only 41% of lawyers claim to read the terms of service for cloud computing services. Note the words “claim to”. I think the percentage of lawyers who actually read the terms they claim to read is more likely to be 4.1%!  In my experience, lawyers are the least likely to read contract terms when purchasing things online for themselves. And that applies to practising lawyers right through to those in academia! After all, there’s only so much of that stuff that anyone can stomach. Everyone needs a break from the day-job. Put it another way: how many restaurant chefs do you think go home and cook for themselves at the end of a tough night’s service?

Working with Legal Interpreters: 6 Things Every Lawyer Needs to Know

Legal interpreters are crucial within the legal field. They work with lawyers in helping them communicate with clients as well as represent parties in court, tribunals and the like. Without interpreters, one could argue, there would be no justice whenever a language barrier exists. Working with interpreters, to get the best out of their expertise, is something every lawyer should know, no matter their status or position. This guide offer 6 points every lawyer needs to know about legal interpreters. 1.  Set ground rules
Legal interpreters work in a highly pressurized environment; so planning is key to effective communication. Before you begin working with an interpreter, it is useful to agree some ground rules. For example, you may want to agree in advance where the interpreter will sit, how parties will be introduced, when the interpreter should translate and how sensitive subjects should be approached. It’s always useful to provide a written confirmation of the rules you require adhe…

Late-Life Crisis Caused By Bereavement and Personal Injury

Guest PostWe’ve all heard of mid-life crises, but until recently, hardly any research had been performed on what is now being dubbed the ‘late-life crisis.’ Perhaps this is a symptom of higher levels of longevity in the modern world. Either way, one-third of 60-69 year-olds suffer from this psychological shift in the UK. Late-life crises are largely periods of withdrawal, depression, isolation, and anxiety about this time of life. Unlike the mid-life crisis – which is largely caused by despair at how the chips have fallen, a loss of youth, and worrying financial concerns – the triggers for the late-life crisis tend to emerge from bereavements or personal injuries. Why? Losing loved ones or your own mobility can make the elderly feel as if time is running out – increasing frailty is hard to accept for some, especially those who depended on their physical abilities to earn a living. It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
One-fifth of 60-69 year-olds feel as if their views on life are unchanged, an…

Environmental liability regulations every business should know about

Guest PostAll businesses have environmental responsibilities and these were made a legal requirement by the Environmental Liability Regulations 2009, which came into force in June 2009. It is essential that businesses make themselves aware of these regulations and the kind of impact their activities will have on the environment.

Environmental Liability Regulations
These regulations introduced in 2009 bring English law into line with the European Commission's Environmental Liability Directive. The main aim of these regulations is to improve and prevent damage caused by the effects of business on water, land and biodiversity.

The way they are implemented is based on the principle that the polluter should always pay. The regulations aim to achieve this by holding businesses financially liable for actual damage or potential damage to the environment. This puts the onus on businesses to foot the bill for any damage caused, or for the cost of preventative measures rather than on the taxpay…

Eating in lectures

From Legal Cheek 19/09/13: A Canadian law student has got off to a bad start to the academic year after a spectacularly grouchy email they sent to their coursemates was leaked into the blogosphere. The missive [which can be read in full over at Legal Cheek] takes issue with the author's peers' propensity to eat during lectures, with tuna sandwiches and apples highlighted as particularly problematic snacks because they, respectively, "stink up the entire room" and lead to "the gnashing of your teeth and the crunch crunch crunch".Eating in lectures has always been a no-no in my book. I consider myself to be on the slightly prudish side of the spectrum when it comes to these things (I’m still not completely sold on the concept of eating something walking down the street, for instance), but I think a lot of students would fine eating in class to be an unwelcome distraction. When I was a student, my attention could be easily broken and trying to take information…

Newsreader reinvents the iPad

From the Guardian 18/09/13:It is a blunder worthy of fictional broadcasters Ron Burgundy or Alan Partridge, but BBC News presenter Simon McCoy outdid both characters on Wednesday when he presented a report while carrying a stack of photocopier paper – after mistaking it for an iPad.The 51-year-old broadcaster was fronting a live piece to camera from the BBC newsroom when he picked up a refill pack of A4 paper instead of his more high-tech prop.Instead of acknowledging his mistake and swapping the items, McCoy carried on with the report with the batch of paper clearly visible in his hands.How is this even possible? I understand that the pressure of presenting live television must be immense, but surely it’s not so much that you mistake the normal weight of an iPad for that of a ream of A4 paper?In any case, once realising his mistake, he should have salvaged what little of his dignity he could and gracefully placed the ream of paper on the ground instead of presenting the story in the …

More tweaks to the Dangerous Dogs Act

From: BBC News 09/09/13: Dog owners will be safe from prosecution under revised dangerous dogs laws if their pet attacks someone trespassing in their home - even if the "intruder" is doing a good turn. Ministers say dogs cannot be expected to "ascertain the intentions" of those entering a property before reacting. The clarification comes in response to MPs who are scrutinising proposals to update the law in England and Wales. The government plans to extend existing laws to cover dog attacks in homes. It is currently updating the controversial 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. Ah yes – one of the most heavily criticised pieces of legislation that has ever been enacted! In fact, in the seven years following the original enactment, there were 35 editorial items in the press that used the Dangerous Dogs Act as an example of bad regulation. And just in case there was any doubt of the extent of the criticism, a very interesting article* I came across sets the record straigh…

Upper age limit for jurors is amended

From 20/08/13:People up to the age of 75 will soon be able to sit as jurors in England and Wales under plans announced by Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green today.The proposal is part of a drive by the Ministry of Justice to make the criminal justice system more inclusive and to reflect modern society by giving people aged 70 to 75 the opportunity to serve on a jury.Currently, only people aged between 18 and 70 are eligible to sit as jurors.I find the jury selection process absolutely fascinating.Anecdotally, you hear of large swathes of potential jurors who are ready, willing and able and yet never get a look in. Others, rather strangely, get called up more than once.The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a raft of sweeping changes in which previous exceptions to serving on a jury (including those relating to judges, practising lawyers and law graduates) were removed. That resulted in a much larger pool of jurors than was previously available.The government have been kee…

Taxing Times: UK Corporate Tax System In Need Of Overhaul

Guest PostUnless you’ve been hiding out in the Himalayas you can’t have missed the recent uproar over the extent of tax avoidance by global corporations like Google, Amazon and Starbucks. As small businesses and individuals feel the financial pinch there has been growing discontent over the comparatively minor amounts paid by huge companies, resulting in the cross-party House of Lords committee on economic affairs calling for a huge overhaul of the UK corporate tax system. Although the current low-levels of tax paid by these companies are legal, they rest on the exploitation of loopholes in the international tax systems. For an idea on just how little tax some companies can pay US technology giant Apple paid no UK corporation tax in 2012. That’s right: none. When you consider the huge profits such a company makes it’s not hard to see why there’s a consensus that change needs to take place. The House of Lords committee believe that the ability of global corporations to avoid tax to suc…

‘Ignore your sat nav’ signs need to be given green light

From BBC News 30/08/13: The Highway Code should to be amended to include signs which warn motorists where sat-navs are not suitable, it has been claimed. Armand Toms, a councillor for Cornwall, wants traffic laws changed so that drivers do not get stuck in many of the narrow roads across the county. "If you had a sign that said, 'don't use this route' it would help. But the Highway Code doesn't have that at the moment and we would like the government to take notice and put in some commonsense and say 'switch your sat-nav off'," Mr Toms said. "It's about putting some reason back into driving. The quickest route is probably not always the safest route."Well said that man! Driving in an unfamiliar part of the country can be a daunting prospect at the best of times and being ‘guided’ by your satnav can lure drivers into a false sense of security. When I travel back home to Cornwall, I’m always reminded that drivers should treat driving in Co…