The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Benefits: Labour plan to lock child benefit

Speaking at the Labour Party conference, the shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, has announced Child Benefit would be frozen if Labour are voted in at the next election, reports the Independent.

Ed Balls has stated child benefit would be frozen if Labour were to take power in the next election, reducing the amount those receiving those who claim child benefit would get in real terms. Currently, child benefit rises with inflation calculated using the Retail Price Index. However, under the new proposal child benefit would rise on 1% over the next two financial years.

The Labour party have claimed the freeze would save £400m, helping to cut the deficit. The freezing of child benefit is part of Labour's plans to improve the UK's finances, which also includes a salary cut of 5% for all government ministers from next May, saving a further £300,000. The aim of these cuts is to clear the deficit by 2020.

Divorce: Pontiff asks for Catholic divorce to be simplified

Pope Francis has begun the process of making divorce within the Catholic Church more straightforward, after he asked a team of aides to begin researching the matter, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Last Sunday the Pope caused outcry among traditionalists when he used a service at St Peter's Basilica to marry twenty couples who had already had children out of wedlock, a sin forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Now it appears the Pope is committed to further modernising the Catholic Church's approach to another problem: divorce.

Devolution: Cameron facing pressure to curb Scots MPs voting rights

However in a closely fought campaign, the leaders of the main parties at Westminster all vowed to ensure that Scotland would receive a new wave of devolutionary powers if the people chose to remain in the United Kingdom.

This is now a reality, so the Westminster government is now considering proposals to initiate a new Scotland Bill in parliament, although the Prime Minister has intimated that this will probably have to wait until after the next General Election in May 2015.

One of the consequences of more devolution for Scotland has long been a call from English MPs that their Scottish counterparts sitting in Westminster should have their voting rights curbed so that they cannot have a say on affairs that will only affect England.

The Independent reports that some English MPs are considering blocking attempts by parliament to devolve more power to Scotland, unless moves are made at the same time to limit Scottish MPs' voting rights, however a spokesman for the Conservatives said the two matters were separate.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said that the Prime Minister was obliged to deliver on his promises to Scotland, regardless of the timetable for any changes to voting at Westminster:

"(The Prime Minister) must deliver on that. That promise to Scotland was made in something as close to blood as you get in politics" he said.

Devolution: Cameron facing pressure to curb Scots MPs voting rights

However in a closely fought campaign, the leaders of the main parties at Westminster all vowed to ensure that Scotland would receive a new wave of devolutionary powers if the people chose to remain in the United Kingdom.

This is now a reality, so the Westminster government is now considering proposals to initiate a new Scotland Bill in parliament, although the Prime Minister has intimated that this will probably have to wait until after the next General Election in May 2015.

One of the consequences of more devolution for Scotland has long been a call from English MPs that their Scottish counterparts sitting in Westminster should have their voting rights curbed so that they cannot have a say on affairs that will only affect England.

The Independent reports that some English MPs are considering blocking attempts by parliament to devolve more power to Scotland, unless moves are made at the same time to limit Scottish MPs' voting rights, however a spokesman for the Conservatives said the two matters were separate.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said that the Prime Minister was obliged to deliver on his promises to Scotland, regardless of the timetable for any changes to voting at Westminster:

"(The Prime Minister) must deliver on that. That promise to Scotland was made in something as close to blood as you get in politics" he said.

Devolution: Cameron facing pressure to curb Scots MPs voting rights

However in a closely fought campaign, the leaders of the main parties at Westminster all vowed to ensure that Scotland would receive a new wave of devolutionary powers if the people chose to remain in the United Kingdom.

This is now a reality, so the Westminster government is now considering proposals to initiate a new Scotland Bill in parliament, although the Prime Minister has intimated that this will probably have to wait until after the next General Election in May 2015.

One of the consequences of more devolution for Scotland has long been a call from English MPs that their Scottish counterparts sitting in Westminster should have their voting rights curbed so that they cannot have a say on affairs that will only affect England.

The Independent reports that some English MPs are considering blocking attempts by parliament to devolve more power to Scotland, unless moves are made at the same time to limit Scottish MPs' voting rights, however a spokesman for the Conservatives said the two matters were separate.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said that the Prime Minister was obliged to deliver on his promises to Scotland, regardless of the timetable for any changes to voting at Westminster:

"(The Prime Minister) must deliver on that. That promise to Scotland was made in something as close to blood as you get in politics" he said.

Devolution: Cameron facing pressure to curb Scots MPs voting rights

The Prime Minister is facing pressure from Westminster MPs to curb the voting rights of Scottish MPs in parliament so that they cannot have a say on legal matters that would only affect England, reports the Independent.

The move comes in the wake of the decision by the majority of Scottish people to reject the Scottish National Party's proposal to end Scotland's affiliation with the United Kingdom.

The Scottish referendum asked voters whether they thought Scotland should be an independent country. The 'no' votes outnumbered the 'yes' votes by around 55% to 45%.

Devolution: Cameron facing pressure to curb Scots MPs voting rights

The Prime Minister is facing pressure from Westminster MPs to curb the voting rights of Scottish MPs in parliament so that they cannot have a say on legal matters that would only affect England, reports the Independent.

The move comes in the wake of the decision by the majority of Scottish people to reject the Scottish National Party's proposal to end Scotland's affiliation with the United Kingdom.

The Scottish referendum asked voters whether they thought Scotland should be an independent country. The 'no' votes outnumbered the 'yes' votes by around 55% to 45%.

Ex-boss of GlaxoSmithKline to be deported back to the UK

Mark Reilly, the former boss of GlaxoSmithKline, has been given a three-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to bribery in China and will be deported back to UK, reports the Guardian.

Mr Reilly was charged with running a bribery scheme that used money and sexual favours to ensure doctors prescribed GSK drugs in China.

GSK's actions were investigated when a sex tape of Mr Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend was sent to GSK board-members in an attempt to blackmail the company officials. Details of corrupt sales and marketing practices were also sent with the tape.

Criminal: Max Clifford appeals his eight-year sentence

Sentenced to just eight years following a trial relating to sexual assault on four women, the shamed PR boss is now launching an appeal, reports the Daily Mail.

Despite only receiving an eight-year sentence for his multiple assault crimes, Max Clifford is appealing against it. While the sentencing took place recently, the crimes he committed were between 1977 and 1984, before the toughening of the legal punishments in 2003. Thus Clifford escaped with just eight years, a sentence given based upon the two-year maximum sentence for assault pre-2003. Were he to have committed the same offences today, Clifford would have been handed a life sentence for multiple rape.

The conviction of Clifford was the first to be given in the sex crime investigation, Operation Yewtree. This well-publicised inquiry drew much attention to the defendants involved. Indeed, the Judge who handed Clifford his sentence commented that the reason his crimes hadn't been revealed earlier is likely down to his high public profile and career.

A group of three young men and three young women, all Iranian, have been sentenced to prison and lashings for making a video to Pharrell's hit song 'Happy', reports the Daily Mail.

The case against six young Iranians has sparked outrage across the world. Three young men and women filmed themselves dancing and singing along to Pharrell's 'Happy' song. When they uploaded their video onto YouTube and it went viral, Iranian authorities sought their arrest.

There was no nudity or offensive images in this video. However, police in Iran had a serious problem with the way in which men and women were seen dancing together and, moreover, with the fact that the women in the video were not wearing hijabs to cover themselves up.

Capital punishment: Texas woman executed by lethal injection

Lisa Coleman, a 38 year-old woman convicted of participating in the torture and death by starvation of her partner's nine year-old son, has been put to death by lethal injection in the state of Texas, reports the Guardian.

In 2004, Lisa Coleman was involved in the death of Davontae Williams, the nine year-old son of Ms Coleman's partner, Marcella Williams. Court records indicate Davontae had been restrained and repeatedly beaten before dying of malnutrition in 2004. During the trial a pediatrician testified that Davontae had suffered more than 250 separate injuries, including evidence he had been burned and struck by a blunt object, possibly a golf-club.

When he was discovered, Davontae weighted less than 16.3kg, approximately the average weight for a child at four or five years of age. There had been concerns about Davontae's welfare during the 1990s and he had been removed from his mother's custody for a short period; however, Davontae returned to his mother's home.

In the midst of the public frenzy following the unveiling of the new iWatch, the Department of Transport and the Institute of Advanced Motorists warn motorists of the penalties to be paid if they are distracted by the device when in control of a vehicle, reports the Telegraph.

While the world becomes enraptured by the latest gadget, Apple's iWatch, warnings have been released to emphasise the importance of ignoring such devices while driving.

Although the iWatch is not a mobile phone as such, authorities have declared that the same penalties will be enforceable against those caught using their iWatch or any other smart watch when behind the wheel as those caught using a mobile phone.

Former Member of the European Parliament, Nikki Sinclaire, appeared before court today to face charges of money laundering and misconduct, reports the Daily Mail.

Having lost her seat earlier this year when she changed her allegiance from Ukip to the We Demand A Referendum Now party, charges have been brought against Ms Sinclaire relating to her actions during her time in the European Parliament. She is accused of misconduct in a public office, a charge relating to her questionable travel expenses that she claimed during her time as an MEP. In addition, Ms Sinclaire is accused of laundering money almost five years ago.

'The money laundering charge, brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act, alleges that she converted criminal property between October 2009 and December 2010. The misconduct in public office charge relates to allegations that Sinclaire submitted false and dishonest claims for travelling expenses in the same period'

Slavery: Two men charged with enslaving a man for 13 years

Father and son Gypsy horse-farmers, Daniel and David Doran, forced 44-year-old Darrell Simester to work without pay for 13 years, the BBC reports.

It is believed that Darrell Simester was taken hostage by the father and son duo while he was making his way home to Kidderminster following a holiday in Porthcawl, south Wales.

The victim was given a squalid environment in which to live and forced to work 15-hour-days almost every day for 13 years. Despite his best efforts to escape, his captors had always caught him in the act and brought him back to the farm.

Defender of many parents in shaken baby cases, Dr Waney Squier, faces a tribunal hearing following claims of dishonesty, reports the Daily Mail.

Offering support and defence to parents facing court accused of shaking their baby, Dr Squier has long appeared to many to be a controversial figure. Beginning as a prosecutor in countless of these cases, she had a monumental change of opinion over ten years ago after reading groundbreaking research into how a baby's brain can be injured.

Since her turnaround, Dr Squier has made a determined effort to ensure that a number of parents walked free from court when faced with the charge of killing their child. Yet, the expert is now facing a hearing herself, having been accused of dishonesty and misleading the courts.