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

A High Court Judge has ruled a life support machine keeping a baby alive should be switched off against the wishes of the parents, reports the Independent.

Ms Justice Russell, the High Court Judge presiding over the case, made her decision after listening to medical specialists. The specialists argued the baby, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had irreversible brain damage after being born prematurely. They continued by saying, in the unlikely event the child did survive, he would be profoundly impaired and a deterioration in his condition was more likely than improvement. Currently, the child is unable to move, breathe or swallow without the help of medical equipment.

The parents of the child have argued for keeping the child alive, claiming they believe "miracles do happen." The parents, both devout Christians, have stated they believe their child is responsive and "knows what's going on." The boy's father has said: "I spend a lot of time with him, talking to him. I know when he is listening...we know he is reacting to certain things."

Divorce: Fraudulent divorces declared void by High Court

180 fraudulent divorce cases involving an Italian law firm have been declared void at the UK High Court this week after police uncovered an international divorce scam, reports the BBC.

Thames Valley Police were alerted to the fraud back in 2012 after a member of staff at Burnley County Court identified two cases involving Italian nationals using the same address in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Italian law requires divorcing couples to live separately for three years before they can petition a court for a divorce, however English law allows a divorce in just one year, providing the couple have lived apart and are applying based on a recognised reason such as adultery. 

Payday lending: Fake law firm letters cost lender Wonga

The payday loan company Wonga has announced a dramatic 53% fall in pre-tax profits in the wake of the 'fake law firm' letters scandal, reports the Mail Online.

The controversial company sparked fury among consumers earlier this year when it was revealed that they had sent threatening letters to thousands of customers from 'fake' law firms.

The Financial Conduct Authority concluded an investigation into the practices of Wonga by issuing a £2.6m fine, saying that the business was guilty of 'unfair and misleading debt collection practices'. 

Medical law: Conservatives planning seven-day-a-week access to GPs

David Cameron has announced plans to provide patients with seven-day-a-week access to GPs by 2020 in an attempt to counter criticism of their previous policy on the NHS, reports the Guardian.

The new £400m plan will be fed into the NHS over the next five years. The money will go to paying for increased access to GPs, which covers extended opening hours from 8am to 8pm. The plan has been seen as an attempt to counter Labour's claims only they can save the NHS, who have made their own pledge to provide GP access to patients within 48 hours.

Cameron has said: "We will support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer, giving millions of patients better access. This is only possible because we've taken difficult decisions to reduce inefficient and ineffective spending elsewhere. You can't fund the NHS if you don't have a health, growing economy."

The law of copyright is set for a major shake up later this week, with new rules being brought in that will allow people to legally parody works protected by copyright for the first time, reports the BBC.

Copyright is a tool used in intellectual property law to protect original works from unauthorised reproduction. The 'owner' of an original piece of work, be it a painting, an image, a story, film script or music score, automatically acquire the right to prevent its reproduction.

Copyright-protected works can be reproduced with the author's permission, and it is this process that allows authors, musicians and other producers of original works to gain revenue, by effectively selling the right to reproduce or enjoy their work.

The law of copyright is set for a major shake up later this week, with new rules being brought in that will allow people to legally parody works protected by copyright for the first time, reports the BBC.

Copyright is a tool used in intellectual property law to protect original works from unauthorised reproduction. The 'owner' of an original piece of work, be it a painting, an image, a story, film script or music score, automatically acquire the right to prevent its reproduction.

Copyright-protected works can be reproduced with the author's permission, and it is this process that allows authors, musicians and other producers of original works to gain revenue, by effectively selling the right to reproduce or enjoy their work.

The Sunday Mirror has hit back over the complaints made by Tory party members after a freelance journalist posed as a female Conservative supporter in order to lured party members into 'sexting' scenarios, reports the Independent.

This weekend, Conservative Minister for Civil Society, Brooks Newmark, resigned from his position after being caught in a 'sexting' sting set up by a freelance journalist. Mr Newmark thought he was swapping Twitter messages with a woman who described herself as a "twentysomething Tory PR girl"; however, the Twitter account was in reality set up by a journalist looking to catch MPs in compromising situations.

The exchange lasted for four months and became increasingly flirtatious and, at one point, Mr Newmark sent a photograph where he exposed himself. The Sunday Mirror contacted Mr Newmark on Saturday for comment and the MP for Braintree resigned from his post soon after.

Taxation: Chancellor sets out plans to abolish pensioners 'death tax'

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will use his speech to this Autumn's Tory party conference to announce plans to scrap a 55% tax on inheritance of a deceased's pension, reports the BBC.

Osborne will announce the proposal to a packed hall of delegates at the Conservative Party's national conference in Birmingham this week.

In his speech he will declare that from next April, the government will no longer tax the pension pots of those who die.

Policing: New law will prevent resignation precluding investigation

A new law looks set to be introduced to allow investigations into the conduct of police officers to continue, even if the officers in question have since resigned, reports the Daily Mail.

The exact workings of the new law will remain unclear until the Home Office makes a further announcement, however it is understood that the law is being considered after it was revealed that 38 police officers have escaped investigations into their conduct by resigning their positions.

At present an officer can resign their post and continue to receive their full pension right up until the beginning of any investigation into their conduct whilst in office. 

Ofgem has reported an "industry-wide failure" with almost 60% of customers who use small gas and electric suppliers being dissatisfied with the way with which their complaints are dealt, reports the Guardian.

Ofgem, the organisation that regulates gas and electricity suppliers has released information from a recent survey showing consumers are deeply unhappy with how smaller energy providers have treated their customers.

They have reported that for some suppliers their approval rating has dropped even further. Npower's customer satisfaction has dropped from 36% to 21% and Scottish Power has dropped from 44% to 20%.

The UK government has spoken out over its plans to launch air attacks against Islamic State militants in Iraq, claiming that such attacks would be legal under international law, reports the BBC.

The Islamic State was formed over the past decade as an insurgency group based in Iraq fighting against first the American occupation and later against the newly-formed Iraqi government.

The group was previously known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), and is made up of a large force of hardline Sunni Islamic militants. In the past two years the group has expanded its operations to Syria, where it is heavily involved in the fight against the Assad regime.

Germany: Ethics Council calls for incest to be legalised

The German National Ethics Council has called for incest between siblings to be decriminalised after reviewing a case of a brother and sister having four children together, reports the Independent.

On Wednesday, the Ethics Council recommended incest laws relating to siblings should be repealed after an examination of the case concerning Mr Patrick Stuebing. Mr Stuebing had been adopted as an infant and had later met his sister, Susan Karolewski, in his twenties; and the pair has had four children together since meeting.

Mr Stuebing was convicted of incest in 2008 and so far has spent three years in prison. He appealed against the ruling to the Federal Constitutional Court in the same year and to the European Court of Human Rights in 2012, but both appeals were rejected.

Criminal law: Second 'Fake sheikh' trial collapses

The trial of two men accused alongside celebrity Tulisa Contostavlos of supplying drugs in a newspaper sting operation has collapsed at Southwark Crown Court, reports the BBC.

The case involved 'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood, an undercover journalist who has worked for many years for the Sun, the News of the World and the Sunday Times newspapers.

Mr Mahmood commonly dresses as a rich Arab sheikh, using the disguise to lure celebrities and public figures into committing crimes or to indulging in tabloid-worthy behaviour.

Trinity Mirror, the newspaper group that owns the Mirror newspaper, looks set to face potentially 'hundreds' of claims from people who believe that journalists working for the paper engaged in phone hacking, reports the Independent.

The Mirror has so far evaded any blame for phone hacking, despite many believing that the practice of phone hacking was widespread throughout the tabloid media during the past decade.

Rival publication the News of the World certainly bore the brunt of the scandal over phone hacking, after it emerged that journalists working for the paper had hacked the phone of missing school girl Millie Dowler, and the families of Iraq war veterans.

Trinity Mirror, the newspaper group that owns the Mirror newspaper, looks set to face potentially 'hundreds' of claims from people who believe that journalists working for the paper engaged in phone hacking, reports the Independent.

The Mirror has so far evaded any blame for phone hacking, despite many believing that the practice of phone hacking was widespread throughout the tabloid media during the past decade.

Rival publication the News of the World certainly bore the brunt of the scandal over phone hacking, after it emerged that journalists working for the paper had hacked the phone of missing school girl Millie Dowler, and the families of Iraq war veterans.