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

Nigel Farage to take legal advice over EU expenses

The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is taking legal advice after being accused of misappropriating EU expenses, after a former party aide claimed that £50,000 of EU funding was paid directly into a personal bank account of the UKIP leader, reports The Independent.

Mr Farage has responded to the accusations that he may have misappropriated EU funds by claiming they are 'outrageous' and has announced that he is taking legal advice over the matter.

It is understood that Mr Farage received £15,500 each year from the EU Parliament at Brussels, where he sits as a Member of the European Parliament. It is understood the money is given to pay for his constituency office at Lyminster in West Sussex.

'War Horse' musicians lose legal fight after sacking

Five musicians sacked from the hit West-End musical 'War Horse' have lost a legal fight to have their sacking suspended whilst a breach of contract case is heard, reports the BBC.

The five musicians were released by the producers of War Horse after they decided to replace live music with recorded music for certain parts of the show.

The musicians have decided to challenge the decision as they believe it was a breach of contract, and had asked the High Court to grant an injunction that would have allowed them to continue working until their case is heard.

A London private school is facing uncomfortable questions in the media after the Daily Mail reported an incident in which a teacher told a Jewish student she would be 'sent to the gas chambers' for jumping the lunch queue.

The Daily Mail reported the incident, which took place at North London Collegiate School, a £6,000 per term independent school catering for children from four through to 18. Frances Mary Buss founded the school in 1850.

The incident is alleged to have taken place earlier this year, and involved a teacher reprimanding a 17-year-old Jewish student who had cut in at the queue for meals, by telling her that she could be 'sent to one of her gas chambers' for her actions.

Korea state insurance firm sues tobacco companies

The South Korean state insurance company has initiated legal proceedings in Asia against cigarette manufacturers in a bid to have them pay for smoking-related treatment costs, reports the BBC.

The unprecedented legal action pit the South Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) against the heavyweights of the cigarette industry, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and South Korean maker KT&G Corporation.

The insurance company is seeking a payment of $52m against annual costs of treating smoking-related illnesses of more than $1.6bn.

The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans MP has demanded that the Crown Prosecution Service pay his £130,000 legal bill after being acquitted in a trial over a string of sexual offences, reports the BBC.

Mr Evans faced a criminal trial over allegations of repeated sexual assaults and one count of rape against various men who either worked at Westminster or were social acquaintances of Mr Evans.

The trial heard that Mr Evans was a 'high-functioning alcoholic' who enjoyed drinking and socialising, and who was prone to crossing boundaries that on more than one occasion led to sexual advances on men that were rebuffed.

Gay marriage: Chaplain defies rules to marry partner in England

A hospital chaplain has defied Church of England rules to marry his long-term partner this weekend, despite the move being censured by his church, reports the BBC.

Same-sex marriage became law in the UK last year, and the first ceremonies were conducted amid scenes of jubilation around the UK back at the end of last month.

However, despite widespread support from the public, politicians and campaigners, there remains staunch opposition to the right of same-sex couples to marry, particularly among religious groups.

'Top Gear' venue loses fight over unrestricted flying rights

The owners of Dunsfold Park Aerodrome have lost their legal fight to secure the right to conduct unrestricted flying at the venue, in a blow to the producers of the Top Gear programme that is filmed there, reports the BBC.

The owners of Dunsfold Park had claimed that permanent and unrestricted planning permission had been granted allowing unrestricted flying on the site as long ago as 1951.

Dunsfold Park Aerodrome was built during World War Two by the Canadian Army for use as an emergency landing strip. After the war the site was used by Hawker Siddeley for bomber testing, and became owned by British Aerospace in 1977. The site was sold to the Rutland Group and Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002, and is now owned under the vehicle Dunsfold Park Limited.

Legal challenge to GP exam fails in High Court

The High Court has ruled that the examinations set by the Royal College of General Practitioners is lawful, but rules that it is time for the profession to address the differences in pass rates between white and non-white candidates, reports The Independent.

The legal challenge was brought by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), who claimed that examinations set by the Royal College of General Practitioners discriminate against non-white candidates.

The challenge concerned a practical element of the examinations which doctors must pass before becoming fully qualified as a GP. The section is known as the Clinical Skills Assessment, and pits candidates against an actor in a pre-determined scenario.

Three-year freeze on asylum seeker benefits to be reviewed

The Home Secretary has been asked to review the amount of money given to asylum seekers as benefits after the High Court ruled that the decision to freeze benefits for three years was based on insufficient evidence, reports The Independent.

The Home Secretary has kept the amount of money offered to asylum seekers in benefits at the same level for three years, representing a real-term cut in benefits after taking into account the rising cost of living.

This led to the charity Refugee Action mounting a judicial review of the situation, which this week culminated in the High Court demanding that the decision be revisited.

Legal case to decide whether doctor's training is discriminatory

A large group of Black and Asian doctors are to mount a legal challenge against the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the General Medical Council (GMC) amid claims that the examinations set for GP trainees are inherently discriminatory against non-white doctors, reports The Independent.

The doctors are taking their case to the UK High Court, claiming that the RCGP and the GMC are guilty of breaking equality laws in the way they set the examinations for qualification into General Practice.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) is supporting the case, bringing a judicial review to look at whether the examination discriminates against candidates from ethnic minorities.

MPs and peers have called for the new anti-slavery legislation being drafted by the Government to be strengthened to give more attention to the victims of human trafficking, reports the BBC.

The Government is working on a new law to outlaw slavery, which to this day remains a huge problem, with figures released by the Home Office last year suggesting that the number of victims was up by 25% in the year from 2012.

The problem was highlighted last year when three women were rescued from a property in Brixton, London, after being held against their will for over 30 years by a couple in their late 60s. One of the women rescued, a 30-year-old, is thought to have been born in captivity.

NHS charged £83k legal bill for a £1k claim sparking outrage

The NHS Litigation Authority chief Catherine Dixon has lifted the lid on the charges levied by solicitors during compensation claims against the NHS, to reveal how some charge up to 80 times more than the value of the claim they are seeking, reports the Daily Mail.

According to the Mail, the NHS is launching a 'crackdown' on excessively high bills levied by solicitors representing patients with claims for compensation.

The head of the NHS Litigation Authority, Catherine Dixon, has highlighted the shocking extent of the size of legal bills in relation to compensation claims.

Rail Union threatens legal action over East Coast line

The Rail Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) has threatened the Government with legal action over its proposed reprivatisation of the East Coast mainline, as well as the Thameslink and Great Northern lines, reports the BBC.

The RMT is calling for a court to consider the process for awarding the franchises for operating rail services on these three lines, as part of a judicial review process.

The RMT is being joined in the legal action by the Associated Society for Locomotive Engineers and Firemen Union (ASLEF), which represents train drivers, and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association Union (TSSA), which represents other rail workers.

UK law to permit sale of home HIV testing kits

The UK Government is to legislate to allow the sale of 'home-testing kits' for HIV infection in the UK, despite the fact that no such device exists in the UK market at present, reports the BBC.

The Government has passed a law that will in future allow UK citizens to buy a home-testing kit to diagnose HIV infection, without the need to visit a doctor's surgery, hospital or sexual health clinic.

The law has been passed despite the fact that no such device exists in the UK market, and none has received approval by European regulators either.

New laws to regulate the behaviour of bailiffs came into force yesterday, aimed at cracking down on aggressive tactics that can leave some debtors living in fear, reports the BBC.

The reforms come as part of a package of changes made to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcements Act 2007, which came into force on 6 April 2014.

Under the new laws, bailiffs are banned from entering any home at night and are now completely banned from using any physical force against debtors. The rules also prevent bailiffs from entering property when only children are at home.