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

Criminal law: Sweden upholds Assange arrest warrant

Since the Swedish courts have refused his attempt to revoke his arrest warrant, Assange remains tied to the Ecuadorean embassy in London, the BBC reports.

Given his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in the UK, Julian Assange's lawyers had appealed to the Swedish courts to have his arrest warrant revoked. Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two Swedish women during a visit to the country in 2010.

Fighting his corner, Assange's lawyers argued that since he cannot be questioned while in the embassy and moreover, the warrant cannot be enforced for the duration of the time he spends in the embassy, there is no longer a good reason to maintain it .

Criminal law: Landmark FGM case in Egypt brings disappointing result

In the first case of an FGM charge being brought before court in Egypt, the father and doctor accused of bringing about the death of 13-year-old Suhair al-Bataa walk free, the BBC reports.

Another victim of female genital mutilation (FGM), Suhair al-Bataa died subsequent to being forced through the procedure in June 2013. The young girl's father was responsible for ensuring she was put through the gruesome and painful mutilation, while the doctor performed it.

Both men were brought before court in a landmark trial following her death shortly after the procedure was carried out. Women's rights activists fought hard to ensure the men were forced to answer for their actions in a court of law and this was the first case relating to FGM that had appeared in Egyptian courts.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will release guidance regarding the use of covert surveillance of carers, whether in people's homes or in care homes, the BBC reports.

Maintaining a neutral standpoint, the CQC denies favouring the use of hidden cameras to check up on carers and states that the Commission is neither for nor against such practice. However, information with guidance on how covert surveillance might work will be released by the Commission in the new year.

The subject has sparked much controversy and debate given the highly sensitive issue of privacy. A number of individuals have sought to use hidden cameras to record carers looking after their relatives, whether that be in their own homes or in care homes. However, such practice is condemned by some as breaking privacy boundaries of both the carers and the cared for.

Following a public petition to prevent him from entering the UK and support for such action from Home Secretary, Theresa May, US 'artist' Julien Blanc has been denied a visa, the BBC reports.

Referring to himself as the 'dating guru', Julien Blanc has sold tickets for a worldwide tour yet it seems that many of his seminars will no longer take place. Having recently been removed from Australia following the first batch of his highly controversial seminars, Blanc was expecting to come to the UK to teach men his vile behaviours.

Evidence of the content of his tour can be found online and much of the material is not only extremely misogynistic but it goes so far as to endorse sexual assault on women.

Manslaughter: Tania Clarence found guilty of killing her three children

Appearing before the Old Bailey, Tania Clarence admitted to killing three of her children and pleaded diminished responsibility. She has been sentenced to an indefinite stay in a mental hospital, the BBC reports.

Following the killing of three of her children, three-year-old twin boys and a four-year-old daughter, and a suicide attempt, Tania Clarence appeared in court to face the murder charges against her.

While admitting to killing the children, Clarence pleaded the defence of diminished responsibility which was accepted by the court. This defence reduces a murder charge to manslaughter and usually carries a lesser sentence where the defendant is detained in a psychiatric institution as opposed to jail.

Immigration: Sham wedding organiser sentenced to prison

Found guilty of arranging six sham marriages, Audrone Siniciene, has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for her offences, reports the Daily Mail.

Making a mockery of the British immigration system, 49-year-old Audrone Siniciene, organised and witnessed at least six bogus marriages whereby women from the EU were paid to marry foreign strangers in order to boost their immigration status.

The men concerned paid Siniciene to find them a bride who would be willing to marry them in exchange for up to £2,000. Only EU women were sought as the men, all from outside the EU, attempted to prolong their right to remain in Britain.

Suspecting a group of men at a certain address of being involved in terrorism, MI5 planted microphones in the property to build up a file of evidence against them, the BBC reports.

A property in Newry, County Down became the subject of concentrated supervision after the MI5 planted hidden microphones in the property to record activity. The MI5 suspected that terrorist activity associated with the Continuity IRA was taking place at the aforementioned address and the recordings they took during their surveillance proved them correct.

Months of observation concluded in almost 70 hours' worth of evidence to be used against the group of individuals concerned. An arrest took place on 10 November seeing twelve men taken away by police. Seven of these men were remanded in custody.

Criminal law: Calls for harsher punishment for prison violence

The Ministry of Justice has announced plans to instill a harsher punishment system for violent crimes committed in prison, the BBC reports.

Responding to a steep rise in violent levels of crime committed by prisoners, the Ministry of Justice has declared that more will be done to ensure that such offenders are brought to justice.

A horrifying case recently brought to the public eye involved a female officer being violently attacked by an inmate at Feltham Young Offenders' Institute. She was finally rescued from her attacker by another inmate but sustained serious injuries from the attack. Commenting on her case, Nicola Williams remarked that the issue was a shortage of staff which led to many prison officers, like herself, being exceptionally vulnerable to attack by a prisoner.

Criminal law: Calls for harsher punishment for prison violence

The Ministry of Justice has announced plans to instill a harsher punishment system for violent crimes committed in prison, the BBC reports.

Responding to a steep rise in violent levels of crime committed by prisoners, the Ministry of Justice has declared that more will be done to ensure that such offenders are brought to justice.

A horrifying case recently brought to the public eye involved a female officer being violently attacked by an inmate at Feltham Young Offenders' Institute. She was finally rescued from her attacker by another inmate but sustained serious injuries from the attack. Commenting on her case, Nicola Williams remarked that the issue was a shortage of staff which led to many prison officers, like herself, being exceptionally vulnerable to attack by a prisoner.

Immigration: Sir John Major defends plans to cut EU migration

Showing his support of David Cameron's pledge to limit EU migration, former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major urged for diplomacy and suggested that issuing a temporary cut would help in resolving the current issue of overcrowding in the UK and also argued that it would not violate EU rules regarding the freedom of movement, reports the BBC.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir John discussed the issue of mass migration from the EU to the UK. It is a problem that has become the centre of debate between MPs recently as Prime Minister David Cameron has called for cuts to be made to prevent endless EU migrants from coming to live and work in the UK.

The Nottinghamshire Coroner Mairin Casey is weighing up whether to hold an inquest into the death of 23-year-old Amy Duffield, after it emerged that her dentist, whom she visited shortly before she died, was guilty of serious breaches of hygiene and safety standards, reports The Telegraph.

Ms Duffield died from acute viral myocarditis on 22 August last year, after visiting her GP suffering from heart palpitations.

It has now emerged that Ms Duffield had visited her dentist, Desmond D'Mello, just ten days earlier.

A lawyer who quit her job to attempt a round-the-world sailing contest organised by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has failed in a bid to sue him for sexual discrimination, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Ruth Harvey, who previously worked as a specialist in employment law, attempted to sue Sir Robin Knox-Johnston for sexual discrimination for events that unfolded on her £40,000 Clipper Round-the-World sailing adventure.

Sir Robin was the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a sailing vessel in 1969, a feat for which he was awarded the Jules Verne Trophy. 

Family law: Couple run up £920k lawyers bill in £2.9m divorce

A couple have spent almost one-third of their entire estate in legal fees contesting a divorce in a move condemned by a judge as 'madness', reports the Daily Mail.

The cost of divorce is well known and well publicised, but an estranged couple have drawn the ire of a High Court judge who branded their contested divorce as 'madness' after they spent almost a third of their estate in legal fees.

The unnamed couple, aged 54 and 44, spent £920,000 on legal fees during the process of their hotly disputed divorce. 

The Government of Uganda has announced plans to introduce further anti-gay legislation, despite pressure from the international community to reform its attitude to minorities to ensure continuing development aid, reports the BBC.

Uganda has already previously attempted to enact strict laws banning homosexuality, which is seen as a serious crime, with a punishment of a life prison sentence.

It is reported that many gay Ugandan men have fled the country to escape harsh punishment and public condemnation. 

Finance: FCA announce cap on payday lending charges

The Financial Conduct Authority has announced plans to cap the amount of money that can be charged by payday lending firms in a bid to protect consumers from extortionate lending fees, reports the BBC.

From January next year, payday lenders will face a legal restriction on the amount they are able to charge their customers, in a move announced this week by the financial services regulator the FCA.

The FCA has been investigating the practices of payday lending companies for the past year, firing several warning shots that the industry must reform its own practices or face tough sanctions.