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

A damning report has been released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the government organisation responsive for ensuring UK police forces are operating correctly concerning the child sexual exploitation (CSE) discovered in Rotherham, reports the Guardian.

This report follows an earlier investigation commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and carried out by Professor Alexis Jay. The report, released on 21 August 2014, states at a "conservative estimate" approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

The Jay report goes on to indicate serious police failings during this time. The report states: "the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers. At operational level, the police gave no priority to CSE, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime."

The Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police yesterday called for a major overhaul of the UK's counter-terrorism strategy, after revealing that as many as 200 trained jihadi fighters had already returned from Syria and Iraq, waiting to launch fresh terrorist attacks, reports the London Evening Standard.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service. The force is responsible for policing the streets of the capital, but also responsible for the whole of the UK's counter-terrorism work.

Sir Bernard yesterday called for the government to increase funding for counter-terrorism activities amid a warning that the UK was already playing host to as many as 200 trained jihadi fighters, many of whom had come back to the UK from training camps in Iraq and Syria.

Two French citizens have been convicted of trafficking offences at Canterbury Crown Court after they were caught trying to smuggle four Afghan immigrants through the Dover Ferry Port in their car's boot, reports the BBC.

Didier Devos, 36, and Sandra Vienot, 28, were stopped at Dover Ferry Port by immigration officials, where they claimed they were tourists visiting the UK for a day trip.

However the pair became unstuck as officials began to search their vehicle. Officials found two men, a woman and young girl, all from Afghanistan, hidden away in the car's boot.

An international triathlete was forced to answer some awkward questions after a passer-by mistakenly reported his attempt to swim across the British Channel as a possible illegal migration attempt, reports the Daily Telegraph.

John Van Wisse, who is 41, had just completed an 86 mile run from London to the Port of Dover, where he was due to attempt the 21 mile swim to Calais before attempting a further 175 miles by bicycle to complete an epic triathlon.

Mr Van Wisse is hoping to beat the current world record for the feat, held by Briton Mark Bayliss, of 73 hours and 39 minutes.

An international triathlete was forced to answer some awkward questions after a passer-by mistakenly reported his attempt to swim across the British Channel as a possible illegal migration attempt, reports the Daily Telegraph.

John Van Wisse, who is 41, had just completed an 86 mile run from London to the Port of Dover, where he was due to attempt the 21 mile swim to Calais before attempting a further 175 miles by bicycle to complete an epic triathlon.

Mr Van Wisse is hoping to beat the current world record for the feat, held by Briton Mark Bayliss, of 73 hours and 39 minutes.

Apology from Met chief over use of CS spray on Protesters

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has apologised for an officer using CS spray during the UK Uncut protests on Oxford Street, London, in January 2011, reports the Guardian.

In January 2011, protesters were sprayed with 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) whilst protesting against tax avoidance. The protesters were sprayed with the gas after a woman had been arrested by police officers for pushing a leaflet through the door of Boots the chemists.

The police took the woman to an alley and protesters followed them. One of the officers then proceeded to spray CS at the protesters.

A new European Union law banning powerful vacuum cleaners because they are not eco-friendly has put British citizens in a spin, as a number of popular high street models will no longer be available from September 1, reports the Daily Mail.

The EU law coming into force on September 1 this year will prohibit the manufacture or import of vacuum cleaners with motors above 1600 watts, in a bid to promote environmentally friendly manufacturing.

However, the ban has riled EU consumers as the ban will target most of the best machines available; and consumer magazine Which? says that the ban will wipe out five of their top seven cleaners of 2014.

Privacy law: modern technology needs to be considered

The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, has stated privacy laws need to be overhauled due to advancements in technology, reports The Telegraph.

Lord Neuberger, speaking at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, has stated the "astonishing" speed with which information can now be distributed and displayed has led to "enormous challenges" for the law.

His comments come after a period of cases that have seen the law struggle with the speed the internet can disseminate information.

A former EU judge has spoken out against proposals that would see an independent Scotland charge students from the rest of the UK tuition fees, saying that such charges would be illegal under EU law, reports the BBC.

A former European Court justice, Professor Sir David Edward, has provided written advice to the pro-Union group Academics Together suggesting that the Independent Scotland proposal to charge other UK citizens for higher education would contravene EU law.

The Scottish government currently allows Scottish citizens free tuition fees for higher education, but charges students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland tuition fees, which it says are essential to ensure that Scottish students can gain places at Scottish Universities.

A family lawyer has told the Telegraph newspapers that the 'poker effect' is causing the financially weaker party in a divorce to fold early and accept unfair settlement offers to avoid the high costs associated with contested divorces.

The Telegraph interviewed Paul Hunt, a solicitor at firm Kirwans who has many years experience in family law and divorce law in particular, and who believes that the rising cost of divorce has made the process less fair.

Last year the UK government scrapped legal aid for almost all divorce cases, putting an end to state-sponsored legal representation for most divorcing couples.

Employment law: Tribunal rules sacking of professor unfair dismissal

TV psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie was unfairly dismissed by the University of Manchester, reports the BBC.

For ten series, Channel 4's psychologist for their hit show Big Brother was Professor Geoff Beattie from the University of Manchester. While the Professor was employed by Channel 4 alongside his employment at the university, the latter did encourage its academic staff to pursue work outside the university to broaden their interest and therefore their offering to current students.

Not only were employers at the University of Manchester aware of Professor Beattie's role in the show Big Brother, they actively endorsed it and used his TV personality status as a marketing tool to attract prospective students.

Despite the death of Clint Townsend, an armed robber who was held down by brave passers by after he raided a jewellers, a coroner has ruled that those restraining him committed no crime, reports the Daily Mail.

In an armed raid on an Oxford jewellers in March last year, Clint Townsend, was observed by a number of passers by, eight of whom acted with bravery by wrestling him to the ground and detaining him until the police arrived.

The eight members of the public were only on top of Townsend for three to four minutes as the police response was incredibly swift. However, during those few minutes, Townsend fell into a coma as his brain was starved of oxygen and died the following day.

Family law: Proposal to open up family court hearings to the public

In a remarkable move to address criticism surrounding judgements made in the Court of Protection, President of the High Court's family division, Sir James Munby, has proposed that the public be granted access to family court hearings in the future, reports The Telegraph.

Opening up the doors to family court hearings would be a monumental change to the system that has long been in place. However, Sir James is set on actualizing his 'transparency agenda' and thus has proposed that members of the public be welcome to hear family court cases.

The proposal follows a period of widespread criticism following a number of (what the public have deemed to be) questionable judgements made inside the Court of Protection.

Criminal: Ministers plan to create a crime of domestic abuse

The Home Secretary is in consultation with ministers to create a crime of domestic abuse, making the process of convicting perpetrators significantly quicker and easier, reports the BBC.

No specific crime of domestic abuse is currently recognised under UK law, however action against abusers can be sought through other areas of the law, those relating to coercive or controlling behaviour, assault and harassment, for example. Yet despite the routes for bringing perpetrators to justice, there is no straightforward or swift option for victims.

Theresa May proposes that domestic violence be made an offence, not only making it easier for victims to bring their abusers to justice, but also for police to be clear upon how and when they can intervene since the appropriate action in many situations currently remains ambiguous. She has requested that chief constables create a plan of action for improving police performance on cases of domestic abuse by next month.

Criminal: Armed Selfridges robbers are sentenced to 58 years in prison

Thugs who stole millions of pounds worth of jewellery during an armed raid on Selfridges are sentenced to prison, reports the Daily Mail.

During daylight hours on 6th June 2013, five armed robbers entered London's Selfridges store and terrified staff and shoppers as they wielded axes and sledgehammers to destroy jewellery display cabinets and steal £1.5million worth of goods. All of the robbers wore burkas to mask their identity.

'A total of 142 designer watches were taken, although 41 were recovered from Curtin and Groake, and investigators totaled the combined value of the goods at £1,496,000. Police estimated the damage caused to the shop during the raid combined with the value of the goods totalled more than £2.2million', explains the Daily Mail.