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

Fraud: Investigation to look at Tesco's accounting launched

This week the Serious Fraud Office began an investigation to food supermarket chain, Tesco, after irregularities were found in its account practices, reports the Guardian.

A team of forensic accountants from Deloitte have examined Tesco's accounts and have discovered irregularities in the data. It appears Tesco have artificially inflated their first-half profits by £263m but ascribing profit from previous years to the profits for this year. The amount relating to previous years is thought to be in the region of £145m.

It has been speculated by some city analysts that Tesco executives having been pulling forward payments to improve the look of the supermarket's finances. The Deloitte accountants have also concluded supplier payments had been pulled forward or deferred in a way that was contrary to Tesco's own accounting policies.

The government is considering drastic cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance sickness benefit, according to documentation seen by the BBC.

It is understood that coalition ministers are debating a plan that could see new claimants who are judged to be capable of work given just 50p more per week than other who receive job seekers allowance.

The Employment and Support Allowance is a type of welfare benefit offered to those who are unwell or disabled. It can be applied for whether a person is self-employed, employed or unemployed.

The government is considering drastic cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance sickness benefit, according to documentation seen by the BBC.

It is understood that coalition ministers are debating a plan that could see new claimants who are judged to be capable of work given just 50p more per week than other who receive job seekers allowance.

The Employment and Support Allowance is a type of welfare benefit offered to those who are unwell or disabled. It can be applied for whether a person is self-employed, employed or unemployed.

Politics: Greens consider legal action against BBC over snubs

The Green Party have announced that they are considering legal action against the BBC after channel bosses rejected the party's bid to join a televised leaders' debate during the run-up to next year's General Election campaign, reports the Independent.

The Green Party are widely considered to be a 'minor party' in UK politics, with one Member of Parliament at Westminster, placing it alongside George Galloway's Respect Party, and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

However the Green's have often been left exasperated by media coverage of election campaigns, where new-comers UKIP are frequently given considerable airtime, whilst the Green's struggle to gain any airtime whatsoever.

Politics: Greens consider legal action against BBC over snubs

The Green Party have announced that they are considering legal action against the BBC after channel bosses rejected the party's bid to join a televised leaders' debate during the run-up to next year's General Election campaign, reports the Independent.

The Green Party are widely considered to be a 'minor party' in UK politics, with one Member of Parliament at Westminster, placing it alongside George Galloway's Respect Party, and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

However the Green's have often been left exasperated by media coverage of election campaigns, where new-comers UKIP are frequently given considerable airtime, whilst the Green's struggle to gain any airtime whatsoever.

Barclays bank has indicated it has placed £500m aside to cover the costs of the forex-rigging scandal, reports the Guardian.

The Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority both initiated investigations into the bank when, in June 2013, whistle-blowers informed the media traders were manipulating benchmark foreign-exchange rates which are used to set the value of trillions of pounds worth of investments worldwide.

The traders are said to have been front-running client orders and rigging the rates by pushing through trades during the 60-second windows during which the benchmarks are set. It is claimed traders from multiple financial institutions coordinated with one another to increase the forex rates, and the practice has been going on for years. The foreign exchange market is worth $5.3 trillion a day.

Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister has claimed a report concerning current drug laws has been suppressed by the Conservatives, reports the Guardian.

The report, released on Thursday, is the government's first evidence based survey that has examined international drug laws. The report has found that there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that tough enforcement of drug laws associated with personal possession has led to lower drug use. The report flies in the face of political conventional thinking that sees harsher laws as a method to reduce problems caused by street drugs.

Baker, who signed off the report along with Theresa May, the home secretary, has stated the "lazy assumption in the rightwing press that if you have harsher penalties it will reduce drug use, but there is no evidence for that at all. If anything the evidence is to the contrary."

The police will imminently arrest as many as nine Mirror Group newspaper journalists over their involvement in the phone hacking scandal, according to a lawyer representing the Metropolitan Police, reports the Independent.

The police have continued to investigate the conduct of several tabloid journalists as part of Operation Golding, the team of Metropolitan Police officers looking into the conduct of journalists at the Mirror Group.

The Mirror's competitor, News International, has already faced heavy criminal sanctions for its involvement in phone hacking, including seeing its News of the World title forced to close after its journalists were heavily implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

Prime minister David Cameron is intending to call a commons vote over the opting back in to the European arrest warrant after the Rochester and Strood byelection, reports the Guardian.

David Cameron is risking a rebellion by his own party after deciding to opt back into the European arrest warrant (EAW), although it is thought the prime minister hopes Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs will support the move to ensure it passes.

The EAW is an arrest warrant that is valid throughout all the member states of the European Union. Once an EAW has been issued other member states are required to arrest and transfer those suspected of criminal activity to the issuing state so the suspect can be put on trial. The aim of the EAW was to speed up the extradition process between EU member states.

More than 40,000 Kenyan nationals are suing the British government over alleged abuse and mistreatment when Kenya was under colonial rule 50 years ago, reports the Guardian.

The new group litigation order, involving 41,005 Kenyans, is the second case brought to against the British government concerning the actions of the British when Kenya was a colony. The lawsuit will address those accusations of mistreatment including false imprisonment, forced labour and interference with their right to education by British officials.

The lawsuit specifically refers to the Mau Mau insurgency in 1952 that was suppressed by colonial governor, Sir Evelyn Baring. In reaction to the uprising, Sir Baring declared a state of emergency and over the following eight years approximately 90,000 Kenyans were killed or injured, and more than 1 million Kenyans were forced into detention facilities. The lawsuit posits the colonial government of Kenya created a system of torture and mistreatment and therefore the British government is liable for actions carried out by their agents in Kenya, including the Kenya Home Guard and the Kenya Police.

The former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Chris Huhne has lost his legal fight to challenge a court order that he should pay £77,750 in costs following his jailing for attempting to have his ex-wife receive his speeding penalty points for him, reports the BBC.

The case of Mr Huhne and his former wife Vicky Pryce dominated the news headlines back in 2013, after Ms Pryce informed the media that her husband had pressurised 'others' to take his speeding points whilst they were married.

It subsequently emerged that in fact the former cabinet minister had asked his wife to accept penalty points for a speeding offence on a journey between Stansted Airport and London on 12 March 2003, at a time when Mr Huhne felt that receiving points would jeopardise his political career.

Grayling defeated at the House of Lords over judicial review access

The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has suffered a defeat in the House of Lords over a vote whereby judicial review of government decisions would be limited, reports the Guardian.

The vote, which focused on the ability for judges to use their discretion over whether they can hear judicial review applications, was voted down by the House of Lords with a 66 majority. Those who voted against the plans include Lord Deben, Lord Howe, Lord Steel and Baroness Williams.

The intention of the reforms was to reduce delays and stifle the activities of 'left-wing' campaigners who have used the review process to block and slow down government action.

Child abuse: NSPCC call for new law banning sex messages to under-16s

The NSPCC has called on the government to introduce tougher laws to prevent paedophiles from sending sexually motivated text messages to under-age boys and girls, reports the Independent.

The calls for tougher laws come amid a surge in online grooming; the act of soliciting sex from under age victims through online emails or messages.

The NSPCC are leading the demand for government to legislate to make it a criminal offence to send anyone who is underage a sexually motivated text or online message.

Locals from the village of Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire have decided to rally against a flagship Sikh free school, which has the backing of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, reports the Independent.

The Khalsa Secondary Academy won support from central government for its plans to establish a permanent UK base for its 850-pupil free school in rural Buckinghamshire.

However villagers in Stoke Poges, where the school is located, say the school has introduced a volume of traffic into the area that the small roads cannot possibly cope with.

Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, has called for hefty fines to be imposed on companies who target individuals with nuisance calls, suggesting fines of up to £500,000 for the worst offenders, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Nuisance calls have become a scourge of society in the past few years, with millions of Britons left angry and frustrated by repeated telephone calls from companies selling Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) or offering no-win no-fee legal services.

In some extreme circumstances individuals are called many times a day, and are even repeatedly called by the same company despite asking not to be contacted again.