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

July 2014 Archives

The legal aid bill for the defence of the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year ran to more than £200,000, a disclosure that has sparked outrage, reports the Daily Mail.

Drummer Rigby was murdered in broad daylight last year by two radicalised men, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who claimed that the senseless killing was some form of retribution for the actions of the UK Armed Forces abroad.

Witnesses looked on in horror as the two men first drove into Drummer Rigby in the street, before attempting to decapitate him in the street.

16 African women are launching a legal action against British Airways for sexual assaults carried out by a now deceased member of BA's staff in African schools and orphanages.

The women and girls claim they were abused by BA employee First Officer Simon Wood, who was due to appear in court to face child abuse charges before he was fatally struck by a train in August last year.

UK law firm Leigh Day is now acting for the 16 African women, aged between eight and 20, who claim Mr Wood abused them. Lawyers contend that it was only through Mr Wood's involvement with the airlines charitable and community work that he was able to be in the position to abuse the girls.

The former head of Formula 1 worldwide, Max Moseley, has announced he is to sue the internet search giant Google because it has continued to publish images of him sleeping with prostitutes at a sex party.

Mr Moseley, who is 74, has issued High Court proceedings against Google for continuing to publish explicit images of him at a sex party, despite the fact that he successfully sued the original publisher of the photos; The News of the World, back in 2008 for a breach of his privacy.

The News of the World, which has now ceased to be in print, was the first paper to publish images of Moseley at what it claimed was a 'Nazi-themed' orgy involving prostitutes. The images were subsequently widely published online.

The Caterham Formula 1 team is being sued by up to 40 former employees who claim that they were unfairly dismissed when the team underwent a recent restructuring.

Malaysian entrepreneur and owner of Queen's Park Rangers football club, Tony Fernandes, founded the Caterham F1 team four-and-a-half years ago, but recently decided to end his ownership when he brokered a deal to sell the outfit to a consortium of owners from Switzerland and the Middle East.

Fernandes retains ownership of Caterham Cars, the arm of the company responsible for manufacturing lightweight sports vehicles, and two affiliated technology companies.

Former N-Dubz singer and X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has been found guilty of assaulting celebrity blogger Savvas Morgan in a case at Stratford Magistrates' Court, where she was fined £200.

Contostavlos appeared at Stratford Magistrates' Court last week to face charges of assault relating to an incident at the V-Festival in Essex last year, allegations the N-Dubz singer strenuously denied.

The court heard that Ms Contostavlos was angry after blogger Mr Morgan had published a link on his website to a pornographic film allegedly showing Ms Contostavlos performing a sex act on a former boyfriend.

A team of lawyers from the UK has flown into Ukraine to investigate the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against the Russian President Vladimir Putin, on behalf of the relatives of victims of the downed passenger plane, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The tragedy of the crash of flight MH17 over disputed territory in Eastern Ukraine has played out on the television screens of millions around the world, with several countries suffering tragic losses after the passenger jet was shot out of the sky on 17th July 2014.

All 298 people on board were killed in the incident, allegedly caused by the firing of an SA-11 surface-to-air missile from what was rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine.

Victims of marriage fraud are calling on the government to introduce tougher sanctions on those who pretend to fall in love and marry to gain a UK passport, reports the Daily Express.

The Express reports on calls for stricter laws to punish marriage fraud, which it claims has gathered the support of some 900 women and 100 men.

Marriage fraud is the term given when a person seeks to con someone into marriage with the sole purpose of gaining a UK passport or visa status that will allow them to remain in the UK.

Government loses £700m IT legal case with Fujitsu

The NHS has lost a £700m court battle with electronics giant Fujitsu over the failed NHS National Programme for IT, a project that aimed to deliver fully electronic national computer records within the NHS, reports the BBC.

The NHS National Programme for IT was a project conceived by the NHS in 2002, and sought to revolutionise the use of technology within the NHS, by delivering a series of linked IT systems that would pave the way for fully electronic health records for all NHS patients.

The NHS operates on a system of paper notes, which are stored in vast numbers by every care provider, including GPs, hospitals and clinics.

Premier League football club Arsenal have launched a High Court legal case to challenge a decision by Islington Council to limit the number of concerts that can be held at their Emirates Stadium, reports the Daily Mail.

The Islington-based club moved into their new Emirates Stadium home at Ashburton Grove back in 2006, a move that cost the club £470m. The stadium seats 60,361, making it the third largest football stadium in England.

The cost of the stadium proved difficult for the club to meet, and so part of the plan to finance the build included proposals to use the stadium during the non-footballing summer months to host music concerts.

Premier League football club Arsenal have launched a High Court legal case to challenge a decision by Islington Council to limit the number of concerts that can be held at their Emirates Stadium, reports the Daily Mail.

The Islington-based club moved into their new Emirates Stadium home at Ashburton Grove back in 2006, a move that cost the club £470m. The stadium seats 60,361, making it the third largest football stadium in England.

The cost of the stadium proved difficult for the club to meet, and so part of the plan to finance the build included proposals to use the stadium during the non-footballing summer months to host music concerts.

A Californian woman is facing the prospect of bringing legal action to evict a tenant from the Airbnb letting website, after the tenant refused to leave her home in Palm Springs, California, reports the London Evening Standard.

Airbnb landlord Cory Tschogl is being forced to go through the formal legal eviction process via her attorney in order to evict a tenant she invited into her home from the Airbnb lettings website.

Airbnb allows any home owner to become a short-term holiday landlord, by offering a forum to bring together people looking to make extra money from their property with potential tenants from around the globe.

It has been revealed by the Mail on Sunday that the newly-appointed Solicitor General, Conservative MP Robert Buckland, faced censure for a breach of the legal profession's Code of Conduct three years ago, reports the BBC.

Mr Buckland is a barrister by profession, but was appointed to the role of Solicitor General as part of a wide-ranging parliamentary reshuffle by Prime Minister David Cameron last week.

The Solicitor General for England and Wales is a government appointment as Law Officer of the Crown, and acts as a deputy to the chief Law Officer, the Attorney General. The job of the solicitor general is to advise the Crown and the Cabinet on legal matters.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called on world leaders to pledge to end the horror of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within a generation in a speech at a global summit in London, reports the BBC.

Mr Cameron told the 'Girl Summit' that the UK could not halt the practice of Female Genital Mutilation on its own, and called on other world leaders to pledge their support to ending the horrific practice.

FGM is the medical term given to a range of procedures that are carried out on babies, young girls and women in many parts of the world including countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The US Supreme Court has approved the execution by lethal injection of murderer Joseph Woods, despite him successfully arguing that the State of Arizona's failure to provide him with the maker of the drugs that will be used to kill him represented a breach of his constitution rights, reports the BBC.

Joseph Wood is scheduled to be executed by the US State of Arizona today, after the US Supreme Court ruled that the State could proceed with plans to execute Mr Woods by lethal injection.

The UK Supreme Court has urged the secretary of state to urgently review the case of Lindsay Sandiford, a British grandmother arrested for drug smuggling in Indonesia, reports the BBC.

A 57-year-old grandmother, Lindsay Sandiford was caught smuggling a vast quantity of cocaine into Bali when she landed on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2012. The value of the drugs she was carrying was estimated to be an astonishing £1.6 million.

Facing the maximum penalty for her crime, Mrs Sandiford has been issued with the death penalty and will be killed by a firing squad unless the British Government manages to intervene by providing her with a lawyer to present her appeal case to the local courts.

The London Oratory School has been deemed unfair and biased in its admissions policy, reports the BBC.

A thriving, widely oversubscribed London Catholic school, The London Oratory School, has been criticized over its admissions process and has been tarnished by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) as 'discriminating against pupils on their ethnicity and socio-economical background'. During their inspection, the OSA found over one hundred failures to meet the School Admissions Code.

Privacy: BBC uses internal team to inspect staff email accounts

The BBC has encroached on privacy laws by investigating suspicious staff without involving the police, reports the Daily Mail.

Taking suspicions or reports of criminal activity, fraud and leaks into their own hands, the BBC have a whole team dedicated to investigating staff in question by monitoring their work email accounts. Staff being investigated were entirely unaware of such goings on.

Petition to increase the penalty for driving offences

The Transport Secretary has proposed an increased penalty for driving offences, doubling the points penalty and raising the fine applicable, reports the Daily Mail.

Currently, a driving offence carries a three-point penalty on the driver's licence and a £100 fine. Though this is a punishment that has already increased significantly since using mobile phones while driving was made illegal in 2003, it has been suggested that the current penalty is not enough of a deterrent to prevent individuals taking the risk.

Proposal to cap interest rates on payday loans to protect borrowers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plan to place a cap on interest rates on payday loans and put a stop to extortionate current charges, reports the BBC.

New rules surrounding payday lending have been in place since the first of the month. These include 'a limit on roll-overs, more affordability checks, and controls on Continuous Payment Authorities, which allow lenders to take money from people's bank accounts', as summarised by the BBC.

However, the FCA has proposed even further limitations in order to offer borrowers greater protection.

Many NHS executives have refused to supply trusts with assurances over their tax payments and now face investigation and potential fines, reports The Telegraph.

An initial inquiry has discovered that 86 NHS executives have not given assurances that they pay the correct amount of tax and national insurance. These medical professionals are paid through their own private companies thus cashing in on certain tax benefits.

Consumers online in the UK are more likely to use the Internet to find and research a solicitor than they are to ask a friend or a relative, according to a survey from FindLaw UK, a Thomson Reuters business.

The survey, carried out among more than 2,000 consumers in the UK, asked which method respondents would most likely use to research and compare the credentials of different solicitors. The results show that 36 percent of respondents would use the Internet, compared to 30 percent that would ask a friend or relative.

The supposed use of mass surveillance programmes has resulted in previously unheard of legal challenges against GCHQ, reports the BBC.

In light of documents leaked by Edward Snowden detailing the excessive use of personal observation by a UK surveillance programme named Tempora, it has been argued that such practice surpasses lawful levels under the Human Rights Act. It was claimed in the documents released that the government operation went as far as authorising the inspection of phone calls, emails and even personal activity on social media sites.

Drug dealer, Johnny Callie, has won his appeal giving him the right to remain in the UK following his release from prison, the BBC reports.

Despite being a convicted offender for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine, Mr Callie has won the right to reside here in the UK. Mr Callie is believed to have been a key player in a drug supply chain in Ipswich before his arrest and imprisonment in 2007.

Domestic violence cases at an all-time high

Cases involving domestic violence have now reached their highest ever level of conviction rates, as these cases now make up 10.7% of the total amount of cases handled by the Crown Prosecution Service. Figures are now showing that referrals to the CPS by the police for prosecutions and convictions have all increased over the past year. Whilst campaigners acknowledge that things are moving in the right direction, there are still women dying every week as a result of domestic violence - on average, two women each week.

The figure for referrals from the police rose by 15,459 to 103,569 last year, which is an increase of 17.5%. Almost 73,000 cases were taken to trial in 2012/13, an increase on the previous year by almost 13,000. And of those 73,000 cases, 74.6% were convicted in 2013/14, which is a rise of 0.3%.

Police urge Government to participate in European DNA database

Home Secretary Theresa May has been put under pressure to join a European-wide DNA database to speed up response to criminal investigations, reports the Daily Mail.

British police are currently required to send off DNA samples to various EU countries in order for forensic evidence to be checked on individual databases. In a bid to increase the speed at which UK investigations involving foreign criminals take place, the police have urged Theresa May to join an EU-wide DNA database. Such participation would allow our police force to check any forensic evidence from a UK crime scene themselves as opposed to the current arduous process.

Companies will need to be extremely careful when it comes to carrying out any Games-related promotional activity if they don't want to suffer lawsuits, reports the BBC.

According to legal regulations, no affiliation with the Commonwealth Games may be attempted by any company other than that of an official sponsor. The rules on this topic relate to use of the Games symbol, phrases and even words commonly relating to the event. The latter appears to be a sizeable limitation as the restrictions include '2014', 'gold', 'silver' and 'bronze'.

Any branding or marketing which could insinuate a connection with the Commonwealth Games by a company who is not an official sponsor and who does not have express permission to do so could be considered to be unlawful and may lead to serious legal battles.

Assisted suicide: Former Archbishops support law change

The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, have spoken out to reveal their support for a change in the law to allow for assisted suicide, reports The Observer.

The intervention of two former Anglican archbishops, two of the most senior voices in the Anglican faith and world renowned religious leaders, has thrown new weight behind the movement to change the law in the UK and elsewhere to allow for assisted suicide.

Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, entered the debate over assisted dying last week when he spoke out in favour of a bill that will be debated for the second time in the House of Lords this coming Friday.

Angelina Jolie has become the latest celebrity to take aim at the Daily Mail after it posted a video of her from the 1990's claiming it showed the actress on drugs, something which she believes represents a gross invasion of her privacy, reports The Independent.

Angelina Jolie looks set to become the latest Hollywood celebrity to publically shun the Daily Mail, after the Mail Online published an old video of her from the 1990's claiming it showed the actress after taking drugs.

The news comes just hours after the Mail was involved in a very public spat with George Clooney over another article it ran alleging a rift within the family of Mr Clooney's new fiancée.

Libel law: Actor George Clooney rejects apology from Daily Mail

Hollywood actor George Clooney has publically refused to accept an apology from the Mail Online after it ran a false story concerning matters relating to his engagement to British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

The Daily Mail's website, the Mail Online, ran a story on its website last week claiming that the mother of his new fiancée Amal Alamuddin had been telling 'half of Beirut' that her daughter could do better than the Hollywood actor.

The article went on to insinuate that Baria Alamuddin, a former newspaper editor and mother of the now world-famous human rights barrister, was somehow unhappy with her daughter's choice of husband.

The Government has taken the highly unusual step of passing an emergency bill in Parliament without it being seen or read by either chamber after Prime Minister David Cameron revealed the law, which concerns the gathering of communications information, was urgently needed.

The highly controversial issue of data collection by governments and their security agencies was thrust into the limelight last summer by the revelations of the former US National Sec urity Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Civil partnerships will be convertible to marriages in December

The Government has recently announced that a date has at last been set for the implementation of plans to allow civil partnerships to be converted into marriages. This has now been stated as coming into effect from 10 December 2014.

Many same-sex couples who are already in civil partnerships will no doubt welcome this development. After the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act came into effect in March, there was a lot of confusion surrounding the relationship between marriages and existing civil partnerships. Specifically, this confusion related to how those who were in civil partnerships could be recognised as a married couple.

Child care: Scottish proposal for 'named persons' goes to court

A plan by the Scottish Parliament to implement a new childcare proposal that would require every child in Scotland to have a named legal guardian is facing a legal challenge, reports the BBC.

The Scottish executive has previously argued that their proposals would be a boost to Scottish children, providing them with a guarantee for the first time that every single child would have a named legal guardian.

The legally named guardians would be teachers or health visitors, and they would assume an overall responsibility for the welfare of all children under the age of 18.

A new survey has demonstrated that those in management positions are likely to work an additional day per week of unpaid overtime in order to ensure they stay on top of their workload, reports the BBC.

The Institute for Leadership and Management carried out the survey to look at the amount of time people in management jobs really spend 'working' compared to the hours stated in their contract.

The survey revealed that due to the pressures on modern managers to deliver, and the ease of working at home and outside of the office thanks to smartphones and the internet, managers were now working on average a full extra day per week on top of their contracted hours.

Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss has been named as the senior legal figure to be placed in charge of a new inquiry into the way the Home Office has handled allegations surrounding a dossier of information concerning alleged child abuse conducted by senior politicians in the 1980s, reports the BBC.

The 'sex dossier' scandal exploded into the news last week, after it emerged that a Home Office investigation into the whereabouts of information passed to a former Home Secretary in the 1980s had revealed that over 100 documents had gone missing.

A Christian bakery company could face a legal action against it after it refused to produce a cake to order depicting two Sesame Street characters with the slogan 'Support Gay Marriage' iced onto the top, reports the BBC.

The Ashers Baking Company in County Antrim are at the centre of a discrimination dispute, after being asked to produce the cake for a customer who wanted to support the Belfast-based gay rights group 'Queerspace' at an event at Bangor Castle Town Hall on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The baking company refused the request, as it is a Christian company, and believed it had the right to refuse any request if it felt uncomfortable carrying it out.

Travel: easyJet loses legal fight over 'unreasonable' fees

A businessman has won a legal case against budget airline easyJet after a court ruled they had charged him 'unreasonable' fees when he cancelled a flight to Tel Aviv.

Businessman Adam Rubens has won a court case against easyJet after he challenged the charges levied against him for cancelling his recently booked flight to Tel Aviv in Israel.

Mr Rubens, 47, was charged a fee of £135 to cancel his £306 flight, just 30 minutes after he had completed the booking online.

Manx Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish has announced he will consider taking legal action against a rival who has publically accused him of deliberately crashing at the end of the first stage of the Tour de France, which took place in Yorkshire over the weekend, reports the BBC.

Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish has threatened his rival Alexander Kristoff with legal action after hearing him speak out to accuse him of deliberately crashing at the end of the first stage of the Tour de France over the weekend.

Cavendish, who is 29, was the subject of a disastrous crash in the final straight of the first stage of the Tour, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder and the end of his bid to win one of the three UK stages of the Tour this year.

The UK Home Office has announced it will appoint a senior legal figure to investigate the disappearance of a dossier of information about an alleged paedophile ring operating out of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster in the 1980s.

The news comes in a week when children's entertainer Rolf Harris was sent to prison14 for five years and nine months after being found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four young women and girls dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

A Coroner has condemned the care given by a hospital to a young boy who died on his thirteenth birthday last year after contracting meningitis, reports the BBC.

Thomas Smith from Hednesford was admitted to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, whilst on holiday in May last year.

The boy had many of the key symptoms of meningitis, which include a fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and a dislike of bright lights.

Revenge porn: Campaigners call on Government to toughen laws

Campaigners have called on the Government to introduce new laws in order to tackle the problem of 'revenge porn', the practice of publishing or distributing pornographic images and videos of former partners at the end of a relationship, reports the BBC.

The Government has previously said it is 'open' to the idea of introducing new legislation if it is felt that it is needed to tackle what the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling admitted is a 'growing problem'.

The phenomenon of 'revenge porn' is thought to have originated in the United States, and has been linked to the proliferation of social media and the ready availability of camera technology on phones.

The veteran children's entertainer, artist and musician Rolf Harris, has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four women aged between seven and 19 in incidents spanning almost 20 years, reports the BBC.

Harris, who is 84, was arrested and charged with the sexual offences after several victims came forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.

Although his initial arrest and questioning was kept a secret by the media, The Sun broke his anonymity saying there was a public interest in ensuring that his arrest and the subsequent criminal investigation was publicised.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled to uphold a French law banning Muslim women from wearing full-face veils in public, denying that the law denies them their freedom of expression, reports the BBC.

The French passed a law back in 2010 under the Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy banning the wearing of any covering that conceals the facial features whilst in a public space.

An Australian patent lawyer has taken to producing comic versions of key legal cases and legal issues in a bid to bring patent law to a wider audience, with the latest installment, Alice in Patentland, describing the outcome of the US Supreme Court decision in Alice v CLS Bank International, reports Wired.co.uk

The Alice case was heard by the US Supreme Court, and concerned software patents relating to electronic 'escrow' services; financial transactions involving money held by a third party on behalf of the two transacting parties.

Libel law: Newbury MP seeks legal advice over Mirror article

The MP for Newbury, Richard Benyon, has told local paper the Newbury Weekly News that he is seeking legal advice over an article in The Mirror newspaper accusing his family-owned company of evicting needy families in East London, reports the Newbury Weekly News.

Mr Benyon, who has represented the Newbury area in Parliament since 2005, sits on the board of directors of his family company Englefield Estate, which owns land and property across the country.