Sunday, September 30, 2012

3 points to bear in mind when evicting a tenant

Brought to you by our friends at Osborne Clarke

Being a landlord doesn’t have to end up turning you into some sort of Cruella de Vil type of caricature. On the other hand, if you want to avoid disputes descending into complicated litigation it’s worth getting your own side of the transactions right. Here are three tips to bear in mind when it comes to evicting a tenant.

1. The right procedure
Most landlords will probably want to use the accelerated procedure provided by section 21 of the Housing Act. But before you dash off down that route, make sure that it in fact applies. For example, it can only be used to invoke a right at the end of an assured shorthold tenant. What’s more, check that there are no other complications such as there being a resident landlord or the tenant being a limited company. Even if section 21 does apply, don’t forget that if you also want to claim for rent arrears then you might also need to serve a section 8 (of the Housing Act 1988) notice.

2. Paperwork
Once you know which notices you need, make sure you have all the correct paperwork in place extending from the original terms and conditions, through any changes which may have been made to any evidence of non-payment of rent and the like.

3. Service
After that you should be ready to serve the notice on the tenant. But before you do, make sure that it’s issued either using Possession Claim Online or that it is issued from the correct court. What’s more, if you’re serving the notice in person, make sure you get good evidence of that service.

Beyond that, if in doubt, consider instructing a
real estate solicitor.

Osborne Clarke solicitors are leading specialists in real estate and property law.

Friday, September 28, 2012

How about bringing punitive damages into personal injury cases?

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors suggesting the introduction of punitive damages into personal injury cases. You can read it here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Recommendation: Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

There are few thriller writers who have had such long and distinguished careers as Dick Francis, and his lengthy series of books (with their zesty recreations of the racing world) are among many readers' favourite novels in the genre. Recently, ill-health seemed to threaten the author's reliable productivity, and the death of his wife (who had long been a behind-the-scenes collaborator on his books) made it appear that the golden days of the Dick Francis racing thriller were firmly in the past. However, here is Silks, the result of a collaboration between Dick Francis and his son Felix -- and it will be a welcome arrival for the legions of Francis admirers.

Julian Trent is found guilty of a violent unprovoked attack on an innocent family and a charge of attempted murder. He is accused by the judge of showing no remorse for his actions, but receives a remarkably light sentence. Surprisingly, this news is not welcome to his defence barrister, Geoffrey Mason, who was secretly hoping for a more severe judgement against his client, whom he does not like. Mason is a part-time jockey (this is a novel with Dick Francis's name on the jacket, after all), and when Mason dons his racing silks and travels to Sandown to follow his real passion -- riding a thoroughbred in a heated steeplechase -- he finds that he cannot leave the violence that is often the bread and butter of his profession behind him A fellow rider is savagely killed by a pitchfork driven through the chest, and there is a persuasive amount of evidence against champion jockey Steve Mitchell as the killer, but Mason becomes involved -- and finds all the various aspects of his life coalescing in a lethal fashion.

Dick Francis has 41 novels under his belt, and remains the consummate thriller practitioner. Felix, his son, had helped with the research on his father's novels over the last 40 years (notably Twice Shy, Shattered and Under Orders). Silks is their second full collaboration after Dead Heat, and should provides Francis aficionados with all the elements they've grown accustomed to. --Barry Forshaw

Available from Amazon

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blog post on personal injury damages

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the need for a review of the levels of personal injury damages. You can read it here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Recommendation: A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary

A mother's worst nightmare - can her son be guilty of murder?

Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. Then in a terrible irony her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. The evidence against him appears so strong that his QC advises a guilty plea, but Simon swears he is innocent and begs his mother take on his defence. There is no law against a mother representing her son, so Sarah agrees. The only other obvious suspect for the murders, however, is a man who has already been acquitted once - with Sarah acting as his defence lawyer ...

Has Sarah, in her single-minded determination to create a career for herself, neglected her son so much that she no longer knows him? Since he has often lied to her in the past, how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?

It seems that telling the whole truth must be weighed in the balance against keeping certain information well hidden ...

Available from Amazon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing The Logging Co

Heads up for The Logging Co which produces among other things handcrafted belly boards made from high grade, lightweight, FSC certified marine plywood, or high grade, slightly heavier, birch ply.  They are treated, then customised with their signature artwork before being coated with UV resistant yacht varnish to give a beautiful sheen and hard wearing finish. For more information visit their website (above) or call David on 07736928781.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sponsored post: Victims can claim for embarrassing or bizarre injuries as well…

Outrageous compensation claims are creating a bad name for the solicitors who work hard to ensure genuinely injured victims receive the financial damages they deserve. In a poll conducted by AXA and the Insurance Times 86% of readers believed Britain now lives in a ‘compensation culture’. Earlier this year, David Cameron took an axe to job-destroying compensation laws and vowed to make this a year in which we kill off the health and safety culture for good. His actions were not down to the genuine injuries which people rightly make a claim for, but for the trivial cases which have not only wasted the solicitors time, but also often costs thousands of pounds in wasted tax payers money. What concerns me is this sort of attitude may put off people who are seriously hurt in injuries, but believe it might not be worth making a claim, even though it was no fault of their own, no matter how bizarre or embarrassing the event was. However this got me wondering what kind of accidents are classified as the weirdest 'personal injury' cases which resulted in a serious, legitimate injury and where does the line end for a bizarre accident? Below I've found some of the strangest claims made over the past year.

Some unusual personal injury claims
01 - A man successfully made a claim after leaning on a balcony which gave way whilst having a cigarette, resulting in a serious fall down to ground level.
02 - After loading products into the back of a lorry, a man successfully gained damages after becoming injured by a fellow driver getting into the lorry and driving away, failing to realise that he was still in the back with the doors wide open. The claimant subsequently fell out of the moving vehicle.
03 - A young women walking through a restaurant slipped in a large puddle of gravy on the floor and successfully won her claim after suffering a back injury as a result.
04- A gentleman who had already injured one leg after a nightclub dancing incident, managed to injure the other after trapping his crutches in an unrepaired pothole whilst walking through his local park.
05 - A man claimed damages after falling through the floorboards beneath him whilst at work. He was left hanging until the fire brigade arrived to extract him.
06 - A Chemist store security barrier unexpectedly fell on a shopper’s head.  The gentleman suffered serious head injuries as a result.
07 - A women who was stuck in a lift at her local bingo hall for 15 minutes successfully claimed damages for serious distress and potential suffocation. 
08 - A scooter driver was knocked off unexpectedly after a car park barrier came down without warning, leaving the man with serious injuries.
09 - A woman in the hot tub of her local gym sustained serious injuries after she was sucked into the filter, causing damage to her back and neck.
10 - An elderly man was injured when his mobility scooter spontaneously combusted. He was forcibly dragged away from the flames by witnesses. 

As you can see, these are real injuries caused by others that go beyond the traditional claims which come to mind when people talk about personal injury claims.

About the author:  Sean Gordon works as a Senior Solicitor in the Neil Hudgell Solicitors personal injury claims team helping those who are injured in an accidents, however strange, to claim compensation if they have a right to do so.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Recommendation: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza – not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge). To find out more, read this book (better still, buy it, then read it) – or contact Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. ‘A thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy epic.’ The author

Available from Amazon

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some suggestions to the new Minister in charge of civil justice

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors in the form of a letter to the new Minister for civil justice giving a few suggestions as to what might be done on referral fees, the small claims limit and government appointed medical experts in whiplash cases. You can read it here.

Small claims limit still undecided

Just before leaving the Ministry of Justice, Jonathan Djanolgy MP said the following following in the House of Commons in response to a question from Rosie cooper MP:

"On 2 May 2012, I announced that the Government will consult on whether to amend the small claims threshold for damages for personal injury claims. The consultation document and its related impact assessments will be published shortly and will be available to download from both the Ministry of Justice and Citizen Space websites. No decisions will be taken on the way forward in this area until all responses to the consultation document and other stakeholder submissions have been considered. Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and HM Treasury officials have been working closely together to develop the consultation proposals and accompanying impact assessments. The latter will consider the effect of the proposals on all impacted groups, including law firms and claimants. The Government welcomes contributions and evidence from all stakeholders on the potential impacts of these proposals on all affected groups."

Please note that the quotation from Hansard above is Parliamentary Copyright and is published under the Open Government Licence.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Helen Grant's previous comments on legal aid reforms

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the appointment of Helen Grant MP as a junior minister in the Ministry and Justice. In particular, I've pointed to comments she made in a recent debate on the government's legal aid reforms which provide cause for optimism. You can read it here.

Book Recommendation: Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

"This story was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a superior court judge he had to sentence a minor to life in prison. It made me wonder how I felt about minors arrested for violent crimes. Are they most vulnerable among us - capable or horrible violence, perceived as adults and yet emotionally still children?" Rebecca Forster (

"An enthralling read, with colorful, well-developed characters and the unique atmosphere of the California beach communities." Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

"Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on accurage courtroom drmaa, Forster's riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page." - Alafair Burke

Available From Amazon

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reshuffle: Ken Clarke and Jonathan Djanogly move from Ministry of Justice

There are big changes going on at the Ministry of Justice today. At the top Rt Hon Ken Clarke MP has lost his job as Justice Minister and Lord Chanellor and been replaced by Chris Grayling MP who significantly is not a lawyer. In addition, Crispin Blunt MP has lost his job as prisons minister and Nick Herbert MP has quit as policing minister. Then this evening the local Hunts Post 24 is reporting that Jonathan Djanogly MP has also lost his post as a Justice Minister. The latter is perhaps the biggest news of all for civil practitioners since his brief includes the referral fee ban, the regulation of claims management companies and the proposed consultation on increasing the personal injury element of the small claims track and the review of medical experts in whiplash cases. It will be very interesting to see who is now given the brief and what direction they will steer on these various issues. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blog post on noisy neighbours

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on noisy neighbours. You can read it here.

Sponsored post: What NOT to put on a legal CV

Aside from the standard advice, we’d recommend you avoid including any of the following on your legal CV:

  • “Failed BPTC with relatively high grades.”
  • “In my previous job, I was responsible for fraudulent claims.”
  • “My skills include: strong work ethic; attention to detail; team player; self motivated; attention to detail”
They might even be plausible, but best to just be honest otherwise you’ll soon get found out. Did you really:
  • Give legal advice to friends and family members from the age of 8?
  • Act as PA to the Mayor of London?
Lapses into anecdotal wordiness
This is supposed to be a taut, streamlined and professional document:
  • “I do have some experience of conflict resolution… like the time my sister took my mum’s car keys out of her handbag and went joyriding with her mates and I had to act as a go-between for several hours when she got back and I eventually got them both at the table and we sorted everything out and my sister conceded she’d been wrong to do that and I think that’s where my love of law came from and…”
Bragging about mundane skills
  • When it comes to Word 97-2003, I’m a master.
Standard advice (just in case you’ve forgotten)
  • No typos or grammatical errors
  • Don’t lead with useless information about your primary school education
  • Fancy graphics, images, colours and fonts do not enhance your CV
  • Don’t waffle on for page after page, and don’t completely fill every square inch of space and ruin the readability
  • Your marital status and cleanliness of your driving license aren’t that important - don’t include personal information that has no bearing on your ability to do the job
Your CV can be a powerful document, make the most of it.

Thanks to Anna Gibbons, Corporate Communications Manager at Sellick Partnership, for submitting this post. Sellick Partnership can help you find your perfect job in law. Browse their latest list of jobs in the legal sector and apply today.