Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Parking charge cancelled!

Following on from my letter which challenged a private parking charge, I received the following letter today indicating that the charge has now been cancelled (click to enlarge).

Book recommendation: 'Learning the Law' by Glanville Williams


"Essential reading for anyone embarking on the study of law or on a course that includes an element of law.An excellent introduction to the methods and skills of the law. Beautifully written and gives a sense of historical importance to the law...prepares the student extremely well for legal studies." New Law Journal

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Articles and a competition at LawandMore.com

I've got an article in LawandMore.com about my second novel Law and Peace. I also recently had an  interview  for them. The website is also running a competition to win a signed copy of competition to win a signed copy of the book.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book recommendation: 'The Rule of Law' by Tom Bingham


'The Rule of Law' is a phrase much used but little examined. The idea of the rule of law as the foundation of modern states and civilisations has recently become even more talismanic than that of democracy, but what does it actually consist of?

In this brilliant short book, Britain's former senior law lord, and one of the world's most acute legal minds, examines what the idea actually means. He makes clear that the rule of law is not an arid legal doctrine but is the foundation of a fair and just society, is a guarantee of responsible government, is an important contribution to economic growth and offers the best means yet devised for securing peace and co-operation. He briefly examines the historical origins of the rule, and then advances eight conditions which capture its essence as understood in western democracies today. He also discusses the strains imposed on the rule of law by the threat and experience of international terrorism.

The book will be influential in many different fields and should become a key text for anyone interested in politics, society and the state of our world.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saunton Sands panorama this evening (click to enlarge)


40% discount on White Book from Hammicks for those in pupillage and to new tenants within 3 years of call

I see that the 2012 White book published on Thursday and that my friends over at Hammicks are offering a 40% discount to those both in pupillage and to new tenants within 3 years of call. To get the discount simply visit Hammicks Legal Bookshop in Fleet Street or click and download the discount forms from the Pupillage Discount page. Alternatively, you can email legal@hammicks.com.

North Devon bird update: Taw estuary between Braunton and Barnstaple

18 March 2012, Taw estuary between Braunton and Barnstaple
Curlew, snipe, great northern diver, little egret, oyster catchers, pied wagtail

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vicarious liability of a school and expedition company on a trip abroad

Mackay J has recently handed down judgment in XVW & YZA v Gravesend Grammar School for Girls and Adventure Life Signs Ltd [2012] EWHC 575 (QB). The question was whether a school and an expedition company were liable for the rape of two pupils by a local guide in Belize. It was held that vicarious liability did not attach to either and furthermore that the school were not in breach of their duty of care by not sending a second teacher on the trip. Beyond that liability did not attach since the checks made were reasonable and proportionate and the leaders of the expedition were not given any reason to foresee this terrible event.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Garden design and landscaping in North Devon by Richard Mulford of Beach Hut Gardens

If you're looking for someone to design your garden for you or to landscape it in some way then a big heads-up for  Beach Hut Garden Services run by Richard Mulford. Richard lives in Braunton and is professionally qualified with a City and Guilds in Garden Design and Craft from Walford and North Shropshire College. He was tutored by John Roberts who is a Tatton Park, Best in show, Triple Gold and in 2006, a Silver Guilt medal garden designer. He is also a Member of the Royal Horticultural Society and has completed courses in Specialist Pruning, Creative Landscaping and also in Hedge Layering and Winter Management. He's very down to earth and approachable and will work with anything from the smallest beach hut sized plot right up to a country estate, whetther it's implementing a complete transformation or just renovating an area that has seen better times. His contact details are  here.

Does a school owe a non-delegable duty to its pupils?

Heads up for the very recent judgment of the Court of Appeal in Woodland (by her father and litigation friend Ian Woodland) v Essex County Council [2012] EWCA Civ 239 on 9 March 2012. In that case a school pupil was injured in a swimming lesson during the course of the school day. The school did not run the lesson and the preliminary issue was whether nevertheless they may be responsible. This centred around whether the duty to a pupil was non-delegable as it was in some cases involving a hospital and patient. The Court of Appeal held that this would involve an inappropriate extension of the law of negligence. However, perhaps the most significant aspect of the judgments was the leaving open of the possibility that the law might be changed by the Supreme Court. Laws LJ provided a powerful dissenting judgment and Tomlinson LJ (with whom Kitchin LJ agreed) said: “A development of the law along the lines sought must be a matter for the Supreme Court”. So solicitors with similar cases on the go may well be watching any further progress of this case (if any) with interest.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book recommendation: 'The Essential Legal Skills Set'


Comprising of three popular texts from Oxford University Press, the Essential Skills Set is a must-have for any student about to embark on a law course, providing them with the essential skills and reference tools required for successful study. This set offers excellent value for money, representing a £15 saving, and is attractively presented, making it an ideal gift for any law student. Strong: How to Write Law Essays and Exams Provides law students with a practical and proven method of analyzing and answering essays and exam questions. The book includes numerous worked examples and helpful tip boxes to help reinforce learning. An Online Resource Centre provides answers to FAQs, information on citations, and the helpful breakdown of a case into its constituent parts. Wilson & Kenny: The Law Student's Handbook Offers a practical guide to studying law. It introduces the ways in which law is taught, gives an overview of the English legal system, and covers in detail the practical study and academic legal skills required to study law. Accompanied by an extensive Online Resource Centre containing useful information about law courses, advice on answering questions, further reading and web links. Martin & Law: A Dictionary of Law This comprehensive dictionary provides clear, jargon-free definitions of the key legal terms, concepts, and processes, including terms from European, international, human rights, and environmental law. In-depth feature entries throughout also give extra detail for key topics such as adoption law and terrorism acts.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sponsored post: MP calls for faster compensation for mesothelioma sufferers

An MP has called for more to be done to ensure that mesothelioma sufferers can make timely asbestos compensation claims before they succumb to their condition. The MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley, called on the Work and Pensions Minister, Chris Grayling, to fast-track the compensation claims made by people suffering from mesothelioma.  Those affected by the asbestos-related cancer include hundreds of people in Mr Bayley’s own constituency, where a substantial number of former employees of the town’s railway carriage works have so far died from the aggressive and incurable cancer.   As of this month, 141 people in York have died from mesothelioma, with most cases involving former railway employees.

Under the current compensation system, sufferers of mesothelioma can claim compensation from their former employers, if their condition was caused by exposure to asbestos fibres whilst at work.  However pursuing these claims through the courts, or even to an out-of-court settlement can take time – which is something many sufferers might find they do not have very much of.  An early payment system administered by the Royal Courts of Justice is available which can provide interim payments before a final claim is completed.  There are concerns however that this scheme might become a victim of its own success, becoming overloaded by claims from people seeking faster compensation for their condition.

Camps Solicitors provide expert legal advice to people who have been injured in an accident, or who are suffering from ill health directly related to their employment.  Our work accident and industrial disease solicitors are able to assess your case on a no-obligation basis.  To find out more about claiming compensation after an accident at work or asbestos compensation claims, visit our website.

Neil Worrall Camps Solicitors

North Devon's Andrew Cotton surfing Mullaghmore

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A challenge to a private parking charge notice issued at the car park of The Aggi in Braunton


Please note the following the letter below was written for my own particular case and does not in any way constitute advice or assistance on any other cases. What's more there has been change in the law since it was written, too. Finally, I would add a reminder that I own the copyright to this letter and I do not give permission for it to be re-used. 

Update on 28/3/12: Following this letter the charge has now been cancelled.

Like many people I'd heard odd stories about parking charge notices being issued for parking on private land but until today I'd never had first hand experience. That is until I parked at The Aggi (full name: The Agricultural Inn) in Braunton, went to the church next door to help with a Lent lunch and then returned to find a demand from "Creative Parking Solutions" for £75 (pictured left - click to enlarge) for not getting a parking ticket which they say will go up to £120 if not paid within 7 days. Now I usually take the view that life's too short to take up disputes of this size if you're fortunate enough to be able to afford not to. However, a few google searches of the firm later and it was clear to me that I'm not the only one feeling a little stung by receiving such a claim from the same firm (albeit at different locations):

Drivers Angry at fines imposed in car park
Motorists slate car park firm for issuing tickets after midnight
Fight against parking fines

So, for what it's worth, I've decided that the fight is worth taking up and have replied with the following (personal details are blanked out).

The letter


To:
Central Payment Office, Creative Parking Solutions, Suite 8, Bridge Chambers Business Centre, 1 Bridge Chambers, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 1HB.  

Without prejudice, save as to costs
Re. Parking Charge Notice No. ****. Agricultural Inn, Braunton. Vehicle registration **** ***.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I was very surprised to receive a 'Parking Charge Notice' (no.****) today at The Agricultural Inn for my vehicle whose registration number is set out at the top of this letter. I dispute the charge for the reasons set out below. Please note that without prejudice to the fact that I dispute the whole basis of the claim, my main beef is with what I consider to be a disproportionate and punitive level of charge.

1. No contract
There was no contract between myself and either Creative Parking Solutions or The Agricultural Inn. I did not see the notices when I parked and at that time had no idea any charge whatsoever was required. So the requirements of forming a contract such as a meeting of minds, agreement, certainty of terms, etc were not satisfied. Had I known when I parked, I would have been happy to pay. For what it's worth, I was helping my local church (St Brannocks) which was organising a Lent Lunch at the Methodist/URC Church next to the Aggi.

2. Trespass
If there was no contract, then at most I was guilty of a civil trespass (though this is neither admitted nor denied). If this was the case, I would be liable to damages. Given that I did no damage to the car park and furthermore that the car park was not full when I parked and I believe also when I left, I would suggest that there was therefore no loss at all.

3. Punitive/unfair/unreasonable
Without prejudice to the foregoing, even if there was a contract (which is denied):

a. Punitive
The charge that you are levying is punitive and therefore void (ie unenforceable) against me. The charge of £75 is arbitrary and in no way proportionate to any alleged breach of contract. Nor does it even equate to local council charges (which in any event are a completely different beast). This is all the more so for the additional charge of £45 which you say accrues after seven days of non-payment. This would also apply to your mention of any costs incurred through debt recovery unless it followed a court order.

b. Unfair
The charge you are levying is an unfair term (and therefore not binding) pursuant to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. In particular, Schedule 2 of those Regulations gives an indicative (and non-exhaustive) list of terms which may be regarded as unfair and includes at Schedule 2(1)(e) "Terms which have the object or effect of requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation." Furthermore, Regulation 5(1) states that: "A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer" and 5(2) states: "A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance of the term."

c. Unreasonable
The charge you are levying is an unreasonable indemnity clause pursuant to section 4(1) of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which provides that: "A person cannot by reference to any contract term be made to indemnify another person (whether a party to the contract or not) in respect of liability that may be incurred by the other for negligence or breach of contract, except in so far as the contract term satisfies the requirement of reasonableness.”

Further information
Please take this letter to constitute a written appeal in accordance with your Notice. I also make the following points. I would be grateful for answers to all questions raised and in this respect remind you of the obligations set out in the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct (http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct).

1. Your cause of action: please make this clear. If you claim that I entered into a contract, please send me a complete breakdown of all the terms and conditions of that contract to which you say I agreed.

2. Your loss: please give me a full breakdown as to the actual loss you say was suffered by either yourselves or The Agricultural Inn.

3. The appeal: please send me a copy of the procedure which you follow, along with setting out what factors are taken into account, who is the judge or arbitrator and whether they are independent, whether you require oral submissions, whether it is governed by the Arbitration Act 1996 and any other relevant factors. In addition, please give me disclosure of any arguments being put by yourselves on this matter in the Appeal so that I might reply to any new issues which are raised. If you decide to dismiss the appeal, please send me the full reasoning in relation to each of the specific points raised in this letter.

4. Time for the appeal. Your parking charge notice says: ‘Appeals/challenges received after 7 (seven) days will not be upheld or considered unless in extreme circumkstances, and at the Company’s discretion.’ Please tell me how you say this complies with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct (above)?

5. Your 'Parking Charge Notice': what do you say is the status of this document? Do you claim it is an invoice pursuant to a contract (in other words an invoice which would generally get declared to the Inland Revenue) or does it have some other status? If it is the latter, please clarify exactly what you say it is?

6. Your status. Your Parking Charge Notice simply mentions 'Creative Parking Solutions'. Please tell me who exactly is making this charge? Are you a limited company? If so, why is this not indicated on either the Notice or your website (http://creativeparkingsolutions.co.uk) along with your company registration number? In this respect, I note that the Companies Act 2006 and the Business Names Act 1985 provides that every UK company should list on its website: its name, its company registration number, its place of registration and its registered office address. If you are not a company, then I assume this is run by an individual or individuals and I would appreciate knowing exactly who is making the claim and in what capacity. Are you VAT registered? For what it’s worth, a female member of staff in The Aggi told me to call 'Frank'. A couple of articles in the North Devon Journal quote 'Francis Millard' and 'Frank Millard' for Creative Parking Solutions. Is this or are these the person/people running Creative Parking Solutions?

7. The Agricultural Inn. A female member of staff in The Agricultural Inn suggested that running the car park had nothing to do with them. Please can you tell me who owns the car park and what is the relationship between  The Agricultural Inn and yourselves? Please explain any involvement at all of  The Agricultural Inn with yourselves as well as specifically with the Parking Charge Notices. I am also sending them a copy of this letter.

8. What is the relationship between ‘Creative Parking Solutions’ and Creative Parking Solutions PLC (www.creativecarpark.co.uk)? I am sending a copy of this letter to Gary Wayne who it seems is the CEO of Creative Parking Solutions PLC.  [UPDATE: Gary Wayne has confirmed that the claim is not made by Creative Parking PLC and that the relevant Creative Parking Solutions is at www.creativeparkingsolutions.co.uk]

9. Your Notice mentions that 'A photograph may have been taken of the vehicle for evidential value and will be stored in accordance with the Company's Data Protection procedures'. Please send me a copy of those procedures. Furthermore, pursuant to section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 please send me a copy of any such photo along with a copy of any other data which you hold relating to me.

10. Please send me details of any Codes by which you claim to comply and any governing body or other such organisation of which you are a member.

11. Please provide me with the name and address of your solicitors (if any) in order that I may copy them into this correspondence.

12. For the avoidance of doubt (and without suggesting that you would), please do not do the following:
a. Send me any document purporting to be from the County Court unless it is a valid Claim Form duly issued.
b. Write to me threatening to send round bailiffs without first going through the process of issuing a Claim Form and obtaining judgment.
c. Send me any standard letters either from yourselves or debt-collectors without addressing the specific points raised in this response.
d. I note that your website says: ‘Unlike some of our competitors, we maximise the deterrent value of parking charge notices by ensuring that all notices issued are pursued if necessary to the issue of a court summons.’ Please can you confirm that this is accurate and tell me how many claims you have pursued to a court hearing? Are there any Notices you have issued which have not been enforced? I note in this respect that a female member of staff in  The Agricultural Inn  told me yesterday that she had had a problem (albeit over a different issue apparently) with one of your parking tickets only the day before and I was given the impression that the Notice was not going to be enforced in that case.

13. If you want to make a claim , for your information you can issue online or I am sure that Barnstaple County Court would also be very happy to give you a form. My address for service is set out at the top of this letter. If you do decide to issue:
a. I reserve the right to add further arguments to my Defence.
b. Please rest assured that I will be more than happy to attend any court mediations which might be offered.

14. For your information, I have also put a copy of this correspondence on my blogs at http://timkevan.blogspot.com/search/label/parking and www.babybarista.com/tag/parking and intend to cover this case there. I am also sharing it with my two accounts on Twitter: @babybarista (with 11,000 followers) and @timkevan (with 1,000 followers) as well as my accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Kevan

cc
Julian Turner, The Aggi, Braunton, 25 East Street, Braunton, Devon EX33 2EA
Gary Wayne, CEO, Creative Parking Solutions PLC, 33/35 Daws Lane, London NW7 4SD

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Save the Children show how a modern day campaign should be run

There's a fascinating article by Ben Hewitt in The Guardian today about just how to run a modern day global campaign harnessing all of both traditional and modern social media. Ben is the Global Campaigns Operations Director for Save the Children and describes how they set up a multi-lingual global tweet chat which eventually reached an audience of over five million. This included organising a tweeting team with participants as varied as the President of Tanzania, the Rwandan Minister of Health and the restaurant critic Jay Rayner as well as making it available to other web users via a twebevent online platform. The point was that whilst this didn't replace traditional media and events (70% of the world is still not online) it was an imaginative way of harnessing activists, opinion formers and the online audience as a whole. Great for their campaign but also a fascinating insight into how future campaigns might also be run. I'm thinking in particular of the upcoming US presidential election campaign and further down the line, the UK general election or even the vote on Scottish independence. It's great to see charities leading the way and helping to mould social media into a force for good and for that congratulations to Ben and everyone at Save the Children.

BabyBarista in Exeter University's Bracton Law Society Magazine (click to enlarge)


Museum of British Surfing opening in Braunton on 6 April 2012

The Museum of British Surfing will open the doors to its new exhibition venue in Braunton, North Devon for the first time on Good Friday April 6. Its inaugural exhibition is ‘The Art of Surf’ – displaying 200 years of art in surfing from the sketches of early explorers through to works by contemporary British surfing artists. Among the modern artists featured will be Conrad Shawcross, Ben Cook, Mark Haywood, Al Lindsay and Maria Rivans. “Explorers and early travellers drew surfers, surfers decorated their boards – especially in the 60s & 70s, advertisers plundered surfing imagery right the way back to the early 1900s – and today there’s a flourishing British surfing art scene,” said the charity’s director, founder and surf history pioneer Pete Robinson.  The first dedicated surfing museum in Europe was started in 2003, running successful touring exhibitions – it relocated to North Devon in 2009 and has spent the last 3 years securing the building and funding, completing the design work, and so far creating two new jobs. While ‘The Art of Surf’ exhibition will be the main feature, there’s also a section on British surfing history, North Devon surfing and the local environment, and a timeline of British surfboards  – displaying about a quarter of the museum’s collection. The picture is of Pete Robinson and is courtesy of the Museum. Click to enlarge.

Book recommendation: 'Black Water Rising' by Attica Locke


`[An] atmospheric, richly convoluted debut novel... deeply nuanced...' --Janet Maslin, New York Times

'What a ride! Black Water Rising is a superlative debut' --James Ellroy

'Black Water Rising is a stylish, involving literary thriller with a strong emphasis on human politics and character.' --George Pelecanos

'This is an authentic, atmospheric debut that burns with an entirely reasonable anger.'
--Val McDermid

'The most impressive crime debut I've read this year' --Marcel Berlins, The Times

`Attica Locke's first book is a winner' --Literary Review

`A truly gripping read' --The List

'The most impressive crime debut I've read this year' --Marcel Berlins, The Times

`Propels this young, African-American writer into the upper stratum of crime fiction' --Colin Fowler, FT

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The BabyBarista Pupillage Survival Kit from @ICLR

Really delighted to receive a BabyBarista Pupillage Survival Kit today from the ICLR. You can get your own at the National Pupillage Fair today (Saturday 3rd March) at Lincoln’s Inn. It comes with its very own BabyBarista coffee and mug! Note: The ICLR are sponsors of the BabyBarista Blog but have not specifically sponsored this post.

Weekend video: 'Dad's Army - Don't Tell Him Pike'

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hip replacements, litigation and the licensing of operations

Earlier this year the newspapers were reporting on people potentially having to replace breast implants. Now The Independent is reporting that patients with metal hip implants may need to have annual medical checks due to possible health risks such as severe pain and long term disability. No doubt the lawyers will be on this in a flash but the flip side is that it really does make you wonder quite how rigorous the checks are on these various operations before they are allowed to be performed. Now, I fully realise that too many rules can stifle innovation and all. But even so, there does seem to be a feeling of one thing after another at the moment with these sorts of problems potentially affecting tens of thousands of people in this country alone.