Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tackling nuisance telephone calls

I've done an article for a firm of solicitors on tackling nuisance telephone calls. You can read it here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Dawn Patrol

Boone Daniels is a laid-back kind of private investigator. He has sleuthing skills to burn but is rarely out of his boardshorts, and with a huge Pacific storm approaching San Diego, Boone wants to be there to ride the once-in-a-lifetime waves with his buddies in the Dawn Patrol. Unfortunately he's just landed a case involving one dead and one missing stripper, but with the help - or hindrance, Boone thinks - of uptight lawyer Petra Hall, he's determined to wrap it up in time for the epic surf.
But all sorts of trouble follows with Hawaiian gangs and trafficked Mexican girls, as the case turns dark and personal, raising ghosts from Boone's troubled past and dragging in Sunny and the rest of the Dawn Patrol. The currents turn treacherous on land and at sea as the big swell makes landfall, and Boone has to fight just to keep his head above water...
Available from Amazon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Recommendation: How the Law Works

How the Law Works is a refreshingly clear and reliable guide to today’s legal system. Offering interesting and comprehensive coverage, it makes sense of all the curious features of the law in day to day life and in current affairs.
Explaining the law and legal jargon in plain English, it provides an accessible entry point to the different types of law and legal techniques, as well as today's compensation culture and human rights law. In addition to explaining the role of judges, lawyers, juries and parliament, it clarifies the mechanisms behind criminal and civil law.
How the Law Works is essential reading for anyone approaching law for the first time, or for anyone who is interested in an engaging introduction to the subject’s bigger picture.

Available from Amazon

Friday, April 19, 2013

Article on credit card rights

I've done an article for a firm of solicitors on credit card rights. You can read it here.

Article on why the Jackson reforms will be counter-productive

I've done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on why I think the Jackson reforms will be counter-productive and despite their intention will increase work for lawyers. You can read it here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Will obligatory helmets impact the number of serious injuries for cyclists?

Brought to you by our friends at Grieves Solicitors

It is a debate which is continually addressed, reignited yet still controversial: the mandatory cycle helmet. The UK is embracing cycling, with more and more people choosing two wheels as their favoured mode of transport.

Between 2011/12 there were some startling cycling related statistics:
  • 594 cyclists were injured from car doors opening
  • 3,085 cyclists were seriously injured on UK roads
  • 122 cyclists died in 2012 – the highest figure in five years
  • The number of cycling related accidents has increased every year since 2004
  • Yet the number of people who have been surveyed as commuting by bike is 760,000
The number of serious injuries, yet the increased interest in cycling for travel or leisure, suggests that something needs to be done to tackle the risks. Mandatory cycle helmets are one of the ideas put forward to make cycling safer, but many disagree with such a decision.

The calls for mandatory helmets
Many academics, enthusiasts and officials believe that compulsory helmets can go some way to minimising serious injury in cycling accidents. Most, however, believe that more needs to be done in terms of making cycling safer; the roads and road users being the root cause of cycling injuries, but that helmets will help reduce injuries in the short-term.

Legal firms are seeing more and more compensation claims for cycling accidents, and an increase in serious injury claims. Many argue that if cycling helmets were worn, it would eradicate some of the serious, and possibly life threatening injuries, especially to the head.

However many have argued fiercely against mandatory helmets.

Those against any change in law
In a paper written for the Transport Planning Committee, James Gleave wrote that the use of helmets in built-up cities has increased from 16% in 1994 to an estimated 34.3% in 2008, a figure which doesn’t correlate with the number of injuries or fatalities on UK roads.

Many argue that making cycling helmets obligatory will only assist in papering over the issues on Britain’s roads and encourage more concentration to be placed on driver’s reactions to cyclists, cycle lanes and the standard of roads to minimise the number of injuries. Although helmets may reduce serious injuries to the head, it would not affect the number of accidents; a figure which many believe is much more integral to the debate.

It seems there is a stark contrast in opinions, which has also split the general public and cycling community. Across the debate, two arguments have arisen, one based on road safety and one based on medical precautions. No one can argue that wearing a cycle helmet will reduce serious injuries to the head in an accident; however, wearing a cycle helmet doesn’t affect the overall figures of crashes. Many feel it is road safety as a whole which needs to be addressed, and that making cycle helmets a legal requirement is simply brushing over what is a growing issue on our roads.

Grieves Solicitors is a Huddersfield-based personal injury specialist with vast experience in the field. For more information, visit www.grieves-solicitors.co.uk.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Recommendation: Lawyers Uncovered: Everything You Always Wanted to Know, But Didn't Want to Pay £500 an Hour to Find Out

The funny and subversive 'Queen's Counsel' cartoon strip has appeared on the law pages of "The Times" since 1993, delighting the legal profession and general readers alike with its accurate and biting send-up of the profession and its practices. Here - allegedly! - is the best of them. In these pages, readers will delight in Geoffrey Bentwood QC, who specialises in boring his clients to death, while not-so-secretly longing to be promoted to the bench; his sidekick, Edward Longwind, who takes lessons in pomposity from Sir Geoffrey; Richard Loophole of Loophole and Fillibuster who does his best to bankrupt his clients, while working his associates to death and pretending to remember some of the law he learned at school; and at the mercy of all of them is the luckless Mr Sprocket, the endlessly unsuccessful litigant whose lawyers will not rest until they have spent all of his money. This work features the best of the 'Queen's Counsel' cartoon strip from "The Times".
Available from Amazon 

Why it is important to ensure your property deeds are secure

Brought to you by our friends at Stephens Scown

With fraud on the increase it is vitally important to ensure that your property deeds are in order to avoid any issues. Believe it or not houses have been sold by tenants without the legal owner/landlord realising and a recent case reported in the press showed this. The Land Registry has introduced anti-fraud measures to try and combat this. There are however some additional measures you may want to think about and put into place:-
  • -        If your property isn’t already registered then consider having it registered with the Land Registry.  This would mean you would have an electronic record of who owns the property and takes away the worry of having paper deeds that could potentially be mislaid, stolen or destroyed. 
  • -        If a property is registered, it is important to ensure that your name and contact address as owner are kept up to date.  The address on the registered title will be the address the Land Registry will use to contact you regarding the property. In addition, once a property is registered, the Land Registry are guaranteeing the title to the property. One benefit of this is that if someone becomes a victim of fraud, leading to the title to the property wrongfully changing, then they may be entitled to claim compensation from the Land Registry. If the contact details on the title aren’t up to date then any claim for such compensation may be reduced. You can have more than one contact address and even have an email address on the title.
  • -        Even if your property is registered, there is a further step you can take to combat fraud. A note can be put on the title requiring the conveyancer dealing with any transaction such as a transfer , sale or mortgage to certify that the person signing any documentation purporting to be the owner of the property, is the same person as the proprietor on the title. The fee for this is currently £40.00 but where the owner does not live at the property, this can be applied of free of charge.
Stephens Scown Solicitors in Exeter, Truro and St Austell are one of the largest law firms in Devon and Cornwall offering personal, business and specialist legal advice. For more information please visit http://www.stephens-scown.co.uk

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Recommendation: Tales from the Courtroom

Court-room dramas hold an endless fascination, but they are often a pale shadow of the real thing. Consider for example the case of the young man who, after being acquitted of his girlfriend’s murder, was challenged by the dead girl’s brother in a procedure which had not been used since the middle ages. It failed, but the facts of the case were recalled over a century later by another tragedy, which eerily mirrored them. Or the case of the vicar’s son convicted of cattle mutilation who was cleared, not as a result of diligent police work, but by the creator of England’s most famous fictional detective. This book contains a number of ‘unsolved mysteries’, like the murder of a magistrate which nearly ended the career, even the life, of Samuel Pepys. Other curiosities concern the quaint rules by which pirates were once bound and Parliament’s continuing concern for outlaws’ rights. Even the foggier crannies of the law can offer up their amusements, like the rhyming will which was put up for probate and the extraordinary story of how the law of cremation was reformed by an eccentric Welsh doctor and a Hindu ex-soldier. Told by a retired barrister, the tales in this book illustrate the role of the law in resisting oppression, whether from robber barons or modern governments. Selected for their intrinsic interest, the tales highlight lessons concerning the nature of justice and the diversity – sometimes the unknowability - of human conduct.
Available from Amazon