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Showing posts from August, 2016

Why You should Write a Will.

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Why make a will?


Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, any property you own and all your possessions after your death. Altogether the things you own are called your estate. 
If you die without a will, which is called dying intestate, then the state decides how your property is passed on, according to laws set out. You and your family get no say in the matter. Under current laws, an unmarried partner may not inherit anything from a partner after death unless he or she is named in their will, no matter how long they have been together.
Leaving a will simplifies the after death process, known as probate, for your family or friends. Leaving them to sort it out without a will can be time consuming and more stressful A will may also reduce the amount of any inheritance tax payable on the estate, if any (inheritance tax only applies to estates above £325,000 for a single person and £650,000 after both members of a married couple have died. A surviving spouse will inherit wit…

My child has had an accident. What do I do to claim on their behalf?

Claims for children are generally like any other claim, although there are few significant differences. Firstly, someone has to make the decisions for the child about the case. This is usually one of the parents or the child’s legal guardian and they are appointed as a litigation friend. Secondly, the rules about time limits are different for a child who, assuming the accident happened while they were under 18, has until their 21st birthday to start court proceedings, no matter how many years have passed since the accident happened. The final difference is that if you reach a settlement on behalf of your child there will normally have to be a short court hearing for a judge to check independently that the settlement is for the right amount. You will find the child normally needs to attend this brief hearing which would last less than 30 minutes. It is the final safeguard for you to be sure that you have got your child the right amount of compensation. Once the claim is settled the court …

Lawyers in Literature and Film; Harvey Specter

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Ranker at www.ranker.com have an on-going list of greatest TV lawyers. It's a live list, so you can keep on going onto the list and voting for your favourite TV lawyer. Topping their list this week is Harvey Specter.


Suits as a series started in 2011, with season 6 currently screening on Dave and weekly at Amazon.co.uk for a price, so perhaps the fact that the handsome, witty and ever so debonair Harvey is topping the poll shouldn't be a surprise. TV audiences, especially internet users, are notoriously swayed by whatever is popular at the moment. He has the dab hand in witty comebacks, a bad-ass attitude and unsurprisingly good suits. And many a man wishes he could be Harvey.

So, what's his power?

Well, he knows people, for the most part. He knows that if he makes an offer, or refuses an offer the other side will do the most obvious thing, usually. He also knows when people are idiosyncratic enough to do the opposite. He knows who he can wind up (Louis Litt, I'm looki…

Asbestos

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The dangers of asbestos exposure have been known about since the early 20th century and the first set of health and safety regulations to try and deal with the problem dates back to 1931.


Despite this, many employers continued to use asbestos well into the 1970s and 1980s. The nature of the health problems caused by the product, taking time to develop and be diagnosed,  mean that deaths from asbestos exposure are expected to peak in the next few years even though exposure decreased significantly about 40 years ago.
Under UK law a person who is diagnosed with an asbestos related disease has three years from the date that he first became aware of the diagnosis to start court proceedings. If a person dies from asbestos exposure his family have three years starting  from his death or three years from finding out that the cause of death was asbestos exposure, which may only become apparent when the results of the post-mortem known.
As with most other industrial diseases there is nothing to b…

Which other professionals might have to get involved in my case? Do I have to know any of them?

Once you have instructed your solicitor, then work on your case will start. Even the cleverest solicitor can't do it all themselves, so a good lawyer will have contacts with other professionals whose advice and expert evidence will help the court make a decision. The professionals won't be known personally by you, but during the course of your case you will probably meet the experts used.

In almost all personal injury cases it is necessary to obtain a medical report. Generally the expert instructed will not be someone who has dealt with you previously, because it is important to obtain an independent review of your injuries. It's highly unlikely that they will need to appear in court on your behalf. Usually their written report will be sufficient, unless the case is worth a lot of money, when the defendants would ask for permission to have you examined by a second expert chosen by them. If there are 2 experts and they disagree they might both be called to Court to give evid…

CCTV; Witness for the Prosecution?

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The UK is the most CCTV aware state in the world. A British Security Industry Authority report in 2013 claimed that there were 4.9 million CCTV cameras in use in the country. That's 1 camera for every 14 people.
Or to put it another way, we have 1% of the world's population and 20% of the world's surveillance cameras.

And things aren't any easier since 2013. Just last January the surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, warned of the increasing use of body worn surveillance equipment as a procedure that risked changing the "psyche of the community" by reducing individuals to a trackable number in a database.

Personal injury lawyers have long been used to surveillance of their clients by investigators employed by the insurers to check that the claim is genuine and to arguing that the evidence does or does not show the degree of injury. Private and public CCTV systems add another layer to that evidence.

CCTV evidence, if obtained quickly enough, can show the in…

Lawyers in Literature and Film; Ally McBeal

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There's always a character in your past who influences you for good or ill; when I had my first child and was a stay at home Mum, I loved watching Ally McBeal. There was just something about her sweet, childlike demeanour, or the fact that she spent hours worrying about whether she would ever get a boyfriend/get married/have a child whilst at the same time being a lawyer at a high powered but eccentric firm in Boston.

The show was created by David E Kelley, a famous name in legal TV work and the genius behind LA Law, The Practise and Boston Legal as well as Ally McBeal. He was asked to create a show that would keep women aged 18 to 34 on the channel after another show, Melrose Place, had finished. His original brief was to make it about business executives; he changed it to lawyers and...boom... Ally was born.

As legal dramas go, Ally stands unique. It had a good cast of characters that were quirky individuals; some of them were downright strange! It had a backstory and personal i…

How much will my claim cost me?

If you are instructing a solicitor in a personal injury claim you should ensure that your solicitor is acting on a conditional fee agreement (otherwise known as a 'no win no fee' agreement). If you approach a solicitor and they are not prepared to take the case on this basis you should be very careful before proceeding. Make sure you understand why they are not entering into a no win no fee agreement with you. Is it because they think you don't have a good case? 

Under a no win no fee agreement you don’t have to pay anything to your solicitor unless you win the case. Some solicitors may, however, ask you to pay for things that they have to pay out for, such as court fees and medical reports.

If you win the case your solicitor should be able to recover their basic costs and the things they have paid out for from your opponent. However, many solicitors are also asking clients to pay up to 25% of their damages to the solicitor by way of a success fee. Prior to April 2013 the so…

Lawyers in Literature; Balthazar in The Merchant of Venice

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Shakespeare knew a lot about life, and often captured the ideal of a thought in a speech, a sentence or sublimely using one word. He also knew a lot about human nature, and the fact that people often don't read the small print.

In "The Merchant of Venice" a young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan and asks his friend, Antonio, for a loan. Antonio is short on cash himself because all his money is tied up in shipping, so until that comes in he can't help. He goes to the local moneylender, Shylock, who doesn't actually like Antonio because of the nasty things he's said and done to him for being Jewish.

Shylock agrees to the loan, but has a condition; the loan must be re-paid in 3 months time or he, Shylock, can have a pound weight of flesh off Antonio. Antonio, impatient for the cash, agrees because he knows his ship will come in, and he'll be safe.

It doesn't take a fool to see the hole in that argument. When the ships don't make shore, Shylock comes…

What stages does a claim go through?

In any case the first stage will be a client/solicitor meeting. This will be a chance for your lawyer to make sure that they  have a clear understanding of what happened, an idea of what damage has been done and a chance to start thinking about what the next step in your claim should be.

The next stage is that the solicitor will make contact with the defendant's insurance company, assuming they are insured. This is done either by letter or for more recent claims it can be done through a computer website which has been set up for this purpose.

Once the insurance company have details of the claim they will investigate it and then respond within one to four months depending on the type of claim. At this stage they will either admit the claim and agree to pay damages, deny the claim, or admit that they are mainly responsible for the claim but say that it was also partly the client's fault (this is known in the law as contributory negligence)

if the claim is admitted then the next sta…