Caven blog


Millions of pounds in compensation paid to unlawfully detained migrants

The Guardian reports that millions of pounds is being paid to migrants as compensation for their treatment in UK detention centres. The compensation payments are couched in terms of ‘special payments’, which government figures show amount to £12m for 2009/10; this is up on the £3m paid in the previous year. These special payments include other payments than compensation, but a Home Office official was unable to specify precisely what proportion of this amount constituted compensation.


What are the sources of UK law?

UK law comes from three main sources: legislation, case law and European law. When we consider the sources of UK law we must consider that the UK is made up of four different countries and as a result the sources of law vary between those countries.

Scotland has its own system of laws and courts and its own Parliament. Northern Ireland has a similar system to that of England and Wales. England and Wales have the same legal system and laws passed by the UK Parliament automatically apply to Wales. The Welsh Assembly has created some measures resulting in different law in Wales, although this has yet to produce any significant differences.


What is the law regarding phone-tapping?

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights gives everybody in the UK the right to a private and family life. This guarantees respect for privacy, although it can be derogated from in certain situations, for example in the interests of national security. Your solicitor can explain where Article 8 may not apply and how this could affect your case.


What is the law regarding criminal transmission of HIV in the UK?

Recent court cases in England, Wales and Scotland have seen criminal prosecutions of people who have caused the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners. The criminalisation of HIV transmission is fairly new and the laws have developed not by statute but by individual cases in the courts. For this reason it is difficult to examine the current law with much precision. Additionally, the law in England and Wales differs from that applicable in Scotland.


Damages awarded to sexual assault victim highlight the inadequacies of the criminal justice system

Damages of £16,000 have been awarded to a victim of sexual assault who has been failed by the criminal justice system. The successful case and award has brought to attention the systemic failures of the system in dealing with sexual assault cases.

The claim for damages arose after the victim of sexual assault was wrongly blamed by the Crown Prosecution Services for the collapse of her trial. The CPS claimed the victim had prejudiced the jury by mentioning to them in the witness box that her alleged attacker had been in jail. The victim maintains that she was completely unaware that she was not allowed to mention such a fact. However, the CPS failed to properly consult with her on the matter, instead deciding to offer no evidence in the case, resulting in the case being dropped without even consulting her. Prosecutors also failed to seek a new trial when they potentially could have.


Controversial ECJ ruling on legal privilege jeopardises in-house legal advice

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that legal privilege does not extend to the advice of in-house lawyers in antitrust cases.

Legal privilege is a long-established legal principle that allows litigants protection from disclosing documents on the grounds that they were privileged communications between the litigant and their legal support. The rationale behind it is that all parties should have a right to receive legal advice without fear that the information disclosed to their legal team could be used against them. The case before the ECJ concerned the use of this principle to allow companies to prevent disclosure of such documents in antitrust investigations concerning them.

Compensation claims over miscarriages of justice reach the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is due to hear a number of appeals early next year regarding compensation claims for “miscarriages of justice”. Several cases have recently come before the highest court of the land regarding cases where convicted criminals have been acquitted of a crime following years spent in prison. Many of these individuals are now seeking compensation for their trauma. The appeals centre around the meaning of the phrase “miscarriage of justice” in relation to compensation claims.


What is the law regarding workplace strikes?

The Trade Disputes Act 1906 gave trade unions legal immunity for actions carried out in furtherance of a trade dispute. The Act basically allowed workers to strike without fearing that they could be sued for a company’s loss, provided the strike met certain criteria. The Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher was responsible for changing the legalities of strikes and while striking was still legal in the late 1980’s, participants in strike action forfeited their right to unemployment pay and income support. (more…)

What formalities follow the death of a person?

When someone dies what you do afterwards depends on the circumstances surrounding their death. A death normally needs to be registered within five days. Usually the best course of action when registering a death is to go to the registry office in the area in which the person died. When registering a death you need to take the death certificate signed by the doctor and other documents such as a birth certificate, or marriage certificate, if they are available. A family law solicitor can explain the procedures you must follow when someone dies. (more…)

What does the law say on ultra vires company actions?

The company law on ultra vires company actions has changed recently, with certain provisions of the Companies Act 2006 coming into force on 1 October 2009. Prior to this date companies were required by company law to have a Memorandum of Association. A commercial solicitor can explain the full implications of the Act. (more…)

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