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Civil Litigation Reforms

A Summary of the Effect of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

For several months we have been following the passage of the controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO) through Parliament. This month, despite 14 defeats for the government in the House of Lords, it has now become an Act. The changes to civil litigation will be the most comprehensive since the Civil Procedural Rules (CPR) were introduced over 12 years ago. These reforms were not unexpected, and if you look back through the Institute’s journal articles since 2010 you will see many references to Lord Justice Jackson’s Report on Civil Litigation and costs.1 It has already taken two years for the Jackson reforms to hit the statute books, and it is expected to take until April 2013 for the changes to be made in legal practice.

Challenging Negative Self-Talk

There are times when we talk to ourselves critically. Perhaps we just think it, or perhaps we voice it out loud. “I’ll never get this right.” “I’m such an idiot.”

Phrases like this are a sure sign that emotional hijacking is at work. If we become aware that this is going on, however, we can challenge the thought rather than become a helpless victim to it. Challenging allows us to better control our emotions. The emotions are sure to be giving us some message, but the real message is more than likely to be obscured by emotional hijacking and so we risk misinterpreting what is actually going on.

Stronger Legislation to Protect Victims of Dog Attacks

Dog AttacksOwning a dangerous dog is seen as a status symbol by some, and in spite of the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, recent years have seen a rise in the number of dog attacks across the UK. Children are most often the victims of aggressive and violent dogs. Many feel that even though the Dangerous Dogs Act was amended in 1997, it still lacks the teeth to make any real difference. Will the recent plan for making it mandatory to micro-chip all newborn puppies be enough to curb the rising trend of violent dog attacks?

What is a Paralegal?

What is a Paralegal?The term “Paralegal” is used in most jurisdictions to describe a professional who assists qualified lawyers. This is the case in the US. However, in England and Wales the profession has yet to agree on a definition, and thus much confusion has existed in this area. The term, introduced in the UK in 1987 by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals, defines a “Paralegal” as a person who is qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work; who requires knowledge of the law; and who is not a qualified Solicitor, Barrister or Legal Executive.

Paralegals Shall Assist Parties in Small Claims Courts

One of our Associate Members, Clint Diesto from the Philippines, has written an article on the importance of Paralegals in small claims cases. The fundamental question is, when should Paralegals appear in order to assist a litigant?

Imagine yourself at a collection suit hearing in a tribunal or court where you have to appear before a Judge. Although you have been informed that this is an informal hearing and you have to raise a point of inquiry before the Judge, you cannot express it confidently because you are afraid you will be misquoted by the court.

Law Commission Report Wants ‘Dead’ Laws Repealed

The Law Commission1 recommended at the beginning of this month that more than 800 old laws be removed from the statute books. The recommendations cover laws on poor relief, lotteries, turnpikes and Indian railways. The oldest legislation dates back to 1322 (Statutes of the Exchequer), and the most recent is part of a Taxation Act from 2010. This is the largest of the Law Commission’s reports (there have been 18 others to date) on removing outdated laws. It is likely that their recommended Statutory Law (Repeal) Bill will be accepted by Parliament this summer as (another!) law on the statute books. 

House of Lords Reforms

House of Lords ReformsThe subject of House of Lords reforms has been continually discussed for more than 100 years. Many of us have come to believe that the possibility of any real reform is a myth. For some, the House of Lords itself is like an archaic myth – do they really refer to one another as ‘noble lord’ and ‘noble baroness’? And what work do they really do? Now the current coalition Government has decided that it wants to have another crack at reform.

Furthering Your Knowledge as a Legal Secretary

CPDAfter months of determination your hard work has paid off, and you have now qualified as a Legal Secretary. Some of you may wish to further your qualifications and strive for a career as a Paralegal or even as a Solicitor or Barrister. Whilst others are satisfied that they have an excellent qualification to be proud of, does this mean it is the end of developing your knowledge and skills?


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