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Legal Updates

The Increase of Litigants in Person

We recently saw massive changes in the way legal aid works in England and Wales. In a bid to cut legal aid budgets by over £350 million pounds a year, the Government have made several changes to the system and cut the availability of legal aid to a variety of civil as well as criminal law cases.

Changes to Consumer Law Concerning Digital Content

This month we had one of the highlights of the parliamentary year, the Queen’s Speech. This is the official announcement of what new laws the government plans to introduce in the year ahead. One proposal that stood out was a change to the protection available when you purchase faulty digital content online.

Is Law Fair?

On the whole it is, although some peculiar situations come up sometimes, and I am going to recount three of them to you!

R v Collins [1972] 2 All ER 1105 

One summer’s evening, a Friday in 1972, a 19-year-old, blond, good-looking chap had been out on his own to a local pub in Colchester, Essex. Little did he know, as he downed several pints of beer, that before the night was out he would become the lead player in a case that subsequently went from the Essex Assizes, where he was convicted of burglary with intent to commit rape contrary to s.9 (1)(a) of the Theft Act 1968, to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division where his conviction was quashed (R v Collins [1972] 2 All ER 1105). The Assize Courts, by the way, were disbanded at the end of 1972 by The Courts Act 1971 and replaced by the Crown Court.

How Will the Latest Legal Aid Cuts Have an Impact?

Legal aid is a way to offer legal advice and support to people who cannot afford to pay for it themselves. It has been one of the basic pillars of the welfare state since it came into being. But new changes that came into effect in early April in England and Wales have removed legal aid funding from various areas of civil law, including family disputes and social welfare benefits advice as well as housing and debt problems.

Does Prison Work as a Deterrent?

In October 2012, David Cameron made a statement about the prison system and that prisons should be made to work for the offenders. He also said that punishment and rehabilitation should in fact take equal precedence in preventing crime. The Prime Minister said that the debate on punishment had become too ‘black or white’, and that the prison system should be one that has a positive and rehabilitative impact on an inmate’s life, rather than merely a punitive one. 

A Cautionary Tale about Establishing a Testator’s Capacity

This month we will consider a recent Court of Appeal decision which should remind those practicing in Wills and Probate of the importance of following best practices when preparing wills for clients. 

The case, Hawes v Burgess [2013] EWCA Civ 74, involved a 2007 will which cut out the testatrix’s son, Peter, and left the estate equally to her two daughters, Libby and Julia. 

Consider the following background facts to the case:

Manipulating the Family Law System

The experience of seeing one’s parents split up, however amicably, can be difficult for a child to cope with.  But divorces are not always amicable.  The fact is that many split-ups are bitter and frequently involve protracted legal battles, including child custody cases.  In the bitter battle between warring parents, children often end up becoming the prisoners of war.

Land Law – Leasehold Pitfalls

If you have studied ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course, you will already know that a leasehold estate is one of the two ways under the Law of Property Act 1925 that you can own land in the UK.  Leasehold is a form of ownership that allows you a temporary right to hold land or property.  The length of this temporary right is often measured in decades, usually 99 or 125 years. What you have not bought when you obtain a leasehold title is the land a property stands on.

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