Calls for Reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991

Dangerous Dogs ActFollowing an unusually high number of serious dog attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the government at the time felt compelled to pass the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991. This statute aimed to control some of the breeds of dogs that seemed to be featured in the news most prominently at the time, with the Pit Bull Terrier being particularly targeted.

Legal Secretaries Diploma Course Students

LSD CourseWe are delighted to have received a record number of enrolments for our Legal Secretaries Diploma course this September. The good reputation of the Institute is growing year by year and many of our enrolments are from word of mouth. The course is of great worth and the proof is in the pudding as Students have gained a variety of excellent positions on the strength of the qualification.

Disclosure in Legal Proceedings

Disclosure in Legal ProceedingsA summary of the rules of disclosure and an update on the expanding use of electronic disclosure

This is the fifth article in a series focusing on specialist skills and knowledge in civil litigation. We have previously considered the skills needed to prepare court bundles (February 2009); without prejudice correspondence (March 2010); pre-action protocols (June 2010); and legal costs in litigation (August 2010).

When we considered pre-action protocols it was noted that any case rests on the evidence. In particular, the importance of exchanging evidence early was highlighted. What was not considered was exactly how parties disclose evidence.

Parties usually have to disclose information in the following circumstances:

Confidentiality: A Serious Business

ConfidentialityWe live in an era when freedom of information is being vigorously pursued by all and sundry. Though we might have constitutional rights to demand certain information, sometimes we won’t so easily have access to this information. Just as we need access to certain information, people also have their reasons for needing confidentiality and their rights to such cannot be violated. According to the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO), confidentiality is simply “ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorised to have access.” Conversely, information lacks confidentiality to the extent that it is available or when it is disclosed to unauthorized persons or processes.

Strategies to Use Your Memory Efficiently

Using MemoryWhy do we need a memory? At its most basic level, our memory is there so that we do not need to relearn things; to take examples from early life, things such as learning how to walk, talk, read, write, ride a bicycle, etc. At a broader level, the memory’s function is to allow us to access relevant and accurate information at the right time. To access relevant information, research has shown that we are more likely to remember important things by writing them down and leaving our memory the job of knowing where the information is written down rather than burdening it with holding all the details in the immediate recall section of the memory stores. In other words, using tools both to jog our memory and to provide the full detail needed.

Does HMRC Hold All the Cards in the PAYE Fiasco?

The sense of moral outrage provoked by the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) debacle probably has some way to play; this is hardly surprising, given the jumbled mix of apathy and blundering displayed by those at the top of HM Revenue & Customs. To start, its failings were dressed up as the taxpayer’s responsibility; but since the initial announcements, they have been forced to issue a flurry of back-pedalling clarifications that have probably only served to muddy the waters for the harassed taxpayer.

But, putting aside justifiable indignation, what redress does the aggrieved UK taxpayer have, once the dreaded brown envelope has hit the doormat?

Self-assessment by stealth

Dealing With People

Dealing with peopleThe good Legal Secretary is well liked. Visitors to the office recall your courteous, cheerful manner, your intelligent considerateness and your smile. Fellow employees value your helpful cooperation and the little favours you are able to grant them. As for your employer, he depends on you in a hundred different ways, not only in business dealings but sometimes in social matters as well. It is part of your job to create a good impression and to establish and maintain friendly relations. Your corner of the office shows a touch of colour, literally as well as figuratively.

A New Tier System for Homicide Law?

Homicide LawAnother opportunity to deal with the legal hot potato of murder law reform in England and Wales has arisen recently, courtesy of the incumbent Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, supporting the reform of homicide law. But Keir Starmer’s kicking over of the ashes of the previous government’s half-hearted reform proposals have landed the coalition with quite a tricky task; no politician wants to get their fingers burned by an issue as heated as murder and life sentences. Nonetheless, a debate on the categorisation of murder, by degree, certainly appears to be back on the cards.

Taking Control in Litigation: A Review of Legal Costs

Taking control in LitigationWe last considered the subject of costs in an article published in November 2007. At that time, we considered what requirements had to be followed by a firm to ensure that they were complying with the (then new) Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007. The most important part of the Code for costs is the rules that require clients to be given clear and accurate cost quotes and estimates. Most law-firm staff will have come to grips with the Code long ago, but new changes are pending that will further regulate this area of legal costs.   These changes are based on the recommendations of Lord Justice Jackson, who has spent more than a year creating a weighty, 663 page report