HIPs, HIPs, Away!

Hips AwayAs the United Kingdom is still struggling to get back on its feet after one of the worst recessions in living memory, will the Government’s recent decision to put an end to Home Information Packs (HIPs) provide a much needed boost to the housing market? This is indeed the $64,000 question, and people appear to be in one of two camps over the issue. 

One section of the housing industry firmly believes that the abolition of HIPs is now going to provide a massive boost to the still ailing market. They claim that people were put off from selling their property as a consequence of the additional expense that was involved in having to commission such a report and they generally saw the introduction of HIPs as the final nail in the coffin of the housing market at the time.

However, there is definitely another side to this coin. People even within the industry do not feel that HIPs spelt disaster when they were introduced. Indeed, a lot of people fervently believe that HIPs have been used as something of a scapegoat at a time when the market was inevitably going to decline anyway. Even when HIPs were in place, the housing market was still showing positive signs of having come through the worst.

Do Unto Others

Do Unto OthersCommon Areas of Expensive Legal Dispute – Part Two

In our previous article on common areas of legal dispute, we considered the pitfalls of entering into boundary disputes. I suggested that on some occasions it is better to consider the biblical saying ‘Love thy neighbour’ rather than resort to expensive legal proceedings. In this article we are considering complaints of nuisance, intimidation and harassment. Surprisingly, the teachings of Jesus, provides us with a possible starting point to avoid these types of disputes, with his golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. It is not only Christianity that provides this simple ethical code; it appears in every other major religion. Unfortunately, despite its being a fairly simple ethical principle, it is very difficult to apply in practice.

Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking

When we focus on the positive aspects of our life, we enhance our life experience and create beneficial opportunities for the future. American psychologist Martin Seligman, in his book Learned Optimism, identified certain thinking styles which influence how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.

Those who regard good things as insignificant, temporary and attributable to external factors tend to be those who regard bad things as permanent, affecting most if not all of their life. These negative attributional styles set a person up for increased anxiety and distress

On the other hand, there are those who regard good things as significant, not just fleeting flukes, and who are prepared to take credit for their part in these things; these people tend to regard bad things as temporary, affecting only a part of their life (allowing them to enjoy the other parts more fully), and they acknowledge the external factors at play. This style of thinking helps to promote a healthy perspective and reduce anxiety.

Here are some examples:

Love Thy Neighbour

Love your neighborCommon Areas of Expensive Legal Dispute – Part One

It is not often that I resort to the Bible to advise clients, but where disputes with neighbours are concerned this can be the best advice. What may seem to be a trivial issue can often explode into a case of biblical proportions. In this article we will consider one of the most common areas of friction between neighbours, which involves disagreements about boundaries. 

Consider this quote from an Appeal Court judge, Lord Justice Ward, reported in April 2009:

“The lesson is never learned that those who fight for their principles frequently end up paying for them…Each of the parties have spent in the region of £40,000 in bringing their case to this court, far more than the land in dispute could ever be worth.”

The ‘land in dispute’ was just 2 metres, but the parties clearly lost all sense of proportion. Both parties’ solicitors must have warned them that an argument over a piece of land worth a few thousand pounds might cost tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs. How did this happen and why is it so common? 

Surfing the Web with Google Chrome

Google ChromeThese days surfing the Internet can put as much strain on your computer as playing the latest games or running bulky office or graphics applications. The increasing demands of online video, flash applications, fancy webmail and badly coded websites have created the need for web browsers to become far more efficient with resources and effective in managing errors and crashes.

There is one browser that really shines through in these areas: Google Chrome. Chrome is a relatively new browser released by Google in 2008. What separates Chrome from the competition (Internet Explorer and Firefox) is the way it handles errors and crashes. I won’t bore you with technical details save to say that it’s quite smart. If a web page crashes, hangs or leaks, Chrome will make sure that the problem doesn’t affect the overall performance of your computer. 

Not only does Chrome make sure your computer stays speedy while browsing the web, it also speeds up web browsing, makes searching a breeze and integrates completely with Google’s complete range of products. 

Not stopping there, Chrome offers some less obvious benefits that leave the competition in the dust:

Broadening Your Knowledge in the Current Climate

Attending training courses in the current climate may not seem a high priority, but the fact is, with an alarming number of positions being amalgamated due to redundancies, and job functions becoming more blurred by the increased pressure to absorb workload, the need for those able to progress quickly is critical, and thus the need for training is, perhaps, greater than ever. 

Focusing on your professional development will not only increase your skills and enhance your CV, it also demonstrates to management that you are ready, willing and able for career progression. 

Since its inception in 1983, Management Forum has built a reputation for delivering high-quality training and development for professionals in Europe. The company prides itself on excellent customer service from the point of registration through to your attendance on the day of the training. Unlike other training providers, the primary focus is on the quality of training along with your experience on the day. You can expect to be greeted with professionalism and warmth and to receive impeccable training. Attendance is usually limited at the sessions to enable each and every attendee to ask as many questions as needed.

Planning the Working Day

Do you ever do a to-do list and not achieve what’s on it? Does your to-do list just get longer and longer? Do you spend hours working out a to-do list and then not have any time to do the tasks on it? Or perhaps you’ve given up on using one altogether! Before you can plan and organise your working day, it is necessary to think of what is to be done and set up some simple drills to help you do it more effectively. So here are the top 10 tips for planning your working day.

Advance Your Career - Watch NALP's Film with an Address by Cherie Booth QC

If you are interested in advancing your career and becoming a Paralegal, watch the following film by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals.  It was shown at their awards ceremony in March and Cherie Booth QC speaks highly of their merits.

NALP offers accredited and recognised professional paralegal courses, and qualifications for a career in the field of law.  Their paralegal training courses are designed to match your level of experience and we recommend the Higher Certificate in Paralegal Studies if you would like to further your career.

The Higher Certificate in Paralegal Studies provides a broad foundation upon which your career can be built.  It is suitable if you have passed the Legal Secretaries Diploma course and our qualified Students are entitled to Affiliate Membership of the Association.

WWF’s One Planet Future Campaign

EarthIf everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we would need three planets to support us. Our planet is buckling under the weight of the demands we are making on it. Over-consumption is leading directly to climate change and species extinctions.

We are already spoiling some of the world’s richest forests, degrading soil and sources of fresh water faster than ever before. Most climate scientists agree that if we continue to live this way and allow global temperatures to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the risk of severe and irreversible changes in the Earth’s natural systems becomes increasingly likely.

Nobody gets up in the morning and decides to contribute to climate change, to help cut down a tropical rainforest or to deprive people in other parts of the world of a decent standard of living. But our apparently innocent daily decisions all too often have these invisible consequences. These are some of the hidden costs of ‘three-planet living’ for all of us in the UK.

WWF works for a world where everyone thrives within their fair share of the Earth’s resources while leaving space for wilderness and wildlife. Their One Planet Future Campaign aims to bring people together to make changes in our lives, moving us from a three-planet lifestyle closer to a one planet future.

Working Well as a Team

Working as a teamTeams are generally made up of all sorts of different types of people with different strengths and weaknesses. When the team works in balance, each member of the team feels encouraged to contribute his or her own strengths and capabilities to the team to support it, and the individual needs of each person (as opposed to things he or she might just want!) are respected. 

Whilst all individuals have similar emotional needs, for some people some of these needs rank higher than for others in the workplace. For others, various needs are met wholly or partly outside the workplace and so they are not so reliant on work to meet that need. If the respective needs in the work environment are not recognised and respected, the team is likely to become unstable.

Two of the main needs in this context are: