Ten Years of Civil Justice

Civil JusticeA review of the success and failings of Lord Woolf’s reforms

This year we mark the tenth anniversary of the Civil Procedural Rules (CPR). Before the new rules were introduced, civil litigation was seen as too slow, expensive, uncertain and adversarial. The implementation of the CPR was the result of Woolf’s famous “Access to Justice” report, commissioned in 1994. The name of the report speaks volumes and supports the view that the old rules of civil litigation were not delivering justice. So ten years on, have things changed for the better?

The rise and rise of litigation?

The Distinguished Profession

The word ‘Secretary’ is derived from the Latin word secrenere meaning "to distinguish" or "to set apart" and the passive participle (secretum) meaning "having been set apart," with the eventual connotation of something private or confidential. Therefore, a Secretarius was a person overseeing business confidentially, usually for a powerful individual (a King, Pope, etc).

The Homicide Act 2012?

As the law stands at the moment, the act of murder means that a killer can literally get away with murder. With so many statutes, rules and policies in relation to murder, manslaughter and infanticide for example, it is not unusual to find an imbalance in the British justice system. The majority of the public are currently disheartened with the laws that rule our land in terms of criminals who intentionally set out to kill another human being. Many of us lack faith in the system and feel that sentences for murder or manslaughter are too lenient. We have no confidence in the judicial system, and this is partly due to the complicated nature of this beast.

The Equality Bill: Not Before Time

The struggle for equality is something that women have faced throughout the centuries. In the early 20th century, for example, the suffragettes undertook the task of protesting in order that the British Government would give women the right to vote. Some feminists even burned their bras in protest during the 1960s in a bid to end repression and to gain the same rights that men have had through the centuries. Equality is a battle that is still ongoing for women, in particular in the case of equal pay and employment opportunities.

Managing Stress and Anxiety at Work

We all need stress and anxiety to keep us motivated, energised and alert. Too much, however, can derail us at the times when we most need to have our wits about us and to stay sufficiently calm to deal with the matter at hand.

How is stress caused?

Stress is a natural response to a stimulus either in the environment or in our imagination. In the environment, it signals something which needs addressing, whether it is too much pressure, difficult people, criticism or something else. There may also be things at home or in our social life which are causing stress. We have strong powers of imagination as well. These, when misused to forecast negative outcomes or to produce negative explanations, will cause stress – our minds and bodies respond to stress in the same way whether the stimulus is real or imagined.

Inheritance or No Inheritance?

rule chaneAn update on the long-overdue review of the Intestacy Rules

On 29 October 2009 the Law Commission published a consultancy paper reviewing the law of intestacy. The report is the first step to the proposals being formed into a new Bill and then perhaps an Act of Parliament.

A change to the intestacy law is long overdue, as the rules are substantially the same as they were in 1925. Society, of course, had moved on a great deal over that time, both in terms of our finances (we are much wealthier as individuals) and our social structures (people often co-habit rather than marry). Under the existing rules many people do not really understand what will happen to their estate where there is no will. People believe that everything automatically goes to their spouse or partner, but that is not necessarily the case.

Two of the main problems with the existing rules are:

Still Room for More Paralegals, Says NALP

NALPLaw students have been urged to consider a career as a paralegal in the wake of a campaign to warn them to think twice when considering qualifying as a solicitor.

The paralegal profession is still growing despite the recession, providing job opportunities for graduates, Amanda Hamilton, the chief executive of The National Association of Licensed Paralegals, said “Students can qualify as a paralegal. There is still room for them in the jobs market. They do not need a training contract and it costs them less money.”

Her advice follows the launch of the Law Society’s campaign to warn of the risks in terms of time and cost that the decision to become a solicitor carries with it.

What Next for the Lisbon Treaty?

Lisbon TreatyWe’ve been hearing about an official constitution for Europe for many years now. In fact, at one time Tony Blair promised the country a referendum on it when he was Prime Minister back in 2004; but when both France and the Netherlands voted against it, the national vote was cancelled.

Ever since then, the Labour Government has not made any renewed efforts to allow the country to vote on an issue that is potentially more important to the UK than most other EU states. It all boils down to the fact that the UK does not have an official written constitution at present. If and when the Lisbon Treaty does come into force, this will mean yet another element to add to the already confusing constitution of this country.

What Will the Lisbon Treaty Mean?