The Right to Remain Silent

The Right to Remain SilentBefore the mid-nineties, when suspects were being questioned by the police in relation to an offence, they had a definite right to remain silent. However, this was changed somewhat with the introduction of s.34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Although this statutory provision does not usurp this right altogether, it does set out some fundamental criteria that can be relied upon by a magistrate or jury when they may feel that a defendant should have been more cooperative at the time of the police interview. As a consequence, they can then go on to draw adverse inferences from this silence.

Living with Integrity

Living with IntegrityWhat’s the key to living an authentic life that honours your most important priorities? Living with integrity.

Integrity is a good foundation on which to build our lives. Living with integrity means honouring the morals and standards that we set for ourselves. For example, if you have a standard that says ‘I always tell the truth’, then you should be honest with your boss when he or she asks you to take on extra work when you do not think you’ll have the time to do it. Or if you have to tell clients when there will be a delay in the work that your firm is doing for them, then instead of making up an excuse, you should tell the truth.

How New Laws Are Made

How are new laws made?New laws are needed all the time to reflect the changes in social conventions and what society considers acceptable. The activities or choices of people that may have been intolerable to others 50 years ago may now be widely acceptable, and laws need to evolve to accommodate the changes in society.

Old laws can become outdated and need to be reformed. The Government may bring in new laws in line with its policies, and sometimes new laws need to be made in order to act in accordance with international or European law.

Holiday Accrual During Sick Leave May Have a Devastating Financial Impact

A recent decision by the House of Lords to overturn an earlier Court of Appeal ruling on holiday accrual during sick leave has left the business world and employment law solicitors wincing. On appeal, Keith Ainsworth won his case for the entitlement to holiday pay while he was on sick leave from his employment with HM Revenue and Customs.

Since this ruling was made by the Law lords on 10 June 2009 many people have voiced very strong opinions over the possible consequences. The primary concern would appear to be that the potential financial implications involved here could be the final nail in the coffin for some already struggling employers.

Clear the Paper Clutter

Clear up paper clutterIf you don’t hot-desk or have a clear-desk policy that works, the chances are your desk can sometimes (maybe frequently!) look like a bomb has hit it. So, before you lose another piece of paper or spend far too long looking for something that’s probably not there, here are the top ten tips to help you clear the paper clutter:

1. Sort your paper into four piles: Action, Read/Pass On, Filing and Junk. The last one is easy to deal with: ask yourself whether it would matter if you lost it. If not, why are you keeping it? If there isn’t a very good business reason to do so, or if you can get another copy easily, then bin it.

Thank You to the London Evening Class of May 2009

London Evening ClassMany thanks for the fantastic surprise on my birthday. The huge chocolate cake was a wonderful treat on the night. I also enjoyed reading my hand made “signed, sealed and delivered” birthday card.

It was a pleasure to teach such an enthusiastic and motivated group. The extra bonus is that you were all blessed with such a good sense of humour and curiosity, which will stand you in very good stead with your future careers. 

Best wishes

Seamus Ryan, Tutor

 London Evening Class

Useful Technology for VAs

TechnologyWorking from home as a Virtual Legal Assistant is a great way to freelance and find freedom in the way you work. As recently as ten years ago this sort of remote working, although not unheard of, was not really as practical as it is today. The technology just wasn’t affordable, and the legal world has been noted to be quite cautious when it comes to new technologies.

In these changing times, however, it is becoming more common for all kinds of administration tasks to be outsourced to remote workers. Budget constraints, changing attitudes and cheaper technology are leading more organisations to seek out third-party secretarial services.

Use Your Legal Secretary/PA Experience and Become a Virtual Assistant

Legal Virtual AssistantIn today’s working environment of never-ending advances in technology and the slow-burning fire of crucial green issues, more and more people and companies are looking to the alternatives, from working from home and remote working from the office to using independent workers or contractors to outsource work.

Outsourcing is not a particularly new phenomenon, but it is one that has taken hold in the modern business world and one that is growing rapidly, egged on by continual technological developments.  One positive side effect is the emergence of the virtual assistant (VA) industry.

What is a VA?

The UK Constitution: Time for a Change?

It is fair to say that there is a lot of disillusionment with our Parliament and with certain aspects of the UK constitution at the moment. There are many who feel that our system is weak, and that this has been proven over recent months as so many elected representatives to our Parliament have used their position for their own financial gain and, in some circumstances, to help out members of their own families.

One thing is clear and that is the fact that UK citizens have clearly had enough! Nothing could have demonstrated this any more plainly than the shocking results that emerged from the European Parliamentary elections. Not only was Labour relegated to third place, in terms of the number of votes received, but also clear and, in some cases, extreme opinions were communicated by way of the parties who won seats to the new EU Parliament.

The Frustration of Living With Anti-Social Behaviour: What Can Be Done?

Anti Social BehaviourAnti-social behaviour appears to be a menace that is on the increase in today’s society. Of course, such problems have always existed to a certain extent, but there is a definite statistical rise in the number of incidents reported, and both police forces and local authorities are having to find additional resources to deal with such matters.

Anti-social behaviour may come in many guises, ranging from blatant criminal damage and harassment to noise problems coming from neighbours.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 attempted to address this phenomenon by way of the introduction of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (or ASBOs). These may be obtained through Magistrates’ courts, even though in actual fact they are civil law remedies. Where a person breaches an ASBO, this will then become a criminal matter.