March 2012

Give Your Life a Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air, and many people start to think about spring cleaning their homes at this time of year. But what about our lives? We can bring positive energy into our lives by eradicating negative areas and old habits.

Much like your home, your mind gets cluttered and needs care. It can get overloaded with old attitudes, old emotions and old memories, and it needs a good clean out of the stuff that you have collected and are holding on to out of habit or neglect. If you let these things go and free up some room for a positive mindset and new, exciting challenges, you can gain a flexible, simple and happier lifestyle.

Help Yourself, Help Others?

We have previously reported on how the changes to legal aid and civil costs were likely to mean more people would have to act on their own behalf as litigants in person (“Going it Alone,” October 2011). The full extent of the reforms remains uncertain as the Government’s Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill remains stalled in the House of Lords. Despite the uncertainty, organisations are continuing to ready themselves for substantial change.

The Changing World of Media Distribution and Copyright Law

The past few months have seen a few hastily written copyright protection laws being drafted, nearly passed and then abandoned after massive public outcry in both Europe and the USA. These bills were SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) in the USA and ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) in Europe. SOPA and PIPA have effectively been abandoned, and ACTA has been put on the back burner while European lawmakers review it to make sure it is constitutional and does not violate any fundamental human rights.

The Decriminalisation of Possession of Drugs

When it comes to the subject of illegal drugs in this country, it would appear that we all have a strong opinion to air on the matter. We are all filled with fear over the prospect of a child or other family member becoming embroiled in a drug-dependent lifestyle and therefore fully recognise why there are criminal sanctions in place to control things. However, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) fervently believe that prosecuting people who are found in possession of drugs is not the right way forward in this country, and they even recently furnished the Government with such a recommendation for decriminalisation.

The European Court of Human Rights and the UK

If you ask any politician for their opinion on the effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights, you are likely to see eyebrows rise and hear air being sucked over the teeth – the fact is that this international court is definitely not popular in the UK at the moment! Most main political parties are agreed that the European Court of Human Rights is actually proving to be detrimental to the security of the British public, and it seems apparent that our commitment to such international law needs to be considered very seriously in the future.

The STOP Exercise to Enhance Focus and Informed Choice

The STOP ExcercisePaying attention is the window to all of our experiences every day of our lives. Where and how we place our focus of attention (or where and how we allow other things to grab our attention) determine the quality of our lives, and our relationships with ourselves, others and what the world has to offer. What we know of ourselves, how we feel physically and emotionally, and our ability to make informed choices are all influenced by both how we focus attention and the quality of that attention.

Cutting the Red Tape – How to Sew a Legal Document

The term ‘cutting the red tape’ is believed to have derived from the works of Charles Dickens; an international campaign in February marked the bicentenary of the writer’s birth.

The expression relates to avoiding bureaucratic barriers to fulfilling an objective and is often applied to government, corporations or other large organisations. It also refers to tape that is in fact now pink in colour (originally the red faded to pink over time, and therefore, probably to save money, it was later manufactured in pink!) which is used to tie up bundles of official papers. Pink tape is still in use today in legal circles. Such tape is strong, cotton-like material which has been dyed.