Hylton-Potts Law Blog

Legal Issues and Opinions affecting people from across the UK

Custody of Pets

When a husband loses a wife, he tends to say “I will fight to see my kids”, often asking for more than he really wants explains leading London Divorce lawyer Rodney Hylton-Potts. The same applies to pets. Each couple seems to assume that the family pet is theirs. The ladies tend to go for the horses and cats, and the men for the dogs. There are cases where couples have argued for shared residence i.e. the pet spending half the time with each, rather like contact with children. Levels of pain and stress can be high. It is not so

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They Got Away With Rape

Reviews argue that rape convictions are too low. There is a rush to tighten up the laws, to make it easier to convict. Do you think this is right? A criminal conviction must be founded on hard cogent evidence, proved by the Prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a cornerstone of English law and our freedom. Convictions for rape run at 34% compared with 61% for other violent crime. This is no excuse for making it easier to convict the accused. There is enormous sympathy for women in this situation, but men have rights too and miscarriages of justice

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Disclosure to the tax man

In the United Kingdom and the United States, the current fashionable trend, in the credit crunch, is for the tax man to offer amnesty – Typically reveal your offshore accounts and only pay a 10% fixed penalty. As so often the devil is in the detail. and the small print. A 10% fixed penalty is attractive, but the decision is not one to be taken lightly or quickly. Think: 1. Is everything you are disclosing complete and accurate? 2. Does it include all offshore assets, and all unpaid taxes and duties over the last 20 years, on or offshore? 3.

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A Law Unto Themselves

You have a car accident. You engage a solicitor or lawyer to help you claim compensation. The other driver’s insurance company contacts you direct to tell you that they can give you a much quicker settlement, without solicitors or lawyers. There is no need for a lawyer because the level of compensation is ‘well established’. You fall for it and end up getting a very raw deal. This is a disgraceful practice which the Financial Services Authority should stamp on. In the meantime be wary! Insurance companies like this, do not contact you for the good of your health.

Are judges paid too much, or not enough?

This is what they earn; District judges in the county courts and magistrates court-£102,921 pa. Circuit judges in England and Wales- £128,296, High Court judges, who now earn just over £172,000. So should they suffer the pain with the rest of us, or be exempt because without a pay rise they will leave the bench, to go into private practice, dramatically lowering the standard of judges, which has grave consequences. What do you think- Are judges paid too much, or not enough? Vote or comment below

Human Rights and Terrorists

Days of Parliamentary time has been taken up, agonising over whether the detention time, after arrest, should be raised from 28 to 42 days. Compared with the issue of intercepts, that is a side show. The Security Services and Prosecution authorities, are very keen to use intercepts and without their use Hussain, Ali and Sarwar, might have escaped their September 2009, conviction for a conspiracy to blow up 7 airliners over the Atlantic using home-made liquid bombs. Their conviction, however, may well be set aside because the Prosecution broke the law in obtaining the intercepts. Trying to get round the

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Restraining Orders – A change in the Law

Solicitors have welcomed a change in the law which will allow the criminal courts, to make restraining orders against the perpetrators of domestic violence, whether they have been convicted of an offence involving violence or not. Criminal courts have until now only been able to make an order after a conviction for harassment or putting someone in fear of violence. Following implementation of section 12 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, orders can be made following a conviction for any offence where the court believes it is necessary to protect people from harassment or conduct that are

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Employees and Disciplinary Hearings

A standard employment contract says that an employee can be accompanied to a Disciplinary Hearing by a colleague from work or Trade Union official, but not a lawyer. Employers should now be very wary of implementing this, and refusing legal representation, especially where a career is at stake. Doctors who are members of the Medical Protection Society (their Defence Union) may send a legal representative to the hearing, however, therefore it must apply to all doctors. Any employee faced with disciplinary proceedings should ask for legal representation. At present employers may well refuse, which could stand the employee in very

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

The Supreme Court has taken over from the House of Lords American style. There are some unintended consequences. In the House of Lords the Lords used to meet all sorts of people, MPs, Peers, staff the public as they walked around. They were crammed into a single narrow corridor, and used to drop in for a chat and to compare opinions (literally). In the new building they are dispersed around four corners on two floors, so a positive effort has to be made to see anybody, or run into them. It is small details like this that have quite dramatic

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Has the BBC lost the plot….

The BBC intends to recruit a female newsreader over 50. They want to replace Moira Stewart and Anna Ford, and criticism that they were opting for pretty young newscasters. The BBC cannot do this. It breaks age legislation and sex discrimination. They have really shot themselves in the foot. If they now hire a lady over 50 having offered the job to both sexes without regard to age, they will certainly be taken to a tribunal by unsuccessful applicants, who will win a claim against them. This may result in the opposite effect that they intend i.e. that newsreaders in

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