Contact Law blog

Tara Doyle

Are Free Schools regulated sufficiently?

A recent development

The Information Tribunal has rejected an attempt by the Department for Education (DfE) to withhold information, concerning the identity of groups who have proposed to open so-called ‘free schools’ in England, as reported by BBC News.

The Information, including the names, location and religious affiliation of such groups, was requested in an attempt to highlight an alleged lack of transparency inherent in the system of proposing and setting up a free school.

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The word ‘insulting’ to be removed from Public Order Act

Yesterday, Teresa May, the Home Secretary, confirmed the Government would not seek to overturn an amendment supported by peers in the House of Lords in December 2012, regarding the removal of the word ‘insulting’ from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Section 5 states that: “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” could be deemed a criminal offence. The amendment to the Act was proposed last year by the former chief Constable of the West Midlands, Lord Dear, as part of the Crime and Courts Bill.#

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‘Unreasonable’ council fines for household-waste offences to be scrapped by Government

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, spoke on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show this week-end. He vowed the Government will introduce legislation, in the next session of Parliament, to stop local councils fining residents for a range of infractions in putting out their rubbish for collection.

For example, according to the Telegraph, Pickles says that it is ‘ludicrous’ fines can be issued for trivial matters such as over-filling wheelie-bins, putting yoghurt pots into the wrong recycling container, and leaving bins out too long after collections.

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Care Quality Commission warning on NHS staffing levels

A story by the Telegraph published on Sunday reveals that, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), 26 NHS Healthcare Providers do not have enough staff ‘to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs’, which is the required standard of care for all parts of the health service.

The list of Healthcare Providers, situated throughout England, was compiled from the latest CQC inspections carried out as recently as November; it was obtained and made public by the Labour party.

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What is the status of sharia law in the UK?

A recent news story about the exercise of criminal law in Saudi Arabia has generated widespread consternation in the UK. This reaction may, in part, reflect unease about the influence of Muslim rulings in this country, given the recent debate on the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill in the House of Lords, led by Baroness Cox.

The incident was reported by the Daily Mail and concerns the beheading by sword of a Sri Lankan national, Rizana Nafeek, despite claims that she was only 17 years old in 2005 when the alleged crime was committed. Nafeek was executed this Wednesday for causing the death of a four-month-old baby in her care, while working as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia.

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Texting driver jailed over car collision death

It seems the message that texting on a mobile phone while driving is extremely dangerous, as well as illegal, has not yet reached all car drivers.

With regard to this unsafe practice, a 29-year-old woman, Susan Noble from Armthorpe near Doncaster, was given a jail sentence at Teesside Crown Court on Monday. At an earlier hearing she had pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of 25-year-old Alexandru Braninski, in December 2011.

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Prince Charles worried about changes to succession law

It appears an outmoded British law is to be dealt with, under the direction of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. However, the Daily Mail reports Prince Charles has some misgivings about the changes, which concern the inheritance of the throne.

The basis for succession law rests on constitutional developments surrounding the abdication of the last Roman Catholic monarch of the British Isles, James II, encouraged by the Protestant Parliament. These events culminated in the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701, so it may be high time for some movement on the issue.

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Millionaire receives jail term for hiding money in divorce case

A claim for contempt of court at the Chancery division of the High Court in Birmingham in November has resulted in a jail term of two years being handed out to an ex-boss of the Ford plant at Dagenham. This is the longest sentence of its kind, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

David Thursfield, 67, had been the subject of a previous High Court freezing order in 2011, after a claim brought by his ex-wife, to stop him disposing of money and property she claimed he had hidden during their divorce. Although he had a string of high-profile, highly-paid jobs, Thursfield claims he is now ‘penniless’.

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Government to re-visit perennial problem of care costs for the elderly?

Norman Lamb, the Coalition Health Minister, has called for the issue of how to fund care for the elderly to be addressed urgently by the Government. In an interview with the Daily Mail this week, Lamb said that legislation must be brought in to address the principal of capping care costs.

The cap was a key recommendation of the Government-appointed Dilnot Commission, charged with making recommendations on how long-term care for the elderly should be funded in the future. The report, published in July this year, advised that the cap, after which the state would fund care, should be set at between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 as the most reasonable figure.

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Car insurance set to rise due to changing personal injury pay-outs

The Telegraph reports that drivers could see their car insurance rates rise sharply in the near future, due to an increase in insurers’ costs. The increase has been fuelled by larger pay-outs from the courts for people who receive life-changing injuries in car accidents.

Instead of just one large payment for injuries such as paralysis, courts have started awarding more Periodic Payment Orders (PPOs). PPOs are considered helpful when assessing future care needs.

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