Contact Law blog

July 2011

Year-old law criminalising use of prostitutes criticised for low conviction rate

Section 53A of the Sexual Offence Act 2003 makes it an offence to use a prostitute who has been coerced into prostitution by someone else looking to make a gain. The section was included into the Act by the Policing and Crime Act of the same year in order to strop women being trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

However, it has only resulted in 43 convictions in the year since it became operational, with some areas of England and Wales failing to convict anyone of a s35A offence. (more…)

Supreme Court ruling confirms London as leading centre for international arbitration

A Supreme Court ruling has been widely welcomed by London’s dispute resolution experts as it ensures arbitration remains a distinct alternative to litigation by confirming the parties have a wide discretion to decide how the process will be conducted and, importantly, by whom.

The ruling, which overturned an earlier Court of Appeal decision, means the parties to arbitration can pick their arbitrator using whatever criteria they like, including ethnicity, religion or gender, without the fear of breaching the anti-discrimination laws. (more…)

Ofgem fines British Gas £2.5m over failures in customer service

The energy watchdog Ofgem has fined British Gas for the second time in a month over the way they handle complaints from their customers.

Ofgem found that the company had failed to re-open complaints from customers that had not been resolved. In addition, it found British Gas had not provided customers with the key information necessary to make a complaint to the Ombudsman. (more…)

Solicitors who failed sick miners face multi-million pound bill

A new court ruling means solicitors could be facing legal action from nearly 55,000 former coal miners, who are claiming that they failed to secure them adequate compensation for their health problems.

In 1999, the Labour government formed the coal health compensation scheme for two serious illnesses contracted by miners as a result of their work. Billions of pounds were paid out by the scheme; however, some miners still missed out on certain categories of compensation because of their solicitors’ allegednegligence. (more…)

Legal Ombudsman warns consumers ‘ripped off’ by unregulated will writers

The first annual report by the chief Legal Ombudsman, Adam Sampson, has revealed that a high number of consumers are calling his organisation to complain about the legal services they have received from non-regulated providers.

In particular, thousands of consumers have been “ripped off” by unregulated will writers, resulting in invalid wills and high costs for unprofessional services. (more…)

Millionairess sues daughter for control of £3m house

Property millionaires Diana Lindsay, 85, is suing her daughter for the £3m home she brought for her in 1991 because she fears her daughter’s new husband will attempt gain control of the property.

The High Court in London warned both the women that “irreparable damage” may be caused to their relationship if the hearing continues. (more…)

Councils to use fast-track scheme to boost adoption

Two local authorities are to implement ‘concurrent planning’ in a bid to boost their adoption numbers and decrease the number of children left in care for long periods of time.

The plans to incorporate the scheme at Cambridge County Council and Kent County Council were announced at the launch of a new report on adoption by former chief executive of Barnardo’s Martin Neary, compiled at the request of The Times. (more…)

Court allows woman to challenge ‘racist’ stop-and-search powers

The High Court has granted Ann Roberts, 37, permission to challenge the controversial section 60 power that allows police to stop and search people.

The power has been called ‘racist’ as statistical evidence shows that a vast majority of people who are stopped and searched by police are of African-Caribbean descent. (more…)

National Grid sues for access to Europe-wide cartel’s secret documents

The High Court in London has to rule on whether National Grid can have access to confidential documents that were made by companies involved in a Europe-wide engineering cartel, which the company is accusing of costing it £235m in business.

The illegal engineering cartel ran from 1988 to 2004, and the companies involved were fined £675m by the European Competition Commission. (more…)

Post Office: unfair treatment of postmasters due to fault in Horizon software

Two months after I started working as a case handler at Contact Law I was approached by a client over the phone. The client was a sub-postmaster at her village Post Office. She had been audited that morning and found that her Post Office had a loss to the value of £7,000. The client had found this loss when doing her daily accounts a week earlier and asked the Post Office auditors to assist her and investigate the matter to locate the loss and rectify the accounts. (More…)

Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone: