Contact Law blog

January 2012

Leveson inquiry considers alternative regulations for social media

Lord Justice Leveson has indicated that different forms of regulation might be needed for online social media sites and online newspapers. Leveson is the Chairman of the Leveson Inquiry, which is charged with investigating current media practices and culture.

Leveson highlighted that there is a difference between general gossip conversations and news-related storied. (more…)

Lord Chief Justice recognises crime-of-passion defence to murder

A man who was convicted of having murdered his wife is to get a retrial as the trial judge was wrong not to take into account his wife’s extramarital affairs, according to the Lord Chief Justice.

The law previously provided a defence for so-called ‘passion crimes’, through the common law defence of provocation. However, the Coroner and Justice Act 2009 abolished this defence and replaced it with the partial defence of “loss of control”. (more…)

Overall decrease in crime for England and Wales

New numbers indicate that crime has overall declined in England and Wales between September 2010 and September 2011. During the twelve months, crime decreased by 4%. However, there was an 11% increase in personal crime which for example includes robberies and bag snatches.

According to researchers, the summer riots did not impact the data considerably. Certain areas of the country saw a higher increase in offences than others. (more…)

Website-hosting university student faces extradition to the US

An English university student is facing extradition to the US after he hosted a site where users were linked to other websites with copyright-protected material. Richard O’Dwyer set up the site TVShack which, according to US authorities, hosted links to pirated films and television programmes.

The university student’s legal representative, Ben Cooper, argued against extradition and insisted that his client’s website had not stored any copyright-protected material itself but merely linked users to external sites. As such, Cooper argued that his client’s site operated in a similar way to Google. (more…)

NHS faces increased number of medical negligence claims

The increased use of no-win, no-fee solicitors has meant that a growing number of NHS patients have brought medical negligence claims against medical practitioners. The increase has been so sharp that the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has decided to give the NHS Litigation Authority access to significantly more financial resources in order for it to be able to pay out compensation.

According to the Times, “In the past five years the number of claims for clinical negligence have risen from 5,697 to 8,655 a year”. NHS managers and the Ministry of Justice attributes this trend to the increased use of no-win, no-fee solicitors and the fact that many patients are encouraged to sue for medical negligence. (more…)

NHS Trust convicted of racial discrimination

An employment tribunal has ruled in favour of a former senior manager at an NHS hospital who claimed he was subjected to racial discrimination. Elliot Browne has been awarded close to £1 million in compensation for the treatment that he suffered. The amount is amongst the highest to ever be awarded to a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace.

Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has denied that the former employee was subjected to discrimination. However, the tribunal found that Browne had been treated differently because of being a black male, rather than white, once the division he managed ran into financial difficulties. (more…)

Family law solicitors say legal aid cuts can destroy children’s relationship with parents

Hundreds of solicitors are concerned that many children will lose contact with their fathers as a result of the Government’s controversial legal aid cuts.

A big group of family law solicitors say that only a small proportion of their current custody cases would qualify for legal aid under the new regime. The Government is proposing scrapping legal aid for private family law cases unless there is violence present. (more…)

Celebrity chef caught pilfering on Tesco surveillance cameras

The TV-star and celebrity-chef Antony Worrall Thompson has been caught shoplifting items from a Tesco supermarket. According to a statement released on the celebrity cook’s website, “I am not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason — what went through my head, only time will tell”.

Worrall Thompson was caught in action by the supermarket’s cameras and was found to have shoplifted on five different occasions over the course of 16 days. He apparently used the self-service checkouts where he sneaked some items into bags, without paying for them. (more…)

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