Contact Law blog

February 2012

New Blog series – ‘How to get back to work’

Many visitors come to the blog looking for employment law advice. In the current straining financial climate numerous employees are concerned that their job is in jeopardy and that their skills are out-of-date.

If you have been dismissed and your employer followed all the right procedures then the next crucial step will be to get yourself back on the job market. (more…)

HSBC pays large bonus to chief executive, despite poor performance

Large bonuses paid to executives of loss-making banks are headline news in the UK. The public is up in arms because banks are seen as the most blameworthy institutions in the current financial crisis, while the press regularly reports that banking executives are ‘paying themselves’ large bonuses, despite banking job cuts and a continuing decline in profits.

This week, it is the turn of HSBC to brave public opprobrium, with chief executive Stuart Gulliver pocketing £7.2 million in basic pay and bonuses. However, his bonuses (potentially totalling up to 100% of his salary) were capped at 50% by the HSBC board pay committee, since the bank failed to meet several of its yearly targets, such as return on equity, cost efficiency and compliance. (more…)

Charity raises awareness of male rape

Amid Government figures indicating an increase in the number of men being victims of rape, a charity has for the first time launched an advertising campaign to increase awareness of the issue. The campaign involves adverts which feature on the London underground as the Six Nations rugby tournament is taking place.

The adverts show a picture of a rugby ball with a nail entering it. The image is accompanied by text stating, “Real men get raped and talking about it takes real strength”. The charity launching the campaign, Survivors UK, seeks to help and advise male victims of rape. (more…)

Family law arbitration drive launched in UK

This week saw the launch of family law arbitration in England and Wales following a drive by the Government to attempt to resolve more divorce cases through alternative dispute resolution. It is hoped that the move will result in faster and more amicable settlements in divorce cases, and will ease the burden on overworked family law courts.

The new scheme will be run by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, which is a joint venture partnership between family lawyer groups and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

(more…)

Human rights committee urges abolishment of surgical castration for sex offenders in Europe

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is urging Germany and the Czech Republic to abolish surgical castration of sex offenders as the practice might be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The countries are the only two in Europe which still occasionally resort to such practices.

According to the German Government the procedure is not considered to be a punishment but a form of treatment as it provides “suffering tied to an abnormal sex drive…to be cured or at least alleviated”. (more…)

Home Office guilty of classifying asylum-seeking children as adults

At the end of last week it was revealed that a group legal action against the Home Office, brought by 40 child-asylum seekers who had wrongly been detained as adults, resulted in a legal bill of £2m for the Office.

The cases were troubling as the children had been deemed to be underaged by social services, but when they arrived at a Home Office screening unit officers ignored the social services’ assessment and were adamant that the youngsters could not be classified as children. (more…)

Youth offenders’ incarceration “seldom serves their rehabilitation needs”

Research by the charity User Voice shows that incarceration, which offers few rehabilitation opportunities, may deteriorate young offenders’ wellbeing. According to the charity many youth offenders come from a turbulent background and have suffered abuse, experienced significant bereavement or had contact with mental health services.

Reoffending rates amongst young offenders are high, with around 70% reoffending within a year after release and, according to the charity, few youth offenders’ institutions offer rehabilitation targeted at preparing the youths for life outside the institution. (more…)

Hundreds of Britons victims of online romance scams

Vicky Fowkes, 59, is one of many women who have been the victim of an online romance scam. She was tricked by a Nigerian conman, who claimed to be a British man in his fifties temporarily working in Nigeria.

Fowkes had started using online dating websites after her divorce and came into contact with the man in the spring of 2010. Fowkes believed that the man she was communicating with was a British man who grew up in South Africa, named John Hawkins, who had his own business and was due to return to Britain in the near future. (more…)

Barrister resigns after private meeting with victim

It has transpired that a barrister had to resign after he obstructed a trial by arranging a private meeting with the concerned victim. Prosecuting barrister David Jones met Dana Baker, a vulnerable victim of rape, at his home for over two hours.

No record was kept of the meeting and neither the police nor the CPS were notified that it was taking place. The defence team of the rapist, Jaspal Riat, unsuccessfully tried to have the case dismissed, alleging that there had been an abuse of process. (more…)

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