Contact Law blog

June 2012

BBC presenter guilty of benefit fraud

The Telegraph has today reported that Dan Penteado, a presenter on the BBC’s Rogue Traders programme, has pleaded guilty to more than £24,000 of housing-benefit and council-tax fraud.

Penteado admitted to eight charges of dishonestly or knowingly taking benefits while not declaring his income from the BBC.

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Creative writing lecturer accused of plagiarism

The Times has today reported that Joanne Benford, an Associate Lecturer in creative writing for the Open University, is being investigated for plagiarism.

The allegations were brought forward by fellow author Alex Keegan when he discovered that a short story he published in 1990, called ‘Postcards From Balloonland’, appeared in an anthology called ‘Coming Up For Air’ in 1995.

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Sick workers can retake annual leave

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that workers who become sick while on annual leave are entitled to take that leave at a later date, according to the BBC.

All EU countries are bound by the ruling and the UK is unable to opt-out.

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Celebrities caught out dodging tax

Several news organisations are today reporting that a tax avoidance scheme, used by more than a thousand British people including comedian Jimmy Carr, is being investigated by HM Revenue & Customs.

The Jersey-based K2 scheme is reported to be protecting £168 million every year from HMRC.

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Former lap dancer wins right to be first to sue for unfair dismissal

This April, Nadine Quashie from Greenford, West London, a former lap dancer at the Stringfellows nightclub in Covent Garden became the first such worker to win the right to sue for unfair dismissal.

In 2008, Quashie was sacked by the nightclub and accused of dealing in illegal drugs. She contested the accusation. However, in 2010 she was refused permission to bring a case by the Central London Employment Tribunal because she was judged to be self-employed. (more…)

Will the Government’s intentions of equal parental access really benefit children?

The Government is intending to push through new legislation that would impose a duty on courts to ensure that separated parents have access to any joint children. The idea is that this would ensure that non-residing parents will have more time with their children.

Whitehall says that enshrining this principle in law will weaken the bias in favour of mothers. Currently, the majority of children whose parents are not living together reside with their mothers. (more…)

Government measures: helping employees to leave, or helping employers to get rid of employees?

The Government has repeatedly stressed that it wants to reform employment law. One of the aims of the reforms is to enable employers to have frank discussions with their employees about their individual performance.

At the moment many employers apparently struggle to have open conversations with their workers, particularly when there are issues concerning employees’ low performance. Employers often fear that these conversations could be used against them in any future unfair dismissal claim. (more…)

Landmark ruling in High Court against cyber-bullying on Facebook

Last month, Nicola Brookes, from Brighton, was granted a High Court Order that will force Facebook to reveal details of several of its members who are accused of being, by popular designation, ‘internet trolls’ or cyber-bullies.

Newspapers, including the Independent and the Guardian, report that Brookes alleged she had been bullied anonymously on-line by the Facebook members, after she posted a comment supporting an evicted ‘X-Factor’ contestant, Frankie Cocozza, last year. (more…)

Met police take tough stance on brothels ahead of Olympics

The Guardian reports that a campaign group, Stop the Arrests, is protesting about the way the Metropolitan police are ‘cleaning up’ brothels in five London boroughs ahead of the Olympics. The Boroughs are Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

Stop the Arrests has attracted backing from some local celebrities and politicians, such as Brooke Magnanti, the author of Belle Du Jour, a novelisation of the memoirs of a call-girl; Labour MP John McDonnell and Jenny Jones, the Green party chairperson.

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Most drunk female driver ever in UK spared jail sentence

Tracey Chambers, a 35-year-old Northamptonshire mother, was arrested in April this year after a roadside breathalyser test. The test, administered by police, showed she was nearly five and a half times over the legal alcohol limit which is the highest recorded level for a British female motorist.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the test reading showed 188 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath. As a consequence, Chambers was arrested and taken to the local police station. (more…)

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