Law Management Blog

Just another Blog for Lawyers

Posts Tagged ‘UK Law

Solicitor sues colleague over sexual harassment claim

leave a comment »

A married solicitor who is employed by Anglian Water and who was cleared of sexually harassing a female colleague is now suing her for libel claiming that the false allegations have damaged his personal and professional reputation.

Paul Loughran, 50, has been employed by Anglian Water for eight years as a litigation solicitor and is responsible for minimising legal risk to the company. He appointed Kerrie Edge, 29, as a paralegal in March 2009. Miss Edge had previously worked in the customer services department of the company.

In April last year she took time off work and provided a doctor’s note stating that she was suffering from stress. She remained off work until September when she resigned. Mr Loughran claims that Miss Edge took the time off to avoid a performance improvement plan and a misconduct investigation.

Mr Loughran discovered in August that she had made an allegation to the company that she had been sexually harassed by him. The claim was investigated by Anglian Water who went on to clear Mr Loughran.

He is now alleging slander and libel and claiming damages of £1,000.

Mr Loughran told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m not very happy about it, to say the least,”
“You can’t go around saying things like this. Miss Edge is attractive to some people, but not to me, and what she said simply was not true.

“I asked her to stop repeating the allegations and I even wrote to her asking for an apology, but none was forthcoming.”

When asked about the case Miss Edge said: “I have nothing to say about it at the moment. I do not work there anymore.”

Advertisements

Written by Andrew Hodges

April 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

New privacy policy implemented by Google despite EU warning

leave a comment »

Google, the internet company, has pressed on with its new privacy policy even though it has been warned by the EU that it contravenes European law.

The new policy will allow Google to share information collected on one service such as the Google search engine with others such as YouTube, Gmail and Blogger. Google have claimed that the changes will enable it to better tailor searches.

There has been, concerns, particularly in France that the new regime will breach European laws and a Europe-wide investigation has been launched. The CNIL which is France’s privacy watchdog has written to Google calling for a “pause” in the implementation of the new policy. They stated that: “The CNIL and EU data authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of personal data across services,”

The regulator added: “They have strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing, and its compliance with European data protection legislation.”

Peter Fleisher, Google’s global privacy counsel responded by saying that he was happy to answer any concerns raised by CNIL. Writing in a blog Mr Fleischer stated: “As we’ve said several times over the past week, while our privacy policies will change on 1st March, our commitment to our privacy principles is as strong as ever,”

In the UK, campaign group Big Brother Watch have conducted a poll of more than 2,000 people which suggested that 47% of Google users in the UK were not aware of the policy changes and only 12% of users had read the new agreement. They have argued that more should be done to inform users of the changes.

Written by Andrew Hodges

April 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

Legal Aid preserved for claims in respect of brain-damaged babies and cases of domestic violence

leave a comment »

The Government has announced a concession to the controversial and sweeping legal aid reforms proposed under the Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The Ministry of Justice has announced that claims for children who suffered brain damage at birth and those claiming in respect of domestic violence will still be entitled to financial support. The announcement comes as the Bill is headed for a vote in the House of Lords next week.

The Ministry said “The government is committed to supporting victims of domestic violence. We have laid an amendment to the legal aid bill which will put it beyond doubt that those who have suffered physical, psychological or financial domestic abuse will continue to receive a legal aid to help them to resolve any separation disputes over property or child contact.”

It went on “We also agree that clinical negligence claims in obstetrics cases which result in severe disability must receive legal aid. We have therefore brought forward an amendment which will make this clear in law. A safety net will continue to exist for other more serious and complex clinical negligence cases where there is a human rights issue.”

The Bill aims to remove many areas of public funding in the form of legal aid, instead pushing forward the alternative conditional fee agreement, which is commonly referred to as a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement. The concessions generally appear to have been welcomed by critics of the Bill, although there have been claims from some quarters that they do not go far enough.

Written by Andrew Hodges

April 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

Government contemplates relaxing employment protection laws

leave a comment »

In a further effort to stimulate Britain’s flagging economy, Chancellor George Osborne is said to be considering a relaxation of employment protection legislation in next month’s Budget.

A story run in the Independent revealed that Conservative MPs are keen for Osborne to unveil a “go for growth” package in his Budget on 21 March, despite possible arguments with Liberal Democrats, which would lessen existing employment protection rights.

The news follows the controversial government-commissioned Beecroft report, which in 2011 suggested that employers should be granted permission to sack poorly-performing staff more easily through “no-fault dismissals”.

The government rejected Beecroft’s suggestions, electing instead to introduce “protected conversations” – which meant employers would be free to speak to employees about poor performance without fear of an employment tribunal. But reports suggest that Mr Osborne may make a U-turn.

Business minister Norman Lamb is said to be investigating a watered-down version of the Beecroft report, which will offer relaxed rules to employers with fewer than 10 employees.

Written by Andrew Hodges

April 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

European Court rules that part-time judges are entitled to pension

leave a comment »

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that part time judges ought to be entitled to a pension. The case was brought by Dermod O’Brien QC who sat as a recorder judge for 27 years. He was denied a pension upon his retirement in 2005.

In making their judgement the court said the only way that it could be lawful to deny such pensions was if the relationship between the judge and the Ministry of Justice, responsible for their appointment, was “by its nature substantially different from that between employers and their employees falling under the category of workers.” Referring to the protections afforded in EU law to part-time workers, the court went on to explain that “a member state cannot remove at will certain categories of persons from the protection offered by that directive and the Framework Agreement on part-time work”.

The Court concluded that the nature of judicial office was not of itself enough to prevent part-time judges from enjoying the same protections offered under the relevant EU directive. The ECJ went on to list the factors which could be considered by the UK Supreme Court as sufficient to exclude a person from such protection.
The Court also drew on the fact that a barrister who sits as a judge may retain the right to practice law as a barrister but this did not deny him or her from the other rights associated with their judicial position, for example maternity or sick pay. The Court concluded that they were in a “comparable position” to full time judges.

Written by Andrew Hodges

April 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

UK’s “slow progress” on piracy laws attacked by the music industry

leave a comment »

A music industry report has attacked the “slow progress” of the UK in tackling piracy. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) the delay in implementing the Digital Economy Act has meant that levels of piracy have remained high.

The report from IFPI has identified the difference anti-piracy laws have had in countries such as France where there has been a 26% drop in illegal downloads due to the introduction of anti-piracy legislation.
Under the previous Labour Government the Digital Economy Act 2010 was rushed through Parliament but implementation of the Act has been delayed due to a number of amendments.

The main provision of the act is to introduce a system of sending letters to illegal downloaders pointing out that their activities are illegal and advising on how to avoid breaching the rules. The letters would not demand payments or threaten disconnection.

Several Internet Service Providers including TalkTalk and BT have challenged the Act in court as they see the Act as unfairly compelling them to police their users.

The delay in implementing the Act has drawn much criticism from the music industry including the international president of Sony Music, Edgar Berger, who described the delay as “definitely disappointing”, and commenting that “the first notices are now planned to be out by 2013”

A spokesperson for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport stated that the Government would “continue to work with the industry” on tackling piracy. They added: “If you create a song, a film, a book, you have the right to charge people for that content. We will help people enforce that right.”

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

Woman seeks legal assistance to appeal employment tribunal decision

leave a comment »

Care worker Sue Angold was sacked from her job at a sheltered housing block after assisting an elderly lady who had fallen. Ms Angold responded to the alarm raised by the pensioner who was soaked in urine and unable to get up to clean herself. She was dismissed by Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) because she helped her get on to the commode and wash without waiting for assistance from trained staff with a hoist.

Ms Angold was also evicted from the home she had lived in for 20 years at the Seven Acres Housing Development as it came with her job as area manager. SHP claimed she had failed to adhere to health and safety rules during the incident which took place in May 2010.

Ms Angold took a claim to the employment tribunal but lost and is now seeking the assistance of a lawyer who can act for her with legal aid to appeal the verdict. She believes that she was sacked because she had raised concerns over the management of the Partnership. She said “The woman was crying and in an awful state. In the care profession you can’t just say it’s not part of my job. I did the right thing but as a result I’ve lost my job and my home. This wasn’t an isolated incident. The management knew that, but were out to get me because I was a whistle-blower and had raised concerns about poor leadership and how residents’ needs weren’t being met.”

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm