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Lawyers council caution in discount rate reforms

The Law Society has responded to the new discount rate policy, announced by the Ministry of Justice on 7 September.

The MoJ claims the reforms will make sure personal injury victims get the right compensation and could also see significant savings for the NHS – as well as for motorists through lower car insurance premiums.

Changes mean the rate would be set by reference to ‘low risk’ rather than ‘very low risk’ investments as at present, better reflecting evidence of the actual investment habits of claimants, the MoJ says.

The rate will also be reviewed at least every three years – and the expertise available to the Lord Chancellor in carrying out the reviews will be extended by the creation of a role for an independent expert panel in the process.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2017 08:49


New 'DIY' divorce petition may lead to more adultery accusations – and a slower divorce process

A new government form that looks to 'name and shame' adulterers is set to make the process of divorce even more complicated.

That’s according to family solicitor Sally Powell (pictured), Partner at law firm Tees, who says the latest changes to the application form were meant to streamline the process, but may well have the opposite effect.

“The government has called it a user-friendly form, as it appears simple for couples to do their own “quickie online divorce”. However, we are concerned that the changes could slow down the divorce process. There’s real potential for the form to steer people towards a course of action they didn’t intend – or even expect – by naming a third party in the petition. This could slow down their divorce, and make the process even more emotionally fraught.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 August 2017 15:20


Investigation into rogue drug testing continues

Randox Testing Services has published an update on its investigation into the manipulation of toxicology data at its laboratories in Manchester and Crumlin.

The statement says: “RTS itself uncovered what it believed was evidence of data manipulation in January 2017 when it acted as whistleblower in reporting its suspicions to the police. The subsequent police enquiry into practices at RTS laboratories and those run by other companies has led to the arrest of two people. A criminal investigation into their alleged activities is on-going.”

The statement goes on to detail the scale of the problem.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 June 2017 09:55


Drug driving convictions challenged after lab arrests

A scandal has arisen involving a company providing blood testing services after two workers from its Manchester lab were bailed following allegations that data was falsified.

The company, Randox Testing Services (RTS), provides testing services to police forces across the UK.

The affair came to light after the results of a test carried out by Randox were challenged by lawyer Nick Freeman, dubbed by the press ‘Mr Loophole’. Mr Freeman’s client, a 26-year-old Chester man, had been arrested in December 2015 on suspicion of drug driving. He gave a blood sample which was sent to Randox for analysis.

The results claimed to show the driver was not only over the prescribed limit for cannabis, but his blood also tested positive for traces of cocaine and another drug, which the defendant disputed.

Mr Freeman said: “We asked our expert to look at the Randox report. He identified a number of analytical issues that affected the reliability of the results.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 12:50


Pimlico Plumbers v Smith Appeal Judgment will help workers in the gig economy says EHRC

A ruling from the Court of Appeal will help protect the rights of workers employed in the ‘gig economy’.

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Gary Smith, employed by Pimlico Plumbers as an 'independent contractor', who claimed disability pay from the company after a heart attack ruled him out of work. An Employment Tribunal agreed with his claim and that he should be protected by equality law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission funded Mr Smith’s case.

Pimlico Plumbers employ over one hundred workers as independent contractors, while requiring them to wear their uniform and drive branded vehicles, giving the impression they are permanent employees of the company.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2017 08:55