A position has arisen for a part-time paralegal in the Lichfield office. The individual will need to be educated to degree level, have some experience in the law and be flexible. Duties include general office admin, assisting the solicitor on matters and maintaining files. To find out more or apply, send a CV with a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
A Price on Justice? The Jury’s Out
Employment tribunals were initially created to ensure a fair battle between employer and employee. The idea was the dispute was raised in a neutral environment and that both sides would be able to state their case in an informal environment. However, over the years the number of tribunals has increased dramatically, and the Government has decided that they need to now strike a fair balance between genuine claims and mere escalated fall-outs.
Last year, employment tribunals cost the UK taxpayer £84.2 million. This high figure has prompted the Government to introduce a fee to the Employment tribunal system. On 29th July 2013, there will be an upfront fee of £250 to raise a claim, and a further £950 hearing fee once the case is referred to tribunal. This might not seem too steep and is in fact lower than first predicted, but it still changes the nature of the tribunal. Employment tribunals are a daunting prospect as it is, and combined with facing your boss (and their legal team) and fighting your own corner, fees of over £1000 will discourage the individual further.
UNISON has applied for a judicial review of the proposed fees. They state that the idea is against EU law as it makes it ‘virtually impossible’ for employees to exercise their rights. They claim that it will just encourage employers to persist with bad treatment, knowing that their workers cannot afford to stand up for their rights. Lawyers expect that this will be hard to prove, as UNISON will have to show that the government are being unreasonable in trying to save money and make tribunals more efficient. In the meantime, only time will tell who’s got it right..
Big Brother is watching you…
There have been many instances in the news recently concerning data protection and your right to privacy. Cases such as the phone hacking scandal and WikiLeaks are in the media on a daily basis, and it seems that every day there is a new development with somebody else affected. These cases won’t affect the majority of us personally, but your privacy may still be under threat. It is becoming apparent that a number of high profile websites are using your information to gain knowledge about you. Have you ever noticed that online adverts seem to cater to your interests perfectly? This isn’t a coincidence; websites such as Ebay and Google store information about your search history to tailor adverts specifically to your needs. People share more information online than anywhere else and tend to ignore the dangers, assuming that they are safe behind their screen. Once something is online, its near impossible to get it back…
However, this could all change in 2015 when the new Data Protection Reforms are passed. Companies will have to undergo a considerable change in the way that they operate in order to comply with the new law or otherwise face a huge fine. This could involve companies being required to offer a complete erasure of a person’s details, and in turn passing this obligation onto other companies also holding such information. In theory, it all sounds very positive, but in practice, how easy is it going to be to control the internet?
Help to Buy – A Quick Win?
The government has issued a ‘Help to Buy’ initiative which aims to aide those who can’t afford the usual deposit on a house jump onto the property ladder. The scheme allows buyers to provide a 5% deposit, and the government will provide the remaining 15% to bump it up to the standard 20%. The government loan is interest free for the first 5 years, and on paper the scheme looks like a great idea.
However, look a little deeper and the scheme is full of ifs and buts. Carrying out a 95% mortgage on your home means that you’ve got a massive loan to negotiate, and the argument is that if you can’t afford the standard deposit, will you be able to afford the repayments? It is supposed to encourage lenders to provide bigger mortgages to those who they wouldn’t normally consider, but even the government can’t guarantee that there is no risk of running into negative equity. Should the government be encouraging banks to lend to risky buyers? The government have also been accused of trying to artificially inflate housing prices and early studies show that if this is the case, its working. Hundreds of buyers have taken advantage of the scheme already, and house prices are 2.6% higher than this time last year.
Where will this leave us in 5 years’ time? The scheme is only meant to be a temporary measure to boost buyers, new builds and the economy, but it could leave a crash of house prices and repossessions in its wake. On the flip side, this could boost work for property lawyers on both ends of the scale. An increase in contracts at the beginning could boost potential arrears at the end, and it will be interesting to see who picks up the pieces.
McIntosh Law welcomes Charlotte to the team
The company welcomes Natalie to the staff.
Having done without a website for the past couple of years, the firm has decided that the time has come at last. As a firm specialising in Law in the Digital Age, it may be thought odd that we did not have a website already! Have a browse around to see what we can do for you.
Welcome to the new McIntosh Law Website!