15122019Sun
Last updateMon, 09 Dec 2019 2pm

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Expert Witness Blog

Scotland’s lawyers celebrate platinum

Scotland’s lawyers celebrate platinum

5 MONTHS AGO

This year sees the 70th anniversary of The Law Society of Scotland. Given that the legal systems in Scotland and England have been famously different for centuries, it seems perverse that the country’s lawyers only acquired their own representative body less than one of those centuries ago. In fact the principal was established in 1933, but the little matter of World War Two got in the way of its implementation.

Nevertheless, a platinum anniversary is something to be celebrated and Scotland’s advocates are determined to do just that: especially as it coincides with the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to become solicitors for the first time.

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Expert Witness News

Authored by AI - Here be crypto dragons: it’s all about the evidence, proclaims the CastellGhostWriteBot

Authored by AI - Here be crypto dragons: it’s all about the evidence, proclaims the CastellGhostWriteBot

1 MONTHS AGO

Can you tell if this has been authored by a robot? Would it matter, legally or otherwise, if you couldn’t?

Are you crypto-friendly, or if not, at least crypto-aware?

Bitcoin is on a rollercoaster – zooming up and down in value. Who can predict which way or by how much? Are you one of the early adopters, adroitly enjoying the financial thrills and spills of a Bitcoin punt, despite allegations of ‘crypto whales’ manipulating the market for their own devious gain?

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Expert Witness Legal News

Why should we strive for an Inclusive Legal Services Sector?

Why should we strive for an Inclusive Legal Services Sector?

1 MONTHS AGO

By Amanda Hamilton, NALP

My parents were both lawyers. So many changes have affected the legal services sector over the last 30 years, that if they were alive, they wouldn’t recognise any of it!

The discussions may have been going on for decades regarding the possibility of merging the two major legal professionals, Barristers and Solicitors, into one, but as we all know by now, this will never happen.

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Expert Witness : Building and Property

Boundary dispute reform: let’s use the legislative vacuum to good effect

Boundary dispute reform: let’s use the legislative vacuum to good effect

3 MONTHS AGO

Who would have thought that Brexit – or the lack of it – would significantly affect the way in which the industry manages boundary disputes? Richard Crow, associate director of Trident Building Consultancy, explains:

Two years ago a Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Lord Lytton, received its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill suggested that boundary issues could be better addressed by using a structure which broadly replicates the provisions of the Party Wall Act – essentially removing much of the responsibility from solicitors and handing it to surveyors. Progress of the Bill was thwarted by the general election of June 2017, and with parliamentary time apparently unavailable to...

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Expert Witness : Criminal

More psychologists are in court – and that’s a good thing!

More psychologists are in court – and that’s a good thing!

1 YEAR AGO

Vulnerable offenders with mental health, alcohol and substance abuse problems are increasingly being diverted from short-term custodial sentences and towards treatment that aims to tackle the causes of their offending.

In the pilot areas – Birmingham, Plymouth, Sefton, Milton Keynes and Northampton – psychologists are working collaboratively with the existing panels of justice and health officials. Together, the professionals ensure that magistrates and judges have the information they need to determine whether an offender should be required to receive treatment for their mental health, alcohol or drug issues.

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Expert Witness : Medico Legal

How long should a hip or knee replacement last? Now we know

How long should a hip or knee replacement last? Now we know

9 MONTHS AGO

Researchers from the Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the University of Bristol have found that eight out of 10 total knee replacements and six out of 10 total hip replacements will still be in place after 25 years. The research, funded by the National Joint Registry and the National Institute for Health Research was published in The Lancet in February.

After reviewing thousands of case studies going back 25 years across six countries, generalisable survival data is now available for the first time to estimate how long hip and knee replacements are likely to last.

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Expert Witness : Technology

AI system can match experts at detecting eye disease

AI system can match experts at detecting eye disease

1 YEAR AGO

An artificial intelligence (AI) system that can recommend the correct referral decision for over 50 eye diseases as accurately as world-leading experts has been developed by researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The research project was carried out in collaboration with DeepMind Health and University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology.

The breakthrough research, published online by Nature Medicine, describes how machine learning technology has been successfully trained to identify features of eye disease and recommend how patients should be referred for care, using thousands of historic de-personalised eye scans. It is hoped that the technology could one da...

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Expert Witness : Environment

The fundamental right to be protected from the dangers of air pollution

The fundamental right to be protected from the dangers of air pollution

7 MONTHS AGO

The British Safety Council welcomed the news of the High Court quashing the verdict of the 2014 inquest into the death of nine-year old Ella Kissi-Debrah, who suffered a fatal asthma attack. Her mother Rosamund has since campaigned for a fresh inquest, believing Ella’s death was caused by high levels of air pollution near her home in southeast London. It means that Ella could become the first person in the UK to have air pollution mentioned as a contributory factor on her death certificate.

Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, commented: “The ruling of the High Court is proof that since 2014 we have become much better informed about the dangers of air pollution. Air poll...

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Expert Witness : Animal & Farming

Dr WHO? by Dr Debbie Marsden

Dr WHO? by Dr Debbie Marsden

9 MONTHS AGO

Dr Debbie Marsden, a leading equestrian expert with over 20 years professional experience of expert witness work, offers some advice on selecting the right expert in cases involving animals

In animal related cases, a veterinary surgeon is often the best expert, being generally regarded as an authority on animals and easily recognised by the word ‘veterinary’ – a protected title – and the letters MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) after various degrees.

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Parliament, Legislation And Public Sector

Home Office GDPR exemption risks new Windrush, says Law Society

Home Office GDPR exemption risks new Windrush, says Law Society

1 YEAR AGO

The Law Society of England and Wales has criticised the decision to exempt the Home Office from data access rules in the new Data Protection Act, which implements the widely-publicised GDPR. The move will inevitably lead to miscarriages of justice, the society has warned.

Law Society president Joe Egan said the immigration exemption in the legislation stripped accountability from Home Office decision making.

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Expert Witness: Events

Conference makes sense of a changing world

Conference makes sense of a changing world

3 MONTHS AGO

Nothing stays the same; is everything changing? That is the theme of this year’s Annual Conference of the Expert Witness Institute (EWI), to be held on 26 September at the Church House Conference Centre in London.

Founded in 1996, the EWI is the leading membership body and training provider for expert witnesses in the UK. Its objectives are to promote excellence in expert evidence worldwide through rigorous vetting and evaluation and to support the proper administration of justice and the early resolution of disputes through fair and unbiased expert evidence.

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Food fraud – the crime in our shopping baskets

Fraud in the food sector doesn’t just risk public health, it denies consumers the quality of produce they’ve paid for and undermines the profits of food companies, according to fraud experts.

Professor Lisa Jack is head of the Food Fraud Group at the University of Portsmouth and gave evidence to Professor Chris Elliott’s review of food safety, commissioned to review food safety after the 2013 horse meat scandal and published today.

She and Jim Gee, director of Counter Fraud Services for BDO, a leading member of the University’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies group, and the first to begin extensive research into the financial cost of fraud to the food industry, were commenting in the wake of the Elliott Review.

They have already established that long and complex food supply chains between producers, suppliers and shops give fraudsters plenty of opportunity to mis-label food, substitute expensive for cheap ingredients and even to slip dangerous products into food under the noses of authorities and consumers.

Professor Jack is calling for forensic audit and counter fraud techniques to help restore both quality of food and consumers’ trust in what they are buying.

She said: “The food industry is just waking up to the reality of fraud, as other sectors have done over recent years. Long, complex supply chains, sometimes with few checks in place, mean that there are potentially lucrative opportunities for fraudsters.

“Fraud isn’t necessarily taking place at the end of the grower or supplier or even by the seller. But there are many places along the way for a product to be tampered with, whether is substituting cheaper ingredients, mislabelling or even changing the use-by date.”

Professor Jack’s research on food supply chains finds that allegiances and arrangements between suppliers, intermediaries and customers change frequently, and contracts are used less often than is supposed, with verbal communication preferred, to keep things moving.

She said: “It’s the old saying, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated in 2012 the food industry was worth £188bn.

Jim Gee has previously helped several other sectors as they start to protect themselves against fraud, including in the health sector.

He said: “Food fraud is the crime in our baskets. It undermines the financial health and stability of producers, suppliers and retailers and denies consumers the quality of food which they pay for.

“Research shows that most fraud is high volume, low value but its cumulative impact is very significant. It is best to pre-empt such fraud by being properly protected against it rather than hoping it won’t happen and having to react when it does.

“Over the coming months, working with University of Portsmouth, I will be leading the most in-depth research yet undertaken into the financial cost of fraud in the food industry and the extent to which it is properly protected against fraud. This research can inform a proper prioritisation of the issue and help the development of counter measures – such as professional training for staff.”