16122019Mon
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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Slaughterhouse CCTV proposals to extend to Scotland

With consultation on CCTV in slaughterhouses closing on 22 September, the Scottish Government has announced plans to introduce a similar consultation as part of its Government Programme for Scotland 2017/18.

The decision has been widely welcomed by the veterinary profession and follows campaigning to include the measure in Scotland alongside the model for England announced by Michael Gove in August.

Melissa Donald, president of the Scottish branch of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “We’re delighted that the Scottish Government is looking seriously at introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.

Although a high percentage of abattoirs in Scotland already have CCTV, there are no rules governing how the footage is used or kept, and it is essential that Official Veterinarians have unrestricted access so they can fully monitor animal health and welfare throughout the slaughterhouse.

“Following Defra’s announcement last month I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary urging the Scottish Government to follow Defra’s lead in order to maintain Scotland’s reputation for high animal welfare from farm to fork.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced the consultation as part of a series of measures to strengthen animal welfare standards in England.

The proposals are aimed to deliver a manifesto commitment for CCTV to be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to footage for Official Vets, thus reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced.

Michael Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader. As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”

Under the new plans for CCTV, footage would be accessible to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians (OVs), who monitor and enforce animal welfare standards in the slaughterhouse.

The FSA has strict processes in place for the approval of slaughterhouses and OVs carry out checks to make sure the welfare of animals is protected throughout their time there. If breaches are found a slaughterhouse can be given a welfare enforcement notice, have licences suspended or revoked or be referred for a criminal investigation.

FSA chairman, Heather Hancock, said: “The Food Standards Agency takes a zero tolerance approach to any breaches of animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses. Last year we concluded that it was time to make CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses, progress on voluntary adoption having plateaued.

“I and the Board of the FSA warmly welcome Defra’s consultation about making CCTV mandatory. We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs. We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”

The BVA has also called on the Welsh Government to implement a similar proposal. The president of its Welsh branch, Sarah Carr, declared: “We were disappointed last year that the Safeguarding Animal Welfare at Slaughter Task and Finish Group’s report concluded that there was not a ‘sufficient basis’ for making CCTV in Welsh abattoirs mandatory. With plans now underway to introduce mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses in England, with full and unrestricted access to footage for Official Veterinarians, we are urging the Welsh Government to implement concurrent measures in Wales.”

The UK Government has also confirmed it will raise standards for farm animals and domestic pets by modernising statutory animal welfare codes to reflect enhancements in medicines, technology and the latest research and advice from vets. The codes will remain enshrined in law and the first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat.

A consultation on the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Meat Chickens and Meat Breeding Chickens is running alongside that on CCTV in slaughterhouses and will close on 6 October.