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Who do you trust with writing your will? Maybe an insurance company; they’ll see you right.

Your Expert Witness blog logo“At the moment, unregulated individuals are charged with distributing considerable sums of money. It is becoming more difficult to assist consumers to identify reputable service providers.”

Furthermore, new recommendations, if implemented, will: “…require regulators to develop proportionate and targeted approaches to supervising providers by identifying and targeting risks and taking swift enforcement action if things go wrong.”

The subject of those two statements, by Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff and the Legal Services Board respectively, is not the European processed food industry – although it could well be – but the recommendation by the LSB to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that the writing of wills should become a ‘reserved activity’. The recommendations follow a two-year investigation by the LSB and, if accepted by the Lord Chancellor, will not come into force until 2015. Speed, apparently, was not of the essence.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 17:45


So who pays what price for what?

Your Expert Witness blog logoHeroes of the week have to be that brave band of relatives of the 'victims' of the Mid Staffs scandal, who are metaphorically camped outside the Department of Health waiting for someone to take responsibility for the disaster. They have the knives out for NHS commissioning boss Sir David Nicholson, and the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Peter Carter. Both are sitting fast and vowing to ride out the storm.

Carter is in the dock for allegedly failing to support whistleblowers, despite the best efforts of experts from all areas of the legal fraternity to encourage a system of protecting those who raise the alarm. Sir David apparently has the confidence of the other Dave, so watch this space.

The health service union Unite does not share Dave's confidence: it has joined the chorus calling for his resignation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 17:48


Ringing in the new – or not, as the case may be

Your Expert Witness blog logoJanuary is traditionally the time when new bits of legislation sneak in when nobody's looking. You know, the Act comes in with its pomp and cymbals and everybody gets to grips with what it means before we all swan off for the summer. But there are always some bits left over for the following January, and before we've properly sobered up from Hogmanay they're here and we've forgotten all about them.

For example, on 19 January the third EU Directive concerning the issuing of driving licences came into effect in the UK. I, along with most people, had completely forgotten about it. The fact that there is now the option to have a microchip in newly-issued licences had fallen under my radar, as had the amendment to the licencing rules allowing moped riders to ride quad bikes. Ooer!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 17:13


The stresses of earning a good living add polish to a dull life

Your Expert Witness blog logoThere is a hackneyed sentiment expressed in varying forms by football managers and some players when asked by sports journalists how they feel about the 'pressures' managers are under. The assumption seems to be that those who are paid vast sums of money to bring success – and are dismissed when they fail – are constantly subject to what used to be called 'executive stress', whereas someone toiling to make ends meet is somehow free from such feelings.

The response in question is a variation on: "I'm not under pressure. It' people with no jobs and children to feed who are under pressure." I think it was Sir Bobby Robson who expressed it most eloquently in response to a question on the radio, waxing lyrical about how he was paid large amounts of money to do something he loved. Waking up in the morning and not knowing how you're going to feed your kids: that's stress!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 18:35


Which government wants to snoop on internet activity? Not that it matters now the world has ended

Your Expert Witness blog logoThe use of social media sites as both a political campaigning tool and a method of intimidation has burgeoned in recent years; and authorities' attempts to keep the lid on the internet, particularly in countries with regimes we would consider outwith the pale, has been stepped up since the so-called Arab Spring.

The latest was reported by the BBC and concerned new laws introduced in China to compel internet users to 'fully identify themselves' to service providers.
According to the report: "The announcement will be seen as evidence China's new leadership views the internet as a threat.

"The Chinese authorities closely monitor internet content that crosses its borders and regularly block sensitive stories through use of what is known as the Great Firewall of China."

Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 17:18