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Legal News

LASPO changes to family justice come under attack

Elfyn Llwyd outside Parliament for Expert Witness family law storyThe Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), has come in for more savage criticism: this time for the effect it will have on family justice. Plaid Cymru MP and barrister Elfyn Llwyd (pictured) is quoted as saying it will "...change the whole landscape of family law".

He was speaking from the chair of a seminar on The Future of Family Justice – a Westminster Policy Forum debate attended by MPs, judges and expert practitioners.

Mr Llwyd said: "The changes are likely to be detrimental to families, detrimental to access to justice and probably contrary to article 6 rights and others which come into play when a fair trial of issues is not afforded."

Last Updated on Monday, 10 September 2012 15:57

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New guidance announced for instructing experts

Revised guidance for the instruction of experts and expert witnesses to give evidence in civil claims has been issued by the Civil Justice Council.

In an introduction to the guidance, the CJC says: "The purpose of this guidance is to assist litigants, those instructing experts and experts in understanding best practice with regard to compliance with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules...and the overriding objective.

"Experts and those who instruct them should ensure they are familiar with CPR 35 and its associated practice direction (PD or PD35)."

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Divorce lawyers may have to compensate for undervalued pensions

Divorce lawyers in the UK may have to consider paying out compensation to hundreds of thousands of disgruntled divorcees, because possibly as many as half of all divorce settlements in the UK since the law was changed in 2000 may have had the pension undervalued when the divorce settlement was reached. That is according to Divorce LifeLine, a specialist divorce and pension consultancy which has been investigating the situation.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 July 2012 14:48

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MPs call for regulation of private investigators

Expert Witness picture of Keith Vaz MPThe House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called on the Government to set up a "robust licensing and registration system" of private investigators.

The report of an inquiry into private investigators by the committee says that private investigators and their companies should be governed by a new Code of Conduct. Under the system a criminal record for breach of section 55 should disqualify individual from operating as private investigators. It concludes that it is getting easier for anyone to advertise themselves as a private investigator and while the industry remains unregulated a number of serious risks remain.

While recognising the honest contribution made by most private investigators, the report highlights the involvement of some private investigators in an illegal market in personal data and calls again on the Government to strength the penalties for data offences.

The committee chair, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, (pictured) said: "Recent high profile events, such as the phone hacking scandal, have thrown light on the sometimes shady world of private investigators. We have found that rogue private investigators are the brokers in a black market in information. They illegally snoop on our data, cash in on our private lives and only get away with a paltry fine.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 July 2012 12:08

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Public are invited to nominate honorary silks

Your Expert Witness SilksNominations are currently being invited by the Ministry of Justice of people for appointment as Queen's Counsel honoris causa (honorary silk). The Ministry of Justice intends to recommend a number of people to Her Majesty for appointment next spring. The legal sector and the wider public are invited to make nominations.

To suggest someone for appointment, the nominator should give reasons for believing that the person nominated has made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales outside practice in the courts, including what the person has done, where and how that amounts to a major contribution, beyond what might normally be expected for someone in that person's position.

Nomination forms are available from the Ministry of Justice website, at www.justice.gov.uk and must be returned by 31 July.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:51