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Six private investigators sentenced after unlawfully acquiring data

altSix men have been sentenced for conspiring to breach the Data Protection Act while working for a private investigation firm which tricked other organisations into revealing personal details about their customers, while a seventh is awaiting sentence.

Two of them – Adrian Stanton, 40 and Barry Spencer, 41 – ran ICU Investigations Ltd in Feltham, Middlesex.

The pair were convicted last November for routinely fooling organisations such as utility companies, GP surgeries and TV Licensing into revealing personal data about individuals they were trying to track down.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 18:32


Landmark ruling could save landlords thousands

Specialist landlord and agent lawyers Property Reclaim, a division of Moore Blatch solicitors, estimates that a recent ruling at the Court of Appeal*, could save landlords thousands of pounds, as the Court ruled that just two calendar months’ notice is required to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy after the end of a fixed term.

For the last 25 years it was universally believed that, to end a tenancy once a fixed term had expired, landlords had to use s.21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988. That section requires a minimum of two months’ notice ending on the last day of a period of the agreement – meaning that, if the rent is payable on the first of each month, a landlord wanting to give notice on the 2nd has to give two full months’ notice plus however many days remain in the month (29 for January), i.e. the earliest the notice could require possession is after 31 March.

This decision means that belief is wrong – landlords only have to give two months’ meaning the landlord could serve notice on 2 January requiring possession on 2 March, 29 days earlier than under s.21(4)(a).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:19


Government criticised over implementation of confiscation orders

Picture of a financial spreadsheet fro Your Expert Witness storyThe National Audit Office has criticised the government’s implementation of its policy to deny criminals the proceeds of their crimes by confiscating their assets.

According to a report to Parliament issued on 17 December, government has no overall coherent strategy for confiscation orders and that fundamentally undermines the process for confiscating assets. Decision-makers across the criminal justice system, such as senior police officers, are often not prioritising confiscation. In 2012-13, 673,000 offenders were convicted of a crime, many of which had a financial element; yet only 6,400 confiscation orders were set.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 09:55


Celebrities Status Will Work Against The Accused – Mr Loophole Warns

Celebrities accused of a sexual offence will now find that their high-profile status may work against them in the dock, the country’s leading criminal defence lawyer has warned.

Nick Freeman - who has represented a string of “A-listers” including footballers, models, rock stars and actors – said that celebrity status, which was once considered to be a neutral factor, could now become very much an aggravating one.

The new guidelines for sexual offences, which are currently under review, place a greater emphasis on the impact upon victims who will now be much more central to the sentencing process.

Mr Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said: “The message is simple – celebrities beware. Whereas your status was once irrelevant it may now increase your sentence.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 23:24


Mitchell costs decision should act as warning to lawyers

Pictur of Andrew Mitchell for Your Expert Witness storyOn 27 November the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative Chief Whip at the centre of the so-called ‘Plebgate’ affair, against a decision to limit his recoverable legal expenses in a libel action against The Sun. The limitation was applied by the High Court after Mr Mitchell’s legal team failed to submit their budget in the required time limit – the first time the Jackson reforms of litigation costs has been applied.

According to the Association of Costs Lawyers, in a single judgment the Court of Appeal has sent a clear message that the new costs rules will be firmly enforced – and that any relief from sanctions for non-compliance will be judged narrowly.

According to an article in its online journal, Mr Mitchell’s appeal in seeking relief from sanctions was also a key test of the judiciary’s approach to the management of litigation – and for costs lawyers, the need for clients to strictly adhere to court rules on costs budgeting.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 19:59