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Expert Witness News

Wonga case highlights loophole, says Law Society

Picture of Groucho Marx mask for Your Expert Witness storyThe Law Society has described reports that payday lender Wonga issued letters from fake law firms to threaten customers who were behind on repayments as alarming both to the public and to Law Society members. It says the case has highlighted a loophole where organisations and individuals can pass themselves off as legal professionals by calling themselves legal firms.

Responding to the news that consumer groups and an MP are demanding a police inquiry into Wonga, a Law Society spokesperson said: “We are writing to the Financial Conduct Authority, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the police about this. We are establishing the facts. The case has highlighted a number of important issues around organisations and individuals presenting themselves in a misleading way so that the public believe them to be regulated legal professionals, such as solicitors.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 17:18


Glasgow gears up for another big Commonwealth event

Picture of Alistair Morris for Your Expert Witness storyNext year will see the return of the biennial Commonwealth Law Conference to Scotland for the first time in almost four decades. Glasgow will be playing host to around 1,000 lawyers from Commonwealth countries across the globe at the four-day event which opens on 12 April 2015, in the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a potent symbol of the rule of law across the Commonwealth.

Alistair Morris, vice president of the Law Society of Scotland, (pictured) said: “The conference is one of the most prestigious in the international legal calendar and was last hosted in Scotland in Edinburgh in 1977. There has been huge change since then – not least the creation of the Scottish Parliament – and of course we are in the midst of debate in the run up to the independence referendum just five months from now. We are therefore delighted to have this terrific opportunity to showcase the quality of the legal profession in Scotland to our Commonwealth colleagues and demonstrate how our modern and flexible devolved legislature seeks to address the social, economic and legal challenges of our time.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 17:54


National Audit Office: PIP backlogs cause delays and uncertainty

Backlogs in the assessment process for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have led to delays and uncertainty for claimants in the areas where it was introduced in April last year, according to a report from the National Audit Office, published on 27 February.

PIP is a non-means-tested benefit to support disabled people with their daily living and mobility costs. It replaces Disability Living Allowance for working age people and aims to match support more closely to claimants’ needs. By 25 October 166,000 people had started new claims for PIP.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 14:52


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