Archive for November 27th, 2012

Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter,  is being widely used now and it is not without dangers. The recent Lord McAlpine libel litigation, cyber-stalking, tweets which break the contempt of court laws –  all have a ‘chilling’ effect on ‘free speech’.  Employers are increasingly turning to Twitter and Facebook to check out future employees and to monitor the behaviour of current employees.

Today, I am talking with Sean Jones QC of 11 KBW, a leading employment and public law set. We look at the employment law implications for use of social media in some depth and discuss the important case of Smith v Trafford Housing Trust [2012] EWHC 3221 (Ch)

We then move on to discuss practice at the Bar, the immediate to medium term prospects for barristers and Sean Jones QC provides some advice for prospective barristers.

Listen to the podcast

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Whiplash – what actually is it?
UK Claim Lawyers

Think of injury claims and you might imagine someone in a neck brace. Why? Because one of the most common injuries from road accidents is whiplash; the neck injury that often requires the victim to wear a neck brace.

But what actually is whiplash? Whiplash is in fact a term that covers a number of specific injuries to the neck which are caused by a sudden extension. This is why it’s a common injury to be sustained from a road accident – the jolt of a rear, front or side collision will cause a very sudden movement in the neck muscles and ligaments. This movement stretches the ligaments (the joints between the bones) and the tendons (the joints between the muscles and bones) and can leave them sprained and sore. Sufferers will experience pain when moving their neck, and stiffness and muscle spasms can last for a considerable time.

Whiplash may take a couple of hours or even a day to develop, so if you have been involved in a car crash or an accident but don’t notice anything straight away, you may still be at risk of developing whiplash symptoms. In fact, the majority of sufferers only develop pain the day after an accident.

So what should you do if you suspect you have whiplash as a result of a car collision? Firstly you must seek the attention of a medical professional who will be able to tell you if you have suffered whiplash. They can check if there is any damage to the bones or spine and make sure you are not suffering from concussion. If whiplash is diagnose, you may then be advised to wear a neck brace for support, but it is not always essential as you will usually be told to keep your neck active and moving to stop it seizing up. Also, be careful not to wear a neck brace for too long as they can actually cause the muscles in your neck to weaken.

If you are suffering from swelling and pain in your neck you can apply ice every three to four hours to help reduce any inflammation. You can also take painkillers such as paracetemol and ibuprofen but always double check what medication you can take with your doctor.

Finally, if your whiplash was the result of someone else’s recklessness you can claim road accident compensation which will hopefully help to ease the pain somewhat too. To enquire about car accident compensation contact UK Claim Lawyers, the expert personal injury solicitors based across the UK.

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Governments Quest to Lowering Energy Prices
By Denver

The government has announced that it will be legislating to ensure that all energy suppliers are giving their customers the best possible prices, in a committed bid to drive the cost of energy prices down.

David Cameron’s announcement has come on the back of several energy company announcements that their prices would be rising in the run-up to winter. These companies include Scottish Power, who announced that their prices will be rising by 8.7%, British Gas who are rising their utility prices by 6% and Npower who will be following suit, at 8.8%. These announcements follow hot on the heels of SSE, who already announced their increase in prices by 9%, in August.

Only E.ON and EDF have not yet announced price rises, although the former is maintaining a prize freeze until January.

Legislation is now necessary.

The Prime Minister told Parliament that utility companies must be forced to provide customers with their lowest tariffs. This new law will be incorporated into a new Energy Bill, which is due to be presented by December 2012. A government spokesman added that the government intended to communicate the details out further and explain how the law would be put into effective, but reiterated that the objective of the new legislation was clear.

Consumer groups concern.

However, some consumer groups are worried that changes to legislation might endanger competition and eventually disadvantage those who are already at the whim of rocketing domestic and business electric prices.

They pointed to the long term market failure, where successive government regimes have attempted – and largely failed – to encourage competition in the energy market to drive forward better market conditions for energy customers. Nick Clegg’s policy of forcing energy providers to contact their customers annually to highlight their best tariffs, was one such example.

The consumer groups are keen to encourage customers to be keenly aware of their rights in the energy sphere, where awareness may need improving. Many customers are unaware of where they can obtain help and what their rights are when dealing with energy providers. For example, if a customer has a 2 hour slot to get a meter reading taken and the supplier misses the slot, they can claim compensation from that supplier – from 22 for electricity and  20 for gas. Power cuts that last for 18 hours or above are also eligible for compensation of up to 54.

Which? and other consumer groups have since rallied together to help customers and created a guide to energy rights, which is entitled ‘staying connected’.

Meanwhile, market analysts, consumers and rights groups alike hope to see positive changes in the energy market soon, to help benefit the UK economy and divert valuable income away from fixed bills and back onto the high street, where it can be used to bolster British businesses and help to get the economy back up and running. There are also concerns that rising energy prices will drive up inflation, which is an additional worry for those hoping for a stronger British economy in 2013 and beyond.

Written on behalf a renewable energy management and solutions company, they look to help lower and identify improved contracts through alternative approaches. Click here for further information.

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