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Archive for January 6th, 2014

It bears repeating…Save UK Justice

Disruption in criminal courts as barristers and solicitors stage mass walkout: live updates

The Guardian

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A Guide to Appearing at Court for a Driving Offence
By Ava Watkins

If you’ve never been to court before, you’re unlikely to know what to expect. Being accused of a driving offence can lead to serious ramifications for your social and business life, so it’s important that you get to grips with the legal process. An informed defendant is likelier to emerge with a more positive outcome than someone who didn’t do their homework. Remember that legal cases can be far-reaching and expensive.

How Long Will It Take My Case To Get To Court?

Usually, the police have up to six months (from the date of the incident) to summon you to court. That doesn’t mean that you have to be informed within this period; it just means that the police need to get the case to court within this timeframe. As a rule of thumb, if the authorities are slow off the mark, you may be going to court as late as 7-8 months after the incident.

Do You Have To Attend?

Depending on the offence, you may not have to be physically present. Most cases can be closed through correspondence. However, any serious offences will require your presence. If you could potentially have your licence disqualified, you will have to defend yourself. A legal representative can sometimes go in your stead, so ask before you travel.

How Long Will The Hearing Last For?

You have to come prepared. If you don’t, you will unnecessarily draw out the whole process. Guilty pleas can take as long as 30 minutes. Not guilty cases are usually considerably longer.

Will It All Be Over And Done With Then?

When the defendant pleads guilty, the Court will try to settle the matter in one sitting. It’s not necessarily guaranteed, so be prepared to adjourn. Not guilty hearings usually take at least two court hearings to finalise.

Will You Receive Help?

Once you’ve been issued a summons to court, you will be expected to take the necessary steps for your case, such as hiring a lawyer and gathering evidence. A legal representative and a carefully constructed case won’t be waiting for you when you arrive, unless you organise it yourself.

Can You Represent Yourself At Court?

You are within your rights to represent yourself in court, but it isn’t advisable; especially if the case is serious. Where possible, it’s best to hire a qualified solicitor that specialises in motor law. If you plan to represent yourself, at least seek legal advice before you do so.

What Are The Advantages Of Hiring A  Solicitor?

With a specialist motor solicitor, you can relax and let them take care of the complicated legal process, knowing that your chances of success are significantly increased. You’ll benefit from their previous experience of similar offences. If your licence is threatened, it’s best to put together the most watertight case possible. This is even more crucial, if you rely on your licence to do your job.

Composed by Ava Watkins on behalf of Driving Offence drink driving solicitors. Visit their drink driving solicitor page here http://www.drivingoffence.com/   for more information on these types of matters.

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The Ins and Outs of Felony Fraud

The Ins and Outs of Felony Fraud
Ava Watkins

The law of England and Wales no longer distinguishes misdemeanours from felonies, which are now simply regarded as indictable offences. What may be described as a felony in other countries (most notably the United States) is merely a criminal act in the UK, albeit one that is invariably serious in nature or consequence.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is one of the most serious crimes in the UK. Covering aspects of bribery and corruption, fraud can be defined as any deceptive act whose motivation is personal gain or another party’s loss. Most instances of fraud involve a person’s failure to disclose important or accurate information, false representation or abuse of position, as described in the Fraud Act 2006.

The rate of fraud tends to increase during times of economic difficulty. Serious fraud typically involves huge sums of cash or valuable assets; for example, when stockbrokers operate Ponzi schemes to defraud investors.

Of course, there are many different types of fraud, many of which involve the unlawful transfer of money. One example is cheque fraud. This often involves someone forging another person’s signature or creating a fake cheque in order to gain access to money. The penalty for this type of fraud may depend on the amount of money in question, the severity of the deception or whether the crime was a one-off or frequent act. Any person convicted of fraud will need the services of a specialist solicitor.

The Fraud Act 2006 outlines two penalties for any person who is found guilty of fraud: summary conviction can lead to a term of imprisonment lasting no longer than twelve months; conviction on indictment can result in a maximum prison term of ten years. Either punishment may be replaced or supplemented by a fine.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is also common, especially in the motoring and property sectors. Criminals have been known to forge death certificates to access money from insurance policies. Again, the severity of the crime and the damage or loss it has caused will be considered by the court. Insurance fraud is often carried out by professional criminals who work in gangs. Often, there is a nominated person who, depending on his expertise, takes responsibility for different stages of the crime. For example, a staged car accident may involve a number of gang members: one person to target the victim on the road, another person to drive the ‘attacking’ vehicle and a third person to fake injury and put in the claim to the insurance company.

Home to some of the UK’s leading serious fraud solicitors, Manchester also happens to be a hotspot for so-called crash-for-cash accidents, but lawyers in the city should be able to deal with all types of fraud.

Other Offences

The Fraud Act 2006 lists separate offences of making, supplying or having possession of “articles for use in frauds”, obtaining services through dishonesty and participating in fraudulent business activities. These offences are subject to different penalties. In the UK, fraud is heavily linked to bribery and corruption, which may take the form of extortion, corporate espionage, illegal gratuity and other related offences.

Written by Ava Watkins.

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If we are to continue to provide justice in this country – despite the difficulties we all face – it is important to ensure that we have the lawyers to represent those who need help.

The mark of a civilised country, surely, is that it treats those who face the legal system fairly? How will we be able to do that if we don’t provide legal aid?

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