My car has been stolen – update

Since blogging  on this subject earlier in the year we’ve had success helping two car owners recover their stolen vehicles.

In the first case our client had decided to raise some extra income by renting out his car. He duly found someone to rent his car through an advertisement on the internet. The person renting the car immediately sold the car to someone else. Once people find out that the car is stolen and that the law favours the original owner and not the innocent purchaser they often cannot sell it quick enough. In this particular case the car was sold on a couple more times in the space of a couple of months and ended up in a dealership in Milton Keynes via Hull. We were able to assist our client to obtain an injunction preventing the dealership from selling the car and thereafter the vehicle was returned to our client.

More recently we assisted a client who had a vehicle stolen from a lock up garage. The vehicle was an old car awaiting restoration. One day the owner went to check on the car and discovered it had been stolen. A google search revealed that the vehicle was up for sale with a car dealer in London. We assisted our client to obtain an injunction preventing the dealer from selling the car and ordering the dealer to return the car.

In this situation the law favours the original owner – the innocent purchaser has no right to the stolen goods. The innocent purchaser does  have a claim against the person who sold  him the goods for his money back. In turn, if the seller was also an innocent purchaser he has a claim against the person who sold him the goods and so on. However, it is almost inevitable that the person who stole the vehicle in the first place has either disappeared or is not worth suing.

These same principles apply to all stolen goods and not just stolen cars.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are a niche practice in Essex specialising in litigation, employment law and debt collection.

Please telephone 01245 835 305 without any obligation.

Max Clifford sentenced to eight years for sexual abuse

Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing  four teenage girls.

Earlier this week Clifford was convicted for a string of sexual assaults which occurred over twenty years ago.

One of the women was 15 when Clifford first assaulted her. She explained how Clifford impressed her parents by name dropping whilst they were on a family holiday. She said she felt “blown away” when Clifford told her she could be the UK version of Jodie Foster. He later forced her to perform oral sex on him and he indecently assaulted her. A letter which the victim had written Clifford anonymously three years ago was read out in court. In the letter she talks about how Clifford had groomed her and later abused her.

Allegations about Clifford came forward in the midst of Operation Yewtree following the Jimmy Saville sexual abuse scandal. Interestingly the anonymous letter to Clifford had been sent before the Jimmy Saville sexual abuse scandal had become public. However, the letter was discovered by the police in his bedside drawer.

Victims of sexual and physical abuse are entitled to claim compensation. Whilst there are time limits for bringing claims it is sometimes possible to bring claims for abuse that occurred many years ago.

Hastings & Co Solicitors of Chelmsford in Essex have experience dealing with sexual and physical abuse claims.  Telephone 01245 835 305 for a free consultation without any obligation.

Disclaimer: this blog only gives a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

Personal Injury case studies

Liam Hastings has been  dealing with personal injury claims for the last 14 years and is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury panel. These are some of the cases he has handled in the last 7 years:-

  • £1,650 to a client who was injured when tripped he over a pothole. The claim was made against the local authority who had failed to maintain the pavement.
  • £5,000 to  a client who was injured following negligent treatment in a care home.
  • £20,000 to a client who was injured whilst at work on a building site. The claim was made against the site managers.
  • £1,000 to a pedestrian who was hit by a car as she attempted to cross the road.
  • £90,000 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employers who had failed to provide their employee with proper equipment.
  • £6,700 to a client who injured his finger at work. The claim was made against the employer, who had failed to properly train or supervise their employee and who had in place unsafe working practices resulting in the employee being injured.
  • £45,000 to a client that injured his knee at work. The claim was made against the employer who had failed to implement safe working practices.
  • £8,500 to a client injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £5,000 to a client who was injured whilst on an aeroplane. The claim was made against the tour operator.
  • £2,400 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,000 to a client who was scalded with hot water whilst on an aeroplane. The claim was made against the airline company.
  • £4,250 for a client who was injured when she slipped over food on the floor in a supermarket.
  • £6,000 to a client who was exposed to chemical inhalation at work.
  • £90,000 to a client who sustained a knee injury following an accident at work. The claim was made against the employers who had failed to supply the correct equipment for working at height and who had unsafe working practices.
  • £2,000 to a client who sustained a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,750 to a client who suffered a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £2,800 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who had failed to provide their employee with the correct equipment and who had unsafe working practices.
  • £2,200 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £20,000 to a client who was injured when she was bitten by a dog.
  • £44,000 to a client who was injured at work.
  • £3,650 to a client who was injured when his chair collapsed. The claim was made against the retailer that sold the chair.
  • £7,750 to a client who was injured when she crashed her bike. The bike had a design fault which made it unsafe to ride. The claim was made against the retailer that sold the bike.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured in an accident at work.
  • £5,800 to a client who tripped over a pothole at work and injured his ankle.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured at work.
  • £2,000 to a client who suffered a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,500 to a pedestrian was was injured when a car reversed into her.
  • £2,000 to a client who was injured when she tripped over in a public car park. The owners of the car park had cut down some railings but left stubs sticking out of the ground creating a tripping hazard.
  • £41,000 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who failed to provide their employee with personal protective equipment in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.
  • £14,000 to a client who was injured when she slipped over a pool of water in a supermarket.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident when another car drove into the side of her car.
  • £5,750 to a client who was injured when she slipped over on wet floor in a supermarket.
  • £25,000 for a client injured in a Road Traffic Accident. The claim was made against the driver who was negligent.
  • £13,500 for a client that fell down some communal stairs and fractured his arm. The claim was made against the freeholder of the building who had failed to maintain the lighting on the stairwell.
  • £3,500 for a client that slipped on a wet floor in a supermarket and cut her hand on some sharp racking as she fell.
  • £17,500 for a client injured when she tripped over a pothole in a public car park. The claim was made against the owners of the car park who had failed to take reasonable steps to maintain the car park contrary to the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.
  • £10,000 for a client who was injured whilst on a package holiday abroad. The claim was made against the tour operator under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
  • £40,000 for a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who had poor manual handling practices.
  • £50,000 for a client who injured his foot and ankle in a Road Traffic Accident. The claim was made against the negligent driver.
  • £3,000 for a client who was injured when he was knocked off his bicycle by a taxi driver.
  • £28,000 for a client who was injured in a hotel.
  • £2,000 for a client who cut her foot on sharp racking in a supermarket.
  • £80,000 for a client injured whilst on holiday abroad.
  • £80,000 for a pedestrian injured in a Road Traffic Accident.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in personal injury claims. Telephone 01245 835 305 for a free consultation without any obligation.

 

Co-op Legal Services announce big losses in 2013

Co-op Legal Services have announced an operating loss of £9.1m on a turnover of £33m in 2013. They have also announced a £13m “goodwill impairment” following a reassessment of its business plan, according to the Law Society Gazette.

The Co-operative Group has announced overall losses of £2.5b for 2013.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are based in Chelmsford, Essex and specialise in employment law, litigation, accident claims, Landlord & Tenant law, commercial law.

T. 01245 835305

Co-operative Legal Services

Co-operative Legal Services are being watched by thousands of independent solicitors throughout the country. They were one of the first organisations to be granted an Alternative Business Structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2012.

What’s all the fuss? Certain services can only be provided by solicitors including conveyancing and litigation and prior to October 2011 only solicitors could employ solicitors to offer those services. This effectively meant that solicitors had a monopoly on those services however as of October 2011 other organisations, not necessarily owned by solicitors, have been able to apply for licences to become Alternative Business Structures and to offer regulated services.

It was dubbed “Tesco law” as people speculated that the likes of Tesco would wish to offer legal services. As it happens, I am not aware that Tesco has shown any interest in offering legal services however the Co-op group has and hence the birth of Co-operative Legal Services.

So how are the Co-operative Legal Services doing? According to the Law Society Gazette they posted a £3.4m loss in the first half of 2013. The Co-op Group are not doing too well either as according to the BBC they made losses of more than £2bn in 2013.

I’ve just had a look on the website of Co-operative Legal Services to see whether they have any branches in Essex. However, all I could find was a local rate telephone number so I’m none the wiser whether you can see a solicitor from the Co-operative Legal Services in Essex.

Liam Hastings is a solicitor at Hastings & Co Solicitors. Hastings & Co Solicitors is a niche solicitor’s practice in Chelmsford, Essex specialising in debt collection, litigation, employment law, personal injury, landlord and tenant and commercial law. For independent advice contact us on 01245 835 305.

Court fee rises

The Ministry of Justice has announced that court fees in the County Court and High Court will rise (in most instances) from 22 April 2014.

For money claims up to £1,500 the fees for issuing claims will stay the same. However, for money claims exceeding £1,500 in value there will be rises across the board and in some cases the increase will be as much as 81%.

Take for example a claim worth between £5,000 and £10,000 the court issue fee will rise from £245 to £445.

For landlords, court fees for issuing claims for possession will rise from £175 to £280.

Comment

The government is trying to reduce the cost burden of the Civil Justice system on taxpayers. However, we strongly believe that having access to justice is a fundamental part of any civilised society. It is a key feature of a democratic society that its citizens should have civil rights and they should have access to justice if those rights are infringed.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in debt collection and litigation. Telephone 01245 835 305 for advice without any obligation.

 

Credit companies owe consumers a duty of care

The Supreme Court ruled this week that credit companies owe consumers a duty of care when blacklisting them.

Richard Durkin of Scotland bought a computer from PC World in 1998. The computer cost £1,499. He paid £50 and then entered into a credit agreement with HFC Bank. When he discovered that the computer did not have an inbuilt modem he returned it to PC World. Eventually, PC World repaid his £50 however the HFC Bank told him he needed to continue making the payments on the credit agreement. When he did not, HFC Bank blacklisted his credit.

In 2008 the Aberdeen Sheriff Court ruled that Mr Durkin was entitled to reject the computer and end the credit agreement. Mr Durkin was awarded damages of £116,000. That sum was dramatically reduced on appeal to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The decision was appealled to the Supreme Court.

This case establishes that if you buy goods using a credit agreement, and if you validly reject the goods and terminate the contract of sale you may also validly end the credit agreement. It is also establishes that credit companies owe consumers a duty of care. So that if a credit company wants to blacklist a consumer’s credit rating, if the consumer is asserting that they have validly ended the credit agreement, the credit company has a duty to make sure that they are genuinely in default of the credit agreement.

Hastings & Co solicitors specialise in civil litigation. For advice or assistance telephone 01245 835 305.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

 

Employment law update: financial penalties for employers

From 6th April 2014 Employment Tribunals will have the discretion to levy financial penalties for employers for breaches of employment law.

The changes are introduced by Section 16 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 which amends Section 12 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996.

These penalties will be in addition to any compensation which is payable to the employee however the Employment Tribunal will only be able to levy a penalty where there are one or more “aggravating features”. The imposition of the levy will be completely at the discretion of the Employment Tribunal however the Employment Tribunal will have much less discretion over the amount of the penalty, which must be 50% of the amount of compensation awarded to the employee (subject to a £5,000 cap). There is a 50% discount on the levy if paid within 21 days. The levy goes to the Secretary of State and not the employee.

The Employment Tribunal must have regard to an employer’s ability to pay when deciding whether to order the employer to pay a penalty.

This comes shortly after other changes which could affect how much employers who lose claims will pay.

Fees in the Employment Tribunal

Fees were introduced for Employment Tribunal claims commencing after July 2013. When they were introduced it was unclear whether employers would be ordered to pay the fees of successful claimants however recent guidance from the Lord Chancellor indicates that losing employers should be ordered to reimburse the fees paid.

ACAS Code of Practice

Employment Tribunals can increase the compensation payable to employees by up to 25% where the employer has failed to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Comment

It has always been the case that employers can pay a heavy price for failing to comply with employment laws. However the situation is now much worse for employers in breach of employment law.

Employers wishing to discipline, dismiss or make redundant employees should ensure that they follow all the necessary procedures and any employer who is unsure should seek advice.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in litigation and employment law.

T. 01245 835 305.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

Debt recovery case study: Hastings & Co Solicitors recover £56,000 for building contractor

We recently acted for a building contractor that was owed in the region £56,000 by a major house builder.

Upon being instructed we issued legal proceedings and managed to recover the full face value of the debt together with sufficient compensation and interest to cover our charges.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are experts in debt recovery. If you are owed money, whether you are a business or a private individual, telephone 01245 835 305 without any obligation.

 

Pothole claims – Widow of dead cyclist is planning to sue council

The widow of a dead cyclist is planning to sue North Yorkshire Council after her husband died when hitting a pothole while riding his bike, reports the BBC.

Martin Uzzell, from Somerset, was on a charity bike ride in 2011 with two friends when he hit a pothole and was thrown into the path of a car.

An inquest into his death revealed that the Council had missed opportunities to repair the pothole.

Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty on “highways authorities” to maintain highways.

Section 59 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the highway authority a defence to a claim if it can show that it has in place a reasonable system of inspection and repair. Accordingly, all highway authorities will have systems in place and when confronted with a claim will produce inspection records. It is then the job of the personal injury solicitor to carefully scrutinise the maintenance records to see whether the system in place is effective.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in personal injury claims including pothole claims against Essex County Council and other local authorities. For a free assessment without any obligation please telephone 01245 835 305.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.