Aside

Small claims big worries? – by Evelyn James

The Small Claims Court deals with civil disputes in the County Court up to a financial limit of £10,000.00, this would cover most consumer disputes. Unfortunately, even if you win your claim you will not recover your legal costs to cover our fees for acting for you throughout. Whilst the Court tries as hard as possible to make it user friendly for you to represent yourself, you may have to face your opponent who can engage a lawyer to represent them, as they are often large companies. If you want to bring a claim, but feel anxious at the prospect and need some help, we can offer fixed fees and provide advice without representing you or, you can go as far as possible with the paperwork yourself and approach us to do the final hearing and be your advocate. Please send us a written summary of the claim and the documents that you think are relevant and we will review them and discuss an appropriate fee with you.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

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Are you being stalked or harassed ?

Stalking comes in many forms and all are personally distressing, it can consist of any persistent or unwanted behaviour causing harassment, anxiety or fear in any form. Stalking is legally unacceptable and depending on the facts, such behaviour is often both a crime and a civil wrong.

If you are experiencing stalking or harassment you should ensure that you keep a diary of the activity and also the affect that the effect it’s having on you as this will be relevant in terms of the charges that are to be brought.  It is also important that the behaviour is reported to the police and that your friends, family and work colleagues are aware of the situation. Do not destroy any evidence and think about ways in which you can gather evidence. 

Our team can assist in these circumstances by discussing the options with you confidentially and whatever your situation we will always listen carefully, understand and respect any fears or anxieties you may have and advise you on available support.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.

 
JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

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How are your children’s best interests decided?

Some of you will be aware of the heart-breaking story in the news recently. UK doctors were given permission by a UK judge to turn off the life support of Isaiah Haastrup who suffered ‘catastrophic’ brain damage after being deprived of oxygen when he was born.

The Judge, Justice MacDonald, determined that continuing with the life sustaining treatment was not in his best interests. But the question is, how is the best interests of the child determined?

The Children Act 1989 introduced the welfare checklist which consists of seven statutory criteria that the courts must consider when reaching its decision in cases involving children.

The seven criteria set out in the welfare checklist under s1(3) Children Act 1989 are:

The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned

  1. The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  2. The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision
  3. The child’s age, sex, backgrounds and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision
  4. Any harm the child has suffered or maybe at risk of suffering
  5. Capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs
  6. The powers available to the court in the given proceedings

But what do each of these mean?

The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned

The age and maturity of the child will be taken into account when evaluating this criteria, as obviously at a certain age children cannot express their wishes. However it is considered that if the child were able to express their wishes, their wish would be to be cared for in a safe and loving home.

In most circumstances, a children’s Guardian will be appointed, from CAFCASS Cymru, who will be the voice of the child during proceedings. If the child is old enough they can communicate their wishes to the Guardian, and this can be brought to the court’s attention.

The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs

This means the court will consider who can provide the best care for the child concerned both short term and for the long term.

The likely effect on the child of changes in circumstances

The impact on the child’s life will be considered, and the potential disruption balanced against other factors.

The child’s age, sex, background and other relevant characteristics

The court will consider specific issues as they arise, such a religion and culture. They will also consider the lifestyle of the parents and their hobbies, in order for the court to determine whether this could have a potential future impact on the child.

Risk of harm to the child

This is arguably one of the most important factors the court considers.

What is the risk that the child will be in either immediate harm or harm in the future?

‘Harm’ has been defined to include not just physical harm but emotional and mental harm.

Parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs

This will always be considered on a case by case basis. The ability for a particular set of parents to care for a particular child is hard to categorise, there are various factors that could influence the ability of parents to care for a particular child, and all of these factors are considered when deciding the future of the child.

The range of powers available to the courts

The courts will contemplate all of the above and what orders they are able to make, and will balance all factors when considering what order to make in the best interest of the child.

The interests of the child throughout proceedings are paramount, and is the central focus of any court proceedings relating to children.

There has been criticism that the welfare checklist is inherently vague. Some would argue that there needs to be more definitive and tighter definitions in what can be considered when consulting the welfare checklist. However, the current approach allows for differing factors to be taken into account on a case by case basis, which in an ever-changing society is key.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the parents of Isaiah Haastrup.

If you need legal advice or representation in respect of a family matter please contact our family department.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service. If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

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Divorce Law Reform

The States of Jersey are looking to reform their divorce laws and have launched a social media consultation seeking the views of islanders on whether their divorce laws need to change. The divorce laws in Jersey are now seventy years old and are quite different to the laws regarding divorce in England and Wales.
The changes for Jersey include:
1) The States of Jersey are looking at removing the three year wait that parties currently have to file for divorce. At present in Jersey parties have to be married for three years before filing for divorce. The situation is different in England and Wales with parties only having to be married for the period of one year before filing for divorce.

2) The States of Jersey are looking to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce. We have looked at this in previous blog posts, it is something that people are currently campaigning for in England and Wales. At present in England and Wales if somebody wants to divorce their spouse sooner than two years after separating they must blame their spouse for the breakdown of the marriage which can cause upset and conflict.

3) The States of Jersey are looking at possibly introducing joint filing for divorce. Joint filing is not available in England and Wales at present; the divorce petition is presented by one spouse known as the ‘Petitioner’ in proceedings and is received by the spouse known as the ‘Respondent’, and the parties are not allowed to share the same solicitor in divorce proceedings. In enabling parties to file for divorce jointly it would allow parties to deal with matters in a more amicable way.

4) The States of Jersey are considering the introduction of compulsory mediation to look at whether or not they are able to agree their divorce settlement. In England and Wales we do not have compulsory mediation for all divorce matters but where a spouse is considering making an application to the court for financial remedy they must attempt mediation before making an application unless they are eligible for an exemption. Mediation can be extremely helpful to parties who both wish to engage.

The reforms being considered by the States of Jersey all point towards making the divorce process less confrontational, enabling parties to deal with matters as amicably as possible which is important especially when there are children of the marriage. Whilst the process is different in England and Wales, the idea is much the same amongst campaigners looking for reform of the divorce process in England and Wales. The thought being that the current systems are too adversarial.
Although there is still a lot that could be done in England and Wales to make the divorce process less confrontational a lot depends on how the divorce process is dealt with. At JNP Legal all of our solicitors dealing with separation and financial remedy are members of Resolution, promoting an approach which is sensitive, cost effective and most likely to result in an agreement. If you are looking to start divorce proceedings but are worried about how to handle matters please contact a member of our family department for some advice and assistance concentrating on minimising conflict and reducing the impact on you and your family.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

Challenging the ‘Compensation Culture’ Myth

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a national not-for-profit membership group representing injured people, which JNP Legal is accredited by as specialist advisers on personal injury claims, have produced a booklet, Compensation Explained: A guide to personal injury compensation, its purpose, and its value to society, which aims to remove the myths associated with making a personal injury claim. The comprehensive booklet is aimed at the general public as a guide to the purpose of compensation for personal injuries.

As part of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ campaign activity, the booklet has been produced to help explain the principles of personal injury claims, why it is important that those who are injured are appropriately compensated, what needs to be proved and includes case studies along with questions and answers. The guide also provides information on some of the barriers to justice facing those who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence.

Unfortunately, there is a large amount of misinformation in the media suggesting that there is a ‘compensation culture’ and that those who have received personal injury damages have had a windfall. However, this is a misconception of the purpose of compensation and what needs to be proved in order to make a successful claim. Those who make such claims have often lost earnings as a result of being unable to work due to their injuries. They have required treatment to improve their symptoms, have needed assistance from others and incurred additional expenses. They have suffered needlessly due to someone else’s negligence, through no fault of their own. The booklet aims to help improve the understanding of personal injury claims for members of the public and explains the realities of compensation.

The booklet can be accessed online on the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ website at https://www.apil.org.uk/. Hard copies of the booklet have also been produced by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and we have copies available at our Nelson office reception.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of negligence and require specialist legal advice please do not hesitate to contact JNP Legal.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

Thinking of making a holiday sickness claim?

I have recently been abroad to Lanzarote for a week of winter sun. I was really looking forward to a week of relaxation and sun. However, the holiday was not what I expected. It started with a short delay. When I finally arrived at my hotel, which was all inclusive, I was then handed an information card about holiday sickness claims, along with a map and information about trips TUI (formerly known as Thomson) organised. The information card about holiday sickness claims warned me about the companies trying to submit claims for sickness on behalf of British holidaymakers and that I may receive a call about this upon my return to the UK. I did not think anything of this until the second day when my daughter became unwell and subsequently both myself and my husband became unwell with what seemed to be food poisoning. However, upon reporting it to the hotel, it appeared that no-one else had experienced the same symptoms. Unfortunately, I was unwell for the rest of my holiday.

Upon my return, I did some research into holiday sickness claims as it appeared that TUI were very concerned about claims being submitted. When I reported what had happened to the rep, the questions being asked did seem to be aimed at excluding the possibility of a claim being made. What I found on Google was lots of solicitors firms who would be able to investigate a claim of this nature. However, I also came across newspaper articles about fraudulent claims and one particular article by the Guardian was reporting on a couple who had been sent to prison in October 2017 for submitting false claims.

Deborah Briton and her partner Paul Roberts were sent to prison for fraud for 9 months and 15 months respectively for trying to claim £20,000 compensation for 2 holidays where they and Ms Briton’s children allegedly suffered from sickness. Thomson Cook brought private prosecutions against them when they discovered Facebook posts where the couple were talking about how fantastic their holidays were. They were attempting to claim £20,000 in compensation but legal costs were also £28,000. The Judge, David Aubrey QC, commented that this case would be a warning for all those tempted to make claims in the future. A Thomson Cook spokesperson after the hearing also commented that the sentences handed down demonstrated the seriousness of the issue.

The couple’s convictions also came on the day that the Government called for evidence from travel operators as part of a crackdown on these types of claims. There is a talk of a fixed fee regime for legal costs being introduced (which is used in other areas such as road traffic accidents and accidents at work). This is due to the fact that these types of claims have increased by 500% since 2013. Boris Johnson has even commented that the digestive systems of British holidaymakers had “become the most delicate in the world”. The Government’s crackdown has also been welcomed by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) who has stated that the cost of these claims are pushing up the cost of holidays abroad, especially to Spain. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has also issued a guidance note due to the number of fraudulent claims being submitted, which shows how serious the issue is.

However, the above should not put you off making a claim where you have genuinely suffered some form of gastric illness whilst abroad. If you find yourself unwell abroad, it is important that you seek medical advice and report what has happened to your hotel and rep if you have one. However, it is important to heed the above advice and be aware of the concerns surrounding these types of claims.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist you with all your legal needs.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org

SEASONS GREETINGS TO YOU ALL!!

If that headline seems a bit bland and generic to you that’s because it is! Deliberately. There are so many different faiths/non faiths/systems of belief out there that I wanted to try and include everyone and offend no one particularly at this most wonderful time of the year.
In contemplation of writing this, I thought I`d try and compile an A-Z of faiths/beliefs to reflect upon and consider, so here it is;

Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Ewokism (added by me for merriment, because I believe they are awesome), Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Zionism………….
I did say I thought I`d try and compile an A to Z. As you can see I wasn’t entirely successful. There are bound to be countless others that I could have unearthed had I the time, wisdom or knowledge, however at this time of year as I`m sure you`d all agree, time is something which comes at a premium (wisdom and knowledge are, alas, perennial)

Each and every faith/belief has reason to celebrate at some point in the year be it Lunar or otherwise.
Regardless of faith or belief it would seem that celebration involves indulgence, which is not necessarily a good thing, unless you look deeper into what that means (disclaimer – I am a solicitor (!) not a philosophist – all opinions are my own and not those of JNP). I for one always feel a pang of guilt amongst the indulgent celebration of Christmas because with it comes excess, waste, thoughtlessness and unhappiness for many.
On the plus side a common thread amongst all values seems to be a genuine love, compassion, humility, kindness, togetherness, grace and tradition… even if those things do get lost in the mire.
What a dilemma!?!

Bearing in mind those features, my own view is that we should all pledge to give something money can’t buy during this seasonal period; time, patience, kindness and understanding. Give back to your communities, to your family, friends and anyone else who may need a helping hand at what should be “the most wonderful time of the year“. It need not be difficult; recycle rubbish, donate unwanted `stuff` to charities, clear the snow from the pavement outside your home, bite your tongue when your mother/father/sister/brother/significant other says or does things that don’t fit with your own ideals.
Simple really!

So….that’s my take on the `seasonal` season! Take from it what you choose!
I will take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy end to 2017.
JNP will be here in 2018 in our freshly made over office building.
We`re moving to the bright side and we hope to see you there.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open  9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.

We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office)  01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.