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YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO RENEW YOUR DRIVING LICENCE RIGHT?

If you are one of the millions of people who hold a licence to drive a motor vehicle in the UK you are obliged to have an up to date driving licence document.

That’s means that you must renew your driving licence at least every ten years or at any time where there is a change in your personal circumstances such as your name, address or class of driving entitlement. If you fail to do so then you risk being fined by the DVLA or horror of horrors being Prosecuted at Court and in addition to being fined acquiring a Criminal conviction.

Yet another mundane administrative task to add you’re already overflowing `to do` lists, but nonetheless essential if you wish to retain your entitlement to drive on public roads legitimately.

How many of us take our entitlement to a driving licence as just that; an entitlement? You do the test (or more accurately tests , as they have become in modern times, with completion of the theory and hazard perception tests before the agony of the practical test even begins) you pass, job done.
Like most things in life it’s not that simple you have to make an effort to maintain it.

For most people who have an entitlement to drive it is an essential tool; day to day life would become an almost impossible feat without it. It is crucial therefore that we give our humble photo card licence the care and attention that it deserves

I have picked this somewhat vanilla topic to blog about because it was the source of much annoyance and consternation in my household recently that I thought, surely I can`t be the only person to share living space with a Massively Useless Paperwork Person Ever To exist (read MUPPET)?!

I am honoured and privileged to be a Criminal specialist in JNP legal. What follows is a real life extract from a genuine dialogue between my goodself and my good other;

JF to Mr JF; You have fan mail! (the name given to any paper document which is delivered to himself because it is, these days, so uncommon to receive items of paper mail that it can only be something un expected and exciting)
Mr JF; `ave I? Tidy, I`ll `ave a look now in a minute.

Approximately 30,240 minutes pass and still the` fan mail` is neglected (I lay blame with our television, it appears to only emit sport. On all 200 channels).

Fast forward another 30,240 minutes and I, my good self, receive a similar looking item courtesy of Her Majesty`s mail. Fan Mail I exclaim! I open it feverishly only to discover it a kindly reminder from DVLA that I must renew my driving licence or face the perils that be.

Without having any televisual distractions myself, I proceeded to be a responsible, law abiding citizen and Officer of the Court and popped onto the Govt website where the task was completed in a blink! Hurrah! Job done! Licence to drive preserved and protected.

I`ve given up on the Mr JF`s mal administration of his `fan mail`.
As I pass him in my car I think I`ll just “smile and wave, boys, smile and wave“

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Mental Health Awareness Week

MHAWThis week (the 14th May 2018) marks the start of a week raising awareness of mental health. This is a week being organised by Mind, the mental health charity. Mind are aiming to help educate employers and employees to improve mental health in the workplace. I am currently the secretary for the Junior Lawyers Division for Cardiff and South East Wales and I have been asked to write a similar blog for the Law Society, which will be published during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Statistics show that 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health difficulty in their lifetime. Probably someone you know will have experienced mental health. My experience is losing my 21 year old brother to suicide in November 2014. My research following his death showed that suicide was the biggest killer amongst men, especially those under 25. This comes at a time when some high profile male celebrities have taken their life as a result of suicide.

The more we do to raise awareness, the better. We need to do much more to recognise mental health in the same way as physical health. Law firms like JNP Legal can have a positive influence on mental health and the way that it is dealt with in the local community.

Most clients will come to us in the most stressful time of their life. Whether that is divorce, as a result of an injury or because they are being investigated by the police. JNP Legal always strives to deal with matters in a sensitive and professional manner. We always communicate in a non-legal way. JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist you with all your legal needs.

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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Who is the Official Solicitor?

If someone does not have the mental capacity (ability to make their decisions) to be able to represent themselves or to instruct a solicitor, in civil and family court cases then the Official Solicitor is invited to act for them. Alastair Pitblado is the Official Solicitor.

Usually, if someone has a low level of understanding, a low IQ or learning difficulties then an assessment is carried out by a psychologist to assess their “cognitive ability” and determine whether or not the individual has the “capacity” to litigate the proceedings (be actively involved/run the case) themselves or instruct a solicitor to do so. The psychologist may say what help and support the individual will need during the proceedings as well.

If the psychologist says that the individual cannot give a solicitor instructions themselves then the Court may be asked to invite the Official Solicitor to act for the individual as a litigation friend, as a last resort. Essentially the individual will not be able to instruct a solicitor themselves and tell them what they want to happen, the Official Solicitor will do this. It may be that the individual has already been to see a solicitor, so this solicitor could remain involved, if not the official solicitor will find one. The individual will tell the solicitor their wishes and feelings and the solicitor will tell the Official Solicitor this and give advice but the Official Solicitor will then “instruct” – tell, the solicitor what he thinks should happen and what he thinks is best for the individual, based on his/her wishes and feelings and the evidence before the Court.

The Official Solicitor is based his London and he has case workers who manage his cases day to day.

If you want to know more about the role of the Official Solicitor look at this website or get in touch with us.

If you need further help and advice in a Children law case and you think the Official Solicitor is involved please get in touch.
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/official-solicitor-and-public-trustee

Natalie Lewis, Child care solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Children Law Panel

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.

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.