The Dangerous Side of Social Media; Think Before You Post!

Social networking has shot up in the past decade with people taking to social media to connect with one another, engage with news, share information and entertain themselves. There are various social media platforms and people are choosing to contact each other on those platforms using messages, photos and videos more frequently.

The benefits of the internet and social media are vast but there is also a dangerous side and we are seeing that more and more in the legal profession.
Social media posts that may have been posted in the heat of the moment when emotions were running high have been brought into court proceedings to be used as evidence of behavior, relationships and events, and this ‘evidence’ has been judged in court. This is now commonplace and can have damaging consequences, sometimes affecting the outcome of a case.

It is extremely important to take a minute to think before posting, and to avoid getting into arguments over social media. Not only could it potentially damage any court case that you may have going on, or any future case for that matter, but if your children use social media remember that they may see negative posts and this could cause additional upset.

It is not enough to rely on privacy settings; if you do not want the public to see your post then do not post it! No matter how much you lock your account down, or how careful you think you are with your friends, the reality is that if you post it, it will be seen!

If you’ve got an issue and need someone to talk to, and some advice, do not post it on social media, contact us to arrange an appointment so that you can get some proper legal advice!

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.

 

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Should there be non-fault based divorce?

 

As the law currently stands, if you wish to get divorced without blaming your significant other you have to wait between 2-5 years to do so. There have been calls by many to change this.

How divorce works

You apply to the court for divorce. If you are the one applying you are referred to as the Petitioner, with your spouse being the Respondent. You will be required to file a divorce petition detailing you and your spouses’ details, the details of the marriage and any children and the grounds for divorce.

Divorce grounds

There is a single ground for divorce, which is irretrievable break-down of the marriage.

How to prove irretrievable breakdown

This can be done in one of 5 ways.

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. 2 year separation with consent
  4. 5 year separation without consent
  5. Desertion

Adultery

To rely on this ground, there has to be an admission on behalf of the Respondent that they committed adultery, and as a result you find it intolerable to live with him or her. Another condition for using this ground is that you have separated within 6 months of knowledge of your spouse committing adultery.

Unreasonable Behaviour

To rely on this ground, you need to include 5 examples of the Respondent’s behaviour that has led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. You need to include examples that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her. If you have remained together 6 months after your spouse has committed adultery, the affair can be contained within the unreasonable behaviour ground.

These are the only two grounds that will let you get divorce without a minimum 2 year waiting period.

2 years’ separation with consent

This ground is exactly what it says on the box. You and your spouse are required to have been separated for 2 years and both consent to the ending of the marriage.

5 years’ separation without consent

Should your spouse not consent to the ending of the marriage, you will be able to apply for a divorce after 5 years of separation and you will not need the consent of your spouse for the marriage to be brought to an end.

Desertion

The Respondent has deserted you for a period of more than 2 years. Desertion means leaving your spouse without their agreement and without good reason.

The UK based system of non-fault divorce has been thrown into the spotlight, particularly after the well-publicised case of Tini Owens, where Mr Owens defended the divorce. Mrs Owens was denied a divorce as Judge Robin Tolson QC refused her petition last year, ruling that her husband’s constant berating about her infidelity was to be “expected in a marriage”. He concluded that her husband’s behaviour towards her had not been unreasonable and described the farmer’s attitude as “old school”. Her appeals were rejected by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

This had led to criticism of the England Wales divorce system with calls by those in high positions for Parliament to change the law. These include those such as Lord Wilson, a Supreme Court judge, Wilson, Lady Hale, another Supreme Court justice , Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the High Court, and those who work in family law.

There have been previous attempts to introduce no-fault based divorce however they have either been repealed shortly after, or failed to make it’s way through Parliament. There has been hesitation on behalf of Parliament to ‘undermine’ the sanctity of marriage by allowing divorce to become an easy solution with no blame allocated.

Some would argue that this is an outdated view, and the concern that this would lead to high divorce rates are unfounded, as those who intend to get a divorce will obtain one through one of the 5 grounds, whether it be unreasonable behaviour or 5 year separation without consent.

Other countries such as America, the Netherlands and Scotland have all introduced no-fault divorce with very little ramifications that seem to concern our Government.

Divorce is never an easy thing to pursue, and the necessity of allocating blame within the current law can potentially aggravate an already emotionally trying process. A National Association of Family Lawyers known was Resolution have been campaigning on the issue for some time, due to seeing the damage of allocating blame in a divorce does to families.

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.

 

An End To Cold Calls?

Most of us have received an unwanted text message or phone call at some stage asking us whether we have been involved in an accident in the last 3 years and want to make a personal injury claim. Such contact is usually unwanted and irritating. Unfortunately, ‘cold calls’ impact on the public’s perception of personal injury claims. Many wrongly believe that such contact is linked to solicitors who deal with personal injury claims. However, under the solicitors’ Code of Conduct they are, rightly so, not permitted to make ‘cold calls’. These are from Claims Management Companies who are not subject to the same restrictions on contacting members of the public in this way. The tone of the text messages / phone calls give the false impression that making a personal injury claim is easy, even if the person has not actually suffered any injury. Yet making a claim where there has been no injury is fraudulent and results in the person facing serious consequences for pursuing a claim dishonestly.

Despite the Government currently consulting on a number of reforms to personal injury claims regrettably there is no indication that the Government are going to ban Claims Management Companies from making ‘cold calls’. Even though many groups, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a not-for-profit group representing injured people, which JNP Legal is accredited by as specialist advisors on personal injury claims, has campaigned for a ban. As part of their campaign, ‘Can the Spam’, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers have encouraged members of the public to report ‘cold calls’ to them in order for such reports to be notified to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They have used the hash tag on Twitter #canthespam as part of their campaign. More information can be found on their website at https://www.apil.org.uk/canthespam. By reporting instances of nuisance calls / texts to the Information Commissioner’s Office investigations can be made and action taken where necessary.

Whilst the Government is consulting on various reforms to personal injury claims it is unfortunate that there appears to be no consideration of an outright ban against Claims Management Companies making unwanted phone calls and sending text messages to members of the public. The contact is unwanted and intrusive. It leaves the wrong impression on the publics’ perception of personal injury claims. A ban on Claims Management Companies’ cold calling members of the public would help to reduce fraudulent claims, and thereby reduce costs. We are sure most of you would agree that the ending of the nuisance phone calls and text messages would be welcomed.

At JNP Legal we are committed to providing a first class service to our clients ensuring that those who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own are appropriately compensated including seeking rehabilitation to assist with their recovery.

If you wish to discuss a potential personal injury claim, or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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.

 

 

Victims of breast surgeon Ian Paterson to be compensated

You may well have read in the news about the former breast surgeon Ian Paterson. Between 1997 and 2011, the disgraced former breast surgeon operated on approximately 750 patients unnecessarily. In some cases, he removed women’s breast or told them that they had cancer when they did not. In May 2017, he was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and 3 counts of wounding. His sentence was appealed on the basis that it was ‘unduly lenient’ and it was increased to 20 years imprisonment. The Appeal Judges took into account the fact that Paterson was a in a position of trust, that he had abused his position with vulnerable patients. His treatment of patients was described as “brutal and sustained”. Some commentators have been compared him to the infamous GP Harold Shipman.

Whilst the criminal aspects of the case has now been finalized, there is the matter of the civil claims being brought by the many victims. A compensation fund of £37 million has been set up. Paterson previously worked for private hospital, Spire, along with the NHS. His insurers are also paying into the fund. The victims only have until 30th October 2018 in order to make these claims however. Some victims are reporting physical injuries, as well as psychological injuries.

Private hospital operator Spire has stated that they are determined to learn lessons from what has happened. Whilst this case is unprecedented in scale, it is not unusual for medical treatment and management to go wrong and we here at JNP Legal have the legal expertise to assist you with these sort of matters.

If you have been injured as result of medical negligence by a hospital or GP, we can help you. The first port of call would be to make a written complaint to the hospital or GP; we can do this on your behalf. Once we know their response, it would then be a case of obtaining a report from an independent expert commenting upon the “breach of duty” – for example, the failure to refer for necessary medical tests. Finally, we would then need to link your symptoms to that failure and this is called medical causation.

It is important for potential clients to know that all cases of this nature must be either settled or issued at Court within 3 years. This can be 3 years of the treatment, 3 years of knowledge or unfortunately, 3 years of death. There are different rules in place for a child. Therefore, if you think you have a potential claim, it is important to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible so that this deadline is not missed.

As well as medical negligence, JNP Legal offers a variety of other 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. We are also able to offer home visits.

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.

 

 

HANDS UP!

HANDS UP!
Who is fed up of the new school term already?

HANDS UP!
Who is fed up of the lost jumpers, bags, books, lunch boxes, Paw Patrol, Trolls……..?

HANDS UP!
Who is wondering what happened to the promise of ‘essential maintenance works’ on our roads being completed during the summer holiday period?!

Do you ever get the feeling that the information you are being given doesn’t accurately reflect the reality?
”school days are the best of your life” (eye roll from current pupil, teary eye from past)
“revolutionary, indestructible, easy fix name tags” (yeah right)
“we apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time” (well that makes it okay then (!))

Sound information is something that we all need to be able to perform effectively in our everyday lives. It’s only when something goes wrong that we really appreciate just how important it is to ensure that the information (or data) that we rely upon is secure (or protected).

On 25th May 2018 the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect (yes, notwithstanding ’Brexit’), intending to “strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the EU”.
It applies to ‘Personal Data’ which is expansive by definition but on a very basic level will include our names and addresses whether electronic or postal.
The GDPR applies to information subjects (you and I), information controllers (JNP and all other businesses/organisations) and information processors (any person or body involved in the collection, storage, distribution or destruction).
The Information Commissioner’s Officers website is a valuable resource when considering how the legislation will affect you and/or any organisation that you are involved in or have dealings with. (ico.org.uk).

By now you may well be thinking how does the GDPR affect my life on a day to day basis? Consider these scenarios;
Have you ever shopped online for something? Let’s say flip flops by way of illustration. Did the next time you go online, adverts for sunshine holidays keep popping up in your browser? Happy coincidence you might think, but you’d be wrong! You have been ‘profiled’, someone to whom you have provided your personal data (in the purchase of your flip flops) has passed that onto other organisation(s) to enable them to promote products/services that may be of interest to you. When purchasing your humble flip flops did you consent to that sharing of information? I doubt it.
Data protection breach!
Have you ever had a knock on the door from a neighbour clutching a handful of letters addressed to you which had been delivered to them by mistake? Thank you very much for bringing me my mail kind neighbour is what you said I’m sure. But would you really be happy for your private correspondence to be sent to an incorrect address if you stopped to think about it? Of course your neighbour would not have opened any of the letters ‘by mistake’ oh no, no,no that would never happen(!) but what could be gleaned from the envelope itself? Whoops.
Data protection breach!
You see, the GDPR, does impact you, regardless of what you do or don’t do for a living.
I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that Christmas is just around the corner (What do you mean its not?! There are 98 sleeps left – accurate reflection of reality!) We can all expect an increase in communication traffic and with it an increase in the disclosure/retention of our personal data as we blissfully shop and schlep ourselves into seasonal oblivion. So be vigilant and be aware of your rights;
to be informed about the Personal Data which is held about you,
to access that information and to request its rectification and/or erasure
to request that restrictions are imposed upon its processing and/or transfer.
to object to you data being processed – which is particularly useful if you find yourself ‘profiled’.
Also be aware of your obligations if you find yourself on the other side of the transaction; Personal Data must be processed fairly and lawfully with the subjects explicit consent (save in other defined circumstances). It must be for at least one specified lawful purpose. It must be adequate, relevant, accurate and kept up to date. It must be protected against unauthorised or unlawful processing and must not be transferred to a Country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). (Quite how Santa is going to get around the latter obstacle I don’t know but he’s got until next year to think about it and he’s magic in any event (Fact) so please don’t worry yourselves unnecessarily).
Data Protection is something that we at JNP Legal take very seriously.
We have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) in place and are currently reviewing our already robust Data Protection policies and procedures to ensure that they are GDPR proof.
We strive to look after your data and keep it protected. In the unlikely event that there is a problem, please assured that we will contact you.
If you discover that your data, wherever its been collected, controlled or processed, has not been looked after, please contact us!

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.

Remember a Charity week 2017

Next week sparks the start of “Remember A Charity” week. It runs from the 11th -17th September, and we are now proud supporters of the campaign.

There are many different things to think about when making a will, from the executors to the beneficiaries, even to who is going to care for your loyal family pet.  What this campaign is aiming to do is to raise awareness to the benefits of charitable legacies in your wills and to show us all exactly how this helps.

What many people may not know is that incomes from gifts in Wills are worth more than £2 billion a year to charities in the UK.

As a country we are extremely generous when it comes to giving to charities. If we look at last years ‘Charity Aid Foundations Giving report’, we as a nation donated £9.7billion to UK charities last year alone.

There are many big campaigns that will no doubt be poignant in our minds, such as Children in Need, the Poppy Appeal and Movember to name a few. During our lifetimes we don’t hesitate to donate, however sometimes when making our wills, charitable donations are not at the forefront of our minds when we are trying to prepare for every eventuality.

There is also tax relief to consider. If you leave a donation to a charity in your will and your estate is in excess of the inheritance tax threshold, the value of the gift will either be taken off the value of your estate before Inheritance Tax is calculated or if more than 10% of your estate is left to charity you will reduce the level of inheritance you pay from 40% to 36%.

Why not have a think about it. Whether you are an avid charity donator, or even if your will is your first chance to help and support a charity, any legacy as little or as large as you can will make such a difference.

Use #HaveYourSay to spread awareness, get involved in the campaign and help the work live on.

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.

Summer Round Up

So it’s September already and time to go back to school for the children.

The bake off and X factor return to our TV screens this week, and the tins of roses and quality street now line the aisles in the super markets………..much to the delight of those early and eager Christmas shoppers (like me)!

As we say goodbye to the summer and get ready for Autumn, it’s a time for reflection for us here at JNP Legal.

This summer has been a good one for us, and a busy one at that. Our Nelson office has had a make over, with the interior decorated and new meeting rooms created. Work has also started on the exterior of the Merthyr office, and although we’ll have to put up with scaffolding outside for a while, we can’t wait to see the transformation.

We’ve had a very busy few months in our Conveyancing and Civil departments, with lots of clients moving home, and many personal injury claims and civil matters successfully concluded.

We’ve also been involved in lots of community activities again this year, as part of our continued commitment to supporting our local community.

We were delighted to be one of the Merthyr rising sponsors, and had a fantastic weekend back in May at the festival. In August, we returned to the annual Bedwellty Agricultural show and had a great day there. We’ve also taken part in local NSPCC fundraisers, business and sporting events.

The summer period has seen us grow considerably in numbers as we’ve welcomed lots of new staff. These include solicitors in our Family and Civil departments, as well as trainee solicitors, paralegals and administrative staff.

We are very much looking forward to working with our new team members as they settle in to life at JNP Legal, and as they help us to continue offering local, expert legal advice to our much valued clients.

We have some very exciting times ahead, with lots planned over the coming months. We will update you all in more detail about that soon. However in the mean time, if we can assist you in respect of any legal matter, please contact us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr), 01443 450561 (Nelson) or at http://www.jnplegal.org

 

Rebecca Rees, Solicitor and Head of Civil Litigation

 

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.