Vicarious Liability: when is an employer accountable for the actions of their employees?

Firstly, what is Vicarious Liability?
An employer can be liable for the acts and/or omissions of its ‘Employees’ provided these took place during the course of employment.

Recent Developments
A recent Court of Appeal ruling has dealt with the law relating to vicarious liability and a company’s use of contractors.

The case in question, Barclays Bank PLC v Various Claimants, related to an appeal by Barclays Bank on its liability for sexual assaults that were said to have been committed by a doctor it has contracted to complete medical examinations of its staff. The bank specified the nature, time, place and the examiner and there was therefore some degree of control and knowledge.

Following the death of the doctor the police found evidence of sexual assaults during the examinations.

Various members of staff sought damages from the bank on the basis that they were vicariously liable for the assaults on the basis that the doctor’s work for them was akin to employment. The bank argued that the doctor was self employed as an independent contractor and as such they were not liable for his actions.

The High Court had previously agreed with the Claimants that the bank was vicariously liable and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision. The Court of Appeal discussed the changing nature of work which required a more flexible approach to vicarious liability. Given that the doctor had died and his estate had already been distributed the bank was the only viable entity able to provide compensation which will have, no doubt, had some bearing on the Court’s decision.

Important points for employers
As well as the above case, there have been other recent examples of the Court taking a more flexible approach to find vicarious liability if it considers it fair and just to do so. It is important that all persons working for a company, even those not classically considered ‘employees’ are aware of their obligations.

JNP Legal offer a wide range of legal services. We have offices in Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Llanishen. Our offices are open Monday- Friday 9am-5pm with our Merthyr Tydfil office also open between 9am – 12pm on a Saturday for your convenience.

Our qualified solicitors would be more than happy to assist with any legal queries you have.

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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LAW FIRM NAMED IN LIST OF HIGHEST ACHIEVERS FOR NATIONAL CHARITY CAMPAIGN

A LAW firm based in Merthyr Tydfil has raised over £4,000 for charity this year after taking part in a will-writing campaign which asks solicitors to write wills for local people and instead, ask only for a voluntary donation.

JNP Legal, which has branches in Nelson and Llanishen, have taken part in the annual Will Aid scheme and raised an impressive £4,420 in the month-long fundraiser. This is the second time they have taken part in Will Aid and they were the highest fundraising firm in Mid Glamorgan for 2017. Since they started taking part they have raised £31,483.

Loran Beynon, from the firm commented: “Our team has thoroughly enjoyed participating in Will Aid and we have worked very hard to promote the campaign.

“We like having the opportunity to help more than one charity during the same campaign. The scheme provides a strong incentive for people to make wills.

“We are happy to donate our time towards Will Aid. It is a worthy cause and worth supporting. There are benefits for the firm in encouraging will making and other new business. We would recommend that other law firms get involved.”

Paul Morgan from the British Red Cross paid the firm a visit to present them with a certificate.

He said: “We are very grateful to JNP Legal and the Will Aid scheme for this generous contribution.

“The Red Cross uses donations to reach people in crisis, here in the UK and all around the world.

“£300 could feed ten families in Syria for a month. £80 could help train four people in life-saving first aid skills here in the UK. And with £1,000 our UK volunteers could give five people the support they need to readjust to life at home following a spell in hospital.”

Lawyers wrote dozens of wills during the month of November, generously giving their time for free for the whole month.

Will Aid, which is celebrating its 30th year since launching, is a charity will-writing scheme that raises money for nine wonderful charities: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save The Children, Sightsavers, Age UK, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid said: “Will Aid has made an amazing contribution to the work of the nine participating charities and last year was no exception. Thanks to the commitment of local solicitors that took part in this year’s Will Aid, many people both in the UK and abroad will receive life-changing support and local people who used the scheme have the peace of mind thanks to having a professionally drawn up will.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to JNP Legal and let them know that thanks to them, lives will change for the better and people who need it will continue to receive the help and support that the charities work so hard to provide.

“Solicitors raised an incredible amount of money in 2017, but sadly there is always much more demand for Will Aid than we can meet. You have the chance to help us celebrate 30 years since the launch of Will Aid by signing up and donating your time in 2018. Being part of Will Aid will raise the profile of your firm in your local community and bring new clients to your door, all whilst supporting nine wonderful UK charities.

Will Aid will run again in November 2018. Find out more by visiting http://www.willaid.org.uk.

ENDS

For more information, photographs, quotes or localised statistics please contact the Will Aid press team on pr@willaid.org.uk or call 01473 276127

Notes for Editors
• November is Will Aid’s annual UK-wide fundraising campaign involving nine of the UK’s leading charities that share the proceeds: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland).
• Will Aid has been running since 1988 and has run every November since 2008. It is the most successful charity Will-writing scheme in the UK, open to all adults. The campaign has encouraged over 300,000 people to write their will with a qualified, regulated and insured solicitor and in so doing has raised over £20 million in donations. The suggested voluntary donation is £95 for a single will and £150 for a pair of mirror wills.
• For more information on the Will Aid research or a digital version of this press release, visit http://www.willaid.org.uk/press

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Injury Prevention Day 2018

As you may be aware from previous posts, JNP Legal is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), a national not-for-profit membership group representing injured people.

As part of the campaigns supported by APIL, the third Wednesday in August each year is focussed on Injury Prevention Day, when APIL asks people to consider what they can do to help prevent harm. This year Injury Prevention Day is Wednesday 15th August 2018.

APIL’s focus this year is on avoiding needless injuries by asking occupants of vehicles to ensure vehicle head restraints are properly adjusted. Head restraints that are properly adjusted may help to prevent occupants who are involved in low speed collisions from suffering neck and back injuries as a result.

APIL have created an illustration explaining how a car headrest should be positioned, which can be accessed at https://www.apil.org.uk/injury-prevention-day.aspx. They have asked that everyone complete the #headresttest to ensure that headrests are properly positioned. By ensuring that headrests are in the correct position, car users can help to protect themselves from injury.

Further information in relation to APIL’s campaign activity is also available on their website http://www.apil.org.uk/.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. If you require our assistance with any legal matter 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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Ant McPartlin’s wife to get ‘Every Penny’ In Divorce Settlement?

Ant McPartlin’s wife to get ‘every penny’ in divorce settlement?
It has been difficult to escape the headlines recently regarding TV presenter Ant McPartlin’s divorce from his wife Lisa Armstrong. The couple announced their separation back in January 2018 however matters seem to be becoming more and more contentious.

Ant has been in the headlines a lot recently after reportedly getting hooked on prescription drugs and alcohol following a knee operation last summer leading to a stint in rehab, and returning to rehab this year after having been arrested for drink-driving.

There has been much speculation as to what Lisa Armstrong will get out of the divorce settlement. The couple were married in 2006 although they were in a relationship for a number of years before marriage. The couple have no children together. Due to the fact that they were in a long relationship and there are no children to consider, the starting point will be a 50:50 division of all assets. It is unknown as to whether or not they had a prenup prior to marriage but if they did then that could alter the division of assets.

It has been reported that Lisa Armstrong has said that she wants to take Ant ‘for every penny’ and that she ‘refuses to go quietly’. They were said to have clashed when Ant asked Lisa to have her jewellery valued as part of the settlement and Lisa refused; it is unknown how true this is however a jewellery collection is seen as an asset and will need to be considered.

According to the press, Ant is now in a new relationship with the couple’s ex PA, Anne-Marie Corbett and Lisa has expressed her heart break on social media in respect of the rumours. Although Lisa may be extremely annoyed with the rumours in respect of Ant’s new relationship; it is very unlikely that this will have any bearing on the financial settlement that she will receive.

The reality is that Lisa will not be walking away with every penny of the marriage however she is likely to walk away with a significant settlement as she could be entitled to half of the estimated £62 million fortune. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

Communication between the couple is said to be difficult at the moment, as can be expected. It is reported that they are communicating only via lawyers and through members of Ant’s management team. Whilst it is hoped that matters can be dealt with amicably, unfortunately it is not always the way. If you are going through a break up and require advice, support and assistance contact our financial remedy department and we will be with you every step of the way.

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 Qualifies for Legal Aid

Funding a case, whether it be divorce, child arrangements, care proceedings or criminal matters, can be daunting. Most people have heard of legal aid, which is government funding for your legal fees, but what most people don’t know is – how do I get it?

Unfortunately, the provision for legal aid in most cases were massively scaled back in 2013, with the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. This Act of Parliament massively reduced which cases legal aid are available for. This had a massive impact on family law as a general practice area. Legal aid is provided a government body – the Legal Aid Agency.

Care Proceedings

If you have children services involvement with your family, then have no fear, if care proceedings are issued in respect of your children, or you have to have what’s called a ‘legal meeting’ in respect of your children, then you automatically qualify for legal aid, irrespective of what you earn.

Child Arrangement Orders

In terms of getting legal aid for child arrangements where there is no children’s services involvement, it is slightly more complicated. One of the only ways to obtain legal aid in these at is if you can demonstrate that you have been victim of or are at risk of suffering domestic violence, or in children cases, that the case is for the purpose of protecting a child who would otherwise be at risk of abuse.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 defines domestic violence as ‘any incidents, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between individuals who are associated with each other.’ However, you will be required to provide evidence of this violence and only certain forms of this evidence will be acceptable. This includes, an unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence, a protective injunction made in the last five years, or a report from an health professional that an examination within the last five years showed injuries condition consistent with those of a victim of domestic violence.

In addition to this, you must also fall within the financial eligibility test. You will need to show that you cannot afford the legal cost of the case. You will be required to give information about your income, benefits, savings, property and shares and those of your partner.

There’s an online calculator for legal aid which can be found on their government website. The link can be found here: https://checklegalaid.service.gov.uk/legal-aid-available

Criminal

If you find yourself involved in a criminal matter where you might need legal aid, the test is slightly different. You need to be in receipt of passporting benefit, and if your matter is in the magistrates court you will need to earn less than £239.00 a week.

At JNP Legal, we work with the Legal Aid Agency in order to obtain funding for our clients. We are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner. We offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson and Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am-12pm every Saturday morning.

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), 01443 450561 (Nelson) or 02920 763211 (Llanishen) or contact us via email 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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Personal Injury Reform Concerns

You may recall that we have previously written about the Government’s proposed reforms of the rules governing personal injury claims including the increase of the Small Claims limit. The current Small Claims limit for personal injury claims is £1,000 and it is proposed that this is increased to £5,000 for claims relating to road traffic accidents and £2,000 for all other personal injury claims. Those who are successful in claims in value below the Small Claims limit are unable to recover their legal fees from the Defendant.

If implemented the Government’s proposals will radically change the way in which personal injury claims are dealt with and risk Claimants being faced with bringing claims without legal assistance. Extensive campaigns are ongoing by bodies on behalf of Claimants seeking to oppose the reforms which have been proposed by the Government. However, despite the opposition the Government has seemed intent on implementing the proposed reforms.

The House of Commons Justice Committee have recently released a report providing their conclusions on the increase of the Small Claims limit for personal injury claims, in which the impact of the reforms is examined. They have criticised the proposed changes reiterating the concerns which have previously been raised by bodies on behalf of Claimants, including significant concerns regarding access to justice and the evidence of obstacles facing Claimants attempting to navigate the personal injury claims process without legal representation.

The Committee have rejected the proposed increase in the Small Claims limit. Instead, they have proposed that the Small Claims limit be increased to reflect inflation. This has been calculated from 1999 and it has been suggested that an increase in the limit to approximately £1,500 may be appropriate in April 2019. This is of course significantly less than the £5,000 limit proposed by the Government for claims relating to road traffic accidents.

The weak evidence in support of the Government’s proposed reforms has been specifically criticised by the Committee. The report echoes the concerns which have already been raised by many regarding the impact of the proposed reforms. The financial and procedural barriers which will face injured Claimants have been highlighted. It is worth noting that in the event of such reforms many Claimants will find themselves dealing with insurers acting on behalf of Defendants and seeking to navigate a claims process which they will not have had any experience of. Financially Claimants will be in a poorer negotiating position compared to represented insurers and will be unlikely to feel comfortable assessing the appropriate value of their claims and whether any offers put forward by Defendants are adequate. The Law Society has helpfully set out an illustration of some of the hurdles a Claimant may face when seeking to bring a claim without legal representation. This can be accessed on the Law Society website and outlines the steps which can be required in lower value personal injury claims. The illustration identifies some of the challenges which will be faced by Claimants and shows the work required when bringing a personal injury claim.

Whilst the Government has proposed measures to assist unrepresented Claimants the Committee has questioned whether the measures are sufficient to ensure access to justice. This is a matter which they consider the Government should reflect on before increasing the Small Claims limit for personal injury claims.

It is reassuring to see the Committee highlighting these concerns and it is hoped that the Government will take these into consideration when looking at the proposed reforms.

If you require assistance with any legal matter please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil) 01443 450561 (Nelson) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff). Alternatively you can contact us via email at law@jnplegal.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Could you represent yourself?

JNP Legal are leading local solicitors specialising in a number of areas of law. We aim to represent people at a reasonable cost. However, where public funding is unavailable, or where you are unable to obtain a `No Win No Fee` Agreement (known legally as a Conditional Fee Agreement), could you represent yourself?

There has been much in the news in recent times about ¬¬¬the unavailability of legal aid in private family matters. Some of you may remember our blog on the Charlie Gard case where the parents were unable to obtain legal aid. They were lucky enough to have legal professionals willing to work with them on a Pro Bono (i.e. free) basis. Otherwise, they would have been left with the option of fighting highly trained legal professionals in Court. In such a highly emotional case, it seems very unfair. However, people acting as Litigants in Persons happen in Courts all around the country but coverage of this issue is very limited. All people hear about is how much legal aid is costing. However, if you were in the same position as Charlie`s parents, but you were unable to fund your legal advice privately, could you represent yourself?

What about in a criminal aspect? Could you represent yourself then? For anyone who is arrested under suspicion of committing a crime, you are entitled to free and independent legal advice. This is regardless of your financial means. However, if you were to be charged, but your income level was above that for legal aid, could you represent yourself?

Most people will have heard of a `No Win No Fee` Agreement in the news. We here at JNP Legal offer such agreements to clients who have been injured as a result of an accident (however, this is subject to an assessment of the reasonable chance of us winning a case). As it currently stands, Claimants are entitled to recover their legal fees from the Defendant where the claim is successful and where, importantly, the claim settles for more than £1,000.00. Where a claim is worth less than £1,000.00, it would be allocated to a process called the Smalls Claims Track and it is only in very rare cases that legal costs are awarded to the successful party. However, this could all be set to change if the Government get their own way. The current proposals would mean that road traffic accidents would need to settle for £5,000.00 for solicitors costs to be awarded and other types of accidents i.e. accidents at work, would need to settle for £2,000.00. These reforms have recently been criticised by the House of Commons Justice Committee and they have been heavily opposed by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). What these reforms will mean in practice is that most injured clients who currently benefit from a services of a lawyer on the basis of a `No Win No Fee` Agreement, will ultimately need to either privately fund the litigation or consider acting for themselves in Court. However, any insurer will be in a position to fund a legal team. The story of David and Goliath comes to mind. If you were unable to obtain a `No Win No Fee` Agreement due to the potential value of your claim, could you represent yourself?

The Government`s justification for these proposed reforms is that, especially in relation to road traffic accidents, there will be a reduction in insurance premiums. Some supporters of the Government suggest that each policyholder could save around £40.00 a year. However, the House of Commons Justice Committee has been highly critical of this suggestion on the basis that there is no evidence to support this argument. The Government and insurers have also tried to suggest that it would reduce the so called `Compensation Culture` but again, recent figures actually suggest that the number of claims are falling. JNP Legal is an accredited member of APIL and they are highly critical of the proposed reforms. There is a real potential that innocent Claimants could be prevented from making a claim on the basis that they cannot afford legal representation.

However, until these reforms come into place, JNP Legal are here to help you if you have been injured as a result of an accident. We are leading local specialists.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Cardiff office, with a service on Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr office. Please telephone us on 01685 35041, 01443 450561 or 02920 763211, where you will speak to a dedicated member of staff who will be more than willing to assist you with your legal needs.