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Same Roof’ rule abolished allowing victims to reapply Published by Ministry of Justice on 13 June 2019

Why?

In July 2018 the Court of Appeal decided that the ‘same-roof’ rule had unfairly denied a claimant who was abused by her stepfather the right to compensation. The government chose to not appeal this judgment, and confirmed that the rule would be removed as part of the Victims Strategy published in September.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme awards taxpayer-funded payments to victims injured as a result of violent crime, paying out over £150 million to victims in 2017/18.

What does this mean?

  • More victims will be apply to apply for compensation; and
  • Anyone previously denied compensation under the rule, or put off from coming forward because of it, will be able to make fresh applications.

What is the ‘same roof’ rule?

The so-called ‘same roof’ rule blocked victims of violent crime from receiving compensation if the attacker was a family member they were living with at the time of the incident.

  • The rule was part of the original (non-statutory) compensation scheme introduced in 1964 and was changed in October 1979, but the changes were not made retrospective.
  • The pre-1979 rule applied to adults and children. Under the rule applicants are not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant as members of the same family at the time of the incident.
  • The reasons for the rule were difficulties with evidence and a wish to ensure that offenders did not benefit from compensation paid to the victim who they were living with.
  • The rule applies to all victims of abuse, including physical as well as sexual abuse.
  • Under the 2012 Scheme, applicants can still be refused compensation if at the time of the incident they were adults living with the assailant as members of the same family unless they are no longer living together and are unlikely to do so again.

Victims Minister Edward Argar said:

“The ‘same-roof’ rule was unfair and we recognise the impact this had on victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker. Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering caused by such appalling crimes, by abolishing the rule we are widening access to much needed support and continue to review the entire scheme so it better supports victims. Improving support for victims is at the very heart of this government’s work, and through our Victims Strategy we are determined to improve their experience at every stage of the justice system.”

Gabrielle Shaw, NAPAC’s CEO, said:

“We are delighted that the ‘same roof’ rule has been scrapped. Given that most child abuse happens within the family and children are likely to have had no choice but to live under the same roof as their abuser, this rule was rightly viewed as deeply unfair and punitive.”

President of the Law Society of England and Wales Christina Blacklaws said:

“This change is a welcome correction to a historical anomaly that was causing significant injustice. We are very pleased the government has made this change, as a result of which more victims of historical child abuse will be able to claim recompense for the traumas they suffered.”

How to apply?

You can:

 

Victims applying or reapplying for compensation will still have to meet the Scheme’s other eligibility criteria to be made an award.

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How much is my personal injury claim worth?

We here at JNP Legal are specialists when it comes to personal injury claims. Our Nelson office is a corporate member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and two of our solicitors are accredited members of APIL. We have successfully negotiated settlement on a number of claims over the years.

One of the most common questions asked at the outset of a claim is in relation to the value of it. At the start of a claim, it is extremely difficult to say with any certainty how much a claim will settle for, as this is dependent upon lots of factors. This blog will try to explain how a claim is valued, and what types of items can be claimed for.

As part of any personal injury claim, compensation is broken down into 2 headings: General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages are paid to compensate the injured person for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the injury itself. Special Damages take into account expenses such as loss of earnings, care and assistance, travel and future losses.

For the Special Damages claim, it is usually possible to calculate this very precisely. For a loss of earnings claim, this is calculated using the average wage before the accident. This is usually done by looking at the wage slips in the 3 months before the accident occurred. Once an average is worked out, you would then deduct what was actually received (i.e. statutory sick pay) and the figure you are left with is the loss of earnings claim. For a self-employed individual, the loss would be the loss of profit to the business.

It is sometimes the case that an injured person will require care and assistance from family members for activities such as personal care, shopping and housework. This is also something that can be claimed for and it is worked out on the basis of a reduced hourly rate, to reflect the fact that the family member helping is not a care professional. It is usually the case that the Defendant will try and defend this aspect of the claim and it is normal for no offers to be made in respect of this head of loss. This is something to be prepared for in negotiation.

For the injured person’s travel claim, we here at JNP claim this at 45p a mile. Again, this is a head of loss which is normally disputed by the Defendant and it is not uncommon to see an offer for mileage at around 30-35p a mile. Local courts have also awarded mileage as low as 25p a mile.

For someone who has a more serious injury, there are sometimes future losses i.e. future loss of earnings, future care and assistance etc.

For any item of Special Damage, it is important for the injured person to keep whatever proof they can i.e. receipts, wage slips. It is often useful to keep a diary so that you can keep track of the care and assistance received, and the travel to appointments undertaken. This will strengthen the case.

The other type of compensation is General Damages. This is to compensate the injured person for the injury itself. Unlike the Special Damages claim, it is not usually possible to give a precise figure for this head of loss, as this type of compensation is normally calculated by reference to a bracket i.e. £1,500 to £2,000. This head of loss is based upon the medical report obtained as part of the claim. The medical expert will confirm what type of injury has been sustained (i.e. soft tissue, fracture etc), and they will confirm the seriousness of that, along with a prognosis period (i.e. how long the injury is expected to last for). Once we have this detail from the medical expert, we then look at previous case law to see what similar injuries settled for. We are also guided by guidelines issues by Judges. It must be stressed that no two cases are identical and the case law found is only really an indication of the potential value of the claim. We would usually seek to negotiate settlement with the Defendant at the higher end of our valuation, but it is sometimes the case that cases settle towards the lower end of the bracket. For this type of compensation, each case will be dependent upon its facts.

There are lots of reforms going on at the moment in the personal injury sector. Our previous blogs have written about this. The reporting of these reforms in the national press has gone under the radar recently due to Brexit. However, these reforms are coming, and they are set to dramatically change how personal injury claims are brought and settled. At the moment, the average value of a claim for whiplash, which lasted 0-3 months, is £1,800. One of the reforms due to go through is that there would be a set tariff. For this type of injury, post reform, the amount of damages would be capped at £235. This would result in a saving for insurers of around £1,600 per claim, but it highly unlikely that this type of saving will be passed onto the car insurance customer. The anticipated saving per customer is going to be around £40 a customer. The aim of these reforms is to reduce the number of claims being brought, the so called ‘Compensation Culture’, but recent statistics show that the number of claims being brought is actually dropping. Both the Law Society, and APIL, have heavily campaigned against these reforms, with the worry that they will reduce access to justice.

At JNP Legal, we always strive to get the best possible result for our clients. This applies not only to personal injury claims, but the other areas that we work in. We are your local solicitors. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, please contact us now and we will be more than happy to try and assist you. We do offer No Win No Fee Agreements, as long as we are happy that the claim has a good chance of winning.

We have 3 offices and we are able to travel to the office most convenient for you. Our telephone numbers can be found on our website.

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.

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How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?

When an accident happens, especially when you become injured in that accident, making a claim for those injuries (hopefully) is not the first thing that comes to mind. Often, the first priority is to get to a hospital and get treatment, urgent or not, and getting better. Having an accident can impact your life in a variety of different ways and it could be months, maybe years, before the thought of pursuing compensation crosses your mind.

That being said, it’s important to bear in mind that brining a claim for personal injury cannot be done any time after an accident. Dependant on the circumstances of each case, there are strict time limits that apply for when you can bring a claim.

The main piece of legislation which stipulates the timescales is the Limitation Act 1980.

For accidents such as road traffic accidents, accidents at work, trips or slips in public, or accidents caused by a fault product, the relevant time limit is 3 years. This means that you have 3 years from the date the accident happened to either settle your claim with the Defendant or issue Court proceedings against the Defendant. Failure to settle your claim or issue Court proceedings in this time will mean that your claim will become “statute-barred”. This means that you lose the right to bring your claim. This does not mean that the Court will prevent you from issuing proceedings. However, what it means is that the Defendant will be able to argue in their Defence that your claim has been brought late and that the delay in bringing the claim has prejudiced the Defendant’s ability to properly defend the claim compared to what they would have if you brought the claim within the time limit. If the Defendant does this, the Court will likely agree and you risk having your claim dismissed.

However, some different types of accidents carry different time limits to the standard 3 year time limit from the date of the accident.

If you are a child (under the age of 18) when you are involved in an accident, the time limit differs slightly. In these circumstances, the time limit will expiry 3 years after the injured child’s 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday).

Also, if you are making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for compensation for an injury you sustained as a result of a violent crime, the relevant time limit is 2 years from the date you sustained your injuries. There would have to be good reason for attempting to bring a claim after the 2 year limit has passed.

For accidents that happen abroad, on board a plane or a ship, the time limits will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. Therefore, it is our advice that you seek advice from a specialist solicitor as soon as possible to ensure that you are not statute-barred from pursuing your claim.

As I stated at the start of this blog, making a claim is not likely to be the first thing on someone’s mind when they are injured in an accident. However, it’s important to bear in mind the time that you have to bring a claim so that you do not fall foul of bringing a claim late and risk having your claim dismissed.

If you have been injured in the last 3 years, and want advice on whether you have a potential claim, call JNP Legal on the numbers provided on our website to speak to one of our personal injury specialists.

 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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Grant of Probate and Timescale

How long it takes to obtain a Grant of Probate after the death of a loved one, so that you can sort their affairs, can be difficult to predict in many estates. It can be influenced by many external factors including the number of assets a person has, the amount of organisations involved or the volume of inheritance tax forms required by HMRC, just to name a few.

At present, we have most certainly noticed lengthy delays awaiting the Grants of Probate to be issued by the Probate registry.

The Law Gazette article linked below has been able to shed us with some light as to why these delays are happening.

Between an influx of applications to avoid anticipated application fee hikes, a new case management system and printer failures, this is leading a process that should take 14-21 working days, taking a reported 6-8 weeks.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/it-glitches-causing-major-grant-of-probate-delays/5070133.article?utm_source=dispatch&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=%20GAZ141016

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The Introduction of No Fault Divorce

The law is set to change for divorcing couples. It has been confirmed that the government will introduce legislation to reform the current divorce law as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Currently in England and Wales the sole ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The only way to get a divorce without waiting two years or more after separating is to cite the reason for the breakdown of the marriage as being your spouse’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour, therefore blaming fault on the other, even when the other is not necessarily at fault.

Research undertaken by Resolution, an organisation of family lawyers, has shown that the majority of divorces are fault based; based on either adultery or unreasonable behaviour, with unreasonable behaviour being the most common reason.

There are various reasons for couples not always wanting to wait two years after separating to start divorce proceedings, particularly emotional and financial reasons. However not waiting encourages blame and often leads to upset and animosity. What could be an amicable separation is at risk of being ruined by one spouse naming the other as being responsible for causing the marriage to breakdown. This can have huge consequences on relationships, especially where there are children of the marriage.

No fault divorce is available in other countries and there have been calls for reform of the divorce law in England and Wales for years and growing pressure for change to include no fault divorce, and to end the ‘blame game’. It appears that shortly divorcing couples will not need to prove one of them is to blame. The new legislation aims to overhaul divorce law and reduce family conflict

Proposals for changes to the law include:

  • retaining the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce
  • replacing the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
  • retaining the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute
  • creating the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process
  • removing the ability to contest a divorce
  • introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months, from petition stage to final divorce to enable couples to reflect on their decision

At JNP Legal we believe that this is such a positive step forward. Hopefully the introduction of no-fault divorce will minimise the impact of conflict on divorcing couples, and most importantly on children. Having to show fault can increase conflict and make it more difficult to sort out child and financial arrangements.

We understand that breakups can be stressful and we can help to alleviate the tension and help to save on the emotional strain that the breakup may have caused. If you are going through a separation and need advice relating to the breakdown of your relationship, marriage or civil partnership, we’re here for you. Please do not hesitate to contact our family law department.

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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Working together to end Domestic Abuse

JNP Legal were fortunate enough to attend a seminar hosted by Welsh Women’s Aid during sexual violence awareness week. The seminar was focussed on sexual abuse and violence and looked at good practice in supporting survivors, the impact upon survivors and effective intervention for offenders. There were a number of support agencies and charities in attendance and we heard from some great speakers.

The number of people who will experience sexual violence and harassment within their lifetime is a shocking statistic, and many incidents remain unreported with victims being too afraid to speak up, or feeling as though they have no one to turn to. Unfortunately many cannot access the support that they need and want. Women are more likely than men to experience incidents of abuse but it is not only women who are victims.

The UK Government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality
This violence and abuse can take many forms such as coercively controlling behaviour, emotional or psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, harassment and stalking.

If you have been subject to any form of domestic abuse and require support please contact the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800. If you are living in the Merthyr Tydfil area and require support and guidance though any of these issues you can also contact Llamau on 01685 379999 or the Domestic Abuse Resource Team (DART) on 01685 388444.

If you require any legal advice or assistance in respect of any issue concerning any domestic abuse that you may have suffered please do not hesitate to contact our family department. We can assist you on a number of matters including family injunctions, the occupation of property, matters regarding children and separation and divorce issues. You may be entitled to legal aid if you cannot afford to pay your legal fees.

JNP Legal will be holding a Welsh Cakes Cake Sale on Friday 8 March 2019 at our offices in Merthyr Tydfil in aid of Women’s Aid and to celebrate International Women’s Day. Please come in to support this worthy cause.

#itsnotok #waleswontstandby #welshcakes #womensaid

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Accident abroad? Don’t miss out!

If there’s one thing the majority of British people enjoy, it’s a holiday. And booking your holiday as a package means less time spent arranging the various elements of the holiday (flights, transfers, accommodation) separately and more time on looking forward to a hard-earned break in the sun (or snow).

When booking a holiday, you expect the quality of holiday that you pay for. However, like all other circumstances, accidents can sometimes happen which lead to injury or illness which are not the fault of the holiday-goer.

Getting injured or becoming ill in another country often causes confusion amongst the innocent parties as to whether they have any legal grounds to be compensated, especially if the accident or illness was caused by no fault of their own. Thankfully, the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 provide protection to those who purchase a package holiday.

It’s important to remember that this level of protection only applies to package holidays. Your holiday will be classed as a package holiday if:

• it was advertised as a package or all-inclusive deal
• you bought the holiday for an inclusive or total price
• you bought more than one part of your holiday, such as flights and accommodation, from one company with one payment
• after booking one part of your holiday, you were prompted to buy another, and your personal and payment details were transferred so you didn’t have to enter them again. You completed this all within 24 hours of the first booking.

In summary – if your holiday looked like a package deal when you bought it – it probably will fall under the scope of these regulations.

The regulations also give some protection to Linked Travel Arrangements. However, the level of protection given to these types of holidays will not cover unfortunate accidents or illnesses.

A claim brought under the regulations can be made against the tour operator (the company who sold the package holiday), even if the negligent party was actually based in a foreign country. Therefore, the negligent act must be linked directly to the accommodation, travel or event that you purchased through the tour operator.

For example, if you went on a package holiday to Mallorca and slipped on a wet floor in your hotel, your claim can be brought directly against the business who sold you the holiday, even if the hotel was responsible for not mopping the floor.

One important point to note is that whilst your claim will be brought under the Law of England and Wales, the local health and safety standards of the country where the accident happened will apply, which might be lower than the standards of health & safety we enjoy in England and Wales.

If you’ve been injured or become ill whilst on a package holiday, and you want to know if you have any way of being compensated for the suffering you have endured, contact us on 01443 454919 or simply email us at pi@jnplegal.org to speak to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors.

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.