LCS puts coal-compensation claims on hold

first_imgThe Legal Complaints Service has gone against the advice of its watchdog by refusing to re-open around 160 complaints against Yorkshire law firm Raleys concerning compensation payments to miners. The LCS, which suspended investigations in March, said it will not reopen the cases until the firm decides whether or not to appeal the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision in February to suspend and fine partners. Raleys will decide whether to appeal when written findings are issued, which may take another six weeks. As of 1 May, the LCS had resolved 4,394 cases concerning the coal health compensation scheme, with more than £1.76m being returned to former miners and dependants. Around 700 complaints are outstanding. In April, the legal services complaints commissioner, Zahida Manzoor, criticised the decision to suspend the Raleys investigations. The following month, Deborah Evans, LCS chief executive, wrote to Les Courtnell, director of operations at the Office of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner, explaining the decision. The letter, seen by the Gazette, says that once Raleys makes its appeal decision, the LCS will be in a position to ‘conciliate those matters or take to adjudication those which we cannot conciliate. If Raleys appeal we will continue with our investigations and take all matters to adjudication.’ The letter says that ‘any delay by the LCS in dealing with this issue will not add to the delay in our customers receiving any compensation’. Manzoor told the Gazette: ‘I drew attention to the LCS putting investigations into miners’ cases on hold for up to 15 months back in January 2008. It was unacceptable then and it is equally unacceptable now. People should not have to have this uncertainty hanging over them.’ She said the LCS should investigate each case ‘as soon as possible’. Raleys handled 60,182 claims for compensation for vibration white finger and respiratory disease and persuaded 29,000 claimants to take their case through a funding agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers. In February, Derek Ian Firth received a four-year suspension, David Peter Barber a two-year suspension and Jonathan Timothy James Markham a six-month suspension. Fellow partners Carol Ann Gill, James William Edward Gladman and former partner Katherine Anne Richards were each fined £10,000. Gill told the Gazette: ‘We aim always to co-operate with the Law Society and all its constituent parts, but when we disagree with an adjudication against us we reserve the right to exercise a permissible appeal. ‘However, we cannot review our position on any of these cases, or expect our insurers to do so, until we receive the SDT’s full written findings. ‘We are as frustrated by the delay as everyone else involved in these matters.’last_img read more

Media reporting bill ‘threat’ to vulnerable children

first_imgMeasures rushed through parliament at the ‘eleventh hour’ to allow greater media reporting of the family courts will put vulnerable children at risk, lawyers have warned. Despite being opposed by lawyers’ and children’s groups, the provisions in the Children Schools and Families Bill were passed last week in the ‘wash-up’ prior to the dissolution of parliament. The media has been allowed to report on the process of family cases since last April, but part 2 of the new act contains clauses that will broaden the amount of information that can be reported. This could allow publication of a child or parent’s medical, psychiatric or psychological details and information given by a child to its parents. The former Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley Green, raised concerns about the legislation after he commissioned a research project which indicated in its preliminary results that children do not trust the press and would be deterred from disclosing details of abuse in front of journalists. Piers Pressdee QC, co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children, said: ‘At a time when the reputation of parliament could not be any lower, it is hugely disappointing, though perhaps entirely predictable, that the welfare of vulnerable children should be sacrificed as part of some rushed and ill-considered eleventh-hour deal between Labour and the Tories.’ He said the measures, which were passed without an adequate opportunity to debate them, could put vulnerable children at ‘quite considerable risk’. Andrew Greensmith, former national chair of family lawyers’ group Resolution, said: ‘The act will initially permit publication [of information about a case] provided it is not “personal sensitive information”. But that is not defined clearly and there is a risk to children that if people don’t understand it properly, inappropriate information will be published.’ Greensmith said he hoped that the second stage of implementation, which will be subject to consultation, will be considered more carefully and ‘not rushed through as the current legislation has been’. The act provides that the names of parties and identifying details must not be revealed to ensure lifelong anonymity for the children involved. An MoJ spokeswoman said the act would ‘open up the family courts’. She added: ‘This will be done through a staged process, and subject to an independent review following the introduction of the first stage. The provisions will also strengthen protection for children and families against identification.’last_img read more

New Year honour for LSC chief

first_imgThe chief executive of the Legal Services Commission and the pro bono leader at City firm Hogan Lovells were among those recognised by the Queen in the New Year’s honours list. Hogan Lovells pro bono manager Yasmin Waljee received an OBE for services to the Muslim community, in recognition of her contribution to pro bono legal services. Career civil servant and LSC chief executive Carolyn Downs was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for her work for central and local government. The LSC said this did not ‘specifically’ relate to her role at the LSC, which she has held since March 2010. Former LSC commissioner Lionel Joyce was awarded a CBE, while solicitor and senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Colin Gibbs received an OBE. Melanie Field, head of the discrimination law team in the Government Equalities Office, received an OBE. Elsewhere, Comghall McNally received an OBE for services to legal education in Northern Ireland, and advocate Graham Bell QC of Edinburgh’s Ampersand Stable received the same award for services to the Scottish legal profession.last_img read more

A prototype Magwitch?

first_imgThe philosophy behind Australia as a penal colony was very much ‘out of sight, out of mind’, writes James Morton. If the convicts did escape they were not likely to make it back to England. Probably only one escapee managed it. A petty thief at the age of 18, Charles Adolphus King was sentenced to 14 years’ transportation at the Manchester New Bailey in December 1835 for burglary. Five years later he told the judge at the Liverpool General Quarter Sessions how he had arrived in Australia in 1836 and worked as a gentleman’s servant. When his master left the colony King was returned to the convict barracks. He worked on the roads and then as a shepherd, but in 1838 he helped a bushranger and for this was sentenced to 12 months on a chain gang. Sent to a new master when that man left for Perth, King was returned to barracks. He escaped and was caught in Sydney, given a modest 50 lashes, and sent to an up-country station. Four months later he and a John Carney escaped. They returned to Botany Bay, stowing away in a ship’s hold, before jumping ship near one of the Fijian Islands. There they were attacked by local people and Carney was killed, but King was saved by the daughter of a chief. He had been in Fiji four months when he and the girl got away on a French whaler. They landed in New Zealand and, fearing he would be arrested, King shipped to London, deserting the chief’s daughter, but only after a missionary promised to return her to her people. He made his way to Salford where, in 1840, he was grassed up. In a long speech to the judge he begged to be hanged rather than sent to dreadfully brutal Norfolk Island, but he was sentenced to transportation for life, the first 10 years to be in chains. King was fortunate. Public opinion was with him and his sentence was commuted to five years’ penal servitude in Millbank. How much of King’s story was true is another matter. It all smacks of the traditional chapbook of convict memoirs – the brutality, the escape, the romance, the penitence. Indeed, his story appeared in print in 1840. After his release King seems to have made a living lecturing on his experiences. It is possible that Charles Dickens took something of him for the convict Abel Magwitch in Great Expectations, the first instalment of which was published in December 1860. James Morton is a writer and former criminal defence solicitorlast_img read more

No records, no claim

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No Wow now

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Cracking the crusties

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Timely advice

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Shopped

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

The rules of the crane

first_imgSubscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more