About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Sunday 30 September 2018

Compensation for Cold Calling

'No, I didn't have a car accident yesterday.'
'No, I haven't suffered a whiplash in the last two years.'
'No, I won't be falling into a hole in the road tomorrow.'
'No, I have never taken out PPI.'
'Yes, I really do mean that I am going to sue you for compensation because I am fed up to the teeth with these blasted calls.'

New laws which have just come into force outlaw the use of public electronic communications services to make unsolicited calls for the direct marketing of claims management services. That's unless you as subscriber previously consented to being contacted which is extremely unlikely assuming you weren't under the influence of alcohol. Callers are also required to disclose their name and, if asked to do so, their address and a free contact number. Breach of the new laws will give rise to a civil claim for compensation for any loss suffered  - such care as  reasonably required was taken to avoid a breach is a defence -and the Information Commissioner can also take action against the culprits.

So next time the phone rings, provided you have already spoken to all your relatives and friends and are sure you aren't just about to be notified you have won the lottery, just say 'Have you read the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations  2003 as amended by section 25 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, mate?' 

Monday 17 September 2018

More Child Info for Prospective Adopters

Since November 2017, approved adopters have been able to inspect the adoption register in their quest for a match: a child whom they would like to adopt and obtain certain information(seehttp://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2017/10/matching-children-for-adoption.html ) although nothing which would at that stage enable them to identify the child.  

The available information is being widened as from 4 October 2018 * and the additional information will comprise the child's first name, their health history and that of their family where available and geographical considerations. 

* The law is changed by the Adoption and Children Act Register Search and Inspection) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI2018/993.

'Breaking Law' Price Mistake?

I think my publishers must have made a mistake. They're flogging off my book at a discount! No, I don't mind. It's better than stumbling on a copy in a refuse bin. Anyway, I do urge you take advantage and buy a copy. If you are currently embroiled in a legal dispute, civil or family, or fancy starting one up, this book is for you with template letters, court documents, and agreements - pre-nuptial, cohabitation and no-sex agreements included - and tales of my life as a practising lawyer during which time I acted for the Kray Twins and then as a judge. The book is intended not only to be of use but to entertain. Really. They say it's a good read.

You will find practical advice on how to survive (and possibly save a fortune) without paying for  a lawyer as well as how to source help from a lawyer if you can't afford to pay an arm and a leg for it or anything at all.

Breaking Law has had rave reviews - oh dear, this bragging is so embarrassing - not only from litigants in person but from professional lawyers including the highly respected Professor Dominic Regan who reckons it is possibly the best legal book of the decade. Must remember to send him a crate of whisky next Christmas. You'll find snatches of some of the reviews on this blog.

The book has been written for those without legal representation but no self-respecting lawyer should be ashamed to hide a copy under their desk and a few I know have even dared to display it on their desk.

The law is constantly changing and that's why I cover important legal developments in my blog with regular posts. This blog can be fully accessed free of charge.  

How do you get the discount? Use the code BLT0918 when you order online here or call the publishers, Bath Publishing, on 01225 577810 and let them know you read about the book on this blog.

Friday 14 September 2018

New Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions

The 100th Civil Procedure Rules update comes into force on 1 October 2018  or 01 January 2019 and incorporates changes made by the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 3) Rules 2018 SI2018/975. What happened to the 99th update? It was revoked just after it has seen the light of day.

The changes?
  • See http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2018/09/eviction-u-turn-update.html as to abolition of need to apply for permission to obtain a warrant of possession for breach of a monetary condition attached to a suspended order. In force on 01 October 2018.
  • Confirmation of the principle that the Welsh language has official status in Wales and that the language may be used in legal proceedings there. An unnumbered practice direction on the subject is substituted. In force on 01 October 2018.
  • Introduction of a two-year disclosure pilot in the Business and Property Courts which is aimed at speeding up litigation there and making disclosure more proportionate to the issues involved in cases. There's a new practice direction PD51U. In force on 01 January 2019.
  • Extension of the electronic working pilot scheme to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.  Practice direction PD51O is substituted. In force on 01 January 2019.
  • Clarification that district judges have jurisdiction to hear committal proceedings for breach of an anti-social behaviour injection without prior consent of a designated civil judge. In force on 01 October 2018.
Don't get too excited.

Eviction U-Turn Update

I warned you it was coming (see http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2018/09/eviction-u-turn.html). It will arrive on 1 October 2018. As from then, it will no longer be necessary to obtain the county court's permission to obtain a warrant of possession - get the bailiffs in - where the tenant has broken the monetary terms of a suspended order (for example, pay the current rent as it falls due plus £5 per week off the arrears). Permission will still be required where non-monetary terms have been broken (for example, don't play loud music between 6pm and 6am and don't let that thug of a cocaine sniffing son of yours into the flat.)

The requirement for permission to put in the bailiff will also go for breach of a non-monetary condition attached to a suspended order for seizure of goods, by way of  a High Court or county court writ/warrant of control. And to a suspended order for an order for return of goods (for example, you can keep the car on HP so long as you pay monthly instalments plus £50 per month off the arrears). 

The abolition of the need for permission in these cases will not prevent the debtor from seeking to stop the bailiff when they know they are due to pounce by applying for the writ or warrant to be suspended. Such an application should be made as soon as possible and will be given a court hearing.

The change is made by the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 3) Rules 2018 SI 2018/975.

Thursday 13 September 2018

Nikah Nullity Case: Possible Appeal

The wife who went through an Islamic Nikah marriage ceremony without any civil ceremony  recognised by the law of England and Wales has recently been granted a nullity decree (see
http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2018/09/nullity-decree-in-ground-breaking-nikah.html). This enables her to go for financial orders which would not otherwise be possible and is a landmark decision.

But the husband wishes to appeal against the High Court decision. For this, he requires the permission of the court. His request for permission is due to be considered on 3 October 2018. I shall report back afterwords.

Monday 3 September 2018

Nullity Decree in Ground Breaking Nikah Case

No marriage ceremony recognised by the law of England and Wales means no divorce or nullity decree here. And no divorce or nullity decree means that, when the relationship breaks down and the parties separate, neither can ask the court to make the same kinds of orders for maintenance, transfer of property, payment of lump sums of money and sharing of pensions as it can make when there is a divorce of nullity decree. Tough!

But in a recent watershed decision of the High Court, * the 'wife' who had gone through just an Islamic religious Nikah ceremony without the usual civil marriage ceremony to follow it, was granted a nullity decree. This will now enable her to seek financial orders against the 'husband' which would otherwise have been denied to her. 

Both parties had undertaken the religious ceremony in Dubai and after it they considered themselves to be married to each other and held themselves out to the world at large as husband and wife. They  were treated as validly married in the United Arab Emirates while there and were together for 18 years during which time they had four children. The failure to go through with a civil ceremony, held the judge, was entirely due to the ‘husband’s’ refusal to arrange it and the ‘wife’ had frequently sought to persuade the ‘husband’ to do so.

Nullity is provided for by section 11 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 where certain requirements of the Marriage Act 1949 have not been complied with. The ceremony in question must be of a kind contemplated by section 11. Was it in this case? The judge ruled that the court has to consider this on a case by case basis and  should be able to take a holistic view of a process rather than a single ceremony. Among the particularly relevant factors were whether the ceremony purported to be a lawful marriage; whether it bore all or enough of the hallmarks of marriage; whether the three key participants (most especially the officiating official) believed, intended and understood the ceremony as giving rise to the status of lawful marriage; and whether the failure to complete all the legal formalities was a joint decision or due the the failure of one party to complete them. 

The judge concluded that the ceremony was a marriage within section 11 and entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage (see s11(a)(iii) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) which made it void. The wife was entitled to a nullity decree.

The decision is likely to lead to many other parties to religious only marriage ceremonies applying for a nullity decree. Not every one of them will succeed but many probably will.

Plenty more on divorce, nullity and other aspects of family law in my book Breaking Law.

*  A v K and another [2018] EWFC 54

Eviction U-Turn

Landlords of residential premises who are seeking to have tenants ousted because they have breached a condition of a suspended county court order for possession currently require the permission of the court to send in the bailiff. Without that permission, any action taken by the bailiff will be unlawful (see http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2017/01/suspended-possession-gone-wrong.html). 

My predication is that the permission requirement will be eliminated from 1 October 2018.

Outright possession orders where no suspension has been imposed are unaffected and a request to the county court for the issue of a  warrant of possession is not required. The warrant authorising the bailiff to evict will be issued on the landlord's request without prior permission.