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Showing posts from May, 2014

What's the point any more?

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I had the joy of travelling to court today for a wasted costs hearing.
If you don’t know, where costs are incurred by a party to proceedings because of an improper act or omission by another party the court may award costs against the party who did the improper act or omitted to act.  These are known by lawyers as wasted costs.  This is important because it allows a party to recover costs they would not have incurred but for the other party’s error.  This can be used by the prosecution or defence in criminal proceedings.  It is not an easy test to meet and the party making the application must show that there was something improper about the other party’s act or omission.
In my case, the Defendant had been acquitted.  More correctly, the prosecution had discontinued the case the day before trial despite being aware that they had no case since the very first court hearing.  Had they acted properly at that first hearing they would have discontinued the case immediately.  Because they d…

The sin of poverty we do disdain

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I went to see my parents yesterday; they don’t often talk about their childhoods but yesterday my mum told me about the death of her Nan and a time when one of her elder brother had pneumonia.
As a child, my mum lived in a condemned slum dwelling in east London where I’m told that the ground floor lacked floorboards and was uninhabitable.  A couple of years ago my uncle (who is about 15 years older than my mum) told me that he was ashamed to live there and despised the acceptance of the conditions they lived in by those around him.
It was in those conditions just prior to the beginnings of the NHS that my great-grandmother fell ill.  There was no NHS to help her and the family could not afford to pay a doctor.  They were fortunate that the Whitechapel hospital was very charitable and doctors could be found to tend to the sick.  A doctor duly visited my great-grandmother at the family home and promised to do anything he could to help her.
The doctor left to go about his work; he’d bee…

Police power to stop vehicles for others

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Last night I caught part of a BBC3 TV programme that focused on different aspects of parking from one man who hangs about outside his house with binoculars trained on anybody daring to park on “my” road to bailiffs engaged in stopping motorists who had outstanding parking fines and seizing their vehicles.  It was the bailiffs that interested me the most.
First, I should say that bailiffs do not have the power to stop traffic, only the police can do that and, sure enough, there were police officers conducting the stops to allow the bailiffs to carry out their work.  My first thought was that surely the police have better ways to spend their limited resources than helping private companies enforce civil debts (parking tickets were decriminalised a long time ago).  Then I got to wondering how the police could have the power to stop somebody for such a reason.
There are a variety of powers that allow the police to stop a motor vehicle but the one that seems the most relevant is section 1…