July 24th, 2017
April was National Pet Month – a chance to celebrate life with pets.
Most pet owners will do anything for their pets, whatever the time of year. Some even leave millions behind for their animal friends.
Sadly, other pet owners fail to meet even the basic needs of their pets required by law.
Three ways owning a pet could bring you into contact with the law
1. Leaving a gift for your pet in your will
You can leave something for your pet in your will. You may also want to leave money for the person who will look after your pet when you’re not around. A will writer could help you with this.
2. Pet pre-nup
You can get a pet pre-nup. A pet pre-nup (or ‘pet-nup’) legally documents who will have your pet if you and your partner split up. A family lawyer could help you write a pet-nup.
3. Breaking the law
From micro-chipping to buying a pet, there are many laws that apply to pets and pet owners. For example, as a dog owner, you need to make sure your dog is under control. If your dog bites and injures someone, you could be fined and sent to prison for up to six months.
If you want legal advice about your pet, see our types of lawyers section.
You can also find out about the court process, if you need to go to court.
Over to you!
We want to hear from you. Have you ever had a run-in with the law because of your pet? Did you get legal advice? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.
October 24th, 2016
Don’t get a legal fright this Halloween
Halloween is set to be bigger than ever this year. People in the UK now spend more on Halloween than they do on Valentine’s Day. Tesco last year sold around 3 million pumpkins.
Whether you enjoy the spooky events or like to keep your distance, there’s a legal side to Halloween activities that’s good to know.
1. Trick-or-treating: Is it ok?
People in Britain can’t agree about trick-or-treating. Millions do it every Halloween, but 45 per cent see it as an “unwelcome American cultural import”, a 2015 YouGov poll found.
- There’s no legal minimum age limit for a child to go out on their own. But be careful. Find out more from the NSPCC.
- Trick-or-treating is not illegal. But the police have powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. Learn more at Age UK.
2. Horror movies rated 18+: Can under-18s watch them?
Whether you’re a horror film fan or not, there’s no denying they can make big money at the box office.
- Films classified as 18+ are suitable only for adults.
- No one younger than 18 is allowed to watch 18+ rated films in a cinema, or rent or buy copies of them.
- These controls do not apply to watching 18+ rated movies in your home. Find out more from the British Board of Film Classification.
3. Are your Halloween goods faulty?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a dodgy zombie outfit or a pair of vampire fangs that don’t work. If you buy faulty goods, consumer rights protect you.
- The law says goods you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described when you buy them.
- Act quickly to get a full refund. Find out more from Which?
April 29th, 2016
Moving house is one of the most stressful things we ever do in life.
When moving house there are legal tasks to take care of.
Nearly two out of three people put moving house at the top of their stress list, recent research by energy company E.On shows.
And it’s not just the prospect of broken crockery or re-directing your post. The legal side of moving (known as conveyancing) can be just as stressful.
With any house move, there are important legal tasks to complete:
• planning permission checks
• securing land deeds
• agreeing and exchanging contracts
Lots of us opt to get help from a lawyer to take care of these things.
Sometimes things can go wrong with your lawyer
Even when you use a lawyer, things can go wrong. Conveyancing is the most complained-about area of legal practice in England and Wales, accounting for nearly one quarter of all complaints received last year by the Legal Ombudsman.
Common complaints about lawyers
• Failing to advise people properly
• Delaying the conveyancing process
• Providing poor information about the cost of the legal work
You have the right to complain to your lawyer. If this doesn’t help, you have the right to talk to the Legal Ombudsman about your situation. The Ombudsman has powers to put things right.
How to avoid problems with your lawyer
There are practical things you can do to try to avoid problems with lawyers:
• take some time to check the plans of the new house yourself
• explain clearly any particular concerns you’ve got right from the start
Houses and common legal issues
If you’re thinking about taking your first step on to the property ladder, the Legal Ombudsman has created a handy guide called ‘On the move – a guide for first-time buyers‘. It can help you get your head around the legal side of things, and offers tips on what to look out for when a lawyer starts your conveyancing work.
Learn more about common legal issues with houses:
• Buying or selling a house
• Landlord with a legal issue
September 28th, 2015
Moving up a year at school, starting college or leaving education to start work—autumn is a time of new beginnings for the young.
For most, these are exciting times, studded with new challenges and opportunities.
But young people can experience legal problems just as serious as those of adults. When you’re young, understanding your rights and figuring out where you stand if something goes wrong can be especially confusing. Knowing what to do next is often the hardest thing of all.
Whether you are starting work, thinking about leaving home or need to know your legal rights in the world of education, there’s plenty of help and information out there to make a difference.
Our advice: Understand what your legal rights are, and work out when you might need to get some legal help.
To get you started, we’ve set out some facts and listed sources of information we think you’ll find useful. Take a look at I am a young person with a legal problem.
Article categories: Advice
, Featured Article
August 19th, 2015
Did you know that it’s illegal to die in the UK’s Houses of Parliament?
Or that California Law prohibits a woman from driving a car while dressed in a housecoat?
Whilst these unusual pieces of legislation might rarely be enforced, you might be surprised by what can land you in hot water elsewhere in the world.
Millions of us travel abroad each year, but when preparing to head overseas most of us think about sunshine, sandy beaches and sangria. It’s rare that we think to take the time to see how our expectations fit in with local laws and customs.
Subsequently, each summer we read of unwitting legal breaches by British tourists and the sometimes harsh punishments they face because of them.
You might be surprised to learn that:
• in Dubai in 2010 a British couple were sentenced to a month in prison for kissing and subsequently fined £200 for drinking alcohol
• under French law it’s illegal to wear a full veil, balaclava or any other garment that conceals the face
• in Russia, it’s illegal to photograph sites of strategic military importance including airports
If you should find yourself in trouble, it’s helpful to know what support is available. Some useful starting points include:
• contacting your nearest British embassy
• help finding English speaking lawyers
• help finding interpreters and translators
It can also be helpful to know how to find a lawyer working in England and Wales but who knows about another country’s laws. There’s more advice about this in our FAQs section.
Don’t forget as well that you can find out about another country’s laws and customs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – just take a look at their travel advice pages.