November 3rd, 2015
The number of court cases in England and Wales is high—and rising.
Our family courts alone dealt with almost 60,000 cases in the second quarter of 2015, up 4 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Justice. That’s almost 1,000 cases per working day.
At the same time, the number of people representing themselves in court is sharply up. The National Audit Office reports a 30 per cent rise in family court cases in which neither side has a lawyer. One of the factors behind this increase is that many people can’t afford to use a lawyer. To learn about getting help with legal costs, look at our information about legal costs.
If you’re involved in a legal dispute it’s worth weighing up your options before you decide to go to court. Some cases can be resolved out of court. ‘Alternative dispute resolution‘ (ADR) can save you money—and spare you the stress of formal court proceedings. For more about ADR, check out this factsheet from Citizens Advice.
If going to court is your only option, try your best to prepare for what could be a stressful, complicated process. We can help put you in the picture: read our guide on I want to represent myself in court.
Article categories: Courts
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.
June 8th, 2015
How many carers do you know?
There are 6.5 million carers in the UK, so chances are you know someone who is one, or you may be one yourself.
8 – 14 June is National Carer’s Week, and an opportunity to highlight the daily challenges carers can face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities.
Day in, day out carers help people who need support the most to live their lives. Depending on the situation this can be helping people for a short period of time, if for example a friend is ill, right through to supporting a family member who needs 24 hour care.
As well as providing physical support some carers also become someone that speaks out on behalf of the person they are caring for, to make sure their rights are upheld.
This can include legal problems, and times when a legal solution is needed to help protect someone that is being cared for. Examples include powers of attorney, wills, family trusts, protection orders, discrimination issues, and benefit challenges.
Like any legal situation though, it can be hard to know who to talk to, and where to start.
To mark National Carer’s Week, Legal Choices has updated our help page for carers, which has ideas and facts about some of the ways to help carers get advice and support with legal problems.
For information about National Carer’s Week you can visit the website – www.carersweek.org.
April 17th, 2015
Ever heard the old saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch?
A recent change in the law means that this is now the same in the world of personal injury claims.
Often when we’re offered something for free there’s a catch that comes with it, or something that we have to do first.
You might have heard adverts in the past promising people a free iPad or cash for signing up with a company to take forward a personal injury claim if you suffered an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Often these adverts were by Claims Management Companies, or law firms working with them, as an incentive for people who were interested in making a claim for a personal injury to sign up.
The new change by the Government on 13 April 2015 means that, while you might still see those adverts, they won’t be able to offer you incentives like that to sign up with the company to take forward your claim. Law firms should look out for your best interests rather than try to win you over.
If you’re in the market for help with a personal injury claim you can get some of the key facts from Legal Choices – just click here.
April 2nd, 2015
What’s in a name?
It’s important to know who your lawyer is regulated by so that you can check they are genuine. You also know that if anything goes wrong there are protections in place that regulation provides.
On 23 March 2015 there was an official change of name by one of the regulators that contributes to this website.
ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) changed its name to CILEx Regulation.
From 5 January 2015, CILEx Regulation has been able to regulate legal businesses as well as individual lawyers. CILEx Regulation decided to change its name to better reflect the type of work it carries out now and in to the future. The change of name has been accompanied by the launch of a new website – www.cilexregulation.org.uk.
The Chief Executive of CILEx Regulation, Ian Watson, said: “Our new name better reflects the current and future direction of the organisation, to be the regulator of choice for Chartered Legal Executives, CILEx Practitioners and law firms looking for a regulatory model that suits their business model. We look forward to welcoming all specialist lawyers into regulation under the CILEx umbrella.”
You can follow CILEx Regulation on Twitter @CILExRegulation (https://twitter.com/CILExRegulation).