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We all know that fly-tipping is an offence, but did you know you commit an offence if you pass waste to someone who isn’t licensed?

What do you mean by ‘waste’?

This article is referring to household waste, for example, excess rubbish that does not fit in your general collection bins.

How could I commit an offence?

You have a ‘duty of care’ to take all measures reasonable in the circumstances to ensure you only transfer waste to an ‘authorised’ person. Note that if a tradesperson working at your house produces waste, they are responsible for the removal and disposal.

Although most offences of fly-tipping are committed by someone paid to take the waste away rather than the person who produced the waste, this means that you commit an offence if the person you ask to take the waste is not licensed and illegally disposes of it.

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large 895567 1920

Everyone has received a nuisance call, and they are a real nuisance to many, but how do your details become available, and what is being done about it?

Who are the ICO?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (the ‘ICO’) is an independent organisation that was set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. The ICO take various forms of action against organisations and individuals, and that can include criminal prosecutions.

What happens with a criminal prosecution?

Criminal prosecution has, historically, been taken under one of the two Data Protection Acts. Under this legislation, the maximum penalty for breach is a fine. There is also a separate financial penalty regime that can now result in very high financial penalties being imposed.

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pound 414418 1920

There are two main offences that are prosecuted in relation to benefit fraud, one involves dishonesty, the other does not.

The dishonesty offence

It is an offence to dishonestly make a representation in order to obtain benefit, and this includes a dishonest failure to promptly notify a change in circumstances as well as making a claim that is dishonest from the outset.

The offence absent dishonesty

It is an offence to knowingly make a false statement to obtain benefit, again this can be in an initial claim for benefits or failing to give prompt notification of a change in circumstances.

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quality control

A solicitor is there to help advise you on the law, to guide you through difficult times, explain, advise and represent you. But who tells us what to do and ensures that you receive a proper service?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority

The SRA regulate solicitors and law firms in England and Wales, but what does this actually mean?

The SRA publish a Handbook that is made up of the Principles and a Code of Conduct. The principles say that we must:

  • uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice
  • act with integrity
  • not allow our independence to be compromised
  • act in the best interest of each client
  • provide a proper standard of service to our clients
  • behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in us and the provision of legal services
  • comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and deal with our regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner
  • run our business or carry out our role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles
  • run our business or carry out our role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, and
  • protect client money and assets.
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The case of Tommy Robinson, or to give him his real name, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has brought this issue into the public eye, but what is it all about?

What is contempt of court?

The interesting thing about contempt of court is the many ways in which it can be committed. It can be civil or criminal in nature. This means that conduct that is not itself a criminal offence but is punishable by the court. Criminal contempt goes beyond simple non-compliance.

Give me some examples

In Yaxley-Lennon’s case, it was his reporting and commenting on a trial which was in progress with the potential to prejudice those proceedings. He had previously committed the same contempt by attempting to film defendants within the precincts of a court last year.

In a case in Sheffield, contempt of court was committed by protestors who had given an undertaking not to go within a safety zone erected around trees that were to be controversially felled.

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glasses 928465 1920

There has been much ado in the press about police forces undertaking random checks on motorists and revoking licences at the roadside. So, what are their powers?

Can the police stop me?

Under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a police officer in uniform has the power to require a driver of a vehicle on a road to stop. It is an offence to fail to comply with such a request.

Does the officer have to be in uniform?

To use this power the officer has to be in uniform. There is a common law power, however, for an officer not in uniform to request a vehicle to stop although there would be no penalty for failing to comply.

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rage 1564031 1920

Who is Ben Stokes?

He is the England cricketer who was charged with affray and acquitted by a jury.

But the video showed him hitting someone?

It did, his defence was that he was acting in self-defence, you can hit someone and still be not guilty of an offence in certain circumstances.

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If I’m acquitted will the alleged offence show on a DBS check?

An ordinary DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check reveals convictions and cautions. An enhanced check, required for many jobs, may reveal information held by the police such as intelligence, arrests, prosecutions and acquittals.

Surely an acquittal shouldn’t be on the check?

This was challenged in Court by "AR", he was a qualified teacher who had been working as a taxi driver when he was accused of rape. His defence was that there had never been any sexual contact with the complainant, although she had been in his taxi. He was acquitted. When he applied for a job as a lecturer the enhanced check revealed the acquittal and the details of the allegation.

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justice 683942 1920

If you have provided a statement for the prosecution or for the defence you may be called to court to give evidence at the defendant’s trial.

Is there help available for me?

The Witness Service can provide assistance for any witness who has to attend court. This support can be both practical and emotional. They can provide information about the court process, show you the courtroom prior to the trial and assist with any expenses claim. If you are a prosecution witness the Crown Prosecution Service witness support unit will be in touch with you and will provide contact details for witness support. If you are a defence witness the solicitor representing the defendant can provide you with support and also provide the contact details for the local witness service.

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fire 164027 1280

Arson is a confusing area of the law as there are a number of different offences to consider.

What are the different offences?

  1. Simple arson
  2. Arson, being reckless as to whether life is endangered
  3. Arson with intent to endanger life

Simple arson

This offence is one of causing criminal damage by fire; examples would be setting fire to a car in a field or to commercial premises. The offence is always treated very seriously and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

What could I get?

Minor damage could be dealt with in the magistrates’ court with a possible community order, more significant damage would be dealt with at the crown court and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In most cases custody cannot be ruled out.

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beer 3340680 1920

The government has announced its intention to use new roadside breathalysers, in a move that could see a further 6,000 convictions per year for drink driving. At the moment, the breath test procedure is in 2 stages, a person who tests positive at the roadside will be arrested and taken to a police station for a further test to be administered. This is known as the ‘evidential test’ and is the one that forms the basis of any prosecution decision.

The gap in time between the first positive breath test and the one administered at the police station may be significant enough to ensure that a person blows a negative reading – this is due to falling alcohol levels over time (although in some cases the reverse can also happen). While 'back calculation' laws are available, the evidence base is such that they are seldom used for this scenario. Arguably, therefore, some drink drivers go free. The legislation allowing for a definitive roadside evidential breath test procedure is already in place, but today the government has announced a competition aimed at device manufacturers, with the aim of ensuring that suitable devices are approved and in use by 2020.

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