2 pints of Family Law and 2 packets of Judges

Sir J Munby, President of the High Court’s Family Division, has said that there is a need to move away from judges holding hearings in a “palais de justice, sitting on an enormous throne”. He has also stated that courtrooms in the future, must be provided “where we need them” and pop-up courts could be held in buildings such as pubs or town halls.

F. Gibbs, legal editor for The Times, told of how Sir Munby suggested that litigants could even participate in Power of Attorney matters with online video links “from their kitchen tables”.

In March this year, Sir Munby even claimed that divorces will take place over mobile phones or laptops from next year (2017), with an online system meaning neither husband, wife nor the judge will need to be in a courtroom.
He said the click-for-divorce process was a “vision not of some distant future but what has to be”, and that the court system would no longer be “moored in the world if the late Mr Charles Dickens”.

A couple who agree to divorce will be able to answer online questionnaires about their marital history, wealth and income as well as arrangements made for their children. The online divorce costs around £400, saving a couple thousands of pounds in legal fees.

Click-for-divorce is all well and good if the couple amicably agree to divorce, but what about the cases where a spouse is being stubborn and making an amicable divorce impossible?
And what’s stopping a claimant getting pissed before their case is heard if we do have ‘courts’ held in pubs?

I know life evolves and so must the law but a court should be held in a building purposefully made for those matters, not in the local boozer with the local drunk watching over proceedings.

Family matters should be heard in private, I fail to understand why a family case would be held in a public place, it isn’t in the public’s interest to hear if A is divorcing B because they have cheated on them with C and now A has an STD as a result of B’s infidelity. All it will do is cause public humiliation for all parties involved.

Sorry but I have to say I’m out on this one!

The inquest of Alice Gross

Alice gross was 14 years-old when she was found buried in the river in Hanwell, West London, in September 2014, 7 weeks after she was reported missing.

The inquest into her death was held on the 27th of June 2016 and the court was informed of how the schoolgirl was found with above-normal traces of GHB after what is believed to have been a ‘serious sexual assault’ by her suspected killer, Arnis Zalkalns, a convicted murderer from Latvia.

Zalkalns, who arrived in Britain in 2007, had killed his wife 10 years earlier but slipped under the authorities radar due to EU Laws.As an EU national, he had gone under no background checks- meaning he was completely unknown to the British authorities. He was also arrested in 2009 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 14 year-old girl just 2 miles away from where Alice was killed. The case was dropped after the alleged victim refused to make a statement.

Alice’s body was badly decomposed when it was found in the slit of the river bed, wrapped in bin liners from Zalkalns’ work-place and weighed down with a bicycle wheel and bricks. Logs about 1m in length- and piled above the towpath from where the council had cleared the undergrowth- had also been rolled into the river and stocked in a pyramid shape above Alice’s body.

Zalkalns’ returned to the scene at least 3 times in the days of Alice’s death and it was stated in court that the police cordon may have precipitated his suicide- he was found hanged from a tree in Boston Manor Park, Hounslow,  4 days later.

So no background checks were done on someone entering Britain and because he was an EU national he was free to come and go as he pleased. Thank god we voted out of the EU, I know it is too later to remedy justice for Alice but hopefully we will be able to put measures in place to make our country a safer environment for British nationals.

Large Big Mac meal and a breath test to go please.

The Daily Mail reported that Cambridge McDonalds customers will be breathalysed by security staff before they are allowed entry into the restaurants a part of a new scheme combating anti-social behaviour in the city. Anyone who is over twice the legal drive limit of 35 units will be refused admission. 

Is this not just getting a bit over the top? I mean yes I get the concept of the staff being protected from aggressive drunks but surely turning away people will result in the loss of business? I know McDonalds isn’t exactly a small chain but refusal of entry just because someone has had a skinful isn’t exactly going to do them any good. And is only going to result in those who have had a drink going other venues.

Not everyone who will blow over the limit will be an aggressive drunk so why should a few idiots spoil it for others who just want a McDonalds after a night out?

The country is going mad! 

Gone Girl- A Review

After reading the book by Gillian Flynn, I decided that I had to go and see the film. And I was not disappointed.
Usually when films are based on books a lot of the story line is cut from production, however with Gone Girl that was not the case.

So what’s it about? **spoiler alert**

Well basically it’s about a couple who have been married for 5 years, they both lose their jobs, the wife has to lend her trust fund back to her parents due to them struggling financially, which her husband isn’t exactly thrilled about, and the wife “goes missing” on their 5th wedding anniversary. The police, as per, suspect the husband (Nick Dunne) for murdering his wife however the plot reveals that his wife (Amazing Amy) is actually alive and framing him for her murder.

The way she plants evidence framing her husband is creepily brilliant; she plans a treasure hunt (she did this every year for their anniversary) to lead him to all the places he’d cheated on her, she rakes up debt in his name, bumps up the life insurance which she asks him to file, writes a journal, which incriminates his as an abusive husband and leaves it in the furnace of his fathers empty house, befriends a neighbour and spins her lies about being pregnant and leaves a creepy way via Punch and Judy dolls of claiming he killed her… It’s all a very twisted way of revenge for when she finds out her husband is having an affair and that he has stopped being the man she fell in love with.

Anyway, in the end she sees a television show which has her husband being interviewed about her disappearance and she decides to go back to him. After she kills her old college boyfriend (slits his throat with a box cutter) who had put her up in his lake house, and alleges that he had actually abducted her and sexually abused her daily.

However, her husband isn’t as stupid as she thinks and he works it all out but she has another twist to her sick little plan, she uses some of the sperm he had deposited in a sperm bank to get pregnant knowing he won’t leave her if he was going to be a dad…

So very messed up but an absolute must see, or must read, for any psychological thriller fans.

Newcastle CAB: Benefit Sanctions driving Newcastle families to payday lenders

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across an article on the Chronicle Live page. The article stated that families in Newcastle Upon Tyne are struggling to live due to sanctions to their Jobseekers’ Allowance claims.Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau claims that there has been a 206% increase in the number of Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) cases in just a year after the Governments rules came in, which sees benefits sanctioned as a punishment for not finding employment.

The Chief Exec of Newcastle CAB stated that “families are being forced into payday loans to cope with benefit delays”. A little research goes a long way and upon researching I found that at least one high street payday lender will not pay out loans to people who are on benefits such as JSA, they will only pay out a loan if the person is on a benefits such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Disibility Living Allowance (DLA). 

The Chief Exec then went on to say; “claimants are distracted from job seeking as they focus on putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head”. This made me wonder, if the claimant is on benefits would they then not be getting help with housing costs? You’d think that they would be claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support with them being unable to pay for their housing themselves. But nothing was mentioned in the article about such benefits. 

And then the Chief Exec came out with a right good line; “they’re too busy trying to put food on the table and worrying about debts that they can’t look for a job.” Now this might just be me, but if I was in in that situation the debts and the struggle of finding money to put food on the table would push me into applying for every job possible, so there would be no reason for the benefit to be sanctioned. 

The article also added that 13% of those who are seeking work have had their benefits docked as a punishment for mistakes such as failing to attend an interview. When you sign up to claim Jobseekers’ Allowance, you have to sign a Jobseekers’ Agreement, if you don’t comply with the conditions in the agreement then your benefits will be stopped. Conditions are based on the individual doing all they can to seek work, including, attending interviews. So yes, if you fail to go to an interview then it could be seen as not actively seeking work therefore your benefits will be sanctioned. It’s not rocket science. 

Next thing that made me giggle was the fact that Newcastle CAB stated that “parents struggle to put food on the table”. This annoyed me slightly, so I decided to do a little calculation on entitledto.co.uk. My findings were as follows: 

For a couple claiming JSA, with two kids aged between 10-15 (years), living in a three bedroom house in Newcastle Upon Tyne with the rent of £78.72 a week, they would receive £352.09 a week in benefits. Broken down they get: 

  • £116.06 Child Tax Credits a week
  • £113.70 Jobseekers’ Allowance a week
  • £15.50 Council Tax Support a week
  • £78.72  Housing Benefit a week
  • £34.05 Child Benefit a week

So with a total of £352.09 a week, which is more than some people working full time earn, how are they struggling? Is it not just bad management of finances? I mean yes people may be unemployed due to redundancies etc but surely common sense says that you have to make cut backs on certain things, or in some cases give things up, in order to be able to live within your means until you’re employed again? 

I loved the statement Minister McVey defended the benefit sanctions with: “Sanctions are a deterrent. The vast, vast majority of people don’t get sanctions. When you get Jobseekers’ Allowance- there’s a clue there in the name, Jobseekers- you are paid to make sure you are doing all that you can do to get a job”. Clue is in the name! How fabulous is that statement?! I mean it is so obvious! Give that woman a cookie, seriously she deserves a medal for that statement! 

And not surprisingly, there is thought to be more than £7 million worth of JSA tribunal cases… They have time to appeal in writing but they can’t look for a job? Go figure. 


High Court rules dead partner’s sperm can be kept despite lack of written consent

UK Human Rights Blog

Sperm, microscopicElizabeth Warren -v- Care Fertility (Northampton) Limited and Other [2014] EWHC 602 (Fam) – Read judgment / court summary 

The High Court has ruled in favour of a 28-year-old woman who wanted her late husband’s sperm to be retained even though the correct written consent was not in place. Mrs Justice Hogg (‘Hogg J’) ruled that Mrs Warren has a right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for private and family life) to decide to become a parent by her deceased husband.

Mr Brewer had put his sperm into storage in April 2005 in order to enable his wife, Elizabeth Warren, to conceive a child by him after his death. However, he was not advised by his Clinic as to the statutory steps he needed to take in order for his sperm to be stored for longer than 10 years. In the event…

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Don’t be fooled by the “concessions”, there is still a real threat to Judicial Review

UK Human Rights Blog

kite grayling (UK Human Rights Blog)The Ministry of Justice has published its response to the consultation on the latest round of Judicial Review reforms. The full response is here and the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is here.

In my post on the first draft of the MoJ proposals, I warned to beware of kite flyers, and said:

Sometimes, especially with Government consultations, a kite is raised in order to distract from what is really happening on the ground. As with the last phase of JR reform, the rhetoric is more extreme than the reality.

Without wanting to say “I told you so” (oops), don’t be fooled by the seeming concessions. There is still a lot to be concerned about in what remains, as there was in the last round of changes – as Dr Mark Elliott points out, JR, like the NHS (and Communist Russia), now seems to be in a…

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4 Simple ways the country could save millions

Seen as there are so many stories flying around about how the country is in a financial mess, I thought I would put across 4 simple ways in which the country could save millions;

1) Anyone convicted of an indictable offence such as rape, murder, paedophilia, or manslaughter, where the evidence is higher than 90% should be shot. Save the country paying to keep them in prison.

2) Anyone who is on benefits for more than 2 years must be made to take up voluntary work for a charity in order to claim their benefits, if they refuse then they get nothing. Simple. And if they are unable to gain employment after the 2 years voluntary they will automatically be enrolled into the Forces. They need to have some purpose in life so if they aren’t going to get a job they might as well fight for queen and country. 

3) Single mothers who get stupid amounts of benefits just for having kids would have their benefits cut and their children taken into care until they got a job to pay for the upkeep of their children. Can’t afford to have kids? Don’t have them. After their second child, if they still have no desire to gain employment they should be sterilised. Not going to pay for your kids then don’t have any. 

4) MP’s would be paid £25,000 a year and wouldn’t be able to claim expenses. They get too much money for sitting around debating what laws need changing and how they can shaft the country even more. They can do that for a lot less than what they’re on at the moment, I reckon. 

I think that could work. Would certainly save the country money on prison cells, benefits and wages which could be spent on far more important things like duelling the A1 in Northumberland, building flood defences in villages that are repeatedly affected and paying to give Berwick back to Scotland (little Northumberland joke there). See everyone is a winner.

Benefits Street: a haven for the modern-day scrounger

Well I must say the first episode of Benefits Street, which was aired on Channel 4 on Monday (6th January 2014), really got a lot of people pissed off with the way the current benefits system works. 

I was watching the program as well as watching the #BenefitsStreet trend on Twitter and it was unsurprising that the majority of the posts circulated around how unfair it was that hard working people were worse off than some of the “participants” on the show. 

So how many of us noticed the “jobseekers” who had two iPhone’s and a brand new Blackberry? Or the number of new cars there were on the street? Or how the houses were like a bomb-site? How can people who don’t work and who do nothing with their days, have houses that are so untidy? 

Now is it just me or is it apparent that the people on the street were basically bragging about not having to work? There was a couple of them saying they were financially unstable, yet in the background there is a 50 inch plasma TV and they still have enough money for their cigarettes and Skol Super Strong. 

I have to comment on the couple who was complaining of having nothing but £30 child benefit a week to live on. This is only because they were caught committing benefit fraud by the way, but they thought that it was unfair treatment for the DWP not to award them any other benefits apart from child benefit. You had fraudulently claimed £1500 a month! Why should the country just let it go and continue allowing you to claim the benefits that you would have been entitled to if you hadn’t of committed fraud? If I had it my way they wouldn’t of even been getting child benefit! They’d of been offered the chance to do 40 hours community service for the basic rate benefits if I was in charge. But this country is far too soft on the benefit fraudsters.

How many of the people on that show could have got off their backsides and got a job? Answer: Majority of them with the remaining ones being sent to prison for theft or handling stolen goods.  And what was it with the lack of bras around that place? Honestly, I think the woman who called herself “White Dee” needs to sacrifice a pack of cigarettes and invest in a bra which won’t make her breasts look like her knees. 

And what was it with the woman who called herself “Black Dee”? Did she honestly think being a vile cretin to the people on the phone about her eviction letter was going to get her anywhere? I mean this is just an idea but instead of being aggressive towards the people who pay taxes in order for you to sit on your arse doing nothing, get a job and pay your bloody rent! 

I have to say, the best part of the whole Twitter debate was the guy who tweeted “That street has more sofa’s than a DFS showroom #BenefitsStreet” Have to agree though, did you see how many sofa’s there was on the street?! At least they can’t say they can’t afford a sofa, they just need to go and pick one up from along the road. Can’t believe it. 

And how stupid are these people? You’re a career shop lifter so it might be an idea, after being released from prison, to change your name from Shoplifter Dave. And to also go to another place as opposed to the place you’ve been told by the courts to stay away from. Also might be an idea not to kick off with the police as they will just arrest you… Maybe someone should have told Shoplifter Dave that though? 

Another thing I noticed about “White Dee”, everyone went to her for advice. What is she? The bloody Oracle of Benefits Street? Screw going to Citizens Advice to get things sorted. Christ. Get your lives in order, you bunch of scrounging mongs. 

Argh, that TV show really annoyed me, however, I will be watching it next week just so I can get more agitated and start yet another war on Twitter with the members of society who defend the unemployed scroungers of the country.