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Expert Witness Orthotics Experts Ltd adopts mkryptor to protect client confidentiality

Orthotics Experts Ltd has adopted mkryptor to encrypt sensitive case information sent via email. Orthotics Experts provides independent medical reports as evidence in legal cases and the communications that take place over email between the company and legal firms contain highly confidential information.

Chris Drake consultant orthotist and expert witness said, “There must be thousands of expert witnesses up and down the country like me that are engaged in supplying reports of a confidential nature. Whilst large legal companies with IT departments may have encryption tools I wonder how the expert witness community is addressing email confidentiality? I was delighted to find mkryptor to solve this problem, it is user-friendly and at a price point that smaller businesses and independent consultants can afford.”

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McNally announces family expert standards at Bond Solon conference

Picture of Lord McNally for Your Exert Witness storyOn 8 November the Ministry of Justice announced the anticipated national standards for expert witnesses in family courts. The announcement was made by Minister if State Lord McNally at Bond Solon’s Annual Expert Witness Conference and formed the joint response by the MoJ and the Family Justice Council to the consultation that has been taking place on the Family Justice Review.

Lord McNally told the conference: “Expert witnesses have a vital role to play in many of these sorts of cases making complex issues understandable to lawyers, judges and juries. You play an important part in the administration of justice.

“The Family Justice Review also recommended that agreed quality standards should be developed for expert witnesses in the family courts. My officials have been working with the Family Justice Council, experts groups and other interested parties to develop those quality standards. These standards were recently subject to consultation. I am pleased to say that, today, we are launching the joint Ministry of Justice and Family Justice Council response to the consultation.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 09:55

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Terror suspects have right to solicitor, High Court rules

HeathrowThe High Court has ruled that a person detained for examination under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is entitled to consult a solicitor in person at any time. The decision clarifies the existing uncertainty about the scope of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act and follows a Law Society intervention in a judicial review against the Metropolitan Police.

The Law Society argued that it is unlawful to restrict a person who has been detained at a port or airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act to only being entitled to have legal advice from a solicitor via telephone prior to a police interview, rather than having the right to have a solicitor present in person during the questioning where the detainee has specifically asked for that greater form of protection.

In his judgment, issued on 6 November, Mr Justice Bean said: “The detainee has the choice. The right may be exercised at any time during the period of detention and may be exercised repeatedly, although not in a manner which frustrates the proper purpose of the examination. If the solicitor attends in person he may be present during the interview…”

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson commented: “As the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales the Law Society has intervened in this case to establish that there is no doubt that detainees have a right to consult their solicitor in person once detained and to emphasise the useful role solicitors play in advising detainees.

“Police powers under the Terrorism Act are wide and highly intrusive and individuals are questioned under the threat of criminal liability. There is no right to silence. The legislation permits officers to stop and question without suspicion in order to determine whether the detainee appears to be involved in terrorism. It is vital to ensure that individuals are not being detained other than for permitted purposes.

“We have highlighted the value of face-to-face advice in this context and further established clarity over whether individuals can refuse to answer questions pending their solicitor’s arrival.

“The presence of solicitors provides a fundamental safeguard to detainees and this ruling has clarified that in principle there is no sound reason why questioning of a detainee should not be delayed pending the arrival of a solicitor, who can advise on what questions they are obliged to answer and explain the legal implications of refusing to do so.

“This case focuses on the right to consult a solicitor in a situation where individuals are extremely vulnerable. It raises an important issue not only to the legal profession but also to the public generally.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 November 2013 11:59

Lib Dems vote to stop legal aid cuts

Liberal Democrat logo for Your Expert Witness storyOn the final day of its autumn conference in Glasgow, the Liberal Democrats voted to oppose further cuts to legal aid and called for the proposed changes to be delayed.

The emergency motion was put by the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association, supported by Julian Huppert MP and chair of the justice committee Sir Alan Beith MP.

The motion demanded that: “No further cuts in the provision of Legal Aid and the availability of local justice should take place without ensuring that any such proposals are first properly trialled and assessed to demonstrate that there will be no adverse effect upon access to justice and the quality of legal services provided to those who require assistance by means of Legal Aid.”

Lord McNally, the government minister in charge of the reforms in the Lords, opposed the motion.

Head of legal aid at the Law Society Richard Miller welcomed the ‘expression of concern’ from the party and said the votes draw further attention to the ‘substantial challenges’ facing the criminal legal aid sector.

Quoted in the Law Society Gazette, Eddie Tang, partner at London firm IBB said: “The government needs to fully scrutinise the current proposals to cut legal aid and the stance by the Liberal Democrats’ motion to stay the proposals pending thorough consultation on scrutiny is positive.”

Last Updated on Monday, 23 September 2013 09:08

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Woman takes on cosmetics giant in test case

In the first case of its kind a woman from Liverpool has taken a cosmetics giant to court over claims she suffered injuries after using a hair dye product.

The case against German company Henkel was heard on 16 August. It is the first of its kind to reach court in the UK and could prove significant both for people who use hair dye products and the companies who produce them.  Henkel sent one of its directors to St Helen's County Court to help with the defence.

The case centres around the efficacy of the so-called ‘patch test’, whereby a small amount of the product is used to test for a reaction.

Greg Almond of Almond Solicitors, who are representing the claimant Michelle Buckley, said: “My client did everything by the book. She tested the product first to check for a reaction before proceeding. If the patch test isn't working something is wrong.

“This is not an isolated incident. Many people have been injured because they have reacted badly to hair dye products. The industry is not regulated sufficiently and companies have batted away the issue of adverse chemical reactions by settling out of court.  This test case is putting the cosmetics industry in the dock, not just Henkel. My client has shown courage to take on the might of such a large industry. The outcome could help thousands more like her.”

Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 08:54

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