Judiciary reprimanded for inappropriate comments

first_imgTwenty-eight judicial office holders were removed from office last year, a 12% rise on last year, and a further 18 resigned during conduct investigations, according to the Office for Judicial Complaints’ annual report published yesterday. Matters investigated by the OLC included one instance where a magistrate refused to return to court following a disagreement with bench colleagues in the retiring room, and another where a judge made inappropriate comments that could be perceived as showing prejudice against a non-British defendant. Of the 28 judicial office holders removed from office, 25 were magistrates, two were judges and one was a non-legal tribunal member. Twelve of the removals related to ‘not fulfilling judicial duties’; five resulted from civil or criminal proceedings; six related to ‘inappropriate behaviour of comments’; three were due to professional misconduct; one related to motoring offences and one to a conflict of interest. A further 11 judicial office holders received a reprimand, and 11 were given formal advice or a warning. The OLC’s annual report provides four anonymised case studies giving a sample of the issues it has dealt with during the year. In one, it said a reprimand and requirement to take training were imposed on a magistrate after they ‘did not return to court to adjudicate, following a disagreement with bench colleagues in the retiring room’. In another case study, a reprimand, training requirement and removal from a mentoring list were given to an office holder who had used the words ‘we take exception to people coming to our shores and abusing our hospitality’ in open court, when addressing a non-British defendant. This was held to fall short of the qualities of social awareness and sound judgement expected of the judiciary. Inappropriate comments by judicial office holders led to nine occasions where the lord chief justice gave informal advice to the office holder in question, six where he gave formal advice; four reprimands, four resignations and six removals from office. The report showed that there were 422 complaints of inappropriate behaviour or comments against judicial office holders; 83 complaints of discrimination; 27 complaints that an office holder was not fulfilling their judicial duty’ (which normally relates to magistrates), and 19 complaints about conflicts of interest. There were 647 complaints in total, not including those that related to the outcome of a case, and therefore fell outside the OJC’s remit. The figures relate to the period from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. They do not therefore include the resignation of circuit judge Gerald Price, who resigned last month after losing an appeal against a decision to remove him from office following allegations over his private life.last_img read more

RTA claims portal ‘loophole’

first_imgThe chairman of the steering group overseeing the launch of the road traffic accident (RTA) claims portal has played down concerns from claimant lawyers that insurers are using a loophole to delay paying claims. Claimant solicitors have alleged that insurers are deliberately selecting an option to say that they are investigating claims under the terms of the uninsured drivers agreement, in order to buy time before paying claims. Under the portal system, if insurers say they are investigating a claim following receipt of a claim notification form, they are given 30 days to respond to the claim, rather than the standard 15 days. Claimant solicitors said insurers were apparently choosing to investigate in far higher numbers than before the portal was introduced, and claimed they are abusing the system in order to delay paying claims. But Tim Wallis, independent chairman of the RTA portal project steering group, denied that this is the case. He said insurers on the project steering group said the problem arose because their claims handling staff were unfamiliar with the new system, but they have now been educated accordingly. ‘I understand that the claimant side is now happy with the insurers, and I am not aware of any complaints being made since the issue was raised,’ Wallis said. Introduced as part of Ministry of Justice reforms to speed up RTA claims between £1,000 and £10,000 and reduce their cost, the portal is intended to act as a secure electronic data exchange for claims. The RTA portal has been dogged by technical problems following its launch on 30 April. The steering group said this week that more than 1,800 law firms and nearly all insurer brands are connected to the portal, and around 113,000 claims notification forms have been created since the launch. Wallis said: ‘We recognise that the teething problems were really quite acute for some people, and we are really very sorry about this. But as time goes by, we will put in the resource to try and resolve any other problems.’last_img read more

Claims farmers ban on hold

first_imgA government proposal to ban ‘claims farmers’ from offering cash inducements and other benefits to the public has been put on hold, the Ministry of Justice confirmed this week. Responding to its consultation on the proposed ban, which was triggered by Lord Young of Graffham’s report on the ‘compensation culture’ last year, the MoJ said that the proposal ‘and other issues’ will be examined as part of a general review of claims management rules later this year. It said the changes will be reviewed by the government’s Regulatory Policy Committee and the Reducing Regulation Committee before implementation is reconsidered. Rules state that claims management companies and law firms cannot offer immediate cash payments or similar benefits as inducements to make a claim, but they can offer inducements to be paid after claims are approved. Young said in his report that offering inducements to potential claimants is a high-pressure marketing technique. Some 39 bodies responded to the consultation, with a majority supporting the proposed amendment.last_img read more

Rightmove founder enters conveyancing market

first_imgThe founder of Rightmove has today launched online residential conveyancing service In-deed, intended to shake-up the conveyancing market. Harry Hill, the founder of Rightmove and former chief executive of estate agency Countrywide, said the service would make the home sale process simpler, more transparent and less stressful for home buyers and sellers, with users quoted a one-off complete fee at the outset of the process. The service uses web-based and mobile technology to help homebuyers and sellers track live progress of their property transactions from instruction to completion. In-deed features a price guarantee, a no completion-no fee promise, and a panel of selected property lawyers. Customers are given access to their case files via a secure, interactive site where they can track live progress of their transaction. The project is supported by TV property expert Phil Spencer, who provides a video introduction on the site. Hill said: ‘Feudal methods of property transfer still apply unfortunately, and in the last five years increased price competition to secure a shrinking market has driven standards in conveyancing that are unacceptable in many cases. ‘It’s time for a new script. ‘We can’t change the UK legal system. ‘What we can do is continue to work with some of the best people in the industry to bring conveyancing up to date,’ he added.last_img read more

Fair-weather friends

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The clues are all there …

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

Building buys a pint …

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Shining a light

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

My favourites …

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Treasure & Son Ltd vs Martin Dawes: The end of our elaborate plans

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more