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Two important legal decisions are featured in the press today which highlight the tensions between existing Family Law in England, based on a traditional, British model of a heterosexual nuclear family, and modern society, in which there is a multitude of family compositions.

The first case considered the rights of 2 sperm donors (whose sperm was used to conceive a child for a Lesbian Couple) to be involved in the life of theChild, whom it had always intended would be raised in a nuclear family by the 2 women. In reaching a decision that as a matter of principle, it may be appropriate for a sperm donor to be involved (to varying degrees) in the child’s life, the court had to consider the competing interests of the child, the biological father and the psychological parents. The need for the child to have an understanding of his or her origin and roots also had to be balanced against the potentially detrimental effect of the disruption caused to the primary family unit, by the unwelcomed involvement of the donor.

In the second case, the court addressed the conflict between existingMatrimonial Law and religious laws governing Marriage Breakdown. It is of course well-known, that there are many ways in which the current law in England does not sit well with religious practices and custom under religions such as Orthodox Judaism and Islam, and that this can create difficulties for couples when separating. Traditionally, it has been made very clear that the jurisdiction of the courts cannot be ousted in favour of religious tribunals and that English Law will take precedence when there is a conflict. In this case however, the Judge allowed a young couple in their 20s to use the Beth Din in New York to resolve the issues arising from their separation, in order to allow them to Divorce in terms which were aligned to the practices by which they had lived and married. The case therefore throws open the question as to what extent people who have lived their lives according to different rules and practices should be allowed to determine such matters in line with those rules, rather than having a potentially incompatible solution imposed upon them.

Both cases highlight the complexities which are raised when a specific case raises consideration of issues which are outside of the traditional model, and the way in which the Law is evolving in order to keep up with the realities of modern British society. As a Family Solicitor, it suggests interesting times are ahead.

Contact our specialist Family Law team

If you would like to talk to any of our Family Law Solicitors please contact them on 0800 916 9055, or e-mail

Our Family Lawyers operate across the country and can offer immediate and accessible representation anywhere in England & Wales.
When people hear that someone was arrested for a DUI, they automatically assume that this means that they were driving while they were drunk. Although this might be the most common cause of a DUI arrest, the actual term is driving under the influence, and it is not limited to alcohol. Many people are arrested for a DUI or a DWI each year because they were driving while they were under the influence of a narcotic or a prescription drug. Therefore, it is important for you to fully understand the impact that your medication can have on you before you get behind the wheel.

What if I have a Legal Prescription?

Many people assume that having a prescription makes it okay to operate a vehicle after taking medication. Unfortunately, your prescription is not going to offer you any legal protection if you are arrested for a DUI. The most important thing to know about any prescription drugs that you are taking is whether or not they cause drowsiness. In many cases, a medication that causes drowsiness can make a driver appear to be intoxicated. This problem can be exacerbated if you happen to mix two different medications together. For example, if you are taking a medication for your nerves that causes drowsiness and then you also take NyQuil for a cold, you are basically setting yourself up to be too tired to drive or speak in a coherent manner.

Can My Doctor Get My DUI Waived?

No matter what reason your doctor had for giving you a specific prescription, they will not be able to offer you any legal protection from a DUI conviction. In fact, your doctor and the pharmacy will be protected due to the warning label that is on your medication. As long as the label indicates that the medication can cause drowsiness or any type of altered behavior, you will most likely not be able to assign any legal responsibility for your issue to anyone but yourself. This is why it is imperative to always read the warning labels on your medication and to take the proper steps to avoid mixing medications that could have an adverse reaction to each other.

What Actions Will Cause a DUI Arrest?

Simply being drowsy is not enough for an officer to arrest you, but some of the side effects that accompany drowsiness will be. For example, if you are pulled over while driving in Orlando, Florida and your speech is slurred, you are definitely going to deal with legal issues. Other things that an officer will look for include delayed reactions, bloodshot eyes and the inability to pass a field sobriety test. It is also important to note that some medications can cause you to fail a breathalyzer test. However, even if you pass a breathalyzer test, you can still be arrested if you appear to be under the influence of something. If you find yourself in this situation, there are many Orlando DUI lawyers in the area.

In addition to prescription medication, some over the counter drugs can also cause you a lot of issues while driving. NyQuil is a prime example because it contains some alcohol, and it will cause you to become very drowsy. Taking any type of sleeping pill before you begin driving is also a very bad idea that could lead to an accident and even a DUI arrest.

Freelance author Anthony Joseph writes on many different legal subjects, and contributes this article toward raising DUI awareness. The Orlando DUI lawyers at the law firm of Katz & Phillips know the drunk driving laws better than anyone. If you’ve recently received a DUI charge, contact one of their attorneys for a consultation regarding your case.
Jenelle Embrey of Linden, Virginia, has started an online petition drive to bring federal officials’ attention to Jeep vehicles after she and her father watched two people burn to death in their Jeep Grand Cherokee after a highway accident. According to a news report in, Embrey and her father were involved in a collision last year. When they got off their vehicle, they saw a Jeep that was on fire. A mother and her two teenage children were trapped inside. While her father was able to pull one of the teens out, the woman and her other child burned to death.

Pinto for Soccer Moms

The article states that this was one of 270 fatalities reported as a result of Jeep fires just in 2012. Embrey’s petition is addressed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and has been posted on the site. This is apparently not a new issue. Three years ago, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) filed a 69-page petition with regulators that spelled out the problem in great detail. The investigation had previously focused on 1993-2004 model Jeep Grand Cherokees but was later expanded to include 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of CAS calls these vehicles “Pinto for soccer moms.” He likens these Jeep vehicles to the defectively designed Ford Pinto vehicles that burst into flames on impact. Ditlow says the Jeep vehicles have so far caused 185 fatal fire crashes with 270 deaths and numerous burn injuries. He says that the 1993-04 Grand Cherokee has a fatal crash fire occurrence rate that is about four times higher than SUVs made by other companies. These vehicles have their fuel tanks installed behind the rear axle, which makes them prone to burst into flames following a rear-end collision. In the newer Jeeps, the fuel tanks are located ahead of the rear axle.

Millions in Danger

However, Chrysler insists that the change was made for design reasons and not due to safety concerns. The fact remains that millions of these defectively designed Jeep vehicles are still on our roadways and millions still travel in them. NHTSA is currently in the final step of a process to determine whether these issues warrant a recall. A recall could affect up to 5.1 million vehicles.

After what this family and hundreds of other families have been through, it is appalling that these vehicles are still on the roadway. Automakers are notorious for denying defects and putting profits before the safety and well-being of the people who buy their vehicles and make them profitable. Chrysler should do the right thing and recall these defective vehicles before more lives are tragically lost.

If you work toward a human services degree it is likely you will have a chance to try a hands-on approach for your chosen occupations.

Would-be nurses and doctors go through clinical trials, future social workers volunteer in the community, and student teachers go into the classrooms to learn their trade. Simulated courtroom proceedings offer the same training and experience for criminal justice students.

Learning Through Trial and Error

Until you’ve tried something, it is difficult to know how it will work. Like students working toward any human services degree, you are more likely to have a successful start if you have already had the opportunity to try and fail. A simulated courtroom trial offers you just such an opportunity, a chance to role play different methods toward achieving justice for the defense or the prosecution.

In a simulated courtroom, criminal justice students are able to act in ways that may or may not be successful in a real courtroom. The fact that it’s not real, of course, means that no one is being put in real jeopardy. If you have heard a certain method does not work but you are unsure why, the simulated courtroom can give you the time and place to see for yourself. Lessons that result in failure are much more easily remembered than those that are just tested on paper.

Seeing the Process in Action

Simply reading about courtroom procedures and requirements is not enough to understand the intricate workings of the process. Getting to see these elements firsthand can help the criminal justice student get a better understanding of why they are necessary and how best to work within them.

For many students, a criminal justice education will occur outside of a courtroom, making it difficult to keep proper courtroom behavior and proceedings in mind. Having the opportunity to work in a mock trial gives you the framework to properly provide your information to the court. This can help you avoid actions and behaviors later that will cost your case instead of advancing it.

Experiencing the Moment

One of the most difficult aspects for criminal justice students to understand is how to think both in terms of strategy and in the moment. Just as nursing students learn how to deal with emergencies, it is essential for you to have the opportunity to react in a controlled situation. This is an exercise in both controlling your behaviors and in thinking fast.

Lawyers have years of learning to work in a courtroom, but most criminal justice occupations are more comfortable working in the field. Still, getting the chance to be put on the spot in an intimidating setting where you are graded can help you be better prepared for thinking when faced with a real case.

Any human services degree will require you to learn about many facets of the job. Being able to experience some of the more rigid elements can help you prepare for dealing with courts.

While you are not likely to spend much of your time in a courtroom setting, nearly all criminal justice graduates are guaranteed to need to speak in court during the regular course of their jobs. Having experienced a simulated courtroom proceeding will help prepare you for a part of the job that could be intimidating.
Guest post with some tips for how to claim for clinical negligence.

Health complications and their associated treatment are, in most cases, the most stressful experience that an individual will face. The worst case scenario therefore would be where standards are not met in such treatment and things, inevitably, go wrong.

The law provides individuals with a route to make a claim against medical professionals where care standards are not met. Such a claim would be brought under the heading of clinical negligence. Claiming for negligence in such a scenario is somewhat complicated as there are a number of legal principles that must be considered.

Legal Principles

Medical professionals owe what is called a ‘duty of care’ to those individuals to whom they provide a service. This means that a minimum standard of care is expected of them and that they must not act negligently. A claim for clinical negligence will arise in circumstances where this duty of care has been breached. Such a breach may occur, for example, where an incorrect medication dosage is administered resulting in injury or death, or where a failed or delayed diagnosis has been given.

While it is easy to see that a duty of care exists between a medical professional and his or her patient, it is more difficult in clinical negligence claims to prove that this duty has been breached. The reason for this is due to the fact that the medical profession is a highly specialised field and, in order for a clinical negligence claim to be successful, you must prove that there were errors in the treatment you received and that those errors caused the injury for which you are seeking compensation.

Further to this, not only must you prove that there were errors in your treatment, you must also prove that these errors were of such a nature that no competent medical professional would have made the same errors in the same set of circumstances. This can be a stumbling block for a lot of claims as it relies on the use of experts in the relevant medical field who have to give evidence that, if faced with the same set of circumstances, they would not have administered the treatment complained of. In other words, to prove that there were errors in your treatment, you must get another similarly qualified expert to give evidence that he or she would not have administered the same treatment.

This difficulty is tempered somewhat by the fact that you only need to prove that it was more probable than not that no competent medical practitioner would have made the errors in your treatment.

You must also consider the fact that you have to prove that the errors materially contributed to your injury. While there have been great advances in the field of medicine and medical treatment, there are still numerous instances where our understanding of certain conditions is lacking. A historical example of this, although not related to a claim in clinical negligence, is the various asbestos-related illness claims brought since the 1930s. It took a while for the medical profession, and thus the courts, to recognise that, on the balance of probabilities, those workers exposed to asbestos and asbestos fibres suffered a greater risk of contracting asbestosis or mesothelioma.

It can be seen, therefore, that this area of law is ever-changing.

Claiming for negligence

If you are claiming for negligence, the first port of call for those considering a claim would be to consult a solicitor. There are specialised clinical negligence solicitors who are experienced at making initial assessments of the strength, or otherwise, of your claim. Clinical negligence solicitors can investigate your claim and, where necessary, obtain the expert evidence required to support your claim. It must be noted that in many cases, if you wish to pursue a claim for clinical negligence, you must do so within a period of three years from the date of the accident or treatment. An clinical negligence solicitor can, however, provide advice in relation to this are there are exceptions to the three year rule.

Employers must not charge for personal protective equipment

Undoubtedly, personal protective equipment (PPE) has helped to prevent countless employees from suffering personal injury in the workplace. Whether minimising risk via safety helmets, suitable goggles, or chemical suits, PPE is often an essential part of any business.

Although there is nothing more precious than human life, I regularly hear stories about individuals who have been harmed during an accident at work – and these injuries might have been prevented if duty-holders simply provided adequate PPE.

I can understand that these are troubling economic times, but after implementing additional methods to prevent staff members from suffering personal injury, managers must supply appropriate PPE when hazards still remain – even if these items are expensive.

However, when a company attempts to recoup the cost of PPE by charging employees, this practice is not only wrong – it is illegal.

According to Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, “No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions.”

Although that statement is self explanatory, it has been reported that some building firms may have introduced vending machines which provide employees with PPE.

Allegedly, the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians(UCATT) know of at least one company which uses these dispensers – and have urged the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prevent other organisations from following suit.

If these vending machines charge employees for potentially lifesaving equipment, then this could be an illegal and inappropriate way to reduce risk. Furthermore, Regulation 4 of The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states that PPE must be capable of fitting the wearer correctly. If employees are not given the opportunity to try these items on, then the apparel could be ineffective.

If the UCATT’s claims are correct, then companies who use these vending machines could be breaking the law and putting the lives of their employees at risk. Hopefully, the HSE will step in and quickly remove these dispensers from workplaces.
Employers have a legal responsibility to prevent bullying at work. But sadly, bullying can occur and take many different shapes and forms. Bullying can happen face to face, over email, by phone and in other ways too. And it can be hard to judge if you really are being treated in a way that is unacceptable.

Generally speaking you are being bullied if someone or a group of people are acting in an offensive, intimidating or malicious way towards you. Or if they are abusing their power to undermine, humiliate or injure you.

Examples of bullying at work include:

  • Spreading malicious rumours or insults
  • Copying people who don’t need to know into memos that are critical about someone
  • Overbearing supervision
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Making un-founded threats about job security
  • Intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities to prevent job progression
  • Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading them or by constantly criticising their work

Steps you can take if you’re being bullied at work:

  • Consult your employee handbook or company policy documents

Every company should have policies and procedures in place to protect employees from bullying and harassment. If you feel bullied at work, ask to see these documents and check to see whether the way someone is treating you can be classed as bullying. These documents should also give you an idea of what you can do if you feel bullied and what support you can expect from your employer.

  • Get advice

If you do feel bullied, it’s worth approaching HR, your line manager or a colleague you are comfortable around, and expressing your concerns. They should be able to help guide and support you and may be able to take action on your behalf. If you are a member of a Trade Union you should also contact your representative for advice.

  • Keep a diary

Keeping a diary can help you make a formal complaint or legal case against bullying at work, so it’s really important that you keep a record of any instances where you’ve felt bullied. That can mean noting down comments or actions that you have felt have hurt and intimidated you, as well as where and when this occurred, if there were any witnesses etc.

It’s also advisable to keep a record and print out of any email or web exchanges – where you feel bullying has occurred.

  • Tell the person bullying you to stop

Even if you’ve asked the person or group bullying you to stop, it’s worth asking via a written or email memo that expresses that you feel bullied as a result of their behaviour and clearly outlines what behavioural aspects you object to. Be calm, be clear, be honest – don’t be aggressive. And keep a copy for your diary/evidence. And ask HR, a line manager or a Trade Union representative for their advice and support or to act on your behalf.

  • If the bullying doesn’t stop, consider formal action

Your workplace should have formal complaint procedures in place. So ask HR to guide you through the process of making a formal complaint – or, if you’re afraid to approach HR, ask organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau for their help.

  • Consider asking for mediation

After you’ve made a formal complaint, you might want to consider asking HR to organise formal mediation (available from third party organisations like ACAS) between you and the person bullying you. This might be especially helpful in a situation where there’s been a change in management, work requirements or organisational style. Your Trade Union rep and the Citizens Advice can help you decide if this is right for you if you don’t feel able to ask HR about the pros and cons.

  • As a last resort, consider taking legal action

If you’ve tried all of these avenues and are still being bullied at work, then you might want to seek legal advice and determine whether your case can be taken to an employment tribunal.

It’s important that you have tried to resolve the problem using the steps above before you take legal action, as records you’ve kept and the steps you’ve been seen to take can be used at tribunal to help make your case.

Are you being bullied at work? Do you have any tips you can share with people going through a similar situation? 

Author Bio

Rob Hawkins is a freelance copywriter who writes for a variety of websites, including specialist personal injury solicitors RJW.
February 1, 2013—Tracy, California—A construction worker was killed when an 1,800 pound piece of concrete fell on him, pinning him beneath its weight and crushing him, according to KCRA News

. The worker was engaged in cleaning out a concrete truck at the time of the incident.

The 47-year-old victim from Whittier was working on contract for Express Chipping at the time of the tragedy which happened on Linne Road. He was removing concrete buildup inside a truck owned by A&A Concrete supply when he was pinned inside the truck by falling concrete. He was pronounced dead at the scene by rescue workers.

Cal-OSHA is conducting an investigation into the incident.

Construction Accidents Prove Fatal for Many Each Year

Construction is still one of the most dangerous occupations according to information compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2011, 759 people were killed in construction accidents in the United States, or more than two per day. Most construction accidents involve falls, objects falling onto workers, or vehicle-related crashes.

Owners of construction firms and the owners of the sites at which they work both have an obligation to create a safe work environment for employees and visitors to the site. If they fail to do so, they can be subject to government sanctions as well as liability for personal injury.

Who Is Responsible For This Man’s Injuries?

This case may be complicated from a legal perspective because the man was apparently working for one company on another company’s equipment. That means that the liability may stem from negligence on the part of the employer in allowing the man to work in dangerous conditions, from the owner of the truck for creating the dangerous conditions or both.

A personal injury lawyer must examine the facts of the case to make a determination as to who holds liability for the man’s death in this case. Once that is established, the family may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the person or company that is deemed responsible for the worker’s death. Wrongful death suits usually include damages for lost future earnings as well as loss of love and companionship.

What Should I Do If I am Involved in a Construction Accident?

If you are hurt in a construction accident, your first responsibility is to seek medical attention. You must be sure that your health is not in danger before considering any other possibilities. However, once you have ensured that your health is being taken care of, you should consider your rights to file a personal injury suit against the employer, the work site owner, or both.

A personal injury attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries including medical bills, sums for your mental anguish, pain and suffering, and lost wages while you recover. You may also be entitled to other types of compensation so that you can pay for increased living expenses or other costs. Talk to a personal injury attorney today to protect your rights.