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Voluntary Police Interviews; Your rights, and the formalities

 What is a voluntary Police Interview?
The process of a Voluntary Police Interview will begin with contact from a Police Officer asking that you attend either at a specified police station, or arrange a time for them to attend at your home address. Do not ignore it
The Officer may give you brief details about what the interview is about but they will not ask you questions about the allegations/investigation outside the formal interview situation. You are entitled to free legal advice even though you are attending voluntarily,.
You will be asked to agree a time for your attendance and once you have done so you should contact a firm of criminal solicitors. It is important that you highlight any vulnerabilities you may have and any special requirements such as an interpreter or appropriate adult.
You may be told that if you fail to attend you will be arrested, this is only if there are sufficient reasons which make an arrest necessary or if new information comes to light.

Do I need a Solicitor?
There has been a significant increase in the number of voluntary interview requests lately. You may be invited by an officer “for a chat” or to “tell your side of the story,” it is important to remember however that this will be under police caution and therefore should be treated with the relevant regard.
We often hear individuals saying “I haven’t done anything wrong so why do I need a solicitor”, that might be the case but you are entitled to legal advice. Exercising this right is not an indication of guilt or innocence. Alongside this as you have attended as a volunteer you will not be given a time or date to return for an update; a solicitor will continue to monitor and update you on the investigation.

What should you do if you are invited in for a Voluntary Interview?
First of all don’t panic; make arrangements for the interview or if you do not feel comfortable doing so make a note of the Officer’s name and ask your Solicitor to do so.
Arrange for an experienced solicitor to attend with you, it is usually beneficial to speak to them beforehand via telephone in case there are any documents they believe you should take with you for evidential purposes.
The Police Station Interview is your first opportunity to put across your account; it will be referred to throughout any following court case. It is therefore vital that you are fully advised throughout such an interview.
Remember, no two police investigations are the same and therefore if you have been represented by a solicitor for a previous matter don’t just assume the advice would be the same.
Our team of experienced solicitors are on hand to offer advice 24 hours a day. We can be contacted during office hours on 01325 28 11 11 or out of hours on 07391138975.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)- Will you be able to let your property in 2018? Blog post by Nicola Johnston

What are the new Regulations?

From April 2018, the regulations will make it unlawful for private sector landlords to let residential or commercial properties to new or existing tenants, without an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band rating of E or above.

Properties which do not require an EPC under the current regulations will be exempt from the new regulations. However, there will be very few exemptions available to Landlords.

From 1st April 2018, the regulations will be enforced upon the granting of a new lease and the renewal of existing leases. Landlords will be required to ensure compliance before the lease is granted.

From 1st April 2023, the regulations will be extended to cover all leases, including where a lease is already in place.

Implications for Landlords

The regulations will have a significant impact upon Landlords, including:

• It will make some properties illegal to let unless they are upgraded to meet the minimum standards. This may take time and during that time the Landlord will miss out on rental income.
• Valuations of such properties could be affected if their marketability is diminished, which could in turn effect mortgages.
• Rent reviews for properties in this situation could also be affected.
• Implications for dilapidations assessments may also exist.

Enforcement and Penalties

For any Landlords found to be in breach of the regulations, a maximum penalty of £150,000.00 can be imposed. These are calculated upon the rateable value of the property and can be issued on every property found to be in breach.

For this reason it is not advisable to wait until the regulations are in place. Landlords should take a proactive approach and consider their portfolios now.

If you are uncertain about the new regulations or require further advice on the matter, please contact us at Clark Willis on 01325 28 11 11.

A Guide to Compensation for Criminal Injuries by Victoria Machin- Solicitor

If you have been the victim of a violent crime and have suffered physical or mental injury, then you may be able to submit a claim for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

The CICA is a government body established to compensate innocent victims of criminal assault and other violent crimes. Eligibility requirements are complex and therefore it is important to seek legal advice if you think you may be entitled to claim.

An application may be refused if you do not report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable. It is also important that you assist police with their enquiries in an attempt to bring the assailant to justice. However, it is not necessary for there to be a criminal conviction brought against the assailant for a victim to have a successful claim.

You may be refused compensation if you have an unspent criminal conviction that resulted in a prison sentence (including a suspended prison sentence), regardless of what this offence relates to. You may also be refused compensation if you are found to have contributed, or been a part of, the crime in question.

A claim to the CICA must be submitted within two years of the date of the incident. If the incident occurred when you were a minor, then you will have until your 20th birthday, or two years after the date you reported the incident to the police, whichever is later. The CICA may waive the time limit in exceptional circumstances, for example, where the applicant was a victim of historic sexual abuse. However, such a waiver is rare, and you should therefore not delay in submitting an application.

The CICA has compiled a ‘tariff of injuries’, which is a list setting out specific injuries and the corresponding amount of compensation such an injury would receive. Although the awards are lower than what an individual may be entitled to if they were eligible for civil action for personal injury, they can still be significant, and the maximum award is £500,000.

The CICA will also consider compensating a victim for mental injury which has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. Additionally, if you have been unable to work for more than 28 weeks due to the incident, the CICA may compensate you for your lost earnings. It may also be possible to apply for the cost of your medical care.

Since the scheme was initially established in 1964, more than £3 billion has been paid out in compensation, making this one of the most generous schemes in the world. If you have been the victim of a violent crime and suffered physical or mental injury and would like to discuss whether or not you have a claim, please contact our personal injury department today for free initial advice.

 Victoria Machin is a solicitor within the firm who specialises in personal injury claims, civil litigation, and is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Details of our range of Personal injury services can be found at http://www.clarkwillis.com/services/personal-injury/

 

Clark Willis Law Firm LLP maintain Law Society excellence quality mark

We are delighted to announce that following an annual audit we have maintained our Lexcel quality mark. We have held this quality mark since 2010.

Lexcel is defined by the Law Society at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/accreditation/lexcel/

‘Lexcel is the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and excellence in client care. It provides a flexible, supportive management framework to help practices develop consistent operational efficiencies and client services, manage risk effectively, reduce costs and promote profitability.

Lexcel sets the required Standard in seven different areas: structure and strategy, financial management, information management, people management, risk management, client care, file and case management. Lexcel scheme rules outline the design, principles and governance processes of the scheme.’

At Clark Willis we are committed to excellent Client care and practice management and we continue to meet the high standards expected of this quality mark.

The ‘Christmas’ Conundrum- a Family Lawyers perspective by Tanya Bloomfield

I know, I know it’s ‘only October!’ but we are starting the countdown and the Christmas gifts have appeared in the shops.

I am talking about this now because it needs to be looked at sooner rather than later.

How the Christmas holidays are split is a tricky issue between some separated parents. There is no right or wrong answer. The Law doesn’t tell us what to do, in fact the Children Act which is the Law dealing with this issue doesn’t say anything about Christmas.

From my own experience there are lots of different ways that separated parents can try and agree this. There are lots of things to take into account; what families usually do, how far parents live from each other, the ages of the child(ren) etc.

Some of the ways that I have come across include

  • alternating Christmas eve/Christmas day,
  • splitting Christmas day (usually after lunch/mid afternoon),
  • being with one parent on Christmas day each year and the other every boxing day

These are just some of the ways I have seen cases be agreed or determined by the court but they are not the only solutions.

Ultimately what is right for your family depends on what is best for your child or children. I say again there is no right or wrong way.  What will be important to the child is seeing both of his/her parents and their extended families.

Christmas is a magical time for children but often the adults get more hung up on the time when all the children are concerned about is the presents!

As far as you are able, always try and come to an agreement. Ultimately you both know what is best for your family. If you can’t reach an agreement and/or are unable to communicate well about it then you might need some help.

If you can avoid going to court to ask a Judge to make a decision. They will come up with what they think is best but it might not be what either parent wants or what you think is best for your child.

At Clark Willis we can offer you different ways of trying to sort things out including advice from a Solicitor, Mediation and Collaborative practice. Contact us now if we can help  on 01325 281111 or find more information at www.clarkwillis.com

Tanya is a partner within the firm who specialises in Family cases. Tanya is also an accredited Family Mediator with the Family Mediation Council and Collaborative Practitioner trained by Resolution.

Third victory for the Legal Eagles quiz team at the St Teresa’s Hospice quiz!

Once again the Clark Willis Legal Eagles reigned supreme at the St Teresa’s Hospice Quiz held last night at Cockerton Club.

The rounds were more difficult this year but we managed to pull it out of the bag once again!

Clark Willis also fielded a second team the Clark Willis Legal Budgies but sadly they were not able to keep up. However one of their team members  as consolation did win a raffle prize – a Stunt passenger driving experience- lets hope she comes back in one piece!

A few photos from the night

    

Consumer guidance on Personal Injury Compensation claims

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has launched a public information booklet which looks at the importance of personal injury compensation.

 

If you are considering making a claim for personal injury compensation then this is an absolute ‘must-read’!

 

The guide explains the basic principles and also looks at the different injuries you may be able to claim for. There is even a table setting out how much compensation you might get for a particular injury.

 

If anyone has any questions about the guide, or would like to chat to one of our experienced and friendly solicitors about making a claim, please call us today on 01325 281 111.

 

The guide can be found at https://www.apil.org.uk/compensation

Bogus firm using our address

It has come to our attention that a person calling himself  ‘Christopher S Burns’   and using the name ‘Cock, Burn and Burrows LLP’   has used our address. This person is suggesting the this law firm exists and operates from our address.

We can confirm that this is a bogus firm and does not exist. We have reported this to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) who have confirmed this firm does not exist. The SRA are investigating this and have published an alert which can be found at the link below:

http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/scam-alerts/2017/Sep/clark-willis-law-firm-llp.page

We are the only law firm/business which operates from this address.  Should you receive any correspondence quoting this address from any other firm/business please contact us immediately and we can make the appropriate report.

Thank you.