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Public Liability Solicitors in Middlesbrough

Public Liability Solicitors in Middlesbrough

Public Liability Claims Explained

Public liability and occupiers’ liability claims are very similar in nature and there is often some cross-over in relation to the law that is applied to them.

The most common types of claims are:
Trips or falls on public roads and pavements
Trips or falls in public parks and other public amenity areas
Accidents that occur in shops
Accidents that occur in privately owned buildings or land e.g. shopping centres
Accidents that occur in private properties
Other claims against the Local Authorities

Claims for trips or falls in public areas are generally difficult to pursue. It is therefore important that if such an accident occurs, photographs of the defective area are taken as soon as possible. Additionally, claims are substantially aided if photographs clearly showing measurements of the defect are also taken. You should also ensure that you report the accident as soon as possible to the relevant authority after you have taken the photos and measurements.
The most common defence used by Local Authorities is that they have implemented a reasonable system of inspection and repair. I.e. they only have to show that they inspected the area on a regular basis and that they undertook repairs within a reasonable timescale after they received reports about them. The mere presence of a pothole, for example, does not mean that the Local Authority has been negligent.
This does not mean that all claims will automatically fail though and it is therefore important to gather as much evidence of the defective area as quickly as you can.

Claims against privately owned buildings or land

Claims for accidents in shops and shopping centres for example are slightly easier to prove than those against Local Authorities.
At Taylor Law, we deal with plenty of claims against supermarkets, shops and shopping centres, where injuries occur regularly due to liquid spills or items being on the floor of the premises.

Footfall in shops and shopping centres is usually significantly higher than on a public footpath. Therefore, the onus on the Defendant owner or occupier of the premises to inspect the area and rectify defects and remove obstructions is much higher.
In order to successfully defend a claim, the Defendant must be able to show that it has effective risk assessments, a good system of inspection and a good cleaning policy and that it had implemented the same on the day of the accident.

As above it is important that you take photographs and measurements of the defect, spillage or cause of your accident as soon as possible. You will also need to ensure that you report the accident as soon as you are able to do so. It will aid a claim if accurate details of the accident are reported at the time.
At Taylor Law we offer in-depth expertise and pragmatic advice. If you are involved in a public liability case, we will provide strong guidance and representation and work with you to resolve the issue without delay.

Taking legal advice early on as soon as the situation arises offers the best chance of quick resolution and is important to ensure that any evidence such as CCTV can be preserved.
We have offices in Leeds, Middlesbrough and London. For an initial discussion, ring us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203 780 7646 (London) or fill in our Contact Form.

Motoring Offences – The Exceptional Hardship Defence

Motoring Offences – The Exceptional Hardship Defence

Exceptional Hardship and what it means if there is a danger you are likely to reach the 12 point limit on your driving license.

Is it correct that any driver facing the imposition of 12 penalty points upon their driving licence will be subject to a mandatory 6 month disqualification from driving?

The answer is no, not in all circumstances. If you argue and persuade the Court that a 6-month driving ban will cause ‘exceptional hardship’ to you or any other person, you may avoid a ban.

Whilst it can be argued that any order of disqualification from driving will entail hardship for the person who is disqualified, the hardship must be ‘exceptional’ to persuade the Court, and it in this area that Taylor Law can help.

There is no specific legal definition of what may amount to exceptional hardship. Each case will turn on its own particular facts and the personal circumstances of the individual driver. For example, loss of employment will undoubtedly cause some hardship for anyone, but whether that amounts to ‘exceptional hardship’ will depend on a number of factors, including financial circumstances and family support, to name a few. The correct presentation of an exceptional hardship argument is therefore vital to increase the chances of retaining your driving licence, however you should be aware that it will still be endorsed with 12 penalty points,

Hardship can often be caused to wholly innocent individuals other than the driver and licence holder. Case law provides that the Court should take more account of hardship caused to innocent parties such as family members and employees, than to the offender. Proving the nature and extent of the hardship caused to others is often where the argument lies. We have also successfully argued that ‘exceptional’ hardship can be suffered by employers if your work is so specialised that your company will suffer if it is not possible to find a replacement, and thereby vulnerable customers, clients, students, will all suffer without your professional skills.

Any argument that a driver should not be disqualified because of exceptional hardship must be supported by evidence presented to the Court. The defendant will almost always be required to give evidence in Court, and to call evidence to support their case. The process of gathering and preparing the right evidence to support an application is therefore paramount to the success of any case in court.

Where exceptional hardship is found, the Court is not likely to disqualify, but does have the power to reduce the 6-month disqualification period to a lower period.

Taylor Law has expert motoring solicitors on hand to advise upon the strength of your exceptional hardship argument, help prepare the case, and represent you in court. Our preparation and presentation of the evidence and advocacy to the Court have often been the difference between a 6-month driving ban and retaining a driving licence.

We pride ourselves in our 100% success rate based on all exceptional hardship arguments put forward to local courts in the last 12 months.  ^accurate to 31-3-22

At Taylor Law we offer in-depth expertise and pragmatic advice. If you are involved in a motoring offence case, we will provide strong guidance and representation and work with you to resolve the issue without delay.

Taking legal advice early on as soon as the situation arises can mitigate problems and offers the best chance of quick resolution. If you would like to discuss allegations against you, we would be happy to hear from you.

We have offices in Leeds, Middlesbrough and London. For an initial discussion, ring us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203 780 7646 (London) or fill in our Contact Form.

Unfair Dismissal & Employee Rights

Unfair Dismissal & Employee Rights

Unfair Dismissal & Employee Rights

Unfair dismissal claims are one of the more common claims brought before the Employment Tribunal. It is important that businesses understand what they need to do to limit their exposure to this type of claim.

Employers should be aware that a dismissal can arise in several ways, for example through termination by the employer, by the ending of a fixed-term contract, or by constructive dismissal.

Employees have the right to claim unfair dismissal. Self-employed people and ‘workers’ are unable to claim unfair dismissal, though other claims may be available to them. An employee needs to have more than two years’ service to gain the legal protections to bring a ‘unfair’ dismissal claim.

Employers should also be aware that dismissals for certain reasons are automatically unfair, and employees would not need to have been employed for two years or more to pursue these types of claim.

Constructive Dismissal

An employee is constructively dismissed if they resign from their employment because of the employer’s intolerable conduct. There is a constructive dismissal when the following occurs:

  • There is a very serious breach by the employer of the express or implied terms of the employment contract
  • The employee resigns in response to that breach
  • The employee does not delay unreasonably before resigning (otherwise the employee might lose their right to claim constructive dismissal)
  • For example, if an employer fails to pay an employee (a key contractual requirement) the employee may be able to resign but allege that the resignation should be seen by the tribunal as a dismissal.

Constructive dismissals are often alleged in response to workplace bullying allegations, where the employee feels that the employer’s behaviour has been intolerable.

A constructive dismissal is not always an unfair dismissal. The tribunal will look at the employer’s conduct and decide whether it acted fairly, despite having breached the contract.

What is a Fair Dismissal?

A dismissal is “fair” if the employer shows that the reason for the dismissal was one of the five potentially fair reasons for dismissal and that the dismissal was managed in a reasonable way. The employer must demonstrate the reason for the dismissal during a tribunal.

Determining if a Dismissal is Reasonable

Once the employer has established a potentially fair reason for the dismissal, the tribunal must then consider if the employer acted reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason.

This aspect of fairness is usually divided into two parts:

  • Did the employer follow a fair procedure?
  • Did the employer act reasonably in treating the reason as a sufficient reason for dismissal?

As a starting point an employer will need to do to be able to demonstrate that it had applied the following:

  • Investigating the issues or allegations thoroughly
  • Making sure that the employee is aware that they are at risk of dismissal and why
  • Allowing them to argue their case
  • Allowing them to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative
  • Allowing a right of appeal

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures provides important guidance for dismissing an employee. Tribunals must take this guidance into account when deciding whether an employer has acted reasonably; in other words, if the employer follows the ACAS Code, they are more likely to be found to have been acting reasonably.

These guidelines can also affect the amount of compensation due, as tribunals have the power to increase or decrease a compensatory award by up to 25% for a party’s unreasonable failure to comply with the code.

The code states that an employer considering a case of alleged misconduct or poor performance should:

  • Investigate the issues
  • Inform the employee of the issues in writing
  • Conduct a disciplinary hearing or meeting with the employee
  • Inform the employee of the decision in writing and include a right of appeal
  • The ACAS Code recommends the following steps when conducting a disciplinary hearing:
  • Employers should explain the complaint against the employee and go through the evidence that has been gathered
  • Employees should be given a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence, and call relevant witnesses

The Employment Tribunal must decide whether the employer’s decision to dismiss the employee fell within the range of responses that a reasonable employer in those circumstances and in that business might have adopted. In other words, the tribunal will only consider whether another reasonable employer faced with the same set of circumstances would have also made the same decision to dismiss. It is irrelevant whether the tribunal would have dismissed the employee if it had been in the employer’s shoes: the tribunal must not substitute its view for that of the employer.

Automatically Unfair Dismissals

In certain circumstances, a dismissal is automatically unfair. These include:

  • Reasons connected to pregnancy or childbirth
  • Health and safety activities
  • Whistleblowing
  • Exercising various time off rights
  • Asserting a statutory right (for example the right to take annual leave)

The employee is protected from dismissal for these reasons from their first day of employment. Employers should also be aware that there is no upper limit on compensation for these types of claims, so they could become very expensive. Therefore, it is a good idea for employers to follow at least a partially formal dismissal procedure in line with the ACAS Code, even where employees do not have two years’ service, as employees may pursue an automatic unfair dismissal claim.

If the employer has documented the reasons for their dismissal, for instance using a document management system, they will find it far easier to defend such a claim.

Taylor Law Legal Services for Employers

We offer a full range of legal services for employers, for both contentious and non contentious issues, including the following:

Whistleblowing

Discrimination, harassment, bullying

Grievances

Employment Tribunal claims

Holiday pay, maternity and flexible working

Settlement agreements

Sickness, absence and disability

Unfair dismissal

Wages and deductions

Confidentiality and restrictive covenants

Disciplinary and suspension

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you with your employment needs, we would be happy to hear from you. Time is often crucial in dealing with a contentious employee matter, and it is therefore advisable to seek legal advice as soon as you are aware of an issue arising. We have solicitors in Middlesbrough, Leeds and London.

For an initial discussion, call us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203780 7646 (London) or fill in our Contact Form.

What are my rights if I’m arrested

What are my rights if I’m arrested

Being arrested can be a traumatic event depending upon the specific circumstances.
Sometimes an arrest can occur as a result of an ongoing situation and the arrest may not be a shock, however you may be arrested completely out of the blue due to an unknown allegation communicated to you by officers at their first meeting with you. Either way you need to know your rights.

What does being arrested actually mean?

If you’re arrested, you’ll usually be taken to a police station, it is likely you will be held in custody in a cell, and then interviewed under caution. Being arrested simply means that the police have the right to detain you for questioning.
For police to make an arrest, there are certain conditions that need to be met. These conditions are set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). The full text of the PACE act can be accessed online. The section applying to the powers of arrest can be found here.
This act specifies the importance of these conditions being adhered to as being arrested interferes with an individual’s right to liberty, as established within the Human Rights Act 1998.

In summary, in order to arrest an individual, the police must have sufficient grounds to justify interference of an individual’s rights.
One way they can do this is by obtaining a warrant. Warrants are orders issued by a court permitting the police to make an arrest.

However, the police also have the power to make an arrest without a warrant.
To arrest without a warrant, certain condition must be met:
 There must be reasonable suspicion that the person being arrested has
committed an offence, has attempted to do so, or is planning to do so
 There are grounds for believing the arrest to be necessary

Both conditions must be satisfied in order for an arrest to be made without a warrant. This second condition is referred to as the necessity to arrest. What this means, practically speaking, is that even if there is reason to believe someone has committed an offence, they cannot simply be arrested. There must also be some specific need to do so.

The PACE Act establishes several specific conditions that would make an arrest necessary.
These include:
 To ascertain a person’s name or address. This would be considered an arrest necessity if the police believed that they were being given false information.
 To prevent physical harm. This includes harm to the person being arrested, either from others or from themselves.
 To prevent loss of or damage to property. This would particularly apply if the individual had a history of theft or criminal damage.
 To prevent an offence against public decency. This only applies if members of the public are going about their business nearby and cannot reasonably avoid the individual.
 If there is an unlawful obstruction to the highway. In this case, there should be some indication that the obstruction will continue or be repeated without an arrest.
 To protect a child or a vulnerable person. This includes both the physical and mental wellbeing of the person.
 To prevent the investigation of an offence or the prosecution of the suspect being hindered.  If the police believe the individual would not attend court following a summons.

According to PACE, even in these cases police must consider other practical alternatives to arrest.
Only in the absence of such alternatives is arrest justifiable.

Your rights in custody

The custody officer at the police station must explain your rights. You have the right to:
 get free legal advice
 tell someone where you are
 have medical help if you’re feeling ill
 see the rules the police must follow (‘Codes of Practice’)
 see a written notice telling you about your rights, e.g. regular breaks for food and to use the toilet or an interpreter to explain the notice

You’ll be searched and your possessions will be kept by the police custody officer while you’re in the cell.
Young people under 18 and vulnerable adults
The police must try to contact your parent, guardian, or carer, if you’re under 18 or a vulnerable adult.
They must also find an ‘appropriate adult’ to come to the station to help you and be present during questioning and searching. An appropriate adult can be:
 your parent, guardian, or carer
 a social worker
 another family member or friend aged 18 or over
 a volunteer aged 18 or over

The National Appropriate Adult Network provides appropriate adult services in England and Wales.
Your rights when being questioned
The police may question you about the crime you’re suspected of – this will be recorded.
You don’t have to answer the questions but there could be consequences if you don’t. The police must explain this to you by reading you the police caution:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Choosing Taylor Law
Our criminal defence team are knowledgeable and capable and have an excellent track record in mounting robust defences to a range of criminal charges. We understand how difficult it is to be accused of an offence and we will stay by your side throughout to offer support and guidance.

We will make sure we are always available to speak to you, to update you as to progress and the likely next steps, to advise you of your options and to answer any questions you may have.

Contact us
We have criminal defence solicitors in Middlesbrough, Leeds and London who are experts in the field. If you are the subject of an investigation or allegations of a sexual nature have been made against you, ring us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203 780 7646 (London) or fill in our Contact Form.

Bounce Back Loan Fraud

Bounce Back Loan Fraud

BOUNCE BACK LOAN FRAUD
Bounce back loans were a government initiative that allowed businesses to borrow money from mainstream banks to enable them to weather the storm of the Covid19 pandemic.
Although it was the banks that were lending the money, the Government, or rather the taxpayer were the guarantors of such loans.
To get the scheme up and running quickly, the banks operated a ‘self-declaration’ policy when it came to declaring previous year turnover. Businesses were able to borrow up to 25% of this figure or £50,000 as an absolute maximum. The treasury recently published figures recently stating that £47 billion had been borrowed.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates the Bounce Back Loan Scheme could cost the taxpayer £27 billion in fraud or credit losses, with the 100% taxpayer guarantee leaving the Department “reliant on banks that it admits lack incentives given it is not their money on the line”.

TYPES OF BOUNCE BACK LOAN FRAUD
Two types of Bounce Back Loan Fraud:
Deliberate / organised fraud – this is often committed by organised criminal gangs and can include the impersonation of a legitimate business, submitting multiple fraudulent applications with different banks, and using compromised persons to accept the loans and
then liquidating the business.
Soft fraud – where an individual or business has exaggerated or overstated turnover to obtain a Bounce Back Loan.

Obtaining a loan to which you were not entitled to may result in you being charged with:
Fraud by false representation.
Fraud by abuse of position.
Conspiracy to defraud.
False accounting.
Money laundering.
In these circumstances, depending on the nature and scale, the National Crime Agency (NCA), police, and/or HMRC will investigate your business and may search the premises and related documents such as bank accounts to see how the money was spent. You may also
be asked to attend an interview under caution.

HOW CAN TAYLOR LAW HELP ME?
If you are being investigated on suspicion of Bounce Back Loan fraud you should contact Taylor Law and we will assign you a Criminal Fraud Solicitor immediately. We will ensure that the investigating body acts within their lawful boundaries, and we can also attend any interviews under caution with you to advise and make sure that you do not say anything that may be incriminating. We can also help you to construct a defence, should any allegation turn into a prosecution.

CHOOSING TAYLOR LAW
Penalties for fraud can be substantial, ranging from community orders and fines through to sizeable financial orders and lengthy prison sentences. At Taylor Law we will start work on your representation without delay, building a strong defence and raising any issues there
may be in mitigation.
Our solicitors have experience in a wide range of business and financial crimes. Some of our partners have rights of audience in higher courts, meaning they can represent you without the need for a barrister.

CONTACT US
We have criminal defence solicitors in Middlesbrough, Leeds and London who are experts in the field and who will be able to answer any questions you may have. We provide a first- rate legal service and have an excellent track record of success.
For an initial discussion, ring us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203 780 7646 (London)

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