Compensation for shock on hearing of child’s death

Damages awarded for depression caused by shock of hearing of child’s death in road traffic accident

Purcell vs Long [2015]IEHC 385 (High Court, Barr J, May 15th, 2015)

High Court awards €225,150 to a mother who suffered severe depression triggered by an acute stress reaction upon hearing of her son’s death in a road traffic accident. The mother had suffered previous psychiatric illness and depression, but this did not exempt the wrongdoer.

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Companies Act, 2014 – an update

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has published a Table of Origins and a Table of Destinations for the Companies Act 2014 (the ‘Act’).

It is essential to read the guidelines provided with the Tables in order to fully understand and use them correctly.  

The Companies Registration Office (“CRO”) has prepared three new CRO Forms with respect to directors’ declarations under the Summary Approval Procedure in sections 203, 204 and 205 of the Act. The use of these forms for directors’ declarations is not compulsory.

The CRO have indicated that these are administrative forms, which were prepared in order to make it easier for CRO staff to process directors’ declarations, and also to assist directors in making such declarations. There is therefore no requirement to use the forms.

Provided a directors’ declaration contains all of the information required by the Act, it should not be rejected by the CRO.

 

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Making provisions for your pet in your will

There are a few options to consider such as leaving the pet and a sum of money to:

  • an animal charity and asking the charity to find the pet an appropriate home
  • the executors with instructions as to the testators’ request as to whom they would like to look after the pet
  • a legatee with the condition that the legatee is required to look after the pet in order to receive the money, or
  • creating a trust limited to 21 years leaving funds to trustees to be used for the care of the animal with a gift over for when the pet dies.

The RSPCA has confirmed that it comes across problems involving pets and legacies quite regularly and that in every case where it has been left a pet to re-home, it has so far been successful. Anyone wanting advice on drawing up specific clauses involving the RSPCA undertaking care of an animal can contact the RSPCA’s for more information.

The Dogs Trust and some dog shelters will also take on the responsibility for the pets of someone who dies.

Further options would be to include a purpose trust for pets or humane euthanasia clause in the will.

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Bogus Solicitors

The Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA) in England have issued many alerts regarding people pretending to be solicitors. The objective, in the main, is to rob people and/or legal firms of money. The SRA revealed that it is happening with increasingly regularity in recent times.

In Ireland this is happening to a lesser degree. Thankfully!

An example of a recent alert in England is =

“18 June 2015

The SRA has received information that “Peters and Oliver LLP” has provided a member of the public with an “authorization & retainer” letter and is operating the website www.petersandoliver.com.

What is the scam?

The SRA understands that a member of the public has been contacted in Qatar by an individual claiming to be from a law firm called “Peters and Oliver LLP”. An “authorization & retainer” letter has been sent to the member of the public in the name of “Peters and Oliver LLP”, with fees appearing to be requested for proposed immigration services. The contact address shown on the “authorization & retainer” letter is 15 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BW, UK and the telephone number is given as 020 7822 7777.

In addition, the SRA is aware that the website www.petersandoliver.com is operating and claiming that “Peters and Oliver LLP” are based in the UK and Qatar. The website has:

  • cloned some information from the website of a genuine firm of solicitors, including narrative and the names and photographs of some genuine solicitors, without the permission of the genuine firm or individuals (see below).
  • provided contact information that includes: reference to a UK office at 15 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BW, United Kingdom, the telephone numbers 020 7822 2222 and 0097 444 527976 and the email address info@petersandoliver.com.

The SRA does not authorise or regulate a firm called “Peters and Oliver LLP”. Therefore, any business or transactions through “Peters and Oliver LLP” are not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice authorised or regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP is a genuine firm of solicitors that is authorised and regulated by the SRA. Parts of its genuine website have been cloned by the bogus website referred to above. The genuine firm has confirmed that neither it nor its genuine solicitors have any connection to the letter and/or website referred to above.

The genuine address of Peters & Peters LLP is 15 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BW and its genuine telephone number is 020 7822 7777. However, its genuine email address and website are law@petersandpeters.com and www.petersandpeters.com respectively.

What should I do?

When a firm’s or individual’s identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), due diligence is necessary. If you receive correspondence claiming to be from the above firm(s) or individual(s), or information of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the correspondence by contacting the law firm directly by reliable and established means. You can contact the SRA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the SRA and verify an individual’s or firm’s practising details. Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in other circumstances.

 

A note of caution when using solicitors via the internet.

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Shopping around for a solicitor

Recently, Conor Pope in the Irish Times wrote an article on how to hire a solicitor. He spoke to 20 solicitors in his research – http://www.irishtimes.com/news/consumer/how-to-hire-a-solicitor-a-consumer-guide-1.2255692

It’s an interesting article with some good points, but not great ones! Firstly, I think speaking to solicitors about how you go about hiring them is silly. Talk to consumers about their advice on how to pick a solicitor not to the service provider.

How would I go about picking a mechanic, plumber, doctor or dentist etc. It’s the same process. Here’s my contribution to your decision :-

  • Get recommendations from friends and family
  • Check the internet and the solicitors website.
  • Find out how long they have been in business.
  • Have a short telephone call to see if you are going to get on – its a relationship after all
  • Ask the solicitor what expertise they have
  • Visit the solicitor’s premises – does it impress you.
  • If you want to know how much it will cost (and who doesn’t), then, chat to the solicitor on this at the beginning. If he/she avoids the subject then I’d be nervous using them.

Happy hunting !

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Magna Carta 800 years old this week

Magna Carta = The great charter

The Magna Carta’s symbolic role as the touchstone for human rights and modern democracy was celebrated on Monday 15th June by one of Britain’s leading judges as the country marked the 800th anniversary of the accord.

The master of the rolls and chairman of the Magna Carta Trust, spoke on the site at Runnymede where, eight centuries to the day, King John accepted the feudal barons’ document that limited the power of the crown.

Joined by the Queen, prime minister Mr.cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, senior royals and an audience of thousands – including senior American lawyers – Lord Dyson described the ground-breaking accord as “a symbol of democracy, justice, human rights and perhaps above all the rule of law for the whole world”.

The prime minister said its principle was “as relevant today as it was then” and remains “sewn into the fabric of our nation, so deep we barely even question it” but complained that the notion of human rights in Britain eight centuries on had been “distorted and devalued”.

Lord Dyson said about King John and the barons: “They would surely have been astonished to learn that over time Magna Carta came to be regarded as one of the most important constitutional documents in our history and that it continues to be so regarded 800 years after it was sealed on this very spot.

“They would not have believed that the barons’ list of demands would become a symbol of democracy, justice, human rights and perhaps above all the rule of law for the whole world. But that is exactly what has happened.”

Although the Magna Carta remained binding on King John for only a number of weeks, it set a precedent, and its influence spread not just domestically but also abroad, having an impact on the US constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the post-second World War UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Magna Carta’s fame has spread across the globe, but the first country outside England to receive Magna Carta was Ireland, when in February 1217 Magna Carta was sent to Ireland, where it became the cornerstone of the English common law tradition in Ireland that still survives.

For centuries, not everyone in Ireland benefited from Magna Carta. The legal protections conferred by the charter were primarily for the English settlers and were not normally extended to the Irish population.

essentially, the Magna Carta is credited with being the first effective check in writing on arbitrary, oppressive and unjust rule – in a word, on tyranny.

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Why we ask for money laundering documents and need to keep an eye on suspicious transactions

Under Irish and EU law solicitors are legally obliged, like banks, to be aware of the above. recently, a plenary session of the European parliament voted the 4th Money Laundering Directive into law in Strasbourg on Wednesday 20 May, 2015. Ireland will have to transpose this update into our existing laws over the next short while.

The Law Society or England and Wales has just published recent examples of money laundering :-

Gang members found guilty of money laundering in diamond network scam (Enfield)

Two gang members have been found guilty of money laundering after being involved in a criminal network that sold diamonds for 30 times their value. A 30-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man were convicted for helping to con £1.5m from at least 50 people across the UK. Much of the monies taken from victims was funnelled off by the gang to accounts held overseas, with tens of thousands of pounds also being spent on luxury items in stores such as Harrods and Selfridges.
Gang jailed for fraud and money laundering (Lincolnshire)

A gang based in Lincolnshire who made more than £10 million selling fake Viagra through a bogus mail order business has been sentenced. The gang collected the monies in more than 100 bank accounts in the UK and abroad. The 47-year-old woman in day-to-day control of the operation was sentenced to three years and 10 months for money laundering, two and a half years on another count of money laundering and 15 months for conspiracy to supply.
Father and son convicted of laundering £20 million (Surrey)

A father and son have been convicted of laundering millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money in offshore bank accounts. The pair laundered some of the money gained from an operation orchestrated by a couple of Kent fraudsters who set up fraudulent companies to buy and sell carbon credits, and kept the VAT charged to their clients. The father and son pair disguised the money obtained through the scam in the sum of £20m.
Drug dealer jailed after struggling to keep up payments on his mortgage (Greater Manchester)

A man from Altrincham is beginning a 16 year jail sentence after admitting supplying class A and B drugs between 2012 and 2014, plus money laundering, fraud and benefit fraud offences dating back to 2004. The 56-year-old struggled to meet the £3,000 a month repayments on the mortgage of his £820,000 house, which he obtained through mortgage fraud. He was first arrested in 2013 for laundering £450,000 of cash and lying to loan companies to buy a BMW.
Waiter charged with fraud and money laundering (Sussex)

A 34-year-old waiter has been charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. It is alleged that he conspired with others to trick victims into transferring large sums of money to bank accounts under his control then quickly withdrawing the money and purchasing high value jewellery, gold bars and electrical goods. He is due to appear in court later this month.
Money laundering wife of drugs baron spared jail (Wolverhampton)

The wife of a major drugs dealer has been spared jail but has been sentenced to a suspended 2 year jail sentence and 240 hours of unpaid work. The mother of three had been given £40,000 by her husband before he left the country. She also admitted to being in contempt of court by selling a Mercedes SL320 in contravention of a restraining order.

 

There are consequences for solicitors when they disregard their money laundering obligations, as the following UK solicitor discovered :-

SRA v Andrew Donald Varley

Decision number: 10763-2011
Decision date: 24 April 2015

Summary: The Respondent failed to identify the indicators of property/mortgage fraud/money laundering further to the documented link between the buyer introducer and mortgage broker, and the payment of money on the introducer’s instructions to unknown and unidentified third parties.

The SRA argued that the Respondent showed a reckless disregard for his money laundering obligations in paying over £1m to third parties on instructions from the buyer introducer who he never met.

The Respondent also accepted validations of identity from the mortgage broker without any further enquiry, despite the documents showing that there was a link between the broker and the buyer introducer.

Sanction: The Tribunal found that the Respondent had failed to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations by ignoring clear indicators of suspicious behaviour and carrying out no due diligence investigations regarding third parties.

The Tribunal agreed that this showed a reckless disregard of the money laundering obligations whether or not the Respondent was truly unaware of the classic indicators of mortgage fraud and money laundering.

The Respondent was struck off the Roll of Solicitors and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.

** Appeals may have been lodged subsequent to publication.

 

 

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Irish solicitors may get specialist accreditation

Solicitors cannot currently claim specialist knowledge in advertisements or other communications. This is a long established rule that is currently under review by a Committee of the Irish Law Society.

So, for example, if you specialize in accident claims, you would be able to get a special accreditation for this and be able to advertise it.

The Law Society has set up a Practitioners’ Accreditation Sub-Committee to consider whether an accreditation scheme for solicitors in a prescribed area of law or practice should be introduced. Initially, the sub-committee is looking at accreditation in criminal law, employment law and family law (including child law).

They are also considering the process for, and period of, accreditation in other jurisdictions, namely Scotland, England and Wales, Australia and the US. The qualification process in other jurisdictions includes, for example, specified years of experience, academic study, authorship of books/articles and written examinations.

Presently, 9th June, 2015, the sub-committee are also inviting written submissions from bar associations and individual firms/solicitors and the public on the proposal. You can email your submission to Yvonne Keating at y.keating@lawsociety.ie .

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Gift Tax and Inheritance Tax hits harder in Ireland

An interesting article appeared in the most recent Sunday Independent, which pointed out that Ireland now has one of the harshest inheritance and gift tax regimes in the developed world.  The tax free thresholds ( what beneficiaries can get into their hands tax-free) have been set ridiculously low, which means even children receiving benefits from their parents find it easy to end up in the tax net.

 

In addition, the rate of tax has increased since our economic crash to a record high of 33%. Like the cartoons, I can see the dollar signs in the Revenue officials eyes rolling with delight.

 

Charlie Weston, the journalist, makes a good case for easing the burden and calls for changes to be made in the next budget.

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More female solicitors than male solicitors in Ireland

The Director General of the Law Society of Ireland, Ken Murphy, said, “There were exactly 4,623 female practising solicitors and exactly 4,609 male practising solicitors at the close of 2014. It was just 92 years ago that the first woman solicitor was admitted to the profession. Since then the race to equality has been incredible.”

Teri Kelly, Law Society of Ireland’s Director of Representation and Member Services, explains in a recent article for the Law Society’s Gazette, “To our knowledge, this is the first time a female majority has existed in any legal profession anywhere in the world.”

The milestone is particularly striking in the context of the profession’s historical background; the first woman solicitor, Mary Heron, was only admitted as a solicitor 92 years ago, in 1923.

Gender balance in the realm of law and justice in Ireland has come a long way since that time. “Women currently dominate the State’s senior appointments in law and justice. Last year saw the appointment of the first female Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, and the third female Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald. These appointments can be added to the first woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Susan Denham; the first woman Director of Public Prosecutions, Claire Loftus; the first woman Chief State Solicitor, Eileen Creedon; and the first woman Attorney General, Máire Whelan,” says Teri Kelly.

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