Archive for September, 2009

Lord Bingham to speak on the new Supreme Court
(29 September 2009)

In the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the opening of the Supreme Court, Lord Bingham will lead a debate which will include any impact to our own constitution. Lord Brennan QC will chair the debate. This is bound to be a stimulating session at the time of this historic change.

The meeting, one of the regular events organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group,  will be held at 5pm on the 26th October, in the House of Lords (room TBC).


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Police ‘regret’ Pilkington case

Independent: The police officer in charge of the force that failed to prevent the years of antisocial behaviour that drove a mother to kill herself and her disabled daughter has stopped short of apologising over the case.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott ran Leicestershire Constabulary from 2002 until after Fiona Pilkington and her daughter were found burned to death in their car in 2007. In a statement yesterday he said: “There are regrets and deep sadness that vulnerable people suffered, so it is wrong to say no one cares.

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Scotland crime falls to lowest level in 29 years

Independent: Recorded crime in Scotland has dropped to its lowest level since 1980, statistics published yesterday showed.

The number of reported crimes in 2008-09 fell to 377,483, down 2 per cent on the previous year, itself the lowest level since the mid 1980s, and marks a 10 per cent drop since the Scottish National Party were elected in 2007. Violent crime, sexual offences and vandalism all fell, but there were slight increases in fraud and theft.

Government officials were pleased with the figures but Labour said it marked only a 2 per cent reduction – significantly less than than in England and Wales – and claimed that ministers were losing the fight on crime.

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Audit firms left unprotected against claims of negligence

Times: Britain’s big four auditing firms have been left exposed to a surge in negligence claims after the Government refused to limit further the damages they could face.

Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) lobbied hard for a cap on payouts. Senior figures involved in the discussions said that Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, appeared receptive to their concerns but stopped short of changing the law.

The decision is a huge blow to the firms — some face lawsuits relating to Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion fraud — which believe there may not be another chance for a change in the law for at least two years. They fear that they will be targeted by investors and liquidators seeking to recover losses from Madoff-style frauds and big company failures.

At present, auditors can be held liable for the full amount of losses in the event of a collapse, even if they are found to be only partly to blame.

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£400m husband may have faked a breakdown, divorce court told

Times: A businessman ordered by a court to explain the disappearance of his alleged £400 million fortune after his wife filed for divorce may have faked a mental breakdown to escape jail, the High Court was told yesterday.

Scot Young had been ordered to provide full disclosure of his finances or be sent to prison for six months. That deadline expired on September 7 without Mr Young giving the information required.

Mrs Justice Parker agreed to give him one more chance to reveal the fate of his former millions after the High Court was told that recently he spent two weeks in an NHS hospital in West London under the Mental Health Act.

The judge said that Mr Young’s wife’s legal team thought he might have faked his breakdown. David Balcombe, QC, for Michelle Young, said: “If the symptoms which Mr Young may have manifested at the end of August were feigned he would not be the first to have adopted that ruse. “The husband ought to hear the clanging of the prison gates. The effect of prison can alter behaviour once it has been sampled.”

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Nine elderly residents wait for judgment on closure of Underhill House care home

Times: One of the UK’s oldest women and eight other residents of a Midlands care home must wait another week to see if they have won their battle to stop its closure after the court case was adjourned today.

Two appeal court judges ruled that their case for the home to stay open had to be formally heard alongside Wolverhampton City Council’s application to lift a court order that has prevented it from shutting down the home.

One of the residents is Louisa Watts who, at 106, is believed to be the fifth oldest person in Britain. Her son, Derek, has pledged to fight the decision “to the bitter end” to stop Underhill House closing. He believes if his mother is forced to leave, the move could shorten her life.

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Family in custody battle over pet sheep

Times: A family are in a court custody battle over a pet sheep.

Bethan Parkinson, 35, from Buckley, Flintshire, bought the animal for her nine-year-old daughter, Lauren. Last December, while she looked for land on which to keep the sheep, named Lucy, Mrs Parkinson gave it temporarily to an animal sanctuary.

When, five months later, she went to collect the ewe, she was told that it had been gifted to the sanctuary and “is ours now”.

It was only after Mrs Parkinson produced the original purchase receipt that the sheep was handed back. However, the animal sanctuary, run by Joan Glendenning, has now taken Mrs Parkinson to court under the Return of Goods Act.

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