The new offence being created to ban referral fees will cover those receiving the fees as well as the lawyers who pay them, justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said last week. The minister told a LexisNexis costs conference that he wants the offence to go ‘further than just solicitors’. Djanogly said he had decided to use a regulatory rather than criminal offence to implement the referral fee ban because of the lower burden of proof. Jurors in a criminal case might have difficulty with the complex scenarios that could arise, such as where an insurer gives a solicitor work but insists that the lawyer buys its insurance in return. Djanogly noted that the previous ban on referral fees, lifted in 2004, involved too much ‘leakage’ in the system, which he wants to avoid. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill is on track to become law by the end of the year, Djanogly said. He added that the bill’s provisions, which include Lord Justice Jackson’s reforms to civil litigation, will come into force next October. The minister said he had not been swayed by ‘special interest groups’ seeking exemptions from the provisions. ‘Sir Rupert Jackson is very firm in his belief that non-recoverability [of certain costs] must be brought in as a package across the board. There are many different interest groups who feel that they are a special case: clinical negligence, insolvency, professional negligence. They all say that they should have carve-outs. I can see now why he wants it as a package, and we support his view.’ On the government’s separate proposal to raise the small claims track limit, Djanogly said this would benefit many consumers. However, he said reports that a rise in the limit to £10,000 was already a ‘done deal’ were not correct.
Scott Goldberg has coverage from ABC News. FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享For the first time, the federal government’s highway safety chief says all school buses should have seat belts – something that, in the past, officials said weren’t necessary and would cost too much. Five times a year: (Yes a school bus just ran into the underpass…) Someone dies in a school bus accident. Danyelle Smith lost her 5-year-old daughter Donasty (I believe my daughter would still be here if she had on a seatbelt.) But only six states require those buses to have seat belts. And until now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the design of school buses made them safe enough. Now the head of that agency says all buses should have belts – and that everyone from the federal government to the bus manufacturers should work to make that happen. Scott Goldberg ABC News
Deputy House Speaker Hans Barchue has termed as “frustrating and disappointing” Liberia’s education system.According to the Grand Bassa County lawmaker, politics has overshadowed the learning process forcing students to be more interested in “talking politics than focusing on educational materials that will keep them on par with their foreign counterparts.”The current status of the education system is seriously “dysfunctional and needs complete overhauling,” declared Barchue.“The reading and speech capacity of our students is very poor to the extent that sometimes you feel ashamed when some of our students speak in public places.“Nowadays, on our national holidays like Flag Day, Armed Forces Day and Independence you find no programs instituted by school authorities under the supervision of the Ministry of Education befitting these celebrations and all we do is politics.“No programs (are offered) to educate students on the significance of these historical events in our country and that needs to stop right now.“This country will go nowhere when these things are not addressed because this time around, the Legislature intends to checkmate the Education Ministry about most of its deliverables projected under the National Budget,” Rep. Barchue warned.He challenged the new Education Minister George Werner, to ensure that projects captured in the Budget to be implemented by his ministry across the country are effectively executed.The House is keen on adequately performing its oversight responsibility to make sure that whatever is placed in the Budget for school construction, purchase of desks, text books, chairs and other school materials are delivered.He spoke over the weekend at a charity program in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County where thousands of books for elementary and junior high students were brought in for distribution in Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Margibi.Deputy Speaker Barchue frowned on education authorities from the three counties, particularly District and County Education Officers (DEOs & CEO) for failing to attend the program.He noted that gone are the days when government functionaries made blanket projections about projects that should be undertaken without providing specifics.“Let’s embrace development and forget politics at this time, building institutions and making sure that what is promised in the budget will be supported by the first branch of government,” Rep. Barchue urged.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)