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Essential Tips for Choosing Legal Services

Legal services can cover a whole range of actions, from the totally official to the sometimes unofficial. For the majority of people such services are only used occasionally, for tasks such as will writing, defence or prosecution in a court case or even obtaining a divorce.

Understandably your choice of legal services is essential. Get the choice wrong and you may be misrepresented, leaving you with a hefty bill and little to show for it. Choosing a solicitor or legal services more generally is about making a considered decision that has taken into account a wide range of factors; the three tips below should help those searching for a legal professional likeĀ traffic law Peoria AZ to make the right choice.

The first and most important factor when considering a solicitor is to listen to friends and family that have used different services in the past. Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful weapons in the consumer’s arsenal, as it is only through effective service that it is possible for professionals to build a solid reputation that previous clients are happy to recommend. If you are going to utilise word of mouth then it is usually advisable to ensure that the solicitor being recommended was used for a similar purpose, as expertise in legal disciplines differs greatly.

As with any professional service it is fundamental that you look at the qualifications and experience of a solicitor. This once again applies to the legal discipline and the task you will be using the solicitor for; ultimately you need to find a professional that is qualified in your specific area of interest. For instance, if you are getting divorced, you would not go to a solicitor that specialises in bankruptcy. That said, there are general solicitors out there that can offer a range of different services, although in some instances they may simply refer you to a specialist anyway.

Always an important consideration is the cost of the legal services. Fees can soon mount up, particularly if you need to go to court for a case. Costs vary immensely and may even include fees calculated on a contingency basis, for instance, some injury lawyers work on a no win, no fee principle. For property related tasks or will writing most solicitors will charge a flat fee that usually works out cheaper than paying by the hour.

In conclusion, it is important to consider a range of factors when you are choosing legal services. Ultimately your choice should be based upon the costs, the reputation and experience of the solicitor and also exactly what tasks you require to be carried out.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Lemon Law

images (4)Lemon law is not an ordinary law; thanks to it, you can now get what you deserve. If you purchase a car, even if it is a used one, and find it difficult to spend on its repairing and maintenance over and over again, you are eligible to receive the benefits of lemon law. No doubt you first need to talk to the seller and discuss about the problems in the purchased car; if he doesn’t pay attention, you have all the rights to knock the doors of the court of law.

Here are the top ten things you didn’t know about this law:

1) Not everyone or anyone is eligible to lemon law benefits: Not all the people in this world are eligible to enjoy the benefits of this law; first of all, there are only a few countries in which it exists. Secondly, you need to meet certain requirements to be eligible for this law.

2) You need a proper lawyer to talk on behalf of you: You have to have a proper lawyer to enjoy the advantages of this law. Unless you have a good and professional attorney, forget about winning the case.

3) There are a lot of companies that have lawyers handling such cases for their clients: A lot of companies have lawyers for such cases; learn about them on internet.

4) There are ways in which you can consult the lawyers to find out if you are eligible for the benefits of this law or not: If you are unsure about your eligibility, you can always consult the attorneys before filing a case to start with the hearing procedure.

5) You must have the purchase contract with you, if you want to enjoy the benefits: You need to have the contract of purchase with you, if you want to file a case on the seller of the car.

6) You can get a new car, if you win the case: If you win in this case, you are eligible to get a brand new car, at times.

7) You can lose a lot of money, if you lose the case: You need to give fees to the lawyers; this means that you lose all that money, if you lose the case.

8) The seller needs to be present at the court on the dates of hearing: Even the seller has to be present at the court.

9) Lemon law works for used cars as well: Just because you have a used car does not mean that you are not eligible for this law.

10) Your car need not be expensive: It doesn’t matter how cheap or expensive your car is, if you are dissatisfied with the product, you can enjoy the benefits of this law.

 

Competition Law and the Role of Competition Lawyers

images (3)Competition law is a branch of law that promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies. This field of law is designed to promote free and fair competition. ‘Competition’ in simple terms means the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others. ‘Competition’ is typically referred to a situation in the market in which firms or sellers independently strive for the buyers’ patronage in order to achieve a particular business objective. The companies and firms must refrain themselves from anti-competitive business practices. The advantages of a perfect are three fold: allocative efficiency, which ensures the effective allocation of resources, productive efficiency, which ensures that costs of production are kept at a minimum and dynamic efficiency, which promotes innovative practices.

Competition Law in India

The history of competition law in India dates back to the 1960s when the first competition law, namely the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (MRTP) was enacted in 1969. But after the economic reforms in 1991, this legislation was found to be obsolete in view of international economic developments and in many other aspects and as a result, a new law in the form of the Competition Act, 2002 was enacted in 2003. The Competition Commission of India is the quasi judicial body established for enforcing provisions of this Act throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India.

The various objectives of the Competition Act are:

1. To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition;

2. To promote and sustain competition in markets;

3. To protect the interests of consumers; and

4. To ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India.

Role of Competition lawyers

The competition lawyers generally act on behalf of large international companies, as these organizations have the greatest ability to affect competition in the market. They also advise new entrants in the market, for example, where their access to the market may be blocked by competitors. The role of these lawyers is to respond to investigations by competition authorities, to handle court proceedings and to advice on day-to-day trading and compliance issues. They also defend companies accused of price fixing in secret cartels. The role of the competition lawyer is to use advocacy and economic evidence to show that the merger will not reduce competition. The other job duties include:

1. Merger control advice and filings;

2. Abuse of dominance investigations;

3. Cartel enquires and related litigation;

4. Analysis of commercial agreements and licensing and distribution arrangements;

5. Analysis of sector specific policies and market studies to identify competition concerns;

6. Intersection between competition law issues and intellectual property rights;

7. Competition compliance and training;

8. Counseling and providing strategies for anti-trust risk management.

 

What You Should Always Do After A Car Accident

download (16)Being involved in a car accident often places people in state of shock. With adrenaline rushing through your body, it can be difficult to make calm and rational decisions. What you do immediately after these events have occurred, however, can have a serious impact on their outcome. Following are some of the most important steps to take for ensuring human safety and your long-term, financial well-being.

Make sure that everyone in your car is okay. Be sure to put your car in park and turn the ignition off. Minor details like these are often overlooked as the result of shock and panic, however, they are necessary for ensuring that no additional damage is done to vehicles and no further injuries are sustained.

Check on the passengers in the other car and make sure that they are in an acceptable condition as well. If emergency response services are required, contact these professionals immediately. If you are not trained in the administration of first aid, see if any passersby are willing to help.

It is important for each driver to share his or her auto insurance information. Make sure to copy down all of the relevant details before allowing anyone to exit the scene. This is true even if the accident is relatively minor and no significant physical injuries have been sustained. When discussing the accident, neither driver should admit full or partial fault. This can later be determined via individual statements, witness statements and other collected evidence.

When possible, take the time to collect the names and contact information of any direct witnesses. Their statements could prove essential in support any personal injury claim that you file. In fact, you may want to write down their statements immediately after the incident while their memories of this event is still fresh. Having them sign and date their initial statements immediately after having collected these will increase their validity and bring more weight to your case.

An official accident report should be filed by an attending officers. This should be submitted to all of the appropriate parties and copies should be retained for attachment to your claim. This way, all facts concerning this event are duly recorded and unlikely to be contested.

Take a trip to the emergency room, even if you aren’t bleeding or showing the signs of broken bones. High-impact events can cause injuries that may take days or even weeks to make themselves apart. Whiplash and other forms of joint dysfunction are incredibly common among auto accident victims. Having doctor review and document your injuries is yet another vital part of building your claim.

Get in touch with a reputable motor vehicle accident lawyer to assist you in building your case. This professional can take the evidence that you’ve collected and use it to pursue a fair, feasible settlement for your pain and suffering and all resulting financial losses. It is important to note that people who negotiate the claims process with the help of qualified legal professionals, always have a far better chance at receiving acceptable settlement outcomes than those who do not.

 

The Hammer of Debarment and Shield of Compliance

download (15)Humans developed shields to protect from weapons. By analogy, strong compliance may mitigate or protect from various enforcement tools in the arsenal of the U.S. Government. Since at least the Civil War, the U.S. Government has been utilizing criminal penalties, civil liabilities, and administrative and contractual remedies to deter and punish procurement misconduct. Recently, the various Federal Agencies have been utilizing suspension and debarment as its tool of choice to exclude contractors, who are deemed not presently responsible, from doing business with the U.S. Government.

Our experience shows that by having an active compliance program, many contractors are likely to avoid suspension and debarment even when there is some evidence of misconduct. This is because contractors with strong internal checks and controls are more likely to discover the misconduct early and take appropriate actions quicker, before the misconduct becomes so serious as to question their present responsibility.

The number of suspensions and debarments for businesses and individuals has more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, and this trend will most likely continue. According to the 2014 GAO Report, the number of government-wide suspensions and debarments increased from 1,836 in 2009 to 4,812 in 2013. The Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee reports that in 2014, the number of debarments reached 1,929, exceeding the previous record of 1,696 in 2013. The GAO Reports points out that many agencies are getting better at debarment and suspension actions. This means that contractors and their legal teams must get better at compliance.

Causes of Debarment

The Federal Acquisition Regulation, Part 9.402 requires the U.S. Government to only conduct business with responsible businesses. Businesses that engage in activities listed below may be considered not responsible and be excluded from conducting business with the U.S. Government. (FAR Part 4-6-2). This is not the entire list!

Conviction or civil judgment for commission of fraud.
Violating antitrust statutes.
Embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, tax evasion.
Violating federal criminal laws.
Receiving stolen property.
Intentionally using “Made in America” or similar inscription on items sold or shipped to US/outlying areas when not made in either.
Commission of any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty that directly affects the present responsibility of a Government contractor, or subcontractor.
Willful failure to perform one or more contracts, history of failure to perform or unsatisfactory performance.
Violating the Drug Free Workplace laws.
Committing unfair labor trade practice.
Violating federal criminal laws involving fraud, bribery, conflict of interest, or gratuity violations.
Violations of the civil False Claims Act.
Failing to make mandatory disclosures.
The Shield of Compliance.

Strong compliance starts with annual training on procurement integrity and new developments. This alerts all employees working in the government procurement sector of potential conflict of interest issues, likely areas of procurement misconduct, source selection information violations, and new restrictions on post-employment of federal employees, among others. Next, hotlines and other means of allowing employees to quickly report potential misconduct are critical. Finally, active involvement of compliance officers, legal teams during investigations, and prompt cooperation with the U.S. Government pursuant to the Mandatory Disclosure Rule are just as important.

 

Strange Legal System

download (14)Laws are peculiar in their own ways and for the reasons best known to the judicial system of India. The experiences faced with the real life are presented here to understand the gravity of the problems faced by the people.

In a cheque bounce case, the court postponed the hearing on several occasions for one or other reason. Each time, the banker promptly attended the case as a witness to the duel.

When a bank filed a suit for recovery of the delinquent loan, the defaulter was not summoned first, but the plaintiff was asked to give a declaration. Moreover, this hearing also took place after adjourning earlier for the reason the judge went on leave. In another incident, the hearing was deferred to another date when the witness did not turn up.

It is regrettable that the witnesses are examined as if they are involved in the offense, frauds or embezzlement. They are made to stand for hours together. Moreover, the hearings are adjourned without any valid reasons thus forcing them to attend the court on different dates, sometimes even spread over several years. Why not the court completes this in one sitting and make a video recording for future reference and deciding the case?

A premier investigation agency asked the witness (an ex-Bank manager) to come to identifying the accused whom the former, after a long wait of 8 years, apprehended and kept him under custody. When the witness recorded his statement, no coffee or tea was offered to him even for courtesy sake.

The cumbersome process of prosecuting and booking a culprit under the law is understandable by anybody. However, the examination and cross-examination of a witness can be simplified to one-sitting exercise instead of conducting for years together.

The valuable time of the witness is lost while the dispensation of vital justice gets delayed. Moreover, the expenses incurred by the witnesses to attend the court are not paid by the latter as no procedure seems to be in place. These witnesses reach the courts from far-away places by keeping aside their official and personal duties. Not only that, the cost of delayed judgment would be very high if the time value of money is considered. It’s high time, the experts and authorities concerned take appropriate measures to set right the anomalies in the system.

A good civilized society must have a reliable and vibrant legal system to ensure protection of rights, and redressal of any disputes among the citizens.

 

Juvenile Court – Who Does It Affect

download (12)This is a court that handles all the cases that involve an individual who is under the legal age of adulthood, which in most cases is under the age of eighteen. The judge handles delinquency cases and child protection matters, which are referred to as dependency cases. The delinquency cases that are handled in juvenile court could involve a wide array of law violations. Those can even include cases that are not considered criminal acts if done by adults. One example is a minor could end up in juvenile court after being picked up police for assault and battery or shoplifting. The minor may also be referred to juvenile court if he runs away from home or if he is truant. Minors can even face court proceedings after disobeying their parents repeatedly violating curfew. This particular court is also a likely destination for a minor who is considered to be out of control and continuously defiant.

In most places, if the person is at least an adult, cannot be referred by one of their family members to court but if they are a minor they could end up in court after being referred by their parents. Some minors can even be referred to juvenile court by some school officials. A minor, same as an adult, could end up in court after they have been accused or caught in the act of committing a crime.

When a minor goes to court their case is often handled differently than an adult’s case. An example is that typically adults are arrested for their crime but a minor may simply be taken into custody to be questioned. If the minor does have to appear in juvenile court the case is normally heard by a judge. For most crimes the minor is not given a jury trial in most places. The juvenile court can consider many factors to decide the course of justice. They may consider the circumstances that surround the act and whether or not the minor has a previous history of being delinquent. The judge may consider their school records and even their medical history when deciding how to handle a particular case. He may also look at the minor’s home life.

There are some cases in which the minor could end up in adult court instead of juvenile court. If the minor is accused of committing murder, there are some jurisdictions that allow the minor to be tried in adult court. This being tried in adult court is usually reserved for minors who are at least in their teen years and have also committed willfully serious acts.

 

6 Must Have Traits of A Good Lawyer

download (11)Lawyers undoubtedly are one of the most prestigious professions these days and the demand for these professionals are exponentially increasing with each passing day. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone can aspire to make a name for themselves in this profession.

If you are looking to hire one of these professions, there are certain qualities which you should look forward to. These qualities are:-

    • Good communication skills: Needless to say, professionals in the legal field should be both articulate orally as well as have proper written communication skills. In order to place their argument with judges and juries, having necessary public speaking skills are imperative. In addition to this, they also should have good writing skills because they will need to prepare several legal documents from time to time. But that’s not all, in order to properly analyse and solve their client’s problems; they should also be a good listener.

 

    • Proper judgement: Every professional in this field should be able to draw conclusions on the basis of the information they have. From properly spotting loopholes in the opposition’s argument to considering judgements based on your points so that it is fortified on the court of law; they should be able to do everything.

 

    • Analytical: Practicing law isn’t easy at all because they have to absorb large quantities of information and convert it into something that’s manageable. Not all cases will be a cakewalk and there will be cases where there will be more than one definitive conclusion. These professionals should have the necessary analytical skills to decide which conclusion suits the case the best.

 

    • Research: Every professional in the legal profession should also be good researchers. From collecting detailed information about the clients to preparing legal strategies to comprehending huge data; these professionals should be equipped to deal with these things conveniently.

 

    • People skills: Law is not at all about getting great grades because, at the end of the day, it’s about how they interact with the people. They can be academically excellent but if they are not socially awkward, they won’t be able to achieve anything. The person whom you are hiring should be persuasive, personable and have the ability to gauge other’s reactions. If the matter is not concluded within the court of law, they should have the necessary skills for an outside settlement between you and the opposition.

 

  • Driven: These professionals should be driven in their pursuit of achieving their goals and solve your case no matter what. They should be 100% committed to the cause and do everything within the legal boundaries to assist you in your case.

US and UK Regulations for UAVs

download (10)We are in the age of constant discovery of new technology and the world seems not to be ready to relax yet. Humans all over the globe are constantly and passionately engaging in one discovery or the other. The whole essence of this research is aimed at ensuring a life of comfort and convenience. It is this quest for convenience that led them to the invention of drones.

Drones with their advantages also have many drawbacks. They can be used to spy on an innocent. It can lead to invasion of privacy. Since drones are too easy to buy now, it becomes a serious concern. Almost anyone can go into an electronics store and buy a drone off the shelf for only $ 100. And if it lands in the wrong hands, several problems can arise. To mitigate this, several countries are coming up with their own laws so as to better protect their citizens. Some time ago, an 11 year old girl was hit with the debris of a crashing drone. Moreover, pilots have reported almost two dozen near misses with drones. Keeping these things in mind, it is highly necessary that laws on drones be made and even more necessary that the common man know about these laws.

We would, for the time-being, be discussing about the laws in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In the United States of America, there are laws that are governing the use or deployment of your drone. Let us have a look at some of the laws.

1. REGISTRATION OF DRONES WITH THE FEDERAL AVIATION AUTHORITY (FAA):

It is the policy of this statutory body, whose duties are to regulate activities in the USA airspace, that any drone that weighs more than 55lbs or less than that must be registered with the FAA. Not only this, registration is limited to American citizens and legal permanent residents. The logic of this registration is to prevent violation of other people’s privacy.

2. COMMERCIAL USE OF DRONES:

The laws governing the usage of drones in the USA do not allow you to fly your drones without obtaining a special clearance that will make you fly it for commercial purposes of making profit. If the drone is not to be used for commercial purposes, a clearance is not necessary which is explained below.

3. PERSONAL USE:

There is no law on personal use of drones other than the law that is presently governing the use of model aircraft. However, while using the drone for personal use, there are some limitations that it cannot be flown in areas called “NO FLY ZONES”. These include the White House, the national parks and any other important installation of the country.

4. GUIDELINES FOR FLYING:

You are to maintain the flight of your drone within the altitude limit of 400 feet. You are to keep your personal drones within eyesight and possibly with the employment of an expert if there is need for that. You are also not expected to intentionally fly over unprotected persons, vulnerable properties and moving vehicles. Above all you are to keep a distance of 25 feet from vulnerable persons.

5. SURVEILLANCE:

You are not to conduct surveillance activities with your drone in an area wherever privacy is required without express permission.

6. IMPLICATION OF NOT REGISTERING:

The law makes it mandatory that you are to register your drone. Failure to do so will be tantamount to criminal acts and the penalty is a fine of $250,000 or 3 years imprisonment.

UNITED KINGDOM

It will interest readers to know that a 42 year old man was convicted in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2015 for flying a drone without obtaining permission. His drone was flown over a stadium. According to the Metropolitan Police, this was the first conviction in respect of illegal drone flying. This is to tell us about the severity of not obtaining permission before flying drones. It also tells us that the drones are no longer in use by the military only. They are deployed for various reasons such as search and rescue operations, distribution of hospital equipment to remote and inaccessible areas. Farmers also are engaged in the usage of this wonderful invention of technology for aerial surveillance of their farm produce. What a great invention indeed.

Talking of laws relating to drones in the United Kingdom, the agency that is responsible with the control of the airspace is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). There are rules and regulations which must be strictly observed by which you can deploy your drones in the United Kingdom.

1. COMPULSORY REGISTRATION:

The House of Lords (EU Committee) has called for the compulsory registration of both private and commercial usage of drones in the UK. This call came as a result of fear that many people do not have sufficient knowledge of aviation rules.

2. RESTRICTED FLYING ZONES:

At present in the UK, there are no particular rules or regulations that prohibit the purchase of drones, but there are restrictions on the weight and flying zones.Your drones must weigh less than 20 KGs and must not be used for commercial reasons. Also flying is restricted to 150 meters within a congested area.

3. FLIGHT WITHIN SIGHT:

Drones flight must be within sight. This means that you cannot go beyond the regulated limit of 400 feet in altitude while in flight. Maximally, CAA allows you to fly 500 feet horizontally. Should there be need for your drone to go beyond these regulated limits, you are to file an application to the agency seeking its approval first.

4. COMMERCIAL USAGE:

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also makes it mandatory that commercial usage of drones needs to be registered with the agency. In issuing a license, the applicant must show a sufficient evidence of competence and experience in the use of drones.

There is no doubt about the fact that drone technology has indeed made life easier than ever before in many aspects. However, with enjoyment come responsibilities. No one has the authority to infringe upon the rights of others under the pretext of enjoyment and comfort. Keeping this in mind, the aviation authorities have come up with the above mentioned laws. No matter how harsh they seem, they are for the good of the people. We hope that the users would strictly follow the laws and regulations laid down by their respective countries to avoid any harmful incident.

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How To Access Court Records Paper And Electronic Files

download (7)Whether you are a law student or just interested in obtaining a court record to check some information, knowing how to access records is important. Access to these records are generally available to the public and are often considered as public records. That said, not all records may contain the information that one needs to see as the court may seal certain parts of the court proceedings especially if the case involves a juvenile.

Electronic Access – What is PACER?

As paper files becomes cumbersome, many government agencies are now switching to electronic database. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records or PACER is the US’ centralized electronic database that has court cases and docket information from different courts in the state such as the appellate, district and bankruptcy courts. Terminals are setup in the court clerk’s office and are available to the public. The information obtained inside the court office is free however; one would need to pay certain fee for printouts. If the records are from the Federal Records Center and one is interested to view the documents, a fee is also requested. Records from the Supreme Court are not available from PACER but are instead available directly from the Supreme Court’s website.

Paper Case Retrieval

Some cases might not be available online and have to be retrieved directly from the court clerk’s office manually. Most cases, especially before 1999, are available in paper format only and can be access from the court where the case was filed. To order or check the records, it is important to verify which courthouse the case is filed. Local courts have different sections, calling beforehand to verify would save you time as well as makes the request processing faster. Some court would require people requesting to write a written request to make the process speedy. It is best that one should specify the cases that they need and if there is a docket number available, to include this in the request form.

Are Sealed or Erased Records Accessible

Generally, sealed records are not available to the public especially those that have juveniles as parties to the case. That said certain exceptions apply. Some cases may be sealed and access is restricted however, some cases may partly be sealed and the ones not included are available to the public. Do note though that sealed cases maybe unsealed once the sealing order expires.

Court records or police records maybe erased in certain circumstances examples would be when an absolute pardon is given, another is when the act was decriminalized later on or if the defendant receives an acquittal or dismissal unless an appeal is taken.