Monthly News Archives: January 2019


Recent ruling on Universal Credit

15 January 2019 by

R (Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart) v SSWP CO/1552/2018 (11 January 2019) – read judgment

 

This case was brought by four social security claimants contesting the proper method of calculating the amount of universal credit payable to each claimant under the Universal Credit Regulations 2013. Singh LJ and Lewis J concluded that treating claimants as having “earned” twice as much as they do if they happen to be paid twice within one monthly assessment period is “odd in the extreme” [para 54] and “…. could be said to lead to nonsensical situations” [para 55].

The Legal Proceedings

The four claimants are employees who are paid monthly. As they receive their salaries on or around either the last working day or last banking day of the month, there are times when salaries payable in respect of two months are paid during one assessment period. This means that there were occasions on which the claimants were only allowed to retain a single amount of £192 by way of the work allowance from the combined two months’ salary. The work allowance is the amount of earnings claimants with children or with limited capability for work can keep in full before universal credit is reduced by a proportion (63%) of their earned income under Regulation 22 of the 2013 Regulations. This way of calculating the allowance resulted in fluctuating universal credit awards and “severe cash flow problems” [para 4] for the claimants.
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Law Pod UK Latest: Ruth Bader Ginsberg

14 January 2019 by

At the age of 85, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed an extraordinary legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. With the documentary ‘RBG’, and the movie ‘On the Basis of Sex’ starring Felicity Jones shortly to go on general release in cinemas, Emma-Louise Fenelon speaks to Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple about her exceptional life and career. Listen to Episode 61 of Law Pod UK.

RBG is Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. Details are available here: https://www.rbgmovie.co.uk.

Law Pod UK is available for free on AudioboomiTunesPodBean, The Podcast App or wherever you get your podcasts.

UK Human Rights Blog & Law Pod UK annual party!

14 January 2019 by

Last Friday the UK Human Rights Blog and Law Pod UK Committee and contributors celebrated a fantastic year at 1 Crown Office Row with Vermouth tasting and prize-giving. We were delighted to be joined by special guests David Prest and Simon Jarvis from Whistledown Productions, as well as former 1COR member, Wendy Outhwaite QC.

After speeches about how both the blog and the podcast have grown from Commissioning Editor Jonathan Metzer and Law Pod UK Presenter Emma-Louise Fenelon, Wendy Outhwaite QC gave out gifts of her sparkling Ambriel wine and John Gimlette’s ‘Elephant Complex‘ to our rounders-up Eleanor Leydon, Conor Monighan and (in absentia) Thomas Hayes. Founder and co-presenter of Law Pod UK Rosalind English was also thanked for all her hard work with both blog and podcast.

Thank you all for coming and looking forward to 2019!

UK Human Rights Blog Law Pod UK Party 2018-19

Round Up: Should short term jail sentences be abolished? Plus rulings on Universal Credit and judicial pensions.

14 January 2019 by

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

In the News:

prison

Credit: The Guardian

The Government is considering whether to abolish prison sentences lasting six months of less.

Rory Stewart, the Prisons Minister, has argued that short jail terms are only serving to increase crime by mixing minor offenders with hardened criminals. He cited research suggesting that community sentences may help reduce the risk of reoffending when compared to short term prison sentences.

In Scotland there is already a presumption against such sentences. Re-offending has fallen to its lowest level for nearly two decades and the Scottish government are looking to widen the scheme.

The change would impact upon around 30,000 offenders, helping alleviate pressure on the overburdened prison system. Exceptions would be made for offenders who were violent or had committed sexual crimes.

The suggestion has already proven controversial. The Ministry of Justice has emphasised it is only exploring options and no decision has been made.

In Other News….

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Damages for wrongful life refused

10 January 2019 by

ARB v IVF Hammersmith & Another [2018] Civ 2803 (17 December 2018) – read judgment

Legal policy in the UK has traditionally prohibited the granting of damages for the wrongful conception or birth of a child in cases of negligence. In this case the Court of Appeal has confirmed that this bar is equally applicable to a wrongful birth arising from a breach of contract.

The facts of the case are set out in my podcast on the first instance decision (Episode 12 of Law Pod UK). Briefly, an IVF clinic had implanted the claimant father’s gametes into his former partner without his consent. This occurred after the couple had sought fertility treatment at the clinic resulting in the birth of a son some years previously. Following standard practice, the clinic froze five embryos made with their gametes. Subsequently, the couple separated. Some time after this separation the mother, R, attended the clinic without ARB and informed the staff that they had decided to have another child. The form requiring consent from ARB for thawing and implanting the embyro was signed by R, and the clinic failed to notice the forgery. R went on to give birth to a healthy daughter, E, who is now the sibling of ARB’s son. There is a Family Court order confirming parental responsibility and shared residence in respect of both children.
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Doctor knows best: Expert evidence in medical cases

7 January 2019 by

Law Pod UK logo

“No negligence where the doctors disagree” – used to be the approach of the courts to expert evidence in medical cases. That deference has eroded in recent years.

Rosalind English talks to James Badenoch QC, who acted for the claimant Montgomery in the the most recent Supreme Court case on informed consent in medical cases.

Law Pod UK will be following up the debate on Bolam expert evidence in future episodes.

Law Pod UK is available for free and without ads on AudioboomiTunesPodBean, The Podcast App or wherever you get your podcasts.

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