LATEST NEWS & ARTICLES
A Christian care worker who claimed she was forced to leave her job after refusing to work Sundays because of her faith has lost her legal appeal.
Northern Ireland's health service has spent more than £146m on legal costs and compensation over the last four financial years, it has been revealed.
Around 900 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland annually, according to the Public Health Agency.
A Judge has banned three drivers from driving for 40 years each after they were found to be with no insurance in three separate cases.
An inspection report has criticised the way the police deal with domestic violence in Northern Ireland.
A woman who was repeatedly raped and beaten by her husband has said her life was saved by police who specialise in tackling domestic violence.
In only the second case of its kind, a Northern Ireland firm was fined for corporate manslaughter of one of its employees.
A "sustained legal assault" on British forces could have "catastrophic consequences" for the safety of the nation, an influential right-leaning think tank has warned.
A health trust has admitted liability for the deaths of two children in its care during a public inquiry into hospital deaths in Northern Ireland.
Full Judgment can be found at bailii.org
A retired electrician who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos whilst working on RAF bases has received £195,000 in compensation.
Some £150m in compensation is expected to be paid to former Harland and Wolff workers who contracted asbestos-related diseases while working at the shipyard.
The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) warmly welcomes the Transport Select Committee’s considered report into the ‘Cost of motor insurance: whiplash’. The Committee has rightly concluded that an increase in the small claims limit to £5,000 would have a detrimental effect on access to justice, increase activity by Claims Management Companies and has the potential to fuel fraudulent or exaggerated claims.
The jury in a defamation action against the Sunday Times and columnist Brenda Power will resume deliberating on a verdict tomorrow after five hours of deliberation today.
Elderly people in England are to have a named clinician responsible for their care when they leave hospital, the health secretary has said.
‘No-win no-fee’ best option if legal aid must go, say lawyers - apil.org.uk (04/07/2013)
Lawyers have warned the Northern Ireland Executive to preserve access to justice for injured people above all else in its plans to scrap legal aid for money damages cases.
UK-wide not-for-profit group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) says it cannot see the rationale behind the plans, but urges ministers to focus on ensuring an appropriate alternative for injured people to enable them to fund legal cases.
"This is a money-saving exercise, even though currently the wrongdoer puts the costs back into the legal aid pot, not the taxpayer, so the logic behind these plans is perplexing,” said Martin Hanna, APIL's Northern Ireland representative.
“But if legal aid is no longer to be available for injured people who need to make a claim for damages, then a 'no-win no-fee' system of funding is the best option to ensure ordinary people of ordinary means can still have access to justice,” he went on.
A 'no-win no-fee' approach to funding cases would mean the losing defendant pays the legal costs of a case, and is one of the suggestions made by the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland (DoJNI) for replacing legal aid in its recent consultation on the matter.
“Nobody asks to be injured, so the burden of pursuing justice should never lie with the victim,” said Martin. “And the justice system's priority should be that victims can pursue the redress they need and to which they are entitled”.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has criticised the Northern Ireland Executive for having not decided whether or not the list of family members who can be receive bereavement damages will be extended.
An evening walk to the shop for sweets ended in tragedy for two teenage boys last May when one of them was fatally hit by a car near Donaghcloney, an inquest in Lisburn heard yesterday.
A restaurant and hotel firm has been fined £15,000 after a window cleaner was filmed balancing precariously on a ledge outside one of its buildings.
Loch Fyne admitted one breach of health and safety law and was also ordered to pay costs of £3,023.
A man who falsely claimed nearly £1m in compensation has been jailed for eight months.
David Ribchester, from Washington in Tyne and Wear, said wrist injuries stopped him from driving, claiming £923,000 from insurers.
Family Law practitioners all over the UK will have been busy digesting todays landmark decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited and considering whether to review the advice given to their divorce clients who own a company.
A seven-year-old boy who suffered catastrophic brain damage after a "catalogue of errors" at his birth is to receive a compensation package worth £8.5 million.
A project to support older people in Northern Ireland who have experienced domestic violence has been awarded £200,000.
Manslaughter charges against a firework display organiser accused after seven people died in a pile-up on the M5 have been dropped.
The cost of acting unfairly when it comes to disciplining an employee is clear from the decion of the Tribunal in the attached Decision. "The fact that the Tribunal awarded a career long loss is significant and justified in this case", said Gerry Daly, our Employer Law Partner who represented the Claimant in this case.
A copy of the Judgement can be downloaded directly from our website.
A hospital has agreed to fund lifetime care expected to cost around £10m for a man who was brain damaged after being treated for croup as a baby.
Canada's leaders have ended their country's longstanding resistance to asbestos being called a dangerous material under United Nations guidelines, a decision that reflects a shift in the leadership of Quebec province, home of Canada's asbestos industry.
The recent rise in fatal farm accidents in Northern Ireland is unprecedented and unexplained, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Francis Hanna and Company succeeds in its fight for workers whose employer did not want them to have their annual entitlement to 28 days holidays. The Industrial Tribunal holds in favour of the employees saying:-
"We regard it as reprehensible of an employer to mislead employees in this way. An employer is in a position of relative strength compared to employees in that the employer is in a position to know, or to find out, what the basic requirements of the law are in relation to annual leave. Essentially, the employer in these cases said that the employees were not getting their 28 days leave even though the employer knew that this was required by the Working Time Regulations. In these circumstances, it would not be just and equitable for the employer simply to have to pay a day’s pay for each day lost: there must be an element of penalty to reflect the seriousness of such a breach of a fundamental right."
Gerry Daly, our Employment Law Partner says, "It was a particularly satisfying result because it is a victory for employees whose employer was behaving like a 17th Century mine owner. These days employment rights are protected in European Law and can be enforced."
The Judgement can be obtained from the Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal Northern Ireland website. Please input Case ID 01553/11IT.
Alternatively, the Judgement can be downloaded directly from our website.
The UK Supreme Court has made a ruling which could allow thousands of insurance claims by families of people who died after exposure to asbestos.
Metal-on-metal total hip replacements have a much higher failure rate than other options and "should not be implanted", say researchers.
The government's health regulator has advised that patients who have undergone large head metal-on-metal hip replacements should be monitored annually for life.
The family of a baby who died from a bacterial infection in Londonderry have said there are still questions to be answered about his death.
Injured people in Northern Ireland are being ignored in favour of a regime of ‘cheap justice’, says a UK-wide campaign group.
Former MP for Chingford joined by ex-social security minister Lord Newton in drafting amendment to cost-cutting bill
People suffering from the asbestos-related lung condition pleural plaques will be able to seek compensation from next week due to new legislation.
Equality and Human Rights Commission says elderly people face unchecked 'ageism' from council-funded home care.
A new report has said older people may face substantial costs for their care in the future that they will not be able to meet.
Lawyers called today for new legislation on "co-habiting couples" after the UK's highest court ruled that a man who left his partner nearly 20 years ago was not entitled to half the value of the house they shared.
A golfer who lost an eye after he was hit by a wayward ball has won almost £400,000 in damages.
The Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) has expressed concern about a rise in the number of deaths on farms in the last year.
Unproductive workers should lose their right to claim unfair dismissal, a leaked government report says.
More children and partners likely to be cross-examined in court by alleged assailants, Manifesto for Family Justice claims.
The UK Supreme Court has backed the right of people in Scotland to claim damages for the asbestos-related condition pleural plaques.
One of our Partners, Mr Martin Hanna, said:-
“The UK Supreme Court has said “…the Court should respect the judgment of the elected body [the Scottish Parliament] as to what is in the public interest unless that judgment is manifestly without reasonable foundation.” This is a truly momentous day indeed for asbestos victims in Scotland and for the Scottish Parliament. Like in Scotland, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed The Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Bill. This Bill also seeks to re-establish the right for Northern Ireland victims of asbestos related pleural plaques to pursue compensation claims. The Northern Ireland Bill has been put on hold pending the outcome of the UK Supreme Court decision. Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court should now pave the way for victims of pleural plaques in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to be properly and adequately compensated for this terrible condition. Hopefully a Commencement Order enabling the legislation to become law will be enacted quickly in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to enable cases, which have been put on hold for far too long, to be finally determined. Francis Hanna & Company will do everything we can on behalf of victims of all asbestos conditions to ensure they are properly compensated and we will continue to lobby the Minister and The Northern Ireland Assembly about when this legislation will finally become law.”
Marks & Spencer has been fined £1m for failing to protect customers, staff and workers from potential exposure to asbestos.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has warned that victims of injury in Northern Ireland are at risk of being denied full and proper access to justice after a report recommended restrictions should be made to civil legal cases.
APIL spoke out after the Northern Ireland Executive launched a consultation on recommendations to cut legal aid for most personal injury cases and introduce a restricted ‘no-win, no-fee’ system.
Martin Hanna, a Belfast-based lawyer who sits on APIL’s executive committee, said: "Victims of needless injury, whose lives have been shattered, should have the same access to justice as anyone else.
"If legal aid is cut and a restricted ‘no-win, no-fee’ system introduced, some victims of injury whose cases are complex will find it difficult to bring a valid claim. How can that ever be considered fair by a just and moral society?
"The ‘no-win, no-fee’ system which has been recommended by the Access to Justice Review group involves an injured person paying some legal fees out of his damages."
Hanna added: "People don’t choose to be injured, but when negligence happens, the guilty party must surely be held fully to account. Damages are calculated to compensate a victim for his pain and suffering. It flies in the face of the principles of justice for an injured person to pay legal costs out of his damages.
"Instead of potentially restricting access to justice, what Northern Ireland needs is a fair system which provides all victims with the opportunity to pursue the full compensation which they deserve."
Jonathan Djanogly's role as insurance firm partner means he could personally profit from bill he is pushing through parliament.
An increasing number of people working in social care in Northern Ireland have been found guilty of misconduct, the BBC has learned.
Cambridge hospital and Department of Health accused of acting unlawfully by husband of woman who died
Regrettably most of us are worth more on death, than alive. The common old excuse "sure I have nothing to leave" is rarely, if ever, true!
The health minister is looking into creating new policy to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults in care.
Cross-party support for England's national dementia strategy is leading to more research, training and 'dementia cafes' for patients and carers.
A care worker who failed to give a patient medication and then tried to hide her mistake has been suspended from the register in Northern Ireland.
Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) - the charity which promotes patient safety and supports people affected by medical accidents - is proposing a practical and pragmatic way of introducing a legal Duty of Candour about harm caused in healthcare. (A legal requirement to practice being open and honest with patients or their next of kin when harm is caused).
Mediation should be mandatory in cases of disputed wills where there are concerns about the vulnerability of the person who made the will, according to the president of the Law Society.
Baby P case judicial review application fails, leaving sacked children's services chief in line for £500,000 compensation
Bosses at high street retailer New Look "manipulated" a store manager into resigning on her return from maternity leave, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Liberty director says justice secretary's £350m budget cut leaves only footballers and criminal defendants able to get legal advice
A health and safety consultant has been fined over a breach of health and safety law for the first time in NI.
Opponents fear impact on women trying to leave violent partners
Hundreds of thousands of older people in England who need social care are not getting any support from the state or private sector, campaigners say.
An NI Laura Ashley employee has been awarded nearly £10,000 after she was discriminated against on the grounds of her sex.
Serious concerns have been raised by the NHS care regulator about the way some hospitals in England look after elderly patients.
Couples in civil partnerships should have the same pension rights as married couples according to the European Court of Justice, backing the approach already taken in the UK.
A woman has won more than £6m in damages against a plastic surgeon who she said "played God" with her life.
Ministers claim reforms will make it easier for businesses to grow but unions say change will 'reward bad employers who disadvantage women and ethnic minority workers'
How to protect yourself financially in case you and your partner split up
The Supreme Court is hearing a case which may have a dramatic effect on the property rights of unmarried couples in England and Wales who split up.
New plans mean staff would have to work extra year before they could claim unfair dismissal against employer
Northern Ireland Pleural Plaque Update (No Link)
The Attorney General for Northern Ireland has referred the Damages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) Bill to the Supreme Court who, we understand, is likely to hear the matter towards the end of June 2011. This means that it looks unlikely that there will be clarity about this Bill for some time to come. We will post any updates regarding this development on our website as and when they happen.
Further information can be found at the Attorney General's website here.
Proposed changes to legal aid and immigration rules are at odds with the government's action plan on domestic violence and could put more women at risk
Victory for Scottish pleural plaques sufferers (No Link)
An attempt by a group of insurers to overturn the Damages (asbestos-related conditions) (Scotland) Act has failed.
The Court of Session rejected an appeal this week by Axa, Aviva, RSA and Zurich, which have been trying to overturn the 2009 Act which allows pleural plaques sufferers north of the border to make claims for compensation.
The court ruled that people with pleural plaques suffer "heightened levels of considerable anxiety" and that the "legislature has resolved that anxiety may constitute a matter worthy of monetary compensation".
One of our Partners, Mr Martin Hanna said:-
“Hopefully these insurers will conclude, following this appeal, that to attempt to challenge the The Damages (Asbestos related-conditions) Bill becoming law in Northern Ireland would be a further waste of time and money. Only time will tell whether or not this will Bill will eventually become law, but we at Francis Hanna & Company will do everything we can on behalf of victims of all asbestos conditions to ensure they are properly compensated.”
Family justice review proposes grandparents should be included in contact agreements when relationships break down.
Removal of experts immunity to prosecution (No Link) via AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents)
Proposals for reform of Legal Aid (No Link) via AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents)
The Parliamentary Justice Committee has published its response to the proposals for the reform of Legal Aid, today. Regrettably the report makes very little reference to the removal of Legal Aid for clinical negligence claims. The full text from the Justice Committee can be obtained here.
Heather Ilott went to appeal court after mother bequeathed £460,000 to animal charities – leaving her with nothing.
John de Belin, 45, was made redundant instead of a female colleague who was on maternity leaves, tribunal says.
Northern Ireland Pleural Plaques Bill passed (No Link)
The Damages (Asbestos related-conditions) Bill passed its final stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly last week, and is now awaiting Royal Assent.
The Bill overturns the decision made in Johnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd by the House of Lords in 2007, and gives people suffering from pleural plaques in Northern Ireland a means to pursue a claim for damages.
One of our Partners, Mr Martin Hanna, said:-
"This is a truly great day for asbestos victims in Northern Ireland and for The Northern Ireland Assembly. However this is not the end of the matter. I fully expect that the insurance industry, as they have done in Scotland, to challenge the Bill in the courts at every stage and at all costs to try and prevent this piece of legislation becoming law. We at Francis Hanna & Company will do everything we can to help victims of pleural plaques re-establish their right to pursue claims for pleural plaques."
Northern Ireland people who contracted hepatitis C from contaminated blood through the NHS will receive extra compensation.
The UK can learn from Europe by enshrining dignity as a fundamental part of – rather than adjunct to – our human rights
The Law Society's decision to back an application by its regulatory arm to oversee alternative business structures applications is a significant step
Children often idolise their grandparents; they get a little bit spoiled by them; they may experience a little more freedom than mum or dad might give them; and they might even regard them as an extra set of parents.
Two former beauty therapists are seeking over £500,000 compensation from Virgin Atlantic, after they said they were plagued by chronic muscular pain while working at the airline's Heathrow Club House lounge.
A lawyer has used Facebook to serve a court summons, in what is believed to be the first such case in Britain.
NI damages Bill escapes delay (No Link)
Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly have rejected a motion to extend the committee stage of the Damages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) Bill. Any extension of the committee stage could have endangered the Bill's chances of being passed, due to the restricted Assembly timetable ahead of elections in May.
Northern Ireland's South-Eastern Health Trust has apologised after a care assistant admitted abusing a 70-year-old woman with Alzheimer's Disease.
It is an unfortunate statistic that one in four marriages in Northern Ireland ends in divorce. So what is the procedure which leads to the dissolution of marriage?
Redundancy advice for employers.