The recent trumpeting of optimism by the government – the recession is over, so they say – has led to musings among writers on the economy. Can it really be over, or are we looking at exaggerated claims? A recent study by leading consumer groups has thrown up some interesting figures: while the year behind us saw a minute fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the forecast is for a rise of 1.2% over the next 12 months. While hardly stratospheric, such figures do instil a modicum of hope. However, there are warnings that come with the positive signs.
Trouble with Exports
Part of the problem in resuscitating the economy right now is that exports are hardly thriving: the USA is not a buoyant market and the Eurozone crisis is also problematic, hence economists are looking to the high street for help. It is doubtless the case that consumer spending needs to increase quite considerably if the economy is to achieve the proposed revival. With falling inflation, a better employment situation and a more solid basic economy there is a possibility that consumers will begin to spend again, but in truth there is considerable doubt that people are willing to go out and pour money into the shops.
Lending on the Rise
One of the major contributions to a boost to the economy is signified by increased lending; there is some indication that lenders are beginning to loosen up their purse strings, but not to a degree that is going to make any significant changes to the economy. However, recent moves to change the mortgage market, to make it more secure for both borrowers and lenders, have instilled some optimism in the financial markets. If the UK is to achieve the sort of changes forecast, it will need to rely on the consumer to a great extent.
How do you know if you’re mis sold PPI? This is the first question that any customer who thinks they are mis sold PPI should answer. PPI or payment protection insurance is designed to cover credit cards, loans and mortgages. Here are a few steps according to experts from www.PPIClaimCo.org to ensure that you can make your PPI claims effectively.
1. The Broker/ Financial Adviser/ Company Representative
Around 60% of most PPI claims in the United Kingdom were stated by claimants to be mis sold by the financial adviser, insurance broker or company representative. They can urge you that you need the insurance, only to find that you were ineligible for the insurance when you’re already paying for it. If they claimed to you that the insurance was free, or it was a requirement of the loan or that it could increase your chances of getting the loan, you could make a claim.
2. Review Your Personal Information
PPI protect the repayments of people who cannot fulfill repayments because of injuries, sicknesses or unemployment. To know if you’re indeed ineligible, it is best to review your personal information. Review your last employment date (if retired), get a recent medical check-up to see your medical status and if you ever had a checkup before signing up for the insurance and ensure that you bring evidences to prove your ineligibility.
3. Use a PPI Calculator
A PPI calculator can help you determine the amount of repayments you could get from a mis sold PPI. Most claims handling companies and their websites have this. You can inquire about it and learn about its use by calling the aid of claims experts.
4. Call a Claims Expert
As you’re calling a claims expert, it would be better to ask advice about your claim, especially if you’re processing multiple claims. This can take much time and effort and may not reap your expected results if you don’t give it the right amount of time to work with.
Apple has lost its appeal against Samsung in the UK after a long running case regarding the infringement of design rights. The case was originally heard in the High Court in July when a judge ruled that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab computer was ‘not too similar’ to the market leading Apple iPad, and also – curiously – that is was not ‘as cool’ as the latter. Apple had been ordered to place adverts stating that Samsung has not infringed its rights, but has yet to do so.
German Case Confusion
The judges in the appeal hearing refused to overturn the original decision, stating that a case in the German courts on a similar issue may serve only to confuse the consumer. They also reiterated the necessity for Apple to assure the consumer that Samsung had not been found guilty of infringement. A Samsung statement included the following: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art.”
The original case from Apple stated that it believed the face and the shape of the tablet was the main feature of its unique design, rather than the overall shape of the tablet itself. However, one of the judges – himself an iPad user – pointed out the lack of ornamentation on the face of the iPad, in comparison with the logo and other features on the Galaxy Tab, which he believed were major differences in design ethic. Apple can take the appeal to the UK Supreme Court but has yet to comment. The move follows a series of cases between Apple and Samsung concerning design of tablets, some of which it has been successful with.
In a landmark move this week the government in the UK has stated it will change the laws surrounding the right to protect property. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that it will be permissible to use ‘disproportionate force’ when confronting intruders in the home. However, the news has been greeted with concern as to what amounts to ‘grossly disproportionate force’ which will, as such, remain outlawed.
Stabbing a Burglar
It has been suggested that a homeowner could be allowed to stab a burglar he or she confronts in the house; however, if the burglar is already disarmed and injured, further force may be regarded as ‘grossly disproportionate’ and the homeowner charged. While the new laws are to be welcomed as being in favour of the householder there is still plenty of detail to be discussed and lines to be drawn. Shotguns, if licensed, are also expected to be permissible.
Prime Minister Burgled
When pressed on the details of the new laws Prime Minister David Cameron resorted to relating a personal anecdote:
‘I’ve been burgled a couple of times when I lived in London, in North Kensington. There was one occasion when I left the keys in my car and they loaded up my Skoda and drove off. It is a horrible feeling when your house has been invaded.’
The lasting memory from that quote will be of the PM driving a Skoda.
Despite it being clearly aimed at giving homeowners more right to protect their property the plan has been attacked by civil liberties groups who fear that frightened householders may panic and overstep the mark, thus finding themselves on the wrong side of the law. We await more detail on this confusing yet interesting potential legal change, and wait to see how it actually affects the homeowner in the long run.
The Jackson reforms will become law in April 2013 under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act. The reforms will be the most significant changes to civil law since the Woolf reforms in the late 1990s. The reforms basically curb ‘no win no fee’ claims meaning lawyers will not be able to recover fees and costs and in cases of personal injury the fees for success will be capped at 25%. Furthermore, damages are to increase by a tenth.
By cutting success fees and other factor costs, solicitors who usually take personal injury cases may be deterred from taking them after April 2013. This is because solicitors may be paid less than they previously where receiving or if worst come to worst, they may not even be paid at all. This is where some criticism of the reforms stems from.
For example, a less financially stable client may not be able to gain redress for the wrong done against them for two reasons. The client may be forced to use a less qualified, ‘2nd class’ solicitor who is only taking up their case out of desperation. By not having access to the typical standard of solicitor, the genuine claimant is at lower chance of winning the case. In another scenario, the client may not take their case to court out of fear of having to pay lawyer fees if they lose in court. The client might then not pursue redress. In both, the reforms may be seen as preventing access to justice for the client.
In contrast, with success fees being capped at 25%, clients’ whose cases are successful retain more of their damages on top of the 10% increase in damages.
The reforms seem to be a double edged knife, with many clients being put at a disadvantage, those who are successful however will be better compensated than in previous times.
In recent years the ever more stringent privacy and terrorism laws have led to a spate of controversial rulings on the right to take photographs in public places. In fact, you are within your rights to take photos in public places – even of people – so long as you cannot be accused of harassment, or of breaching the Official Secrets or Terrorism acts. It is advisable, if people are involved, that you ask the permission of anyone in the shot, just to be certain.
Parks and gardens that are public are popular places for photographers to stage shots, but be careful if you begin to use a great deal of equipment. This may get in the way of others, and you will most likely be asked to move on. Furthermore, it is against the law to take photographs for commercial use in Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and the Royal Parks in London – you have been warned!
People and Privacy
Problems arise with privacy because the UK laws are rather vague; invasion of privacy is not well-defined, and if a successful case if brought you could find yourself in some trouble. Beware of photographing people on their private property, and be especially aware of scenes involving children. Again, ask permission before embarking on your shot.
The Police and Photographs
The police, and Community Support Officers, have been known to be heavy handed in some cases, and may invite you to move on if you are photographing subjects in a public place. However, the Home Office quote the following:
“There is no legal restriction on photography in public places, and there is no presumption of privacy for individuals in a public place. It is for the Chief Constable to ensure that Officers and Police Community Support Officers are acting appropriately with regards to photography in public places, and any queries regarding this should be addressed to the Chief Constable.”