Load of pony

BabyB LPlate improvedYesterday I received an informal consultation form on barristers’ wigs. One minute we hear that they are about to be banned, the next not. What we never hear about is the number of little ponies which have to be killed in the making of each horse-hair wig.  Maybe we should get the animal rights brigade involved?

Anyway, I duly filled out the consultation form.  Under the section asking us to describe any other style of court dress we would favour I suggested “Batman outfits for barristers, Robin ones for solicitors.”  I mean if we’re going to be dressing up then why not let’s go the whole hog?  I know I’d choose the caped crusader over someone with a silly wig on their head in any fight.  As for women, they’re going to want their own costumes.  My suggestion is Catwoman simply on the basis that Wonder Woman would give an unfair advantage with the judges.  As for pupils, I’ve suggested they wear red learner plates on their backs followed by green ones for the first year of practice.  Oh and if we’re going to have things pinned on to us, then let’s have a few adverts for good measure, tennis player style.

June 21, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 7 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 20, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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6 Crucial Things to Know about Chicago’s Pension Reform Law

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In recent months, Chicago attempted to reform its pension law. The reform proposed by Governor Rauner contained significant measures that would have impacted more than just public pensions. State and local public workers would have lost collective bargain right for pensions, wages and work hours.

The media intensely debated the reform trying to explain to the public, the burden Chicago faces from the government-worker pension crisis. If you are unfamiliar with the debate, here’s everything you need to know about Chicago’s pension reform law.

But First, a Word on Chicago’s Pension Reform Law

Back in 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with 31 unions that represented Chicago City’s workers. The reason for this meeting was the fact that LABF (Laborers’ & Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund) and MEABF (Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago) were significantly underfunded. The purpose was to find a solution that would benefit all parties involved.

As a result of this meeting, an Act was signed into law in 2014. Among other things, two mechanisms that would force the City to fund the pension plan were included in that Act.

As expected, some labor unions and participants in LABF and MEABF disagreed with the reform proposed, arguing that it violates the pension protection clause. But why exactly did they disagree?

The answer is simple: the reform was Rauner’s (the governor that proposed the plan) way of sliding some other measures that he previously couldn’t pass through the legislature. More specific, the public workers, both state and local would be affected regarding work hours, pensions and wages. Furthermore, the standard for proving injury claims and bankruptcy conditions would be considerably higher.

Here are six important points of the Chicago’s Pension Reform Law.

1. Workers Have Two Options

As you may know, there’s a Tier 1 plan destined for employees that were hired before 2011. This plan also points the people that are eligible for a benefit regarding the highest pension. With this reform, they would have two options to choose from:

  • One: to have all their future salary increases excluded from the calculation of their pension;
  • Two: to agree to change to a more reduced cost of living when they retire.

The new formula regarding pensions would grant them an increase of less than 3% or half the U.S. Consumer Price Index, annual and non-compounded, as opposed to the current legislation, where they receive an increase of 3%.

2. Increased Taxes

The people of Chicago already must pay for an increase of $543 million property-tax passed by the City Council for the pension funds of fire and city’s police. With this reform, they would have to pay even more for the increased contributions to the pensions of the laborers. According to an Irvine Personal injury attorney, annual contributions to the fund can be paid with virtually every fund that is available.

3. Major Changes Will Take Place

Some changes that apply to the points removed from the collective bargaining would also take place:

  • The overtime pay limit would start not from 37.5 hours as it currently is, but from 40 hours in order to adjust to the federal law;
  • There will be no decline in wages for five years;
  • The overtime and vacancy rights would be adjusted;
  • People that have more than 15 years of service would have a three week vacation while the ones with less than 15 years will have a two week vacation;

4. State Grants Can Also Be Affected

The city’s state grants might also be in harm’s way since they are “eligible” for garnishing. The law requires that pensions contributions must be paid to the funds of laborers by the city. If the city is not able to pay (or doesn’t want to pay the full amount), the pensions system will most likely want to get its share from the court. If this happens, all state grants could be garnished.

5. Lower Benefit Plans Would Become More Advantageous

Employees would be motivated to shift to the lower plans that offer them various incentives:

  • They could benefit from some priority rights regarding overtime, work schedule, and vacation. For instance, they could get a $2,000 transition bonus and there would be no salary increase – for the vacancy or the overtime package.
  • An increase of $3,000 in the salary, no additional vacation days and an overtime payment at 37.5 hours for the salary package.
  • Ultimately, a $2,000 salary increase and two weeks of vacation additionally and a $2,000 transition bonus for a vacation package

6. Amortization Periods Will Change As Well

Chicago’s pension reform would extend the amortization periods of the fund’s pension debt. Therefore, under this reform, the amortization periods regarding the debt of the fund’s pensions would be extended to 15 years – from 2040 to 2055.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Leave a comment below.

June 15, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Should Privacy By Design Be Embedded Into Canadian Law Mirroring The EU?

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Privacy continues to be an elusive thing in the new age of technology. Modern conveniences make our lives much more simplistic, but some have done some severe damage to the amount of privacy that we are afforded.

The old generation scoffs at the way we freely give so much information about ourselves on the pages of social media sites, and the way that we liberally use our financial information online is causing controversy around the globe. How do we legislate privacy in the new age of technology and is it even possible?

In the first of its kind, the EU has passed something called the General Data Protection Regulations. Spearheaded by Ann Cavoukian, who termed “data privacy by design”, the new regulations will go into effect in 2018 across the EU. What makes it such a big deal is that it is the first time that the different countries within the EU will recognize a common privacy regulation standard. Up until this time, each country was responsible for their own regulations and laws.

The concept of privacy by design is not a new one. Cauvoukian developed it as far back as 1990 when she was the official privacy commissioner here in Ontario. It is an entire design of protecting privacy by embedding it into the actual design of business practices, physical infrastructures and technologies across the board.

Cauvoukian, who is now gracing the walls of academia, has become the executive director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute working out of Ryerson University. Approaching privacy from a different angle, her privacy by design is an attempt to stop worrying so much and embrace your technology. Many are wondering if the same laws should be enacted in Canada.

Even if Canada does not instill the same strict regulations, the likelihood that many organizations would still be beholden to the same safeguards is high. Anyone who will foster business with the EU will be subject to upholding the same standards if they intend to work with international clients in the EU organization.

With growing distrust mounting not just here, but abroad, about the way that organizations handle our personal information, without some standard of care or code of ethics, there is no way to regulate how data is kept secure. That leads many Canadian residents unprotected in a growing Bouillabaisse of identity theft and other criminal identify operations.

A huge champion for privacy, Cauvokian and an immigration lawyer in Denver, has been telling companies and organizations for decades that due to the complex issues that the internet brings, if they want to build trust with their client base, they have to focus on systematically ensuring that the personal information of those they serve is kept private.

Like any other business process within an organization, it is much easier to build a systematic safeguard into the design of your business or organization, then to try to play catch up and adjust as needed once you expand. Building privacy into not only the processes of organizational culture but the software and technology you use will help to protect those you work with. It is also a more cost-effective way to hit the ground running.

Not only is privacy integral for customer trust, but it is also a way to keep your own data processes safe. In an atmosphere that relies on heavy competition, keeping your own data and operations safe from the view of competitors is integral to maintaining your dominance in the marketplace.

The key to the privacy design model relies on software designers who understand not only how to build software with privacy built in, but to always anticipate for and adapt to change in the marketplace and expansion. By identifying risk and using a risk intelligence approach, a programmer can build into the design of any organization’s technology the protection it needs to keep its reputation solid.

Many feel that it should be up to the organization to safeguard their own organizational data and the client information they hold while others believe that those type of certainties should be dealt with on a governmental level. The fact is whether regulated by the Canadian government, or left up to companies and businesses; it behooves everyone to have a system in place instead of trying to either rebuild a reputation or keep up with the demands of change within technological advances.

June 15, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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SnakeEyes

TheBuskerWent off to court with TheBusker today.  With him, it’s not always what he says but more the tone and sincerity with which it is said.  The Judge had clearly started against him and seemed in a particularly bad mood. TheBusker’s response?  To smile at the judge and gently lift his spirits.  It was almost like he put on his snake eyes and somehow hypnotised him towards his case.  He started off talking about the weather and his journey here and then went on to a bit of gossip from another court.  Then he moved on to talking about his own client and a couple of quirks in his personality which had nothing to do with the case whatsoever.  Eventually, he came round to mentioning the claim but almost as an aside.  His opponent just sat there getting more and more hot under the collar as there was absolutely nothing he could do as TheBusker strolled slowly over the winning line.  I mentioned this afterwards and he commented,

“It’s not about the law BabyB and a lot of the time it’s not even about the specific facts.  Most of the time it boils down to whether the judge likes your client or not.”

I wouldn’t want to be against TheBusker.

June 14, 2016 · Tim Kevan · One Comment
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 13, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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4 Ways To Receive Help During A Divorce

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Going through a divorce can be a difficult time. Not only do you need to deal with all of the legal aspects that go along with it, but you need to handle the personal and emotional tolls as well. A divorce can be hard for all parties involved, and that is why it is important that you get some assistance. There are many ways that you can receive help while going through a divorce, and the type of help that you seek will depend on your particular needs. Here are just a few ways that you can get help during a divorce, for all kinds of problems.

Emotional Support

Before anything else, you need to take care of your personal life and the emotions that go along with it. A divorce can take an emotional toll on everyone involved, including you, your spouse, your children, your family members and your friends. During this time you may feel stressed, overwhelmed, depressed or angry. You will want to have people that you can turn to in order to get support. If you need help while going through a divorce, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends or family for assistance.

Hire An Attorney

One of the big questions you will need to ask yourself when going through a divorce is whether or not you need an attorney. You will have to examine your current situation and decide if a lawyer is needed to help you through the process, and if you will be able to afford them. If you decide to get a lawyer, they can make it so you do not have to do as much work, as they will handle practically all of it.  There are all kinds of lawyers however, so make sure to get a lawyer that specializes in family law.

Legal Assistance

If you think you don’t need a lawyer, or if you simply cannot afford one, you may be looking to represent yourself. When going this route, you can find assistance with the legal paperwork by hiring a Legal Document Assistant, or LDA. An LDA is someone who is certified to help others with their legal paperwork, but who does not offer legal advice or represent them in court. Companies like National Family Solutions specialize in providing attorneys and LDAs for divorce and child custody proceedings, so that you can ensure nothing goes wrong simply because of a mistake in paperwork. There are a lot of documents involved with a divorce, so getting some assistance with them may be beneficial to you.

Use Online Resources

Lastly, no matter what issue you may be having with your divorce, there is likely a resource online that will be able to help you. Millions of people have gone through a divorce, and you can seek advice all over the Internet. You can also use the Internet to help you find a lawyer, and LDA, a marriage counselor, a child counselor, and more. Whenever you feel stuck, or are unsure what steps to take next, do a quick online search to get some suggestions. While it may not replace the expertise of a divorce lawyer or family therapist, it can be a good place to start.

Don’t Go It Alone

Divorces can seem like a lonely time to those involved, but remember you are not alone. Use your family and friends for emotional support, and lean on professionals or others who have been there before to help you get through the process. Going through a divorce is still going to be difficult, but when you get help, it can lessen the burden.

June 7, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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ClicheClanger

My solicitor today was ClicheClanger who has spent so many years working in a job he despises that the thought bubbles which plague us all from time to time have slowly transformed themselves into unconscious speech bubbles.  Stuff he still thinks is being kept under wraps keeps slipping out like a gentle version of tourrette’s.  Kind of just leaks out.  As if the walls of his mind have slowly eroded away under the years of resentment and worry.

“Well, BabyB.  You know the score.  I don’t know why I even bother to write out the instructions.”

Which to be fair he hardly had.  All they said was, “Counsel is instructed to win the case.”  Anyway, he elaborate further in our telephone conversation,

“It’s all so petty and meaningless.  Who cares if he’s a malingerer anyway?  I mean I’d malinger given half the chance.”

Then.  Before I had the chance to give an awkward reply.

“You just go and bash him on the nose BabyB.  Hit him for six just for our insurer clients.  Add a bit more misery into our miserable world.”

Then he finished with,

“Yes, you give them their money’s worth, that’s a good lad.”

June 7, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 6, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Should I bother making a claim?

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The following is an infographic provided by ExpressSolicitors.co.uk.

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May 31, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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