Employers can read workers' private messages sent via chat software and webmail accounts during working hours, judges have ruled.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said a firm that read a worker's Yahoo Messenger chats sent while he was at work was within its rights.

Judges said he had breached the company's rules and that his employer had a right to check on his activities.

Such policies must also protect workers against unfettered snooping, they said.

The judges, sitting in the ECHR in Strasbourg, handed down their decision on Tuesday. Countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, which include Britain, have agreed to abide by the ECHR rulings that involve them.

The impact on domestic courts differs. Under UK human rights laws, judges must take into account the ECHR's decisions but are not bound by them.

 

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A soldier who suffered brain damage in a Taliban attack welcomes a judge's divorce ruling that prevented his wife receiving most of what's left of his compensation payments.

 

A wife who divorced a severely wounded soldier after ‘wasting’ a large part of his £1 million compensation has lost her legal battle to get her hands on what was left of the cash.

Simon Vaughan, 31, was badly brain damaged and unable to walk or speak properly after the vehicle he was travelling in was blown up by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2008.

He received more than £1 million in compensation from the Ministry of Defence, which was intended to pay for his long-term care.


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The Court of Appeal has refused to set aside a settlement agreement on the basis of new evidence indicating that the claimant’s case had been fraudulently exaggerated:  Hayward v Zurich Insurance Co plc [2015] EWCA Civ 327.

Settlement agreements may be set aside on the same grounds as any other contract, including on the basis that one of the parties was induced to enter into it by a counterparty’s misrepresentation concerning a material fact. However, where the representations relied on comprise the very allegations advanced by the claimant as part of the claim being settled, the courts have generally taken the view that the defendant has, in deciding to settle, taken into account the risk that the statement was false and has foregone the opportunity to challenge it. The issue in the present case was the extent to which the position is different where, as here, the representation was not merely false but could later be shown to have been fraudulently made.

In holding that the innocent party was nevertheless bound by the agreement, the Court of Appeal’s decision shows the limits, in this context, of the principle that “fraud unravels all”.  It confirms that a fraudulently advanced case will not necessarily entitle a defendant to rescind a settlement agreement – particularly in cases where the evidence suggests that, at the time of settlement, the defendant had at least some indication of the possibility of fraud and therefore settled “with its eyes wide open”.

The decision illustrates the courts’ “robust disinclination” to interfere with settlement agreements unless there are exceptional circumstances, given the important public interest in the finality of settlements.

 

Source - Lexology


Linnitts Solicitors are proud to announce the opening of Linnitts Solicitors Conveyancing Department.

The department is headed up by Jane Mulhern who not only has a client following but also a wealth of experience within the areas of residential and commercial conveyancing.  Jane is known as one of the best conveyancers in Devon.

Please call Jane Mulhern on 01626 333380 or email her on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for a competitive quotation.

We wish Jane every success in this venture.

 

 


Courts which help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction so they can keep their children are to be opened in more areas of England.

London has had a Family Drug and Alcohol Court for seven years, and courts have opened more recently in Gloucestershire and Milton Keynes.

More will now open in areas including East Sussex, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, and West Yorkshire.

Funding for the expansion comes from the Department for Education.

Most families that come into care proceedings have at least one parent with a drink or drug problem.

D FDAC founder

Unlike the traditional family court, the FDAC has its own team of experts and doctors - it is often described as a "therapeutic" process.

Parents come up before the court every fortnight, seeing the same judge every time.

Usually their children are placed temporarily with other family members or in foster care, while the parents concentrate on their detox, therapy and treatments - an intensive programme usually taking 26 weeks.

They undergo regular testing to make sure they are not secretly drinking or taking drugs.

An evaluation last year of the London FDAC by Brunel University, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, found 35% of mothers managed to kick their addictions, so their children could be returned safely to them, compared with 19% of mothers who go through ordinary family courts.

However, the sample group was relatively small: just over 200 families in all.

The London FDAC only sits once a week, and deals with a relatively small number of cases, about 30 a year at the moment.

 

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Chessington World of Adventures has been fined £150,000 for safety breaches after a four-year-old girl suffered head injuries in a 14ft (4.2m) fall.

The girl, from Kent, suffered a bleed on the brain and fractured skull when she fell from the queue for the Tomb Blaster ride in 2012.

Guildford Crown Court heard that water dripping from a roof had rotted fence posts lining the queue to the ride.

The theme park said in a statement it was an isolated incident.

Broken ribs

The Surrey theme park pleaded guilty to the breaches on Friday after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) accused it of failing to properly inspect and maintain the fence lining the queue.

The court was told on the day the girl was injured, another family further up in the queue had to grab their daughter by her coat to stop her falling through the fence.

As well as head injuries, the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also suffered broken ribs.

She was in hospital for a month and the HSE said she still needed extensive rehabilitation treatment and specialist support.

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Advances in bionic hands have restored a sense of touch to two patients for more than a year, report US scientists.

The men can now delicately pluck the stalks out of cherries.

Sensors on the artificial hand are used to send signals directly to the nerves, the study, published in Science Translational Medicine, said.

Meanwhile, a Swedish team has made a separate breakthrough in artificial limbs - anchoring bionic arms directly on to the bone to improve control.

One of the beneficiaries of the American work was Igor Spetic, who lost his right hand in an accident four years ago.

He was fitted with a bionic replacement, but it was incapable of feeling the world around him.

He had to carefully watch what he was doing and judge by eye whether he was squeezing too hard.

A team at Case Western Reserve University attached sensors to the bionic hand and in surgery fitted "cuffs" around the remaining nerves, which were capable of delivering electronic stimulation.

The team could send different patterns of electronic stimulation to the nerves using a computer. These were interpreted in the brain as different sensations.

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Divorcing couples and judges hearing their cases should be given a clearer idea of their financial aims in court, according to the Law Commission.

The body which recommends legal reforms in England and Wales says the current lack of clarity can worsen couples' misery.

It wants the legislation to be revamped to define the objectives of cash settlements.

A public consultation on the issue is due to end in December.


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No matter how civilised a divorce is, it always makes children unhappy, says Penelope Leach, hurling a grenade into the cosy liberal consensus on the matter. The veteran child psychologist has infuriated fathers with her new book, Family Breakdown, in which she suggests that very small children whose parents separate should not stay overnight with the absent father (or mother). “You get situations,” Leach says, “where children are spending a week in Mum’s house and a week in Dad’s house and all kinds of horrible arrangements. I call them horrible because we do know that they are desperately wrong for children, who need the security of a place called home and who, when very little, shouldn’t be taken away overnight from what is usually the mother – the person they are attached to.”

 

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Our Chris Linnitt has just reached a 7 - figure settlement with an insurer.  We shall keep the claims details quiet but it has taken nearly 3 years and the client is truly happy with result!  We are true experts in the field of personal injury.


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