I’ve been pretty sceptical about the merit of the new stalking offences introduced earlier this year. As discussed in previous posts (here and here) they struck me as superfluous and did not address the real problem. It comes as no surprise then they do not appear to be working. Not yet at any rate.
It is a point often overlooked by putative Claimants that no matter how badly a Defendant may have behaved, in civil and employment claims, damages may usually (there are some exceptions) only be recovered if the conduct has actually caused some loss or damage.
This fundamental point can cause difficulties where either there are several different contributory factors to an aspect of loss or where something happens after the cause of the claim which means the loss would have occurred anyway.
I reported some time ago about a decision involving the retention of what are referred to as Prevention of Harassment Letters or Police Information Notices and a recent case has again shone the spotlight on how records of these are retained.
In R (on the application of T) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner  EWCA Civ 192, the applicant T had been served with a ‘Prevention of Harassment Letter’ by the police after an allegation made by a neighbour of a single incident of insulting behaviour. Continue reading
Gordon Exall has linked to this very useful guide. As his post rather wryly suggests, lawyers risk learning quite a lot from it too!
The Judiciary have published a Handbook for Litigants in Person. It can be found here.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT
I suggest every litigator has a look at it.
1. You should ensure it is sent to every litigant in person you are against (it will save your client time, money and anguish in the long run).
2. Give it to every paralegal or newly qualified lawyer in the firm. It provides invaluable advice in relation to disclosure, drafting witness statements and every element of the litigation process. It is drafted by working judges and there is a wealth of experience behind it.
3. If you don’t read it the litigant in person may well be better informed than you are.
Is there a duty of care to prevent an employee having an affair with a service user? No, according to the Scottish Outer House (the equivalent of our High Court) case of Shields v Crossroads (Orkney)  CSOH 144.
Helen Shields was a carer for her husband and son who both suffered serious health problems. She herself was bi-polar and suffered from depression. Socially isolated and largely confined to the family home, she was struggling to cope. Continue reading