Business and Personal Defence – Bonds Adams awarded contract by the Legal Aid Agency for public funded work

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a contract to carry out business and personal criminal work from the Legal Aid Agency. The Legal Aid Agency assess a law firm in terms of its history, its resources, staff backgrounds and competency.

 

Tax & Fraud

Investigations by HMRC as well as theft, bribery and money matters.

 

Road Traffic / DVLA

From directors driving offences, to DVLA prosecutions

 

Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Criminal Prosecutions through the Companies Investigations Branch (CIB)

 

Trading Standards Prosecutions

Consumer Protection and Competition Law including Trading Standards complaints and Office of Fair Trading actions.

 

Health & Safety, Environmental & Planning and Food Safety

Defending your business against HSE Prosecutions, or prosecutions for environmental law breaches

 

Taxi Licensing

Taxi Licensing and Licensing Appeals

 

IF A REQUEST FOR A POLICE INTERVIEW IS MADE, FROM ANY OF THE FOLLOWING :

 

  1. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  2. Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
  3. Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
  4. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  5. Financial Services Authority (FSA)
  6. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
  7. The Insurance Fraud Department (IFED)
  8. Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
  9. Department of Health (DH)
  10. Driving Standards Authority (DSA)
  11. Local Authorities
  12. Trading Standards
  13. Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS)
  14. National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)

Contact us for specialist police station and full criminal advice.

t: +44 (0) 116 285 8080 | e: lawyers@bondadams.com | w: www.bondadams.com

Katie Hopkins has been ordered to pay £24,000 in damages together with costs following tweets about food blogger and writer Jack Monroe.

The judgement last week in Jack Monroe v Katie Hopkins [2017] EWHC 433 QB includes clarification as to the meaning of ‘serious harm’.

Serious Harm

Section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 provides that ‘a statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant’. As such it isn’t enough for a claimant to assert and prove a defamatory meaning. To succeed with an action, a claimant must go further, and prove actual serious harm to reputation, or at least the likelihood of that.

We have been waiting for judicial guidance as to what the serious harm test requires – it had been anticipated that it would stand as a high threshold, making defamation claims more difficult to bring
In Munroe, the court held that tweets made by Katie Hopkins about Jack Munroe were defamatory. The ‘serious harm’ test was satisfied, it was said, ‘on the straightforward basis that the tweets complained of have a tendency to cause harm to this claimant’s reputation in the eyes of third parties, of a kind that would be serious for her’.

Libel claims?

In the internet age and that of social media, information can be spread very widely, instantaneously. Damage to reputation can happen quickly. It is important to think carefully before voicing an opinion. In Munroe, Twitter was referred to as the ‘wild west,’ but the court judgement illustrates that Twitter publications, and by extension publications on other forms of social media, will be treated no differently to any other publication when applying the principles set out in the Defamation Act.

The following steps need to be carefully considered in relation to libel claims:

• pre-action correspondence needs to be carefully crafted to properly advance or respond to a claim

• prior to issuing a libel claim, steps need to be taken to identify evidence of serious harm

• defendants need to give serious consideration to protecting themselves by issuing appropriate and swift apologies

• whichever side you are on, you must take steps to preserve material that may become disclosable, including the tweet or other publication itself
What are the next steps?

Libel law continues to develop in an effort to keep a pace with an ever changing world, technological advances and the evolving ways in which we all communicate. We all now are, or can be, a ‘publisher’ at the touch of a button. Caution is the order of the day, for everyone, including our younger generations who may not appreciate the implications of publications across social media.

If you are in any doubt about threatened or actual libel proceedings, seek legal advice.

Disclaimer

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

For expert advice on intellectual property, defamation or libel, contact us via the details below.
t: +44 (0) 116 285 8080 | e: lawyers@bondadams.com | w: www.bondadams.com