From tomorrow (1 September) mortgage providers will be able to check applicants' tax details with HMRC before agreeing to lend money, in a bid to reduce mortgage fraud.
Fraud can occur when someone claims to earn more money than they really do in order to borrow a larger mortgage. It has been estimated that the cost of mortgage fraud was £1 billion last year.
HMRC say that this new scheme, which was first announced in the March 2010 Budget, will be "an unprecedented opportunity for HMRC and lenders to work together to combat fraud in the mortgage industry".
August 2011 Archives
From tomorrow (1 September) mortgage providers will be able to check applicants' tax details with HMRC before agreeing to lend money, in a bid to reduce mortgage fraud.
After a decade-long planning-law battle between travellers and Basildon council, the council have finally gained the legal power to evict the residents of an illegal site.
The travellers, many of whom own their land but do not have planning permission for their homes, will face evictions from midnight tonight (31 August).
But one traveller, 72-year-old Mary Flynn, is determined to fight the evictions by applying for an injunction through the High Court in order to stop the council evicting the 80 families living at Dale Farm.
Until this year, companies were within their rights to set an age at which employees could be forced to retire. This default retirement age (DRA) was usually 64, although in some cases companies were permitted to enforce retirement at an earlier age. But from April 2011, the DRA has been phased out and by October it will be defunct.
The changes to employment law have left many smaller businesses entirely unprepared for the financial implications of continuing to employee an older workforce.
The Employment law Advisory Services conducted a survey of 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses and found that many were not ready to deal with the costs that would be incurred by private health insurance and adjustments for staff with disabilities.
The Government of the Republic of Ireland have revealed plans to introduce legislation that will force priests to disclose details told to them during secret confessions in order to help the police catch child abuse criminals.
But Father Paddy O'Kane, whose diocese covers priests across parts of Donegal, claims that he would rather face a jail sentence than break the Vatican law which says that it is "absolutely illegitimate for the confessor to make the penitent known".
Confessions made to priests are meant to be completely confidential and in many countries, priests are not required by law to divulge any secrets they hear, even if they concern criminal acts.
The mention of Swiss bank accounts conjures up images of criminals and the super-rich squirrelling away vast amounts of money, anonymous, safe and tax-free, but a new agreement between the UK Government and Switzerland will mean that tax evaders can no longer hide behind Swiss banking secrecy.
The Government plans to tackle offshore tax-evasion will kick off in 2013 and is expected to bring in billions of pounds of unpaid taxes to the UK.
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: "This historic agreement will enable us to collect billions of pounds from those who have for too long evaded their responsibility to pay UK tax by abusing Swiss banking secrecy. The message is clear: there is no hiding place for tax cheats."
Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston were "bitterly disappointed" to hear the court ruling in favour of former 'Bucks Fizz' band-mate Bobby G that will prevent them from performing under the name 'The Original Bucks Fizz'.
Bobby G and his wife Heidi Manton, who owns the trademark for the name, are still members of the latest incarnation of 'Bucks Fizz'.
The three original members of the band attempted to revoke the trademark and took Bobby G to court, hoping to stop him from using the name as they claimed it misled fans.
A woman in Alaska has been convicted of child abuse after sending a video of herself cruelly punishing her adopted son to the US television programme 'Dr Phil'.
Jessica Beagley's video showed her forcing the 6-year-old boy to swallow chilli sauce and to stand under a cold shower. The video appeared on the episode 'Mommy Confessions' of 'Dr Phil', in which the host Phil McGraw described the discipline as abusive.
Mrs Beagley, who adopted the boy and his twin brother from Russia, claimed that she had tried all sorts of discipline methods but had not been successful.
A woman in Germany saved a small fortune in loose change found in public toilets but is now being investigated by tax officials for not declaring her earnings.
The woman operated a cleaning service for 50 public toilets in Germany. She employed cleaners and paid them only minimal wages and forced them to hand over any loose change they found while cleaning.
In total, she collected €40,000 (£34,880) before a disgruntled employee squealed to the state prosecutor.
Paul Donnachie, a St Andrews student and member of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, has been found guilty of committing a racially aggravated act involving the flag of Israel.
Mr Donnachie was accused of putting his hands down his trousers and then rubbing them on the flag, which belonged to Jewish student Chanan Reitblat, who was studying at the Scottish university on an exchange programme from New York.
His friend Samuel Colchester was also accused of the act, but the case against him was not proven.
A truck driver in Kentucky, USA, who booked himself in for a routine circumcision, woke up after surgery to find the entire organ had been removed without his consent.
Phillip Seaton, 64, had entrusted his manhood to Dr John Patterson at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, in October 2007.
But during surgery, the doctor discovered that Mr Seaton was suffering from a rare and potentially fatal strain of penile cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
When TV game show enthusiast Simon Curtis appeared on BBC's Mastermind in 2006, he probably did not expect to become the programme's worst-performing contestant in a specialist-subject round, scoring only one correct answer out of 25.
But he certainly didn't expect to face further ridicule at the hands of David Walliams who replayed the clip of Mr Curtis's poor performance on his Channel 4 show 'Awfully Good TV' and described him as "astoundingly thick".
Introducing the clip on his programme in January, Mr Walliams said: "Sometimes in life, you have to know your limitations. If you're not, let's say, very bright, it's probably not a good idea to go on a quiz show that tests your mental agility. And by not very bright, I mean astoundingly thick."
A teacher in Missouri, USA, is taking the state to court for passing a law forbidding one-to-one online contact between teachers and students since the law actually forbids her from being friends with her own child on Facebook.
Ladue Middle School, where Christina Thomas teaches, issued a notice to teachers telling them not to become friends with students, or former students, through the website Facebook.
The notice is in keeping with a new Act passed in the state on July 14, the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, which reads: "No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a work-related internet site unless such site is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian.
Opinion on graffiti is greatly divided with many thinking it works of art while many others consider it vandalism. City councils in the UK spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax money every year cleaning graffiti from walls and buildings, but are they mistakenly washing away future heritage assets?
Bristol University think so.
In July, a piece of graffiti by renowned artist Banksy called Gorilla in a Pink Mask was scrubbed away by council cleaners who were under the impression it was 'regular' graffiti.
The nation's capital is lively, frenetic, bustling with an estimated 7.8 million people living in it so it's bound to be a noisy place. But in the last three years noise levels, and complaints, have been on the increase.
In 2008, 2009 and 2010 there were 367,073 complaints about noise from the 33 London councils.
The noisiest area of London was Westminster where the council received a total of 39,794 complaints in the last three years.
A severely paralysed man is bringing a case to the High Court that, if successful could have a vast impact on similar future cases involving assisted suicide.
The man, known only as Martin, suffered a stroke that left him only able to move his eyes and to make small movements of his head. He is able to communicate by staring at letters on a computer screen which are recognised by the computer and read out by a digitised voice.
Martin has compiled a statement to be read in court that describes his daily life as "undignified, distressing and intolerable".
A huge event in the yachting calendar, the Volvo Ocean Race takes place every three years. It lasts nine months and spans five continents. It's a gruelling and dangerous test of endurance but this year, an added element of danger has meant that it is changing its planned course.
Fears of piracy in waters near Abu Dhabi have forced the race's organisers to change their route and keep the new course secret.
In recent years, Somali pirates have been capturing and ransoming ships and people in an ever-expanding area off the coast of Somalia.
A takeaway in Cardiff, Wales has been the location of a recent outbreak of E-coli and victims of poisoning have called on the Welsh Government to force food providers to publicly display their hygiene scores.
The Food Standards Agency has introduced the scheme to help consumers choose where to eat or shop for food by rating providers on a scale of zero to five, where five is the best.
The information about businesses, which includes hygiene data, is available online, but some Welsh people, and ministers, believe that the scores should be placed within the business' premises where consumers can see them.
A sperm donor in Sydney, Australia has been denied the right to be legally recognised as his daughter's father and has been forced to have his name removed from her birth certificate.
The man had replied to a newspaper advert for a sperm donor placed by a lesbian couple who wished to conceive.
At the time of birth, in 2001, the mother and the father's names were put on the birth certificate, but now the mother's partner wishes her name to replace the father's name, despite having separated from the mother in 2006.
Despite being previously cleared of the charge of murdering his wife, a businessman from Elgin, Scotland, is to face a retrial in October.
Nat Fraser was originally convicted of murder at a trial at Edinburgh High Court. He was issued a 25-year prison sentence in 2003 and served eight years of it, all the while appealing against the ruling.
After eight years, Mr Fraser's conviction was quashed when the UK Supreme Court ruled that Mr Fraser had suffered a miscarriage of justice.
A young man from Barrow, Cumbria, caused a disturbance on Tuesday (16 August) evening prompting locals to report the incident to the police.
Officers from Cumbria police arrived on the scene at 18.30 BST, and, finding the man causing criminal damage, attempted to arrest him.
During the arrest, a taser was deployed.
During a vicious row between Ryan Goodwin and his girlfriend Sarah Symons, Mr Goodwin flung a pet hamster out of a first-floor window, killing the animal.
Mr Goodwin, 23, an out-of-work chef from Plymouth, had been throwing Miss Symons' personal belonging out of the window of his council flat after they had decided to separate.
He then taunted Miss Symons by dangling the hamster's cage from the window. Miss Symons told the court, "He said 'here, catch this'. Then he counted 'three, two, one,' and then dropped it."
In a "complex" and "sophisticated" scam, Iain Wood of Newcastle stole £35,000 from bank accounts of people living in the same block of flats as him by using personal details from their social networking accounts.
The hacker had a gambling addiction and wanted to steal money from his neighbours to fund it.
He posed as his neighbours in order to intercept credit and debit cards when they were delivered to his block of flats.
A civil dispute between landlords and tenants in New Delhi, India has taken nearly three decades to come to its conclusion.
Judge Abhilash Malhotra admitted that "justice delayed is justice denied", and with that in mind, he accepted responsibility for the prolonged trial, saying: "As I have written this judgment, I shoulder all the responsibility on behalf of all my predecessors for delay caused in the present case and will endeavour in future to give speedy justice to litigants."
Brothers Jai and Virender Singh had started their legal battle back in 1982 when they asked that their tenant give back their land which they had been renting.
In response to the tough sentences being handed out to looters and those involved in the recent riots, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) made the mistake of appearing to celebrate one woman's sentence by posting about it online.
A mother of two, Ursula Nevin, who did not take part in the riots herself, was given a five-month prison sentence after she accepted a pair of shorts that her flatmate had looted.
Despite being asleep while Manchester was in chaos, Ms Nevin was convicted of handling stolen goods.
The owners of a Buckinghamshire sweet shop turned detectives by setting up hidden cameras and booby traps designed to catch the thief that had been stealing from their tills at night time.
Jane and Neil Hutton, owners of Beehive Treats in Marlow, decided to set up surveillance on their shop when they realised that someone had been stealing from the float in their tills at night.
They placed hidden cameras in between the old-fashioned jars of sweets and staked out their shop at night to see who entered.
Now that the riots seem to be over and the rioters and looters are being caught, charged and processed through court, many children as young as 11 years old are facing criminal charges.
In Nottingham, an 11-year-old girl was charged with criminal damage after she smashed windows of shops in the city on Tuesday (9 August) night. The girl had been part of a group of about 15 others.
She told the police that she was encouraged by others to join the rioting, saying "I just went along with everyone else. I knew I could get into serious trouble."
A law graduate, who was about to embark on a postgraduate legal studies course, was found to be almost four times over the legal blood-alcohol limit when stopped by the police on 22 June.
Ronald Rose, 44, is a graduate of Stirling University who, in the past, stood as an independent candidate for Perth and Kinross Council and also lodged a petition with the Scottish Government recommending a system that would allow police to enforce alcohol exclusion zones.
But while campaigning to make Aberfeldy, Perthshire, a less boozy town, Rose was also battling his own alcohol problem.
A stronger police presence in UK cities last night meant that the streets of the nation were relatively quiet. But for courts around the country, the night was far from peaceful as hundreds of alleged rioters were processed.
In London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Leicester, night courts have been feeling the pressure of having more than 1,500 arrested rioters to deal with.
Among the defendants were an 11-year-old boy, who admitted stealing a bin, and a primary school teaching assistant, who pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.
Tuesday night (9 August) in London was relatively calm as the extra thousands of police officers brought in to patrol the city evidently had some effect. But in other parts of the country, the chaos continued.
Looting and violence spread to Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham. Shops were robbed and burned and three men died after being hit by a car in Birmingham.
Officers of Greater Manchester Police faced "unprecedented violence" and their Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said he had witnessed "the most sickening scenes" of his entire career.
While several dairy firms and supermarkets admitted to colluding over the price of dairy products, forcing consumers to pay more during 2002-3, Tesco vehemently denies being involved in the price fixing and has threatened legal action.
The Office of Fair Trading made an inquiry into the prices of dairy products and found that Arla, Asda, Dairy Crest, McLelland, Safeway, Sainsbury's, The Cheese Company, Wiseman and Tesco all infringed the Competition Act.
A total of about £50million in fines has been charged.
Following his dismissal from his post as governor of the Tower of London after making inappropriate comments about Beefeaters, Maj Gen Keith Cima claimed for unfair dismissal.
He believed that he was sacked by the Tower's management company, Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), because he exposed malpractice at the attraction and also because he confronted the bullies who were previously sacked for their treatment of Moira Cameron, the first female Beefeater.
The man accused of bullying, Mark Sanders-Cook, was later given an apology and a settlement, which Gen Cima opposed saying that HRP had "prostituted itself" by giving Mr Sanders-Cook money.
Following the first two nights of rioting and looting in North London, the chaos has continued for a third night and spread to other areas of London including Peckham, Clapham, Croydon, Hackney, Camden, Lewisham and surprisingly Ealing.
But it has not confined itself to the capital. 'Copycat riots' also broke out in Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.
Clearly the riots no longer have anything to do with the protest about the death of Mark Duggan, which occurred last Thursday 4 August, and are now the product of opportunists taking advantage of the situation to steal and loot.
Guests at a Scarborough bed and breakfast were left feeling "sick and horrified" after discovering that their host, owner Paul Williams, had been spying on them for sexual gratification.
His activities were discovered when one of his guests, a 16-year-old girl, noticed a poster, that had been place over one of the holes Williams had drilled in the doors, started moving.
The girl's boyfriend investigated and found the hole behind the poster, in a position that looked onto the bed. Outside in the corridor, the boy found Williams wearing only a dressing gown.
As part of the Government's review of sentencing in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, ministers have decided to increase the number of hours which offenders are required to stay in their homes while electronically tagged.
The daily maximum curfew time is currently set at 12 hours, but it will extend to 16 hours and can be imposed from six to 12 months.
The curfews are intended to protect communities and give offenders meaningful punishments that will help them stop reoffending and improve their lives.
Burning buildings, petrol bombs, attacks on police officers, rioting and looting of the like not witnessed since the 1995 Brixton riots took place in Tottenham, North London on Saturday 6 August.
The evening started with a peaceful protest about the killing of Mark Duggan by the police on Thursday (4 August). Duggan was allegedly a member of a local gang involved with drugs and gun crime.
Family and friends of Duggan had planned a peaceful march to demand justice for his death, but the protest turned to violence and disorder and by evening, Tottenham was ablaze. The police sent in vans, officers and horse-mounted officers, cordoning off the High Road.
The Government's consultation on 'Modern Workplaces' closes today and they have come up with a number of reforms to employment law that have not been received well by major business groups.
In particular, the plans to reduce the gender pay gap have been strongly criticised by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, who believe the plans will add "an unnecessary extra burden on business" and that they will "reduce rather than increase transparency on gender pay differences".
The new reforms would ensure that businesses which were found guilty at tribunal of discriminating between men and women through salaries would not only have to pay compensation to victims but also would have to carry out pay audits.
Currently, under UK law, it is illegal to create artificial sperm and egg cells using stem cells in order to produce a baby, say for an infertile or homosexual couple. But new "hugely exciting" research from Japan has found a potential way around this law.
The research, led by Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi from Kyoto University, involved taking stem cells from early-stage mouse embryos and turning them into cells that are a precursor to sperm cells, known as primordial germ cells (PGCs).
The PGCs were then transplanted into newborn mice which did not have their PGCs. Once transplanted, the cells produced normal-looking sperm.
Leona Lewis and her recording company Syco unveiled her new single 'Collide' on the 15 July when it was played on BBC Radio 1, and shortly afterwards she was accused of plagiarising the song.
Now, if Leona Lewis wants to officially release her single, she will have to fight an injunction in the High Court, brought by Swedish DJ Avicii.
Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, claims that he first wrote the instrumental part of the song in October last year.
Supermodel Linda Evangelista is demanding child support payments from her little boy's father Francois-Henri Pinault, named in a paternity case on 1 July this year.
Since the birth of four-year-old Augustin James Evangelista, Pinault has not paid a penny in maintenance, claiming that he was not the boy's father, and now that his paternity has been confirmed he is desperate not to part with any money.
It is hardly surprising that Pinault is fighting Evangelista's exorbitant claim for $46,000 (£28,250) a month, despite the fact that he has a family fortune of around $11.5 billion.
As the law currently stands in the UK, a gay couple may not be joined in holy matrimony, but they are legally entitled to form a civil partnership.
Many people are opposed to this law, and one supporter of reforming the civil partnership law is Conservative MP Chloe Smith.
Representing the Norwich North constituency, Ms Smith revealed her opinion on gay marriage at a Q&A session at Norwich Gay Pride on Saturday (30 July)
Today, Business Secretary Vince Cable will unveil plans to change UK copyright laws so that it will be legal to copy music and video from its original format to another device for personal use, which is great news since just about everyone in the country has already been doing so for years.
Following recommendations from Prof Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff School of Journalism, the Government has realised that the current laws, created 300 years ago, might be somewhat outdated.
By reforming the law, Vince Cable hopes that entrepreneurship will be encouraged, and an estimated £7.9 billion might be injected into the economy.
Henry Silverman, from New York, had amassed a great fortune during his 30-year marriage, and now that he wants to divorce his wife Nancy, he doesn't want to part with any of the money, claiming it was a product of his "innate genius".
Mr Silverman asserted that his $450 million estate was earned by him alone using his "unique personal traits" and he intended to use scientific evidence during the divorce hearing to prove it.
But State Supreme Court Judge Laura Drager decided to ban the expert evidence, which consisted of testimonies from psychological experts, from the trial.
The crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers hopes that by naming and shaming the top ten most wanted fraud criminals in the UK in their recently launched campaign, British people will no longer be duped by them and may even turn them in to the police.
These ten criminals are thought to be responsible for around £200 million of fraud between them. And according to Crimestoppers, fraud is not a "victimless crime". It costs each of us £700 every year.
Lord Ashcroft of Crimestoppers said, "This is not a victimless crime. Every single one of us is paying higher taxes, bank charges and insurance fees because of fraud.
A man a is currently on the run from the UK Border Agency after being caught in a sham marriage to an EU national so that he could continue to live in England.
Moments before he was due to be sentenced, Harinder Singh fled from Newcastle Crown Court after his lawyer told him he would most likely face imprisonment.
Mr Singh, from India, paid Svetlana Kozlovskaja, from Lithuania, £5,000 to marry him so that he could avoid deportation.
Just when we thought our jobs might be safe even into our twilight years, a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice means that employers may now be able to force workers to retire at 65 as long as their decisions are "justified on costs grounds".
The case at the ECJ involved a German State Prosecutor, Gerhard Fuchs, who wanted to continue working past 65 while his employer, the German State of Hessen, wanted to force him to retire as part of their cost-saving initiatives.
The ECJ ruled in favour of the employer, meaning that a precedent has now been set and British companies may attempt to use "cost justification" as a defence for forcing older workers to retire.
It could soon take police officers just minutes to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs, simply by taking their fingerprints.
Intelligent Fingerprinting, a spin-out company of the University of East Anglia, specialises in detecting and identifying drugs. They have developed a device that can pick up almost trace amounts of broken-down drugs that have been secreted through the sweat pores in fingertips.
Initially used to detect nicotine, the device is now capable of detecting various different drugs including cocaine, methadone and cannabis.