Following a consultation which concluded in April this year, the Government stated yesterday (28 September) that they have made "no final decision" on the proposed extension of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.
The new rules would mean employees would have to be with a company for two years rather than just one in order to be eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim.
Unions are vehemently opposed to such a change, as well as opposing other plans to introduce fees for employees wishing to sue their employers at a tribunal.
September 2011 Archives
Following a consultation which concluded in April this year, the Government stated yesterday (28 September) that they have made "no final decision" on the proposed extension of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.
With universities now having strict rules to adhere to in order to maintain their status as foreign-student sponsors, the number of reports over suspicious student visas has been increasing.
Figures released to the Manifesto Club campaign group under the Freedom of Information Act showed that more than 1,500 foreign students are being reported every month to the UK Border Agency.
The Manifesto Club, a group that campaigns against regulation and supports free movement across borders, said that the strict visa controls mean that academic bodies feel forced to spy on their students, ultimately ruining relationships between students and teachers.
The travellers residing on the illegal site at Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex, are continuing their fight against the local council to remain in their homes by applying to English Heritage to give a part of their site protected status.
Following the council's eviction notice, which gave the residents of the largest illegal site in the UK until the 19th September to move out, an injunction was issued preventing the bailiffs from forcefully evicting the travellers.
Legal appeals are now taking place at the High Court, but in the meantime the residents of Dale Farm hope to gain protected heritage status for the scaffolding gateway at the entrance to the site.
The Law Commission have claimed that a loophole exists in the law which may result in people guilty of kidnap not being punished as harshly as they should.
The commission claims that the current legal definition of kidnap is "ambiguous" and that it is not enough for a victim to simply be taken away, other conditions need to be met for the crime to be defined in law as kidnap.
Professor David Ormerod of the Law Commission said: "The definition of kidnapping is both vague and arbitrary. Reform is needed to clarify the nature of kidnapping for the courts and allow practitioners to deal effectively and proportionately with the range of criminality."
Following a major report on reforming the youth justice system in Northern Ireland, plans to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old have sparked heated rows in the Irish Assembly.
The current age of responsibility in Northern Ireland is 10 years old, the same as in England and Wales, but in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland the age is 12 and in Europe it is 14.
The Democratic Unionist Party believe that raising the age would be coddling children who commit criminal acts, declaring that the action would be the "hug a hoodie" approach.
The Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea, London, is taking another NHS body to the High Court to fight their proposed closure of the hospital's child heart surgery unit.
The hospital claims that the Joint Committee of the Primary Care Trusts of England carried out a "deeply flawed" consultation, which aimed to streamline paediatric congenital cardiac surgery services (PCCS) in the UK.
The Royal Brompton Hospital, which claims that shutting down their specialist children's heart surgery unit could put the hospital's viability at risk, has been granted a judicial review over the consultation that will begin later at the High Court.
The Ministry of Justice today announced the introduction of the Prisoners' Earnings Act which will take money from prisoners' wages to be paid into victim support funds.
Prisoners who are considered low-risk and are permitted to work outside of prison will have up to 40% of their weekly wages over £20 paid into the national charity Victim Support, which helps victims recover from their experiences.
The MoJ estimates this will provide up to £1 million a year, meaning that less money will be required from taxpayers.
It was recently reported by the Daily Mail that an increase in the current 70mph speed limit on motorways could be debated in this month's Conservative Party conference.
Experts have argued that by doing so, not only would journey times be shortened but also the economy would be improved.
The Department for Transport's statistics showed that in 2010, 49% of cars on motorways exceeded the 70mph speed limit, while 14% travelled at speeds greater than 80mph.
Many people find charity fundraisers who stop passers-by in the street to get them to sign-up to direct debits can be a nuisance, but Wolverhampton city council has decided to tackle the problem with threats of court action and fines.
Unwilling to tolerate 'charity muggers', the council introduced byelaws in February 2010 which expressly forbid 'chuggers' from operating in the city centre. And now they have warned fundraising companies that they will face court action and fines of up to £500 if they disobey.
After asking Wolverhampton residents what they thought about charity fundraisers on Twitter, the council were "swamped with complaints".
This weekend (24 and 25 September) Matt O'Connor, the founder of the group Fathers 4 Justice, along with many other disenfranchised fathers will protest outside Buckingham Palace by holding a hunger strike.
The protest is a continuation of the hunger strike held outside the home of Prime Minister David Cameron in Oxfordshire, in July 2011, which was prompted by Mr Cameron's comments on Fathers Day.
On that day, Mr Cameron said that "its high time runaway dads were stigmatised, and the full force of shame was heaped upon them. They should be looked at like drink drivers, people who are beyond the pale."
A cage fight between two young boys that took place in Lancashire has been described as 'very barbaric' and 'disturbing' and was subjected to a police probe.
The boys, aged eight and nine, were taking part in a wrestling match in front of 250 adults at Greenlands Labour Club in Preston on 10 September.
A video of the fight was published on YouTube and showed that neither child wore protective padding or head gear and they were also shown receiving medical attention.
A 73-year-old woman from British Columbia, Canada is suing her adult children for parental support, despite them claiming that she abandoned them over 30 years ago.
Shirley Anderson began her claim nearly 12 years ago under section 90 of the B.C. Family Relations Act. The Act ensures that adult children must legally support parents "dependent on a child because of age, illness, infirmity or economic circumstances".
Her son Kevin Anderson, 47, is fighting his mother's claim for $750 (£486) a month as he claims that she moved away and left him and his siblings to fend for themselves when he was 15 years old.
Following a fatal earthquake in Italy in 2009, a group of scientists were charged with manslaughter for failing to accurately predict it and warn the population. They went on trial yesterday (20 September).
The earthquake, which razed the city of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region to the ground and killed 309 people, was of a 6.3 magnitude.
The group facing trial, consisting of six seismologists and a government official, were part of a government panel set up to assess the danger after the area had suffered 400 tremors in the preceding months.
In the same way that films depicting graphic violence, sex and drug-taking are classed as only suitable for adults to watch, new research has been published which suggests that films with scenes of smoking in should also be given an 18 rating in order to reduce the risk of influencing children.
The research, carried out by the UK Centre of Tobacco Control Studies and published in the Thorax journal, showed that out of 5,000 adolescents, those who had watched films with smoking in were 73% more likely to have tried smoking than those who hadn't seen smoking in films.
The teenagers were asked whether they had watched certain films such as Spider-Man, Bridget Jones's Diary and The Matrix. The teens who had seen the most films which showed smoking were 50% more likely to be smokers than those who had seen fewer films with smoking in.
The Ministry of Justice has recently introduced a ban on referral fees for solicitors in personal injury matters.
A referral fee is charged by one company for providing a client to another company; a common example of this would be a solicitor paying an estate agent a fee for recommending their conveyancing services to prospective house-buyers. The estate agent gets a fee and the solicitor has a client and therefore will eventually still make a profit.
In personal injury claims, however, the situation appears to have got slightly out of hand.
At a Liberal Democrat party conference today, Energy Minister Chris Huhne is expected to launch an attack on the 'big six' energy suppliers, accusing them of "predatory pricing" and forcing smaller competitors out of the market.
He will state that the big companies must stop the practice of enticing new customers to join through cheap deals, which mean that their loyal customers face higher bills and that smaller competitors have no chance to get a foot in the door.
Mr Huhne will say: "It is not fair that big energy companies can push their prices up for the vast majority of their consumers - who do not switch - while introducing cut-throat offers for new customers that stop small firms entering the market.
Passports contain information about individuals such as their name, nationality, age and gender but for people who undergo sex-change operations, and those who are intersex, deciding which box to tick for gender can be complicated.
In response to pressure from the Liberal Democrats, the Home Office has begun a consultation to see whether it would be possible to implement a change to the system, taking into account what kind of problems it could cause for the UK Border Agency.
A spokeswoman for the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said: "We are exploring with international partners and relevant stakeholders the security implications of gender not being displayed in the passport.
Claiming it breached his human rights to prevent him from exercising in public spaces, convicted paedophile Christopher Williams successfully appealed to the courts to overturn a court order that prevented him from entering local parks where children play.
Mr Williams, currently residing in a probation hostel in Carlisle, was convicted and jailed in 1996 for molesting a 12-year-old boy.
After his seven-year imprisonment, he was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which stopped him from going to public parks and play areas in order to limit his contact with children.
For years gay couples have campaigned for the right to have legally recognised marriages but currently same-sex couples are only permitted to enter civil partnerships, which despite offering the same legal treatment for most matters, does not allow the union to be referred to as a marriage.
Campaigners argue that denying same-sex couples the same privileges and rights as other couples is "homophobic discrimination".
But early next year, the Government will hold a consultation on changing the laws for same-sex couples.
Yesterday morning (15 September) a trader working at the Swiss bank USB was arrested for rogue trading that resulted in the loss of £1.3 billion.
Kweku Adoboli, 31, a graduate of Nottingham University, worked as a 'market maker' at the Swiss bank, advising their clients about the prices at which they ought to sell and buy their shares.
It is currently uncertain exactly how Mr Adoboli managed to make such huge losses, but USB's chief executive Oswald Gruebel said he "will spare no effort to establish how it happened".
Uninsured drivers currently make up about 4% of the driving population of the UK and the Motor Insurers' Bureau has released figures showing where the majority of them can be found.
Those who drive without insurance may do so because they believe that insurance premiums are too high, but it is their actions that force up costs. It is estimated that an extra £380 million, or around £30 per person is added to premiums because of uninsured drivers.
As well as being a financial burden on other motorists, uninsured drivers often tend to be younger drivers who have more accidents, thus increasing the risk to other road users.
The Ministry of Justice today published information on the rioters brought before the courts for the public disorder that occurred between the 6th and 9th August 2011.
The data include statistics on those people's previous offences, the average custodial sentences compared to those given for similar offences in the past and the number of people still currently held in custody.
Of all those who appeared before the courts for offences related to the riots, 73% already had caution or conviction issued to them in the past. Divided into age groups, 77% of the adults had previous offences compared to 55% of the youths.
Yesterday afternoon (14 September) a public outcry on the social network site Twitter became so vociferous that it forced the high-street clothing store Topman to withdraw two T-shirts from its range, both in shops and online.
Indignant Twitter users flooded the site with messages complaining that the slogans written on the shirts were "bad taste", "disgraceful", "sexist and offensive" and "glamorising domestic violence".
The first shirt's slogan read "Nice new girlfriend. What breed is she?"
A man who posted offensive messages and videos online on memorial pages for teenagers who had tragically died has been sentenced to jail.
Twenty-five-year-old Sean Duffy from Reading would find out about deaths in the media and then use websites such as YouTube and Facebook to cause "untold harm" by leaving malicious posts, an activity known as 'trolling'.
Mr Duffy created a Facebook page called Tasha the Tank Engine and linked it to a page made to remember 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde who committed suicide on railway tracks near her home on 14 February this year.
This week Irish Minister Stephen Farry announced that students from other parts of the UK could be charged up to £9,000 per year to study in Northern Ireland.
But solicitors currently involved in the legal battle against rising tuition fees in England and Wales have claimed that the move would be unlawful and may face legal challenges from disgruntled students.
Public Interest Lawyers, a Birmingham-based firm representing two students who are challenging the increased tuition fees in England, believe that the fee hike is tantamount to discrimination.
Ed Miliband was booed by audience members during his address to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference in London. He was jeered after he said he had not changed his position that the public-sector strikes in June this year should not have taken place.
He said: "I fully understand why millions of decent public sector workers feel angry. But while negotiations were going on, I do believe it was a mistake for strikes to happen. I continue to believe that."
The strikes concerned the Government's public sector pension reforms. Critics of the reforms say that they will see public sector workers, such as teachers, nurses, and civil servants, work for more years and contribute more money to their pension, but receive less in return.
Police have rescued 24 men who were being held in a "state of virtual slavery" in the Green Acres caravan site, Leighton Buzzard. The 200-strong police raid took place in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 11 September.
The men, aged between 20 and 50, were emaciated and exhausted.
The police have arrested four men and one woman under the slavery and servitude provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
The Government has announced it is going to ban the controversial fees paid by certain personal injury solicitors to insurance companies for the details of their customers who have been involved in road traffic accidents.
Motorist groups, such as the AA, and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) welcome the decision as they say the referral fee system has contributed to the significant increase in motor insurance premiums.
The referral fees, which are paid not only to insurance companies but hospitals, ambulance drivers and garages as well, can average £800 per claim.
A group of squatters evicted from the new home of a neurologist and his heavily pregnant wife yesterday (Wednesday 7 September) have moved into a basement flat 300 yards away.
The squatters left Dr Oliver Cockerell and his wife Kaltun's West Hampstead home after the District Court granted the couple an eviction notice, despite their legal team failing to follow correct procedure.
The judge, Ian Avent, said that squatting is "becoming slightly prevalent" in North London, adding "I understand that it is up to the courts to nip that in the bud."
Despite the Office of Fair Trading upholding the super-complaint lodged by Which? in June, the Government has yet to take any action to prevent vendors charging extortionate debit card surcharges.
The worst offenders are airline companies, and Which? has calculated that since June until now, customers purchasing airline tickets have paid out an extra £18 million in debit card surcharges.
Companies such as Swiss Air, Lufthansa and easyJet all charge for payments made by debit cards. Fees can be anything from £4.50 to £8 per payment and often these fees are kept hidden until the very end of the purchasing process. Although, easyJet and Ryanair have renamed their surcharges as 'booking fees'.
A father from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is taking the social networking site Facebook to court for allowing "inappropriate" photos of his 12-year-old daughter to be published online.
He claims that his daughter is at risk of being targeted by paedophiles due to the "photographic images and literary content" on his daughter's profile page.
Members of Facebook are required to be aged at least 13, but the website does not enforce this rule by asking for proof of age and merely assumes that children will be truthful about their age when signing up for accounts.
A recent survey conducted by Graduate Prospects found that nearly half of all university students undertaking internships are unpaid.
Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, said: "Despite the hype around unpaid work experience placements over the last few years, we can see from the study that a huge proportion of interns still have to work for free."
These days, it is important to be able to show that, in addition to good academics, relevant professional experience has been gained through an internship. Equally, internships allow employers to gain an insight into whether candidates are likely to be suitable for a particular role within their organisation and to recruit them accordingly. They also enable them to utilise the skills of the intern in a cost-effective manner.
Prime Minister David Cameron is soon to make a crime speech in which he will announce his support for plans to allow television cameras into court rooms.
Despite a consultation between the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary having not yet taken place, the PM's speech will expedite the plans to have "limited" coverage of trials such as the sentencing remarks of judges.
Broadcasters such as Sky News have long been pushing for more access to court proceedings, since currently cameras are banned from all courts in England and Wales except for the Supreme Court, where for the past two years cameras have been permitted.
Conservative think-tank Policy Exchange has produced a report on the costs involved in running the police force and found that £150 million a year is wasted on officers carrying out jobs that could easily be fulfilled by civilians.
The report, the Cost of the Cops, said that uniformed officers are spending too much time "hidden away in back offices", working in control rooms and forensic suites instead of out on the streets policing.
The report highlighted figures which showed that some 14,500 officers did not make any arrests last year and in Derbyshire almost half of their officers made no arrests at all.
A millionaire hedge-fund manager will soon have to pay the most expensive settlement in the history of UK divorces.
Pierre Lagrange, who runs GLG Partners, split from his wife last year after revealing that he is gay. He has since become involved with fashion designer Roubi L'Roubi.
Mr Lagrange's fortune is said to be worth around £300 million, since as well as being successful in hedge-fund managing, he also invested in high-grossing films such as Kick-Ass and Avatar. Pierre Lagrange has had to start selling off assets, such as his Kensington home, to pay the £150 million settlement.
As of yesterday (1 September) it will no longer be possible for shops to buy or import 60-watt light bulbs, and once retailers' stocks have run out we will no longer be able to purchase them in the UK.
This is part of an EU directive to improve energy efficiency. The phase-out of the older style of light bulbs began in 2009 when the 100-watt bulb, which has been around since Victorian times, was culled, followed by the 75-watt last year.
The process will be complete next year when the last of the energy-guzzling bulbs, the 40-watt and 25-watt, are phased out.
While most parents are willing to care for their children financially, there are some who try to avoid paying child support and the Child Support Agency has revealed some of the worst excuses.
One maintenance-dodging father was a footballer, earning £4,000 a week. He claimed he couldn't pay child maintenance because he had to pay for the upkeep of his Ferrari.
Another responsibility-shirking father complained that he had forked out for his ex-partner's cosmetic surgery. He said: "I paid for her breast enhancement and her new boyfriend is getting the benefit. I'm not paying child maintenance on top."
Sussex Police want to question a woman who went abroad on holiday leaving her four-year-old daughter home in the care of her 16-year-old brother, who left the child alone to go joyriding.
The brother and a friend were arrested by police on suspicion of driving offences and it was then that police learned of the little girl at home alone.
The brother, who was stopped by police in Maidenbower, Sussex, at 1am on Tuesday (30 August), was held on suspicion of being carried in a stolen vehicle and child neglect.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has claimed that organisations which offer counselling before abortion services are bound to offer biased advice to pregnant women, since the organisations make money through abortions.
Last year abortion providers Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service carried out around 100,000 abortions and received around £60 million, largely through the NHS.
Mrs Dorries believes that counselling from abortion providers must be biased since they have a vested interested in carrying out terminations.