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The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 18th September 2017

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 18th September 2017

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.

Real Estate

How is Brexit affecting the Real Estate Market?

Reported by Anna Flaherty

UK construction has greatly suffered as a result of Brexit , with growth of the sector hitting a one year low last month, and has been said to be “flirting with another recession”.

This is in part due to the stagnation of growth in many investment plans, caused by the current Brexit climate. Duncan Brock, from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, has essentially blamed the Government for its lack of spending and its economic and political uncertainty.

The official surveyors’ body also anticipates that house prices and rent costs will flatline for the next year, perhaps longer. The surveyors’ body blames this forecast upon the political uncertainty that Brexit has brought. David Knights, from David Brown & Co, acknowledges that high stamp duty charges, sales, and new instructions have also hindered the market. However, he also believes recent political unrest to be the greatest contributory factor.

This negative impact on the housing market is perhaps the reason why so many UK homeowners are choosing to extend their homes into their basements, rather than moving house. There has recently been a 183% increase in the number of planning applications to do so. Though house prices are expected to flatline, it makes them no more affordable. Therefore, those aspiring to increase their living space are looking to expand into their basements and attics, as an alternative to buying a bigger property. Planning permission for these basements is likely to cause legal issues, as those who own the neighbouring land object to them, in fear of subsidence affecting their own property.

Regardless of whether these issues have arisen as a result of Brexit, or if they have been caused by other factors, the Real Estate market seems to be close to crisis.

 

Read more in The Guardian here, here, and here.

Criminal Law

Prisoner who was originally convicted of a 10-month sentence to be released after 11 years

Reported by Paige Water

James Ward was convicted in 2006 for committing arson. His original sentence was a minimum of 10 months; however, this year, 11 years later, he is to be released from prison, according to the  Parole Board.

His family commented on the matter, stating he was “left to rot”, but he will be released within weeks after being imprisoned for public protection. Furthermore, they have told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that parole hearings were delayed repeatedly, but they will release Ward when they are satisfied suitable accommodation and care support has been found. The care support has been said to need to be put in place due to Ward self harming in prison, along with his significant weight loss.

April Ward, his sister, has commented on the matter saying “so, it’s very exciting” after having a conversation with Wards solicitor and hearing about the decision. However, Ward himself has been said that he may not know the decision just yet. Ms. Ward commented on the care James would need when he left prison, especially with regards to his mental health, and stated that “we, as a family, will make sure that James’s release is successful; [that] the self-harm he gets help with. It’s very bittersweet that its taken 10 years for a Parole Board to finally see what we’ve been shouting for over 10 years: that James is not a risk to the public. The decision of the Parole Board isn’t down to a course or any difference in James’ behaviour, it’s down to the fact that, finally, they’ve seen that James is not a risk to the public.”

Following this, the Parole Board have commented on the matter. A spokesman has said “we can confirm that a three-member panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of James Ward following an oral hearing on 4 September 2017. The Parole Board is unable to comment on the specifics of individual cases”.

Mr. Ward is not the only prisoner who this has happened to, there are thousands of people within both England and Wales who remain in jail and still have no release date.

The chair of the Parole Board has previously told the government to “get a grip” about the issue of prisoners who are serving public protection sentences as these were only mean to be given to prisoners who were judged to be a risk to the public and had been abolished for sentences passed after December 2012.

Read more in The Guardian.

Employment Law

Public Sector Employment Continuing to Fall

Reported by Radhika Morally

A recent report conducted by the GMB union has revealed that the public sector’s share in the Labour market has fallen to the lowest point in 70 years, at 16.9%.

It has been suggested that this figure is representative of the loss of nearly a million public sector jobs in the past 7 years. Among the losses are 164,000 posts in education, 44,000 in the police force and 41,000 in the armed forces.

Rehana Azam, GMB’s national secretary for public services, has described these figures as both ‘shocking’ and a ‘stark reminder of the scale of the catastrophe that has befallen public services’.

However, in response to this statement, the government have said that for every job lost in the public sector since 2010, eight new jobs have been created in the private sector. They reasoned that the cuts to funding for public services have been vital to ‘put public services on a sound footing, allowing a much needed shift in focus to other areas of public policy.’

Read more in The Guardian, The Mirror.

 

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