White Ribbon Week

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors we are committed to spreading the message far and wide that Domestic Abuse is not acceptable.
Domestic abuse is physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.
Everyone, whether male or female has a right to live a life free from violence. Abuse within the home still happens far more than you think; it’s just not talked about. Nationally, one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute. However, a significant many more incidents are never reported. Victims are sometimes too afraid to speak out, ashamed or unaware of the assistance that is available. Sadly, some victims have been conditioned or brought up to believe that it is just to be expected. 
Most of the victims are women and it’s mostly committed by men. There is no excuse. It is a cancer within our society that must be tackled and White Ribbon Week is a week during which we join with other campaigners and domestic abuse organisations nationally to raise awareness and pledge never to COMMIT, CONDONE OR REMAIN SILENT.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who maybe, we can help. Call us on 01992 558411.
Karen Johnson is an Associate Solicitor and Family Mediator of Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd. A Graduate of the University of East Anglia who then completed her Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London, qualified as a Solicitor in 2002 working in a local High Street Firm before joining Breeze & Wyles Solicitors in 2009 and becoming an Associate with the firm in 2011. Karen is a highly skilled and experienced Family Solicitor with in excess of 10 years experience of working in Family Law. She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the fields of Domestic Violence and Financial Matters. Karen is additionally a Family Mediator trained by and a member of the Family Mediators Association (The FMA) an association with over 20 years experience of Family Mediation. 

Whole truth and no fudging when it comes to insurance claims

Companies are at risk of losing out on insurance claims if they try to over-egg their story, even if the claim would have been accepted on its own merit.

That is the stark message of a recent case in the Court of Appeal, Versloot Dredging BV and another v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung and others, which has left a company without an insurance payout after a manager decided to add his own spin on events.
He fell foul of the rule that says that if a person, knowingly or recklessly, makes an untrue statement in support of an insurance claim, then the claim will be forfeited even if it is otherwise sound.
So, if someone exaggerates the value of items lost or destroyed, or says something untrue to support their claim, as in this case, they will forfeit their whole claim.
The case arose when the main engine of a ship owned by Versloot was irreparably damaged by water leaking into the engine room. The leak was caused by negligence on the part of the crew, combined with a defective pumping system in the engine room.
The ship was insured with HDI Gerling and the shipowners made a claim for the cost of a new engine.  Early in the claim, the ship’s general manager told the insurers that the captain had reported a bilge alarm going off several hours before the engine was damaged, but he had not investigated because the ship was rolling in heavy weather at the time. It later became clear that the captain had not made any report about the alarm.
The insurers refused to pay up on three grounds, one of which was that the owners had made fraudulent statements in support of their claim.
The High Court Judge rejected two aspects of the insurers’ defence, but agreed that the ship manager’s statement about the bilge alarm going off had been made to speed up settlement of the claim.  The intention had been to support the allegation of crew negligence, and distance the owners from any lack of due diligence.
The judgement resulted in the owners losing their entire claim, although the judge expressed concern that the law resulted in this outcome, as it would have been settled in full if it had been based solely on the true facts of the case.  The owners appealed against the ruling, but the Court of Appeal has now upheld the High Court’s decision, acknowledging the rule was harsh, but saying it was necessary to deter people from trying to deceive insurers.
Said Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Limited: “The outcome of this case is a reminder to keep to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 
“The decision may seem harsh, as the manager’s statement was a reckless untruth rather than a carefully planned lie.  Also, it was told on one occasion, was not followed up in the trial, and it was believed to be consistent with the events that actually happened. 
“But the law says that any false statement invalidates a claim, even if the underwriter is not deceived or if the false statement is immediately retracted or corrected.  So, it’s a stark lesson - whether your claim is for the loss of a supertanker or the loss of a laptop - always to be absolutely straight with insurance companies.” 
Versloot Dredging BV and another v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung and others
Web site content note: 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Change in law opens door to off-limits creative work

Copyright holders of creative works are being urged to make their mark and claim their rights, following the launch of a new licensing scheme that will enable reproduction of so-called ‘orphan’ creative works and performances.
Orphan works are copyright works where the right holder is unknown or cannot be traced and in the past this meant the works could not be reproduced.  Now, anyone can apply to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for a licence to use an orphan work, if they can show they have made real efforts to identify or trace the holder of the copyright.  They will have to pay a fee, and royalties will be held by the IPO for eight years in case rights holders come forward.   
The scheme will enable creative works and performances, such as diaries, photographs, films or pieces of music, to be reproduced on websites, in books and on TV, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes.   Without the licence, any reproduction would infringe copyright in the UK.   
Designed to give wider access to culturally valuable creative works, which may have previously remained out of public view because the rights holders cannot be identified, a licence will provide rights for up to seven years.   
Protection for copyright holders comes with the IPO holding all royalties it receives for orphan works in a ring-fenced account for eight years from the date of the licence.  The IPO can also refuse to grant a licence, for example where any proposed use could have a negative impact on the value of the work. 
The announcement of the new licensing scheme coincides with the introduction of the EU Orphan Works Directive, which enables museums, galleries and other cultural institutions across the EU to digitise certain orphan works and display them on their websites.  The objective is to increase access to Europe’s cultural heritage for works that are currently only available for viewing in a museum, archive or library. 
The UK licensing scheme and the Directive are complementary but separate.  Unlike the EU directive, the UK Orphan Works licensing scheme applies to all types of orphan works and provides for broader commercial as well as non-commercial use. It can be used by anyone and is not just restricted to cultural and heritage bodies.
Explained Breeze & Wyles Solicitors:  “There are commercial opportunities for users of these orphan works under the new licensing scheme, and some people, such as photographers, have sounded their concerns about a licence being granted after a cursory attempt to find the original owner.   But hopefully a combination of a fairly tough application process, and the fees that will be payable, will provide the required control.  
 “But if copyright owners want to be sure that their works aren’t subject to any future licensing under this new regime, they should make sure that their identity is well known, ideally by inclusion on the work itself.  That’s not always practical, but it’s another thing to bear in mind when authoring or holding such content.”  
Web site content note: 
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.