Category Archives: Uncategorized

Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act Blog

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act was recently brought into effect very quickly.  The haste with which this went through Parliament was due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the massive concern about the origins of funds held by wealthy Russian oligarchs in this country.  There have been calls for a crackdown on oligarch money for a number of years and all sorts of concerns that the funds of the oligarchs have been welcomed to the UK to buy property and political influence.

Will this Act make any difference?  The flagship provision is a register of foreign ownership.  No longer will foreign owners be able to hide behind an arcane web of corporate ownership and law enforcement agents will be able to work out in a straightforward manner who owns what.  There are severe penalties if you do not comply with the Act and very difficult hurdles to overcome if you try to argue that you do not have to comply.

Let me make a prediction.  This legislation will have the same puny effect that Unexplained Wealth Orders have had.  They were introduced by an Act of Parliament in 2017.  These were touted almost as a nuclear weapon against organised criminals including Russians closely aligned with Vladimir Putin.  The legislation has been a complete damp squib.  It has not even been used against Russian oligarchs.  The new Act changes how Unexplained Wealth Orders can be granted and against whom.  In theory, there are more people who might be caught by the Orders, longer periods to freeze assets whilst investigations are ongoing, less risk of enforcement agencies having to pay costs if they do not succeed, and a watering down of the evidential basis for obtaining an Order.  The provisions in relation to financial penalties, the reporting of breaches, and the requirement for those against whom proceedings are brought to provide information also suggests, in theory, that the Government is serious in its intention.

But as they say “fine words butter no parsnips “  And so another prediction.  This legislation will not be so widely used that it makes any great difference.  Those who are on the receiving end of it are still likely to have deep pockets.  There are potential avenues open to make Human Rights Act challenges even though the Government seems hellbent on diminishing the human rights provision in the European Convention and the Human Rights Act. Also if you do not have more enforcement officers and more funding to bring such actions and if the whole Justice System (criminal and civil) is not funded beyond its paltry current level at then all of this will largely be noise rather than action.

I wonder, for example, what funds will be provided for Companies House to gain the ability to affect the necessary changes the new law brings.

A very laudable initiative.  I just don’t see the funding being there, law enforcement being able to make much of an impact, or the Courts dealing with matters in a speedy manner.  Therefore it is likely that this legislation, welcome as it might well be in most quarters, will not make anything more than a minimal splash.  Maybe I am wrong.  Time will tell. I wouldn’t bet any 500 Euro notes on it though.

 

John Goodwin June 2022

Cold injuries added to Judicial College Guidelines

Cold injuries added to Judicial College Guidelines. There are changes to the 16th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines published on the 13th of April 2022.  These now include a specific section on “cold injuries” which are mainly suffered by members of the Armed Forces but can also be diagnosed in people who work in extreme temperatures without adequate protection e.g freezers or chillers.  Cold injuries encompass freezing cold injuries (such as frostbite and frostnip) and non-freezing cold injuries which were formerly known as “trench foot” in the Second World War and result from prolonged periods of exposure to wet and cold conditions without adequate protection. Continue reading

Expert Reports for Litigation

Expert Reports in Litigation. We regularly receive enquiries from new clients regarding various matters such as disputes with developers of new build properties, where the client has obtained a report themselves prior to instructing a solicitor.

We often find that whilst the client has sometimes paid a substantial fee for these reports to be produced, they do not meet the criteria that are required to be able to rely on the report should proceedings be issued. Continue reading

Pest infestation – your rights

A house should be more than just a roof over your head; it should be a home. We can’t imagine anything worse than your home being raided by pests such as mice, rats, or insects.

If you live in rented accommodation, whether that be through a private landlord, housing association, or local council, and have trouble with pest infestations, we can help you take action to seek a solution and compensation. Continue reading

Instructing a Personal Injury Lawyer

Instructing a Personal Injury Lawyer. At Cohen Cramer, we are highly specialist lawyers with many years of experience of representing people who are injured through no fault of their own.  We will fight cases that other solicitors or insurers have rejected as we have the ability to see through pointless arguments by defendants to ensure maximum success and damages for our clients. Continue reading

Case Study for NFCI Military Injury Claim

We recently settled a claim for significant damages for Non-Freezing Cold Injuries for a former Soldier who served in the British Army.  Our client was exposed to freezing temperatures, well below zero degrees Celsius, whilst out on the ranges in basic training and thereafter on exercise in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada.  We alleged the Ministry of Defence failed to provide a suitable thermal kit for our client’s hands and feet.  Liability was admitted in part by the MOD. Continue reading

Property Disputes: Defects

The pandemic has seen struggle and shortages across all sectors, however, one sector in particular which has been notably affected is construction. It is well known that the pandemic has caused problems in respect of the availability of many building materials across the country, which has put into jeopardy the ability to complete on many homes. Continue reading

Dealing with a POCA matter

Dealing with a POCA matter. The POCA team at Cohen Cramer Solicitors offers first-rate expertise representing people facing confiscation proceedings.  Lauren Bowkett, Head of POCA deals with the department’s most complex and high-profile cases in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).  She is here to tell you everything you need to know about your POCA case. Continue reading