Is Your Driving Licence up to Date?

By Frank Rogers at 00:00

Your driving licence is a legal document and inaccurate information on it could see you hit with a massive £1,000 fine.

Driving licences must be updated. Photocard licences must be renewed every 10 years and the DVLA says 2.4million people are at risk of heavy fines for not updating them on time. 

Photographs are important because the Police and other enforcement agencies use them to correctly identify whether a driving licence is being used fraudulently. They can be used by disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers impersonating drivers entitled to be on the road.

Failing to update simple information such as your name, title or address could also be enough to warrant a fine so you should update them regularly. 

Recent research revealed 1.5million motorists in the UK have incorrect information on their driving licence. Moving house is itself a stressful experience but you need to add to the “To-Do List” the need to change the address on your licence & the address DVLA have for vehicles registered to you.

Addresses must be updated for any accommodation you move into even if this is temporary and not a permanent move. This means students and young people are also affected as hundreds of thousands of students will take their vehicles to university each year. Having the wrong details on your licence is an offence. If DVLA has the wrong address for a vehicle registered to you & that vehicle is caught speeding (or committing another offence) the Notice asking the registered keeper for the vehicle to identify the driver will go to an out of date address. If you do not receive the Notice and, as a result, do not comply with it, you could be prosecuted & have your licence endorsed with 6 Points!

Applying for a new photo card is licence is simple and motorists are likely to receive their new one within a week of sending off an application. If you have forgotten to update your address you should do so as soon as possible. You will probably not receive retrospective punishment for coming clean as an offence will no longer be committed. 

Changing an address is free through the official DVLA platform and can be updated within just minutes. However, make sure you are on the official DVLA website as it is easy to be caught out by third-party firms using websites designed to look & read like the real DVLA site. One such site charged £35 for an over 70 licence renewal despite this being offered free from the DVLA’s official site. I was caught out once so be careful!

Tips

· Check the renewal date on your photo card licence;

· Check the address on your photo card licence;

· If the vehicle is registered to an address you do not live at do you have a system in place for mail received there to be checked & brought to your attention;

· Make sure DVLA are aware of any medical condition (including eyesight issues) that may impact on your ability to drive;

· Check that you are on the actual DVLA website when making changes.

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What is Unfair Dismissal?

By Laura Owens at 00:00

Unfair dismissal is a complex area of employment law, but one every employer should understand. In its simple form, the Law in the UK defines Unfair Dismissal as ‘Dismissing an employee without a fair reason to do so’.

There are five reasons whereby a dismissal is classed as ‘fair’. These include:

· Poor conduct
· Lack of capability in terms of health /or performance
· A genuine redundancy,
· A restriction / statutory requirement that prevents employment from continuing e.g. a delivery driver receiving a driving ban
· Some other substantial reason that explains the dismissal.

With this in mind, the following are deemed as Unfair Dismissal:

· A reason whereby the employee has been ‘Automatically Unfairly Dismissed’
· Dismissing an employee when the employer did not have a fair reason to do so and/or failing to follow a fair procedure.

There is a two year (minus one week) ‘qualifying period’ for Unfair Dismissal cases to make a Claim, however, there are instances when this rule does not apply these are known as automatically unfair dismissals. This is when an Employee’s Statutory Employment Rights are violated for example:

· Pregnancy/maternity/paternity matters;
· Exercising your right to receive National Minimum Wage;
· Dismissal related to health and safety representatives;
· Dismissal for refusal to work over 48 hours on average;
· Whistleblowing.

Before an employee can be ‘fairly dismissed’ an employer should generally follow a warnings procedure. This usually consists of:

· An informal meeting notifying the employee they need to improve within the workplace
· A verbal warning
· First written warning
· Final written warning
· Dismissal.

In cases whereby an employee has been dismissed for Gross Misconduct, an employer is legally able to skip these steps and go straight to dismissal – they must however still follow a fair disciplinary process carrying out a reasonable investigation, holding a disciplinary meeting and allowing the employee a right of appeal. Even if the employer can justify a fair reason to dismiss an employee, the dismissal may still be considered unfair if the correct and fair procedure has not been followed. An employee can find out what is classed as Gross Misconduct from their employer by asking for a copy of a staff handbook including policies and procedures.

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Are you Property Fraud Aware?

By Rachel Collier at 00:00

In my last blog, I discussed the reason why solicitors require your ID and bank statements when you are buying and selling property, the natural progression from that is how property fraud happens and what can you do to prevent it.

The Land Registry has stated that “Since 2009 we have prevented 279 fraudulent registrations with a combined property value of £133.4 million, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of our register.” In 2014 alone property fraud in the UK totalled almost £10 million and is on the increase.

People are increasingly falling victim to property fraud as the scammer’s tactics become progressively more sophisticated. Criminals will commit identify theft and impersonate anyone involved in the property transaction to falsely obtain mortgage funds or even to sell your property without you knowing. Your home is often your most valuable asset and as such you need to protect it.

We sell our homes for large sums of money, which makes it highly attractive for scammers to sell your home from right under your nose, they will transfer your property into their name using false documents and often take out a mortgage against your property. Your property is more at risk if there is no mortgage, it is rented out or empty. In addition, properties that are not mortgaged or registered with Land Registry are seen as more high risk.

Land Registry’s Property Alert is one of our most effective fraud prevention measures, where Land Registry sends email alerts to subscribers whenever there is significant activity on a property they are monitoring, such as a new mortgage being taken out. Since Property Alert’s launch in 2014 160,000 accounts have been created. 

You can set up a property alert at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/ or for more information on how to protect your property please contact the Kirwans property team.

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Why do you need my ID and bank statements?

By Rachel Collier at 00:00

So many clients ask this question when buying and selling property, it is common to hear “I have just given all this to the estate agents and my mortgage broker it is such a pain”.


The short answer is to protect you and us.


Money laundering is a problem for the UK, with trillions of pounds thought to be laundered through banks and properties. It has been pinpointed as a target for the government, with the economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen saying that “Money laundering regulation exists to help protect an honest business, so anyone who flaunts the law should know that swift action will be taken.”


But what exactly is money laundering and how does it affect me?


Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legitimate origin so that they can be retained permanently or recycled into further criminal enterprises.


Therefore under the Anti-money Laundering Regulations, it is vital that we can verify you are who you say you are and where your money comes from.


The number of properties purchased by overseas buyers or with proceeds of crime has had a huge impact on the UK property market. Criminals’ interest in properties has caused the average prices of homes to rise, especially within London boroughs, which has had a widespread effect on the rest of the market. Developers are now prioritizing more profitable high-end luxury homes that are popular with foreign investors.


Many believe that these occurrences have been a huge contributing factor to the housing shortage, as overseas buyers remove the availability of housing stock for UK citizens. This corruption extends beyond a purely economic impact. When overseas homeowners leave a house unoccupied, not only does this lead to a decline in local taxes, but it also affects the local area by creating ghost communities that are unappealing to live in.


In my next blog, we will look at how to protect your property from property fraud.

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New long-range speed cameras are now being used in the UK and could be rolled out across the country. Be warned as they can catch you committing various offences!

In the UK there are now a set of speed cameras which operate at much longer range than the cameras we are used to. As a result, they can spot you committing driving offences from over one kilometre away. This means that you could be caught

·        Speeding

·        Using your phone

·        Consistent use of the middle lane on a motorway

·        Undertaking

·        Driving carelessly, dangerously or being involved in a road rage incident

long before you have become aware of the presence of the camera.

Nicknamed the ‘Long Ranger’ the camera is primarily designed to catch motorists exceeding the speed limit. However, there are several other benefits for the Police in deploying these cameras. In addition to the offences listed above, they will also be able to capture images of drivers

·        Not wearing a seat belt

·        Not being in proper control because they are eating, drinking or fiddling with their phone

Drivers will be caught without realising it until they receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution through the post. They may well believe that they have slowed down on seeing the camera or police vehicle, they have avoided being caught. Road casualty statistics show that speeding needs to be controlled because exceeding the limit was a contributory factor in 14 per cent of fatal accidents in 2017. Despite that some drivers would prefer this new camera to be used to enforce other motoring offences – the reality is that they will be used for that purpose as well.

Initially, these cameras were set up on the A417 and A419 in Gloucestershire and managed to catch 1,200 drivers exceeding the speed limit and 32 drivers committing other offences.

There are rumours that these cameras could be rolled out to other areas across the country.

These cameras could make drivers more careful simply because they cannot be sure where they are deployed and therefore deter them from committing offences.

While Boris Johnson has promised to recruit 20,000 Police Officers in the next 3 years this will take time. In the meantime, the Long Ranger will become the long digital arm of the law so far as drivers are concerned.

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