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The basics of tort law

In London, civil claims are brought against individuals every day. Sometimes this is through the use of tort law. A 'tort' refers to the act of one private citizen that is legally considered as causing injury or damage to another. The person who commits the tortious act is known as a tortfeasor, whilst the victim is a plaintiff. Tort law uses common principles and case law; it does not operate on the basis of a previous legal agreement, such as employment contracts.

Indeed, tort law involves civil wrongs, rather than criminal wrongs, the latter of which needs to be brought to court by police or the government rather than individuals. Furthermore, if a claim of tort is successful, those prosecuted only pay fines and compensation rather than receiving prison sentences.

Possible defences against defamation claims

If a person is the subject of defaming statements made by another party, they might be able to pursue compensation for damages through the courts. However, there are a number of defences the other party might be able to employ in an effort to absolve themselves from having to pay compensation. Some of these defences are explicitly listed in the Defamation Act of 2013.

One common claim is the honest opinion defence. This is a strategy that might be employed if certain conditions are met. First, the defaming statement must have been a matter of opinion rather than fact. Next, the statement must have represented itself as an opinion. This representation can be explicit or general. Finally, it must be demonstrated that an honest person could hold the defaming opinion because of facts at the time the statement was published or because of information contained in a privileged statement.

Avoiding employment discrimination in England

Employees in England are protected by law from certain types of discrimination at work, including discrimination that is based on age, disability, gender, race or sexual orientation. When employment discrimination occurs, the employer is responsible if a supervisor or another employee is the offender, unless the employer can demonstrate that everything within reason was done to prevent or stop the discrimination. To avoid this, there are some measures that employers can take.

Employers that provide employment benefits must provide them to all workers and not discriminate between types of protected classes. They should also make reasonable adjustments to the work environment for disabled workers. Furthermore, employers need to ensure that no employees are fired for being union members, having a protected characteristic, or accusing the employer, a manager or a co-worker of discriminating. They cannot act favorably toward family members who are employees either.

Settlement may have been reached in Tesco drivers' case

According to news outlets, an employment tribunal that was due to begin in Jan. 12 was suspended amid rumours that a settlement had been reached. The hearing concerned 184 lorry drivers who had brought a case for unfair dismissal after the delivery workforce was transferred from a retail giant to a privately held haulage firm.

The hearing had been due to hear evidence from a number of senior managers from the retail firm detailing the process of how the employment of the drivers had been transferred. The transport workers claimed that their transfer was designed to put them out of work. The dispute began in August 2012 when their employment was passed to the haulage firm. One month later, they were issued 90-day notices of termination with no indication if their employment would be resumed.

Judge sees "no aggression" in video of sacked employee

A man who had worked for nearly two decades as a lollipop man is suing the council that sacked him. The 46-year-old Londoner told an employment tribunal that his dismissal for behavior that was allegedly threatening, abusive and racist was unfair.

The panel heard that the man had been talking loudly on his mobile phone whilst waiting for colleagues in the Town Hall reception area. He was approached by another council employee, who was described as "aggressive" and "intimidating" by witnesses, who asked him to talk more quietly. The man allegedly responded, "Who are you, King Kong? I will break you, move away from me."

Singer sued for alleged bodyguard's attack

A 20-year-old singer is being sued by a man who claims that he was injured in an altercation with the performer's bodyguards. The man has acknowledged that the singer was not directly involved in the brawl but has brought the litigation against the 20-year-old, claiming that he is financially responsible due to the nature of their employment.

The incident occurred in a New York nightclub car park in 2013 after a woman was prevented from approaching the singer. She returned to a VIP section of the club with the complainant, allegedly upsetting the singer, who then took off his shirt and verbally abused the man, according to reports. The singer and his entourage then left the club, but the argument resumed in the car park, and the police were called to attend.

What exactly is whistleblowing?

It is a common story in London and the rest of England for someone known as a whistleblower to be unfairly dismissed. However, not everyone may be quite sure what exactly a whistleblower is.

A whistleblower is a person who has made a disclosure in the public interest, or "blown the whistle" as it is often called. This involves revealing a wrongdoing in the workplace that might involve illegal activity, unsafe practices or unethical practices. For example, someone may reveal that their employer is damaging the environment or that a specific employee is being neglectful of their duties.

Google continues fight against breach of privacy claims

An online search engine company is appealing a ruling allowing three individuals to sue for breach of privacy in the UK. The group claims that Google was undertaking clandestine tracking and collation of their online usage in order to target them with personalised advertisements.

The world's most widely-used search engine firm has said that the claimants have no legal right to raise the case in England and has appealed a ruling that gave permission for the civil litigation to proceed. A statement released by the firm has said that the case does not meet the required standards for the hearing, and notes that a similar case was dismissed in its entirety in the U.S. previously.

Directions offered when cases are taken to civil court

In order to make sure that everything to do with a claim raised in a civil court is available to all involved parties, the court gives a series of instructions on how to prepare cases. Known as directions, these instructions are given before the full court hearing in order to establish which areas of the case are under dispute.

Directions are also given so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. These will include selecting the correct level of judge and will determine the time allocated to the hearing. Directions are also intended to ensure that both parties have a good understanding of the other's case and that preparations are focused on the areas of dispute. They may also allow a settlement to be made so that a hearing becomes unnecessary. In general, both the claimant and the defendant have a legal duty to assist the court by trying to reach a sensible agreement.

UK's biggest retailer faces legal action after profits scandal

One of the UK's largest retailers may be facing a class action suit as the law firm representing shareholders who suffered from the RBS banking scandal are seeking investors to raise a claim. A spokesperson for the firm said that the class action litigation would attempt to clarify if shareholders in the retailer should be entitled to compensation for their financial losses.

A partner in the firm said that if there was enough interest by 23 Jan., they intended to begin High Court proceedings in the first half of 2015. The retailer is the subject of an investigation for Serious Fraud after a whistleblower revealed that there were accounting irregularities that led to a £263 million overstatement of profit, slashing the company's stock market value by billions when the scandal was uncovered.

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