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UK By-laws May Conflict With European Child Labour Legislation

UK local by-laws relating to children working outside of school hours may contravene European legislation on child labour, it has emerged. According to a report from the European Committee on Social Rights or ECSR, some children in the UK are being allowed to work “excessive” numbers of hours.

UK-wide legislation is in line with EU law on the subject. It allows children to work during term time for a maximum of twelve hours in one week. They may work no more than two hours on a school day or a Sunday, and they cannot start any earlier than 7am nor finish later than 7pm.

However, local by-laws can mean that the rules are effectively different in certain parts of the country, and in some areas the rules are somewhat looser. In a number of areas, children from the age of 13 can work as long as the labour they are engaged in is only “light.” Carrying out a paper round before school – which can commonly begin as early as 6am – is one of the most prominent types of job which falls into this “light work” category and is often given to children.

However, while the ECSR’s report does not dispute that this qualifies as light work, it also finds that it “ceases to be [light] if it is performed for an excessive duration.” Under some local laws, children are being allowed to carry out such work for hours which are indeed, under European law, excessive.

The rules on child labour form part of the European Social Charter – a legally binding document to which all subscribed nations are required to adhere. The ECSR – which is not part of the European Union but rather the Council of Europe – is tasked with monitoring how the charter is applied by each individual country. In the case of children working in some parts of the UK, the ECSR finds, the charter is not being applied correctly at all.

The report says, for instance, that “allowing children aged 15 years, still subject to compulsory education, to deliver newspapers from 6am for up to two hours per day, five days per week before school is not in conformity with the charter.”

It is not just work before school that the ECSR was concerned about, but also work carried out in school holidays. Outside of term time, UK law allows children aged 13-14 years to work up to five hours a day Monday-Saturday and two hours on Sunday up to a maximum of 25 hours per week· 15-16-year-olds may work up to eight hours Monday-Friday and two hours on Sunday, up to a maximum of 35 hours per week.

The ECSR was concerned this, too, could be considered excessive, and said that excessive working hours for children can put “their health, moral welfare or education” at risk. In their report, they suggested that UK children be given one fortnight-long break from all work during school holidays per calendar year.

Real Lawyers vs. Online Paper Form Sites – Which is More Efficient?

When the Internet was first coming into its own, Hollywood envisioned our life with computers and data reading as one with lots of tool-style interaction. It was thought computers would end up producing the most amazing food generators, TVs everywhere, microwaves with programmable environments, consumerism at the fingertip and maximum convenience via technology. Instead, the Internet grew into something far more subtle and fundamental in our lives; it became a necessary tool for us to find information regularly and function. The space-age microwaves and toasters didn’t manifest, at least not yet, but the Internet is fast becoming our “everything,” at least in terms of digital reach and information exchange.

The legal field has been no exception to the progress of the digital world. What used to be entirely the domain of working attorneys and law offices with research and face-to-face client meetings has now become a competition between boilerplate digital products people can download and the traditional interaction. Yet, in reality, it’s now “normal” of legal services. For basic legal services, the Internet has quickly become the go-to source for most consumers and small businesses, especially those looking to save money versus paying conventional legal fees. The services involved, of course, are not very complex. They are typically predictable legal tools such as basic wills for estate planning, limited liability corporation establishment, or basic contract and agreement templates. Deeper research and, of course, litigation representation are still safely in the domain of human attorney hands for now.

The above said, a good amount of basic legal fee generation comes from simple form preparation for clients. The litigation world of big cases and big settlements is a bit like winning the lottery. It happens, but definitely not to everyone. Most attorneys spend much of their time just producing documents. And this is where the online world can become a big threat competitively. If a product can be defined by writing, it can also be defined in a template. So far attorneys have been generally protected by the ability to “customize” a legal document or representation, but this is a simply a matter of taking enough input from a client and matching it to appropriate legal output in the form of writing, a call with other parties, or research advice. The digital world has already figured out how to do two of these three functions automatically. The Siri mode on an Apple iPhone is a simple example of verbal input and research-based correct output that is now automated.

The differentiating factor, according to Bloomberg, of a live attorney is experience, an aspect that digital coding and templates can’t duplicate or emulate. And that real experience comes out as skill, being able to think on ones toes about how to apply the law to a situation that keeps changing. That is the true value of a human attorney over the Internet. The digital world will continue to provide packaged services and products, some tailored as much as possible based on predictions of the most likely legal needs. But only a true attorney can adjust on a dime and catch the nuances that often make big differences in the success of a case. So when clients are choosing between downloading the next PDF document from LegalShoot.com or direct advice from the Law Office of Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, Esq., the emphasis of adaptable skill and how it is marketed can tell consumers which one is better for their needs.

Human Rights Court and Where Their Last Word Lies in Law-making

Sir John Laws, the longest-serving appeal judge, has challenged the rule of Lord Bingham that Strasbourg  should be the final authority on convention.


The European Court in Strasbourg is not supposed to have the last word on interpreting human rights convention. According to Sir John Laws, the national courts should make and follow their own interpretations of human rights issues. He stated this while giving one of his Hamlyn lectures in London in November 2013. He, as the longest-serving lord justice of appeal, questioned one important principle established by Lord Bingham 10 years ago. He had postulated that the correct interpretation for a case, called Ullah, can only be made by the human rights court in Strasbourg. Those states that have agreed to the convention, should all accept a uniform meaning for it.

However, Laws expressed his disagreement with this statement. According to him, the Strasbourg court should acknowledge that different cases on human right issues have different facts and therefore, require different answers. Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, also believes that the human rights court has tried to become a supreme court of Europe and needs to refocus its sphere of authority. However, it is important to note that Laws has made clear that he does not question the court’s powers to make rulings that bind the UK under international law.

It is required that the UK abides by the final judgment of the court under Article 46. Furthermore,  section 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires courts in the UK to consider the decisions of the Strasbourg court. However, this did not require states to follow Strasbourg rulings completely towards other countries.

The role of the human rights is to protect the fundamental values of people, said Laws. Human rights should not deal with minor choices on which people can easily disagree in the path of logic and humanity.

Furthermore, the potential supremacy of the EU court in Luxembourg and the human rights court in Strasbourg might challenge the effective development of the English common law.

English law has been developing through importing continental components and thus has been continuously refined.  Such principles were legitimate expectation and proportionality, plus the law of privacy. Those laws became part of the English law through Laws’ career as a barrister and a judge.


Liberian president Found Guilty of War Crimes

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor was found guilty of financially aiding rebels that carried out atrocities in his neighboring country of Sierra Leone. He was found guilty and was sentenced to 50 years in prison by The Hague, making him the first former head of state to be convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II. Taylor’s lawyers have put forward 45 grounds of appeal.

With defense lawyers claiming that the verdict is a miscarriage of justice, they are calling for Taylor to be acquitted of his charges on the basis that he was motivated by his greed for diamonds and not blood and that this greed led him to sponsor rebels in Sierra Leone; while stating that his actions may have indirectly lead to the deaths of more than 50 000 people and left many more maimed in a ten year civil war that end in 2002.

Taylor was said to have an arrangement with Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. He would provide them with arms and logistical support and in return he would be paid in ‘conflict’ diamonds.  Prosecutors in the meanwhile are urging for Taylor’s 50 year sentence to be upgraded, although practically a life sentence, to be upgraded to an 80 year sentence, to make more of an example of the 62 year old.  Judges last year found Taylor guilty of more than 10 war crimes, including the use of child soldiers, rape murder and torture.

Taylor’s lawyers are due to speak later this week, where they will argue that some evidence used against the former president is ‘uncorroborated hearsay’. Taylor was present in court but remained silent.  His situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better with presiding Judge Richard Lussick commenting “The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a result of his actions.”