Thursday, 22 November 2012


Are you a Council House or Housing Association Tenant?  Are you aware that from April 2013 our housing benefit could be affected if you have a spare unoccupied room in your house?.

Putting it as simply as possible if your Local Authority decides that your home is too big for your needs your housing benefit will be reduced.  This has been called the under occupancy rule.

If your Local authority decide that you have one extra bedroom that is unoccupied then your housing benefit will be cut by a fixed percentage amount of 14%, if you have two or more extra bedrooms then that figure increases to 25%


So the question is will YOU be affected by this new rule, below is a list of the rooms you can rent without your housing benefit being affected.

1. If you are a couple and you have one bedroom.

2. If you have one bedroom for two children under the age of 10 (boys and girls are expected to share bedrooms up until that age)

3. If you have one bedroom for two children up to the age of 16 who are of the same sex.

4.  If you have an extra bedroom if you or your partner needs an overnight carer.

IF  YOU HAVE A CHILD WITH SEVERE SPECIAL NEEDS you may be able to justify their having their own room but you will needs to obtain assistance from your welfare benefit adviser in regard to this.

The circumstances in which you will NOT be able to claim housing benefit for an extra room are as follows:- 

1.  If you are a foster carer you will not be able to claim housing benefit if you provide your foster child with their own room.

2.  If you or your partners use separate rooms due to illness.

3.  If there is  disabled adult living in the home.

4. If you are divorced or separated and your children come to visit 

If you have a specially adapted home, your benefits may be cut despite however as it would be expensive and impractical to move you if your housing benefits are cut then you can apply for assistance under the discretionary housing benefit scheme further details of which can be obtained from

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Okay it is Christmas, a time when we give presents to each other.    We are sure, quite a few of you will be shopping online and in the stores this weekend for toys for your children and grandchildren.  When Christmas morning comes no doubt you will be able to sharing the joy and excitement on your children’s and grandchildren’s face as they open their toys.

Toys are meant to provide enjoyment and education for children of all ages, however they can also provide a great deal of danger. Small children, when left unsupervised, can sustain injuries to their eyes, mouth, throat, ears, arms, or legs, depending on the toy.

There are vigorous and essential safety requirements that manufacturers must make sure they undertake before they sell toys and  those warning signs and instructions are not attached to toys and packaging for fun.

Most children’s toys are actually very safe. However, every year, over 35,000 children under 15 go to A&E after tripping over, swallowing, or otherwise injuring themselves with a toy or part of a toy. Most of these accidents happen to toddlers between one and five.

One of the ways you can ensure that the toy you are purchasing for your child/grandchild this Christmas are safe is to look for toy labels - the most important one being the European Community (CE) symbol. A toy with this label is certified as meeting the requirements of the EC Toy Safety Directive.

So what do you do if your child is injured this year while playing with a toy? Your  first priority is to get your child medical attention.  Once you have ensured that your child is in safe hands, take a good look at the toy that caused the accident, is it defective or was it poorly designed, could something have been missed in the testing and quality control process, and, is this the reason that your child was hurt?.  If it is you may have a claim for personal injury.  Do not throw the toy away, if you still have the packaging keep it and take photographs of your child’s injuries.  

If you think you may have a claim and you need help as a litigant in person please ring us and we will do all we can to help you prepare your claim.

Don’t forget if you are concerned about the safety of any toy, you can report it straight away to your local trading standards office, who have a responsibility in law to protect consumers from unsafe products - and could prosecute the suppliers if a toy turns out to be unsafe.

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations.



Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Its Christmas and the office party is looming.  Its a time when everyone should be having a good time while the boss says thank you for your year's hard work by arranging the party.  However unfortunately it also a time when employees over indulge with the alcohol and this can result in office punch ups, threatening behaviour, inappropriate comment, incidents of harrassment and bullying and discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, sexuality, religion, disability or age.

Well you might be surprised to find out that you as an employer are responsible for your employees acts if they are carried in the course of their employment, and attending the Christmas Party is in the course of their employment

Employers you need to think about what you can do to minimise risks of your employers acting inappropriately at the Christmas Party

You need to be aware that when arranging a party  you may have employees who are of different religions and cultures.  As Christmas is  Christian celebration, not everyone may want to attend a Christmas party but you need to make sure that you invite everyone even people who are off work due to holidays or maternity/paternity leave.  Don't push people to attend the party and do remember that you may need to request vegetarian or halal food etc and not everyone drinks alcohol, so make sure that there are alternative beverages.

Try to make sure that you  avoid clashes with other religious dates, such as Jewish Hanukkah or the Islamic New Year, which tend to fall around the same time as Christmas

If you have employees who are disabled make sure that the venue has appropriate facilities and if partners are invited that invitation should include same sex partners,

Employers owe employees a ‘duty of care' and therefore you should also give some thought to ensuring that employees get home safely.  If you are aware employees are drinking don't allow them to drive home after the party.

Remind employees that inappropriate behaviour at the party and non attendance at work the following day may result in  their being disciplined in accordance with the companies Code of Conduct Policy.

Make sure you have clear and unambiguous policies in place, this will assist in defending any possible claims that you may receive. Make sure that if there are any complaints after the Christmas party that you investigate them fully and adhere to fair procedures . Follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures or your own internal disciplinary procedures.  Any failure to act promptly could result in claims for discrimination at an Employment Tribunal.

Remember that as an employer you are liable for the actions and conduct of employees but also for third parties, i.e. entertainers or after dinner speakers!

One final thing employers owe employees a ‘duty of care' and therefore you should also give some thought to ensuring that employees get home safely if you are aware that they are drinking. In particular, make sure that they do not drink and drive after a party.

Why not provide contact numbers of local taxis and encourage staff to use them.

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations


Cyber bullying is defined as the use of ICT deliberately to upset someone.  It is a particularly nasty and upsetting form of bullying and there are things you can do if you are a victim of this form of bullying.  The effects of cyber bullying can be serious causing stress, a sense of isolation and at its worse can make you have suicidal thoughts.

Cyber bullying can take the form of malicious texts, facebook messages, malicious e-mails from anonymous senders and photographs and video footage of you used inappropriately over social network sites.

If you are the victim of Cyber bullying through malicious texts and e-mails at work block the caller/sender and report the incident to your Manager or HR Department immediately.If your child is a victim of cyber-bullying and you think you may know who the perpetrator is contact your child’s school immediately, as they normally have an established anti-bullying policy.

Under no circumstances reply to any inappropriate messages and Don’t forget to SAVE any emails/IMs/text messages or print out/take a screen shot of the content on the internet as evidence.  GET IN CONTACT WITH YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER to report the user and ask them to remove the content.  If you feel threatened or in fear of your life contact the Police IMMEDIATELY.

While there is no specific criminal offence called cyber bullying, these acts can be criminal offences under a range of different laws to include the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and Public Order Act 1986

Cyber-bullying is being taken very seriously by the Courts and Facebook were recently ordered to provide the identity of cyber bullies for more information

If u have been or are a victim of cyber bullying you can bring criminal charges and a claim for personal injuries against the perpetrator

Affordable Law For You do not provide assistance in respect of criminal matters but do feel   very strongly about this matter and if need to get in contact with a Criminal Firm of Lawyers because you wish to bring charges against anyone who has committed such an act against you contact the Law Society and ask them for details of Criminal Solicitors in your area.

If you want to bring a claim for personal injuries we would be more than happy to help you with this.  Please contact us at   

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations


Friday, 9 November 2012

Believe us when we say that Christmas lights can result in your homes being consumed by fires caused by Christmas lights and candles.   Every year around 350 people a year are injured by Christmas tree lights, according to RoSPA.
Not only are there injuries when people fall due to using inadequate furniture to put up lights rather than a proper stepladders but many people end up with burns from faulty lights or even their home catching fire.   Further there are the injuries that are caused by children swallowing the Christmas light bulbs and people getting electric shocks.
To avoid an injury this Christmas purchase lights which have a British Safety Standard mark e.g. BS Kitemark.
We know you want to make your home look gorgeous this Christmas but don't overload plugs only fit 1 plug per socket unless u have a bar adaptor lead and make sure that cables aren't anywhere that they could cause a tripping accident.   Ensure that this Christmas you keep your Christmas lights well clear of decorations and other flammable materials and yes  Christmas lights are pretty but always switch the lights off before you go to bed and when you leave the house
With so many people round the house at Christmas  we know it may be a little difficult but don't allow young children to play with your Christmas lights and definitely do not let the dog chew the lights or the wires..
Finally don’t  forget to test your lights and the wiring before you put them up, as they can deteriorate over the years and finally check whether your lights can be used internally or externally

When Christmas lights are supplied to you the manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that they are safe and the heaviest burden of responsibility lies with the manufacturer of the goods, but retailers and wholesalers that distribute the products also have a legal responsibilities.

If Christmas lights cause damage to your home, or, the contents of your home, keep the lights if they are still in a fit state and ensure that you get them inspected to see if they were defective  

If you are injured by Christmas lights in someone else's home you may be able to claim under the Occupiers Liability Act, but there are certain things you will need to do.
1.      Take photographs of any injuries
2.      Try to obtain a statement from  anyone who witnessed the incident.
3.   Obtain copies of any medical notes made if you attended at your GPs or the hospital.

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Many of you will be going away for your Christmas holidays  this year so what can you do if you suffer as a result of food poisoning.   If you are on  package holiday then the The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.  If the food provided is sub-standard or food hygiene inadequate and you believe you have suffered food poisoning as a result of hotel food you will need to prove that the contaminated food came from the hotel.   If you can do this you may be able to argue that the organisers of your package holiday have breached their contract.

If u think you have contracted food poisoning at your hotel this Christmas you should see a doctor for a diagnosis immediately if you do see a doctor ask him to provide you with a medical report and keep any receipts in respect of medical expenses incurred by you.  

Having reported that you have contracted food poisoning to your holiday representative make sure you obtain written confirmation from them of your report also report your illness to hotel staff, and make a note of the name of the person you make the report to.   If other holidaymakers also suffer from food poisoining make sure that you get a note of their names and names, addresses and phone numbers .

If you can, get photographic/camcorder evidence/even evidence on your mobile phone recorder of unhygienic practices  i.e.   food with flies on it, dirty surrounding area etc this will of course help and just be extra cautious make a list of everything you have eaten in the last 48 hours before the attack

As soon as you get home from your holidays visit your own GP and give him/her a copy of the paperwork provided by the medical staff of the country that treated you.

Food poisoning can be very severe and have long term or even permanent effects.  If you need  any help or are thinking of bringing a claim please feel free to  contact us at

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations


Obviously if you are relatively young and you have  young children the last thing you want to think of is becoming seriously ill or dying and what would happen to your children in those circumstances. However,  sadly bad things happen to good people and it is sensible to think about what would happen to your children iin these circumstances.
So what do you need to consider:-
      Well who can appoint a Guardian?  A parent or appointed Guardian can appoint a Guardian.  If your child is legitimate (or has been legitimated or is adopted), then you as their parents (or adopting parents) will each have parental responsibility  and both of you may appoint guardians for your child/children in the event of your  respective deaths.  Where a couple are married or in a permanent and stable relationship it is normally accepted that the parent who survives the death of their spouse/civil partner etc will automatically become the guardian of any children of that marriage/civil partnership etc.The situation changes however if:  

As  parents of your child you were not married to each other at the time of your child’s  birth;
Your child has not been legitimated by your later marriage or adopted, and
Your child’s father’s name is not registered on the birth certificate.

In the above circumstances only a mother will have the authority to appoint a Guardian.
A father does not have automatic parental responsibility and so will not be able to appoint a guardian of the child on his death. However, a father may acquire parental responsibility (and therefore be able to appoint a guardian) in the following ways:-

(a)  through a court order granting him parental responsibility.
           (b)  by entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother;
           (c) by being appointed, either by the mother or by the court, to assume parental responsibility after the mother’s death

          (d) by becoming registered as the child’s father primarily on the birth certificate provided that the child was born after 1 December 2003.  If the child was born before that date, the father will not acquire parental responsibility through this method unless the birth was reregistered after that date with the father’s name then appearing.
     Once you have established whether you have a right to appoint a Guardian on behalf of your children there are matters which you will need to seriously consider when deciding who to appoint as a Guardian e.g. :-

The age of your prospective Guardian.
The health of your prospective Guardian
Does your prospective Guardian have the same beliefs, morals and attitude to child rearing as you do?
If your children are of an age that they can make a decision have you discussed with them whether they would like to live with your prospective Guardian?
Is your prospective Guardian’s lifestyle suitable  for bringing up children?
Have you discussed with your prospective Guardian whether they are willing to take on the responsibility of your children?.
What financial arrangements have you made for the continuing welfare of your children?.
Have you taken out  a life assurance policy written in trust for your children (this may be an effective way of making provision for your children)

The appointment of a Guardian must be made in writing either as part of a Will or in the format of a legal statement, and must be signed by the person appointing the Guardian.
If you wish to appoint a Guardian for your children please do not hesitate to contact us at and we will refer you to our Expert in Wills and Estate Planning.

The information herewith gives general guidance.  It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations


If you are anything like us you love the food at Christmas and we know that many of you will be visiting restaurants for Christmas parties and generally to indulge in Christmas cuisine. We hope you have an amazing meal and that Christmas this year will not be spoilt because of food poisoning suffered at any of the restaurants you visit.

You need to be aware that if you are pregnant, elderly,  already suffering from an illness or a child it is likely that you will be more susceptible to food poisoning.   Symptoms of food poisoning are an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhoea and in most instances will only last a short period however, food poisoning unfortunately can be more serious and cause prolonged illness and in extreme cases can result in death.   Most cases of food poisoning are caused by Salmonella bacteria but there are many bacteria including E-Coli and Listeria.

If you are unfortunate enough to be affected by one of the more serious forms of bacteria you could end up being hospitalised.

What can you do if you think you have suffered from food poisoning because of food eaten at a particular restaurant this Christmas.    Well on one of the first things that you can do is go to your doctor immediately, he will be able to take a stool sample to check for bacteria.     If you were eating with friends and family members or office colleagues,  it will help if you can find out whether anyone else had similar symptoms.  If you do know anyone else who has also suffered with food poisoning after eating at the same restaurant  ask them if they will provide a  statement confirming that they have also been ill due to food poisoning.

We hope you have an amazing Christmas holiday and that you enjoy every morsel that you eat.

The information herewith gives general guidance. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or treated as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning individual situations