The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

Today marks the beginning of ‘The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign‘.

This  international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.  It spans from 25th November 2015 ( the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women)  to 10th December 2015 (Human Rights Day) and is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

To mark the occasion, the Belfast Domestic Violence Partnership have provided us with ’16 Facts for 16 Days’, an  infographic outlining eye-opening statistics relating to domestic violence worldwide.

Please feel free to share this infographic on your own social media and highlight the importance of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign

BELFAST DVP 16 facts final (2)

If you would ike further information or advice on domestic violence, please feel free to contact us here at life Law NI

16Days

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

engagement

Let’s face it – there is nothing romantic about prenuptial agreements. In fact, I doubt that there is anything that would kill romance faster than these two words being uttered by your significant other when talking about marriage, weddings and honeymoons!

Whilst any engaged couple would anticipate a life long happy commitment, we are all practical enough in this day and age to know that marriages do increasingly end in divorce.

A pre-nuptial agreement is considered by many to be a mature way of saying to one another how family assets should be fairly divided if the marriage were to end. Such an agreement can be entered into in the hope that the same agreement will gather dust over the years and need never be referred to in the future.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legally binding?

In short, the answer is no, pre-nuptial agreements are not strictly legally binding –indeed, in the past they were considered contrary to public policy as it was thought to undermine the sanctity of marriage.

In 2010,  a Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Radmacher and Granatino looked in detail at the issue of pre-nuptial agreements (as well as post-nuptial agreements). This case has led to a significant move towards the enforceability of these agreements.

The Supreme Court decided that while pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements are not binding in themselves, there will now be a “presumption” in favour of such agreements. In effect, this means that a Court will now uphold a pre-nuptial agreement in all cases except those where either spouse can show that it would be unfair to do so.

Should I sign a pre-nuptial agreement before I get married?

It is advisable for people, particularly those who bring to the marriage inheritances or family businesses or are entering a second marriage, to enter into pre-nuptial agreements prior to and in anticipation of marriage. The agreement will record how the couple intend to divide their assets if the marriage breaks down at a later date.

As long as the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement are entered into fairly and address both parties needs then it is likely that it will hold good.

if you would like any further information on pre-nuptial agreements, please conatct us here

Protecting Your Child Online

The NSPCC are the leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK and Channel Islands.  The primary aim of the NSPCC is to help children who have been abused rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse  from happening.  

In her guest blog for Life Law NI,  NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager in Northern Ireland Margaret Gallagher sets out ways in which parents can help protect their children from some of the risks they can be exposed to by being online

NSPCCbeshareaware

We always try to teach our children that it’s good to share, but online it’s different.                                                                       

We know parents can feel confused by the internet – it’s constantly changing and can be hard to keep up with the latest apps and trends.  It can be particularly tricky for parents of children aged around 8-12 years old as this is the age when children start doing more online, becoming independent and using different devices.

Parents in today’s technological world must be alert to the risks that their children can potentially be exposed to on the internet.  Some of those risks include the following:-

  • Inappropriate content, including pornography
  • Friending or communicating with people they don’t know
  • Cyber bullying
  • Grooming and sexual abuse
  • Sharing personal information
  • Ignoring age restrictions
  • Gambling or running up debts

How can I protect my child from risk on the internet?

Talk to your child

One of the easiest and most effective things parents can do is to talk to your child about the consequences of sharing information online.   Help your child think about who sees what they share, and compare it to what they would be happy to share in real life.   Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’t give your phone number to a stranger on the street, is a stranger online any different?”

Explain to your child how everything they share online – like usernames, images and comments – builds up a picture of who they are.  Encourage your child to think about what they share, even with friends, as once it’s online it’s out of their control. You can talk about privacy settings and how they help your child control who can see what they share.

If you’re unsure about how to do any of this yourself, you can visit www.net-aware.org.uk for simple, no nonsense advice.

 Inform and protect yourself

The online world can feel daunting, but there are lots of things you can do to take back control, like installing the latest filters and making sure you have a good level of security on your computers and other online devices in your home.

You can keep up to date and informed about all the latest social media or new apps that your child may have access to.  NSPCC’s Net Aware will give you a run-down of all of the trending apps and social media tools that could be being accessed by your children.

We have also recently joined forces with O2, with the aim of getting every family in the UK to talk about and understand their child’s online world, just as they would their day at school.  Parents can attend workshops to help them understand the internet as children do, and there’s also a free internet safety helpline 0808 8005002 if there’s a question about parental controls or concern about a social network.

 Set a good example

You can also help your child by simply setting a good example online. It might not always feel like it, but your child does notice how you act and will follow your lead, so it’s important to show them what safe sharing looks like.

What can I do if my child has been exposed to harm online?

If things go wrong, it can be very worrying for you and your child but the NSPCC can help.   Whether you child ‘overshared’ or someone else has shared some content with them that you’d rather they hadn’t seen, there will always be something you can do to make it better.

If your child sees something online that they think they shouldn’t have seen, let them know it’s not necessarily their fault – they shouldn’t feel guilty and they can always talk to you.

Your child can contact ChildLine and ask them to help with taking an illegal image off the internet by making a report to the Internet Watch Foundation on their behalf.

If you think your own child or any other is at immediate risk because of what they have shared or seen, you can contact the police or the NSPCC for advice on 0808 800 5000.

If you require any further information on this matter or the law surrounding it, please contact us using the comments form below or email us here.

Claiming Compensation for Your Child

child-compensation

While none of us like to think about any harm coming to our little ones, accidents do happen and our children may be injured as a result.  Such injuries may cause pain, distress, absence from school and even an inability to carry out hobbies and past-times.

If your child is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident through no fault of their own, it is important to know that it may be possible to claim compensation on their behalf.

Here are some commonly asked questions about the process involved:-

When can a claim be made on behalf of my child?

In personal injury cases, the person bringing a claim is known as a Plaintiff.  For a case to be successful,  it must be shown that your child’s accident was caused due to the fault of another person who is known as the Defendant.  

Can my child claim in their own right?

No  –  a child is not entitled to bring proceedings in their own right and therefore any compensation claim will be brought on their behalf by a responsible adult who is known as a Next Friend.   Usually, a Next Friend is the child’s mother or father or someone with parental responsibility.

Are there time limits in making a claim on behalf of my injured child?

Normally, personal injury claims must be made within 3 years of the accident occurring.  However, where the injury is suffered by a child,  this period is extended to 3 years after the child has turned 18.  This means that if your child was 10 years old when they were injured in an accident, they have until their 21st birthday to make a claim for compensation.

How much compensation will my child be entitled to?

If the Defendant is found to be at fault, medical evidence will be needed to  confirm the extent of your child’s injuries in order to decide how much compensation should be paid.  This medical evidence will usually include your child’s GP notes and records, hospital notes and records and a report from a medical expert.

From this medical evidence, your solicitor will be able to ascertain the value of your child’s claim.  The amount of compensation is calculated in two parts:-

  • General damages – this is compensation for any physcial and/or psychological injury caused to your child as a result of their accident.
  • Special damages – this is compensation for any other loss such as damage to property (for example, glasses, clothing, bicycle etc) or out of pocket expenses.
What happens when an offer of settlement is made?

If an offer of settlement is made in your child’s case, as his or her Next Friend you will have to decide, with the advice of the solicitor, whether to accept the offer or not.

Unlike cases involving adults, in a child’s case if you decide to accept the settlement offer, this then has to be approved by a Judge.  You and your child will both be required to attend Court with your solicitor for this approval and answer any straightforward questions the Judge may ask about the case and your child’s injury.

If the Judge is satisfied that the settlement reflects a good outcome for your child they will approve the settlement figure.  If the Judge is not satisfied that the damages agreed are sufficient, they will not approve the settlement figure and instead will direct that the matter is negotiated further between the parties.

What if settlement cannot be agreed?

If settlement cannot be agreed, then Court proceedings will have to be issued.   Settlement of the case may still be discussed once Court proceedings have been issued but if settlement cannot be reached, ultimately there will be a Court hearing where the Judge will decide the case.

As the Next friend, you may be required to give evidence at the hearing about the facts of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the effect that these have had on your child.

What happens to any compensation money received?

Any compensation monies paid will be placed into a special Court bank account and will be held there on trust for your child until they reach 18 years of age.  This means that your child will not have access to their compensation until then.  Any monies held by the Court will gather interest which will also be paid to your child when they turn 18.

How will I pay my child’s legal costs?

Currently in Northern Ireland, children under the age of 18 years are automatically entitled to Legal Aid assistance in relation to civil claims involving injury, regardless of their parent’s income.

So, if your child has been injured as a result of a car accident, a dog bite, a slip, trip or fall, or a failure to be treated properly in hospital or any other situation where you feel a third party was at fault, there is nothing to lose in seeking legal assistance in order to ascertain whether your child would be entitled to compensation for any pain or suffering they may have suffered as a result of an accident.
JYoungIf you require any further advice in relation to making a claim on behalf of a child, please contact Jennifer Young of francis hanna & co Solicitors at jyoung@fhanna.co.uk