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How to Hire a Right Criminal Lawyer in Los Angles

Whether a person is guilty or not, the verdict will be passed by the judge. But everyone has a right to fair representation in the court. Anyone facing criminal charges has a right to Criminal lawyers Los Angeles who can properly and in an unbiased manner represent the case in front of the judge.

Criminal laws or for that matter any laws for a layman is a complicating matter. It is very important to hire a good and experienced lawyer with good understanding of the criminal law of the country. A formal prosecutor can represent your case in best of manner and chances of getting out of charges without wasting too much time increases. An expert and well-trained attorney have satisfied clients who are all too happy to share their satisfactory experience. Searching for these testimonials may lead to the right attorney you are looking for.

Most of the reliable and reputable Dui lawyers Los Angeles and criminal lawyers in Los Angeles do not charge a very high fee. The fee structure is reasonable and services are great,whereas in many other places criminal lawyers charge an exorbitant price for protecting the right of their client. This may turn out to be one level of assessment for finding a good and right criminal lawyer in Los Angeles as a good lawyer unnecessarily may not charge a higher fee.

The easiest, fastest and reliable way to locate an experienced, reliable and certified Criminal Defense Lawyers Los Angeles is via the internet. Once you link up to the correct site you will find a long list of thousands of criminal attorneys. All the details and information is there to look up. One just needs to find the right lawyer who has been dealing with your type of case in the past and is well conversant with all the aspects of the case. Internet listings make it easier to see the credentials of lawyers like how long they have been practicing, what type of cases they have expertise in and number of cases they have successfully solved so far etc.

A successful criminal lawyer has a long list of satisfied clients who can vouch for his success. A good attorney is familiar with ins and outs of the court system and can find right ways to prove innocence or get charges dropped or lessen the consequences. Some criminal lawyers are also experts at out of court settlement, saving a lot of harassment and time of the client and that his client will vouch for.

Word of mouth is another sure shot way of finding a good lawyer as goodwill and reputation precedes the best lawyer in the field. A reliable and experienced lawyer with high success rate is known to all in the respective field.

Just make sure the lawyer you hire seems genuinely interested in your case. If he does not seem interested or have time for you before you pay him, he may certainly not have time after you pay him. A lawyer who seems genuinely friendly and eager to listen is the best you can go in for.

Finding a Mesothelioma Lawyer

For the sake of clarification, I feel it vital that we first understand what Mesothelioma is and then we can move on to understanding how to hire the best lawyers for such a claim. Mesothelioma is a disease which is caused by asbestos exposure. In other words, people who have prolonged exposure to asbestos are prone to getting the disease. Given the nature of the disease, most people tend to sue either the company that manufactured the asbestos or whoever might be responsible so as to get some form of compensation. Now I know that many people often ask themselves why these victims do not claim for long term disability insurance. Some do claim for it, but the chances of success are minimal. However, regardless of who you intend to go against to get your compensation, you will still need the services of Mesothelioma personal injury lawyers. There are so many lawyers who practice this kind of law, but bear in mind the fact that such a case is complex, therefore finding the right lawyer will be key to your case. In my opinion, the right lawyer will have a record of winning many Mesothelioma cases under his belt and from the first time you speak to him, you should see the confidence in his face that he will win this matter for you and make sure that you are rightfully compensated. Below are a few of the things you could do to make sure that you end up with the right lawyer.

Mesothelioma is not as rare a disease as you think, so by the time you suffer from it, chances are that people in your company have had that same problem before or know of someone who has. For this reason, asking your colleagues for lawyer references will help you get the lawyers who have actually won such cases before. If a colleague of yours has used that lawyer and had good results, chances are that you too will succeed in your case. So this would definitely be a good place to start.

Another thing that you can do is to investigate or research lawyers online. Mesothelioma law is so profitable that many law firms and lawyers would like to get a little piece of this action. It is for this reason that many will advertise themselves online as having the best Mesothelioma practices. Since there will be so many ads and so many results for your search, it is vital that you carefully read the information provided by the lawyers and pick out those that have well written ads that provide an in depth look into their practice. You should never trust lawyers who give scanty information about their services. Once you have made a short list of the lawyers, you should then go ahead to interview the lawyers so as to make sure that you end up with the right one for your case.


What do you mean by Business Law?

Business is a rule relating to business transaction.

  • Sources are the factor helping us to develop and make good business rules and regulation.

Business law is a rule which helps us to regulate and manage our business transactions and activities system. It has direct relation with trade, industry and commerce. Business Law is an important part of national law. In absence of business rules and regulation neither we can regulate and manage our business activities nor can we develop our economy. Because of this law has close relation with our economy. This law making body always develops business rules and regulations in favors of businessman. We have good business rules and regulations. We can develop our economy quickly without business law. It is difficult to manage our day to day business transactions. This is why every country needs and requires business law. In absence of good business law a businessman can’t manage control and lead his business successfully. Like other aspects of our society economic aspect also need specific rules and regulation which has direct relationship with trade, industry, and insurance act, tax act, sale of goods act, agency act etc.

How Does Law Affect Us?

Although we all have an understanding of what law is, and generally why it’s appropriate that it should be in place to serve and regulate our conduct in society, we seldom think of what law actually means in an everyday context. What is law for the average Joe in the street? How does law impact on our lives from day to day? Indeed, is the law a distant concept with which we find it hard to relate? In this article we will look at some of the fundamental ways law operates in society, in addition to the nature of the law as we know it.

For some people, they feel as though the law is there merely to protect their interests, and that they have no need for daily interaction. However, they assume that if the day comes where their behaviour is called into question, the law will operate, the course of justice will be run, and the will of the people will be fulfilled. This is perhaps a naïve interpretation of the function of law, and indeed the way it operates in our lives throughout the day. For instance, at the top level we have the constitution, establishing parameters within which the government can and cannot act to protect the citizens of our nation. That has an overwhelming effect on the way in which our government and indeed our country is run, which has a knock on effect on everything we do throughout the day and how we do it. Even at a local level, the law interacts with the services we are provided, the jobs we work and pretty much everything to do with the lives we lead. A distant concept? I don’t think so.

The law does not just operate in criminal spheres, nor is it confined to merely constitutional matters and the distribution of power. Law is a significantly more sophisticated tool in the orchestration of the day-to-day organisation of society, through regulating not only personal conduct but also the way we act in business situations. Take for example the everyday task of boarding a train. The law regulates many aspects of this feat: (1) the criminal law and the constitution permits us to board public transport. (2) The constitution permits us to make contract with another. (3) The laws of contract permit us to form a contract for transport with the train company, and ensure that that contract is fulfilled. (4) The laws of contract and tort allow us to board without fear of injury, or with remedy should the worst happen. Finally the law of ownership and currency allows us to hand over money in consideration for this service, which is of value to the other contracting party. In fact, the law regulates just about everything we do, and is vital in doing so to ensure the smooth running of community and every aspect of our lives.

The law is not some abstract notion that can and will protect us when we need to rely on it. The law is an integral part of democratic life, and something which regulates our conduct, and in essence allows us to act according to our own desires within reason. Some may think the law is too restrictive in certain areas, but it works. The law serves its function as regulating our behaviour very well, and if it doesn’t? We can change it.

The fact is, law has been an important part of society since it began, with implied legal and social orders and boundaries that could not be crossed. Today, it is a sophisticated network of guidelines and regulations which is adapted to shape the way we live our lives from one day to the next. There is no doubt that the law is important to the citizen, and plays a profound impact on the lives of the people on a daily basis.

The Law Society


LONDON —  Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for lawyers on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, lawyers will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock — and even those who have been adopted — from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system. Some lawyers, however, described the guidance as “astonishing”, while campaigners warned it represented a major step on the road to a “parallel legal system” for Britain’s Muslim communities.

Baroness Cox, who is leading a Parliamentary campaign to protect women from religiously sanctioned discrimination, including from unofficial Sharia courts in Britain, said it was a “deeply disturbing” development and pledged to raise it with ministers.

“This violates everything that we stand for,” she said. “It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.”

[ more … ]

Read original post here: British law society’s move to allow Islamic ‘Sharia compliant’ wills called ‘deeply disturbing’

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

Will Insourcing replace Legal Process Outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing (LPO) which invited brickbats some years ago for taking away employment opportunities and risking confidential data is currently the most demanded industry. However, its troubles do not seem to end with firms thinking of insourcing legal services to cut expenditure. It also raises expectations that legal process insourcing can also become a formidable challenge for the LPO industry.

LPO has been a great solution for processing litigations and other processes with the advantages of time and money. Nevertheless, many firms are considering other alternatives such as insourcing and inhousing, which may completely change the present situation. But how far these can really challenge the already established LPO system?

An in-depth study of LPO evolution, processes, workflow, and structure can help the firms develop their strategy towards effective insourcing management. In case this proposed setup hurts legal processes they may have to achieve a balance between internal and external legal support services, and LPO.

What is insourcing?

Insourcing is a means of considering legal firm/expert assistance within the country to work from client location or within the company. The real value of insourcing should involve increased efficiency, quality output, time savings, and decreased reworks and updations, etc. Insourcing may help the firms contain their employment opportunities within the country and gives its people a secure feeling.

Insourcing and inhousing challenges

Inhousing is about training and developing in-house teams to handle those projects. To develop these teams the firm has to find talented candidates and get them trained to handle such projects. But these have their own hurdles as choosing the wrong candidate can take a toll on the project and quality delivery of services.

Identifying the right vendors and personnel for inhousing is the first step which involves selecting candidates willing to work in such processes and with suitable qualifications. The next step involves developing the team of such individuals which remains committed to the project and achieves the targets effectively. The team thus developed should restructure to match the requirements of the process.

The last step is about training them to handle the processes effectively as legal processes demand high confidentiality and quality processing, failing which can invite trouble.

Outsourcing advantages

Pros and cons of outsourcing make LPO service providers consider these as disturbing developments, but some strong points make outsourcing the irreplaceable options. First, the huge cost margin the clients get with outsourcing is difficult to achieve with insourcing. Cheaper cost of workforce management in countries such as India makes it easier for the outsourcing firms to get the work done at 80% lesser charge.

In addition the time advantage of these countries helps get the work done round the clock with high accuracy. Professional work handling and technological advantage help firms securely and effectively handle confidential data.

The future

Weighing the pros and cons of insourcing and outsourcing make it difficult for the outsourcing firms to decide on a clear course. But maintaining both in balance is the only option as Legal process outsourcing benefits outweigh the expenses and employment loss arguments. Developing in-house teams is not without troubles as it involves huge overheads and appointing and expenses of training the individuals.

Process of Legal Transcription

Copyright (c) 2009 Ajay Prasad

Now let us discuss the actual process of Legal Transcription. The most basic type of Legal Transcription is the transcription of audio files (mini cassettes, cassettes, CDs and DVDs) of legal proceeding in a digital format by attorneys or law firms. These audio files are recorded in a digital format and send via e-mail from the client to service provider. The Transcriptionist will download the files and play them and basically type them out as they listen to the files. Sometimes a client finds freelance transcriptionists who have undertaken course as discussed earlier and give them the transcription work. They are better than the young attorneys the Legal firms employ. The files sent to be transcribed should also include the information such as court information, docket number, dates attorneys and correct spelling of witnesses. The general rule is the more information the client gives, the better is the final Transcript.

There are many software which may be used for transcription purposes. These state of the art dictation and transcription software is a state of the art system which provides for computer based recordings, storage, transmission and transcription of all the voice dictation. There are some hardware such as headset and microphone which help in this process. Legal Transcription has various shades such as Court Proceedings transaction, Trials transaction, Wire Trap transaction, Legal letter transcription, Proof reading, Legal Pleadings, Witness Statements, Advice Transcriptions, Instructions to Counsel, Affidavits, Probate Forms, Particulars of Claims, Leases , wills Contracts, Disciplinary Hearings, Tribunal Transcriptions, Adjudication Panel Hearings, Reports, Briefs, court transcripts, Court proceedings, and so on. Transcription is not limited to any one special law but all law including real estates, criminal, family, personal injury, business, corporate family, Patents, trial laws and so on.

The need for Transcription of Medico-legal documents is on the rise these days. The other transcriptions related to medical and legal fields are Psychiatric Evaluations, Expert Witness, operative and procedure notes, drug trial studies, Outpatient and Inpatient summaries.

The property law Transcriptions may include Schedule of Dilapidations, Schedule of conditions, building surveys Reports, and Sales Particulars. The normal speed of a Transcriber is that he will take about one hour to transcribe a clear 15-20 minutes of quality digital audio. Generally the transcribed material reaches the client after 24 hours from the time it is send to a Transcriber; this time also depends upon the client’s needs, state of the audio and the volume of work. The transcription service providers customize the services as needed by the clients.

Let us take a sample of a Transcription of a Legal Proceeding. A is to be read as Attorney and W as the Witness.

A. Did You receive the copy of the same letter? W. Yes I did.

A. Do You remember the Date of receiving it? W. According to the records of our Office it was received on 25th of January, 2005.

A. Did the other company receive the same letter? W. Same letter? Ok Umnn. Yes they also received the copy of the same letter. But at that time we were not aware of the financial conditions of “L&M Co.”

Hiring the Best Legal Help for Fast Solutions to All Labor Issues and Criminal Cases

Most of the people in most instances avoid getting in to any legal hassles and issues except in cases where going for a legal help and litigation becomes unavoidable. In most labor issues on account of worker employer disputes, a pending demand or issues might lead to requiring of a need to hire a lawyer who can provide fast help and legal solutions. People need to engage a lawyer after a complete survey of various aspects like; amount of fee being charged, reputation of the lawyer, lawyers’ case handling skills and experience of lawyer.

These are some of the aspects that need to be considered while hiring discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles. A lawyer who has association with a reputed law firm will be well verse and experienced to deal with any kind of discrimination case. Apart from providing litigation help a lawyer needs to assist and provide all preliminary help and guidance to an applicant on various aspects of a case. In case people need to settle a dispute amicably through legal stamp they can hire a lawyer with complete knowledge on various labor issues and laws. So whenever a genuine case of discrimination arises the best way out is to fight for one’s personal cause through legal assistance and support.

In case where rights of a person have been violated on account of undue influence and physical wrongdoing a competent Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer needs to be hired. Whether it is a case of child rights violations or a case of harassment of a senior person the best and competent criminal lawyer should be hired. In all cases of sexual harassment the victim is both physically and mentally hurt and might require a psychiatric help and also fast case disposal and relief. So the best and most renowned legal firm should be contacted for hiring the best lawyer who is experienced in dealing with sexual harassment cases.

Since most sexual harassment cases require a privacy factor a professional lawyer will always handle all the issues and queries most delicately. Most of the juvenile harassment cases are decided under strict time frames as all such cases are considered on priority under fixed government laws. Cost of litigation should be worked out in advance with a lawyer in order to choose a lawyer accordingly. Before going for litigation all important aspects can be penned down to avoid further time wastage and save on litigation costs.

Author Bio:

The author has been in association with a number of lawyers over the years and has written for a number of Discrimination Lawyers in Los Angeles and Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer related journals and articles.

Lawyers in Richmond va: choosing one for legal help

While you need legal help looking for the best lawyers in Richmond va will be very important for you.

The need for experts assistance will rise when you know that things have become difficult and are also against you when you somebody ahs a law suit filed against you. It is essential for you to be careful in every aspect because here only choosing the best lawyers will be of help to you. You need to be very careful on who you choose because it is only this which will help you properly. It is with this that you can make sure of the fact that they will represent you in the court of law and will help you to get rid of all your problems and legal cases against you.

When you start with the research you will see that there are too many of such professionals who can help you out.  These will be the ones who will give you an assurance of being represented in the court of law. There are many aspects to one case and knowing all of them will be important always. You personally cannot fight up in the court room because you not just have to know about it well but should also be licensed for the same. It is therefore that you will have to look for some professional lawyers in Richmond va who can handle your cases well.

While looking out for these it is very important that you look into a few important aspects too. This is because just when you do so hiring the right kind of lawyers will be very important for you. The first and the foremost aspect which you need to look into is that the one who you are choosing is experienced in every manner. Only if they have been following the cases in the industry and they know how to handle everything well it will be easy to handle your case. It is only then that you can hire these professionals for yourself.

The next thing which you need to look out for while hiring the right type of lawyers in Richmond va is that they are licensed. Only those who are licensed will have the permission to get into the court room. Thus when you are selecting make sure that you pay close attention to this aspect always., with this things will get clear and hiring one good lawyer for all your legal issues will get easy. There are a number of sources that can help you look for the best lawyers in Richmond va.

Comparative study: emergence of the legal profession


Scholars’ Views on the Legal Profession

The development of the legal profession has received a lot of attention from scholars. This can be seen in Paul Brand’s The Origins of the English Legal Profession (1992), and J.H. Baker’s The Legal Profession and The Common Law – Historical Essays (1986).  The eminent jurist Roscoe Pound also wrote The Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times (1953).

In Peter Coss (Ed.), Thomas Wright’s Political Songs of England (1996), the following verse occurs:

“Attorneys in country, they get silver for naught;

They make men begin what they never had thought;

And when they come to the ring, they hop if they can.

All they can get that way, they think all is won for them

With skill.

No man should trust them, so false are they in the bile.”

Law and its practice is a professional responsibility.  The regulation of the legal profession is supported by considerable academic research:

“Lawyers, economists and other social scientists have found occupational and professional regulation to be a provocative topic of study.”[1]

Legal Profession in India

First British Court in Bombay

The history of the legal profession in India can be traced back to the establishment of the First British Court in Bombay in 1672 by Governor Aungier.[2] The admission of attorneys was placed in the hands of the Governor-in-Council and not with the Court. Prior to the establishment of the Mayor’s Courts in 1726 in Madras and Calcutta, there were no legal practitioners.

Mayor’s Courts

The Mayor’s Courts, established in the three presidency towns, were Crown Courts with right of appeal first to the Governor-in-Council and a right of second appeal to the Privy Council.  In 1791, Judges felt the need of experience, and thus the role of an attorney to protect the rights of his client was upheld in each of the Mayor’s Courts. This was done in spite of opposition from Council members or the Governor.  A second principle was also established during the period of the Mayor’s Courts. This was the right to dismiss an attorney guilty of misconduct.  The first example of dismissal was recorded by the Mayor’s Court at Madras which dismissed attorney Jones.

Establishment of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Judicature was established by a Royal Charter in 1774. The Supreme Court was established as there was dissatisfaction with the weaknesses of the Court of the Mayor.  Similar Supreme Courts were established in Madras in 1801 and Bombay in 1823.  The first barristers appeared in India after the opening of the Supreme Court in Calcutta in 1774.  As barristers began to come into the Courts on work as advocates, the attorneys gave up pleading and worked as solicitors. The two grades of legal practice gradually became distinct and separate as they were in England.  Madras gained its first barrister in 1778 with Mr. Benjamin Sullivan.

Composition of the Supreme Court

Thus, the establishment of the Supreme Court brought recognition, wealth and prestige to the legal profession.  The charters of the Court stipulated that the Chief Justice and three puisne Judges be English barristers of at least 5 years standing.

Powers of the Supreme Court

The charters empowered the Court to approve, admit and enrol advocates and attorneys to plead and act on behalf of suitors. They also gave the Court the authority to remove lawyers from the roll of the Court on reasonable cause and to prohibit practitioners not properly admitted and enrolled from practising in the Court. The Court maintained the right to admit, discipline and dismiss attorneys and barristers.  Attorneys were not admitted without recommendation from a high official in England or a Judge in India.  Permission to practice in Court could be refused even to a barrister.

Courts in Mofussil Areas

In contrast to the Courts in the presidency towns, the legal profession in the mofussil towns was established, guided and controlled by legislation.  In the Diwani Courts, legal practice was neither recognized nor controlled, and practice was carried on by vakils and agents.  Vakils had even been appearing in the Courts of the Nawabs and there were no laws concerning their qualification, relationship to the Court, mode of procedure of ethics or practice.  There were two kinds of agents – a. untrained relatives or servants of the parties in Court and b. professional pleaders who had training in either Hindu or Muslim law.  Bengal Regulation VII of 1793 was enacted as it was felt that in order to administer justice, Courts, must have pleading of causes administered by a distinct profession Only men of character and education, well versed in the Mohamedan or Hindu law and in the Regulations passed by the British Government, would be admitted to plead in the Courts. They should be subjected to rules and restrictions in order to discharge their work diligently and faithfully by upholding the client’s trust.

Establishment of the High Courts

In 1862, the High Courts started by the Crown were established at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.  The High Court Bench was designed to combine Supreme Court and Sudder Court traditions. This was done to unite the legal learning and judicial experience of the English barristers with the intimate experience of civil servants in matters of Indian customs, usages and laws possessed by the civil servants.  Each of the High Courts was given the power to make rules for the qualifications of proper persons, advocates, vakils and attorneys at Bar.  The admission of vakils to practice before the High Courts ended the monopoly that the barristers had enjoyed in the Supreme Courts. It greatly extended the practice and prestige of the Indian laws by giving them opportunities and privileges equal to those enjoyed for many years by the English lawyers.  The learning of the best British traditions of Indian vakils began in a guru-shishya tradition:

“Men like Sir V. Bashyam Ayyangar, Sir T. Muthuswamy Ayyar and Sir S. Subramania Ayyar were quick to learn and absorb the traditions of the English Bar from their English friends and colleagues in the Madras Bar and they in turn as the originators of a long line of disciples in the Bar passed on those traditions to the disciples who continued to do the good work.”[3]

Additional High Courts were established in Allahabad (1886), Patna (1916), and Lahore (1919).

Kinds of Legal Practitioners

There were six grades of legal practice in India after the founding of the High Courts – a) Advocates, b) Attorneys (Solicitors), c) Vakils of High Courts, d) Pleaders, e) Mukhtars, f) Revenue Agents.  The Legal Practitioners Act of 1879 in fact brought all the six grades of the profession into one system under the jurisdiction of the High Courts.  The Legal Practitioners Act and the Letters Patent of the High Courts formed the chief legislative governance of legal practitioners in the subordinate Courts in the country until the Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted.

In order to be a vakil, the candidate had to study at a college or university, master the use of English and pass a vakil‘s examination.  By 1940, a vakil was required to be a graduate with an LL.B. from a university in India in addition to three other certified requirements. The certificate should be proof that a. he had passed in the examination b. read in the chamber of a qualified lawyer and was of a good character.  In fact, Sir Sunder Lal, Jogendra Nath Chaudhary, Ram Prasad and Moti Lal Nehru were all vakils who were raised to the rank of an Advocate.

Original and appellate jurisdiction of the High Court

The High Courts of the three presidency towns had an original side.  The original side included major civil and criminal matters which had been earlier heard by predecessor Supreme Courts. On the original side in the High Courts, the solicitor and barrister remained distinct i.e. attorney and advocate. On the appellate side every lawyer practiced as his own attorney.

However, in Madras the vakils started practice since 1866. In 1874, the barristers challenged their right to do original side work. However, in 1916, this right was firmly established in favour of the vakils.  Similarly, vakils in Bombay and Calcutta could be promoted as advocates and become qualified to work on the original side.  By attending the appellate side and original side Courts each for one year, a vakil of 10 years service in the Court was permitted to sit for the advocates’ examination.

Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926

The Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926 was passed to unify the various grades of legal practice and to provide self-government to the Bars attached to various Courts.  The Act required that each High Court must constitute a Bar Council made up of the Advocate General, four men nominated by the High Court of whom two should be Judges and ten elected from among the advocates of the Bar. The duties of the Bar Council were to decide all matters concerning legal education, qualification for enrolment, discipline and control of the profession. It was favourable to the advocates as it gave them authority previously held by the judiciary to regulate the membership and discipline of their profession.

The Advocates Act, 1961

The Advocates Act, 1961 was a step to further this very initiative.  As a result of the Advocates Act, admission, practice, ethics, privileges, regulations, discipline and improvement of the profession as well as law reform are now significantly in the hands of the profession itself.

Lawyers and the freedom struggle

There were many lawyers who gave great strength to the Indian freedom struggle. Great men such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jinnah, Sardar Patel. K.M. Munshi, Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das and Vithal Bhai Patel were all lawyers.  Lawyers preached nationalism and worked for equality and rights.  They were responsible for drafting the Indian Constitution.  The earliest barristers who participated in the freedom movement included W.C. Banerjee, a barrister of Calcutta and Pherozeshah Mehta, Kashinath Telang, Narayan Chandavarkar and Mahadeo Ranade.  Legal training was regarded as vital for a political career.  Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were also trained as lawyers.  In a gathering of vakils at Patna, Gandhiji said:

“I shall have little use of your legal knowledge.  I want clerical assistance, and help in interpretation.  It may be necessary to face imprisonment, but much as I would love you to run that risk you would go only so far as you feel yourselves capable of going.  Even turning yourselves into clerks and giving up your profession for an indefinite period is no small thing …. we cannot afford to pay for this work ….. It should all be done for love and out of a spirit of service.”[4]

Gandhiji commanded the respect of the profession.  After the Rowlatt Bills were passed, when Gandhiji established the Satyagraha Sabha following the Rowlatt Bills, some of the lawyers of the Bombay High Court, including barristers Varajrai Desai and Vallabhai Patel, signed the satyagraha pledge.  They were warned by Justice Macleod, but no definite action was taken against them.

In a fairly detailed narrative, Schmitthener records the role of lawyers both at the Jallianwalla Bagh as well as when titles had to be boycotted:

“The massacre at Jallianwalla Bagh at Amritsar in 1919 brought the leading lawyers of the country to the forefront of the struggle for independence.  Motilal immediately went out to defend those who had been arrested under martial law and who were in danger of receiving the death penalty.  When refused permission to enter the Punjab he cabled directly to Lord Montague, Secretary to India and to Lord Sinha who was residing in London, and received permission to go to Amritsar over the head of General O’Dwyer and the Viceroy Chelmsford.  He was able to save the Congress leader Harkishenlal and was instrumental in shortening the period of martial law.  Motilal neglected his own practice and used all of his influence and the facilities of his own solicitors to the Privy Council.  Gandhi, C.R. Das, M.R. Jayakar, Abbas Tayabji (Tyabjee), and Motilal Nehru were chosen by the Congress to be a committee of inquiry into the Amritsar situation.  By working in close association with Gandhi these leading lawyers of the day came to respect him and regard him as their leader.

Finally the time came when Gandhi called for a boycott of titles, honorary offices, law courts, legislatures, foreign goods, and Government owned or aided schools and colleges.  Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, Rajagopalachari and many other lawyers gave up their princely incomes, resigned from their respective legislative assemblies, and began to live simple, austere lives.”[5]

Thomas Erskine in the trial of Thomas Paine observed that:-

I will for ever, at all hazards, assert the dignity, independence and integrity of the English bar; without which impartial justice, the most valuable part of the English Constitution, can have no existence.”[6]

Benjamin Cardozo observed that membership in the Bar is “a privilege burdened with conditions“.[7] Oliver Wendell Holmes in his seminal work, The Law, said that “Shall I ask what a Court would be unaided, the law is made by the Bar even more than the Bench“.[8]

Legal enactments and regulations

At a more contemporary level, it may be relevant to note certain regulatory provisions that exist with respect to lawyers.

Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette

In the ‘Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette to be Observed by Advocates’, as adopted by the Bar Council of India under Section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961, Rule 3 provides as follows:

3. An advocate shall not influence the decision of a court by any illegal or improper means. Private communications with a judge relating to a pending case are forbidden.

Further, under Rule 4, an advocate has the duty to use his best efforts to restrain and prevent his client from resorting to sharp or unfair practices. The Rule states that an advocate shall refuse to represent the client who engages in such improper conduct.  He shall not consider himself a mere mouth-piece of the client. He shall exercise his own judgment by using restrained language in correspondence, avoiding outrageous attacks in pleadings, and using severe language during arguments in court.

Analogous provisions in the UK

Similar regulatory provisions exist in the United Kingdom as well.

Solicitors’ Code of Conduct

In the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct, 2007, as adopted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Rule 1 provides for the following core duties of a solicitor: (i) upholding the rule of law and proper administration of justice, (ii) acting with integrity, (iii) not allowing independence to be compromised, (iv) acting in the best interests of each client, (v) providing a good standard of service to clients, and (vi) not behaving in a way likely to diminish public trust.

Further, it is provided under clause (1) of Rule 11.01 of the Code that a solicitor must never deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the Court. Particularly, with respect to witnesses, Rule 11.07 provides as follows:

11.07 Payments to witnesses

You must not make, or offer to make, payments to a witness dependent upon the nature of the evidence given or upon the outcome of the case.

Code of Conduct with regard to barristers

A separate Code of Conduct governs barristers in the United Kingdom. This code is administered by the Bar Standards Board, an independent regulatory board of the Bar Council of U.K. Paragraph 301 of the Code provides that a barrister must not (a) engage in conduct whether in pursuit of his profession or otherwise which is (i) dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister; (ii) prejudicial to the administration of justice; or (iii) likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute; and (b) engage directly or indirectly in any occupation if his association with that occupation may adversely affect the reputation of the Bar or in the case of a practicing barrister prejudice his ability to attend properly to his practice.

Further, with respect to practising barristers, Rule 307 incorporates certain additional restrictions. It is provided that a barrister must not, inter alia:

  1. Compromise his absolute independence, integrity and freedom because of external pressures
  2. Do anything (for example accept a present) in such circumstances that may lead to any inference might compromise his independence;
  3. Compromise his professional standards in order to please his client the Court or a third party, including any mediator.

Bar Council Examination

Despite being passed in December 2009, a Supreme Court judgment with tremendous ramifications for the practice of law came to our notice only recently.

In Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College, Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice H. L. Dattu mandated the Center to conduct bar examinations to test candidates for their suitability or otherwise for entry into the legal profession.

You heard right: current law students who expect to graduate may not be able to don the robes of an advocate without first clearing a bar exam.

The Supreme Court order dated on 14 December 2009, came in the light of recommendations by a special committee constituted by the court and headed by the Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanium. This committee was primarily tasked with making recommendations concerning the manner of affiliation and recognition of law colleges by the Bar Council of India.

Upon receipt of the Committee report, the Supreme Court mandated the Centre to implement the recommendations, explicitly referring to the introduction of a Bar Examination:

“The most significant achievement of this entire exercise has been the introduction of the Bar Examination. Learned Solicitor General submits that the first Bar Examination shall be conducted in July-August, 2010 by a specially constituted independent body, consisting of experts of various disciplines of national stature. In the facts and circumstances of this case, we deem it appropriate to direct the Central Government to ensure that the entire programme framed by the three-member Committee is operationalized forthwith. We further direct the concerned institutions to fully cooperate with the Bar Council of India.”

India is not new to bar exams. The Indian Advocates Act, 1961 required holders of law degrees who wished to enter practice to complete a course in practical training and also pass an examination. But, in 1973, this provision was deleted by way of amendment, and since then, a law graduate from a BCI-recognized university could directly enroll as a lawyer. The BCI attempted to introduce an apprenticeship or practical training course in 1998, whereby recently graduated law students would have to work for a year with a counsel before they could enrol as advocates. However, the Supreme Court struck it down on grounds of lack of competence in the case of  V. Sudeer v. BCI, AIR 1999 SC 1167.

The Court held that under the prevailing statutory framework, the BCI did not have the authority to prescribe conditions for training and examinations after graduation; it would first have to amend the Advocates Act to confer such powers unto itself. Notwithstanding this, the court still went on to explicitly endorse the need for an apprenticeship and a Bar examination, albeit after appropriate statutory amendments in this regard.

In the light of the V Sudeer case, one is forced to contend with the legality of the current Supreme Court mandate in favour of bar exams. Needless to state, the Supremes are well within their right to reverse Sudeer or distinguish it, but neither of it happened in the present case.

In effect, the Supreme Court has directed the Center to implement the Committee report and permit the holding of a bar exam by a certain date. But if such bar exam can only be legally instituted after legislative amendment, one might argue that the court has effectively directed the center to move such legislative amendment.

In fact, the report by the SG committee clearly recognizes the need for legislative amendment in this regard:

“A Bar Examination should be introduced for the purpose of admitting law graduates to the Bar: As discussed supra, the introduction of a bar examination would ensure maintenance of standards in the legal profession, as well as standardization and constant innovation in the standards of curriculum, teaching methodology etc. The Committee is, therefore, of the opinion that qualifying a bar examination should be made a requirement prior to admission to the Bar by all State Bar Councils across the country. In light of the decision of the Supreme Court in the V. Sudeer case, such a requirement may be introduced in the Advocates Act, 1961 by means of a statutory amendment.”

Prior to framing his report, the Solicitor General had solicited comments from a few of us involved in legal education. Pursuant to his request, we sent him a rather lengthy note, strongly recommending a bar exam as a potential “quality” control measure. It then goes on to recommend reforms, most of which can be effectuated within the corners of the existing regulatory framework, without the need for statutory reform. Others may require statutory amendments.

Legal Profession in England

Early regulations with regard to admission of lawyers

In England, the admission of lawyers has been regulated since the middle of the 13th century.  In the late 13th century, three critical regulations were adopted – a. the Statute of Westminster I, chapter 29 (1275); b. The London Ordinance of 1280; and c. the Ordinance of 1292, de Attornatis et Apprenticiis.  During the medieval period, further regulations were enacted, called the Statute, 4 Henry IV, chapter 18 (1402) and the Ordinance, 33 Henry VI, chapter 7 (1455).  In addition, judges have always used their inherent power to control the admission of lawyers and check their misconduct.

Legal profession during Edward I’s period (1272-1307)

Serjeants and Attorneys

The legal profession first seems to have emerged in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). At that point of time, it included two types of lawyers – the serjeants and attorneys.  Serjeants were pleaders who spoke for the clients while attorneys handled procedural matters.  Later, attorneys also appeared on behalf of litigants.

Initially, both the pleaders and attorneys assisting the litigants were amateurs. However, over time, these individuals began to appear repeatedly to assist litigants.  Thus these individuals developed expertise as a result of their experience and were sought out by litigants and they charged for their services.

In the middle of the 12th century, and particularly through the 13th century, famous legal figures such as Ranulf Glanvill and Ralph de Hengham emerged. Thus, identifiable precursors or predecessors of professional lawyers emerged in the early 13th century.

Appointment and functions of an attorney

The appointment of an attorney was called “responsalis“. The writ for an attorney to act in Court, in place of his principal was called “ad lucrandum vel perdendum“.  Individual attorneys could appear in Court either as a special attorney, or as a general attorney on behalf of a client for numerous matters over a period of time.  However, by the end of the 13th century, restrictions limiting the use of the serjeants were removed and litigants commonly used professional serjeants to plead their cases.  Now statutes granted litigants the right to appoint and use attorneys.  In 1268, a Charter of the city of London recognized a similar right for its citizens.  Thus professional lawyers were practising on a full time basis created a budding English legal profession.

Serjeants sole determining authority for judicial appointments

There were major changes in the Court system. New Royal Courts and expert Judges came into being. Thus, a legal environment was created for the existence of a professional lawyer.  Since serjeants were the aristocrats of medieval lawyers, appointment as a serjeant was a significant honour. Serjeants were the sole determining authority in case of judicial appointments. Hence, Chaucer called a serjeant a “man of law”.  The term itself was derived from a French expression serviens, meaning “one who serves”.  By the last quarter of the 13th century, the number of serjeants increased. They then became primary pleaders in the Court of Common Pleas and to a lesser extent in the other Royal Courts.

Apprentices and the legal profession

In 1280s, a group called Apprentices of the Common Bench emerged.  Initially, apprentices were individuals studying to become serjeants.  They functioned under the supervision of serjeants or senior apprentices.  By the end of the 13th century, the apprentices were also representing clients and practising law. However, they were essentially practising as attorneys and not pleaders.

Legal Enactments and Regulations

In this period ending with the reign of Edward I, three enactments were critical.

Statute Of Westminster I, chapter 29 (1975)

The first was the Statute of Westminster I, chapter 29 (1275). This statute prohibited conduct by ‘any serjeant-counter or other’ in the King’s Court that deceived the Court or a party.  A serjeant who committed this violation was to be punished with imprisonment for a year and a day, and prohibition on further pleading.

Chapter 29 prohibited misconduct which occurred in a judicial proceeding because of its negative impact on the justice system.  Chapter 29 was applied to attorneys and pleaders with the same punishment being awarded to them.  Conduct such as false pleading, misfeasance, common law fraud, false recitals in a writ, false statements in a pleading and various forms of defective or unjustified litigation were covered under the punishment.

The sanctions imposed were being disbarred, imprisonment for a year and a day, to imprisonment only, a shorter imprisonment, temporary suspensions of different lengths or a fine.  The cases involved lawyers committing a wide range of misconduct, such as forgery of writs, altering, damaging or removing official documents. Various other offences were punished. These offences were: a. conflict of interest and other breaches of client loyalty  b. making false statements in Court, to the client, the opponent, and in pleadings and other documents c. acting as an attorney without proper authority d. failing to act – an early termination of representation e. offending judges by unconvincing arguments, over enthusiasm, or not speaking in good faith.

London Ordinance of 1280

The London Ordinance of 1280 was a long and a detailed enactment. This enactment regulated both admission to practice and lawyer conduct in the courts of London.  The function of a countor was to stand and plead, and count counts and make propositions at the Bar, which prohibited unprofessional pleading.  The penalties for violations included short suspensions and fines.  The penalty for violating the simultaneous conflict of interest prohibition was suspension for three years.

Ordinance of 1292

The Ordinance of 1292 dealt with the admission of attorneys and apprentices to the Common Bench.  It directed the Chief Justice and other Justices to regulate the number of attorneys admitted to practice before the Common Bench. They were also directed to establish quotas for each county. According to Holdsworth, these Ordinances were issue as there were large complaints against lawyers by members of the general public. It was believed that the number of lawyers should be reduced in order to reduce lawyer misconduct.

Most legal historians have accepted that the Ordinance of 1292 was a major stage in the development of the legal profession in England.  In fact, this was the beginning of the long-standing belief that attorneys were officers of the Court.  This was attributed because Judges directly admitted attorneys.  Integrity and competence were both required for admission. This was because the standard of admission resembled the good moral criterion to modern admission controls. Statutes like the Statute of Conspirators, 1292, and the 1305 Ordinance of Conspirators prohibiting false litigation were also steps in that direction.

Legal Profession post Edward I’s period (after the 13th century)

Attorney not allowed to plead

In the early 17th century, the influence of serjeants as a professional group declined. As a result of this, apprentices became the more important group of pleaders and were the predecessors of today’s barristers.  By the middle of the 14th century, they created the Inns of Court.  Although an attorney was a lawyer who represented the client in Court on the client’s behalf, he was not allowed to plead.  An attorney appeared on behalf of his client. This would be clear from the French verb attorner, which means ‘to assign or depute for a particular purpose’.  The attorneys’ primary function was to appear in Court to manage the litigation of the clients.

Separation between attorneys and serjeants model for solicitor-barrister separation

The formal division of the English legal profession into solicitors and barristers can be traced back to the separation between the attorneys and the serjeants.  Attorneys were the predecessors of the serjeants.

Canon and Ecclesiastical Lawyers

It may be pointed out that canon and ecclesiastical lawyers (dealing with laws with regard to the Church) existed both in England and in Continental Europe.  Canon lawyers appeared in the English ecclesiastical Courts.  The canon lawyers were also divided like common law lawyers.  The pleader was called the ecclesiastical advocatus while the attorney was called the ecclesiastical procurator.  According to Pollock and Maitland, professional canons for advocates served set an example for professional common law pleaders.  In England, the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge imparted legal education based on canon and Roman law. They did not include any instruction in English common law.

The instruction in English common law appeared only in the 18th century with Blackstone’s famous Vinerian lectures.  However, in Continental Europe, legal instruction was much older. The oldest were the lectures at the celebrated law school of the University of Bologna in which Roman and civil law was taught.

Educating Pleaders and the Inns of Court

The education of pleaders through apprentices who were studying to become serjeants was the backbone of legal education.  They were taught to regularly attend Court and judicially encouraged to observe the working of Courts as well as serjeants.  That is how the Inns of Court were established.

The regulation of the legal profession incorporated principles of discipline, definition of malpractice and other civil liability to injured clients, judicial and institutional controls, and legislative approaches.  In England, solely the Judges imposed discipline. Hence, there did not exist any separate disciplinary authorities and regulatory agencies. Moreover, judicial sanctions were commonly imposed. These sanctions were imposed to give effect to statutes and ordinances, as well as inherent judicial power.

Between the end of the reign of Edwards I and the end of 15th century, there was less regulatory activity.  The assault on champerty and maintenance continued. Statutes imposing additional prohibitions and remedies were passed in 1327, 1331, 1347, 1377 and 1383.  By the end of 14th century, serjeants had a monopoly on pleading in the Common Bench.  Thus, the serjeants were considered to be a guild.

With the development of petitions to Parliament in the early 14th century, petitions became a vehicle for complaints about lawyers.

Legal Enactments and Regulations Post Edward I’s period

Statute 4 Henry IV, Chapter 18 (1402)

Statute 4 Henry IV, Chapter 18 (1402) aimed at regulating admission of regulating attorneys and misconduct. The statute required that the justices were to examine all attorneys including those already in practice. The justices were to apply their discretion and enroll only those who were ‘good and virtuous and of good fame…’  It was believed that this statute stressed upon the notion that attorneys were officers of the Court and that judicial control of admission was important to limit numbers, ensure competence and eliminate misconduct.

Ordinance 33 Henry VI, Chapter 7 (1455)

Ordinance 33 Henry VI, Chapter 7 (1455) was aimed at controlling attorney admission in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and the city of Norwich.  Thus the previous instances of modern regulation of lawyers were evident in the medieval regulation of the profession.

The importance of oaths in the legal profession

The standards in the legal profession, in a certain sense, originated due to the ecclesiastical Courts (Courts dealing with matters of the Church) – both in England and Europe.  Oaths were a part of ancient tradition.  The Roman oath required that an advocate should avoid deception and circumlocution. An advocate should speak only that which he believed to be true. He was to avoid the use of injurious language or malicious statements against his adversary.  The ecclesiastical Courts in England set an oath for advocates, and the Council in St. Paul’s in 1237 issued an oath for ecclesiastical advocates that addressed their litigation conduct.  The obligation of a lawyer was to defend his client both according to law and reason.  But the decree warned that advocates who “persuade witnesses, or instruct the parties to give false evidence or suppress the truth” would be suspended from office and subjected to additional punishment for repeated violations.

In fact, the oath for advocates in the Court of Arches in London introduced by Archbishop Kilwardy provided that a lawyer would reject unjust causes, not seek unjust delays and not knowingly infringe on ecclesiastical liberties.  This included the duty of ‘not to charge excessive fees’.  It was in the mid-19th century that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction came to be abolished.  Incidentally, the original speeches from the early 15th century encouraged serjeants to serve the poor.

The following exhortation of Lord Whitlocke is noteworthy:[9]

“For your duty to particular clients you may consider, that some are rich, yet with such there must be endeavour to lengthen causes, to continue fees.  Some are poor, yet their business must not be neglected if their cause be honest; they are not the worst clients, though they fill not your purses, they will fill the ears of God with prayers for you and he who is the defender of the poor will repay your charity”.

Thus the apprentices who had long trained at the Inns of Court became barristers and received ethical instruction as part of their training. The special wisdom of decorum and ethics came from the serjeants.  Barristers were governed and disciplined by Courts and the Inns.  The barristers through educational dialogue passed on ethical traditions and developed new ones. Barristers unquestionably developed new standards.  The bias against advertisement started as etiquette handed down in the Inns by barristers. These barristers believed that they were superior to the mere trade work of attorneys and solicitors.  Likewise, barristers developed standards demanding that they separate themselves from the lay client and not sue lay clients to collect fees.

Oaths and Legal Enactments

An attorney was required to take the following oath:

“You shall do no falsehood nor consent to any to be done in the Office of Pleas of this court wherein you are admitted as an attorney”[10].

English Courts used their inherent power as well as the 1275 Statute to impose a duty of loyalty and confidentiality on attorneys.  In fact the history of the attorney-client privilege began with the reign of Elizabeth I.

In 1605, Parliament enacted the 1605 Act which was “an Act to reform the multitudes and misdemeanours of attorneys and solicitors of law, and to avoid unnecessary suits and charges at law“.  In 1654, the Court of Common Pleas directed that a jury of able and credible officers, clerks and attorneys be empanelled every three years to oversee discipline of attorneys.  This panel was also to set a table of “due and just fees“.

In 1729, Parliament enacted an Act for the better regulation of attorneys and solicitors, providing for strict admission procedures.  The 1729 Act required lawyers to swear to a shorter oath.  The new oath provided that “That I will truly and honestly demean[11] myself in the practice of an attorney, according to the best of my knowledge and ability“.

In England the position of Serjeant-at-Law was discontinued and was replaced by the King’s Counsel (or Queen’s Counsel, as the case may be).  They were appointed by Royal patent, were admitted only upon taking an oath, and had a monopoly of all practices. They were directly answerable to the King as parts of his judicial system.

The earliest form of an attorney’s oath on record is found in the Red Book of the Exchequer.

“The Oath of Attorneys in the Office of Pleas:  You shall doe noe Falshood nor consent to anie to be done in the office of Pleas of this Courte wherein you are admitted an Attorney.  And if you shall knowe of anie to be done you shall give Knowledge thereof to the Lord Chiefe Baron or other his Brethren that it may be reformed you shall Delay noe Man for Lucre Gaine or Malice you shall increase noe Fee but you shall be contended with the old Fee accustomed.  And further you shall use your selfe in the Office of Attorney in the said office of Pleas in this Courte according to your best Learninge and Discrecion.  So helpe you God.”[12]

Professional Conduct and the Law Society

The attorneys were expelled from the principal Inns of Court in the 16th century and in 1739 they formed a professional group called “Society of Gentleman-Practicers in the Courts of Law and Equity”.  Thus the Law Society was born, though it was not until 1986 that the Law Society formed a committee to collect and draft principles of professional conduct.  Now there exists the Guide to Professional Conduct of Solicitors reflecting the ideals of modern solicitors as well.  Both branches of the English legal profession had the same core duties over the centuries of litigation: fairness, competence, loyalty, confidentiality, reasonable fees and service to the poor.

Legal Profession in Rome and Continental Europe

Nicholas in Introduction to Roman Law stated that the Roman jurists were not paid for their work, but were supposed to function due to a keen sense of public service.  In Europe, lawyers were under an oath, which was an essence, a condensed code of legal ethics.

In France, lawyers had to take an oath which included a pledge of care, diligence and an agreement to support only just causes.  In France, the oaths were taken by ecclesiastical lawyers and the French legal tradition had a lasting influence even outside France in Switzerland and other parts of Europe.

The concept of a lawyer as an officer of the Court is arises from the Roman idea of a lawyer being an advocatus, who when called upon by the praetor to assist in the cause of a client, was solemnly reprimanded to “avoid artifice and circumlocution”.[13]

The concept of oath was common to Europe.  Fredrick the Second of Germany, prescribed the oath as follows:

“We will that the advocates to be appointed, as well in our court as before the justices and bailiffs of the provinces, before entering upon their offices, shall take their corporal oath on the Gospels, that the parties whose cause they have undertaken they will, with all good faith and truth, without any tergiversation, succour; nor will they allege anything against their sound conscience; nor will they undertake desperate causes; and, should they have been induced, by misrepresentation and the colouring of the party to undertake a cause which, in the progress of the suit, shall appear to them, in fact or law, unjust, they will forthwith abandon it.  Liberty is not to be granted to the abandoned party to have recourse to another advocate.  They shall also swear that, in the progress of the suit, they will not require an additional fee, nor on the part of the suit enter into any compact; which oath it shall not be sufficient for them to swear to once only, but they shall renew it every year before the officer of justice.  And if any advocate shall attempt to contravene the aforesaid form of oath in any cause, great or small, he shall be removed from his office, with the brand of perpetual infamy, and pay three pounds of the purest gold into our treasury.” [14]

The French recognized the role of a lawyer in the Capitularies of Charlemagne as a professional lawyer. Nobody should be admitted to the profession except for men, “mild, pacific, fearing God and loving justice, upon pain of elimination.”

In Denmark and Norway, the Code of Christian V provided as follows:

“Lawyers who are allowed to plead Causes, shall be Men of Probity, Character, and known Repute.

In Cities shall be appointed such a Number of Lawyers as are really requisite.

No one shall be admitted as a Lawyer to act, who does not take an oath before the Mayor and Aldermen, that he will undertake no Cause he knows to be bad, or iniquitous; that he will avoid all Fraud in pleading, bringing Evidence, and the like: That he will abstain from all Cavils, Querks and Chicanery; and never seek by Absence, Delays, or superfluous Exceptions, to procrastinate a Suit: That he will use all possible Brevity in transcribing Processes, Deeds, Sentences, etc.  That he will never encourage Discord, or be the least Hindrance to Reconciliation:  That he will exact no exorbitant Fees from the Poor, or others: And that he will act honestly, and to the best of his Power, for all his Clients.  Of this Oath the Judges shall admonish the Lawyers in dubious Cases, and if they think proper, require a Renewal of it in the Court: And moreover, command them to abstain from all Manner of Scurrility, and Abuse, in their Pleadings, especially where the process does not concern the Fame of the Defendant.

A Lawyer defective in this his Duty shall be discarded, rendered incapable of ever after pleading, and moreover punished in Proportion to his Offense.”[15]

Legal Profession in America

In the United States as well, a lawyer is regarded as an officer of the Court and is admitted to the Bar only upon taking of an official oath.  In America, until 1875, there were no formal academic requirements to be a lawyer, because there was neither required schooling nor tests.

The Hoffman Code and Alabama’s Legal Ethics Code (Law and Morality)

The first regulatory code was written in 1836 by Judge Hoffman of Baltimore.  The Code touches on most of the problem areas confronting even modern lawyers.  Hoffman’s resolution suggests that justice should be the only motivation of lawyers, including the resolution that ‘lawyers must have humility regarding their own knowledge of the law‘.  The Hoffman Code states that lawyers must quote the law objectively with ‘honour’. Their reasoning should be objective and creative. This was followed by Alabama’s Legal Ethics Code of 1887.  The Code stated that morality was the only safeguard to having a good professional Bar.

Code of Professional Responsibility

The canons of professional ethics was approved by the American Bar Association in 1908 and continued till 1960s.  The preamble stated that public must have confidence in the “integrity and impartiality of the legal profession”.  This was replaced by the 1969 American Bar Association (“ABA”) Code of Professional Responsibility.  In a project called Ethics 2000, the American Bar Association reorganized its model rules of professional conduct.  The six traditional core duties now identified by ABA are – a) litigation fairness, b) competence, c) loyalty, d) confidentiality, e) reasonable fees, and f) public service.

The Colonies and early States used oaths, statutes, judicial oversight and procedural rules to govern behaviour of attorneys.  The oath was the most expansive single listing of ethical standards for early American lawyers.  Many of the States enacted laws to regulate attorneys’ fees.  The Bar Association later reflected the broader range of substantive concerns and dealt primarily with admission standards and procedures.

The New York Code (Legal conduct)

David Dudley Field was the drafter of the highly influential New York Code, popularly called the Field Code. This Code introduced a new set of uniform standards of conduct for lawyers.  One of the duties of a lawyer was to maintain the respect due to the Courts of Justice as well as judicial offices.  In fact, after the Field Code was drafted, Hoffman and Sharswood were able to use legal education to develop the standards of conduct for lawyers in the mid 19th century.  (Hoffman was a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland and Sharswood was a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  Most academicians believe that the works of Hoffman and Sharswood are significant in the field of American legal ethics.)

Code of Legal Ethics

Of course, by the end of the 19th century, a new form of ethical standards began to guide lawyers in their practice, called the American Bar Association Code of Legal Ethics.  It may be pointed out that although the ABA’s works are merely models and are themselves not binding on any lawyer, most States have adopted the ABA models with slight local variations.  As mentioned above, the ABA again brought about comprehensive changes to the Model Rules in a project known as Ethics 2000.  There were further amendments in August 2002 and August 2003.  As of 2003, 44 States and the District of Columbia had adopted some version of the Model Rules.

Lawyer subject to Rules of Court

A lawyer being an officer of the Court enjoys a license to certain special privileges, which otherwise he would not be entitled to. The advocate is therefore an officer sui generis of the Court and subject to the rules imposed by the Court in regulation to the practice therein.  He is a quasi officer of the State. The power and responsibility for the administration of justice rests on him. The fundamental idea underlying the lawyers’ profession has been expressed in a North Carolina case (In Re Application of Delingham[16]).

In a book called The Lawyer’s Oath and Office, it was noted that:-

“Why is any oath required for admission to the practice of the law?  No oath is required by law for admission to practice in any other profession, even where qualifications to practice are prescribed or ascertained by examinations required by law, as in the case of physicians.  But an official oath has always been required for admission to the practice of the law.  Why is it required?  What is its significance, and what obligation does it impose?

The significance of the lawyer’s oath is that it stamps the lawyer as an officer of the State, with rights, powers and duties as important as those of the Judges themselves. ……… A lawyer is not the servant of his client.  He is not the servant of the Court.  He is an officer of the Court, with all the rights and responsibilities which the character of the office gives the imposes.”[17]

In Ex parte Garland,[18] it was decided that the right to practice law was neither property nor a contract but was a right of which the lawyer could not be deprived of. The lawyer can only be deprived of this right only when a good cause can be shown after judicial proceedings.  It was observed by Field, J. that:

“The attorney and counsellor being, by solemn judicial act of the court clothed with his office, does not hold it as a matter of grace.  The right which it confers upon him to appear for suitors, and to argue causes, is something more than a mere indulgence, revocable at the pleasure of the court, or at the command of the legislature.  It is a right of which he can only be deprived by the judgment of the court for moral or professional delinquency.  They hold their office during good behaviour, and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by the judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded.”

A lawyer is an officer of the Court because the power of admitting a lawyer to practice law is judicial in its nature and is vested in the Courts.  It is settled law in the United States that whatever the general jurisdiction of the Courts over the subject may be, the legislature can exercise police power by prescribing reasonable rules and regulations for admission to the Bar which will be followed by the Courts.

Selden, J. in Re Cooper observed that:[19]

“Attorneys and counsellors are not only officers of the Court, but officers whose duties relate almost exclusively to proceedings of a judicial nature, and hence their appointment may with propriety be entrusted to the courts, and the latter in performing this duty may very justly be considered as engaged in the exercise of their proper judicial functions.”

In America, Courts authorized to admit attorneys to the Bar have inherent jurisdiction to suspend or disbar them for sufficient cause. Such jurisdiction is not dependent upon constitutional provision or a State enactment.

In Re Lambuth, the Supreme Court of Washington observed that:[20]

“But the power to strike from the rolls is inherent in the court itself.  No statute or rule is necessary to authorize the punishment in any proper cases.  Statutes and rules may regulate the power but they do not create it.  It is necessary for the protection of the court, the proper administration of justice, the dignity and purity of the profession, and for the public good and for the protection of clients.  Attorneys may forfeit their professional franchise by abusing it, and the power to exact the forfeiture is lodged in the courts which have authority to admit attorneys to practice.  Such power is indispensable to protect the court, the administration of justice, and themselves; and attorneys themselves are vitally concerned in preventing the vocation from being sullied by the conduct of unworthy members.”

Sharswood in Legal Ethics notes that:[21]

“With jurisprudence lawyers have most, nay, all to do.  The opinion of the Bar will make itself heard and respected on the Bench.  With sound views, their influence for good in this respect may well be said to be incalculable.  It is indeed the noblest faculty of the profession to counsel the ignorant, defend the weak and oppressed, and to stand forth on all occasions as the bulwark of private rights against the assaults of power, even under the guise of law; but it has still other functions.  It is its office to diffuse sound principles among the people, that they may intelligently exercise the controlling power placed in their hands, in the choice of their representatives in the legislature and of judges, in deciding, as they are often called upon to do, upon the most important changes in the Constitution, and above all, in the formation of that public opinion which may be said in these times, almost without a figure, to be the ultimate sovereign.”

Duties of a Lawyer

The duties of a lawyer to the Court arise from the relationship which he has with the Court as an officer in the administration of justice.  Law is not a mere private profession but is a profession which is an integral part of the judicial system of the State. As an officer of the Court, the lawyer should uphold the dignity and integrity of the Court.  The lawyer must exercise at all times respect for the Court, in both words and actions.  He must present all matters relating to his client’s case openly. He should being careful to avoid any attempt to exert private influence upon either the judge or the jury. He should be frank and candid in all dealings with the Court, ‘using no deceit, imposition evasion as by misreciting witnesses or misquoting precedents‘.

It may be noted that Warvelle in Legal Ethics records:[22]

But the lawyer is not alone a gentleman, he is a sworn minister of justice.  His office imposes high moral duties and grave responsibilities, and he is held to a strict fulfillment of all that these matters imply.  Interests of vast magnitude are intrusted to him; confidence is imposed in him; life, liberty and property are committed to his care.  He must be equal to the responsibilities which they create, and if he betrays his trust, neglects his duties, practises deceit, or panders to vice, then the most severe penalty should be inflicted and his name stricken from the roll.

The obvious truth is that the lawyer owes a high duty to his profession and to his fellow members of the Bar. His profession should be his pride, and to preserve its honour should be among his chief concerns.  “Nothing should be higher in the estimation of the advocate” declares Mr. Alexander H. Robbins, “next after those sacred relations of home and country than his profession.  She should be to him the fairest of ten thousand among the institutions of the earth.  He must stand for her in all places and resent any attack on her honour – as he would if the same attack were to be made against his own fair name and reputation.  He should enthrone her in the sacred places of his heart, and to her he should offer the incense of constant devotion.  For she is a jealous mistress.”[23]

As regards the Bench, Warvelle remarks that the purity of the Bench also depends upon the purity of the Bar:[24]

The very fact, then, that one of the co-ordinate departments of the government is administered by men selected only from one profession gives to that profession a certain pre-eminence which calls for a high standard of morals as well as intellectual attainments.  The integrity of the judiciary is the safeguard of the nation, but the character of the judges is practically but the character of the lawyers.  Like begets like.  A degraded Bar will inevitably produce a degraded Bench, and just as certainly may we expect to find the highest excellence in a judiciary drawn from the ranks of a enlightened, learned and moral Bar.

[1] J. Rose, “The Legal Profession in Medieval England: A History of Regulation”, (1998) 48 Syracuse Law Review 1, 3 (footnote 2).  Hereinafter, “Rose”. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 1, pp. 1-138].

[2] Samuel Schmitthener, “A Sketch of the Development of the Legal Profession in India”, (1968-69) 3 Law & Society Review 337.  Hereinafter, “Schmitthener”. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2, pp. 90-135]

[3] Schmitthener at 357. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 110]

[4] Schmitthener at 379. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 132]

[5] Schmitthener at 379. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 132]

[6] David Shrager & Elizabeth Frost (Ed.), The Quotable Lawyer, (1986), Ch. 12, p. 23.

[7] See In re Rouss, 221 N.Y. 81, at 84

[8] David Shrager & Elizabeth Frost (Ed.), The Quotable Lawyer, (1986), Ch. 12, p. 23.

[9] C.R. Andrews, “Standards of Conduct for Lawyers: An 800-Year Evolution”, (2004) Southern Methodist University Law Review 1385, 1400 (footnote 123).  Hereinafter, “Andrews”. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2, pp. 1-74]

[10] Andrews at 1404. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2, pp. 1-74 at 20]

[11] It may be noted that demean in old English simply meant “to conduct oneself in a particular manner” and did not have its current derogatory meaning!

[12] E.W. Timberlake, “The Lawyer as an Officer of the Court”, (1924-25) 11 Virgina Law Review 263, 267.  Hereinafter, “Timberlake”. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2, pp. 75-89 at 79]

[13] Timberlake at 263. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 75]

[14] Timberlake at 263. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 75]

[15] Timberlake at 265. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 77]

[16] 188 N.C. 162

[17] Timberlake at 269. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 81]

[18] 4 Wall. 333

[19] 22 N.Y. 67

[20] 18 Wash. 478

[21] Timberlake, pp. 272-273 [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 84-85]

[22] Timberlake, p. 274. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 86]

[23] Timberlake, p. 273. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 85]

[24] Timberlake, p. 274. [Amicus Curiae Compilation No. 2 at 86]

International Law And Municipal Law: The Interface


It is the nature of man to live in communities.  He lives in this fashion in every part of the world today, and the evidence of history and pre-history shows how long he has been doing so.  But then it must be noted that where people live together conflict is bound to arise due to various conflicting interests among the people.  Also, bearing in mind that everybody tries to work hard, obtains basic needs and all other things which help to make life happy and comfortable which are incidentally in short supply, since the supply is always in short in proportion to the demand, competition for them sets in.  It is a race in which we all engage, and in every race or game there must be rules and regulations. Else, we are moving towards the ‘state of nature’ as enunciated by Hobbes.  Therefore, the existence of rules and regulations (law) becomes a sine qua non to the peaceful co-existence of people and nations all over the world.

This chapter therefore, attempts a critical examination of International and Municipal laws.  The chapter is divided into three parts.  Part one which is the introduction provides theoretical background for the work.  In it, clarifications of some concepts that are germane to the study are done.  It also looks briefly at purposes and characteristics of law.   Part two compares vividly international law and municipal law looking at the debate on the relationship between the two using the contending theories.  Part three, which is the concluding aspect, presents a complementary nature of international law and municipal law, thereby viewing both laws as real, irrespective of their peculiarities.

Understanding the Concepts

Since conceptual clarification is a form of intellectual ritual that gives clarity and validity to any discussion, it is therefore necessary to explain concepts that are germane to this study for the purpose of deeper understanding.

The Concept of Law

There have been various definitions of law by different scholars across the global intellectual communities.  These definitions exist, ranging from the philosophical to the practical, Plato called law social control; William Blackstone (1977) sees law as rule, specifying what was right and what was wrong.  For the purpose of this study, law is viewed as a body of rules that establish a certain level of social conduct, or duties that members of the society honour (Davidson, 1998:3).

Law simply means an arrangement that coordinates and confines people’s behaviours to conform to an agreed general ways of human conduct in a given society, with a threat of sanctions against defiant behaviours. Inferred from the above definitions is the need to obey the law. This is because disobedience may attract sanctions that may result in imprisonment, fine or death, depending on the nature of offence. Law may also be defined as a body of rules or regulations governing the conduct of human beings in their social regulations.

The Concept of Municipal Law

Municipal law is the internal law of the state, binding on the citizens of the state.  It is defined as the domestic law of a state regulating the conduct of individuals and legal entities within it (Aguda, 1999).  It is national or internal law of a state.  Shaw sees municipal law as law that governs the domestic aspects of government and deals with issues between individuals and the administrative apparatus (Shaw, 1997:105).

The Concept of International Law

It is an indisputable fact that international law is a victim of definitional pluralism; this is because many scholarly definitions have been given to it by various scholars of repute from different perspectives.  Some of these definitions will be explored for the purpose of this study.

Khan et al (1968) defines it as a ‘body of rules, laws, and norms, which serves to limit the sovereignty of state in the international society.  Oppenheim (1995) sees it as the ‘body of customary and treaty rules which are considered legally binding by states, in their intercourse with each other.’  Jessup (1968) presents it as the body of laws, which is applicable to states in their relations and to individuals in their relations to other states.  In the same vein,  Kolawole (1997, 278) defines international law or what he calls the ‘law of nations’ as the body of rules and principles of action which are binding upon civilised states in their relations with one another.  International law is the law at the international level made by the collective will of states and to lesser degree organisation and individuals (Shaw, 1997, 105).  In essence, international law is a body of generally accepted principles and rules regulating or controlling the conduct of states, individuals and international organisations for the purpose of peaceful coexistence in the international plane.

Dimensions of International Law

            The scope of international law can be categorised into six broad items, namely: one, the law of peace, which seeks the peaceful settlement of international disputes.  Two, the law of war, since conflict is an inevitable outcome of human and states relations, conducts of hostilities, must conform with laid-down regulations in terms of types of military wares and ammunition to be used, and stages of their utilisation, targets and non targets of attack, areas of combat, treatment of civilians, journalists and prisoners of war and refuges; and the duties of humanitarian agencies such as the Red-Cross otherwise called ‘doctor without borders’. Three, the law of neutrality, international law forbids aggression on neutral states in war.  It also spells out reciprocal responsibilities for neutral states.  Law forbids them to render any form of assistance whatever military or civil to any of the parties engaged in hostility.  Four, mercantile laws, which relate to regulations on international trade, foreign investment and multi-lateral trade agreements by states.

Five, is the law of the sea.  The sea is very vital to the world economy as it provides varied marine food and mineral resources. It serves as a means of international transportation, and it serves as strategic resource for national defence.  For these reasons, nations have fought wars over marine resources.  Consequently, activities of states in the sea need to be regulated in order to present inter-state disputes.  Six, convention on the use of outer spaces.  The law regulates the exploration and launching of objects into outer space (Ajayi, 2000).

Characteristics and Purposes of Law

The inherent nature of human beings is their unpredictability in terms of behavioural conduct. States, groups and international organisations, like individuals who constitute membership of these social formations, suffer from this innate problem.  Therefore, for law to really serve its purposes, a competent and constituted body that has recognised authority must make such law.  It must also be ultimately enforceable; any law that cannot be enforced is no law.  It must also be dynamic because society in which it operates is dynamic.  Law should also be consensual.  International law is one of consensus rather than one of force.  Even in the national society laws are only laws when one consents to it.  It might be out of fear of reprisal or coercion.

Law generally serves the following purposes in any society.  Law regulates conduct, maintains peace, and provides protection and means of achieving justice.

Specifically, law serves as a tool of order; as a tool order, it promotes order within the national and international society.  There is no denying the fact that a comprehensive set of rules, regulations, obligations, rights, legal doctrines and decisions of national and international tribunals on legal matters does help to promote international order.  Law regulates the behaviour of the citizenry.  Without law, society would have been disorganised and become ungovernable (Kolawole, 1997).

A scholar have identified the functions of international law, which include minimising frictions between and among states, stabilising the behaviour of states, facilitating cooperation between and among states, protecting individuals, settling disputes and serving as a tool of public relations and propaganda (Adeniran, 1983).

International law also serves as an instrument of national policy.  It contributes to a nation’s means of attaining its objectives in foreign policy.  It also serves as integrative force, in the world community, since no state can live in isolation, it atomised the entire states and people of the world into one whole as they are all subjects of the law without prejudice to race, colour or class (Ajayi, 2000).

Comparing International Law and Municipal Law

The relationship between international law and municipal law is full of theoretical problems.  The international legal literature on the subject records two main principal theories involved in the debate.  But it is to be noted that this part does not necessarily distinguish or differentiate international law from municipal law or give one primacy over the other, but rather, justifies the existence of both laws as laws in the real sense of it.  Although, some of the arguments put forward by different schools of thought to explain the relationship between the two laws will be explored for theoretical explanation and academic consumption.

The dualist or pluralist school of thought assumes that international law and municipal law are two separate legal systems, which exist independently of each other (Malanczuk, 1997, 63-71).  Dualism stresses that the rules of the systems of international and municipal laws exist separately and cannot purport to have effect on, or overrule the other.  This according to the school is because of the fundamentally different legal structure employed on one hand by the state, and on the other hand as between states (Malanczuk, 1997).

The dualist position is accepted by the posivists like Triepel and Anzillot.  Triepel maintains that international law must be incorporated into the municipal law, because the subject of state is the individual whereas the subject of international law is abstract entity known as the state.  Since subjects are not the same, there has to be a transformation from one to the other, i.e. international law has to be transformed into the state law before it can be applied to individuals.  This process is also called ‘Transformation theory’.  The claim of Triepel as regards state as only subject of international law can no longer be sacrosanct due to dynamism in law.  In the contemporary international law, individuals are seen as subject but with limited capacity.

The 1945 Nuremberg Trial made individuals subject of international law; there was also Angola Trial, etc.  Anzilloti (1967) talks of the conditioning of the two laws.  In his opinionated view, state laws are imperatival and hence it has to be obeyed, whereas international law is in the nature of promises; it is therefore necessary to transform a promise into command before it becomes applicable in the municipal law.  The position also is not sacrosanct, in the sense that law is not necessarily command, people obey the law when they consent to it and often times people obey because of the possible gains that can be acquired.

The second school of thought known as Monist, has a unitary perception of the law and understands both international law and municipal law as forming part of one and the same legal order.  The most radical version of the Monist approach was formulated by Kelsen, in his view, ‘the ultimate source of validity of all law’, is derived from a basic rule of international law.

Kelsen theory implies that all rules of international law were supreme over municipal law, that a municipal law inconsistent with international law was automatically null and void and that rules of international law were directly applicable in the domestic spheres of state.  Kelsen’s view was on formalistic logical grounds.  They opposed strict division of the two laws as demonstrated by the dualists and accept the unitary view of law as a whole.  Kelsen utilises the philosophy of Kant as its basis.

Law is regarded as constituting an order which lays down patterns of behaviour that ought to be followed, coupled with the provision for sanctions, which are employed once an illegal act or course of conduct has occurred or been embarked upon.  Since the same definition implies both within internal sphere and international sphere, a logical unity is forged. Since states own their legal relationship to the roles of international law, and since states cannot be equal before the law without a rule to that effect, it follows that international law is superior to or more basic than municipal law.

Kelsen emphasises the unity of the entire legal order upon the basis of the predominance of international law by declaring that it is the basic norm of the international legal order, which is the ultimate reason of validity of the national legal orders too (Kelsen, 1997).

Lauterpacht in his contribution uphold a strong ethical position with deep concern for human right.  He sees the primary function of law as concerned with the well-being of individuals and advocates the supremacy of international law as the best method of attaining this.

Interestingly, Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties states that: a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal laws as justification for its failure to carry out an international agreement.  However, expression on the supremacy on the international law over municipal law in international tribunals does not mean that the provisions of domestic legislation are either irrelevant or necessary.  On the contrary, the role of international legal rules is vital to the working of the international legal machine.

One of the ways that is possible to understand and discover a state’s legal position on a variety of topic important to international law is by examining the municipal laws.  A country will express its opinion on such vital international matter at the extent of its territorial sea or the justification it claims or the conditions for the acquisition of nationality through the medium of its domestic law making.  Thus, it is quite often that in the course of deciding a case before it, an international court will feel the necessity to make a study of relevant pieces of municipal legislation.  The rules of municipal law can be utilised as evidences of compliance or non-compliance with international obligations (Shaw, 1997).

Complementary Nature of International Law and Municipal Law

International law does not entirely ignore municipal law.  For example, municipal law may be used as evidence of international custom or of general principles of law, which are both sources of international law.  Moreover, international law leaves certain questions to be decided by the municipal law (Akhurst, 1977).

Harmonisation theory succinctly provides an answer to the true relationship of the two laws by asserting that:

The starting point in the legal order is that man lives not in one jurisdiction, but in both.  International law and municipal law are concordant bodies of doctrine, autonomous but harmonious in their aim of basic human good.  When faced with an actual problem, a municipal court applies the rules operative within its jurisdiction and may in fact, apply international law to the exclusion of municipal law, or vice-versa (Aguda, 1993: 32).

A treaty or other rule of international law imposes an obligation on states to enact a particular rule as part of their own municipal law.  Similarly, there is a general duty for states to bring domestic law into conformity with obligation under international law either through transformation, incorporation, adoption or reception, e.g. treaties ratified in accordance with the constitution automatically become part of the municipal law of the USA.  In Britain, the traditional rule is that customary international law automatically forms part of English law (Akhurst, 1977).

In a case before a municipal court, a rule of international law may be brought forward as a defence to a charge.  For example, a vessel may be prosecuted for being in what the domestic terms is regarded as territorial waters, but in international law, it would be treated as part of the high seas.

Okeke (1986:6) puts it in this manner:

…as states grow in their international outlook, and as they participate in either the creation of new rules of international law or in the re-definition of the already existing ones, it must be borne in mind that the world is now advancing on the principle of interdependence and mutual cooperation.  The age of holding tenaciously to the principle of absolute sovereignty is far gone.  Indeed, a state by taking laws to be in conformity with international law is a legitimate exercise of the sovereignty of such a state.

Okeke’s position stresses the dynamism in law and the society, when the law operates and the need for global intercourse of nation for global benefits; and such interaction must be regulated with law both at national and international levels so as to have peaceful and ordered world.

Okeke in his analysis cited a section each from the constitution of Germany and the United States of America to affirm the interconnectedness of international and municipal laws. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany provides:


            The general rules of public international law are an integral

             part of the federal law. They shall take precedence over the

            laws and shall directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants

             of the federal territory (Okeke, 1986).

In the same manner, the American constitution also provides:

            The constitution and the laws of the United States, which shall

             be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which

             shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state

             shall be bound thereby, and everything in the constitution or laws

             of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

In addition, the rule of the municipal law can be utilised as evidences of compliance or non-compliance with international obligations, e.g. the issue of respect of fundamental human rights.  Though, in some countries the law will sometimes fail to reflect the correct rule of international law, but this does not necessarily mean that states will be breaking international law.


From the submissions above, ranging from definitions of law, characteristics and purposes to relationship and complimentary nature of municipal law and international law, it is clear that both laws possess the qualities of law and all that takes to be called laws.  They serve the same purposes and perform functions of law because they are meant to regulate conduct, maintain peace, provide protection, achieve justice, etc.  They are both enforceable; they have different mechanisms of enforcement and agencies.  They are both dynamic in nature, they are made by competent and recognised authority, etc.  As a matter of fact, both laws have been able to work towards achieving well ordered societies, which is the ultimate goal of any law.  Therefore, international law and municipal laws are real laws.


Adeniran, T. 1983 Introduction to International Relations.  Ibadan, Macmillan Nigeria Ltd.

Aguda, A. (ed.) 1999 Introduction to International Law.  Ibadan, Spectrum Law Publishing.

Ajayi, K. 2000 International Administration and Economic Relations in a Changing World.  Ilorin, Maaba Publisher.

Akehurst, M. 1977 A Modern Approach to International Law.  London, George Allen Publishing Ltd.

Anzilloti, T. 1967  International Law and State.  England, Oxford Press.

Davidson, K. and M. Forsythe 1998  Business Law. USA, West Educational Publishing Limited.

Jessup, P. 1968  A Modern Law of Nations.  Handen Conn, Archan Books.

Kelsen, J. 1997  International Law.  Edinburgh, Rose Publishing Ltd.

Kolawole, D. 1997  Reading in Political Science.  Ibadan, Dekaal Publishing Ltd.

Malanczuk, P. 1997  Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law.  Padstow Con Wall, TJ International Ltd.

Okeke, C. 1986  Theory and Practice of International Law in Nigeria.  Forth Dimension Ltd.

Oppenheim, O. 1995  International Law.  London, Longman.

Shaw, N. 1997  International Law.  UK, Cambridge University Press.

Rules and regulation for Costa Rica Domestic Employee

In general terms, employees are those person who works under certain management system that gets paid by providing their services and time to that management system. Employees are of different types. From a small servant of a house to the staffs of companies, all are considered and tagged as an employee of a particular place and organization. Nowadays, in every countries there are certain rules and regulations that is a law is form by the government in the favor of employees. It’s called employee benefit. This law contains rules and regulation that every owner of a place or organization need to follow for their employees.
Bonus for different festivals
Every country has their own festivals, culture and traditions. Especially Christmas and New Year is one of the festival that is celebrated around the world by everyone. On such occasion, providing bonus to the employees are certain kind of system in every organization. Bonus are defined as an extra average yearly payment that are paid to the every employee on the festivals like Christmas and New Year and other festivals celebrated on their own country. Its rule that owner of the company must follow. It’s a law formed by government that even though the employee doesn’t completes the average working day, it’s a compulsion that the employee needs to be paid off the yearly bonus.
Domestic Employee
Employees are not necessarily to be the staffs of a company. Many people around the world especially from underdeveloped and developing countries, people goes from one country to another country in search of jobs. Similarly, these domestic jobs are done in that situation when the owner has a stand-alone house. Domestic jobs mostly include housekeeper and gardener. Labor law is one of the way to hire person from other countries on the agreement of following the laws, rules and regulation set by the government. Such as, paying social security, vacation time and bonus on the festival, etc. But if the requirement doesn’t meet then the owner would end up in labor court losing all the cost and payment that was paid for hiring from different country. Hence, it is safe to hire a housekeeper or other employee who has a lot working experience around.
Contracts between owner and employee
Beside the law set by government of the country, there are some private requirements of the owner as well while hiring a person or staff into his/her home or company. Since, they need to pay those employees certain amount after buying their time, employees should also follow certain rules set by the company. So, while hiring an employee only checking the profile of employee is not sufficient. It is important to know that for that employee, he/she should learn that if bonus is provided to them then there will be certain deduction on their wages as well. In this way, there won’t be any violation of laws too. Similarly, if a certain employee needs to be fired from the company, then also the law should be followed. With certain compensation and a reasonable cause, an employee can be fired from the company as well without breaking any laws.

Clear Up All The Legal Cases And Enjoy Your Abroad Trip

When migrating to abroad, passport and visa are required to be done in prior. When you apply for a passport, you must have undergone the legal rules of police clearance for passport approval. Some few decades back, the criminals shifted to other countries, which was mostly common in the mid-nineteenth century. These criminals used to get involved in all sorts of illegal works in the migrated country. This certainly was a matter that needed great concentration to eradicate. For this reason, the governments of mostly all countries around the world prevent the entry of criminals in their country.

Clearance of any pending case is to be done

The migrants need to get Police Clearance Certificates from the last place or the country in which they are resident. These Police Clearance Certificates are the documents, which confirm the migrating person has no pending criminal offences against him/her. This is issued by the police in the residing country or any authorized organization. This certificate is valid only on the day of an issue even though most countries consider it to be unexpired for around six months from the date of issue. The certificate only is concerned regarding any criminal offences. Transgression or any civil matters are not the reported terms that are concerned with the certificates.

Affidavits are oaths which are administered by legal officials

The affidavit is a legal document that contains a swearing statement of a deponent where the deponent declares the given statement is true to the best according to their knowledge. This affidavit is confirmed with the signatory of Commissioner. This signatory of Commissioner confirms the oath or statement was administered and after taking the oath, deponent signed the document. Apart from Commissioner this affidavit can be administered by a public Notary or another officer of Court and sign on the affidavit confirming the document and the statement to be legal and authorized.

Hire the best legal consultant

Affidavit and other identity proofs are required while applying for passport or renewal of expired passport with the clearance certificate from police. Affidavit Services Canada can be helpful for any person to convey the legal works as it may be a troublesome matter to manage by self. With the Affidavit Services Canada, you can make out your required affidavit and as well as all the other legal works that are required to be done before migrating to any other country. The service providers may even have the facilities for finger scanning with them which are required for every purpose. All these facilities certainly are chargeable and with specific terms and condition.

Auto Injury Law Firms – When to File a Personal Injury Claim

If you or your loved ones have been involved in an accident, then you are probably aware of the measures people should take to protect themselves receive compensation for the damages – emotional and physical. Consider the following steps to take after experiencing an auto accident.


Step One: Medical Checkup
Sometimes directly after the accident, the injured party does not actually press for damages or does not even realize that he/she has been injured. Many medical injuries don’t manifest immediately after the accident, but may turn into a major health problem in the future. Therefore, the most important thing to do when you or your loved ones are in an accident is to seek a thorough medical checkup.
Step Two: Insurance Claims
The next important thing to do is to fill out all the necessary documents for a speedy insurance claim. An ordinary person not well acquainted with car injury laws can find himself/herself in a difficult situation during such incidences. Filing these claims can be chaotic as the insurance company fights tooth and nail before actually approving an insurance claim. They try to find loopholes in your case and figure out a way to give you the least–if any–money. You likely need professional help to receive compensation.
Step Three: Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have received your insurance claim without much hassle, you are one of the very few, lucky people in the state. If you are having a tough time settling your claim, maybe it’s time to hire a personal injury attorney. In Arizona, there are various auto injury law firms that can help you assist on your case. Among all the firms available in the state, it is important to go with the firm that maintains a good reputation in the industry and understands what clients want. These law firms usually take their fee only after the case is won. You can be assured that they will be committed to your case and will do whatever it takes to get you justice.
Step Four: Seeking Compensation
Once you have settled claims with the insurance company, you might want to focus on seeking compensation from the one responsible for causing you damages in the first place. In these cases, the most important element to remember is the statute of limitations. Time plays a very important role in such cases and if you go on to file a case for seeking compensation after the prescribed time limit, you may not be able to file a case at all. This is why lawyers advise that the case for seeking compensation should be filed at the time when you settle claims with the insurance company.
Seeking compensation for car accident injuries is not as easy as it looks. Retaining an Arizona auto injury attorney can help you win your case.

Samuel P Moeller is a personal injury attorney in Arizona specializing with cases specific to injury, accidents, slip and falls and wrongful death. We provide best legal strategy that help to get the compensation you deserve. To get a free consultation, please visit our website.

Personal Injury Law Firms – Finding the Right One

Dealing with an accident, defective product or slip and fall injury case as an individual is a very difficult task. To receive justice, you must choose a personal injury lawyer who investigates the process actively and preserves your claim to obtain the best possible compensation for any damages. An attorney can assist you with a lawsuit or insurance claim to win the case and can help you to get the money you deserve. As you start contacting attorneys, remember not to rush to retain a lawyer near your place. Search for well-known arizona personal injury law firms and feel free to contact them and explain your situation. If you found the lawyer has a good experience and skills to win your case, then it can help you determine you are dealing with the right Arizona personal injury attorney.


Finding a right lawyer for your case can be tricky among so many available personal attorneys. Below are the few qualities that you must check out to find a best suitable attorney for winning a case:
1. Experience:
First, Hire an attorney who has an experience in dealing with personal injuries. Because an experienced attorney knows how to look for evidences and how to proceed by understanding the case thoroughly. Contacting a personal injury without any experience can cause you to lose instead of win the case. So it is always recommended to do some research to know about the experience and success rates of the personal injury attorney and how well they can handle your case.
2. Focus:
Second, the focus of the personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference in winning the case. Every individual attorney possesses unique skills to win cases. Few personal injury lawyers settle the case before taking it to trail, which can help you obtain fair compensation without wasting time.

3. Reputation:
Reputation is the one of the important factors to consider when selecting an attorney for your case. Reputation usually comes with the practice and how well an attorney has handled previous cases. Resolving the case quickly with insurance companies can add value to an attorney’s reputation. Choose a lawyer who best deals with your aspect of law so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
4. Objectivity:
Always make sure that the selected personal injury lawyer is very objective to fight for justice, because some attorney firms try to close the case quickly without getting adequate compensation. A quick resolution allows them to move on to the next case. Be sure that this does not happen in your case; follow up with the lawyer regularly for the process of dealing with the claims.
Picking the right one is a daunting task, but remember that choosing the best and well-established Arizona personal injury law firm always reduces your stress and allows you to gain the adequate compensation.

Have you been injured in an accident and looking for a personal injury lawyer to file an injury claim, then contact Samuel P. Moeller in Phoenix. A successful attorney with more than 10 years of experience in handling personal injury cases throughout the state of Arizona. For a free initial consultation, please visit our website.


“People who recognize that money won’t buy happiness are still willing to see

if credit cards will do the trick.” – E. C. McKenzie

Fraud hasn’t completely been eradicated in countries that have already shifted to chip-embedded EMV cards.It has simply migrated to the online channel.By the way, the U.S. is the last major market to migrate to EMV.

EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa)is a technical standard to be used for automated teller machines, smart payment cards,and payment terminals that can accept Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. An EMV, also known asa chip card or an IC card, is a smart card.

Consequences Of EMVMigration

Netflix, the world’s leadingon-demand Internet streaming-video provider, has recently claimed that the decrease in subscription volume is caused by thereissuance of smart cards. On the one hand, this was taken as a legitimate alarm. On the other hand, people took it as a blame.

Well, how subscription merchants can minimize the impact brought about by EMV card reissuance?

If you are concerned with the shift to EMV and you need to protect your business, do not hesitate to contact to open a reliable high risk merchant account. With The High Risk Guys, you can get answers to all your questions. This is the best way to secure your business and your customer’s payment information.

Merchants And EMV Card Reissuance

As it was mentioned above, Netflix experiences a decrease in its subscriptions. The company believes this is caused bythe so-called “involuntary churn” due to the EMV cardreissuance.

“Involuntary churn”refers to those situation when subscribers wish to remain as customers, but they are not allowed because ofchargebacks, payment failure, or problems associated withcommunication.It is mainly conditioned by a dip in recurring transactions.

According to subscription merchants, such declines in recurring transactions can be labeled as “soft” or “hard.” The former declines are mainly associated with funding issues.In this case, merchants have better chances of getting authorized after the transaction is “recycled”, or after the card can run again.As for “hard” declines, merchants won’t be successfully authorized and will need a new card number.

Merchants can enjoy 2 options for coping with “hard declines.” First, merchants can ask customers to update their cards. However, if busy consumers do not update their cards until there is a need for the service again, customers get an opportunity tofigure out whether they need this service any longer or not.

Finally, merchants can use an Account Updater serviceto upload the required card information on hard declines and receive the necessary updated information from the issuing bank.For this, merchants will need either gateway or a merchant processor.Enrolling in an Account Updater service is an ideal choice for retailers who use a subscription-based pricing model, a payment structure enabling to subscribe to a vendor’s IT services for a certainperiod for a specific price.

Effectively Manage Your Lead Pipeline With Legal Practice Management Software

The long term success of a legal firm relies on a healthy lead pipeline. New leads need to replace old ones, as they hopefully convert to paying customers, while existing leads need to be nurtured through regular contact and good communication.


Managing communications and ensuring that leads are kept in the loop at all times is vital to this success, and rather than relying on disparate calendar functions, spreadsheets, and a variety of solutions employed by the different individuals that are involved in the lead nurturing process, using a single and unified practice management software package can help improve results, reduce workloads, and improve processes. Reporting is also more effective and efficient, which means that senior stakeholders and the marketing team are able to more effectively track results and progress. This monitoring and reporting enables yet more efficiency and it allows for the identification of the most successful lead generation techniques. Finally, by having all team members working on and from the same data sets, it will mean a unified and efficient marketing plan.


Whether you outsource some of your lead generation or manage it all internally, it is likely that you will have a number of lead generation channels. Traditional advertising including local radio and event sponsorship, national advertising, word of mouth, and digital marketing, as well as customer retention campaigns can all generate new leads. However, different leads will have different requirements. Some may need to be educated on the actual type of service you offer while those that are further down the lead sales funnel may need specific information on why they should choose your company. Effective lead nurturing means providing the right information to the right leads and at the right time.


Practice management software includes automation strategies. It will create a unified database of leads, can be updated with new leads, and can be established so that it recognises lead status and the most desirable next steps to take with each lead. The system can determine whether a personalised SMS message, a phone call, letter, or email would be the best approach, and the most suitable content for that communication.


While it is true that this type of software is only as effective as the data that it has access to, it is also true that the data is only as beneficial as the processes applied to it. When nurturing and converting leads, this means that the use of improper communication not only reduces the chance of conversion, but it could alienate those that receive communication of the wrong type or at the wrong time.


Modern practice management software is designed to handle large volumes of data. It can run automatic processes, create reports, and alert individuals within your law firm to take the next desired action. For example, if a lead is determined as needing individual communication from a qualified specialist, this can be added to a calendar, the solicitor or lawyer informed of the requirements, and details reported to those that need them.


Redbrick Solutions legal practice management software is highly efficient, modern, and automated software. It can help ensure that your firm doesn’t miss out on a potential conversion, that clients are kept in the loop, and that business processes are optimised to be more profitable.

Secure yourself against all odds through law by hiring the best lawyer


Of all the aspects that dominate the easy going life you would like to cherish, legal affairs play a master role in molding your lifestyle. Law is not just meant for your protection against all sorts of odds that come across your way, it is as lethal weapon to safeguard your reputation and goodwill. The social vile that threaten to set your journey off the track needs to be treated with the same degree of aggression, if not more. You need to seek legal protection to insure yourself against vile like robbery, false accusations, litigations and all other legal matters.

A point to be noted, it is a foolish and dangerous act to keep the problem to yourself and act on your own, thinking that you can tackle the legal affairs yourself. Legal matters are not to be subjected to amateurism. Sex crimes lawyers Los Angeles and dui lawyers Los Angeles are essential to safeguard your interest, in case you are in trouble. As the cliché goes-defense is the best form of attack, you need to be thoroughly aggressive in your approach in order to stay afloat in the world of vile. Criminal defense lawyers Los Angeles ensure that you face no hurdle in sorting out any litigation filed against you and provides easiest solution to all your obstacles. Here are some of the legal actions that protect you.

  1. DUI: Driving under the influence of alcohol is a common crime and requires quick defense. You should never ignore actions taken against you and take serious actions to protect your interest. Legal advisors are always these to guide you in the proper way.
  2. Sex Crimes: It is extremely embarrassing to get entangled in sex crimes, especially if they are filed as false litigations. It is the greatest nightmare if someone files a false sex lawsuit against you in order to take revenge of some past issue that had remained dormant for long. You need equally aggressive defense in order to safeguard your cause.
  3. Assault: The case may turn up in two ways. Either you may be a victim of assault, or may be a victim of false accusation against an assault. In both the cases, you need to be n equally aware of the legal actions at your hands.

Apart from these there are several other crimes like juvenile crimes, theft, robbery, terrorist threats, etc. and you need to be on the toes so that you are safe. Sex crimes lawyers Los Angeles ensure that you are free from all sorts of hassles.

Why Hiring a US Citizenship Lawyer Is Worth It?

When one is charged or arrested for a crime, hiring a professional attorney is a no-brainer. But asides dealing with crime cases an expert can also help you in dealing with various other lawsuits such as divorce, citizenship, etc. if you consider hiring an expert you can deal with all kind of problems easily. However, you might be able to deal with the legal problems without the help of a professional, but there are increased chances that you might end up with one or the other problem.


Why is hiring an expert crucial?

When it comes to lawsuits, there are many things at stake including your liberty and finances. Hence, it’s not at all wise to take any further risks and get legal help. An Uncontested Divorce Lawyers in NYC, US Citizenship Lawyer, Green card Lawyer and others have good knowledge of the law. It is for this reason they can help and advise you better.

If you have committed an act against the law probably, you’d want to hire a professional expert that you help you in resolving the matter or perhaps keeps you out of the jail.

Dealing with the issues concerning Green Card through Marriage or any other lawsuit becomes a lot easier to deal with if you consider hiring an experienced attorney. Also, hiring a lawyer for other important undertakings including estate planning, tax planning, drafting trusts and wills, pursuing matter concerning family such as children custody will help you in dealing with the things in a better manner.


In what situations it’s best to hire a Lawyer?

There are a number of situations where you need to act fast. But what if you fail to connect with the alternatives or deadlines in the given time period. Hence, in legal cases it’s always best to hire a lawyer. As only a professional knows best how to deal with the things in proper manner.

If you have been charged against a crime or for an act committed against the law remember that there is time limit to file the lawsuit. However, the limitation depends on the type and fact of the particular case and varies from state to state. In some cases, the claimant is required to notify the potential defendants about the injury within the given period. And only an expert can help you in meeting such requirements efficiently.

Know About Criminal Law in Singapore

When you are visiting a country like Singapore, it is important to know what criminal law in Singapore can land you in jail or get you arrested. This might sound strange but for those who live in this country, or have spent some time here, it is common knowledge that the system of criminal law in Singapore is very strict.

Strict Nature of the Criminal Law System in Singapore


Singapore is a country that is visited by a large number of people every year, mostly for tourism and business. The country is a popular travel destination for people as it has wonderful tourist attractions, and also is frequented by businessmen from various cities across the globe since it is also an economic hub. But even after the influx of such a large number of people in the country, Singapore has recorded one of the lowest crime rates in the world.


The enforcement of criminal law in Singapore is very strict, as are the punishments provisioned by the criminal law system. There are harsh punishments for offenses that may otherwise be considered less serious in a lot of other countries. For example, in Singapore, a person who is found littering in public is subjected to caning, which is also prescribed by law. The same punishment is also valid for causing damage to the environment or selling chewing gum.


Important Information for First Time Visitors

As a person who is not a resident of Singapore and is visiting the country for the first time, it is therefore important to be aware of the criminal laws in Singapore. This will help foreign citizens to avoid getting into situations which are in direct conflict with the laws followed here. Also, it will help them to protect themselves better and defend themselves if they are arrested under criminal law in Singapore by the law enforcement agencies of this country.


Penal Code of Singapore


The Penal Code of Singapore Law covers a range of topics that are termed as offences in the country and lays down appropriate punishment for each category of offence. General offences which include cheating, theft, homicide, and others, are included in the penal code. There are also statutes that cover special offences like illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping, drug pedalling and consumption and vandalism.




Being aware of criminal laws in Singapore is important and comes useful for people who are not native to the place. Sometimes due cultural differences, people can find themselves on the wrong side of the law for committing an action that is not viewed favourably in the eyes of Singapore criminal law. Knowledge of what laws to follow can therefore save people from a lot of trouble.

Follow Vermont’s Lead in Fighting Patent Trolls- Using State Law

A bill pending in the South Carolina General Assembly that would make “bad faith assertions of patent infringement” an “unfair trade practice” under South Carolina law got a “jurisdictional boost” from a recent Opinion and Order issued by a Vermont Federal Court judge.


The actions of patent-assertion entities (PAEs) that purportedly own patents and use litigation and the threat of litigation to enforce them are well-documented.  (For a brief description of the topic and some additional resources, click here). PAEs are referred to by their detractors as “patent trolls.”

As a general proposition, patent law is exclusively federal in nature.  Congress has given the U.S. district courts original and exclusive jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S. Section 1338, over any civil action related to patents. As a result, litigation involving the validity, infringement, and enforcement of patents must take place in federal district court.

Vermont’s Efforts to Combat PAEs

Despite the federal nature of patent law, the State of Vermont decided to try to use state law (on two fronts) to fight back against certain practices that take place prior to the initiation of patent infringement litigation.

Act No. 44

On May 22, 2013, Vermont enacted Act. No. 44 creating a private right of action and giving the attorney general civil enforcement action authority in the event of “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” Vermont was the first state to enact such a law, and several states have followed suit.

Act No. 44 does not define “bad faith assertions,” but instead provides a court with a number of factors to be considered as evidence: a demand letter lacking the number of the held patent or factual allegations regarding the specific areas in which the demand letter recipient (the “target”) infringes the patent; failure to conduct a due diligence comparison of the patent with the target’s products, services, or technology; the demands in the letter are unreasonable; or the assertions made in the letter are meritless or deceptive.  The Act also lists a number of factors to be considered in order to determine that a holder has not made a bad faith assertion of patent infringement.

Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC

On the same day, the Vermont Attorney general served a company called MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC (MPHJ) with a Complaint filed in Vermont state court and alleging violations of theVermont Consumer Protection Act. Of note, the lawsuit did not allege a violation of the statutory provisions created by Act. No. 44.

As described more fully in the Complaint, MPHJ  and its subsidiaries sent a series of letters to various Vermont businesses regarding ownership of certain email scanning patents and demanding that the recipients purchase licenses or face infringement lawsuits.

The Complaint alleged that these letters were “false, deceptive and misleading” because (among other things): 1) MPHJ did no due diligence to determine whether “the recipients were likely infringers”; 2) small businesses in commercial fields unrelated to patent law were targeted; 3) contrary to its letters, MPHJ did not actually receive “a positive response regarding its licensing programs”;  4) very few recipients had purchased licenses (not “many” or “most” as claimed in the letters); and 5) MPHJ had not filed a single lawsuit to enforce its patents.

MPHJ removed the case to Federal Court, based on federal question and diversity jurisdiction. Judge Sessions found no basis for federal court jurisdiction, and remanded the case to state court. First, Vermont’s VCPA claim did not arise under federal patent law or create a substantial federal question. Broad brush, the claim that MPHJ acted in bad faith doesn’t depend on any determination of federal law, but “is about consumer protection, not about patents.”

With respect to diversity (which requires an action between “citizens of different states”), the State of Vermont is not considered a “citizen” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. Section 1332, and the Court rejected MPHJ’s argument that the citizens of Vermont (not the State) were the “real parties in interest” in the case.  (For more on recent U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence addressing “real party in interest” allegations, click here).

The case will now proceed toward a decision on the merits in state court. For a more complete description of the Vermont district court decision, please see this Corporate Counsel article.

South Carolina’s Proposed Law

In December of last year, Representative Kirkman Finlay prefiled  H4371.  This legislation, which has been passed by the House, is currently being considered by the South Carolina Senate.  (The legislation underwent substantial revision in subcommittee, and in its current form is quite different from the version posted online).

H4371, entitled the “Bad Faith Assertion of Patent Infringement Act,” makes sending a demand letter “alleging patent infringement in bad faith” an “unfair trade practice” under Section 39-5-20 of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act, and provides the remedies that exist currently in the SCUTPA. Like the Vermont law, the legislation gives the Attorney General the ability to bring actions to enforce the Act and provides both a number of factors for a court to consider as evidence that a “bad faith assertion of patent infringement” has taken place, as well as those factors tending to demonstrate that a person has not made such a bad faith assertion.


Should H4371 become law, plaintiffs in those state court actions filed to enforce its provisions will undoubtedly rely in part on the reasoning employed by Judge Sessions in challenging removal. One question that has not been addressed yet is whether the “bad faith” standard established by or applied according to a state law like Act No. 44 or H 4371 would be preempted by federal patent law.

Rules and Regulation of Financial Contracts

If you are doing work transactions outside of a state, including borrowing money, leasing equipment, establishing contracts and selling goods, you’ll want to adhere to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). UCC consists of uniform rules coordinating and simplifying the sale of goods and other commercial transactions throughout the United States.
Commercial transactions often occur across state lines. Goods, for example, could be created in one state, distributed in another and sold with a customer inside a third state.

Banking and credit transactions often occur between loan companies in one state and customers in another state.

For small business owners, UCC has effect when borrowing money from an outside the state lender or negotiating a lien. The following is what you must know:

Borrowing Money: UCC Filing Statements  The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC, as it requires lending, is really a means for each state to get a consistent method of recording the protection of the loan. When banks or SBA lenders make secured personal loans, or loans with collateral, they file a UCC-1 form together with the state the place that the loan agreement is executed. This filing essentially makes all the loan security, or collateral, dependent on public record. Without this filing, a lending institution could encounter difficulties, laying claim to the collateral in the event of default. Confer with your lender about the entire process of filing a UCC-1 form.

Securing Liens as well as the UCC  In case your business provides services or goods on credit, Article 9 with the UCC supplies a means so that you can secure payment from your debtor. If you are within the construction business, very same law is known as construction lien. Call at your state website for facts about filing a lien or finance statement to ensure payment of credit under these laws.

Understand that laws consist of state.

About The Environmental Regulations In Law

Environmental regulations make a difference a small business whenever you want. Whether you produce items that could potentially harm the planet, are involved in agricultural farming, or should dispose of pollutants or hazardous or non-hazardous waste  you must adhere to regulations. Businesses afflicted with disasters such as flooding or fire, can also be necessary to implement clean up intends to avoid pollutants entering and damaging the ecosystem.

The Environmental Protection Agency while stating agencies enforce environmental laws. To discover what laws impact your organization and ways to comply, look into the resources below.

EPA Environmental Laws and Regulations  Search laws and compliance guides by topic and industry.

EPA Small Company Guide Find out more on the laws that apply specifically to smaller businesses.

State Environmental Laws  Search this interactive map for information regarding federal laws that apply in your area, and also links to your state government website for state-specific laws.

About Business Law For Foreign Workers & Employee Eligibility

As you prepare to rent employees, be sure that you understand all legal guidelines about employee eligibility. Specifically, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs immigration and citizenship in the usa. The INA is particularly important to small businesses because it addresses employment eligibility, employment verification and non-discrimination. This informative guide provides a summary of these provisions and assistance on the way to comply with the INA.

Employee Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form)

Federal law requires you, just as one employer, to confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in america. Within three days of employing a new employee, you need to complete a work Eligibility Verification Form, known as an I-9 form. This implies examining acceptable types of the workers documentation to substantiate his / her citizenship or eligibility to work in the us. You’ll be able to only request documentation specified around the I-9 form. Employers who require other kinds of documentation not on the I-9 form may be subject to discrimination lawsuits.

You may not file the I-9 with the federal government. Rather, you might be required required to keep an I-9 form on record for several (3) years following the date of hire or one (1) year as soon as the date the employee’s employment ends, whichever is later. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency conducts routine workplace audits to make sure that employers are properly completing and retaining I-9 forms, and that employee info on I-9 forms matches government records.
For complete specifics of using, understanding and keeping up-to-date with the proper execution I-9, visit I-9 Central. You need to use information extracted from the shape I-9 to ensure electronically the employment eligibility of newly hired employees through E-Verify. To begin, register with E-Verify to virtually eliminate Social Security mismatch letters, improve the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers that assist conserve a legal workforce.

Hiring and Employment

Labor Laws and Foreign Workers

Covers foreign labor certification programs, administered in part through the U.S. Department of Labor, that enable U.S. employers to hire foreign workers, temporarily or permanently, to fill jobs essential to the U.S. economy. These programs are usually designed to make sure that allowing foreign workers into the United States with a permanent or temporary basis is not going to adversely modify the professions, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

Foreign Labor Certification

Provides facts about the foreign labor certification process and the way employers can use to create foreign workers into the U.S. for employment.

Hiring Guest Workers

Describes the U.S. Department on the job (DOL) certifications issued for permanent and temporary employment.

Wages Under Foreign Labor Certification

Explains the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers with a temporary or permanent basis to do certain types of work. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration generally certifies employers to acquire special visas to employ foreign workers when you’ll find insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and ready to work on wages that meet or exceed the present wage paid for that occupation.

The Allegory of the Cave and lawyers.

In Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave, he explains why the people with lack of knowledge (cave knowledge) do not have true knowledge. Is the court system a modern-day, human-constructed cave?

The people in the cave were essentially shown a false world and constructed their belief system on it.  This comes as no surprise because we believe what we see with our own eyes.   In the case of the cave, the cave captives who remained in the cave could not trust their eyes because their eyes deceived them.
The courts may seem like Plato’s cave because, for some, courts are misunderstood.  Barring the issue of access to courts, and generally speaking, the courts are not like the cave.  The cave represents what people can’t know. The nature of courts, unlike the cave, is designed to be usable, knowable, and observable.  And, for the most part, the entire process is open to all eyes for public review. Further, every bit of evidence is scrutinized by the court and the trier of fact.  Again, this is done in an open forum for controversy resolution; one that is open to the public for review.  Yet, court reps are often scrutinized for being part of a big mystery instead of respected for being a place to resolve disputed matters. So, how are the courts like Plato’s cave?
There will always be uncertainty and mystery for people involved in the court process.  After all, there is an ever-changing and complex nature of how the legal process works within courts.  The process by itself can be a mystery and put someone, including lawyers, in the unknown. To successfully navigate through a case, you have to have content knowledge, top-notch legal research skills, and a thorough understanding of complex legal procedures.  (E.g. It would be highly unusual for a non-lawyer to successfully fumble his/her way through a complex multi-tort, class action, jury trial on the national stage.)
While it is true that lawyers tend to know more about how to navigate through the legal process, the information is not designed to be hidden from clients as it is in the Allegory of the Cave.  Everyone is presumed to know the laws, statutes, administrative codes, and procedure, which are all publicly created, public documents.
So, is the ‘process’ itself a cave for the clients to exist in?  Some seem to believe that only lawyers and judges get to ‘know the law,’ and the way things work in court are ‘hidden’ from them.  Is this another way of accusing lawyers of being cave guards charging a fee?   They might have this belief, but they would be unduly harsh to those who makes a profession of helping others get through these controversies, especially lawyers who have entered the field motivated by social justice.
Plato was a philosopher. As such, he wanted to unearth truths.  The message in the allegory hinged on the notion that in order to find truth, we need to get out of our caves to find truth.  When it comes to going to court, a skilled attorney can be an invaluable guide. I suspect that Plato and his students would unanimously agree.

Lawyers, literacy and legalese…

In recent times, the term ‘Legalese’ itself has become a derogatory word, often used with sarcasm and spite.  Some law firms proudly state that they use plain language with their clients and will not use legalese.  Globally, there has been a shift both in advocacy for its reduction as well as actual use by lawyers in practice.  But what are we reducing?  What is legalese?

Legalese refers to words and phrases that are used by lawyers to communicate terms of both dispute and agreement.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Legalese is the formal and technical language of legal documents that is often hard to understand.

It is rare to hear lawyers say the old ‘theretofore’ and the ‘Notwithstanding’ language.   This is what lawyers think is legalese.  When non-lawyers are talking about legalese, they may actually be talking about what lawyers call plain English.

The problem is that some of the words used by lawyers and courts are so rich in meaning that they will, of course, be understood very differently from person to person.  Sure enough, there are some terms that could be replaced with terms that are easier to communicate with someone without the familiarity, but for most words and phrases, the ‘legalese’ words are exactly the correct words.

Take for example this excerpt from a Supreme Court Opinion:

¶2 We conclude that, given the legislature’s enactment of
Wis. Stat. § 180.1704 (1999-2000)2 and the prevailing Wisconsin
case law regarding choice of law, Wisconsin law applies in this
case. Primarily relying on the decisions of Boyd v. Mutual Fire
Ass’n, 116 Wis. 155, 90 N.W. 1086 (1902), and McGivern v. Amasa
Lumber Co., 77 Wis. 2d 241, 252 N.W.2d 371 (1977), we further
conclude that, in order for officers and directors to have a
fiduciary duty to creditors, a corporation must be both
insolvent and no longer a going concern. Because Beloit
Corporation was a going concern during the applicable two-year
period in which a claim could have been brought, we conclude
that its officers and directors owed no duty to its creditors
during that time. Given these conclusions, we do not need to
address the court of appeals’ holding regarding issue preclusion
in this case.

Most lawyers would respond with, “sounds like a close case.  The officers and directors dodged some serious problem here.  I’d have to see the complaint and then check the cases and statute to see exactly what happened here.”  Most non-lawyers would not know what this is about at all.  This however, IS plain English.

The words and the language lawyers use are so rich in meaning that this is the type of language that seems to be accused of presenting confusing language for only lawyers to interpret.  It is not only the words but the context of the words that create the unique language for lawyers.

In law school, students read thousands of cases.  In reading, they acquire this literacy for lawyers.  It may be the most important skill they acquire in their studies.  Having a lawyer skilled in literacy for lawyers can provide an advocate, a strategist, but possibly a translator of plain English.

Need for a federal data security law raised at subcommittee hearing

The call for federal action on data security was raised at the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security hearing entitled, “Getting it Right on Data Breach and Notification Legislation in the 114th Congress.” In response to the “Year of the Breach,” multiple states have developed their own standards, leaving businesses subject to a “patchwork of state, district, and territory laws.”

Dr. Ravi Pendse, Chief Information Officer at Brown University, was one of many experts who testified at the hearing, calling for a uniform federal law. According to Pendse, national legislation governing data breaches would have many advantages over existing state laws and reduce the burden that dissimilar state laws place on complying organizations. In addition to laws regarding data breaches, he called on Congress to create incentives for proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of breaches, one of the most important being the development of a trained cyber security workforce through education and training.

Cheri F. McGuire, Vice President of Global Government Affairs & Cyber security Policy at Symantec Corporation, a Fortune 500 technology company, said that Symantec would support a national standard built on three principles: data security legislation should apply equally to all; implementing pre-breach security measures should be a part of any legislation; and the use of encryption or other security measures that render data unreadable and unusable should be a key element in establishing the threshold for the need for notification.

California’s law restricting credit card surcharges struck down as unconstitutional

Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled that a California law restricting surcharges on credit cards was unconstitutional. In the March 25, 2015,Italian Colors Restaurant v. Harris case, Chief Judge Morrison C. England determined that the California statutory provision not only placed an impermissible burden on commercial speech in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but also was unconstitutionally vague.

Similarly, in October 2013, in the case of Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that New York’s credit card “no surcharge” law was unconstitutionally vague and violated the plaintiffs’ right to “free speech” protected by the First Amendment. In each case, various merchants challenged the constitutionality of the “no surcharge” laws in actions brought against the state’s attorney general.

In both the Italian Colors case and the Expressions case, injunctive relief was granted to prevent enforcement of the California and New York laws. While the California law was permanently enjoined, the New York law was subject to a preliminary injunction while the New York federal trial court addresses whether New York’s “no surcharge” law is preempted by the federal Sherman Antitrust Act after further factual development in the case.

In the Italian Colors case interpreting the California statute (Cal. Civ. Code §1748.1(a)), the court depicted the operation of the California statutory provision, stating “a retailer could charge $102 for a product and give a $2 discount, but could not charge $100 and impose a $2 surcharge, despite the situations being mathematically equivalent. Thus, the statute restricts how this $2 price difference is presented to the consumer.”

Likewise, in the Expressions case construing New York’s “no surcharge” statute (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law Article 29-A, sec. 518), the court related that the law provided that “no seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.” In both the California and New York situations, the pertinent merchant plaintiffs claimed that the applicable state law restrictedtheir protected free-speech rights because the state law required them to only use the “right language” to communicate the difference to purchasers of their products or services; the state law permitted them to refer to a cash “discount” but prevented them from referring to a credit “surcharge.”

As the Italian Colors court pointed out, until fairly recently, “state ‘no surcharge’ statutes were redundant because credit card companies had contractual provisions that prohibited retailers from imposing surcharges. However, in 2013, a nationwide settlement agreement with the credit card companies resulted in the removal of these contractual provisions…Instead, retailers are now required to engage in truthful and prominent disclosure of surcharge information to consumers and cannot recoup more than the cost of the merchant fees [also known as swipe fees] as a surcharge.” In light of the 2013 nationwide settlement with the credit card companies, the plaintiff merchants in the action were “contractually permitted” to impose surcharges, but prohibited to do so by the California law. Consequently, as observed by the court, the merchants initiated the lawsuit, at least in part, to ensure that doing so would not be considered a violation of the California law.

Another interesting highlight was presented in the Italian Colors decision on the merchants’ claim that the California statute was unconstitutionally vague. The merchants successfully maintained that the California law did not “clearly define the line between a permissible ‘surcharge’ and a mathematically equivalent but illegal ‘discount.’” In rejecting the California Attorney General’s argument that many of the merchants’ contentions about the vagueness of the California statute were “hypothetical,” the court emphasized that “[t]hese retailers would like to have a pricing system where a surcharge is imposed for credit card purchases, but do not feel confident that they could do so lawfully. The fact that retailers—even large national retailers with teams of in-house attorneys—do not use a dual-pricing system under the current law due to fear of enforcement is proof that the law is not clear.”

Now that two federal district courts, one in New York and one in California, have discerned constitutional problems with state “no surcharge” laws, will a trend begin to develop for other states as well? Apparently, that remains to be seen. As observed by the Italian Colorscourt, two other federal district courts, one in Florida and the other in Texas, came to a different conclusion. In examining Florida and Texas laws respectively, those courts upheld state statutes restricting credit card surcharges as a regulation of “economic activity.”

Notably, both the Florida and Texas federal district courts applied a “rational basis” test in upholding the state laws restricting credit card surcharges. In contrast, the New York and California federal district courts that found the state statutes restricting credit card surcharges to be unconstitutional applied an “intermediate scrutiny” test.

A Tribal Presentation

On Friday, July 11th, 2014, the JSLS welcomed guest speaker Judge Ronald Yockim from the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to share about his role as a tribal court judge.  He shared with us the history of the formation and confederation of the Cow Creek tribe, a history of the tribal court, and what types of cases come before him.  He described the differences between the tribal court he presides over and other courts in the area, and described the relationship between the tribal court and the tribal council.  He also discussed generally the economics and benefits of providing social services to tribal members.


Membership in the chapter is free. Membership includes regular email contact providing information about chapter events in the Los Angeles area and opportunities for pro bono service coordinated through the chapter. We also invite you to join our LinkedIn group.

To join, please send an email with your professional contact information Please also let us know your area of legal practice and whether you might be interested in helping with chapter luncheons, the Annual Dinner, the newsletter, or the website.

In addition, members who pay the $60 in annual dues receive free admission and the opportunity to earn CLE credit at all of our regularly held luncheons, as well as a substantial discount on tickets to the Annual Dinner. Non-dues-paying members typically pay $20 for luncheons. (Students are free.)

Law Society of Alberta: Taryn Burnett Remains Under Investigation

In a letter dated October 8, 2014, the Law Society of Alberta conduct manager provided a further update to the complainant that Gowlings lawyer Taryn Burnett continues to be under lengthy review.

Ms. Burnett has been under investigation for misconduct by the Law Society of Alberta for one and a half years to date for her reprehensible abuse of the complainant, a plaintiff in a medical negligence matter who had to undergo multiple corrective surgeries. Ms. Burnett was removed from acting as opposing defence counsel in that matter.

In addition to the Law Society investigation, Ms. Burnett and Gowlings colleague Megan McMahon face harassment and defamation proceedings at the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Annual General Meeting 2015

Held on the 24th April the Society’s 168th Annual General Meeting was preceded by a buffet and talks given by Rav Hothi (Midlands Regional Manager at The Law Society) and Jim Brindley (Griffiths Armour).

The meeting itself saw Andrew Wynne as out going President hand over the role to Richard Ennis with Alison Westwood being elected as Vice President. Andrew will remain on the Council.

Click on the “Older Post” tab to see first a picture of Andrew Richard and Alison and again to read Andrew’s Valedictory remarks.


The Irish Society of Comparative Law (ISCL) and theSchool of Law of the University of Limerick are pleased to announce the sixth annual conference of the ISCL to be held in Limerick on 5-6 June 2015. The ISCL held its first annual conference here in 2009.

The conference organisers encourage proposals which have both comparative and historical elements. Submissions on any era of legal history will be considered, as will papers on comparative and historical methodologies. However, any comparative topic may be proposed, eg private law, criminal law and criminal justice, public or constitutional law, legal education, etc. In addition, proposals on European or International law will also be considered.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is Friday, 30 January 2015. Proposals by both members and non-members, as well as by professional academics and graduate students, are welcome.

Proposals should be short (250 words) and sent to the Conference Organiser, Dr Laura Cahillane at . Presentations will be twenty minutes long.

The Conference fee will be €50 for members of the ISCL and €100 for non-members. (Membership fees are €50, student membership is free). The ISCL regrets that it cannot cover travel or accommodation expenses.

Additional information will be posted at

The ISCL was established in June 2008 and is recognised by the International Academy of Comparative Law. The ISCL is open to those interested in Irish and comparative law. Its purpose is to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems and to seek affiliation with individuals and organisations with complimentary aims. Queries should be directed

Guest column: “Can the Law Society of Upper Canada of the 18th Century be the Law Society of Ontario needed for the 21st Century?”

Conflicts of interest between law society functions versus the UK Clementi Report of 2004

The reasons for the lack of a solution for the “unaffordable legal services problem” not having been solved, or even attempted to be solved are: the conflict between law societies’ regulatory functions and their representative functions of lawyers’ interests; and, the conflict between the need of benchers to give the needs of their clients first priority and time, and their law society duties whatever is left over that does not interfere with those needs.

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Alternate Business Structures Discussion Paper (PDF) has intensified the debate as to approving or rejecting its ABS proposals that: law firms can become investment properties for non-lawyer investors; routine legal services be automated; and, related non-legal services be able to be provided with legal services. It brings forth the following mixture of Law Society regulatory functions that are in conflict with its representative functions:

1. Time given to the ABS proposals versus time that should be given to the unaffordable legal services problem. Being a much more serious problem, the latter should be solved first before considering the former.

2. Law firms’ interest in ABS proposals versus the public interest.

3. The interest of the big law firms versus the interest of smaller law firms.

4. Benchers serving the public interest versus serving their self-interest, for example the interest of big law firm benchers versus that of smaller law firm benchers.

5. Benchers’ duty and time needed to serve clients versus time needed for law society duties serving the public interest, for example the Law Society’s not performing its duties under s. 4.2 of Ontario’s Law Society Act, as to making adequately available to the population, “the rule of law” and, “access to justice,” and “to maintain and advance the cause of justice,” and, “to protect the public interest.

6. ABS investors owning law firms versus maintaining the fiduciary duty of lawyers to their clients and their professionalism

7. ABS potential threat to the independence of the legal profession, which independence is essential to the independence of the judiciary (because judges’ judgments depend upon the evidence and arguments provided by lawyers), and therefore to the “separation of powers doctrine” of the constitution. The threat arises from the investor ownership of a law firm that represents clients, in cases in which the firms’ investors have an interest, which threatens the integrity of the evidence and argument presented by the firms’ lawyers which can threaten the integrity of the judgements rendered in such cases.

8. The legal profession doing for itself versus whatever the ABSs propose to do for them.

9. ABS control of enfranchised law firms versus law society control of the regulation of lawyers and law firms.

10. Whether the ABS proposals can have any significant effect upon the unaffordable legal services problem?

11. Potentially, the Law Society’s vulnerability to criticism for not engaging the unaffordable legal services problem being answered by its adopting the ABS proposals, which cannot have any significant impact upon the problem.

12. LSUC’s ABS Discussion Paper suggesting that it can have a significant impact upon the following unaffordable legal services problems when in fact it can’t; for example:

  • under the heading, “Access considerations,” on page 11, the Discussion Paper refers to the following statistics and facts, for most of which, the ABS proposals cannot change because they need legal advice services because they are not routine legal problems, and therefore cannot be automated:
  • in Canada and elsewhere, in family law, most litigants do not use lawyers (recent studies show 70% are unrepresented);
  • in 2009, the federal Department of Justice published The Legal Problems of Everyday Life showing that legal advice was sought for less than 15% of justiciable problems in Canada;
  • people with legal problems commonly seek assistance from non-lawyers (the above-noted Department of Justice study of almost 7,000 adults found that 42.2% of respondents who experienced a personal injury problem consulted an unregulated source of assistance; employment (35.8%) and housing (33.7%) were the next highest areas in which respondents resorted to non-legal sources of assistance);
  • in 2009, the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project found that one-third of low- and middle-income Ontarians did not seek legal assistance for what they regarded as legal problems; and,
  • a recent study of 259 self-represented litigants in family and civil law matters in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta reported that the most consistently cited reason for self-representation was the inability to afford to retain, or continue to retain, a lawyer.

This research highlights the fact that there are gaps in legal services for many Ontarians. Even middle-income individuals are in many cases not obtaining, or cannot afford, the services of a lawyer or paralegal.

There are two situations in which people tend to seek legal services. They are either looking for help with important but routine issues, such as the purchase of a house or the creation of a will or power of attorney, or they are facing a serious legal problem, such as a personal injury, a criminal charge, or a marriage breakdown.

People are always sensitive to cost. And the more serious the problem, the more legal services are likely to cost. In fact, serious legal problems often cost more than the average person can afford.

Such conflicts of interest can be prevented only by separating the regulatory functions of a law society, which serves the public interest, from its representative functions, representing interests of its lawyer members. LSUC’s regulatory and representative functions should be managed by separate institutions. That was the conclusion of the Clementi Report of 2004 in the U.K., concerning the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. And, it is the necessary conclusion needed to enable LSUC to be a law society for the 21st century.

The ABS proposals are not needed

Canada’s legal profession can do more for itself than can ABSs, and therefore do it without the threat of: interference with the profession’s independence, which is the foundation of the constitutional principle of judicial independence because judges’ judgements are based upon the evidence and argument presented by lawyers; and, being “used” by ABS investors to create strings of franchised law firms with which to get a controlling share of the legal services market. But Canada’s law societies have not attempted to cope with the unaffordable legal services problem which is the most serious “access to justice problem” that law societies and the population of Canada have ever faced. There is no published law society text that acknowledges that the problem is a law society problem and the law society’s duty, imposed by law, to solve it. (See my two-part paper on this blog: “The failure of law societies to accept their duty in law to solve the unaffordable legal services problem,” published 12 August 2014 and 14 August 2014.) Nor is there a published text that shows that they understand the true nature of the problem or its cause. And there is no program in place for the purpose of solving the problem. The closest such programs are not close at all. They are summarized in the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s 2012 paper, Inventory of Access to Legal Services Initiatives of the Law Societies of Canada (PDF).

But dealing with such problems adequately would likely complicate and increase the time benchers cannot devote to their clients. How much of such unpaid time is it reasonable to expect them to devote? Therefore, should benchers cut their time and worry, by securing an urgently needed appearance of doing something about the problem by supporting the ABS proposals? In fact it’s not possible for the ABSs to solve the problem. But that is not the purpose for which the ABS proposals, and the investors who propose them, are wanting to achieve. The Law Society’s ABS discussion paper says the ABS proposals will cut the costs of legal services, but it doesn’t say what impact they will have upon the problem. And it imports urgency by citing the high percentages of litigants going to court without lawyers. But those problems involve the cost of legal advice services and time in court, which their proposed “automating of routine legal services” cannot affect. And the Discussion Paper is more a promotional text, written by its ABS Committee supporters, for adopting ABSs, rather than a neutral balanced presentation of issues. So there’s a complex mix of mismatched motivations and purposes, and possibly undeclared agendas, that could render Ontario lawyers’ responses to this ABS Discussion Paper of limited importance.

Therefore, to cope with these shortcomings, Ontario lawyers should demand to have the outcome determined by way of a truly democratically-obtained decision within the profession, as to what should be the relationships among: the ABS question, “to adopt or not to adopt them;” the unaffordability of legal services problem that afflicts the majority of the population, and whether it should it be solved first before indulging the ABS proponents and their enfranchising investors; and, the conception of what a law society should be in order to fulfill its duties under provisions such as s. 4.2 of Ontario’s Law Society Act. That should be the dominant and determinative issue of all bencher elections.

The necessary concept of a twenty-first century law society in Canada

A critically important issue of the ABS question is, what is the now-needed, 21st century concept of what a law society should be and do—is it a support-service to the practice of law, and not just a regulator, a provider of new stadiums and arenas for bringing the legal services game to the population, and a continuing professional development coach and a trainer for the practice of law, and not just a referee, and more often than not, merely a spectator watching part-time from the sidelines? Do the ABS investors and advocates want to be the owners of the team (in fact, all of the teams), and be in the game only for the profits? And when important business decisions are to be made by an investor-owned and enfranchised law firm, the entrepreneurial relationship with clients must always be given preference over the professional relationship, putting the “profits duty” before the fiduciary duty.

Three factors will make decisions by benchers on these questions difficult: because the ABS proposals are based upon preserving the present “handcraftsman’s” method of delivering legal services (defined below), they can never be made to solve “the problem”; law firms whose clients can still afford legal services, and those firms who have lost many clients to unaffordability, have different interests in the outcome of ABSs versus “access to affordable justice” issues; and, the management structure and mentality of our law societies and their benchers is that of part-time amateurs, in other words, it is a pre-war or 19th century method of management that appears to be incapable of dealing with 21st century problems as to making lawyers’ services adequately available.

The LSUC’s eighteenth century origins

In fact, for the law society in Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, its management structure is rooted in the 18th century because it was founded on 17 July 1797, 70 years before Canada become a country, in the beautiful little tourist town of Niagara-on-the-Lake (population in 2011, 15,400), where the Niagara River pours the waters from the watershed of three of the five Great Lakes into Lake Ontario, and then on it goes down the St. Lawrence River and into the Atlantic Ocean. On that day, the province of Ontario was still the British colony of “Upper Canada,” because it is further up the St. Lawrence River than “Lower Canada,” which is now the province of Quebec, rivers and lakes being the roads back then. On the main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake, there is an impressive signpost erected and maintained by the, “Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario,” declaring LSUC’s birthplace and birthday. It refers to LSUC’s present headquarters, Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto, which is where Osgoode Hall Law School was (but is now located uptown at York University) when I was a law student (1961-1964; tuition fees being $650 per year—that part of LSUC’s management was very good). (For LSUC’s history to 1997, see this book by Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario’s Lawyers 1797-1997, University of Toronto Press, 1997.)

Law Society Benchers as part-time amateurs

Confirmation of the “part-time” nature of a bencher’s life can be found in the third paragraph of the bencher election announcement for the election on 30 April 30 2015 on LSUC’s website, which states:

As members of Convocation, benchers deal with matters related to the governance of the Law Society and the regulation of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Benchers dedicate an average of 31 days a year to Law Society business. This includes sitting on hearings as an appointee to the Law Society Tribunal, attending monthly committee and Convocation meetings and attending calls to the bar. Benchers are remunerated for some of their services and are reimbursed for expenses.

Therefore the conception of a bencher is that of a part-time and, for the most part, unpaid contributor to law society affairs. This is charity, albeit very commendable charity, but which must greatly influence and limit the foundation concepts as to what a bencher is and does, and what are the purposes and duties of a law society. The main interest and time of benchers has to be devoted to their law practices or institutional employers—the turbulent vicissitudes of clients and fees and employers and salaries, must come first. Therefore the temptation must be strong to keep innovation at bay, and simplify each bencher day. Can this historically-based and unchanged concept of a bencher continue to provide a management structure and mentality capable of fulfilling law society duties and functions whose purpose is, to make legal services adequately available to the public, that are competently and ethically provided and affordable, and solving problems as complex as the unaffordability of legal services problem? Hasn’t the problem remained unsolved, over the decades during which it has been developing, because this management structure is now outmoded?

I use the term “amateurs,” because benchers do not have the technical skills required by all of the issues, the committees the benchers are divided into, that they deal with. For example, the problem of unaffordable legal services is not a legal problem. It requires the advice of experts in the cost-efficiency of the production of professional services. So, go get them. But instead, the authors of all of the writing on the problem are lawyers. That is why their recommendations are all improvements to the existing method of delivering legal services, but without questioning or justifying that method, which assumes that there couldn’t be any other method. This is the approach of amateurs, lacking essential expertise in regard to the law societies’ greatest problem in the whole history of Canada’s law societies. And where in law society management are: the experts who examine the production processes of all legal services to determine whether support-services are needed as exist in all of the large-scale competitive production of goods and services, except in the legal profession; the flexible, proactive systems of innovation that develop new types of specialization as there are in the medical profession; and, the badly needed experts in cost-efficiency?

And if the benchers ask, “and how are we to pay for all of these experts,” my answer is, “do it the same way you created CanLII, nationally, for the benefit of all law societies and lawyers in Canada. That way it can be made to pay for itself by significantly increasing the availability of legal services, and therefore, increasing the incomes of lawyers. By population, we are a small country. Therefore such important problems and issues will have to be dealt with nationally and collectively, for the benefit of all law societies and their members, by means of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the collective sponsor and manager of CanLII.”

The solution to the problem of unaffordable legal services is support services

The solution to “the problem” requires the legal profession be moved from its “handcraftsman’s method” of delivering legal services to a “support-services method.” For example, a lawyer’s office does all of the work necessary to deliver each legal service to the client. There is no reliance on external, highly specialized support-services, whose scaled-up production volumes produce economies-of-scale that no law firm is capable of obtaining. In comparison, no doctor’s office provides all treatments and remedies for all patients, but rather is merely one part of a vast and sophisticated medical infrastructure of mutually interdependent support-services, such as highly specialized doctors, technical tests and technicians, prescription drugs, and hospital services, and related medical professions and services. Large-scale competitive manufacturing does the same. For example, car manufacturers rely on “special parts companies” that make millions of each of the special parts they make for the car manufacturers. Therefore, they have the revenue with which to develop specialized engineers, technicians, materials, equipment, and methods of manufacturing, all done within a very flexible, on-going system of creating new types of specialization as needed, to remain competitive. The legal profession has no counterpart.

The only example of such a support service in Canada’s legal profession began in July 1979, when I developed LAO LAW, which is Legal Aid Ontario’s centralized legal research service for Ontario lawyers in private practice who service legal aid cases. By 1988, my staff was producing over 5,000 complete legal opinions per year, in response to the individual fact-patterns presented by the requesting lawyers, who used this service voluntarily. LAO LAW now has more than 35 years’ experience, very successfully innovating so as to have saved LAO a lot of money that would otherwise have been paid out on lawyers’ accounts for legal research hours claimed. Its services are very well used because it enables lawyers to service more clients per unit time, by way of legal opinions and other materials written by specialized research lawyers, instead of legal research work done by law students, being a strategy of “cutting costs by cutting competence” that is no longer justifiable due to the volume, complexity, and multiplying sources and means of doing legal research. LAO LAW’s volume of production provides economies-of-scale, and therefore a cost-efficiency of production that no law firm can match. Without comparable support-services, law firms by themselves are too small to develop the necessary degree of specialization and economies-of-scale provided by the large, scaled-up volumes of production that would enable them to cope with the cost-price conflict, such as being able to maintain the quality of legal services without having to increase their price. They can’t, therefore the problem is inevitable.

Law firms cannot avoid increasing the prices of their legal services because of the increased time now needed to deliver legal services. Without a mechanism that is constantly improving cost-efficiency, that increased time must increase the price of legal services. Such mechanisms are the foundation of support-services methods of production. But the legal profession’s handcraftsman’s method of production doesn’t have one. The increase in time needed to prepare legal services is caused by: the exploding volume of laws; the increasing complexity of laws (more laws are now based upon technology, and such laws must be as complex as the technology they regulate); there is more technology to be understood; and, electronic records management technology has vastly increased the volume of records that must be considered. Almost all of that record-making is automated. Every interaction, and transmission or manipulation of information now automatically produces a record, and therefore records are now the most frequently used kind of evidence. And the more records there are, the more records there will be that are related to legal services. We are at least as dependent upon electronic records technology as we are on motor vehicle technology, and will be even more so as technology more completely envelopes our lives.

The major forces that are increasing the volume and complexity of laws are: more laws are needed for regulating society’s increasing dependence upon technology; and, demands that the “rule of law” be brought to bear in many new areas, and expanded in many established areas, for example laws concerning the environment, privacy and access to information, electronic commerce, rights and freedoms, taxation and crime, which in turn impact the more specialized laws in every area of the practice of law. An example is the effect that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has had upon the concepts, consequences, scope of application, and case law of rights and freedoms. “Right and freedoms and rule of law” issues crop up now in every area of the practice of law, which wasn’t so pre-Charter. For example, the law of search and seizure is now into searching intangibles, such as the privacy of people referred to in the texts stored in electronic storage devices, and the effects of electronic technology, and not just searching and seizing in physical places and things; see R. v. Vu 2013 SCC 60 and R. v. Fearon 2014 SCC 77.

A 21st century law society has to be not only the sponsor of the needed support services for the practice of law, but also a flexible support service itself, able to adjust to the changing needs of its member lawyers. That will require a different conception of what a law society should be, and therefore a different management structure and bencher. Otherwise, ABSs?

Part 2 of this column will further develop Ken’s views on alternate business structures and the role of law societies and his experience with LAO LAW.

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The Columbia University Pre-Law Society is the student counterpart to The Office of Pre-professional Advising at Columbia University.
We aim to foster pre-law students’ interests in the law, encourage their exploration of legal careers, as well as provide opportunities for members to network among themselves and with legal professionals. To this end, we organize informational and networking events such as panels, mixers and informal discussions throughout the academic year.

Some of our previous events and activities have included:
  • Career panels with New York City judges and attorneys
  • Job shadow days at law firms around the City
  • Exclusive internship opportunities
  • Mentorship opportunities with Columbia alumni and current law students
  • Class auditing at Columbia Law School
  • Special sessions and lectures on law school admissions
  • LSAT prep sessions (with special discounts for our members!)
  • Pre-professional networking events
  • “Study breaks” and Movie Nights

Learning About Business Law Is Beneficial For Anyone Who Is Starting A Company

There are those who believe that business education goes hand-in-hand with any college degree. There is logic to that assertion. It is wise that every person has some basic knowledge of business, as it is a necessary component regardless of a person’s field of study. An Introduction to Business class touches on several areas of business that would benefit all careers, including business law. If you are planning to be self-employed, partner with, or operate your own business, it is good to have some knowledge of business law because it focuses on laws that apply to such entities, like partnerships and corporations. There are many factors that go into running your own business. Business law provides insight into which direction may be best for your entrepreneurial aspirations. Many people wish to have their own business; however, it is no small feat. Business law can answer some of the most basic questions, which could impact your decision of whether you want to own a company: What type of business should I set up? What is the easiest type to set up? When are business owners personally liable for debts? How can I protect myself from liability? Business law also delves into the financial aspect of the field. This can include understanding the importance creating an effective business plan. Typically, an Intro to Business course teaches students how to draft a business plan so that they can have a thorough understanding of its significance. Other finance learning can include financing a business using bank loans or investment capital and utilizing other capital resources like an equity loans. Business law explores the four general ways to organize a business. One way to form one is by sole proprietorship. A sole proprietor is inseparable from its owner. Consequently, the business and the owner are one in the same. This is considered the easiest and economical type to set up. But on the down side, the owner is fully responsible for the company, with no form of limited liability. Another way to organize a business is to create a partnership. This is where two or more people start something together. Partnerships do not have to be set up as a formal corporation, which makes them easy to establish, much like that of the sole proprietorship. However, it is highly recommended that a written partnership agreement be drafted and signed by all parties involved. A corporation is the opposite of sole proprietor. A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners. Corporations can be run by a single shareholder or by many shareholders. Its man advantage is that the owner is protected in the form of limited liability, which exonerates him or her from personal losses, debts, and obligations of the business itself. Business law covers a multitude of interesting facts and applicable factors concerning the successful operation of a business. A student who incorporates business studies into his or her degree program will be exposed to in-depth knowledge concerning legal aspects and how to apply them to future commercial aspirations or even personal goals. Whatever the case, you will probably find a use for this valuable information.

When Your Identity Has Been Stolen: 10 Steps to Follow

On several occasions, I’ve been asked to help individuals whose identities have been stolen. However, most of the time, it is not cost-effective for a lawyer to handle the majority of the initial steps in responding to the theft of an individual’s identity. Instead, the affected person is usually best advised to handle most of the first steps themselves. [FN1]

As a public service, I’m providing the following step-by-step guide for individuals who suspect that credit has been obtained in their name without their consent. (There are other kinds of identity theft, but this is the most common.) Although the Federal Trade Commission has an a good guide for victims of identity theft, it (i) requires you to read several different webpages instead of just one, and (ii) does not explain the state-law-specific aspects of recovering from identity theft. This is intended to be a simplified guide for North Carolina residents.

1.   Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report. Call any one of the three major credit reporting agencies and instruct them to place a fraud alert on your credit report. (Tell the agency you contact to tell the other two to do the same…although there’s no harm in calling all three yourself). You’ll be required to prove your identity when placing a fraud alert. There is no cost to you to place a fraud alert. The purpose of an initial fraud alert is to make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. An initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, but can be renewed.

You can contact the credit reporting agencies at the following: Equifax – 1-800-525-6285,, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241; Experian – 1-888-397-3742,, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013-0949; TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289,, P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022.

2.   Order Your Free Credit Reports. When placing a fraud report, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. The agency that you call (as instructed in #1 above) will explain your rights and how you can get a free copy of your credit report. You could also use this form.

3.   Submit an Affidavit to the FTC. Write out a description of how you learned about the suspected identity theft and everything you’ve learned about it since, in as much detail as you can. Next, you need to put this information into the form of an affidavit (a sworn written statement). The Federal Trade Commission has a helpful tool (called the “FTC Complaint Assistant”) to put your information into the proper form, which you can use for free at When finished, submit the affidavit to the FTC through the website. Print or save a copy for your records. (Alternatively, you can use this form.)

4.   File a Police Report. Call the local law enforcement agency (a) where the theft appears to have occurred, or (b) where you live, or (c) both. In North Carolina, this is usually a police department if you live in a city or town, or a county sheriff’s department if you live outside a municipality (though there are exceptions to this general rule). File a police report. (Either they will send an officer to you, or will ask you to come to the station.) Give the officer a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. Also give the officer a copy of the FTC’s official memo to local law enforcement agencies, a copy of which is available here. Ask to be given a copy of the police report once it’s ready.
5.   File an FTC ID Theft Report. Together, your FTC Affidavit and the police report comprise an “FTC ID Theft Report.” An FTC Report can help you (i) get fraudulent information removed from your credit report; (ii) stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft, or from selling the debt to another company for collection, (iii) extend the fraud alert on your credit report; and (iv) get information from companies about any accounts the identity thief opened or misused. Send the ID Theft Report to the credit bureaus and to any organization affected by the ID theft (such as a retailer or credit card company).

Send an ID Theft Report to the credit reporting agencies, and tell them whether you want to extend the fraud alert or initiate a security freeze (see #6 below). In either case, you should notify all three of the credit reporting agencies.

6.   Decide Whether You Want to Extend the Fraud Alert or Institute a Credit Freeze. Next, you need to decide whether to (a) extend the fraud alert or (b) initiate a security freeze.

Once you have created an ID Theft Report (FTC affidavit plus police report), you are entitled under federal law to extend your fraud alert for seven years. When you extend the fraud alert, you can get two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, and they must take your name off marketing lists for prescreened credit offers for five years, unless you ask them to put your name back on the list.

North Carolina residents are entitled by state law to “freeze” their credit reports. When a security freeze is in place, a consumer reporting agency may not release your credit report or information to a third party without your prior express authorization. If you want someone (such as a lender or employer) to be able to review your credit report (for a credit application or background check), you must ask the credit reporting agency to lift the security freeze. You can ask to lift the security freeze temporarily or permanently. (The credit reporting agency is required by NC law to give you a unique PIN or password when you initiate the security freeze to be used by you when requesting a temporary or permanent lift of the freeze.) If you request a lift to the freeze by mail, the agency has three business days to comply, but if you request electronically or by telephone, the agency must comply with the request within 15 minutes, pursuant to NC law. Putting a credit freeze on your credit file does not affect your credit score.

The cost to place and lift a freeze, and how long the freeze lasts, depends upon state law. Here in North Carolina, a freeze lasts as long as you wish, and a consumer reporting agency cannot charge a fee to put a security freeze in place, remove a freeze, or lift a freeze if your request is made electronically. If you request a security freeze by telephone or by mail, a consumer reporting agency can charge up to $3.00 (unless you are 62 or older, or have submitted a police report–see #4 and #5 above).

So, to summarize, a “security freeze” generally stops all access to your credit report unless you lift it, while an “extended fraud alert” permits creditors to get your report as long as they take steps to verify your identity.My general preference is the freeze, because it gives you the most control.
7.   Review Your Credit Reports and Dispute Errors. Carefully review your credit reports for errors. If errors on your credit report are the result of identity theft and you have submitted an Identity Theft Report, you are entitled to tell the credit reporting companies to block the disputed information from appearing on your credit report. Here is a sample letter that may be helpful.
The credit reporting agency will notify the relevant business of any disputed information, after which the business has 30 days to investigate and respond to the credit reporting agency. If the business finds an error, it must notify the credit reporting agency so your credit file can be corrected. If your credit file changes because of the business’ investigation, the credit reporting agency will send you a letter to notify you. The credit reporting agency cannot return the disputed information to your file unless the business says the information is correct. If the credit reporting company puts the information back in your file, it will send you a letter telling you that.
8.   Contact Any Businesses Involved. If you are aware of specific accounts that have been opened in your name without authorization, or existing accounts that have been accessed without your authorization, contact those organizations, even if you have already notified the credit reporting agencies of the problem. Ask to speak to someone in the fraud department. Ask them to reverse any unauthorized charges and to preserve all records for use by law enforcement. You might also want to ask them to simply close the accounts, and open new accounts for you. [Use different access credentials (such as a PIN or password) for the new accounts.] Ask for copies of any documents used by the identity thief. (Here’s a sample letter.) Ask for a letter confirming that any fraudulent information has been removed or transactions reversed. Also ask them to stop reporting information relating to the fraud to credit reporting agencies. As soon as you conclude the conversation, memorialize your discussion in a certified letter to the organization. Here is a sample.
9.   Stop Debt Collectors from Contacting You about Fraudulent Debts. If an identity thief opens accounts in your name and doesn’t pay the bills, a debt collector may contact you. To stop debt collectors from contacting you, in addition to the steps described above, you can send them a letter using this form.

10.  Additional Tips:

  • Remember to record the dates you made calls or sent letters.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence in your files.
  • A number of sample letters are available here.

I hope you find this guide helpful. Please feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues. Although I hope you never need it, I encourage you to bookmark this post for quick reference, along with the FTC’s ID Theft website and the NC DOJ’s website, just in case.


Islamic finance as practiced today is a new phenomenon that is very interesting to look at not because it is related to the so-called growth  rate that is so impressive according to many reports of late. True that to a certain extent,  the figure normally quoted to support this claim of impressive growth is there to be appreciated but the basic question to ask is whether such an achievement is truly an achievement worthy of celebration.

The reason for this matter to be raised is simple; the growth as mentioned is not free from critics who  pointed to claims that many Islamic financial products that have so far been introduced and practiced in the market mimic their conventional counterparts such that they have lost their original Islamic identity. The  issue has become more prominent with the debate surrounding whether what is needed are Shariah compliant products or Shariah based ones. Proponents on both sides of the argument have to accept the fact that in Islam what is required is that all what need to be done need to be done according to the Islamic ways of doing things. Hence the key to the whole issue is closely related to the level of knowledge prevailing in the market about what is the Islamic ways of conducting financial and commercial  activities. Everything is related to the level of knowledge needed to ensure consistency with the Islamic dictates as properly understood.

But the sad thing is that there seems to be a crisis in the area of education in Islamic finance where it has been said that a minimum standard has not been applied both in terms of student and lecturer  intakes at various level of education in Islamic finance. Issues have been raised as to the presence of not so qualified teaching staff at various centers  offering Islamic finance  education, and there seem to be no control as far as the necessary qualification is concerned that have led some observers to conclude that given the existing mode of education, there will be no hope for the field to be improved in terms of quality education when both of the aspects as mentioned are not given adequate attention. There are many centers that have been established  recently or in the past couple of years to offer related courses at various levels of Islamic finance education but the sad thing is that many a time it is found out that such education lack substantive coverage on basic Islamic concepts  just because many individuals who are tasked to teach are not suitable or qualified enough to present Islamic view on financial  and business matters given their background, as they are mostly trained in western economic or financial system and thus lacking in substantive Islamic knowledge. With these background can it be expected that they can  present to the students Islamic information they way it should be when they themselves are still struggling with some basic understanding  about finance from Islamic perspective. The outcome of all of these phenomena is an education which is slanted more toward  imparting conventional  financial knowledge rather than the Islamic one. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that, the majority of players in Islamic finance sectors come from conventional background with little proper education or training in Islamic finance the correct way. It has been noted in some situations, people with little credential in terms of Islamic knowledge have been appointed to set direction to what is supposed to be Islamic finance education. If this is the situation what hope is there that the future direction of Islamic finance is leading to a correct destiny as those who are mandated to set the future are themselves confused about what the direction would be. To make  matter worse there are instances where people moved to this field just because they saw more opportunities lie in this field not being truthful to themselves  whether they have the minimum standard to be there or not. It is surprising to see or even mind boggling to ponder about the fact that in certain  circumstances people are busy  talking about the need to regulate Shariah advisors but not other players in the markets who are themselves  devoid of minimum necessary qualification to talk about things Islamic but have  full freedom to practice with little scrutiny as to their suitability and qualification. Unless minimum standard is put in place to regulate the basic qualification needed to teach Islamic finance related subjects at various centers of education offering courses in Islamic finance, there is little hope that the level of knowledge can be improved in the correct manner; truthful to a saying which says that “one who has not in possession cannot give.. .”.

What is the meaning of acceptance and Rules regarding acceptance ?

Acceptance is an essential element of a valid contract like offer. Offer and acceptance are foundation and the first step of agreement. Every agreement beings with offer and acceptance when offer is accepted by the other for whom it was made it is called acceptance. All terms and conditions of the offer must be accepted by the other (offeree) without acceptance agreement is not possible. If the offer is refused and rejected by the other there is no question of agreement so like offer acceptance is also equally important for making an agreement while accepting offer all the terms and conditions must be accepted and understand is the same way and sense taken by offeree.

Rules: –

  1. Acceptance only by offeree (party for whom it is made)
  2. Acceptance within the time.
  3. Acceptance before cancellation of offer.
  4. Communication of acceptance.
  5. Unconditional acceptance.
  6. Acceptance according to condition.
  7. Express or Implied acceptance.
  8. Rejected offer can’t be accepted.

Yelp Gets a Pass On Negative Social Media Post

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision having a big impact on how businesses must deal with disparaging commentary on social media.  In Westlake Legal Group v. Yelp, Inc., the court rejected a Virginia law firm’s claim against Yelpcomplaining about defamatory comments on the firm posted on Yelp’s website.  Yelp asserted that the case should be dismissed, arguing that federal law provided it and other social media companies immunity from such lawsuits.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Yelp and dismissed the firm’s case, rejecting the argument that the victim of a false social media post can sue computer service providers.  Citing the Communications Decency Act (‘CDA’), the court ruled that the CDA bars such businesses “from holding interactive computer service providers legally responsible for information created and developed by third parties.”  Basically deeming Yelp an electronic billboard immune for posts that could be defamatory, the court ruled that Yelp could not be sued without facts showing that “that any alleged drafting or revision [by Yelp] … was something more than a website operator performs as part of its traditional editorial function.”

The Westlake decision is significant for several reasons.  It shows that if any individual or business wants to legally challenge defamatory social media, it should ‘keep its powder dry’ and not waste time and money suing the social media company posting the content.  Social media providers like Yelp will likely get a broad pass of immunity for such claims.  Rather, anyone challenging anonymous false statements on social media should focus on so-called ‘unmasking’ cases which could permit subpoenas for business records from the Yelps of the world (such as recently allowed in the Madeed Carpet case) to identify and attack the actual author of the post.  Understanding these rules of the road for challenging disparaging social media can make the difference between protecting one’s reputation and wasting valuable time and money.

Will Jonathan Gruber’s Comments Impact the Supreme Court?

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who was paid by the government to consult on the creation of the Affordable Care Act, recently made headlines with his controversial ObamaCare comments about the “stupidity of the American voter.”  His other comments, however, deserve a second look.  One comment shows how the Chief Justice may have been misguided by the government in his tie-breaking vote to support the Affordable Care Act, while another comment could have a big impact when the Supreme Court soon decides a landmark case.

The Supreme Court’s narrow vote supporting the Affordable Care Actdepended on Chief Justice Robert’s conclusion that the Act created a tax, and thus fell within one of the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress to support its creation of the Act.  However, Gruber’s controversial comments included his assertion that the bill “was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.”  If this comment was accurate, it conflicts with the Justice Department’s argument, accepted by the Chief Justice in casting his tie-breaking vote to support the law, that the Act created a tax and Congress therefore had the authority to enact it.

Gruber also asserted that Congress “want[ed] to sort of squeeze the states” to feel pressure to set up their own insurance exchanges, and that “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get tax credits.”  Once again, Gruber is conflicting with the Administration’s position in the upcoming King v. Burwell Supreme Court case.  In King, the Supreme Court will decide if the government exceeded its authority in promoting tax credits and subsidies for residents of states that did not create their own exchange.  According to the language of the Affordable Care Act and Gruber’s own comments, such credits are not allowed – for two thirds of the states that never gave in to the ‘squeeze’ to set up their own exchange – and therefore a big part of ObamaCare’s financial engine should fail.  This contrasts with the Administration’s argument pulling the Court in the opposite direction, asserting that the Act intended to allow credits and subsidies for all such states in order to fund ObamaCare.

Both sides cannot be right, and the Justices will need to resolve this in a few months. If the majority of the Court follows the language of the statute and takes professor Gruber’s comments to heart, a big part of ObamaCare’s funding will be disallowed since the credits and subsidies challenged in King will be struck down.  In the meantime, the next time a former consultant for the Administration makes sarcastic comments about the American voter and the law, he may want to consider whether the nine people wearing robes in the Supreme Court building will hear what he has to say before they cast their next vote.  Time will tell if his words will influence the Supreme Court to reach a different result.

Some of the Major Challenges Lawyers Face Today are

Below is a list of the major challenges that any lawyer can face when they try to supercharge their legal practice by using technology.

Delegating or eliminating tasks that would prevent you from proving your value.

Collaborating with clients and colleagues through various forms of document sharing.

Articulating what your cases are all about in order to drive successful outcomes.

Solving the Big Data Challenge that can be pretty mind-numbing in major litigation.

Embrace Technology: Many law firms used to be very secretive and protective of their document templates, forms, and all legal information. The internet has completely revolutionized the hierarchy, and many of the smaller to mid-sized law firms are now stating that they owe their success to allowing fairer access to legal resources. Now the bigger law firms are embracing this trend that one size does not fit all movement.

Know your practice and Protect your data: Your law firm’s structure and areas of practice can sometimes dictate why type of technology is right for you. I.e: small firms and solo lawyers will need extremely secure online portals for any type of client communication, but will often struggle to afford the proper technology. Confidentiality is a huge key concern more than ever, and exercising this standard of care lies within being able to protect the true integrity of your law firm’s data system.

Breathe- Computers will not take away your jobs: How many people will often feel sick and go to the doctor right away before ever researching the symptoms and diagnosing themselves? You and your clients can save plenty of energy as well as time when a client comes to you with a deeper understanding of their actual legal situation and what resources are available to them. An easier client to deal with is an educated one. Ultimately, your value to your client is what you know, and who you are. The role of trusted adviser will never be taken over by technology, and that is what clients would and should pay for. That is what your value is.

Learn how to responsibly use social media: There is a very huge law firm elephant in the room. Many law firms still have no idea how to market or brand themselves in the proper way. Even if you have amazing expertise and solutions to offer, firms of all sizes will struggled to pull in modern consumers who want to see relevant content where they spend most of their time; i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc. A paralegal has noted that it is very much time for law firms to re-prioritize and really invest time in internal training for online marketing tactics and IT. The best way to start that is to piggyback on other technology platforms and really encourage your clients to leave positive reviews about you online and to help any word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

Attorney Greenville sc: get the expertise help in all the legal matters

The answer to the question what one is supposed to do before calling on a attorney have have many people thinking about it. So there are few basic things that need to be followed when one need the help of an attorney Greenville sc. The incidents that require an attorney’s help might be the one causing damage or illness to oneself. The types of occurrences that require an attorneys help and the things that need to be figured out before calling out a professional attorney. A professional attorney’s help will make the legal proceeding for the layman very clear minus the technical legal jargon. An attorney will stand by the clients through the entire legal proceeding or can e hired for carrying out specific actions. The credentials of the attorney like educational degree, experience of the attorney, and the number of successful case handled.

One can choose to call upon an attorney when going through the emotional ordeal of handling legal family issues. Issues like couples filing for divorce, child custody, distribution of joint assets, settling of legal family disputes are the issues that are included under the family legal proceedings. A family attorney having experience in handling such family issues and at the same time the attorney who is well versed with the regional family laws is to be hired. When one faces the issues of bankruptcy, under these financially challenging situations too one can get help from the law by hiring a professional bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy attorneys in such situations will help the client to get negotiate with the debtors and the insurance companies on the behalf of the client.

An injury attorney is the one who will help the client who has incurred a physical damage due the negligence of others be it an individual responsible or the company. The physical damage in such case will lead to the loss of wages or the loss of permanent ability to work or sometimes even the loss of life. The individual himself in such case or the family of the individual can cal out on an injury attorney greenville scto represent the person who has incurred damage to the insurance companies. Accident attorneys will handle the case of auto accident or the accidents taking place at the work place or the construction sites. These attorneys help the court in getting a clear idea of the situation when the accident has taken place and in determine the party at fault.

A Biblical Perspective On The Secret And The Law Of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is a biblical concept, but has been perverted by worldly teachings; therefore, the church should seek teaching on the biblical Law of Attraction.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the teaching known as “The Secret.” The concept is, by using this “secret,” which is “The Law of Attraction,” you can attract anything you want in your life: more money, a bigger house, more business, the perfect mate, literally anything you want!

While the teachings conveyed about the Law of Attraction from worldly teachers contain many truths, they also contain some contradictory ideas to the Word of God. For example, I personally disagree with the notion that a person can have just anything. The reason being, we were born with different strengths, skills, and talents that lend themselves to our individual abilities to acquire the things we desire.

God made us all unique, with a purpose, and with a certain mission to fulfill His will. It isn’t all about us! Now does that mean the Law of Attraction should be ignored? Is it all just a bunch of garbage for the Christian? Absolutely not! The Law of Attraction is a biblical concept.

Once we understand the proper mechanics and the proper use of the law of attraction and discuss it within the church, we should refer to it as the “biblical law of attraction” simply that there may be no misunderstanding. So from here to the end of this article, I’ll refer to it as the “Biblical Law of Attraction.”

Now, the Biblical Law of Attraction and God’s will can, and should work together in your life. Let me clarify it from a biblical perspective in the following three points:

1. The Worldly Law of Attraction and the Believer in Christ

The worldly teaching of the Law of Attraction has brought much confusion to the believer in Christ for one very good reason: It leaves out the entire concept of God’s will! If you’ve been trying to use the Biblical Law of Attraction in the way the worldly teachers teach it, you’ll soon find yourself feeling far from God!

2. Why the Basic Concept of the Law of Attraction Works for Everyone

Like I said previously, the Law of Attraction is a biblical concept and a Godly principle. It’s just that the worldly teaching of it is not Godly. It has distorted biblical references by leaving Jesus out of the equation, thereby perverting the Word of God to suit its own purposes.

3. The Basic Concept of the Law of Attraction and God’s Will

Jesus’ teaching on the Biblical Law of Attraction deals with our beliefs, thoughts, words and actions. The worldly teachers of the Law of Attraction teach that our words and thoughts are enough, like there’s some sort of magic in what we request from, who they call, the “Universe.”

God is interested in our “issues,” and He wants a relationship with us more than anything else. He wants our heart; therefore it grieves Him when we chase after selfish ambitions instead of Him.

So, how should one use the Biblical Law of Attraction? The answer is, to glorify God in his or her life. Not merely to obtain selfish ambitions.

Lawyers in Richmond va: choosing one to handle your mess

To solve out many legal matters it is crucial that you get access to some good services of the lawyers in Richmond va. This is because it is they who can help you get off the legal mess easily.

These days life is very different than the way it was earlier. There are lots of unforeseen events which may rise up and for this you will surely need to get help from some of the lawyers in Richmond va. Though there are too many reasons present you will see that the lawyers you choose should be specialists. If they are not chances of you losing on the case will be very high. When you start to look around you will surely come across those who can help you in matters like divorce, alimony, child custody, personal injury, marriage and lot more. But choose the one who is a dedicated professional will surely be an add-on for you.

Before when you got caught in the mess things were not that difficult. But with changing times taking help from the expert lawyers in Richmond va is the only one option which is not just a compulsion but also the need of the situation. It is then that you will be easily able to get the right services and can also get the result in your favor. It is then that you will also be able to get rid of all the legal mess very properly without even spending too much of money on the same.

To get rid of the mess properly you always have to choose on an expert who has good amount of experience. Apart from this it is also important that they have the needed licenses. It is then that you can always make sure that you will be able to fight back your case ell and properly too. At times looking out for them can be a little difficult but then you always have to be careful while making a selection.

When you are badly stuck up and just wish to get rid of this particular situation then the perfect thing to do is hire services of some of the best lawyers in Richmond va. Look for their qualification first and then choose whoever it is the best because only then they will be useful for you in all the many different ways possible. Only when you choose such good professionals you can be well assured of the right type of results for yourself.

Richmond attorneys: choosing one to solve your legal cases

Selecting the perfect well educated Richmond attorneys to solve your many problems will be an important task if you are stuck up in a legal mess.

Are you looking out for some good Richmond attorneys or law firms who can help fight your case well in the court? If yes then it is very important that you do some amount of research. Just when research is done you will come across the best type of attorneys who can be helpful for you in all the different ways from solving your cases to all the other legal paper work which is to be done. There are a few among you who feel following these instructions is not so very important. But then you should know of the fact that if you do not then chances of you facing legal problems is high.

This is mainly because you will not at all know the many things which are needed and are also compulsory to fight your case. When you choose them you can be assured that all the many essentials will be rightly followed and you will have just no problem at all. With this you can be satisfied to an extent that the case will be in your favor too. These days when you start with the research, you will see that there are just too many different law firms. Choosing one amongst them can get difficult but always remember that just when you choose someone who is good you will be assured of the best services from them.

Some good qualities which you should always look out include experience, soft spoken, knowledgeable and also references. If they have too many references and friends things can get solved easily. Among the many experience is also going to be on aspect which will have to be looked at. Just when you take a look at all the many different aspects you will be assured of the fact that you have chosen the right one for you. Apart from this you will also see that sometimes the one who has the needed experience can work wonders as they will solve your case fast and quicker too.

There are too many different sources which will help you in looking out for the Richmond attorneys and similar law firms. But then in all of these cases it is always better that you do your research well. In case you happen to choose someone who is not that good chances are high that you may lose out on eth case and may have to pay a lot o penalty for the same.

How Does Law Affect Us?

Although we all have an understanding of what law is, and generally why it’s appropriate that it should be in place to serve and regulate our conduct in society, we seldom think of what law actually means in an everyday context. What is law for the average Joe in the street? How does law impact on our lives from day to day? Indeed, is the law a distant concept with which we find it hard to relate? In this article we will look at some of the fundamental ways law operates in society, in addition to the nature of the law as we know it.

For some people, they feel as though the law is there merely to protect their interests, and that they have no need for daily interaction. However, they assume that if the day comes where their behaviour is called into question, the law will operate, the course of justice will be run, and the will of the people will be fulfilled. This is perhaps a naïve interpretation of the function of law, and indeed the way it operates in our lives throughout the day. For instance, at the top level we have the constitution, establishing parameters within which the government can and cannot act to protect the citizens of our nation. That has an overwhelming effect on the way in which our government and indeed our country is run, which has a knock on effect on everything we do throughout the day and how we do it. Even at a local level, the law interacts with the services we are provided, the jobs we work and pretty much everything to do with the lives we lead. A distant concept? I don’t think so.

The law does not just operate in criminal spheres, nor is it confined to merely constitutional matters and the distribution of power. Law is a significantly more sophisticated tool in the orchestration of the day-to-day organisation of society, through regulating not only personal conduct but also the way we act in business situations. Take for example the everyday task of boarding a train. The law regulates many aspects of this feat: (1) the criminal law and the constitution permits us to board public transport. (2) The constitution permits us to make contract with another. (3) The laws of contract permit us to form a contract for transport with the train company, and ensure that that contract is fulfilled. (4) The laws of contract and tort allow us to board without fear of injury, or with remedy should the worst happen. Finally the law of ownership and currency allows us to hand over money in consideration for this service, which is of value to the other contracting party. In fact, the law regulates just about everything we do, and is vital in doing so to ensure the smooth running of community and every aspect of our lives.

The law is not some abstract notion that can and will protect us when we need to rely on it. The law is an integral part of democratic life, and something which regulates our conduct, and in essence allows us to act according to our own desires within reason. Some may think the law is too restrictive in certain areas, but it works. The law serves its function as regulating our behaviour very well, and if it doesn’t? We can change it.

The fact is, law has been an important part of society since it began, with implied legal and social orders and boundaries that could not be crossed. Today, it is a sophisticated network of guidelines and regulations which is adapted to shape the way we live our lives from one day to the next. There is no doubt that the law is important to the citizen, and plays a profound impact on the lives of the people on a daily basis.

Why to choose the right Richmond attorneys?

If you want to settle many legal issues which you have then getting help from good Richmond attorneys will surely help.

If there are too many different types of issues which will have to be resolved then you will certainly have to take help of some good and right Richmond attorney. This is because it is only this option which will be left with you. It is not just some family issue or then some property issue but a lot of things will need to be solved under legal issues. This can also include insurance, frauds, personal injury and lot more. Therefore hiring one good kind of lawyer will always be a good option for you.

The major reason here is that it is only with this that you will be able to simplify the many things which are present and need good amount of assistance.  You will then be able to bounce back and make sure that you are no longer in the mess that you were so scared of. Apart from this you will also be assured of good and reliable help form the reliable sources. It is very important that you take a look at all the many different aspects before you agree on picking up the Richmond attorneys which will be useful for you.

The first on the list is their experience. When you check the same, you will understand whether they know the different legal issues or not. You also need to take a look at their number of years of service. You should know the successful cases that they have handled and whether they have been successful in solving too many issues or not.

Secondly you need to look at the licenses that these Richmond attorneys have. For practicing law it is important that they actually have the right license. It is only then that they will be able to handle all your issues well and satisfy all of your requirements well. Picking on anyone who is not qualified will be a big risk for you. It is because you will not get any outcome but will end up wasting a lot of your money in the same.

Lastly you need to make sure of the fact that these attorneys do not charge too much of money for the same. There are too many attorneys who will ask for extreme fees but then it is important that you look out for those lawyers who charge reasonable fees. With this things will simplify for you and you will easily find reliable lawyers who can solve all your legal issues well.

Find True Advocates in a Local Accident Law Firm

When you are in any kind of a personal injury accident and you need legal counsel it is critical that you get an accident lawyer with a strong accident law firm, very familiar with your local area. Look for an accident law firm that is founded on a simple, yet strong mission to give very high quality, approachable and cost effective legal services to their clients. Look for an accident law firm working to build personal relationships with all of their clients to understand their client’s cases better, to give practical cost effective solutions.

If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence, weighed down with a ton of debt, have a daunting lawsuit filed against you, or want to pursue someone who has harmed you, and do it legally, a local accident law firm and their associates are committed to giving you excellent legal representation and unmatched personal legal service to get your crisis resolved.

You ought to have an experienced, outcome oriented lawyer who really cares about your case and you personally, who offers authentic solutions for those who need it. Regardless of what kind of legal problems you have, you ought to have educated and knowledgeable lawyers who care.

Get an accident law firm that values deeply, the confidence their clients place in them. They should promise to give you outstanding legal representation together with matchless personal service at a realistic rate. Local accident law firms and their associates should have value based lawyers pledging to uphold the top standards of integrity and honesty while pursuing fairness for all of their clients.

Local accident law firms and their associates represent people and families in a list of personal injury legal areas consisting of medical device failures, defective drugs, trip or slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and auto collisions and all manner of vehicular accidents. They are capable of handling a varied collection of personal injury matters for their legal clients, and have helped with many complex legal situations. They are always prompt, professional, and efficient, so if you want an accident law firm, you can hire a lawyer you can trust.

Auto accident injury victims are faced with lost wages, medical bills, and potentially lifelong medical, physical, and financial circumstances because of their accident injuries. Injuries from these accidents may have lifelong impacts on quality of life for the injured and their loved ones. Even though there may not be ways to restore total looses from the negligence of another person, having a accident law firm on your side, getting your fair and immediate financial recompense for the future needs of legal clients is a vital part of the overall healing process.

The Law Of Probability…

There are many laws of success that operate in our lives; the Law of Attraction, the Law of Reciprocity, the Law of Focus, just to name a few. One of the most important laws to know and understand is the Law of Probability. Unfortunately this is one of the least understood laws of success.

Scientists used to believe that we lived in an exact universe, but in the last hundred years a whole new area of physics has developed and turned the idea of an exact universe completely on its head. This area of science is called Quantum Mechanics.

Quantum mechanics teaches us that our universe is actually governed by probability rather than exactness. Everything in the universe is subject to the laws of probability and our own behaviors, and the results that we get from those behaviors, are no exception.

The Law of Probability of success states that when you are taking actions to increase your level of success what you are really doing is increasing the probability that you will succeed. What does this mean in practical terms?

In practice this means that there is no way of knowing the exact results that you are going to get in any particular situation. You may be applying all the laws of success today yet you may have a fruitful day or an unfruitful day. There is no way to predict the outcome for any particular occasion.

However, before you totally give up your success strategies realize that what the Law of Probability is also saying is that if you keep following the laws of success, thinking the right thoughts and taking the right actions then you will become successful. Over time you will have more successes and greater successes than you will have failures.

The moral behind understanding this law is to not give up just because everything is not working out to plan. There is no way of knowing what any particular action will bring but there is a certainty in the total set of results from any continued pattern of actions. In order to become successful you need to keep on keeping on.

Remember that quantum mechanics has shown us that it is the Law of Probability that keeps our whole universe functioning. It keeps the earth going around the sun, it keeps our bodies functioning, and it keeps each and every process in our universe working and has done so for billions of years. If you want a strategy with a proven track record of success then you can’t go past the Law of Probability.

This Law of Probability also works against us if we activate it in that direction. Just as with the positive side of this law you can’t tell what will be the exact outcome in any particular circumstance but you can predict the average outcome over time.

A person may break all the laws of success and yet seem to have an uncanny amount of good fortune. However if you observe this person over the long haul you will find that their life is in fact not working the way they would like it to.

In order to become successful and remain successful long term the best strategy is to learn and apply the time proven laws of success and stick with them. If you do this then sooner or later you will reap the rewards that you are dreaming of.

Appointing Employment Lawyers – Suggestions For Rookies

There are times when employers are having a difficult time providing the needs of their employees. It is their responsibility, but you can find occasions when you need to know your boundaries as well. They are considered to be valuable assets of your firm, but it’s not advisable to do everything that they are requesting. This is why you need to employ employment lawyers to help you. You need to never disregard the employment laws even if you are having a hard time understanding them. It is better if you will look at the different advantages that one could acquire by seeking the help of an employment lawyer.

An employment attorney deals with everything connected to legal troubles between the employee and the employer. If a legal difficulty occurs, the lawyers will deal with them consequently.

Well, if you feel that you can deal with it on your own; you don’t have to employ an employment attorney. Nonetheless, a big organization may well need a attorney to manage these types of difficulties.

The documents that you need for your firm, which is connected to the staff and the employer’s connection may also be included in their work. If you do not understand these laws and regulations, you could expect these lawyers to assist you out.

You should anticipate that claims from employees may well appear every once in awhile. You have to address these difficulties lawfully. If you don’t have an employment lawyer, you will have a difficult time deciding on the best plan of action for these situations.

When you have issues on employee legal contracts, misbehavior on the workplace and a few difficulties on salary and compensation, it should always be depending on the employment law. All these problems can be prevented if you have a professional employment attorney in your firm.

Firms will not be resistant to legal complications and you will certainly have lots of problems if an employee files a complaint against your enterprise. An employment lawyer will ensure that every decision you make is inside the boundaries of the law.

If you will employ an employment lawyer, you can let them handle everything with regard to the concerns of your employees and you can focus on the day to day operations of your enterprise. If you are having a lot of issues with the concerns of your workers, you should let your lawyers deal with this. They know what they had to do and they will give you some advice on the best action to take.

It means that you can prevent any legal issues with your staff if they filed a complaint because everything is inside the employment law. It will also help you concentrate on the operations of your organization instead of worrying too much on these claims.

You should anticipate that employment lawyers are beneficial to your firm in several different ways. If you still think that you are just wasting money, then you are making a mistake. You must also know that hiring these attorneys may prevent future legal problems originating from the workers.