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Traffic Courts in Every Area

Every area is to have a dedicated ‘Traffic Court’ to deal with low-level road traffic offences, Justice Minister Damian Green announced last week.

There are around half a million summary motoring cases heard every year, including speeding, traffic light and document offences. Although these offences are relatively minor they often take longer from offence to completion than much more serious cases.

A task force of partners across the criminal justice system was set up to look at why this was the case and to recommend how the system could be improved, to ensure the cases are dealt with both justly and efficiently. The traffic courts are just one of the suggestions resulting from the initiative.

“Enforcing traffic laws is hugely important for road safety, and saving lives. However these cases take nearly six months on average from offence to completion, despite the fact that over 90% of cases result in a guilty plea or are proved in absence – this is simply unacceptable,” said Damian Green.

“The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency,” he added.

The types of offences that could be dealt with by the traffic courts include:

  • lighting offences;
  • noise offences;
  • speed limit offences;
  • vehicle insurance offences; and
  • obstruction, waiting and parking offences.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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EU Targets Tax Fraud and Evasion

The fight against tax fraud and tax evasion was pushed further up the European agenda this week, following a high profile meeting of the European Council of Ministers.

EU leaders have agreed that, while taxation is an issue that should be left in the hands of member states, fraud and tax evasion reach across borders and therefore can only be tackled properly if member states work together.

‘Clear deadlines for result’

Meeting in Brussels on 22nd May, the Council discussed a number of measures, including:

  • The extension of the automatic exchange of information within the EU and across the globe. Within the EU, this will take the form of changes that are due to be made to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation;
  • Moves made earlier this month to work with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino on the tax rules they apply to savings income;
  • The new VAT fraud directives – the Council has called for these to be adopted by the end of June.

"It's high time to step up the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion,” said President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. "So I am pleased that today's European Council managed to unblock a number of frozen files. There is movement, a real acceleration, with clear deadlines for result.”
The developments come on top of a number of other recent moves to tackle tax evasion and fraud.

The ‘tax gap’

Only this week, MEPs called on member states to halve the €1 trillion uncollected "tax gap" by 2020. They want governments to agree measures to clamp down on tax havens, close avoidance loopholes and combat aggressive tax planning.

In a series of resolutions, MEPS put forward several proposals, including:

  • That member states should agree a clear EU-wide definition of "tax haven" and draw up a joint blacklist of these jurisdictions.
  • No EU funding or state assistance should go to firms that breach EU tax standards, and any firm bidding for a public procurement contract should be required to disclose details of any tax-related penalties or convictions. Public authorities should also be entitled to terminate the contract if a supplier subsequently breaches tax compliance obligations.
  • Member states should work together to harmonise tax bases, enforce measures to prevent firms from shifting profits to tax havens to avoid paying tax and improve the cross-checking of customs and tax data so as to reduce VAT fraud.

HMRC investigates tax evasion

There have been developments in the UK too - earlier this month, HMRC announced that it was working with the tax administrations of the United States and Australia on data which reveals extensive use of complex offshore structures to conceal assets.

To date HMRC has identified over 100 people who have benefitted from these structures and a number of these are now being investigated for offshore tax evasion. It has also identified more than 200 UK professional advisors who helped to set up these arrangements and who will also be scrutinised.

British Overseas Territories

The Treasury also recently announced that more Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies had agreed to sign up to the Government’s new approach on global tax transparency.

Countries involved in the strategy will provide a greater degree of information about bank accounts held in their jurisdictions.

Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Gibraltar have all committed to pilot a bilateral exchange of information with the UK, and a multi-lateral exchange with France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.

“This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance and sets the global standard in the fight against tax evasion,” the Chancellor, George Osborne, said at the time.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here

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The Biggest Regrets of Home Buyers

The Telegraph (25/05/2013) reports the conclusions of a survey by ‘Which? Money’ focusing upon the regrets of homebuyers.

The biggest issues would appear to be feeling pressurised to pay more for the property, failing to order a full structural survey (invariably to save money in the short term), endowment mortgages (a story in itself), and insufficient research into the area into which they are buying.

This is why it is important to instruct fully qualified solicitors who can advise you about all the possible pitfalls of buying property in London and the South East.

Many purchasers, again in a bid to save money, instruct virtual law firms or conveyancing factories staffed by paralegals, on the basis that they offer cheap rates. They simply cannot provide the quality of advice and specialist experience that mature, specialist solicitors can. We work with leading surveyors and top London estate agents, have an excellent reputation, and provide a personally tailored service for YOU, ensuring that all of the possible regrets expressed by the respondents in the ‘Which? Money’ survey are addressed and any pitfalls avoided.

If you are buying or selling a property and want a first class service contact Richard McConnell, Janak Bakrania, Layna Thompson.

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Companies Wound Up Over Land Banking Fraud

Three companies have been wound up after an Insolvency Service investigation found that they had been involved in frauds involving land banking and carbon credits.

Hildon Property Limited, a company that marketed investment in plots of land at Tottington near Bury, and at West Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, has been ordered into liquidation in the High Court on grounds of public interest.

Also wound up were Raincode Ltd, which owned the land at West Cheshunt, and Hildon Green Energy Markets Limited, which marketed near worthless carbon credits to the public for investment in projects as far away as China and Peru.

According to the Insolvency Service, the three firms are part of six interconnected companies involved in similar frauds.

The others are an earlier company called Boldacre Ltd, Century Property Group Ltd (formerly Century Land) which was wound up on grounds of public interest on 4th April 2012 and Trinity Associates Limited, which was similarly wound up on 10th April 2013.

Fraud is treated very seriously by the authorities. If you are accused of fraud it is important to enlist the help of fraud defence lawyers quickly.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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Latest Instructions for LNL Criminal Department

  1. Jeffrey Lewis has been instructed in a nationwide SOCA money laundering investigation.
  2. Penny Muir and Keith Wood act in a major alleged carbon credit fraud prosecution.
  3. Miles Herman has been instructed to advise and represent a journalist who is subject to an investigation by police.
  4. Siobhain Egan is advising accountants facing a money laundering investigation.
  5. Miles Herman has been instructed to advise and represent an individual on historic sexual abuse allegations.
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