Archive for the ‘news’ Category

New Cigarette and Smoking Laws To Come Into Effect in May

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

The government is planning to ban ten packs of cigarettes completely, in a bid to reduce the number of smokers in the UK. The price of smoking in the UK is set to soar, with the cheapest pack costing £8.82 after the ban is put into place on May 21st due to a new minimum excise duty separately being introduced. In addition to this, menthol cigarettes will gradually be phased out by 2020. This aims to discourage young people from smoking as the mint flavoured cigarettes can encourage children and younger people to smoke.

Why are smaller packs of cigarettes being banned?

The new change in law aims to reduce the number of smokers across the EU by 2.4 million, and with the prices of cigarettes set to rise, the new rules plan to make smokers think twice about spending money on them. Amanda Sandford of health charity action ‘Ash’ (Action on Smoking and Health) told the Hull Daily Mail: “Cigarettes are already expensive and the price increase of cigarettes is a key factor in making people quit smoking. Paying £3 or £4 for a packet of ten cigarettes at the moment might not seem so much to people and this still leaves them with change in their pockets, but when you have to spend £6/£7, even £9, people may think, ‘Do I really need this packet?’”

Why is the packaging changing?

All cigarette and rolling tobacco packaging will have a plain green background with a dominant health warning image on them. The font and brand name will be written in standard font, with the health warning covering 60 per cent of the cigarette pack. When people are faced with harsh health images every time they pick up a pack of cigarettes, they are more likely to stop. This isn’t the first time cigarettes have faced changes to packaging and display. Back in 2008, all cigarette packages were taken off the display counter in shops to try to quell their use.

What will happen to menthol and flavoured cigarettes?

Under new tobacco laws, menthol cigarettes will only be sold in packs of 20 from May 21st as part of a plan to phase out the flavoured cigarettes entirely by 2020. The ban also includes flavoured cigarettes, such as strawberry and vanilla. The intriguing flavours appeal to children and younger smokers, making them think that menthol or flavoured cigarettes are healthier for you.

Want to find out more? Call our expert solicitors on 0207 998 7777 or contact us online so we may arrange a call back. With our vast experience in all areas of law, our bilingual speaking team will work with you to ensure this process runs as smooth as possible.

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Will The Brexit Decision Have An Effect On Lawyer’s Future Work?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Many industries will be affected by the departure, especially the property market. However, the UK’s exit could affect lawyer’s future work. Changes in legislation could potentially remove areas of work for lawyers. However, the exit could potentially create more work lawyers who need to explain the change to clients and businesses, and therefore prove beneficial in some cases.

Most of Britain’s employment law comes from the European directives. When looking at intellectual property law, current UK and European patent law originates from Switzerland. Pan-European patents are currently granted through the EPO (European Patent Office) in Munich. UK-only patents can be obtained through the UKIPO (UK Intellectual Property Office). In addition to this, brexit could lead to a decrease in the volume of competition-related litigation.

Post-Brexit business and the legal industry will largely depend on the nature of our relationship with the EU, should we continue to have a strong relationship.

Can the law stop Brexit?

Lawyers are currently wondering how the UK’s departure from the European Union might be slowed or stopped. This all depends on whether;

  • Article 50 is trigged;
  • Whether there is a second national referendum; and
  • Potentially a Scottish “block”.

The referendum itself is not legally binding in UK Law and this alone does not trigger the departure from the EU. Having a second referendum is politically wrong and controversial. Before the vote, the second referendum had 22 signatures. It has currently been signed by over 4 million people. It called for a change in the referendum rules requiring a second vote if either side achieved less than 60% on a turnout of less than 75%. If the petition could show that a clear majority of the electorate now wanted to remain, maybe we would see a change in the departure from the EU, but as it currently stands, it would take something of a constitutional crisis to turn the results around.

Nicola Sturgeon, current First Minister of Scotland, suggested that the Scottish parliament could block the passage of legislation necessary for the UK to leave the EU. ­Sturgeon stated that if a second independence referendum is held, it would be a re-run of the 2014 referendum. Every local authority in Scotland voted to remain, so we can only imagine how the Scottish general public are feeling with the result. Sturgeon stated that: “This would not be a decision about Scotland leaving anywhere, this would be a decision of Scotland staying and therefore the moral argument about us retaining the current terms that we have would be even stronger than in 2014.”

It seems unlikely that the results will be reversed.  Lawyers can raise valid arguments as to how the referendum could be reversed, but in this instance, politics has the upper edge over the law.

What is Article 50?

Article 50 is a basic five-step plan to leave the European Union should any member chose to do so. The UK’s exit has to be approved and negotiated with the remaining 27 members of the EU. Once the UK has informed the EU that it is withdrawing under Article 50, the article states that: “the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it”. Although we have officially voted to leave the EU, it may still be some time before the UK can declare themselves as independent. The UK has two years to trigger Article 50, and during those two years the UK can participate in EU business as normal. Furthermore, the UK may not participate in any discussions with the EU about its own withdrawal.

Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK may not withdraw its decision to leave unless by way of unanimous consent from all other member states. Until Article 50 is triggered, the UK will continue to be in a state of limbo, economically and politically.

When will Article 50 be triggered?

Due to the UK public voting to leave, they have set the clock ticking on a two-year timetable to departure. David Cameron said that the decision will be up to his successor, who may not be in place until 9 September 2016. European leaders have urged the UK government to initiate Article 50 sooner rather than later to avoid any future turmoil in the relationship between the UK and EU. The UK could potentially jeopardize close trading relationships and opportunities with the EU, should they wish to delay the withdrawal. This would be disastrous for the UK after the economy has suffered heavily following the vote to leave.

Fundamentally, no one knows when Article 50 will be triggered, but we do know that prolonging its decision could cause unnecessary stress to the UK’s economy and their EU relationships in the future.