Obtaining possession for assured tenants- mandatory grounds for possession

At the moment if a landlord under an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) wants to use certain mandatory grounds (i.e. grounds when the Court must order possession) a Court order has to be obtained involving a personal appearance at Court. On the other hand where Section 21 procedure is used there is a paper procedure available. There used to be a paper procedure available in equivalent Rent Act cases e.g. when an owner/occupier wants to regain possession. The Residential Landlords Association believes this paper procedure should be introduced for these cases including Ground 8 based on rent arrears (exceeding 2 months). This would avoid the need for Hearings unless the claim was contested. As with the current Section 21 procedure should the tenant file a meaningful Defence to the case then it would have to be listed for hearing and considered by the Judge. If not contested the possession order could be made by the Judge “on paper” without a Hearing. This would save time and costs. This is particularly so as County Courts face cutbacks both in number and staff. Landlords at the moment have no option but to follow these procedures.

Why is this idea important?

At the moment if a landlord under an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) wants to use certain mandatory grounds (i.e. grounds when the Court must order possession) a Court order has to be obtained involving a personal appearance at Court. On the other hand where Section 21 procedure is used there is a paper procedure available. There used to be a paper procedure available in equivalent Rent Act cases e.g. when an owner/occupier wants to regain possession. The Residential Landlords Association believes this paper procedure should be introduced for these cases including Ground 8 based on rent arrears (exceeding 2 months). This would avoid the need for Hearings unless the claim was contested. As with the current Section 21 procedure should the tenant file a meaningful Defence to the case then it would have to be listed for hearing and considered by the Judge. If not contested the possession order could be made by the Judge “on paper” without a Hearing. This would save time and costs. This is particularly so as County Courts face cutbacks both in number and staff. Landlords at the moment have no option but to follow these procedures.

Abolish Control Orders

Control Orders go against everything that we once understood as 'British justice' and thus endanger putting Britain amongst those countries with the worst records on human rights. Is this how the government wants Britain to be viewed?

Why is this idea important?

Control Orders go against everything that we once understood as 'British justice' and thus endanger putting Britain amongst those countries with the worst records on human rights. Is this how the government wants Britain to be viewed?

Les Iversen, of the ACMD on Cannabis:

Professor Nutt was sacked as we know unfairly despite his vindication as cited here: http://www.drugequality.org/ico_press_release.htm

Les Iversen that took the place of Professor Nutt.  The current leader of the ACMD has spoken out on cannabis in the past.  This is what he has to say:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-4690997-why-cannabis-doesnt-kill.do

When I read last week that as many as 30,000 deaths a year in Britain could be caused by smoking cannabis, I reacted in a most uncustomary way for a mild-mannered scientist. I was infuriated. As someone acknowledged throughout the world as a specialist in how drugs affect the brain, I know a great deal about cannabis, and I know that the facts are not there to stand up such an outrageous statement.

The main problem is that cannabis has been classified incorrectly for nearly 50 years as being an extremely dangerous drug, but it doesn't fit that level of hazard. I'm not saying it's completely safe – no drug is completely safe, but as recreational drugs go, it's one of the safer ones. You can't overdose on cannabis, but you can certainly overdose on heroin, and even on alcohol.
It is headline-grabbing rubbish to suggest that cannabis could be responsible for so many deaths in future. To be sure, it makes a great story, but when you look at the arithmetic, it doesn't add up.
The original British Medical Journal article suggested that the chemicals which are given off when cannabis is smoked could mean that users would succumb to the same diseases that affect tobacco smokers. But in my view, it overlooks several significant facts.
Cannabis smoke does contain many of the same poisonous chemicals that you find in cigarette smoke, and cannabis smokers draw more tar into their lungs than cigarette smokers because they tend to inhale more deeply, and then hold their breath.
But to end up with as much tar in their lungs as a 20-a-day cigarette smoker, a cannabis user would have to smoke four or five joints a day, every day of the week.
But most of the million or so in this country who smoke cannabis do so at the weekend (I believe the article's figure of 3.2 million users is again wide of the mark) and the great majority quit when they reach their thirties. If the risks of smoking cannabis equate to those of tobacco, those who quit before they are 35 only have a slightly increased risk of lung cancer, just one or two per cent.
Yes, cannabis smoke has some harmful effects. It irritates the lungs just as much as tobacco, and there is some evidence that it causes a nasty cough, which can lead to bronchitis, but to say that this leads to lung cancer is a huge leap in the dark.
You can't extrapolate like that because the hard evidence does not exist. Of course, you could say that 50 years ago we didn't know that cigarette smoke was so harmful, but to put a number on the risk of cannabis at this stage, with random figures, is scaremongering. The report suggested that tetrahydrocannabinol – the nicotine equivalent in cannabis – can increase by more than four times the chances of a heart attack within an hour of taking it, and also mentioned that most cannabis sold on the UK black market is now 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago.
These things may be true, but it is also a fact that in Britain, no drug-related deaths due to cannabis have been reported for many years. So you simply cannot conclude that smoking cannabis is likely to give you a heart attack.
Another scaremongering tactic from the anti-cannabis brigade is that regular use means a higher risk of mental illness, such as schizophrenia and depression. Certainly, studies have been published which show an "association", but that doesn't prove cause and effect.
It doesn't mean that one thing automatically leads to the other. That is not the way scientists should conduct experiments, nor draw conclusions in print.
I am not approving the fact that so many young people smoke cannabis, but we must learn to be more grown-up about the way we debate the subject. We have to look at the facts in a more dispassionate way.
And, at least in the sense that the issue can now be debated openly, that has begun to happen. No one would discuss cannabis, even relatively recently. When I advised the House of Lords committee five years ago that cannabis was not as damaging as, for instance, regular smoking or drinking, no one wanted to know about our findings. Now, things have changed. A number of serious studies have been done, which is moving the debate in the right direction.
It is never possible for a scientist to say that anything is totally safe. But, at the end of the day, scaremongering does science – and the public – a great disservice. Cannabis is simply not as dangerous as it is being made out to be.
• Professor Les Iversen of the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University is the author of The Science of Marijuana, published by Oxford University Press.

Why is this idea important?

Professor Nutt was sacked as we know unfairly despite his vindication as cited here: http://www.drugequality.org/ico_press_release.htm

Les Iversen that took the place of Professor Nutt.  The current leader of the ACMD has spoken out on cannabis in the past.  This is what he has to say:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-4690997-why-cannabis-doesnt-kill.do

When I read last week that as many as 30,000 deaths a year in Britain could be caused by smoking cannabis, I reacted in a most uncustomary way for a mild-mannered scientist. I was infuriated. As someone acknowledged throughout the world as a specialist in how drugs affect the brain, I know a great deal about cannabis, and I know that the facts are not there to stand up such an outrageous statement.

The main problem is that cannabis has been classified incorrectly for nearly 50 years as being an extremely dangerous drug, but it doesn't fit that level of hazard. I'm not saying it's completely safe – no drug is completely safe, but as recreational drugs go, it's one of the safer ones. You can't overdose on cannabis, but you can certainly overdose on heroin, and even on alcohol.
It is headline-grabbing rubbish to suggest that cannabis could be responsible for so many deaths in future. To be sure, it makes a great story, but when you look at the arithmetic, it doesn't add up.
The original British Medical Journal article suggested that the chemicals which are given off when cannabis is smoked could mean that users would succumb to the same diseases that affect tobacco smokers. But in my view, it overlooks several significant facts.
Cannabis smoke does contain many of the same poisonous chemicals that you find in cigarette smoke, and cannabis smokers draw more tar into their lungs than cigarette smokers because they tend to inhale more deeply, and then hold their breath.
But to end up with as much tar in their lungs as a 20-a-day cigarette smoker, a cannabis user would have to smoke four or five joints a day, every day of the week.
But most of the million or so in this country who smoke cannabis do so at the weekend (I believe the article's figure of 3.2 million users is again wide of the mark) and the great majority quit when they reach their thirties. If the risks of smoking cannabis equate to those of tobacco, those who quit before they are 35 only have a slightly increased risk of lung cancer, just one or two per cent.
Yes, cannabis smoke has some harmful effects. It irritates the lungs just as much as tobacco, and there is some evidence that it causes a nasty cough, which can lead to bronchitis, but to say that this leads to lung cancer is a huge leap in the dark.
You can't extrapolate like that because the hard evidence does not exist. Of course, you could say that 50 years ago we didn't know that cigarette smoke was so harmful, but to put a number on the risk of cannabis at this stage, with random figures, is scaremongering. The report suggested that tetrahydrocannabinol – the nicotine equivalent in cannabis – can increase by more than four times the chances of a heart attack within an hour of taking it, and also mentioned that most cannabis sold on the UK black market is now 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago.
These things may be true, but it is also a fact that in Britain, no drug-related deaths due to cannabis have been reported for many years. So you simply cannot conclude that smoking cannabis is likely to give you a heart attack.
Another scaremongering tactic from the anti-cannabis brigade is that regular use means a higher risk of mental illness, such as schizophrenia and depression. Certainly, studies have been published which show an "association", but that doesn't prove cause and effect.
It doesn't mean that one thing automatically leads to the other. That is not the way scientists should conduct experiments, nor draw conclusions in print.
I am not approving the fact that so many young people smoke cannabis, but we must learn to be more grown-up about the way we debate the subject. We have to look at the facts in a more dispassionate way.
And, at least in the sense that the issue can now be debated openly, that has begun to happen. No one would discuss cannabis, even relatively recently. When I advised the House of Lords committee five years ago that cannabis was not as damaging as, for instance, regular smoking or drinking, no one wanted to know about our findings. Now, things have changed. A number of serious studies have been done, which is moving the debate in the right direction.
It is never possible for a scientist to say that anything is totally safe. But, at the end of the day, scaremongering does science – and the public – a great disservice. Cannabis is simply not as dangerous as it is being made out to be.
• Professor Les Iversen of the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University is the author of The Science of Marijuana, published by Oxford University Press.

repeal cto’s review mha 2007 consider civil/human rights/freedoms

section 17 of the mental health act already exists – it cannot compel patients within the commuity to take medication against their will, however cto's can,  controlling civil freedom, choice, autonomy too often information is not forthcoming, transparent or easily understood.   – it could be argued cto' s are coersive and could present as an increased risk to patients and professionals if used routinely

Why is this idea important?

section 17 of the mental health act already exists – it cannot compel patients within the commuity to take medication against their will, however cto's can,  controlling civil freedom, choice, autonomy too often information is not forthcoming, transparent or easily understood.   – it could be argued cto' s are coersive and could present as an increased risk to patients and professionals if used routinely

INIQUITOUS ‘SORN’ LAW MUST BE REPEALED

No law that is flawed should be on the statute books.

It makes criminals of honest, law abiding people.

Take the scenario that is common since we joined the EU.

A worker sent to work in one of the companies offices in Paris for 6-12 months.

That worker returns to his home here in the UK, to find several pieces of mail in his letterbox.

ONE – a fine of eighty pounds from DVLA for not re-taxing his car in time.

TWO – a summons from the local magistrates court for not paying the eighty pound fine on time.

THREE – a note from the local police station asking him to call in at his convenience, because he has got an arrest warrant for not turning up in court when he was summoned!

Thanks to the 'SORN' law!

What village idiot thought this one up?

Charles I lost his head for less!

This abominable law must be repealed – now!

Why is this idea important?

No law that is flawed should be on the statute books.

It makes criminals of honest, law abiding people.

Take the scenario that is common since we joined the EU.

A worker sent to work in one of the companies offices in Paris for 6-12 months.

That worker returns to his home here in the UK, to find several pieces of mail in his letterbox.

ONE – a fine of eighty pounds from DVLA for not re-taxing his car in time.

TWO – a summons from the local magistrates court for not paying the eighty pound fine on time.

THREE – a note from the local police station asking him to call in at his convenience, because he has got an arrest warrant for not turning up in court when he was summoned!

Thanks to the 'SORN' law!

What village idiot thought this one up?

Charles I lost his head for less!

This abominable law must be repealed – now!

s.145-146 SOCPA

S.145 & S.146 SOCPA makes it an offence to interfere with a contractual relationship of an animal research organisation.

These are the core reasons I propose these sections be scrapped and for animal research organisations to remain protected under existing laws:

1. The law singles out one class of victim as deserving special protection over another. It singles out a class of protester as deserving particular penalties over others and wrongly politicizes the criminal justice system.

EG: If a person trespasses on company X due to it's links to animal research they can be sent to prison for up to five years. If hours later another person trespasses at the same company for it's links to climate change they would not go to prison or have broken this law.

2. Part of this law makes it an offence to committ actions which are already unlawful.

EG: A person committing a serious act of criminal damage can be charged with s.145 SOCPA and face up to five years in prison, instead of up to ten years if prosecuted for criminal damage. However for a less serious crime such as a public order offence a person can face prison instead of facing a financial penalty.

3. This law turns civil and tortious acts in to criminal offences.

EG: Torts are normally civil wrongs and what is and is not a tort is much less clearly defined than what is a crime – it is not easy to assess whether a statement is defamatory or not. This means that it will be much harder for members of the public protesting to gauge in advance what conduct will or will not be a criminal offence.

4. This law allows the Secretary of State to extend the class of protected organisations, and so create new criminal offences, without any Parliamentary debate.

EG: This law at a moments notice could be extended to cover environmental, anti war, anti poverty, anti GM, human rights campaigners and there would be nothing anyone could do to challenge it or open up a debate on the issue. 

Why is this idea important?

S.145 & S.146 SOCPA makes it an offence to interfere with a contractual relationship of an animal research organisation.

These are the core reasons I propose these sections be scrapped and for animal research organisations to remain protected under existing laws:

1. The law singles out one class of victim as deserving special protection over another. It singles out a class of protester as deserving particular penalties over others and wrongly politicizes the criminal justice system.

EG: If a person trespasses on company X due to it's links to animal research they can be sent to prison for up to five years. If hours later another person trespasses at the same company for it's links to climate change they would not go to prison or have broken this law.

2. Part of this law makes it an offence to committ actions which are already unlawful.

EG: A person committing a serious act of criminal damage can be charged with s.145 SOCPA and face up to five years in prison, instead of up to ten years if prosecuted for criminal damage. However for a less serious crime such as a public order offence a person can face prison instead of facing a financial penalty.

3. This law turns civil and tortious acts in to criminal offences.

EG: Torts are normally civil wrongs and what is and is not a tort is much less clearly defined than what is a crime – it is not easy to assess whether a statement is defamatory or not. This means that it will be much harder for members of the public protesting to gauge in advance what conduct will or will not be a criminal offence.

4. This law allows the Secretary of State to extend the class of protected organisations, and so create new criminal offences, without any Parliamentary debate.

EG: This law at a moments notice could be extended to cover environmental, anti war, anti poverty, anti GM, human rights campaigners and there would be nothing anyone could do to challenge it or open up a debate on the issue. 

Abolish the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)

The Criminal Records Bureau is a wasteful and inefficient quango, unable to perform the impossible task it was given.  The CRB check fails to deliver its aim of safeguarding children and vulnerable people as it:

a) It is slow, costly and inefficient – CRB checks take an interminable time to process, months on end, in which time the organisation requesting the check has either employed the person anyway, or has left them sitting on their hands at home doing no work.  This prevents people who would be perfectly suited to working with children working with them.

b) It creates a false sense of security – a CRB is no security against someone being a paedophile or sexual predator; it only shows that they have not been one in the past.  As such it engenders a sense of false security, whereby dangerous people are not scrutinised as they have the right piece of paper.  The tragic events in Soham in 2003 demonstrate this.

c) Poisons society – by requiring the intervention of the police and the state to ensure that every interaction with children is 'safe' (or not, see 'b'), the CRB creates dangerous mistrust between parents, adults and children.  The assumption is one of criminality without the correct vetting by the state.

A simple, common-sense approach to child protection, based on both responsible and clear headed thought by those appointing people to work with children and vulnerable people – while also allowing them to personally check on their employment history and other details (as you would for any other job) by directly contacting the relevant police authorities if necessary – would improve child safety more than a CRB check, conducted by faceless and unaccountable officials.

I therefore propose that the requirement for CRB checks be removed, and that the CRB be abolished.

The above also applies to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the 'mini' CRB – another quango looking to check those who might have contact with children – i.e. everyone!

David Wickes

Why is this idea important?

The Criminal Records Bureau is a wasteful and inefficient quango, unable to perform the impossible task it was given.  The CRB check fails to deliver its aim of safeguarding children and vulnerable people as it:

a) It is slow, costly and inefficient – CRB checks take an interminable time to process, months on end, in which time the organisation requesting the check has either employed the person anyway, or has left them sitting on their hands at home doing no work.  This prevents people who would be perfectly suited to working with children working with them.

b) It creates a false sense of security – a CRB is no security against someone being a paedophile or sexual predator; it only shows that they have not been one in the past.  As such it engenders a sense of false security, whereby dangerous people are not scrutinised as they have the right piece of paper.  The tragic events in Soham in 2003 demonstrate this.

c) Poisons society – by requiring the intervention of the police and the state to ensure that every interaction with children is 'safe' (or not, see 'b'), the CRB creates dangerous mistrust between parents, adults and children.  The assumption is one of criminality without the correct vetting by the state.

A simple, common-sense approach to child protection, based on both responsible and clear headed thought by those appointing people to work with children and vulnerable people – while also allowing them to personally check on their employment history and other details (as you would for any other job) by directly contacting the relevant police authorities if necessary – would improve child safety more than a CRB check, conducted by faceless and unaccountable officials.

I therefore propose that the requirement for CRB checks be removed, and that the CRB be abolished.

The above also applies to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the 'mini' CRB – another quango looking to check those who might have contact with children – i.e. everyone!

David Wickes

Cautions on CRBs

I thougth that CRB checks were to protect children from paedophiles. I know someone who had a caution for having a small amount of cannabis at a music festival as a 18 year old. This was a mistake, and he has learnt a hard lesson as he has been penalised for this in the jobs market even though he has gone onto get a Degree and does not have a drugs problem at all. Is it necessary for this and other minor cautions to go on record? The police should be able to use their discretion a bit more and give one off offences a 'ticking off' without it blighting their lives and ruining their chances. The majority of youths make a mistake and learn form it, they should not be criminalised.

Why is this idea important?

I thougth that CRB checks were to protect children from paedophiles. I know someone who had a caution for having a small amount of cannabis at a music festival as a 18 year old. This was a mistake, and he has learnt a hard lesson as he has been penalised for this in the jobs market even though he has gone onto get a Degree and does not have a drugs problem at all. Is it necessary for this and other minor cautions to go on record? The police should be able to use their discretion a bit more and give one off offences a 'ticking off' without it blighting their lives and ruining their chances. The majority of youths make a mistake and learn form it, they should not be criminalised.

Digital Economy Act

The Digital Economy Act was pushed through the parliament in the washup by the previous administration. It was a bill that was lobbied for extensively, by money-concerned corporations, with little to none of the ISPs having to enforce the Act being consulted.

It should be repealed unconditionally.

Why is this idea important?

The Digital Economy Act was pushed through the parliament in the washup by the previous administration. It was a bill that was lobbied for extensively, by money-concerned corporations, with little to none of the ISPs having to enforce the Act being consulted.

It should be repealed unconditionally.