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Property Law

Tricky Property Laws – When Sales Cover the House, But Not the Shed

December 1, 2018

Foreclosure investing can be a canny way for you to buy property and make a tidy profit when reselling. It is also a great way to buy a home under market value. But keep in mind that although the property and home may be foreclosed, there may be external structures that are not covered by the foreclosure or owned by the lender.

Be Wary of Portable Property

When buying foreclosed property, it makes sense that you should own whatever is on it, but the law disagrees. Anything that can be easily removed from the property or not on a foundation is considered “portable.”

This means that mounted property, like a shed, can be easily removed and reclaimed by previous owners. Trailers also fall under this law. In many cases, the party claiming ownership can just easily come and get the object under question, but greedy lenders or owners may simply move to file a claim instead – and get some of your hard-earned money while you are at it!

Valuables and Personal Property

Previous owners may also leave valuable items that they may lay claim to in the future. Just because you find a classic Harley motorcycle in the garage does not mean it belongs to you. Selling it may get you in trouble in the future.

The best advice to follow is to store the items you find and get in touch with the lender or owner, as well as written notice. In many states you have the right to dispose of the item if the previous owner does not claim it within 30 days.

Tenants and Active Leases

Do your homework! Even foreclosed properties may have a tenant or active lease on them. In many cases, you may have to honor the lease, especially if the tenant has been paying rent. In this case, you may choose not to renew the lease when it expires.

Depending on state law, you can either renew the lease and assume the role of the landlord or provide them with an eviction notice once you assume control of the property. Keep in mind that some states are very friendly toward tenants that prevent eviction (especially since they have no legal obligation to pay the mortgage that holds the property in the first place). Others require longer eviction notices.

Inherited Problems

In the case of abandoned or foreclosed raw land or commercial properties, you need to carefully research what may have gone wrong. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true. This can also be an issue with foreclosed homes or short sale properties.

A commercial property that has gone into foreclosure may have been the victim of a bad location or some other issue that made the property undesirable. The raw land you want may seem like a bargain, but the zoning issues it comes with can give you a big headache later on. Or it may be bordered by nationally protected forests or land that will give you problems later, especially if you want to develop.

Fixer Upper? Money Drainer

Before buying a foreclosed house labeled as a fixer upper, remember to inspect the property first. What may be advertised as a mild fixer upper can rapidly turn into a nightmare property and be a drain on present and future finances.


Criminal Law

Employee Theft Charges Under the Criminal Law

October 22, 2018

It would be a grave violation of trust for employees to steal from their employers. In Vancouver and elsewhere, the criminal law is harsh on such individuals. They might need legal assistance from a qualified criminal lawyer to avoid further complications such as imprisonment or a criminal record, upon conviction. If not, the record would be a blot in any of their future endeavor.

Legal professionals consider stealing from the employees as more severe than other related crimes, such as shoplifting. In Section 334, under “Offences against right of property”, it is clearly mentioned that anybody who commits theft “is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, where the property stolen is a testamentary instrument or the value of what is stolen exceeds $5,000”.

Similarly, Section 380, under “Fraudulent transactions relating to contracts and trade”, it is mentioned that an individual “is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 14 years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds $5,000”.

The above notes are only cursory statements related to theft and fraud. In Vancouver, the criminal law might render the guilty individuals unemployed for the rest of their lives. There are also separate sections that directly deal with cases related to theft in different business environments, such as retail stores and corporate houses. It is recommended that those individuals should seek the help of a criminal lawyer in Vancouver to understand the finer details. A mistake or ignorance might prove disastrous, affecting their lives for a lifetime.

A crime is no less serious with the representation of a lawyer. Still, there are ways to cash in on the evidences, which are relevant when the court makes the final decision. For instance, those seemingly little details like the position of the guilty employees in a company, their past criminal record and background can influence the decision.

Sometimes it might take time to charge an individual, yet that could aggravate the condition. If it has taken more than six months, the law requires the crown to prosecute through a more serious indictment rather than summary conviction. Another major role of the criminal lawyers lies in negotiation.

The lawyers can talk terms for an out-of-court settlement. If not, they can further negotiate to avoid imprisonment, remove the criminal record and allow more privileges. It is almost impossible to go to the court unrepresented for such a serious crime such as stealing from an employee.


Gay Lesbian Rights

Gay Rights and Legal Obstacles 8

October 4, 2018

To some extent the legal obstacles were already covered in all the previous articles I wrote about gay rights and obstacles. The legal obstacles are the same as the issues concerning same-sex marriage-acts, financial benefits for married couples, no discrimination laws, etc. Although there are many discriminate laws against LGBT people around the globe, there are also a positive movement to grant more protection for the gay community. One of these positive movements is the proposed International Human Rights Defence Act that was introduced by Senator Ed Markey and is being debated at this very moment. This act asks for a high-level post at the US Department of State to address violence and discrimination against LGBT members worldwide.

That is but the newest example of a movement trying to destroy the many obstacles in the lives of gay people. Throughout the world countries are debating whether same-sex marriages should be legalised and in many countries it seems as if it is only a question of time before it is legalised.

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. More than 40 % of the member countries of the UN still propagate homophobia and have discriminating laws against the LGBT community. There is still an increase in violent behavior against gay people across the globe. In 2013 both Uganda and Nigeria adopted more discriminating laws against lgbt persons and anybody that support them. Although the US proposed to cut funding to countries with anti-homosexual laws, the US itself still have a long way to go in convincing its own residents of the wrongful nature of homophobia. As an example, most of the US states still doesn’t allow same-sex marriages.

The legal rights of the LGBT community differs considerably from country to country, but while only 14 UN countries allow same-sex marriages it should be clear that there still lies a long walk to freedom before us. As a citizen of South Africa I realise that many people believe we are on the forefront of legal rights and yet the law and people attitudes doesn’t always meet. Many South African politicians, including the current president of South Africa, made public homophobic statements in the past that shows that our race is far from over.

Homophobia isn’t only condoned by most governments in the world, it is written amongst their laws. Even in the 14 gay-free countries laws against discrimination aren’t always followed by the law enforces. As an example there are still many homophobic actions done by law enforcement in South Africa. Complaints about these actions aren’t always taken seriously. It is senseless to have anti-discrimination laws if they aren’t enforced.

It should therefor be clear that there are still a lot of legal obstacles in the lives of gay people in every country worldwide.


Civil Law

Custody Laws and Family Court

October 3, 2018

Child custody laws in our system are coded under the laws governing family relationships.  This area of the civil law is known as Family Law.  Child custody statutes are usually found under the laws specifically related to the Divorce procedure.  However, child custody laws are also applicable to separation cases where the dissolution of the marriage is not the final objective.

Like most civil laws, child custody laws are to be considered within their relationship to other laws.  The capacity of a child to make decisions related to his or her care is directly associated with their capacity or lack thereof, to make decisions regarding marriage, suing or entering in a contractual relationship.

The reasoning behind this is that to enter in a contract agreement the person must be fully aware of the kind of responsibilities and duties he or she is engaging in.  Therefore, for a contract to be valid and binding, the parties must have the maturity and the awareness to fully understand the consequences of what they are signing.  This is known as the person’s legal capacity.  The requirement of legal capacity is also applicable to making decisions regarding getting married or filing a law suit.  The capacity to fully understand is the fundamental factor when examining a person’s ability to agree.  It is assumed that a person cannot agree upon anything she or he does not fully understand.  This is called: consent.  Consent is a fundamental element in any bilateral relationship.  We must consent when getting married and we must consent when signing an application or a contract.

In regards to the custody of a child, it is assumed that a minor lacks the capacity to fully understand, thus consent, to accept – in an intelligent fashion – what it takes when assuming the responsibility of taking care of his or herself.  That is where the court comes in.  The judge will be making the decision that a minor cannot make: which parent is better called to be named the primary custodian of the minor.  Which parent is best qualified to protect and secure the child’s best interests.  This is what a child custody case is all about, to provide for the child’s support and education, to secure the child the best possible future regardless of his or her parents decision to separate or get divorce.


International Law

International Law Degree Benefits

September 16, 2018

There has been quite some issue regarding the type of legal degree that one can get. If you are thinking of a legal career, you have an option of the normal degree or the international law degree.

There are differences between these types of degrees. The first difference would be that a normal degree will enable you to get a job as a lawyer inside your locality.

For example, if you have studied law in the United States of America, chances are high that you will get a job in the U.S only.

On the other hand if you have the international law degree, you will most likely be able to get a job anywhere in the world.

This type of degree is the one that shows you how different laws work both in your country of residence and also in other countries.

It can be studied in any country due to the rise of demand for such a certification.

With the current rise in political crimes, there has been the formation of an International Criminal Court (ICC) which is used to prosecute perpetrators of crimes in different countries.

This court has been known to also prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity. In such a court, you will find that most lawyers who defend or prosecute people will have the certification of an international law degree.

Apart from the fact that there is a wider range of opportunities for international degree holders, there is also the benefit of a higher remuneration package as compared to those who have normal degrees.

An international certification in any degree or diploma program will give you a higher chance of getting a better remuneration when compared to having a normal certification of the same program.

This is why people with the normal local certification are seen studying for the international certification.

Job opportunities and increased remuneration are the main benefits of having an international certification in law.

Another benefit would be the possibility of having a wider experience. Having this certification would tend to let you experience different cases around the world.

As a result, you can have a wider experience in certain cases. This experience can in turn lead to a better performance in your field.

A better performance means that you will have a great career in a very short time. These benefits are the reason behind the buzz in international legal degree programs.


Property Law

Property Law in Thailand

September 13, 2018

Thailand is becoming an ever more popular retirement and choice of country to live with its low costs and beautiful scenery not forgetting of course the world famous friendliness of the Thais themselves. But finding out about the laws governing property ownership here can be confusing. Here are the bare bones of Thai property Law

o A foreigner can own a condominiums long as less than 40% of the condos or apartments in the building are owned by foreigners. Many people believe it to be 49% although this regulation was an addition to the existing law and was only meant to be in place for one year and has since expired.

o A company can own property such as land and a house (and hence the foreigner can buy land and a house via their Thai registered company) as long as no one foreigner owns more that 39% of the company (recently amended from 33%) and total foreign ownership of the company does not exceed 49%.Still ambiguous and under review.

o The Thai wife of a foreigner can own property (a recently changed legal status due to gender equality in the new 1997 constitution revision), in her name only. This is fine as long as you don’t have marital problems. (The same, of course, goes for a Thai husband, but the law was changed recently for Thai wives due to the new constitution guaranteeing equal rights.)

o A foreigner can lease land for 30 years, with an option for another 30 years, the first 30 years are guaranteed they are registered with the Land Department, however the second can be contested.

o If you gain BOI approval you may as a company is able to buy up to one rai of land. Although this is meant for very large investors.

At the end of the day if you are seriously looking to invest in Thailand you should consult a good lawyer who will be familiar with the latest property laws.


Criminal Law

Criminal Law and Drug Crimes

August 9, 2018

Have you or a loved one been arrested for a drug crime? If so, you must know this is a very serious offense. It’s not something you will be able to handle yourself. You will need to hire a good criminal law attorney who knows the laws when a drug crime has been committed.

One of the reasons why the law prosecutes drug criminals so heavily is because violence often accompanies the crime. Drug addiction is an evil which changes the lives and personalities of people. They do things they would not ordinarily do.

Because of all this, many states have waged war – on drugs and offenders. The destruction trail which drugs forge is well-documented. Attorneys who specialize in criminal law know, more than anyone, what drug addiction can do to a life and a family. They work tirelessly to help the drug addict avoid great loses such as his freedom, his family or his life.

If you’re convicted of a drug crime, you may face a lengthy prison term, heavy fines, probation and service in the community. You must also enroll in a drug treatment course.

A good attorney may also obtain a plea bargain for the person arrested for the drug crime. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant. The defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge. This is common and is often used to avoid an excessively long and expensive trial period.

If you’re using drugs, you must be aware of these other consequences:

– You may have a lifelong criminal record.

– Your career opportunities will be diminished or may even be eliminated.

– You may not be able to obtain employment ever again.

– Certain licenses will be unobtainable such as driving certain vehicles or owning a firearm.

– You may not be able to get a travel visa.

– Socially, you may be discriminated against in your neighborhood or with friends and even family.

– After your time of sentencing is up, if you ever get arrested again, you’ll be dubbed a repeat offender and your penalties will be stiffer.

A word of advice if you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime – don’t make another move until you’ve contacted an attorney.

It’s been estimated that almost 70% of people already in prison in America are there due to drug-related crimes. Whether your crime is related to marijuana, distributing drugs, selling to minors or possessing any narcotic, a criminal law attorney is who you will need to defend your case. Even if you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you still have rights according to the Constitution. You need to have those rights protected.

Drug crime convictions can be frightening and very serious. But, with the right criminal law attorney by your side, it can be less scary and hopefully have a positive outcome.


Gay Lesbian Rights

Legal Issues of Gay and Lesbian Pregnancy

July 14, 2018

When Sharon Bottoms lost custody of her two-year-old son in 1993, she was appalled by the decision of the court system. Sharon’s sexual orientation was the sole reason the court pulled the young child from his home and placed him in the legal custody of his maternal grandmother. Many changes in the legal rights of gay men and lesbians have occurred since that fateful day in 1993, but there remain many of legal obstacles for gay men and lesbians who want to become parents. Most of the legal issues surround the adoption or foster care system, but pregnancy can still be a legally demanding choice.

Getting the Facts Straight

Legal officials and court system once lived by the idea that gay men and lesbian parents would raise children who were gay, molest their children or provide home environments that were detrimental to the successful development of a child. Most court systems have retired these stereotypical ideas thanks to research and clinical studies proving the beliefs improbable or impossible.

Today, gay men and lesbians have the option of surrogacy or pregnancy. For gay men, adoption is the only viable option and comes with legal issues such as dual adoption and legal adoption after surrogacy. In the past legal authorities allowed only one gay male parent to adopt a child. The partner held no legal rights to the child and did not qualify as a legal guardian. This legal obstacle is about more than sexual orientation. When an adoption is legally approved, the first parent loses legal rights to the child. In the case of a gay or lesbian relationship, giving one partner legal rights would then take legal rights away from the second partner. Stepparent adoption laws have existed for quite some time but only covered heterosexual parents until the second parent law was passed.

In some states, gay and lesbian couples have the right to adopt a child together. Both parents are protected and legal rights are assumed as a couple. Due to legal marriage issues in many states, if a partnership is broken, both parents keep legal guardianship.

Lesbians have the option of adopting or giving birth personally. Second parent laws cover lesbian couples who wish to share custody of the biological child. Not every state has adopted the second parent law and thus gay and lesbian couples may have to relocate to a state supporting second parent laws to dually adopt a child.

Information on Fertility and Pregnancy you can Trust.


Gay Lesbian Rights

Hospital Rules and the Rights of Gay and Lesbian Parents

July 14, 2018

Before April 15, 2010 – gay and lesbian couples were given no legal rights in a hospital setting. If a partner was hospitalized for pregnancy related complications, surrogate health issues or any medical problem, partners were only allowed to visit the patient if the hospital was willing to bend the rules and this only occurred on an individual basis. No legal rights were given to gay and lesbian couples in regards to hospitalization, medical care or medical decisions. On April 15, 2010 – President Barack Obama addressed this issue by releasing a statement regarding the status of same sex couples and hospital care. The statement changed the face of the medical community.

Gay and Lesbian Couples Now Have a Say in Visitation

According to the statement published on the White House website, hospitals receiving funding through the Medicaid and Medicare systems were to allow gay and lesbian patients the right to designate who could visit and make medical decisions on their behalf. The decision, while greatly affecting the gay and lesbian community was about more than the rights of people with specific sexual orientations.

In year’s part, widows or widowers could spend their final days in the hospital without the comfort or support of a friend when family members were not around or no longer living. Hospital rights were only extended to immediate family members and while some hospitals or floor nurses chose to bend the rules, these cases were not regulated giving all patients the same legal rights.

The declaration by President Obama does not cover private hospitals and thus gay and lesbian patients in private hospitals may not have the right to designate visitors. There are legally binding “Patient Bills of Right” adopted on state level, however that may impact the rights of all patients, even those in private hospitals. North Carolina, Delaware, Nebraska and Minnesota have all revised the Patient Bill of Rights to reflect the declaration made by President Obama.

Legal issues still exist for gay and lesbian couples. There remain battles to be fought on the path of equality. Giving a patient, whether a gay man or lesbian, the right to make their own personal visitation and health care choices bleeds into other aspects of legality and compassion. While some battles are won, others are being fought in courts across the United States and the world. Gay and lesbian couples do not have all the legal rights of heterosexual couples as of late, and should always review Patient Rights statements before voluntarily going into the hospital.


Property Law

Intellectual Property Law – Patent Law – Invalidity for Obviousness

July 9, 2018

The case of Conor Medsystems Inc v Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc and Another [2007], concerned a patent for a medical device used in operations. The defendants owned a European patent for a device called a ‘stent’ used in coronary angioplasty. The ‘stent’ is inserted into a diseased artery during the procedure to keep the artery open. The claims in the patent concerned a ‘stent’ coated with a polymer loaded with the drug taxol. This drug inhibited the development of tissue which might result in the artery closing.

The defendants licensed the patent of this device to BS, a manufacturer of ‘stents’. The claimant, who is a competitor of BS, sought to have the patent revoked on the grounds that the invention was obvious in the light of prior art. The judge held that it was obvious to have tested taxol, and therefore the patent was invalid for obviousness. The defendant appealed.

The defendant’s appeal was dismissed.

The question to be considered was whether the invention was obvious. In order to make this assessment, a number of factors had to be considered:

§ The attributes and common general knowledge of the skilled man;

§ The difference between the claim and the prior art; and

§ Whether there was a motive provided or hinted by the prior art.

It was also held that:-

§ Sometimes the commercial success of an invention could demonstrate that the idea was particularly good, whereas in other situations the fact that the idea may have been ‘obvious to try’ could come into an assessment. The most important factor however was the nature of the invention.

§ The judge’s decision should stand.

§ This was because the patent had not in any way demonstrated that taxol actually worked to prevent a diseased artery from closing, even though it had been tested. The judge was therefore right to deem the patent invalid for obviousness.