Conservative vs. Liberal Many people do not really understand the difference between a conservative and a liberal. How do you really know which side of the spectrum you fall on? In this article, we are going to explain some of the differences, so that as political figures are discussing conservative and liberal ideals you know exactly what is going on. The first side of the issue is the conservative side. The conservatives tends to want to preserve things they way they are, for example they dislike change, and do not want things to change in the way the country is run, how people come into power, and how civil rights are handed out. Conservatives appreciate in real terms the importance of building and maintaining the economy to the benefit of society as a whole. Many conservatives are also considered to appreciate having an exclusive inner circle that controls the entire country, although in mainstream politics this is rarely a salient feature. Many conservatives also live by the ideals that institutions that have been successful rather than dwelling on mistakes. This has the effect of working towards improvement in efficiency, which is another key factor of Conservative thought. Many conservatives do not think technology is our friend; they feel that technology should not be a part of government standards and ideas based on the inefficiency it brings. Many conservatives are also very cautious people, which is reflected in the opinions and decisions of their politics. Liberals on the other hand are very much different. Most liberals are very open to change, almost to a fault; they do not mind the ideas of change as long as it is for a perceived good cause, even where there is no practical utilitarian upshot. Liberals tend to be willing to take more risks than most conservatives are in the whimsical pursuit of change. Most liberals are also very tolerant of behavior different from their own, as well as they are willing to open their minds to new ideas and concepts easier than the conservative counterparts. Liberals also like to push for change without necessarily having a justification for their actions. Liberals tend to be very progressively thinking people, whom are quite open to the new ideas of technology in terms of normal daily life, as well as in the role of assisting the government in managing the country to the best of our ability. However, their emphasis on extreme individual freedom means a more distant form of governance that leaves society to regulate itself without much intervention. This has led to numerous political and social problems for liberal governments across the world. While there are some major differences in the two sides, there are also many people who fall somewhere in the middle. Many people are able to pull their comfort zone from taking pieces of each side. While some people are hesitant of change, they are able to accept change in order to make things better for everyone. For example, women's rights were the result of change. Many conservatives were against the ideals of women being allowed to vote. On the flip side, some liberals are in favor of the legalization of drugs, and are wholeheartedly against government regulation in the way we live our lives. While there are many differences in the ideals of the two groups, there is also a bond that forges from each side being determined to make life the best possible for the people in the areas with which they are concerned. Neither side sets out to hurt the other side, nor the people they are responsible for helping. There are times when the goals of both sides do come together nicely and result in wonderful progress for our cities, nation, and country as a whole. Looking to the future, we can expect both sides to continue to change and progress as things change and the future becomes reality. National Budget When the Senators, Congress people, and President all gather around to start discussing issues of the budget, many people get worried. One of the biggest worries is that taxes will rise, and there will still be a deficit. This worry is fueled each year, because as the inflation rate rises, the money must come from somewhere to fund everything that is necessary for the government to function. Some are questioning how rational some of the spending is however. Many departments could use a serious slim down, while other departments desperately need more money. While the defense of the nation is very important, many question why schools and education are not given a larger portion of the budget so that proper job training can be administered. This would enable students to graduate with a better understanding of the career world into more graduate-centric employment opportunities, such as those within the services sector. Funding the budget is obviously never easy, but with taxes getting higher each year, there is nothing being done to increase the minimum wage at the national level. Many citizens are left to stress over how they can possibly continue to pay their tax bill each year, still have enough money to live, and be able to take care of their families. The budget crunch that many families face every day is very similar to the task of the politicians in dealing with the national budget, except it is the people on the front line facing the toughest decisions and fighting their daily battle. Each year the department heads all gather together to bring their budget requests in. They come with ideas of improving their departments and asking for more money. The idea is that other departments can have some items cut from their expenses. This is a decent concept, however dollar for dollar the government really does not do a good job of managing money very well. Given that there are so many conflicting interests and political pressures, it is difficult to understand the logic behind some of the decisions made in relation to the budget. If a business managed money the same way the government does, they would have gone bankrupt many years ago and been forced out of business, with the directors prosecuted for wrongful trading. This is directly the result of much wasted spending that is sliding into the budget each year. NASA, for example has spent thousands, upon thousands of dollars developing a pen that will write in space. The idea of a pencil never crossed their minds. The money spent developing a pen that is rarely used could have been better spent in training teachers so that students were receiving the education and materials they need. Arguably, the idea of funding space exploration at a time when there is a budget deficit is also irrational; surely this money would be better spent elsewhere until we manage to pull ourselves from the red? There are numerous cases and examples of money wasted throughout our public sector. There are also just as many examples of departments forced to cut corners and skip necessary tasks, needs and maintenance, or putting essential work back until the next budget is announced, because it is not in the budget at a price they can afford. There is always a hope that at some point in the near future that the United States will manage to pull out from under the deficit that it has created and restore itself to having a surplus budget. It will take time, effort and a great deal of belt tightening to get there. Nevertheless, it will happen at some point. Frivolous spending can only last so long before coming to a halt, at which point we can start to increase our surplus to the benefit of our national and local public services, before finally seeing the lowering of taxes that we s disparately need. Advantages of Federalism Federalism is a legal and political concept suggesting that law is best made in a twofold relationship: centrally and locally. Operative in many nations around the world under many different guises, federalism is centred on the principle that locality is key to effective governance. It holds that by making laws at a local level, the legislators can take advantage of local knowledge and opinion, whilst also lightening the load centrally for governance on the wider ranging issues. This is not only bureaucratically significant, but also politically in the sense that those in power through the majority of local areas will surely assume power overall, thus creating fairer representation. Ultimately, in theory, federalism satisfies the will of the people more accurately than a purely central system of governance, which is one of the many reasons it has become so popular in recent years. In this article, we will discuss the main advantages of federalism as a legal order, and look at the main reasons for its growing popularity and strength across the world. The first argument put forward for a federalist legal order is that a central government is too cumbersome when it comes to legislating over region specific matters. Take the United Kingdom, for an example. The UK government in London was often required to legislate on agricultural and fisheries matters that related to issues over 1,000 miles away in the North of Scotland. In this scenario, it would be unrealistic to expect the central government to have the requisite local knowledge and understanding required to make an effective decision for the prosperity of the region. In this sense, it is argued that a federalist legal order is more desirable, on the basis of making 'small time' decisions that affect specific localities with which it is acquainted. This has proven to be one of the strongest features of the federalist system, which largely relates to local people and their specific needs, and engages in political and legal decision making 'closer to home'. Another very strong argument in favour of federalism is the fairer representation afforded by local and regional government. Again, the UK provides a fine example of how this would work in practice. Broadly speaking, the UK is divided into a left wing political party (Labour) and a right wing political party (Conservative). The Conservative party have a strong hold over the South East of England, which makes up a sizeable proportion of the population although covers limited geography. Labour have a traditional stronghold in Scotland which accounts for one third of the land mass but only one tenth of the population. In this sense, federalism would provide a fairer system of representation by allowing regional governance that could account more easily for local tastes and opinions and provide an altogether more representative picture of the nations political favour. On top of these reasons, federalism lightens the load as respects central parliamentary time, freeing up national level politicians to consider more strategic rather than operational matters. This frees up resources and streamlines the process overall, although it does bring with it the complexities of an additional layer of authority. However, provided the legal system is well structured and defined in a codified form, federalism can make for more efficient governance and an overall fairer political and legal system, as well as bringing a host of other governmental and internal benefits to the table. Federalism has grown in popularity over the last century or so, and this is largely down to its particular successes throughout the world. Much the creation of academic thinking and commentary, federalism brings about a system of governance that keeps the people happy, promotes local affairs, and leads to significantly more favourable governance nationwide. For these reasons, it is quickly becoming the favoured method of government worldwide, and has been adopted in centralist countries and larger regions alike to promote and maintain the diversity necessary for effective regulation at a national level. The Concept of Ownership One of the most fundamental concepts in private law, regardless of the jurisdiction, is the concept of ownership. What belongs to who is fundamental in many aspects of the law, ranging from who bears the risk during the process of sale through to whether or not a theft has been committed. Furthermore, ownership can be vital in cases of personal insolvency and taxation law, showing its significantly wider implications on the legal systems in which it forms a part. For the most of Europe and America, the common law forms the bulk of the law of the jurisdiction. That means that the law if a formulation of past results, interpretations, cases, and authoritative academic writings, and sort of moulds into what is required of it, thus creating an advantageous flexibility and dynamism that is necessary to strengthen and boost economies. In the common law jurisdictions, property ownership naturally differs greatly, as there are a number of different interpretations, depending on which jurisdiction you follow. Largely it is decided in a way that fits within the specific private legal sector, and can be modified or changed to reflect areas of weakness as they arise. This flexibility, however, comes at the price of certainty, and it is often complicated to effectively and definitively determine who has what right at what time. Alternatively, many countries adopt the concept of the Roman Civil law, which has stood the test of time as a comprehensive mechanism for determining property and civil jurisdiction. Although largely antiquated, the roman law is adapted to fit within the specific context of the relevant jurisdiction, to provide a set of guiding principles which form and shape the direction of the law, particularly in relation to property. One of the most important roman law concepts regarding ownership is that or the jus in rem, otherwise known as a real right. A real right is a right in a property (where property means an object, tangible or intangible), contrasted with a personal right which is a right in a person, i.e. a contract. The difference between a real right and a personal right is that if a person/company goes insolvent, all personal rights become worthless, merely executable against their sequestrated estate alongside all other creditors. However, a real right is a completely different animal, allowing a stake of ownership in an asset, regardless of whether a person is liquidated, dies, or dishonours an obligation. For this reason, many banks and other mortgage lending institutions won't even think about loaning money without a security over a house or car: the security is the real right, i.e. the stake to ownership, they need to ensure they are covered, even if you can pay your liquid debts. The benefit of this roman interpretation is that it provides a steadfast approach to solving problems, albeit a slightly more rigid approach that requires considerable effort to overhaul. In spite of their own differences, both broad methods of determining ownership and rights are effective in their own way, and many jurisdictions choose a combination of both to improve their approach to tackling property and ownership problems. As an area of international private law, it becomes even more complex as parties are faced with the prospect of weighing up competing interests and competing authorities. Furthermore it is the subject of many international conventions working towards a resolution for harmonious property transacting. In Europe, this harmonisation is largely taking effect by virtue of the European Convention on Human Rights, which lays down certain specific minimums for signatory countries to follow in regards to property and other laws. Perhaps the adoption of a similar style convention for the US would be particularly beneficial in resolving property problems across frontiers, although it is submitted that indeed intra-state property transfer is gradually becoming an easier process. All in all the concept of ownership is particularly interesting, and an area of law that is under constant change and revision to aid economic and social progress on a worldwide scale. The Philosophy of Law When we think of law, and what law means to us as a society, we all have a good idea, or rather an innate sense, of what law is and the kind of things to expect. But trying to put an accurate definition on what law is is somewhat more of a difficult task. This very question lies at the heart of the study of jurisprudence, or legal philosophy. Since early civilisation, philosophers and thinkers have worked with a view to establishing a definitive meaning of what law is and where it fits in to the community. From these efforts have arisen major 'schools' of thought which demonstrate ideas and concepts distinct from one and other yet equally valid in their interpretations. When asked 'what is law?', most people will proffer an initial response along the lines of 'law is rules', or on a more complex level, 'law is the rules that regulate our behaviour'. This basic response is actually very valid, and true it forms the cornerstone of numerous schools of thought. However, posing slightly more probing questions raises doubts as to the validity of this statement, and casts doubt over a large consensus of lay-opinion on the matter. For example, if the law is a regulatory body of rules, then by itself it is useless. Rules alone can surely only set parameters at most, and can never seek to regulate independently. In order to provide this regulatory aspect, there is a requirement for something more; there is a requirement for enforcement, or coercion. In our society, this is provided by the threat of sanctions like prison and fines. Therefore our traditional notion of law as 'rules' is deeply flawed: law must be more of an interaction between rules and a physical persuasion. In other words, we need some motivation to obey the law, partly as a consequence of our nature as human beings, to keep us within its boundaries and to keep up above its line of governance, therefore there is more required to offer an accurate description than this simple straightforward idea. Consider also this fundamental point in determining the nature of law at a conceptual level. If the law, as we see it, is a body of rules, in what sense do these rules operate, i.e. are the prescriptive (how one must behave), or descriptive (how the majority of society behave). If it is prescriptive, there would essentially be a requirement for every citizen to learn the law from a young age in order to ensure consistency with the proscriptive body of legislation. If on the other hand it is descriptive of how society behaves, this raises the problem of authority: the way society behaves is not an objective concept, therefore why should any given person or body of people be afforded a subjective look at what is right and what is wrong? In a nation with strong fundamental freedoms, it is even more peculiar that the law is allowed to operate, if it were to operate in this sense. Rather it would seem more apt to consider law as a relationship between people internally (with other people) and with the state, with an element of mutual consensus in achieving the relevant social ends. From this basic analysis of the conceptual nature of law, it is obvious that there is scope for debate. So much so, legal scholars have for generations sought academic argumentation and competition with other writers. From Aristotle to Dworkin to HLA Hart and beyond, the concept of the nature of law is one which is both fascinating and complex, with many facets and caveats yet to be explored. In an international legal context, the study of jurisprudence transcends jurisdiction and specific legal training moving towards the realms of independent thought and observation. Nevertheless the nature of law is a popular academic study, as well as an interesting and thought provoking topic for the 'everyday' citizen subject to its governance. The Agency Relationship One of the most important relationships in commercial reality is that of the agent. Often employed in purchasing internationally, or indeed in negotiating the conclusion of a contract, the agent is seen in law as an extension of the principal for whom he acts, with the uncharacteristic authority to make decisions and enter contracts on behalf of another. However, what is the extent of the agent's authority? How far can he really go in acting for his client before he ends up creating problems? Furthermore, what happens when the agent goes beyond his allotted authority to make unauthorised decisions on behalf of his agent? In this article we will look at some of the founding principles of the agency relationship, its importance, and some of the key considerations for modern debate. Agency can normally arises in a number of situations, although these can broadly be categorised as follows. An agency relationship can be created by express notification, that is by way of a contract outlining his authority. It can be created impliedly, that is by implication of law or by permitting someone to act as agent on your behalf, and it can also be created by ratification, an unusual and counter-logical provision that allows principals to 'ratify' the unauthorised actions of an agent at a later date. This means in effect the agent can bind a third party with retrospective effect, as the ratification gives the agents authority force from when the contract was entered into. Of course, this means the third party could sustain loss, although this can be countered by allowing an action against the agent, or indeed the principal for the time delay and any damage sustained in material terms. The agency relationship is particularly peculiar in that it boycotts one of the most fundamental principles of contract: that an agreement should be made between two parties. Effectively, it is used where the agent has the ability and skill to negotiate contracts more effectively than the agent for which he acts, or indeed in commercial situations where the principal has delegated negotiation to a specific party. Additionally, it is not unknown for partners of a partnership and directors of a company to be considered agents, although this is applied in limited jurisdictions. On the whole, it mainly concerns actings in commercial situations for the purposes of exploiting a particular individual's skill in negotiation. For this reason it is an instance of delectus personae, i.e. the agent is personally desired to fulfil his role, rather than delegate. One of the most important issues of the agency agreement is the way in which an agent can negotiate beyond his authority. Where he does so, the agent will in the interim bind himself personally to the contract in most jurisdictions, therefore it is imperative that agents have experience and knowledge of the law in this area to avoid falling foul of this provision. Generally, the agent's liability ceases on ratification, although this is not an absolute rule, and this has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent times. The ability to ratify, as discussed above, is one of the most common areas for agency reform discussed, alongside the need for uniformity and harmonisation on an international scale. The fact that international agents can often be subject to governance from conflicting law sets is unfortunate, and efforts are being made to improve the situation and thus aid international trade relations. It is hoped that within the next decade a draft code of international agency law will be drafted, afforded rights and libelling responsibilities at a basic 'grass-roots' level of uniform application. This would certainly resolve the primary problem with international agency, and would have an untold effect on international trade and exchange. And with steps towards further integration already underway, particularly in Europe, the dream of a unified practice for agents is thankfully not too distant. Tackling International Litigation One of the main problems with doing business across international frontiers, particularly online business, is that of international litigation, given that it can be hard to exercise rights in a foreign jurisdiction. It is perhaps one of the biggest dangers with contracting internationally that in the event of dispute, both parties claim their law is trump, which causes some obvious problems as they struggle towards an amicable outcome. However, there are many ways around this situation for the savvy internet lawyer, including the widely used choice of law clause and the mutual arbitration or adjudication, which can help bypass this situation. In this article we will look at a practical approach to tackling online litigation, and the ways in which a party can look to resolve problems across national frontiers. Initially, good dispute resolution begins with prevention, which means good and effective drafting of the contract. Before transacting with anyone online, it is essential that you are fully aware of their terms and conditions of service and ensure you clarify anything you'd like to see in the contract. If your proposals aren't accepted, you're far better to avoid transacting to avoid problems, particularly where substantial money is at stake. Alternatively, if you are drafting an agreement from scratch it is imperative that you decide mutually on the terms, particularly what is known as the choice of law clause. Choice of law refers to a particular designation in the contractual terms which stipulates that in the event of a dispute, both parties submit to an exclusive jurisdiction. This is usually to the favour of the seller's knowledge, although may even be a neutral jurisdiction to avoid perceived bias. Provided that the choice of law is stipulated in advance, it is a particularly effective way of ensuring disputes are properly resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. Another highly effective way to tackle online litigation is to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of some online adjudication service in the terms and conditions. This involves a third party, usually a totally independent party, which is designed to regulate and prevent bias or unfavourable outcomes. This eventually leads to a definite ruling one way or the other, which is helpful in ensuring no-one feels hard done to, and generally that justice is done. Again, this is all down to the agreement and the way in which it is drafted. By good drafting, many of the problems of litigation can be weeded out before they arise, leading to a more fluid and resolved business relationship in general. In addition to contractual disputes, much of international litigation is taking shape online, as more and more parties find problems in dealing with those outwith their own boundary lines. Primarily, the issues of copyright and information theft are being thrust to the fore, as issues that strike to the very core of business online. Through establishing more regulatory online framework, it is possible, and indeed encouraged, for more efforts to be injected in regulating the way in which most of our business is conducted. In the coming years, there will likely be much development in Internet law, particularly of a trans-national ilk, which will have a natural knock on effect on offline litigation to the benefit of business and trade. Online litigation has risen to the forefront of legal thinking in recent years with the rise of the Internet. As business becomes naturally more global, it is important to consider how disputes can be resolved, and indeed how this will pan out in the future. There are suggestions of further developments of voluntary online courts, which will hear cases and establish a code of ethics, and this can only be good news for those parties feeling aggrieved by the system. With each transaction, the Internet is becoming a more stable environment in which to conduct business, and a more regulated forum for marketing and commerce. Tackling Global Warming As we move towards the future, technology is developing rapidly to assist in solving our problems. These problems range from simple issues, such as improving the quality of paper products to the advanced such as improving the quality of life and condition of our planet. Global warming is one of the topics that many of our politicians all decide to sit around and talk about, without showing much progress, which is a cause of great frustration for peoples all over the world. Too often the politicians involved are too caught up with trying to prove their opponent wrong to actually improve the situation. This causes further problems, and compounds the problem. Each time the topic is revisited it causes heated discussions from members of parties who drive large expensive cars, which consume gallons of gas, and release large quantities of smog into the air. No one wants to lead the way, and why should they? Conservative politics pays their bills. As the future is expanded into new and brighter horizons, there are developing ways of trying to help prevent the destruction of the planet. These methods range from cleaner and gentler chemicals, to even the ideals of "green" power. Car manufacturers are even getting into the swing of helping improve the planet by producing hybrid vehicles that are easier on the environment, use less gas, oil and other toxic chemicals, and have lower emissions rates. All that's left is a major Western societal change, and a widespread recognition of the problems we are facing to change this situation. The government is doing a great job of helping encourage manufacturers, by offering tax breaks and other incentives. This is always wonderful to help reduce the emissions rates for vehicles, and slowly the tax incentives are expanding to allow other companies the same discounts and savings for switching to cleaner more energy efficient methods. Is this a good thing? Should the government really be encouraging this behavior? Many say that yes, it should be encouraged and programs that encourage the use of cleaner power, and less environmentally hazardous chemicals should always be rewarded, especially since the cost of such methods and chemicals tend to be more expensive. Normal taxpayers are not seeing the benefits of trying to go "green" when looking at their own budgets. Many electrical companies are starting to offer "green blocks" of power which can be purchased, however these blocks are purchased in addition to the normal household power consumption, and do not allow discounts on the next months bill in exchange for the purchase. Something seems a bit odd here, major manufacturers are encouraged with tax breaks and incentives to switch to cleaner methods, but millions of households are not. It seems, a good step in the direction of correcting global warming, would be to create a program to help reward the small things that households could easily do. That would save thousands, if not millions of watts of power each year. This would reduce immensely the amount of power that is needed to be produced, and allow the power companies to help clean up large areas at a time, instead of just a few manufacturing areas which have fallen into disuse. While it is a wonderful idea to clean up the smog-ridden towns, and reduce the energy uses, so that resources from the ground are not burned continuously in the pursuit of energy. There are smaller things that can be done on a very large scale that would help reduce the amount of damage that is done to the ozone layer each year, and would greatly slow the damage that the human race is causing to our greatest asset, our planet. It's not the burden of the government, nor is it the burden of the people. We can all make the change, but it needs the collective of humanity to make the difference our planet so dearly needs. Racial Segregation in Politics It was not so many years ago that there was a deeply seated notion that black people were incapable of the thoughts needed to handle a political office. Not so many years ago, black people were still considered slaves. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or KKK were all the rage in the south, and the segregation issues were widespread across the nation. While the north has always been more accepting, it has turned that the south, while deeply rooted in the traditions of the past, are starting to notice that black people are truly real human beings. They are capable of thoughts, ideas, and ideals about how to improve the areas in which they live, as far as a white person is similarly capable of these traits. People have shown a sway towards understanding the equality of people as human beings, rather than being blinded by the mere irrelevancy of skin color. While society overall still has much work to do in regards to racism and segregation of any kind, there have been major strides in the political arena, and this year even sees a black presidential cadidate with a strong chance of success. No longer are black people considered property, no longer are they forced to walk behind the white people in a neighborhood, they are no longer forced to ride on the back of a bus, nor drink from a separate fountain. Black people are treated largely as equal to white people, in what is becoming an increasingly more culturally diverse nation we live in. It stands to note that many black people today are becoming the heads of major corporations; many black people are now earning salaries the same if not higher than their white counterparts, rising to the top of their game at an equally fast rate. This is a major step in the right direction to reduce racism. Other notable facts include the fact that now; there are black people in offices of power across the country. Blacks are starting to take their place as politicians, with offices in the Senate, as well as Mayor's offices around the country. This is a major step forward, and a sure sign that with time the racial differences of the country can be overcome. While a solution to the racial problems of this nation will not be overcome overnight, they are solvable. The solutions come many times in the form of open minds. There are still sects of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan operating in the deep southern states such as Georgia and Alabama, although they are significantly weaker than was the case 100, 50, or even 20 years ago. These groups and organizations help hold back progress in those areas, but despite their attempts the blacks are making a name for themselves, and proving they are as capable of political jobs as anyone else in the country. With the improvements that have occurred in the last few years, it is even possible that in this generation we can even look forward to seeing a black presidential candidate. While we have had several candidates attempt at running, none have made it past the primary elections, and onto the November elections. In the future, there will be a presidential election in which there is a black person running on a party ticket. Will that be this year, will it be in the next decade? Only time will tell, yet we as a society are much more accepting than we have ever been in the past, which can only be a good thing. We are allowing ourselves to be dictated by reasons of good, instead of living by the outdated ideas that skin color determines how effective our nation's leaders are. We have a long way to go, but progress is evident from the Senators and other political figures coming from more diverse ethnic backgrounds and proving their capabilities alongside other ethnicities. Prison Reform Many states are faced with a daunting number of inmates who are incarcerated currently for a variety of crimes. Each state is given the responsibility for ensuring the prisons meet federal guidelines in accordance to housing requirements. There are prisons around the country that are housing more inmates than they have the capacity to handle. Who is looking out for the inmates to ensure they are treated humanely in accordance with the constitution? In this article, we will look at some of the key suggestions put forward for reform of the penal system at federal and state level, in addition to analyzing the arguments for both sides in attempting to reach a conclusion that is fair and just for both the victim and the offender, as well as society. There are prisons across the nation that are putting 3 and sometimes as many as 4 inmates into cells that were designed to house only 2. This is a serious danger for health reasons, as well as the safety of the inmates. While inmate safety is a concern, it should be a major cause of concern for guard safety. Guards are monitoring more inmates than they can handle, which cause quickly create very dangerous situations. The guards have a job to do, they are unable to do so if they are watching more inmates than they can handle. States are forced to build more prisons to accommodate the incoming prisoners, which is a wonderful short-term solution. However, longer solutions must be found. With the numbers of inmates in prisons all across the country rising each year, there must be standards put into place to avoid future problems. There are programs, which handle parole, as well as probation, attempting to reintegrate reformed offenders back into society with minimal hassle and fuss, as well as ensuring there is no or as close to no chance of reoffending as is possible. Probation and parole are two alternatives to incarceration. One the one side of the spectrum, there is probation, which defers prisoners away from the prison system and enables them to serve time by reporting to a probation officer. On the other end of the spectrum, is parole. This program is reserved for those offenders who are no longer considered a danger to society. They are given an early release from the prison system, into society. While the addition of programs such as parole and probation are great for the ability to add more jobs in the states, they do require some very careful and precise screening in order to ensure that society is safe. Yet, even with these programs in place, the numbers entering the prison system are steadily rising. The prisons are still overcrowded, and guards are still overworked. Solutions for the long term must be worked out; inmates have a right to be safe, as do the guards in the prisons, whilst the general public at large has a right to know that prisoners are being kept within secure locations for relevant time periods. Each year, with the numbers in prison rising, the problem grows larger. Add to this, that on average 1 prison is issued a closure warning and the problem grows worse. You may wonder, why some prisons are issued closure warnings, these warnings are issued once a prison has been over capacitated for a certain period of time. The federal government's solution to this problem is to close the prison, instead of helping the states solve the problem. This is a wonderful example of why prison reform is necessary to help protect the residents of society, and indeed to protect the offenders housed within for the longer term. As we look towards the future, we can hope to start to see some progress in the way of discussions about the problem, but solutions cannot be seen on the horizon, given the immense financial commitment necessary to build more prisons and investigate alternatives. Parole - Should it be Used? For those who do not know, parole is a program that is used to allow criminal offenders early release from the prison system. It is designed to reflect prolonged periods of 'good behavior' and reform and rehabilitation, although it has come under a great deal of criticism at many different levels for allowing criminals to roam free before serving their time. Parolee's are not given a free pass into public however; a parole officer monitors them at all times during their free time to ensure their behavior is appropriate and to ensure no further criminal activity is being undertaken. The parole officer is essence acts as the guards did in prison monitoring the behavior and movements of the offenders, with the difference being that the offender is allowed to integrate back into society on a graduated basis to avoid the chance of reoffending and any potential danger to the public. In this article, we will look at some of the key arguments for and against parole as a method of rehabilitating and reintegrating prisoners back into society. Some argue that releasing inmates early is a hazard to the safety of society. Others argue that there should be stricter guidelines in place to determine, who is eligible for parole. This has been a very touchy issue with several states in setting up specific guidelines that determine parole eligibility. Many victims are upset to find out that their attacker is eligible for parole; this causes great stress to the victims who were already attacked once and now feels as if they are being attacked again. Although this is clearly an understandable situation, it is also naturally important to consider the rights of the prisoner, and to reflect true reform and rehabilitation in a steady and progressive manner, thus ensuring they manage to find their way back into society after serving time without facing too many problems. Many states toss the responsibility of the parole board between the District Attorney's office, the Corrections Department, and the Judicial Department. Each department handles the topic of parole quite differently. They each tend to have different standards of what is acceptable eligibility, and what is not. What happens is many times someone is released onto parole that should have never been permitted release. How does the release off offenders who are not parole material affect society? It tends to affect society by being directly responsible for rises in crime rates. Many of those who are released onto parole are people who society as a whole should be protected from. Many wonder, how do dangerous people actually manage to be granted parole. Many do not realize that sometimes there is no specific criterion for determining parole eligibility. Some states determine parole eligibility once the prisons are over filled. They start looking to release inmates on parole once they have too many inmates, which means it is not a very careful selection process to select the inmates released. There are some good benefits to parole; such as being able to release inmates who have served the majority of their sentence and show no signs of being repeat offenders. There are many who learned their lessons and emerge from the prisons with a goal of integrating into society and making themselves good standing members of society. Not all parolee's aim to commit crime again, there are some who use the early release as an opportunity to rebuild their lives, and those inmates have learned from their mistakes. While the ideals of parole are seated in good intentions, there must be better standards of determining eligibility across the country to ensure the safety of society. Society and the inmates must both benefit from the decision to release inmates into the parole programs. With the correct supervision, many inmates make wonderful parole candidates, and the program should continue, but with good supervision, careful screening and a dedicated staff of parole officers.
Alienation of Assets In commercial terms, the world revolves around insolvency. Insolvency is the process whereby one's entire patrimony (i.e. the totality of one's assets) is liquidated in order to satisfy his total debts that have grown beyond his means. Insolvency procedures are problematic in that they mean liquidation of personal assets such as one's home and one's car. Unfortunately there are few ways to avoid insolvency, which most normally occurs through poor judgement or 'bad luck'. Fortunately, there are numerous ways in which the potential implications of insolvency procedures can be minimised to prevent loss of assets. For the lay-man, this can involve certain minor legal procedures which could ultimately save a fortune. For creditors, this can be particularly bad news. In this article we will look at entirely legal ways in which you can potentially avoid losing assets in insolvency procedures. If you are running a small business, or likely to do so in the next decade, you must act on the following immediately to protect your assets. Alternatively, if you foresee yourself amassing significant unsecured debt in the coming years, you should also act similarly. Allowing a ten year margin, which might seem a lot, will prevent any challenges on sequestration and ensure that the assets you have 'alienated' no longer form part of your estate. The alienation ensures that the assets from which you will still benefit cannot be received by your creditors in consideration for any debts you accrue. The first thing to consider is incorporating a limited liability company, or indeed several, within which to house your business operations. Conducting your business through a company may mean more paperwork, but it also removes you personally from any liability. Of course, your company can still be liquidated, but we will look at ways to avoid losing your business assets shortly. If you choose not to run through a corporate body, there are still ways in which you can minimise the potential for losing your assets. The biggest and most valuable asset most of us will own is our home. It shouldn't come as any surprise that this is the number one target for many creditors. If you are married or living with a partner, there is no way you should ever lose your house in insolvency proceedings. Provided you allow sufficient time (i.e. 10 years), you can transfer ownership to your partner, thus the asset no longer belongs to you. You can then by agreement negotiate with your partner to continue living in the house, which for most will be a mere formality. At the end of the day, you no longer legally own the house, but functionally nothing has changed. Alternatively, you could assign your property by creating a trust in which you and your partner are the beneficiaries. All you need is to involve a third party (potentially even your partner) as trustee, before you will have alienated the asset. Again, functionally, you still live in the house, and it is still your home. The only difference is creditors can't touch it should the worst happen. If you choose to run a through a limited company, your first step should be to establish at least one other company, which will act as a holding company. The holding company should then be made owner of all business assets, before effectively leasing back to the other company. The effect of this is theoretical. You own both companies, you own the assets, but should creditors attempt to attack your primary trading company, there will be no chance of losing your business assets. The leasing agreement between the two companies will also be theoretical, and will only require minor accounting procedures to grant legal validity. Provided you ensure your holding company avoids debt, there should be no problem in alienating your entire business patrimony. There are a number of ways in which you can avoid potentially losing your assets in insolvency. Why not consult a specialist legal adviser for further information specific to your jurisdiction to help ensure total protection of your entire means. Unemployment Rates As several states are experiencing a fall in unemployment rates, the overall national average paints a bleaker picture, as it is starting to slowly rise, causing an array of social and economic problems for the ordinary citizen. There are more than 1.69 million Americans unemployed currently. This number is awful and means that more Americans are slowly being put on state aid and draining society of invaluable resources which could otherwise be spent on education or health provision. This strikes at the core of the budget for the states, which are spread very thin as it is across all the required public departments. As the economy continues to be very shaky and with numerous major corporations going under due to mismanagement in recent years; there has seen a spike in the number of companies who are crashing on the stock market, meaning jobs have been lost and wages slashed. Couple this with the fact that the inflation rate is rising, the minimum wage is the same, and you are looking at a very bleak outcome for the financial future of America and its people. Something has to be changed now in order to reinvigorate our economy and our people. Many people are able to enjoy comfortable lifestyles while many others are left with jobs that pay minimum wage, or barely over. Many Americans are busy working 40 hours plus a week and barely struggling to make enough to cover the bare essential bills. It is a tragedy the way the economy is functioning; with a great number of people getting richer, those who are financially struggling are continuing to struggle in a perpetual cycle of debt and poverty The interest rates have hit all time lows, which has resulted in an enormous number of people purchasing their first homes. This has increased the number of people moving from rentals to the homeownership world. However, this has a price, owning a home is never cheap; the expenses must be paid somehow, and this is taking its toll on the already tightened purse strings of most Americans. The biggest problems with the economy are the lack of jobs over all. There are several major companies all across the country who are being courted by cities all around for new plants and factories to be built in their area so that an abundance of jobs would be available. These plants are few and far between, leaving the rest of the citizens without a job, and trying to desperately to grapple at the few minimum wage jobs available that offer 10-20 hours a week. If more was done to encourage big business to provide work domestically, this would at least work some way towards improving the lives of many Americans. How to overcome these problems is something that many politicians are faced with the task of on an almost daily basis. The residents of their areas are forced to seek guidance and attempt to make changes for the better in order to improve the quality of life for everyone. People are always seeking ways to improve and better the economy, yet one of the biggest economic flaws is the national minimum wage staying the same for so many years, while the inflation rate has steadily risen. The issues of new jobs, better benefits, higher pay, and more hours are always brought up in almost every state at political executive meets. Some states are in a very fortunate position where they are not forced to worry about the unemployment rates, they have managed to find a recipe for success and have lowered the unemployment rates to cater for the needs of their populous. If the nation as a whole can lower the rates, we will be moving towards some much-needed economic improvement, and the knock-on social benefits this brings through reduced crime and improving quality of life for the citizens of America all round. Criminalizing Attempted Crimes The criminal law is designed with a view to protecting the individual rights of the citizen and the health and well being of society as a cohesive unit. In this regard, it is responsible for setting the parameters of social conduct, and for ensuring consistent application of principle and doctrine across the board. One of the most controversial areas of the criminal law is undoubtedly its role in penalising criminal attempts. When one attempts criminal behaviour but does not complete it, should that person still be liable as a matter of public policy? What if a prospective criminal stops a second from shooting their victim, deciding not to follow through their criminal intent? Furthermore, should a criminal be penalised for trying to commit a crime that is factually impossible? In this article, we will consider each of these arguments and look at possible ways in which they could be more effective treated. Criminal law usually concerns itself with punishing those who have committed wrongs against the person or against society, and this is generally very effective in ensuring a sense of lawful community and deterring the bulk of criminals in their actions. However, one of the most pertinent questions most legal systems face is when, if at all, to intervene in perfectly legal behaviour in aid to stop a crime from happening? Consider the example of a gunman looking to murder a close friend. He buys a firearm. Is he arrested at this point for attempted murder? He goes to a hill near his friend's house with the gun. Here? He takes aim and begins to squeeze the trigger? How about now? It is very tough to interpret the most advantageous point to intervene in potentially criminal behaviour. On one hand there is the threat of encroaching on civil liberties, whilst on the other there is an obvious threat to life and life, as well as property. Drawing the line has been particularly hard in recent times, and has caused government draftsmen a number of headaches in interpreting what the law should be. Consider next the scenario of the thief stealing from an empty pocket. Mentally and physically he has committed sufficient acts to be convicted of the crime, but simply because there was no wallet to be stolen, should he walk free? Because there was no wallet, he could never be convicted of theft, but should he be liable in attempt? The answer in most jurisdictions is yes, but again this presents further complications. Say for example, you have a would-be drug dealer who buys a quantity of paracetamol. He sells these in the mistaken belief they are illegal -- he could never be convicted of supplying controlled drugs, but could he be convicted on the grounds of his attempts? Most jurisdictions again say yes, with the rationale that dangerous people should be stopped in their tracks. Although a fair point, this kind of argument does not sit well in a modern context, particularly where civil liberties and human rights play such a big role in law internationally. Additionally, the concept of abandonment is somewhat of a mixed bag, with some countries swinging one way and others another. Should the accused be allowed to drop his gun at the last minute and decide not to kill on this occasion? Alternatively, is the fact that he considered and made steps towards perpetrating a serious crime sufficient to attract liability and attribute blame? Courts across the world are intensely divided over this issue, even internally, given its particular conundrum in context. What is certain is that the criminal law may feel obliged to intervene in certain circumstances to prevent harm to their citizen, which would surely be a significant consideration in mitigation for wrongful arrest. The concept of the law of attempts is highly interesting, and of particular note is the specific treatment across the world of both abandonment and illegality. Perhaps in an era of greater harmonisation, we will see more international authority on the application of these principles. Contract Formation Contract law is one of the most important area of the law that affects us all in our daily lives. Although we seldom sign a written document, we go into shops daily, we travel on public transport, we park in parking lots -- these are largely all contracts into which we bind ourselves to terms and conditions. We may not be strictly aware of it, but we all participate in contractual obligations on both sides of the fence every single day. It is therefore no surprise that the issue of when exactly a contract is formed is of the utmost importance in regulating commerce and life as a consumer. Furthermore, how can we enforce our contracts, and what rights do we have under these contracts that we agree to almost subliminally day in day out. In this article, we will look at some of the key issues surrounding contract formation, and general principles of the law on contract, which govern transactions we experience in our daily lives. In general laymen's terms, we think of a contract as a detailed written document, and we understand that when we sign that dotted line, there's no turning back. Actually, that's a myth. Of course, there is definitely the possibility of receiving a written contract to sign, and indeed this would be legally binding. However there is a very real possibility of being legally bound to a contract that you don't even realise exists. A contract can be formed by way of simply verbally saying you agree to buy some item. That is sufficient to bind you in law for most transactions, and on that basis it would be perfectly feasible to found a claim for breach. Of course, the difficulty then arises in proving what was said, which is why in practical terms more often than not a written document is used for transactions of a substantial nature. This avoids the problem of frivolous claims as to who said what and when such and such a term was agreed, which can lead to complications and lead to lengthy litigation Contracts are generally formed at the concurrence of offer and acceptance. That means when you make an offer to buy something, and it is accepted by the seller, that then forms a contract between the two respective parties to the effect of ownership will be transferred upon receipt of payment in consideration. Usually all the vital terms of a contract will be stipulated previously, although many are implied in everyday situations, such as buying a newspaper or train ticket. These terms would also be given practical effect by the court where it would be necessary to found a legal action, which is why they largely go unstipulated. Additionally, the fact that very little litigation arises from these scenarios is another good reason for the lack of clarity necessary in small time contracts. However, when it comes to more complex agreements, best practice dictates that writing is always essential to avoid problematic legal action. Contract formation is critical, perhaps not so much on a small scale but almost certainly on a large scale with commercial property transactions and the like forming a fundamental part of commerce. It is therefore pivotal that each jurisdiction develops its own considerations of precisely when a contract is made, in order to establish a pragmatic way to resolve disputes. Naturally it is also important to maintain a cohesive structure to the law to ensure legal certainty, particularly in an area such as contract which is so vital to the success and growth of the economy, and which regulates such a large quantity of money. By ensuing standard and structure, internally at least, it is possible to give the economy a fighting chance. It is also in the best interests of everyone to harmonise laws with those of their trading partners, to ensure smoother transactions for the benefit of the economy on a wider scale. Online Legality The Internet is the most important social and economic change since the development of currency and the organisation of civilisation as we know it, and it has certainly has a profound effect on our everyday lives. The Internet is the home of many of our businesses, a vital channel for communication with loved ones, and one of the most important knowledge resources the world has ever known. If you're doing business online, just like the offline environment, it is imperative that you operate within and understand the law in your area. Not only does this avoid potential problems, but it also ensures the smooth running of business and trade. In this article we will look at certain fundamental issues when doing business online, and how they can be effective in determining how we run our online operations with a view to profit. Online businesses almost always operate through websites of their own, which brings in a number of pertinent legal issues. Primarily, the consideration of what is allowed to be published should be forefront in the mind of the webmaster. As a general rule, only very 'inappropriate' material would be considered invalid online, such as certain categories of pornography and terrorist information. Of course, the Internet is heralded as the one true bastion of free speech, which is somewhat of an exaggeration. It is, however, important to remember that by and large the majority of content on the internet isn't policed which is a good thing and a negative thing in equal measure. Secondly the issue of copyright will obviously play a big part. How can I protect my website from information theft? This is proving to be an extreme problem for the music industry, currently losing billions of dollars in lost sales through P2P file sharing programmes. At present there is very little that can be done at large to protect online content, other than pursuing a course of legal action against every violator. It is suggested that a move towards internet copyright policing would be very welcomed. Next, there is the issue of online business, at the very heart of which is the issue of getting paid for the work you do. How can one ensure he will get paid for the goods, or indeed receive the goods he has paid for? Services like Escrow.com have proven to be very successful in helping this situation although there is no real measure in place to avoid scammers and rip-off merchants from plying their trade. As such, this has become a major plague on the internet, and has resulted in numerous small businesses going under and private individuals losing money. This is primarily as a consequence of unscrupulous traders, although there are also those plain fraudsters that simply pursue fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, at present, it can be very hard to distinguish between the two, which is frankly giving the Internet a bad name Furthermore the issue of online litigation comes into play when issues of contract and copyright violation are raised. Unfortunately again there is seldom much that can be done cross border, which makes this type of transacting all the more risky. In spite of this, the Internet is still one of the most invaluable sources we have, and still an essential for modern business. Businesses that aren't online simply fade away to competition that is more technology savvy, as customers become more and more virtual. Likewise, those that market online are seeing greater returns on advertising spend through targeted marketing, which is boosting business offline as well as on. The law of the internet is without a doubt one of the most important issues facing the net at this time, and one which looks set to dominate the agenda in the coming years. With the development of more comprehensive controls and regulations, the Internet looks set to only grow from strength to strength in the B2B and B2C markets. Internet and Politics In the past, political figures relied upon the news in the form of television stations and even newspapers to release information to the public, i.e. direct to the electorate. Now with the invention of the internet, more political figures are releasing their own information. How does this affect the release of information? Does this add to the impact of law and government on society, or is this merely a direct root to brainwashing the public. Furthermore, is it good to use political figures time releasing information when they should be enacting change? In this article we will look at the relationship between the internet and politics, and whether the move towards more accessibility and greater personal accounting is beneficial to democracy and government. The correct answers are never easy to find, however with some work, analysis and thought it is possible to come up with the right answer. The right answer is there is no answer -- isn't that horrific. Each politician has different means of how comfortable they are on the internet. Using the internet has allowed some to maintain a closer proximity to the people they represent, while others have used it as a means to avoid personal contact with the people. Either way, the Internet is obviously a powerful campaigning tool, and most politicians seemed to have realized and utilized this within their own campaigns. Many politicians are taking the internet and using it as a means of keeping a continuous stream of contact with the media, the people they represent, and everyone else. The internet has allowed the political figures who use it the ability to quickly communicate with everyone whenever important information is available. This makes them more accessible to the ordinary man in the street, which has never been possible through any other medium in the past. Using the internet to communicate directly with people has improved the accuracy of the information that comes down in the political reigns. Being assured of accurate information is why many prefer to receive the information directly from the lawmakers whom they elected. Many times, it is possible to find the information in more detail online, and with less hassle and false facts. Couple the increased communication with the fact that each day, millions log onto the internet and it makes it the perfect place for candidates to hone their campaign skills to help increase their visual image in the public eye. Most voters want a political figure they can find easily so they are able to do research to find the candidate that they truly believe in without spending hours doing research. Furthermore, the internet allows politicians to point their campaigns directly at a completely new demographic that had never before been tapped into. This is unleashing a whole new generation of voters eager to make the difference, which is working wonders for the politicians involved, and of course their savvy communications managers. Many voters have embraced the idea of being able to show support for their political parties from the comforts of their home over the internet. Politicians are also enjoying the ability to quickly communicate and using various social websites as well as the websites for their offices to keep a good flow of communication open with voters. With everything compiled it is a wonderful age, where the internet is able to bring politicians and voters much closer together, while still allowing the politicians to be in Washington, or where their office is performing their job. With the ease of the internet, politicians are able to communicate with the public from anywhere, giving them more time to communicate greater amounts of information to the public, as well as be able to gather feedback from the public in regards to the wishes of the majority. Overall, it is a wonderful time and a wonderful addition to the political world since the invent of the internet. Human Rights vs Civil Liberties in Europe One of the most defining legal motions of the last hundred years on a worldwide scale is the European Convention on Human Rights, which imposed for the first time a codified standard of behaviour that all signatories must meet. Although the document is referred to in a specifically European context, it is truly important throughout the world as a clear guideline for reference to matters on human rights. But what about before the Convention -- what were the protections for the citizen against encroachment from the authorities, and what recourse was there for grievances? In this article we will look at the position of many European countries prior to the Convention and after, to highlight the change in legal position for the average citizen. The European Convention of Human Rights codified a number of key human rights principles which were required to be satisfied by those that ratified it at law. For monitoring the behaviour of the signatories, a European Court was established to hear grievances against member states, with the ability to air problems and effectively embarrass nations into compliance. Since its inception, the court has been exceptionally successful in enforcing the provisions within the convention. No one member state wants the embarrassment of a public trial, and therefore they bend over backwards to accommodate for the needs of the Convention. Has it worked? Well it has certainly massively overhauled the nature of private, criminal and public in almost every regard and this has lead to widespread disruption. However, it looks almost undoubted that the European Convention on Human Rights is having a positive effect on the rights of the citizens across Europe, including in the wealthier nations. Take the United Kingdom for example. Prior to the European Convention on Human Rights, it was quite possible to detain a suspected criminal without judicial involvement -- i.e. people could be deprived of their liberty almost indefinitely with no possible legal intervention. This meant people didn't have to be told why they were being detained, and had no right to put forward a case to an impartial justice, reserved until the prosecutors decided to step in, and had enough evidence to do so. For a country that boasts one of the world's strongest economies, and with a very high GDP, this is a shocking proposition, and one which has been remedied since the introduction in law of the European Convention. The Convention has been loved and reviled in equal measures, and although it's had some tough challenges throughout its life span, it is slowly but surely changing the position for the citizen. For the prospect European Union member state, it is an essential minimum, meaning those on the fringes of European recognition are striving with great result to meet the targets. The larger, more developed nations are keeping on their toes and learning that they can't do as they please, and the European Court is making sure of that. Prior to the Convention, it was up to the people to rely on the provisions within their constitution for the protection of their rights, and this was very much a 'luck of the draw' scenario. Some countries had excellent provisions, like Germany, where as others like the UK had abysmal records, mainly down to their lack of fundamental freedoms for the citizen. Since the introduction and ratification of the Convention, these countries have all levelled upwards to create an environment that is ideal for the citizen, and aims to protect his rights whilst also protecting the interests of the state and the public at large. The European Convention on Human Rights has certainly come along way, and it has brought the entirety of Europe, even those on the margins, together in a bid to improve living conditions and basic human rights for the ordinary citizen in the street. As the decades come and go, only time will tell how effective it will end up, although from initial projections it is looking to have a positive impact for the people of Europe. The Trust Mechanism In legal terms, there is no mechanism quite as flexible and valuable as the trust. Usually an imperative asset in the tax-planner's tool box, the trust mechanism is a legal fiction that is present in the majority of jurisdictions across the world. It is in effective a tripartite relationship between a truster, a trustee and a beneficiary, although these names vary across jurisdictions. The truster is the party transferring property, which then becomes property of the trust as an entity and hence is administered by the trustee, usually an accountant or investment banker, for the benefit of the beneficiary. Usually, they are used for charitable purposes, or indeed as a way to minimise potential liability and alienate assets to avoid creditor seizure. Unusually, the trust structure is relatively vague, and in many jurisdictions little more than a written deed is required to constitute a trust. In this article we will look at why a trust should have a more formal establishment criteria, and why it is as effective as it is as an invaluable legal instrument. Trusts can be used, and are used widely in practice, to alienate assets. For example, if you are a wealthy businessmen, it may be wise to place your house in trust for the benefit of your wife, ultimately alienating it from your direct ownership whilst retaining the benefit. Alternatively, it can be a good way to escape the tax liability net on death, given that the deceased can order his wealth to immediately revert to trust for benefit of his offspring rather than subjecting it to tax, or alternatively, he can set up a trust during his lifetime (i.e. inter vivos) to give away certain of his assets before death. As you can see, the trust can be used for any number of purposes, and is particularly useful for the businessmen facing insolvency to retain his assets. Unfortunately, most systems have relatively weak trust establishment procedures. The trust, as an entity is not considered a person in law as a company is, but rather it is granted quasi-personality, which has made it difficult for courts to rule for or against certain actions. For example, can the trust own property in its own right, or is it merely vested in the trustees for the benefit of the beneficiary? Indeed can a trust be sued, or can a trust sue, or is this again a mere action open to the trustees to pursue? It is suggested that perhaps establishing a more regulatory natured framework would benefit the set up of trusts at an international level to ensure fair play to creditors and to avoid potential cheats in bankruptcy. Additionally, it would certainly add more weight to the legal standing of the trust as an entity, which could be beneficial in litigation and related matters, and would certainly work to harmonise the legal structure of a trust with other bodies corporate. In donating to a trust, it is vital that one considers the implications of gratuitous alienation in tax liability and bankruptcy. For this reason, it is always best to leave a foreseeable period of 10 years before likely death/bankruptcy to ensure the transaction is not disqualified. Of course, this varies between jurisdictions, and it would most certainly be advisable to consult a local legal specialist before embarking on such conduct. However, as a rule of thumb, it should be safe with a decade between the alienation and the relevant date of asset consideration. Trust law is a particularly interesting branch of legal study, and it is one which is plagued with riddles and anomalies, despite its evolution over hundreds of years. Funnily enough, however, it is an ongoing successful model, and is used in almost all jurisdictions around the world for charitable public and personal purposes alike in boycotting personal insolvency, raising finances and saving on taxes in a number of business transactions. Children and Violence How far does violence extend, how do we determine exactly who is responsible for the violence that children are seeing on television and in music. What about video games, who is taking the responsibility for the violence and awful things that, are occurring right before the eyes of the youth today. Many politicians are looking to eagerly blame the media and entertainment industry. Is that the correct place to lay the blame? Perhaps parents are the people ultimately to blame. More parents today than ever before are working longer hours just to stay afloat financially. This alone results in phenomenal numbers of children being left with a television as the babysitter in charge of teaching right from wrong. How does a child learn the difference between right and wrong, when their parents are nowhere to be found? Where does the parents' responsibility to parent a child and the governments' right to parent a child merge? Does the government even have a right to parent children? Should the government be allowed to determine what is appropriate for all children to watch, or should that be ultimately left up to the parents to decide on their own? There have been television shows, movies, musical artists, and even books banned because the government does not approve. Where is the line drawn in who controls what the children are watching? Is it really up to the parents, or is it left to the children to decide on their own? When did parents lose the ability to control what their child watches, and when did the parent become subject to the child's own opinion? While some advances in technology have been wonderful, there is also much effort by the government to control what a parent does with their own child, and it is this more than anything that has caused controversy on a civil liberties basis. There have been several inventions and developments that are able to help parents monitor their children; from the v-chip to programs that log instant messenger programs. These developments are great for the parents looking to monitor their child themselves, but what about the music industry. Most parents are constantly told that the violence their child is exposed to is the fault of the music industry. The blame is placed on the singers and producers for releasing the music. Much blame is placed everywhere but the parents for taking responsibility for their own children and determining what is best for them. With politicians attempting to punish some area of the entertainment industry each time a national tragedy occurs, it puts a major crimp on the ability of parents to decide for themselves what is acceptable for their child and what is not. Many are left to allow their child to choose from the options that are left, once the government has omitted the choices that are bad. Is this censorship, or helping raise children? Many seem to think it leans heavily towards censorship, a place the governments should not be treading. Many others tend to feel that it should be a high priority of the government to protect everyone from something that can potentially be bad, without even giving people the option to make their own decisions. The issue as to what extent the government should intervene with the way in which we live our lives is hotly contested, and it works in a much larger circle than just the control of our children. Should the government take a step back, and allow society to use its freedoms and powers for self regulation, or is there a need for intervention to ensure the greater good and justice for the welfare of society as a whole? For the time being, it seems as though the most pragmatic approach relates somewhere in the middle, although it will be interesting to see developments in this area over the coming years. Animal Control In America today, there are states that are actively pushing pet owners to be controlled by law. States such as California are enacting laws in which pet owners are forced to spay or neuter their pets. This is something that many are talking about as the answer to the pet over population problems. Is this truly the answer? Many prominent breeders are upset by this attempt to control the rights of individual pet lovers. What is the correct answer? Should the states be allowed to force individual pet owners to do this? What about the puppy mills that are operated in states all across the country, why is something not done to shut them down, rather than force individual breeders to have their breeding stock spayed and neutered. Many do not realize that the sport of dog showing requires a dog in the show ring to still be intact; any sexually altered dogs are immediately disqualified from competition This essentially means, the sport of dog showing in California and other states following in their path is stopped. The dogs in the state would be required to be fixed, with residents in the state either fixing their dogs, or a flux of residents would be moving from California and other cities with the same philosophy. Is this really the solution to the over population problem? Most cities have many unwanted animals in the pet shelters, yet there is always a fresh batch of animals coming in daily, therefore it is evident that some remedial action is required to solve the problem. However, as a nation of animal lovers, this seems hard to reconcile with the general opinion of society. How do we solve this problem? Perhaps the answer is more low cost spay and neuter programs, offer this at a greatly reduced rate, or even free to residents of towns so that animals can be easily fixed that are not intended for breeding. While this would be an expensive venture, it could easily cost less and do more good for the over population problem than requiring all pets be neutered and spayed. Some states are even looking to limit the number of pets that are allowed to be housed. The limit is typically two dogs, with all other dogs forced to be rehomed to other homes. This leaves the problem of owners being forced to give away dogs to homes that may not be able to handle, care, or ensure proper medical care. Is this too far for the states to interfere in the rights of pet owners? To what extent should the government intervene in the way in which we treat our animals? When did the issue of pets become the business of the government and states? While there are leash laws, they are intended for the safety of the pets, as well as the protection of society in general. This is a law that was enacted by the states, which while it does limit the movements of pets it has good intentions that are actually plausible and rectifiable. The required neuter and spay is something that can cause harm to a person's livelihood, as well as disqualify a dog from the show ring that could have otherwise been a champion dog. Is this the state's place to do so? How far is too far before determining that the states have no right to tamper and meddle with the animals that are owned and properly cared for. Should individuals who seek proper medical care for their pets be penalized? Is this something that should have ever been brought up in the states as a requirement for all pet owners? The issue of pet control is certainly hot at the moment, and it will be interesting to see the development of these issues in the coming months, years and decades as implemented measures are observed and their results monitored. The Fairness of Minimising Liability In Tort The law of tort governs the behaviour of the citizen towards his fellow citizen, or indeed the actions of a company to a citizen or fellow company, in the absence of criminal conduct or contractual remedies. Present in most legal systems in some form, the law of tort (or delict) covers civil 'wrongs', where one party has suffered damages as a consequence of another's actions. Of course there are permitted damages that one can occasion to another party, such as one company undercutting a competitor to his detriment. Tort is concerned largely with prohibited or negligent behaviour that can be attributed towards one specific party, opening the path for an award of compensation or damages. One major point of criticism and debate in the area of tort is that of indeterminate or indiscriminate liability, which is designed to minimise the potential for floodgate liability. Tort imposes a number of criteria, which must be satisfied before a party can be liable for his negligent actions. These are naturally strict to avoid the potential economic crisis arising from a 'compensation culture'. Additionally, there is a pressure to encourage risk to a certain extent in order to promote economic activity, and to avoid easily conceding liability to encourage 'normal' daily activity. In a weak tort system, paranoia hinders economic growth and creates a multitude of socio-economic problems. From this, the conditions of indeterminate liability have arisen, as well as numerous other high standards that must be satisfied before a court will impose liability and the corresponding financial repercussions. Imagine the scenario where a protruding paving stone causes an actual risk of injury to the public at large. Because there is a potential for such a widespread liability, courts around the world impose various mechanisms to rule out claims of any sort to avoid the potential for ruining local authorities and in the interests of 'common sense'. In much of Europe and the UK, the mechanism of choice is a 'remoteness criterion', which provides that where the liability for the victim's injury is too 'remote', no liability shall be borne. In other words, there is a requirement that the potentially liable party should have had a direct impact on the specific victims injury. Another argument against the principle of precluding liability on this basis is that it encourages 'bigger' tort. In this sense, it ensures more caution towards situations where a specific person may be injured, but also encourages a lack of consideration for safety in situations where hundreds or potentially thousands may be subject to injury, given the unlikely possibility of successful legal challenge. This creates an obvious social problem, which must be weighed by legislatures and courts in order to solve the problem. As this area of the law continues to develop, the importance of finding a workable solution to this situation will become more apparent. Ultimately, in the scenario envisaged above, an injury from the paving stone could happen to anyone using the pathway, thus there could be no liability because the injury would be too remote. Although an effective means of achieving the ends, doubts have been cast as to the fairness of indeterminate liability, particularly in consideration of victims of real injury in these circumstances who would otherwise be entitled to compensation in respect of the damages sustained. In protecting the potentially liable, the relevant courts are unjustifiably prejudicing the victims of injury. Perhaps it can be seen as the lesser of two evils, but this is poor consolation for the victims of this sort of injury. Arguably a better mechanism for dealing with this sort of situation would be to present a 'first come first serve' basis, or to create a common indemnity fund, or compulsory insurance for organisations likely to be subject to multiple tort claims. This would help curb the apparent inequity in tort claims where liability is precluded by virtue of its wide-ranging effects.
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