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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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