News Archive: January 2020

Medomsley Compensation Scheme Extension

Posted: 17th November 2020

It has been announced that the Medomsley compensation scheme has been extended which now allows survivors of abuse to claim for compensation, even if their abuser has died or has not been on trial or sentenced.

Alistair Smith and the Abuse Claims Department at Watson Woodhouse Solicitors have been leading the fight for justice for the victims of Medomsley Detention Centre and welcome the extension of the scheme.

Medomsley Detention Centre was a prison for young male offenders from 1961 until the late 1980s, providing a place for young offenders aged 17-21 to prevent them from being sent to a mainstream prison. At Medomsley, during their stay of usually around six to eight weeks, some inmates were subjected to sexual, physical and mental abuse from prison officers.

Alistair and the team at Watson Woodhouse have helped many Medomsley victims in their fight for justice and compensation for the abuse they experienced. Now, after months of discussion with the Ministry of Justice, the Medomsley Steering Group, who represent over 1000 claimants, have agreed on a settlement scheme designed to help provide compensation to former Medomsley inmates affected by the abuse that occurred.

The scheme provides an amount of compensation relative to the length of time an inmate was detained. There is a provision in the scheme to compensate for lasting injuries, physical and psychological.

To be eligible for the scheme:

  1. You must have suffered physical abuse from a member of staff who was employed at Medomsley during the period you were detained; and
  2. You must have independent evidence of your period of detention. This is, usually, obtained by us making a simple application.

Under the scheme, physical abuse is defined as “the direct application of unlawful force”. Therefore, it is more than running the perimeter fence or being made to perform bunny hops.

At Watson Woodhouse, our solicitors have acted for many victims of historical abuse and understand the trauma survivors have to deal with on a daily basis. We deal with all cases in a sensitive and confidential manner, with both male and female solicitors available to provide advice and support on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. With Medomsley Detention Centre we will not be deducting success fees from claimant’s awards, so our clients will keep 100% of the compensation they are awarded.

Watson Woodhouse Solicitors offer a no obligation, free initial consultation with flexible appointments to suit your needs.

If you have been the victim of abuse at the hands of Medomsley Detention Centre and would like our support to take action, you can speak to Alistair Smith, or another member of the team by calling us today on 01642 247656.

New Vacancy - Police Station Representative

Posted: 4th November 2020

We are hiring!

New Vacancy – Police Station Representative

  • Role: Police Station Representative
  • Department: Crime
  • Location: Middlesbrough (Office Based)
  • Salary: Competitive
  • Closing date: 27.11.2020

Watson Woodhouse Ltd are expanding their Criminal Law Department and are offering a fantastic opportunity to join our highly motivated telephone advice team.


We are looking for flexible and enthusiastic individuals to assist in the delivery of remote advice and assistance to those detained at the police station. We have two full time positions available, based at our Middlesbrough headquarters. The successful candidates will receive full training, support and supervision throughout.

The role:

The successful candidates will be required to take initial instructions, over the telephone, from clients detained in police custody. You will be required to ensure that their legal rights are adhered to and be ready to make any relevant representations where required.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To take instructions and provide telephone advice to clients detained in police custody.
  • To ensure that the client’s legal rights are being adhered to under PACE 1984 and the police code of conduct.
  • To have clear communication and good typing skills.
  • To clearly document any instructions taken or advice given.

Requirements

  • Candidates must be a qualified Police Station representative, however, probationary representatives may also be considered.
  • Candidates must be highly motivated, with good communication and time management skills.
  • Candidates must be reliable, flexible and be a strong team player.
  • Candidates must be available to work shifts, involving both days and nights where required.

A competitive salary is offered, together with the opportunity to earn additional fees from police station attendances; at the best paid rates in the North East.


If you are interested in this position, please email a covering letter and a copy of your CV to Chris Tame, at ctame@watsonwoodhouse.co.uk

'Same Roof Rule' Compensation Claims Delayed

Posted: 20th October 2020

In June 2019, the ‘same roof rule’ was abolished. This rule had been blocking survivors from applying for compensation for abuse they suffered before 1979 if they had been living with their attacker at the time.

Since then, there has been a significant increase in the number of people applying for compensation, which has resulted in a delay in the compensation being awarded.

The CICA strict time limits mean that a claim must be brought within 2 years of the assault – in this situation it has been extended to 2 years from the date of the change to the scheme, meaning that victims only have until June 2021 to register the claim.

Alistair Smith Solicitor

Alistair Smith, and the civil litigation team at Watson Woodhouse, were at the forefront of the fight to have the same roof rule overturned so that victims of abuse could claim compensation.

Speaking about the delays, Alistair said: “a logjam had been created because those now eligible were given only two years to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The staff at the CICA are very good. The problem is there just aren’t enough of them.”

Due to the time limits and the delays in compensation being processed, we are urging anyone who feels they are eligible to come forward and claim the compensation they so rightly deserve.

The same roof rule
The CICA scheme was amended in 1979 to allow more people to be able to claim but did not apply to offences committed before 1979. It was for this reason that the Court of Appeal in the case of our client JT v First Tier Tribunal and Others were asked to consider whether the rule in place before 1979 was compatible with the Human Rights Act (HRA), specifically Article 14 on the prohibition of discrimination.

Fighting on behalf of our client JT, a lady from Teesside, the team successfully challenged the rule after the Court of Appeal examined the CICA scheme and found it was incompatible with the HRA based on the fact that children living with their family were treated differently and less favourably by the CICA scheme without any good justification.

The rule was formally scrapped in February 2019, with the opportunity to apply for compensation opening on the 13th of June 2019.

How we can help
As the solicitors who led this fight and were successful in overturning the rule, we have specialists in this field and an in-depth understanding of the challenges that survivors can face having challenged this rule in the Court of Appeal.

With vast experience, and an excellent track record of achieving results, we provide both a professional, and personal service, tailored to the needs of the individual clients’ case.

If you have been victim of abuse under the same roof rule then please get in touch with Alistair Smith in our civil litigation department today to see how we can help you. Our empathetic and hardworking team of solicitors will do all they can to ensure that you are given the compensation you deserve, and we operate on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us free on 01642 247656 or visit our website https://www.watsonwoodhouse.co.uk/service/abuse-claims-advice/same-roof-rule/ for more information.

New Vacancy - Conveyancing

Posted: 21st September 2020

A leading North-East law firm is seeking a full time  Conveyancing Solicitor/Licensed Conveyancer /Chartered Legal Executive with 3 years PQE  for an immediate start  to work in our Middlesbrough office.

Applications are invited from full-time Lawyers with previous experience.

This is an opportunity to work for a very progressive practice, amongst some of the region’s leading lawyers.  

In return they offer a competitive salary, role prospects, 25 days holiday plus  bank holidays and a first class working environment.

Job Description

To manage all client work allocated in accordance with detailed procedures and quality standards contained in the practice’s office manual.

To ensure that all client work is progressed expeditiously and that the client is kept regularly informed on progress and on costs.

At all times to exercise high standards of client care in a professional and pleasant manner.

To ensure the confidentiality and security of all documentation and information of the practice and clients.

In close liaison with the accounts department, to have overall responsibility for credit control on own matters.

To comply with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules and the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007.

To maintain clear and precise communications with other personnel in the practice.

To ensure good working relationships with external institutions and organisations.

To supervise, support and develop immediate support staff and fee earning staff as agreed with the Head of Department.

To take responsibility for and attend to your CPD needs.

In conjunction with the practice, to comply with the relevant training requirements of the SRA and to assist with in-house training as may be required.

In liaison with Head of Department and other partners, to be active in promoting the services of the practice and its image and ethos.

To carry out any other duties and responsibilities that may be required by the Directors.

Please send CV  by email  for the attention of Vicky Thomas HR Manager  Vicky.thomas@macks.co.uk

New Vacancy - Police Station Representative

Posted: 11th September 2020

We are hiring!

New Vacancy – Police Station Representative

  • Role: Police Station Representative
  • Department: Crime
  • Location: Middlesbrough (Office Based)
  • Salary: Competitive
  • Closing date: 30.09.2020

Watson Woodhouse Ltd are expanding their Criminal Law Department and are offering a fantastic opportunity to join our highly motivated telephone advice team.


We are looking for flexible and enthusiastic individuals to assist in the delivery of remote advice and assistance to those detained at the police station. We have two full time positions available, based at our Middlesbrough headquarters. The successful candidates will receive full training, support and supervision throughout.

The role:

The successful candidates will be required to take initial instructions, over the telephone, from clients detained in police custody. You will be required to ensure that their legal rights are adhered to and be ready to make any relevant representations where required.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To take instructions and provide telephone advice to clients detained in police custody.
  • To ensure that the client’s legal rights are being adhered to under PACE 1984 and the police code of conduct.
  • To have clear communication and good typing skills.
  • To clearly document any instructions taken or advice given.

Requirements

  • Candidates should be a qualified Police Station representative, however, probationary representatives may also be considered.
  • Candidates must be highly motivated, with good communication and time management skills.
  • Candidates must be reliable, flexible and be a strong team player.
  • Candidates must be available to work shifts, involving both days and nights where required.

A competitive salary is offered, together with the opportunity to earn additional fees from police station attendances; at the best paid rates in the North East.


If you are interested in this position, please email a covering letter and a copy of your CV to Chris Tame, at ctame@watsonwoodhouse.co.uk

New Vacancy - Civil Litigator

Posted: 4th August 2020

Civil Litigator/Personal Injury

Watson Woodhouse Ltd is expanding their Civil Litigation team and seek an innovative and forward thinking Fee Earner / Senior Clerk to work from their Middlesbrough office,.

Our team works across multi-discipline areas including Civil Actions Against Public Authority; Inquests; CICA; Abuse Claims; Human Rights; Judicial Review; Defamation / Misuse Private Information and Personal Injury work. We offer Legal Aid in the areas of CAPA; Inquest and Housing Litigation. 

Our team have been involved in high profile and ground-breaking cases and continue to fight for the rights of some of the most vulnerable members of society.

The role

  • The candidate will initially offer case progression support to two of the senior fee earners – with view to developing the knowledge and skills to manage an independent caseload predominately in the areas of CAPA; inquests/inquiries; Human Rights; Abuse and Psychological injury claims.
  • To assist with the marketing and expansion of the department as a whole.
  • To develop and use external links to promote the team and build work streams

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Assisting Senior Fee Earners with complex cases;
  • The work is varied and will involve undertaking a range of activity including legal research and assisting with case preparation;
  • Attendance at Client meetings; hearings and Court to liaise with Clients, Counsel, Defendants, Coroner; IOPC and other third parties
  • Taking witness evidence, drafting instructions and correspondence to clients, court and defendants;
  • The role will also include administrative work such as document; file management and billing assistance;
  • Dealing with all forms of funding, including Legal Aid and CFA’s and submitting applications to the LAA online via CCMS.

Person Specification and preferential skills

  • Legal qualification preferable but not essential;
  • Equivalent to 3 years PQE desired, but all candidates with relevant experience considered, including those who are unqualified but have a passion and commitment to fight for justice;
  • Experience in dealing sensitively with clients and experts, providing solutions and managing difficult situations and conversations;
  • Experience of working with vulnerable clients;
  • Excellent communication skills, demonstrated by an ability to communicate accurately, clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing;
  • Excellent time management skills, demonstrated by ability to organise and prioritise a complex workload and work to tight deadlines;
  • Ability to work in and contribute to a team environment;
  • Ability to multi-task, work well under pressure and use own initiative.

Competitive salary, excellent prospects and training provided.

Email covering letter, CV and salary expectations to Vicky Thomas HR Manager email vicky.thomas@macks.co.uk

Should you have any questions about the role/department please feel free to contact our recruitment team at the email above and they will respond directly.

Preference to have experience in issues including:

  • Civil Actions Against Public Authority
  • Inquests
  • CICA
  • Abuse Claims
  • Human Rights
  • Judicial Review
  • General Civil Disputes
  • Defamation / Misuse Private Information
  • Preferable to have experience in Legal Aid Finding

New Vacancy - Duty Solicitor

Posted: 22nd June 2020

Watson Woodhouse Solicitors are offering an exciting opportunity for a qualified Duty Solicitor to join their criminal litigation team.

This role offers a fantastic opportunity to join our large, successful and thriving law firm, with offices across the North East and Yorkshire, and is perfect for an individual seeking to progress a successful career in law.

POSITION: DUTY SOLICITOR

As a Duty Solicitor you will be an accredited police station representative and have at least 1 years PQE

Requirements:

  • Candidates must be highly motivated and reliable;
  • Candidates must have excellent communication skills, and must be strong team players;
  • Candidates must be able to demonstrate exemplary client care and organisation skills;
  • Candidates must be flexible in their work structure and be able to demonstrate an exceptional work ethic.

 A competitive salary is offered together with flexible work hours and fantastic career development opportunities.

If you are interested in this position please email a copy of your CV for the attention of Victoria Molloy, at vmolloy@watsonwoodhouse.co.uk.

New Vacancy - Police Station Representative

Posted: 7th April 2020

We are offering, to the right candidate, a fantastic opportunity to join our expanding crime department, perfect for an individual seeking a career in criminal law.


POSITION: POLICE STATION REPRESENTATIVE

We are looking for a highly motivated individual to assist our call centre team in delivering remote advice and assistance to those detained at the police station. This is a full time position, and the successful candidate will receive full training and supervision.

Requirements

  • Candidates must hold a Probationary or full Police Station accreditation qualification.
  • Candidates must be both highly motivated and reliable.
  • Candidates must also be strong team players.

 A competitive salary is offered together with the option to earn additional fees from police station attendances at the best paid rates in the North East.

As a successful candidate, you will hold either a probationary or a full police station accreditation qualification and be able to demonstrate that you are both self motivated, reliable and a strong team player.


If you are interested in this position please email a copy of your CV for the attention of Victoria Molloy, at vmolloy@watsonwoodhouse.co.uk.