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Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Tuesday, 5 June 2007 14:21 UK

Police "intelligence interviews"

prisoner inside police station
BBC Radio 4's Law In Action
Tuesday 5 June 1600 GMT
On Radio 4 and online

Are Police playing fast and loose with fundamental rules and protections that govern the way they interview suspects?

Two of London's leading criminal lawyers have told Law In Action that the police are flouting fundamental rules and protections in carrying out intelligence interviews with suspects arrested and in custody.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) has codes of practice that enshrine a suspects right to a solicitor when interviewed in custody.

Notices in London police stations tell the public that intelligence interviews must be conducted in line with PACE.

Solicitors are being told that they cannot be present at the interviews, which may be a breach of PACE.

There are fears of a return to the bad old days when undue pressure and inducements in police interviews led to unreliable evidence being obtained that jeopardised prosecutions and convictions.

PACE was designed to stop that, but in intelligence interviews at least, there are serious concerns that PACE is being suspended by the police.

HM Customs & Revenue

Inland Revenue Building
Immune from prosecution?

If you suffer as a result of negligence on the part of an NHS doctor you can sue, same goes for schools, the police and any public authority. Well not quite all...

We hear Neil Martin's story - a successful self-employed builder from Cumbria, who on the advice of his accountant, made a decision that was to prove devastating.

In 1999 he turned his business into a limited company.

In order to trade he needed what's known as a CIS certiificate or "card" from the Revenue.

The certificate is part of a scheme to prevent fraud in the buidling industry and without it, Mr Martin's company couldn't charge full fees from clients.

It should be granted with in a few days of an application but the Revenue delayed for 57 days.

Neil Martin
Neil Martin is to sue the Revenue
As a result Neil Martin lost clients and income of over half million pounds.

He went through the revenue's re-dress procedures but to no avail and even went to the Parliamentary Ombudsman who found in his favour but the revenue still would not budge so he did something unprecedented and sued them in the High Court.

Although the revenue ackowledged presistant errors, Mr Martin lost the case. He is now taking his case to the Court of Appeal.

Clive Coleman reports on why it is well nigh impossible to sue the Revenue and discovers how difficult it is to defend youself, even if it is the revenue who take YOU to court.

Divorce in Europe

A man and a woman with their backs to each other
Does 'forum shopping' save money or rush litigants?

Can you shop around Europe for the divorce settlement that will serve you best and save you the most money?

If you thought that Europe was all about imposing standardised laws for all countries, think again.

In the 50 years since the EU started, the different legal systems haven't really become more similar.

British Common Law in particular is very different from European civil legal systems.

Map of European Union
Accross Europe laws differ widely

And that's led to a phenomenon known as 'forum shopping', where litigants can trawl Europe for the legal system most sympathetic to their case.

Our reporter Mukul Devichand has been looking at how this works for divorce, and whether it's pushing people to take that dramatic decision sooner than they'd like.

Law in Action


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