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Criminal Defence

Woodward Lawson are able to provide a high level of personal guidance throughout all forms of criminal prosecution in Aberdeen and elsewhere in Scotland. We provide expert representation in all types of criminal cases in the High Court, Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Courts.

Civil Litigation

Woodward Lawson represent clients in a broad range of civil court cases, both in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session.

Contractual Disputes

Contracts form the backbone of daily life in any business. Occasionally, difficulties arise in relation to what was actually agreed and disputes occur if one party does not do what the other expects them to do.

Guardianship & Incapacity

We have significant experience in relation to Guardianship applications both from the perspective of raising applications for Guardianship and also in opposing such applications in disputed cases. Ian Woodward-Nutt also regularly acts as a Court appointed reporter in relation to Guardianship cases.

Building Disputes

Whether you are a builder seeking payment for works which have run into difficulties or a client receiving possible defective building work, it is best to seek our advice at the earliest possible juncture.

Road Traffic Offences

Road Traffic Law forms part of the Criminal Law that is a broad and technically complicated area. If you have been charged by the police or have received papers intimating a criminal prosecution for an alleged road traffic offence, it is important to take advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

Debt Collection

Every business encounters debtors from time to time and this can seriously affect important cash flow. At Woodward Lawson, we provide a robust one-stop service from seven day letters to pursuing court action in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session.

Property & Boundary Disputes

Few aspects of life can cause such concern as a neighbour asserting rights over your land or preventing you from doing something on their land that you thought you had a right to do.

Family, Divorce & Children

The breakdown of a relationship, be it marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation, leads to all manner of financial worries and practical difficulties as the inevitable change in your personal circumstances occurs. This is especially so if there are children involved and major assets require to be divided.

Road Haulage Representation

Woodward Lawson are pleased to offer representation in all matters concerning road haulage and transport law.

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Insight

News & Comment

Playing Catch Up – TV licences and the BBC iPlayer

17 March 2016

A TV licence is only required to watch programmes live or recorded as live. You do not require a TV licence if you are only using “catch up” services. You do not require a TV licence for live radio broadcasts. If you are watching live TV or recording live programmes, you will require a licence.

Of course, more and more people are legally saving money by using catch-up services like the BBC iPlayer instead of paying the licence fee. The UK government do not like it because it is giving people a “free ride”. Earlier this month, at the Oxford Media Convention, the Culture Secretary, John Whittington, said that the law in relation to the iPlayer had a “loophole” which had to be closed “as soon as practicable”. By this, he is expected to introduce changes to the law by the summer.

However, any change will only apply to the BBC iPlayer and not to other catch-up services like 4oD or ITV player. It will also not affect services like Netflix or Amazon Prime which have largely superseded live TV watching for many people.

Of course, how this change is going to be policed is being left for the BBC to decide. It has all the hallmarks of law enforcement open to ridicule by an organisation that is already not held in the same respect that it used to be. A bit like “Home taping is killing music”, a printed message on records during the 1980’s, nostalgically remembered for leaving kids shaking in their shoes – but perhaps not from fear.

At present, if a household does not need to have a licence because it is not watching or recording live television, it will still receive frequent mailings from TV Licensing which could be fairly described as aggressively worded warnings. Even if you take the time to write to TV Licensing and inform them that you do not watch TV, that will not be the end of it.

The impression given is that they have the power to attend at your home and to investigate their suspicions based on nothing more than your decision not to renew. For many law-abiding people, this is an unwelcome intrusion even if they have nothing to hide. It is exacerbated by the fact that even if they taken time to inform TV Licensing of their position previously, they can still be inconvenienced with a home visit at any time.

So, what is the position if a licensing officer turns up at your door?

Firstly, it is important to note that they have no legal powers of entry unless they have a police officer with them with a warrant. If you allow them in, that is purely at your discretion. You are quite entitled to ask them to leave.

Secondly, you do not have to answer any questions they may ask you or co-operate with them by filling in any forms. They have no right to invade your privacy although if they obtained evidence based upon, for example, looking through your windows and seeing you watching a live TV broadcast, that may be sufficient to establish your culpability to a penalty notice.

Thirdly, if you wish further information as regards the issue of criminalization, there was an interesting research done by the University of Glasgow last year with regards to procedures and practices in Scotland which actually differ from those in England and Wales:

http://schooloflaw.academicblogs.co.uk/2015/05/12/tv-licenses-and-decriminalisation-has-anyone-noticed-what-happens-in-scotland/

 

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