GDPR – One Year On. The News? Who’s asking, It Might Be Protected Information?

GDPR – One Year On. The News? Who’s asking, It Might Be Protected Information?

“Do you know of a General Data Protection expert who could advise me and my business about it all?
“Yes, I certainly do.
“Oh thanks, so tell me, who can help me then?
“No, I can’t tell you who it is, that’s protected data.”

I trust that old chestnut has you rocking with laughter. (Lawyers’ jokes are not for everyone perhaps.)

I’m strictly a bit late for the “one year on” blog cliché. Still it’s only July 2019 and the implementation date of GDPR was 25th May 2018. So, what’s been occurring?

The first effect for many companies was a worried revision of their own processes and systems. Many of them were hampered by a less than clear understanding of what the new Data Protection Regulation actually said. Or Meant.

OK? What does it say? – Here it is for you to read – Link –

I guess you probably are not going to do that, now that you can see the length of the Regulation. If you have read it, you will see that the above is the European overreaching regulation. It includes a requirement that the member States must their own rules of implementation.

In the case of UK, this is the Data Protection Act 2018 – Link Here –

So let me guess, you’re not going to read all of that either.

It does turn out to be a bit of a problem, that by and large the Laws of this Country and most others are just too damn long. How can we all obey what we can’t be bothered to read and wouldn’t clearly understand if we tried?

Take email marketing. It is not made illegal by the GDPR. But if it is done, it must be done in accordance with GDPR. So, again, how can we know what to do if the wording is impenetrable?

Many companies, including the well-known Wetherspoon pub restaurant chain, simply decided they couldn’t be bothered with the whole game of soldiers and deleted their entire customer marketing database.

Others meet the problem by deciding that if some of the data they hold is subject to the Regulation, then they will be OK if they never share any of their data with anyone. Not the most helpful thing in my line of work. I am often instructed to assist a student seeking to work abroad, by checking then notarizing that their University Degree is genuine. If the degree was from a USA University, I have just phoned up and asked the question and the receptionist has checked the computer and told me the answer.

In England, not so easy! “GDPR, innit.”

So it’s a year on from the implementation of that Regulation you’ve heard about.
The English enforcer for the Regulation seems to be the Information Commissioner’s Office and its website is showing a list of the enforcement actions it has taken.

Here is – the link-

I don’t know about you but there seems something oxymoronic about the information revealed above.

It enables you and me to browse through it without any business reason to do so, perhaps whilst bored at work, to learn of the misdemeanours of others.

Yebbut, one of the things we can read about, is the prosecution of a person Wendy who browsed through her employers’ database “without any business reason to do so” and read records of anti-social activities of others.

It doesn’t say why she did it, chances are that she was bored at work and passed the time reading about the misdemeanours of others? Fined £300.00.

Anyway, the page lists various examples of behaviour which will get you in trouble if you do it. Many are the sort of thing you would expect to get people into trouble. A schoolteacher moving pupil data to his home computer. A medical centre worker accessing details of patient health records. An employee copying the employer’s computerised customer list – perhaps in contemplation of setting up in competition and canvassing those customers.

Of course the majority of breaches are more what you might expect on a larger scale – unsolicited PPI phone calls, unconsented releases of customer data to third parties some of them involving many million individual people.

And the page does also give a highlight to the fact that enforcement notices but not fines have been served against the Met police, and HM Revenue and Customs.

It seems that the use of computers to assist the Met in coping with gang crime in London goes beyond what is reasonable.

Your view? – On the one hand, gangs very bad, catch and prosecute gangs very good.

On the other, how many of us support blanket facial recognition and CCTV everywhere as China seems to be pursuing – too much computerisation very bad?

With HM Revenue & Customs the breach was a lack of clarity in obtaining “consent” to the implementation of voice recognition software on the helplines.

Neither the Met nor HMR&C have been prosecuted or fined.

Again, it seems me counterproductive anyway to fine the Police, who don’t generate any money, or the HMR&C who do generate it or at least collect it, but spend it on Hospitals and Benefits and all of the Public Infrastructure that is so hard up.

But what would or should the Information Commissioner do, if ever there is a breach by HMR&C which in their opinion is so blatant as to deserve a swingeing fine?

The rules allow imposition of a fine of 4 per cent of global turnover. I don’t know whether the Revenue has any turnover at all. If it does, presumably, that’s the amount it collects. Which in year ended 2018 was over £605,000,000,000.00.

Although even if there were a fine of £24 billion, where do fines go? Into the general tax fund. Not much point as an exercise, fining the Taxman. As you were then, carry on.

None of the above relates to hackers. But as recent cases show, the activities of hackers have resulted in breaches of GDPR which have far outweighed the seriousness of breaches caused by bored employees, or by ill thought-out systems.

Two cases tower above the rest – those of Wm Morrison Supermarkets, and just yesterday, British Airways.

In the first case, a malicious employee with a grudge against the supermarket released protected information about 5,518 workers there. Morrisons have been found by the ICO not to be in breach of its protection compliance obligations. They had done all they could pretty much, apart from requiring every computer operator to work in tandem with another in order to keep each other honest. The problem there was not in inherently weak computer system vulnerable to hackers outside the building. Even so they are still fighting to avoid having to pay damages.

In the second, -Link Here – British Airways is alleged by the ICO to have failed to maintain the level of computer security required of it by the GDPR.

What is their fine? Over £183,000,000.00.

ICO can point to the fact that the maximum penalty could have been in the region of £488,000,000.00. Still a little salty though.

The hope is that an unbelievably huge fine like this will start a rush to improve systems across industry as a whole to the immense benefit of the consumer. Or…..The cynical may simply view this as the first of many such monster fines, each providing a boost to the Government’s Consolidated Fund at huge cost to the long term viability and competitiveness of British industry.

My own unofficial poll indicates that the average citizen of Leeds is a firm believer in GDPR, strongly determined to keep their personal data a secret to themselves.

Why else do they never indicate their intention at roundabouts?

Here’s a song –Link Here-

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

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Notary Advice. Worth the Fee?

Question :- It is the job of Notaries to make the preparation and execution of documents for use abroad, as easy as possible. True or false?

Well, true I suppose but sometimes it is the “as possible” bit which needs to be emphasized. Sometimes stuff just is complicated.

Take Limited Companies. Who can be a Director?

At present s. 155 of the Companies Act 2006 says that at least one of the directors of a Company must be a “natural” person. (A natural person is a human being, a corporation is a legal person but not a human being so not a natural person.)

Yebbut, the Government has created the “Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015” which is not yet the law, but presumably will be one day.

S87 of the 2015 legislation says that “The Companies Act 2006 s. 155 shall be omitted and the following added
“156A Each director to be a natural person
“(1)A person may not be appointed a director of a company unless the person is a natural person.”

So it is clear that the days of Corporate Company Directors are numbered. But today they are fine.

My point is, there is no “common sense” here. You cannot guess what is OK and what is not with Company Law, you have to read the law – and the law can change anytime. What is right today is wrong tomorrow.

Also and perhaps especially in the case of Company Documents there are rules which need to be followed, and you won’t be able to guess what they are. Or if you can once then you are lucky, but you won’t be lucky three times in a row if you are guessing.

It is rare for a successful business Director to be too interested in the detailed requirements of the thousands of rules and regulations which govern the activities of their Companies: no doubt it can be the bane of their lives to be told by their Notary that a document cannot be executed by Fred because Fred is not an authorised signatory.

But if Fred is in charge of supervising the Dubai office, they say, who else should sign a Power of Attorney to assist in the Dubai operation? No. Fred may have a job description as “Middle Eastern Affairs Director” or some such. And the young school leaver may call himself the “Director of Paperclip Procurement”. But these are just job titles. And only Officers of the Company, as defined in the 2006 Act, are authorised signatories.

So the Notary will have to tell that successful business Director [the sbD] that because Fred is not actually a Company Board Director, therefore he must not sign the Deed, because it will expose him to personal liability and will not bind the Limited Company to its terms anyway.

And egos come into this. Sometimes sbDs may consider that their godlike status within the organisation is being challenged rather than enhanced, when being told that Plan A is unworkable.

A fellow Notary has written to say that he recently “had the European Head of a global enterprise email me to ask me what I was going on about when I had suggested to the UK people that they were proposing to execute a Power of Attorney incorrectly.”

He felt as if he was being invited onto the naughty step.

“What are you going on about?”, – bit alarming?

Not quite the same as, “Thank you very much, I nearly made an expensive blunder, you have saved my expensive bacon”.

Here is a case link – click here – to the Katana case.

Basically, a contract was entered into which included an agreement that any dispute arising would be dealt with by English Law.

Trouble was, it eventually was discovered that none of the parties or their advisors actually knew any English Law.

One of the companies involved purported to sign the contract by using as its signatory a person who had been appointed an Attorney of it, under what everyone believed to be a Deed of Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney however was not a Deed. It was not properly witnessed as a Deed.

No English Notary was involved.

Because the “Deed” was defective, the Claimant’s case was dismissed.

If an English Notary had been consulted, it might have taken half an hour of reading the papers to see that the Deed was defective. I charge £120.00 plus vat for half an hour.
The Claimants dismissed claim was for €65 million

Perhaps I don’t charge enough? HMmm. Only me then?

At any rate, I promise to charge less than €65 million, so Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.
Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

Who Should Pay? And, What is Fairness?

Who Should Pay? And, What is Fairness?

I have written Blogs earlier, about problems which can be caused by rogue employees – by co-incidence they both involved the huge Supermarket Company WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC.

In the first case, Morrisons had to pay out compensation because a petrol pump attendant [that shows my age – let’s say, a man who worked at the till of a petrol station] went mad – or maybe he had been mad for years, but he suddenly let it show and attached a customer first with his fists, knocked him down and then kicked him.

Here is my Blog about that – Link Here-

The reason Morrisons had to pay compensation is because in England there is the concept of “vicarious liability”. An employer is liable to pay compensation for the consequences of civil wrongs “Torts” committed by its employees when they are working.

The thinking is that employers should recruit proper responsible people, and also supervise their actions sufficiently closely so as to ensure they behave well.

For example. if there is a bully in the office, harming co-workers lives and their mental health then an employer is liable to compensate for the harm done and also if the behaviour is not brought to an end.

When a wrongdoing is done by someone obviously at work, vicarious liability is relatively easy to identify.

But the law is imprecise at the edges. What if this petrol pump man had attacked a random person whilst on a bus on his way to work? Or whilst on holiday in Spain – paid for out of savings from earnings at work. Presumably, no vicarious liability.

What if a lorry driver carelessly runs you over, whilst making a stop at an ATM, half a mile from the route his employer had set him? Vicarious liability.

What if a lorry driver scheduled to drive from Leeds to London, carelessly runs you over at an ATM in Newcastle where he is skiving off to visit his girlfriend? Not Vicarious liability. He is too far removed from what he is employed to do, he is on a “frolic of his own” as the law calls it.

Another facet of the law surrounding the concept of vicarious liability, is that the motive of the employee is irrelevant. So if a bully wants to see fear, or a mad petrol kiosk attendant wants to see blood, or a lorry driver is simply careless, – doesn’t matter.

Say it again – motive doesn’t matter.

The second time Morrisons have been enmeshed in the complications of Vicarious Liability, is the one I blogged about here – Link here.

Quick summary:- Andrew Skelton worked for Morrisons as an internal auditor. He had access to personal data including bank details, NI numbers, phone numbers and possibly a lot more, about the employees of Morrisons. At least 5500 of them are represented in the Court claims but there may be over 100,000 of them according to some reports.

His problem was that Morrisons didn’t like him using their premises and computers to run his own “e-commerce” business when he was being paid to work for Morrisons.

I know – These prickly employers eh?

Having got into a lather about this sheer totalitarianism – the outdated mindset of Morrisons that their employees ought to spend their time at work attending solely to the affairs of Morrisons – he cooked up a cunning plan.

He downloaded all of the sensitive data to which he had access, and put it onto memory stick and took it home

He waited several weeks out of caution then he published all of the data online.

He is in prison now serving eight years. Good.

And Morrisons have been found liable to pay compensation to his victims. Vicarious Liability.

But the case has now been taken to the Court of Appeal by Morrisons. The argument they put forward is that this case is a very unusual one, because Skelton was primarily acting not in order to hurt the employees of Morrisons, who might suffer distress and worry and also perhaps financial loss to computer hackers – but only in order to hurt Morrisons and its business.

Skelton knew about the law of vicarious liability. He knew that Morrisons would be found liable for the consequences of this actions and he acted in order to maximise the financial loss to Morrisons.

So his crime was intended to hurt Morrison, and it has certainly worried one of the Judges of the previous hearing that the Court itself is being required find Morrisons liable vicariously and thereby, to do the criminal’s dirty work.

The spectre has arisen of the possibility of a new kind of financial terrorism.

At the latest Appeal hearing the Court has declined to change the basic rule that “Motive does not matter”. Here is a link to the hearing transcript – Link Here-.

Morrisons will have one more go I expect, an appeal to the Supreme Court.

What does the team think? The law is I suppose an attempt to structure acceptable behaviours. It is not true to say that the aim of jurisprudence is to make life fair for everyone, but certainly fairness comes into it, if only because manifest “unfairness” might be hard to define but easier to recognise, and ultimately can lead to public dissent, rioting and revolution.

Not that one person’s fairness is not another one’s unfairness. Certainly Morrisons feel it is unfair, that they may be facing pay-outs of millions for the behaviour of a criminal whose only aim was to make them pay out millions.

But the people whose data, which should have been kept safe, has been published openly onto the internet, will also feel it is unfair if Morrisons’ Appeal is successful, because that will mean that the only redress will be whatever they can get out of Skelton, who is in jail. So good luck with suing him for millions he presumably hasn’t got.

It seems to me that breaches of GDPR need to be taken out of the scope of the laws of vicarious liability.

If Parliament thinks that Morrisons have actually done something wrong [and remember, the Courts have enquired fully and don’t think it has] then Parliament should define that culpable behaviour.

Seems to me also that the whole concept of vicarious liability was originally to enable co-workers or the public to get compensation when they otherwise would not have been able to, in the context of a world which was much simpler and when the idea that a malicious keystroke on a computer could have consequences of the sort now facing Morrisons, was the stuff of science fiction.

But it is not science fiction now, and in my view we really don’t want to encourage economic terrorists whether idiots like Skelton or more ideologically driven idiots or enemies to get into jobs where they can bring down our country’s biggest economic engines, now do we?

That’s a bit of a gloomy thought. Cheer up – Link Here-

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.
Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

House Thefts. Land Thefts. Latest Court Decision. The Judges Don’t Agree What To Do.

House Thefts. Land Thefts. Latest Court Decision. The Judges Don’t Agree What To Do.

It used to be that when you bought a house in England, you got a title Deed. Or more likely, a huge bundle of title deeds. If you had a mortgage you had to let your lender keep the bundle. If not, you likely stored them in a Bank or at your Solicitors’ offices.

No-one who didn’t need or have any right to look at them, could look at them. No-one could copy them, no-one could pretend to be you and then sell your house to an innocent third party and steal all the money.

You might wonder, why has that system been replaced for the system we have now? That is, by a system where A CROOK CAN LOOK AT YOUR DEEDS ONLINE FOR £3.00 AND PRINT THEM OUT IN UNDER A MINUTE.

Then all they have to do, is pretend to be you, and they can sell your house. Or more precisely, persuade innocent buyers into paying the crook for the house in the belief that they are buying it.

Ok there is a lot more they have to do, in terms of having the computer knowledge to hide the money once they have got it, and having the sheer brass neck and basic criminality in the first place. And the crook needs to find an empty house, because a buyer would not buy it with you in it.

An exception to the empty house point, is the documented case of the criminal taking a tenancy of a property, then selling it as the owner, after actually changing his own name to the name of the property owner, by Deed Poll!

That enabled him to get a real driving license, council tax bill, bank account, all in the name of the real owner. Link here

But the “open register” system has removed the most basic protection of all. Title Deeds.

This new system has been in place since 2003.

In 2009, identity theft according to the guardian, was the UK’s fastest growing crime https://www.theguardian.com/media/blog/2009/oct/12/ukcrime-id-theft-rising

And in 2018? The Register says, ID theft in UK hits a record high https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/18/id_theft_in_uk_at_record_high_cifas_report/

Can you tell me this – Why can I find out who owns a house worth millions, and whether they have a mortgage, and then print their ”deeds” from the Land Registry, yet I can’t find out who owns a car worth £500, from the DVLA?

Surely the obvious thing is that the Government should immediately block the public access to the Land registry information?

Anyway, until the Government finds a brain cell, [and don’t hold your breath about that], the reality is that crooks can easily get the information and documents which they need to steal your house. The question then arises, what should be done with the stable door?

Basically when a crook C has pretended to be an Owner O and “sold” a house to Buyers B then run away with the money, and C has used a solicitor SC [who thinks that C is O and that they are therefore acting for O] and B has used a solicitor SB, the compensation choices are

1 C intended to steal Money from B and has done so. No one is to blame but C who has disappeared. B has lost the money and no one will compensate B

2 SC has been careless in letting B and SB believe that SC actually acted for O. SC should reimburse B

3 SB has been instructed and paid by B to complete a transfer of the house into the name of B. This has not happened. SB must reimburse B

4 Between them SB and SC were warranting to B that they are competent solicitors who will work together to ensure that house ownership is transferred to B. This has not been achieved and so both must share in reimbursing B

And believe it or not, as my earlier blogs have explained, each of the possible 4 choices has been the result of choice settled upon by a Judge in at least one case.

So it is clear, the Courts haven’t known what to do, each Court has decided to deal with the problem in a different way.

Now what’s new is that we have very recently had the news of a decision upon appeal of the “Dreamvar” case which I have blogged about earlier – link here –

As it was decided in February 2018 – most surprisingly, – the Judge ordered that it should be the Solicitors acting for the innocent Buyers who should reimburse their client. Option 3 of the 4 above.

In a nutshell, the 15th May 2018 Appeal decision has fudged the question and plumped for option 4 – both sets of lawyers must reimburse. –Link to Case Report here –

I think it is fair to say that most commentators and lawyers were expecting option 2.

That seems the right one to me in a case where the “selling” lawyers SC have been less than careful to identify not only Mr X – the person in their office, but also the relationship between Mr X and the ownership of the property.

And it is therefore interesting to note that one of the three judges who decided this appeal, does not agree with the decision. That dissenting Judge said “I consider that ….SB… ought fairly to be excused”.

So the result is that, if the Courts can’t tell them, no-one in the business of Conveyancing has much idea of the extent of their risk and insurance obligation.

I will treat us all to another Blog no doubt, when this latest decision is itself appealed!

It’s my House – Link Here – – Don’t let anyone steal it.

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website www.atkinsonnotary.com

“Apostille” only please? On my Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate. No Problem. Louise Explains.

“Apostille” only please. On my Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate. No Problem. Louise Explains.

If you have been asked to obtain an Apostille on a GRO Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate then we can obtain this for you.

You may be requiring to obtain a foreign passport for a child born in England, or dealing with visa or other matters abroad.

If the foreign Country is a party to – i.e., has signed- the Hague Convention of 1961 then it will require an “Apostille” to be placed on a document which is to be relied upon.

I am sure there will be many people who do not know what an “Apostille” is – to explain to those people, in a nutshell it is a stamp issued by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and confirms that the signature of a named signatory on a document is genuine – whether that be of a Notary, Solicitor, Registrar etc…

In particular, the Apostille contains a unique number which is back-checkable on the internet.

So in the case of an English certificate, the Apostille is the British Government warrant to the foreign jurisdiction that the signatory is indeed who s/he purports to be.

The Apostille will be relied upon abroad because it is in effect an Insurance policy, protecting the foreign entities who rely upon it – the British public purse will cover any financial loss from anyone overseas relying.

If a foreign jurisdiction do not require any notarisation then this is fine – we can still obtain the Apostille for you – what this means is that instead of the Apostille warranting the Notary signature, the Apostille would be warranting the signing Registrar on the GRO certificate.

You can of course submit appropriate documents direct to the Foreign Office for Apostille in this event. However many of our clients prefer to drop the paperwork in to us, so that we can check it is in order and appropriate for the Foreign Office, and then have us deal with the Foreign Office on your behalf.

One example I can give as to why an Apostille might be required on a GRO Certificate is that of registering the birth of a baby who has been born in England however their parents are of Eastern European nationality and are required to register the Birth of the baby in their home country. Typically what is required is an “Apostille” to be placed upon the Birth Certificate of the baby. This can then be submitted to the foreign jurisdiction to register the Birth.

Another example is if you are planning to get married overseas – some foreign jurisdictions require an Apostille to be placed on the reverse of a GRO Certificate of No Impediment – again this confirms to the foreign jurisdiction that the signature of the Register on the certificate is genuine and can be relied upon and the foreign jurisdiction can be quite content that they are not marrying bigamists.

A further example is an “Apostille” may be required on a Death Certificate to prove to a foreign jurisdiction that the death of a person is genuine – so if there are assets to be sold and/or distributed then the foreign legal adviser can be sure of the fact that the death is genuine and can proceed with the legal formalities.

The list goes on but hopefully the examples above will give you a good idea why an Apostille only may be required and if you need help with this, then we can assist.

There are two services [timescales] of obtaining Apostilles:

1. Standard service – as at today’s date currently the Foreign Office are taking around 5 working days to return documents to us with Apostilles
2. Expedited Service – we can, using our Agents in London, obtain an Apostille by hand within 24 hours and get it back to our office in 48 hours.

In addition, we are FedEx Agents and can have your paperwork delivered by FedEx Courier to most places in the World for you.

Please do contact me whenever you need Notarial certification or an “Apostille” – at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

Notarisation. Never a Dull Moment. No, Really.

Notarisation. Never a Dull Moment. No, Really.

No doubt there are those who imagine that the world and work of a Notary tends ever so slightly towards the enervative side of the tedium spectrum.

But I am here to tell you NO. Just like the wacky purviews of the Accountants and the Actuaries, a Notary’s work-load is an exciting daily roller-coaster ride of new and often baffling conundrums.

For this week, a reminder for this Notary that doing it the job “correctly” is no substitute for doing the job in a way in which it will be acceptable to the end user abroad. And that there is a difference between being knowledgeable, and being wise. Wise is better!

An example is that of the colour of ink to be used. As we are taught at Notary Nursery school, three countries in the world will reject out of hand the use of any colour or form of ink other than black fountain pen. [South Africa, Italy and Malaysia].

Since there is only one place which requires the use of Blue ink [Florida USA], it is easy enough therefore to use black ink for everything, with a blue pen on stand-by for Floridian documents.

So imagine the frisson of excitement and ruffled feathers in the Notarial World, when a document for Hungary has been rejected there, for use of Black Ink. The same black ink that Notaries have been submitting to Hungary for hundreds of years. NO, says the Hungarian nut-job “I WANT BLUE INK”

The reality for Hungary is that the old Civil Code has a section – incidentally now repealed – that requires signatures to be “visibly original”. Well whatever that phrase means, it surely cannot mean that a blue signature is necessarily original or a black one not visibly original, in this day and age of colour photocopies.

There is NO Hungarian prohibition on the use of black ink.

Notarial documents bear an impressed seal in any event so that the original document is not flat as a photocopy is flat. [Are there 3D photocopiers yet?]

Notarial Documents for use in Hungary bear the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Apostille, verifiable on the internet.

Every other Hungarian lawyer accepts black ink documents. So there are lots of good points to raise in argument. If you want an argument.

The point is though, that doing things right gets you only so far. The reality is that if a man in Hungary wants a document to be signed in Blue Ink, it is quicker and cheaper to – you guessed – sign it in Blue Ink.

So a knowledgeable Notary in England might pass his exams and do everything by the book and send a black ink document to Hungary and get them rejected, whilst a wise Notary will before starting work, ask the man in Hungary – what colour ink would you like?

And by the way, I may have lied about the exciting Actuaries.

And blue and black ink pens are available here so, as always, whenever you have documents to Notarise to use abroad, you can contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

You Read It Here First. Check The Qualifications. Weed Out The Imposters.

You read it here first. Check The Qualifications. Weed out the imposters.

It is exactly one year ago that I wrote this Blog –Link Here – and sad to say, it hasn’t changed the World.

The gist of last year’s message was, don’t give a candidate a job just because they have a nice smile or they remind you of your favourite film star.

Don’t have a quick look at a Degree certificate or put the candidate’s letter of reference into the desk drawer, on the basis that you will check it later only if it turns out they are rubbish at the job.

Because, if you give a job to someone who is using fake papers, you may be held responsible if their incompetence causes loss or injury to your customers or others in the course of their employment.

The reality is, as I wrote last year and as the BBC have got around to reporting today, that there are liars about. Yes, really.

And the best liars will be those with the nicest smiles, possibly.

Here is the link to the BBC report –Link Here – – May I remark without being too smug that it adds little information to my year-old blog? –  Beyond making it clear that the problem of fake degrees is getting worse not better.

There is a big problem at the root of any system of learning and testing. What should be taught? How should a person’s understanding of what has been taught be tested? Who is qualified to mark the test?

Some areas of learning have a right and a wrong. Two plus two equals four.

But other areas – creative writing say, a bit harder. If a piece of text is submitted for an English language exam say, one examiner might decide it is first class. A wonderful exciting insightful story. A page-turner which they could not put down. First Class marks. But another examiner of the same piece of work might discount all that if it is full of spelling mistakes, split infinitives and incorrect punctuation. Marked grade E or even a fail.

And a candidate for a job writing instruction manuals intended for photocopier engineers to use, might not get the job if critics could say of his prose:-

“What punctuation there is has the effect not of assisting interpretation but of further breaking down any chain of meaning in the language…… instead ….  it operates as a kind of revolving door by which one both exits and enters the various semantic fields in the passage.” © Adrian Hunter writing about Samuel Beckett.

Beckett was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century but obviously not a man to turn to when you want to be reminded how to change the toner cartridge. So does Beckett pass or fail?

So where does that leave a student with low or no grades, if ability or entitlement to a degree may be little more than the opinion of a particular examiner? Resentful, much?

So it is not too surprising that it seems that there is a huge market for fake degrees and diplomas. And whilst most may be purchased by frauds who never even went to school, that is not the whole market.

There are also those people who have worked extremely hard and feel cheated by their lower degree or failure. They may feel that the examiners have let them down and that they deserved to pass, or to get a first class award. It may be that a person works in an Industry and knows s/he is better able to do a job than a higher paid colleague, but the colleague has been given the job because they have a degree.

Which may be why there is such a huge market for fake degrees. A real degree can be the passport to secure and high-income employment. Therefore, so can a fake one. If it looks real enough and no-one has asked a Notary to investigate it.

Just for fun, google this

“Where can I buy a fake degree in UK?”

Yes, over 29 million results.

So, it seems that there may be more fake degrees certificates issued than real ones.

Not every person who has felt tempted to purchase a fake degree has a self-image as a fraudster. But here’s the reality – It is dishonest and you can go to jail.

What does seem to be interesting now is that the criminals who sell these false certificates, have a second string to their bow:- You are Mr ABC, and you have bought a degree in Engineering from the University of NotaPlace. Mr Crim knows who you are. In a couple of years, he sees Mr ABC is a Lecturer in Engineering at the British University of Somewherereal.

Next thing, Mr ABC is threatened by the criminals with exposure to the Police and his employers unless large sums are paid. Blackmail and extortion – Today and forever.

It’s a naughty World out there, so keep yourself as safe as you can, check everything once, check it again, and then ask me to Notarise it!

This week’s song – Link here for New Job –

And as ever – our message to you is, for documents for use around the world as well as educational certificates for use in England, do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com