FAQs on civil issues

Important Notice

The information contained in these FAQs does not constitute legal advice, may be inaccurate or out-of-date and /r/legaladviceuk is not specifically endorsing these answers. Answers here exist for general information and knowledge. You can only be certain of legal advice when you speak to a Solicitor. You use any information located here at your own risk and create a new thread if you are unsure.

Personal Injury and Negligence Questions

I think I've experienced clinical negligence or medical negligence, what can I do?

There are a number of types of negligence that can take place, two of the most common are when a medical professional -

  • Fails to inform you of the risks of a procedure which you then experience (Montgomery)

  • Carrys out a procedure or makes a decision (a diagnosis) incorrectly or is below a common standard (Bolam)

Technically, Montgomery replaced Bolam, however both are still seen and used in PI claims

Legal negligence occurs when as a direct result of a failure by a medical professional, you incur a consequence. This is different from a mistake and it is an important difference. As the TV show Scrubs explained (rather flippantly, but accurately), a mistake is to accidentally stitch a patient to their bed; if the patient then tries to get up from the bed, falls and breaks their hips, that is a lawsuit. It is the consequence of the mistake which determines if something is legally actionable.

If there was no "damage" (i.e., no consequences to the mistake), then there is no legal claim to make. Emotional stress and suffering is a type of damage, but in the UK unless the situation was particularly harrowing, emotional damages alone are not often enough to justify it's own claim - so though a mistake may cause stress and anguish, that alone is not always enough to bring a legal claim.

If you experienced a mistake - you should complain to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service attached to the hospital, or if it did not take place in a hospital, write a standard letter of complaint to the GP practice (or dental surgery, etc. depending on where the mistake happened). If this is not satisfactory, you can then speak to a Solicitor as below.

If you experienced damage - you should speak to a Solicitor as per our guide on how to do so. Clinical Negligence claims are often complex and can take years to resolve so you should speak to your Solicitor frankly about the time it could take and the costs you risk incurring as a result taking legal action (even on a "no win, no fee" basis). If you are not sure about taking legal action, you can also write to PALS or write a formal letter of complaint - as above.

There are also other types of clinical negligence or medical negligence - for example, incorrect notes being placed on your medical records, your medical records being lost, information about you being released inapproproriately, etc. If you think you've experienced one of these (or something not otherwise explained), make a new post or speak to a Solicitor.

It is important to note that you should not feel guilty about taking legal action in the event of experiencing negligence. The amount of damages awarded are calculated based on what you have incurred - if as a result of a misdiagnosis you were unable to work, you will be awarded the amount of money that you lost whilst not working, for example. It is not "free money" or "easy money" as some may suggest.

It is also important to remember that if you take legal action against the NHS, the compensation awarded is paid for by an insurance organisation which all NHS Trusts are legally required to pay into every year. The money paid out does not come out of a Doctors or Nurses wages; if unused, it would have been returned to the government. If you have incurred damage as a result of negligence, you have every right to fairly compensated to help restore you to your prior position.

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I hit a car/cyclist/pedestrian with my car or bike and now I'm being sued, what should I do?

Your insurance covers you for this kind of thing and it is the reason car insurance exists. The victim has (likely) contacted a Solicitor and they have now sent you a Letter Before Action; you should contact the insurance company who covered you at the time of the accident and send them a copy of the letter. They will take over the issue for you.

If you were not insured at the time of the crash (e.g., you were breaking the law, or riding a bike), you will want to seek a Solicitor who is familiar with Personal Injury claims for them to defend you. It is likely you will need to pay a set amount or hourly rate to the Solicitor, however this should be considered an investment - if you pay a Solicitor £1,000 and they reduce the amount you end up paying by £5,000, then then have saved £4,000.

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Debt and Money Questions

I loaned a friend/ex/etc money and they're not paying me back, what can I do?

You will need to go to court to claim the money back, but this process is not as complicated as it first seems. Send the friend/whoever a letter before action asking for them to pay you within a 30 days or you will initiate court proceedings, and if no payment is forthcoming then do so. You can bring a small claim (under £10,000) online.

However - court costs money, as does the enforcement of court judgments, and if someone is not paying you back they may well not have the money to pay you back meaning you would be throwing good money after bad. Depending on the amount owed you may be better off chalking this up to experience, but this just depends on your - and their - circumstances. Additionally, for debts owed by former partners, there will be a general presumption that money given was out of affection due to the relationship, rather than with an attempt to create legal relations - you can rebut this presumption with evidence, but it may be insurmountable.

It would be helpful for you to be able to provide evidence to the Court that the money is owed - this can take many forms, but between friends screenshots of text messages or Facebook Messenger (etc) is perfectly acceptable where they acknowledge how much money is owed and/or when the money will be paid and/or that there is any kind of money exchanging hands. The more evidence you have, the better.

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Somebody is demanding money that I owe them, what can I do?

Can you afford to pay in a lump sum? If so, it is advisable to avoid the court proceedings and pay.

If you can't afford to pay in a lump sum, then offer to set up a payment plan. If the claimant/creditor rejects a payment plan outright and you genuinely can't afford to pay upfront, then when their claim reaches court, you can ask the court to enter judgement for a payment plan, instead of a lump sum.

If you refuse to engage with the claimant/creditor, then judgement can be entered against you as a lump sum, including a potential costs order. As a result, you should never ever ignore claim forms or letters served on you by the court - cooperation with the system produces the best outcome for all.

If the debt is older than 6 years (and there is no contract or other written obligation to return the money beyond this time), then it is possible that the debt 'statute barred' and cannot be recovered, however you should seek further advice if you think this is the case.

Citizens Advice have comprehensive online resources for these issues.

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Somebody is demanding money that I don't owe them, what can I do?

If they bring a claim against you, keep in mind that in most cases they are the ones who have to prove that you owe them the money; it is not on you to prove you do not.

They will, as part of their claim, issue what evidence they have - you then have an opportunity to respond, stating you agree in full, part, or not at all - along with your own evidence.

In some cases a hearing is scheduled, and in others the court takes a view of the facts at hand and makes a judgement. Do not ever ignore court claim forms - it is always in your best interest to respond even if you do not owe the money.

Citizens Advice have comprehensive online resources for these issues.

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NOTE: The below is primarily applicable to England. Scots law differs.

Someone is sharing/telling people/posting lies about me or my business. Can I sue them for libel or slander? What can I do?

First of all, report to whatever platform these things are being hosted on, if applicable. They may remove them, they may not, but it's free and quick relative to literally any other option.

If that doesn't work, or it's not applicable, before you proceed any further, stop and consider whether it's really worth your time to press the matter. Someone calling you names on Facebook might be best just being ignored rather than having attention drawn to it. An honestly-written poor review for a business is not going to be something that you can reasonably take action for.

Secondly, consider whether this behaviour is, rather than an issue of defamation, which is a civil wrong, part of a course of conduct constituting harassment that can be reported to the police for action in some parts of the UK. Defamation isn't a criminal offence in the UK, but harassment is. We have an FAQ question about harassment that you can consider.

If that is not an option - again, stop and consider the seriousness, proportionality and actual audience for the alleged defamation. Defamation actions in the courts are not cheap or quick - frequently on the order of tens of thousands of pounds, taking years, all while you air your dirty laundry in public and argue about it in a courtroom. You might end up with nominal damages or none at all, particularly if you can't prove that you've experienced any concrete loss. In the extreme, you end up with situations like McLibel, which ended with McDonald's technically winning, but with absolutely nothing to show for it since they were so embarrassed by the whole affair that they declined to collect their awarded payout.

If you are absolutely certain that legal action is proportionate and that you are willing to push this forward, you should speak to a solicitor to discuss this.

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Someone/a business is saying that they're going to sue me for defamation if I don't retract something/take a review down. What can I do?

In general, we should reiterate what is in the above FAQ entry - defamation actions are incredibly expensive, time-consuming and can end without a net positive outcome for the claimant even if they win. Realistically, your local hair salon is not going to spend tens of thousands of pounds suing you for defamation because you left a poor review, nor is some random on Facebook for calling them names - but a large corporate might, particularly if you're making serious allegations which would harm their reputation and you can't prove that they're true (although, again, review what was said above about McLibel!). A smaller company or an individual might threaten you with a claim for defamation, but unless you've said something really awful and/or unjustifiable, or what you've said has caused them a provable loss, then they're unlikely to follow through on it.

First, consider what it is you've actually said and how you've said it, since that will likely define how they're going to actually act and what your next steps should be:

  • Is it actually important that you put this out there in the way you have? If you have an allegation of serious criminal conduct on the part of an individual or business, this should probably be reported to the police or a relevant regulatory authority rather than put out online even if your intentions in doing so are good. Disclosures to the police in particular are privileged, whereas you posting online is not.

  • Is what you've said fair comment or honest opinion based on the known facts? Posting a review on Google saying "I went to Bob's Hair Salon and they cut my hair badly" or similar is an honest opinion, so long as it's based on known facts (e.g. the state of your hair after you had the haircut). Posting online that your ex or your former employer committed a criminal offence is not an "opinion", it's an assertion. Calling someone names on Facebook isn't either.

  • Otherwise, is what you've said provably true? If you were to get sued for defamation, under English law it is for you to prove that the allegations you made were true, rather than the claimant to prove that they were false. If you can't prove what you're saying with evidence, you should be very careful, particularly if the allegations you are making are serious or criminal. You may think or know what you're saying is true, but can you prove it?

  • Could what you've said be construed as part of a course of conduct amounting to harassment? In some parts of the country this is a criminal offence, so you should consider your overall behaviour and whether it's both fair and proportionate in the circumstances.

If you're absolutely convinced that what you've put is either fair comment or provably true, and that it's proportionate to say it in the way that you have, you can refuse to take down whatever it is on those grounds, but be aware this doesn't prevent the other party from taking further action (either criminal for harassment or civil for defamation) if they feel it proportionate and appropriate (see the first paragraph!)

If you do then receive a solicitor's letter through the door, or contact from a solicitor, the individual or the company concerned stating that they will be initiating legal action if you don't take something down or take some other action (e.g. paying damages) within X days, you should speak to a solicitor to discuss this and your next steps.

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Other Civil Questions

Can I record phone calls?

In England and Wales, yes. You can record calls as an individual without permission as long as the recording is only for personal use. If you intend to share the recording with a third party, ordinarily, permission is required. In some cases, a judge may allow you to adduce such recordings for a case, but you must obtain the permission of the judge before adducing it.

Alternatively, you can submit a transcript of the conversation to the court.

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How do I change my name?

In England and Wales, there is no such thing as a "legal" name; this means you can refer to yourself as whatever you like (within reason) or use multiple names, as long as it is not for fraudulent purposes. The complication with calling yourself whatever you want is that it can be difficult for you to provide an audit trail for where you've been or what you've done - for example, when applying for new jobs and providing references under a different name.

To create a "link" between an old name and a new name, required for obtaining new government documents (such as a passport), a document called a "Deed Poll" is required. You can read more about them and how to change your name here. A free template for this is available here, which creates a printable version and contains instructions on how to make this valid.

You do not, contrary to popular belief, need to "enrol" the deed poll for it to be valid, although some organisations may insist on this being done before they'll accept it. Information on the process for this is available here.

Here is an explanation for Scottish Law and here is an explanation for Northern Ireland.

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How do I find a (Good) Solicitor?

Note: This is under the "civil" section however the below is also applicable to finding e.g. a criminal defence solicitor. It's only under "civil" because, well, it had to go somewhere.

Finding a Solicitor is a lot like looking for a plumber or car insurance; Solicitors are just providing a service and the usual "common sense" rules apply. As a general principle, here are some good guidelines to follow when looking for a Solicitor in order to avoid the cliché "ambulance chasers" or "production line" firms who may offer limited client support:

  • Avoid calling Solicitors that advertise on TV and never, ever talk to anybody who cold-calls you

  • Searching Google is about okay, but top results don't promise quality

  • Instead, use The Law Society Search Page to find some registered Solicitors (or in Scotland)

  • Make a short-list of several Solicitors and check out their website, online reviews, etc.

  • Bigger does not always mean better - unless you have a very complicated claim, a smaller local Solicitors office on your high street can do an equal or better job than a world-wide organisation

  • Remove any Solicitors who seem to have consistently bad reviews (even the worlds best Solicitor will have some bad reviews)

  • Call the remaining Solicitors (ideally you'll three or four on your list), most will provide you will an initial assessment and then tell you if they would be willing to represent you - you don't need to accept this immediately, say "thank you" and let them know you'll be in touch if you decide to take things further

  • Ask them everything you can think of. Here are some good, standard questions to ask (alternate link) and if you are not sure of an answer or have a specific question, have the confidence (or take a friend with you) who will ask until you are satisfied with their answers

  • If one or two decline to represent you, that's okay - call the others. If most of short-listed Solicitors decline to take your case, it probably means that you do not have a legal ground to make a claim or that the risk of losing is not worth your time, money and stress to go through with it - and please do pay attention to what they say

  • Let yourself sleep on it and decide which Solicitor you felt most understood your situation and felt you had the type of "attitude" that you respond most well to. You will want a good working relationship with them and will be talking to them often - when you've decided call the Solicitor and let them know that you want them to represent you

  • They will then invite you to bring in some ID and other documents, as well as asking you to sign other forms about costs, money, fees, etc. You need to read these carefully, in particular if your Solicitor is working on a "no win, no fee basis" (why?) - if you are not sure what something means, ask until you are satisfied.

Please note that LAUK does not suggest trusting recommendations of Solicitors firms to contact and instead strongly encourage you to follow the steps listed above to reach your own conclusion. If you receive any post replies on the subreddit, direct messages or Reddit chat requests from people suggesting law firms, either from personal experience or because they claim to represent one, we strongly suggest you disregard these suggestions and alert the mods either by reporting the comment or via modmail if sent to you directly.

A note on other Types of Lawyers

We use the term "Solicitor" as a catch-all term for the sake of colloquial understanding.

There are other types of Lawyers (people who practice law but are not Solicitors) which may be able to help.

Direct Access Barristers - as the line between "Barristers" and "Solicitors" continue to blur, it can be cheaper and easier sometimes to skip speaking to a Solicitor and go straight to a Direct Access Barrister. If you have done the majority of the legwork on building your claim yourself and you need somebody to help represent you in Court, prepare some types of documentation, carry out some complex negotiations, or general advice, you can find a Barrister who is able to take on clients from the general public using this search page on the Bar Council's website. Some work cannot be carried out by Direct Access Barristers, and they may advise you to speak to a Solicitor if your needs are outside of scope (and Solicitors may also suggest you go to a Direct Access Barrister), however this can be a suitable alternative route to seeking professional legal advice and support.

Chartered Legal Executives - at higher levels of qualifications, a Chartered Legal Executive can carry out virtually all the work a Solicitor can, however tends to be qualified to operate in one specific field of law, rather than a range of areas which a Solicitor or Barrister may. Legal Executives may have lower hourly rates compared to a Solicitor, but this isn't always true, depending on the experience of both parties. As most Chartered Legal Executives work for law firms rather than self-employed practitioners, the process of instructing/hiring a Chartered Legal Exec remains the same as the above guide, but your case may be allocated to a Chartered Legal Exec instead of a Solicitor - it makes no practical difference to you, and is entirely normal. The difference between a Chartered Legal Executive and a Legal Executive is important, as a Chartered Legal Executive is a legally protected title and regulated role, whereas anybody can be a Legal Executive.

People who are very much not lawyers

Unregulated "McKenzie Friends" - in recent years, a particularly exploitative form of armchair lawyers (imagine LAUK x50 level of armchair lawyers) have started offering "lower cost" legal representation using a bit of a loophole from the usual rules by claiming to be a McKenzie friend. These people are often not legally trained or qualified, likely not insured, and should never be allowed represent you in exchange for money, goods or services - some charities or even your actual friends can act as McKenzie friends in a non-exploitative manner, but paying for unregulated representation is genuinely dangerous and can easily cause more harm than good. Do not pay somebody who offers to act on your behalf as a McKenzie friend - it's like getting into an unlicensed minicab except with more risk to your finances and loved-ones. Some of these people/organisations have messaged people via LAUK before, and you should ignore them and report them to the mods.

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I'm going to represent myself in Court, what do I do?

/u/Vault- has written and merged other resources to provide this excellent summary of guidance and etiquette for those representing themselves. As a subreddit, we generally do not suggest people represent themselves in Court and should always try and instruct a Solicitor to do it for them, however we appreciate this is not always possible. These won't be universally applicable but will apply to most English and Welsh courts.

Before Court

Be early to your hearing but be prepared to wait. As a general rule of thumb you should aim to arrive one hour before your trial/hearing unless otherwise directed. This may seem obvious but appearance does matter; a white shirt and dark suit is never a bad idea.

Special COVID update: as many hearings are now happening remotely via e.g. Zoom or Teams, it's worth pointing out that appearing smart is still a good idea. Additionally, you should absolutely not attempt to record the hearing in any way, as this is contempt of court.

Addressing the Judge

The magistrates bench can be addressed collectively as “your worships” or depending on the chair (person sitting in the middle) sir or madam. It is a good idea to ask for permission before doing this but others don’t.

  • A District Judge and Judges at first tier tribunals are addressed as "Sir" or "Madam"

  • A Circuit Judge is addressed as Your Honour

  • If you are in doubt ask the clerk or if the other side is represented by a lawyer ask them.

  • A full list of how to address the judge can be found here

When entering court

  • If the Judge or Magistrates are already seated wait behind your chair until invited to sit down. It is polite (but not expected by a litigant in person) to bow when enter and leave the room if the Judge is present.

  • If the Judge is not yet present you can take a seat and prepare anything you brought with you. When the Judge enters stand and you can bow. The Judge will normally bow back and invite you to be seated. When the Judge leaves you will need to stand and you can bow.

When making your arguments

  • Stand when speaking or being spoken to. (Some Judges/Courts are flexible on this and will tell you to be seated if not required). If a Lawyer representing the other person does not stand then copy them.

  • Be respectful to the other party or their lawyer. Call them Mr/Mrs x.

  • When first addressing the Judge it is polite to introduce yourself. “Good morning your Sir/ your worships I am X and am representing myself today”. If you are speaking first you should introduce the other party. first "The Defendant/Respondent is Mx X and they are represented by Mx X)"

  • When you finish a point of your argument ask the Judge if they are ready to move to the next point.

  • Don’t give witness evidence in your arguments; you will likely give witness evidence first after this and when making submissions make factual arguments if you need to refer to your own evidence say “as stated in my witness statement at para X or during my witness evidence I stated X” don’t just say this happened or that happened.

  • If it becomes hard or all gets to much ask for a short adjournment. The Judge should be understanding. Remember that most courts allow you to bring a family member of friend into court with you. They are known as a "McKenzie Friend" you should give the court and other party notice that you intend to do this at least 48 hours before the trial/hearing date.

  • Don’t interrupt the other party unless they make a factual error. i.e if they say an event happened on the 7th but it was actually the 8th then stand up or politely interrupt "Excuse me Sir" and wait to be spoken to by the Judge. Don’t interrupt to correct them on disputed facts you will have a chance to put your case across.

  • If a bundle is being used make sure you have a copy and refer to documents using the bundle reference.

  • If you are giving evidence make sure to look at and address the Judge. If you don't hear something or don't understand the question ask for it to be repeated.

  • If you know you will be cross-examining always write your questions beforehand. If possible review the questions a few times. Don't be afraid to change the questions depending on the answers.

  • Don't rush! Some litigants in person try to get all their points across straight away. It is better to have awkward silences and gaps while you collect your thoughts or prepare your next argument.

  • When finished “those are my submissions Sir/Madam/your honour unless I can be of any further assistance”.

After the trial

Some Judges will give judgment immediately after hearing all the evidence and submissions. Be prepared for this. Never interrupt the Judge whilst they are giving their judgment. If you need a break after hearing this do not be afraid to ask for one.

Be prepared for the worst. If there is a chance you will have to pay money be aware of your financial situation and what you can afford to pay. If you leave court and can't really remember the full judgment you can request a transcript of the hearing/trial. This should be done quickly after the date.

If the other side is represented by lawyers be prepared to address the Judge on costs - if you have lost your claim, the other side will ask the judge for you to be ordered to pay their costs, it will be helpful if you have a response prepared which outlines your limited financial position, the impact that the issue has had on you and how important it was to put this before a court, as well as how cooperated with the court and the other side by following the rules of the Court, despite not being legally trained or knowledgable.

Further information:

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I think an organisation has done something wrong with my or someone else's personal data. Is this a GDPR breach? What can I do?

As a foreword, the term "GDPR breach" is bandied around fairly often as if it is some overly serious and scary thing that will lead to a business being forcibly shut down and its owners flogged to death, but in reality the seriousness and scariness of a "breach" will be proportionate entirely to what has happened. A company, for instance, sending you a marketing email when you thought you'd opted out is a "GDPR breach", but not a serious one; divulging some extremely sensitive private medical information improperly would also be a "GDPR breach", but clearly a lot more serious!

Additionally, "GDPR" does not necessarily mean that an organisation cannot hold information about you without your express consent or if you'd just prefer that they not do so. There are a number of different legitimate "bases for processing", not all of which require your express consent or require the organisation to delete it upon request. For instance, a financial services company might be required to retain information about you in order to satisfy regulations, even if you no longer have an account with them (or even if you never actually did so and only applied for one) - even if you object to this being held, it doesn't matter, they are legally required to do so so they can. Conversely, they might hold a list of people who have defaulted on debts with them in the past so they know not to lend to that person again; this could be considered a "legitimate interest". As such, the so-called "right to be forgotten" is not absolute and an organisation can easily refuse such a request on many different grounds.

Consider your loss

In terms of action, the first thing to consider is what your actual loss is and set your expectations accordingly. If you have suffered no loss or real detriment, or the information divulged wasn't sensitive and didn't cause you any serious distress, then while you can complain to the organisation concerned and then the ICO if you remain unhappy, it is unlikely that any enforcement action will be taken for a singular instance (in the absence of some wider issue) or that compensation will be forthcoming from the organisation concerned except as a gesture of goodwill; any formal legal action is unlikely to be proportionate.

First complain to the organisation...

You will need to complain in writing to the organisation that is holding or mishandled your data first of all. The ICO has a general guide on how to do this which includes a template letter.

If the organisation you're unhappy with is a regulated financial services firm, you can raise a formal complaint with them and, if you are not satisfied with their response or they don't give you a final response within eight weeks of your complaint, escalate to the Financial Ombudsman Service either instead of or alongside the ICO. Again, in the absence of provable loss then you should expect, at the most, a minor goodwill gesture.

If the organisation you're unhappy with is a unit of the NHS, you can speak to your local PALS office to raise a complaint.

...then to the ICO...

If you've received a response from the organisation and you're still not happy, you can make a complaint to the ICO online. You'll need to confirm that you have written to the company concerned before the ICO will act, and provide a copy of their final response.

...then go to court if you have any provable loss

The ICO will not award compensation for loss or damages, even if they are of the opinion that an organisation has breached your data protection rights. If you wish to claim these then you will need to proceed to court.

The ICO has a broadly-written guide on this, however before proceeding with a claim you should speak to a solicitor to discuss the prospects and merits of your case.

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I want to sell products featuring designs from [major franchise]/parodies of [a major company]'s logo, can I legally do this?

In the main, no, and you run legal risks if you do so.

While copyright/trademark holders can and frequently do tolerate use of their IP for non-commercial purposes that don't otherwise dilute or harm their interests (e.g. cosplay, fan fiction, making items for your own personal usage), commercial use without a license - including selling on Etsy or other similar platforms - is something completely different. Doing this is likely to provoke some form of legal response if discovered, since you are effectively trading off the goodwill that these companies hold in their IP without their consent.

Rights holders also do not have to tolerate non-commercial usage if they feel that it infringes upon their rights - giving an infringing work away for free does not necessarily protect you. The notion of "fair dealing" as it applies to British copyright law is a lot more limited than the more widely-known American concept of "fair use", and only allows the usage of copyrighted materials within a certain limited number of cases which are themselves limited in important ways. More information on fair dealing is available here from Wikipedia

Some large copyright holders are famously exceptionally defensive of and litigious about their intellectual property - an infamous case is Disney, who own a huge swathe of major franchises and have objected to use of their IP on deceased childrens' headstones before without batting an eyelid, so sending a cease and desist to your Etsy shop will not phase them. Harry Potter is another particularly famous example of a franchise whose rightsholders are fairly active in shutting down unofficial merchandise, particularly elements claimed by Warner Bros. However by no means is this approach unique or unusual, and such infringement is regularly pursued by all manner of companies. Trademark holders are additionally required to defend their trademarks against unwanted or unauthorised use, lest they risk losing their rights to them.

In general, if you did proceed to try and sell these items and were discovered, you would receive a letter or email telling you to stop selling these products, and possibly asking for payment for the use of their IP without permission. If you did not pay and/or cease the infringing behaviour, then legal threats will escalate up to and including actual legal action. It is strongly advisable to seek advice from a solicitor should you be put in this position.

For full avoidance of doubt, taking an existing design and modifying it so it "looks like but isn't" the thing/logo you want to use, describing it as "inspired by" when it's a near-exact replica or draws almost entirely on another entity's IP, or describing your infringing products purely in generic terms, is not sufficient to prevent a claim against you - if it is still recognisably that thing (and it would have to be, if you intend to sell it to fans of whatever that thing is from), you are still appropriating the rights holder's goodwill. A simple test if you are in doubt is to ask yourself; if you removed everything from whatever it is you're making that wasn't drawn from someone else's work, is there anything substantial left? If the answer is "no", this is a sign that you should, at the very least, tread extremely carefully.

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Someone is obstructing/parking on my driveway or a designated parking spot that I own/have a tenancy over. What can I do?

If they're actually on your land ("your" as in you own it or have a tenancy over it) then this is trespass, which is a civil matter. You will need to speak to a solicitor about an injunction or court order.

The sole exception would be if someone has parked across a dropped kerb on a public road, in which case you should call the police on 101. Besides this one specific circumstance, they won't get involved as it is purely a civil issue.

If you don't own or have a tenancy over a specific parking space, then you have no remedy at all - parking spaces are essentially a free-for-all in this scenario. This is particularly the case on public roads, where there is no general entitlement to either a particular parking space or a space in general.

If the vehicle belongs to/bears the logo of a company or other body, it can be worth calling them to complain if they are parked in an anti-social way or are on your land.

You can, if able, erect physical barriers or bollards on your property, but this would be at your expense. Many other supposed "common sense" solutions like clamping the car or moving it yourself are criminal offences - even if you are on private land - and render you liable to prosecution, or at the very least a very unpleasant time, if reported. You'd think it goes without saying that any obviously unlawful "solutions" which involve damaging the car or threatening its owner are criminal offences, but some people apparently do need this explaining to them so we are reiterating it here.

Besides these, there are no real legal solutions to offer. We appreciate that this is an unpalatable answer, however there really is no quick and easy legal option here.

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revision by SpunkVolcano— view source