Burton Copeland’s Top New Years Resolutions and Tips

1. It’s never too late to make a New Years resolution, but do something that you will stick to (Jonathan Wall)

Most people assume that a New Years Resolution must be made before midnight on the 31st December and now here we are in January it’s now too late. Why? if after over indulging with food and drink over Christmas you’re considering a detox or exercising more, why does it have to start at the moment that Big Ben chimes at midnight. Why can’t it wait until the 2nd Saturday in the month, just because it’s called a new year resolution, it doesn’t mean that it has to start immediately, to me, it should start at some point in the year.

Whether it’s ‘I won’t eat chocolate’, ‘I will go to the gym’ or ‘I will spend more time with my family’ it is important that you set a target or goal which is achievable. So instead you might want to set yourself something more manageable, such as “I won’t eat chocolate before 6pm’, ‘I will go to the gym at least once a week’ or ‘I will arrange a day out with the family at least once a month’. That way you will have more chance of success and far more likely not to fall at the first hurdle. It will also inspire you. For example when you go on the first day out with the family you can get your thinking cap on and start to plan the next for the following month or when you get to 6pm you might think, ‘well I’ve not had any chocolate all day, maybe I should see if I could wait until tomorrow’.

Jonathan Wall is a partner at Burton Copeland with over 25 years experience in Criminal Law and has worked on some of the UK’s highest profile cases such as the Hillsborough Inquests and The Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

2. I promise to pick up litter (Louise Straw)

For those of a certain age the public campaign, “Keep Britain Tidy” was something we grew up with, but I wonder how many people today realise that to drop litter is actually a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £2500. It is unlikely that an individual would require our services to represent them at court as the usual manner of dealing with the offence is by way of a fixed penalty notice which can be issued by the Local Authority.

However for those responsible for running business such as Take Aways they should be aware that the Local Authority has the power to issue “litter control notices” and “litter clearing notices” if the area around their premises accumulates litter. Failure to comply with these notices is also criminal offences punishable by a fine and in certain circumstances a daily fine can accrue for a failure to comply.

If you are served with such notices please contact our dedicated team who will be happy to offer advice and assistance.

Louise Straw is the managing partner of Burton Copeland. As well as her management role she also has a busy caseload of serious criminal cases. She specialises in historic offences and is described by the Legal 500 publication as ‘The best of the best’. To read more about Louise read her profile here.

3. Have one 'no use of technical/electric device' day per month (Nick Terry)

In the age where we look to the phone 1st thing in the morning as opposed to our loved ones, or pay more attention to Facebook at night rather than a devoted pet, a full day away from any technical or electrical device may just cleanse the soul and reinforce what is important in life other than catching up on missed TV programmes or checking out someone’s status on Facebook that you haven’t communicated with for an age. It might help to reinforce the temptation there is to look down at your screen whilst sitting in stationary traffic after receiving a text or email alert, or worst still answering or making a call whilst driving when it can definitely wait until you get to the safety and comfort of your home.

Using a phone whilst driving is dangerous and could land you with a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on your licence. If you are a new driver, that means a disqualification!

If you think that you can concentrate on driving whilst using a phone, take the concentration test here or for more information about using a mobile phone when driving or for legal help see our sister site DrivingOffence.Com

Nick is a Supervising Solicitor and Partner at Burton Copeland who specialises in regulatory and road traffic law and is renowned for his astute advice and professional approach.

4. Don't carry a blade (Rob Moussalli)

Knives usually make situations worse not safer but now it is really dumb to carry a knife.

Because of all the stabbing deaths, the punishments are now much harsher. Even if its your FIRST knife offence, and it was just in your pocket, the court are likely to send you to prison. Even if you are a child the Magistrates will look at Youth custody. And if you get the knife out and threaten or injure people you are looking at serious time. So in 2019 don’t carry a knife.

Rob is head of the Youth Crime Department within Burton Copeland and has over 25 years experience in representing youths at court throughout the North West. He is arguably one of the most experienced Youth Court lawyers in Greater Manchester. See here to read more about Rob and the work that he does.

5. Don't break rules (Hannah Costley)

People often say that ‘some rules are made to be broken’. Whilst that may be the case it is definitely not when it comes to bail conditions!

So start the New Year with one less offence to worry about by making sure you don’t breach your bail conditions. Failing to comply with bail conditions is an offence in itself under the Bail Act and can result in you being arrested, a night in the cells and then appearing in court the following day. Where the court will reconsider whether bail should continue or you should be remanded into custody. Breaching bail can also affect your ability to apply for bail in the future. So think twice before you decide to contact someone you’re not supposed to or want to stay out a little later than your curfew. Is it really worth putting your liberty at risk?

Hannah is a trainee solicitor at Burton Copeland who has been employed by the firm since April 2018 and is looking forward to qualifying as a solicitor in October 2019. To read more about Hannah her profile is available here.

6. Keep a bottle of water in the car (Karl Benson)

Everybody knows that most police forces focus their resources over the festive period in those who drink and drive, more recently, and those who drive under the influence of drugs. However, the proposition perhaps for New Year is that we should want to drink and drive more and avoid dehydration.

Not drinking enough can cause slow reaction times, headaches and loss of concentration potentially putting themselves and others at risk behind the wheel.

So make your new years resolution to keep a bottle of water in the car, and drink and drive safely. Stay hydrated!

Karl is a Solicitor and Higher Court Advocate at Burton Copeland and represents clients who has a reputation for dealing with complex and unusual cases and defences including individuals with undiagnosed mental health disorders.

7. Make a bucket list of things to do yourself or good deeds to do for others (Dan Weed)

My tip is to choose a simple list of things that you can do in the form of a list that you can then tick off. With no specific time period other than to check the list often, perhaps keep in on your notice board at work or in the kitchen. The list can contain anything from the wacky such as doing something that will frighten you to a random act of kindness.

Some examples of the things on my list are below:

1.Write a love letter – with social media, text messages and emails nowadays love letters are lost. You may have sent a long WhatsApp message expressing your undying love, to your nearest and dearest, but will it still be around when you are not. Love letters are likely to be gratefully received, treasured and kept. Imagine the faces of your children when perhaps, long after you gone, they find a love letter you sent to their mother.

2. Do something that scares you – a ghost train, skydive, bungee jump or just a scary movie. It gets the adrenaline pumping and will make you feel better.

3. Do something for charity – whether it is a simple donation or collecting sponsorship, you will be doing some good and it will make you feel good.

4. Pay for a random stranger’s lottery ticket next time you are in a queue to get yours – simple. Imagine if that person does the same the next time they buy a ticket and so on. Eventually you may find yourself on the receiving end, but regardless, you will at least put a smile on homebody’s face whether they win or not.

5. Trace your family history and find out who you are. It likely to ensure that you will be communicating with those relatives that you have never met or do not see often.

Dan Weed is the compliance partner at Burton Copeland and the Compliance Officer Legal Practice (COLP) as defined by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Dan also deals with a number of criminal cases and regulatory and disciplinary proceedings for professionals. He is described by the Legal 500 publication as being ‘very knowledgeable on police law’. To see more about Dan and the work he does, see his profile.