Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia ready to fully participate in the Schengen area

The European Commission has called upon the European Council to take the necessary decisions without any further delay to allow Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to fully participate in the Schengen area. In a Communication adopted on November 16th, the Commission took stock of the three Member States’ strong record of achievements in the application of the Schengen rules.

The Commission said that “for years, these Member States have significantly contributed to the well-functioning of the Schengen area, including during the time of the pandemic and more recently when faced with the unprecedented consequences of the war in Ukraine.”

While the three countries are already bound in part by the Schengen rules, the internal border controls with these Member States have not been lifted and therefore they do not enjoy the full benefits that come with being part of the Schengen area without internal border controls.

“Becoming fully part of the Schengen area is a requirement for these Member States and they should therefore be permitted to do so given that they fulfil the conditions,” according to the EU’s communication.

Under the steer of the Czech Presidency, on 8 December the Justice and Home Affairs Council will vote on the full participation of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen area without internal border controls.

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Co-workers of ‘catfishing’ cop took items from his property before official search

Co-workers of Austin Lee Edwards, the Virginia deputy who killed the grandparents and mother of a 15-year-old Riverside girl he “catfished” online, removed a sheriff’s truck and a black trash bag from Edwards’ property the night before it was officially searched, according to an eyewitness and a video reviewed by The Times.

Two deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the law enforcement agency that employed Edwards immediately before his death, arrived at the white Cape Cod-style home with blacked-out windows late on Nov. 25, the day of the killings.

Riverside police, who are leading the homicide investigation, said they did not know about the Washington County Sheriff’s deputies’ actions.

“We are not aware of any action taken at his house prior to the Nov. 26 search warrant,” spokesperson Ryan Railsback said. “We are not aware of any additional searches.”

The Smyth County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office executed the official search warrant on the house, according to Railsback.

It was not immediately clear whether the Washington County Sheriff’s Office had a warrant for Edwards’ property, but legal experts say there are few — if any — legitimate reasons for law enforcement officers from a different county to go onto a property before an official search.

“This is strange right off the bat because Washington County doesn’t have jurisdiction to do anything in Smyth County,” said Yancey Ellis, a partner in Carmichael, Ellis & Brock, a criminal defense firm in Alexandria, Va.

“If you want to do something in another county you should go to local law enforcement.”

Both the Washington County Sheriff’s Office — where Edwards, 28, started as a patrol deputy on Nov. 16 — and the Smyth County commonwealth’s attorney declined to comment for this story.

The eyewitness said the deputies arrived at Edwards’ Saltville, Va., home the evening of Nov. 25 — the day of the killings in Riverside — and although they didn’t see them go inside, they witnessed the deputies come from the back of the home with a trash bag before leaving with a vehicle taken from the property.

The 42-second video shows two people next to the house, one holding what appears to be a flashlight in one hand and a black trash bag in another. Both then walk away from the house.

The eyewitness said the two deputies drove off separately, one in a patrol car and the other in a Washington County Sheriff’s Office truck that had been parked in Edwards’ driveway for days.

A white house with dark windows.

The Virginia home of Austin Lee Edwards.

(Erin B. Logan / Los Angeles Times)

Two former law enforcement officers in Virginia, who are familiar with the matter and have reviewed the video, confirmed that they recognized both of the people in the video as deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The Times has granted the eyewitness and the former officers anonymity because they fear retaliation for speaking to the media.

There are exceptions that allow law enforcement to enter a property without a search warrant, Ellis said, such as exigent circumstances, in which someone inside a home is in danger or could destroy evidence, but none of those would apply because the Saltville property wasn’t in Washington County.

David Benowitz, a Washington, D.C., criminal lawyer, said law enforcement officers in Washington County would not be permitted to take anything from the property without Smyth County’s involvement — even if they didn’t go inside the home.

“There could have been a contractual agreement with the officer where [the Washington County Sheriff’s Office] can say, ‘If we fire you for cause, we can retrieve the car,’ but that would’ve been trumped since it’s a crime scene.”

Benowitz added that because Edwards is dead, there would not be any exigent circumstances for a search in this case.

“This smells pretty bad,” he said. “There are only a few reasons why that may happen, and none of them are good or legal.”

Riverside police have said that Edwards portrayed himself as a 17-year-old while communicating with the 15-year-old girl online. In November, he drove across the country to her Riverside home and killed three of her family members before setting fire to the home and leaving with the girl.

San Bernardino County officials initially said Edwards was killed in a shootout with police after deputies stopped his car. But the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said last week that Edwards died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The teenage girl was physically unharmed.

Edwards’ tenure as a police officer was brief. He entered the Virginia State Police Academy on July 6, 2021, and after he graduated on Jan. 21 of this year, he was assigned to Henrico County, in the Richmond division.

He resigned from the Virginia state police on Oct. 28. A Virginia state police spokesperson told The Times on Wednesday that “human error” in the agency’s background check process led to Edwards’ hiring.

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Litigating at the Dubai Courts

The first factor to consider when a dispute arises is the correct forum in which to raise proceedings. The UAE has both onshore and offshore courts which operate differently and are governed by separate laws. 

Often, parties will have entered into a contractual relationship and the agreed terms shall be documented by a contract. The contract should clearly state what should happen in the event of a dispute.  

The governing law and jurisdiction of a contract will roadmap the route of the dispute. It is, therefore, important to carefully consider the governing law and jurisdiction, along with all other terms, before entering into any contractual relationship. 

The Civil Procedural Law and the Executive Regulations govern the procedure of actions raised at the UAE onshore courts. 

To raise an action at the Dubai courts, the claimant is required to prepare the claim and submit it to the Court of First Instance.  If the claimant is legally represented, a Power of Attorney will be required to confirm that the representative has been legally appointed.  

The claim and sum sued for will dictate the appropriate type of court and court circuit; minor or major.  The claimant will require to raise the court filing fee in order to raise the claim. The filing fee is calculated based upon a percentage of the sum sued for, which is capped depending on the claim value. 

The claim must be served upon the adverse party, the defendant, by personal service. If service is not possible by hand delivery then the Court of First Instance (CFI) may order service by alternative means. 

Once the claim has been served, the defendant is provided the opportunity to file the Power of Attorney (if legally represented) and a defence to the claim.  The defendant may also submit a counterclaim against the claimant, where applicable.  There is no set structure of the number of pleadings to be submitted.  The judge will direct parties until the case is adjourned for judgment. 

It is usual practice for an independent expert to be appointed by the court to assist in establishing the facts and gathering the salient documentation.  The content of the expert report assists the judge in the decision-making process.  Either party may also request for an expert to be appointed.  The claimant, or the requesting party, will usually bear the costs of any appointed expert. 

A CFI judgment can be issued any time up to 12 months after the claim has been raised.  It is not unusual for this to take longer, especially in instances where a case is complex in nature. 

Within 30 days of the judgment, a party may seek to appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal can overturn the judgment if it deems that the CFI erred in fact or law. In order to submit an appeal, the party making the appeal must raise a court filing fee.  

A Court of Appeal judgment may be issued within six to nine months of raising the appeal. 

The final appeal layer is the Court of Cassation.  A party can seek to appeal the Court of Appeal judgment within 60 days of the judgment. The Court of Cassation can only overturn a Court of Appeal judgment if the appeal court erred in law.

A Court of Cassation judgment will be a final judgment and it can usually take between three to six months for a judgment to be issued.  Alternatively, a judgment will become final on the lapse of the appeal period.  

Once a judgment is final, it will be executed through the enforcement department of the Dubai court, provided the debtor(s) hold assets in Dubai and the debtor(s) fail to settle the dues voluntarily.  Therefore, it is important to consider at the outset whether the adverse party holds any assets and, if so, where these are located should enforcement be required. 

For further information in relation to raising a Dubai Court action, please contact Joanna Stewart ([email protected]). 

February 2022

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Persevere and Prevail: A Journey of Defiance and Overcoming Obstacles

Roundup is a widely-used weed killer that has been associated with a variety of health problems. If the use of Roundup has harmed you or someone you love, you may be eligible to join a Roundup lawsuit. A Roundup lawsuit can help you seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. With experienced legal counsel, you can get the justice you deserve.

At Roundup Lawsuit Help, we are dedicated to providing experienced legal guidance to those whom Roundup has injured. Our professional team of attorneys can help you understand your rights and how to pursue a claim. We’ll work with you to ensure your case is handled correctly and you receive the compensation you deserve. We will also help you understand the legal process and what to expect from a Roundup lawsuit.

We understand the pain and suffering caused by Roundup, and we are here to provide the support and guidance you need. With our help, you can pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your Roundup lawsuit.

What is a Roundup Lawsuit?

A Roundup lawsuit is a legal case against Monsanto, the famous weed killer Roundup manufacturer. These lawsuits allege that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, has caused severe health problems, including cancer, in people exposed to the chemical. Over 18,000 Roundup lawsuits have been filed in the U.S., and many more claimants have come forward alleging that their exposure to Roundup caused them to develop cancer.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, which is believed to be responsible for the health problems associated with the weed killer. Glyphosate is a chemical herbicide and is used in hundreds of products around the world to control weeds. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, and the state of California has listed glyphosate as a known carcinogen.

What Health Problems are Linked to Roundup?

Exposure to Roundup has been linked to several serious health problems, including cancer. The most common type of cancer associated with Roundup is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Other health problems that are linked to Roundup include kidney and liver damage, reproductive issues, and congenital disabilities.

What Can I Do if I Believe Roundup Caused My Cancer?

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to Roundup, you may be eligible to file a Roundup lawsuit. Speaking to an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options is essential. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complicated legal process and ensure you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

Tort Advisor is an excellent resource for those considering a Roundup lawsuit. We offer extensive resources and information to help you understand the legal implications of filing a Roundup lawsuit. In addition to providing detailed information on the Roundup litigation process, including potential legal strategies and potential damages, we also offer a Roundup claims calculator. This tool helps you determine the potential value of your claim based on various factors, such as the amount of Roundup exposure and the severity of your health issues. We can also connect you to experienced Roundup lawyers who can provide legal advice and representation. With TortAdvisor’s help, you can take the proper steps to pursue a Roundup lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.

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