You and the Law – 29th September 2009

Caught on tape

When I suspected my wife was having an affair, in desperation I had my home phone bugged and gained proof of it. 

My solicitor said this was permissible under the circumstances, but I’ve since found out that there may be strict rules governing whether this type of evidence is admissible in court.  Can you advise?  CR

There’s no law against attaching a listening device to your own telephone equipment.  Your wife is not, for instance, protected by the part of the Human Rights Act dealing with the right to privacy, which would only prevent a public body tapping into her calls. 

Your tape may well be admissible in court, as long as both sides agree that it is genuine and relevant and the judge was prepared to listen to it.  But this would only be necessary if your wife chose to defend the divorce, or denied adultery and you were unable to cite other grounds, for example unreasonable behaviour. 

Your wife’s solicitors will probably advise her to admit adultery and avoid the humiliation.

Holiday extras

I work as a charge-hand, regularly working a 42-hour week including three hours’ overtime.  I am also paid £6 a week as a first-aider. 

However my holiday pay recently was for the basic 39 hours: should the overtime and this extra payment be included in my holiday pay calculations?  JP

Overtime isn’t taken into account for holiday pay purposes unless it’s contractual, in other words, the employer has to provide it and it’s compulsory for the employee. 

However, you should probably be paid your first-aider’s allowance while you’re on holiday, unless there’s something in your contract to the contrary. 

If the money is an increment to your wage resulting from your additional skills then it should be included in your holiday pay packet.

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