Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Taking legal action

is to be avoided if at all possible. It is not just the expense (which is always likely to be great even if you "win") but, win or lose, there will always be a constraint between the parties involved.
You see reports of legal action being taken all the time in the media. Sadly there are even law firms which advertise for work by suggesting that people might sue other people. They do not tell you the entire story of course. They do not tell you about the mounds of paper work or the toll on your emotions or the fact that you will almost certainly end up in greater debt than before.
Many unscrupulous people also rely on these facts to avoid their responsibilities and their debts. They will take money and fail to deliver. Others will threaten legal action even when they have no intention of taking any such action - or have no grounds to do so. The merest hint you might be criticising them and they will issue a threat. A threat is often enough to stop others in their tracks. It does not matter that they know they have done no wrong. What they do know is that, should the other side actually take action, they are going to be embroiled in a messy situation. Even if it goes no further than an exchange between solicitors it is going to prove expensive. Many people simply do not have the money.
It is the sort of situation bullies rely on - and also those who prey on the gullible. I remember a "writing competition" which appeared when I was in my late teens. It looked good. It was run by an apparently reputable group. The prizes, with possible publication, sounded very good. Was it just a little too good? Yes, it was. There was a warning about "if there are insufficient entries...". Yes, you had to pay to enter and the group was relying on getting sufficient entries to cover the cost of the prizes. Entry fees were not going to be refunded whether the competition went ahead or not. They, supposedly, were "administration and handling" fees.
I have no idea how many people entered. I did not. I had already decided against it when I was warned not to do it. The warning merely confirmed my feeling that something was wrong. I do not even know if the "competition" eventually went ahead.
The reason for writing all of this is because my friend Jane (over on "How Publishing Really Works") and others I know have been raising issues about the "BritWriters' Awards".
There are questions those running the awards really do need to answer. If they have nothing to hide they will answer them. Jane and others are perfectly entitled to ask these questions. There is nothing illegal about doing that. If you are interested I suggest you search the internet and find out more for yourself.
I rest my case.

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