Thursday, April 26, 2018
Legal

Elaine McConnell shows nurses Barbara Cooke and Jo Bruton details of our Will Week partners.

Writing your will is one of those things that we all know is important, but is something many of us put off doing. 

Willow Wood’s Wills Week will run from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 May, and we’re hoping that by offering you the opportunity to make a donation to your local Hospice rather than paying a fee many of you will put your affairs in order.

Elaine McConnell explains: “It’s very simple.  We have a number of participating solicitors who will generously waive their fee during that week. Instead you make a donation to Willow Wood so by securing your family’s future you are helping Willow Wood continue to care.”

Having an up-to-date will can give you great peace of mind. Without a will the law decides who gets what, and so your property and valued possessions may not automatically go to your loved ones.  For example, if you are separated but not divorced your spouse would still inherit; current partners would not automatically receive any benefit.  You may have always intended your grandfather’s watch to go to a specific family member but again, if this is not documented, it may not happen.

Making your will and helping Willow Wood at the same time is, as Elaine says “As easy as 1, 2 3!  First of all, choose one of our participating solicitors and make an appointment – not forgetting to mention Wills Week.  Then, discuss your requirements with the solicitor who will draft your will in line with your wishes.  And thirdly, make your donation to Willow Wood.  We’re suggesting a minimum donation of £85 for a single will.”

And if you’d like to leave us a gift in your will to help us continue to care for our community, we would be very grateful.  Please, however, do not feel under any obligation to do so, you will already have our sincere thanks.

Full details of the participating solicitors can be found by going to www.willowwood.info

Alternatively, contact Elaine on 0161 330 7788 or elaine.mcconnell@willowwood.info and she’ll send out an information leaflet.

 

 

 

The excellence of Bromleys’ property team has been recognised with its accreditation under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme for the seventh year in a row.

The CQS recognises firms which pass a rigorous annual assessment and are shown to provide excellent service to clients during the home buying process.

It is open only to members of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the scheme, which is supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, the Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers.

Partner Paul Westwell who heads up the property department said: “We are thrilled to receive this accreditation once again. It is a fantastic accolade for the department, and demonstrates to our clients that they can be assured of a professional, reliable and efficient service.”

Meanwhile, Bromleys has also retained its Lexcel quality mark from the Law Society, which recognises high standards in areas such as client care and practice management. The firm has held this accreditation continuously since 2005.

Bromleys also holds Investors in People Gold status, recognising the firm’s commitment to excellence in the workplace, including its management of people, its leadership and culture and its dedication to continuous improvement.

 

For further information, please contact: Bromleys Solicitors LLP

A:   50 Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6XL

DX: 25616, Ashton-under-Lyne

DD: 0161 330 6821 T: 0161 330 6821  F: 0161 343 1719

W:  www.bromleys.co.uk

Landlords letting out residential or commercial properties in England and Wales must ensure that they meet new energy efficiency standards.

Changes that came into force on 1st April 2018 will mean both domestic and non-domestic properties in England and Wales will have to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard.

The law states Landlords need to get a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) certificate every ten years. Each certificate has a grade from A to G, rating the building’s energy efficiency.

This change will mean that the minimum requirement will be an energy rating of E and it will be unlawful to rent out any property in breach of this minimum rating.

This new change will apply to all new tenancies and will not affect tenancies already in place unless the tenancy is renewed however changes due to come into effect in 2020 means the rules will apply to all tenancies, including existing lets.

Without an EPC rated E or above, landlords will face civil and criminal penalties for signing a new tenancy, or renewing an existing tenancy.  Landlords could face significant fines if found in breach of the legislation.

Should you need legal advice regarding any of the above or other residential property matters, please do not hesitate to contact Beverley Pretl at bpretl@bromleys.co.uk; Anna Curran at acurran@bromleys.co.uk, or Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk

Alternatively, telephone our Property team on 0161 330 6821 or you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

Jessica

Capstone Financial Management, Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, and law firm Davis Blank Furniss are hosting free seminars in Manchester city centre and Glossop on Thursday 26th April

These events will give business owners and directors the information they need to protect their organisations from potentially game-changing events. One of the topics will be the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is coming into force on the 25th May.

Guests will firstly hear from Andrew Williamson who is a Director at Capstone Financial Management. Andrew will discuss how the death or serious illness of a key director or employee can have far-reaching or even disastrous consequences for a business. He will look at scenarios including what would happen if a business partner died and their spouse inherited the shares; the effect it could have on a business’ value; and what it could cost to replace them. He will also discuss the options that business owners have to protect their company and family in the most tax efficient and cost-effective way.

Jessica Greenhalgh – Associate in Davis Blank Furniss’ Corporate/ Commercial department – will then summarise what businesses need to do in advance of GDPR including how it will affect them, whether they are ready for it and the steps that must be taken to comply.

Andrew said: “Businesses face an unparalleled level of challenges and regulation so we want this event to give useful and practical advice that will make running a company smoother.”

Jessica added: “GDPR is one of the biggest issues facing businesses of all sizes and in every sector so it is imperative they understand exactly what is expected of them. They need to ensure that they comply with the new unified approach to data protection and privacy that is being rolled out across Europe otherwise they risk potential litigation and substantial fines.”

Manchester city centre event:
8am to 10am at King Street Townhouse, 10 Booth Street, Manchester, M2 4AW.
Glossop event:

6pm to 8.45pm at Glossop and District Golf Club, Sheffield Road, SK13 7PU.
Booking:
Places for either event can be booked by emailing hollys.capstone@sjpp.co.uk

‘Moving in together’ can cover various situations, including the exciting prospect of buying your first home with your partner or friend, gifts from parents or grandparents to help with the purchase, the purchase of a ‘granny flat’ (or annex), and even elderly parents or grandparents moving in with their children. However, some may not realise how risky their situation can be from a legal point of view until it is too late…

Implications to consider:-

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) there could be a 3% surcharge on the purchase of a granny flat or annex which could be classed as an additional residential property. The surcharge applies to the whole of the property and not just the annex.
  • Parents/grandparents providing gifted deposits and the future inheritance tax implications. Inheritance tax may be payable if the donor dies within 7 years of making the gift.
  • The type of ownership of the property i.e. joint tenants or tenants in common in unequal shares. You may need to consider making your position more secure should the relationship break down in the future. For example, has one party contributed more towards the purchase price of a property? If so, a Declaration of Trust setting out the terms to protect their interest would be advisable.

Practical difficulties including aging and future social care of elderly parents/grandparents living with children. Will the elderly family member contribute financially towards their living and household expenses? It may be that they have paid for alterations to accommodate their needs and that they require a form of guarantee such as a “life interest” in the property so that they have the legal right to live there for as long as they require. A more complex trust arrangement may need to be put in place.

Should you need legal advice regarding any of the above or other residential property matters, please do not hesitate to contact Anna Curran at acurran@bromleys.co.uk, Beverley Pretl at bpretl@bromleys.co.uk or Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk

Alternatively, telephone our Property team on 0161 330 6821 or you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

Bromleys Solicitors LLP, Ashton-under-Lyne in Gtr Manchester. Pictured Olivia Bell

A lawyer who has worked at Bromleys Solicitors since joining as a trainee has been promoted to partner and head of its care proceedings and social services team.

Olivia Bell, who qualified as a solicitor in 2003, succeeds long-serving Keith Platts as the departmental head.

She specializes in childcare matters, representing children, parents and other relatives and guardians where there are disputes within families, involvement with social services or court proceedings.

Olivia is a member of the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme and is also a trained mediator.

Keith has been a solicitor since 1976 and joined Bromleys in 1989. He was the first at the Tameside firm to undertake care work and established the team which is now eight-strong. Keith remains at the firm as a consultant.

He is a leading expert in the childcare field. He acts in complex cases instructed by guardians and in care proceedings on behalf of children, parents and other family members.

Bromleys’ senior partner Mark Hirst said: “Olivia’s promotion reflects the high regard in which she is held. She is widely respected at Bromleys, by clients and by professionals working in the field of childcare.

“She is a hugely talented solicitor and is completely committed to the development of the firm and the growth of the care team. We are confident she will be a great success in her new role.”

He added: “Keith has overseen the creation of the department and its progress over a number of years. During this time he has trained and mentored many people, including Olivia, and he remains a vital member of the team.”

 

In the case of Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether it is fair to dismiss a school employee who failed to disclose that she was in a relationship with someone who had been convicted of a serious offence.

Reilly was employed by Sandwell MBC as a head teacher of a primary school.

The school learnt that Reilly was in a close, non-romantic, relationship with a man who she was aware had been convicted of making indecent images of children. This was not disclosed to her employer.

Upon being made aware of the conviction and the relationship Reilly had with this man, Sandwell MBC suspended her and subsequently dismissed her for (i) failing to disclose these matters and (ii) failing to accept that she had done anything wrong in doing do.

Reilly argued at the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal’s Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal that she was under no obligation to disclose the relationship. Her argument was dismissed and she therefore appealed to the Supreme Court who ultimately upheld the tribunal’s view that the ongoing refusal to accept that she had been wrong, merited her dismissal.

Baroness Hale commented that the case could be a good opportunity to consider:-

  1. Whether a dismissal could be fair if the alleged misconduct was not, itself, a breach of contract; and
  2. Whether the current test to consider fairness of a conduct dismissal as set out in BHS v Burchell was now the correct legal test.

Whilst Baroness Hale did not provide her opinion on the above on the basis that they were not raised in arguments, the case does highlight whether we are likely to see changes to the current test which has remained good law for around 30 years……watch this space!

If you have any queries on a matter of this nature please do not hesitate to contact one of our employment experts, Mark Hirst  or Rachael Frankland on 0161 330 6821

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently considered what should happen when an employer decides to dismiss an employee and then subsequently discovers that the employee is pregnant prior to the actual date of dismissal.

In Really Easy Car Credit Ltd vs Thompson the EAT said the important question is whether the decision to dismiss was made because of the pregnancy. Mrs Thompson was dismissed during her probationary period. Her employers said they were unhappy with her performance and conduct. Mrs Thompson argued that they had lied and that it was as a result of the pregnancy. The Employment Tribunal said that the dismissal was automatically unfair because Mrs Thompson was pregnant. Once the employer knew about the pregnancy it was obvious the issues that had triggered the dismissal were related.

The EAT rejected this reasoning on appeal. The EAT said that if the employer did not know of the pregnancy it could be not be a discriminatory decision.

It is therefore clear that if an employer wants to protect itself against a claim for discrimination, its internal notes of the decision making process should reflect all of the facts upon which it proposed to rely, and also the facts of which it was aware. That would be contemporaneous evidence to show that there was no discrimination applied.

If you have any queries on a matter of this nature please do not hesitate to contact one of our employment experts, Mark Hirst, Nicholas Clough or Rachael Frankland on 0161 330 6821

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please check the website for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

Bromleys Solicitors LLP, Ashton-under-Lyne in Gtr Manchester. Pictured Mark First with the recent awards

Bromleys has won a top honour at the 2018 Manchester Legal Awards.

The practice was named law firm of the year for those with between one and five partners.

Around 650 people attended the ninth annual awards ceremony at Manchester’s Midland Hotel, which attracted a record number of entries.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, who is pictured with the trophy, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award.

“It’s tremendous recognition for the all-round strength and excellence of the practice and our commitment to providing a service of the highest quality to our clients.

“Every single person at Bromleys has played a part and can be justly proud of our achievement, and we look forward to building on this success in the coming months and years.”

The award judges praised Bromleys for the way in which the firm combines tradition with a modern approach.

They also highlighted Bromleys’ expertise, commercial approach, and strong leadership, their commitment to staff welfare and development and involvement in the community.

Bromleys’ accolade follows its triumph at the 2017 Pride of Tameside Business Awards in November, when it won the corporate social responsibility prize.

This latest award crowns a hugely successful 12 months for the firm, during which it has made a string of key appointments to cater for a growing number of instructions across Greater Manchester and beyond, and has been recognised with a series of accreditations, including retaining Investors in People Gold status and the Law Society’s Lexcel quality mark.

In body copy image: Joel Goodman

 

It has been announced that from 6 April 2018, the maximum level of compensation for a successful claim of unfair dismissal will increase from £80,541 to £83,682. Furthermore, in addition to this increase, the maximum weekly pay used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and the unfair dismissal basic award will increase from £489 to £508.

Should you need legal advice regarding any of the above or indeed any other employment law matters, then a quick call to Bromleys Solicitors should be your first port of call.

Please contact our experts Mark Hirst at mhirst@bromleys.co.uk; Nicholas Clough at nclough@bromleys.co.uk or Rachael Frankland at rfrankland@bromleys.co.uk or telephone Bromleys on: 0161 330 6821.

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please visit the web site for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.