Saturday, September 22, 2018
Legal

Glossop and Manchester based law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Libby Holding as the new head of its private client department.

Libby joins Davis Blank Furniss from Beaumont Legal in Wakefield. Her new role will see her focusing on a variety of core work including wealth and succession planning, inheritance tax advice, trust creation and administration, wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administration.

Libby completed her LLB Law Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2008 and she then took the Bar Vocational Course at City Law School in London; she was called to the Bar 2009. Libby cross qualified and was admitted as a solicitor in 2011. She started in family law and then decided to move into private client work. She initially specialised in probate before shifting her focus to the full range of private client matters.

Kate Oldfield, managing partner of Davis Blank Furniss, commented: “We have seen a surge in demand for our private client services so Libby’s arrival is great news for the firm. She brings with her some fantastic experience which I know will benefit our clients and wider team.”

Libby added: “Davis Blank Furniss is a fantastic firm and seemed the right fit for me. I have a keen interest in business development, marketing and innovation within the legal sector so I am looking forward to growing the private client team in both offices.”

The firm has also announced that two of its team have qualified. Gregory Carr is now a solicitor in the Property department, whilst Rebecca Taylor has qualified as a solicitor in Dispute Resolution department.

Due to changes to the rules on pensions, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) are trying to raise awareness of pension scams.

Research now shows victims losing an average of £91,000 each last year!

The FCA and TPR have launched advertising campaigns targeting pension holders aged 45-65 as a YouGov poll found that 32% of this group would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

One of the most common scams is to offer a ‘free pension review’. 12% of 45 to 65-year-olds surveyed said they would trust an offer of a ‘free pension review’ but It is thought that only a minority of pension scams are reported. The FCA and TPR are therefore asking the public to be vigilant and report these scammers

Pension scams cause serious financial and mental harm –If you are ever in doubt about a pension offer, visit the ScamSmart website.

The FCA and TPR are appealing to people to check who are they are dealing with and to be very wary of cold callers.

The advertising campaign shows the comparison between victims of pension scams and the lifestyles relished by the criminals behind the scams. Using TV, radio and social media adverts, it urges anyone who is contacted about their pension to visit ScamSmart before they do anything.

The government also intends to lay regulations to ban pension cold calling in the autumn.

As this is a fairly complex area, please contact one of the team at Your Tax Shop based in Ashton-under-Lyne on 0161 3395689 for any further information regarding your pension.

If you have an employee who is being made redundant are they entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and do they continue receiving SMP after the redundancy?

The simple answer is yes, as for an employee receiving SMP at the time they are made redundant the employer must discharge their full liability by either continuing to pay SMP to the employee based upon what would have been their normal pay period or by paying the SMP as a lump sum payment.

When SMP continues to be paid in the same way and at the same time when the employee stops working you should agree with them whether they require a form P45 or not. If they do then deduct tax on the remaining statutory payments using code 0T (S0T, if they are taxed at the Scottish rate) on a ‘week 1’ or ‘month 1’ basis. If they don’t require a form P45 then use their usual tax code for the statutory payments. If the employee requests their form P45 upon termination or before all of the SMP has been paid it is an indicator that the employee has or will be starting work for a new employer that she did not work for during the Qualifying Week (QW) and you will be able to explore this further. Where the employee requests their form P45 after termination but before all SMP has been paid or the form P45 is to be issued because you have made all payments of SMP then record the final payment date as their leaving date.

A lump sum payment of SMP can be paid to the employee where both the employer and the employee agree to payment in this way. There are however risks associated with lump sum payments as both the employer and the employee may pay more in National Insurance Contributions and the employee may pay more tax (although any overpaid tax would be repaid at the end of the tax year). Also if the employee starts work for another employer after the QW but before the birth of the baby the liable employer remains liable to pay SMP throughout the MPP for any complete weeks the employee does not work for that employer. If the employee ends her employment with that employer SMP will resume until the end of the Maternity Pay Period. If the employee were to start work for a new employer after the baby is born, but before the end of the Maternity Pay Period, who did not employ them in the QW their entitlement to SMP will stop. You would in either of these circumstances have overpaid wages which you will then need to recover from the employee and you will also need to recalculate and repay to HMRC any SMP recovered incorrectly.

For an employee who undertakes any work in a self-employed capacity during their Maternity Pay Period, then such work will not affect their payment of SMP.

As this is a fairly complex area, please contact one of the team at Your Tax Shop based in Ashton-under-Lyne on 0161 3395689 for any further information regarding SMP.

 

 

Bromleys Solicitors Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester. Pictured Mark Hirst

Law firm Bromleys has been shortlisted for a hat-trick of accolades at the 2018 Pride of Tameside Business Awards.

Bromleys is a finalist for the professional services business of the year and the medium business of the year awards, and for the corporate social responsibility honour which it won in 2017.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at Dukinfield Town Hall on Thursday, October 25. The awards ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Andy Crane.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, said: “This is a great achievement for each and every member of the team, and reflects the tremendous progress which the firm has made over the past 12 months.

“The awards recognise the great strides made by businesses of all sizes and nature across Tameside, and to be shortlisted by our peers in three categories is a tremendous boost.

“All of the nominations are well-deserved, and we are looking forward to an enjoyable evening celebrating the successes of Tameside businesses.”

Bromleys is also in the running for an honour at the 2018 LFS Conveyancing Awards. Its property team is a finalist in the national contest for excellence in conveyancing services.

Earlier this year, Bromleys was crowned small firm of the year at the Manchester Legal Awards.

Blank power of attorney form with paperwork, phone and digital tablet. Close up

Do you know that if you lose mental capacity your next of kin does not automatically have the right to deal with your finances for or health, care and welfare decisions.

Do you know that in the North West, 96% of people have not made provision to protect against this, usually by creating a Power of Attorney to appoint someone to act for them when they become incapable.

Do you know  that 12.8 million people over the age of 65 could develop dementia and only 928,000 have created a Power of Attorney. This shows that almost 93% of these people are ill-prepared for what may occur in the future.

For such reasons it is highly recommended and actively encouraged by the Government that you consider creating a Power of Attorney.

However, you should very carefully consider the identity of the person appointed (the Attornee), because sadly there is growing evidence that Attornees are abusing their appointment and accessing funds for their own purposes. During 2017/18, 1886 safeguarding referral cases were accepted for investigation, showing a drastic 48.9% increase from the previous year.

You will appreciate there are various serious issues to consider and we strongly recommend you take experienced, specialist legal advice before proceeding.

Surprisingly, the Court of Protection / Office of the Public Guardian do not as a matter of course, monitor and control Powers of Attorney appointments and finances, after the initial appointment.

If you are aware or suspicious of financial abuse (particularly of the elderly), then we do have a specialist, highly experienced team, who can assist you by either a Court of Protection appointed Deputy or an Attorney appointed by a Power of Attorney or otherwise.

 

Please contact:-

David Hiltondhilton@bromleys.co.uk

John Longworthjlongworth@bromleys.co.uk

or by telephone on 0161 330 6821.

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

It is currently a legal requirement that prior to the sale or letting of a residential or commercial property that an Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) be made available to the prospective buyer/tenant.

An EPC should also be commissioned where a new property is built; an existing property is significantly altered, if a property is subject to a Green Deal and for certain public buildings (where it is mandatory for a copy of the EPC to be displayed).

An EPC is “valid” for a period of 10 years and where a new EPC is registered for the same property, the previous EPC becomes redundant.

The obligations on a property owner when selling or letting a property requiring an EPC are as follows:

  • to commission an EPC before marketing if there is no existing valid EPC;
  • to put the EPC rating in any advertisements of the property for sale or letting;
  • to make available to the prospective buyer or tenant a valid EPC for the property.

It is also the property owner’s responsibility to commission the EPC and the property owner should not look to reclaim the cost of commissioning an EPC from a prospective buyer or tenant.

As a general rule, most residential and commercial properties being sold/let are subject to the requirement to have a valid EPC in place. However, the following properties are exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC:

  • Properties which do not have a roof or do not have walls;
  • Properties which use no energy to control the indoor climate;
  • Properties which are not designed or altered to be used separately;
  • Religious properties;
  • Temporary properties;
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural properties with a low energy demand;
  • Non-residential agricultural properties;
  • Residential properties which are not used for much of the year;
  • Stand-alone properties;
  • Buildings earmarked for demolition;
  • Listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas, but only in certain circumstances.

In circumstances where an EPC should have been put in place but it transpires that it was not, penalties can be imposed by the local weights and measures authority. The current legislation sets those penalties as:

  • Residential properties – £200 for a dwelling;
  • Commercial properties – 12.5% of the rateable value of the building, with a minimum penalty of £500 and a maximum £5,000.

A useful table detailing the possible penalty charges can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/508827/1600315_enforcement_guidance_Final.pdf.

It is therefore important to ensure that an EPC is provided to a prospective buyer or tenant as early as possible in any property transaction so as to avoid being fined by the local weights and measures authority.

Should you need advice relating to the legal requirements relating to EPC’s or indeed any other property law matters, please contact:

Paul Westwell at pwestwell@bromleys.co.uk or

Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk or

by telephone on 0161 330 6821.

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

The recent case of Lea v Ward has served to show that the court will attempt to take a practical view when awarding damages where a third party’s rights have been obstructed but this will nevertheless cause a delay for the homeowner looking to extend their property or a developer looking to develop a site.

The Facts

In Lea v Ward the developer, Mr Ward, wanted to build six residential properties on part of his land but his neighbour, Mr Lea, had a right of way over a section of this land. Mr Ward attempted to negotiate with Mr Lea in order to agree an alternative access route across his land in exchange for surrendering the existing right. The negotiations broke down but Mr Ward started work on his development.

As part of the development works, Mr Ward was required to erect temporary safety fencing to protect the public and this caused a temporary obstruction to Mr Lea’s right of way. This fencing was in place between April 2015 and September 2015 but Mr Lea only noticed that his right of way had been obstructed after 3 months.

Mr Ward then subsequently erected gateposts across the access in November 2015 and at this point Mr Lea started a claim seeking an injunction against the development on the basis that the development obstructed his right of way.

The Decision

Both Mr Ward and Mr Lea agreed that Mr Lea’s right of way had been obstructed for a temporary period of time when the safety fencing had been erected. The court held that as Mr Ward had made provision for an alternative route and the fact that Mr Lea had not noticed that his right of way had been obstructed for 3 months, Mr Lea was entitled to damages of only £5.

In relation to the gate posts, Mr Lea’s argument was that he had a right of way stretching across 5 metres wide of Mr Ward’s land but that Mr Ward had narrowed the access to 2.25 metres wide in some places and therefore this constituted a permanent interference with his rights. The court held, after much consideration of this issue, that Mr Lea’s right of way was in fact 4 metres wide and ordered that Mr Ward alter the gate posts to widen the access and pay Mr Lea £500 for the obstruction of his rights.

The Lesson

In the circumstances the court’s ruling seems to be practical and fair. However, whilst the damages seem trivial the costs incurred by Mr Ward in defending the action brought by Mr Lea will no doubt have run into several thousand if not tens of thousands of pounds. Furthermore, Mr Ward was unable to begin work on his development for some 16 months whilst the court proceedings were settled.

If Mr Ward had given further consideration to Mr Lea’s third party rights and obtained legal advice prior to erecting the safety fencing and erecting the gateposts then he could have saved considerable costs in legal fees and he should have been able to commence his development as planned.

How Bromleys Can Help

At Bromleys, we can provide timely expert legal advice on third party rights affecting or benefitting your land prior to such an issue escalating further. Should you need advice relating to third party rights or indeed any other property law matters, please contact:

Paul Westwell at pwestwell@bromleys.co.uk or Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk or by telephone on 0161 330 6821.

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

L-R: Suzanne Thompson, Katherine Darbinean & Amie Tsang.

Manchester and Glossop law firm Davis Blank Furniss has made three new appointments across the business.

The first new starter is Amie Tsang who joins as a senior consultant in the Property teamBefore arriving at Davis Blank Furniss, Amie ran her own successful small practice for 20 years. She brings with her a very loyal client base which is mainly from the UK and Chinese business community of largely Real Estate matters with some residential conveyancing & plot sales as well as business immigration.

Katherine Darbinean is Davis Blank Furniss’ newest Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence solicitor. Katherine qualified in December 2014 and joins Davis Blank Furniss from Thompsons Solicitors. Her role will cover higher value claims with severe injuries and some Clinical Negligence work.

Suzanne Thompson has joined the Corporate and Commercial team as a solicitor. Suzanne qualified in 2016 and joins from BLM LLP. Her work includes company restructures, shareholders agreements, company sales and acquisitions, commercial contracts and terms and conditions and intellectual property matters.

Kate Oldfield – managing partner at Davis Blank Furniss – commented: “We are delighted to welcome these three talented lawyers to the team and I’m sure each will play an integral part in the firm’s future growth.”

L-R: Suzanne Thompson, Katherine Darbinean & Amie Tsang.

Bromleys-partner-Paul-Westwell-front-row-fourth-left-pictured-wth-the-2018-19-Curzon-Ashton-FC-squad

Bromleys Solicitors has renewed and increased its sponsorship of Curzon Ashton FC for the 2018/19 season.

The Tameside law firm last season became the official home shirt sponsor of the Vanarama National League North side.

This agreement remains in force for the new campaign and Bromleys is also among the sponsors now backing the club’s new 3G training pitch, which is used by the first team and for a host of community initiatives.

Curzon Ashton’s home ground is the 4,000-capacity Tameside Stadium in Ashton-under-Lyne.

The club runs more than 40 teams in total, from age five upwards. They include ones for girls and women, service veterans and mental health service users.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell said: “We are pleased to renew and enhance our sponsorship agreement with Curzon Ashton for the forthcoming season.

“Our firm has a long-standing record of supporting local organisations and we admire the great work which Curzon Ashton is doing in the community.

“We had no hesitation in continuing our partnership with the club and increasing our sponsorship to help support its extensive programme of community initiatives.”

Andy Cheshire, Curzon Ashton’s community development and partnerships manager, said: “We are extremely grateful for the continued support from Bromleys.

“We are a community-focused club and rely on local support to allow us to continue and expand on the successes we have seen over the last 12 months.”

Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) is running a national campaign to raise awareness about planning for later life.

In a study it found that 96% of people in the North West had made no provision for themselves in the event that they should lose mental capacity. The study also found that a further 40% had made no provision whatsoever for later life , having no will, pension, funeral plan or Lasting Power of Attorney.

Somewhat shockingly, 67% of people in the North West are of the belief that their next of kin can make decision on their behalf over healthcare treatment if they were not able to make those decisions for themselves and 66% believe that their spouse would have the power to do so which is incorrect.

In the North West 73% of people would wish for a family member to make decisions about their medical and care treatment if they were to lose mental capacity, but this does not happen automatically. The only way to guarantee that the people you want making those decisions can do so is to have a registered Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

At present there are 12.8 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia and only 928,000 registered Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney, this is a difference of nearly 93% showing the shocking number of people ill-prepared for what may come.

In the North West only 4% of the people surveyed by SFE have a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place which is below the 7% national average.

It is crucial that people plan ahead for their future, ensuring that they have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to allow the important decisions to be made by the people they trust.

How we can help

Contact Laura Stansfield, Sue Darlington or Susanne Furness in our Wills, Probate & Planning for the Future department to discuss how one of our team of experts can help guide you through this process.

Email: lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk; sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk  sfurness@bromleys.co.uk

Tel: 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.