Thursday, March 21, 2019
Legal Matters

The head of Bromleys’ family law team has achieved a milestone by becoming the only solicitor in Greater Manchester to be accredited by the Resolution organisation in four different specialist areas.

Resolution is an organisation of family lawyers and other professionals who are committed to constructive, non-confrontational ways to resolve divorce, separation and other family-related legal issues.

Keith Bull already held Resolution accreditations in the fields of domestic abuse, finances and private children matters.

Now he has also been accredited as an expert in cohabitation disputes relating to land and financial issues.

He is one of just five lawyers in the Manchester area to be recognised by Resolution for the cohabitation specialism.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, said: “Keith’s latest accreditation strengthens his position as one of the region’s leading experts in family law.

“It’s a significant achievement because Resolution’s accreditation scheme is immensely challenging and is a quality mark which sets Keith apart from his peers.”

Keith said: “I am delighted to be recognised by Resolution as a specialist in four areas after passing rigorous assessments of my knowledge, abilities and the manner in which I deal with family law cases.

“Upholding the Resolution code of practice is at the heart of the work I do and I’m proud to be part of an organisation working to transform the way that family law is practised.”


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A local charity is calling on people to get their affairs in order this March, and help raise vital funds to support patients across Greater Manchester.

The St Ann’s Hospice Will Week is an annual campaign, which sees dozens of kind hearted solicitors giving their time for free to help people make their Will. Instead of charging their usual fee, they are suggesting that supporters make a donation to the hospice.

Margaret Poole, a volunteer at St Ann’s Hospice, updated her Will during the campaign last year. She says “I’d been putting off changing my Will, like most people it just wasn’t something I wanted to think about.

“I had already made one, but after some changes in my family circumstances, I needed to update it. Seeing the leaflets for the St Ann’s Will Week prompted me to take part – it allowed me to make the changes I needed whilst supporting St Ann’s with a donation.

“I saw a solicitor who was local to me, they were really good and it was an easy process. To anyone who hasn’t made or recently updated their Will, I’d say you’ve got to think about these things. It’s not for you; it’s for those who you leave behind so you don’t leave them in a mess. It’s easy to let years go by, but it really is something everyone needs to think about.”

The St Ann’s Hospice Will Week is from March 11th to 15th. To take part or for information, please call the hospice on 0161 498 3631 or visit


A Tameside charity which provides accommodation and work for previously homeless and unemployed people is set for a boost from Bromleys Solicitors.

Staff at the Tameside law firm have chosen Emmaus Mossley as their charity of the year for 2019.

Emmaus Mossley supports formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work in a community setting. The charity runs a social enterprise from its base in Longlands Mill selling furniture, household goods, clothes, bric-a-brac and vintage items, including vinyl records and collectables.

Bromleys’ staff will hold a variety of fundraising activities during 2019 as well as supporting the organisation’s events and volunteering at its premises.

Gillian Nettleton, support worker at Emmaus Mossley, said: “It is a huge honour to be selected by Bromleys Solicitors as the firm’s charity of the year for 2019.

“The Emmaus Mossley community is looking forward to getting involved with staff from Bromleys and we are excited by what the partnership will achieve over the coming months.”

Jill Lomas, a receptionist at Bromleys and member of the firm’s charity committee, said: “We are committed to giving back to the community, and are delighted to be involved with Emmaus Mossley.

“We look forward to working with Gillian and her team in a variety of ways to raise funds, take part in events, help out at the centre and raise awareness about the wonderful work they do.”

Meanwhile Bromleys has handed over a cheque for £1010.47 to Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester, which was the firm’s charity of the year for 2018.

Francis House supports more than 460 children and young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families from across Greater Manchester.


Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division, warned in his first ‘View from the President’s Chambers’, that he was concerned for the welfare of all those working in the family courts who are under “remorseless and relentless” pressure and who are “conscientiously continuing to deliver a professional service in a timely manner despite the increase in workload”.

From social workers and guardians to solicitors and judges, all those working in the family courts are painfully aware of the “adverse impact of the high volume of cases”. Sir Andrew outlined that there was little he could do to relieve the current pressures, but he specified that it would be unsustainable for professionals to endeavour to undertake “business as usual”.

He encouraged professionals and local judiciary to establish a dialogue to develop the guidelines and parameters of sensible and acceptable working practices. He suggested agreements could be made in relation to:

  • The earliest and latest court sitting times;
  • The earliest and latest it is acceptable to send an email to another lawyer or the court;
  • Reducing components expected in a ‘position statement’ to only one side of A4 using bullet points.

He acknowledged that, whilst professionals will always go the “extra mile” for the sake of the child, he hopes that they will find new ways to work together to cope with the continued increase of care cases issued at court.

Should you need any advice in relation to divorce or relationship breakdown, or any matters arising from those,  please do not hesitate to contact our expert Care Team on  0161 330 6821 or email:


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Keith Platts –


The Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester has welcomed today’s announcement to strengthen tools and powers to help break the cycle of domestic abuse and better protect victims and survivors.

Speaking as the Government published the draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which includes stronger powers to tackle coercive control and economic abuse, the introduction of new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, and a ban on the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in family court, Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said:

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in better protection and support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, who all too often feel let down by the criminal justice system. The powers and tools outlined in the draft Domestic Abuse Bill will help us strengthen our response to domestic abuse in Greater Manchester, and give more people the confidence to speak out and seek help.

“Crucially, the draft Bill sets out a definition of domestic abuse which recognises the impact of coercive, controlling and economic abuse, which is just as devastating as physical abuse. However, this definition alone is not enough. For example, it must be backed up with sustainable funding and a robust framework and guidance for local areas to help commission support services, deliver minimum standards of training and support organisations in recognising the signs of economic and controlling behaviour.

“The issue of abusers being allowed to cross-examine their victims in family court has been a cause for concern for some time. It’s unacceptable that this practice, which effectively enables abuse to continue, has been allowed to go on so I’m pleased that the Government has finally taken action to protect victims and survivors from unnecessary distress.”

The draft Bill also strengthens Clare’s Law, making it a duty for the police to disclose information on an individual when requested, where there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.

Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes added: “Greater Manchester has led the way in implementing Clare’s Law, an empowering tool that has saved hundreds of residents from a potential lifeline of abuse. That this power is being bolstered sends a strong message to anyone who is worried about their own or a loved one’s relationship that there is somewhere to turn to. Work is ongoing across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of this scheme and the help and support which is available to people who need it.”

The Tameside firm is a finalist in the Private Client Team of the Year and the Pro Bono/Community Initiative categories.

The 10th annual awards have attracted a record number of entries and will be presented at a gala dinner at Manchester’s Midland Hotel on Thursday, March 7.

At last year’s ceremony, Bromleys was crowned Small Law Firm of the Year.

Senior partner Mark Hirst said: “We are truly delighted and thrilled to be shortlisted at the 2019 Manchester Legal Awards.

“Having won the Small Law Firm of the Year category in 2018, we decided this year to enter our private client team in recognition of its strong growth and specialist expertise, and the Pro Bono/Community Initiative category following a hugely successful year for our flourishing Access to Free Legal Advice programme combined with our increasing involvement in community-based projects.

“The fact that we have been shortlisted for both awards reflects the strength of our team and the commitment of everyone at the firm to the community initiatives that we run.

“It’s great to be recognised for these achievements by the panel of independent judges and we are all looking forward to the awards ceremony.”

The past 12 months have seen Bromleys pick up a series of accolades.

The firm was crowned Professional Services Business of the Year at the 2018 Pride of Tameside Business Awards.

In addition, Bromleys has retained Investors in People Gold status and the Law Society’s Lexcel quality mark and Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.


Bromleys Solicitors is to expand its free legal advice services for the public during 2019 after seeing demand soar last year.

A total of 764 people attended surgeries at the firm’s offices in Ashton-under-Lyne during 2018.

The figure represented a 54 per cent increase over 2017, when 497 people took advantage of Bromleys’ Access to Free Legal Advice programme.

In addition to five weekly surgeries at its offices, Bromleys runs advice sessions during and outside working hours at a variety of locations across the borough.

These include nursing and care homes, adult day care centres, charity premises and women’s centres, benefiting residents, service users and staff.

Bromleys assigned more lawyers to the service during 2018 than in previous years.

Those attending last year sought initial help with issues concerning employment, neighbour and boundary disputes, wills, probate and lasting powers of attorney, divorce and care proceedings, cohabitation agreements, parental and grandparental rights and child protection.

This year, the firm is looking to add further pop-up sessions at various organisations in and around Tameside.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, said: “The free advice sessions provide a safe, private space where members of the public can talk to our experts and find out more about the legal options available to them.

“Greater awareness about our programme through marketing activities and client referrals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people attending.

“Reductions in Legal Aid are also a factor. People know they can come to us for a free initial consultation and that we will put them on the right path to resolving their situation before matters escalate.

“They can get information about possible funding options and schemes available and, if they wish, they can instruct Bromleys to act on their behalf.

“Our commitment to providing free initial legal advice to the local community and in particular vulnerable people is a cornerstone of our corporate social responsibility programme.

“We enjoy what we do and get an enormous amount of satisfaction knowing we are able to assist and provide peace of mind, helping people with their problems and connecting them to external services they may not have known were available to them.”

Bromleys Solicitors has appointed Keith Bull as head of its family law department.

Keith is an experienced family law specialist who has held senior roles at firms in the Home Counties, the south west and the North West.

He specialises in cases involving divorce, children, domestic abuse, cohabitation disputes and complex financial and property matters.

Keith qualified in 1990 and is accredited by Resolution as a family law specialist and collaborative law solicitor.

Resolution is an organisation of family lawyers and other professionals who are committed to constructive, non-confrontational ways to resolve divorce, separation and other family-related legal issues.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, which is based in Ashton-under-Lyne, said: “Keith has an excellent reputation with his clients, colleagues and peers in the area of family law.

“He always seeks to go the extra mile to achieve the best results for his clients, who include business owners and their spouses, in often complex cases.

“With his extensive legal and management experience, we’re confident that he will prove a big success with his approach and commitment to growing the department and building on our existing team.

“We’re delighted to welcome him to the firm and see him as a great fit with the culture and way we operate at Bromleys.”

Keith said: “Bromleys is a forward-thinking, multi-award winning firm with a clear focus on client service and expert advice, and I very much look forward to contributing to its future success.”

Meanwhile Kristie Fawcett has been appointed as a trainee solicitor in Bromleys’ family team.

Kristie, who achieved a commendation on her legal practice course at The College of Law’s Manchester campus, joined Bromleys as a paralegal in 2017.


Law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Brigid O’Malley as a solicitor in its Family team.

Her new role will see her acting on behalf of clients seeking advice and assistance in relation to family matters including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, nullity, domestic abuse, financial proceedings and children proceedings. She will be working closely with Caroline Bilous – partner and head of the Family team.

Brigid studied Law at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett). She graduated in 2009, and completed her LPC at the College of Law in Chester in 2010 where she gained a distinction. Brigid qualified in October 2014 and has previously worked at Bell Lamb & Joynson and Makin Dixon Solicitors. She has joined Davis Blank Furniss from WTB Solicitors.

Caroline Bilous commented: “I have previously worked with Brigid so I know she is a talented and compassionate lawyer. She brings with her some fantastic experience and a caring approach to her work which I know will benefit our clients.”

Brigid added: “Davis Blank Furniss prides itself on putting its clients first which is important to me. I have worked with Caroline before, and know we make a great team, so I was really excited at the prospect of working together again.”

For more information – or to make an appointment – please contact: Manchester Office on: 0161 832 3304 or Glossop Office on: Telephone: 01457 860606



At the awards ceremony, held at Dukinfield Town Hall, more than 300 people enjoyed a glittering ceremony which showcased the huge depth of talent, ingenuity and business enterprise that is expanding throughout the local business community.

Hosted by broadcaster Andy Crane the awards this year saw winners emerge from a wide spectrum of business segments which covered 24 categories.

Recognising just a few who have had outstanding business credentials and have been acknowledged as consistently going from strength to strength was:

YOUR TAX SHOP – Who were also honoured to be shortlisted for an impressive five awards in some strong categories amongst other talented and hardworking individuals. The company ended up winning the Corporate Social Responsibility award!

Yvonne Cookson, taking up the story said, “Our three boys, Danny, Josh and Kieran, were all nominated for Apprentice of the Year and we are so proud of them all to be shortlisted in such a competitive category. The awards were well underway, and it was time for Apprentice of the Year to be announced. Andy Crane explained that this category had been so hard to judge and announced that there would be two winners. We heard Danny’s name being announced as one of the winners and we were all overwhelmed with happiness and so proud

We are all so proud and honoured to have been shortlisted for the awards let alone winning two of them. It is so fantastic to be recognised for all our hard work and commitment, and it is encouraging to know that we are doing a fantastic job as a team.”

Having recently won 2 other prestigious awards at this year’s Iris Customer Awards (IRIS small firm of the year 2018 and Client Excellence firm of the year 2018) the 2 partners Yvonne Cookson and Fiona Heyes were also shortlisted for Practice Manager of the year and Accountant of the year.

Yvonne added, “Our new additions now have ‘pride of place’ on our office shelf!”

For more information call: Your Tax Shop on: 0161 339 5689



Local Law firm BROMLEYS was recognised by being crowned Professional Services Business of the Year at the ceremony.

The professional services business honour is the second accolade for Bromleys in consecutive years at the awards. In 2017, the firm won the corporate social responsibility prize.

Bromleys’ latest honour also follows its success at the 2018 Manchester Legal Awards, where it was named small law firm of the year.

During the past 12 months, the firm has also retained Investors in People Gold status and the Law Society’s Lexcel quality mark and Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.

Bromleys is a three-partner firm based in Ashton-under-Lyne which provides legal services to individuals, families and businesses across Tameside and Greater Manchester.

It has a 57-strong team which has been boosted by a series of key appointments to cater for a growing number of instructions.

Bromleys has also launched the Tameside Women in Business networking forum and has increased its sponsorship of Curzon Ashton FC for this season.

The judging panel said: “Bromleys Solicitors are consistent, excellent performers who have this year shown exceptional growth while achieving the Investors in People Gold award. They are a beacon of the borough.”

Bromleys’ senior partner Mark Hirst said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised for the excellence of our service in a highly-competitive field. This accolade acknowledges the expertise, dedication and commitment of our team to the business and wider Tameside communities.

“Awards such as this make everyone at Bromleys realise just how much their efforts are appreciated and how they make a difference for all of our clients. It is a real boost for everyone at the firm.”

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There was also more ‘Pride of Tameside’ success for MATTHEW ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS as once again they took the Export Business of the Year Award.

For the second year in succession, Hyde based Matthews Environmental Solutions has been voted Export Business of the Year by the Pride of Tameside Awards judges.

Despite record-breaking export achievements in 2017 the company has continued its worldwide success that has seen sales of its internationally renowned industrial waste incinerators, plus its pet cremators and human cremators expand to over 150 countries and across all seven continents.

From the protected icy climate of Antarctica to the heat of tropical deserts and from busy city locations to the most remote island outposts, Matthews Environmental Solutions has been stamping the name and the reputation of Hyde well and truly onto the global map.

The Judges highlighted that Matthews Environmental Solutions are an extremely impressive business with strong financial performance. Constantly innovating they now export worldwide, having vastly increased their recent growth with huge future growth potential.

Many of these installations are customised and bespoke designs that range from the small 60L/day sewage sludge incinerators that are protecting the delicate Antarctic environment, up to the colossal 5000kg/hr animal remains incinerator plant designed and engineered for the Holy Mina Waste Treatment Facility at Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

A delighted Elliott Jones, Business Development Manager, said,“We are proud of all our achievements, but especially proud of our export success at such a challenging time for international trade.”

For further information about why Matthews Environmental Solutions is the Pride of Tameside with a worldwide reputation, check out the company’s website: