Sunday, January 20, 2019
Legal Matters

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.”

For more information visit


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:



A new residential nil rate band (RNRB) was introduced on April 6 2017 enabling you to pass, on your death, an additional allowance to be used against the value of property passing to direct dependents on top of the individual inheritance tax allowance of £325,000.

The starting allowance was £100,000 and this increases incrementally by £25,000 each year in April up to £175,000 in 2020 and thereafter in line with the Consumer Prices Index.

Currently, anything under £325,000 is exempt from inheritance tax. Anything above this figure is subject to a 40 per cent tax bill. This will depend however, on any lifetime gifting and planning you may have in place.

This figure can effectively be doubled for couples, as two people’s allowances are available. This means they can currently pass on death, property & assets to the value of £900,000 without incurring inheritance tax. The sum will rise incrementally to £1m by 2020/21.

To qualify for the new residential nil rate band, individuals will need to ensure their residence goes to direct descendants – children, step-children, adopted children, grandchildren or foster children.

It is important for anyone affected by these new provisions to review their wills, particularly if their current ones include discretionary trusts, as a significant number of wealthier families will lose out on the benefit.

At present, it is possible to effect a Deed of Variation, which must be done within two years of the date of death, although this can only be used if none of the beneficiaries are minors.

It may all sound complicated, but a specialist trusts & estates solicitor will be able to work out exactly how much of a person’s estate is exempt from inheritance tax.

If you need any advice in relation to the above, or any other family matters, please contact us on: 0161 330 6821

NB.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.

Davis Blank Furniss – the Glossop based law firm – will be holding its annual Lasting Powers of Attorney Week from Monday 5th to Friday 9th November at its Ellison Street office.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint a trusted friend, relative or professional to make decisions about your finances, property and personal welfare in the event that you are in an accident or you develop an illness that leaves you unable to make such decisions for yourself.

The week long promotion includes both types of LPA: the first covers your property and financial affairs; and the second your personal welfare and health. Special fixed prices for the week start at £150 plus VAT.

Lewis Thompson – solicitor in the Private Client team at Davis Blank Furniss – said: “LPAs are incredibly important. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. That is a scary yet very real statistic which is why we must all plan ahead to ease the potential burden on our loved ones. However, what people often overlook is that they are not just useful for the elderly but also for younger people who may unexpectedly and suddenly become incapacitated through accident or illness.

Lewis added: “Losing your mental capacity is not a nice thing to think about but we want our LPA Week to make people stop and really consider that by arranging an LPA now, you protect yourself and those you care about and avoid costly legal proceedings down the line.”

 For more information – or to make an appointment during the Davis Blank Furniss LPA Week 2018 – please email:





By ‘Frank Massey & Son Ltd, Hyde’s oldest established Family Undertakers

It is something that we have been becoming increasingly aware of for many years, but recently a report in The Guardian suggested that there is a growing ‘national scandal’ involving pre-paid funeral plans. Most customers, the report stated, are completely unaware of hidden fees and commissions charged by middlemen that mean when the time comes to use the plan, they could be faced with an unexpected shortfall running into hundreds of pounds!

One consumer body that has investigated the pre-paid funeral sector believes some disreputable companies offering these plans are operating a ‘quasi Ponzi scheme’ where they allegedly use money from new customers to pay current claimants.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, that is the official safety net for customers of financial firms that go bust, also issued a warning that individuals could lose out if their provider fails.

In far too many cases grieving families discover that they are being hit with unexpected bills at what is a very difficult time, simply because money has been ‘skimmed off’ the original pre-paid figure.

One funeral director quoted in the article was astounded when a customer showed them a £3,420 plan, but on receiving payment from the plan organiser – only £2,535 was provided for the funeral. There was an admin cost of almost £1000!

Apart from the rip-off fees and commissions charged by unscrupulous firms, we are also very concerned by the way that many of these plans are sold. Tactics include cold calling, along with telephone and in-house sales agents who, it appears, can be very forceful and aggressive in their approach. We have even been told of seemingly respectable age related organisations who are now adopting cold calling techniques to sell their funeral plans.

So what can you do?

The first thing to make clear is that not all pre-paid funeral plans fall into this rip-off category. There are many, such as the ‘Golden Charter’ plans that we provide at Frank Massey & Son Ltd, that have been delivering a totally transparent, secure, flexible and fully assured service for many, many years and which are guaranteed to cover the funeral director’s services you agreed on once your plan is paid for. Golden Charter is owned entirely by over 750 independent funeral businesses throughout the UK and surplus funds are used to increase funds available to the funeral director to cover any additional costs.

If you are thinking of purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan then our advice is to speak to your local independent funeral director, who will give you all the advice you require. Always ask how much money from the funeral plan will be paid towards funeral costs. They will also help you to avoid being ripped-off by unscrupulous organisations whose sole motive is to make as much profit as possible.

If you would like to discuss our Golden Charter pre-paid funeral plans please do not hesitate to contact Frank Massey & Son Ltd. You can be confident that as a family owned and run business, helping families in Hyde and surrounding areas for over 100-years, we are perfectly placed to provide all the advice and assistance you need. You can call us on 0161 368 2565, you can visit our website at:, or you can call into our offices at 49 Mottram Road, Hyde SK14 2NN. (We’re right next to Morrisons.)


Your Tax Shop based in Ashton under Lyne received 2 winning awards at this year’s Iris Customer Awards, which took place on Tuesday 9th October at the Twickenham Stadium in London.

They are extremely proud to announce winning IRIS small firm of the year 2018 and Client Excellence firm of the year 2018.

In addition to Your Tax Shop winning the 2 awards the 2 partners Yvonne Cookson and Fiona Heyes were shortlisted for Practice Manager of the year and Accountant of the year.

The inaugural awards were an enormous success amongst small and large accountancy practices all over the country and there was genuine shock and jubilation from all the winners.

If you want to be represented by a multi-award winning team, please contact: Your Tax Shop on : 0161 339 5689



As the largest professional services firm in Tameside, everyone at Bromleys takes immense pleasure in seeing the area go from strength to strength.

Projects and initiatives under way across the borough give us great confidence for the future.

It is exciting to see the Vision Tameside master plan progressing, with phase two of this transformational scheme now well under way on our door step.

This phase involves creating a new advanced skills centre for Tameside College in the heart of Ashton, alongside a joint service centre for Tameside Council and partners

The impact of these developments will be far-reaching, helping to further revitalise the town centre and equip Tameside’s young people with the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-changing economy.

Bromleys’ commitment goes way beyond providing high-quality legal advice to businesses and private clients.

We are also passionate about giving back to the community and, to this end, we have increased our sponsorship of Curzon Ashton FC. We wish the club well on and off the field this season.

Our backing for the Pride of Tameside Business Awards has continued, demonstrating our commitment to supporting the business community.

We’ve also been instrumental in setting up the Tameside Women in Business networking forum, which has got off to a flying start.

Tameside’s future looks bright and we are proud to be playing our part in its development.

How we can help

Should you need expert legal advice regarding any property law matters, please contact Paul Westwell at or telephone 0161 330 6821.