Monday, August 19, 2019
Legal Matters

Laura Stansfield, the head of Tameside law firm Bromleys’ Wills, Probate and Planning for the Future department, is blazing a trail after becoming a fully- accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

She is the only Tameside-based member of SFE, which is a national association of independent lawyers who are acknowledged as experts in dealing with the legal issues faced by older clients.
Laura acts for clients across Tameside as well as beyond the borough in areas including Saddleworth, Manchester, Wilmslow, Altrincham and Alderley Edge.

As part of the process to become a fully-accredited member of SFE, Laura passed rigorous assessments and received specialist training in working with older and vulnerable clients and understanding their needs.

Her areas of expertise also include lifetime planning, drafting wills and powers of attorney, inheritance tax planning, succession planning for business owners and arrangements for future care.
Laura said: “The SFE accreditation shows that an independent body recognises that my clients receive the best-possible expert service.

“SFE membership also demonstrates that I have a real breadth of experience, enabling me to advise on unusual situations and circumstances.”

Mark Hirst, senior partner of Bromleys, said: “Laura’s achievement is excellent news for her, the firm and our clients. “It sets her apart from her peers and recognises that she has the expertise to deal with any eventuality and put in place the right processes to ensure the well-being of our elderly clients, providing peace of mind to them and their families.”

Could you make your own will?
The simple answer is ‘yes’. However, more importantly, should you?
Wills & Probate specialist Sue Darlington at Bromleys Solicitors LLP says:
“In my 20 years’ experience I can recall seeing less than a handful of ‘do-it-yourself’ wills which are problem-free.
Most do not do what they are supposed to, by reason that the wrong legal words and phrases have been used. Many are not valid because the formal requirements about signing have not been met.
Wills made through solicitors are tailored to suit individual requirements and advice will be given about various options to help you plan for the future.
Our advice is to always consult a professional who has the training and experience to ensure your wishes are followed and your will, if challenged, is as watertight as possible.”

How we can help:
Should you need to review your will or need advice in making a will, please contact our experts to arrange your free initial meeting.

Contact our expects:
Laura Stansfield at lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk
Sue Darlington at sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk
Susanne Furness at sfurness@bromleys.co.uk
You can also contact us on 0161 330 6821 or, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

Often pensions are considered one of the largest assets for divorcing couples so it’s imperative that the fairest settlement is achieved.

The long-awaited guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce, was published on 11 July 2019 by the Pension Advisory Group (PAG) which is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals specialising in the field of financial remedies and pensions on divorce.

The report sets out best practice to legal practitioners, financial experts and judges working in this field to encourage fairer settlements for their clients and reduce any risks to the professional managing the settlement.

The guide is a result of a need to address the variation of financial settlements across England and Wales and to provide clarity as to valuations, sharing or offsetting of pension fund assets, tax issues and potential interactions with mean-tested benefits.

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, said of the guide “I am extremely grateful to the Pension Advisory Group who have worked hard to produce guidance which de-mystifies this area and establishes clear ground rules for the proper approach to be taken in every case.”

Hilary Woodward from Cardiff University said “The aim of this guide is to help judges and practitioners navigate their way with more confidence through the tricky field of pensions on divorce, and ultimately improve the fairness of outcomes for those going through divorce,”

                                                    How we can help

Should you need any advice in relation to pensions on divorce, or any other family matter, please do not hesitate to contact our expert family team on: 0161 330 6821 or email:
Keith Bull – kbull@bromleys.co.uk
Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries.  No appointment necessary.

In recent years, there have been conflicting authorities as to whether it is possible to sever parts of restrictive covenants which are unreasonable, if the balance of the covenant is reasonable.

The starting position is that unreasonable restrictive covenants are void and unenforceable. The grey area was what happened if only part of a covenant is unreasonable. Can the unreasonable element be severed and the balance of the covenant enforced?

The recent case of Egon Zehnder Ltd vs Tillman the clarified the position. The Supreme Court has restored the old test that was originally set the Court of Appeal in 2007. The position now is that the unreasonable part of a covenant may be severed if:

The unreasonable provision can be removed without the need to add or to modify the wording of what remains;

The remaining terms continue to be supported by adequate consideration (which will normally apply in run-of-the-mill cases); and
The removal of the unreasonable provision does not change the character of the contract so that it becomes the sort of contract that the parties had not intended to enter into at all.

In this case the company, a head-hunter, employed Ms Tillman. Her employment contract said:
“you shall not without the prior written consent of the company directly or indirectly, either alone or jointly with or on behalf of any third party and whether as principal manager, employee, contractor, consultant, agent or otherwise howsoever… directly or indirectly engage or be concerned or interested in any business carried on in competition with any of the businesses of the Company…which were carried on at the Termination Date or during the period of 12 months prior to that date and with which you were materially concerned during such period.”
Ms Tillman’s employment finished in January 2017. She commenced employment with a competitor in May 2017. She argued that the non-competition covenant went further than was reasonably necessary to protect her former employer’s interests. She argued that it prohibited her being “interested” in a competing business unreasonably stopped her from holding even a minority shareholding in a competing business.

The Court of Appeal held that the restriction was in unreasonable restraint of trade, refused to severe the words “or interested” from the remainder of the clause, and therefore the whole clause was unenforceable.

The Supreme Court held that this was the wrong approach. Adopting the test above, the words “or interested” could be severed without the need to add or modify the wording of the remainder. The balance of the clause was therefore enforceable because the removal of those two words generated no major change in the overall effect of the restraint.

If you have any queries regarding restrictive covenants, their enforceability, or the drafting of the same, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts, Mark Hirst or Rachael Frankland.

For advice relating to the above, or indeed any other corporate law matters, please contact our experts:

Rachael Frankland – rfrankland@bromleys.co.uk

Mark Hirst – mhirst@bromleys.co.uk

By telephone on 0161 330 6821 or, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

Where a person has been promised an interest in a property and has upon reliance of that promise incurred expenditure or made sacrifices that he would not otherwise have made, the law provides a remedy in circumstances when it would be unconscionable or inequitable for the person to benefit.  Recent cases to come before the courts considering the principal of ‘proprietary estoppel’ (meaning creating a proprietary interest in land in the absence of correct formalities) include farming businesses.

One such high profile decision awarded most of a family farming business to the family’s youngest daughter.  In this situation the parents had four children, the father having died in 2014 leaving his entire estate to his wife, the mother of the four.  The youngest daughter then brought a claim that promises had been made, denied by her mother,  to her that the farm would come to her when both parents retired.  The court found in the daughter’s favour. The decision is likely to force her elderly mother to sell the home which she has occupied for 40 years to pay the award to her daughter.

In a similar case, wills were made by the parents leaving the farm property and business between two sons.  One of the sons worked long hours on the farm for low pay continuously for over 30 years.  This son was in partnership with his father but following a fall out this partnership was dissolved.  The son was also given notice to quit the cottage in which he lived.  The parents then created new wills in which the son was disinherited.

The court found that there had been an assurance or promise by the parents upon which the son relied, the son having acted to his detriment and been encouraged in his belief without correction.

How we can help

Though many cases that come before the courts relate to farms the principle applies in many situations.

Should you need to make a claim, our experts are highly experienced in this particular area of law and we can also assist if you are defending a proprietary estoppel claim.

Contact our expects:

Laura Stansfield at lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk

Sue Darlington at sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk

Susanne Furness at sfurness@bromleys.co.uk

Mark Hirst at mhirst@bromleys.co.uk

You can also contact us on 0161 330 6821 or, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

Staff from O’Donnell Solicitors are currently training for a series of fundraising runs to support their nominated charity of the year, Emmaus Mossley.

Nine staff members from the O’Donnell team will be participating in the upcoming Tour of Tameside, a four-day festival of running, which takes place between 13 and 16 June. This is the third year that a team from O’Donnell Solicitors has taken part in the event and 2019 will see even more O’Donnell’s staff taking part than ever before.

James O’Donnell, Director and Head of Commercial, said: “This is another exciting year for the firm and for the Tour of Tameside, an iconic event taking place throughout Tameside. It is a pleasure to be a sponsor of this iconic event but also to be taking part and helping this fantastic local charity.

“Training was interrupted for me due to injury, however I am still hoping to run stages 1 and 4 with at least two staff members running the full 4 stages of the event and others taking part in the other stages. It is a very tough event, but our firm’s staff has the strength and determination to achieve their personal goals and at the same time give back to an extremely worthy cause.”

Director James O’Donnell will be joined by CO Directors Rebecca O’Donnell, Anthony Jones and Claire Egerton together with PA, Claire Kinder, PA Natalie Wright and Receptionist Emma Jones.

Emmaus Mossley supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work in a community setting. The charity runs a social enterprise in Mossley, selling donated and upcycled furniture, household goods, clothes and vintage wares.

Alison Hill, Director of Emmaus Mossley, said: “We’re extremely grateful to the staff from O’Donnell Solicitors for selecting Emmaus Mossley as their charity of the year. Our community wishes team O’Donnell well for their training and for the upcoming Tour of Tameside event.

“The partnership with O’Donnell Solicitors will not only help to raise awareness and funds to support Emmaus Mossley, it will also give opportunities to our beneficiaries who could benefit from some legal support.”

The Tour of Tameside event, which was originally founded by marathon legend Dr Ron Hill MBE in 1983, was re-launched in 2015 and has been growing in popularity year on year. With four different events over four days, each with a different running route and type of terrain. The Tour is designed to challenge participants both physically and mentally, whilst still offering something for runners of all abilities.

 

To find out more and donate to O’Donnell’s Tour of Tameside fundraiser visit: https://www.wonderful.org/fundraiser/touroftameside-cdca642c

To find out more or support Emmaus Mossley head to www.emmaus.org.uk/mossley.

If you would like to get involved or donate an item, please call 01457 838608 or visit the store at Longlands Mill, Queen Street, Mossley OL5 9AH.

 

In the recent case of Persimmon Homes Limited v (1) Anthony John Hillier and (2) Colin Michael Creed,  the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Hillier and Creed, holding that a disclosure letter accompanying a share purchase agreement (SPA) could be rectified where it did not give effect to the parties’ intended transaction.

Pursuant to terms of the SPA, the Sellers (Hillier and Creed), transferred to the Buyer (Persimmon Homes Limited), the share capital in two companies which held interests in four of six connecting parcels of land comprising a potential development site. The remaining parcels, which provided access to the site and were critical to its future development (the Ransom Land), were owned by another of the Sellers’ companies. The shares in this company were not transferred under the terms of the SPA. Whilst the SPA contained warranties that the acquired companies had good title to the land, it did not identify the individual parcels that were subject to the warranty. The accompanying disclosure letter also specifically disclosed that the acquired companies did not own the Ransom Land.

At first instance the High Court accepted the Buyer’s argument that the course of the parties’ negotiations demonstrated a common intention that it would acquire the whole development site, including the Ransom Land. The Court ordered rectification of the SPA (to include the Ransom Land in the definition of Properties) and the disclosure letter (to exclude the statement that the appellants did not own the Ransom land).

The Sellers appealed. Dismissing the appeal, the Court held that the Judge had been correct to conclude that the SPA and disclosure letter did not record the terms agreed between the parties, and that the requirements for rectification had been met accordingly. The court also found that the disclosure letter was an integral part of the suite of documents designed to give effect to the parties’ intended transaction and, in circumstances where its terms failed to achieve this purpose, it was as much capable of rectification as the SPA itself.

This case highlights the importance of ensuring that the parties intentions are accurately reflected in the transactional documentation being used and that the transactional documents are fit for purpose. It is also a warning to ensure that the due diligence process is properly carried out whereby all documents in the data room are fully reviewed, considered and reflected in the documentation and where required the price of the transaction is adjusted accordingly. The case also highlights the importance of using clear and precise definitions generally and specifically in relation to key assets in SPAs and other such documentation.

For advice relating to the above, or indeed any other corporate law matters, please contact our experts:

Paul Westwell at pwestwell@bromleys.co.uk

Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk

Suzanne Thompson at sthompson@bromleys.co.uk

By telephone on 0161 330 6821 or, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

NatWest, have teamed up with Bromleys Solicitors LLP to bring you a seminar on a number of legal topics that you may wish to learn more about.

The seminar which is to be held at the Village Hotel, Hyde on Tuesday 18th JUNE 2019, will include the following topics:

Business protection planning – covers how to ensure the continuation of a business after the death of an owner, also covers efficient Inheritance Tax planning for an owner, looks at Shareholders Agreements, Cross Option Agreements, Wills, and Business LPAs.

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) – covers general information about the importance of making Wills and LPAs and what happens if you don’t have them in place.

Care Home Fee Planning – covers care home fee levels and how careful planning can ensure there is something left to your loved ones rather than the local authority taking it all – applies to couples mainly as its difficult for a single person to plan.

Bank of Mum and Dad – covers how to protect gifts/loans given by a parent to assist their children. Looks at Declarations of Trust, Loan Agreements also Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements.

Event Agenda:

  • 8:30am – Arrival and registration
  • 8:45am – Welcome by Geoff Longden, Business Growth Enabler at NatWest Business Banking
  • 8:50am – Laura Stansfield, Head of Wills, Probate and Planning for the Future at Bromleys Solicitors LLP
  • 9:20am – Keith Bull, Head of Family at Bromleys Solicitors LLP
  • 9:50am – Q & As
  • 10:15am – Close

 

Food and refreshments will be provided. If you have any dietary requirements then please let me know.

About this event

All information used in this presentation you are registering for is produced for information purposes only and is for the sole use of the attendees at the presentation.

Whilst we feel this topic is beneficial to business owners, the views expressed are not intended to be and should not be viewed as individual advice or as a recommendation by RBS, NatWest or any third party. You should seek independent advice in respect of issues that are of concern to you.

To the maximum extent permitted by law we expressly disclaim all representations, warranties, or assurance of any kind, expressed or implied, that are made to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this presentation and do not accept any obligation to update or correct any information contained herein.

During the event photographs may be taken on behalf of the host with a view to posting on social media to promote services offered to customers. If you do not wish to be included in the photographs please notify us.

For the avoidance of doubt RBS/NatWest does not produce the materials for all presentations. This disclaimer applies equally to any materials or presentations produced by a third party.

By registering for this event you agree that you have read and expressly agree to the use of your personal data submitted as part of your event registration.

To book on to the event, please contact Carol Parker at Bromleys Solicitors LLP on 0161 694 4148 or email cparker@bromleys.co.uk.

The Village Hotel, Captain Clarke Road, Hyde SK14 4QG – 18th JUNE 2019 from 8.15am to 10.15am.

 

 

David Hilton, the head of law firm Bromleys’ Court of Protection department, has been promoted to partner.

David joined the Tameside practice in 2017 as a senior associate and became head of the department last year when he succeeded John Longworth.

John handed over the reins of the 11-strong team in line with Bromleys’ succession plan but remains a key member of the team.

The Court of Protection team acts for clients who lack the mental capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs due to reasons such as injury, illness or old age.

David, who qualified as a solicitor in 2008, is a member of the national committee of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association.

He said: “I’m delighted to become a partner at Bromleys and look forward to working closely with the rest of the management team to build on our success and drive the business forward.”

Bromleys’ senior partner Mark Hirst said: “David is an extremely talented professional who has made a strong contribution to the department and the firm as a whole since joining us in 2017.

“He has enhanced the team’s skill set and efficiency and under his stewardship it has enjoyed its most successful year in the firm’s history.

“As a partner, David will play an important role in helping us to achieve our ambitious growth plans and the continued delivery of legal services of the highest quality to all our clients.”

Mark added: “We are continuing to recruit to meet growing demand for our services, with new team members taking up key positions in the corporate and commercial services and care teams in the near future, and with further appointments in the pipeline.”

 

A care home in Tameside has been named as one of the top 20 in the North West after a string of positive reviews from residents’ relatives and friends.

Auden House, on Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, scored 9.9 out of 10 in reviews posted on the www.carehome.co.uk website.

It is one of just five in Greater Manchester and the only one in Tameside to feature in the website’s Top 20 Care Home Awards for 2019.

Auden House, which has 24 beds and 28 staff, is owned by Dr Judith Stockton and John Evans, who bought the business in 2006. The two-storey building, built in the early 20th century, has been extended to provide more beds and a conservatory communal area.

Judith and John have also introduced a range of green measures, including the installation of solar panels and solar collectors which give hot water, and an air source heat pump system which heats the building.

Rainwater harvesting will soon be introduced. Rainwater will be collected from the roof and used to flush the home’s toilets and to do the residents’ laundry.

Judith said: “We are delighted to feature as one of the top 20 care homes in the north west. It’s recognition of our efforts to ensure Auden House provides exceptional care in homely surroundings, and for our friendly staff who strive to fulfil the golden years for all our residents.”

Auden House is a long-standing client of Tameside law firm Bromleys.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell said: “We have acted for Judith and John for many years, originally advising on their acquisition of Auden House and then the extension to the property.

“Auden House has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere which is held in high regard.

“More recently, we acted for the couple on their acquisition of the Woodlands Care Centre, which is a fantastic 23-bed care home in Macclesfield.

“Expansion plans are already under way for Woodlands, to include additional
en-suite bedrooms and another communal lounge area that will add to the relaxation space for residents.

“It is great to see investment in this sector in what have been difficult times, with continued pressure on fees and the regulatory backdrop.”

Among the reviews of Auden House posted on carehome.co.uk were ones saying:

  • “I have been visiting my friend for several years. When she first came here, I assured her that this would be the nearest place to heaven on earth that could ever be. This opinion has never changed. My friend is extremely happy here.”
  • “I find this home a great place for my mother. She is well-treated, the home is very clean, great caring staff, and mum loves the food.”
  • “My mother-in-law has recently gone to live at Auden House. I am amazed at how happy and settled she is, all the staff are so caring and supportive. It is a big relief to know that she is safe and well cared for and, even more importantly, that she is happy and treated with dignity.”
  • “My Nanna has settled into Auden House very well, mainly due to the care and attitude of all the staff. Nothing is too much to ask, and all staff are friendly and happy and treat all the residents with great respect and humour. We are very lucky my Nanna is living somewhere she feels safe and comfortable.”