Thursday, April 2, 2020
Legal

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) conceded on 27th March that the planned changes to probate fees, which could see some rising by more than 3,000%, will not come into force on 1 April as originally intended.

A spokesperson for the MoJ confirmed that the statutory instrument (SI) bringing the revised fee scheme into force would not be laid this week and that Brexit matters had taken precedence.

The plans mean that probate charges would be linked to the size of the estate. Estates valued at more than £2m would be charged £6,000. At present there is a flat fee £155 for those applying through a solicitor (or £215 for a personal application).

Usually, a SI passes unchallenged unless there is a formal objection – all that is required is that the name of the SI is read out before the House and for no-one to shout ‘object’.

It has however been indicated there will be objections. There is no date for when the SI will be laid. If and when the SI is passed it usually takes 21 days to come into force so there is no chance of it being ready for 1st April.

How Bromleys 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

Supreme Court has recently decided on a case (Regency Villas Title Ltd and others v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd and another) that raised the issue of whether a right to use sporting and recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool, tennis courts and gardens (amongst others), can form the basis of an easement (a valid enforceable right over another person’s land) under the test set out in the case of Re Ellenborough Park.

At the centre of this case was a development of timeshare apartments in the early 1980s. The development consisted of a country estate that was subsequently divided between Elham House, which comprised the 26 timeshare apartments, and Broome Park, where the sporting and recreational facilities were located.

When the estate was divided, the transfer of the timeshare apartments contained for the respective owners a right from “time to time . . . to use the swimming pool, golf course, squash courts, tennis courts, the ground and basement floor of Broome Park Mansion House, gardens and any other sporting or recreational facilities . . .”

The facilities were also used in common by members of the public, and it was intended that the income generated from them would cover the ongoing maintenance costs. The transfer of the apartments did not contain a clause requiring the owners to contribute towards the maintenance of the facilities.

The facilities began to fall into disrepair and the owners of the apartments made voluntary payments towards the upkeep and maintenance. In approximately 2000, the outdoor pool was filled in and an indoor pool was built in the basement of Mansion House (forming part of the Broome Park estate).

The owners of the apartments subsequently sought a declaration that they were entitled by way of an easement to the free use of all of the sporting and recreational facilities that may be provided at Broome Park.

This case worked its way through the High Court, Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court, where it was held that the right to use sporting and recreational facilities as granted in the transfer in the early 1980s could form an easement.

Moving forward, this means that the grant of purely recreational rights over land could be capable of forming an easement provided that the four-point test in the Re Ellenborough Park case could be met.

This case is important as the Supreme Court has extended the law to recognise a new type of easement, and has tried to accommodate the common law to new types of property ownership and new ways of enjoying land.

It has significant implications for owners of an estate subject to recreational rights, or for developers considering granting such rights, as it may prohibit what the owner of an estate may be able to do with it in future. Estate owners and developers should therefore carefully consider the contents of any conveyances and transfers granting such rights to determine the extent of those rights and the repairing obligations/requirements for contributing towards repairs.

How we can help?

For advice relating to rights and easements, 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 on 0161 330 6821. Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

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.”

 

For more information visit www.bromleys.co.uk

 

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 www.sah.org.uk/willweek

 

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:

 

Olivia Bell – obell@bromleys.co.uk

Lauren Mayer – lmayer@bromleys.co.uk

Kate Allsop – kallsop@bromleys.co.uk

Anthony Theakston – atheakston@bromleys.co.uk

Daniela Maggioni – dmaggioni@bromleys.co.uk

Keith Platts – kplatts@bromleys.co.uk

 

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.

 

After consistently strong rating performances in our first two seasons, the only online, daily up-dated website that brings visitors the latest local news, has expanding its regional reach.

Over the relatively short time from its inception in November 2013, Hyde Community Matters has developed from a Hyde centred glossy 24page ‘Community News Magazine’ thorough to December 2014 when we took the project online to become a daily up-dated online community news site, which to date has attracted well over 370,000 visitors, – all eager to read the local news; – and that number is still growing!

Now, in response to a number of requests to cover news and events from our friends in neighbouring towns and villages, we are pleased to announce that we have gently expanded our news coverage to provide a more comprehensive reader service by covering good news, events and achievements from individuals, communities and businesses, from a little further afield – no longer exclusively covering one town, but the whole of Tameside and the surrounding regions, and by doing so, we’re better placed to support our local advertisers growing development needs.

“Of all our current partners we spoke with, Karen Dorney of Hyde’s Paper Tulips understands the success and potential of our in-depth local news coverage; and as the owner of Tameside’s premier craft emporiums and organiser of monthly Artisan Markets, she is uniquely positioned to back our expansion, as it encourages potential customers from much wider areas,”

“While continuing to put our readers at the heart of everything we do; we are committed to continue to cover in-depth local news articles, showcase local events, shout about schools and student achievements and profile specialist real-life features that celebrate those individuals who have achieved success, shown courage against the odds, or people who are making a difference within our local communities.”

To reflect these changes, we have changed the name to one that better echo’s the new site’s expanded content.

Visitors to the old site, www.hydecommunitymatters.com, will automatically be redirected to the new site, www.localcommunitymatters.com

“Our aim is still to provide the best online news specifically to our close communities, by offering a convenient, one-click, local source of timely daily up-dated news, where visitors come first for information and advice, local businesses place their adverts and community groups put us at the top of their list when promoting their up-coming events.”

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL BUDDYING AND EXPERIENCED JOURNALISTS

We believe that this online expansion marks a return to real local news, giving readers the chance to learn more about what’s going on in their immediate area and to read (and write) news stories about what matters to them. We are therefore looking for ANY VOLUNTEERS from the different areas, (who’d like to see their work in print) so that we can have a ‘person on the ground’ who is in closer touch in identifying local happenings and who would become the main point of contact for local people; – promoting the work of local community organisations, voluntary sector groups and businesses, along with arts, school successes, sport and cultural activities that are taking place in their area.

WHAT WE NEED:

  • Budding or experienced reporters, with access to email, who wish to gain experience or give back to their local community
  • To find and root out stories of particular interest to people in their area
  • To write, research and interview for those stories, to build content on the website.
  • We also need a ‘Social Media’ savvy person to place local stories and events on Facebook & Twitter etc’ to drive site traffic.

This is a great opportunity for local budding and experienced journalists to hone their writing skills.

This wider reader appeal also adds a much more expansive opportunity for local advertisers to reach a vastly expanded audience, and by widening our readership, we plan to gradually introduce extra relevant categories like jobs, motoring, housing, and domestic services, among other localized topics.

So, if you would like to become a volunteer local correspondent, or are a forward thinking Community Group, Local Business, School, Sports Club, Faith Group or Charity organisation and have stories you think are newsworthy, want to publicise your events, achievements, or wish to advertise to a growing local audience, please contact us directly by email: roger@localcommunitymatters.com

Local Community Matters is a not-for-profit community trust, run by volunteers all of whom have strong links to the towns and people surrounding Tameside.