Thursday, March 21, 2019
Legal

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.

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.

 

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 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.

 

The Supreme Court has today handed down its judgment in the case of Owens vs Owens. Tini Owens said that her marriage had irretrievably broken down. She has been married for 40 years to her husband Hugh. She told the court that she had been contemplating a divorce since 2012 but did not leave the matrimonial home until February 2015.

Tini said that she could not move forward with her life while she was still married, and that Hugh had behaved in such a way that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him. However, Hugh denied that he had behaved as alleged, and refused to agree to the divorce.

As law currently stands, in order to obtain a divorce, you have to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and give one of the following 5 reasons:

  • Adultery

Unreasonable behaviour

Desertion

You have lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce

You have lived apart for at least 5 years even if the other spouse does not agree.

 

The Supreme Court considered this case, and, albeit as stated with “no enthusiasm whatsoever” said that none of these grounds had been established. The Supreme Court said it was not their job to change the law, and that was a matter for parliament. Therefore the Judge at first instance was correct to refuse to grant a decree nisi and she must remain married until 5 years had passed since Tini left Hugh.

Hugh’s barrister said that Tini was “essentially advocating divorce by unilateral demand of the petitioner” and that was not what the law intended. Other commentators have said that now is the time to introduce “no-fault” divorces.

If 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 family team.

Denise Pinder dpinder@bromleys.co.uk

Susan Tighestighe@bromleys.co.uk

 

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

Bromleys has made two key appointments to its childcare team. Anthony Theakston and Daniela Maggioni have joined as associate solicitors from AFG Law in Bolton.

The duo are specialists in representing children and parents in care proceedings and are accredited by the Law Society as experts in children law.

Partner Olivia Bell, head of Bromleys’ childcare team, said: “Having worked on opposing sides to Anthony and Daniela for many years, I have been impressed with their professionalism and abilities as advocates and solicitors, and I’m delighted they are joining our team at Bromleys.

“Their arrival marks further expansion for the team as we focus on recruiting experienced solicitors who are accredited and recognised for their expertise in representing children in often complex proceedings.”

Anthony said: “I am excited and proud in equal measure to join Bromleys. The firm has an excellent reputation for its standard of legal advice, matched by high standards of client care and service. I am looking forward to being part of a talented and committed department and firm.”

Daniela said: “I am delighted to join Bromleys. In my years of practice I have always been impressed with the approach adopted by the firm’s childcare solicitors.

“I feel privileged to be joining such a skilled and experienced team who value their clients and are wholly committed to achieving the best possible outcome for them.”

The Bromleys team advises on all aspects and stages of childcare proceedings, including interim care and supervision orders, wardship, parental responsibility orders and contact orders.

 

Bromleys’ property team has been shortlisted at the 2018 LFS Conveyancing Awards 2018.

The firm is a finalist in the small conveyancing firm of the year category.

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday September 19 at The Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Bromleys’ shortlisting follows a superb 12 months for the team, which has been accredited under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme for the seventh year in a row.

The scheme recognises firms which pass a rigorous annual assessment and are shown to provide excellent service to clients during the home buying and selling process.

The awards, which are widely regarded as the most coveted in the conveyancing industry, provide another opportunity for Bromleys to win an honour.

Earlier this year, Bromleys was named small law firm of the year at the Manchester Legal Awards, and in 2017 won the corporate social responsibility category at the Pride of Tameside Awards.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell, who heads the firm’s property department, said: “To be a finalist in the 2018 LFS Conveyancing Awards is a great boost for the team and the firm as a whole.

“It’s further recognition of the team’s achievements and we are eagerly looking forward to the awards ceremony in September.”