The length of time Family Mediation can take will depend on your own situation and the particular arrangements you are looking to resolve. In our experience, individuals require between two and four sessions, lasting approximately one to two hours each, however there are no restrictions on how many sessions you can have. One of the many benefits of Family Mediation is that we will work to a timetable that is practical for you. Claire Knight, Resolution trained and Law Society accredited Family Mediator, explains here what can be discussed in Family Mediation and how long it may take to reach an agreement.
It is well known that pregnant employees are entitled to time off to attend antenatal appointments, and rights for partners are now being extended. The introduction of Shared Parental Leave is one example, and rights to accompany a pregnant woman to an appointment have also been revised. In this article, the Employment team discuss who is eligible to attend antenatal appointments and what your employers might request from you.
Most of us will spend the majority of our time at work, and it is our employer’s legal duty to ensure we work in a safe environment. This is not always the case however, with the Health and Safety Executive reporting 555,000 injuries occurred at work in 2017/18. Sustaining an injury in any situation will be life changing, but if it happens at work you may also be worried about approaching it with your employer for fear of dismissal or detrimental treatment. Aimee Brown, Personal Injury Executive, explains here what you should do if you have had an accident at work and how we can help you move forward with your life
As an employer, the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff should always be a top priority. Occupational Health is a key component in achieving this goal and in this article, our Employment team detail what Occupational Health is, when you should refer to Occupational Health and what preventative measures they can assist with.
A Grant of Probate is the legal document that allows you to administer the estate of a loved one who has passed away. There are some circumstances when this may not be needed, and if there is not a Will then you will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. Bill Pollinger, Executive in our Private Client department, explains here what this legal document is, how to apply for it and how we can help you understand your role in carrying out the probate and estate administration.
The cost of Family Mediation will depend on your own personal circumstances as that will determine how many sessions you need. There are three separate costs to consider; the first for the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), the second cost for the Mediation sessions themselves and the third cost for the preparatory work involved. Claire Knight, Resolution trained and Law Society accredited Family Mediator, explains more about the costs involved and why Mediation can be more cost effective than going to Court.
When interviewing for new employees, you may well encounter a candidate that discloses a prior conviction to you. If that conviction is “spent”, then you must treat the applicant as if the conviction never happened, and in many cases it is unlawful to refuse to hire a candidate based on that fact. However, there are some circumstances where you can lawfully reject and applicant with a spent conviction, and in this article our Employment team detail those circumstances, as well as what a spent and unspent conviction is.
Equity release is an increasingly popular way for individuals to fund their retirement or help a loved one onto the property ladder. In recent years the practice has become more regulated in order to protect those releasing equity, namely with the introduction of the Equity Release Council (ERC) in 1991. We are delighted to have now joined the ERC; here Zoe Fellows, Equity Release specialist, explains more about why we have joined and how we can help you if you are considering equity release.
Many developments across the Solent region are currently in limbo following the decision of several local authorities to halt the grant of planning permissions for new houses and tourism related projects. This follows advice from Natural England after record levels of nitrates were found in the Solent. Jenny Colvin, Partner in our Commercial Property team, here explains why nitrates are impacting planning permission, which local authorities are affected and when you may be able to apply for planning permission.
If you are offered a settlement agreement by your employer, depending on your role and the circumstances of you leaving the business, it is likely it will include restrictive covenants. There are several types of restrictive covenant that could be included; in this article, our Employment team explains each of them, what makes them enforceable and if you can negotiate the restrictive covenants with your employer before signing your settlement agreement.
If you’ve had an accident that has left you with an injury, you may be wondering how to make a personal injury claim for compensation. It is important that you know your rights and the information you need to gather to ensure you see the best result to enable you to rebuild your life. Molly Puntis, Personal Injury Claims Handler, here takes you through the basics of how to make a personal injury claim, and explains how we can help you in more ways than claiming compensation.
Becoming a Deputy means that you have usually been appointed to manage the property and financial affairs of a loved one if they are no longer mentally able to do it themselves, and they did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney. Applying for a Deputyship Order to the Court of Protection can be a complicated process at a time when everyone will need to adjust to a new way of living. Caroline Johnstone, Associate Solicitor in our Private Client department, explains more about a Deputyship and how writing a Lasting Power of Attorney when you still can will avoid this last case scenario.
A fixed term contract is a form of employment that expires after a certain “term” ends. The term could be a number of things, for example when a particular project has been completed, or when another employee returns from either sickness or maternity leave. There are occasions where fixed term contracts can become permanent, and in this article our Employment team discuss under what circumstances this can happen.
Post termination restrictions, or restrictive covenants, are stipulations put into contracts that prevent former employees from engaging in certain activities after leaving a job. This is done for a variety of reasons, for example, to protect businesses and prevent former employees from poaching current staff members or clients. There have been several cases where post termination restrictions have been scrutinised in court, and Tillman v Egon Zehnder is one of those cases.
Following the death of a loved one, even with what seems to be the simplest of estates, you may need to apply for a Grant of Representation, which will be either a Grant of Probate if there is a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration if there isn’t, because without that you may not have the legal authority to realise and distribute that loved one’s assets. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, explains here why probate may be required, what is involved and how we can support you through this emotional and often confusing time.
Family Mediation is a way to discuss and resolve arrangements regarding financial assets and children following the break down of a relationship with your former partner, or after a divorce. Making these arrangements after a relationship has ended will be incredibly difficult, as feelings can cloud your discussions.
As an employer, it is inevitable that you will at some point have to dismiss an employee. Whether this is done through redundancy or due to gross misconduct, fair dismissal procedures should always be followed to avoid potential unfair dismissal claims. Ali v Indian Cuisine is an example of the repercussions employers can face for unfairly dismissing employees.
If a restrictive covenant is already in your employment contract, you can seek your employer’s consent to have it removed. Depending on the reason, they could refuse this request or it may be removed by an Employment Tribunal if they determine it is unreasonable.
Supporting local entrepreneurs is vitally important to allow the continued growth of our economy and diversity amongst our business community. It is for this reason that Steven Grant, Partner and Head of our Commercial department, recently agreed to...
Despite past concerns, equity release is now considered to be a safe and effective way of raising funds. Releasing equity is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and we can offer further protection as we are a member of the Equity Release Council.
If you have had an accident at work that was not your fault, then you may have the right to bring a claim for compensation. While you may be concerned about bringing a claim against your employer for fear of being treated unfairly, or even losing your job, you have the right to not be treated detrimentally for bringing the claim. Aimee Brown, Personal Injury Executive, explains more here about your rights if you have an accident at work, and the steps you should take following an accident.
Whilst employers are usually the ones to take the first step in offering a settlement agreement, it is possible to request a settlement agreement from your employer. In this article our Employment team detail what a settlement agreement is and what you need to consider when requesting one.
Sweeping reform of Inheritance Tax (IHT) has been recommended to cut complexity of the so-called ‘death tax’, but experts are warning that individuals will need to review existing planning if the changes go ahead. William Ware, Senior Partner and Wills and Trusts expert within our Private Client team, here reviews the proposed reforms and how you can prepare now for any changes.
Headline recommendations to Government from the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the independent adviser on simplifying the UK tax system, making recommendations and the consultation and subsequent reporting on IHT, include changing the rules surrounding gifts of cash, property and other assets made while someone is still alive, and an overhaul of the relationship between IHT and Capital Gains Tax for farm and business assets.
As an employer at some point you may have an employee bring an issue to you that requires you to make reasonable adjustments. It is important to note that this responsibility is triggered as soon as an employee informs management of any sort of mental or physical impairment that is causing them a disadvantage, and does not need a medical note confirming a diagnosis.
With Help to Buy ISAs set to be shut down on November 30th 2019, you may be wondering if it is still worth opening one. Here Zoe Fellows, Associate Solicitor in our Residential Conveyancing department, explains why Help to Buy ISAs are still a good way to get your foot in the door as a first time buyer, and the difference between a Help to Buy ISA and a Lifetime ISA.
The abolishment of eviction notices under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 could be seen as a positive move for tenants as they will remove the ability for landlords to evict them without a justifiable reason. However, there is a concern from the Resident Landlords Association (RLA), which is the largest representative for landlords within the UK, that “landlords will be more selective when this abolishment is in place”. Understandably, this raises causes for concern for current and future tenants.
The Family department are congratulating Associate Chartered Legal Executive, Claire Knight, after the successful completion of her Law Society Family Mediation Accreditation.
Our Employment Law team, based in our Southampton office, are delighted to welcome a new Trainee Solicitor; Antoinette Merryfield. It was in July 2016 when Antoinette first joined Warner Goodman, working in the Private Client, Family and Employment...
Positive action in the workplace is designed to help people belonging to protected groups overcome or minimise disadvantages, meet the particular needs of a protected group, or encourage them into an activity they might otherwise feel excluded from. There are specific grounds on which you, as an employer, can take positive action and here our Employment team discuss them.
As an employer, it is important that when disciplining, or indeed dismissing employees, the criteria on which you do so is consistent for all instances. The Case of Higham and Escott v Greater Manchester Police is a prime example of just how severe the consequences can be as a court found they treated two female officers differently than male officers during two separate disciplinary procedures.
If you have made an employee redundant, but then your business’s economic situation improves and you need to recruit, you can re-hire the redundant employee. You are under no obligation to wait a certain period of time before offering the job to the redundant employee. Similarly, if their previous role does become available once more, you are not obliged to offer the role to them; you can recruit someone else, as long as the original dismissal for reason of redundancy followed a fair procedure and there must have been a genuine reason for the redundancy.
Upon separating, many married couples assume that the financial arrangements and division of assets will be considered by the court at the same time as the divorce petition. This is not the case however, and so a legally binding financial order may be needed to specify how any monetary assets will be divided. It will also bind you to an agreement that no future claims will be made against your former spouse’s financial assets, for example if they receive a large inheritance or sell their business. Sarah Pennicott, Associate Solicitor in our Family team, explains more about how the application for a financial order works and when you should apply.
As an employer, you may well find your self in the situation where you have been presented with information that suggests an employee has been acting inappropriately at work. While these situations should never be dismissed out of hand, the ensuing investigation should be thorough and detailed. In the case of Hyland v Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company Limited, the consequences of a poor and vague investigation are made clear.
Usually, employers are happy for staff to self-certify their absence from work for the first 7 days of sickness and only require a doctor’s note (also known as a fit note) if they are sick for longer than 7 days. If you are in the situation where an employee is off sick for longer than this period and they do not supply you with the doctor’s note, there are a number of steps you can take, for example, withholding sick pay or you could initiate disciplinary proceedings. Our Employment team explain more here about how to take these measures, and why it is so important to have the correct sickness policies in place.
If you own your current property and are over 55 years old (some schemes may apply different age requirements), you can release equity in order to buy a second property, or it may be more appropriate to consider re-mortgaging or a buy-to-let mortgage. Zoe Fellows, Equity Release specialist in our Fareham office, explains how you can do this and the factors you need to consider in order to proceed with the right decision for your own circumstances.
Many people consider transferring their property to their children during their lifetime, with one of the main reasons being that it is perceived as a way to avoid care home fees in the future. It is very rarely this straightforward, and there are many...
The case of Walker v Arco Environmental Limited is a good example of what can happen if, as an employer, you react inappropriately when an employees informs you they are pregnant. It also shows what can happen if you create a hostile environment in the work place due to news that you perceive as inconvenient to the business.
Non-disclosure agreements have been featured heavily in the news recently due to their controversial nature, and the legality of them is currently being questioned. Whilst NDAs are predominantly used by employers to protect confidential business information, there are certain things in which you cannot be prevented from disclosing, such as information that is already publicly available. Here, our Employment team discuss what else you may be able to disclose, some potential incoming changes to NDAs and why the use of them can be controversial.
Secondary exposure to asbestos is when someone who does not typically come in to contact with the substance is exposed through the transference of the asbestos fibres. Catriona Ralls, mesothelioma specialist within our Personal Injury, here explains more about secondary exposure to asbestos and whether you can bring a claim for compensation if you develop this life threatening illness.
Probate and administration of the estate ordinarily takes between nine to 12 months, but as there are so many factors that can delay or impact the length of time, it is hard to give a definitive answer. Jane Cox, Partner in our Private Client department, explains the steps involved in probate and estate administration and provides more information on those factors that can impact the timescales.
There are currently no prescribed time limits as to when a pre-nuptial agreement should be completed. It is best practice that the agreement should be entered into at least twenty eight days before you celebrate your marriage, but you can also enter into post-nuptial agreements shortly after marriage and these should not be treated differently by the Courts should your marriage end. Sarah Pennicott, Associate Solicitor in our Family team in Portsmouth, explains the facts you need to consider regarding pre-nuptial agreements, and whether it may be right for you.
When dealing with an employee who you believe is guilty of gross misconduct, it is imperative that an objective and thorough investigation is conducted. In the case of McKay v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, the dismissal of Mr McKay was upheld in tribunal due to the investigation carried out by Network Rail.
As an employer, you can carry out covert surveillance on workers, provided you follow certain guidelines. You will also need to consider two potential issues; whether there are any conflicting principles with their rights in Data Protection their right to privacy through the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Our Employment team explain more about these considerations here, as well as the guidelines you need to follow as an employer.
This is a tricky area of employment law and will be determined by your employee’s employment contract as this will state the notice pay they are entitled to if you have chosen to go over and above the statutory entitlement. Our Employment team explain your position and how you can calculate the amount that your employee is entitled to.
All birth mothers automatically have parental responsibility as do fathers who are married to the mother at the time a child was born. The rules regarding parental responsibility do alter for children whose parents are not married; Stephanie Preston, Paralegal in our Southampton based Family team explains more about parental responsibility in these situations and what this means for the input you have in your child’s life.
Depending on your business, how you use social media and why you use social media, a social media policy should specify the appropriate language to be used on both personal and company profiles, who should be posting on behalf of the company, when employees can and cannot be accessing social media, as well as the sanctions if the social media policy is not adhered to. Here, our Employment team explain more about the detail that should be included within a social media policy.
In the case of Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd (formerly Quick Xuul Ltd and Quick Juul Ltd)  EWHC 1281 (Ch) (21 May 2019) the High Court has found an individual to be in contempt of Court having intentionally breached the terms of a court order by failing to sign two documents to transfer a domain name to the claimants in passing off proceedings. The sentence handed down was two months' imprisonment.
During their lifetime all companies, businesses, partnerships and sole traders will have to react to personal, economic or financial change as certain factors become more salient at any given point in time. Organisations that refuse to change with the times face the risk of becoming obsolete, or at the very least, miss opportunities.
In the case of Bates v Post Office Ltd (No.3)  EWHC 606 (QB) (15 March 2019), sub-postmasters' contracts with the Post Office have been held to be "relational contracts" and in turn benefited from an implied obligation of good faith. As a result of the implied obligation neither party could exercise its express contractual rights in a way that reasonable and honest people would consider commercially unacceptable.
Many employers have enjoyed the benefits of hiring apprentices, particularly since the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017. Ensuring your apprentice is employed under the right documentation is essential to protect your business against possible claims in the Employment Tribunal.