Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Two new Associates at law firm

Two long-serving employees at a Telford law firm have been named as Associates as a reward for their commitment and dedication.

Alison Thornton and Emma Palmer have been with Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way for many years, and both have worked hard during that time to build and develop the departments they work in.

Martin-Kaye Partner and Head of HR Alison Carter said: “Over the years both Alison and Emma have provided a stable and calm presence within their departments, and this has been combined with consistent quality work recognised time and time again by clients in excellent feedback questionnaires.

“They have also demonstrated flair and enterprise in the face of challenging conditions, and for these reasons, the Partners believe they thoroughly deserve this recognition.”

Emma is the firm’s Employment Team Manager, and she has played a key role in developing, setting up and running Martin-Kaye’s HR support scheme, Alpha.

She has since overseen the successful development of the service which attracts a wide range of employers from across the UK, as well as providing employment law and HR advice to Alpha client.
Emma is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Alison worked for a number of large regional and national firms before joining Martin-Kaye’s personal injury team as a solicitor in 2003.

She has successfully handled many different types of claims including fast track and multi-track cases including road traffic, industrial injury and public liability.

Alison has also been involved in the development of the firm’s inheritance disputes team answering enquiries through Martin-Kaye’s contest-a-will website.

Pic: Alison Thornton (left) and Emma Palmer who have been named as Associates at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Friday, 8 September 2017

Gemma steps up to lead the Family Team

A law firm’s Family Team has a new face at the helm – but she’s already well-known in the local area.

Gemma Himsworth has stepped up to lead the team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, Telford, having worked in the sector for over 12 years, with the past three years spent working for the local firm.

“I’m absolutely delighted to take up this promotion and I’m so proud to have been given the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and effective department,” said Mrs Himsworth.

“Between us we have a great deal of experience and you’d be hard pressed to find a situation that we have not encountered before, so we’re perfectly placed to help families through the most difficult and stressful of times.”

Mrs Himsworth specialises in divorce and financial issues surrounding separation, particularly those involving businesses or pensions. She also deals with complex matters involving children, including issues of residence and contact, as well as disputes about parentage.

“As a team, we are always striving to achieve the very best possible outcome for our clients and we give sensible, grounded advice that is both practical and pragmatic. We’re also leading the way when it comes to fees too as we offer comprehensive fixed fee packages for a lot of the work we do, and we were one of the first local firms to introduce such a policy.

“This means there are no nasty surprises for clients once a case begins, and they have a clear picture of exactly what the advice we offer will cost.”

Mrs Himsworth said the team had wide-ranging experience of dealing with clients from all backgrounds, and they also work closely with the firm’s other departments – such as corporate commercial – if clients have business interests that need to be protected during divorce or separation proceedings.

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re very pleased to see Gemma stepping into a leading role with the Family team, and her promotion is a direct result of the dedication and commitment she has shown during her time with us at Martin-Kaye.”

Pic: Gemma Himsworth is the new Head of Family Law at Martin-Kaye

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

New face joins the Martin-Kaye team

A Telford law firm has appointed a new conveyancing solicitor to its residential property department.

Sharanjit Dhoot is the latest new face to join Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and she is already enjoying being part of the forward-thinking and close-knit team.

“I joined Martin-Kaye to have the opportunity to take a more hands-on approach and to work in a supportive and welcoming environment where I will have the chance to develop my skills even further,” she said.

Before joining Martin-Kaye, Sharanjit worked in a firm dealing purely with residential conveyancing where she built up her knowledge of the sector, and progressed to handling increasingly complex cases.

She has also worked for a High Street firm in Birmingham, and a legal firm in Cardiff where she gained experience in dealing with a wider range of residential conveyancing deals.

“My role at Martin-Kaye involves dealing with both sale and purchase residential conveyancing cases, right through from the very first enquiry to the completion of the process. It’s been a real change for me as Martin-Kaye has so many different divisions dealing with wide ranging legal matters, rather than purely conveyancing which my previous firm handled, so it’s great to join a team with so much varied and extensive experience.”

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Sharanjit to Martin-Kaye and her skills are a valuable addition to our ever-growing team. Our property department is renowned for its high quality and effective customer service, and Sharanjit is joining a team that has an excellent reputation all over the UK.”

Martin-Kaye’s residential property division is also accredited under the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, the quality mark for legal experts in buying or selling property.

Pic: Sharanjit Dhoot is the new conveyancing solicitor at Martin-Kaye in Telford

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Minority shares are just as valuable

Minority shareholders should not be bullied by fellow directors when it comes to board room disputes, a Telford solicitor has warned.

Graham Davies, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, said directors’ disputes could be extremely stressful, but minority shareholders had every right to be protected just as much as other directors.

“Company law gives greater rights to majority shareholders, which on the face of it puts minority shareholders at a disadvantage if a dispute occurs. This could lead to their wishes being ignored, and even to them losing their seat on the board, which would devalue their shares even further.”

But Mr Davies said if the majority of the board’s actions were seen by the courts to be unreasonable, the minority shareholder may be able to claim “unfair prejudice”.

“If the person at the centre of the dispute feels the other shareholders have been persecuting them, they can ask the courts to force the majority to buy them out at a higher than normal share price. The court could even order that the entire company should be wound up if it’s the only way the shareholder can get their money.”

Mr Davies said to protect their position, it was important for majority shareholders to show they had not acted unfairly and that they had not prejudiced the minority stake owner’s position.

“Keep strict and thorough records of any serious director-shareholder disputes, and don’t act hastily, no matter how you may really feel about the awkwardness of your position. Try to work with all your fellow directors – despite how difficult the situation may be – to either resolve the problem or find a way for the minority shareholder to leave on the best possible terms.

“Rather than punishing the minority shareholder to force their hand and get them to leave, it’s far better to negotiate a settlement or you could face a very expensive court case just to regain the shares in your own business.”

Mr Davies said disputes involving minority shareholders often occurred as a direct result of a family fall-out, and even if there was a clear shareholders’ agreement in place, problems could still arise.

“In private companies where management and decision making is shared on a one person one vote basis, even if you own different proportions of the company, then think very carefully about your actions before a minor disagreement escalates into something much larger.”

Monday, 21 August 2017

Employers could face legal action

Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace could take action against their employer if they fail to protect them during working hours.

The warning comes from Gemma Workman, an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, who was speaking out after the latest unwanted crisis at technology firm Uber.

“Uber has faced a lot of negative publicity over cases of the status of their workers in the gig economy, and now there have been various allegations of sexual harassment too.

“A former engineer wrote a blog that described a culture of sexism and sexual harassment within the company, including the HR department failing to take her seriously and being propositioned by her manager.

“And with the blog being read widely and publicised online thousands of times, it’s a perfect example of what a huge impact such allegations can have on the financial status and the reputation of a company.

“This situation is a stark reminder to employers that they need to have effective and clear steps in place to prevent harassment in the workplace from the very start. As well as robust policies in place, you should provide adequate training to relevant employees so that they are well prepared if they need to deal with a complaint like this.

“All complaints should be treated sensitively by an appropriate person as soon as possible, so that you can try and resolve the problem before it escalates into a more serious issue.”

Miss Workman said in the UK, protection against sexual harassment at work was covered by the Equality Act 2010. It defines sexual harassment as ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them’.

“As an employer, you have a responsibility to create a safe work environment for your employees, and if you fail to take that responsibility seriously, potential victims could bring a claim against you too.

“Don’t get yourself and your business into a case which could bring significant legal costs – if you can show that you’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent the harassment occurring, you may be able to defend a claim, but it’s better to avoid the situation happening in the first place.”

Friday, 28 July 2017

Review of will-making rules is long overdue

Solicitors at a Telford law firm have said a proposed review of will-making laws is good news and is long overdue.

Fiona Mainwaring is the wills specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and she has welcomed a public consultation by the Law Commission as a positive step towards keeping the rules relevant and effective.

The consultation paper will ask the public about a range of issues around how wills are made and how the law protects will-makers from possible fraud.

“This review is excellent news and it’s a great step forward for the sector as the rules have not been updated for many years,” said Mrs Mainwaring.

“Now the public will get the chance to have their say on how they want the rules to adapt to meet their needs in the 21st Century, and as lawyers dealing with wills on a day-to-day basis, we believe it’s not before time.”

The Law Society says although the basics of how people make wills have essentially stood the test of time, other aspects needed to be urgently updated to reflect modern life. They said the consultation was a chance for solicitors to help shape a new, fit-for-purpose wills law.

Law Society President, Joe Egan, said: “We congratulate the Law Commission on tackling this important law reform task and thank them for the open and constructive way they have been working with our experts. We look forward to working with them as it continues.”

Key issues raised in the consultation paper include:
* Giving the court greater flexibility to uphold wills that don’t meet legal requirements
* Using the Mental Capacity Act test to establish someone’s capacity to write a will
* Reducing the age that someone can make a will from 18 to 16
* The possibility of online or electronic will writing in the future

But Mrs Mainwaring said there were some careful considerations to be made about the way wills may be put together in the future.

“The question of making wills electronically is a brave but inevitable step, but of course the review will need to consider closely how safe electronic wills would be from fraud or unfair influence against vulnerable people.

“We applaud the Law Commission for its refreshing and forward-thinking approach, and we look forward to hearing the results of their research.”

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Seminar success for Telford law firm

Over 40 delegates joined lawyers from a Telford firm to learn about how to avoid the common pitfalls in the world of employment law.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors held their latest Top Ten Employment Blunders seminar at their offices in Euston Way, and the event has been hailed as a great success.

Employment Law Specialist, John Mehtam, who led the event, said the latest seminar had been organised specifically to support HR Managers and Managing Directors from the local Telford area.

“Our aim – as always with this kind of seminar – was to give our delegates an insight into the ever-changing UK employment legislation and share our experience of the most common pitfalls.

“We then share our advice to help businesses navigate through the increasingly-complicated minefield of law, to help them learn from other people’s mistakes, and so avoid drawn-out negotiations and expensive errors.

“We covered suggestions on how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance – and perhaps more importantly, we looked at how to avoid these situations and protect your business.

“At Martin-Kaye, we’re committed to delivering effective and appropriate advice that really does make a difference to employers, and our short sharp seminars are designed to get right to the point.”

Mr Mehtam said similar presentations had also proved extremely successful across the wider Shropshire area, Wales, and the West Midlands, and more events were planned for the coming months.

“We were very pleased to see so many new faces at our latest seminar, and it was an excellent opportunity for delegates to meet solicitors from our other departments including commercial litigation, commercial property and corporate law too.

“Thanks to their knowledge and experience, we can deliver support in a whole host of situations that businesses may face, no matter how difficult the circumstances may seem.”

Pic: At the Top 10 Tips seminar are, from left, Martin-Kaye Senior Partner Graham Davies, with Alison Yeomans and Tracy Hinton from Dechra