Thursday, 21 May 2015

Award-winning lawyers celebrate title

Lawyers at a Shropshire firm have won yet another national award for their commercial litigation expertise.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, have been recognised in the International M&A Awards run by Acquisition International Magazine.

They’ve been awarded the Excellence in Contract Focused Commercial Litigation UK title and it follows hot on the heels of their Midlands Litigators of the Year award just 12 months ago.

Senior Partner, Graham Davies, said: “This latest title is confirmation that we really do punch above our weight when it comes to the competition, and that the very best legal advice is available outside the major cities in the UK thanks to practices like Martin-Kaye.

“We’re extremely proud to have received the award and our specialist commercial litigation team is developing a strong reputation nationwide for delivering appropriate and cost-effective legal support.”

Organisers of the International M&A Awards said only the most deserving firms received the prestigious awards and this year had seen particularly strong competition in every category.

“For the past four years, through good times and bad, our global M&A Awards have charted the successes, stellar results and second-to-none client service of some of the worldwide M&A industry’s leading players.

“Our awards celebrate the outstanding efforts and amazing achievements of all those involved in identifying, coordination and seeing through to completion those important deals that could make a huge difference to a business, a local economy, or even an entire country.

“The awards recognise the dedicated and experienced investors, advisers, financiers and service providers who have been selected for their expertise in their specialised field and, most crucially, nominated by their clients and peers.

“Now in their fourth year, the awards are handed out solely on merit and are given to those companies that have delivers exceptional service over the last 12 months.”

Pic:    Martin-Kaye’s Jason Round, Mohammed Ahsan, Graham Davies and Andrew     Oranjuik celebrate their latest award

Friday, 15 May 2015

Lubna steps up at Martin-Kaye

More than 30 delegates attended an employment law seminar to hear from a Telford solicitor who was hosting an event for the very first time.

Employment law specialist Lubna Laheria stepped up to lead the event at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, after the firm’s usual host, John Mehtam, was unable to attend due to ill health.

And her presentation has received excellent feedback from the wide range of companies who took part, with many taking to social media to praise her efforts.

“It was a great opportunity for me to step up on the day, and I was very keen to share our knowledge on the top ten blunders that employers make and the way to avoid the pitfalls,” said Lubna.

“With such a mixed audience, it was important to make sure our message was applicable to all kinds of industries, and I’m delighted that our delegates took away some valuable advice from such a lively and interactive event.”

Lubna was supported on the day by fellow Martin-Kaye employment team member, Emma Palmer, who took part in the question and answer session with delegates.

Senior partner, Graham Davies, said: “I was incredibly impressed with the way the team pulled together to deliver the seminar, and in particular, with Lubna’s performance, which really was outstanding. Our delegates praised her knowledge and presence, and it was excellent to receive such great feedback on social media sites in the immediate aftermath of the event.”

The seminar was the latest in a series of HELP presentations that Martin-Kaye Solicitors has run all over the Midlands and beyond. The aim is to take delegates through the minefield of employment pitfalls and all the latest topical workplace issues.

“HELP stands for HR and Employment Law in Practice, and our events offer a unique opportunity for business leaders to hear from the very best when it comes to tackling topical issues,” said Graham. 

“We’re looking forward to hosting more HELP sessions in the coming months. In the longer term, we’re hoping to extend our programme of events beyond the wider West Midlands area too as we’ve seen such a positive response from customers in the region.”

Pic:    Lubna Laheria and Graham Davies from Martin-Kaye Solicitors at the latest HELP presentation in Telford

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Excess paperwork could be destroyed

Lawyers who produce excess paperwork could risk being named and shamed by the courts and face strict financial penalties.

And a Shropshire solicitor has welcomed the warning saying over-sized files slowed down legal proceedings costing valuable time and money.

Nadia Davis leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and said court proceedings involving family issues were always stressful and could be a protracted and difficult experience.

“I’m very pleased to hear that the Family Division of the High Court has warned lawyers they could face having their fees withheld if they refuse to keep paperwork to a minimum – it’s no good the courts complaining about the difficulties it causes unless they are prepared to take action.

“And now, the threat is that bundles of files in family law cases will be destroyed without warning if they exceed prescribed limits, so lawyers will need to tread extremely carefully.”

But Nadia said it was also important that divorcing couples did not automatically head straight for the courts rather than consider the alternatives available.

“I was one of the very first solicitors in Shropshire to qualify as a collaborative lawyer, and my advice to clients is to talk their case through very carefully before resorting to court action. I work with couples going through a divorce on an agreement that shows they are committed to finding the best solutions through negotiation, rather than the courts.

“The agreement also prevents lawyers involved in the initiative from representing their client in court if the collaborative process breaks down. So this means everyone involved is absolutely committed to making it work,” said Nadia.

But this approach has not been adopted by everyone and national research has shown that only 51 per cent of those surveyed would consider a non-court based solution.

“The warning from the High Court shows that the legal system is ready to clamp down on lawyers who continuously flout the rules, and I am very pleased that decisive action is now being taken,” said Nadia.

Friday, 17 April 2015

George finds his fighting spirit

A Telford legal support assistant is hoping for a knockout performance when he takes on an ultimate fitness challenge.

George Heron works for Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and he has signed up for the latest season of Zero to Hero boxing.

He now faces ten weeks of gruelling training as part of the unique amateur boxing programme aimed at all kinds of people, whether they’re “white collar” workers, plumbers or IT consultants.

The initiative is designed to ensure each person taking part is both physically and mentally prepared for the final goal, to be a hero in the boxing ring.

“I’ve always been a boxing fan but I’ve never thought about getting into the ring before. So I saw this as a new challenge and decided to go for it,” said George, who will be raising cash for Hope House Hospice.

“At Martin-Kaye we have strong links with the hospice, so I’m very aware of the fantastic work they do there for the children, and I wanted to give something back. I’m also hoping I’ll be fitter than I’ve ever been before by the end of the training, and in peak condition.”

To prepare himself for the challenge ahead, George has already run the Stafford half marathon and he will now receive coaching from professional combat athletes with guest sessions from boxers, mixed martial artists and nutritionists.

Martin-Kaye senior partner Graham Davies said: “We’re all extremely proud of George and very impressed with his dedication he has already shown in preparing for the Zero to Hero challenge.

“We’re backing his efforts to raise cash for Hope House, and we’re hoping as many people as possible will support him during the programme.”

George will be posting video links of his training in the build-up to his big fight, and anyone who would like to donate should visit https://www.justgiving.com/HitmanHeron/

To find out more about the Zero to Hero project go to www.zerotoheroboxing.com

Pic:    George Heron from Martin-Kaye Solicitors prepares for the Zero to Hero challenge

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fair pay for a fair day's work

Employees should not be deterred from fighting their corner when it comes to their right for equal pay.

John Mehtam is the employment law expert at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and he said secrecy surrounding the amount male and female colleagues were paid was often at the root of problems in the workplace.

“The Equality Act 2010, and before that, the Equal Pay Act 1970, back the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. And despite the fact that over the years some employers have tried to discourage staff from discussing these matters, it is actually against the law to victimise anyone who reveals their rate of pay, or anyone who asks the question.

“Employers cannot punish or dismiss anyone who submits an equal pay claim, and in some instances, failing to pay staff equally may even amount to sex discrimination. So if you suspect you’re not receiving the same pay rate as a colleague of the opposite sex, it’s vital that you take legal advice and force your employer to reveal exactly what the figures are.

“Although this may seem like a daunting prospect, and you may be worried about being labelled as a trouble-maker, don’t be put off – the law is on your side and you’re entitled to a fair rate of pay.”

John said equal pay claims were usually brought in an employment tribunal, but in some circumstances, a claim can also be made through the civil courts. “You can instigate an equal pay claim at any time during employment it relates to, or if the employment has ended, any time before the end of the qualifying period.

“This means differences in pay could date back up to six years before the date the claim was lodged, which could be extremely expensive for any employer found guilty of discriminating between male and female staff.”

John said new regulations introduced in 2014 had also brought in compulsory equal pay audits which must be carried out by larger employers.

“Any employer who fails to carry out an audit when they are required to, may face a fine of up to £5,000 – so not only could the bill for arrears be costly, but substantial fines could prove extremely damaging.”

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

HELPing hand pays off

Employment law experts from a Telford legal firm have hailed a new approach to delivering their message as a great success.

The specialists from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, held one of their highly-renowned HELP seminars at Maesmawr Hall, in Caersws, and the response has been overwhelming.

Although the team has hosted similar events in Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, and the wider West Midlands, this was the first time they had taken their roadshow across the border into Wales.

John Mehtam, who led the seminar, said: “We were delighted with the response to our event and the session was very lively with plenty of questions and answers – a really interactive and positive experience for everyone who took part.

“Thanks to the reaction we’ve received, and the interest this event has generated, we are already planning a similar seminar for later in the year to allow even more delegates to join us.”
The aim of the event was to help local employers learn more about the UK’s top ten employment law blunders.

“Over many years of dealing with employment and human resources problems for all kinds of companies, we have drawn up a ‘top ten’ list of common mistakes that it’s vital that employers can identify,” said John.

The latest event is the most recent in the firm’s HELP series – standing for HR and Employment Law in Practice – which was designed to equip companies with the tools to deal with even the most stressful of situations.

John said: “Our HELP presentations cover a wide range of topics, and they are always warmly received by local businesses, so this was a great opportunity to take our message across the border into Wales for the first time.

“We will definitely be hosting another similar event later in the year in that area as a direct result of customer demand, and we’re looking forward to sharing our expertise with even more new faces in the future.”

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Look out - there's a former spouse about...

Divorcees who make it big will need to spend their lives looking over their shoulders in case former spouses come forward to try to steal their fortune.

That’s the warning from family law expert, Nadia Davis, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, in the wake of a landmark court judgement made earlier today.

A former traveller made a claim for £1.9 million from her ex-husband who became a millionaire ten years after they split up. And even though she didn’t lodge the claim until nearly 20 years after their divorce, judges at the Supreme Court have ruled that she should receive a payout.

The exact amount will now be assessed.

“This ruling may shock many people as it’s a common misconception that once a divorce is finalised, any financial matters arising from the marriage are automatically brought to an end,” said Nadia.

“But in fact, this case is a clear indication that divorcing couples need specialist advice to ensure that any financial agreements are recorded in a binding Order of the Court. This is the only way to ensure that neither side can make any further applications for financial support in the future.

“Without such a document, both sides will run the risk of having to look over the shoulder for many years to come, especially if they go on to become particularly successful after the split as they will never know when their former spouse may stake a claim.”

Nadia said couples in the most danger were those who agreed a DIY divorce, coming to an agreement between themselves about the finances, and assuming those discussions were binding.

“It’s amazing how many people are then shocked to discover that their former spouse is still able to make a financial claim arising from the marriage, even though the divorce itself may have been finalised years before.”

The couple featured in today’s court case met as students, married in their early 20s, and lived a New Age traveller lifestyle, before separating in the mid-1980s and divorcing in 1992. In the mid-90s, the husband began a business career and became an extremely wealthy green energy tycoon. His former wife lodged her claim in 2011, and today’s landmark ruling could have huge implications for divorced couples all over the UK.