Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Where there's a will...

Children who are ‘cut out’ of their parents’ wills could find it easier to claim part of their estate after a landmark legal ruling, a Shropshire lawyer has said.

Andrew Oranjuik claimed this week’s ruling by the Court of Appeal could pave the way for other wills to be overturned or changed by the courts, if they were deemed to be ‘unfair’.

Mr Oranjuik, head of commercial litigation at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, was commenting after the end of a 10-year legal battle by Heather Ilott, who went to court after her mother Melita Jackson left her entire £486,000 estate to animal charities.
Mrs Ilott, who has been estranged from her mother for 26 years and was claiming benefits, has now been granted a third of her late mother’s estate – a total of £164,000.
Mr Oranjuik based at Martin-Kaye’s Euston Way head office in Telford, said the decision could significantly weaken people's right to leave money to those they want to inherit it.

“In light of this decision, it is arguably now easier for an adult child to make out a claim for maintenance in the right circumstances,” he said.
 
“The case emphasises the long-established principle that the terms of a deceased person’s will do not always prevail.”

He added: “There has long been the ability for children of deceased people to claim reasonable financial provision for maintenance. That often involves the child having relied on maintenance provided by the parent or being dependent. 

“What is unusual about this case is that Mrs Ilott had been estranged from her mother for 26 years, and was not in any way dependent on her. 
“The court was however influenced by other factors. Mrs Ilott had a very small income and received tax credits and she had no pension. The fact that the named charities were unable to establish a need for the entire estate was also a factor, as was the fact that Mrs Jackson had no previous connection with them.”
Mr Oranjuik said: “Essentially this ruling means you can still disinherit your children, but if you want it to stand up in court, you will have to explain why, as well as explaining what connects you to those you do leave money to.
“That'll make it easier for adult disinherited children to challenge wills and claim greater sums by way of what the courts would deem a ‘reasonable provision’.”


Monday, 20 July 2015

Staff sickies advice for local businesses

Employers who are sick and tired of staff claiming to be ill so they can take a sneaky day off can hear from the experts about how to tackle the problem.

Lawyers from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Wolverhampton, are hosting a seminar on Thursday, July 30, at the Ramada Park Hall Hotel in the city, at 6pm.

Speakers on the night will be employment law specialists John Mehtam and Lubna Laheria, and they will share their top ten tips on how to deal with sickness absence in the workplace.

“Our seminar is targeted specifically at business owners, leaders, and human resources managers, and we’ll be explaining how they can tackle sickness absence but most importantly, how to stay within the law,” said John.

“It’s so frustrating for employers who hear lame excuses about why their staff can’t make it into work, but equally it’s vital that those employers are able to recognise the difference when staff may actually be ill.

“And it’s also important for employers to handle the situation appropriately, knowing what their legal rights are, and taking the action that best suits the individual employee’s circumstances.”

The presentation is the latest in a series of HELP seminars run by Martin-Kaye which are designed to help employers learn how to deal with common situations they may face every day in their business. HELP stands for HR and Employment Law in Practice and the events offer businesses a unique opportunity to hear from the experts when it comes to tackling topical issues.

“We’ve run our HELP events all over the Midlands and the aim is to take delegates through the minefield of employment pitfalls and all the latest topical workplace issues,” said Lubna.

“And there has been such a positive response from customers across the region that we are now hoping to extend our programme of events beyond the wider West Midlands area.”


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Terms and conditions apply

Companies are being reminded to spell out their terms and conditions on every single order – even when they are dealing with long-time clients.

Andrew Oranjuik, from the commercial team at Martin-Kaye solicitors in Telford, said there could be dangers in becoming comfortable and less formal with established customers.

“No matter how informal your arrangement may be, terms and conditions will only apply if they are confirmed in writing and clear for all to see.

“If you have developed a close working relationship with another company, you may receive orders placed in a variety of ways – and not always in the most traditional of situations.

“Some might be sent by email, others by fax or over the telephone, and some may be given during face-to-face meetings or in more relaxed conversations.

“There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but a recent High Court case has shown that you can’t automatically rely on standard terms and conditions – they need to be included in your agreements for every single deal.

“It’s not enough for them to be printed on the flip-side of a purchase order either. They must be referred to on the front too – and if you’re sending orders by email, you’ll need to attach them as a PDF document.”

Andrew said the message was that, if companies do not make it clear they will be relying on their own standard terms and conditions for each individual order, they cannot be relied on.

“The fact that your companies may have been doing business for years makes absolutely no difference in the eyes of the law,” he said.

“And if the business relationship dates back many years, you may even find that you’ve never actually sent the other company a copy of your standard terms and conditions, so they can’t possibly be expected to know what they are.”

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Award-winning lawyers celebrate title

Lawyers from a Telford legal firm have won yet another national award for their commercial litigation expertise.

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

And their success follows hot on the heels of their Midlands Litigators of the Year award just 12 months ago.

This year they’ve been awarded the Excellence in Contract Focused Commercial Litigation UK title, which is a real coup for the team.

Senior Partner, Graham Davies, said: “This latest title is confirmation that we really do punch about 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.

The awards celebrate the outstanding efforts and amazing achievements of all those involved, and are handed out solely on merit to those companies that have delivered exceptional service over the last 12 months.

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

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Share and share alike...

Shareholders must always have a back-up plan to protect the business in case a major player is taken ill, a Shropshire legal expert has warned.

Eliot Hibbert is the head of the Corporate Commercial Team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and he said the serious illness or even death of a shareholder who is also the head of the business would undoubtedly cause problems.

“There have been cases where such circumstances have led to the break-up of a company, so even though it may sound obvious, having a plan in place will help your business to cope either temporarily, or permanently.”

Eliot said the plan would need to address the death or illness of a controlling director shareholder.
“In both situations, the aim is the same – to decide who takes their place and when. Maybe you’d prefer to rotate the position between directors, perhaps every three months, until a permanent change is made?”

But Eliot said it was ultimately the voting rights attached to the shares that were the most important element.

“If a key person is ill, then they still own the shares and the voting rights – unless they become mentally unwell. But if the shareholder dies, the power will shift, so your plan will need to cover both eventualities.”

The first point to check would be your company’s articles of association as they usually contain rules which authorise the executors of the shareholder’s will to register as the share owners until they’re transferred to the beneficiaries.

“But this may not suit your company’s plans – or the beneficiaries either – and you don’t want to end up in a complicated and expensive legal situation trying to sort it out.

“Draw up a shareholders’ agreement which sets out what will happen to the shares, and the shareholders should also amend their wills so they are consistent with the plan. This way you can avoid any disputes over ownership and voting rights, and secure the future of the business.”

Pic:    Eliot Hibbert from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

New faces join the Martin-Kaye team

Staff at a leading Telford law firm have welcomed two new faces to their growing town centre team.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors are based at The Foundry, in Euston Way, and they have appointed two new lawyers.

Kam Sodhi is the firm’s  new Property Lawyer who will be dealing with referral-based and private client property transactions.  She was raised in Derby and graduated with a law degree, before beginning her career in local government.

After gaining valuable experience in a wide number of areas including litigation, planning and property, and qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive, Kam will now be part of Martin-Kaye’s record-breaking property team.

The firm’s other newest recruit is Anneka Sohal who has joined the commercial team as a newly-qualified solicitor.

Anneka has always had a passion for corporate/commercial law and commercial property issues, and has previously spent four years working for a leading national firm. During her time there she worked in various areas of law including employment and personal injury, and completed her final training.

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re delighted to welcome two new faces to our team, and both Kam and Anneka have already settled in extremely well.

“Their appointments are part of our expansion plans for the future, and now in our 30th year, we believe it’s vital to continue to build on the strong foundations we already have in place in order to move our business forward into the future.”



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