Friday, 16 December 2016

Christmas drinks event is a success

Thanks to everyone who attended our annual Christmas drinks and nibbles event! It was a great evening with over 80 people joining us at The Foundry, in Euston Way, Telford.

Here's a gallery of images from the night - lots of happy smiling faces and a lovely atmosphere! Did we catch you on camera?

    
Cllr Mak Singh, John Mehtam, Saroj Jakhu, Rakesh Saini, Gulshan Jakhu


Rakesh Saini, Cllr Mak Singh, Graham Davies
John Shepherd of Sport Mobile and Eliot Hibbert

Bill Dunphy of Signs Now UK, Heather Tweddle of Phillips & Co, Therese Dunphy of Signs Now UK
Matt and Charlotte Baker, Daniel and Kim Breeze, and Mohammed Ahsan 
Gary Matthews of Matrix Capital, Andrew Mason, Trevor Hirst of Quorum Logistics Support Limited 
Rob Orchard of Cyril Orchard Partnership, Graham Wynn of TTC Group

Ruling could change the face of the law

Relatives who believe they’ve been unfairly left out of a will could soon find it easier to challenge the decision.

Mohammed Ahsan, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said the Supreme Court was currently hearing a case that could change the face of the law.

“The case should clarify the law on challenging wills on the grounds that they don’t make reasonable provision for the relatives left behind, and potentially this will make it much easier for adult children to make a claim on the inheritance they believe is rightfully theirs.” Mr Ahsan said the case was an appeal by a group of animal charities who wanted to overturn a Court of Appeal decision.

“The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of a daughter who had been excluded from her mother’s will, after she left him with a boyfriend as a 17-year-old. The mother had initially left her £500,000 estate to charities including the Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the RSPCA.

“On appeal, the daughter who is now in her 50s, was awarded £143,000 to buy the rented home she was living in and an extra £20,000 for additional income.

“But now the charities have asked the court to consider whether the appeal court was wrong to overturn the decision and to allow the daughter to keep her state benefits.

“This case is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to relatives who feel they have been unfairly treated – and we have seen a real increase in enquiries from people who feel they haven’t received what they’re entitled to.

“Whatever decision the court makes, at least their judgement will give us some clarity on how to interpret the Inheritance Act 1975 and it will set out some guidelines for when challenges are, or are not, appropriate.

“It should also set out the criteria you need to meet in order to disinherit your adult children to make sure your wishes are followed and to ensure your will is executed effectively.

“Losing a loved one is always a stressful and emotional time, and so disputes over a will are likely to make things even worse. Taking expert advice is crucial before you decide whether challenging a person’s wishes is the right approach, so don’t be hasty, and talk to a professional adviser to find out where you stand.”


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Paying the price for festive fun

Staff Christmas parties can be a nightmare with the fallout creating more than just a bad atmosphere in the workplace, a Telford lawyer has warned.

John Mehtam from Martin-Kaye Solicitors said when things go wrong during a festive celebration, many people believed the employer would be held responsible as they had organised the event.

But John has welcomed a new High Court ruling that cleared a company of any responsibility when an employee launched a violent assault on a colleague at a heavy drinking session straight after the firm’s Christmas party.

“Employers are usually held vicariously liable for any misdemeanours their staff commit ‘in the course of their employment’, but this latest case is a clear indication that liability can be different in every individual case.

“The incident occurred after the company party when half the guests decided to go on to a hotel where some were staying to continue drinking. The court decided that the drinks were separate from the Christmas party itself and at a separate location, with employees’ partners and other guests there as well as staff.

“The conversation had mainly been about non-work-related topics, but the attack was triggered by a work-related discussion when the managing director felt his authority was being challenged.

“Following the incident, the victim made a claim for damages against the company saying it was vicariously liable for the managing director’s conduct.

“Now even though the company had paid the taxi fares for the guests to return to the hotel – and indeed, was paying for some or all of the drinks – the court ruled that the attack was outside the managing director’s course of employment.

“They said the incident happened as a result of entirely voluntary and personal choices by the staff who had decided to take part in the heavy drinking session, and so the company could not be held responsible.

“A key point of their decision was that the attack happened during an impromptu drink which was not a part of the official work Christmas party.

“So just because the evening had begun as a work event, the decision by the employees to continue drinking afterwards was critical to the court’s decision as it was clearly a separate situation.

“Employees should remember that although Christmas parties are a great time to enjoy themselves while the company foots the bill, the onus is on them to behave in an appropriate and acceptable manner.”

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Do your staff have the right to work here?

A Telford solicitor has welcomed a tribunal ruling that backed an employer’s decision to sack a worker who could not prove he had the right to work in the UK.

John Mehtam leads the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and he said the worker’s status had been uncovered when the employer ran a series of checks.

“The employee was Jamaican and the tribunal ruled that neither his passport or his birth certificate was sufficient evidence that he was legally entitled to work in the UK.

“There was no dispute about his entitlement to live here, it was purely a question of whether he had the right to work in this country. And the employer was absolutely right to take the decision to sack him, because if they were unable to obtain proof of his working status, they could have been fined up to £20,000 themselves and faced criminal action too.”

Mr Mehtam said the employee had been born in Jamaica and had lived in the UK since childhood, but his Jamaican passport had expired and he had no other evidence to prove he had the right to work here.

“The employer lent the worker the money to cover the cost of obtaining a valid Jamaican passport and the cost of an endorsement in the document confirming his employment status. But the worker failed to apply for the endorsement and the Home Office said the passport alone was not enough evidence – so after he failed to turn up to meetings arranged to discuss the situation, the employer dismissed him.

“He claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, but while the tribunal expressed its sympathy for him, it ruled that the employer was right to demand evidence of his status and that they had no option but to sack him.

“This ruling is a clear demonstration that employers need to ensure they are fully informed about the background of everyone on their books, and that they make the safety and reputation of their company a priority. Simply taking someone’s word for it when they claim to be entitled to work in the UK legally is just not an option.

“Companies must be aware that they will be the ones to face the fines and legal action if they fail to check the small print, and the onus is on the employer to take responsibility by asking the right questions.”

Thursday, 24 November 2016

What's in a name?

We’re often asked where the name Martin-Kaye Solicitors comes from – here our Senior Partner Graham Davies explains more…

"We’ve been in business now for over 30 years, and as we approach the end of another year, we’re looking ahead to the coming 12 months and the challenges they will bring.

"The end of another year can also be a time of reflection, and after three decades of Martin-Kaye Solicitors, I’d like to share the story behind our name.

"The simple answer is that it is the name of the most senior of the three founding partners of the firm – Andrew Green, me, and Niel Martin-Kaye.

"We started the practice from scratch in 1985 and quickly realised that Niel was ahead of his time with his positive approach and forward-thinking style.

"His vision put us ahead of many of our competitors both in terms of the way we use systems and technology, and in our management style.

"And we still continue to benefit from this innovative approach to business today – I’d very much like to think that the culture created in those early days has now been adopted by the younger Partners of the firm.

"Apart from being an original thinker and a man with passion and energy, Niel had the most outrageous and mischievous sense of humour, often providing much-needed inspiration in times of stress and difficulty.

"Sadly Niel died in September 2001 – within around a year of his retirement from the firm – there were few like him, and the name and spirit he gave us all those years ago is the legacy that continues to this very day."

Monday, 21 November 2016

What's your business really worth?

Entrepreneurs considering selling their business need to be realistic about its true value before they put it on the market.

Eliot Hibbert from the Martin-Kaye Corporate Commercial Team said in reality, a business was only worth what someone was willing to pay for it.

“Many small business owners grow attached to their business as they’ve put in so much hard work to develop it – but this can lead to them valuing their companies at a higher level than is sensible. Anyone seriously considering selling their business will need to have realistic expectations about its value before they even think about selling.”

Eliot said there was no single formula that could be used to precisely value every private business – sellers would want to drive the price up and potential buyers would want the opposite.

“Although there are relatively easy ways to value certain parts of the business – such as stock; assets like land, machinery and equipment – there will also be elements of the business that are much more difficult to put a price on.

“These intangible elements include goodwill such as trademarks, branding, key people, the size and quality of the customer base, and the reputation of the company, which are notoriously difficult to value. In many cases, it will come down to how keen a potential buyer is to acquire your business.”

When looking at the overall value of a business, there are a number of different valuation methods that are commonly used from using earnings multiples, to calculating how much it would cost to create a similar business.

“There are outside factors to consider too such as the economic climate as clearly a buyer may be more cautious when buying a business during an economic downturn.

“And on the other hand, when times are good, more companies tend to want to grow by buying other firms and finance is more freely available to help them achieve their aims.

“With more potential buyers in the market, you’re more likely to get a higher price when the economy is booming. So entrepreneurs who are serious about selling their business need to think carefully about the timing and the honesty of the value they’ve put on their company before they take the plunge.”


Friday, 18 November 2016

Honesty is the best policy

Partners must be completely honest about their finances when a relationship ends as the courts will not tolerate anything less.

That’s the warning from Nadia Davis who leads the Martin-Kaye family law team, who welcomed the outcome of a court case involving two women who disagreed over a financial settlement.

One of the women accepted £200,000 when the couple split up, but the case will now be reanalysed by the High Court after she claimed her ex-partner had ‘misrepresented’ the size of her fortune.

“The case confirms that same sex couples have the same rights under family law as heterosexual couples, and the woman will now have the opportunity to open discussions on a fair settlement based on her ex-partner’s true assets,” said Nadia.

“This has got to be the right outcome of a case like this – both parties need to give full and transparent financial information during the proceedings in order to achieve a fair result.

“Honesty about the financial situation of a couple is the bedrock of matrimonial cases and if one partner flouts that, they should expect that the court will punish them by overturning any original payout decision to get to the truth.

“For the court to do otherwise would encourage dishonesty and could create a cheat’s charter that would enable partners to hide their true wealth.

“This ruling clearly sets out the way the courts feel about such a dishonest approach and the steps they’re prepared to take to ensure the truth comes out.”

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Landmark ruling opens flood gates

A landmark tribunal verdict that ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not self-employed has opened the flood gates, according to a Telford solicitor.

The employment tribunal found in favour of two drivers who argued that they were in reality “employed as workers and should benefit from the minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay”.

And now Gemma Workman, who is an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, said the result could bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of similar claims for companies all over the UK.

“This case is one of the biggest in the land of employment law given its implications – it’s as high profile as the British Gas case that ruled commission payments should be included in holiday pay calculations.

“And, just like the British Gas case, the fallout from this ruling is expected to run on for some time.”

Gemma said the ruling meant that Uber drivers would now be classed as workers and would be entitled to paid holiday, a maximum 48-hour working week – subject to an opt out agreement – and the national minimum wage.

“The two drivers were test cases selected by the GMB Union and law firm Leigh Day to represent the claims of 19 Uber drivers – and now, following their success, hundreds more claims are expected to follow.

“The case is important for all kinds of companies across the UK who claim to link freelancers or small businesses with customers and yet say they are not employers themselves.

“Uber has said it will appeal the ruling, but it’s obvious this isn’t over – watch this space,” she said.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Joint venture for Midlands legal firm

Lawyers from a Midlands firm have joined forces with a local accountancy practice to present an advice seminar with a difference.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford and Wolverhampton are hosting the event on Thursday, November 3, at 6pm, at The Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, and guests from all over the Midlands region are invited to attend.

Martin-Kaye senior partner Graham Davies will introduce the seminar which will give delegates the chance to learn more about how to save tax and protect their business assets.

“We have hosted regular seminars in the area offering effective and no-nonsense advice on all kinds of topics related to employment law, and this time we decided to widen the scope of our event even further by introducing a financial element from Luckmans in Birmingham.

“In just one hour our delegates will hear about opportunities to save tax, including an update on the very latest tax saving devices through their business and property assets. And we’ll share our top tips on how to protect your business assets from former employees and competitors, as well as reviewing the options for succession planning.

“It’s sure to be an extremely popular event and tickets are going fast with over 60 tickets booked already, so anyone interested should get in touch to reserve their place as soon as possible.”

Delegates will also have the opportunity to put their individual questions to the guest speakers and join in an informal and useful networking session at the end of the event.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors are renowned for their ongoing programme of seminars where they share advice for employers on how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues and, more importantly, how to avoid them and protect your business.

“Our short sharp seminars are designed to get right to the point with our team setting the record straight and helping employers to learn from the mistakes others have made.”

To find out more about the latest event, or to reserve your place, contact June Noto at Martin-Kaye Solicitors on 01952 272222 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tribunal washes its hands of case

A Telford solicitor has welcomed a tribunal ruling that upheld a decision to sack a baker for failing to wash his hands.

John Mehtam is the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and he said the experienced baker should have known better.

“The case involved well-known bakers Greggs who sacked the employee after he failed to wash his hands before returning to a food production area. He had claimed that their actions were too harsh, but the tribunal threw the case out, saying he could not now be trusted to follow hand-washing rules and so he posed an unacceptable risk to the company’s customers and reputation.”

The baker admitted he was aware how important it was to wash his hands, and confirmed that staff training and the company handbook had made it very clear.

“For Greggs, it was obvious that taking a zero-tolerance approach was a reasonable and sound decision because in their industry an outbreak of illness traced back to them could have serious consequences for their reputation and success as a business.

“And given that the baker had 11 years’ service in the job – and experience in the food industry of over 25 years – he really should have known better.”

Mr Mehtam said the tribunal’s decision reinforced the need for companies to have clear and robust procedures in place, as well as the importance of ensuring all staff understood their responsibilities.

“In this case, it was the company’s hygiene rules that were broken, but similar circumstances would arise if it was a breach of a company’s health and safety procedures too.

“Workplace legislation is constantly changing, and it’s vital that employers ensure their policies and procedures are up-to-date. This is easier said than done though, given the pace of change, and the time pressures business owners face, so taking professional advice can be crucial.

“Our experts have a wealth of experience in this area and we can review a company’s existing systems and practices, and help draw up a plan moving forward that will ensure both staff and your company’s reputation are protected.”

Friday, 16 September 2016

Employers pick up legal tips

A Telford law firm has been praised for its informative and topical approach to delivering employment law advice to local companies.

The experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford held their latest Top 10 Employment Blunders seminar at their offices in Euston Way, welcoming more than 20 employers.

Hosted by the company’s Employment Law specialist, John
Mehtam, the event was open to employers from a wide range of businesses, and the response has been extremely positive.

John shared his advice for employers about how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues and, more importantly, how to avoid them and protect your business.

“We were very pleased with the response from our delegates who were full of praise for the way we delivered the presentation, and for the knowledge and expertise that we shared. At Martin-Kaye, we’re committed to delivering effective and appropriate advice that really does make a difference to local employers, and our short sharp lunchtime seminars are designed to get right to the point.

“We set the record straight and help employers to learn from the mistakes others have made, helping them to tackle employment law issues in the right way and helping them to understand how to avoid falling into the most common traps.”

John said keeping up-to-date with ever-changing legislation was practically impossible for employers who were already battling with a packed schedule.

“That’s why our seminars are proving so popular as we deliver clear, concise information in a time frame that suits our delegates.”

The seminar covered a variety of tricky areas including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance.

The Martin-Kaye Employment Law team are now planning future seminars including joint events with other professional services companies across the Midlands.

Pic: At the latest Martin-Kaye Solicitors event are, from left, Jason Round, Amrik Chote and Kay Gill (from Monaco Insurance Services Ltd), Cllr Mak Singh, and Rakesh Saini

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Pregnant women need a fair deal

Pregnant women and new mothers are getting an increasingly rough deal in the workplace, a Shropshire solicitor has warned.

John Mehtam leads the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and he said shocking statistics showed complaints of discrimination against pregnant women had soared in the last decade.

“Figures revealed by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee suggest that more than one in ten pregnant women and new mothers were either dismissed, singled out for compulsory redundancy or left their job because of poor treatment in the workplace.

“The research showed that the number of women forced to leave their job because of pregnancy discrimination or concerns about the safety of their child had doubled over the past ten years to 54,000.

“This is just not acceptable and it’s clear that steps need to be taken to offer more protection to women who find themselves in this situation,” said John.

He welcomed the news that the Committee had proposed a new system that would ban employers from making new mothers redundant unless there were exceptional circumstances.

“The Committee also said the Government’s current approach to tackling pregnancy discrimination lacked ‘urgency and bite’, and they will be unveiling a new plan to improve working rights within the next two years.

“This is excellent news because there are record numbers of women in work across the UK and if the Government fails to address the discrimination issue now, the economy could suffer.”

John also praised the Committee’s recommendations to extend the right to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments to casual, agency and zero-hours workers, and to double the time limit on launching a pregnancy or maternity discrimination case from three to six months.

“Pregnant women and new mothers should not have to deal with the threat of having to choose between their job or their child, and a strong focused approach to handling these issues will go a long way towards easing their worries.”

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Employers - the buck stops with you

Employers who bring in a recruitment agency to fill a key vacancy have been warned they could face tough financial penalties if things don’t work out.

Gemma Workman is an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and she said an employment tribunal ruling had brought home the extent of an employer’s responsibilities towards candidates.

“The tribunal ruled that an employer must pay out damages to a candidate after the company withdrew a job offer made by a recruitment agency acting on their behalf.

“And so they had no choice but to pay out £3,000, as the candidate had verbally accepted a job offer made by the agency.”

Gemma said the tribunal decided that given the seniority of post the claimant had been offered, it was only reasonable that he should receive the equivalent of one month’s salary.

“This is because any written contract at that level in the organisation would have a minimum reasonable period of one month’s notice. But as the employer terminated the contract without notice by withdrawing the job offer, the candidate was entitled to damages equal to a month’s salary in lieu of notice.”

Gemma said the employer had appointed the recruitment agency to identify suitable candidates for vacancies as maintenance engineers, and although there was a dispute as to exactly what was said, the tribunal accepted the man’s claim that he was offered, and accepted, a post.

“The employer though denied a job offer had been made, and the candidate brought a claim for damages for breach of contract which the tribunal upheld – ruling that the employer should pay one month’s salary of £2,708 plus tribunal fees of £390.

“Employment law is a minefield that’s changing all the time, and business owners need to be sure of their responsibilities. Even though the company felt they were handing responsibility over to the recruitment agency, ultimately the company themselves were responsible for the process of taking on new staff.

“It’s clear that there was some dispute over what was said and what offer was made, but employers need to take professional advice to ensure they don’t get caught out in the future.”


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Multi-million pound deals for Telford firm

Property lawyers at a Telford firm are celebrating after completing deals worth over £150 million since the start of the current financial year in April.

The conveyancing team at Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors, in Euston Way, have been inundated with new business and handled 600 completions in the last few weeks alone.

Lead Partner Mrs Nita Patel said the team had beaten all their previous record figures and it had been a remarkable period of business for the firm.

“We’ve had amazing years before when it comes to valuable transactions but the last few weeks really have absolutely eclipsed anything we’ve achieved previously.”

Nita said the team had performed so well thanks to their dedication and commitment, but also thanks to the way they had maximised the use of the very latest technology.

“Technology enables us to deliver speedy transactions, and we’re always working hard to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients. But the key to our success is not just the quality and speed of service we deliver – it’s thanks to the personality of our team members who consistently receive high ratings for their customer service skills.

“We never lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with people and that for many, buying or selling a house is one of the most important transactions they will conduct in their lives. Our team’s ability to lighten the mood where we can, combined with a calm and organised approach, ensures our clients are reassured at every stage in the process.

“And the hard work we have put in has paid off with clients now stretched far and wide across the UK – we are also seeing an increasing number of national brokers who regularly recommend our firm to their clients too.”

Pic: Celebrating their success – the conveyancing team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Commercial team expands in Telford

Commercial law experts at a Midlands legal practice have welcomed a new face to their rapidly expanding team.

Jagdeep Kandola is the latest lawyer to be appointed at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and she will join the firm’s commercial property service.

Eliot Hibbert, who is the head of the Corporate Commercial department, said Jagdeep’s appointment was excellent news for the firm. “It’s great to welcome Jagdeep to our growing team, and her experience will be an invaluable asset in handling commercial property matters for existing and prospective new clients.”

Jagdeep was born and raised in the West Midlands and after graduating she completed a Masters in Commercial Law in Birmingham. She has worked in a High Street practice for several years dealing with residential and commercial property, and landlord and tenant issues, before gaining more commercial law experience at law firms outside the region.

“I’m very pleased to have joined the Martin-Kaye team as they’re a legal firm with a great reputation, and I’m looking forward to building on the extremely strong relationships they have with their diverse range of clients,” said Jagdeep. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to return to the Midlands and work with a team who are real experts in their field.”

Jagdeep will advise both sellers and purchasers on all kinds of issues from the property aspects of large corporate restructuring deals to the sale and purchase of small business premises. She will also advise on financing and re-financing, environmental considerations, auction sales, licensing, and the formation and transfer of management companies, as well as acting for both landlords and tenants in leasehold cases.

Pic: Jagdeep Kandola is the latest recruit to join the Martin-Kaye Solicitors Commercial Department


Friday, 12 August 2016

Tori takes the first step

A trainee solicitor has a firm foot on the career ladder after being awarded a contract by a Telford law firm.

Tori Shepherd initially joined Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford as a Legal Assistant in the firm’s employment law team.

Now she has begun her training contract with a six-month placement in the residential property department, which will be followed by six months with the corporate/commercial team and a further six months in the family division.

Tori said: “I’m really enjoying my role in residential property and I’ve already completed a number of files, with many more to follow. The training contract is an excellent opportunity to learn about the wider aspects of Martin-Kaye as a business, and to experience working in different departments with knowledgeable and experienced teams.

“I’m keeping my options open at the moment as I haven’t yet decided which area of law I would like to specialise in, so to work with several teams across the Practice will help me narrow down the areas of law that I enjoy the most.”

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “Victoria has made a real impact since she joined our firm and we’re delighted to be able to offer her the opportunity to complete her training as a solicitor with us.

“The aim of the training contract is to enable her to learn more about the diverse areas of law that we cover, and to learn from our specialist lawyers who all have many years of experience in their chosen sectors.”

Pic: Tori Shepherd has been awarded a training contract at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Monday, 18 July 2016

Lawyers celebrate national award win

Commercial law specialists at a Telford legal firm have won a high profile national award that recognises their expertise and professional approach.

The team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, scooped the title in the latest Mergers & Acquisitions Awards where they won the Excellence in Disposal of Business Assets category.

Eliot Hibbert, who leads the team said they were extremely proud of their success and of the recognition on a national stage that the award had created.

“Mergers and acquisitions are key when it comes to success in the world of business, and to have received an award in such an important area of the industry is excellent news for everyone at Martin-Kaye.

“The M&A Awards recognise the achievements of dealmakers, management teams, financiers and professional advisers who, over the last 12 months, have demonstrated excellence in their deal making. We’re very honoured to have been chosen for this title, and to have won the award against some extremely tough competition.”

Eliot’s Corporate Commercial team specialise in all areas of corporate law and commercial contracts in tandem with other wide ranging commercial matters including commercial property and agricultural issues.

Director of the 2016 M&A Awards, Elizabeth Moore, said: “We were delighted with the volume of nominations received for this year’s awards. It’s always a proud time to see how firms all over the world have developed and grown.”

She said mergers and acquisitions was one of the most buoyant markets and the judges had chosen an elite group of winners to be acknowledged for their impressive performance over the past 12 months.
Other winners this year include RBS Invoice Finance, Bureau van Dijk, iMedX, MoneySoft Inc, and Grant Thornton.

Pic: Celebrating their award are, from left, Eliot Hibbert, Jagdeep Kandola, Graham Davies, Anneka Sohal, and Andrew Oranjuik



Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Go-ahead given to challenge mother-in-law's will

A divorced husband has been given permission to challenge his former mother-in-law’s will, and a Telford solicitor has welcomed the decision.

Mohammed Ahsan, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said the ruling by the Court of Appeal was a fair and just result.

The case involved a divorced husband who wanted to challenge the will as he claimed it had been forged in a bid to thwart the findings of his divorce proceedings.

“As part of their divorce settlement, the man’s wife had agreed that if she inherited more than £100,000 from her mother, anything over the £100,000 would be split equally between them.

“But after the mother died, she left £100,000 to the man’s wife, and the balance of the estate (around £150,000) was left to the wife’s children.”

When the husband initially tried to challenge the will, the courts ruled that the husband had no right to put in a claim.

And in the Court of Appeal, the wife’s solicitor said the only people who could challenge a will were those who had the right to administer the estate. But since the husband was not an executor and was not entitled to a share, he was not able to bring the claim.

“But the court said that cases like this must be dealt with justly and that the husband should be able to bring a probate claim to have the will dismissed,” said Ahsan.

“He said that if the case had been a general legal matter, rather than a probate case, it would have been obvious the husband would have had a right to make the claim. The judge said the man was not a mere busybody and that he had a real interest in challenging the validity of the will.

“The court said it would have been highly unjust if, for example, a will had been forged in an attempt to get round an order made as part of divorce proceedings, that the person affected could not challenge the will.

“It’s clear in this case that the husband can now press ahead with challenging the will in order to try to secure the payout he believes is rightfully his – a victory for common sense and a case that will be interesting to follow as it progresses.”

Monday, 11 July 2016

Gemma joins the employment law team

A Shropshire legal firm has welcomed a new employment law specialist to their team who has returned to her county roots.

Gemma Workman was raised in Shropshire but completed her legal training in the south east of England.

Now, with five years’ experience of working in the world of employment law, she has returned to her home county and joined the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford.

“I have advised both employers and employees on all kinds of topics including all aspects of the tribunal process including advocacy at hearings, and drafting and advising on legal documents,” said Gemma.

“I’ve also advised on settlement agreements and contracts of employment, and I’m very pleased to be joining such a forward-thinking and progressive legal firm. Martin-Kaye has an excellent reputation for delivering the very best advice at cost-effective rates, and my aim is to provide solutions for my clients that really do make a difference.”

Gemma’s role involves advising existing clients on a wide range of employment matters as part of Martin-Kaye’s Alpha service, which offers employment and HR support to businesses all over the UK.

“I particularly like the way the departments at Martin-Kaye work together and the fact that the firm believes in the value of face-to-face advice.”

John Mehtam, who leads the employment team, said: “We’re very pleased to have someone with Gemma’s experience joining our team, and we’re looking forward to the knowledge and skills she will bring to our department.”

Pic: Gemma Workman is the new employment solicitor at Martin-Kaye in Telford


Monday, 20 June 2016

Oswestry seminar is a great success

Experts from a Shropshire legal firm have hailed their first ever Oswestry event as a great success.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, regularly runs employment law seminars all over the Midlands and beyond.

And as a direct response to interest from companies in the Oswestry area, they took their Top 10 Employment Blunders event to the town.

Held at The Lion Quays, the event was open to employers from all kinds of businesses, and delegates said they were impressed with the presentations and the information they heard.

Martin-Kaye’s Employment Law specialist, John Mehtam, hosted the event and shared advice on how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues, as well as how to avoid them.

“We were very pleased with the positive response we received from our delegates – and despite the event taking place on the day of the much-anticipated England v Wales match in the European Football Championships, there was a great turnout,” said John.

“As with our other seminars, we took the view that a short sharp lunchtime event would be the most popular format for busy employers, and we gave presentations that are designed to get right to the point to help employers learn from the mistakes others have made.”

The seminar covered a variety of tricky areas including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance.

“This was the first time we’ve held an employment law seminar in the Oswestry area and we’d like to thank the local businesses who showed such an interest in the advice we had to offer.”

Martin-Kaye Solicitors has also previously held employment law seminars in Telford, Shrewsbury, West Bromwich and Wales.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Is your air conditioning sexist?

Employees in the workplace often find themselves in a battle of the sexes when it comes to the optimum temperature they prefer to work in – and it seems there’s a good reason why.

John Mehtam, employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said it was all down to the company’s air conditioning systems.

“Scientists have published research that shows air conditioning units are actually designed to suit the body temperature and metabolism of men. In fact, the 1960s model on which modern air conditioning still operates is based on a 40-year-old 11-stone male.

“But due to the different metabolic rates of men and women, there’s a real difference in preferred working temperatures of up to 4 degrees Celsius, which really is a noticeable amount.

“And given the workplace politics and arguments that often crop up over the settings of the air conditioning, it’s clear that employers should bear these statistics in mind.”

John said workplace temperatures were covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

“These rules don’t specify a legal requirement on minimum or maximum temperatures in the workplace, but they say that the temperature should provide ‘reasonable comfort’. Guidance suggests this means the office temperature should be at least 16 degrees Celsius, but no specific maximum temperature is mentioned.

“So even though there will inevitably be disagreements over the temperature of a workplace – which may be fuelled by potentially sexist air conditioning units – as an employer, you only have to ensure a “reasonable” temperature.

“But you should make sure you don’t ignore any complaints about temperature either, particularly if some employees may be affected more than others, such as anyone who is elderly or pregnant.

“Taking some sensible measures, such as supplying plenty of drinking water and increasing ventilation where possible, will be more than sufficient to ensure that you are meeting your obligations.”

Friday, 27 May 2016

Oswestry visit is a first for legal firm

Experts from a Shropshire legal firm are to hold their first ever employment law seminar in Oswestry.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, are once again taking their Top 10 Employment Blunders event on the road after successful presentations in Shrewsbury, West Bromwich and Wales.

It will take place on Thursday, June 16, at the Lion Quays in Oswestry, from 12noon to 2pm.

Hosted by the company’s Employment Law specialist, John Mehtam, the event is open to employers from all kinds of businesses, and with such a positive response in other areas, the law firm is expecting a capacity audience.

“The aim of the event is to share with employers the best ways to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues and, more importantly, how to avoid them and protect your business,” said John.

“Tripping up when it comes to employment law isn’t an option, but keeping up-to-date with ever-changing legislation is practically impossible for employers who are already battling with a packed schedule.

“So our short sharp lunchtime seminars are designed to get right to the point with our team setting the record straight and helping employers to learn from the mistakes others have made. Our advice sets out the right way to tackle any employment law issues and the ways employers can avoid falling into the most common traps.”

The seminar will cover a variety of tricky areas including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance.

“This will be the first time we’ve held an employment law seminar in Oswestry, but we decided to organise the event as a direct result of client interest in that area,” said John.

“The seminar is the latest in our ongoing series of similar advice presentations, and we’re looking forward to meeting businesses from the Oswestry area and beyond.”

Numbers for the presentation are strictly limited so employers will need to reserve a place by contacting June Noto on 01952 525951, or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Seminar success in West Bromwich

Our latest Top 10 Employment Blunders seminar has been hailed a great success after more than 30 employers attended.

The event took place at The Park Inn, in West Bromwich, and was hosted by our Employment Law specialist, John Mehtam.

John shared his advice for employers about how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues - and, more importantly, how to avoid them and protect your business.

Employers from a wide range of businesses attended and they were full of praise for the advice they received:

"Very clear, concise and 'human', with common sense approach in clear language"
"Very informative and John best as always"
"John Mehtam makes the whole presentation smooth, seamless and easily understood"
"Good understanding of presentation, extremely useful"

Here's a glimpse of the event as it happened:
Paul Basil (Business Tank), Graham Davies (Martin-Kaye), Mak Ghattaura CBE (Polypack Polythene Ltd) David Norris (DW Associates)

Anneka Sohal (Martin-Kaye), Amrik Singh (Vibrant Networks), Jade Keval (Angel Commercial Brokers), Amarjit Dhadwal (Luckmans Accountants)
Question time at the seminar with employees taking an active part in the event
Amrik Singh (Vibrant Networks), Amarjit Dhadwal (Luckmans Accountants), John Mehtam (Martin-Kaye), Rakesh Saini (Martin-Kaye)
Enjoying the day are Dipak Shelat (DDM Asset Management Ltd) and John Mehtam (Martin-Kaye)


Friday, 29 April 2016

Two new partners join the Board

Two solicitors have been given a seat on the board at Martin-Kaye, in Telford.

Andrew Oranjuik and Janet Hawley have both been made partners and they will now play a key role in developing our future plans and business initiatives.

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re delighted to welcome Andrew and Janet to the management team, and we believe they will bring an exciting and fresh approach to our forward planning and business goals.

“At Martin-Kaye, we’re always keen to encourage bright and dynamic lawyers to continuously develop their skills and to take a pro-active interest in the workings of the firm as a whole. In Andrew and Janet we have two new partners who have demonstrated their commitment and dedication to the practice, and who will now help us to shape the firm for years to come.”

Andrew specialises in resolving commercial disputes and has over ten years’ experience in the sector. He joined Martin-Kaye in 2012, and is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and the Property Litigation Association.

Renowned for his dispute resolution skills, Andrew has regularly been recognised in the independent directory, Legal 500, and praised for having “a great eye for detail”, “giving sage advice”, and “never losing his cool”.

Janet is a manager in Martin-Kaye’s residential property department dealing with high volume transactions including freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, new build purchases and shared ownership transactions.

She joined the firm in 2007 as an assistant solicitor before progressing through the ranks to help lead the team in one of the busiest areas of the business.

Both Andrew and Janet will now work with other senior members of staff to ensure Martin-Kaye delivers the very highest levels of customer service at all times, and to make sure the company’s growing reputation continues to flourish.

Pic: Andrew Oranjuik and Janet Hawley are the new Partners at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Panama Papers warning for divorcing couples

Divorcing couples who try to hide their fortunes from a spouse could find themselves under tougher scrutiny following the leak of the “Panama Papers”, a Telford solicitor has warned.

Nadia Davis leads the Family Law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and she said the disclosures unveiled by the leak of confidential papers from a Panama law firm had shone a spotlight on assets and investments.

“It’s clear that there is now a real appetite for an open and uncomplicated approach when it comes to finances, and in divorce cases we have always called for such honesty.

“Now, with so much publicity on the subject, it’s far more likely that divorcing couples will call for greater scrutiny when it comes to their former partner’s finances.”

Nadia was speaking following comments from the new Chair of family law group, Resolution, Nigel Shepherd, who said publicity on the issue was good news as it made it more likely the matter would be investigated “properly”.

It’s claimed that the leaked files from Mossack Fonseca in Panama revealed how some wealthy spouses had stored assets in complicated trust funds held by offshore companies to make it difficult for their partners to find out how much they were worth.

And the ongoing publicity surrounding the files follows hot on the heels of two successful cases in the Supreme Court where two ex-wives said they were duped into ‘unfair’ divorce settlements.

“These decisions set a real precedent on how dishonesty will be treated in family courts, and lawyers believe there could be many other ex-wives or ex-husbands calling for divorce cases to be re-opened if they feel they have been misled during divorce proceedings,” said Nadia.

“It’s not a simple process to re-open a divorce case to dispute a settlement, but if a spouse believes their former partner really was dishonest, there now seems to be more likelihood that a case could be revisited.

“The Panama revelations are also likely to colour future divorce cases too, so the leaks should be taken as a warning to anyone who might be attempting to hide their true worth.”
 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Is your company name safe?

Figures show that up to 100 companies every month have their identities stolen and misused – but would you know how to stop it?

Eliot Hibbert leads the Corporate Commercial team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, and said there were some surprisingly simple steps companies could take to protect themselves.

“Generally most people think that identity theft is a problem for people who have their computers hacked or their dustbins raided for personal information.

“But it’s actually just as common, if not more so, for fraudsters to target companies and use their name and credentials illegally. In order to protect your business – and your reputation – it’s vital that company owners take action as soon as possible.”

Eliot said the difficulty with corporate identity theft was that although it was fairly simple to commit, it was generally not uncovered very quickly.

“It’s easy for fraudsters to obtain your company’s details as the information is open to anyone through the Companies House website – and usually they will start by filling in forms to change your company’s registered office address and the name of at least one director. This means of course that you’re not likely to realise what’s happened until they’ve actually misused your company name.”

Eliot said business owners should sign up to the Companies’ House PROOF system to help make it difficult, if not impossible, for fraudsters to intervene.

“The only reason you may not be able to register to use PROOF is if there’s any kind of ongoing dispute between company directors – not a simple everyday dispute, but a serious one that could lead to a director or company secretary resigning.”

Under the PROOF scheme, companies need to submit certain Companies House forms online such as the annual tax return and notice of any changes in directors’ details – and once a company is registered, forms will only be accepted from specific people within a company.

“You can also appoint someone to regularly check your company’s details on the Companies House website – it will take only a couple of minutes and yet it could protect your business from a whole host of problems.”
 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

References can be a nightmare

Employers should think very carefully before they agree to provide a reference for a former employee as any mistakes could prove costly.

John Mehtam is the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and he said a reference request was most likely to be for a new employer or maybe a financial situation like a mortgage application.

“It’s important to be aware of the differences though between a corporate reference and a personal one. Your business will be legally responsible for the contents of a corporate reference because it is provided on its behalf.

“So you must ensure you have a clear policy on which employees or levels of management can give a corporate reference, whether it should be verbal or written, and what should be included.”

John said a personal reference may refer to work undertaken for the business but must not be given on behalf of the business.

“There’s always a danger that a personal reference could be taken to be a corporate reference, so make sure it’s not provided on headed paper and does not include the referee’s job title.”

John added that there was no legal obligation on a business to provide a reference and so the business was entitled to refuse to provide one.

“But your company policy on references must be consistent or you could be accused of discrimination. Your business is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

“So having a clear policy in place about the circumstances in which references will be given will help in defending any allegations of discriminatory treatment. If you do agree to give a reference, the business must be able to justify and support any comments made and show that it honestly holds the views that are stated.

“Your business cannot be successfully sued for defamation for the contents of a reference (even if they are untrue), as long as your business believed the information in the reference was correct at the time it was provided, and that you gave the reference without malice.

“But your business could be sued for breach of contract if you don not give a reference when your business had previously agreed to provide one.”

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Legal experts take top award

Lawyers from a Telford firm are proving they can compete with some of the most high profile legal teams in the UK after winning a prestigious award.

Commercial litigation experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, have been named in the 2016 Dispute Resolution Awards as the best for SME Contract Disputes.

Run by Acquisition International Magazine, the awards were created to showcase the very best lawyers and professional advisers across the country.

And it’s not the first time they have recognised the Telford practice.

Andrew Oranjuik who leads the commercial litigation team at Martin-Kaye said: “We’re very proud to have received this latest award, and it is confirmation once again that we really do punch above our weight when it comes to the competition.

“It also shows that the very best legal advice is available outside the major cities in the UK thanks to practices like Martin-Kaye.”

The company has previously been awarded the Excellence in Contract Focused Commercial Litigation title, and the Midlands Litigators of the Year award.

“Our specialist commercial litigation team already has an excellent reputation for its effective, straight-talking advice, and to be recognised yet again on the national stage is sure to raise our profile even further,” said Andrew.

“It’s particularly pleasing as we are one of the very few law firms outside the major cities to develop a specialist team like this, and our commitment to the sector is obviously paying off.”

Martin-Kaye’s commercial litigators deal with a wide range of claims including partnership and shareholder disputes, disputes over intellectual property, professional negligence, and disputes in property, contract, construction and IT cases.

The Dispute Resolution Awards highlight the work carried out by the main players in this fiercely competitive area. They use an exhaustive process of reviews and in-house research to reward the most respected litigators, arbitrators and mediators across the business world. All kinds of firms are nominated from the smallest niche practices to the largest corporations.

Pic: Celebrating their latest award win are, from left, Mohammed Ahsan, Graham Davies, Andrew Oranjuik and Jason Round at Martin-Kaye

Monday, 14 March 2016

Companies receive harsh wake-up call

Companies could be more liable than ever for the behaviour of their employees following a landmark legal ruling, a Shropshire employment law expert has warned.

The Supreme Court found that supermarket chain Morrisons was liable for the actions of a worker who punched and kicked a man on one of its petrol station forecourts.

And John Mehtam, the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said: “This is a wake-up call to all employers. It means that companies will find it much more difficult to avoid legally binding liability for the actions of their staff during working hours.”

According to court documents, Amjid Khan was working at a Morrisons petrol station in Birmingham in 2008 when he punched and kicked Ahmed Mohamud. Mr Mohamud died six years later of an illness not related to the incident, and his family continued his legal fight.

Morrisons had sacked Mr Khan and agreed to pay damages, but the Supreme Court has now overturned a previous Court of Appeal ruling and decided that the supermarket group is liable for Mr Khan's actions.

Mr Mehtam said the case hinged on the definition of ‘vicarious liability’ - where someone is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In the workplace, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.

He said: “There is no doubt that this ruling will make it easier for successful claims of this kind against companies – even if the actions of staff were neither sanctioned, nor supported, by their managers. It does not amount to a change in the law, but is most certainly a change in the way that ‘vicarious liability’ cases will be interpreted by the courts.”

Mr Mehtam added: “Previously, it was thought that an employer would only be liable for an assault if it took place while carrying out a task which was part of their working contract. That has all changed. Now, employers can clearly be held liable for any form of criminal act carried out by their staff – whether they are directly linked to their job, or not.”

Monday, 7 March 2016

Religious festivals are not a given right

Companies are perfectly within their rights to deny workers extended periods of annual leave which they claim are for ‘religious reasons’, a Shropshire employment lawyer has warned.

Lubna Laheria’s comments follow the findings of a landmark tribunal case involving a London Underground worker who claimed his religious beliefs required him to return to his home in Sardinia each year for up to five weeks.

Lubna, who is part of the employment team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said the case would serve as a useful guide for any employers faced with a member of staff asking for a long period of time off for specific reasons.

“The tribunal ruled that blocks of leave of up two weeks were perfectly ordinary and should only be declined by an employer in the event of a very pressing business need. It said that blocks of leave of three weeks were not particularly rare, but merited discussion between the worker and the line-manager because of the potential to create greater business difficulties and clashes with the wishes of other team members.

“And it pointed out that blocks of leave for three weeks or more would usually be granted only for rare events such as marriage, or supporting family members through planned medical procedures.”

She added: “The tribunal made it clear that there is a distinction between something which is a requirement of a person’s religion, and something which is tied into family arrangements.

“Employers have to ensure that they are treating all of their staff fairly. People with religious beliefs are not the only members of staff who will have family commitments during the summer months. One of the most important tasks of any manager is to ensure that they treat all their staff fairly, and do not show favouritism.

“Employers do not have to give workers time off for religious observance, but should try to accommodate them whenever possible, within reason. Clearly, the law has decided that it is not ‘reasonable’ to expect this to extend to a right to five weeks of extended leave each and every summer.”


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Time for justice for unmarried couples

A Shropshire solicitor is supporting calls for an update in the law on the rights of common-law partners following the latest in a series of court cases to spark a nationwide controversy.

Joy Williams lived with her partner Norman Martin for 18 years in a Dorset home which they jointly owned, but she faced losing his half of the property when he died without changing his will.

Mr Martin’s half of the property automatically passed to his estranged wife, until Ms Williams took the case to County Court where a judge overturned the ruling in her favour.

Nadia Davis, head of the Family Law department at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said: “It is clear that Britain’s current laws on cohabiting couples need to be brought into the 21st century.

“It’s never clear from one case to the next whether courts are going to allow a deceased person’s estate to pass on to a surviving cohabiting partner – even if  they effectively lived together as husband and wife – so the situation certainly needs clarifying.”

She added: “Of course, the trauma of taking cases such as this through the courts can be easily avoided if couples who live together without being married ensure they have all the appropriate cohabitation agreements in place, and up-to-date wills.

"As the law stands right now, there is no such thing as a common-law husband or wife, and couples who live together do not automatically have the same rights as a married couple or those in a civil partnership.

“The last thing anyone wants to do, when they are dealing with the loss of a partner, is to find themselves being dragged through the courts in what is bound to be an emotionally exhausting – and potentially expensive – battle.

"Until the law on cohabitation is clarified, unmarried couples who live together should ensure they have agreements in place outlining who owns property and how bills are divided.

“People should always ensure that their wills are up to date and reflect their wishes, particularly if their circumstances or relationships change. It’s no good assuming that just because you live with someone that they will automatically inherit after your death – the system just doesn’t work like that.”
   

Monday, 22 February 2016

"Eggstra" holidays in the pipeline?

Thousands of workers could receive an extra two days of paid holiday as a result of the early 2016 Easter break, a local employment lawyer has revealed.

There are eight public holidays a year in England and Wales – but for companies which run their financial year from the start of April, the early Easter means only six will fall in 2016/17.

John Mehtam, employment law expert at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said: “This is going to prove a problem for many employers – and it’s their staff who stand to benefit.

“It is very common for companies to offer 20 days of paid annual leave, plus bank holidays, as part of a standard contract. And this tallies with working time rules which dictate that employees who work a five-day week are entitled to a minimum of 28 days of leave per year.

“But the early 2016 Easter means that there is no Good Friday or Easter Monday in the 2016/17 financial year, so workers are two bank holidays short. If companies who run their years from April to April are going to honour their contractual obligations, it means they will have to honour an extra two days of paid holiday for their staff.”

Mr Mehtam said: “Companies cannot fall back on the argument that their staff received 10 days of bank holiday leave in the current financial year – it doesn’t work like that. In the eyes of the law, you can’t ‘store up’ holiday entitlement or claim that one year evens the other out.

“The 28-day statutory entitlement cannot be varied to take into account what may have happened in the previous 12 months.”

Mr Mehtam said any employer operating a financial year from April to April who failed to take into account the bank holiday anomaly could find themselves breaching their contract with staff.

“Employers will have to ensure they come up with a way of topping up their workforce’s holiday entitlement to ensure they are all receiving the statutory minimum 28 days, otherwise they could face some serious consequences.”

Monday, 15 February 2016

Businesses must beware the enemy within

Employers are being warned to keep their friends close – but their enemies closer if they want to protect their business.

Telford solicitor Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye in Euston Way, is calling on all local employers to take the opportunity to hear from two of the UK’s top barristers who can offer invaluable advice.

“We’re hosting a special breakfast event at our Telford head office which has the capacity to change the course of an employer’s business for the better. And we’re delighted to announce that one of the UK’s most prominent QCs – Mohammed Zaman – has agreed to present the seminar, which is a real coup.”

The event – “Managing the Enemy Within” – will be held on Thursday, March 10, at 8.30am, and businesses must register in advance if they want to attend.

“Our guest speaker will give guests the inside track on how to protect their ideas and preserve confidential information, and how to prevent employees abusing the valuable information or indeed, taking it elsewhere,” said Andrew.

“We’re also very pleased to welcome leading commercial barrister Shakil Najib who will also share his knowledge at our event, so businesses really do have a unique opportunity to learn from two leading experts in their field.”

Andrew called on local businesses to sign up for the presentation which will also give them a chance to network with other like-minded companies from across the wider Midlands region.

“An important topic like this could already be affecting many companies in our area and they may be completely unaware of the risks they are facing. Even if the business is not immediately threatened, our speakers will share important advice that could safeguard the company’s future in the longer term.

“So it’s vital that employers don’t ignore the potential risks that previously loyal employees could pose if they decide to move on – and our seminar will ensure they know what to look out for and, more importantly, how to stop it happening in the first place.”

To sign up businesses should call June Noto on 01952 525951 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk

Pic: Andrew Oranjuik (left) with Mohammed Zaman and Shakil Najib preparing for the presentation

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Employers find out Top 10 Tips

Business owners from all over Shropshire and beyond are set to learn more about how to avoid the top ten pitfalls when it comes to employment law.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, are to take their message on the road in the latest in a series of seminars targeted specifically at local employers.

They have previously hosted events in Telford, Wolverhampton and the wider West Midlands, and now they are on their way to Shrewsbury for the latest presentation. It will take place on Thursday, February 25, at 12pm, at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, on Oteley Road.

John Mehtam, who will lead the seminar, said: “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 employers can identify.

“These blunders can lead to employers breaking the law and so leave them facing expensive claims or settlements, so if we can help identify the potential pitfalls, we can help local companies save valuable money and time.

“Most of these mistakes come about through a lack of understanding, or through employers taking the wrong action – but the good news is that every one of them is avoidable.

“We have always been delighted with the response to similar events and the sessions are always very lively with plenty of questions and answers. They are extremely interactive and a positive experience for everyone who takes part.

“Our team decided to hold a session in Shrewsbury following the great reaction we received to earlier events, and we’re already planning similar seminars in the future to allow even more delegates to join us.”

John said the latest event was the most recent in a programme of advice workshops which were designed to equip companies with the tools to deal with even the most stressful of situations.

Employers interested in attending should call June Noto on 01952 525951 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk


Monday, 1 February 2016

Crime doesn't pay warning

A Midlands solicitor has warned that crime certainly doesn’t pay – particularly when it comes to inheritance issues.

Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said a ruling from the High Court in the last few weeks had set out a stark warning for anyone who stood to be a beneficiary from someone’s will.

“The law says that anyone who stands to benefit from a will can lose their inheritance if they are involved in causing the death of the person that made the will – this may sound obvious, but it’s an area of law that’s not often tested.

“And now, the High Court has re-affirmed the point, after considering the case of a woman who died and left her entire £150,000 estate to her son in her will.

“The son, who was in his early 60s when his mother died, had lived with her for his entire life as he had poor life skills and his mother had done everything for him. He assaulted his mother at their home and she died from her injuries three weeks later, with the son then convicted of her manslaughter and sentenced to be detained in hospital.”

Andrew said in a murder case, the “forfeiture rule” had existed for many years where any beneficiary who causes someone’s death is prevented from inheriting anything in the will.

“But this was a manslaughter case, and so the court had the power to choose whether they should apply the forfeiture rule or not. They decided to refuse the son’s claim mainly because the assault leading to the mother’s death was serious and aggravated.

“And although the son had recognised mental health difficulties, they ruled that he had the capacity to know what he was doing and to understand the difference between right and wrong. So the court has given a clear message that crime doesn’t pay, and just because you’re named as a beneficiary in a will, your own actions could ultimately lead to you missing out if you break the law.”

Friday, 15 January 2016

Agents versus distributors? What's the best option?

Business owners who appoint selling agents or distributors to act on their behalf must put clear rules in place to protect their assets.

Graham Davies from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said many businesses turned to intermediaries to boost their sales but the move could prove to be a complicated process.

“It’s vital that businesses are clear about which route they’re taking and whether the intermediaries they appoint are agents or distributors, as they two positions differ greatly,” said Graham.

An agent negotiates and signs up customers on behalf of a business, and is paid commission on the sales they make – usually on a percentage basis. A distributor on the other hand is essentially an independent contractor – the business sells its products to the third party who then sells the products on to customers of their own, adding a margin to cover their own costs and profit.

“By appointing someone else to handle your sales, you can benefit from an agent or distributor’s local knowledge and established trade connections. You can also save on the costs of having to set up your own sales operation. But you need to decide which set-up will meet the specific needs of your business most appropriately.”

Graham said there were a number of situations where an agency arrangement may be the best way forward.

“It will allow you to keep greater control of the terms of sale of your products, particularly the price, as you can retain the right to fix whatever prices you like. You will also be able to manage the agent’s decisions on which customers they choose to deal with, and there will be fewer competition law issues to contend with too.”

Graham said through an agency agreement, businesses can also maintain direct contact with their customer base.

“This is extremely important if your business offers bespoke work or highly specialised after-sales support that only you can provide as it keeps you in touch with the contacts you’ve worked so hard to build up. Typically the commission paid to an agent is also lower than the margin which a distributor will earn, so an agency deal will probably cost your business less in the longer-term too.”