Friday, 29 November 2013

HELP is on its way

Experts from the award-winning Martin-Kaye Solicitors are to take their skills on the road in a bid to help local employers.

The team from our office on Tettenhall Road, in Wolverhampton, is launching a brand new programme of seminars designed to help companies chart a course through the minefield of employment law.

John Mehtam, who leads the team, said: “We have run our popular HELP presentations all over the country, and now we’re introducing them to the Wolverhampton area. HELP stands for HR and Employment Law in Practice, and our events will offer a unique opportunity for business leaders to hear from the very best when it comes to tackling topical issues.”

The presentations will run bi-monthly throughout 2014, starting on January 23, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, at The Ramada Hall Hotel, in Park Drive, Goldthorn Park.

“We will cover a wide range of topical issues which business owners face every day – such as long-term sickness absence, discrimination, and employees leaving the company and taking valuable information with them,” said John.

“We deliberately restrict the number of places available at these events to ensure that everyone who attends gets the opportunity to be directly involved and that delegates also get the chance to ask as many questions as they like.”

John said there was a big difference between theory and practice, and as more regulations were introduced, even the most experienced HR managers and business owners could find they needed the back-up of professional legal advice.

“Many of our delegates have said in the past that they particularly appreciate the opportunity to share the problems they’re facing with others in a similar position. They also felt that removing themselves from the day-to-day business environment created the perfect setting for them to focus on the specific subject concerned.

“In the longer term, we’re hoping to extend our HELP presentations to the wider West Midlands area too as we’ve seen a real demand from customers in that region for our expertise. It’s clear that our events are extremely effective in helping businesses to pro-actively understand and apply the relevant legislation rather than just dealing with the outcomes if things don’t go so well.”

Courts are not the only way

Our family law expert is concerned that divorcing couples would apparently head straight for the courts rather than consider the alternatives available.

Nadia Davis is the family law partner at our head office in Euston Way, Telford, and she has now qualified as one of the very first collaborative lawyers in the county.

“My new qualification means 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 sadly this alternative route to resolve disputes has not been adopted by everyone, and national research shows some worrying figures.

“A poll of over 4,000 British adults was commissioned by Resolution, an organisation for family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales,” said Nadia.

“And the statistics showed that only 51 per cent of those who responded would consider a non-court based solution. This is particularly disappointing as mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution provide a much more cost-effective and faster route when compared to time-consuming court proceedings.”

Nadia said the family court system was coming under increasing strain and that raising awareness of alternative approaches could solve a lot of problems.

“One of the benefits of the collaborative process is that it is not driven by a timetable imposed by a court. The process can be built around each family’s individual timetable and priorities, and sometimes only a handful of meetings may be required to resolve the case, which really is a much quicker way to deal with divorce.

“One of the biggest fears for anyone who is going through a family breakdown is the potential costs they may face, and our fixed fee structure, combined with the new collaborative approach, gives our clients a much clearer picture of how things are likely to proceed.”