Monday, 11 March 2019

Lawyers celebrate Court of Appeal success

Experts from a Telford law firm are celebrating victory in a landmark case at the Court of Appeal in London.

Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, said the case would be an important ruling for anyone considering future appeals.

“The case involved the time limits set for bringing cases to court, and our success will be an important reference point for lawyers evaluating how they should conduct an appeal.”

Mr Oranjuik said in claims for unresolved unpaid debts, the claim must be lodged with the court within six years of when the debt became due, otherwise it would not be allowed to proceed.

“Our case involved a builder who claimed our client owed him for work done at their property. Initially a judge in the county court ruled that the six-year time period started in November 2008, and that as the builder failed to lodge his claim with the court before the six years were up, they dismissed his claim as it was out of time.

“But the builder took his case to the Court of Appeal in London to try to overturn the judge’s decision by arguing that our client had made some payments towards the alleged debt during the time period – which would mean the start date was later and his claim was lodged in time.

“The Court of Appeal though decided that despite some payments being made during the six-year window, it was not clear what the payments were for, and the court did not agree that they would have triggered a re-start to the crucial time slot.

“The court also ruled that the builder had not mentioned the interim payments during the county court trial and so they could not be considered at an appeal hearing – if he had mentioned them, the trial would have been conducted differently.

“They dismissed the builder’s appeal and he was ordered to pay our client’s legal costs, which is an excellent result for our client and our team as a whole,” said Mr Oranjuik.

“To have secured a victory on such a high-profile stage is always extremely satisfying, and it’s even more pleasing to see that our case will now act as a reference point for lawyers planning appeals in the future.”

Martin-Kaye Solicitors handled the case in partnership with barrister Aidan Reay from Kings Chambers, in Manchester.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Act fast on inheritance claims

Disgruntled relatives who feel they have missed out on an inheritance only have a short time to make a claim, a Shropshire solicitor has warned.

Sara Brumwell, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, is an associate of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate (ACTAPS), and she said claims must be issued by the courts or settled within six months of probate being granted after someone dies.

“This is really a very short period for potential claimants to take advice and start the claims process, so it’s vital that anyone who feels they have missed out should move as quickly as possible.”

Sara said only certain categories of people were permitted to bring a claim against the estate of someone who had died if they felt ‘reasonable financial provision’ had not been made for them.

“Under The Inheritance Act, you can bring a claim if you are the spouse or civil partner of the person who has died, or if you are the former spouse or civil partner – as long as you haven’t remarried or entered into another civil partnership.

“You can make a claim if you’re the child of the deceased, or if you were treated by them as a child of the family through marriage or a civil partnership.

“And if you were living with the deceased as ‘husband or wife’ or as a civil partner for two years before they died, or if they were supporting you at the time of their death, you would also qualify to launch a claim.”

Sara said the Court did have the power to extend the six month time limit, but only in limited circumstances.

The Inheritance Act only applies to the estates of people who were living in England and Wales when they died, and not to any other parts of the UK, but the country where the claimant lives is not relevant.

Sara said: “As the process of launching an Inheritance Act claim is subject to such tight time limits, in most cases a claim is issued to prevent a technical timeout – but very few claims actually make it to trial, with most being settled by negotiation or mediation.

“But for anyone who feels they may have a claim, it’s important to take advice from a contested probate specialist as soon as possible otherwise you could miss out altogether.”

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Howzat? Solicitors sign sponsorship deal

A Shropshire law firm has gone into bat to support a local cricket club in the county town.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors, which has recently opened a new branch office in Shrewsbury, has signed a deal to sponsor the Beacon Cricket Club, in Frankwell.

Partner Simon Wagner, who leads the Martin-Kaye team in Shrewsbury, said: “Beacon Cricket Club is just a short distance from our new office, and we are very happy to be supporting them with this sponsorship deal.

“We were looking for a community group or organisation to back in order to give something back to the local area, and they fitted our objectives perfectly. The club is very well-organised and caters for players of all ages, with a particular focus on developing young talent.

“The main element of our sponsorship will be the club’s President’s Day on Sunday, August 4, when we will be presenting the trophies and enjoying the popular community event.”

Beacon Cricket Club development officer, Steve Reese, said: “We’re delighted that Martin-Kaye Solicitors have chosen to sponsor our club, and we’re very grateful for their support. We are indebted to all our sponsors and volunteers, and we’re looking forward to a busy year ahead for cricket both locally and internationally. It’s a great time for businesses like Martin-Kaye Solicitors to become part of our team.”

Beacon Cricket Club was formed in 2004, and now runs three senior Saturday sides, two midweek teams, and multiple junior age groups.

Last year saw the successful launch of a women and girls’ section, hosting and entering soft ball festivals around the county, and an under-13 girls’ team who won the North Shropshire Forum League.

Now a thriving division with over 30 women and girls involved, the club is hoping the section will continue to grow by attracting players of all ages and abilities.

As well as its Shrewsbury office, Martin-Kaye Solicitors has its head office in Telford, and a branch in Wolverhampton.

Pictured: Signing the deal are, from left, Ray Collins (Chairman of Beacon Cricket Club), Simon Wagner (Martin-Kaye Solicitors), David Pharo (President of Beacon Cricket Club) and Graham Davies (Martin-Kaye Solicitors)

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

New solicitor joins the property team

A Telford law firm has appointed a new solicitor to its record-breaking domestic conveyancing team.

Harvinder Kaur is the latest lawyer to join Martin-Kaye Solicitors and will be based at their Telford office in Euston Way.

She has previously specialised in re-mortgaging and new build property purchases, and qualified as a licensed conveyancer in 2017.

“I’m very pleased to have joined the Martin-Kaye team and I’m looking forward to learning from my more experienced colleagues who have all made me feel extremely welcome,” said Harvinder.

“I had dealt with Martin-Kaye in my previous roles on the other side of conveyancing transactions and I was very impressed with the way they operated, so I was keen to take up the opportunity of a role here.”

Harvinder will manage a varied case load including purchases and re-mortgages, and her new position will give her the chance to build on her technical knowledge and develop her skills still further.

Partner Nita Patel, who leads the property team, said Harvinder was a welcome addition to a growing department that was attracting new business from right across the UK.

“In the last few months, we have beaten all our previous record figures and handled hundreds of completions, so it’s vital that we continue to build our conveyancing team in order to keep up with the increase in business.

“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.

“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: Harvinder Kaur is the latest face to join the domestic conveyancing team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Long service awards for law firm staff

Four employees from a Shropshire law firm have been officially recognised for their dedication and commitment to the practice.

Suzanne Lees, Emma Palmer, Clare Pitchford and Alison Thornton are all employed by Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, in Telford, and they’ve received long service awards from the board.

Senior partner Graham Davies said their loyal support had been invaluable in the years they had worked for the firm, and he wanted to express the gratitude of the partners and colleagues for all their efforts.

“We’re a very close-knit team here at Martin-Kaye and we believe it’s crucial to recognise the dedication of our staff, and all the work they put in to help ensure the practice runs smoothly and efficiently.

“Many of our employees have been with us for long and settled careers, and it’s always an honour to be able to thank long-serving colleagues in person.”

Suzanne Lees works in the accounts team and received her award for 20 years’ service; Emma Palmer is the employment team manager who has also worked for the firm for two decades; Clare Pitchford is a legal advisor in the employment team who has also reached her 20th anniversary; and Alison Thornton, who is a solicitor in the personal injury team, received a 15-year award.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors began in 1985 with just three members of staff and in the decades that have followed, the independent practice has become one of the largest legal firms practising in the Midlands region.

“We pride ourselves on giving our employees the opportunity to continuously develop their skills and to build a strong career in the legal world,” said Mr Davies.

“And the fact that we have so many colleagues who have now reached such milestone anniversaries with us is testimony to the way our firm nurtures talent. It also shows that we are meeting one of our key objectives – to retain the very best staff in order to support our clients in all their dealings with our firm.”

Pic: Emma Palmer, Alison Thornton, Clare Pitchford and Suzanne Lees from Martin-Kaye Solicitors

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Lawyers branch out with employment advice

Employment law experts from a Shropshire legal practice are taking their advice on the road to reach businesses in the wider Midlands.

The lawyers from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, will be hosting an interactive employment advice seminar that will see them share invaluable information to help company bosses protect their business from escalating employment tribunal claims.

The Top 10 Blunders seminar will take place at the Village Hotel Walsall, Tempus Ten, on Thursday, February 28, at 12noon, and the free event will be hosted by the firm’s employment law specialist, John Mehtam.

“Our presentations are always extremely popular wherever we hold them, and now we’re branching out into the wider Midlands to give local companies an opportunity to find out just how we may be able to help them.

“We are seeing an avalanche of employment tribunal claims since the Government abolished the fees that employees needed to pay to bring a claim. And because there is no fee to pay to lodge a claim, it’s clear that some employees are bringing claims that stand little chance of succeeding, but employers have to take them all seriously and you need to be sure you’re complying with all the relevant legislation.”

Mr Mehtam said he would be sharing his advice to help businesses navigate through the increasingly-complicated minefield of employment law, and to help them avoid the most common pitfalls.

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

“With employers short on time, it’s almost impossible to keep up-to-date with ever-changing legislation, so our seminars offer clear, concise information in a time frame that suits our busy delegates.”

Businesses who would like to attend the seminar should contact June Noto on 01952 525951 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk

Pic: Martin-Kaye’s Employment Law Specialist John Mehtam who will be presenting the Top 10 Blunders seminar at the Village Hotel Walsall


Friday, 18 January 2019

Online divorce is no quick fix

Shropshire couples facing a relationship breakdown have been urged to steer clear of quick-fix divorce proceedings online.

Gemma Himsworth, who leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford and Shrewsbury, made the appeal during one of the peak times of the year for divorce applications.

“January is notoriously busy when it comes to divorce proceedings being launched – and in fact, Christmas itself was one of the busiest ever with 13 people completing online applications on Christmas Day.

“Altogether there were 455 online divorce applications submitted between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, and this month we’ve seen the usual annual spike in enquiries in person at our offices.”

Mrs Himsworth said couples should be cautious though about using the online procedure as it only dealt with the marriage, and not with financial matters or issues relating to children.

“It’s all well and good filling in an application online, uploading documents and paying fees over the internet, but this kind of fully digital divorce will not suit everyone. You won’t receive advice online about the legal implications of divorce, and you won’t be able to make sure that any necessary paperwork is completed correctly.

“So although it may seem tempting to try to do everything online in order to speed up the process and make things less complicated, you may actually be creating a situation that causes real problems as the divorce moves forward.”

Mrs Himsworth urged couples to seek professional advice to sort out the finer details of divorce in order to protect themselves from future legal action.

“For instance, if a couple gets divorced but doesn’t deal with their finances in a recognised legal agreement, they could be storing up trouble – it means they will still have claims against one another, including on any assets they acquire after the marriage is over or on any inheritance they may receive.

“And in an extreme case where maybe one of them wins the lottery, then arguably their former spouse could still make a claim.”

The online divorce system was introduced in April last year, and it allows spouses to complete a divorce application over the internet.

“It does not replace existing paper-based applications, but for some people it provides a quicker and easier service – couples though should be careful and should not hesitate to seek out expert advice if they’re unsure of how to proceed.”