Monday, 14 October 2019

Personal injury experts in the county town

A Shropshire law firm is extending the reach of its personal injury team by offering support from its newly-opened Shrewsbury office.

Experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, which also has offices in Telford and Wolverhampton, will now be available at the office in the county town to deal with clients and their claims.

Partner and Head of the Personal Injury Department, Alison Carter, said the move would make it more convenient for clients from the Shrewsbury area with advice available in the heart of the town in Bellstone Court.

“There are three of us who handle personal injury claims and we work with clients who have suffered personal injury as a result of a road traffic incident, an accident at work or in a public place, or other accidental injuries that may be eligible for compensation – we don’t however handle medical negligence claims.”

Mrs Carter specialises in claimant personal injury work and has managed Martin-Kaye’s team of specialist lawyers since for over 20 years. She is a member of APIL – the organisation that promotes full and fair compensation for all types of personal injury claimants – and she is a member of the specialist Law Society Personal Injury Panel.

The other members of the personal injury team at Martin-Kaye are Chartered Legal Executive Sarah Mears and Associate Solicitor Alison Thornton.

Mrs Mears has worked for Martin-Kaye for 20 years and she vets new claims within the department. She is also a member of the Shropshire and Mid-Wales CILEX branch.

Mrs Thornton, who is an Associate Solicitor, worked for a number of large regional and national firms before joining Martin-Kaye in 2003, and she has successfully negotiated many different types of claims including fast-track and multi-track cases featuring road traffic injuries, industrial injuries and public liability.

“Our team has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims and we have won millions of pounds in compensation for thousands of clients,” said Mrs Carter.

“We’re looking forward to working more closely with clients in the Shrewsbury area and to delivering similarly impressive results to those we’ve achieved for our Telford-based claimants.”

Pictured: From left, Alison Carter, Alison Thornton and Sarah Mears at the Martin-Kaye office in Shrewsbury

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Lawyers take their advice on the road

Employment law experts from a Shropshire legal firm are set to share their knowledge far and wide with businesses across the UK.

The lawyers from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, Shrewsbury, and Wolverhampton, already host regular interactive employment advice seminars in the local area.

And now they’re expanding their reach and organising their first ever event in Leicester as a direct result of client interest and business enquiries.

The Top 10 Blunders seminar will take place at Leicester Tigers on Thursday, October 10, at 12noon, and will be hosted by the firm’s employment law specialist, John Mehtam.

He said the aim of the event was to share invaluable information to help employers protect their business from escalating employment tribunal claims.

“We’ve been pro-actively working with businesses all over the UK to help them navigate the minefield of the constantly changing world of employment law. This seminar has been organised following a flurry of interest from companies in the Leicester area after our targeted and structured marketing campaign, and we’re all looking forward to meeting new business connections and potential clients.”

Mr Mehtam said statistically the number of employment tribunals was increasing at an unprecedented rate – there has been a 500% rise since the Government abolished the fees that employees needed to pay to bring a claim.

“In many cases, employees are bringing claims that stand little chance of succeeding, but employers have to take them all seriously and they need to be sure they’re complying with all the relevant legislation.”

Mr Mehtam said he would be sharing his advice to help businesses avoid the most common pitfalls and so they could learn from other employers’ experiences.

“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 how to avoid the issues in the first place. 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 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Check the copyright rules on design

Employers should be wary of agreeing to allow staff to create company promotional material if it’s not in their actual job description - that's the warning from Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford.

“It may be tempting to accept an offer from one of your employees who enjoys design in their spare time – after all, wouldn’t that be much more cost effective than taking on an external creative firm to create a new logo for your business?

“But in fact, copyright law says the designer of any kind of promotional logo is the legal owner, unless it was created by an employee in the course of their employment. So if the person is employed as a designer in your firm and they create the logo during their normal working hours, the logo itself would be owned by the employer.

“If they don’t work in a design or creative role for your company though, you could find yourself in an extremely tricky situation.”

Mr Oranjuik said if the employee owned the logo and at some point they then left the firm on bad terms, it could lead to serious difficulties.

“You could find your firm held to ransom over the logo, with the employee demanding a large fee to transfer the logo, or they could refuse permission for it to be used at all. This in turn could lead to an expensive rebranding exercise with all the associated work involved and the cost of making changes to your company’s website, stationery, and promotional literature.”

Mr Oranjuik said employers should check the employee’s contract to see if it contained an intellectual property clause – this would prescribe the ownership of any copyright that’s created during their employment.

“If there isn’t an intellectual property clause, or the contact doesn’t cover the current situation, you should agree ownership of the logo in writing – and don’t just rely on a verbal agreement, as that risks becoming your word against theirs.

“You’ll need to agree a form of payment for signing over their legal rights to the ownership of the copyright too, but don’t ask them what amount they’d like. Just include a nominal amount of perhaps £1 – and if they query the figure, you can always negotiate or decide not to go ahead with the design process.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Chris joins the Shrewsbury team

A Shropshire law firm has welcomed a new residential conveyancer to the team in its Shrewsbury office.

Chris Lloyd has joined Martin-Kaye Solicitors and will be based in the county town at the company’s most recently opened branch.

“I’m very pleased to have joined such a progressive and forward-thinking practice, and everyone has been extremely welcoming,” said Chris. “It’s been great to have the support of such experienced and knowledgeable colleagues while I’ve been settling in, and I’m really enjoying getting to know the ever-increasing number of clients.”

Chris graduated in 2011 and completed the vocational part of his training at Aberystwyth University.
He completed a training contract at a high street firm in North Wales, and has also worked for another Shrewsbury legal firm before he joined Martin-Kaye.

His role will include residential conveyancing – buying and selling freehold and leasehold properties, new builds, transfers of equity, and remortgages.

Martin-Kaye Partner Simon Wagner, who leads the Shrewsbury team, said Chris had already made a strong start to his career with the firm.

“Chris has fitted seamlessly into the team and his commitment and enthusiasm for his new job has been impressive to see. We’re looking forward to introducing him to existing and new clients, and to the contribution he will make to the smooth running of our newest office.”

Pictured: Chris Lloyd – the new residential conveyancer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Shrewsbury

Thursday, 29 August 2019

"Cyber" space raid on bank account details

Shropshire couples going through a divorce must resist the urge to use covert methods to find out if their former partner is hiding assets during the process.

That’s the warning from Gemma Himsworth, who leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, who said couples must handle the financial side of the process properly and resolve their disputes fairly.

Her words of caution follow a case in the USA where a former air force intelligence officer was in the midst of a bitter separation and parenting dispute.

“The officer was surprised that her estranged spouse still seemed to know all about her spending and her bank accounts – and after speaking to her bank, technology revealed the accounts had been accessed by a computer network in space.

“Her spouse was a decorated NASA astronaut on a six-month mission on the International Space Station, and she insisted she was simply monitoring the couple’s finances that were still intertwined. She said she had continued to use the password that she had previously used, and never heard from her estranged partner that the account was now off limits.”

Mrs Himsworth said although this was an extreme case, there were lessons to be learned for all couples going through a divorce.

“Both sides in a divorce are obliged to reveal the full extent of their personal finances – both at the start of the case and throughout the entire process. And it’s no good trying to hide your assets to protect them from your spouse as the consequences could be extremely serious – you could even face a prison sentence.”

Mrs Himsworth said the case from the USA showed that with today’s modern technology, nothing was secret and legal representatives had more information at their fingertips than ever before.

“It’s vital that both sides give full and frank statements about their financial position, because by claiming to have less than you actually do have, you would be depriving your former partner of their fair share.

“Both spouses must be open about their circumstances for the entire course of the court proceedings so there will be no opportunity to siphon off assets once the case has begun – and indeed any attempt to hive off any assets at any point could also lead to a custodial sentence.”

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Law firm helps hospice to deliver counselling service

Staff from a Telford law firm have joined forces with a local children’s hospice to create a new counselling service in the area.

The team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, have supported Hope House for many years by holding regular fund-raising events and activities.

And now, counsellors from the hospice’s counselling and bereavement team are using space at the law firm’s headquarters to deliver their first Telford-based support sessions.

Alison Carter, a partner in the law firm and head of the personal injury team, has been a key supporter of the new initiative and has been instrumental in working with the hospice team to make the sessions happen.

“We are very pleased to be supporting Hope House by offering the space within our offices for counselling as it’s clear that the service was very much needed in the Telford area.

“Thanks to our central location with plenty of convenient parking right outside the door, families can access the support they need in difficult times more easily.

“And if by offering this space we can help to take away just some of the stress and worry they are facing so they don’t have to travel so far, then that’s an excellent result.”

To raise funds for Hope House, staff at Martin-Kaye have taken part in all kinds of fund-raising projects including dress down days, cake sales, raffles, and sponsoring a race at a horse racing night.

Hope House offers a range of services including respite and end of life care at its two hospices and/or within the family home, and support such as counselling and advocacy.

Counselling and bereavement support is offered to hospice families and to those in the community who have been affected by the death of a child or young person under the age of 25 at the time of death.

They need to raise over £6.5 million every year to maintain their services and receive just one month’s funding per year from statutory bodies.

Following referral, bookings for the counselling and bereavement sessions at Martin-Kaye’s Telford office will be managed by the Hope House team.

To find out more visit: https://www.hopehouse.org.uk 

Pic: Alison Carter – partner and head of the personal injury team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford – prepares the space for the Hope House counselling sessions


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Clock is ticking on settled status scheme

Employers must protect their business by ensuring overseas staff can continue working for them no matter what happens over Brexit.

That’s the warning from employment law specialist John Mehtam from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, who is urging company bosses to take action as soon as possible.

“The EU Settlement Scheme is now open for applications from European Union, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and their non-EU family members living in the UK.

“The Government has introduced the initiative as part of its Brexit negotiations, and anyone whose status matches the criteria will have to apply to the scheme in order to continue living here.”

Mr Mehtam said if there is a Brexit deal, individuals would have until June 30, 2021 to apply – but if there is no deal, the deadline would be brought forward to December 31, 2020.

“If your employee has been a resident in the UK for five continuous years or more, they will be eligible for settled status under the scheme. But if they’ve been a resident for fewer than five continuous years, they will be eligible for pre-settled status that may be converted to settled status at the five-year point.”

Mr Mehtam said employers were under no legal obligation to inform employees of the scheme, and it was each individual member of staff’s responsibility to make their own application.

“But clearly, it’s in an employer’s interests to ensure that relevant staff can continue to work for them going forwards, no matter what happens over Brexit. So it’s important that company bosses act fast if they want to maintain their workforce and ensure their legal status is confirmed.

“Online application is free, and staff will need to prove their identity and their residency statistics in order to complete the process. Don’t let your staff leave it too late – if they play a key role in your business, you need to encourage them to apply in good time to make sure they can stay.”

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Wills and probate experts extend their services

Wills and probate experts from a Shropshire law firm are extending their services to cover a much wider area.

The specialists from Martin-Kaye Solicitors will now be offering appointments at the firm’s newest office in Bellstone Court, in Shrewsbury.

Fiona Mainwaring, who is the probate department manager, said the move was as a direct result of an increase in enquiries from clients in and around the county town.

“Because of the nature of our work, we are dealing with clients who may be elderly and more vulnerable, and we decided that offering appointments at the Shrewsbury office would make it easier for them to access our services.

“We’ve seen a real demand for flexible and sensitive support for clients who are facing some of the most difficult times in life, and our team is dedicated to helping people through the complicated process of dealing with the death of a loved one in a caring and approachable way.”

Fiona and her team focus on the administration of people’s estates after they have died involving general probate and intestacy work (where someone hasn’t left a will). They also deal with the preparation of wills, Inheritance Tax planning, powers of attorney, and generally assisting elderly clients.

Martin-Kaye Partner Simon Wagner, who runs the firm’s Shrewsbury office, said introducing the wills and probate service in the town had encouraged many more new clients to ask about the support.

“We’ve been inundated with people who are very pleased to see us and who have been keen to learn more about how we can help them.

“Given our location, it’s easy and convenient for clients to call in for face-to-face appointments while they’re in town, and we’re also seeing existing clients turn to us for wills and probate issues who may have been previously unaware that we offered such a service.”

Pic: Fiona Mainwaring – Martin-Kaye’s probate department manager at the new Shrewsbury office

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Employment lawyers share their advice

Employers in the Worcester area are set to find out how to protect their business from escalating tribunal claims thanks to a Telford law firm.

Experts from the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors will be hosting an interactive seminar on July 25, at the Sixways Stadium in Warriors Way, Worcester, at 12noon.

The free event will help employers to recognise the top ten employment law blunders that companies commit, and identify the best way to avoid them.

John Mehtam, who is Martin-Kaye’s employment law specialist, will lead the seminar and it’s the first time the team have taken their presentation to the Worcester area.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming employers from a wide range of business sectors, and it’s a good time for businesses to attend because since the Government abolished tribunal fees, there has been an avalanche of employment tribunal claims. This is because 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.

“Our presentations are always extremely popular wherever we hold them across Shropshire, Wales and the wider West Midlands, and it’s great to now be taking our advice into the Worcester area to reach even more businesses.”

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

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Trio relocate to Wolverhampton office

A Midlands law firm is extending its reach by transferring three key members of staff to its Wolverhampton office.

Martin-Kaye Solicitors has its head office in Telford, and now a trio of residential conveyancers are relocating to the Tettenhall Road branch as a direct result of increased business in the area.

Partner Simon Wagner said the move was part of the firm’s ongoing expansion plans which have also seen them open another satellite office in Shrewsbury.

“We’re keen to continue to grow our business in a structured and targeted way, and we’ve seen a real rise in the number of conveyancing clients in the wider Wolverhampton area, so it makes absolute sense for some of our property team to operate from there.

Partner and head of department Nita Patel said: “Our residential property division is renowned for its excellent customer service and for its efficient and effective advice, and it’s exciting to see our team building new strong links with clients all over the region.”

The conveyancers who will be relocating are Wendy Pullar (licensed conveyancer), Amandeep Siddoo (solicitor), and Ellesse Wilson (legal assistant). Partner and head of department, Nita Patel, will be dividing her time between the Wolverhampton and Telford offices.

Wendy has worked for Martin-Kaye for almost nine years and specialises in buying and selling properties, transfers of equity, and re-mortgages.

“I’m looking forward to working in Wolverhampton as it’s a great opportunity to build the business, and it’s a new challenge that will give me the chance to meet our clients in that area face-to-face thanks to our more convenient location.”

Amandeep has been a solicitor for over 15 years working for another legal firm in Shropshire  as well as running her own business for a time. “I really enjoy conveyancing and have predominantly specialised in this area throughout my career – it’s always lovely to help people move into their new home.”

Ellesse is currently studying for her postgraduate diploma in legal practice after completing a law degree. “I can’t wait to get started at the Wolverhampton office and I’m looking forward to having more direct contact with the clients as they will be able to drop in rather than having to travel so far.”

Pic: From left, Ellesse Wilson, Nita Patel, Wendy Pullar and Amandeep Siddoo prepare for the transfer to Martin-Kaye’s Wolverhampton office

Monday, 3 June 2019

Emma leads the employment team

A long-serving employee at a Shropshire law firm has been promoted to lead its employment department. Emma Palmer has worked for Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford for 20 years, and she is now managing the employment team.

“I am absolutely delighted to be stepping up to my new role, and it’s great to have the opportunity to play a key part in developing the strategy to take the department forward,” said Emma.

As well as the overall management of the department, Emma works closely with John Mehtam who is the firm’s employment law specialist and also a partner in the practice. They were instrumental in setting up the Alpha service that Martin-Kaye delivers to businesses all over the UK, which has now celebrated its 10th anniversary.

“Alpha gives our clients the security of an employment and HR package that can offer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we are reaching clients further and further afield.

“There are Alpha members all over the country, with the vast majority renewing year on year, and continuing relationships with them give us the chance to learn exactly what makes their companies tick so that we can tailor our support to their individual requirements.”

Emma said the focus of the Alpha service was pragmatic, robust advice, with the aim of minimising the risk of tribunal claims.

“As part of my new role, I’ll be working with the team to continue to develop Alpha and the services we deliver, and to increase the membership still further. It’s a pleasure to be working with colleagues who are dedicated and extremely knowledgeable, and I’m looking forward to seeing Alpha grow thanks to everyone’s commitment and hard work.”

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Employers urged to act fast over new starters

Employers are being urged to take decisive action as quickly as possible when it comes to the fate of new starters in the workplace.

John Mehtam is the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, and he has called on bosses to take a swift and direct decision over staff on probationary periods.

“Recruitment can be very expensive and there’s never any guarantee that you’ve chosen the right candidate, so it makes sense to employ new recruits on an initial probationary period until you’re sure.

“This status though has no basis in employment law and is purely contractual, so it’s important to have the right processes and contracts in place to ensure things go smoothly whether they turn out to be a success or whether you need to dismiss them.”

Mr Mehtam said despite what contracts of employment may say, management teams should be applying a two-year probationary period as that’s the time frame in which employees are ineligible to bring a claim in an employment tribunal. Contracts should also give the option of scrapping any contractual disciplinary or performance procedures for probationary or short service employees to avoid claims for wrongful dismissal.

“Most probationary periods will include a shorter notice period – some are as short as one week – which gives you the option to terminate the person’s employment quickly if things don’t work out, and this means a smaller payment in lieu of notice too.

“It’s important to take action sooner rather than later if you decide to end the person’s employment and not drag things out unnecessarily – that way you can move on and find the right person for the job, and the employee will have a clear picture of where they stand.

“You may feel that you must have seen something in them initially as you wouldn’t have employed them otherwise, and perhaps you’re dreading the time and cost involved of starting the whole recruitment process all over again.

“But don’t let that put you off – take action as soon as you feel things are not going to end well, but make sure you keep track of the employee’s performance, and keep records with dates and times, and details of what was discussed and agreed.

“This attention to detail will prove invaluable when you do decide that things aren’t working out, as you can use the information to set out the precise reasons for their contract being terminated in a dismissal letter. Remember that you will need to follow a fair and reasonable dismissal procedure, and that you’ll need to be able to show why the employee was not suitable for the role.”

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Social media warning for business owners

Shropshire business owners have been warned to tread carefully when it comes to boosting their social media profiles.

Andrew Oranjuik, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford and Shrewsbury, said many business people were already aware of the networking opportunities created by sites such as LinkedIn.

“It makes a lot of sense to boost your LinkedIn presence by accepting connection requests as it expands your network of connections and could lead to potential new business. Statistics show that at the start of this year, there were 27 million registered LinkedIn users in the UK which is a huge pool of opportunities – and while most of them are genuine, inevitably there is an increasing number of fake profiles appearing.

“These profiles can be used for a whole host of unsavoury purposes including spamming your profile about goods and services – or worse still, they may want to connect in order to steal your personal data and the data of your first level connections.”

Mr Oranjuik said the more information your LinkedIn profile contained, the greater the risk.

“If your profile contains your full name, all your previous positions, your current employer, and your entire education and contact details, the information could be harvested and sold on which could ultimately result in identity theft.

“Thankfully there are often tell-tale signs that help to identify fake profiles – take a close look at the profile picture for a start. Does it look like a stock photo image or does the person look too ‘perfect’? Scammers often use pictures of models to encourage people to accept their connection request and sometimes the work experience or job role listed doesn’t match the age of the person in the photo.

“Check whether the profile looks as though it’s been put together in a hurry – are there spelling mistakes or grammatical errors?

“A lack of personal content on a profile should also ring alarm bells. Fake profiles usually contain little or no information about the actual person such as their hobbies, group memberships or recommendations.”

Mr Oranjuik said genuine connection requests were likely to come from someone already connected to one of your current first or second level connections, so it was important to see whether you knew anyone in common.

“Check too whether there is a logical sequence of career progression in the employment section too, from entry level upwards. Fake profiles often suspiciously start from senior level.

“The main advice is to tread carefully – if the request comes from someone who isn’t known to one of your first-level connections, don’t accept it if you have any doubts at all as it’s a risk that could have serious consequences for you and your business.”

Monday, 29 April 2019

Harassment claims must be taken seriously

Workplace harassment allegations against senior staff must be taken seriously no matter how tenuous they may appear, a Shropshire solicitor has warned.

John Mehtam, who leads the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said harassment allegations were always difficult, but even more so now in the wake of the worldwide #MeToo campaign.

“Making an allegation against a senior colleague or a director is a brave step for any employee, and it’s vital that the company and its other directors take the accusations seriously and that the board remains impartial.

“This means you’ll need to carry out a reasonable and thorough investigation, but you shouldn’t appoint another director or senior manager or anyone else in-house to do this – it’s much more appropriate to appoint an experienced external source.”

Mr Mehtam said there were several options when it came to possible candidates for the role. “You could choose a firm of solicitors, or alternatively an employment law consultant or experienced human resources advisor could carry out the process.

“But you’ll need to make sure they are well-versed in the relevant law, and that they have carried out similar investigations before.”

He said once the investigation was completed, the investigator’s findings should be passed to the company board.

“It will be the board’s decision on whether any further action should be taken, not the investigator’s. Their role is purely to prepare the evidence for the board to consider.”

Mr Mehtam said ultimately if the accusations of harassment against a director were proven, the director could be sued personally.

“This means there’s a lot riding on the outcome of the investigation for the director concerned and for the company as a whole. So the appointment of an external investigator will ensure that everyone involved is treated in a neutral manner, and that the investigation itself is transparent, fair and impartial at all times.”

Monday, 15 April 2019

Blame game divorce will be over

A Shropshire lawyer has hailed a ground-breaking change in divorce laws in England and Wales as long overdue.

Gemma Himsworth leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, and she said the Government’s decision to introduce legislation to end the unnecessary “blame game” over divorce was great news.

“At Martin-Kaye, we always try to keep conflict to a minimum in a divorce case anyway, no matter what the circumstances are. And now the Government has listened to calls for reform to move towards divorces where neither party has to blame the other, or bring up unpleasant history in order to prove their point.

“This is welcome news for families caught up in a divorce, particularly those with children, as turning a divorce into a battleground only inflames an already difficult situation, which is of no benefit to anyone,” said Mrs Himsworth.

Under current law, spouses need to prove at least one of five “facts” – adultery, behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce), or five years’ separation (if the other spouse disagrees).

The new legislation proposes that the ability of one spouse to “contest” a divorce should be removed, and that irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will be listed as the sole ground for divorce. Instead of proving one of the five “facts”, divorcing couples will need to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

The two-stage legal process of decree nisi and decree absolute will be retained, with a minimum timeframe of six months for the process to take place.

Mrs Himsworth is a member of Resolution, the national family lawyers’ association, which has recognised the need for a change in the law for many years and whose members have long campaigned for the law to be updated.

“It’s not right that couples should feel cornered and pressured into defending themselves in a divorce fearing they will get a worse result when it comes to their children or money. The current divorce laws in England and Wales date back almost 50 years and they are clearly not working in today’s modern world. The new legislation will create a fairer, more child-centred and cost-effective system that causes less pain for everyone involved.”

The Government has said the legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.

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.”