Thursday, 16 January 2020

Cyber experts in date warning

Cyber experts at a Shropshire law firm are warning that shortening the date for the year 2020 on legal documents could have serious consequences.

Samantha Azzopardi-Tudor is the Office Manager at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and she has called on anyone completing official paperwork to be vigilant and take extra care.

“If you fail to write out the date in full, because of the way the numbers fall in 2020, you could be risking real difficulties. It’s vital that you write it in the format dd/mm/yyyy rather than just dd/mm/yy because otherwise it gives unscrupulous fraudsters a simple opportunity to add another two digits that could completely alter the status of the documents.

“So, for example, remember that you need to write out 31/01/2020 rather than 31/1/20 because anyone could easily modify the year to affect the timing of the paperwork. This is particularly important if you’re involved in legal negotiations or a legal dispute where timing could be an issue, and where you need to prove you’ve completed the paperwork at a certain time.”

Mrs Azzopardi-Tudor said Martin-Kaye Solicitors was committed to ensuring the security of its clients both online and off-line.

“We have once again been recognised for the security of our cyber systems for the second year running and have been accredited with Cyber Essentials by Falanx Cyber Defence – a Government-backed scheme supported by the National Cyber Security Centre.

“The initiative encourages companies and organisations to adopt good practice in the way they use technology, and it protects them against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks. We’ve worked very hard to retain our accreditation and it’s very pleasing to have our status confirmed for the second year in a row.

“Our commitment to this scheme and the recognition we have received is a clear indication to our clients and employees that we are constantly working to prevent cyber-attacks and protecting their personal data.

“The advice on filling in the date in full is just the latest step in our ongoing programme of advice to our clients to help prevent them becoming victims of the increasing risk of cyber-attacks.”

Cyber Essentials protects companies and organisations against the most common attacks – and it’s particularly important as vulnerability to simple attacks can mark a company out as a target for more in-depth unwanted attention from cyber criminals.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Family law experts expand into county town

Shropshire couples facing the breakdown of a relationship have been urged not to rush into formal divorce proceedings.

Gemma Himsworth leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and the firm has now widened its services to offer advice from its town-centre offices in Shrewsbury too.

“January is one of the peak times of the year for divorce, particularly after families who would not usually spend a lot of time together have been in close quarters for the intensive Christmas and New Year period.

“In fact, Christmas is becoming an increasingly busy time for divorce applications, with more and more online proceedings launched on Christmas Day itself. And as well as online divorce applications peaking at this time of year, this month we’ve seen the usual annual spike in enquiries in person at both our Telford and Shrewsbury offices.”

Mrs Himsworth urged couples to steer clear of quick-fix divorce proceedings online, as the process would not suit everyone’s circumstances.

“The online process only deals 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 be appropriate for 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 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.”

Pic: Martin-Kaye’s family law team now offering advice in Shrewsbury too – from left, Jane Tinsley, Gemma Himsworth and Emma Parker