County homeowners should act quickly to save on tax in asset giveaways

County homeowners should act quickly to save on tax in asset giveaways

With house prices in Shropshire reported to be slowly but steadily rising, an Oswestry solicitor has advised that people in the county who are considering giving away their assets to save on Inheritance Tax need to move fast if they want to make Capital Gains Tax savings as well.

Vicky Wilson, a tax specialist with leading law firm, GHP Legal, explains: “Many people consider giving away their assets from a large estate to reduce the Inheritance Tax liability, but often end up not actually doing it because of short term Capital Gains Tax implications. In the present climate, however, when shares, property and other asset values are low, CGT liabilities are of course also lower. So anyone who is considering distributing their assets would be wise to do so now before asset values such as property increase further.”

People who die in the current tax year and whose total taxable assets are beneath the nil rate band of £325,000 will not leave an estate liable for tax, but taxable assets above that level will be subject to a 40 per cent tax levy unless an exemption applies. Those with assets above the threshold can reduce the tax liability of their estate by giving away their assets, but must then live a further seven years to ensure the transaction does not attract IHT. In the short term beneficiaries of such gifting may be subject to CGT, the current personal allowance for which is £10,100.

“Clearly there are different considerations to take into account depending on circumstances,” says Ms Wilson, “and I know some parents might reject the idea of gifting their home because it would mean they could not continue living there without paying rent at current market value rates. Others may be concerned that their children would spend rather than preserve their assets. But there are ways of structuring an estate to avoid such outcomes.”

Brynteg legal clinic enquiries centre on family issues

Brynteg legal clinic enquiries centre on family issues

Lawyers from a leading Wrexham law firm who began providing free legal information at outreach sessions in Brynteg a month ago say the majority of enquiries they have received so far are related to family matters. - More...
Q&A - Can we scan newspaper articles for use on our website?

Q&A - Can we scan newspaper articles for use on our website?

Q:  Last year we took on a PR Consultant who has been very successful in getting our press releases into various newspapers and magazines, both locally and nationally. As we also had a new website built which has a News page, we thought it would be a great idea to cut and scan articles from the publications that refer to us. However, a friend thinks we need permission from the newspaper to do this - is he correct? - More...
Free drop-in legal clinics set to continue in Llangollen

Free drop-in legal clinics set to continue in Llangollen

Free weekly legal clinics that have been running at a Llangollen hotel since the beginning of February are set to continue until at least the summer due to local demand. - More...
Q&A - Is it safe to use a DIY Will Kit?

Q&A - Is it safe to use a DIY Will Kit?

Q:  As a single parent with two children I want to make a Will to ensure they will be looked after if something happens to me, but I'm not sure I can afford a solicitor. My neighbour bought a "DIY" Will Kit from a shop to make her Will. Is this a safe thing to do? - More...
North Wales public to get financial information for vulnerable dependents

North Wales public to get financial information for vulnerable dependents

A Wrexham law firm has been invited by solicitors from the Royal Mencap Society in London to give a joint seminar to members of the public who are seeking financial solutions for the provision of long term care for dependents who are mentally vulnerable. - More...
Q&A - What happens about child custody and access in divorce?

Q&A - What happens about child custody and access in divorce?

Q:  My husband has been having an affair for years but I have turned a blind eye to it for the children's sake. Now he wants a divorce so that he can go and live with this woman. - More...
Q&A - How can I reduce Inheritance Tax liability for the family farm?

Q&A - How can I reduce Inheritance Tax liability for the family farm?

Q:  I bought my farm 15 years ago when I moved down here from Cumbria. Currently it is in joint names with my wife, though it was always our intention that the farm would pass to our two sons who are now 15 and 18. They may choose to take a different career path when the time comes of course, but what concerns me right now is that the value of the farm on the open market far exceeds the Inheritance Tax relief limit - which could mean a big IHT bill for them if we died. Is there something we can do to prevent this? - More...
Q&A - Should I evict tenant now for non payment of rent?

Q&A - Should I evict tenant now for non payment of rent?

Q:  I own a flat where the tenants have not paid any rent for four months. I wrote to them after the second missed payment and asked what the problem was. They replied saying the husband had lost his job and they would pay within a fortnight, but they haven't. Is this the time to evict them? - More...
Q&A - Can insurers force me to use nominated solicitors for accident claim?

Q&A - Can insurers force me to use nominated solicitors for accident claim?

Q:  I have recently been involved in a Road Traffic accident. Someone drove into the back of my car when it was stationery and I was sitting in it. The impact jolted my neck and left me in considerable pain. I told my insurers and they have now contacted me to say they have nominated a firm of solicitors to act on my behalf in a personal injury claim. I want to pursue the claim but this firm of solicitors is over a hundred miles from where I live and visiting them would be virtually impossible as I work and have a young family to look after. Do I have to use the nominated solicitors or can I use a local solicitor? - More...
Q&A - How can I recover debt for car sold to work colleague?

Q&A - How can I recover debt for car sold to work colleague?

Q:  I recently sold a car to a work colleague for £6500. At the time he said he was expecting to receive an inheritance and on that basis I agreed to wait four weeks for my money. That was nearly six months ago and I still have not had a penny. What are my options? - More...
Festive good will .... or potential harassment?

Festive good will .... or potential harassment?

Giving presents at Christmas is a tradition that has been practiced in homes and offices across the country for as long as any of us can remember. But a Wrexham employment law specialist has warned that the advent of discrimination laws and a more cosmopolitan society means employers could now be laying themselves open to discrimination and harassment claims if they carry on the tradition. - More...
Q&A - Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements accepted by Courts in this country?

Q&A - Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements accepted by Courts in this country?

Q.  My partner and I are thinking about getting married next year. We each own assets in our own name and wish to enter into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.  Are such Agreements enforceable in this country? - More...
Q&A - How can I ensure my affairs are properly managed if I get Dementia?

Q&A - How can I ensure my affairs are properly managed if I get Dementia?

Q:  There is a history of Dementia in my family and I am worried about the future, particularly as I don't have any close relatives.  What steps can I take now to ensure my affairs are properly managed in the event that I am struck down with this dreadful condition? - More...
Leading family law expert concerned by proposals to deal with domestic violence

Leading family law expert concerned by proposals to deal with domestic violence

The Government's proposal to introduce Domestic Violence Protection Orders known as "go orders", which will allegedly protect victims of domestic violence, has been met with concern by a leading North Wales family lawyer. - More...
Q&A - Pregnancy rumours at work are making my life impossible

Q&A - Pregnancy rumours at work are making my life impossible

Q:  I am 24 weeks pregnant and have recently become aware of embarrassing rumours at work that suggest my boss is the father.  As a result of this my life at work has become impossible and two weeks ago I requested a move from my current office to another out of town. The move was however refused. What are my rights in this situation? - More...
Long leg of the law raises £405 for charity

Long leg of the law raises £405 for charity

Wrexham law firm Partner, Robert Williams, experienced the kind of pain that many women just take for granted after having his lower legs waxed on Friday by Gemma Evans from Gems, in aid of Children in Need. - More...
Q&A - Can I claim cancelled holiday costs from motorist who caused injury?

Q&A - Can I claim cancelled holiday costs from motorist who caused injury?

Q:  Someone recently drove into the back of my car when I was waiting to cross a roundabout. I was stationery at the time. The shunt caused me to jolt and as a result I have been off work with neck pain for a month. Because of the pain I have also been forced this week to cancel the skiing trip I was going on in two weeks time. The holiday company say that due to the late cancellation I will still have to pay the full amount. Can I recover any money from the other driver for my holiday and loss of earnings? - More...
Partner and Solicitor have their legs waxed for Children in Need

Partner and Solicitor have their legs waxed for Children in Need

Robert Williams a Partner with GHP Legal and Peter Blakemore a Solicitor had their legs waxed for Children in Need at our Wrexham office. - More...
Car Wash for Children in Need at our Wrexham Office

Car Wash for Children in Need at our Wrexham Office

Peter Butler Managing Partner and Pamela Whitley Partner with Senior Solicitors Rod Waters and Wendy Marles took part in a sponsored car wash for Children in Need at our Wrexham office. - More...
Peter Butler Managing Partner covering Reception for Children in Need

Peter Butler Managing Partner covering Reception for Children in Need

Children in Need - Karl Lewis at our Oswestry Office

Children in Need - Karl Lewis at our Oswestry Office

Wrexham Solicitor becomes a Mo Bro

Wrexham Solicitor becomes a Mo Bro

A Wrexham solicitor who has been likened to George Best since he started to grow a beard and moustache at the beginning of the month, says despite the teasing he has no regrets about signing up to The Movember Foundation as a "Mo Bro", to raise awareness of prostate cancer. - More...
Q&A - Will I have to pay CGT if I sell of some of my land?

Q&A - Will I have to pay CGT if I sell of some of my land?

Q:  I am thinking of taking early retirement and am looking to sell off part of my land in order to reduce my mortgage and fund other ventures including setting up a business. Would I be liable for Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the land? - More...
Q&A - Suspended from work pending refund investigations. What happens next?

Q&A - Suspended from work pending refund investigations. What happens next?

Q:  I work in a large DIY store where we operate a generous refund system in cases where people have bought the wrong parts for the job.  My employer has just suspended me from work and told me that he is investigating a problem with the refunds I have been giving out.  I have never been in a position like this before and I am really worried. Can you tell me what could happen next? - More...
Q&A - Do I need to register my new horse?

Q&A - Do I need to register my new horse?

Q:  I recently purchased a 4 month old horse but I am not sure what steps I need to take (if any) to register the horse in my name. - More...
Q&A - What are best options for farmer father just diagnosed with dementia?

Q&A - What are best options for farmer father just diagnosed with dementia?

Q:  My widowed Father has farmed 100 acres in Wales for 40 years. Recently he was diagnosed with early onset dementia, albeit he is still able to manage his property and business affairs. What are his options for the future?   - More...
Q&A - Can I offer employees High Street vouchers in lieu of pay?

Q&A - Can I offer employees High Street vouchers in lieu of pay?

Q.  As an employer I do not want to lose any staff, but on the other hand I cannot afford to offer them a decent pay increase this year and some of them are threatening to look for other jobs. I have therefore been considering offering my employees benefits to encourage retention, which would be in lieu of a salary increase and be more cost effective for the business. - More...
Pre-Nup protection for North Wales couples

Pre-Nup protection for North Wales couples

A Wrexham divorce lawyer says a Supreme Court ruling announced today could have a profound influence on the way couples in the North Wales area approach their finances when setting up home together. - More...
Fraudsters could be targeting your property

Fraudsters could be targeting your property

A leading law firm in the region has issued a warning to home and business owners about fraudsters who are targeting properties. - More...
Q&A - Can I make a personal injury claim on behalf of my 10 year-old?

Q&A - Can I make a personal injury claim on behalf of my 10 year-old?

Q:  My ten year-old was travelling in a friend's car when they were hit in the rear by another vehicle. She was badly shaken and is complaining of pains in her shoulder which our GP said could be as a result of whiplash. Could I put in a claim for injury on her behalf? A:  As your daughter is a minor you can commence a claim in the capacity of her "litigation friend" on her behalf - against both the driver of the car in which she was an innocent passenger, and the driver of the other vehicle. Seek advice from a solicitor before the formal letters are sent notifying the two drivers about the claim. - More...
Q&A - Do I have a right to any of my husband's pension?

Q&A - Do I have a right to any of my husband's pension?

Q:  My husband has walked out after twenty eight years of marriage. I am devastated and terrified about how I will manage in the future as I don't work. He says he is going to retire and that when he is living off his pension I will not be entitled to any of it. Is that right? - More...
Local Solicitor warns government about advertising crack-down

Local Solicitor warns government about advertising crack-down

A Shropshire solicitor who has successfully won a number of high value personal injury compensation claims has warned that the government needs to be careful following its announcement this week that it wants to crack down on advertising that encourages people to make personal injury claims on a no-win, no-fee basis. - More...
Q&A - Can right of way be lost because neighbour has blocked access?

Q&A - Can right of way be lost because neighbour has blocked access?

Q:  My mother lives in a terraced house. External access to her rear garden is via a shared path or directly through her own French windows. She wasn't worried when her next door neighbour erected a fence two years ago, effectively blocking the shared path to the garden.. However, another neighbour says she could lose this right of way unless she opposes the fence. Is this correct? - More...
Q&A - My control freak husband prevents me from working so I cannot leave

Q&A - My control freak husband prevents me from working so I cannot leave

Q:  My Husband is popular with people who work for him, people in the community, everyone looks up to him and he is charming to them. But behind closed doors he has mentally abused me all our married life, completely destroying my confidence and self esteem. I have never been allowed to work, making me reliant on him so that he can control me. I desperately want to leave him but am afraid I will end up with nothing because I have contributed nothing, and because he will contest it if I try to divorce him. - More...
Q&A - Llangollen News Legal Column

Q&A - Llangollen News Legal Column

Q.  My partner and I are getting married for the second time next year. We both have children. Currently we live in our respective homes but after the wedding he will retire and move into my house which is larger and free from mortgage. We are thinking of renting out his property to provide income until property prices improve and his mortgage is paid off. What advice can you provide in respect of our forthcoming marriage? - More...
Third Mental Health Tribunal accreditation for county law team

Third Mental Health Tribunal accreditation for county law team

A third member of one of the area's largest Mental Health teams has gained Law Society accreditation for the Mental Health Review Panel following a successful interview in London. - More...
Solicitors swop suits for jeans to help children

Solicitors swop suits for jeans to help children

Clients visiting the Willow Street offices of GHP Legal on Friday 1st October may be surprised to find all the partners and staff wearing jeans instead of the dark suits usually associated with their profession. - More...
Family expert gains Law Society top accreditation

Family expert gains Law Society top accreditation

A second member of one of the area's most respected Family Law teams has been granted membership of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, with specialist accreditations in the complex fields of Children Law and Domestic Violence. - More...
Q&A - Can off-plan home price be enforced if lender values at less when built?

Q&A - Can off-plan home price be enforced if lender values at less when built?

Q:  Last year I paid an £11,500 deposit on a new house off plan. This represented 5% of the £230,000 sale price I agreed with the developer. As the property is nearing completion the Building Society surveyor went out to value it for the mortgage, but the valuation was only £210,000 because property prices in the area have dropped. They will only lend me 90% of today's value and I can't borrow more elsewhere. Can I force the builder to drop the price because of the valuation, or refund my deposit? - More...
Law firm warns Equality Act guidance is confusing for small firms

Law firm warns Equality Act guidance is confusing for small firms

As employers try to brush up on the rules of the Equality Act 2010, which is due to come into force next month, a leading Wrexham law firm has warned that small businesses in particular are likely to be confused by the guidance manual which stretches to almost three hundred pages. - More...
Q&A - How can I ensure a worker is in the country legitimately?

Q&A - How can I ensure a worker is in the country legitimately?

Q:  I run a shop and have recently been approached by a Polish national looking for work. What checks should I do to ensure the worker is in the country legitimately and that I am not breaking the law in any way? - More...
Q&A - Can I get restrictive covenants removed from redundancy agreement?

Q&A - Can I get restrictive covenants removed from redundancy agreement?

Q:  I am awaiting details of a redundancy package which I am expecting will contain the same restrictions as those in my contract of employment, in respect of client confidentiality and work I may do elsewhere with another company. So that I am armed with information in the event that my assumptions are correct, is there any way that I could get such covenants removed? After all, I have no choice about leaving the company and I need to get another job to support myself and my family. - More...
Q&A - Store denies responsibility for spillage that caused me to slip

Q&A - Store denies responsibility for spillage that caused me to slip

Q:  When I was shopping in my local Supermarket last month I slipped on the contents of a bottle of cooking oil that had clearly fallen onto the floor and, in doing so, had dislodged its cap. I hurt my wrist quite badly but didn't want to cause a fuss. Later that evening, however, I was in so much pain that my husband insisted on taking me to A&E where it was discovered I had broken my wrist. I contacted the manager of the Supermarket next day to make a complaint, only to be told the store could not be held responsible as the bottle had been dropped by a customer. Surely this cannot be right? - More...
Q&A - After watching TV programme on Will Writers I am worried!

Q&A - After watching TV programme on Will Writers I am worried!

Q:  I recently made a Will with a Will Writer who was advertising "cheap" wills. I paid an up-front fee and also appointed the Will Writer as my Executor. But after watching the BBC Panorama programme about Will Writers I am worried I made a big mistake. - More...
Q&A - What is the difference between market and inflation-linked rent reviews?

Q&A - What is the difference between market and inflation-linked rent reviews?

Q:  I am considering leasing premises for my business and have been looking into business leases. In particular I am concerned about the implication of rent reviews. Please can you explain what the difference is between a market rent review and an inflation linked rent review? - More...
Legal Skydive earns charity £2664

Legal Skydive earns charity £2664

Two solicitors from one of the largest law firms in North Wales and Shropshire presented Wrexham based Charity, Dynamic, with a cheque for £2664.30 this week. The money was raised in sponsorship for a tandem skydive which took place at Tilstock Airfield in June. - More...
GHP Legal wish to recruit Family Lawyers

GHP Legal wish to recruit Family Lawyers

Q&A - Does employer's reaction to symptoms warrant disability discrimination claim?

Q&A - Does employer's reaction to symptoms warrant disability discrimination claim?

Q:  I suffer with depression and anxiety. Because of this, I have occasionally become irritable and aggressive at work. After the last incident my Employer advised me to take leave. When I returned I was moved into a different, non client-facing role. Can I claim disability discrimination? - More...
Q&A - Should I appeal speeding ticket as boss put time pressure on me?

Q&A - Should I appeal speeding ticket as boss put time pressure on me?

Q:  I drive for a firm that delivers to big supermarkets all over the country. Some of the supermarkets "fine" our firm a lot of money if deliveries are late and so our boss puts pressure on us drivers to make sure we get there on time whatever. Last week I got caught speeding because I was trying to make up time after being stuck in traffic. Obviously I am going to get points and a fine and that could ruin my chances of getting another job. Should I pay up or appeal? - More...
Further expansion for law firm

Further expansion for law firm

A leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm has announced the appointment of another Solicitor to its residential conveyancing department. - More...
Solicitor praises Panorama team for exposing will writing dangers

Solicitor praises Panorama team for exposing will writing dangers

A North Wales Solicitor has praised the BBC Panorama team for exposing what he says is a massive threat to the families and assets of people who use unregulated Will Writers. - More...
Q&A - Can I gain payment of overdue account from deceased spouse's estate?

Q&A - Can I gain payment of overdue account from deceased spouse's estate?

Q:  I belong to a Residents' Association which is responsible for collecting an annual fee from all property owners of a private development, for the maintenance of common parts areas. One of the houses was bought in the sole name of a lady who unfortunately died a few months ago. Her husband is still living in the property but says he cannot pay the fee which has just become due for the next six months because probate of his late wife's estate has not yet been granted. Clearly we have a duty to other residents to collect the fee. What can you suggest? - More...
Eisteddfod sponsor urges businesses to support 2011 event

Eisteddfod sponsor urges businesses to support 2011 event

One of this year's main sponsors of the Llangollen Eisteddfod has praised the organisers for their handling of the event and for their commitment to gaining the extra financial support needed to sustain it in future years in the face of the current economic crisis. - More...
Law firm warns of pending disaster for family lawyers and their clients

Law firm warns of pending disaster for family lawyers and their clients

A leading local law firm which has one of the largest Family Departments in the region has warned that the long awaited announcement of the new family and social welfare contract awards could leave thousands of clients without representation and dozens of local matrimonial lawyers out of work. - More...
Q&A - I was refused employment because of my arthritis - what can I do?

Q&A - I was refused employment because of my arthritis - what can I do?

Q:  During a recent job interview, I was asked whether I suffered with any illnesses or health conditions that would affect my performance should I be offered the job. I told the Employer that I suffer with arthritis. I was not offered the position and I believe it was because I have arthritis. Can I do anything? - More...
Q&A - Loans to adult children - can I avoid a tax trap after the Budget.

Q&A - Loans to adult children - can I avoid a tax trap after the Budget.

Q:  I am retired. During the past eight years I have helped both our children to get on the property ladder by lending them the deposit for a house. In both cases the mortgage lender insisted on my name going on the deeds and on the mortgage, something I was happy to do because it also safeguarded my interest in the properties in the event that either child should get married or take a partner who moved in with them. At the time Capital Gains Tax for higher rate tax payers, such as myself, was at a lower level. Will I pay more tax as a result of changes announced in the recent Budget? - More...
Q&A - What is the best way to set up a joint project with another company

Q&A - What is the best way to set up a joint project with another company

Q:  I have been approached to work jointly with another company on a specific project. Can you advise whether a Partnership or a Joint Venture arrangement would be the most suitable and which would offer the greatest protection? - More...
Local Family expert gains Law Society top accreditation

Local Family expert gains Law Society top accreditation

The head of one of the area's most respected Family Law teams has been granted membership of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, with specialist accreditations in the complex fields of Children Law and Domestic Violence. - More...
Q&A - Can our joint lease be transferred solely to one party when we split up?

Q&A - Can our joint lease be transferred solely to one party when we split up?

Q:  My partner and I are splitting up but at this stage do not want to dissolve our civil partnership. My partner is planning to move out of the rented property we took on a three year lease just before Christmas last year, but the tenancy is held in joint names. Can it be assigned or transferred solely to me? - More...
New Criminal lawyer for leading law firm

New Criminal lawyer for leading law firm

One of the area's largest law firms has appointed a new Criminal lawyer. Ceri Lewis, who will be based between the Oswestry and Wrexham offices of GHP Legal, joins the firm from Hemsleys in Chester. - More...
Shropshire Court closures could affect legal representation choice

Shropshire Court closures could affect legal representation choice

As the consultation on the proposed closure of Magistrates and County Courts in Shropshire and Mid Wales enters its third week, a solicitor with one of the area's largest law firms claims the closures would not only reduce the public's access to justice but could also affect their choice of legal representation. - More...
Q&A - Claims company has caused me problems at work.

Q&A - Claims company has caused me problems at work.

Q:  I contacted a claims company I had seen on television about a claim against my employers after being injured at work.  Before I had even spoken to the solicitors they sent my claim to, a letter was sent to my employers which caused me huge embarrassment as I was negotiating a redundancy package at the time.  Only when I got home later that day did I receive the initial paperwork from the solicitors with a copy of the letter to my employers. - More...
Q&A - Do we need to be Ofsted registered to look after each others children?

Q&A - Do we need to be Ofsted registered to look after each others children?

Q:  I have two children and had arranged for a friend to look after them for four hours on a Saturday whilst I work. I don't pay her anything because I look after her children for 4 hours while she works on a Wednesday. Now someone has told me we may be breaking the law because we have to be registered with Ofsted. Is this right? - More...
Leading law firm announces internal promotions

Leading law firm announces internal promotions

One of the area's largest law firms has announced a round of internal promotions. - More...
CGT increase affects parents who helped with house purchase

CGT increase affects parents who helped with house purchase

A local member of Solicitors for the Elderly has warned that people in the county who have helped single adult off-spring to get on the property ladder may need to seek legal advice about their position following tax changes announced in the Budget. - More...
Q&A - Do I need a HIP to market home before abolition law is passed?

Q&A - Do I need a HIP to market home before abolition law is passed?

Q: I have received an overseas posting and need to put my house on the market immediately. As the legislation has not yet gone through Parliament to abolish Home Information Packs, do I still need to get one done? - More...
Skydive lawyer hurts ribs in ladder fall!

Skydive lawyer hurts ribs in ladder fall!

The managing partner of one of the largest law firms in the area successfully completed a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet at Tilstock Airfield, Whitchurch, on Saturday before going home to cut his hedge, when he fell off a ladder and damaged his ribs!! - More...
Q&A - Can my employer share data about me that's held on file?

Q&A - Can my employer share data about me that's held on file?

Q:  When I applied for my current job there were many unnecessary questions on the application form that I was required to answer.   How can I discover if my employer is holding this information on file and whether it is held accurately? As I supplied the information, is he legally entitled to pass it on? - More...
Charity Skydive

Charity Skydive

Click the link below to email your pledge. - More...
Budget may instigate increase in buy-to-let portfolios

Budget may instigate increase in buy-to-let portfolios

The hike in VAT announced in this week's Budget is unlikely to speed up any recent improvement we have seen in the UK housing market. But Oswestry based property lawyer Richard Lloyd believes it will not deter the county's many buy-to-let landlords and may even see them increasing their portfolios if prices are kept down. - More...
Solicitors skydive fundraiser hits £2K mark

Solicitors skydive fundraiser hits £2K mark

Two solicitors from one of the largest law firms in North Wales and Shropshire have broken through the £2,000 barrier in sponsorship pledges for their tandem skydive in aid of Wrexham based charity, Dynamic.  - More...
Q&A - How do I apply for bankruptcy?

Q&A - How do I apply for bankruptcy?

Q:  I am in a lot of debt and feel it is impossible to pay off the sums I owe. I am thinking of applying for bankruptcy. How do I apply and what are the implications? - More...
Q&A - Is there a system for enforcing Employment Tribunal awards?

Q&A - Is there a system for enforcing Employment Tribunal awards?

Q:  My brother was awarded compensation for unfair dismissal by an Employment Tribunal last year but so far his employer has not paid a penny. Despite needing the money, and wanting his employer to feel some pain in order to stop them treating anyone else in the same disgraceful way, he says it is not worth him pursuing them for what is legally his right because there is no system in place to enforce the payment of tribunal awards. Is this correct? - More...
Q&A - Is it an offence not to stop and report a minor accident?

Q&A - Is it an offence not to stop and report a minor accident?

Q: I reversed into another vehicle in a carpark. As I was in a hurry and there only appeared to be a couple of scratches on the other car which may already have been there before, I drove off without reporting it. Now my brother is saying I could be prosecuted if someone saw me and got my registration number. He says failure to stop and report an accident is a chargeable offence. Is this correct?  - More...
Q&A - Does daughters injury sustained on bouncy castle warrant compensation?

Q&A - Does daughters injury sustained on bouncy castle warrant compensation?

Q: My 5 year old recently attended a party at a Play Centre where there was a small bouncy castle. No-one restricted the number of children going on it and my daughter got pushed off, causing her shoulder to become dislocated. She was in a lot of pain and unable to attend school for 6 weeks. She is still under the hospital. My wife took unpaid leave to care for her. Can we claim compensation? - More...
Q&A - What must I do to protect my tenants deposit?

Q&A - What must I do to protect my tenants deposit?

Q: I am contemplating renting out my Property but understand that the deposit I take from my Tenant has to be protected.  What does this mean? A: Since 6th April 2007 all Landlords taking a deposit from their Tenant must protect it by registering it under one of two schemes; a Custodial Scheme or an Insurance Based Scheme.  The Custodial/Deposit Scheme is a free service financed entirely from interest earned on the deposit held. The entire deposit is held in the scheme in the event that any legal dispute arises between Landlord and Tenant.  Under the Insurance Based Scheme the Landlord holds the deposit but pays a premium for insurance cover.  If a dispute arises between Landlord and Tenant, the Landlord must hand over the deposit to the Scheme to hold until the dispute is resolved. - More...
Law firm sponsors 55-year-old Pavarotti award at Eisteddfod

Law firm sponsors 55-year-old Pavarotti award at Eisteddfod

A leading Wrexham law firm which also has offices in Llangollen has agreed to sponsor the "competition of competitions" at this year's Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod which is due to take place on Saturday 10th July. - More...
Q&A - Is there a limited period for bringing claim against a supplier?

Q&A - Is there a limited period for bringing claim against a supplier?

Q.  I believe I have a valid claim against one of my suppliers, but at a recent business club function I heard of a company director who had managed to defeat a claim against his company on the basis it had been started too late. Is this correct? - More...
Solicitors take to the skies in latest charity challenge

Solicitors take to the skies in latest charity challenge

Two solicitors from one of the largest law firms in North Wales and Shropshire are aiming high to provide a cash boost for local charity, Dynamic, by soaring through the skies in a tandem skydive at Tilstock Airfield, Whitchurch. - More...
Trainee solicitor invites townsfolk in for coffee

Trainee solicitor invites townsfolk in for coffee

A trainee solicitor from Oswestry who has taken part in several charity fundraising events is inviting local residents to pop in and have a cup of coffee with her on June 5th to raise money for Cancer Research. - More...
Q&A - Can we help our son buy a property but protect our interest in it?

Q&A - Can we help our son buy a property but protect our interest in it?

Q: Our son is living in London and spending so much on rent that he will never be able to save for a property of his own. We can afford to buy him a small place but are concerned that any future wife or partner he might take could make a claim on the property if the relationship did not last. As such a claim would in effect be against our investment, we wonder if there is any way we could safeguard our interest? - More...
Q&A - Will Coroner find out why my son died in custody?

Q&A - Will Coroner find out why my son died in custody?

Q:  My son tragically died in the police station after a night out in town whilst home on leave from the Army. There has been a police inquiry but I don't know the outcome or what happened to him. Now there is going to be an inquest. Can I find out beforehand what happened? Will the Coroner find out what happened?  - More...
Q&A - Can I obtain a copy of a Will and challenge it?

Q&A - Can I obtain a copy of a Will and challenge it?

Q: A close relative died recently, leaving her entire estate to someone by whom she had become influenced greatly. I am concerned that she did not know what she was doing when she made her Will. Can I obtain a copy of the Will, which is currently going through probate, and challenge it? - More...
Q&A - Can we use annual tax exemptions to gift our house in chunks?

Q&A - Can we use annual tax exemptions to gift our house in chunks?

Q: We have a holiday home in Cornwall. Can we gift it to our children in annual chunks using our allowances to reduce the overall tax liability?   - More...
Employment problems erupt in wake of Icelandic Volcano

Employment problems erupt in wake of Icelandic Volcano

A local employment law barrister claims the travel chaos which followed the Icelandic volcano eruption has left employers and their employees with practical and legal problems, including confusion about payment rights for stranded workers and absentee cover. - More...
Q&A - Does Parental Responsibility entitle me to see my son?

Q&A - Does Parental Responsibility entitle me to see my son?

Q.  My partner and I recently separated and I moved out. Now my ex will not let me see our 5 year old son. I am named as the child's father on the birth certificate and so have parental responsibility. Doesn't parental responsibility entitle me to see my son? - More...
Q&A - Can I dock pay without confronting staff?

Q&A - Can I dock pay without confronting staff?

Q: I run a small business and I am concerned that some of my staff are taking days off without good reason.  I would rather just dock a day's pay than confront the individuals about this skiving.  Can I do this? - More...
Solicitor qualifies with leading law firm

Solicitor qualifies with leading law firm

A newly qualified solicitor with a taste for diversity will be continuing his legal career at the Wrexham firm where he recently completed a two year training contract. - More...
Employees may get legal representation at disciplinary hearings

Employees may get legal representation at disciplinary hearings

As a result of two recent Court of Appeal decisions, employees who have been refused or not allowed legal representation at a disciplinary hearing may in future be able to claim unfair dismissal if the outcome of the hearing damages their chances of gaining further employment. - More...
Q&A - Do I need a solicitor present at my mothers inquest?

Q&A - Do I need a solicitor present at my mothers inquest?

Q: My mother died in hospital and there is going to be an inquest.  Do I need legal representation? - More...
Personal Care policy plans may never be implemented

Personal Care policy plans may never be implemented

A local member of Solicitors for the Elderly has warned that government proposals to provide free personal care for elderly and disabled people through the Personal Care at Home Bill may never be implemented or, at best, will be delayed for at least six months. - More...
Premier Law Firm Celebrates 40 Years

Premier Law Firm Celebrates 40 Years

GHP Legal, one of the area's largest and most respected law firms, is celebrating 40 years of providing high quality specialist legal advice to Private, Corporate and Commercial clients stretching across more than ten counties in England and Wales. - More...
Sickness Absence Policies may need revising for new Fit Notes

Sickness Absence Policies may need revising for new Fit Notes

A local employment law specialist has issued a warning to employers to check their Sickness Absence Policy in the light of the new "Fit Notes" due to come into force on April 6th.  - More...
Q&A - Do I really need to make a Will?

Q&A - Do I really need to make a Will?

Q: A friend is putting pressure on me to make a Will but I cannot see why I need one as surely everything will automatically pass to my wife when I die? Please can you confirm this is correct?  - More...
Q&A - Can we avoid paying care home fees?

Q&A - Can we avoid paying care home fees?

Q: My mother needs residential care but we are worried about the cost depleting her assets, including her £475,000 home which passed to her when my Father died 18 months ago.  What can we do? - More...
Q&A - How can we prepare our son for dealing with our death?

Q&A - How can we prepare our son for dealing with our death?

Q: My wife and I often travel together on business. We have become worried our son would not know what to do if anything happened to us, as he is only nineteen years old and has no experience of anyone close dying. We do not feel comfortable about discussing this with him but want to put our affairs in order so that he will find matters easier to deal with. What can we do to assist him? - More...
Q&A - Am I liable to pay sub-contractors when contractor has gone bust?

Q&A - Am I liable to pay sub-contractors when contractor has gone bust?

Maintenance Cancellation Appeal could deter Applications to Vary Orders

Maintenance Cancellation Appeal could deter Applications to Vary Orders

A woman who divorced 25 years ago is preparing to take her ex-husband to the Court of Appeal to demand £560,000 in maintenance following the cancellation last year of her £27,000 a year maintenance payments. And according to Wrexham divorce Solicitor, Anne Davies, the outcome of the case could have a significant bearing on the way joint lives maintenance orders are viewed in the future.  - More...
Q&A - Am I obliged to give employee time off for training?

Q&A - Am I obliged to give employee time off for training?

Q: I have an employee who has requested time off from work for training. Am I obliged to give him the time off or should the training be done outside work time? - More...
New Vice President for Chester & North Wales Law Society

New Vice President for Chester & North Wales Law Society

Wrexham lawyer, Peter Butler, has taken office as Vice President of the Chester and North Wales Incorporated Law Society after being involved with the Society for more than thirty years.    - More...
Law firm warns of Death Tax double-edged sword

Law firm warns of Death Tax double-edged sword

A Solicitor with one of the biggest law firms in North Wales has issued a warning about Government proposals to impose a Death Tax to fund plans to guarantee a free residential care home place or home help for every resident over the age of 65. - More...
Q&A - Can I be held liable for fees 5 years after my wife left care home?

Q&A - Can I be held liable for fees 5 years after my wife left care home?

Q: My wife had a head injury and spent over five years in a nursing home. She left there in November 2004 but I have just received a letter from the Council saying that the care home claim they are owed nearly £2500 unpaid fees, either by my wife or by myself as her appointee. They called it client contribution. The Council have now paid this on my behalf, but say I owe them this money. - More...
Law firm supports Special Agent

Law firm supports Special Agent

Wrexham's oldest amateur theatre will be supported by one of the town's longest standing law firms when it opens its doors to Dick Barton fans on Thursday March 18th. GHP Legal, whose head office is in Grosvenor Road, are sponsoring the production of Dick Barton – Special Agent, which is being staged at the Grove Park Theatre by special arrangement with the BBC. In its time the Dick Barton series, written by Phil Willmott, made radio history. Beginning as a weekday 15-minute serial on the BBC Light Programme in 1947 it appealed to both young and old alike, always ending with a cliff-hanger situation. From 18th – 27th March Wrexham audiences will be able to reminisce during a series of exotic, action-packed adventures when the intrepid sleuth faces arch enemies Baron Scarheart and Marta Heartburn in a bid to rid the world of evil in the name of decency and patriotism. GHP Legal is a long time supporter of Grove Park Theatre where members of its staff have in the past performed on stage. Speaking about the firm’s commitment to supporting the theatre, Senior Partner Peter Butler said: - More...
Q&A - What is the current legislation regarding deposits for rented property?

Q&A - What is the current legislation regarding deposits for rented property?

Q: Rather than selling in the present climate I am considering letting out a small house I have inherited. What is the current legislation regarding deposits? - More...
Nigel clocks up 60 miles for college

Nigel clocks up 60 miles for college

A local IT Manager is putting on his walking boots for the sixth year running to raise funds for the Derwen College, a specialist residential college just outside Oswestry. - More...
Q&A - Protecting older people from financial abuse

Q&A - Protecting older people from financial abuse

Q:  My elderly Aunt appointed a close friend as her Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), to help her manage her affairs. Money is missing and we have confronted the friend who confessed and agreed to repay it. What would you suggest my Aunt does now? A:  If there is still a trusted co-Attorney named in the EPA under a joint and several appointment, the EPA could be left in place and the unsuitable Attorney removed. Otherwise, new Attorneys would have to be appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) following the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which made it impossible to create a new EPA.    The new law provides a framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. It clarifies who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. And it enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose capacity Under an LPA your Aunt could appoint new Attorneys of her choice with the peace of mind that her personal welfare or property and finances were in safe hands should she become mentally incapable, with the additional safeguard of registration of the LPA at the Court of Protection. If your Aunt became mentally incapable and there was no LPA in place, however, it would be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy to deal with her finances. She would have no control over who was appointed and her finances would be scrutinised by the Court as part of the application – something not required when registering an LPA. Law firms such as us who specialise in Elderly Client Services are usually happy to make home appointments, or visits to residential/ nursing homes, to see Clients who cannot attend their offices. - More...
Q&A - What rights are there for internet shoppers?

Q&A - What rights are there for internet shoppers?

Q: My daughter did her Christmas shopping on the internet. Fortunately she received everything she ordered, in good order and as per the descriptions given. But purchasing goods online does worry me. Is there any legal protection for people buying off the internet? - More...
Q&A - Could my mothers estate incur Inheritance Tax?

Q&A - Could my mothers estate incur Inheritance Tax?

Q: I am an only child. My widowed mother has not made a Will because she believes everything automatically passes to me and she will not leave enough for it to be liable for Inheritance Tax. What exactly is Inheritance Tax and how much might I have to pay? - More...
Former Young Farmers member joins leading N Wales law firm

Former Young Farmers member joins leading N Wales law firm

A Solicitor, who, as a boy, worked alongside his herdsman father and was a keen member of Young Farmers, has joined the Llangollen office of leading North Wales law firm GHP Legal after working for a number of years in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and North Yorkshire. - More...
Q&A - Could I claim compensation for work related stress

Q&A - Could I claim compensation for work related stress

Q: My workload has increased massively since the company I work for closed down several offices last year. As a direct result of this I have been off work for two months with stress, but one of my colleagues overheard our line manager saying my illness was more likely to be caused by personal problems. This isn’t the case but what if the company tries to use my long-term absence as an excuse to get rid of me?   A:  All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe system of work - and this includes taking reasonable steps to ensure staff do not suffer stress related illnesses as a result of their work. If your employer has breached that duty then you could possibly bring a claim against them for causing injury due to negligence. Suffering from stress is not an injury in itself. You would have to prove that it amounted to active psychiatric harm and you would need to supply medical evidence to that effect. - More...
Q&A - Can Garden Centre be held responsible for injury sustained on icy path?

Q&A - Can Garden Centre be held responsible for injury sustained on icy path?

Q: Whilst visiting my local Garden Centre after Christmas I saw an old lady slip over on an icy path in the outdoor section. She could not get up and was in so much pain that staff eventually called an ambulance. I thought businesses had a duty of care to keep public areas clear of ice in bad weather. If I am correct, would this lady be able to sue them? - More...
Q&A - Do I have to pay workers who do not  turn up in bad weather?

Q&A - Do I have to pay workers who do not turn up in bad weather?

Q: I own a small business. When the snow came after Christmas some of my workers failed to turn up and we had to halt production for several days because of this. I did pay the workers who failed to turn up on this occasion, but with the threat of further harsh winters in the future I would like to know where I stand legally. Do I have to pay them if they don’t turn up because of bad weather? - More...
Law graduate revisits college to receive award

Law graduate revisits college to receive award

A Wrexham law graduate who last year went on to gain a training contract with one of the area’s largest law firms will return to Chester College of Law this month to receive the coveted Brown Dunne & Gray prize for obtaining the highest mark in Advanced Litigation in the 2009 Legal Practice Course examinations. - More...
Bad weather policy is good for employers

Bad weather policy is good for employers

Just when we thought the region’s adverse weather conditions were over, this week’s unexpected snow falls reminded us that climate change is a very real problem and one that is likely to get worse in the future. - More...
Q&A - Can my employer get a patent on the machine part I invented?

Q&A - Can my employer get a patent on the machine part I invented?

Q: I work at a local factory. For some considerable time we had had a persistent fault on the production line that was causing problems, and as a consequence was costing the company both time and money. I solved the problem by inventing a piece of kit to add on to the line.  Now my employers are going to apply for a patent for the invention, even though I was the one who invented it. They say that as they are my employers the invention belongs to them. Is this correct? - More...
Q&A - Can I get compensation for injury caused by tripping on cracked paving?

Q&A - Can I get compensation for injury caused by tripping on cracked paving?

Q: Shortly before Christmas I went to a local pub for a meal with some friends. During the evening I popped outside to make a phone call. As I was returning after making the call I tripped on the raised lip of a cracked paving slab. I put my hands out to stop the fall but unfortunately in the process I broke my right wrist. As I drive for a living it has meant I have not been able to work. Is there any action can I take to get some compensation? A: Firstly you will need to establish who is responsible for the land where the paving slab is located.  If the paving slab was on a public pavement the local council would be responsible, but if the paving slab was on the pub’s property then the pub would be responsible.  Having established on whose land the paving slab is located, the next step would be to ascertain whether the paving slab should have been repaired. The owner, whether it is the pub or the local council, has a responsibility to regularly inspect all surfaces which are accessible by the public and to ensure that no serious risk of injury is posed by any defects that exist.  However, the courts do not expect pavements or paved areas to be perfectly smooth. Good photographs and, if possible, measurements of the slab and the surrounding area will be useful in establishing whether the defect is significant enough for either the pub or the local council to be held liable for your accident. - More...
Q&A - What is the difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Q&A - What is the difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Q: My solicitor advised me some years ago to set up an Enduring Power of Attorney so that I could act for my parents and handle their financial affairs. I recently mentioned this to a neighbour who has elderly parents, but when she sought legal advice she was advised to take out a Lasting Power of Attorney. What is the difference? A: Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) on 1st October 2007. EPAs signed prior to that date are still valid and can be registered but the LPA is far more flexible and you have the option of taking out either a Property and Financial Affairs LPA or a Health and Welfare LPA, or both. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to appoint an attorney to manage your property, finances and affairs when you have the capacity to make your own decisions and when you lack capacity. It also offers the option of giving your Attorney the power to make decisions about part, or all, of your property and financial affairs. A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint an attorney to make decisions on your behalf in respect of healthcare and welfare. In both cases the LPAs cannot be used by the attorneys until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Unlike with the EPA, the LPA requires that the person making the LPA is certified to have the mental capacity to do so, and that they are doing so without being subjected to any pressure or fraud. The certificate provider must complete a statement to that effect in the new LPA, stating that they have discussed the LPA with the attorney and are satisfied the attorney understands the scope and purpose of the LPA and that they are under no undue pressure to make it.  Further information relating to this question is available from John Marshall, a Solicitor with GHP Legal who specialises in private client work with particular emphasis on Wills, Probate and Taxation, and Powers of Attorney. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Q&A - Please confirm our entitlement for Parental Leave

Q&A - Please confirm our entitlement for Parental Leave

Q: My wife and I both have high level jobs. She is now 16 weeks pregnant with twins, our first children, and we want to ensure we spend maximum time with them whilst keeping our respective jobs. Can you please confirm the current legislation regarding parental leave? A: You must have worked for the same employer continuously for at least one year.  As parents of young children you are entitled to up to 13 weeks of unpaid leave to care for them during the first five years of life. Leave can be taken in respect of each child, and by each parent. In your case this means you can each take 26 weeks of leave to care for the two children, at any time up to the children’s fifth birthday. Your employers cannot refuse to grant you leave but you must give them notice. You should both check your respective employment contracts about parental leave as they are likely to differ. Unless your employment contracts state otherwise you may have to provide evidence to your employers of your parental leave entitlement and must give the start and finish dates of the leave at least 21 days prior to when you want to take it. Provided you and your wife qualify and give the appropriate notice you may take your parental leave after a period of maternity or paternity leave. Leave can only be taken in blocks of a week unless the child has a disability. Whilst on leave your employment contracts still apply. If you take leave for four weeks or less you can return to your usual job. If you take longer you can return to your usual job or, if that is not “reasonably practicable”, to a suitable and appropriate one.  Your pay, pension and other rights must not be less favourable than before you took leave.  Further information relating to this question is available from Jack Roberts, an Employment Barrister with GHP Legal. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Solicitor calls for more pressure to reform intestacy laws

Solicitor calls for more pressure to reform intestacy laws

As we move into a new decade, a Wrexham solicitor is calling for more pressure from the Law Society to force a reform of the intestacy rules which, he says, despite recent amendments, still reflect some of the social conditions and attitudes of the last century. - More...
Slow property market instigates creative approach to divorce settlements

Slow property market instigates creative approach to divorce settlements

Historically the New Year has long been the most popular time for couples in an unhappy marriage or partnership to start divorce proceedings and make new lives for themselves, but as the effects of the recession bite deeper their approach to dealing with the split of family assets is becoming more creative. In some cases divorce is going ahead with the sale of the family home being deferred. - More...
Q&A - When must I provide a contract of employment to a new employee?

Q&A - When must I provide a contract of employment to a new employee?

Q: I recently decided to take on my first employee but on the start date they didn’t turn up. Can I appoint someone on a trial basis next time, without a contract?   A: A contract of employment exists when you offer someone a job and they accept it. Employment contracts can be verbal, written or implied but a written contract is advisable for both employers and employees. You must provide your employee with a written statement of employment within two months of them starting work, unless they are employed for less than one month or are self employed, freelance or agency workers. - More...
Q&A - Am I entitled to a portion of my husbands pension if we divorce?

Q&A - Am I entitled to a portion of my husbands pension if we divorce?

Q: My husband and I have grown apart, but it suits him not to divorce. I haven’t worked since having the children, who are now grown up, so I don’t have a pension in my own right. If we did divorce, would I be entitled to a share of my husband’s pension? I believe he has a substantial private pension fund but I have always left financial matters to him. - More...
Q&A - Must we go through the divorce court to agree financial settlement?

Q&A - Must we go through the divorce court to agree financial settlement?

Q: Is it possible to sort out the finances of a divorce without going through the courts to keep things on a more amicable footing for the sake of the children? - More...
Event is a glittering success

Event is a glittering success

A fashion and beauty event staged at the Plas Hafod Country House Hotel in Mold on November 20th was hailed a glittering success after it raised £1,653.74 for Nightingale House Hospice.  - More...
Q&A - How can we get rid of a difficult Volunteer?

Q&A - How can we get rid of a difficult Volunteer?

Q: We are a small local charity. One of our volunteers regularly lets us down after agreeing to come in, and when she does come in she only does the bits of the “job” she wants to do. Could there be repercussions if we ask her not to come in again? And should we have provided her with any kind of agreement? - More...
Legal workers thank charity sponsors

Legal workers thank charity sponsors

Four members of staff at a leading North Wales law firm renowned for its fundraising efforts have praised the sponsors who helped them raise £321.72 for Breast Cancer Research UK. - More...
Q&A - Should I accept £10,000 compensation now or wait?

Q&A - Should I accept £10,000 compensation now or wait?

Q: In late January 2007, I was a passenger in a road traffic accident when I injured my neck.  I am still suffering problems.  I was not wearing a seat belt.  Last year doctors advised that I should make a full recovery, but it could take three years. I cannot afford any more time off work. I have just been offered £10,000 by the insurers - should I accept it despite not being fully recovered?  A: Statistically 10% of persons who suffer whiplash injuries and are still suffering symptoms two years later do not fully recover.  You need to be medically re-examined as soon as possible and may need an MRI scan to detect any underlying problem. Until that has been done and an updated report obtained, it is impossible to advise you on the potential value of your claim.  You should, however, be aware that any compensation awarded to you will be discounted by 25% if your injuries would have been prevented altogether by you wearing a seatbelt, or 15% if your injuries would have been significantly less. However tempting the £10,000 might be, if your medical expert confirms your continuing symptoms are accident related and likely to be permanent, you could be writing off a substantial sum of money by accepting now - particularly if you are forced to retire from work prematurely.  Accepting the insurers’ offer will be a binding agreement to finalise your claim and there will be no going back. If you do not wish to settle at this stage, your solicitor should ask the insurers for an interim payment on account of damages.  Court proceedings must also be commenced by the third anniversary of your accident, failing which you will be out of time to pursue your claim against the driver concerned.  Only in exceptional circumstances will the Court extend the three year time limit. Further information relating to this question is available from Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal. Robert is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel; the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Employment Lawyers Association. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Q&A - I have been offered a Will writing service for £25 - is there a catch?

Q&A - I have been offered a Will writing service for £25 - is there a catch?

Q: I live in a village with many retired people. Last week a man knocked on our doors offering a Will writing service for £25. I haven’t updated my Will since my wife died. It seemed an unnecessary expense as my daughters were the only other beneficiaries, but this chap said I should do it. £25 is far less than I paid to have my last Will drawn up by a solicitor – could there be a catch? - More...
Q&A - Is conveyancing for a self build plot different to house purchase?

Q&A - Is conveyancing for a self build plot different to house purchase?

Q: I want to build my own house in a rural location, if I can find a suitable plot. Would the legal procedures be different to buying an existing house or one off plan from a developer? - More...
Law firm proves excellence for Spinal Injuries Association panel

Law firm proves excellence for Spinal Injuries Association panel

A leading Shropshire and North Wales law firm has become one of less than two hundred firms in the country to be accepted onto the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) solicitors’ panel. - More...
Q&A - How soon after marrying can I apply for divorce?

Q&A - How soon after marrying can I apply for divorce?

Q: My husband and I have been married just four months and already he is out every night supposedly entertaining business clients. I suspect he has been having an affair with his secretary for years and probably only married me to provide him with a respectable front. Can I start divorce proceedings so soon after marrying? A: You cannot start divorce proceedings until you have been married for at least twelve months. After that time you must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably - either because your husband committed adultery or because he behaved unreasonably. Either way his behaviour must be such that you find it intolerable to continue living with him. If your husband denies the adultery it may be difficult to prove as you would need to produce evidence of him having sexual intercourse with another woman. There is, however, nothing to stop you separating as early on in the marriage as you wish. Once you have been separated two years you can apply for divorce on grounds of two years separation - provided your husband agrees to it. If he does not agree you could wait five years and petition on the grounds of five years separation - which does not require your husband’s consent but does require proof that you have been separated for five years. In the circumstances I would suggest you make an appointment with a specialist family lawyer to discuss your case in full. There may be more reasons to petition on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour than you mention in your question and an unreasonable behaviour petition could be filed at Court once you have been married for twelve months. Also arrangements could be made in the interim as to what will happen in respect of the matrimonial home and, if there were any, the children of the marriage. Further information relating to this question is available from Nathan Wright, a solicitor with GHP Legal, Family Department. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Law firm backs Mencap in Wills risk warning

Law firm backs Mencap in Wills risk warning

A local law firm has joined forces with Mencap to give a joint seminar after the Law Society announced last month that it was backing the organisations campaign to warn vulnerable people of the risks of having Wills drawn up by unregulated, unqualified and uninsured Will writers. The seminar, which was held at Holt Lodge in Wrexham, was presented by solicitor John Marshall, from Wrexham based GHP Legal, and a London representative of Mencap.. - More...
Q&A - How should our Village Hall committee handle visitor liability?

Q&A - How should our Village Hall committee handle visitor liability?

Q: I am the Trustee of my local village hall which has just been renovated.  We now want to generate income by ensuring the facility is used as much as possible. Can you advise about our liabilities if anything should happen to someone whilst on the premises?  - More...
Sponsors announce sell-out for sparkly charity event

Sponsors announce sell-out for sparkly charity event

A leading North Wales law firm that is sponsoring a fashion and beauty event later this month organised by two members of its accounts department in aid of Nightingale House Hospice, has announced it is a sell-out. - More...
Local solicitor says new inheritance rule proposals are long overdue

Local solicitor says new inheritance rule proposals are long overdue

Government proposals just published, which would give automatic inheritance rights to unmarried couples when one of them dies without leaving a Will, have been greatly welcomed by a leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm. - More...
Q&A - Can I take photographs in a public place?

Q&A - Can I take photographs in a public place?

Q: I am a studying photography at University. Next term I have chosen to do a project on city travel and transport but I’m worried about taking photographs in public places, bus and train stations etc. My lecturer doesn’t seem too sure of the law and I have read a lot of conflicting reports on the internet. Could I be arrested on suspicion of terrorism, or worse still have my camera confiscated? - More...
No excuse for Employment Tribunal figures

No excuse for Employment Tribunal figures

A Wrexham based employment law specialist has voiced his shock at figures recently released by the Tribunals Service and says there is no valid reason for them. The figures relate to Employment Tribunal statistics which show a massive increase of 153% in the number of cases where employers failed to consult properly with employees about redundancy in the twelve months prior to March this year. - More...
Irene still in the pink after 16 years

Irene still in the pink after 16 years

An Oswestry breast cancer survivor is celebrating her sixteenth year in the pink this week, in support of the Wear it Pink Breast Cancer campaign that has given support and hope to so many women like her everywhere. - More...
Local trainee lawyer awarded prestigious Prize

Local trainee lawyer awarded prestigious Prize

A trainee solicitor who joined one of the largest law firms in the North Wales region earlier this year has been awarded the prestigious Brown Dunne & Gray Prize for the student obtaining the highest mark in the Advanced Litigation (PI) paper in the 2009 Legal Practice Course examinations at The College of Law of England and Wales in Chester. - More...
Q&A - Can I be held liable for all information on my website?

Q&A - Can I be held liable for all information on my website?

Q: I belong to a local trade association. Recently it was proposed that rather than have an expensive dedicated website built to promote the Association and its members, each member could carry information on their own website. This would include a full list of members with contact details and some marketing blurb for them. My concern is that visitors to my website could perceive the information to be an endorsement of the listed businesses and perhaps even mean I would have a duty of care to their customers. - More...
New road accident compensation measures slammed

New road accident compensation measures slammed

New measures revealed by the Government at the end of last month for handling compensation payments to people injured in road accidents have been slammed by a Personal Injury lawyer with one of the area’s leading law firms. - More...
Q&A - Can I cut down my neighbours overhanging tree branches?

Q&A - Can I cut down my neighbours overhanging tree branches?

Q: My neighbour has two large trees on his property close to our boundary. There are several large branches hanging over into my garden which he refuses to cut back. Could I cut them off when he is away on holiday? - More...
Q&A - Can I claim damages for inadequate sewerage system?

Q&A - Can I claim damages for inadequate sewerage system?

Q: I am currently in dispute with the Water company over a sewerage problem that causes untreated sewerage to back up and flood onto my property. It is particularly bad after a heavy rainfall and constantly needs cleaning up. The problem has only occurred since new houses were built, which suggests the system is inadequate for the number of properties it now serves. The whole situation is causing me considerable stress, damage and disruption, but the Water company doesn’t want to know. To make matters worse I now want to sell my house, but the sewerage problem will clearly affect the price and prospects of a successful sale. Can I claim against the Water company for nuisance caused by the inadequate sewerage system serving my property? - More...
Q&A - I want to bid against my boss Q&A

Q&A - I want to bid against my boss Q&A

  - More...
Q&A - Is a Prenuptial Agreement worthwhile?

Q&A - Is a Prenuptial Agreement worthwhile?

Q: I’m getting married in November and have just inherited a substantial amount of money.  Is a Prenuptial Agreement worth upsetting my Fiancée for? A: For a Prenuptial Agreement to stand any chance of influencing the Courts in England and Wales, it must be fully executed at least one month before the marriage ceremony. Historically the Courts have not attached much weight to these agreements, but now appear to be more willing to consider the terms of the Prenuptial Agreement as a significant factor in divorce, particularly in the case of second marriages or short marriages without children.  For the agreement to have any effect, it is vital to apply general contractual principles and for each party to seek independent legal advice so that they understand the terms of the agreement and can show they freely entered into it. There must also have been full financial disclosure of each party’s assets. Many couples choose to have a pre-nuptial agreement as it offers the opportunity and possibility of a more certain outcome on divorce. Often the wealthy party requests agreement terms  that favour the other party if the marriage lasts a reasonable length of time, with a less favourable outcome for the other party if the marriage fails early on.  Such terms mirror current Matrimonial Law principles.  The difficulty in drafting these agreements, however, often relate to the near impossible task of making provision for future children of the relationship.  Regarding the risk of upsetting your fiancé, you would have to balance your decision against the outcome on divorce if there is no Prenuptial Agreement.  A prenuptial agreement can do no harm and may, under current law, carry some weight with the Matrimonial Courts, to protect pre-marriage assets in cases where the parties have entered into a well thought out agreement, having obtained legal advice upon it and knowing the assets each is seeking to protect.  Further information relating to this question is available from Christine Hughes, a Senior Solicitor in the Family Law Department of GHP Legal where she specialises in high asset Ancillary work. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Employment barrister joins Wrexham law firm

Employment barrister joins Wrexham law firm

A local man who was brought up on a farm in Glyn Ceirog and was educated at Wrexham College has joined one the largest law firms in North Wales as an Employment barrister. - More...
Q&A - Does Work Experience warrant National Minimum Wage payment?

Q&A - Does Work Experience warrant National Minimum Wage payment?

Q: My nephew wants me to provide him with work experience to help him start his career higher up the ladder. Would I have to pay him the Minimum Wage? A: It depends on: the terms under which you would be employing him; whether he would be classed as a Volunteer or as a Worker; whether he is a student. Genuine Volunteers do not have to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), but to be classed as such they must be under no obligation to perform work or carry out instructions, have no contract or formal arrangement, be free to come and go at will. Further, they must have no expectation of rewards or benefits, including training, though they may receive reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses. If you felt unable to take your nephew on under such a loose arrangement as that required for the “Volunteer” category, you would need to provide him with a contract or make a formal arrangement. This would then put him into the Worker category and entitle him to be paid the NMW in the normal way. However, if your nephew is a student undertaking work experience, lasting up to one year, as part of a further or higher education course, he would be exempt from being classed as a “Worker” under minimum wage legislation. This would not apply though if he is studying at an establishment outside the UK, or if the work lasted longer than a year or if the work is not a requirement of his course. You should also be aware that from October 1st the NMW increases from £3.53 to £3.57 per hour for workers under 18 years of age who are beyond compulsory school age, from £4.77 to £4.83 for workers between the ages of 18-21 and from £5.73 to £5.80 for all other workers.  Further information relating to this question is available from Jack Roberts, an Employment Barrister with GHP Legal. For information relating to any other legal matter please call GHP Legal on 01978 291456. GHP Legal is the new name for Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Law student to help homeless in Great North Run

Law student to help homeless in Great North Run

A second year law student at Manchester University has gained sponsorship to take part in the Great North Run on Sunday 20th September from one of the largest law firms in North Wales. - More...
Newly qualified solicitor follows in father's footsteps

Newly qualified solicitor follows in father's footsteps

A leading Wrexham law firm has announced the qualification of its fifth trainee this year. Peter Blakemore became a fully fledged solicitor this week after completing a two year training contract with GHP Legal, well known supporters of the solicitor training programme. - More...
BBC asks opinion of Wrexham lawyer

BBC asks opinion of Wrexham lawyer

A Wrexham Criminal Defence lawyer has taken part in the BBC Wales current affairs programme, Taro 9. The programme, which was filmed in mid August and broadcast today on both radio and television, discussed the pros and cons of ASBOs and the effects they had on young people. - More...
Q&A - Can off sick employee be made redundant?

Q&A - Can off sick employee be made redundant?

Q: I am a University lecturer. Due to increased workload I have been off work for the last two semesters with stress. The University has now announced it is looking to make redundancies among teaching staff. My husband says I shouldn’t worry because they can’t make people redundant who are off on long term sick leave or maternity leave. Is this true? - More...
Solicitor warns landlords about rent review notice pitfall

Solicitor warns landlords about rent review notice pitfall

A Wrexham solicitor has warned landlords to beware of using the common headings “without prejudice” and “subject to contract” on important documents such as rent review notices which may later need to be referred to in court proceedings. - More...
Q&A - Can my son get any compensation for injuries caused by a mugger?

Q&A - Can my son get any compensation for injuries caused by a mugger?

  Q: My son was attacked last month. Police arrived quickly, but not before my son sustained severe injuries as a result of which he is still hospitalised and has been unable to work. Four youths were charged with assault. Can my son get compensation? A: If convicted the criminal court may order the offender(s) to pay compensation for injury, loss or damage caused by the offence, including theft of or damage to property; losses through fraud; loss of earnings whilst off work; medical expenses; travelling expenses; pain and suffering; loss, damage or injury caused by a stolen vehicle. However, your son cannot apply for a compensation order himself. He should tell the police he wishes to claim and provide accurate details and documentary evidence of his losses, i.e. receipts, pay slips etc. The police will inform the Crown Prosecution Service who will make the Court aware. The Court will decide whether to order the offender to pay compensation. How much will depend on the offender’s circumstances and ability to pay. There are also several different levels of compensation, based on the gravity of the offence. Your son can also make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which was set up to compensate victims of violent crime.  A standard application form is available from your local solicitor or online, but will usually only be accepted if the application is made within 2 years of the incident.  The CICA could make an award if your son's injuries were serious enough to warrant the minimum award of £1,000. - More...
Q&A - Do I need a licence to play my home CDs in my beauty salon?

Q&A - Do I need a licence to play my home CDs in my beauty salon?

Q:  I have just opened a single room beauty salon where I am the only beauty therapist. I play relaxing music to my clients on CDs that I bring from home, but one of my clients says I should have a licence. Is this correct? - More...
Q&A - Faulty furniture caused me to have an accident - What can I do?

Q&A - Faulty furniture caused me to have an accident - What can I do?

Q:  I recently bought a set of kitchen chairs online which were made in China and arrived at my house ready assembled. After unpacking them I sat on one to test it out but a leg immediately splintered and gave way, causing me to crash to the floor and injuring my back. What is my legal position? - More...
Q&A - Will 7 year gift rule protect my home in respect of paying care fees?

Q&A - Will 7 year gift rule protect my home in respect of paying care fees?

  Q: I have a degenerative disease and am likely to need residential care within 10-15 years. A friend says if I gift my home to my son and I survive it by 7 years, the local authority cannot take my home into account when assessing my means. Should I transfer my home now to qualify for assistance if I need long term care in the future? - More...
Silvio Spann backed by Legal team

Silvio Spann backed by Legal team

Wrexham midfielder, Silvio Spann, may have had a rough ride last season, but two Wrexham lawyers have happily sponsored him for this one by funding his home strip. - More...
Leading law firm concerned about North Wales health board cuts

Leading law firm concerned about North Wales health board cuts

A leading North Wales law firm whose team of Solicitors includes two members of the Mental Health Tribunal Accreditation Scheme has issued a statement voicing concern about planned cuts to local health boards due to come into force on October 1st. - More...
Q&A - Can employer demand confidentiality after employment ceases?

Q&A - Can employer demand confidentiality after employment ceases?

Q:  I have been offered my first job in Research and Development with an international company and have been sent the draft contract of my terms of employment. There is a confidentiality clause forbidding me to disclose any information about the business - not just during my employment but also after it ceases.  Is this normal? A:  It is not unusual for an employer to require this kind of protection, particularly in R&D. Essentially there are four categories of business information that an employee could become aware of during the course of their employment: - More...
HIPs business increases for Wrexham lawyers after agent commissions scandal

HIPs business increases for Wrexham lawyers after agent commissions scandal

A Wrexham law firm that has repeatedly refused to enter into cross-marketing deals with other professionals in the property sector to secure business for the preparation of Home Information Packs (HIPs), has reported a substantial increase in HIPs work at all its offices. “Interestingly,” says Wendy Marles, a solicitor with GHP Legal, “the increase in our HIPs work has come since Channel 4 News reported obtaining documents which showed an agreement between a HIP company and an estate agent to add an undisclosed commission to the HIPs for the referral. Approximately 80 per cent of HIP companies belong to a voluntary trade association that admitted in the Channel 4 showdown that commissions, or referral fees, are commonplace among its members.” - More...
Struggling Shropshire homeowners warned about sale & leaseback schemes

Struggling Shropshire homeowners warned about sale & leaseback schemes

A Shropshire property lawyer has issued a warning to local people about the dangers of ‘sale and leaseback’ schemes after a family of four narrowly escaped eviction from their home of 20 years. - More...
Lawyer worried about increasing falls on buses

Lawyer worried about increasing falls on buses

A Personal Injury lawyer with one of the largest law firms in North Wales has expressed deep concern about the shocking numbers of older people sustaining injuries from falls whilst travelling on a bus. - More...
Q&A - I am confused about Home Information Packs - please clarify

Q&A - I am confused about Home Information Packs - please clarify

Q: I am putting my home on the market. I have read much confusing information about Home Information Packs, what they should contain and who can prepare them. Can you please clarify the situation? - More...
Young mum passes law exams with flying colours

Young mum passes law exams with flying colours

A busy young mum who has a 15 month-old daughter and is a trainee solicitor with a leading North Wales law firm, has just heard she has passed her Legal Practice Course exams with flying colours. - More...
Q&A - Does the law provide for IVF conceived children of same sex couples?

Q&A - Does the law provide for IVF conceived children of same sex couples?

Q: We are a same sex couple considering having a child using IVF Treatment. We want to bring the child up as a couple. Will the law automatically provide for the child on our death, or would we need to make a Will? - More...
It's new girls, girls, girls for expanding law firm!

It's new girls, girls, girls for expanding law firm!

A leading Wrexham law firm has announced the appointment of a new trainee Solicitor and two newly qualified Paralegals. - More...
Q&A - Intellectual Property Rights protection for invention

Q&A - Intellectual Property Rights protection for invention

Q: I have invented a unique disability aid and want to take my idea to the production stage. Obviously this will mean speaking to different manufacturers to get the best costing. How can I protect my idea? - More...
Solicitor misses his own party!

Solicitor misses his own party!

A dedicated Wrexham lawyer who sent out invitations to a celebratory party to mark his quarter century as a practicing Solicitor missed the event which was greatly enjoyed by his fellow partners and employees. - More...
Leading law firm announces Llangollen expansion plans

Leading law firm announces Llangollen expansion plans

Leading local law firm GHP Legal has announced the expansion of its Llangollen office as part of a planned improvement and development programme following its rebranding earlier this year. GHP Legal, which is one of the largest law firms in North Wales, was previously known as Gwilym Hughes & Partners. - More...
Q&A - How can I find and make contact with my young daughter?

Q&A - How can I find and make contact with my young daughter?

Q: I am anxious to re-kindle my relationship with my young daughter who lives with my former partner. The problem is that they’ve moved home and I don’t know where they have gone. What can I do? A: If you think your former partner is living in the UK, under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1986 the Court can Order any person whom it believes may have relevant information about the whereabouts of a child to disclose that information to the Court. That ‘person’ could be The Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs, the Local Health Board in the area where the child lives, or even a friend or relative of your former partner. - More...
Q&A - Ensuring overseas marriage is legal

Q&A - Ensuring overseas marriage is legal

Q: My fiancé and I want to get married abroad. Could this cause any problems later on, especially if the marriage didn’t work out and we got divorced? A: Marrying abroad would not prevent you from obtaining a divorce in England and Wales, provided you fulfil British residency or domicile requirements at the time of applying for the divorce. The same applies to foreign nationals married in their own country and wishing to divorce here. - More...
Q&A - Redundancy - Collective Consultation

Q&A - Redundancy - Collective Consultation

Q: My employers have made me redundant but I don’t think the way it has been done is fair. At the start of the process we were organised into groups and told to elect representatives. Over the next few days representatives from the Company talked to our elected representatives. Then following that process we were told we were redundant and given our pay-off figures. I have just had a meeting with HR which has confirmed everything I was told – but I have not had my individual redundancy scores and I have not had a chance to have my say about what other options there could be for my work and for me within the Company. - More...
Q&A - Is it possible to do my own conveyancing?

Q&A - Is it possible to do my own conveyancing?

Q: As the value of my property has fallen and I have got to sell up and move to London with my job, I have wondered about the merits of doing the conveyancing on my new property myself to save both money and time, especially as I will probably rent first and don’t fancy paying the prices of London solicitors. Is there any reason why I can’t do this? - More...
Law firm announces latest trainee success

Law firm announces latest trainee success

Leading regional law firm GHP Legal has announced its latest trainee success, the fourth this year. The firm, which recently rebranded and changed its name from Gwilym Hughes & Partners to reflect its enhanced profile and position in the marketplace, employs around a hundred people across North Wales and Shropshire. - More...
Q&A - How can we safeguard our child who has a learning disability after we die?

Q&A - How can we safeguard our child who has a learning disability after we die?

Q:  I am married and have two daughters and an 18 year-old son with Downs’ Syndrome. My present Will leaves my estate between my two daughters - but I am worried that they might not look after my son.  How can I safeguard his interests? - More...
Q&A - Can waitress tips be counted as part of minimum wage?

Q&A - Can waitress tips be counted as part of minimum wage?

Q:   Our daughter is working as a waitress in an up-market restaurant where the customers are generous with their tips. She is supposed to receive the tips with her wages but her pay packet never appears to reflect this. When she raised the matter her boss said some of the tips were used to make her pay up to the minimum wage. Is this legal? - More...
Q&A - Protecting a greater financial contribution to jointly purchased property

Q&A - Protecting a greater financial contribution to jointly purchased property

Q:  My fiancé and I are planning to marry this year and buy the house of our dreams. As I will be making a greater financial contribution and my fiancé has grown up children, how can I protect my interests?  - More...
Q&A - I cannot pay my debts. Will rolling them into one prevent legal action against me?

Q&A - I cannot pay my debts. Will rolling them into one prevent legal action against me?

Q:  I owe a considerable sum of money for credit cards, catalogues and unpaid bills. Since my hours were cut down after Christmas the debts have mounted up because I simply can’t pay them and I don’t know what to do. I have considered phoning one of the companies that advertise debt help on television. But do I need to get legal advice to prevent action being taken against me by creditors? - More...
Q&A - What names go on a birth certificate after donor IVF treatment?

Q&A - What names go on a birth certificate after donor IVF treatment?

Q:  I am a career woman in my forties. After many years of trying unsuccessfully to have a child with my partner I have just become pregnant as a result of IVF treatment using donor sperm. Whilst we are both delighted, my partner is anxious about not being able to have his name on the birth certificate. Is there any way around this? - More...
Q&A - Setting up a formal Residents Association

Q&A - Setting up a formal Residents Association

Q:   I live on a small residential estate which is wholly owned by the residents. Initially the site was managed by the developer, but when the last house was sold the developer told us we must form a Residents Association and manage the site ourselves, including collection of maintenance fees. We have set up a Committee, but none of us really know what we are doing or how to formalise things. What should we do, and do we need a lawyer? - More...
Q&A - What are the legal considerations of Rebranding?

Q&A - What are the legal considerations of Rebranding?

Q:  My colleagues and I want to rebrand our company. It has been registered under its current name for many years but is widely known as ‘CJP’, an abbreviation of that name, and we want to change it to this. Are there any legal considerations we should be aware of? - More...
Q&A - Can Energy Companies cut off supply if there is a billing dispute?

Q&A - Can Energy Companies cut off supply if there is a billing dispute?

Q. We have recently taken over premises and are in dispute with the Energy Supplier. We believe they are over-charging us and also charging us for energy consumed by the previous occupants.  They are now threatening to come to our premises and cut us off.  Can they do this?  Could they break into our premises and cut us off without further warning?  A. No, your Energy Company cannot cut you off unless you effectively consent to them doing so by allowing them into your premises specifically to cut you off. Under the Utilities Act 2000 a Supplier may not exercise any right to disconnect premises from their supply if there are any charges in dispute.  As you are clearly in dispute with your Supplier they should not even be threatening to cut off your supply. Your Supplier needs a warrant from the Court before they can cut you off. They would have to provide you with notice of their application to the Court and you would be entitled to attend the hearing.  However, the Court cannot order a warrant where there is a genuine dispute about the charges.  It is amazing how many Energy Suppliers do not know the law and the correct procedure and seem to think that they can act with impunity.  Sometimes it is a try on, but on other occasions they act out of ignorance. It is vitally important that you instruct Solicitors now, as very often an initial letter from Solicitors will be enough to make the Energy Company “back off”.  If the threat of disconnection is imminent, then an injunction may be obtained from the Court to prevent them from taking any steps to disconnect the supply.  An injunction can be obtained without notice to the Energy Company and within a matter of hours if necessary.  However, as always, time is of the essence insofar as instructing Solicitors is concerned. - More...
Q&A - Protecting older people from financial abuse

Q&A - Protecting older people from financial abuse

Q.   My disabled aunt has been financially abused by her close “friend” who holds an enduring power of attorney. When confronted the friend confessed and agreed to repay the money she had taken. My aunt does not want any fuss made about the situation but I think she should get the EPA revoked and make sure something else is in place to protect and look after her in the future. What would you suggest? - More...
Q&A - Beware offers to fast track injury compensation claims

Q&A - Beware offers to fast track injury compensation claims

Q.  My nephew was recently the victim of a road traffic accident. My sister has been told his case could be fast tracked for compensation settlement but I am concerned because the full extent of his injuries is still not known. Will that be taken into consideration if the claim is fast tracked? A. The expression “fast tracked” has been misunderstood here. If a case at Court is said to be in the “Fast Track” this usually means it is a straight forward case up to a certain value. New rules came into force on 6th April which increased the value limit of the fast track from £15,000 to £25,000. Whilst this may mean more cases will be reaching trial quicker - which will be a good thing – it is the claims that insurers try to settle quickly without even seeing a medical report that are worrying. This approach might suit claims management companies (who can quickly run such claims down their conveyor belts) or dishonest claimants, but those with injuries that might be long term and life changing may be under compensated. For example, in the past few weeks we have had in two offers for £1,500 each – we consider that each will be worth at least £1,000 more when the medical report is received, and one may be worth £5,000 more. A claim should be settled only when the medical evidence is finalised, not when the insurance company wishes to “buy off” the case. If the claim is dealt with by a solicitor from the outset, rather than through a claims management company, arrangements can often be made to fund expensive medical reports, such as may be required by the Court, in the interim. Further, if the insurers realise they are dealing with an experienced solicitor from a reputable law firm, a satisfactory conclusion can often be reached before it gets to that stage. Further information relating to this question is available from Robert Williams, a Partner with Gwilym Hughes & Partners. Robert is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Employment Lawyers Association. To speak to Robert, or to someone regarding another legal matter, please call GH&P on 01978 291456. - More...
Wrexham lawyer made Vice President of local Law Society

Wrexham lawyer made Vice President of local Law Society

Wrexham lawyer, Peter Butler, has taken office as Vice President Elect of the Chester and North Wales Incorporated Law Society after being involved with the Society for thirty years. - More...
Llanfyllin Spring Ball raises £5K for world famous gynaecologist

Llanfyllin Spring Ball raises £5K for world famous gynaecologist

A Spring Ball held in Llanfyllin last weekend raised more than £5000 to enable two local women to join a cycle ride across Jordan designed to boost funds and awareness for medical research that will improve the health of women and babies all over the world. - More...
Q&A - Are employment disciplinary and dismissal procedures changing?

Q&A - Are employment disciplinary and dismissal procedures changing?

Q: As an employer I have a problem with one of my staff who continually ignores his supervisor’s instructions. I am considering disciplinary action but I have heard the rules are changing.  Is this correct? - More...
Q&A - Can I prevent repossession?

Q&A - Can I prevent repossession?

Q: I have just received a court summons for repossession of my house.  I got behind with the mortgage when I was made redundant but started making my usual regular payments again within four months after getting another job. I wrote to the mortgage company, explained the situation and told them I hoped to be able to pay off the arrears by the end of the year. I didn’t hear anything back and then this summons arrived out of the blue. Could they repossess my house if I am unable to pay the arrears straight away? - More...
Q&A - How can I reduce my credit card balance?

Q&A - How can I reduce my credit card balance?

Q: I owe nearly £10,000 on a credit card. I took it out under a special offer and now can’t get the balance down. I have tried to apply for other cheaper credit cards but without success. I don’t think the interest rate I am paying is very fair and I don’t think the credit card company is treating me fairly either. Is there anything I can do? A:   If you are having difficulty getting a credit card with another company, or getting credit generally, it is well worth checking your credit file with one of the big providers such as Experian. The fee is only £2.50 and you will be - More...
Walking to improve lives for 5th time

Walking to improve lives for 5th time

The IT Manager of a leading local law firm is getting out his walking boots for the fifth year to raise funds for Derwen College, a specialist residential college just outside Oswestry. - More...
Tournament raises £430 for Comic Relief

Tournament raises £430 for Comic Relief

Local businesses raised £430 for Comic Relief on Friday evening after putting together teams for a charity football tournament. - More...
Q&A - Setting up a private mortgage

Q&A - Setting up a private mortgage

Q: My brother and his wife have just come back from South Africa where they have lived for sixteen years. Due to the current financial climate and the fact that they have no credit rating here in the UK, they are finding it impossible to get a mortgage. If I acted as their mortgagee how would I go about setting up the loan to make it legally watertight? A: Even though your brother is family you are absolutely right to want to formalise the arrangement, because you never know what might happen in the future.  Having clear terms laid out will avoid any misunderstandings and protect your interests in the event that anything untoward should happen.   The procedure is very straightforward and private mortgages are in fact becoming more commonplace because of the current shortage of commercial loans. It is however advisable for each of you to be represented by a Solicitor. - More...
Q&A - What are a grandparents rights?

Q&A - What are a grandparents rights?

Q: I looked after my grandson for the first three years of his life whilst my son and daughter-in-law ran a business. Two years ago my son died and my daughter-in-law is now married to a man who can’t father any children of his own. His parents adore my grandson but they resent me. As a result of this I have not been allowed to see my grandson for the past eight months. Do I have a legal right to see him? A: Unfortunately there is no presumption of contact between a grandparent and a grandchild, such as exists between an absent parent and a child. And if contact is denied the grandparent does not automatically have a right to apply to the Court for a contact order. If you haven’t done so already you should try to talk to your daughter-in-law and her new family and reassure them that you are not trying to drive any wedges between your grandson and them, but instead wish to maintain the contact which existed before – for the sake of your grandson. If you are unable to reach any acceptable access arrangement you could try mediation. In my experience this process often helps to reduce tension, anger and misunderstandings and it can open up communication channels. The process involves meetings with a third party to try and resolve the dispute. The final resort if all else fails is of course an application to the Court, but first you would need to seek permission of the Court to proceed with an application for contact. If the application is allowed and the matter is still not resolved the Court will then appoint a Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) Officer who will prepare a report to assist the Court in deciding whether or not contact should take place. - More...
Llanfyllin Spring Ball will help world famous gynaecologist

Llanfyllin Spring Ball will help world famous gynaecologist

A Llanfyllin woman and her friend have organised a Spring Ball at the town’s Theatre LLwyn to raise money so that they can join world renowned gynaecologist, Professor Robert Winston, for Cycle Jordan. This year’s cycle event will be the 9th women-only cycling challenge organised to provide funding for groundbreaking medical research work to improve the health of women and babies both in the UK and worldwide. - More...
Q&A - Care & education workers unfairly put on banned lists

Q&A - Care & education workers unfairly put on banned lists

Q: I work with people with challenging behaviour. I love the work but last year I was sacked after a lad in my care lashed out at me and unfortunately suffered a slight cut to his hand in the struggle. His family complained - my employer didn’t support me, but dismissed me. I’ve now got another job but it’s just come to light that I’m on a “banned” list - even though negligence or maltreatment was never proved. Now it seems I may lose this job too. What should I do? A: You need to clear your name and get it off the “banned” list. Until then you cannot work in this sector without both you and your employer risking prosecution. Under current legislation, if an employee is dismissed because they have harmed, or placed at risk of harm, a vulnerable person in their care, then their name must be included on a list held by the Secretary of State and they are banned from employment by any other care provider. Some local authorities also have their own list – and the rules for inclusion are often far from clear and subjective. In the last year I have acted for several clients in the care and education sectors who were put on the list of banned people for very limited reasons without the opportunity to defend themselves. In one case a college lecturer was on such a list for several years without even knowing it - due to resigning from a previous job because she was unable to cope with the stress of a complaint against her, and doing so before she had cleared her name! The House of Lords held in January this year that the banned list is however inconsistent with Article 6 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights, so from now on we will hopefully see a more fair system. This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with Gwilym Hughes & Partners. Robert is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. For further information about this or any other legal matter please contact GH&P on 01978 291456. - More...
Q&A - Interest entitlement on overdue payments

Q&A - Interest entitlement on overdue payments

Q: I run a small but very successful local business. Despite the economic downturn we have maintained a full order book but unfortunately we supply several large companies who have become increasingly late settling invoices. One in particular owes us a considerable sum going back to May last year. Are we entitled to charge interest on overdue accounts and if so how can we get these companies to pay it? A: All businesses, whatever their size, are entitled to claim statutory interest for late payments as well as reasonable costs for recovering the debt. In accordance with legislation the rate of interest should be based on the Bank of England base rate at six monthly stops plus eight per cent. The key issue is when the interest becomes applicable and it depends on the credit period that was agreed, either in writing or verbally, prior to the supply of goods or services. If part payment was required as a form of deposit in advance of delivery then that must be taken into consideration. If there was no agreed period then legislation sets the period at 30 days. You should inform the customer, in writing, that you are claiming interest on late payment under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002. Set out details of the amount owed, including the total interest accrued at the date of the letter, the continuing daily interest rate, the original invoice details, the full name and address to whom payment should be made and the preferred payment method, e.g. cheque, electronic transfer etc. It is crucial that you comply fully with the Act in order that you can prove you carried out the correct procedures if you should later be forced to further pursue your claim for interest through a Court. - More...
Q&A - Compensation claims for work related stress

Q&A - Compensation claims for work related stress

Q: My workload has increased massively since the company I work for closed down several offices last year. As a direct result of this I have been off work for two months with stress, but one of my colleagues overheard our line manager saying my illness was more likely to be caused by personal problems. This isn’t the case but what if the company tries to use my long-term absence as an excuse to get rid of me?   A:  All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe system of work - and this includes taking reasonable steps to ensure staff do not suffer stress related illnesses as a result of their work. If your employer has breached that duty then you could possibly bring a claim against them for causing injury due to negligence. Suffering from stress is not an injury in itself. You would have to prove that it amounted to active psychiatric harm and you would need to supply medical evidence to that effect. - More...
Q&A - Courts now have greater powers to enforce contact orders

Q&A - Courts now have greater powers to enforce contact orders

Q: My ex-wife and her new partner deliberately take my children out so that I can’t see them. I have a contact order entitling me to see them but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Should I take my ex-wife to Court? And what would happen if I did and she still blocked access? Obviously, for the sake of the children, I don’t want the situation to become any more unpleasant if I can avoid it. A: Only a small percentage of parents have to ask the Courts to resolve A dispute their over children, as matters can usually be resolved without going to such lengths. Until the end of last year judges were limited in what they could do to enforce contact orders, but now the law has changed to give them greater powers. New measures introduced in the Children and Adoption Act 2006 on 8 December 2008 mean that judges can order parents who breach contact orders to attend parenting classes, pay a fine or pay compensation where the estranged parent has lost money through for example the cancellation of a holiday. In extreme circumstances the defaulting parent may also be made to carry out unpaid community work. The procedure for applying to the Courts for enforcement is now also more straightforward. However, as it is still a potentially costly exercise and the circumstances of every situation differs, it would be best to seek specific legal advice about your other options before making such a decision. In respect of protecting the children from further unpleasantness, the new powers given to the Courts are designed to impact on the non-compliant parent and not on the children. This means the Courts are more likely to use the powers and the parent is more likely to comply with the contact order. - More...
Q&A - Splitting business assets on divorce

Q&A - Splitting business assets on divorce

Q: My husband and I are divorcing and I am moving away and our children are coming with me. The difficulty is that we are also business partners. Whilst I obviously want my share of the business assets I am concerned that in the current financial climate it will do neither of us any favours if I take my share now. How can we work around this and how can I protect my interests if I leave business matters as they are until the credit crunch is over? A: You haven’t mentioned the size of the business but even in the case of a large business where it would be possible to “ring fence” a fund, it mayd be hard for the business to survive were a large amount of cash to be taken out in one swoop. In fact the impact on cash flow could be so catastrophic as to make the business insolvent. If the business is going to continue you could make provision for your share of it (your capital account and current account) to be paid to you on an instalment basis - but the liquidity of the business is crucial and you may not be able to take out the value without putting its future in jeopardy - something your letter suggests you are hoping to avoid in order to keep things amicable for the sake of your children. You will need to get a valuation, but bear in mind that it is not the same as ready cash. It would be easy to value shares in a PLC as they are quoted shares, but it is less easy to value a partnership business or shares in a private limited company. In the current climate you could benefit from mediation to help you and your husband reach a sensible solution and hopefully maximise your share of the partnership business. - More...
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