Sydney Mitchell is recognised in the Top Tier of the Legal 500 and ‘punches above its weight’ for contentious and non-contentious matters. The firm is recognised for thoroughness and good commercial approach to cases.

Sydney Mitchell has again been recognised as a Tier 1 firm for its Contentious Wills and Probate work; handling a variety of high-value complex cases.

In total the firm has obtained recommendations in 13 areas of legal practice; Contentious Probate, Commercial Litigation, Debt Recovery, Insolvency and Corporate Recovery, Employment, Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence, Family, Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate, Health, Commercial Property and Property Litigation.

The firm’s clients have made some excellent comments on the work undertaken by the legal teams.

Div Singh, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented:

We have an excellent result again this year with the firm maintaining its ranking in Tier 1 for our Contentious Probate work.

We were especially pleased for some of our young solicitors Hayley–Jo Lockley and Preena Lal who have been recognised for their hard work and dedication. Our clients and referrers have made fantastic comments on the work we have undertaken including…

‘One of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’;  ‘experienced and sensible with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals…; ‘superstar and a joy to work with’; ‘very tenacious …’ ‘attention to detail and thorough approach’.

What more can you ask for than recommendations from your clients for the excellent service received for work undertaken by our legal teams.

The joint heads of the Dispute Resolution team, Dean Parnell and Kamal Majevadia were recognised for their high-value and complex claims undertaken with Dean recognised for his “technical knowledge that is second to none and is a solicitor you would want on your side’ and Kamal ‘… is very thorough and applies a good commercial approach to his cases’.

Leading Midlands Law firm Sydney Mitchell is ranked in 13 Legal 500 categories and has won Birmingham Law Firm of the Year 4 times in the last 9 years.

A full breakdown of the Sydney Mitchell recommendations and comments on Legal 500 are shown below.

West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham

Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘one of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’, and thrives under the leadership of Dean Parnell, who is ‘very experienced and sensible, with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals for his clients’. Parnell is an experienced mediator and is also qualified to act as a supervising solicitor for search orders. The practice represented clients in a number of multimillion-pound claims and noted an increase in injunctive relief, SWAP claims, shareholder disputes and civil fraud. Kamal Majevadia, who co-heads the team with Parnell, has ‘good technical knowledge and is particularly good at insolvency, restructuring and financial professional negligence cases’.

Debt recovery

Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s ‘very efficient’ team has a ‘light touch’ and is led by Kamal Majevadia, who is ‘adept at spotting the wood for the trees and combines this with a user-friendly sense of humour for very experienced officeholders such as liquidators, who are his staple clients’. Majevadia’s recent caseload includes acting on behalf of the administrators of Blakemores in relation to the collection of several large debts from former clients. Another name to note is insolvency specialist Leanne Schneider-Rose, who leads on debt recovery matters for business lenders such as AIB Group (UK) and West Bromwich Commercial. The practice also acts for secondary lenders on mortgage repossessions.

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s practice offers ‘exceptional value for money’ and is also noted for its ability to ‘quickly grasp the instruction and work with the officeholder to implement (and refine as necessary) the strategy’. Practice head Leanne Schneider-Rose has a loyal following of lenders and insolvency practitioners, such as AIB Group and Smith & Williamson, and wins praise for her ‘attention to detail and thorough approach’. In one example, Schneider-Rose acted for a bankrupt in the Court of Appeal in a claim against receivers for breach of duty regarding a property owned by the bankrupt.

West Midlands: Human resources

Employment

Employment - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s diverse practice ‘punches above its weight’. The practice acts for employers and individuals in contentious and non-contentious matters, and Birmingham-based team head Dean Parnell attracts praise for his ability to ‘focus on solutions rather than conflict for the sake of it’. He represented an individual in a complex disability discrimination and victimisation claim against their employer, as well as a shareholder who was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following a health and safety audit. Jade Linton is ‘a superstar and a joy to work with’; she acted for an individual in sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010, which was complicated by the fact the claimant and respondent had previously been in a relationship. She also handled a whistleblowing claim brought by a high-ranked executive whose employment was terminated due to suspicions of fraudulent activity. Associate Tina Chander left the firm to join Wright Hassall LLP.

West Midlands: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant

Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘a small firm that really punches above its weight’, and clients rate it for ‘having the skills and knowledge to handle a vast array of negligence and personal injury matters’. Mike Sutton leads the clinical negligence practice; he ‘has an excellent manner with clients’ and his experience ‘allows him to focus on the key issues in the early stages of a case’. Sutton is representing the wife of a man who died of a pulmonary embolism following the hospital’s alleged failure to appropriately treat him during the post-operative recovery period. Stephen Jesson acted for a claimant seeking compensation in light of the alleged delay in diagnosis of cancer, and is acting in a group claim filed against a consultant urological surgeon for alleged improper treatment of prostate cancer.

Next generation lawyers

Stephen Jesson - Sydney Mitchell LLP

Personal injury: claimant

Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP acts for local clients on a wide range of personal injury work – much of which consists of multi-track claims – and ‘has a strong reputation in the West Midlands’. Team leader and ‘very tenacious lawyer’ Mike Sutton ‘does not shy away from difficult, complicated or messy cases’; he recently represented a man who suffered career-ending injuries following an accident at work, and acted on behalf of the family and financial dependents of a man killed by careless driving. Other key names include Stephen Jesson, who assisted an elderly client in her claim against a restaurant which allegedly failed to provide the duty owed by the manager to a disabled customer.

Professional negligence

Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP handles high-value and complex claims regarding property and banking issues for clients such as Hertford Solutions and West Bromwich Building Society. The ‘commercially astuteDean Parnell has ‘technical knowledge that is second to none and is a solicitor you would want on your side’. He leads the practice with Kamal Majevadia, who is singled out for insolvency, restructuring and financial cases. Assistant solicitor Sundeep Bilkhu supports the partners with regards to negligence claims against solicitors and construction professionals, and recently represented a professional client in a case against his governing body for allegedly failing to adequately represent him in court resulting in significant liability costs. The ‘hardworking and responsive’ Preena Lal is also recommended.

West Midlands: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate

Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s contentious trusts and probate team is based in Shirley and demonstrates ‘sound knowledge of the law, which it applies for the practical benefit of the client’. The team, led by Kamal Majevadia (who ‘is very thorough and applies a good commercial approach to his cases’) handled an Inheritance Act dispute in which a significant portion of the assets was held overseas. Solicitor Hayley-Jo Lockley supported the team in obtaining a grant of probate, forcing the removal of caveat and removing an individual from the deceased’s property, and led on the advice on the recovery of monies due to a client as per the deceased’s will. Tracy Creed is also a key contact.

Family: Birmingham
Family: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

 

Sydney Mitchell LLP

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, Karen Moores leads the firm’s family team alongside Mauro Vinti, who works out of the Shirley office. The partners are supported by legal executive Jayne Gregg, who is ‘very positive and firm with her advice’. Recently, the team represented clients in the Birmingham family court in connection with financial remedy and child arrangement proceedings. Solicitor Teresa Mannion joined the firm in Shirley from Alsters Kelley LLP...

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s clients find the wills, trusts and probate team, led by Tracy Creed, to be ‘extremely professional and efficient in all engagements and dealings’. The practice has substantial experience acting on behalf of vulnerable elderly clients in connection with care work and funding. Solicitor Ravinder Sandhu (whose ‘knowledge in this field is wide and deep’) recently assisted a client with the removal of an executor from an estate, and handled the administration of an estate according to a will, which was complicated by unclear paternity links and genealogical evidence. Clients also recommend ‘very good and helpful’ solicitor Nicholas Bennett, who is based in Shirley and acted for clients with regards to locating missing wills and applications for grants of probate.

West Midlands: Public sector

Health

Health - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmigham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s public-sector healthcare practice is headed by Fahmida Ismail in Birmingham, closely supported by consultant Tony Harris, who splits his time between Birmingham and Shirley and acted for a retiring senior partner with regards to the cancellation of his GMS contract and the negotiation of his retirement agreement. Areas of expertise include advising on sales, acquisition and mergers of GP practices, partnership disputes, and LIFT and non-LIFT projects. Harris and Ismail recently advised on the changes to partnership agreements in the context of retiring and incoming partners and the re-mortgaging of freehold surgery premises through a complex borrowing scheme requiring safeguarding and indemnity clauses to protect each individual partner. In another mandate, Ismail oversaw the retirement of a GP partner who wished to remain an owner of the leasehold premises. Associates Stewart Coles and Roy Colaba recently represented a GP partnership in connection with the lease of its surgery premises, while Dean Parnell handled a commercial dispute between dentists working in the same practice where the relationship had completely broken down but a fee-sharing agreement remained.

West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham

Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team includes the ‘knowledgeable, prompt and efficientStewart Coles, who has particular expertise in dealing with property transactions involving pension schemes, and regularly acts on behalf of SIPPs and SSASs on the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial premises. Coles also represents clients in the retail and hospitality sectors and in 2016 he advised investors on a number of hotel acquisitions. Head of practice Div Singh and finance specialist Fahmida Ismail are the other main contacts.

Property litigation

Property litigation - ranked: tier 6

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, senior solicitor Sundeep Bilkhu is a ‘good driving force’ for cases and continued to be particularly active in landlord and tenant issues for lenders and receivers: Bilkhu represented Hertford Solutions in enforcing a possession order against a tenant in occupation, and also acted for a receiver in obtaining vacant possession of a property following the borrower’s default of a legal charge. In other highlights, the team is defending Property Link Midlands in a claim alleging breach of a landlord repair covenant in a lease. Kamal Majevadia heads the practice.


 

21 lawyers are recommended in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 editorial (listed below)

WEST MIDLANDS

Dispute resolution - Commercial litigation - Birmingham
- Dean Parnell
- Kamal Majevadia

Dispute resolution - Debt recovery
- Kamal Majevadia
- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Finance - Insolvency and corporate recovery
- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Human resources - Employment
- Dean Parnell
- Jade Linton

Insurance - Clinical negligence - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Personal injury - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Professional negligence
- Dean Parnell
- Kamal Majevadia
- Preena Lal
- Sundeep Bilkhu

Private client - Contentious trusts and probate
- Hayley-Jo Lockley
- Kamal Majevadia
- Tracy Creed

Private client - Family - Elsewhere in the West Midlands
- Jayne Gregg
- Karen Moores
- Mauro Vinti
- Teresa Mannion

Private client - Personal tax, trusts and probate
- Nicholas Bennett
- Ravinder Sandhu
- Tracy Creed

Public sector - Health
- Dean Parnell
- Fahmida Ismail
- Roy Colaba
- Stewart Coles
- Tony Harris

Real estate - Commercial property - Birmingham
- Div Singh
- Fahmida Ismail
- Stewart Coles

Real estate - Property litigation
- Kamal Majevadia
- Sundeep Bilkhu

If important agreements are not enshrined in professionally drafted contracts, it can be an uphill task to prove that an accord was ever actually reached. That was certainly so in one case concerning the £200 million refinancing of a hotel group.

Over drinks in the bar of a luxury hotel owned by the group, its managing director had met with two representatives of a company that specialised in finding sources of finance. The chairman was alleged to have orally agreed during that meeting that the group would pay a 1 per cent success fee in the event of the company successfully introducing an appropriate lender.

The company claimed to have effected such an introduction that resulted in a £200 million loan facility being advanced to the group, and claimed a success fee of £2 million. It launched proceedings after the group refused to pay.

In dismissing the company’s claim, the High Court noted the inherent unlikelihood of such an important and high value contract having been made orally. The account of the conversation in the bar given by the company’s representatives was unreliable and there were no emails or other documentary evidence to support the existence of a finalised agreement. In the absence of such a contract, the company had established no right to the success fee claimed.

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email sundeep.bilkhu@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

Partners may already be aware of their individual liability regarding the partnership as a whole.  However, a recent High Court case has determined that, in law, a partner also has authority to bind the other partner to a loan agreement with their bank, even where the bank mandate specifies that the signature of both partners is required. 

Section 5 of the Partnership Act 1890 provides that every partner carrying on the usual business of the partnership, binds the firm and the other partners, unless such a partner does not, in fact, have authority in the particular matter, and the person with whom the partner is dealing, either knows he has no authority, or does not know or believe them to be a partner.  In the recent case, the court decided that, as the bank mandate was intended to be an additional protection for the bank, requiring the signature of each partner should not preclude the bank from the protection afforded by the Partnership Act.  As a result, the contract with the bank was held to bind the partnership, even if it had only been validly signed by one of the partners.

It may well be that any appeal of this decision will come to a different conclusion, on the basis that not only the bank, but also the partners, were afforded protection by the terms of the bank mandate, and should be able to rely on it.  However, it is also apparent, that partners should always obtain the protection of a carefully drafted Partnership Agreement, before embarking upon an enterprise as risky as partnership.

If you need any advice about partnership agreements, please contact Suzanna Patalong on 0121 698 2200 or s.patalong@sydneymitchell.co.uk.   

If you take appointments as a Receiver or make such appointments then this seminar will be of interest to you!

Speakers

Our Senior Partner Div Singh will be opening the Event introducing our speakers:

  • Leanne Schneider-Rose, Partner, Restructuring & Recoveries department
  • Sundeep Bilkhu, Solicitor, Property Litigation

Key Objectives

The objectives of this seminar include –

  • How to appoint a Receiver and how to ensure that you have been properly appointed
  • Steps to be taken following an appointment
  • Powers of a Receiver
  • Duties of a Receiver
  • Dealing with moveable assets and animals on or at the property
  • Issues with tenants

You are invited to join us after the seminar for a light buffet and refreshments and the opportunity to speak to the team and ask any questions.

This is a FREE event. Please book now to avoid disappointment as places fill up quickly.

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

Eventbrite booking link – to book on line

Believe it or not Performance Management is not a 30 minute appraisal once each year reports Jade Linton Associate Solicitor at Sydney Mitchell LLP. 

When used correctly Performance Management is an effective HR tool helping employees to do a job well and achieve the goal they were employed to do, help you run a thriving a profitable business.

A common mistake made by businesses is to ignore underlying issues which, if left unresolved, can turn in to huge litigious problems making matters difficult for the employee, difficult for staff and difficult for business. 

Jade Linton Employment Law Associate Sydney Mitchell LLP 0121 746 3300A forward thinking business will ensure its line managers are equipped and empowered to manage staff effectively and fairly.  People are often promoted to management because they have the technical skill required for business but technical prowess alone does not make a person capable of managing people.  

Capability is aimed at improvement not punishment and businesses should not use performance management as a tool to engineer problematic staff out of the business under the guise of poor performance.  Various cases reveal dismissing an employee for poor performance when performance was not the real reason for dismissal is likely to render the dismissal unfair. 

An effective performance management culture (and not just a policy on page 259 of the Handbook) should ensure the right people occupy the right roles and employees facing genuine difficulties are supported.  After all, a happy workforce is the driving force behind any profitable business and employers should be more concerned about ‘presenteeism’ than they are 'absenteeism'.

Jade added:

Get it right at the outset and save yourself the cost, distress and embarrassment of an expensive Tribunal claim.  Plan, discuss and work together with your key employees to make a day in the office a positive and profitable experience.

My HR Forums have helped many businesses share their views in a confidential and friendly arena aimed at identifying how practices can be improved to the benefit of all concerned. Find help before you need help!

Jade Linton can be contacted on 0121 746 3300 or email j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk

HR Forum - Sydney Mitchell LLP - Jade LintonJade runs a series of HR Forums aimed at HR Professionals and HR Managers - the next FREE event is on 28 September - with Guest sponsor is Stephen Gallacher – Gallacher Wealth Management

to be held at James's Place House, Blythe Valley Park, Solihull

You can book on this using this Eventbrite Link

 

If you take appointments as a Receiver or make such appointments then this seminar will be of interest to you!

Speakers - Sydney Mitchell Receivers' Event

Our Senior Partner Div Singh will be opening the Event introducing our speakers:

  • Leanne Schneider-Rose, Partner, Restructuring & Recoveries department

  • Sundeep Bilkhu, Solicitor, Property Litigation

Key Objectives

The objectives of this seminar include -

  • How to appoint a Receiver and how to ensure that you have been properly appointed

  • Steps to be taken following an appointment

  • Powers of a Receiver

  • Duties of a Receiver

  • Dealing with moveable assets and animals on or at the property

  • Issues with tenants

You are invited to join us after the seminar for a light buffet and refreshments and the opportunity to speak to the team and ask any questions.

This is a FREE event. Please book now to avoid disappointment as places fill up quickly.

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

SYDNEY MITCHELL LLP

click here to book ...

 

Estate planning really is essential, particularly if you own a company, and a failure to take professional advice can store up unforeseen trouble for your loved ones. The point could hardly have been more powerfully made than by one High Court case concerning a company that was plunged into crisis following its founder’s death.

The businessman owned all the shares in the company and was its sole director. His death had left the company entirely directionless, without directors or a company secretary to guide it. Its bank account had been frozen, leaving it unable to pay its staff or tax liabilities. In the circumstances, the executors of his estate launched emergency proceedings in order to save the business.

In upholding the executors’ application under Section 125 of the Companies Act 2006, the Court directed amendment of the register of companies so as to substitute the executors for the deceased as the holder of the latter’s shares. That in turn would enable them to pass a written resolution, appointing a director of the company who would be empowered to put it back on an even keel.

Such relief would normally have been granted only after the businessman’s will had been admitted to probate, but the Court recognised that the case was wholly exceptional. Given the company’s pending liabilities in respect of staff wages and a VAT demand, any delay could irreparably damage the business.

For further advice please contact Nicholas Bennett on 0121 746 3300, email n.bennett@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

 

Family partnerships can be highly effective vehicles for running businesses, but that depends on good relations being maintained. In one High Court case in which ties of blood were sadly not enough to prevent discord, a father and son engaged in a bitter dispute over ownership of a hotel and campsite.

The father ran the business in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law. After a breakdown in relations, they agreed that the partnership had been dissolved, that its affairs should be wound up by a receiver and that its assets and liabilities should be divided between them.

The father and son were, on paper, equal joint tenants of the property which formed the main asset of the partnership. However, the father argued that this did not reflect the true position and that he was the beneficial owner of 80 per cent of the property. He launched proceedings seeking a declaration to that effect.

Ruling against him, however, the Court compared his thoroughly unreliable evidence with the convincing testimony of his son. Even if the father had contributed more to the property’s purchase price, it had been agreed between them at the outset that they would hold it in equal shares. The son had entered into the transaction on the faith of that agreement.

For any further advice, please contact Kamal Majevadia 0121 746 3300 email, k.majevadia@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

Before accepting an employee’s resignation, it is crucially important to be certain that resignation is their true intention. In one case, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that a letter in which an employee asked her manager to ‘please accept one month’s notice’ was ambiguous and did not amount to a resignation.

The employee, who was employed by an NHS Trust, was not happy in the department in which she worked and had received a conditional offer of a transfer to another department.  Following an upsetting incident she handed the brief letter to her manager. The transfer offer was subsequently withdrawn in view of her record of sickness absence and her employment with the Trust was terminated after the manager purported to accept her resignation.

In upholding her unfair dismissal claim, the ET found that, taken in context, the letter was not a clear and unambiguous expression of a wish to resign her employment with the Trust. The probability was that the manager had not understood it as such and that the employee had only intended to give notice of her wish to leave the department. The amount of her compensation remains to be assessed.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

Loving couples often contribute together to the cost of buying a home. However, if legal advice is unwisely dispensed with, such arrangements are often not recorded on title deeds and, as one tribunal case showed, that can store up serious trouble for the future.

The case concerned a couple who, despite having been through an Islamic wedding ceremony, were not legally married because the necessary formalities had not been complied with. They had children together and moved into a flat which was later compulsorily purchased by a local authority. The proceeds of the forced sale were put into buying a new home which they occupied until the end of the relationship.

Both the flat and the new home had been registered in the woman’s sole name. However, the man claimed that £10,000 of the flat’s £11,500 purchase price had been provided by his family and that he had paid for renovation works. On that basis, he argued that he was entitled to a beneficial interest in the new home. In resisting his claim, however, the woman insisted that the money used to buy the flat came from her own resources, a dowry provided by her mother and loans received from her family.

In ruling on the dispute, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) noted that it largely came down to one person’s word against another’s in the absence of any documentary evidence to support either of their accounts. After the man’s uncle testified that he had given him £10,000 in cash towards the purchase of the property, the FTT found that the man had an interest in the new home to the extent of his contribution.

Please contact Adam Oleskow on 0121 746 3300, email a.oleskow@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

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