Investing in Property 2016 brings together three minds in the world of business and finance to talk about the options and opportunities surrounding commercial property investment.

Date: Thursday 30 June 2016
Event type: Joint seminar with Matiolli Woods, Sydney Mitchell and Together Money
Venue: Colmore Gate, 7th floor Colmore Gate, Birmingham, B3 2QD
Time: 11:30pm – 2:00pm
Cost: Free

Property Investment Seminar Sydney Mitchell Matiolli Woods Together Money


11:30amRegistration accompanied by tea and coffee

12:00pmBuying and selling commercial property: getting it right the first timeStewart Coles, Sydney Mitchell

Stewart will discuss certain important legal issues for investors to consider when buying or selling commercial property with some tips and advice on how to help the transaction proceed as smoothly as possible, and how to avoid certain pitfalls and problems that can arise. He will also discuss some recent changes in the law and their potential impact on commercial property investors, covering topics such as Stamp Duty, VAT, and Capital Allowances.

12:20pmTogether Money and finance solutionsMark Finucane, Together Money

Together is an alternative funding partner, or specialist lender, which simply means we are able to provide a broad range of loan options available to businesses and individuals beyond the traditional bank loan route.

Mark will introduce Together and its offering, giving a brief summary of the history of the business, which has been successfully delivering finance solutions for more than 40 years, and will provide some recent examples of deals in the property sector where Together has helped clients meet their financial goals.

12:40pmPrivate pension funds and commercial propertiesPaul Cliffe and Steve Eggleton, Consultants, Mattioli Woods plc

Utilising the investment flexibility afforded to self-managed pension arrangements can be an effective strategy to access funds in order to finance commercial property developments/acquisitions.

This section will provide an insight into how a private pension fund can assist with the purchase of commercial property, including the ability for the pension to borrow and how the purchase can be structured with additional investors. Moreover, Paul and Steve will provide a valuable update on the recent changes to pension legislation and talk through some real-life case studies to illustrate some of the property planning opportunities available.

1:00pmBuffet lunch and networking

Speaker profiles

Stewart Coles, Associate, Sydney Mitchell
Stewart deals with a wide range of commercial property transactions; including acquisitions and disposals, secured lending, and non-contentious Landlord and Tenant work. He has developed specialist expertise in dealing with property transactions involving pension schemes, and has acted for the majority of the leading SIPP providers. He regularly acts on behalf of SIPPs and SSASs on the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial premises, as well as dealing with transactions which are specific to pension schemes, including in specie transfers and in specie contributions.
0121 698 2200,

Mark Finucane ACIB, Regional Development Manager, Together Money
Having previously worked in commercial banking with a high street lender, Mark has a thorough understanding of the financial services industry. A keen property investor himself, he has over 20 years’ experience in the property finance sector. He is also a long-standing member of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, as well as a qualified business mentor. As a relationship manager for specialist lender Together, Mark is committed to developing partnerships with professional introducers across the Midlands.
07718 563 145,

Paul Cliffe, Wealth Management Consultant, Mattioli Woods
Paul Cliffe joined Mattioli Woods after graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Business Economics. His career began as an account manager handling the day-to-day administration of SIPP and SSAS schemes. As part of his development into consultancy, Paul assisted Chief Executive Ian Mattioli, with the management of his clients. After achieving Chartered Financial Planner status, Paul continued his professional qualifications to become a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. Paul became the first winner of the Insurance Institute of Leicester Young Achiever of the Year award and recently won national Newly Qualified Advisor of the Year. He is now applying his extensive knowledge and experience to benefit his existing clients and professional contacts throughout the UK.
07730 764 651,

Steve Eggleton, Wealth Management Consultant, Mattioli Woods
Steve joined Mattioli Woods in 1997 after graduating with a degree in Law and worked as an account manager initially before becoming a consultant with responsibility for a portfolio of SSAS and SIPP clients throughout the UK. In 2002, Steve left Mattioli Woods to establish his own pension consultancy business, where he continued to focus on the self-administered pensions market as well as advising on overseas pension transfers for expatriates and high-net-worth foreign nationals. This led him to return to Mattioli Woods in 2009, where he continues to develop his portfolio of clients.
07540 049 460,

If you would like to attend, please contact - Jordan Storey-Knott by telephone on 0116 240 8700.

Alternatively, you can click here to book online.

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 or fill in our online enquiry form.

When companies begin to deal with each other, whether it be for the supply of goods or because of a joint venture or merger between them, sensitive information and even commercially valuable intellectual property, will often be shown by one company to the other, or shared, during the contract process. 

Usually, the contract eventually signed, will deal with confidentiality. However, valuable information will also often pass between companies before they enter into a contract with each other. In such cases, it is vital that the companies enter into a confidentially agreement, or NDA, before any commercially valuable information is shared.

Imagine the following scenario.  Company A starts to talk to company B about supplying communications technology to company B, which company B would then sell to an overseas air force. Negotiations begin without any confidentiality agreement being signed. The communications technology is highly valuable intellectual property, which company A must keep away from its competitors, in order to remain competitive. 

But what if company B is taken over during pre-contract negotiations by one of company A’s competitors? Or, what if company A’s valuable commercial information is leaked by company B? Unfortunately, there is not a lot that company A can do, once the commercial information has been shared with the other company. 

Companies with valuable commercial information should always enter into a confidentiality agreement, before letting any other company have access to it.  It is not a complicated or lengthy document, and other companies do not usually have an issue signing one, especially if it is mutual, and both companies can benefit.

For further information, please contact Suzanna Patalong on 0121 698 2200 or or complete our online enquiry form.

Disagreements between neighbours can usually be resolved with a little legal advice and goodwill on both sides. However, in one case where that sadly did not happen, a homeowner was left facing a six-figure legal costs bill after an abortive attempt to make an elderly couple move their garden shed and raised flower bed.

The man claimed that the structures encroached on a right of way giving access to the rear of his property. A land conveyance dating back to 1923 stated that the right of way should be 16 feet in width and he launched proceedings on the basis that the shed and flower bed had reduced that to 10.5 feet, creating a bottleneck that could not be passed by larger vehicles.

In rejecting his claim, however, a judge noted that the shed had been in place for more than 30 years, and the flower bed for over 40 years, and that their presence pre-dated construction of his home. When he purchased the plot on which his property was built it could not have been envisaged that he would enjoy a right to drive vehicles over structures that were already in situ.

In dismissing his challenge to that ruling, the Court of Appeal noted that there was no reference to a width of 16 feet in the conveyance by which he acquired the building plot in 2007. By that date the shed and flower bed had already been in place for decades. The man was ordered to pay the legal costs of the case, estimated at about £140,000.

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.

Death and taxes are famously inevitable but the collection of revenue can sometimes be tinged with mercy. In one case, a carer who was coping with the loss of both her parents when her self-assessment tax return was due was excused from having to pay £1,300 in late submission penalties.

The self-employed therapist and counsellor had for several years looked after her mother, who had suffered a series of strokes, and her father, who had bowel cancer. The couple died within months of each other and, when she received a notice requiring her to file her tax return, she was in the midst of her bereavement and struggling to sort out their affairs whilst at the same time making a living.

In the circumstances, she missed the final date for filing her tax return by almost eight months and was issued with the penalties. HM Revenue and Customs refused to waive them on the basis that she had managed to run her business during her time of trial and it was her responsibility to deal with her tax affairs efficiently.

In upholding her appeal, however, the First-tier Tribunal found that she had a reasonable excuse for the delay in filing her return. Caring for her suffering and dying parents had taken up every minute of her time that was not devoted to her clients. Once she had managed to get her parents’ affairs in order, she had swiftly taken control of her own paperwork. The penalties were overturned.

For help and guidance on this or other private client matters contact Ravi Sandhu 0121 698 2200 or email,

Many people might think those who sleep on the job would not be entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) whilst their eyes are closed, but that is by no means always the case.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has given guidance on the issue in an important test case, particularly for the care sector.

The EAT was dealing with three appeals from Employment Tribunals concerning employees – two of them care workers – whose presence was required at night in order to respond to emergencies or otherwise perform their duties. The cases raised a common issue as to whether they were entitled to receive the NMW for the entirety of their shifts or only for those periods when they were awake.

In ruling on the matters, the EAT noted that a failure to pay the NMW when required can lead to penalties, and potentially criminal sanctions, against employers. The issue was of particular significance to the care sector, in which so-called ‘sleep-in’ shifts are common, and there was a pressing need for certainty in the law.

Recognising the difficulty of the issue, the EAT noted there is a clear dichotomy between those cases where an employee is working merely by being present at an employer’s premises, whether or not provided with sleeping accommodation, and those where an employee is provided with sleeping accommodation and is simply on-call.

There was no single key with which to unlock the issue as to whether the NMW was payable during hours spent asleep. The test was a multi-factorial one that required an assessment of relevant factors, including an employer’s purpose in engaging a particular worker, restrictions on a worker’s personal activities during hours spent on-call, the degree of responsibility undertaken and the immediacy of the requirement to provide services.

The EAT acknowledged that such an approach meant that no one factor could be treated as determinative and did not provide as much clarity as might be desired. However, there was no bright line test and each case was likely to turn on its own facts. One of the appeals, brought by a couple who worked as wardens of a caravan park, was allowed and that matter was remitted to a fresh Employment Tribunal for reconsideration. The other two appeals, each brought by an employer in the care sector, were dismissed.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email or fill in our online enquiry form

A recent case has highlighted that it is of little use to have some fantastic Terms & Conditions prepared for your business, if your sales team are not trained to ensure that your contracts with your customers and suppliers, are governed by your Terms & Conditions. 

If your customers and suppliers have their own Terms & Conditions, they will do their best to ensure that theirs apply to the contracts between you.  A 2015 case (Transformers and Rectifiers Ltd v Needs Ltd [2015] EWHC 269 (TCC)) showed that, if neither company has proper procedures in place, then it may be that neither company’s Terms & Conditions will apply.  If no Terms & Conditions apply to the contract for the sale of goods, the contract will be governed by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (SGA), which imposes some implied terms on such contracts.  A supplier’s Terms & Conditions will usually seek to vary the effect of these implied terms, and limit or exclude the supplier’s liability that could arise otherwise.

Standard Terms & Conditions should, of course, deal with a company’s liabilities, as well as setting out the terms that would apply to ordering, delivery, payment etc.  However, the company’s internal processes should also make sure that the Terms & Conditions are incorporated into its contracts.  This is a matter that will depend exclusively on how the company’s office employees work.  Where do the Terms & Conditions appear?  Do customers and suppliers actually see a copy of the Terms & Conditions?  How do employees reply to orders placed?  How do they respond to queries from customers and suppliers?  The answer to the problem of incorporation of your Terms & Conditions into your contracts could even be as simple as amending everyone’s signature block, so that all emails sent out refer to the company’s Terms & Conditions.

For a review of your current Terms & Conditions and order processes, or for further information, please contact Suzanna Patalong at Sydney Mitchell on 0121 698 2200 or or complete our online enquiry form.

In a decision that will be required reading for all professionals, the Court of Appeal has ruled that liability in respect of substandard services does not depend upon the existence of a contract, or even remuneration. The point was made in the case of an architect who helped friends to landscape their garden free of charge.

A couple wished to iron out steep slopes in the garden of their £5 million home and to install restful terraces, paths, lawns and flower beds. They were unhappy with a £150,000 quote from an established landscape gardener and the architect offered her services and employed builders to carry out the work at a lower price.

However, the project was alleged to have gone badly wrong and, after an exchange of acrimonious emails, the builders were ordered off the job. The work was eventually completed by the gardener whose quote had earlier been rejected and the couple blamed the architect for cost overruns and numerous alleged defects. They estimated the value of their claim at £265,000.

A judge found that the architect, despite having provided her services for free, had assumed responsibility for the work and had ultimately hoped to benefit from her involvement in such a prestigious project. Despite the absence of a contract, it was fair, just and reasonable to find that she owed the couple a duty of care.

In rejecting the architect’s challenge to that ruling, the Court of Appeal noted that her relationship with the couple was not merely informal or social and that the context was a professional one. She had voluntarily tendered skilled professional services in circumstances where she knew that the couple would rely upon her and it was foreseeable that any failure on her part would cause them economic loss. Her duty to employ reasonable care and skill extended to designing and project managing the garden transformation and controlling its cost.

For any further advice, please contact Kamal Majevadia 0121 746 3300 email, or fill in our online enquiry form.

Planning laws are complex and, before putting one brick upon another, it is always wise to seek professional advice. In one case that proved the point, a couple who almost doubled the size of their country cottage without planning permission were ordered to demolish the entire building.

The couple had knocked down a large part of the cottage and replaced it with a new house that had a floor area almost 70 per cent larger than the original and an internal volume nearly 100 per cent bigger. The property was in the Green Belt and the local authority’s response was to issue an enforcement notice requiring them to level the building to the ground.

The notice was later upheld by a government planning inspector on the basis that the works had gone beyond merely extending or enlarging the cottage and that the end result was a ‘new’ building that was fundamentally different from its predecessor. Although it did not have a harmful visual impact or interfere with any important views, it was, by definition, harmful to the openness of the Green Belt. The inspector’s ruling was subsequently upheld by the High Court.

In dismissing the couple’s challenge to the latter ruling, the Court of Appeal rejected arguments that the inspector had failed to adequately consider alternatives to the building's complete demolition. The inspector was entitled to find that it was an integrated whole and could not be split into acceptable and unacceptable parts. The house was an inappropriate development in the Green Belt and there were no very special circumstances that justified its retention.

Arnold & Anr v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Anr. Case Number: C1/2015/1647

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.

One of the unfortunate consequences of the prevalence of so called ‘crash for cash’ insurance frauds is that innocent motorists can come under suspicion. In one such case, a taxi driver was cleared of fraud by a judge and awarded more than £28,000 in compensation for his injuries and damage to his vehicle.

The man was at the wheel of his car when another car emerged from a side road and collided with him. He launched a claim against the other driver’s motor insurers but was met by an accusation of fraud. The insurers claimed that the accident had been staged and that both drivers had conspired together in a money-making scheme.

In rejecting those accusations, the judge found that a 999 phone call that the man had made from the scene of the accident had the ring of truth about it. His palpably honest evidence was consistent and convincing and the accident was genuine. The driver of the other car was also an honest witness and the judge was satisfied that neither man had any knowledge of the other before the accident.

The other driver had failed to see 'give way' lines at a junction in snowy conditions and was wholly responsible for the accident. In those circumstances, the man was entitled to full compensation and was awarded £28,070. The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal dismissed the insurers’ challenge to the judge’s decision.

For further information on this article, please contact Mike Sutton on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.


Lexcel Practice Management Standard Birmingham Law Firm of the Year for 2011 Resolution Collaborative Family Lawyer The Law Society Accredited in Family Law UK Legal 500 2016 Conveyancing Quality Scheme
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