Published Articles

Amanda Holland's picture

What is a common law wife/husband?

The simple answer – there is no such thing.  If you live together, but do not marry, you do not have the same legal rights towards one another, particularly if the relationship ends.  This can cause huge injustice.

Leanne Schneider-Rose's picture

Disputing a winding up petition debt based on VAT assessments

A winding up petition can be disputed where the Company disputes the underlying debt but the Company must show that the debt is disputed on substantial grounds and the dispute is real and not frivolous.

Louisa Jakeman's picture

HMRC announce tax purge on landlords

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are to launch a nationwide campaign to recover an estimated £2.5 billion in tax being evaded by private sector landlords.

Although the average tax per rented property is not significant, the total hole in the tax take is such that HMRC have decided, after successful local initiatives, to proceed with a national campaign.

Norman Rea's picture

Important changes to employment law and procedure effective April 2014 and beyond.

Important changes to employment law and practice are coming into force from April 2014.

These include financial penalties against Employers. The changes are important and will have a direct impact on employers.

I set out below the more important and relevant matters:

Auto-enrolment – Pensions

From the 1st April 2014 due to the on-going difficulties employers are experiencing with pension auto-enrolment the time period for enrolling eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme is to be extended from 1 month to 6 weeks.

Raj Bains's picture

Net value means current value not book value, rules court

When a family partnership broke up, the lack of precision in clauses of the partnership agreement led to an appearance in the Court of Appeal.

Two farmers took their 19-year-old son into partnership in 1997. In 2009, the son gave three months’ notice to terminate the partnership. The deed gave the remaining partners the right to buy out the retiring partner.

Louisa Jakeman's picture

Employee accomodation a business asset

A Chinese restaurant which provided a residential property for use as accommodation for employees as part of their contracts of employment has persuaded the First-tier Tribunal that the house was a business asset for the purposes of ‘taper relief’ for Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

Although taper relief has now been abolished, the concept of a business asset is important for claiming reliefs against CGT and Inheritance Tax, and for deductions from profits assessable to Income Tax and Corporation Tax.

Sydney Mitchell LLP wins Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards

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Birmingham Law Society Award Winners 2014!

Kamal Majevadia's picture

Guarantee voided by forged signature

The pitfalls of not getting documentation exactly right have become all too clear for a lender following a recent Court of Appeal hearing.

The case arose because the lender wished to rely on the guarantees given over a debt by a group of guarantors.

Unfortunately for the lender, the documentation contained a clause stating (in effect) that the guarantees were only valid if all four guarantors had signed the document.

Norman Rea's picture

Increase in Compensation Entitlement

Norman Rea, Employment Consultant at Sydney Mitchell highlights the changes with effect from the 6th April 2014 for certain Employment Tribunal awards and the increases expected.

The notable changes include:

Dean Parnell's picture

Knowledge of wrong neccessary for personal liability

Cases involving employees who take data from their employer and then use the information in a competitor business are quite common.

In a recent case, the court had to consider to what extent the employee’s liability was shared with his new employer and its director.

When it was discovered that the employee had made a copy of a database owned by his employer which he then used to develop business opportunities for the firm he subsequently joined, it was clear that his former employer would have the right to take action against him.

Julian Milan's picture

Businesses need to act now to avoid fines of up to £5000

Julian Milan, Solicitor at leading Midlands law firm, Sydney Mitchell warns businesses to be vigilant when new sales regulations come into force on 13 June.  It is essential that terms and conditions of sale contracts are changed to incorporate the changes.

All businesses that sell to consumers are advised to note the imminent changes coming into force of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013 with effect from 13 June 2014.

Julian Milan's picture

You stole my pigment - a warning about threats!

When a threat, even a veiled threat, is made to bring a claim against another company for infringing intellectual property rights, the result of the mere threat may be to cause damage to the threatened company. It may, for example, cease selling or making the item that allegedly infringes the patent and suffer commercial loss through inability to fulfil contracts or make sales as a result.

If the allegation is unjustified, the person making the threat can face a claim by the threatened party for the damages suffered for their commercial loss and legal costs.

Mike Sutton's picture

Pharmaceutical company fined after worker sprayed with toxic chemical

A pharmaceutical company has been fined £100,000 after a worker was left fighting for his life as a result of being sprayed with seven litres of bromine, a substance that is classified as potentially fatal if inhaled and can cause severe skin burns.

Amanda Holland's picture

All change for family law or is it?

When considering how financial assets should be divided on divorce, the court has a wide discretion taking into account factors such as, amongst others,  the length of the marriage, age of the parties, earning capacity, income and assets and the parties’ needs.  For many, this creates uncertainty.

Tracy Creed's picture

Preservation of Wealth

No one wants to have to think about what will happen if they are unable to care for themselves at the end of their lives.  Often it seems easier to solely consider the Wills and how an estate will pass after death, but with the thresholds for funding care privately much lower than those of Inheritance Tax, it falls to the individual to cover the costs.  

Sydney Mitchell shortlisted for two Birmingham Law Society Awards

Sydney Mitchell, leading Midlands’ law firm, has been short-listed for two awards in the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards for 2014.

The awards nominated are:

  • Sydney Mitchell for Law Firm of the Year (5-15 partner category)
  • Dean Parnell for Partner of the Year

Sydney Mitchell and Dean Parnell Birmingham Law Society Awards

Amanda Holland's picture

Court rejects claim for share when couple break up.

When a couple break up, the division of the assets they own is often problematic, whether they are married or not.

In a recent case, the Court of Appeal was asked to consider the appropriate division of assets when a couple broke up after being together on and off for more than a decade.

Amanda Holland's picture

Cohabitation and the Law - changes afoot.

At the end of October 2013, the Cohabitation Rights Bill 2013 started its progress through Parliament. The Private Member’s Bill aims to give long-term cohabitants rights more akin to those enjoyed by married couples and those in civil partnerships.

At present, a long-term cohabitant has no more legal rights relating to their partner than a person would if they were living with a friend.

Sydney Mitchell raises £5000 for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity

Sydney Mitchell LLP raises £10000 for charity

Sydney Mitchell pledged to raise £10,000 in 2013 for its nominated charities; the Maria Watt Foundation and the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Neonatal unit, Tiny Babies Appeal.  The firm chose to raise funds to mark its 250th year in business and to celebrate winning Law Firm of the Year in the 2013 Birmingham Law Society Legal awards.

Ravinder Sandhu's picture

Joint accounts and mental capacity

If you are concerned about the future mental capacity of a relative or any other person with whom you have a joint bank account, it makes sense to consider setting up the appropriate power(s) of attorney.

The British Bankers’ Association’s guidance for members advises them to freeze all joint accounts if one of the account signatories becomes mentally incapable.

Should this happen, the account will remain frozen until the bank concerned receives a valid power of attorney.

Mauro Vinti's picture

Husband who hid assets faces new settlement.

If you have negotiated a divorce settlement and then find out that your ex-spouse has been less than open when disclosing their personal finances, the court will reopen the matter if there is sufficient evidence to do so.

Leanne Schneider-Rose's picture

Corporate Insolvency and TUPE - Court of appeal gives guidance

In a case which raised new issues on the inter-relationship between insolvency rules and the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the Court of Appeal has dismissed the unfair dismissal claims of four employees who lost their jobs at Crystal Palace Football Club as it sank into administration (Crystal Palace FC Limited and Another v Kavanagh and Others).

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