Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News on 15th January 2015.
Q. I have a small manufacturing business in a mill and have been a tenant for more than 30 years. The mill has been bought by property developers, who have now told us that all tenants must leave by next May. Do I have any rights, or a right to compensation?
An employee who left his firm and joined a competitor was recently fined £300 – with more than £450 in costs and victim surcharge – by Bradford Magistrates' Court after he unlawfully took the details of more than 100 of the firm's contacts to his new employer.
Although a relatively minor case, it highlights the issues surrounding data security and problems that can arise when employees change jobs.
It is important for firms to have robust data protection procedures and policies in place. We can assist you in developing appropriate policies and contractual arrangements.
When cohabiting couples break up, failure to have legal rights clearly laid down can often lead to a dispute, as a recent case illustrates. It involved a claim by a woman for a share in the value of the house she had occupied with her partner for ten years.
Creditors who fiercely objected when a media company's administrators demanded almost £400,000 for their work have succeeded in reducing the bill by more than a third after convincing the High Court that the fees were excessive.
The administrators pointed out that their efforts had ultimately achieved a good result and that creditors had received a better return than originally expected following the company's insolvency. Arguments that they had exceeded their remit and carried out work which they were not authorised to do in large part failed.
Sydney Mitchell, leading Midlands’ law firm, has been short-listed for three awards in the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards for 2015.
The awards nominated are:
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News 6th January 2015.
Q. My brother died 12 months ago and left a will giving £5,000 to me and £5,000 to my youngest sister. But to the third sister he gave £140,000. Shortly before he died my brother drove me to her house, perhaps trying to make it right, but at the time I didn’t understand what they were getting at. Can we contest the will?
A senior publishing company employee will have to kick his heels for a year after the High Court held him to the strict notice provisions in his employment contract and banned him from immediately taking up a position with a trade competitor (Elsevier Limited v Munro).
When one company sought damages from another for introducing to it clients that eventually created losses, a crucial question for the court was whether the employee who had made the introductions was a director of the defendant company.
Had the employee been found to be a director, the claimant company would have pursued him personally for the losses it suffered.
The man had not been duly appointed as a director, but it was argued that he was a 'de facto' or 'shadow' director who was part of the overall system of governance of the company.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 30th December 2014.
Q. My uncle died three years ago without making a will. We are still waiting to hear from the solicitor dealing with his estate, who barely acknowledges our letters and ‘phone calls. What can we do to move things along?
Many people living in nursing home accommodation may have inappropriately paid for some or all of their care fees. The government imposed deadlines for lodging retrospective claims for reimbursement of care fees where a person should have been in receipt of Continuing Healthcare.
These deadlines now arise annually on the 31st March.
E.g. for periods of care from 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012, the deadline for submission of a claim was 31st March 2013.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 23rd December 2014.
One of the most frequently asked questions when instructing a lawyer is “what is it going to cost?” Changes to legal aid regulations means that legal aid for family matters is only available in exceptional cases. Generally that is where there has been domestic violence reported to a professional body, such as the police, within the last 2 years and in cases where there is a risk that a child is going to be abducted. People who have suffered domestic violence do not always report it and so have little proof.
St Valentine’s Day is a popular date for marriage proposals and so it may be a good point early in the year to consider the current position in relation to Pre-nuptial agreements. Following recent reports that pre-nuptial agreements are soon to be given legislative support, comes a case in which the current attitude of the courts towards pre-nuptial agreements has been made clearer.
It involved a wealthy couple who entered into a pre-nuptial agreement just before they married. The marriage proved short-lived, lasting around 15 months.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 16th December 2014.
Q. I’m planning to sell my house, and I am concerned that I will be expected to disclose any disputes I have had with neighbours to any prospective buyers. The dispute in question ended nearly two years ago. Do I need to provide details of a situation that is now over?
2015 is the year of significant legislative change particularly in the family care arena, below are some key changes which will come in to force this year.
SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE & FAMILY FRIENDLY MEASURES:
Midlands Top Tier Award Winning law firm Sydney Mitchell LLP highlights the need for specialist legal advice when dealing with continuing health care and the affordability to pay for care in later life.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 9th December 2014.
Q. My son was separated from his wife for ten years. Six months ago he died unexpectedly at the age of 42, at which point his wife threw everything into skips and sold the house for just £90,000. My son’s 14-year-old daughter from his first marriage was also turfed out and got nothing. How can this be right?
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 2nd December 2014.
Q. My father married a second time in 1998, and his wife died four years ago. He still lives in her house and he says she made a will leaving it to her daughter. The daughter is now talking about selling the house, saying my father, who is 86, could go into a home. Will he have to move out?
Signing any blank form is asking for trouble, as a partner in a business who did just that recently found out. Her carelessness resulted in her having to go to court to put right a claim from a leasing company after a 'deceitful and pushy' salesman had filled in an order for thousands of pounds worth of office equipment the business did not want.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News 25th November 2014.
Q. I worked for a firm for 15 years and was awarded a pay rise but a new managing director stopped the rise going through. I complained through the grievance procedure and the rise became conditional on me passing some exams. When I passed the exams I didn’t get the agreed increase so I resigned. Could this be classed as constructive dismissal?
A High Court case which dealt with a longstanding uncertainty on the validity of 'e-signatures' in certain types of agreements was decided recently.
The case involved a professional musician who used a very valuable viola as collateral for loans and also for an advance made by a pawnbroker.
The viola was eventually sold for £230,000 and the dispute arose because the proceeds of sale were claimed in part by two different claimants, both of whom had advanced sums of money based on the viola being the security for the loan.
Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 18th November 2014.
Q. A property developer would like to turn our unadopted street into access to and from his flats. The street is currently a dead end serving ten houses. The developer wants to knock a wall down at the far end of the street and turn it into two-way traffic. What are our rights in this?
The European Court of Justice in FOA (Kaltoft) v Billund held that obesity can be a disability although discrimination on the grounds of obesity is not of itself unlawful.
The Claimant Mr Kaltoft, a clinically-obese child-minder for a local council in Denmark was dismissed on the grounds of redundancy. He brought proceedings against his employer alleging his obesity was a factor.
Leading Midlands Law Firm Sydney Mitchell has presented two cheques for £2,750 to Diane Watt of the Maria Watt Foundation and Eileen Rock of the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity. The funds were raised by the firm over the last 12 months from its Annual Quiz, Charity Golf Day, and various other fundraising activities.
Karen Moores, Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented: