Sydney MItchell Yorkshire 3 Peaks ChallengeOn the 6 July a team of four intrepid climbers from Sydney Mitchell Solicitors will take on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. 12 hours, 3 Peaks, 64 pairs of socks and an abundance of plasters, is in between them and victory.

They are taking on this gruelling challenge to raise funds for two worthy causes, Age UK Solihull and The Buddy Bag Foundation.

Age UK Solihull is a charity with a mission to improve the lives of older people within the Solihull Borough. Age UK Solihull provides many services including social clubs and befriending programmes to tackle feelings of isolation and loneliness many within the older generation are going through.

Please click on the following link to learn more: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/solihull/about-us/

The Buddy Bag Foundation provides comfort to children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home. Buddy bags help to restore a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time.

To learn more about The Buddy Bag Foundation click on the following link: https://buddybagfoundation.co.uk/our-mission/

To sponsor our “Peaky climbers” in their aim to raise money for these two charites please click on the link below and donate, all donations are welcome.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/PeakyClimbers-Sydneymitchell

Watch out for more information. Hour by hour coverage will be posted on the 6 July on our Facebook page @SydneyMitchellSolicitors

Sydney Mitchell is recognised in the Top Tier of the Legal 500 and is ‘very strong’ and ‘probably the best in central Birmingham outside the large National and International Firms’ for dispute resolution and commercial litigation matters.

Sydney Mitchell has again been recognised as a Tier 1 firm for its Contentious Wills and Probate work; with a ‘driven professional team’ led by Kamal Majevadia 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.

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

Div Singh, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented:



“What an excellent result again this year for Sydney Mitchell, with the firm maintaining its ranking in Tier 1 for our Contentious Probate work and in particular Kamal Majevadia being singled out as a ‘leading individual’”.



Many of our talented solicitors have been named throughout for their hard work with our ‘client care second to none’.



It is great to see new team members being recognised, David Lydon, Adam Hodson, Samantha Glynn, Hayley-Jo and Gemma especially have shone through this year. Our clients and referrers have made fantastic comments on the work we have undertaken including…



‘solid, well respected team’, ‘can-do attitude’ ‘an approach to client care that is second to none’, ‘caring straight-to-the-point’ and ‘manages expectations’.

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

Dean Parnell is recognised as “very experienced and sensible; ...calm and reassuring, firm but not aggressive and tactically astute negotiator who secures good deals for his client’ and  ‘…strong on shareholder disputes and claims relating to directors’.

Karen Moores, Head of the Family Team, is recognised for her ‘compassionate’ and ‘understanding’ manner.

Leading Midlands Law firm Sydney Mitchell is ranked in 13 Legal 500 categories and won Birmingham Law Firm of the Year 2018.

END

Legal 500 information links are included below:

West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘very strong’, and for some ‘probably the best in central Birmingham outside the large national and international firms’. The practice handles a range of matters, many of which with fraud elements, with clients ranging from international businesses, trade bodies, regional businesses and individual executives. Dean Parnell, whose expertise includes acting as a supervising solicitor for court-ordered searches, on top of being ‘very experienced and sensible: he is calm and reassuring, firm but not aggressive, and a tactically astute negotiator who secures good deals for his clients’, is ‘particularly strong on shareholder disputes and claims relating to directors’ – he represented a foreign company on recovery of losses from director-level frauds. Kamal Majevadia acted for an engineering company concerning unpaid invoices for engine components – he also handles cases concerning alleged fraud.

Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP ’s workload includes a number of matters acting for finance providers concerning lending secured on residential property, plus matters concerning social care fees, vehicle finance and unpaid invoices. Kam Majevadia  heads the practice, with solicitor Hayley-Jo Lockley  a name of note below partner level. Gemma Parker is a key legal executive. Clients include West Bromwich Commercial.

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP's Leanne Schneider-Rose  advised an insolvency practitioner on gaining access to and possession of a sports and leisure club, and handled several cases concerning the sales of care homes from administration. Section 216 cases and personal bankruptcy are also areas of expertise.

West Midlands: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP  is 'a solid, well respected team' that is 'a very popular locally' with 'a reputation that is growing nationally'. Dean Parnell  leads the team and is 'very popular with clients', and has 'a "can-do" attitude'.  He has a broad expertise in employment, and acts on behalf of employers and very senior employees. Also recommended is solicitor Samantha Glynn, who specialises in contentious issues.

West Midlands: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP  handle a range of clinical negligence claims, with 'an approach to client care that is second to none'. Mike Sutton  heads up the team and 'very well respected locally'. He is assisted by senior personal injury executive David Lydon, Adam Hodson  and  Stephen Jesson.

Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 4

Sydney Mitchell LLP is 'a small team that has built up considerable experience', whose 'approach to client care is second to none'. Mike Sutton  leads the team and is 'very well respected locally within the profession'. He specialises in handling road and work accidents, and recently represented a client who suffered from complex regional pain syndrome due to falling from a ladder. David Lydon recently joined the firm from Pearson Rowe Incorporating Springthorpes and has a similar focus on work and road accidents. He recently acted for an individual who required amputation to due to injuries suffered by his fingers while at work. Also recommended is solicitor Adam Hodson.

Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

Sydney Mitchell LLP 's litigation team is highly active in professional negligence cases, most notable against in the areas of legal services and construction. Sundeep Bilkhu is a key figure with extensive experience in negligence relating to property transactions.

West Midlands: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Sydney Mitchell LLP

The 'driven' and 'professional' Sydney Mitchell LLP is led by Kamal Majevadia who is a 'caring, straight-to-the-point person' who 'tells it like it is' and 'manages your expectations'. He is particularly known for disputes on estates with a cross-border or commercial aspect. Shirley-based Tracy Creed  is also a key figure, with notable strengths in probate, trusts and estate planning.

Family: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP

The 'excellent' Sydney Mitchell LLP  focuses on complex matrimonial disputes and childcare arrangements. Karen Moores is a key contact and is known for her 'compassionate' and 'understanding'  manner. Mauro Vinti is also recommended and advises on all aspects on relationship breakdowns.  

Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

The 'excellent' Sydney Mitchell LLP  is particularly strong in dealing with elderly client issues, with additional expertise in wills and estate planning, powers of attorney and administration work. Tracy Creed leads the team and has extensive experience in probate and trust matters.  Also recommended is Shirley based solicitor Nicholas Bennett , who focuses on will and probate issues, and solicitor Ravinder Sandhu, who is experienced in wills, trusts and probate issues.

West Midlands: Public sector

Health - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP focuses on GP mergers, disputes, leasing and tax issues. Fahmida Ismail leads the team and is heavily involved in property and finance matters pertaining to GPs and medical practices. Consultant solicitor Tony Harris is active on Primary Care Commissioning and extending existing GP premises. Consultant solicitor Dean Parnell works on commercial disputes and employment issues.

West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team handles a range of multimillion-pound deals. Consultant Georgina Walsh in Shirley handles work concerning purchases and sales of development sites... At partner level Div Singh , who is based in Birmingham, also handles buy-side deals, often involving title issues. Fahmida Ismail is also a key contact.

Property litigation - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, associate Sundeep Bilkhu handles a range of commercial property disputes, frequently acting for landlords. Highlights include representation of a landlord in a dispute over the unauthorised removal of a stud wall, which was initially thought to have caused £30,000 of damage but triggered a subsequent order from the local authority to demolish and replace the buildings. Other work concerns boundary restrictive covenant disputes and Party Wall Act matters. In Shirley, Kam Majevadia handles trespass to land matters concerning residential developments, including Court of Appeal cases.


Our lawyers are recommended in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2018 editorial (listed below)

WEST MIDLANDS

Dispute resolution - Commercial litigation - Birmingham

- Dean Parnell

- Kamal Majevadia

Dispute resolution - Debt recovery

- Kamal Majevadia

- Hayley-Jo Lockley

- Gemma Parker

Finance - Insolvency and corporate recovery

- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Human resources - Employment

- Dean Parnell

- Samantha Glynn

Insurance - Clinical negligence - claimant

- Mike Sutton

- David Lydon

- Adam Hodson

-Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Personal injury - claimant

- Mike Sutton

- David Lydon

- Adam Hodson

Insurance - Professional negligence

- Sundeep Bilkhu

Private client - Contentious trusts and probate

- Kamal Majevadia (leading individual)

- Tracy Creed

Private client - Family - Birmingham

- Karen Moores

- Mauro Vinti

Private client - Personal tax, trusts and probate

-Tracy Creed ~

- Nicholas Bennett

- Ravinder Sandhu

Public sector - Health

- Dean Parnell

- Fahmida Ismail

- Tony Harris (Deceased)

Real estate - Commercial property - Birmingham

- Georgina Walsh

- Div Singh

- Fahmida Ismail

Real estate - Property litigation

- Sundeep Bilkhu

- Kamal Majevadia

The government announced on Saturday 28 March a relaxation of the Insolvency Rules to assist struggling business during the coronavirus.

Such measures will include changes to assist companies undergoing rescue or restructure to continue trading giving them help to try and avoid insolvency; these changes will enable companies to continue buying supplies such as utilities and raw materials while attempting a rescue and there will be a temporary suspension of the wrongful trading provisions (so where directors should not normally continue to incur debt when they know or ought to know that the company is insolvent and incurring personal liability if they do so). This suspension of the wrongful trading provisions will have retrospective effect from the 1 March 2020 and will run for 3 months to provide company directors with some breathing space to allow them to keep trading without the threat of this personal liability.

It is hoped that this will provide businesses with much needed help to keep going during these unprecedented difficult times.

Should you require legal insolvency advice for your business or for you personally please contact Leanne Schneider-Rose on 0121 698 2200 or email l.schneider-rose@sydneymitchell.co.uk

 



 

In view of the restrictions announced by the Government many separated parents will be anxious during this time about whether children should visit both parents’ households.

The following link to the Government guidelines will help to provide some clarification; in particular please see the final sentence of the section headed ‘Staying at Home’.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others#fnref:1

During this difficult time it is important that parents communicate respectfully with one another and maintain a dialogue to ensure that practical arrangements for children can be made.

For help or guidance on this or other related family matters, please speak to one of our family team on 0808 166 8827.

The full rigour of formalities that must be gone through in order to solemnise a marriage have been upheld in a landmark case. The Court of Appeal found that a ceremony performed in a restaurant which was not registered as an authorised wedding venue was a 'non-marriage' with no legal effect whatsoever.

Early on in their long relationship, which yielded four children, a former couple went through a nikah – a form of Islamic marriage ceremony – in the restaurant. Due to the venue's lack of registration, they were aware that the ceremony did not create a valid marriage. They intended to make good that deficiency by going through a second, civil, marriage ceremony, but that was never done.

After the relationship ended, an issue arose as to whether the ceremony had created a marriage that was void, due to its failure to comply with the formal requirements of the Marriage Act 1949, or no marriage at all. The distinction was a critical one in that, if it were a non-marriage – as the man asserted – the woman would have no right to seek financial orders against him under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

In finding in the woman's favour that it was a void marriage, a family judge ruled that the 1949 Act should be read in the light of human rights legislation, which enshrines the right to respect for family life and the right to marry and found a family. He was particularly influenced by the position of the children of the family. The woman was granted a decree nisi of nullity, which opened the way for her to seek financial remedies against the man.

The former couple had settled their differences since the judge's decision but, given the general public importance of the issues raised and their relevance to other similar cases, the Court entertained an appeal against the ruling, brought by the Attorney General, and took the opportunity to clarify the law.

In allowing the appeal, the Court found that the restaurant event was a non-marriage in that the former couple had not thereby intended to marry under the provisions of the 1949 Act. The effect of the ceremony had to be determined as at the date it was performed and it thus made no difference that they had intended to proceed to a civil ceremony in due course. Their intention to marry at some future date provided no justification for changing the effect of the ceremony that in fact took place.

The Court emphasised the importance of couples knowing with certainty whether or not they are validly married. A ruling in the wife's favour would extend the law in a way that would fundamentally undermine the manner in which the status of marriage is created and the necessary degree of certainty that underpins the required formalities.

For advice on any issue relating to matrimonial or family law, contact Amanda Holland on 0808 166 8827 or email her on a.holland@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

When faced with the financial fallout of divorce, some people behave extremely badly – but judges know exactly how to deal with them. In one case, the High Court publicly condemned the shocking delinquency of a businessman who flatly refused to pay his estranged wife's maintenance and sought to bend her to his will.

The former couple, who had three children, enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle during an 11-year marriage, which was sadly blighted by the husband's serial infidelity and abuse of cocaine and alcohol. After their relationship foundered and it became clear that there would be no reconciliation, the husband – who came from an extremely rich family and had multifarious business interests – denounced the wife as a gold-digger and began to subject her to unremittingly punitive behaviour.

By engaging in a process of financial attrition, he had left his wife and children at risk of eviction from their home. The picture that emerged was one of insidious coercive control in which the wife was left in no doubt that she and the children would only receive the husband's support if she submitted to his will.

Pending finalisation of the divorce, the husband had been ordered to pay £45,700 a month in maintenance to the wife and children in order to cover their necessary outgoings. He had, however, refused to pay anything like that sum, instead making a unilateral decision to pay what he felt was reasonable.

Ruling on the wife's application for financial relief, the Court found that the husband's business affairs were currently in a state of flux and that he would need two years of breathing space in order to raise the funds required to achieve a clean break. He was, however, ordered to pay the wife an immediate lump sum of £647,732, together with child maintenance of £60,000 a year and school fees. At the end of the two-year period, he will be required to pay a further £5,181,000.

If you are divorcing, many issues can arise on which sound legal advice is essential. We can ensure you are expertly advised and represented. Please contact Teresa Mannion for expert advice on 0808 166 8860 or alternatively email her on t.mannion@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

A gender-neutral and non-discriminatory approach to divorce generally requires an equal division of marital assets – but it is not always that simple. In one big-money case, complexities arose in respect of the husband's inherited assets and his wish to preserve a thriving family business.

During the lengthy marriage, the husband, a self-confessed workaholic, graduated from being an HGV driver to becoming the majority shareholder in a highly successful plant hire company. The wife performed an administrative role in the business and devoted herself to the care of the three children of the family.

Many of the husband's shares were, however, inherited from his parents. He wished to carry on running the company but raised the spectre that financial liabilities arising from his divorce might force it into liquidation, with the loss of 130 jobs. A further difficulty arose because the couple's marital home had been in the husband's family for generations and remained an asset of his deceased father's estate. He and his two sisters were each entitled to inherit a one-third share in the property, in which the wife had no interest.

Ruling on the matter, a judge valued the husband's business interests at about £7.2 million and the total marital assets at over £9.5 million. In order to provide for the wife's housing needs and an income of £100,000 a year, she would require a capital sum of about £3 million. Having made an equal contribution to the marital wealth, however, the sharing principle applied, and she was entitled to more than that.

The judge awarded the wife a £4.3 million lump sum after finding that 45 per cent of the marital assets should go to her and 55 per cent to the husband. Given the part that the husband's inheritance played in the case, his retention of assets worth £5.2 million represented a fair outcome which reflected the length of the marriage.

The judge acknowledged that the husband would have to borrow in order to satisfy the wife's award, but was confident that he would use his considerable abilities to raise the money whilst maintaining the fortunes of his business. The husband was directed to pay the wife's award by instalments over a period of two years and three months. Payment of the final instalment would result in a clean break between them.

For help in dealing with the legal and financial consequences of relationship break-up, contact Karen Moores on 0808 166 5638 or email her on k.moores@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

Couples can sometimes be tempted to enter into property transactions together without taking legal advice, on the basis that the love and trust between them will last forever. However, a High Court ruling strikingly showed how misguided such assumptions can be.

During the course of a relationship that lasted more than 30 years and yielded three children, a five-bedroom house was purchased for over £1.5 million and placed in the woman's sole name. The unmarried couple's finances had become heavily intermingled whilst they were together, but they had never asked a lawyer to formalise their respective interests in the property.

Following the end of the relationship, the man claimed to have a beneficial interest in the property. The woman, however, insisted that it had been agreed between them that it would belong to her alone.

In ruling on the dispute, the Court found that the couple's purchase of the property was wholly commercially driven, with a view to its development and onward sale. The man had contributed £660,000 towards the acquisition and that money was neither a gift nor a loan to the woman. The house had been placed in her name alone because the man wished to preserve his ability to raise mortgage finance so that he could buy another property.

It was the couple's common intention throughout that the property was to be bought as part of an equal joint venture for their mutual benefit. They were thus each entitled to a 50 per cent stake in the property and three adjoining building plots which they had also acquired during their relationship.

Says Amanda Holland, "This dispute would not have arisen if the couple had taken the precaution of executing a simple agreement at the outset. For advice on any matter relating to property ownership or cohabitation, contact me on 0808 166 8827 or email me on a.holland@sydneymitchell.co.uk."

Following the little-reported passage of secondary legislation relating to the Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 through the House of Lords, opposite-sex couples in England and Wales are able to register civil partnerships from 31 December 2019.

A consultation is ongoing regarding the ability of opposite-sex couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriage, so for the time being this will remain possible for same-sex couples only, under provisions contained in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

For help and advice on family law matters please contact Teresa Mannion on 0808 166 8860 or email her on t.mannion@sydneymitchell.co.uk

It is hardly surprising that confidential or privileged documents which have or may have been illegitimately obtained cannot be used in evidence. However, as the High Court made clear in the context of a big money divorce case, that rule does not apply where such documents are likely to assist in exposing a fraudster's schemes.

A wife had obtained a record financial award against her husband. He had, however, failed to pay a penny and her legal team was engaged in an international struggle to enforce the debt. A former adviser to her husband had provided the wife with a USB stick containing documents concerning the husband's affairs. That prompted the wife's lawyers to seek the Court's guidance as to whether the documents could be retained and made use of in the enforcement proceedings.

Ruling on the case, the Court noted that the former adviser's employment contract with a company through which he dealt with the husband's affairs contained a widely drawn confidentiality clause. Many of the documents related to communications between the husband and his lawyers and they were therefore, on the face of it, absolutely privileged and thus inadmissible in evidence.

The Court, however, noted that it is a recognised exception to the rule that privilege does not extend to communications that are, whether lawyers know it or not, conducted with the intention of pursuing a fraudulent purpose. In finding that that exception applied, the Court noted that the husband had previously been found in contempt of court orders and to have engaged in an elaborate and dishonest campaign to evade enforcement of the wife's award.

A brief perusal of the documents revealed that they formed part of the husband's fraudulent scheme to defeat the wife's claim.

It was not a case where she had unlawfully accessed the husband's confidential material, or procured another to do so, in the hope of obtaining some improper advantage.

She had entrusted the documents to her lawyers, who had conducted a thorough review in order to weed out privileged material. In those circumstances, the Court found that it would be a disproportionate response to require the wife to destroy, or make no use of, documents which might assist in unravelling her husband's schemes.

For advice on dealing with any family law issue or the dissolution of a relationship, contact me k.moores@sydneymitchell.co.uk or a member of the family team at any of our offices.

 

Press coverage, featured in Birmingham Post Rich List, links below:

https://www.business-live.co.uk/enterprise/billionaires-rise-west-midlands-according-17612116 

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-post-rich-list-2020-17603440

 



 

 

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