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Sydney Mitchell, leading Midlands’ Law Firm, is pleased to announce the launch of its new Immigration Department.

Andre Minnaar and Melissa Southall Sydney Mitchell

Andre Minnaar, Senior Associate and Melissa Southall, Associate, have taken the reins of the newly formed Immigration department covering the whole of the Midlands and beyond; both join the firm from Cartwright King.

Andre and Melissa have wide ranging and far reaching skills dealing with the ever changing complexities of immigration law. With Brexit or No-Brexit on the horizon their skill sets will be of great help to those faced with the turmoil caused when facing human rights issues.

Andre is an expert in resolving complicated UK immigration, asylum and nationality problems of all kinds and is well known and respected for his in depth knowledge, guidance, support and thorough preparation whilst keeping his clients informed throughout the process. He is an experienced tribunal advocate, having successfully represented hundreds of appellants during his long career, often succeeding where others have failed.

Melissa is an experienced Solicitor and provides extensive personal immigration advice on spouse visas, applications for children, asylum and European applications. She has experience in all kinds of immigration and asylum work, and has a particular interest in applications involving the rights of children. She has worked with a number of Local Authorities over the years representing children in Local Authority care who have immigration problems.

Sydney Mitchell is recognised in the ‘Top Tier’ of the Legal 500 as a highly regarded practice and both Andre and Melissa have received outstanding comments from clients and contacts covered in the Legal 500.

Newly appointed Senior Partner, Karen Moores, welcomed the team, commenting:

Both Andre and Melissa are a great addition to the firm. As a firm we are always looking to help and develop the service we offer to our clients. As a divorce lawyer and Senior Partner of the firm, I see first-hand the complexities encountered in dealing with children and family matters where there are foreign jurisdictions involved. I am looking forward to working with them both.

Individuals, who are looking to work, live or just visit the UK from countries where they have been refused entry into the UK will be in safe hands with Andre and Melissa.

Andre comments that:

I am pleased to be joining such a well-established and respected legal firm in the Midlands.

I pride myself in delivering a friendly and excellent service where no stone is left unturned to ensure that not only I meet my client’s expectations, but exceed it. As an immigrant who went through the immigration process myself, I understand exactly what my clients are going through.

Melissa added:

I am passionate about helping those affected by strict immigration rules. Whatever stage our clients are at, we put our heart and soul into overcoming the hurdles that they face to ensure their applications are dealt with fairly and ultimately reach a favourable outcome.

Sydney Mitchell is a Midlands based award winning law firm, with offices in Birmingham City Centre, Sheldon and Shirley with additional facilities in Sutton Coldfield.

The firm has specialist teams that include employment, commercial property, company and commercial services, litigation and insolvency. Private client teams include family law, residential property, dispute resolution, immigration and wills and probate, tax and trusts and personal injury.

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

Fantastic news Sydney Mitchell has won Law Firm of the Year in the 5-15 partners' category in the Birmingham Law Society Awards 2018. A great achievement!  Thank you to all the partners and staff who made this achievement possible.

Winners Birmingham Law Society 2018 law firm of the year 5-15 partners categoryPartners Fahmida Ismail, Sarah Archer, Kam Majevadia, Tracy Creed, Dean Parnell and Mauro Vinti accepted the award on the night presented by Emma Jesson and the category sponsored by Tony Rollason (Landmark Information Group).

Fahmida Ismail commented:

What an excellent result, recognising the hard work contributed by every single person in the firm in making us exceptional and being recognised by the Birmingham Law Society as Law Firm of the Year.

We are all extremely proud to continue to serve our clients to the highest standard.  Birmingham has such a lot to offer businesses and individuals and Awards like this just continue to show that we have great quality firms and people here in Birmingham.

Sydney Mitchell specialist teams include employment, commercial property, company and commercial services, litigation and insolvency. Private client teams include family law, residential property, dispute resolution and wills and probate, contentious probate, tax and trusts and personal injury.

Sydney Mitchell previously won this award in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and it is a fantastic result that the firm has won the award in 2018.

Well done to all the winners in the Birmingham Law Society Awards 2018  - full list link attached

http://www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/2018winners

If you would like help on any legal matters, please call 0121 698 2200 or email enquiries@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

Winners Birmingham Law Society 2018 law firm of the year 5-15 partners category

For many victims of medical malpractice, exposing serious instances of negligence can be just as important as winning compensation. In a case on point, the High Court found that a doctor used excessive force during a baby boy’s forceps delivery and that his conduct fell far below the professional standard expected of him.

The boy was the first of twins to be born, but his sibling sadly only survived for about two weeks. In a double tragedy for the family, the boy suffered grave spinal damage during his delivery, leaving him paralysed in all four limbs. He needed a ventilator and a tracheostomy to survive and requires around-the-clock care.

After proceedings were launched on his behalf against the NHS, the Court found that the excessive traction used by the doctor was compounded by his misuse of the forceps after he misjudged the baby’s position in the womb. The force used was sufficient to cause severe bruising and the Court was highly critical of the NHS’s failure to admit liability, thereby putting the family through the trauma of a lengthy and vigorously contested trial.

Following the judge’s decision, a final settlement of his claim was negotiated. The NHS agreed to pay him a £5.1 million lump sum, plus index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of his care. Those payments will start at 763,500 euros a year, until he reaches the age of 19, thereafter rising to 789,000 euros a year for the rest of his life. The periodical payments were agreed in euros because the boy and his family are intending to move to a Eurozone country imminently. The Court approved the settlement.

If you think you have suffered as a result of clinical negligence, or wish to discuss medical treatment that you’ve received, then please get in touch with Adam Hodson on 0808 166 8827 or email a.hodson@sydneymitchell.co.uk

As you will have seen in the news, Danny Baker was sacked after tweeting a picture of two people holding hands with a small chimpanzee dressed in a suit with the caption “Royal baby leaves hospital” moments after Harry and Megan revealed their son. This just demonstrates the danger of social media and the impact that it can have, not only in relation to the subject matter of the post, but also on the employee who posted it and as well as the employer.
 
Social media is now used every day, both for business and pleasure. However when you mix the two, they do not always go hand in hand. Many people are too quick to respond to posts or post without fully thinking it through or considering how it could be perceived by others.
 
Whilst I am not suggesting that there is no such thing as free speech or the right to have your own opinion. For employers, there needs to be sensible guidance for employees to understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable conduct on social media. Many employees forget that what they post on social media can be seen by colleagues and customers, as well as the rest of the world. All it takes is one comment to lead to a complaint which can then lead to a potential dismissal. This may be even more prevalent where the employers name is listed on the employees social media account as their employer. This can also lead to the employer being bought into disrepute.
 
What can be learnt from this you ask? Well employers should have in place a social media policy that deals with what is and what is not acceptable conduct on social media. With a clear policy in place everybody knows where they stand and what is deemed acceptable or not. This will save embarrassment for both the employer and the employee, as well as reducing the risk to the employers reputation.
 
Well, I wonder if Danny Baker learnt anything from this?
 
For legal help or advice on employment law matters, contact Emma-Louise Hewitt, Associate, Sydney Mitchell LLP 0808 166 8827
 

Going abroad on holiday or to live is becoming a common occurrence for many children. Parents may be offered positions abroad, either for a specific time or with endless possibilities of a permanent move. Likewise, grandparents may have chosen to move to a warm climate with a more relaxed way of life and promises of frequent long holidays for their family.

Although these changes can be viewed with a mixture of excitement and fear, if both parents agree, then their children can explore new vistas.

However, if the parents are no longer residing together there are many issues which may arise that need to be addressed. Karen Moores, family law solicitor explains the legal implications of taking your children abroad if you are divorced or separated.

Taking a child on holiday

The necessity to obtain permission to take a child out of the UK is not commonly known. It often depends on what Children Act Orders have been made, if any, and applies whether it is a day trip to France, a fortnight to Florida or the whole of the school holidays with relatives in Pakistan.

Consideration should first of all be given as to who has parental responsibility. If both parents have parental responsibility and there are no Child Arrangements orders (residence orders) or other restrictions in place, then neither can take the child on holiday outside the United Kingdom without the written consent of the other parent or any other party with parental responsibility. If consent is refused, an application to the Court will need to be made for permission.

The situation is different where one parent has a Child Arrangements Order. A person with a Child Arrangements Order that provides for a child to live with them (Residence Order) can take a child abroad for up to a month without the written consent of the other parent. However, it is good parenting to endeavour to agree the arrangements in advance; if consent is unreasonably withheld then an application may be made to the Court.

If the mother alone has parental responsibility and there are no child arrangement orders concerning the child, permission is not strictly needed by her to take a child abroad on holiday. However, again it is responsible parenting to consult and reach agreement with the other parent. Of course this does not stop a father without parental responsibility applying for parental responsibility and then objecting to the temporary removal of the child.

In almost all cases it is best to agree holiday or similar arrangements in advance to avoid misunderstandings, problems with contact, accusations of abduction and other applications to the Court. In the normal course of events permission for a child to go abroad on holiday is invariably given by a Court. Often details are required stating where the child will be staying, giving the date of departure, return and details of flights along with contact telephone numbers. If however there are suspicions that the child will not be returned, especially if the child is going to a non Hague Convention Country, then security will be necessary.

If grandparents and other family members want to take a child abroad, permission will be needed from both parents with parental responsibility and not just from one parent.

All of these issues may be dealt with at the local Court, however, if the approved holiday requires consideration of the law and procedures in foreign countries, then a Judge of the High Court may deal with such applications as consideration will need to be given with regard to putting in place specific orders. This may include mirror orders, notarised agreements and significant sums of money placed in a bond to be released upon the child's return. There have also been cases where family members, not just the person taking the child abroad, have been required to enter into a solemn declaration guaranteeing the safe return of the child.

The Court would also look at the risk of non return along with the magnitude of the impact on the child of any non return. It is therefore evident from previous Judge's decisions that they take account of each individual circumstance, the age of the child and detailed protective steps if there is a significant fear of non return after a trip abroad.

For further information and questions on taking your child/children abroad, contact us today.

Concerns of abduction

It is not unusual, particularly in families with international connections, for either parent to be anxious that the child will not be returned. These doubts may arise prior to the child leaving on holiday or indeed where the parent and child are returned late after a contact visit or if it has been difficult to get in touch with the other parent at any stage. If there is an immediate risk, port alert will be required. If there is time to secure an application to the Court for an order prohibiting the removal of the child from the jurisdiction without notice being given to the other parent, this should be done quickly as it can be crucially important to prevent the child leaving the UK. Any delay in an application can result in the child being taken out of the jurisdiction and may then result in great difficulty in locating the child and securing their return.

Nevertheless, if it is known that the child has been taken to a Country within the European Union there are considerable resources and facilities in place to track and locate a child in the hope of securing a return before departure to the rest of the world.

Abduction is known as a failure to return a child after an agreed period abroad. As stated above there are protective steps which can be taken if there is a fear of a non return after a trip abroad and legal advice should always be sought promptly to address anxiety about any concerns of an abduction. Information such as names, addresses, photographs and descriptions of people and places where it is likely that the child could be taken should be gathered as soon as possible. Clearly, this evidence may only be available if there is a reason to suspect that the child is being taken to other family members or friends who reside abroad.

If you have any concerns about abduction and need some legal advice on the issue, contact our family team.

Relocating abroad

A parent needs the permission of the other parent or a Court Order to take a child permanently abroad. This is known as a relocation application or leave to remove.

In some cases it is appropriate to oppose the relocation application but in others it may be wise to consider putting energies into legal representation to ensuring very good future contact before the relocation proceeds. If there are well thought out plans, with good reasons given to the Court for relocation, they will generally allow relocation. This however, does not mean that a parent opposing relocation of their child should immediately give up.

When considering opposing relocation applications it is essential to consider all aspects of a child's life. The Court will hear evidence as to the child's educational progress, family and support network, activities that they are involved in along with the impact of losing contact with the wider family. Consideration will also be given by the Court as to what more could the one parent offer the child if they continue to reside in this jurisdiction. If the child is to remain in Europe where the country has signed up to the appropriate conventions, there will be certain protection and enforceability of orders for contact. Even if a child has been permitted to go abroad, certain safeguards can be put in place to ensure that good contact continues. This may include extended staying contact during the school holidays and consideration as to travel arrangements, the use of emails and web cams.

Enforcement is another important issue that is required to be looked at before a child leaves the jurisdiction as often if there is a breach of an agreement or an Order these may have no validity abroad and may therefore not be relied upon. Therefore notarised agreements, mirror orders, bonds, religious oaths and other safeguards to ensure compliance with arrangements should be considered. Contact Orders made in England may not automatically be recognised or may require separate Court procedures and all of this must be done before departure.

A mirror order is an order made in the courts of the country of relocation.  This is identical to the order made before the UK courts. Therefore the advantage for the left behind parent is that because the order becomes an order of the foreign state, local enforcement is available.

There are therefore many issues that have to be considered as far in advance as possible. Legal advice from a Solicitor, preferably who has experience in such matters, should be taken so that due consideration may be given to all the possibilities that may arise and precautionary measures put in place.

Many children go abroad on holiday to visit family and friends or indeed to emigrate and it is a positive experience for them. Ultimately wherever the children is residing, it is usually in the best interests of that child to have regular, quality and contact with both parents. If this is an issue that you require further assistance or advice on please contact us today.

Dean Parnell, Partner, at Sydney Mitchell asked a simple question on BBC QT that stumped Nigel Farage. 

Name me one country that operates solely under WTO rules and doesn’t  have a separate trade agreement with another country.

- Extract from Birmingham Live and BBCQT News... 

...Nigel Farage was schooled by a Birmingham lawyer in jaw-dropping scenes on Question Time last night.

The ex-Ukip leader couldn't bring himself to give a straight answer to the partner from a city law firm.

Mr Farage, now leading the Brexit Party, was left stumped over a question on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
 

He was asked by Dean Parnell, a partner of Sydney Mitchell, to name anywhere operating on WTO rules that did not have a trade agreement with another country.

Mr Farage, who backs leaving the EU on WTO rules, failed to state a country.

Instead, he argued that there were plenty of governments keen to sign trade deals with the UK.

Mr Farage was asked: "Nigel, you say: 'WTO rules, that's not a problem, that's the solution'.

"Name me one country within the WTO rules that doesn't have a trade agreement with another country."

He replied: "Of course, because WTO rules are the basis from which you begin."

He added that other nations would 'come running' when the UK is able to sign trade deals, after Brexit.

However, the audience member was unsatisfied with the MEP's response, saying: "Nigel, sorry.

"Just answer the question."

 
Mr Farage then tried again to avoid the question by telling the audience that the UK would be able to negotiate lots of trade deals with other countries.
 
Mr Parnell’s frustration was clearly visible and Mr Farage then blamed Liam Fox (the International Trade Secretary) for his failure.
 
But Mr Parnell had still not had Mr Farage’s answer to his original question and Question Time host Fiona Bruce eventually interjected.
 
She asked Mr Farage if he knew how many countries operated solely under WTO rules and astonishingly Mr Farage admitted he didn’t know the answer. 
 
Mr Parnell commented: “I find it so frustrating that Mr Farage and other politicians are able to say these things without being properly challenged. 
 
Source:
 
More coverage on this ...
Video link to BBCQT -
 

 

Most residential leases contain a standard covenant which requires tenants to give their landlords access to their homes for reasonable purposes, including repair and maintenance. As a matter of good manners, tenants are often asked to confirm that the date and time of such visits are convenient for them but, as a recent case showed, such politeness can have unforeseen legal consequences.

Pursuant to one such covenant, the landlord of a residential property twice wrote to the tenant, requiring access to the property on a particular date at a particular time. The tenant was invited to confirm that such access would be given at the appointed hour. The landlord took the view that his failure to respond to either letter amounted to a breach of the covenant and sought a declaration from the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) to that effect.

In ruling on the matter, the FTT noted that, for practical reasons and in order to foster good relations, landlords frequently communicate with tenants in order to ascertain whether the proposed date and time of a visit is convenient. However, such an approach was not a pre-condition for enforcement of the covenant, which required the tenant to allow the landlord access, for proper purposes, on 48 hours’ notice. There was no requirement that his permission be obtained.

In rejecting the landlord’s arguments, the FTT noted the tenants’ evidence that he had never refused to afford reasonable access to the landlord. The landlord had made no actual attempt to enter the property pursuant to either letter. The tenant’s lack of response to the letters did not amount to a refusal to afford access and he had thus not breached the covenant. The Upper Tribunal dismissed the landlord’s appeal against that decision, having detected no legal flaw in the FTT’s reasoning.

For advice on any aspect of landlord and tenant law and assistance in making sure that any lease you sign means what you think it means, contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email s.bilkhu@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

Many family trusts are of some antiquity and there is a tendency for their terms to lose touch with the modern world. However, a recent case concerning a noble family showed that judges have substantial powers to bring them up to date.

This case concerned the trusts arising from a settlement created by a duke in 1971. Several provisions of the settlement had become problematic due to changes both in the law and modern relationships which were not anticipated at the date of the settlement.

Proceedings were launched under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 seeking to enlarge the trustees’ administrative powers, widen the class of beneficiaries to include same-sex spouses and civil partners and to disapply the Settled Land Act 1925, the legislation under which the trusts had been established. The proposed variations were supported by all known beneficiaries of the trusts. However, the Court’s approval was required to protect the interests of beneficiaries whose identities had not been ascertained or who were yet to be born.

In upholding the Duke’s application, amongst other things, the Court noted that the variations would confer more flexible powers on the trustees to administer the trusts effectively for the benefit of current and future members of the family. The Court also agreed that the class of beneficiaries should be extended to embrace same-sex spouses and civil partners of the duke’s children and remoter issue and also to include the issue of civil partnerships and same–sex marriages. The duration of the settlement was extended so that substantial charges to Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax could be avoided or at least postponed. The Court approved the variation of the terms of the settlement to make clear that it is no longer to be governed by the Settled Land Act 1925. The approval of these variations is indicative of the Court’s recognition of the need to amend provisions which have become dated due to changes in legislation and social norms.

For help or advice on this topic or other Wills, Trusts or Probate related matters, please speak to Ravinder Sandhu on 0808 166 8870 r.sandhu@sydneymitchell.co.uk 

Sydney Mitchell, leading Midlands’ Law Firm, is pleased to announce Karen Moores as its Senior Partner from 1 May 2019, taking over from Div Singh who has stepped down after 11 years at the helm. 

Karen is the first female Senior Partner in the firm’s 256 year history.

Div Singh commented,

Karen is a well-respected family lawyer in the Midlands and has built up a great family team within the firm.  Karen has over 20 years' experience as a partner, and can be relied upon to deliver strong leadership.

Karen Moores, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell LLP, Solicitors Sydney Mitchell is recognised in the Legal 500 as a highly regarded practice and Karen is described as ‘tenacious’, ‘hard hitting’, but also known for her ‘compassion’ and ‘understanding’.

Karen said:

I feel very honoured and privileged to have been appointed Senior Partner of the firm.  I strongly believe that our commitment to our staff and our clients, going that extra mile, is our core strength.  I thank Div for his dedication to the firm and direction over the past 11 years.

We have seen many changes in the legal profession and as a firm have invested in our people and technology to provide the best tools for our staff and in turn provide the best service and efficiency for our clients. 

We are pleased with the growth the firm has seen over the past five years and will continue to invest in our people and put our clients’ interests at the heart of our business.

Indeed we have a new Immigration Team joining the firm in May, plus expansion of our corporate team and further developments within our conveyancing department. 

We are excited with our vision for the future and I am looking forward to the further growth of the firm.

Karen has been a Partner at Sydney Mitchell since 1998 and has been practising Family Law since 1992.

Sydney Mitchell is a Midlands based award winning law firm, with offices in Birmingham City Centre, Sheldon and Shirley with additional facilities in Sutton Coldfield.

The firm has specialist teams that include employment, commercial property, company and commercial services, litigation and insolvency. Private client teams include family law, residential property, dispute resolution, immigration and wills and probate, tax and trusts and personal injury.

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UK Top Tier Firm 2017 Lexcel Practice Management Standard Birmingham Law Firm of the Year for 2011 Resolution Collaborative Family Lawyer
The Law Society Accredited in Family Law Conveyancing Quality Scheme

 

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