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 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:

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:

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.

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.


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)

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

If you would like help on any legal matters, please call 0121 698 2200 or email or fill in our online enquiry form

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

Sydney Mitchell Peaky Climbers have completed their Yorkshire Three Peaks climbing challenge raising funds for our nominated charities Age UK Solihull and The Buddy Bag Foundation. This page was updated throughout the day with the progress of the team on route.  A few pictures below and videos showing their progress.   The funds raised so far with giftaid are £1857.50.  Link to sponsorship page...

What a fantastic achievement by all... completing the climb in their target time of 11hrs 45mins.

Sydney Mitchell Peaky Climbers 2nd peak on route to 3rd peak








Final peak Yorkshire 3 Peaks Sydney Mitchell Peaky Climbers














Video links

At the start...

2nd peak rising

Final Peak


Sydney Mitchell Charity Ball 22 November 2019

On Friday 22 November 2019, Sydney Mitchell will be holding its Charity Ball and Silent Auction in aid of the Buddy Bag Foundation and the Age UK Solihull charities at the National Conference Centre (also known as the National Motorcycle Museum).

It will be a great night of entertainment with live music, silent auction, 'fun' casino tables plus opportunities to win some fabulous prizes and a little fun entertainment with 'tops and tails'.

Everyone is welcome. Tickets are available individually at £60 plus VAT and also in tables of ten (£600 plus VAT) or twelve (£720 plus VAT) plus Eventbrite fees.

If you would like to donate a prize for the raffle, receive further information or to reserve your ticket for the event, please call Linda Heyworth or Aniqa Basharit on 0121 746 3300 for more information. (Cheques should be made payable to Sydney Mitchell LLP).



There are many hotels in the local area, however the National Conference Centre own two hotels locally. For anyone wishing to stay overnight The Manor Hotel and the Windmill Village Hotel have given a discounted rate for those attending the charity ball.  Please quote Sydney Mitchell Charity Ball when booking to ensure you gain your discount.

The hotels have limited availability for the 22nd November - offer for those attending the event:

  • Windmill Village Hotel  £95 single £105 Double
  • Manor Hotel  £129 single £139 Double

Prices include breakfast, service, VAT and carparking... early booking advised.
Please note credit card details will be required when booking to secure your room.


Read more about our charities...


A recent case (ICTS (UK) Limited v Visram) concerning the amount of long-term disability benefit payable to an employee, who was found to have been unfairly dismissed, illustrates the importance of making sure the terms of any employee contractual benefits are unambiguous.

Mr Visram worked for ICTS (UK) Limited as an international security co-ordinator. His contract of employment entitled him to long-term disability benefit (LTDB) under a disability plan, the terms of which were set out in a members' explanatory booklet.

The benefit provided that an employee who was entitled to LTDB, received two thirds of their salary until 'the earlier date of their return to work, death or retirement'. It was payable as long as they remained an employee of ICTS (UK) Limited. The company had an insurance policy covering its liability to pay LTDB, which was referred to in the booklet.

Mr Visram was on sick leave from 19 April 2013 due to work-related stress and depression and so became entitled to LTDB after 26 weeks' absence. On 14 August 2014, he was dismissed on grounds of medical capability and made a claim to the Employment Tribunal (ET) for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination which were upheld an ET.

As part of those proceedings a dispute arose as to when Mr Visram's entitlement to LTDB ceased. It was common ground that he would never be able to return to a job like the one he had before his sickness absence. The ET found that he was contractually entitled to such benefits until his return to his original job, death or retirement at age 68. In reaching its decision, the ET took account of the definition of a disabled member of the scheme as set out in the insurance policy, as well as the wording of the explanatory booklet. ICTS (UK) Limited disputed this interpretation of the contractual documentation, arguing that 'return to work' meant that Mr Visram's entitlement ceased when he was capable of returning to any full-time suitable work.

ICTS (UK) Limited appealed against the ET's decision and lost. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dismissed the company's argument that it was impermissible for the ET to rely on the terms of the insurance policy to construe the wording contained in the booklet when reaching its decision. In the EAT's view, the words 'return to work' clearly mean return to work for the same employer and to argue otherwise requires 'linguistic sophistry'. However, in a case such as this, where the exact meaning of the wording of the terms is open to challenge, there is no error in resorting to some other source for clarification. The ET did not, therefore, err in having recourse to the insurance policy to determine the issue.

Emma-Louise Hewitt says

It is advisable for employers to carry out a periodic review of employment contracts, staff handbooks and benefits to ensure that their terms are clear and up to date.

For help or advice on this or any other employment law matter, please contact Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0808 166 8860 or email:


When businesses or individuals fall victim to fraud, perpetrators often go to ground and do all in their power to keep hold of their ill-gotten gains. However, a case in which an accountant was accused of embezzling over £300,000 from a corporate client showed that judges are far from powerless in dealing with such behaviour.

The company’s lawyers issued proceedings against the accountant with a view to recovering the money. An emergency asset-freezing order had been obtained against him, but he flouted it by taking steps to hide or dissipate his assets, the extent of which he had refused to disclose.

A difficulty arose in the case in that the accountant had apparently, by his inactivity, caused the company to be struck off the register and dissolved. Having thus ceased to exist as a legal entity, it had lost the ability to litigate. The Court, however, solved that problem by joining a director and shareholder in the company as a party to the case, pending an application to restore the company to the register.

In confirming the asset-freezing order, the Court noted that the accountant’s current whereabouts were unknown. However, given that there was some evidence that he was in the UK, the Court ordered him to deliver up any and all passports which he owned, so as to prevent his departure from the jurisdiction. He was also ordered to pay £44,000 in legal costs.

For help or advice on this or other Banking, Finance or Dispute Resolution matter, please speak to Preena Lal on 0808 166 8827.


Making a will without professional advice is a positive invitation to dispute after you are gone. That was certainly so in the case of a vulnerable alcoholic who had a pint of beer in front of him when he signed will forms in a pub, leaving everything he owned to a taxi driver who had been kind to him.

By a previous will, the man had left his entire estate – valued at about £160,000 – to the partner with whom he lived and who had done much to help him. However, their relationship was not always easy and, about two months before his death, he made a new will. The taxi driver, who regularly ferried him around and with whom he had formed a friendship, was named as his sole beneficiary.

After the taxi driver applied for a grant of probate in respect of the later will, a judge rejected claims that it was a forgery or that he had brought undue influence to bear upon his benefactor. However, he found that the latter had at the time lacked the mental capacity required to make a valid will, and that it had also not been established that he knew and approved of the document’s contents.

The judge noted that two versions of the will had been completed in identical terms on forms which had been bought by the taxi driver on the Internet. Both had been signed in a pub and it was unlikely that the pint in front of the deceased was the first drink he had had that day. There was evidence that a stroke and his long-term excessive consumption of alcohol had rendered him vague, forgetful and confused.

The judge pronounced in favour of the previous will, with the result that the deceased’s partner will inherit the entirety of his estate. Even had the later will been valid, the judge found that the partner would have been entitled to inherit the benefactor’s main asset, his home. As a dependant and the civil partner of the deceased, he was due reasonable provision from the estate by virtue of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

For help on wills, trusts and probate speak to Charlotte Jones or a member of our private client team and for disputing or will or probate please speak to Kam or Hayley-Jo in our dispute resultoution/contentious probate team on 0808 166 8860

If you are British or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK you can apply to bring your partner to the UK by making an online application under the spouse/partner route.  If you are not married, or in a civil partnership, then you will need to have cohabited with your partner for a period of 2 years prior to the application.

The Home Office have recently tried to streamline the process, using a similar online application for both in-country and out of country applications.  The requirements remain the same as those introduced when the rules changed in July 2012 but now with the option to upload supporting documents electronically.

There are a number of requirements which each need to be met and supported by the requisite evidence. The rules require an Applicant to prove:

  • Their suitability   - So their immigration history is looked at as well as any criminal history and even if there is any debt owed to the Home Office.
  • Relationship - That they have met their partner, that they are not closely related outside of marriage and that they were both free to marry.

That they are in a genuine and subsisting marriage or civil partnership or have lived together for 2 years.

That they intend to live together with their spouse, civil partner or partner permanently.

  • Financial means - That the UK Sponsor earns a gross annual salary of £18,600 plus an additional £3,800 for a child applying at the same time and an additional £2,400 for each further child applying. Alternatively that the UK sponsor has sufficient savings. There are other ways of meeting the financial requirement and our legal team can discuss this with you if you have queries.

Some UK sponsors may be exempt from meeting the above financial threshold if in receipt of certain benefits, and instead will have to meet a financial level known as ‘adequate maintenance’ instead.

  • Adequate accommodation - That there is adequate accommodation for the couple to reside in, as defined by the Housing Act 1985.
  • English Language - Some nationalities are exempt if they are from a majority English speaking country, but otherwise the Applicant will need to prove they have a sufficient level of English.

Individuals from some countries are also required to provide a valid TB clearance certificate.

If an application is successful, an Applicant will be initially granted a 30 day visa, stamped in their passport, to enable them to travel into the UK. Once here, they have to collect their Residence Permit from a local Post Office which will be endorsed with a 30 month stay.  This gives them a right to live and work in the UK. Before the expiry of this visa the Applicant must apply to renew the leave showing all of the requirements are still met.

If an application is refused there is a right of appeal on the basis of a breach of human rights.

If you have any queries or are interested in applying for this type of visa, then please contact a member of our experienced Immigration team on 0808 166 8831.


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


Subscribe to Hot Topics