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

Appointing loved ones as executors of your will may seem the natural thing to do, but there are very good reasons why it is often wiser to appoint professionals. A case in point concerned two sisters who fell out bitterly after one of them arranged for their father’s burial in the back garden of his home.

The father left his estate equally to his daughters and appointed both of them as his executors. Following his death, aged 80, the older sister and her son arranged for his remains to be buried in his garden with due dignity. The younger sister objected that this had been done without consulting her and that her sibling had also refused to inform her of the exact location of the grave.

The unusual circumstances of the burial contributed to a deterioration in the sisters’ relationship. Although it was eventually agreed that their father should be exhumed and laid to rest in a churchyard beside his wife, the siblings continued to disagree as to how that should be achieved. They also failed to see eye-to-eye in respect of the administration of the estate and, in particular, the sale of their father’s home.

After the younger sister launched proceedings, the High Court found that her older sibling had misconducted herself in her role as executor. It was expedient and necessary to remove her from that office. Given the strength of bad feeling between the siblings, the Court also directed the younger sister’s removal and the siblings’ replacement as executors by two independent and experienced lawyers.

For help and advice on matters such as this please contact Samantha Hughes on 0808 166 8827 or email s.hughes@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Everyone has a story of a “bad divorce”.  It usually involves lots of legal costs, stress, court proceedings and hurt feelings. 

Is it possible to have a good divorce?  Here are some tips which may help:

  • - Choose a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution.  We abide by a code of practice which says we will do everything we can to ensure that you and your former spouse remain on good terms whilst at the same time providing you with specialist family advice.
  • - Unfortunately we still need to say why the marriage has broken down to start divorce proceedings.  Hopefully that will change with the campaign for a no fault divorce, but in the meantime if possible agree on the reasons why the marriage has broken down and avoid “fault”.  If you have been separated for 2 years and both agree, then you don’t need to set out lots of details of the other party’s bad behaviour or adultery – just say you have been separated for 2 years and you both agree.  If that is not an option, don’t set out pages and pages of bad behaviour and don’t name the other party if adultery is the reason the marriage is at an end.
  • - Start with the commitment to reach agreement on money and child arrangements.    Consider the collaborative process.  This is all about you and your lawyers working together in one room to try to sort out arrangements for money and children. 
  • - Put yourself in the shoes of your child.  How would you feel if you couldn’t see your Mother or Father?  How would you feel if your Mother or Father made nasty comments about each other to you?

Divorce is hard.  I am not convinced that you can have a “good” divorce, but I do think you can have a “better divorce”.

Please contact Amanda Holland a.holland@sydneymitchell.co.uk on 0808 166 8827 to discuss this or other related family law matter.

Merry Christmas from all at Syndey Mitchell LLP

One very good reason why you should sign an up-to-date and professionally drafted will is to ensure that your chosen beneficiaries are accurately identified. A High Court case on point concerned gifts to a cottage hospital that did not exist and to equally illusory maternity and children’s wards of another hospital.

The case concerned a couple who, by their wills, made various gifts to good causes, including the hospitals. There was no record of the cottage hospital named in the will ever having existed. The other hospital mentioned had become a specialist cardiac and cancer treatment centre and had neither a maternity nor a children’s ward. In those circumstances, the trustees of the will sought judicial guidance as to the correct destination of the gifts.

The Court found that the gift to the cottage hospital should go to an NHS trust that runs a community hospital which serves the same area. That was on the basis that the community hospital was the same as, or had subsumed the charitable functions of, the putative cottage hospital.

The gift to the other hospital was permissive, rather than mandatory, and could be read as conferring a discretion on the recipient. The gift thus did not fail due to the closure of the maternity and children’s wards and the NHS trust that ran that hospital was entitled to use it for its general charitable purposes.

In giving effect to the couple’s testamentary wishes, the Court also ruled that gifts of jewels and clothing that the woman had made to a close friend who had since died should go to the latter’s daughter. A gift to a parish church, which was not specifically named in the will, would go to the parochial church council of the parish within which the couple had lived for many years and were buried.

For help and advice please contact Samantha Hughes on 0808 166 8860 or email s.hughes@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Sydney Mitchell shortlisted for Medium Law Firm of the Year in the The Law Society Legal Awards

Sydney Mitchell are proud to announce that the firm has been shortlisted for Medium Law firm of the Year.  The awards will take place in London on 17th October.

The judges were extremely impressed with the quality of nominations this year. The success stories received featured a remarkable number of inspiring achievements demonstrating the outstanding skills, experience and determination that continues to drive our profession.

Sydney Mitchell are proud to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. 

We thank our staff for their hard work and excellent service levels that result in our nomination for such awards.

Well done to all for reaching the shortlist.  To put this into context there are 10,500 law firms in the UK so it is a real accolade to be shortlisted.

Good luck to all firms at the Awards in London on 17th October 2018.

 

Sydney Mitchell Charity Golf raises £2600 for charity - 3rd Place - Sydney Mitchell Fahmida Ismail TeamA glorious sunny but windy day saw our highly skilled golfers raise a fantastic £2600 for local Midlands’ charities. Ladbrook Park Golf Course was in excellent condition with Midway Care Group winning the competition.

Eastcote Wealth Management came in a very close 2nd place and Fahmida Ismail’s Sydney Mitchell team in 3rd place.  It was an exciting completion with Mulligans, Jokers and a yellow ball thrown in to keep players on their toes.

Freedom Technical won the Yellow Ball competition; the longest drive was won by Andy Chubb of Insol Group and the nearest to the pin winner was Richard Hales of Green Office Technologies.  Unfortunately no one won the £5000 Hole in One Prize on the 12th however Angela Harrison was the first to get on the green with an impressive drive.

Our two Midlands’ charities will benefit from the £2600 raised on the day; Age UK Solihull* and the Buddy Bags Foundation**.

Div Singh, Senior Partner at Sydney Mitchell commented:

All players showed their generosity in supporting the fundraising and a special thank you to Automated Systems Group who sponsored the 18th hole and to Ladbrook Golf Club for donating a four-ball for the raffle.  £935 was raised from the mulligans and raffles alone.  It is great to be able to raise much needed funds for Age UK Solihull and the Buddy Bag Foundation.

Lorraine Hart of Age UK Solihull commented:

We are really grateful to Sydney Mitchell for organising the Charity Golf Day and would like to thank everyone who supported this event and for selecting Age UK Solihull for their charity this year.  Everyone needs help in later life, and it is great to be able to give that much needed support to older people in the Solihull Borough.

Alison Bird of the Buddy Bag Foundation, added:

The Buddy Bag foundation was set up to help children fleeing violent situations, often having to leave home quickly, without the chance to collect basic items.  Often children arrive in emergency accommodation with just the clothes they are wearing.  Every penny raised by charity goes to creating the Buddy bags that are given to children affected by situations beyond their Control.  Each bag costs £25 and contains the basic toiletries, pyjamas, socks, underwear, book, picture frame and a small teddy bear to provide a little comfort for them.

We thank the generosity of the players and Sydney Mitchell for supporting our Charity.

*Age UK – Solihull provides help and support to older people in the borough of Solihull. The Vision of Age UK Solihull is of a world where older people flourish and our Mission is to improve the lives of all older people in the borough. Most of our services are provided free. All the money we raise stays in solihull to help pay for our services which include information and advice, companionship and practical help.  Find out more at www.ageuksolihull.org.uk.

**The Buddy Bag Foundation was created in response to the rising number of children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.  The Foundation helps restore a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time.  By providing these children with a few essential items, the charity can help make the transition into emergency care a little easier.  Over 48000 children require emergency accommodation each year in the UK.  Founder Karen Williams launched the Buddy Bag foundation in 2014 after being inspired by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Australia. www.buddybagfoundation.co.uk

Sydney Mitchell LLP is a Legal 500 Top Tier firm based in the Midlands with over 100 employees. The firm’s 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, tax and trusts and personal injury.

Pictures

Sydney Mitchell Charity Golf raises £2600 for charity - Winners Midway Care Group

Winners – Midway Care Limited; Matt Harrison, Lee Harris, Ian Brown and Angela Harrison with Div Singh, Sydney Mitchell and Kam Majevadia

Sydney Mitchell Charity Golf raises £2600 for charity - Eastcote Wealth Management 2nd place

2nd Place - Eastcote Wealth Management; Jonathan Hearn, Trevor Law, James Carty, John Ruddick with Div Singh, Sydney Mitchell and Kam Majevadia

Sydney Mitchell Charity Golf raises £2600 for charity - 3rd Place - Sydney Mitchell Fahmida Ismail Team

3rd Place – Sydney Mitchell; Fahmida Ismail, Aamer Janjua, Asif Din, Mohammed Shoiab with Div Singh, Sydney Mitchell and Kam Majevadia

Sydney Mitchell Golf Event Freedom Technical - Yellow Ball winners

Yellow Ball winners – Freedom Technical; Mark Reynolds, Baljit Singh, John McCormack, Narendra Patel

About Age UK Solihull

Age UK – Solihull provides help and support to older people in the borough of Solihull. The Vision of Age UK Solihull is of a world where older people flourish and our Mission is to improve the lives of all older people in the borough. Based at The Core, Central Library Building, Solihull, B91 3RG and in Chelmsley Wood Library. 0121 704 7840 info@ageuksolihull.org.uk Charity number 1055887

About the Buddy Bag Foundation

The Buddy Bag Foundation was created in response to the rising number of children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.  The Foundation helps restore a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time.  By providing these children with a few essential items, the charity can help make the transition into emergency care a little easier.  Over 48000 children require emergency accommodation each year in the UK.  Founder Karen Williams launched the Buddy Bag foundation in 2014 after being inspired by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Australia. hello@buddybagfoundation.co.uk

www.budybagfoundation.co.uk @buddybagsuk Charity No. 1164916

If people are injured by uninsured drivers on private land, are they entitled to compensation? In a landmark decision, the High Court has answered that question with a resounding yes.

The case concerned a pedestrian who was walking across a private field when he was struck and catastrophically injured by an uninsured 4x4 vehicle. The driver had proceeded from a public road onto a footpath, before ploughing through a barbed wire fence into the field and colliding with him. He suffered a broken neck and was left quadriplegic.

He launched proceedings against the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), an industry body which, by virtue of the Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999, compensates those who are injured by uninsured drivers. The MIB accepted that the driver was fully liable for the accident. However, it argued that it had no liability to compensate the pedestrian because the accident had neither been caused by, nor arisen from, the use of a vehicle on a road or other public place, within the meaning of Section 145 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

In ruling on the matter, the Court rejected arguments put forward by the man’s lawyers that the driver’s use of the vehicle on the public road, before he entered the field, was sufficient to meet the statutory test. Their plea that the Act should be interpreted in a manner that rendered the MIB liable also fell on fallow ground. Such an interpretation would go against the grain and thrust of the legislation.

The pedestrian, however, won the argument under European law. The Court found that Directive 2009/103/EC created a directly effective, precise and unconditional obligation on the UK government to ensure compulsory insurance of motor vehicles, including those used on private land. The Court also broke new legal ground in ruling that the MIB is an emanation of the state, and that the Directive is therefore enforceable against it.

The decision meant that the MIB was obliged to pay the pedestrian at least Euros 1 million in compensation, that being the minimum level of cover required, per victim, by the Directive in respect of personal injury. The Court would hear further argument as to whether the European principle of equivalence required that cover to be unlimited.

For help and advice contact Mike Sutton, m.sutton@sydneymitchell.co.uk on 0808 166 8827.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) represents a huge burden on many estates but, with the right professional advice, there are effective ways of reducing it. In one case on point, a High Court ruling had the effect of cutting potential IHT liabilities in respect of a wealthy widow’s estate by as much as £3.2 million.

The woman, aged in her 70s, suffered from early onset dementia and was agreed to be incapable of managing her own affairs. Her husband, a successful businessman, had left her very well off and her estate was estimated to be worth £18.65 million. If she died immediately, that would give rise to an IHT liability of about £6.2 million.

Her son and sole surviving child managed her affairs under an enduring power of attorney. After taking legal advice, and with a view to IHT mitigation, he applied to the Court to authorise a number of lifetime gifts from his mother’s assets, including £6 million to himself and substantial donations to various charities.

In authorising the gifts, the Court noted that they reflected the terms of the widow’s will in that the beneficiaries of both were the same. She had engaged in tax planning before she lost capacity and the evidence indicated that the gifts were consistent with her wishes, feelings, beliefs and values.

The gifts were amply affordable in that the widow would retain about £10 million in assets, more than enough to pay for her continuing care in a private nursing home. The effect of the gifts would be to reduce IHT liabilities on her estate to about £5.6 million, were she to die today, and about £3 million if she lived for another seven years.

For help and advice on matters such as this please contact Lucy Bluck on 0808 166 8860 or email l.bluck@sydneymitchell.co.uk

One of the most valuable reliefs from Inheritance Tax (IHT) is Business Property Relief (BPR), which allows the transfer of qualifying business property from the deceased's estate at a nil value for IHT purposes.

The rules on what constitutes business property are many and complex and the principal exclusion from availability for BPR is where a business is an investment business – or put precisely, where its activities 'consist wholly or mainly of dealing in securities, stocks or shares, land or buildings or making or holding investments'.

One big area of contention is that of furnished holiday lettings, which can qualify for favourable treatment with regard to other taxes. However, HM Revenue and Customs see holiday lettings as easy pickings for IHT purposes and will routinely claim that they are investments in land, rather than businesses per se.

By and large, HMRC have been successful with this argument, but not always. The key to the decision will lie in the level of services that are provided with the letting. In a recent case in which the guests were provided with several services, including a pool and sauna, the Upper Tribunal agreed that it was a business.

A number of similar cases are pending and it will be interesting to see just how close to operating as a hotel (albeit one with weekly lets) the business must be to qualify for BPR.

Watch this space.

For help and advice please contact Lucy Bluck, l.bluck@sydneymitchell.co.uk  on 0808 166 5638.

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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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