West Midlands law firm, Sydney Mitchell has been short-listed in the medium size law firm of the year category at the Law Society Excellence Awards for the second year running. The medium law firm of the year category, which is open to all law firms in England & Wales with between 5 and 29 partners, is judged on matters such as professional excellence, staff engagement and development, business and client acquisitions.

Sydney Mitchell Shortlisted in Excellence Awards 2019

 

Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell LLP, Karen Moores commented,

We have had a fantastic year and it is wonderful that the Law Society has recognised our success by short-listing our firm in their national awards. It is also amazing to have been short-listed in these Awards for the second year running and I would like to thank all of our clients and staff for all of their support.

Sydney Mitchell is the only law firm based in the West Midlands within this category and so will be waving the flag for the West Midlands legal community at the Law Society Legal Excellent Awards ceremony which takes place in London on 23 October 2019.

The Law Society president Simon Davis said:

There are more than 140,000 solicitors in England and Wales – to be shortlisted for an Excellence Award is to be recognised as among the very best of the profession. The firms and solicitors shortlisted should be commended for going above and beyond to support their clients, often navigating tricky and sometimes contentious areas of the law.

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. Offering a range of specialist legal services for both businesses and individuals, Sydney Mitchell is listed in the Top Tier of the Legal 500, Lexcel accredited and won the Law Firm of the Year (5-15 partners) in the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards in 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2008.
 
The firm’s specialist teams include employment, commercial property, company and commercial services, litigation and insolvency. Private client teams include family law, immigration, residential property, dispute resolution and wills and probate, tax and trusts and personal injury.
 

Full details of all shortlisted ... https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/events/excellence-awards/shortlist/#

More details can be found on the Law Gazette article link ...

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/shortlist-announced-for-13th-law-society-excellence-awards/5071160.article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sydney Mitchell has again been recognised as a Tier 1 firm for its Contentious Wills and Probate work; with a ‘driven professional team’ led by Kamal Majevadia handling a variety of high-value complex cases.

In total the firm has obtained recommendations in 13 areas of legal practice; Contentious Probate, Commercial Litigation, Debt Recovery, Insolvency and Corporate Recovery, Employment, Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence, Family, Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate, Health, Commercial Property and Property Litigation.

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

Div Singh, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented:



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



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



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



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

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

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

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

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

END

Legal 500 information links are included below:

West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

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

Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

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

West Midlands: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

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

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

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

Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

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

West Midlands: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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

Family: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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

Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

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

West Midlands: Public sector

Health - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

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

Property litigation - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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


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

WEST MIDLANDS

Dispute resolution - Commercial litigation - Birmingham

- Dean Parnell

- Kamal Majevadia

Dispute resolution - Debt recovery

- Kamal Majevadia

- Hayley-Jo Lockley

- Gemma Parker

Finance - Insolvency and corporate recovery

- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Human resources - Employment

- Dean Parnell

- Samantha Glynn

Insurance - Clinical negligence - claimant

- Mike Sutton

- David Lydon

- Adam Hodson

-Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Personal injury - claimant

- Mike Sutton

- David Lydon

- Adam Hodson

Insurance - Professional negligence

- Sundeep Bilkhu

Private client - Contentious trusts and probate

- Kamal Majevadia (leading individual)

- Tracy Creed

Private client - Family - Birmingham

- Karen Moores

- Mauro Vinti

Private client - Personal tax, trusts and probate

-Tracy Creed ~

- Nicholas Bennett

- Ravinder Sandhu

Public sector - Health

- Dean Parnell

- Fahmida Ismail

- Tony Harris (Deceased)

Real estate - Commercial property - Birmingham

- Georgina Walsh

- Div Singh

- Fahmida Ismail

Real estate - Property litigation

- Sundeep Bilkhu

- Kamal Majevadia

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

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

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

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

 



 

Focus has been on the sales of toilet paper, hand sanitiser and self-isolation, but consideration had to be given to the overall affect that the virus was having on businesses themselves and the potential risks to businesses facing a downturn in work.

Clients had contracts cancelled/postponed during their usual busy period, which meant that they had to question what they do with all of their employees who were still expecting to come into work and be paid, when they had no work.  So whilst advice on issues such as self-isolation and dependant leave was vital, no-one had addressed the question as to what happens to employees if businesses have a downturn in work.  

Businesses will need to review their employment contracts to see whether they have clauses allowing them to either lay off employees or place their employees on short-time working during any downturn in business.

Laying off employees means that the employer provides employees with no work (and no pay) for a period while retaining them as employees and short-time working means providing employees with less work (and less pay) for a period while retaining them as employees. This is a temporary solution to the problem of no work or less work saving the employer money during an unexpected downturn in its business or unforeseen circumstances such coronavirus.  

If the employment contract contains an express clause permitting lay-off or short-time working, then the employer will be entitled to exercise this right.  However, if there is no such term in the employees’ contract and the employer does this, then this will constitute a breach of contract entitling the employee to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal or remain in employment and claim unlawful deduction from wages in the Employment Tribunal.

However to avoid this, the Government has put in place a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme under which, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those affected by lay off or even redundancy during this crisis.

To access the scheme, employers will need to designate those affected employees as “furloughed workers”, keep the employee on the payroll, but the employee will not be able to undertake any work for the employer whilst they are furloughed. This will enable the employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of the employees wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.  This scheme will be in place for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020, but it will be extended if necessary.

It is advisable that businesses should use this as an opportunity to review their policies, procedures and employment contracts to ensure that they are covered for the future.

Link here also to Government information pages

For help on this or other related Employment Law matter, please contact Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0808 166 8827 or email Emma at e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Sydney Mitchell is there for you, your families and your business

There are many challenges ahead for you, your families, our businesses and our people.

During the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Government is asking everyone to help and that means working and supporting you differently.

We are here for you when you need us.  Our lawyers are working sensibly at home or in the office when strictly necessary to maintain business as usual wherever possible.

Protecting you - We have taken the very difficult decision to suspend all face-to-face meetings with our clients at our offices. We are able to support you over the phone, by video conference if required.   We will continue to update our website with news and changes as they occur.

Thank you for your understanding in what is an unprecedented and constantly changing situation.

Contact us on your usual contact numbers at Sydney Mitchell or call 0808 166 8827 or by email: enquiries@sydneymitchell.co.uk

 

Coronavirus information Sydney Mitchell LLP - client and contact information

If you are a business owner, HR manager/professional or business adviser this interactive and helpful discussion is a must for you!

Work Related Stress – The Risk for Employers

Come along to join us for coffee and pastries where we will be looking at:

  • What the risks are to your business
  • How to protect your business
  • The right documentation to have in place

We will highlight the key risk areas and minimise the risk of claims against you and your business by giving you practical steps to follow when managing this tricky situation.

HR Update event 23 April 2020 at Crowne Plaza Hotel SolihullIt will be a jam packed morning covering:

  1. What is work-related stress and why is it such an important issue
  2. Employers obligations
  3. Employment documentation
  4. Health and safety issues of stress at work
  5. Potential claims including discrimination
  6. What employers can do to reduce stress in the workplace
  7. Managing stress-related sickness absence

Let Emma-Louise Hewitt, Head of Employment Law at Sydney Mitchell give you the opportunity to discuss the key problems that you are facing in your business.

We are sure you will find this event of interest. Book now to attend this FREE event. Please confirm your attendance by emailing Linda or Aniqa events@sydneymitchell.co.uk

We do hope you can join us

SHORTLISTED IN THREE CATEGORIES IN THE BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY AWARDS 2020

Birmingham Law Society Awards Shortlisted Sydney Mitchell LLPSydney Mitchell LLP, Top Tier Legal 500 Law Firm, has been short-listed for three Awards in the Birmingham Law Society Awards:

  • Sydney Mitchell for Law Firm of the Year (Regional Law Firm)
  • Karen Moores for Partner of the Year
  • Excellence in Client Service - Business Clients for the Dispute Resolution Team

 

 

Birmingham Law Society Awards Shortlisted Sydney Mitchell LLP

Senior Partner, Karen Moores commented: 

I am so proud that the firm has been shortlisted in the awards, together with our Dispute Resolution Team and myself as Partner of the Year.

We have seen great investment in the firm over the past 2 years and are proud to see the firm shortlisted in three categories in the 2020 Birmingham Law Society Awards.

It is fantastic that the firm, partners and staff have been recognised for the quality of work both individuals and teams provide for clients.  It truly reflects the high calibre and dedication staff give to the firm and its clients.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s specialist teams 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.

For more details about the awards - https://birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/legal-awards/the-shortlist-2020/

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.

COPY OF LIST FROM THE LAW SOCIETY WEBSITE…

THE BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY AWARDS 2020 SHORTLIST

The judges were very impressed with the calibre of nominees and the quality of work being done in Birmingham.

PARTNER OF THE YEAR

Martino Giaquinto – Mills & Reeve LLP

Kirsty McEwen – Higgs & Sons

Karen Moores – Sydney Mitchell LLP

Richard Morgan – Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Clive Read – VWV

Emma Rush – Irwin Mitchell LLP

EXCELLENCE IN CLIENT SERVICE - BUSINESS CLIENTS

Funding and Finance – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Real Estate Team – DLA Piper UK LLP

DWF International Arbitration and Litigation – DWF Law LLP

Family Team – Harrison Clark Rickerbys – Birmingham

Employment Team – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Dispute Resolution Team – Sydney Mitchell LLP

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (REGIONAL)

Enoch Evans LLP

QualitySolicitors Davisons

Sydney Mitchell LLP

The Wilkes Partnership

Other awards …

TRAINEE SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR

Anna Dearden – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Mischa Howell – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Demi Hughes – Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP

Jastinder Samra – Mills & Reeve LLP

Rachel Sutcliffe – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

PARALEGAL OF THE YEAR

Jess Allan – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Rebecca Kennedy – Pinsent Masons LLP

Isha Khatun – Shoosmiths LLP

Emily Morris – DWF Law LLP

Marie Newton – Irwin Mitchell LLP

BARRISTER OF THE YEAR

Esther Gamble – No5 Chambers

Jason Hadden – St Ives Chambers

Elizabeth Isaacs QC – St Ives Chambers

Vanessa Meachin – 3PB

Iqbal Mohammed – St Philips Chambers

EXCELLENCE IN CLIENT SERVICE - PRIVATE CLIENTS

Private Client Team – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Clinical Negligence – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Personal Advisory Division – Shoosmiths LLP

VWV Private Client team – VWV

Wills, Trusts, Estates & Court of Protection – Weightmans LLP

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (NATIONAL)

DWF Law LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Gateley Legal

Pinsent Masons LLP

Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP

BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY PRO BONO AWARD

Birmingham Legal Advice Clinic – Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, Bevan Brittan, Gowling WLG

The Litigation Programme – The University of Law

Emma Hardman – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Mischa Howell – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Nadine Mansell – Capsticks Solicitors LLP

APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR

Michelle Blackwell – Bevan Brittan LLP

Laura Brown – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Aimee Haden – Bevan Brittan LLP

Brogan Maxwell – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Beth Walters – Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR

Kishma Bolaji – Shoosmiths LLP

Christina Georgiou – Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP

Simon Grimshaw – Hogan Lovells International LLP

Alice Kinder – Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Samantha Miller – Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (SOLE PRACTITIONERS AND FIRMS UP TO 5 PARTNERS)

Adcocks Solicitors Limited

Averta Employment Lawyers

KJ Conroy & Co

TRP Solicitors

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Sydney Mitchell LLP

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.

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UK Top Tier Firm 2020 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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