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

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

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

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

Div Singh, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented:


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

END

Legal 500 information links are included below:

West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

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

Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

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

West Midlands: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

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

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

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

Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

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

West Midlands: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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

Family: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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

Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

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

West Midlands: Public sector

Health - ranked: tier 3

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

West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

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

Property litigation - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP

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


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

WEST MIDLANDS
Dispute resolution - Commercial litigation - Birmingham
- Dean Parnell
- Kamal Majevadia

Dispute resolution - Debt recovery
- Kamal Majevadia
- Hayley-Jo Lockley
- Gemma Parker

Finance - Insolvency and corporate recovery
- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Human resources - Employment
- Dean Parnell
- Samantha Glynn

Insurance - Clinical negligence - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- David Lydon
- Adam Hodson
-Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Personal injury - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- David Lydon
- Adam Hodson

Insurance - Professional negligence
- Sundeep Bilkhu

Private client - Contentious trusts and probate
- Kamal Majevadia (leading individual)
- Tracy Creed

Private client - Family - Birmingham
- Karen Moores
- Mauro Vinti

Private client - Personal tax, trusts and probate
-Tracy Creed ~
- Nicholas Bennett
- Ravinder Sandhu

Public sector - Health
- Dean Parnell
- Fahmida Ismail
- Tony Harris (Deceased)

Real estate - Commercial property - Birmingham
- Georgina Walsh
- Div Singh
- Fahmida Ismail

Real estate - Property litigation
- Sundeep Bilkhu
- Kamal Majevadia

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

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

Fahmida Ismail commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Asda Stores Limited v Brierley, the question before the Court of Appeal was whether or not thousands of women who worked at Asda's retail stores could compare themselves with male members of staff who worked at the company's distribution depots for the purposes of their equal pay claim.

The depot workers, who unlike their retail colleagues had the benefit of established union representation and collective bargaining agreements, were paid a higher salary.

Where a person making an equal pay claim and their chosen comparator both work in the same establishment, a comparison can be made between them no matter what their respective terms of employment. Where the claimant and their chosen comparator work at different establishments, however, they will be treated as working at the same establishment if common terms of employment are observed.

The female retail staff argued that although they worked at different establishments, they performed work of equal value to depot-based workers and should receive the same hourly pay, contractual allowances and bonuses. Asda contended that the roles were not comparable because they were fundamentally different, having evolved separately over time. The physical environment of its depots was very different from that of its stores and the two categories of workers had profoundly different functions and skill sets.

An Employment Tribunal (“ET”) carried out a detailed analysis of the differences and similarities between the terms of employment of the two groups and found that the retail workers could compare themselves with the depot workers for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) subsequently rejected Asda's challenge to that ruling. It took a different approach, finding that there was an unconditional right to equal pay on those who carry out like work and on those who perform work of equal value. The fact that the retail and depot workers had their pay and conditions determined by a single source – the Executive Board was responsible for differences in pay and could, subject to the overarching control of Asda's parent company Wal-Mart, have corrected any pay inequality – was sufficient to permit a comparison to be made.

Asda's argument that there must also be a single establishment, collective agreement or statutory framework was rejected. The better view of the law was that the comparison could be made using the established hypothetical test which enables comparisons between workers who do not and never would work in the same location.

In dismissing Asda's challenge to that outcome, the Court of Appeal found that the ET had reached the correct result whilst disagreeing with aspects of its reasoning. In posing itself the question whether there were common terms and conditions generally between the retail and distribution workers, it had conducted wholly the wrong exercise. The issue for the ET to decide was whether broadly common terms applied to retail and distribution workers, regardless of where they worked. Given that no retail workers were in fact employed in depots, or distribution workers in stores, that question was necessarily hypothetical.

Detailed argument and evidence going into minute comparisons between the terms which applied to the two sets of workers were thus irrelevant and the preliminary issue could have been resolved on the straightforward basis that the chain's terms for retail and distribution workers both applied wherever they worked. The Court noted that it would be no credit to the law if the kind of elaborate and confusing exercise that the ET had been encouraged to undertake were required in order to establish whether the statutory comparison could be made.

Although the Court reached its decision without the need to refer to EU law, it too would have found that the pay terms of the claimants and their chosen comparators were determined by a single source.

This issue having been resolved, the next step is for an ET to determine whether or not the work of the retail staff is of equal value to that of their distribution colleagues and, if so, whether any difference in pay can be justified on objective grounds.

What is to be learnt from this? Well, all employers who have not already done so should carry out a gender pay audit in order to ensure that any unjustifiable inequalities between the pay of men and women are remedied so as to reduce the risk of equal pay claims in the future.

For help and advice on matters such as this, or any other employment law matter please contact Emma Hewitt on 0808 166 8860 or email e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Cornwall Street Barristers - Winners 2019 Sydney Mitchell Charity Quiz

Leading West Midlands’ law firm Sydney Mitchell celebrated their 11th successful quiz at The Studio in Birmingham, raising over £3000 for its nominated charities. 90 people took part in the action packed Quiz with Stoo Pittaway, of SpeedQuizzing as Guest Quizmaster. It was a fast and furious event with a few twists. Teams were able to buy chance cards, giving teams the opportunity to leap to first place, add or deduct 10-30 points during the competition.

The winner of the much coveted Sydney Mitchell Charity Quiz Trophy for 2019 was Cornwall Street Barristers ‘Cornwall St Quizzers’ who were fast and accurate on the buzzers in the last round despite Dains ‘the Forlorn Hope’ fleetingly jumping to first place after the chance cards had been applied.  Close on their heels in 2nd place was No. 5 Chambers ‘Hoof Hearted’ and in 3rd place Eastcote Wealth ‘11 Donald Trump’s IQ’.  Voted best team name waswon by Brewin Dolphin with ‘Don’t EU love me baby?’. 

Karen Moores, Sydney Mitchell Partner, commented:

We look forward to the quiz each year and it is great to see so many regular supporters coming year after year.  Overall we raised over £3000 from entry fees, raffle and the Chance Cards sold.  We thank everyone for their support and to Cornwall Street Barristers for the hamper raffle prize. It was great fun and raising money for two fantastic causes.

Angela Henry, Trustee of the Buddy Bag Foundation, thanked all for supporting the fundraising for their charity.

 Thank you to Sydney Mitchell for choosing us as their chosen charity. It is so great to be able to help youngsters flea perilous situations at home and the foundation would not be able to function without the generous support from our sponsors and fundraisers.

Rebecca Jacob, Digital Marketing and Fundraising Officer for Age UK Solihull, addressed all quizzers:

We are proud to be able to help our older and vulnerable residents in Solihull and Age UK Solihull would not be able to do this without the support of you all at events such as the Sydney Mitchell Charity quiz.

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 has been shortlisted for Regional Law Firm of the Year in 2019; having previously won the award in 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2008 (5-15 partners) in the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

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 from the event - Sydney Mitchell 11th Charity Quiz 2019
Winners, 2nd Place and 3rd Place plus voted Best Team Name:


Cornwall Street Barristers - Winners 2019 Sydney Mitchell Charity Quiz1st Prize - Cornwall St Barristers – Karen Moores, Partner presented Champagne to Winners
(Andrew Tucker, Karen Moores, Georgia Griffiths and Simon Bradshaw) (Cornwall Street Quizzers)

No 5 Chambers - 2nd place - Sydney Mitchell Charity Quiz 20192nd Prize -   No. 5 Chambers - Eamon Hurley-Flynn, Gemma Roberts, Peter Mottram and Karen Moores Sydney Mitchell LLP (Hoof Hearted)

Eastcote Wealth - 3rd Place - Sydney Mitchell charity quiz 20193rd Prize – Eastcote Wealth - Ben Brayshaw, Rob Kenyon, Alex Haynes, Karen Moores (Sydney Mitchell LLP) (Donald Trump’s IQ)

 

best Team Name winners - Brewin Dolphin - Sydney Mitchell charity Quiz 2019Brewin Dolphin – Paul Fielding, Paul Hepherd, Debbie Liburne and Paul Sargent -  Don’t EU love me baby?  Best Team name presented by Stoo Pittaway

Scores Sydney Mitchell Charity quiz 2019

About our charities
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. The Core, Central Library Building, Solihull, B91 3RG
0121 704 7840 info@ageuksolihull.org.uk  @ageuksolihull Charity number 1055887

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.buddybagfoundation.co.uk @buddybagsuk Charity No. 1164916

It is a sad fact that not everyone lives to a ripe old age and that is why even young people in good health should not delay in making a professionally drafted will. In a case on point, a father’s sudden early death before he made a will threatened to deprive his ex-wife and two children of their rightful inheritance.

During the course of his first marriage, the man and his wife had lived modestly and worked hard to bring up their children and to establish a thriving family company. When they separated and divorced, however, he was the company’s sole owner. After he remarried, the company was sold and the husband received a sum of almost £5.2 million, which was paid into his second wife’s bank account.

Following the divorce, the man had maintained a good relationship with his first wife and their children. He promised that he would pay for them to be housed comfortably and that he would cover the costs of the children’s private education. However, he had done neither of those things before he died, prematurely and intestate.

In those circumstances, lawyers representing his first wife and children launched proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 with a view to obtaining reasonable provision from his estate. A declaration was also sought that the proceeds of the company’s sale fell into his estate.

The man’s second wife, however, contested the case on the basis that the millions he paid into her account were a non-returnable gift. It was also submitted that, as an American citizen, the man was not domiciled in the UK and that the Act therefore had no application to the case.

Following negotiations, however, a settlement was reached whereby the first wife would receive money and property worth a total of about £1 million. A further £950,000 would be divided between the two children. In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that it properly reflected litigation risks and avoided the trauma of what would otherwise have been a hotly contested trial.

For help and advice please contact Shelley Collingbourne or Lucy Bluck on 0808 166 5638 or email them on SL.Collingbourne@SydneyMitchell.co.uk / l.bluck@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Lucy Bluck explains more about what happens when you do not have a will.

What happens when you do not have a will? Lucy Bluck Solicitor Sydney Mitchell explans

Engaging solicitors to both draft your will and store it safely until it is needed really is the only sensible course to take. In a case where such wisdom did not prevail, the High Court had to decide whether a missing will had been deliberately destroyed, mislaid or dishonestly removed.

After a homeowner’s death, the original of a will by which he had left his estate to his partner could not be traced. The only evidence that such a document existed was a copy of a self-drafted will, completed on a shop-bought form, that the man had sent to his partner’s mother. In those circumstances, the man’s brother – who stood to inherit his estate if he had died intestate – argued that there was a presumption in law that he had deliberately destroyed the will with the intention of revoking it.

In ruling on the matter, the Court rejected the partner’s claim that the brother had fraudulently suppressed the will by removing it from the man’s home following his death. The brother had both an opportunity and a motive to take the will, but there was no positive evidence that he had done so and suspicion was not enough.

The partner had cared for the man during his final illness and, given their subsisting relationship, the Court found it unlikely that the man had deliberately destroyed the will. The will had not been kept securely and, however obvious the point might appear to a legal professional, the man may not have appreciated the importance of retaining the original document, given that a copy was in safe hands.

The evidence established that the man was neither tidy nor house-proud. In those circumstances, the probability was that the will had been mislaid or destroyed without any intention to revoke it. The Court upheld the partner’s claim and pronounced in solemn form in favour of the extant copy of the will.

For further information on this or other related contentious probate matters, contact Hayley-Jo Lockley on 0808 166 8860 or email h.lockley@sydneymitchell.co.uk

When robotic operations go wrong - legal help Sydney Mitchell LLPThis may surprise you but 3 million robo-operations were carried out world wide and it has been reported that experts predict that technological advancements over the next few years will see the use of robotic surgery rise from 0.5 % of all surgical procedures to as much as 50%. This may either impress you or horrify you, but the number of errors has the experts mildly concerned, and they want better safety mechanisms.

Despite widespread adoption of robotic systems for minimally invasive surgery, a non-negligible number of technical difficulties and complications are still being experienced during procedures

This was the conclusion of a study conducted by MIT, Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Illinois.

A limited study was carried out and two deaths and 52 injuries were identified and highlighted an issue when the mechanical surgeon spontaneously powered down mid operation or made an incorrect movement. In another 10.5 per cent of recorded malfunctions, electrical sparks burned patients, resulting in 193 injuries.

A further major problem identified, was that one death and 119 separate injuries were caused by pieces of the robot falling off into the patient, requiring a human surgical team to intervene and retrieve the broken hardware. 18 injuries were caused when the video systems on the human surgeon's console borked out mid-surgery.

At the moment robo technology is used, mainly, in Robotic Assisted Surgery (RAS) and is a form of minimally invasive surgery that is increasingly used in a number of complex surgical procedures. Within England, this technique has developed primarily within the field of urological cancer treatment and, alongside laparoscopic techniques, but has been replacing traditional open surgical procedures.

The most dangerous kind of robot surgery is cardiothoracic and head and neck surgeries (6.4 per cent and 19.7 per cent of adverse results respectively), compared to 1.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent for gynecology and urology operations. The use of the word adverse should conjure fear.

The sophistication of technology and instruments are developing rapidly. “Snake” robots are already being designed to weave their way around the human body equipped with lights, high frequency cutters and sealers.

Whilst these numbers appear relatively small when we consider the overall number of incidents in hospitals, it is likely to become relevant with the passage of time and the increased use of robot to perform such tasks. It is therefore incumbent on those tasked with introducing robo technology that the same vigour is used to ensure such incidents are reduced to the lowest level possible and the patients welfare is not left solely to the behest of the robot.

In the event that you have been injured whilst undergoing robotic surgery please contact our Personal Injury team on 0808 166 8827 for advice.

Rise of the machines at work - accidents at work - roboticsThis phrase has become notorious and conjures images of machines taking over a complacent society walking blindly into self -inflicted destruction as machines potentially become the new super predators.

This rise of technology and digital transformation among businesses of all types has led to the widespread automation of key processes in order to make workplaces as efficient as possible. With this, the rising adoption of robotics in industry means that health and safety issues are growing increasingly complex.

Manufacturing is one sector in which the use of robots is becoming increasingly widespread, but retail and healthcare have also experienced a rise in this type of operations. Robots are able to carry out tasks deemed too dangerous for humans to perform, such as lifting or moving heavy objects or handling dangerous substances. There are also new wearable robotic devices in use that can reduce the risk of injury or aid the rehabilitation of staff members who have been injured.

In scenarios where robots work alongside humans, there are a series of risks that need to be mitigated. For instance, many factories have installed cages and guards to avoid unwanted interaction between humans and fixed robots. However, with new developments in technology creating robots that can move autonomously around a workplace, new risks arise.

Cited as the first human killed by a robot, Mr Robert Williams was an assembly worker at Ford’s Flat Rock plant in Michigan. He was crushed to death by the arm of a one-tonne robot on the production line on 25 January 1979. The court concluded that he was struck on the head due to inadequate safety measures. Whilst this incident occurred some time ago, accidents like this will only increase as manufacturers and society seek to increase automation and rely upon ever changing technology.

More recently a 21-year-old, was part of a two-man team installing the stationary robot in a car plant. The young man was struck by the robot's arm and pressed against a metal plate, he unfortunately died of his injuries soon after. An argument arose and it appears the technician was apparently inside the cage when the accident occurred. According to a statement released by the manufacturers, the robot did not malfunction. However, would this accident have occurred(????) maybe, but we would contend the robot was merely fulfilling the task without regard, thought or conscience to those around and herein lies the problem. Machines fulfil their function without compassion with the end justifying the means in terms of their function. Time will tell if this aspect is ever addressed.

However, mechanism (?) should have been put in place and it was incumbent on his employers to do so. Risk assessment procedures should be carried out to ensure they account for the full range of potential hazards posed by the use of robots. Common causes associated with accidents involving robots should also include human error, control errors, mechanical failures, environmental effects, malfunctioning power sources and improper installation. In addition, employers should look closely at their employees’ skill set, as skills required to work with robots are likely to be different and more technical.

It is therefore surprising no Health and Safety legislation exists in relation to the specific use of robots in the workplace but a more generalised obligation does exist on employers to take reasonable measures to make sure their employees are kept safe

The benefits offered by the use of robotics and automation in the manufacturing industry are plentiful; however, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that everything possible is carried out to minimise the associated risks.

In the event that you have been injured whilst at work please contact our Personal Injury team on 0808 166 8827 for advice.

A certain amount of banter can be the mark of a happy workplace, but it is all too easy for the line of acceptability to be overstepped which we see on many occasions. In a cautionary tale of which employers should take careful note, a woman who was subjected to deeply offensive sexual harassment by a colleague was awarded £20,000 in compensation (Jackson v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited).

The woman, who worked in the railway industry, was subjected to a series of highly personal and sexualised comments by her male workmate, most of them focused on the size of her breasts. In denying her allegations, the man had insisted that the office chat was mainly friendly banter about football. However, after the woman launched proceedings, an Employment Tribunal found that her workmate was not a credible witness and upheld her sexual harassment claim. He had shown no insight into what he had done wrong and his demeaning comments had left the woman mortified and deeply embarrassed, adversely affecting her health and wellbeing.

Due to the employees actions the woman's employer was ordered to pay her £17,500 for injury to feelings and £2,500 in aggravated damages, plus £3,048 in interest.

Employers are advised to protect the dignity of all employees by promoting a workplace culture of tolerance and respect. Banter of a personal nature can easily cause offence and should be discouraged. Whilst we do not want to be a “fun sponge” it is important that employees know their boundaries to limit the risks that they expose their employer to.

Contact Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0808 166 8860 or email e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk to find out how we can educate your workforce on such matters.

On 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

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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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