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

Andre Minnaar and Melissa Southall Sydney Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andre comments that:

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

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

Melissa added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click on the following link to learn more: 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

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

Virtually all contracts of importance have a ''force majeure'' clause, which in effect says that if something unpredictable happens that is of major significance and is not the fault of either party, then the party to the contract that is prevented from fulfilling its end of the deal cannot be held liable for that failure.

The force majeure clause has to be taken in context, however, as it cannot be relied on if the party to the contract would not have performed their part of the agreement in any event…if they would have defaulted anyway, the presence of a force majeure event will not come to their rescue.

When a ship owner sued under a contract to carry iron ore pellets, which the other party had failed to honour, the owner of the pellets claimed that the failure was due to force majeure, because the mine producing the pellets had been forced to stop production after a dam burst. However, the carriage rates negotiated for the contract were far higher than the prevailing rates, because the market prices for steel had in the interim period collapsed to a level one seventh of that prevailing when the contract was signed.

The carrier argued that even if the dam burst had not occurred, the iron ore production would have stopped, and in such circumstances the force majeure clause did not apply.

The argument ended up in the Court of Appeal, which stressed the need to look at the meaning of the language used in the force majeure clause. As written, it applied only if the contract would have been performed had the event not occurred. The Court being persuaded that it would not, damages were awarded to the carrier.

For help and advice on matters such as this please contact Julian Milan on 0808 166 8827 or email j.milan@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

When you enter into a contract, you are agreeing to be bound by what it says, not by what you think it means. Only rarely, such as when the meaning would make no commercial sense, will the court substitute its own view of the meaning of the contract if the meaning can be divined from the contract itself.

It is therefore important to make sure the wording of the contract's terms is tightly drafted so that arguments over the meaning of clauses do not arise.

Recently, a dispute arose over a contract as to the meaning of the word 'default' with regard to the payment of compensation. Did it mean any failure to fulfil the terms of the contract, or did it mean any wilful or deliberate failure to fulfil the terms of the contract?

The answer was easy: the generally accepted meaning of the word applied, not the narrower interpretation that included only wilful or deliberate failure. If that was the meaning one party wished to include, they should have negotiated to put that in the document.

If you are negotiating a contract, it is important to give careful consideration to the meaning of the clauses in it, so that the contract you sign means what you think it means. Roy Colaba can assist you in achieving this aim. For help and advice please contact Roy on 0808 166 8827 or email r.colaba@sydneymitchell.co.uk

Under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs when the reason for a person being treated less favourably than another is one of the protected characteristics covered by the Act. This means that someone who does not have a protected characteristic but has suffered less favourable treatment because they were wrongly thought to do so is protected under the Act.

In Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a police constable who was turned down for a transfer from one force to another was a victim of direct perceived disability discrimination.

The case was brought by an officer at Wiltshire Constabulary who suffers from bilateral mild sensorineural hearing loss with tinnitus. Her condition had never interfered with her doing her job and it was agreed that it was not a disability within the meaning of the Act as it was not a physical or mental impairment that had a substantial and long-term adverse effect on her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

When the officer applied for a transfer to Norfolk Constabulary, however, her application was turned down. On a medical assessment, carried out as part of the recruitment process, a medical adviser had stated that she had significant hearing loss in both ears and was 'just outside the standards for recruitment strictly speaking'. The adviser did also remark, however, that the officer had carried out an operational policing role with the Wiltshire Constabulary without any undue problems and recommended an 'at work' test to further assess her effectiveness when working in an operational environment.

Norfolk Constabulary did not accept this recommendation and instead sought the opinion of another medical adviser, who concluded that there had been no recent deterioration in the officer's hearing and that she would pass a practical test. This was backed up by an ear, nose and throat specialist whom the officer consulted herself. The specialist confirmed that her hearing levels were stable, and a copy of the report was sent to Norfolk Constabulary.

However, no individual assessment of the officer's capabilities was carried out and Norfolk Constabulary declined her application because her hearing was below the medical standard for recruitment. In the view of its decision maker, her hearing problem meant she was incapable of performing front-line duties or might become incapable of performing them in the future.

The officer claimed that she was a victim of direct discrimination on the basis of perceived disability. Norfolk Constabulary insisted that it did not regard her as a disabled person. The decision to reject her application was made on the basis that she could in the future become permanently restricted with regard to the duties she was able to perform were her hearing to deteriorate, leaving the Constabulary with fewer officers to deliver front-line services.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) found that the officer had been treated less favourably because of her perceived disability. Despite Norfolk Constabulary's protestation to the contrary, the only justification for not employing her had been that she did not meet the required medical standards for hearing. The ET could only conclude that the decision maker perceived that she did have a disability which could not be accommodated by making reasonable adjustments or perceived that she had a progressive condition which would require adjustments to be made for her in the future.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the ET's decision. It could see no reason to exclude from disability law a perception, wrongly conceived, that an impairment that currently has no substantial adverse effect could do so at some point in the future. Such an approach is consistent with EU case law and the protection offered by equality law would be lacking 'if an employer, wrongly perceiving that an employee's impairment might well progress to the point where it affected his work substantially, could dismiss him in advance to avoid any duty to make allowances or adjustments'.

The Court of Appeal agreed and dismissed Norfolk Constabulary's appeal. In doing so, it confirmed that the circumstances of the case meant that it fell within Section 13 of the Act, rather than Section 15 where the reason for unequal treatment is something arising in consequence of a person's disability. The ET was entitled to conclude that a person not perceived to be disabled would not have been treated in the same way. The Constabulary's refusal to engage the officer stemmed, perhaps subconsciously, from a motive or mental process that was affected by a stereotypical assumption about the effects of her perceived disability. The officer had previously performed perfectly satisfactorily in a front-line role and the ET did not err in law in concluding that she had been subjected to direct discrimination.

For help and advice on discrimination in the workplace please contact Emma Hewitt on 0808 166 8860 or email e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

Workplace whistleblowers who act in the public interest by exposing wrongdoing are protected by the full force of the law. In a case on point, a hospital worker who endured detrimental treatment after making protected disclosures was awarded compensation (Elysium Healthcare No. 2 Limited v Ogunlami).

The man, a healthcare assistant at a mental hospital, had claimed during a meeting that his line manager was taking food from a patient. He later expressed concerns in a letter to a human resources adviser that the manager had access to and control of witnesses relevant to an internal investigation. Finally, in an email, he alleged to a safeguarding officer that the manager had abused a patient.

In upholding his complaints, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that all three of those disclosures were protected by Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996. He had made them in the reasonable belief that they were in the public interest and exposed failures to comply with legal obligations.

In awarding him £7,500 in damages, the ET found that he had been subjected to detrimental treatment as a result of making those disclosures. He had, without his consent, been transferred from one section of the hospital to another, and had received a threatening email from the hospital's director. In rejecting his employer's challenge to that decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that the ET's conclusions on the evidence were unimpeachable.

It is important to recognise when workers have rights under the whistleblowing legislation and to investigate thoroughly matters raised in such circumstances. Contact Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0808 166 8860 or email e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk for individual advice on this topic.

Inheritance disputes take many shapes and forms, but few can have been as tragic or unusual as that concerning an elderly couple who were found dead in their home from hypothermia in circumstances which gave rise to bitter disagreement between their children as to which of them died first.

The bodies of the couple, who each had children from previous relationships, were found by concerned neighbours. They jointly owned assets, including their home, which were worth about £300,000 when they died. If the wife died first, the husband would have inherited those assets at the instant of her death, and vice versa. On the survivor’s death, the assets would have automatically passed to his or her children, with those of the parent who died first receiving nothing.

In those circumstances, the husband’s daughter launched proceedings on behalf of his estate, seeking a ruling that he was the last to die. The wife’s daughter resisted the claim on behalf of her estate, insisting that the evidence pointed to her having survived for some time after her husband succumbed to the cold in the house.

In ruling on the matter, a judge noted that it was not disputed that the couple had both died at some point within a five-day window. The wife’s body, when found, was in a more advanced state of decomposition than that of the husband. However, that could be explained by differences in temperature in the two rooms where the couple’s remains were found. Other evidence in the case was also equivocal and no firm conclusion could be reached as to which of them died first.

Given that the husband was aged 79 when he died, and the wife 10 years younger, the judge noted that Section 184 of the Law of Property Act 1925 gave rise to a legal presumption that the older spouse died first. The husband’s daughter having failed to rebut that presumption on the balance of probabilities, the Court found that his wife had survived him. The ruling meant that the wife’s heirs would inherit the couple’s jointly held assets.

For help and advice on matters such as this please contact Hayley-Jo Lockley on 0808 166 8860 or email h.lockley@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

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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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