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

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

Fahmida Ismail commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those who do not make use of their land take a risk that title to it will be acquired by others in the exercise of so called squatters’ rights. Exactly that happened in one case in which property owners objected in vain to their neighbour incorporating a slice of what they claimed was their land into his garden.

The case concerned a banana-shaped strip of land, measuring two metres at its widest, between the car park of the owners’ animal feed store and their neighbour’s property. Due to a missing conveyance, the exact boundary line between the two properties could not be determined, but it was apparent that at least part of the strip fell within the owners’ registered title. A dispute arose after the neighbour redesigned his garden so as to include the disputed strip.

After the neighbour applied to be registered as the strip’s rightful owner, the matter was referred to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) for resolution. In ruling in the neighbour’s favour, it found that he had enjoyed exclusive possession and control of the strip for more than 10 years in the reasonable belief that it belonged to him. By operation of the Land Registration Act 2002, he was thus entitled to be recognised as its owner.

The FTT noted that, before the owners had acquired their property, the neighbour had put in place a chain link fence to prevent his dogs from straying. That had later been replaced by another fence and both structures had the effect of excluding the owners and their predecessors from gaining access to the strip. He had been in adverse possession of the strip since the first fence was erected in 2001.

For help on this or other related property dispute or litigation matter, please speak to Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200.

You might think that something as seemingly simple as buying a pitch for a caravan is straightforward enough to do yourself, but a recent example shows why no sensible person would consider entering into a property transaction without employing a specialist lawyer. A man who went ahead and paid £3,000 for a caravan pitch entirely wasted his money because he failed to appreciate that contracts for the sale of land must comply with strict rules.

The pitch had, at least in theory, changed hands twice before the man bought it. However, neither of those transactions was in writing, as required by the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. Nor were steps taken to transfer title to those who believed that they had purchased the pitch.

Legal title to the pitch therefore remained registered in the name of the woman who had originally owned it. She then sold it to yet another purchaser, for the first time signing a written contract and executing a transfer. The man – who had for eight years considered himself to be its rightful owner – responded by applying to register a restriction on its title.

In dismissing his claim, however, the First-tier Tribunal found that he had no legal or beneficial interest in the pitch. Having failed to enter into a legally binding contract to acquire it, he had obtained nothing for his money and it could not be argued that the woman had held the pitch on trust for him. The Chief Land Registrar was instructed to cancel his application.

His recourse now lies in attempting to obtain redress from the vendor, which given the relatively small sums involved and the lack of appropriate paperwork is fraught with risk.

If you are entering into any significant transaction, especially where property is concerned, contact Caroline Pain for help and advice or speak to a member of our Conveyancing Team.  Email:


Happy Easter to All from Sydney Mitchell

A Birmingham-based personal injury lawyer is hoping to avoid receiving injuries of his own when he takes part in a charity white collar boxing tournament.

Adam Hodson, Solicitor, Personal Injury Department Sydney Mitchell LLPAdam Hodson, a personal injury solicitor with Sydney Mitchell, secretly signed up in January to embark upon a strict and gruelling 12-week training program, culminating in a one-on-one boxing match at Pryzm Nightclub on Broad Street on Friday 23rd March.

Adam said,

It has been intense. I have never boxed before, and this has been quite literally one of the hardest and most demanding things I have ever had to face. From 4.00am starts and all-weather runs; to lung-crushing intensive gym sessions; to gruelling sparring sessions – it has been an epic journey for me, and one that has taught me a lot about myself. I have had amazing support from family, friends and colleagues, and I am looking forward to stepping into the ring on Friday in the name of raising money for charity.

Adam has managed to raise £1000 through fundraising via Just Giving, and is donating the money to support LoveBrum, which is a registered charity that supports hidden gem projects across Birmingham that are often volunteer led and that deliver real change, with outcomes that can be seen, measured, enjoyed, and loved.  LoveBrum supports the ‘hard-to-reach’ projects; causes that are not pro led, or do not receive the platform, and funding, that they probably deserve. They aim to support 12 projects per year, and to reach out to all corners of Birmingham.

Head of Litigation at Sydney Mitchell, Dean Parnell, said:

Punching hard and well above his weight…

We are with Adam every step of the way.  All Partners and Staff at Sydney Mitchell wish him well in the ring!

For anyone wishing to donate to Adam’s fundraising, you can donate via

Tickets are available at the venue at a costs of £25 per standing ticket. Doors open at 6.30pm, and a full evening of boxing will commence at 7.15pm and is scheduled to end at 10.30pm.

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.


Fantastic result for Adam - winning his boxing tournament and raising £1058 for Charity.  Well done Adam!

Adam Hodson Solicitor Personal Injury - fight for charity - 1058 pounds raised Sydney Mitchell LLP

Children thrive best when they have ready contact with both their parents. However, as one case involving the eight-year-old son of Polish parents showed, difficulties frequently arise where one parent wishes to relocate overseas.

The end of the parents’ relationship was acrimonious and their son had suffered a degree of emotional harm as a result. However, they had settled into shared care arrangements in England before the mother formed a new relationship with a successful businessman who lived in Poland. She applied to a family judge for permission to move back to her homeland with her son.

Her proposal was met by the father’s fierce resistance and, in refusing permission, the judge was highly critical of the mother. Amongst other things, he found that, in presenting her son as an ill child, she had deliberately exaggerated or invented his psychological problems in an attempt to add weight to her case.

In upholding the mother’s appeal against that decision, the High Court recognised that it was a difficult and finely balanced case. However, the judge had left various relevant factors out of consideration, in particular the profound difficulties that the mother would encounter in maintaining her new relationship if she had to remain in England and the likely impact of that on her son.

There was a lack of balance in the judge’s findings in respect of the mother’s alleged medicalisation of her son; there had been no assessment of her ability to make a living in England and insufficient weight had been given to her history of promoting contact between her son and his father. In the circumstances, the mother’s application to relocate was remitted to a different judge for reconsideration.

Contact Amanda Holland or a member of our family team on 0121 698 2200


Signing a contract before you are sure you are willing to complete it can be a huge mistake: judges do not flinch from enforcing valid contracts, as a recent case shows.

It involved a man who reneged on a deal to buy a family home for £5 million. He had not viewed the property before contracts were exchanged and had dealt with the vendors through an intermediary whom he had never previously met. However, he had signed the contract in person and a judge rejected claims that the intermediary had acted without his authority or that the contract was rendered void when the intermediary agreed to accept a secret commission. The result was that the man was ordered to pay a seven-figure sum in compensation to the disappointed vendors.

After the buyer pulled out and the deal was aborted, the vendors eventually sold their home for the lower price of £4.2 million. They launched proceedings for the difference between the first putative buyer's agreed purchase price and the sum they eventually received. They were awarded £800,000 to reflect the difference between the two figures and further substantial sums to cover their additional expenses, including the cost of bridging finance occasioned by the breach of contract. Although the precise amount of compensation has yet to be calculated, this is estimated to be in the region of £1.5 million.

Says Adam Oleskow, Conveyancing Partner at Sydney Mitchell:

Although the circumstances in this case were very unusual, the principle that you should only sign a contract if you are willing to be bound by it is clear. If there are any potential issues, legal advice should be taken to ensure your interests are fully protected.

Speak to Adam or a member of his team if you are considering signing a contract with a view to purchasing a property.

Adam Oleskow

No matter what stage in its lifecycle a business has reached, there is always something that the owners can learn to help them achieve their ambitions. This is the view of Solihull Professionals, a group of like-minded businesspeople who have joined forces to support organisations of all shapes and sizes located across the Solihull Borough.

To signpost the experience, advice and knowledge that business owners and managers can access to help them take their companies to the next stage in their development, the group is organising a special event at Solihull’s Hogarth’s Hotel on 28 March 2018.

Business forum help and advice entrepreneurs and businessesThe Business Life Cycle Event will encourage delegates to take a step back and look at business from a different perspective.  In a series of interactive sessions, which are expected to be enlightening and thought-provoking, a panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders, including Ruth Chipperfield (Ruth Mary Jewellery), Robert Elliot (Hogarths), Paul Black (i-sales), Jane Weaver (JWL),  Kam Majevadia (Sydney Mitchell) and Kevin Johns (Prime Accountants) are panellists who will address some of the major issues surrounding the three main stages of the business lifecycle.

Kam Majevadia and Kevin Johns, facilitators at the business lifecycle event and members of ProSolihull Group, commented:

Businesses succeed through sheer determination and effort; at every step of development, help and advice at the right time can help a business fly and soar to the next level.

Our panellists at this Business Life Cycle Event, may just give you that snippet of information that will unlock or explain a stumbling block that you have been facing.

Solihull Professionals member Bob Mountford, says:

All businesses have a natural lifecycle and this event will appeal to people thinking about giving up their jobs and putting their ideas into practice and SMEs seeking growth opportunities while also being equally relevant to companies contemplating diversification and business owners who are preparing their exit strategy.

It’s a unique opportunity to learn valuable lessons from people who have lived and breathed their businesses and are passionate about sharing their experiences and resolutions, including common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Solihull Professionals says

businesspeople will come away from the meeting with fresh ideas, new solutions and valuable contacts who can support them as they plan for the next stage in their company’s lifecycle.

The Business Lifecycle Event starts with registration at 8.30am and concludes at 1.30pm.
Tickets can be booked at and cost £15.00 plus VAT and Eventbrite fees (£19.79) including a light lunch.

ProSolihull Members are:

Solihull Chamber, Sydney Mitchell Solicitors, Prime Chartered Accountants, Lloyds Bank, Solihull College, Solihull Council, Plum Personnel, i-Secured, Ruxton, GBS LEP and JM Bailey


Solihull a vibrant place to do business – the Solihull Professionals group was developed to bring together professionals in the area to get our voice heard further afield showing the opportunities in the region for companies to start-up, grow and develop and we have all in the region to help them no matter what stage of business life a person or company is at.

Contact:  Linda Heyworth, Senior Marketing Manager Sydney Mitchell - Event organiser and ProSolihull Member,  07772795041

The validity of wills is sometimes subject to legal challenge, but the default position is that everyone is allowed to leave their worldly goods to whoever they wish.

A judge made that point in giving effect to the wishes of a strong-minded pensioner who bequeathed everything she had to one son, cutting out the other two.

Five years before her death, aged 88, the woman executed a will by which she made her middle son her sole heir. She had previously put the family home, worth about £350,000, into their joint names, with the result that he automatically inherited the entire property on her death. In a letter written five years before she died, she explained her wish to reward her middle son for the assistance he had given her during her final years. She wrote that her youngest son was in no need of her bounty, being economically independent, and that she rarely saw her eldest son, who she could not rely on to help her.

In dismissing the eldest son’s challenge to her will and the lifetime gift of her home to his brother, the judge found that there was no evidence that his brother had brought undue influence to bear upon their mother.

The pensioner knew her own mind when she reached the rational decision to benefit her middle son alone. He was very close to her and had sacrificed his hairdressing business in order to move in with her and care for her when she experienced ill health in later life.

For help or advice on this or other related Wills Trust or Probate matters contact Ravi Sandhu on 0121 698 2200 or email


How far can your business fly and how far has it gone?

When looking at your business over its lifetime, businesses go through many challenges on the way.

The Solihull Professionals Group would like you to join them at an enlightening, thought provoking event.

A panel of business entrepreneurs and leaders will share their life story and the lessons they have learnt.  The panel will invite questions before, after and during the event. So if you have any questions or business issues that you have faced that you would like the panel to address, please send it to us now! (

Background to the event
Solihull a vibrant place to do business – the Solihull Professionals group was developed to bring together professionals in the area to get our voice heard further afield showing the opportunities in the region for companies to start-up, grow and develop and we have all in the region to help them no matter what stage of business life a person or company is at.

Every business has a natural lifecycle; from the first flicker of an idea, through to the excitement of watching a business grow and onto reaping
the benefits of all the hard work. This is an opportunity for attendees to
stand back and look at business from a different perspective.

There will be interactive panellist sessions focussing on each of the
three main stages of the lifecycle. Attendees will hear and learn the valuable lessons encountered from business leaders; who have lived and breathed their businesses and would like to pass on their experiences and resolutions.

Why should you attend this event
This event will be of interest to all businesses at whatever stage in its life cycle.  Whether you are looking to grow, expand, diversify or plan for retirement and exit then this event may just give you a few pointers.

What will you get out of it?
Attendees will benefit from the experiences of others, learn about the pitfalls and how to avoid them, discuss concerns and have questions answered. They will come away with fresh ideas, solutions and new contacts that can support them through their decision making.

Our panel and experts will be on hand at the end of the event if you have any additional questions that you may not wish to raise in open forum.

08.30 – 08.55hrs           Registration, Tea, Coffee and Danish
08.55 – 09.05hrs           Welcome and Introduction to panellists
09.05 – 09.50hrs           Session 1 followed by Q &A (Start Ups)
09.50 – 10.35hrs           Session 2 followed by Q&A (Growth)
10.35 – 10.50hrs           Coffee Break
10.50 – 11.35hrs           Session 3 followed by
                                          Q&A (Exiting/Selling On)
11.35 – 11.45hrs           Final Q&A
11.45 – 12.15hrs           Closing Remarks
12.15 – 13.30hrs           Networking, time for 1-2-1 sessions                                           and Light Lunch
13.30 hrs                       Ends

We do hope you can join us.

28 March 2018
8.30  am – 1.30 pm
Hogarths Hotel, Solihull


Pro Solihull - Solihull Professionals group - Solihull Chamber of Commerce




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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