Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News on 21st April 2015.

Q. I am buying a 100-year-old cottage in Wales which sits on the property line with the neighbour. The neighbour is refusing to sign an easement to allow me to go on to his land to carry out maintenance work. Do I have any legal right in this matter?

A. This is a fairly common problem with older properties. I presume the difficulty has been brought to your attention by the solicitor carrying out your conveyancing work. He has probably told you that you can probably get a court order giving you permission to go on to the neighbouring property for this purpose. But this will cost you money and it’s a built-in problem which will keep resurfacing. You should consider very carefully whether you really want to buy a cottage that will be difficult to maintain and where there’s an unhelpful neighbour.


Q. I work for a large company which has discussed my contract with the union and changed my terms and conditions dramatically. My job title has been altered and my wages have been cut by £95 a week. I’ve had no correspondence with the company or the union other than a letter saying the changes will take place with immediate effect.

A. Your employment contract will probably say you are bound by a collective agreement negotiated by your union. If it doesn’t you should see a solicitor specialising in employment law, since the changes may well amount to a breach of your employment contract. But otherwise you will be subject to the terms of the collective agreement even if it was negotiated without your knowledge and against your will. Check that the agreement allows the firm to make changes without notice.


Q. I have just read an article about a divorced woman and her husband’s pension. I am nearly 60 and separated. Have I the right to any of my husband’s pension? I have never had any money off him.

A. If your husband is contributing to, or drawing, a works pension you may be entitled to a share. But what else do you jointly own? Usually it’s easier to split tangible assets such as a house, in which case an allowance can be made for the loss of your husband’s pension income. But if there is only the pension to divide it is possible to split it these days so that you end up having a pension in your own right. You need to see a solicitor to work out the details of a financial settlement.

For further information on any of the issues raised, please contact Fahmida Ismail on 0121 698 2200 or fill in our online enquiry form.



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