Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in the Worcester News.

Q. Shortly after moving to new premises we received a demand for payment from a window cleaning company. Although we told them their contract was with the previous owners they are claiming the contract is on the building and are threatening to take us to court.

A. The liability is that of the previous owners or occupiers who made the contract with the cleaners. You might have to make a contribution if the cleaning is organised by a management company and you pay a share. However that share would be owed to the management company not direct to the cleaners. In the very exceptional case that the cleaners spent more than 70 percent of their time on the building then you might possibly be deemed to have taken over their employment by virtue of the TUPE regulations. If that might apply you should take legal advice immediately.

Q. We were recently told that my husband is showing signs of Alzheimers and were advised to get our affairs in order sooner rather than later. We made our wills a few years ago and our house, bank accounts and investments are all in our joint names. Do we need to get a Power of Attorney?

A. If everything you own is in joint names, routine household finances should be manageable since you will be a signatory on the accounts. However, you would need a Lasting Power of Attorney to deal with matters requiring both signatures, for example a sale of property or investments. You may also need to alter your will to make special arrangements to cover the possibility of your husband outliving you. Your solicitor will be able to help with both matters.


Q. I read that these days anyone can call themselves whatever they want without any formality or legal requirement. How can you possibly verify the identity of a client when you represent them?

A. This is nothing new, it’s been the law for centuries if you are an adult and wish to change your name you just have to use the new name or names consistently until you become known as such. For official purposes you can make the change formally. As far as solicitors are concerned, where more than simple legal advice is being sought, they are obliged to ask clients for documents verifying their identity in order to comply with the law.


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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