Latest law articles


November 20, 2017

Thursfields shortlisted for ‘Best Team’ award


Category: Law News
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Thursfields Solicitors is a finalist in this week’s 2017 Excellence Awards organised by Solihull Business Improvement District (BID).
The Solihull office of the Midland law firm has been nominated in the ‘Best Team’ category of the awards, which will take place in a sell-out ceremony on Thursday [November 23] at the town’s St Johns Hotel.
The shortlisting comes just months after Thursfields nearly doubled the size of its Solihull office by moving into a 3,000 sq ft space at 9 The Courtyard, on the Warwick Road.
Rob Pettigrew, the commercial property director at Thursfields’ Solihull office, said: “We are delighted to be up for this award so soon after our expansion, as it reflects the growing strength of our reputation in the area.”
The winners will be decided by a prestigious judging panel that includes David Bradnock MBE, HM Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands, and ITV Central newsreader Sameena Ali-Khan will host the awards.
Melanie Palmer, director of Solihull BID, said: “This is the third year of the Excellence Awards and we’ve had the biggest response to date.
“The high standard of entries is a perfect reflection of the brilliant businesses and workers we have in the town centre.”

Ends (200 words)

For further information, please contact:

Robert Pettigrew, Commercial Property Director, Thursfields Solicitors
9 The Courtyard, Warwick Road, Solihull B91 3DA
Tel 0121 624 4000

Or Steve Dyson, ASAP PR, 0781 8004575

www.thursfields.co.uk
Twitter - @Thursfields
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors
Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms. With 140 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands, Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.



October 25, 2017

Thursfields advises DRP Holdings on purchase of Penguins Events


Category: Law News
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Midlands law firm Thursfields has helped Worcestershire-based communications agency DRP Holdings in its purchase of Penguins, the Windsor-based events company.
Thursfields advised on the corporate, employment and property aspects of the deal.
The purchase means that DRP has increased its team to more than 220 staff across the Midlands, London, Leeds and Windsor.
The team from Thursfields Solicitors included corporate director Gareth Burge, commercial property director Nick O’Hara and commercial director Michelle O’Hara.
They were joined by Tim Edwards, senior associate in Thursfields’ corporate division, and trainee solicitor Joe Rollins.
Mr Burge said: “Thursfields has growing experience in the creative and events sector and Penguins is an excellent match for DRP’s ongoing expansion.
“We were delighted to play a part in helping to make this happen and now look forward to seeing further success from the DRP group.”
Dale Parmenter, group chief executive of DRP, said: “We were very pleased with wide-ranging and expert advice from Thursfields which helped us to seal this exciting deal.
“Penguins is a well-established, innovative and active agency and we are now looking forward to expanding our capacity and capabilities across the UK.”
Penguins is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the industry and employs 22 people. It works on live events and incentive travel solutions, with clients including Honda, GSK, British Airways, and Unilever.
Black Country accountancy firm Price Pearson advised on the tax and accounting aspects of the deal.

Ends (235 words)

For further information, please contact:

Gareth Burge, Director
Thursfields, 9-10 The Tything Worcester Worcestershire WR1 1HD
01905 677043
Or
Steve Dyson, ASAP PR, mobile 0781 8004575.

www.thursfields.co.uk
Twitter - @Thursfields
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors
Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms. With 140 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands, Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.



September 10, 2017

Getting to the Hart of divorce cash split just became more difficult


Category: Law News
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The splitting of assets in divorce cases is now very much in flux following a high-profile Court of Appeal hearing, a leading lawyer has warned.

Stephen Priest, partner and family law expert at Redditch firm Kerwoods, cautioned that more such challenges could now be expected.

Karen Hart had been in a relationship with John Hart, a wealthy Midlands property developer for 23 years when they first separated in 2006.

The case hit the headlines because on the one hand the former wife received £3.5 million out of total resources of just under £9.4 million despite living with another man, yet on the other hand the Court of Appeal dismissed her bid for an equal share of her and her ex-husband's assets.

Some family lawyers now predict a rise in the number of couples seeking prenuptial agreements.

Mr Priest said: “The decision was based on the pre-marriage wealth built up by Mr Hart, nevertheless it is considered unusual given this was such a long marriage.

“The courts draw a clear distinction between wealth built up during the course of a partnership and that generated prior to the marriage, and this is what has happened in this case. In most circumstances, the party that brings a significant amount of wealth to the marriage will be entitled to retain it.

“In Hart v Hart the former wife clearly felt aggrieved at her failure to receive half the assets yet some pundits have suggested that the award was generous given her new relationship.

“It will be very interesting to see where in subsequent cases the balance is struck. But clearly there are big implications for anyone getting divorced.”

Mr Priest said he agreed that this would likely encourage the further growth of pre-nuptial agreements.

Ends (290 words)

For further information, please contact:

Stephen Priest, Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors

Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



July 27, 2017

Thursfields warns of surge in employment tribunal claims after Government loses fees decision


Category: Law News
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The Supreme Court’s decision to rule the Employment Tribunal fees regime unlawful will have a massive impact, a Midlands lawyer has warned.

Jayne Holliday, an employment law specialist at Thursfields Solicitors, said the decision will have a “big effect” on both employers and employees alike.

However, she believes, some sort of fee system is likely to be reintroduced.

The union Unison had been fighting a judicial review of the system since the fees were introduced in July 2013,

Fees started at around £160 and increased to between £230 and £950 for further hearings. For certain claims, they could go as high as £1,200.

It all resulted in a 70 per cent-plus reduction in cases.

The Government will now have to refund more than £27 million to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals over the last four years.

Ms Holliday said: “The Supreme Court’s rationale for granting Unison’s appeal was the disparity between the fees that are payable in the County Court for claims of a similar monetary value and those issued in an Employment Tribunal.

“There were also arguments that there is a social importance of being able to enforce employment rights which are being hindered by the fees regime.

“This is big news for employers and employees alike. While it is unlikely that fees will be abolished altogether, they will be reduced to a level that is seen to be more affordable for claimants. It is also possible that employers will be required to pay a fee when they enter their defence.

“This will undoubtedly lead to a rise in the number of claims issued and will see employers once again having to deal with claims on a more regular basis.

“While the next steps are not clear it seems most likely that the Government will start an immediate consultation on the fees level and, for the time being, fees will be suspended when claims are issued.”

Ms Holliday said the Government’s problems appeared to stem from not bringing an Act before Parliament requiring Employment Tribunals to charge a fee.

By using secondary legislation, they had laid themselves open to challenge.

She added: “The judges were in particular irked by the unfairness in having to pay a large Employment Tribunal fee to pursue a very small claim and in effect preventing access to justice as a result.”

The Supreme Court also held that the fees imposed unjustified limitations on the ability to enforce EU rights and was thus unlawful under EU law.

Ends (417 words)

For further information, please contact:

Jayne Holliday, Senior Associate Solicitor,
Hyefields House, 36 Hagley Road, Halesowen, West Midlands B63 4RH

jholliday@thursfields.co.uk and 0121 227 3887.

Or

Andy Skinner, ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile 07990 978257, Andy@asap-pr.com

www.thursfields.co.uk
Twitter - @Thursfields
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors
Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms. With 140 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands, Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.



June 13, 2017

Thursfields launches focused agricultural division under Sarah Denney-Richards


Category: Law News
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Fast growing Midlands law firm Thursfields Solicitors is launching a new division under the leadership of new arrival Sarah Denney-Richards.
Mrs Denney-Richards joins as a director to head up the new agricultural department which will provide focused legal advice to the agricultural and rural business sector.
She is recognised in Legal 500 as an agricultural and estates specialist.
Her background lies in all aspects of rural property including the buying and selling of farms, estate management and diversification projects ranging from renewable energy schemes to strategic land development.
She has a particular expertise in agricultural tenancies and her remit extends to agricultural business advice including partnerships, succession and inheritance planning and business reorganisation.
She was admitted as a solicitor in 2001 and moved to Worcestershire in 2006. She began specialising in agricultural law at Burges Salmon in Bristol and has since developed her expertise, employed as a partner at mfg solicitors, Knights and latterly Wright Hassall.
Her decision to join Thursfields Solicitors was driven by the firm’s ambition to grow in the region.
“Thursfields has grown rapidly in recent years and I was impressed by the vision of the firm’s directors to create a full service legal firm for the Midlands and beyond.
“The new agricultural and rural business division will reach out to farmers and landowners throughout the wider Midlands region, offering expert legal advice across all aspects of their business and personal lives,” she said.
Thursfields managing director Nick O’Hara said: “Sarah’s decision to join us is a welcome reflection on the progress we have made in recent years in building a truly regional law firm.
“Her expertise will enable us to offer our services in a much more focused way to rural business owners and landed estates.
“This summer we will also be expanding our Solihull operation and announcing further key appointments as we continue to recruit quality lawyers who share our vision.”
Ends (316 words)
For further information, please contact:
Sarah Denney-Richards, Director and Head of Agricultural Services
Thursfields Solicitors, 14 Church Street, Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY10 2AH
01562 512428/01562 512442
Or
Andy Skinner - 07990 978257
www.thursfields.co.uk
Twitter - @Thursfields
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors
Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms. With 140 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands, Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.



June 8, 2017

Kerwoods recruit from Birmingham law firm


Category: Law News
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Pic cap: Veronica Du'Quesnay welcomes new arrival Sikay Chan

A Redditch law firm has recruited a new member of staff from a solicitors’ practice in Birmingham city centre.
Sikay Chan joins Kerwoods as a residential and commercial property conveyancer, moving from T A Khoo Solicitors, where she worked as a paralegal.
Ms Chan, from Solihull, is a graduate in Communication and Media Studies from Loughborough University, and worked at T A Khoo for nearly four years.
She said: “After I graduated I worked as a receptionist and administration assistant at my sister’s workplace – Christine Lee & Co. Solicitors – and this exposure to the legal sector really interested me, particularly the conveyancing aspect as it’s so relevant to everyday life.
“After some good experience at T A Khoo, I wanted to progress professionally in the legal field of conveyancing and hopefully become qualified as a solicitor in the near future.
“Kerwoods is a long-established firm and pride themselves on excellent customer care, so I wanted to be part of a team I could learn from and help contribute to their success.”
Sarah Rao, head of commercial property at Kerwoods, said: “We were really impressed with Sikay’s application and are delighted to have her working with us here at Kerwoods.”
Veronica Du'Quesnay, head of residential conveyancing at Kerwoods, said: “It’s great to see new talent from the local area, and I’m sure Sikay will quickly develop her career with us.”

Ends (229 words)

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Gurr, Employment Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD
01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Twitter: @kerwoodsLLP
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/kerwoods-solicitors-llp

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



March 27, 2017

Thursfields advises on major CloudThing contract


Category: Law News
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Pictured (left to right) are Jane Rudge of Thursfields Solicitors with Fran Thomas and Jay Neale of CloudThing

Midlands law firm Thursfields has advised software and mobile applications company CloudThing on a technology transformation deal with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.

CloudThing has negotiated a long-term contract to develop a new customer relationship manager system.

Thursfields commercial contracts expert Jane Rudge, who specialises in the technology sector, has assisted CloudThing on a number of their commercial transactions in the past.

She said: “We have consequently developed a first-hand working knowledge of CloudThing’s business operation.

“Key to the client on this occasion was to ensure the contract was future proofed.”

Based at Galtons Mill in Belbroughton, where around 20 staff are located, CloudThing will be supplying on-going support services to the ICAEW.

CloudThing managing director Jay Neale said: “The business is going from strength to strength.

“Thursfields’ experience in the IT sector and Jane Rudge’s practical commercial advice has helped us to agree a well-balanced contract that works for both parties on a long-term basis.

“As a growing business, it is important for us to work with advisers who understand us and offer practical relevant advice. Thursfields fits the bill.”

CloudThing has operations in both the UK and India.

Ends (194 words)

For further information, please contact:

Jane Rudge, Senior Associate Solicitor, Corporate and Commercial,
Thursfields Solicitors, Hyefield House, 36 Hagley Road, Halesowen, B63 4RH

0121 227 3850

Or

Andy Skinner, ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile 07990 978257.

www.thursfields.co.uk
Twitter - @Thursfields
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors

Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms. With 137 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands, Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.



January 24, 2017

Departing partners accelerated ultimate demise of KWM


Category: Law News
The administrators of Quantuma have acted quickly to achieve the best possible returns for creditors of law firm KWM which collapsed early in 2017.
An interim report to creditors by joint administrators Andrew Hosking and Sean Bucknall reveals that administration was the only resort left to the firm which saw an accelerating rate of partner and staff departures during 2016 as the extent of the firm’s financial difficulties became apparent.
Hosking and Bucknall were appointed on 17 January 2017 and immediately set about renegotiating terms of the sale of parts of the business to other law firms.
Prior to the administration, seven partners, their work in progress (WIP) and accounts receivable had transferred to Goodwin Proctor on 10 January.
Sales completed by the administrators on appointment included:
- Six partners, WIP and accounts receivable to Greenberg Taurig
- Eight partners, WIP and accounts receivable to DLA Piper
- 11 partners, WIP and accounts receivable to KWM China
- 12 partners, WIP and accounts receivable to Reed Smith
- The sale of King & Wood Mallesons in Spain to the partners
On an individual basis, KWM has entered into agreements with approximately 40 partners for their departure, agreed to by the administrators.
The report paints a picture of KWM as a global law firm consisting of KWM China, Mallesons Stephen Jacques in Australia and SJ Berwin in Europe.
At 30 April 2016, KWM comprised of 163 partners and over 900 staff, generating revenues of approximately £177 million to that date, with the majority of revenue and profit deriving from the UK, France and Germany.
Andrew Hosking said: “Since we were formally engaged on 17 January we have taken active steps to progress negotiations and agree commercial terms with interested parties who had already expressed interest in acquiring parts of the business.
“We have engaged with Samantha Palmer of Ashfords to manage communications with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to ensure it was fully updated as to the intentions of KWM.
“This was intended to reduce the risks of regulatory action, including an intervention, to benefit the interests of all creditors.”
He said it was too early to present a full picture of the reasons for the collapse of KWM but it was clear that, despite attempts to restructure to reduce overheads in early 2016, it had proved impossible to reach agreements on funding and the way forward with partners.
As part of the earliest restructure attempts, 20 partners left KWM and a number followed of their own volition.
He said that extensive and detailed negotiations on a rescue package continued throughout 2016 but ultimately a proposal for a revised support package was not supported by a sufficient number of partners of KWM.
A number of key partners left KWM in the latter part of 2016, further impairing its viability through loss of revenue and repayment of partner capital.
Mr Hosking said: “By 22 December 2016, it had become apparent that KWM required funding above the level available to it and that it would not be in a position to meet salary costs beyond early January 2017 and to meet the partners’ Schedule D1 tax liability due on 31 January 2017.”
As a result, KWM filed a notice of intention to appoint AlixPartners as administrators on 22 December 2016 to provide protection for KWM and to enable a number of sales to be negotiated and completed.
On 9 January AlixPartners informed KWM that it would not be able to taken an administration appointment due to lack of funding.
On 10 January a further Notice of Intention to appoint administrators was filed with Andrew Hosking and Sean Bucknall of Quantuma as the nominated administrators, a process that was completed with their appointment on 17 January 2017.
Ends (623 words)
For further information, please contact:
Andy Skinner, Managing Director, ASAP PR – 07990 978257
or
Marie Wadeson, Head of Marketing,
Quantuma LLP, Vernon House, 23 Sicilian Avenue, London, WC1A 2QS
Tel: 07464 545678
www.quantuma.com
Notes to Editors
Quantuma LLP is a leading restructuring and insolvency practice delivering partner-led solutions to businesses and individuals facing financial distress with offices in London, Southampton, Marlow, Watford, Brighton and Bristol.


Elderly being targeted by clever scammers


Category: Law News
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The elderly remain highly vulnerable to scammers, a West Midlands lawyer has warned.

Emma Beddows, of Redditch-based Kerwoods, said older people were all too often viewed as easy targets and the problem appeared to be getting worse.

She said: “Cold calling is a big worry, particularly for those whose faculties may be deteriorating.

“Cruel scammers care nothing for the individuals concerned – they are utterly ruthless.”

And she cited two examples which had come to her attention.

“One client after visiting a bank had a call minutes later asking for a copy of their will from an organisation that wanted to ‘check it’. In the second instance a lady was sold ‘an asset trust’ that cost £3,000 to set up by someone who called at her door. It is absolutely shocking.”

Cold calls on the doorstep and phone scams can be quite frightening. Victims may feel highly pressurised. But there are many types of scams – an estimated £1.2 billion is lost to investment fraud each year while criminals send thousands of emails to people in the hope they will disclose private information which can then be used to fleece their bank accounts of money.

According to the Consumers’ Association, more than three million people a year in the UK are caught out, and, as only five per cent of scams are reported, the actual number could be far higher. Recent research from the Financial Ombudsman showed that 80 per cent of phone scam victims were over 55.

Ms Beddows said: “If you live alone, are at home during the day, and have savings or valuables, then you are at risk.

“Our senior citizens are sometimes not as sharp as they once were while the lonely are more prone to talk to people on the door or on the phone. Too many fall prey to heartless rogues.”

She urged the elderly to put their trust in reputable advisers.

Ms Beddows is a partner with Kerwoods and a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners specialising in all aspects of private client matters including advising on and preparing wills, administration of estates, inheritance tax planning, trusts, powers of attorney, Court of Protection issues and care fee advice.

Her colleague Jan Thompson, who also specialises in elderly client matters, is managing partner of Kerwoods and has been a lawyer for more than 30 years.

The elderly can call Kerwoods if they are concerned.

Ms Beddows added: “Some scam victims feel embarrassed or guilty, but they should always report what has happened to them.

“Report cases to Action Fraud. You can do so online or by calling 0300 123 2040.”

Ends (438 words)

For further information, please contact:

Emma Beddows, Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



December 1, 2016

Make sure ‘festive fun’ does not get out of hand


Category: Law News
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The festive season is here and common sense can all too easily go out of the window, Ashley Gurr, employment partner at Redditch law firm Kerwoods, has warned.

And it is not just the well-known dangers of the office party, although that still catches out many, but social media faux-pas and rows over holiday entitlement.

He said: “Getting out of control at the office party can lead to claims for sexual harassment, and worse.

“The warnings go out every year but are often ignored. No-one wants to play Scrooge and plenty of people have later ended up as spouses after first breaking the ice at the Christmas party. But there must be limits.

“And such dangers are these days compounded by social media.

“Casual uploading of embarrassing photos can be greatly upsetting, while tweeting dubious comments while the worse for wear may prove actionable.

“Revellers need to be reminded well beforehand of the behaviour expected of them, and not to do anything which might bring the company into disrepute.”

Holiday entitlement, cautioned Mr Gurr, was another area which all too frequently sparked rows.

He noted: “You see people who always get in first and book the same period to the dismay of others who might want a chance.

“You get others who deliberately allow taking their holidays to drift so they can demand to take the time at what can be the busiest period of the year for the company.

“You get those whose noses are put out of joint when they are turned down and then absent themselves anyway by taking sickies.

“All these are tricky areas for companies to manage and require careful handling at the risk of causing upset and damaging morale. So, clear rules should be in place.”

He added: “Companies need to turn to their adviser if unfortunate situations arise where they are not sure how best to proceed.

“Fingers crossed none of this happens and a very happy Christmas to all.”

Ends (332 words)

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Gurr, Employment Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD
01527 584444
www.kerwoods.co.uk
Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



November 16, 2016

Equity release not all bad as pensions crisis deepens


Category: Law News
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Equity release may be one of the solutions to the pensions crisis, says a leading lawyer.

Emma Beddows, a partner in Redditch-based Kerwoods, insists it should not be ruled out when so few have a decent pension put away to live on.

A problem for equity release is its history.

Early versions ended in disaster, leaving some with debts greater than the value of the properties on which they were secured.

The resulting bad press nearly buried equity release, but it has slowly been mounting a comeback.

Ms Beddows admitted: “Equity release had a really bad reputation when launched in 90s, but now it has matured somewhat.

“For someone with no dependants it may be a valid way of enhancing lifestyle and paying the bills in later life. There is no one hard and fast rule, and it depends on personal circumstances. But it is worth considering.”

The origins of equity release were in addressing the “property rich, cash poor”.

The advantages are that it provides a cash sum or regular income to elderly homeowners when they need it while allowing them to remain in their house. Money released can be used in all sorts of ways – gifts to children and grandchildren, paying down debt or funding adaptions to the home such as stairlifts.

The disadvantages are that there may not be much left to hand down to the family on death, though a side benefit is a possible reduction in inheritance tax liability.

Interest is charged on a compound rate, meaning it increases daily and homeowners borrowing just £45,000 over 25 years end up paying just over £150,000. There are charges involved in setting up equity release schemes, any benefits you receive will probably be lost and falling into negative equity remains a danger.

Ms Beddows said: “For those with family it is often a more complex decision.

“But for someone with no dependants it is a means of spending money to provide a higher standard of living in their lifetime.

“Take your time, refuse to be rushed, and consult your advisor, all the time bearing in mind that average life expectancy at state retirement age means the typical pensioner will live for another 20 years or so.”

Ends (369 words)

For further information, please contact:

Emma Beddows, Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



November 9, 2016

Leap in IHT take triggers estate planning reminder


Category: Law News
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A jump in the Government’s inheritance tax take to £4.7 billion should be a reminder to all of the importance of estate planning, according to CBTC Millichips.

Passing as much wealth down the family as possible, while eliminating or minimising the tax authorities’ share, was only sensible, said Andrew Plimmer, private client lawyer at the West Bromwich and Stratford-upon-Avon law firm.

His comments followed the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs with data for 2015/16 showing that the Government took nearly £4.7 billion in IHT, a 22 per cent leap in revenue compared to the £3.8 billion the year before.

IHT receipts last reached a peak in 2007/08 at £3.82 billion before slumping to £2.4 billion by 2009/10 as property values tumbled during the recession.

Since then a return to property price increases has been dragging many middle class working families into the net.

"Basically, more families are paying more in tax,” said Mr Plimmer.

But, he noted, it was encouraging that they appeared to be doing something about it – a study by insurer Prudential found a third of UK advisers reporting an increase in enquiries about IHT planning, with 52 per cent adding that they expected demand for advice to increase over the next 12 months.

Two years ago the Office for Budget Responsibility calculated that 4.8 per cent of the population currently pays IHT. By 2018-19, it estimated that would have more than doubled, to ten per cent.

However, Mr Plimmer points to tax concessions on family homes, the so-called freeing up of the first £1 million from IHT, plus pension changes as “very significant” ways in which to fight back.

In addition to the frozen standard nil-rate band of £325,000, £650,000 for a married couple, a new dedicated residential nil-rate band is to be introduced next year. It will be phased in gradually between April 6, 2017, and April 6, 2020 – £100,000 for the tax year 2017/18, £125,000 for 2018/19, £150,000 for 2019/20 and £175,000 for 2020/21, increasing in line with the Consumer Price Index in subsequent years. Which when doubled up for a married couple and added to the £650,000 produces the much trumpeted £1 million figure.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that a condition of a person qualifying for the new residential nil-rate band is that the property has to be inherited by a “direct descendant” – i.e. their children. So married couples that don’t have children won’t qualify for it.

Meanwhile, rising numbers are changing their retirement plans to exploit more flexible death benefit rules, introduced as part of the pension freedoms in April last year. It lifted restrictions on passing on wealth to non-dependents, enabling retirees to nominate adult children alongside dependent spouses.

Mr Plimmer said: “Drawdown schemes are no longer included in your final estate valuation, and therefore will avoid inheritance tax.

“Giving gifts is another way to reduce your final estate value. Each year you can give away £3,000 with these gifts falling outside your estate immediately. You can also gift larger sums of money but these will stay within your estate valuation for seven years before falling out.

“Certain investments in AIM shares are clear of death duties after two years.

“So there are plenty of ways to address IHT issues and people need to make the most of them.

“Don’t be lazy and by default give a chunk to HMRC, plan ahead now.”

Ends (566 words)

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Plimmer, Private Client Lawyer,
CBTC Millichips, 3rd Floor, Guardian House, Cronehills Linkway, West Bromwich, B70 8GS

0121 553 2576

Notes to Editors

CBTC Millichips is the result of mergers of long established and well respected Black Country law firms. With a new head office in Guardian House, West Bromwich and an office in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CBTC Millichips and CBTC Rawstorne provide essential legal services and advice private clients and businesses across the Midlands.

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP – 01789 490786 or 07990 978257.



November 8, 2016

Redditch and Bromsgrove is proving a magnet for growth


Category: Law News
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North Worcestershire is proving a magnet for business, according to Ashley Gurr, employment partner at Redditch law firm Kerwoods,

The Bromsgrove-Redditch axis continues to pull in companies keen to be part of the development mix, he added.

His comments followed publication of the latest Worcestershire Growth Barometer showing how the list of 50 fastest growing companies was dominated by firms in the north of the county.

And that looks set to continue with Redditch Gateway due next year.

Lying east of the town at the junction of the A4032 and A435 close to Ravensbank Business Park, it will comprise 75 acres of employment land, including 915,000 sq ft of office and industrial space. It could create 2,500 jobs.

Real estate group Stoford is working alongside Gorcott Estate and the Homes & Communities Agency to deliver the scheme – Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has backed it with a £1.8 million cash injection.

North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NwedR) will outline why the area is the perfect place for business at an event on Thursday, 24 November at Hogarth’s Stone Manor Hotel in Kidderminster.

Mr Gurr said: “North Worcestershire has a vibrant economic base with its concentration of manufacturing, logistics, distribution, service and, increasingly, high technology companies.

“Success breeds success and enquiries continue to pour in.

“Attractions include the area’s location at the centre of the country, great motorway connections, a skilled workforce, proximity to Birmingham and ease of access to London.

“But it also reflects how hard north Worcestershire has been working to sell itself and put in place the extra infrastructure and industrial sites which are so badly needed. It has been a case of public and private sectors pulling together to provide the support, opportunities and welcome mat that attracts inward investors.”

He added: “In addition north Worcestershire is simply a beautiful environment and a highly desirable location in which to work.”

Ends (313 words)

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Gurr, Employment Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk
Twitter - @kerwoodsllp
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/kerwoods-solicitors-llp

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



October 17, 2016

Vexing question of holiday pay still unclear


Category: Law News
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Kerwoods Solicitors in Redditch is warning employers that the cost of paying workers while on holiday recently became more expensive.

It followed Court of Appeal and European Court of Justice rulings in the case of Lock v British Gas.

But Ashley Gurr, employment partner at Redditch law firm Kerwoods, warns that Brexit could produce yet further change, though hopefully for the better.

Mr Lock was a salesman on a basic salary with variable commission dependent on sales achieved. He could not earn commission while on annual leave, and therefore brought a claim for his lost holiday pay.

Subsequently both the ECJ and the Court of Appeal agreed that when calculating holiday pay, workers are entitled to receive an amount which reflects the commission they would have earned if not on holiday.

However, it left unanswered what should be the appropriate reference period for averaging a worker’s commission, something dependent on the nature of an employer’s commission scheme and the industry in which they operate.

Mr Gurr said: “After Brexit, these difficulties of EU interpretation should not apply, which would be good news for employers.

“It seems likely that at some point from 2019 onwards we will have simple UK-specific regulations we can refer to in black and white rather than the Europe-wide Directives and ECJ Decisions which we struggle to interpret and which for the present continue to apply.”

The Government recently announced its intentions to end the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK by introducing the Great Repeal Bill which is intended to come into effect on the date we formally exit the European Union. “This will end the authority of EU law by converting all of its provisions into UK law, allowing the possibility of re-thinking elements should that be considered desirable,” noted Mr Gurr.

Ends (293 words)

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Gurr, Employment Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



October 12, 2016

CBTC Rawstrone gears up for growth in Stratford


Category: Law News
Click for larger image
Marie Bevan has joined the Stratford-upon-Avon office of law firm CBTC Rawstorne as head of residential conveyancing.

Her appointment is the culmination of a legal and property career where she started out as a secretary.

Ms Bevan, who lives in Northamptonshire, has worked for a number of solicitors and property lawyers

In her most recent role she was a legal manager overseeing a team of eight lawyers while also carrying a portfolio of her own cases. It involved dealing with all aspects of sales and purchases for leasehold, freehold and shared ownership properties.

Richard Pinning, managing partner of parent company CBTC Millichips, based in West Bromwich, said: “We have been looking to grow CBTC Rawstorne and the residential side is very important to us.

“Marie is an experienced operator and I am sure she will be a significant asset to the team.”

Ms Bevan said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge. It is a strong housing market in Stratford and surrounds so there is plenty of conveyancing work to get my teeth into.”

She started out in the Royal Navy where she spent seven years, with varied roles both in her trade as an aircraft engineering mechanic and also as an administrator, serving in front and second line squadrons.

Then in 2003 she left the service to become a secretary in a law firm, subsequently specialising on the property side.

Ends (230 words)

For further information, please contact:

Marie Bevan, Head of Residential Conveyancing,
CBTC Rawstorne, 27a Windsor Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6NL

01789 267646

Notes to Editors

CBTC Millichips is the result of mergers of long established and well respected Black Country law firms. With a new head office in Guardian House, West Bromwich and an office in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CBTC Millichips and CBTC Rawstorne provide essential legal services and advice to private clients and businesses across the Midlands.

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP – 01789 490786 or 07990 978257.



August 8, 2016

£1 million Inheritance Tax reform not as straightforward as it seems


Category: Law News
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People need to check both their wills and the legislative small print if they are to beat the “myths” surrounding the Government’s £1 million inheritance tax reforms, a lawyer has warned.

Emma Beddows, partner at Redditch law firm Kerwoods, says benefitting from the changes is not as simple as it seems.

The shake-up follows the introduction of an additional nil rate band for a person’s residence.

Under the new rules the existing nil rate band of £325,000 per person, or £650,000 per married couple, will remain the same.

From April 2017 an additional residence nil rate band of £100,000 per person will be introduced, which will increase to £125,000 in 2018/19, to £150,000 in 2019/20 and to £175,000 in 2020/21.

Thus, in 2020/21 a house worth £1 million could be passed on tax free, but for estates that exceed £2million (even if the actual property is worth much less than this), the residence nil rate band will be reduced by £1 for every £2 that the estate is valued over £2million.

But, Ms Beddows points out, there are a number of snags.

To make full use of the two residence nil rate bands the survivor must have a residential property worth at least £350,000.

Unmarried couples do not have the right to pass on nil rate bands, meaning they can only have one £325,000 plus one £175,000 residence nil rate band, a total of £500,000, not the £1 million.

To make use of the residence nil rate band the property must be “closely inherited”.

This not only includes children and grandchildren but also extends to step children and foster children, but not nieces and nephews.

A gift of your home or the residue of your estate which includes your residence to a child or grandchild will qualify for the residence nil rate band. But a gift of your home in trust for a child or grandchild may not qualify – it depends on the type of trust and how it is worded.

Ms Beddows, who is head of Kerwoods’ private client team, said: “There are a lot of myths surrounding this law change, not least that people seem to think it is already happening whereas it won’t fully complete for another four to five years.

“Plus, although this was supposed to preserve the family home for future generations, many elderly will still find they have to sell up to fund nursing care in their old age because of the rules surrounding their qualification for financial support.

“The new legislation does include ‘downsizing provisions’ so anyone selling their residence to fund care will need to ensure all of their paperwork is retained to enable their personal representatives to claim this allowance otherwise it could be lost.

“The whole issue is beset with complications which is why it is essential to take professional advice.”

Ends (471 words)

For further information, please contact:
Emma Beddows, Partner and Head of Private Client,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD
01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors

Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



July 26, 2016

Town’s top law firm backing town’s top team


Category: Law News
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Law firm Kerwoods is to sponsor Redditch United Football Club.

The move, which will see the Kerwoods’ name highlighted around the Valley Stadium, comes as the club is making a six figure investment in new facilities.

“We too are investing in one of the main local businesses that carries the Redditch flag,” said partner Ashley Gurr.

“An ambitious business, we are fast developing our offer as are the Reds. It is exciting times for both of us. With our background in Redditch we felt it was important that we got behind our local team.”

United are in the Southern Premier League and just missed out on promotion last campaign.

A cutting edge 3G pitch is being installed along with major improvements made to the clubhouse, a £900,000 project that has come together through a £561,000 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, £88,166 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, and £225,000 from United chairman Chris Swan.

In addition, on the playing side, the club have appointed former Aston Villa and Walsall player, Darren Byfield, as their new manager, while Clinton Morrison, 37-year-old former Crystal Palace, Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland striker, who was released at the end of the season by League Two club Exeter City, has joined, the biggest name among a string of new signings.

Mr Swan praised Kerwoods’ contribution.

“Their participation is greatly appreciated and is symptomatic of the way so many in and around Redditch are rallying round,” he said.

“For example, our supporters have agreed to pay the wages of Clayton McDonald, the former Manchester City, Walsall, Port Vale and Tranmere defender who has rejoined after leaving Worcester City.

“Partners such as Kerwoods are very important to us as we look to go one better than last season.”

Currently in the seventh tier of English football, the club’s players reported back for training on June 25, with pre-season matches beginning in early July.

Ends (319 words)

For further information, please contact:
Ashley Gurr, Partner,
Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD
01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



March 23, 2016

Help to Buy scheme has potential sting in the tail


Category: Law News
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As the Help to Buy equity loans scheme nears its conclusion, participants are being warned of the sting in the tail.

And Veronica Du'Quesnay, head of residential conveyancing at Redditch law firm Kerwoods, says they could even find themselves paying back more than they borrowed.

Since the launch of Help to Buy in 2013, the Government has been lending up to 20 per cent of the value of a property in the form of an equity loan.

Those taking it up have had to find a five per cent deposit and secure a mortgage to cover the other 75 per cent of the cost of the property.

Finishing on April 1, had you wanted to buy a house for £200,000 you would have needed a £10,000 deposit, £150,000 mortgage loan and £40,000 loan from the Government.

Ms Du'Quesnay noted: “It has proved attractive to some house buyers because you only need a five per cent deposit, and as you’re only borrowing 75 per cent, instead of up to 95 per cent, you will be able to access better mortgage rates.

“As of December, 62,569 properties were bought using Help to Buy equity loans in the scheme's first 30 months. Of these, 81 per cent were acquired by first-time buyers.

“However, although Help to Buy equity loans are interest-free for the first five years, after that you will have to pay a monthly administration fee, which starts at 1.75 per cent of the loan. It will then rise every year by any increase in the Retail Prices Index plus one per cent. And you are paying these fees in addition to your mortgage repayments.”

She went on: “And ultimately the scheme is a huge gamble that the property will go up in value.

“If house prices do rise and the value of your property increases you will still owe 20 per cent of the value – which will now be a larger amount. So, let’s say that £200,000 property is now worth £250,000, you repay £50,000, 20 per cent of the new value of your home, not the amount you borrowed.

“On the other hand, if prices fall you will also still owe 20 per cent – less than it was originally but no fun in a negative equity situation.

“All in all a nasty surprise for those who either never read the small print or who relegated the downside to the back of their minds hoping that it would never happen.”

Ends (409 words)

For further information, please contact:

Veronica Du'Quesnay, Head of Residential Conveyancing, Kerwoods Solicitors, 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 4AD

01527 584444

www.kerwoods.co.uk

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01789 490786, mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors
Kerwoods Solicitors, established in 1880, provides a comprehensive service to both individuals and businesses in Redditch, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands.



March 16, 2016

Help-to-buy ISA purchasers need to plan ahead


Category: Law News
Click for larger image
Press Release from CBTC Rawstorne

Help-to-buy ISA purchasers need to plan ahead

Help-to-buy ISA savers in Warwickshire are being urged not to rush their first time dream home purchase.

Leah Morgan, trainee solicitor at CBTC Rawstorne, the Midlands law firm with offices in Stratford-upon-Avon and West Bromwich, says purchasers could be caught out by the way the offer is structured.

And with the Help to Buy ISA scheme now in full swing she says those who take up the offer need to be fully conversant with the small print.

Buyers must reach £12,000 of Help to Buy ISA savings to get the maximum £3,000 Government bonus, and, with a £200 monthly contribution limit, it will likely take more than four years to reach that level. Indeed there is a minimum contribution of £1,600 before you get any bonus at all.

That is the first snag.

The second comes once you've found your home, confirmed your mortgage and had an offer accepted.

Ms Morgan said: “Many people seem to think the bonus somehow magically turns up in their account, and they just go ahead and pay the money over.

“But it isn’t quite like that, and it is very important you tell your conveyancer up front if you are using this type of ISA to help fund the purchase so they can be prepared. Be particularly conscious that you cannot use bonus money towards the deposit – it has to be for the actual purchase. It is possible to get around this with simultaneous exchange and completion but with a mortgage and when in a chain this is not often possible and is risky.

“Also, when the relevant paperwork is in place, then it is your solicitor who will apply for the bonus on your behalf. Your bonus will go straight to the solicitor. It doesn’t sit in your account, it earns no interest, and you only get it if you buy a home. They will add these funds to your savings in order to complete the purchase.”

She added: “It may take ten working days to access the bonus and all in all getting your ducks in a row might take the better part of a month.

“So individual purchasers and young couples need to be patient. If you jump the gun on the removal company or pack in your rented place too early then you could find yourself in a right pickle.”

Ends (392 words)

For further information, please contact:
Leah Morgan,
CBTC Rawstorne, 27A Windsor St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6NL

01789 267646

Notes to Editors

Clark Brookes Turner Cary is the result of a merger of two long established and well respected Black Country law firms. With a new head office in Guardian House, West Bromwich and an office in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, Clark Brookes Turner Cary provides essential legal services and advice private clients and businesses across the Midlands.

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP – 01789 490786 or 07990 978257.



March 11, 2016

Stratford lawyer praises celebrity campaign to highlight mental health priorities


Category: Law News
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Leading celebrities have been praised for their successful campaign to highlight the plight of the mentally ill.

Gareth Morris, a solicitor in the Stratford-upon-Avon office of law firm CBTC Rawstorne and a specialist in the sector, said it had pushed the issue up the political agenda.

Mr Morris said: “You can see a broken leg but you can’t see mental illness in the same way.

“It is one of those issues few people want to talk about so for the likes of comedians Frank Skinner and Ruby Wax, former footballer Ian Wright, presenter Graham Norton and film star Emma Thompson to speak about their own experiences with depression has been very significant.

“The Government has pledged that mental health is a priority – it is being taken to a new level and deservedly so. It affects people across the spectrum and across the country. Indeed it has been estimated that about a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem at some stage in their lives.”

Chancellor George Osborne admitted in the Autumn Statement that mental health was an area within the NHS which had been “neglected for too long”.

And he singled out former mental health minister Norman Lamb, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell, and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, all of whom were instrumental in launching the Equality for Mental Health Campaign, seeking greater funding of mental health services, for “their work in this vital area”.

He pledged an extra £600 million of additional funding – the Government increased overall mental health funding to £11.7 billion in 2014/15.

Mr Morris, who takes great pride in being able to help vulnerable clients, and guide them through trying periods, noted: “Mental health needs to be treated as seriously as other illnesses, and I think that message is at last being well and truly heard as well as acted upon.”

Ends (314 words)

For further information, please contact:

Gareth Morris, Solicitor,
CBTC Rawstorne, 27a Windsor Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6NL

01789 267646

Notes to Editors
Clark Brookes Turner Cary is the result of a merger of two long established and well respected Black Country law firms. With a new head office in Guardian House, West Bromwich and an office in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, Clark Brookes Turner Cary provides essential legal services and advice to private clients and businesses across the Midlands.

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP – 01789 490786 or 07990 978257.


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