Got a new employee and need a contract of employment? Use our Starter Pack

By | Announcements, Employment | No Comments

Our Starter Pack is ideal if you are employing your first employee or you want to update your contracts of employment. The pack gives you the basic HR and legal documentation you will need for employing your first employee and all at a fixed reasonable price. You will have the following precedents: a junior employment contract disciplinary procedure grievance procedure health & safety policy It is important to have a contract of employment in place to ensure both parties expectations…

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Has Japanese knotweed from neighbouring land spread to your property?  If so, you could be entitled to compensation

By | Legal Updates, Litigation | No Comments

Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing, invasive plant that spreads easily and requires careful management to control.  The root of the plant can cause significant property damage if it takes hold and can be difficult to eradicate.  If your home is affected by Japanese knotweed it can be harder to sell or remortgage and any plans you had to develop your property may have to be shelved if the presence of the plant means they are no longer financially viable. Where…

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Can you be forced to remain married when you want to be divorced?

By | family | No Comments

By Tim Melville-Walker  – Head of Family Department The Supreme Court has just decided the case of Mr and Mrs Owens – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-44949856 and press reports are suggesting that means you can be forced to remain married. However that is not actually what the court said and the official press summary is http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed191133 and reads rather differently. The short answer really is “no”: nobody can force you to remain married or in a civil partnership if you do not wish…

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End of “Meal Tickets for Life” in Divorce

By | family, Legal Updates | No Comments

The press are very much focusing upon the “meal ticket” headline but the case of Mills -v- Mills does show that a party paying maintenance (often the husband) is not expected to compensate for poor financial decisions by the recipient. In this case the ex-wife got herself into significant financial difficulty, and 13 years after the original Order, applied to increase the maintenance to pay her rent, having lost the £230,000 she was awarded to buy a house. The case…

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Inheritance Tax & Your Home – Could you be paying too much?

By | Legal Updates, Probate and Trusts, Will and probate team, Wills | No Comments

In 2017 new rules were introduced to allow home owners to a claim an additional allowance to reduce their Inheritance Tax (or IHT) liability.  This news came as a welcome relief to many homeowners wishing to pass their most prized asset to their loved ones. “Claiming this allowance may not be straightforward” says Ben Holden Associate Solicitor of MacDonald Oates Wills, Probate & Trusts Team “many people may losing out by failing to meet the various conditions set by law”….

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Ground rent – some important questions answered

By | Residential Property | No Comments

Taylor Wimpey’s recent decision to set aside £130 million pounds to settle ground rent disputes has attracted a lot of media attention. So too have stories about exploitative ground rent provisions which have resulted in some home owners becoming liable to pay thousands of pounds a year and who may face difficulty trying to sell their property. In this article Sarah Harris, residential property lawyer with MacDonald Oates LLP based in our Petersfield office, explains what ground rent is, why…

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Sexual harassment claims: employers should be prepared

By | Employment | No Comments

Further to our articles earlier this year, it is interesting that due to campaigns such as the #Me Too campaign, sexual harassment is still getting media attention. Recently there have been parliamentary debates where those in the legal profession have given their views on the topic, such as whether 3 months is long enough as a time limit when comparing it to personal injury and contractual time limits. It is perhaps inevitable that in the future employers are going to…

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Supreme Court decides on Pimlico Plumber case

By | Employment, Legal Updates | No Comments

Following our update for 2018, we now take a look at the The Pimlico Plumber case which has now been heard by the Supreme Court. In this case Mr Smith was a gas electrician carrying out work solely for Pimlico Plumbers from August 2005. The contract said he was an independent contactor and Pimlico was not obliged to offer any work and Mr Smith was under no obligation to accept it. However, the company manual stated that he should work…

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Are you GDPR ready?

By | Employment, Legal Updates | No Comments

You will recall in January we highlighted how employers needed to get ready for changes to data protection law that comes into force on 25th May 2018. We have already, in our previous update, provided you with some helpful links and the Information Commissioners website continues to provide updated guidance to help businesses. Is your business ready? If not, don’t panic. It is better to start now rather than bury your head in the sand. Here some tips for putting…

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Online divorce now available

By | family, Legal Updates | No Comments

Online divorce is now available on the HM Courts and Tribunal Service website, which is a huge step forward. However, just making the application online does not change anything: ALWAYS get some advice first, even if you conduct the divorce yourself afterwards. When, how and by whom the divorce is started can all have significant implications, and there are certainly hidden pitfalls: putting the form online does not suddenly make it easy. You can see more information about divorce here….

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