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Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins Agricultural Solicitors, Llanidloes, Rhayader, Machynlleth, Powys and Mid Wales

MAY 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Residential Care Savings Limit in Wales

From April 2018, the capital limit increases from £30,000.00 to £40,000.00 in Wales.  The £40,000.00 is the capital limit which determines whether a person is required to pay for the full cost of their residential care or whether financial support is received towards the cost from the local authority.

In England, people with capital and savings above £23,250.00 have to fund all of their own social care and only those with less than £14,250.00 pay nothing. 

Copyright of Photographs on the Internet

Photographs, illustrations and other images on the internet will generally be protected by copyright as artistic works.  It is only advisable to use images if you have specific permission to do so through a licence; or your particular use is specifically permitted in the terms and conditions of the website supplying the image and this is the copyright owner’s website.  Sharing or posting a simple web link to pages where images have been posted publicly online by the copyright owner is usually not restricted by copyright. However, copying images and then hosting them on another website will usually amount to copyright infringement. You should ask permission from the copyright owner before using images in this way

Council Tax Reduction and Discounts

Council Tax is usually paid if you are 18 or over and own or rent a home.  The bill is normally based on two adults living in a property but a discount or reduction can be applied in some circumstances if:

  • you are a student
  • you are mentally impaired
  • you are disabled
  • you live alone
  • you live in a low-income household
  • the property is empty

The Council Tax bill is calculated by your local authority which should be contacted if you think you may qualify for a reduction.


APRIL 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE 


Land Transaction Tax for Welsh Transactions

For transactions completed on or after 1st April 2018, the new Land Transaction Tax applies based on the rates and bands approved by the National Assembly for Wales.  To assist in establishing the tax you need to pay, a calculator can be used online at

https://lttcalculator.wra.gov.wales/.  If, as an individual you already own one or more residential properties, you may need to pay the higher residential rate.  For further information, contact our Adrian Foulkes at adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk.

MOT Rule Changes

A new MOT rule comes into force on 20th May 2018.  It includes three new defect categories being dangerous, major and minor.  A dangerous or major defect will result in an MOT fail.  Furthermore, tighter limits on smoke for diesel vehicles are being introduced in order to help improve air quality.  Vehicles more than 40 years old without substantial improvements will be exempt from requiring an MOT.

Single Application Form 2018

The Single Application Form (SAF) for land in Wales that is at your disposal has been available online since 5th March 2018.  The completed SAF and all necessary supporting information must be sent to the Welsh Government no later than midnight on Tuesday 15th May 2018.  Failure to comply with this time limit will result in financial penalties being applied for applications received between 16th May and 11th June 2018.  It will not be possible to submit your SAF after 11th June 2018 deadline.  If you are not already registered with RPW online and do not have an activation code, you will need to contact the Customer Contact Centre whose telephone number is 0300 0625004 (8.30am to 17.00 Monday to Thursday and 08.30 to 16.30 on Friday) or email RPWOnline@gwales.gsi.gov.uk.

 

MARCH 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE


Power of Attorney Fee Refund Scheme

For those who may have been charged more than was necessary to apply to register Lasting or Enduring Powers of Attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017, it is now possible to apply for a partial refund.  The Office of the Public Guardian’s operating costs came down during this period as the number of people who applied to register a Power of Attorney and the process for doing so became more efficient.  The application for a refund is a straightforward process will full guidance being offered online or a dedicated refund service helpline (tel: 0300 456 0300 and select option 6) for those who require it.  Telephone lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm and Wednesday from 10am to 5pm.


What happens to my title deeds when the property is registered with HMLR?


Title deeds are paper documents showing the change of ownership of property and land.  They can include documents such as conveyances, wills, mortgages and leases.  When a property is registered for the first time with the Land Registry, although they receive the original title deeds, they are not stored with the department.  The Land Registry creates scanned copies of some documents and returns all the original deeds once registration is completed to whoever lodged the application, which is usually a solicitor or conveyancer acting on behalf of a purchaser.  If you are trying to establish the whereabouts of the original title deeds, they could be with the solicitor who acted on your behalf when the property was bought or with the mortgage company, assuming you have a mortgage.  If the property had already been registered with the Land Registry when it was bought, the seller may not have handed over the original deeds as there is no legal requirement for them to do this.  Once a property is registered, the Land Register is the definitive record of land and property ownership in England and Wales and you do not need to have the deeds to confirm your ownership.  We advise that the original deeds be kept because they can hold important information about legal boundaries and who owned the property previously.  If the Land Register refers to deeds being filed, you should be able to have copies of the scanned documents.   

Inheritance Tax

Since 6th April 2017, you have been entitled to add an additional £100,000.00 tax free “family home allowance” which can be used against the value of your property if the same is left to your direct descendants – children or grandchildren.  This additional allowance will increase to £125,000.00 in the tax year 2018/19 and to £150,000.00 in 2019/20 and £175,000.00 in 2020/21.  If this extra allowance has not been used up on your death, it can be moved to your surviving spouse which means that by the tax year 2020/21, a married couple could potentially leave a combined estate of up to £1m without being liable for Inheritance Tax.  For divorced or single people, the maximum threshold will potentially be half of this being £500,000.00.

 

FEBRUARY 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Land Transaction Tax to be introduced in Wales from 1st April 2018

 

Stamp Duty Land Tax will be abolished from 1st April 2018 and replaced with the Land Transaction Tax in Wales. This will apply to residential and non-residential transactions. 

 

If you require any further information regarding this change, please contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686 412166.

 

Farm Business Grants

 

The Farm Business Grant scheme in Wales will be transferring to Rural Payments Wales (RPW) for this third round and future rounds of the scheme. Farmers can start applying from 29th January 2018, through RPW online. The scheme provides a 40% contribution towards capital investments, in machinery and equipment and has been pre-identified as offering clear and quantifiable benefits to farm enterprises. A minimum grant will be for £3,000.00 and the maximum £12,000.00.

 

The Micro Small Business Fund

 

This is an investment fund targeting eligible capital investment projects in the tourism industry in Wales. Between £25,000.00 and £500,000.00 will be considered in order to;

 

  • Create and safeguard jobs;
  • Deliver quality, innovation and a sense of place;
  • Realise economic benefit and growth.

 

It is a fund which is available for micro to small sized businesses employing less than 50 FTE employees.

 

More information is available from Business Wales, Welsh Government, Government Buildings, Sarn Mynach, Llandudno Junction LL31 9RZ, by email at tiss@wales.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 0845 0108 020.

 

JANUARY 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Employment

 

The National Living Wage for employees aged 25 and over will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018.  The National Minimum Wage rates will also increase as follows:

  • From £7.05 per hour to £7.38 per hour for 21 to 24 year olds.
  • From £5.60 per hour to £5.90 per hour for 18 to 20 year olds.
  • From £4.05 per hour to £4.20 per hour for 16 and 17 year olds.
  • From £3.50 per hour to £3,70 per hour for apprentices.

General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)

 

The GDPR will come into force on 25 May 2018. This has the aim of providing tighter controls and over the collection, storage and processing of personal data.  This will effect in particular the providers of services and goods. It is recommended that 12 steps are taken now in order to plan ahead for when the change is effected:

1.         All decision makers and key people in an organisation need to be made aware that the law is changing to the GDPR.

2.         You should document what personal data is held, where it came from and who it is shared with.         

3.         Client privacy notices should be reviewed with a plan being put in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.         

4.         Procedures should be checked to ensure that all the rights individuals have are covered including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

5.         Procedures should be updated to include planning how you will handle requests taking into account the new rules.

6.         The lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR should be identified, documented with the privacy notice being updated to explain it.

7.         A review of how you seek, record and manage consent with any changes that need to be made to be undertaken.

8.         Thought needs to be given as to whether systems need to be put in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.

9.         The correct procedures must be in place to detect, report and investigate personal data breach.

10.       It is good practice to adopt a “privacy by design” approach with a Privacy Impact Assessment being taken as part of this process.

11.       A data protection officer should be appointed to take responsibility for data protection compliance with thought being given as to where this role lies within the organisation’s structure and governance arrangements.

12.       For organisations operating in more than one EU member state, the lead data protections supervisory authority needs to be determined and documented.



Help to Buy Wales

We are please to announce that our Mr William Ransford is now accredited to deal with Conveyancing matters under the Help to Buy Wales Scheme  If you need any assistance, please contact him on 01686 412166 or at william@mjjsolicitors.co.uk

william-new.jpg

DECEMBER 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Reminders

All 2016 and 2017 Capital Works (Glastir Advanced) must be completed by 31st December 2017 with claims being made no later than 28th February 2018.  Such claims are required to be made to the RPW online account.

The expression of interest window for Glastir Small Grants: Carbon will be open until midnight on 13th December 2017. 

New Glastir organic contract holders in 2017 must submit their organic business plans via RPW online by 31st December 2017.  It is only after plans are received that the Glastir organic claims can be processed.

 

Christmas Holidays

 Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a Monday and Tuesday this year which means that these two days will be Bank Holidays.  There is no statutory right for employees to take Bank Holidays off work.  Any right to time off depends on the terms of an employee’s contract of employment.  When an employee works on a Bank Holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay eg “time and a half” or double pay.  Any right to extra remuneration depends on the terms of an employee’s contract of employment.  A part-time employee has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time employee, which includes entitled to bank holidays.  If an employee is required to work on Bank Holidays, under the terms of their contract of employment, the employee cannot refuse to work, even for religious reasons.

Some employers may need to restrict annual lave over the Christmas period.  This must be set out in the contract of employment, implied from practice or custom or incorporated into individual contracts from a collective agreement.

For employees’ absence owing to sickness during the Christmas period, organisations’ usual sickness policy applies and the policy should be operated and managed fairly and consistently for all employees.  Any absence or patterns in absence which have not been authorised could result in formal action being taken.

 


NOVEMBER 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Employment Tribunal Fee Refund Scheme Launched

 As a result of the Supreme Court’s judgement, the first stage of the phased implementation scheme has started with approximately 1,000 people being contacted individually with a chance to complete applications for a refund of the Employment Tribunal fee paid.  This is before the full scheme is opened in the forthcoming weeks.  In addition to being refunded the original fee, successful applicants to the scheme will also be paid interest at the rate of 0.5% which will be calculated from the date the original payment was made until the refund date.  It is believed that the opening phase of the refund scheme will last for approximately 4 weeks with further details of how the scheme can be accessed being made available when the scheme is fully rolled out.  A pre-registration scheme for those who have paid Employment Tribunal fees but have not been invited to participate in the initial stage, has been set up so as to enable them to register an interest in making an application when the full scheme is rolled out.  Registration can be by email at ethelpwithfees@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk or by post to the following address in England and Wales:

Employment Tribunal Central Office (England & Wales)/Employment

 Appeal Tribunal (EAT) Fees

 PO Box 10218

 Leicester

 LE1 8EG

 

Welsh Stamp Duty Changes

 Changes in Stamp Duty for a purchaser looking to buy a home in Wales have recently been announced.  From April 2018, Land Transaction Tax will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax and will be payable on the purchase or lease of a building or land I Wales over a certain price.  The rates and bands for the proposed Land Transaction Tax will be made nearer to Spring 2018 and we will provide an update when known.


New Debt Claims Pre-Action Protocol

From 1st October 2017, all debt claims brought by businesses which include sole traders and public bodies, against individuals (including sole traders) are subject to a new pre-action protocol.  The debt protocol set out certain stages which have to be complied with.

 


OCTOBER 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE


What if I lose my Birth Certificate?

For Birth Certificates issued in England and Wales, it is possible to obtain a copy in one of the following ways subject to a fee being paid:

  • By post from the General Register Office., Certificate Services Section, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside PR8 2JD (tel: 0300 123 1837 – Monday-Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm).  An application form can be downloaded at www.gro.gov.uk or by sending an email to the General Register Office – certificate.services@ips.gsi.gov.uk.  Payment can be made by credit or debit card or by a cheque made payable to “IPS”.
  • By telephone from the General Register Office being a service is only available to credit and debit card holders.
  • Online from the General Register Office.  You will have to know full details of the birth or the GRO Index Reference Number with payment being made by credit or debit card.
  • By post or personal visit to the Register Office local to the place or birth.


Television Licences

In order to watch or record live television programmes on any channel or to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, a television licence is required.  This covers not only a television but a desk top computer, laptop, mobile telephone, tablet, games consul, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

Failure to have a valid licence may result in prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.00.  For people aged 75 or over, they qualify for a free licence and for those who have a severe vision impairment, they qualify for a discounted licence (this means if you are registered blind (severely sight impaired), a TV licence will cost half of the usual cost.

A TV licence costs £147.00 (£49.50 for black and white television sets).

 

SEPTEMBER 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE 

 

Employment Tribunal Fees

The Supreme Court has recently determined that the Employment Tribunal fees regime introduced in 2013 is unlawful because it prevents access to justice.  In addition, the fees regime was found to be indirectly discriminatory against women.  From 26th July 2017, no fees need to be paid in order to make an Employment Tribunal claim.  It will be possible to apply for a refund of such fees but it is unclear at present how this can be done.  In certain situations where someone thought of making a claim between July 2013 and July 2017 but made the decision not to because fees needed to be paid or a previous claim was withdrawn because someone was unable or unwilling to pay the hearing fee, it might still be possible to submit a late claim but in these situations, prompt action needs to be taken.

 

For further advice, contact our William Ransford on 01686 412166.

Data Protection

The General Data Protection Regulation is due to come into force on 25th May 2018 and provides a major overhaul of data protection rules.  The GDPR will apply to companies by virtue of being “controllers” (they must say how and why personal data is processed) and “processors” (processors act on the controller’s behalf). 

 

The key points are as follows:

 

  • The right of an individual to request copies of their personal data in permanent form, as part of a subject access request, (SAR) is expanded to include the “right of erasure” (being the right to be forgotten) and a right of rectification.  This will involve an additional administrative burden for businesses.

 

  • The length of time in which to respond to an SAR is reduced from 40 days to 30 days with no right to be able to charge a £10.00 fee.

 

 

  • The GDPR includes breach notification provisions, applying to both “controllers” and “processors”.  Businesses will be under an obligation to report a breach of security leading to the destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.

 

  • When acting as a processor, all breaches must be reported to the “controller” without undue delay.  When acting as the “controller”, breaches must be reported (subject to certain exemptions) to the Information Commissioner’s Office without undue delay and within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.

 

All businesses/employers should be taking steps to plan for these changes owing to the sheer volume of the same.  Early planning is essential to ensure compliance when the changes are introduced.


AUGUST 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

LANDLORD REGISTRATION AND LICENSING IN WALES


As previously set out in our monthly legal updates, all private landlords of residential tenancies in Wales must be registered with the Rent Smart Wales Scheme.  Further details can be access online at https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/.  To apply for a Licence, the Landlord or agent is required to pay a fee, declare that they are a “fit and proper” person and provide proof that they have undertaken appropriate training regarding their rights and responsibilities as a Landlord.  The Licence last for five years and to retain the Licence, the Landlord or agent are obliged to adhere to the requirements of a Code of Practice.  Failure to do so, can result in:-

 

  • A Fixed Penalty Notice
  • A Rent Stopping Order
  • A Rent Repayment Order

 

It is extremely important to remember that failure to register or be properly licenced will result in a Section 21 Notice to Quit in respect of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, given on or after 23rd November 2016, being ineffective.  This can be beneficial to a tenant but not so much for a Landlord who seeks the eviction of a tenant.

 

CAN I CANCEL MY HOLIDAY IF THE PRICE INCREASES AFTER I BOOK?


If the holiday company decides to impose a “major increase” to the price of a holiday, there is a legal right to seek a refund or to book a different holiday.  Although there is no specific definition of what amounts to a “major increase”, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), believe that a percentage increase of 10% or more would constitute a “major increase”.  However, this is not set in stone.

 

WHAT IF I LOSE MY LUGGAGE OR IT GETS DELAYED?


For checked in luggage which gets delayed, lost or damaged, there is the legal right to claim compensation from the airline company.  With cabin baggage, there is only a right to claim for a problem if you can prove that the airline has been at fault. 

 

If you find yourself in such a this predicament, we would advise you to also check whether you have valid travel or home contents insurance that covers luggage as it may be easier to submit a claim this way.

 

JULY 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE


The Acceptance in Lieu Scheme

This scheme allows anyone who is faced with a payment of an existing Inheritance Tax bill to offer works of art and important heritage objects in part or whole payment of Inheritance Tax.  The Arts Council England manages the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government.  The Deputy Minister for culture, Sport and Tourism has to approve all offers.  The scheme helps public collections to acquire important items for public enjoyment.

 

More information is available on the following link: www.artscouncil.org.uk/supporting-collections-and-archives/cultural-property.

 

Time off work for dependents

All employees are entitled to take time off during working hours for dependents in order to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies.  Such time off is unpaid unless, under the terms and conditions of employment, an employer is willing to give paid leave.  There is no legal right to be paid.  The right is to take a reasonable amount of time off (generally a day or two) but what is reasonable may depend on the individual circumstances and the time required to deal with an immediate crisis.  Such leave can be taken in order to, eg:

  • deal with a childcare issue
  • to arrange long term care for elderly relatives or children
  • if a dependent falls ill or is hospitalised
  • to arrange or attend a funeral

For further advice, contact William Ransford on 01686 412166.

What to do if I run out of money abroad

Now that we are approaching the summer holiday season, we thought it may be useful to offer some pointers on what to do if you run short of money abroad.

For an independent traveller, it would be sensible to contact your bank, a relative or friend in order to organise a transfer of funds.  The British Consul can offer information to help you contact friends and relatives and how to transfer money eg if you have a debit or credit card, money can be transferred into your UK bank account which should then enable you to withdraw money from abroad.

If it is impossible for anyone to transfer money to you which means that you are stranded abroad, the British Consular Office may arrange for you to be repatriated ie the British Consular Office may be prepared to pay for you to return to the UK.  Depending on the individual circumstances, there is no automatic right for repatriation.  You will be required to guarantee to repay the costs of your return to the UK, if you are repatriated.  On arriving home, the Home Office will retain your passport which will mean that you will not be able to leave the UK until the costs of your repatriation are repaid.  It is only in exceptional circumstances that your passport will be returned before repayment of costs eg if you are required to travel for compassionate or urgent reasons.

If you are on a package holiday and run out of money, you should approach your package organiser’s representative at the resort who may be able to offer help and advice about money transfers.


JUNE 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

 Child Maintenance

 

 If parents separate it may be the responsibility of the parent who does not have the day to care of the children to pay money to the parent looking after the children which is known as Child Maintenance.  Child Maintenance can be arranged in the following ways:-

 

1.         Through agreement of the parents.  This is the quickest and easiest way to arrange Child Maintenance. However, any agreement reached is not legally binding and if payment is not made, other options may need to be considered:

 

2.         Payment through the Child Maintenance ServiceThe Child Maintenance Service deals with all new applications for Child Maintenance and to find out details and to calculate what would be expected to be paid, you will need to use their Calculator, which can be accessed through the following GOV.UK Website: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance/

 

3.         By way of a Court Order.  Only in certain circumstances can the Court assist in dealing with applications for Child Maintenance.  This includes when the paying parent lives out of the UK or has a very high income and would be required to pay more than what the Child Maintenance Service could award or if the parent looking after the children has extra expenses which the Child Maintenance Service do not take into account.  An example would be assistance with a child’s illness or disability.  

Advance Decisions

An Advance Decision to refuse medical treatment (also referred to as a “Living Will”) enables you to make a decision, while you have mental capacity, about medical treatment you would want to refuse, should you at some future stage be in a position where you “lack mental capacity” to decide and/or express your wishes when such a decision needs to be made.  Advance Decisions do not have to be in writing unless you wish to refuse live-sustaining treatment in which case, this decision must be in writing, signed and witnessed, stating clearly that you wish it to apply, even if your life is at risk.

 

MAY 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE


Online Auctions

Many Auction Houses now operate online auctions.  The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges)  Regs 2013 apply to all “distance contracts” and “off-premises contracts” with “consumers”.  A consumer has the right to cancel an order for goods the moment the order is placed and ends fourteen days after taking physical possession of such goods.  The Consumer Rights Act provides that the retailer is responsible for the condition of goods until they are received by you or by someone else who may have been nominated to receive them on your behalf, for example, a neighbour.

 

The Distance Selling Law is  “consumers” rights that they do not appreciate they have and which must be heeded by auction houses.  For further advice, contact Adrian Foulkes on  adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk

 

Employment Tribunal Decisions

Employment Tribunal’s decisions can now be accessed online  www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions.  The new database contains a selection of decisions dating back to 2015 and 2016 with all new decisions being added to the database.

 

Road Accident on Holiday

If you are abroad and are involved in a road accident, the Police should be called out and you need to ask for a copy of the Police Report.  If there is a language barrier, ask for an interpreter.  It is important to make notes as to what happened and to take photographs of the accident (to include the number plates of other vehicles involved and their road positions).  You will need to make a note of names and addresses, arrange to exchange insurance details but do not admit liability or apologise.  We advise that such steps be taken on the assumption that you are physically able to do so.  If the accident happens in Europe, your Insurance Company may have provided you with a European Accident Statement or one may be provided at the scene of the accident.  This is a standard form available throughout Europe in various languages which helps to obtain an agreed statement of fact which can help with an insurance claim.  Do not sign a European Accident Statement unless you clearly understand the situation and ask for a copy of the document.  You will also need to contact your insurer as soon as possible and also seek legal advice, particularly if you are injured.


APRIL 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

National Living Wage Hourly Rate Change

The national UK living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour from April 2017. This applies to employees aged 25 or over.  The national minimum wage still applies to employees aged 24 and under.  For workers aged between 21 and 24, the hourly rate will increase to £7.05.  For employees between 18 and 20, the hourly rate will be £5.60 and for those under 18, the hourly rate will be £4.05 with an apprentice earning the minimum wage of £3.50 per hour.  An apprentice is entitled to the apprentice rate if either aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. 

Skip Licence (England and Wales)

To be able to place a skip on a public road, a Skip Licence is required and this can be obtained from the Highway Authority.  If the intention is to place the skip entirely on private land, a Skip Licence is not required.  A skip cannot be placed on a pavement and it may be necessary to put safety lights and markings on or around the skip if placed on the public road.  Often, skip hire companies are responsible for obtaining Skip Licences (sometimes called Skip Permits).  Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to obtain the licence yourself and we would always advise that the position be checked.

Mortgage Repossession

If your property is repossessed or keys are handed in to the lender, you will still be responsible for paying the mortgage until the property is sold.  This can include any arrears, ongoing mortgage and interest payments, penalty charges for missed payments and buildings insurance.

Selling a property may take some time and the amount owed could substantially increase even though you are no longer living in your home.  It is therefore important that the lender does not delay the sale if doing so means that the debt will increase.  Seek urgent advice if you find yourself in this situation.

 

FEBRUARY 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE


Beware of Property Fraud

Simple steps can be taken to minimise the risk of being affected by property fraud when a fraudster impersonates the owner of a property and mortgages or sells the property.  The steps which can be taken to safeguard the position are the following:

  • The Land Registry offer a tracking service for which no fee is payable but to take advantage of this service, steps have to be taken to sign up to property alerts for up to ten properties on one account.  For anyone owning more than ten properties, more than one account is required.  This service is useful in that the Land Registry can alert an owner if certain applications are made against the property, eg, an application is made to register a mortgage.
  • A restriction can be registered against the property which would require the person registering the restriction to provide a certificate to the Land Registry that the purported borrower or seller is the property owner.

Such simple steps are important to take particularly in situations such as:

  • Where a property is let
  • Where a property is empty
  • Where there is no mortgage
  • Where the owner lives abroad
  • Where the property has not been registered with the Land Registry

If you think that you might be at risk and need assistance to safeguard your position, we would be happy to deal with matters on your behalf.


Tackling Poverty in Wales Together

One in eight customers in Wales consider their water bill is not affordable.  Water companies are offering more assistance than ever before but many customers are unaware that help is available.  Ensuring access to fair and affordable water and sewerage services is a key priority in Wales at the Consumer Council for Water and the Welsh Government, in line with the broader aims of the Welsh Tackling Poverty Action Plan and the Child Poverty Strategy for Wales.  The Consumer Council for Water is hosting a conference on the 28th February 2017 at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff CF11 9XR bringing together utility companies, Government and consumer representatives, regulators and the advice sector in Wales to help raise awareness of help for the financially vulnerable to include opportunities to work together to help reduce poverty in Wales being explored.

The event is free and open to advisory and support organisations from across Wales.  To obtain more information, contact Jade Painter by email jade.painter@ccwater.org.uk or telephone 02920 


JANUARY 2017 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Care home placements in Wales

Most people assessed as requiring residential care are expected to pay something (from their income or capital) towards the cost of personal care and accommodation. If the local authority is involved in arranging placement, a means test is undertaken, using nationally set guidelines.

Some people are expected to pay all of the costs involved themselves if their savings or capital assets exceed £24,000 (this may be changing in April 2017).

If a person moves into a nursing home, the NHS is responsible for meeting the cost of care provided by a registered nurse on site.

For further advice, contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686412166 or email adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk

 

Emergency Assistance Payments (EAPs)

EAPs are part of the Discretionary Assistance Fund which operates throughout Wales.

EAPs are there to help with essential costs after an emergency or the aftermath of a disaster e.g. fire or flood. The level of assistance offered will depend upon the needs which are listed on the application and the current circumstances. The criteria for eligibility is that you or your family`s health or wellbeing will be at risk or damage may occur to your home, if the help which is applied for is not given. Up to three EAP grants within a 12 month period for general living costs can be awarded. To be eligible for an EAP, you do not have to be on any benefits.

 

Zero hours contracts

These contracts normally mean that there is no obligation for employers to offer work or for workers to accept it, with staff being given `worker` employments status. Such workers are entitled to annual leave, the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage and to receive payment for work-related travel. Although zero hours workers have the same employment rights as regular workers, if they have breaks in their contracts, the rights that may accrue over time may be affected.

For further advice, contact our William Ransford on 01686412166 or email william@mjjsolicitors.co.uk


DECEMBER 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE


NEST – the Welsh Government’s Fuel Poverty Scheme

This scheme was introduced to help reduce the number of households in fuel poverty and to make Welsh homes more fuel efficient and warmer places to live.

A whole house assessment is available to people in Wales who receive a means tested benefit and live in the hardest-to-heat homes.  A person may be eligible for home improvements for a property which is owned or privately rented, if it is a home that is not energy efficient (F or G rated) and you or someone who lives with you receives a means tested benefit eg Council Tax Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.  Free and impartial help and advice is available from NEST by calling 0808 808 2244 (free from a landline).  For those who are eligible, NEST can offer a full home energy assessment and a range of home improvements (eg loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation, draught proofing of doors and windows, renewable energy technology, insulation for a hot water cylinder and a new central heating boiler).

 

What if I receive an unwanted Christmas gift?

With Christmas fast approaching, we thought it may be useful to know what your legal position is if an unwanted Christmas present is received.  Unless the item is faulty, not as described or is unfit for purpose, high street shops are not obliged to accept returns.  Many retailers, however, provide a “goodwill” returns policy, offering an exchange, refund or credit note for most returns and this is particularly the case at Christmas.

If a gift is bought online, over the telephone or by mail order, additional rights are available to return the item under the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 which apply to contracts for goods or services (including digital content) of any value ordered from an EU-based business.  For goods, you have the right to cancel your order from the moment you place it until 14 days after you receive the goods.  There are some returns exceptions including sealed, audio, video or computer software if the seal or packaging has been broken, perishable items (including food and flowers) or an item which has been made to order or personalised and newspapers and magazines (unless they are part of a subscription).

 

NOVEMBER 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 
 

23rd November 2016 – Important Deadline

By 23rd November 2016, all landlords operating in Wales must register with Rent Smart Wales.  Registration lasts 5 years, after which time the landlord is required to re-register.  During the registered 5 year period, a landlord must keep information up to date.  Certain changes in information must also be notified. 

Landlords who self-manage their properties in Wales must apply for a licence.  This requirement is in addition to having to register.  Also, a person (whether a company or individual) who is instructed by a landlord in Wales to undertake lettings and management on their behalf, must also apply for a licence.

For further information, follow the link below:

www.rentsmart.gov.wales

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Rates

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on age and whether an employee is an apprentice.  To qualify for the national minimum wage, an employee has to be at least school leaving age.  To get the national living wage, an employee has to be aged 25.  The minimum wage applies for workers aged 24 and under.

From 1st October 2016, the rates for the national living wage and the national minimum wage changed and the current hourly rates are as follows:

Age 25 and over       £7.20.

Age 21 to 24              £6.95

Age 18 to 20              £5.55

Age under 18            £4.00

Apprentice                 £3.40

The national minimum wage rates change every October.  The national living wage rates change every April.

OCTOBER 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Small Business Rates Relief

Non domestic rates (also known as Business Rates) being taxes imposed upon non domestic properties, help pay for local services.  The current scheme (2016/17) provides for 100% relief to business premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000.00.  For business premises with a rateable value of between £6,001.00 and £12,000.00, relief is given on a tapered basis from 100% to zero.  The Welsh Government has recently confirmed that the current arrangements will be extended to 2017/18.

 

You Can Change Your Name

 

You can change your name by simply starting to use a new name.  However, to be able to use your new name on certain documents such as a driving licence or passport, evidence of your new name has to be produced.  This can be done by making a Deed Poll.  Your new name can be recorded on public record by “enrolling” it at the Royal Courts of Justice.

To change a minor’s name (a child under the age of 18), different rules apply.  It is necessary to obtain either a Court Order or secure the agreement of everyone who has parental responsibility for the minor.  An agreement should always be attempted before seeking a Court Order.

For advice, please feel free to contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686 412166.  Email: adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk.

 

Student Housing

 

Students sometimes encounter problems with the state of their accommodation and in getting landlords to deal with repairs to private rented accommodation.  A landlord is responsible for ensuring that their furnished accommodation which is rented, that it is fit to be lived in on the day it is let to you eg defective drainage or sewerage system, inadequate water supply, the property being unsafe or infested with pests.  As tenant, you are responsible for using the home in a “tenant like” way ie keeping your home reasonably clean, not causing damage to the property, using fixtures and fitting properly and undertaking minor repairs yourself.

If your landlord is responsible for doing repair work, it is up to you as the tenant to report repairs which are needed.  This means that your landlord or agent is entitled to have access to your home to establish what repair work is needed and for the work to be done.  Unless there is an emergency, the landlord or agent must give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing.

For houses in multiple occupation (generally covers property divided into bed sitting rooms with shared facilities and shared houses/flats that accommodate more than one household), your landlord has extra legal responsibility for fire and general safety, gas and electricity, waste disposal, water supply and drainage together with general upkeep of the property.

 

SEPTEMBER 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE


Social Services Complaints

Social Services departments within the Local Authority provide support, help and protection to vulnerable people who live in their area.  The Social Services departments provide services to

  • Children in need
  • Children and young people in care
  • Children and young people leaving care
  • Carers
  • People with disabilities
  • People leaving hospital
  • People experiencing family problems
  • Anyone the Local Authority considers vulnerable

“The Social Worker” provides Practice Guidance for Social Workers registered with the Care Council for Wales and has been developed by the Care Council.  The Care Council for Wales website www.ccwales.org.uk has useful guidance setting out what is expected of Social Workers and is particularly useful, as a starting point, if you are unhappy about the service you had from your Local Authority Social Services department.  The Local Authority will have a complaints procedure which is usually effective in dealing with smaller issues or problems.  The complaints procedure may not be as effective for more important issues or urgent action is required or if compensation is sought.  If you find yourself in this situation, you should consult with an experienced adviser.  For advice or assistance, contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686 412166.

 

Airline Delay

If EU Rules apply (if the flight which is booked departs from Europe or is with a European airline) and if the flight is delayed or cancelled, you might have rights under EU Law.  Essentially, the EU Rules on airline compensation for delay have become strict liability which means liability is imposed on a party without having to find fault (such as negligence).

For advice or assistance, contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686 412166.

 

AUGUST 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE 

 

The Importance of Making a Will

Making a Will should be at the top of your “To Do” list so that your family and loved ones can have peace of mind.

Although thinking, talking and planning for death may feel uncomfortable, you need to consider who you would want to benefit in the event of your death. Family structures can be complicated.

The legal consequences of dying without a Will depends on whether you are married, in a civil partnership or living together, whether you have children, whether there are other surviving relatives and the value of your estate. There is a simple solution to avoid the unintended consequences of intestacy – make a Will.

 

Power of Attorney

There may come a time when we are no longer able to make vital decisions about our care and future finances. A Lasting Power of Attorney is one way to plan ahead. A Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney is designed to appoint attorneys to make a range of decisions eg buying and selling a house and other assets, dealing with tax affairs, operating bank and building society accounts and claiming benefits. A Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney appoints attorneys to make decisions about your future day to day care if you are no longer able to care for yourself, to include the power to accept or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf.

You can choose to make both types of Lasting Power of Attorney or just one. You may decide to appoint just one or more attorneys. You can have the same attorney for both the Property and Affairs and the Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney or you can appoint different attorneys.

Like Wills, this may be on your “To Do” list and it is vitally important to plan ahead, which gives peace of mind.

 

 

LLANIDLOES VOTES FOR PLAYGROUPTO WIN BIGGEST SHARE OF N&P’S GRAND DONATION

 

Votes from people in Llanidloes have helped the Croco-doco-dile Playgroup secure first place and a £500 donation in Yorkshire Building Society’s Charity Choices campaign.

Wales Air Ambulance came in second place to win £300 and The League of Friends of Llanidloes Hospital came third to collect £200 after the two-week-long public vote where shoppers were asked to decide who they wanted to receive the biggest share of £1,000.

Adrian Foulkes, proprietor of the Yorkshire’s agency in Llanidloes at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins, said: “We had a brilliant response to the campaign from our members, local shoppers and residents, but of course the real winners here are the charities – all of whom do a fantastic job of providing invaluable support in our local community.

“Because each and every vote helped secure pounds for the charities it felt right that the decision of splitting the money was put in the hands of our members and local people. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming in to our agency during the voting period to make their vote count – I’m sure the money will make a real difference locally.”

The Charity Choices campaign was supported by Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation, which is funded by the Small Change, Big Difference® scheme where members donate the pennies from the interest they receive on their accounts, just once a year, to help charities and good causes in their communities.

A total of 157 branches and agencies around the UK took part in the 2016 Charity Choices campaign in May, donating a total of £157,000 to charities which make a difference to their local communities.

For more information about the Small Change Big Difference® scheme and the Charitable Foundation visit www.ybs.co.uk/charitablefoundation


Why use Solicitors for the Elderly’s Lawyers

 

The decisions and plans you make now will have a huge impact on your later life.  Getting them right is essential.  A Solicitors  for the Elderly,  accredited lawyer is an expert in older client law and will ensure you get the best possible legal advice for your future.

 

Solicitors for the Elderly:

1.       Know their stuff

 

Our members are qualified solicitors, barristers and legal executives who specialise in advising older and vulnerable people and their families and carers.

2.       Have years of experience

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s lawyers have substantial experience built up over many years of focussing on this area of law.

3.       Are independently accredited

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers, have all undertaken additional specialist training in older client law to qualify for the Older Client Care in Practice Award, which is independently accredited.

4.       Follow a strict code of conduct

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers, understand the issues affecting older and vulnerable clients and follow a strict code of conduct that has respect and dignity at its heart.

5.       Speak in a language you understand

 

There is so much jargon in the legal profession. Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers communicate in clear straightforward language to make sure you understand everything you’re signing.

6.       Are part of a community of experts

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers have a community of more than 1,500 members to draw on, so no matter how complex or sensitive your case, you will receive the best possible legal advice.

7.       Safeguard your interests

 

A Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyer is committed to providing affordable, high quality legal advice, and will ensure any decisions are your own.

8.       Understand the bigger picture

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers understand the wider, and often sensitive, issues around health, care and family that might affect your plans later in life.

9.       Offer the best possible care and support

 

Solicitors for the Elderly’s  lawyers care. They go above and beyond to provide support that is tailored to your needs and individual circumstances.

10.   Get you the best possible outcome

 

Ultimately, choosing an SFE lawyer means you’ll be guided through this complex and sensitive area of law and will enable you to lay solid foundations to protect you and your loved ones later in life.

 

Our Adrian Foulkes is an accredited Solicitors for the Elderly Lawyer and will be able to assist you.



JULY 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

A Reminder to Residential Landlords

All landlords and agents of private residential property are required by law to be registered or licensed.  Even if you do not manage the rental property on a day to day basis with an agent managing on your behalf, as the legal landlord of the property there is an obligation on you to register.  An agent cannot register on behalf of the landlord.  If as a landlord you self-manage your rental property, you have to apply for a licence online at rentsmart.gov.wales or you can telephone 03000 133344 to request a paper form to complete and return.  Landlords have twelve months from 23rd November 2015 to register.  After this time, failure to register renders a person guilty of an offence and can be issued with a fixed penalty of £150.00 or, if taken to court, can be fined up to £1,000.00.

Japanese Knotweed

Although having Japanese Knotweed is not an offence, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is relevant.  Guidance has been issued to the effect that the Act covers unreasonably failing to control or prevent the growth of Japanese Knotweed.  Local councils and police have powers to issue a Community Protection Notice after a written warning.  A breach constitutes a criminal offence (up to a £2,500 fine for an individual and £20,000 for an organisation). 

Companies

Every company registered in England and Wales has a duty to maintain a register of persons with significant control (PSC).  One of these five tests has to be satisfied to constitute a PSC being a person who:

 

  • Directly or indirectly controls more than 25% of voting rights
  • Directly or indirectly holds more than 25% of nominal share capital
  • Directly or indirectly is able to control the appointment or removal of a majority of the Board
  • Actually exercises or has the power to exercise, significant influence or control over the company or
  • Actually exercise, or has the right to exercise, significant influence or control over a Trust or firm that meets one of the above conditions

At present, the rules do not apply to overseas companies operating in the United Kingdom.

JUNE 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (“IVA”)

An IVA is an agreement reached with creditors to pay all or part of your debts.  This involves an agreement to make regular payments to an insolvency practitioner, who divides the money between creditors.  An IVA can give more control over your assets than bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an option for individuals (it does not apply to companies or partnerships) to deal with debts which they are unable to repay.  A bankruptcy order can be made for one of three reasons:

  • An insolvency practitioner makes you bankrupt because you have broken the terms of an IVA
  • You are unable to pay what is owed and decide to declare yourself bankrupt
  • Creditors can apply to make you bankrupt because you owe them £5,000 or more

If there are debts of less than £20,000 with no assets, a person may be able to obtain a Debt Relief Order.

Debt Relief Order (“DRO”)

This is another way to deal with debts if the amount owed is less than £20,000, you have little spare income and do not own your home.  If a DRO is obtained, creditors cannot recover their money without the court’s permission and the debtor usually freed (“discharged”) from debts after 12 months.

Generally speaking, a person is eligible if all the following criteria are met:

  • Less than £20,000 is owed
  • There is less than £50 a month spare income
  • There is less than £1,000 worth of assets
  • A person has lived or worked in England and Wales within the last 3 years
  • No application for a DRO has been made within the last 6 years

There are certain “restrictions” which have to be complied with in the event of a DRO being granted:

  • You will not be able to act as the Director of a company
  • You will not be able to create, manage or promote a company without the court’s permission
  • You will not be able to manage a business without telling those you do business with about the DRO
  • You will not be able to borrow more than £500 without informing the lender about the DRO
  • To open a bank account, you may also have to inform the bank or building society about the existence of the DRO

Health and Safety on-farm

For the agricultural industry in Wales, on-farm health and safety is a priority issue.  A bilingual first aid mobile phone app, targeted at agricultural workers, has been developed by St John Cymru Wales.  The app can be downloaded by visiting the St John Cymru-Wales website www.stjohnwales.org.uk.

Such a tool could be valuable to help farmers deal with on-farm accidents.

 MAY 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE


Water Companies’ Social Tariffs

Section 44 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 enables water and sewerage undertakers in England and Wales to include social tariffs in their charges scheme which enables undertakers to reduce charges for individuals who would otherwise have difficulty paying their bill in full.  A number of companies in England and Wales have introduced social tariffs aimed at assisting customers.  The following is a list of companies who currently offer assistance:

Affinity Water            (www.affinitywater.co.uk)

Bournemouth Water (www.bournemouthwater.co.uk)

Bristol Water (www.bristolwater.co.uk)

Cambridge Water (www.cambridge-water.co.uk)

Chorlderton Water (www.chorldertonwater.co.uk)

Dee Water (www.deevalleywater.co.uk)

Essex and Suffolk Water (www.eswater.co.uk)

Hartlepool Water (www.hartlepoolwater.co.uk)

Portsmouth Water (www.portsmouthwater.co.uk)

South East Water (www.southeastwater.co.uk)

South Staffordshire Water (www.south-staffs-water.co.uk)

Sutton and East Surrey Water (www.waterplc.com)

 

Plants that need control

The Weeds Act 1959 covers five species being Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping or Field Thistle, Curled Dock and Broad-Leaved Dock.  Although it is not illegal to have such weeds growing on your land, enforcement notices can be issued to landowners or occupiers to prevent their spread onto agricultural land, especially land used for grazing or production of hay or silage.  The Welsh Government has produced a Code of Practice to prevent and control the spread of Ragwort (http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/plantsseedsbiotechnology)

It is an offence to plant or cause to grow in the wild any species listed in Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  These non-native invasive plants are species which have become established in the wild after they were introduced to Britain eg as ornamental garden plants.  An example of the most common and widespread non-native invasive plant includes Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam.  It is important to identify such weeds so that steps can be taken to appropriately control them so that they do not spread onto neighbouring land and cause a nuisance.


Rhayader Branch Office

We are very pleased to announce that on 22nd April 2016, we opened our first branch office in Rhayader at Glan Wye House, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AD, telephone number: 01597 810533

                                                                                                


Tips on how to avoid Property Fraud and Email Hacking

The legal community has been aware of these issues for some time now and the majority of firms drum it into their employees that no matter how safe the firm’s property firewalls/anti-virus or spam filters are, those of the public will probably be less so.

The Bold Legal Group has over 420 member firms throughout England and Wales and I have been highlighting these issues to my members, on a regular basis, for the last year or two. We have a compiled a few pointers for the public:

  • If you receive the solicitor/conveyancer firm’s bank details by email, and don’t also receive the same details by post, phone the firm to make sure they are correct (using a verified landline telephone number).
  • Do not send your bank details by email (to anyone), either phone them through or take them in.
  • Make sure the firm acting for you is genuine by checking with the lists compiled by the Law Society or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Carry out a law firm search via the Solicitors Regulation Authority website. Read carefully anything sent to you by your conveyancers carefully. Many firms provide clients with their bank details at the outset (by post) and stress that those details will not change.  Always telephone to check if the bank details provided appear to have changed.
  • Read anything sent to you by your conveyancers carefully. Many firms provide clients with their bank details at the outset (by post) and stress that those details will not change.
  • If you are being pushed to proceed very quickly be careful, fraudsters often use this tactic so that emails are used and corners are cut.
  • If you are buying an empty or tenanted property, tell your conveyancer and make sure they are 100% sure the seller is who they say they are.
  • Ask the firm you are thinking of instructing what anti-fraud and cybercrime measures they have in place.
  • Ask them what checks they carry out to ensure the buyers/sellers firm is genuine. Do they use services like Lawyer Checker/Lender Exchange/The Safe Move Scheme?
  • If you have to send sensitive information by email do not give a clue to what that information might be in the emails subject line.
  • Test your conveyancers account details by sending a nominal amount, say between £1.00 and £10.00 first, and then phone to make sure it has arrived safely.
  • Do not post any updates on social media as to the progress of your transaction – this is how some fraudsters identify when to send the scam email requesting your money.
  • Working with your conveyancer is a two way street. No matter how good and safe they are, if you are not as vigilant you may end up having your emails hacked or becoming involved in property fraud.
  • Above all, remember that buying or selling a property is one of the most important and complicated things you will ever do. Do not instruct the cheapest firm to act for you. Visit the firm if possible. Certainly speak to the person who will be handling your transaction (or the Head of Department or Team Leader) and make sure you feel confident in them and their ability.

Rob Hailstone (Founder and CEO)                                                                                                               May 2016

Bold Legal Group                                                                                                                        www.boldgroup.co.uk

APRIL 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Countdown to the 2016 Micro chipping Regulations

 

As a reminder, these Regulations governing the compulsory micro chipping of dogs in the UK will come into effect on 6th April 2016.  The Regulations will affect not only the owners of adult dogs and privately owned dogs but also litters of puppies produced by professional and hobbyist breeders.  It becomes compulsory in England and Wales to microchip all dogs by the time they are 8 weeks old.

Historic Environment (Wales) Act

This new Act became law in Wales on 21st March 2016.  Farmers and landowners with scheduled monuments on their land need to be aware that the Act makes it more difficult for individuals who damage protected monuments to avoid prosecution by pleading ignorance of the monument’s location or status.  New powers have been introduced to allow authorities to take urgent action to prevent historic buildings from falling into disrepair and to stop unauthorised work to historic sites.

 

Some basic reminders about Landlords’ Responsibilities for renting out a property

A landlord must:

  • Provide an Energy Performance Certificate (in fact, this is required whenever a property is built, sold or rented).  An EPC must be ordered before the property is marketed for rent and contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs together with recommendations as to how to reduce energy use and costs.  An EPC gives an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
  • Protect your tenants’ deposit – the deposit must be placed in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme if the home is rented out on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which commenced after 6th April 2007.  In England and Wales the schemes are:

(a)       Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured) www.depositprotection.com

(b)       MyDeposits www.mydeposits.co.uk

(c)        Tenancy Deposit Scheme www.tds.gb.com

  • The rented property must be safe and free from health hazard
  • All gas and electrical equipment must be safely installed and maintained.

A Landlord must also check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent a residential property in England.

Also all Landlords in Wales (or their letting agents) by 23 November 2016 be an authorised under the Rent Smart Wales Scheme 

 

New Law for improving the wellbeing of people who need care and support and carers who need support

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act comes into force on the 5th April 2016.  From this date, Wales will have its own framework for social services.  It will give individuals more control and support if needed, giving individuals a stronger voice.  Amongst other things, the Act encourages a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention.

 

 

MARCH 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

Beware of Property Fraud


When a property is empty, rented out, mortgage free or when owners are absent (eg abroad, in hospital or a care home) or having relationship issues there is an increased risk of fraud.

Steps can be taken to reduce the risk of being a property fraud victim by:

•    Registering your property with the Land Registry

•    Keeping your contact details up to date with the Land Registry

•    Using the Land Registry Property Alert service.  This is a free service where you can monitor up to ten registered properties.  The Land Registry will notify you of significant applications to change the register (eg a new mortgage or change of ownership)

•    Applying for a restriction to help prevent forgery

If your property is already registered with the Land Registry and you are concerned that you may already have been the victim of property fraud, you can contact the Land Registry Property Fraud line on 0300 006 7030 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).  If your property is not registered with the Land Registry and you would like to receive further professional advice, call us on 01686 412166.


Reminders Regarding Changes in Employment Law


•    From 1st April 2016 the compulsory National Living Wage is being introduced for all working people aged 25 and over and will be set at £7.20 per hour.

•    Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay rates have been frozen.  These will remain at the rate of £139.50 per week.

•    From 6th April 2016, the personal allowance increases to £11,000.00 per annum and the higher rate tax threshold will increase to £43,000.00


New EU-wide Online Dispute Resolution Platform


From 15th February 2016, a new web-based platform came into operation in all EU languages.  It provides an easy, fast and cost effective way to assist in resolving disputes between online buyers and traders.  The platform is managed by the European Commission.  The aim of the platform is to assist consumers who are faced with a problem with something they have bought online and are faced with cross-border disputes, having bought from traders in different EU jurisdictions.  The platform can be used to try to reach an out-of-court settlement.  The platform can be accessed on http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/.



FEBRUARY 2016 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

New National Living Wage

From 1st April 2016, all employees aged 25 and over (and not in the first year of an apprenticeship) are legally entitled to be paid at least £7.20 per hour.  The National Living Wage will be enforced in the same way as the current National Minimum Wage. For further information, please contact our Mr William Ransford (william@mjjsolicitors.co.uk, tel: 01686 412166).

 

The New State Pension

On 6th April 2016, the State Pension will be changing.  For anyone who reaches State Pension age on or after this date, they will receive the new State Pension under the new Rules.  For a woman born before 6th April 1953 or a man born before 6th April 1951, the State Pension will be paid under the current system.  For a woman born on or after 6th April 1953 or a man born on or after 6th April 1951, they will receive the new State Pension.  The earnings-related part of the current system for people who are employed (called the Additional State Pension) is being abolished.  The new State Pension will be based on an individual’s National Insurance record alone.  35 years National Insurance contributions are required to be paid to receive the maximum new State Pension which will be £155.65 per week from April 2016.

The system is complicated and information is available on the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/new-state-pension/eligibility).  It may also be worth you taking advice from a retirement adviser authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (https://directory.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en).

 

 

Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”)

SDLT is to be increased for most purchases of a buy-to-let property or the purchase of a second home costing more than £40,000.00, from 1st April 2016.  Such properties will be subject to a 3% surcharge.  As an example, if the rate of SDLT would have been 1%, it will be 4% under the new rules and if the rate would be 3% now, it will be 6% after 1st April 2016.  There will be a transitional relief from the higher charge in respect of contracts exchanged on or before 25th November 2015 where completion takes place on or after 1st April 2016. For further information, please contact our Mr Adrian Foulkes (adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk, tel: 01686 412166).

 

SOLICITORS FOR THE ELDERLY

Our Adrian Foulkes is a accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.  Solicitors for the Elderly have recently given ten reasons to use an SFE accredited lawyer.  This is becuase the decisions and plans you make now will have a huge impact on your later life. Getting them right is essential. An SFE accredited lawyer is an expert in older client law and will ensure you get the best possible legal advice for your future.

 Solicitors for the Elderly Members:

1. Know their stuff

Our members are qualified solicitors, barristers and legal executives who specialise in advising older and vulnerable people and their families and carers.

2. Have years of experience

SFE lawyers have substantial experience built up over many years of focussing on this area of law.

3. Are independently accredited

SFE lawyers have all undertaken additional specialist training in older client law to qualify for the Older Client Care in Practice Award, which is independently accredited.

4. Follow a strict code of conduct

SFE lawyers understand the issues affecting older and vulnerable clients and follow a strict code of practice that has respect and dignity at its heart.

5. Speak in a language you understand

There is so much jargon in the legal profession. SFE lawyers communicate in clear straightforward language to make sure you understand everything you’re signing.

6. Are part of a community of experts

SFE lawyers have a community of more than 1,500 members to draw on, so no matter how complex or sensitive your case, you will receive the best possible legal advice.

7. Safeguard your interests

An SFE lawyer is committed to providing affordable, high quality legal advice, and will ensure any decisions are your own.

8. Understand the bigger picture

SFE lawyers understand the wider, and often sensitive, issues around health, care and family that might affect your plans for later life.

9. Offer the best possible care and support

SFE lawyers care. They go above and beyond to provide support that is tailored to your needs and individual circumstances.

10. Get you the best possible outcome

Ultimately, choosing an SFE lawyer means you’ll be guided through this complex and sensitive area of law and will enable you to lay solid foundations to protect you and your loved ones in later life.


 

DECEMBER 2015 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

New Law for Landlords and Letting Agents

 

From 23rd November 2015, the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduced a system of compulsory registration and licensing for the domestic private rented sector.  All private landlords who have a rental property in Wales will have to register.  Furthermore, landlords or their agents who carry out management activities (eg collect rent, attend to maintenance, arrange lettings etc) will have to be licensed.  Rent Smart Wales is the brand name for the new registration and licensing requirements and the website www.rentsmart.gov.wales will be live and landlords who need to register and landlords and agents who need to become licensed have 12 months from 23rd November 2015 within which to comply with the new legislation.

 

Compulsory Microchipping for Dogs

 

The Microchipping of dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015 will be introduced on 6th April 2016 in Wales.  All dogs over 8 years old are required to be microchipped from this date with keepers’ details being registered on an approved database.

 

Once a dog has been microchipped, it is important for the owner to notify the microchip database of any new contact details eg change of address or telephone numbers.  To do this, the owner needs to know which microchipping database applies to the registered pet.  If such details are not updated, the microchip can prove to be ineffective.

 

Changes to Current Grandfather’s Rights for Pesticide Users

 

From 26th November 2015, everyone who uses plant protection products for professional use, to include those using knapsack sprayers, must hold a certificate of competence.  From this date, it will be an offence for anyone to purchase plant protection products authorised for professional use unless they have ensured that the intended end user has a certificate.  Further details regarding this can be accessed on www.pesticides.gov.uk.

 

 

NOVEMBER 2015 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

Matrimonial Matters

The Supreme Court has recently granted landmark decisions in two court cases which were similar and involved two women who had reached divorce settlements with their husbands only to find out later that their husbands had misrepresented their finances.  In the one case (Sharland), the husband’s non-disclosure was deliberate and dishonest and in the second case (Gohil), an appeal was made to the Supreme Court by the wife concerning the setting aside of a financial order made in financial remedy/ancillary relief proceedings on the basis that there had been material non-disclosure by the husband.  These two court decisions provide a clear message that people should fully disclose their financial position.  The decision leaves the door open for other recently divorced people to push for their cases to be reopened if they have reason to suspect that their former partner has concealed assets.

 

Surface Water Drainage

Surface water is rain water which falls onto a property and drains into a public sewer.  The cost of removing and treating surface water in included, for most customers, in their sewerage charge.  Sometimes, surface water does not drain into a public sewer eg rain water may drain to a soakaway, river or stream via a private sewer.  In this type of situation, the customer may be able to claim a Surface Water Rebate.  To be able to apply for a reduction in charges, the property must be connected to the public sewer and a customer currently pays sewerage charges.  If you are unsure, it is always worth checking the position. 

If you have any further queries, please contact our Adrian Foulkes on adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk.

 

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

This Act came into force on 1st October 2015 which makes the law clearer and easier to understand.  Most of the changes introduced by the Act were important updates to existing law.  In addition, two new areas of law have been introduced:

 

1.         Rights on digital content – the Act gives consumers a clear right for the repair or replacement of faulty digital content eg online games and film, e-books and music downloads.

 

2.         New and clear rules setting out what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed.

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is now available to all businesses to assist in the resolution of a dispute with a consumer.  Where there is a dispute between a business and a consumer, the business needs to make the consumer aware of a relevant certified ADR provider.  The consumer also needs to be told whether or not the business is prepared to use the ADR provider to deal with the dispute.  However, unless a business operates in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory (eg financial services), a business does not have to use ADR.

 

 

OCTOBER 2015 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

Discounted Bus Travel for Young People in Wales

 

The Mytravelpass Scheme introduced from 1st September 2015 in Wales entitled young people aged 16 to 18 to a third off bus fare prices anywhere in Wales.  The scheme is funded by the Welsh Government and has been developed in partnership with the bus industry and local authorities.  Mytravelpass expires on a young person’s 19th birthday.  Being a pilot scheme, it runs from 1st September 2015 until 31st March 2017.  An application can be made online at www.gov.wales/mytravelpass, by post or by telephone.

 

 

 

Students and TV Licensing

 

All college or university students living away from home, in halls of residence or in a shared house, need to obtain a TV licence to watch or record television.  The requirement for a licence applies not only to TV sets and video or DVD recorders but also to mobile telephones, set-top boxes, personal computers or laptops to receive or record television programmes.  For a student living in a hall of residence and watching or recording television in his/her room, a TV licence is required.  If a student lives in a shared house with a shared tenancy agreement with everyone in the house signing the same contract, usually only one licence is required to cover all the TV sets in the house.  In a situation where each tenant signs an individual tenancy agreement with the landlord, each will need to obtain his/her own licence to use a TV set in the student’s own room but only one licence is required if the only television being used is in a communal area.

 

 

 

Houses into Homes Scheme

 

Schemes are available to bring empty houses or commercial buildings back into use as homes to include splitting a property into flats.  Individuals, charities, companies and businesses can apply for loans of up to £25,000.00 for each property up to a maximum of £150,000.00.  Such interest free loans are secured on the property and once the work is completed, the property must be sold or rented out and not occupied by the owner.  If a loan is given and the work is not carried out, there is a risk of repossession by the local authority.  For more information, contact your local authority.

 

 

 

Credit Rating

 

When applying for a loan or other form of credit such as a credit card, the lender has to make a decision whether or not to lend.  Creditors use a system of credit scoring to determine how much of a risk it is to lend with each fact about you being given points which are added together to give a score.  The higher the score, the more credit worthy a person is.  To calculate your score, different lenders use different systems.  Although a lender does not disclose what your score is, on being asked they must reveal which credit reference agency they used to obtain the information about you which can then be checked in order to ascertain whether the information stored is accurate.

 

Credit reference agencies are companies who are allowed to collect and retain information about consumers’ borrowing and financial behaviour.  There are three credit reference agencies being Experian, Equifax and CallCredit.

 

An application for a copy of your credit reference file can be obtained from any of the credit reference agencies.  A fee of £2.00 is payable to obtain your credit reference file being the statutory credit report and credit reference agencies must provide this to you on request.  More expensive services can be offered by credit reference agencies.

 

It is advisable to check your credit reference file before applying for credit or a loan in order to establish whether there are any facts about you which might affect your credit score.  Where information is incorrect, you will need to apply for the same to be changed or removed and add a correction notice explaining any special circumstances.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2015 - LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

Automatic Pension Enrolment

 

The auto enrolment scheme is a staged process which runs until the end of 2017 and which requires employers to enrol their eligible employees into a workplace pension if they are not already in one.  Employers have been given a date from which employees are automatically enrolled.  To be enrolled, employees have to be at least 22 years old, not reached State Pension age, earn more than the earnings trigger and work or normally work in the UK.  Once employers have enrolled in the scheme, they have to pay 1% of employees’ qualifying earnings which is either the entire wage before tax or the amount on which employees pay National Insurance contributions.  Employers may decide to exceed the minimum contribution.  An opt out form can be signed by an employee if he decides to leave or opt out of the pension scheme at any time.  The stage reached in the auto enrolment process by 1st September 2015 is for employers employing fewer than 30 with the last two characters in their PAYE reference number BY.

 

 

 

Medical Conditions and the DVLA

 

A licence holder or licence applicant is under a duty to notify the DVLA of any medical condition which may affect safe driving.  Notifiable conditions can be anything which affects the ability to drive safely and include conditions such as epilepsy, strokes, other neurological and mental health conditions, visual impairment and physical disability.  This is an illustrative rather than an exhaustive list.  The DVLA can impose a fine of up to £1,000 for failure to advise of a condition which might affect the ability to drive safely.  A prosecution can also follow in the event of there being an accident.  If a doctor tells you to stop driving because of a medical condition or if the required standards for driving are not currently met, the driving licence must be surrendered to DVLA.  Once you reach 70, an application to renew the current British driving licence must be made every three years.

 

 

 

Small Business Rates Relief in Wales

 

This relief has been extended in Wales until 31st March 2016.  For properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less, there is 100% relief available which means that business rates are not payable on such properties.  For properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000, the rate of relief is reduced on a tapered basis from 100% to 0%.

 

 

 

Help with paying water bills

 

For consumers struggling to pay their water bills and who have not got a water meter, it is worth checking whether having one installed will save money.  Many water companies, the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) (website www.ccwater.org.uk) and uSwitch (website www.uswitch.com/water/) have water usage calculators on their websites which enable consumers to establish how much they are likely to pay if a meter is installed. 

 

 

 

It is also a good idea to check that there are no water leaks that make bills higher than they should be and to consider ways of using less water.

 

 

 

Some water companies operate social tariff schemes/hardship schemes/fund independent charitable trusts.  The Watersure scheme is available for people who are on benefits.  To be eligible, you need to:

 

 

 

  • be on certain benefits
  • have a high essential use of water
  • be on a water meter or have applied for one and are waiting for it to be installed

 

 

 

For Welsh Water customers, it is worth checking whether you are eligible for the Welsh Water Help U scheme (website www.dwrcymru.com).  This scheme can help customers of Welsh Water even if they do not have a water meter.

 

 

 

Severn Trent operate a Trust Fund being an independent grant making trust.  It is a registered charity and the Trust helps people out of poverty and debt.  To find out more about this Fund, the contact details are as follows:

 

 

 

Email:             office@sttf.org.uk

 

 

 

Address:        Severn Trent Trust Fund

 

                        FREEPOST RLZE-EABT-SHSA

 

                        Sutton Coldfield

 

                        B72 1TJ

 

 

 

Telephone:    0121 355 7766

 

 

 

Transferring ownership of pumping stations

 

Legislation was introduced on the 1st July 2011 to address issues regarding the upkeep of private sewers.  Pumping stations are built when the drainage system to a house or housing development is lower than the public sewer to which it has to connect.  The waste water has to be “lifted” by a pump through a pressurised pipe known as a rising main, into the public sewer.  The current owners are responsible for upkeeping and maintaining pumping stations until they are transferred to the relevant sewerage company.  Such companies have been working (and continue to work) in locating such pumping stations to transfer and surveying them to establish their current condition.

 

 

 

Privately owned pumping stations built before 1st July 2011 which serve more than one property and pump to the existing public sewer are eligible for transfer.  Pumping stations serving a single property but sitting outside the curtilage of the property will also transfer in October 2016.  The official transfer date is 1st October 2016. 

 

 

 

For further information, please contact our Adrian Foulkes on 01686 412166 email: adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk

 

 

 

 JULY 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

WATER OR SEWERAGE RELATED COMPLAINTS

 


 

In the event of there being a complaint, in the first instance, all consumers should follow their water and sewerage company’s formal complaints procedure details of which are set out on the bill.  If a written (letter or email) complaint is made to a Company, Ofwat’s Guaranteed Standards Scheme requires the company to reply within ten working days of receiving the written complaint. If the company fails to do so, the consumer is entitled to an automatic credit on the account.  A telephone complaint can be made and a company agent can write down what is said and agreed with the consumer.  This is regulated differently to written complaints.  A written complaint is preferable and generally, a consumer is better able to explain the problem and to achieve a resolution if the complaint is made in writing.  If the consumer is not satisfied with the company’s first reply, a company can be asked to review their decision at a higher stage (most companies have a two stage complaint process).  If the consumer remains unsatisfied after this stage, the consumer can contact CC Water about the complaint.  CC Water, upon receipt of the complaint, will check that the company’s internal procedure has been exhausted before a formal investigation is undertaken.

 

 

 

If the company has not had a reasonable opportunity to address the consumer’s complaint, CC Water may advise the consumer to contact the company first.  CC Water can assist in making contact with the company in relation to the complaint and ask the company to tell them how it intends to resolve the same.  CC Water’s services are free to customers.

 

 

 

All customers who remain dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint (having gone through the water company’s procedure and help has been sought from CC Water) may be eligible to take the concerns to the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS). 

 

 

 

WATRS is a free and independent resolution scheme which is designed to assist the small number of customers who remain unhappy even after CC Water become involved.  WATRS’ decision is binding on the water company.  Decisions made by WATRS are not binding on customers which means that they are still free to pursue legal action against the water company through the courts.  For the consumer, it is an easier and cheaper option to pursue a complaint rather than through the courts.  Disputes relating to the following can be referred to WATRS:

 

 

 

  • Bills, payments, collections and debt recovery
  • Water supply services
  • Waste water/sewerage services
  • Metering
  • Development and new supplies

 

 

 

For household customers, the total award for compensation and/or the cost or value of any action or service is up to £10,000.00.  For non household customers, the figure is £25,000.00.

 

 

 

SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

 

 

 

For any letting of “living accommodation”, smoke and carbon alarms will become compulsory from 1st October 2015.

 

 

 

The specific details are currently unclear but it is likely that the requirement will only apply to tenancies granted on or after 1st October 2015.  A smoke alarm will have to be fitted on each storey of a property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.  For any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, a carbon monoxide alarm will be required.

 

 

 

 

 

JUNE 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

LANDLORD AND TENANT 

 

Landlords have until 23rd June 2015 to protect deposits taken from tenants before 6th April 2007.  These are tenancies which have continued after the original agreement has passed.  Deposits have to be registered with a scheme such as the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  Failure to register will result in fines which are unlimited and are calculated at three times the initial deposit.  The change has come about following the Deregulation Act 2015 and it is recommended that landlords and letting agents take independent legal advice in order to understand how this and other changes in the Act affect their particular circumstances.  For advice, contact our William Ransford at william@mjjsolicitors.co.uk or on 01686 412166. 

 

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AND CHILD MAINTENANCE

 

Parental Responsibility means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a child’s parent has in relation to the child and the child’s property.

 

A mother automatically has parental responsibility.  If the mother and father are married at the time of a child’s birth, the father also has parental responsibility.  If the father is not married to the mother at the time of birth after December 2003, the father still has parental responsibility if he is named on the Birth Certificate.  Otherwise, father does not have parental responsibility and would need to acquire it either by agreement with the mother or by an order of the court.

 

Regular payments of child maintenance should be made of an agreed figure which is intended to contribute towards the child’s general living costs.  There are three ways such an agreement can be reached:

 

  • Private family-based agreements.
  • A court agreement
  • An agreement under the Child Maintenance Service scheme

 

For advice, contact our Adrian Foulkes at adrian@mjjsolicitors.co.uk or on 01686 412166.

 

HGV SPEED LIMIT CHANGES IN ENGLAND AND WALES

 

The national speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tons, travelling on a single carriageway, increased from 6th April 2015 from 40 miles an hour to 50 miles per hour.  For HGVs over 7.5 tons travelling on dual carriageways, the speed limit increased from 50 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour.  The limits in Scotland have remained the same.  Also, European speed limiter requirements remain unchanged and must be set at 56 miles per hour or lower.

 

 

 

MAY 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

BUILDING AGREEMENTS

 

 

 

On completion of works by a builder, under JCT building and construction contracts it is usual for a final certificate to be is issued by the builder concerned.  It is therefore the case that if the builder’s client  is unhappy with the work done is not happy with the work undertaken, they only have 28 days after the date of the final certificate in which to start proceedings for adjudication against the builder under the terms and procedure set out in the  JCT Contract.  If the client does not comply with this time table, then the certificate will be conclusive evidence in any adjudication that the work has been undertaken satisfactorily

 

 

 

ASBESTOS

 

 

 

It is now a legal requirement for owners of all non domestic premises to safely manage any Asbestos at their premises.  Under the legislation, all property owners must:

 

 

 

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in the premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in
  • presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  • make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  • prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
  • take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
  • periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date
  • provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them

 

 

 

If you have not already done so, then we would advise all owners of commercial premises to have an Asbestos Report undertaken on their property.

 

 

 

LEASE PLANS

 

 

 

The Land Registry have now introduced new requirements for the plans to be attached to Leases which require registration.  This means that professionally prepared floor plans are required. The changes relates to Leases of over 7 years or which require registration of an Easement such as a right of way

 

 

 

APRIL 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

BANKRUPTCY

 

 

 

From 1st October 2015, the threshold for being able to petition for bankruptcy owing to an outstanding debt, will increase from the current figure of £750 to £5,000.00.  This will have an impact upon the number of creditors who will be able to serve a Statutory Demand for payment with less creditors being able to take such action than is currently the case.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILD MAINTENANCE

 

 

 

We thought that it may be useful to provide a link with this update in relation to the calculation of child maintenance.  This calculator can be accessed by following the link below:- 

 

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance

 

 

 

This helps people who are in the process or have already separated and who have children.

 

 

 

LANDLORDS BEWARE

 

 

 

From 1 January 2015, there is a legal obligation on private landlords with properties situate in Dwr Water/Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water catchment areas to inform the relevant Water Company of relevant details at the commencement of every tenancy:

 

 

 

  • Full name of every occupant
  • Address of the property
  • The occupant(s) date of birth(s) (where known)
  • Date when the occupant moved in

 

For new tenancies, the above information must be given to the relevant water company within 21 days from when the tenant is entitled to move in.   The “penalty” for not passing on the information within the 21 day period is that Landlords will become jointly and severally liable for water debts.

 

 

 

MARCH 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

 

 

POWER OF ATTORNEY

 

 

 

Life is uncertain and you never know when it may become necessary to rely upon a Power of Attorney.  Such a document is useful in various situations.  For a business person, it can be an essential tool in order to ensure the functioning of a business in the event of incapacity or even something as straight forward as a holiday.  We always advise clients to think ahead as to what may happen.  A Power of Attorney may be useful not only for dealing with business affairs but also personal affairs and health and welfare.

 

 

 

PENSION UPDATE

 

 

 

From April 2015, individuals who are at least 55 years of age (being the minimum pensionable age) will be able to access 100% of their pension fund as a cash sum as opposed to what the position is at present being a maximum of 25%.  We always advise clients to take independent financial advice from a fully qualified independent financial adviser in this or other situations involving finances.

 

 

 

ONLINE PARENTAL LEAVE CALCULATOR

 

 

 

An online calculator has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which can be used for calculating entitlement to maternity, paternity and shared parental leave.  This can be access by following the link below:

 

https://www.gov.uk/maternity-paternity-calculator

 


 

AGRICULTURAL KEY DATES

 

 

 

  • New entrants to farming need to ensure that certain steps are taken before they can apply for the Welsh Government’s new Basic Payment Scheme.  A Customer Reference Number/County Parish Holding number has to be applied for in order to complete the Customer Details and BACS forms.  An application may also need to be made to the National Reserve.  Furthermore you may also need to register your land or obtain a herd/flock number.  Information is available online by following the link below:

 

 

 

       www.wales.gov.uk/agrischemes

 

 

 

       The Customer Details form is required to complete your registration as a customer and this has   to be returned by 15 March 2015

 

 

 

  • The application to the National Reserve is also available online and the application must be submitted by 15 May 2015.  If you do not have online access, you will need to telephone 0300 0625004

 


 

FEBRUARY 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

 PLANNING

 

 

 

It is likely that the Planning (Wales) Bill will come into force in 2015.  It introduces a new framework for strategic planning together with the preparation of planning policies in Wales.  This constitutes a further step towards there being a distinct planning for Wales

 

 

 

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE

 

 

 

CALCULATING HOLIDAY PAY

 

There have been recent changes in legislation dealing with the calculation of holiday pay.   

 

The key points for employers and employees to consider are as follows:-

 

  • When an employer is obliged by the contract of employment to offer and pay for an agreed amount of overtime, such overtime payments must be included within the holiday pay entitlement calculation                                                                                                        
  • Where the employer is not contractually obliged to offer overtime but the employee is asked to do overtime, any calculation for holiday pay entitlement must take into account the extra work done. This may have an impact in situations when non-guaranteed overtime is carried out by employees on a regular or consistent basis.                                                                                                     
  •  If the employer pays the employee for time spent travelling to and from work which forms part of the employee’s contractual entitlement, this additional time needs to be included within any calculation for holiday pay entitlement.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • When an employee takes paid or unpaid sick leave, their entitlement to annual leave will not be affected.  If an employee is unable to take their annual leave owing to sickness, they are able to carry that entitlement on to the following year.

 

 

 

CHANGES TO SICK PAY AND MATERNITY PAY

 

From 6 April 2015 there will be an increase in the current level of statutory sick pay from £87.55 to £88.45.  There will also be an increase for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Paternity Pay and Statutory Parental Pay from £138.18 to £139.58.  These changes are subject to the usual Parliamentary approval.

 

 

 

JANUARY 2015 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

TAX RETURN DEADLINE

 


 

If you are required to complete a tax return for the period 2013/14, and you have not as yet sent it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), remember not to do it on paper because you may end up having to pay a £100 late-filing penalty.

 

The deadline for filing a paper tax return for the tax year ending 5 April 2014 was 31 October 2014. Therefore if your paper return is delivered to HMRC you will be charged a £100 penalty, unless you have a reasonable excuse.

 

You can still file your tax return online and you have until 31 January to do this. To send an online tax return, you must be registered for HMRC Online Services. This involves HMRC sending you an activation code in the post. You can register for online filing on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.

 


 

LANDLORDS AND IMMIGRATION CHECKS

 


 

Private Landlords are now obliged to check that someone has the right to live in the UK before letting a property to them.  The requirement to undertake such checks only applies to new agreements starting on or after 1 December 2014. Any adult aged 18 and over living at a property will be subject to the checks.  A civil penalty of up to £3,000 is payable by the Landlord for failing to comply with these requirements

 

 

 

BLUE BADGE SCHEME CHANGES

 


 

The Welsh Government has made some small changes in respect of eligibility for a Blue Badge which provides the recipient with parking concessions.  The changes to the rules mean that in addition to the people who were previously eligible, you will also be entitled to a badge if either of the following apply:

 

  • you have been awarded a lump sum benefit from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme at tariff level 6 for a mental disorder
  • as a result of a mental disorder you are unable to follow the route of a familiar journey without the assistance of another person. This applies to people aged over two years of age to include those over 65.

 

 

 

For more information on the Blue Badge Scheme in Wales, please follow this link:-

 

 

 

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/transport/roadusers/bluebadgeschemeinfo/?lang=en

 


 

DECEMBER 2014 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

 

 

STAMP DUTY

 

 

 

In the Autumn Statement on 3rd December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced changes to how Stamp Duty is calculated for residential properties from 4 December 2014.    

 

 

 

If you are in the process of buying a property you will need to reconsider the amount of Stamp Duty payable if the figure you intend to pay for the property is over the sum of £125,000.  The revised rates are set out below:-

 

 

 

Purchase Price of property (£)                           New rates paid on the part                                                                                                                                   of the property price within                                                                                      each tax band

 

 

 

0 – 125,000                                                            0%

 


 

125,001 – 250,000                                                   2%

 

 

 

250,001 – 925,000                                                   5%

 

 

 

925,001 – 1,500,000                                                10%

 

 

 

1,500,000 and over                                                  12%   

 

                                                                                   

 

If you are still unsure what Stamp Duty is payable, please do not hesitate to contact us or alternatively, you can use HM Revenue and Customs’ online calculator which will assist you at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/sdlt/land-and-property.htm

 

 

 

If you have already exchanged contracts on your property and you are completing the purchase on or after 4th December 2014, you will have the choice of whether to apply to apply the old or the news rates.

 

 

 

WORKPLACE ISSUES IN THE WINTER

 

 

 

Winter is upon us leading to issues which employers and employees need to be aware including:

 

 

 

  • If there are adverse weather conditions, employees are not automatically entitled to paid unless the contract of employment states otherwise. 

 

 

 

  • If an employee is feeling unwell, it needs to be made clear when an employee is obliged to contact their employer and to understand what  evidence of sickness needs to be produced to the employer, either completing a self-certificate explaining the illness or by alternatively providing a statement of fitness for work (also known as the doctor’s statement)

 

 

 

  • There is no statutory entitlement to be paid leave for public holidays.  The employer therefore needs to make it clear what holiday entitlement, if any, applies

 


 

NOVEMBER 2014 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

 

INTESTACY

 

If a married person (this includes civil partners) dies after 1 October 2014, without a Will, leaving an estate valued at less than £250,000.00, the whole estate is inherited by the surviving spouse.  If the estate exceeds £250,000.00 and there are children of the marriage or civil partnership, the estate is divided as follows:-

 

 

 

  • The first £250,000.00 (to be index linked) to the surviving spouse and personal chattels;
  • Half of the remainder to the surviving spouse; and
  • Half of the remainder to the children equally on reaching the age of eighteen.

 

 

 

The above replaces what the position was before 1 October 2014 being that the surviving spouse received the first £250,000.00 but only a life interest in half of the remainder.

 

Even though the change has removed some of the hardships which previously existed, relying upon the law as it applies on intestacy is never a substitute to making a Will.  Having a Will ensures future security for spouses/civil partners and their children in the event of death.  A Will enables plans to be put in place to make sure affairs are taken care of after death and helps to prevent disputes and claims.

 

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

For parents of children born or matched for adoption on or after 5th April 2015, parents will be able to choose how the care of their child is shared during the first year after the birth.  The mother will still take at least two weeks maternity leave following birth, following which the parents can opt to share the remaining leave as flexible parental leave.

 

 


OCTOBER 2014 – LEGAL UPDATE

 

 

LAND REGISTRATION

 

For properties which are not registered with the Land Registry, it may be a good idea to apply for registration.  Once a property is registered, the Land Registry holds a central record of legal ownership, covering registered land and property in England and Wales.  An application for registration can be done on a voluntary basis.  As the Land Registry are encouraging applications, there is a discount of 25% available on the Land Registry Land Registration fee.

 

The fees are based on the value of the Property as set out below:-

 

Property Value                                                                    Fee

 

0                            -           £     80,000.00                        £  30.00

 

£80,0001.00              -           £   100,000.00                       £  60.00

 

£100,001.00              -           £   200,000.00                       £140.00

 

£200,001.00              -           £   500,000.00                       £200.00

 

£500,001.00              -           £1,000,000.00                       £400.00

 

£1,000,000.00 and over                                                      £680.00

 

Once registered, the Land Registry holds a digital record of the deeds.  Although the old deeds and documents have little or no value in proving ownership after registration has been completed, they can still sometimes hold invaluable information such as:

 

  • Boundaries and who is responsible for maintaining the same
  • Plans may be attached to old deeds which shows boundary features and the routes of easements such as water and drainage pipes, septic tank, the position of a well and rights of way together with provisions for maintenance and repair

 

We always advise clients to ensure that old deeds are safely stored even after land or property has been registered as they can contain such a wealth of information and sometimes may be of historical interest.

 

Even if you are not interested in applying for registration, you need to check where the deeds are, as sometimes they have never been seen by a legal owner or have simply been overlooked. There may be various reasons for this such as:

 

  • They are held by a bank or building society who, more often than not, charge for the storage service on a regular basis
  • They may be with a Solicitor (who may or may not charge – Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins do not charge clients for this service)
  • They may have become lost, destroyed or misplaced
  • They may be just lying around in a cupboard or even gathering dust under the bed!

 

It is a good idea to check your deeds in order to establish, if the property is owned jointly with another person, in what legal way (joint tenants or tenants in common in equal or unequal shares).  Also, if people are aware as to what is set out in the deeds, this can sometimes avoid unnecessary disputes.


NEWS


 Our Adrian Foulkes has now become a member of the Agricultural Law Association. 

ALA have for almost 40 years, ALA been the UK’s largest inter-professional organisation devoted to the business of the countryside. They focus on the law in a non-partisan, apolitical way in order to promote its knowledge, understanding and development among those who advise rural businesses. For further details about ALA please see link to their website:-

http://www.ala.org.uk/about-ala

NEWS

 

Common Agricultural Policy Reform – Direct Payment to Farmers Decisions

 

Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins are able to confirm that on 14 January 2014 the Minister for Natural Resources and Food in the Welsh Government announced his decisions for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.  The decisions which have been made will come into force from January 2015.  There are further decisions such as the definition of “active farmer” to be mae and these decisions are expected to be announced later in 2014.  From 2015 a five year transition period will begin introducing a Basic Payment Scheme with additional payment for “greening” which as a package will be known as the Direct Payment Scheme.

 

During 2014, the Single Farm Payment Scheme will continue, however, the Single Farm Payment will be reduced for 2014 as a result of the reduction in the CAP Budget for 2014.  The National Farmers Union, state “payments to farmers will generally be a reduction of around 14.5% as compared to the 2013 payment using current prices as there will be no modulation deducted from the payment in 2014”.   Farmers are expected to be advised by the Welsh Government of their entitlements for 2014 in February 2014.

 

The key features from the decision of the Minister were:- 

 

  • A minimum claim size of 5 hectare may be applied.
  • To be eligible for the first allocation of new entitlements a person must have received a Single Farm Payment Scheme payment in 2013 or instead be able to provide evidence, such as receipts or accounts, to prove that they were farming in 2013.
  • A National Reserve will be established from 2015 as a source of entitlements for persons in particular circumstances. New entrants to farming and young farmers will have priority.
  • A three land region model will be used in Wales: Moorland; Severely Disadvantaged Areas; Disadvantaged Areas and Lowland combined.
  • Nominal payment rate values for the three land regions will be weighted in the ratio of 1:10:12 between Moorland: Severely Disadvantaged Areas: Disadvantaged Areas/Lowland. NFU “state” In indicative terms this ratio might mean payment rates by 2019 in the region of:
    • Moorland around €20 a hectare;
    • Severely Disadvantaged Areas around €200 a hectare; and the
    • Disadvantaged Areas and Lowland (combined) around €240 a hectare.
  • Moorland will be classified as land over 400m within the existing 1992 Moorland Map.
  • Transition to wholly area based payments will be a five year period.
  • Farms claiming over €300,000 will have a  mandatory 100% cap on claims.
  • There will be no Areas of Natural Constraint scheme in Wales.
  • The EU’s original greening proposals will be applied in Wales.
  • There will be a transfer of 15% from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 in 2014.
  • There will be no Small Farmer Scheme in Wales.
  • There will be a Young Farmer top-up in Wales.
  • There will be no form of coupled support.

 

The Welsh Government will be deciding further on the issue of eligibility for payments.  Such matters to be considered are as follows:-

 

  • Who are the “active farmers”.   
  • What is to be the minimum size of the holding
  • Entitlements and the National Reserve.   

 

The Welsh Government has confirmed that Rural Payments Wales will be contacting Farmers in July 2014 with your land regions based on current land declarations.  These regions will be applied to the new payment rates for the May 2015 application period.  Any enquiries or subsequent appeals against the classification of land as Moorland will begin at that time. 

 

 

If you require and advice or assistance with regards the decisions made and to be made by the Minister, please contact us by telephoning us on 01686 412166 or alternatively e-mailing us Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins at web@mjjsolicitors.co.uk



LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney is a legal document where a person gives another person or persons (the attorney) authority to make certain decisions on his or her behalf.  This may be required to ensure that your Agricultural Business or operations can proceed in the event of a business partner/member being unable to deal with the farm business.

Types if Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

There are two types of LPAs:

1.      A property and financial affairs LPA, which allow your attorney authority to deal with your   property and finances, as you specify

2.      A health and welfare LPA, which allows your attorney to make health and welfare care       decisions on your behalf,only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself.  This could also    extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment

Your Attorney

As with any power of attorney, it is an important document and you should take care whom you appoint as they should be trustworthy and have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions.  If you appoint more that one attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together or separately (jointly and severally).  You may even appoint them to act jointly for some things and jointly and severally for others, although this should only be done with advice, as it may cause problems when using the power.

You may also choose to appoint a successor to your attorney, in case they die or otherwise cannot act for you.

When can the Attorney act?

The attorney will only be able to act when the LPA has been signed by you and your attorney, certified by a person that you understand the nature and scope of the LPA and have not been    unduly pressured into making the power.  The certificate will also need to confirm there has not been any fraud or another reason why you cannot make the power.  It must then be registered with         the Office of Public Guardian before it can be used.  The property and financial affairs LPA can be used both when you have capacity to act, as well as if you lack mental capacity to make a financial decision.  The health and welfare power can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make a welfare or medical decision.

Existing Enduring Powers of Attorney

Any enduring power, validly made before 1st October 2007, can still be used but only in respect of your property and financial affairs.  If you wish to give authority over your health or welfare you will need to make a health and welfare LPA.

What happens if you have not made a LPA or EPA?

If you lack capacity to make a financial decision, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an appropriate order, such as appointing another person to make decisions on your behalf.  This is both costly and time consuming.

Most care and treatment decisions can be made on your behalf without the need for a court application.  However, if you wish to avoid potential disputes, you can give a person(s) authority to make those decisions on your behalf by making a health and welfare LPA.

                                

 

NEWS AND SEASONS GREETINGS

FROM ALL AT MILWYN JENKINS & JENKINS

 

We are pleased to announce that we have secured the national Law Society’s law management quality mark, Lexcel.

Lexcel is developed specifically for the legal profession. It is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and in-house legal departments which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards.

To gain and retain Lexcel accreditation, a practice must undergo a rigorous initial then annual application and assessment process. This includes conducting background checks and an on-site visit from an experienced, trained Lexcel assessor.

Angela Davies-Jones, Director, within the practice said: “While we are proud to have secured Lexcel, it is our clients and staff who are the main beneficiaries. They can be assured that the way we manage the practice has their interests at heart and runs efficiently. There is a lot of choice in the legal services market, but being Lexcel accredited demonstrates our commitment to client care and best practice.”

Nicholas Fluck, President of the Law Society of England and Wales, said: “Gaining and maintaining Lexcel is no mean feat. There are many facets of being a Lexcel accredited law firm, including client care. A commitment to customer service in today’s evermore competitive legal services market is vital.  By undergoing the rigorous Lexcel application and assessment process practices can show the positive steps they are taking to help clients in the increasingly diverse, complicated legal services market. The scheme is a beacon of quality to clients and potential clients alike”.

Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins joins more than 1500 other legal practices in England & Wales with Lexcel accreditation. The practice management accolade has also gone international, with firms in Scotland, the Middle East, Poland and the Republic of Ireland having gained accreditation.

This Lexcel accreditation builds upon our other accreditations.  We were one of the first firms in Wales to be accredited with the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme. The scheme is designed to improve transparency of transactions, raise service levels and provide better communication and a more efficient process.

The firm is also Investors in People accredited. In adopting the ethos of Investors in People, we believe that people’s strengths, ambitions and ideas are the engine of success. 

All in all it has been a busy year for the practice with the launch of our Specialist Conflict Management Service.  This department is operated by Angela Davies-Jones and Adrian Foulkes.   In addition, we have recently launched this new specialist website dedicated to Agricultural and related legal services.

This year although busy, has been enjoyable and rewarding as we trust has been the case for all our clients.  We look forward to working with our past, current and future clients in 2014 and beyond.  In the meantime, we would like to wish all our clients, contacts and visitors to this website a happy and peaceful Christmas. 

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!


REMINDER - GLASTIR DEADLINE

For farmers who have applied for a 2014 Glastir contract and have received an offer letter, they need to ensure that the signed acceptance letter is returned no later than 31st December 2013. 


COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY (CAP)


The Welsh Government's Consultation Document regarding the CAP reform setting out the Welsh Governments proposals for direct payments to farmers is open for responses until 30 November 2013.  If you have not already provided your responses, we would urge you to do so.  The consultation document can be accessed through following the link below:-

http://wales.gov.uk/docs/darh/consultation/131010capdirectpaymentstofarmersreviseden.pdf

The new scheme is intended to commence on 1 January 2015.  There is an intention to move from the historical basis to an area based payment basis by 2019 on a phased basis (equal size steps of a 20% move each year) in order to allow businesses to adjust.  The current proposals are to opt for either a two or three category model which could look like the following:-

  • Two Category Model - This could see Moorland being placed in one catergory and Severly Disadvantaged Area (SDA), Disadvantaged Area (DA) and Lowland in another catergory grouped together
  • Three Category Model - This could see Moorland and SDA being placed in one catergory with DA and Lowland in their own separate categories.  Another option the model could have Moorland and SDA having their own categories with DA and Lowland combined in a third category

Alun Davies, AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food has made it clear that financial support should given to "active farmers".  There is agreement in Europe that only farmers who are actively farming should receive payments.  Regulations will include a short list of the types of organisations that will not be eligible to claim payments.  These will include airports, railway services, water works, real estate services and permanent sports and recreational grounds.  Although Wales has flexibility to add other organisations to this list, this is unlikely to happen.  

It is likely that there will be a minimum claim size of three hectares or 100 eurosThis would be in line with eligibility for Glastir.


Farmers complying with the EC regulation on Organic Farming may be deemed to be automatically complying with CAP "Greening".  Arable land on farms with between 10 - 30 hectares will require two rather than three other crops.  The principal crop should not cover more than 75% of the arable land with the main two crops together covering no more than 95%.  If 75% of a farm is classified as Permanent Pasture, a farmer should meet the "Greening" measures.


There are other points and more detail set out in the lengthy Consultation Document which is well worth a read!


CASE LAW

Evans v Lloyd [2013] EWHC 1725
High Court of Justice (Chancery Division)

Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins acted for the successful Defendants in this Court case, details of which were published in an article by the "Solicitors for the Elderly"


This case involved the estate of W, a farm worker. Prior to his death, W had made a gift of two agricultural holdings he had inherited from his brother to the proprietors (together ‘L’) of a farm for whom he had worked for his entire working life.


The first claimant, H, was W’s brother, and entitled to his estate in the event that W was intestate. H was unable to manage his property and affairs. The second claimant (‘B’) was a cousin of H and he and the third claimant, his wife, were together due to be jointly entitled to H’s estate on his death under his will.


The claimants claimed rescission of the gifts of the agricultural holdings to L on the grounds (a) of undue influence on the part of L and (b) on the grounds that the gifts amounted to unconscionable transactions. L denied that either cause of action was made out and counterclaimed that W had made a last will, which had been lost, in their favour.On the law, after reciting the familiar principles of undue influence, the court considered the principles relating to unconscionable transactions. The court cited a passage in Snell’s Equity, in which it was stated that the doctrine applies where (1) the complainant was suffering from certain kinds of disability or disadvantage (e.g. educational deficiency) (2) the bargain was oppressive to the complainant and (3) the other party acted unconscionably in that he or she knowingly took advantage of the complainant. Where these three requirements are satisfied, the burden passes to the other party to satisfy the court that the transaction was ‘fair, just and reasonable’. The court rejected a submission by L that the doctrine only applied to bargains, and not gifts.


As to the undue influence claim, the key findings were as follows:
1. There was no relationship of trust and confidence. W was regarded by L as part of their family and he regarded them in the same way. They had cared for him in the last years of his life when he had become ill. He admired them for the way they had looked after him. It was a relationship characterised by mutual love and trust. L had not managed W’s finances or told him how to manage them. Furthermore, there were examples of W showing independent judgment when dealing with L.

2. Furthermore, there was no transaction which called for an explanation. W and L were bound by the strongest ties of affection. W wanted the holdings to remain with farmers such as L. The fact that the holdings constituted nearly all of W’s wealth did not matter; W had no interest in owning property and had inherited them only just over a decade earlier. Furthermore, the gifts had no impact on W continuing to live the life he wanted to live, and were made in the context of a concern that recourse might be had to the assets should he need to go into residential care.


3. Thirdly, even if the two above requirements had been made out, such that the burden was on L to show that the gifts were not procured by undue influence, the court would have held that that burden would have been discharged. The gift was the product of W’s independent will; he had initiated it. L were decent people who had not sought to influence the matter in any way. Advice was given to W by a firm of solicitors who had been instructed by L and who were being paid by L. However, there was no reason to believe that the solicitors had not been conscientious towards W or unmindful of his duty towards him. The solicitors would have taken steps to investigate whether W was subject to undue influence. The evidence would have been ‘just about’ sufficient to discharge the burden.


As to the allegation that the gifts amounted to unconscionable transactions, the court held as follows. W was poorly educated and the gifts were disadvantageous to him, in the sense that they divested him of practically all his assets and were unnecessary. However, there was no basis for finding, given the facts outlined above, that L had acted unconscionably. Furthermore, the claimants had delayed in bringing their claim such that the doctrine of laches applied.


Although it was strictly unnecessary to consider it, the Court considered the question of whether W had made a will in L’s favour. It was held that the most likely position was that a draft will had been produced after W consulted solicitors, but that no final will was executed.


The court therefore dismissed the claims made by the claimants.

REMINDER

Just a reminder – for those whose Capital Works formed part of a Glastir 2012 Entry (All Wales Element), contracts must be completed by 31st December 2013.

The Common Agricultural Policy consultation document requires responses by the closing date of 8th November 2013.  This is available online at the following link:-

www.wales.gov.uk/consultations/environmentandcountryside

The Young Entrants Support Scheme remains open until 22nd November 2013.  Eligible formers need to be under the age of forty when submitting an expression of interest and must either be setting up as head of the holding for the first time or have set up as head of holding within the previous twelve months.

For agricultural advice contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at angela@mjjsolicitors.co.uk


MEDIATION V LITIGATION

At Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins, our trained mediators (Angela Davies-Jones and Adrian Foulkes) wear two hats!  They are both trained mediators and litigators.  Different disciplines apply depending upon the circumstances.  When asked to mediate, they deal with parties experiencing unresolved conflict in order to assist in resolution of such conflict.  Mediation is a voluntary, non binding private dispute resolution where parties are encouraged to seek their own solutions to conflict which involves identifying key issues as part of the process of enabling parties to resolve their situation in a constructive and positive manner.  This approach to mediation, being a tried and tested method, is effective in that the parties maintain ownership of the dispute with the mediator being tasked to facilitate a neutral and non-confrontational environment for the parties to discuss issues aimed at seeking a resolution.

With litigation, a different approach is called upon and our litigators at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins (Angela Davies-Jones, William Ransford and Adrian Foulkes) are familiar with navigating the Court process which includes adopting pre-action protocols, where applicable.  Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins have a history of success across a wide range of litigious matters.  They handle a wide variety of cases with varying complexities in terms of issues, parties and claim values.   They offer various funding options, tailored to the client’s needs.

The two approaches outlined above are diverse.  The benefits of mediation are as follows: 
The parties maintain control

  • Issues are usually fairly quickly reduced or clarified
  • Parties usually “win something”
  • Solutions can be flexible
  • Outcomes are kept private
  • The process is usually cheaper than going to Court
  • A quicker outcome is usually secured

With litigation, there are advantages:  

  • the process is open, transparent and public
  • it is based on the strict, uniform compliance with the law of the land
  • resolution is final and binding (subject possibly to appeal to a higher court) 
  • Outcomes are enforceable

Both approaches to dispute resolution have potential disadvantages (mediation calls for co-operation on both sides which may be lacking; litigation can be expensive and slow with a decision being imposed upon the parties).  At Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins we adopt a holistic approach to dispute resolution in Agricultural and rural matters, with a focus on our clients’ best interests.  When considering the options, we also have at the forefront of our minds other forms of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), which may be more appropriate e.g. negotiation and arbitration

 

CONTACT US

web@mjjsolicitors.co.uk

Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins
Llanidloes Office
Mid Wales House
Great Oak Street
Llanidloes
SY18 6BN

T: 01686 412 166
F: 01686 413 580

Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins
Rhayader Office
Glan Wye House
West Street
Rhayader
Powys
LD6 5AD

T: 01597 810 533

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My family farming business has been using Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins for over fifty years. We have found them efficient and professional. We would have no hesitation in recommending the firm to anyone.

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