Exeter Family Court Clinic Opening Soon!
A clinic has been created to provide limited free support to LiPs and we are looking for volunteers to help with this new initiative. Opening in May, the clinic will run monthly at Exeter Combined Court. The clinic aims to help prepare LiPs for hearings and raise awareness of how the Family Court works. We will provide this support service to LiPs involved in child arrangements or domestic violence proceedings by means of short pre-booked appointments. It is not extended to cover LiPs in financial remedy or care proceedings.
The development of the clinic has been driven by barristers and solicitors, who will work in partnership with the Personal Support Unit (PSU) in Exeter and the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The PSU, who give practical and emotional support to LiPs, will manage the booking processes and provide clinic volunteers with details of clients for conflict checking. More than 15 lawyers have signed up, volunteering at least a half-day a year to the scheme.
Solicitors will need to arrange to operate under their firm’s indemnity insurance and a detailed protocol covering the operation of the clinic has been created, drawing on the work of the Bristol Pro Bono Scheme.
The clinic organisers welcome expressions of interest from family solicitors who would like to support the clinic.
Please contact Carol Mashembo, Magdalen Chambers on 01392 285200.
We are holding a Launch Party at Exeter Combined Court on 19th May 2017 from 4-5pm. If you would like to come, please RSVP to email@example.com by 12th May 2017.
Exeter Family Court Clinic
You are warmly invited to attend the launch of a new family law clinic in Exeter
Friday 19th May, 4pm – 5pm
Exeter Combined Court Centre, EX1 1UH
With an introduction from Designated Family Judge, Her Honour Judge Robertshaw,
a brief talk about the clinic, and time for questions.
Tea and coffee available, courtesy of Magdalen Cham...
LawCare - Mental Health: Are we Thriving or Surviving?
Mental Health: Are We Thriving or Surviving?
We all have mental health, just as we have physical health. Mental healthincludes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Mental healthissues range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life, to serious long-term conditions. It can be easy to dismiss mental health problems as something that happen to other people, but research shows that 1 in 4 of us will experience them each year. And the legal community is no exception.
Many legal professionals are reluctant to talk openly about mental health in the workplace, for fear they may be perceived as weak or not coping with the demands of their role. At LawCare we know that talking is an important first step in changing the way we think and act about mental health. We want to get the legal community talking about mental health so that anyone who has a problem can get support.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from May 8 -14, is Surviving or Thriving? and this year, rather than asking why so many people are living with mental health problems, the aim is to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem: people are struggling to cope with the demands of life, and are stuck on getting through the day.
In terms of thriving, resilience is now recognised as an important factor in the workplace. In the increasingly demanding and changing legal environment, resilience is important in order to thrive. Resilience is defined as the ability to resist or bounce back from adversity, and in any workplace there will be people who thrive on challenges and difficulties, while others will find it hard to cope with unexpected change or problems. If someone f...
News from the Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division
This month's article has been written by the JLD's Charity Representative, Jessica Tallon.
As Charity Representative of the Devon and Somerset JLD, I actively encourage JLD members to raise money for the JLD charity of the year through organised charity events and JLD social events.
In November 2016, the Devon and Somerset JLD committee voted for YMCA Exeter to be their charity of the year for 2017. YMCA Exeter supports young people in Exeter through a wide range of Youth Services including homelessness support, youth clubs and a mentoring scheme for ex-offenders.
To get our fundraising efforts off to a good start, 7 JLD members set themselves the challenge of participating in the YMCA Sleep Easy 2017 event which involved spending a night sleeping rough in the grounds of Exeter Castle on 4 March 2017. Despite the terrible weather conditions with strong winds and rain throughout the night, our participating JLD members spent the night sleeping on the cobbles with nothing but a sleeping bag and a cardboard box. The JLD set themselves a fundraising target of £500.
I am pleased to report that the Devon and Somerset JLD raised an incredible £830 for YMCA Exeter, smashing their initial fundraising target of £500.
Upcoming charity events
On 9 May 2017, the Devon and Somerset JLD will be hosting a wine, cheese and charity quiz night to help raise money for YMCA Exeter.
Additionally, the Devon and Somerset JLD will be hosting a vintage Hollywood themed summer ball on 9 June 2017 at Sandy Park. This will be a fantastic event including a three course meal, charity raffle, photobooth, jazz band and DJ.
Details of the above events will be emailed to all Devon and Somerset JLD members shortly.
If you require any further information or would like to get involved in any of our fundraising events, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org....
Admissions Ceremony 2017 Invitation
DASLS Newly Qualified Solicitors Admissions Ceremony
Monday 9th October 2017
at 5.30pm for 6pm at Exeter Guildhall — by invitation only!
Did you / will you qualify between 1st September 2016 and 30th September 2017?
If so, please contact Monique Bertoni at DASLS office
to make sure that you receive your personal invitation.
Email: Monique@dasls.com or call 01392 366333
Devon & Somerset Law Society would like to congratulate
all NQ Solicitors from Member Firms in DASLS area.
Below photo of the 2016 Admissions Ceremony
Time for Staff Awareness Sessions by Sponsor Alchemy
A recent report by the Institute of Directors (IoD) based on a survey by the IoD and Barclays Bank reported that whilst 95% of respondents considered cyber security to be important to their business 45% still lacked a formal cyber security strategy. Some 40% of respondents would not know who to contact if they were the victim of an attack.
The report says: "Over the last 12 months, the number of cyber security incidents has continued to increase, and more and more it is being demonstrated that it isn’t just ‘the usual suspects’ being attacked. From Lincolnshire County Council to Tesco Bank, it’s clear that cyber security is an issue for just about every organisation. With new legislation in the form of the EU’s GDPR on the way, firms must ensure that they’re equipped for the 21st century."
Only 44% of respondents had provided their staff with cyber awareness training and many left gaps of more than a year between their training programmes. Since staff are invariably the weakest links in cyber security this is a particularly worrying statistic. Firms need to develop and deliver robust staff awareness programmes.
Is it really that urgent?
As cyber crime increases and with GDPR on the horizon the time for action is NOW – no more hoping that it won’t happen to your firm; no more hiding under a blanket of false security. Law and accounting firms as well as organisations in the health sector are particularly vulnerable given the vast amounts of client data that they hold. Phishing and social engineering attacks are growing exponentially.
Marc Dautlich, Data Legislation Partner at Pinsent Masons LLP warns in the IoD report: “Today, many personal data breaches in the UK go unreported by businesses. In jurisdictions that already have mandatory breach reporting requirements, such as the US, unprepared directors have found themselves losing their job after a breach for failing t...
Exeter Legal Walk 2017
We hope members can join DASLS team for The Exeter Legal Walk 2017
This is the annual 10km walk around the sights of Exeter which takes place after work to raise funds for local legal advice charities and support their work in helping vulnerable people in desperate need of advice.
Anyone can join the walk so we look forward to welcoming any friends, family, colleagues and pets!
Supported by The Law Society of England and Wales and The Access to Justice Foundation.
Costs on the Small Claims Track by Sponsor BsQ
Written by sponsor bSquared costs law
As many of you will know, the scope for recovering costs on the small claims track are notoriously limited and CPR 24.14 (2) sets out those costs that are recoverable with reference to fixed costs under CPR 45. These are largely limited to a fixed fee for commencing the claim, court fees and some limited disbursements.
However, CPR 27.14 (2) (g) also allows the recovery of “such further costs as the court may assess by the summary procedure and order to be paid by a party who has behaved unreasonably”. This issue was considered recently by the Court of Appeal inDammermann v Lanyon Bowdler LLP  EWCA Civ 269 (12 April 2017).
The Appellant brought a claim against the Respondent to challenge the level of fees that they had incurred in representing United Trust Bank Ltd in selling the Appellant’s home as a result on defaults on his mortgage payments. The Appellant’s claim failed at first instance and also on appeal and the Respondent’s applied for their costs on the basis that the Appellant had “behaved unreasonably”, in particular by pursuing his appeal and failing to accept an offer of £1,000 made by the Appellant. As a result, the Appellant was ordered to pay the costs of the appeal.
The Appellant then sought to appeal the costs decision and this was heard by the Court of Appeal.
In allowing the appeal and overturning the costs order made in the Court below, it was held that the Appellant’s conduct did not amount to having “behaved unreasonably” for the purposes of CPR 24.14 (2) (g) for two main reasons:
The Judge who gave permission to appeal was the very same Judge who heard the appeal itself
The point on which the Appellant lost the appeal was an obscure one
The Court of Appeal went on to consider the “proper meaning” of CPR 24.14 (2) (g) but it was conceded that this was a difficult task as it ...
Is your law firm exposed to a PAYE Compliance Risk? By sponsor Francis Clark
For all law firms the biggest expense is people and more specifically payroll costs. There are a large number of rules and regulations that surround the management of a payroll system and we have seen an increasing number of law firms experiencing challenges with keeping up to date with the requirements in this area.
Nationally, we have also seen an increasing number of inspections being undertaken by HMRC to carry out a review of the PAYE and National Insurance Contribution (NIC) records.
What happens during a HMRC inspection?
During such inspections HMRC look to assess whether the records and systems maintained support the operation of PAYE/NIC, that business expenses have been appropriately incurred and accounted for and that any tax and NI liabilities have been correctly addressed. In addition, the compliance check will often review the employment status position of workers engaged by the business to ensure that the correct tax and NIC position is being adhered to.
Many employers believe that these HMRC checks cover only the operation of PAYE/NIC and that they only have to provide details of the payroll records. This is not true. Any records relating to the payment of expenses and benefits will also need to be made available. This for example, could include expense claim forms and receipts, company credit card receipts and statements, petty cash records and company car information.
If errors are identified by HMRC, additional tax and NI liabilities can arise on which both interest and penalties may also be due. Information provided by the employer as to how and why the errors occurred will have a direct influence on how the penalties are viewed and calculated.
Where are the common risk areas for law firms?
• Subsistence payments to employees during training and other work activities.
• Motor expense arrangements.
• Place of...
Brexit & Article 50 - what we know so far by Sponsor Barclays
Brexit & Article 50 – what we know so far
The proverbial starting gun has been fired on Brexit with Prime Minister Theresa May formally giving notice of the intention to withdraw from the European Union on 29 March 2017. There are many key questions that British businesses will be keen to see answered over the coming years. Where possible, as your financial partner, we are here to help keep on top of these questions.
Here’s what we know so far.
The single market
The PM has already said that she does not intend to remain a member of the EU’s single market. In her speech, setting out her 12 key aims for Brexit negotiations, she stated, “What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the Single Market." She explained that European leaders have made it clear that membership of the single market means signing up to the "four freedoms" of movement of goods, capital, services and people – something that would "to all intents and purposes mean not leaving the EU at all."
Possible future models for the UK/EU trading relationship
EEA (single market only) – the Norwegian model – requires the UK to remain fully compliant with EU legislation, meaning that current regulation and timelines for adoption of new legislation would remain in force, as would the free movement of people. The PM has all-but ruled this out.
EFTA (free trade agreement) – the Swiss model – a number of bilateral agreements on free trade for specific industries including much of the service sector. Free movement still applies.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – the Canadian model – free trade agreement for most areas notably excluding financial services.
Swiss, Canadian or Norwegian model?
Commentators have asked whether the UK would adopt trade deals with the EU similar to those of Switzerland, Canada or Norway. In fact, we asked our clients for our Business Sentiment Survey and from over a...
Tim Berry 1945 - 2017
1945 - 2017
It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our Senior Partner, Tim Berry, following a short illness. Tim was articled to the late Charles Wyndham Harris, and became a partner in Harris & Harris upon qualification as a solicitor in 1970. He became Senior Partner in 1975.
Tim was a nationally recognised specialist in Ecclesiastical and Charity Law and served as Diocesan Registrar to the Diocese of Bath and Wells from 1993 to 2015 and the Diocese of Bristol from 1997 until 2015. To our clients, and our colleagues, Tim was a guide, mentor, and friend.
During a career that spanned 50 years, Tim played a leading role in the continuing growth of Harris & Harris, and in particular the firm’s Commercial Property and specialist Ecclesiastical and Charity Law practices. Tim’s enthusiastic, incisive, and thoughtful approach was appreciated by his clients and colleagues alike. Tim was a trusted advisor who approached his work with uncompromising integrity, empathy, and humility. His approach personified the guiding principles of our firm which are his lasting professional legacy. Tim’s loss is immeasurable to all those that knew him, personally and professionally.
Our thoughts are with Tim’s wife, Shirley, his sons Jonathan and Daniel, and their family at this difficult time.
Roland Callaby, the present Diocesan Registrar of the Diocese of Bath and Wells and the Diocese of Bristol succeeds Tim as Senior Partner of Harris & Harris.
There will be a Book of Condolence in the Reception area of our offices at 14 Market Place, Wells. Tim’s family has requested that any messages of condolence are sent via Harris & Harris and that their privacy is respected at this time.
HARRIS & HARRIS
14 Market Place, Wells BA5 2RE
10th April 2017...
Leaving it too late: the Cost Consequences
The Courts have recently considered the above issue in Car Giant Ltd. And another v London Borough of Hammersmith.
In this case the Claimant was successful in claiming damages for dilapidations following the end of the Defendant’s lease.
The Claimant had failed to beat the Defendant’s part 36 offer, it was accepted that the Claimant should pay the Defendant’s costs from the date of expiry of the date for accepting that part 36 offer. One argument the Defendant used was that, pursuant to CPR 44.3, those costs ought to be paid on an indemnity basis because the Claimant had unreasonably delayed in agreeing to mediate or take part in some form of ADR.
The Judge appreciated that an unreasonable refusal to engage in mediation might be a reason to order indemnity costs. However this was not a case where there had been an outright refusal to mediate – a mediation had taken place – it was just the mediation only took place shortly before the trial. The mediation date was October 2016 whereas the offer to mediate was made in May 2015.
The Judge’s view was this was a case where mediation had taken place but unfortunately was not successful. He did not accept that if mediation had taken place earlier on in the case, say in May 2015, that it would have been more likely to have been successful. Therefore he did not consider the delay to mediation could have caused any increase in costs.
The Judge also gave further guidance to say that the court should be slow to criticise a party over a decision when to mediate when those decisions have tactical importance. In this case the party required the experts to provide their complete view. The Judge considered this a reasonable position to take in not agreeing to mediate at an earlier stage.
The judge therefore ordered that the Defendant's costs after the expiry of the relevant period were to be assessed on the st...
What makes the compliance team an effective team?
Oakalls Consultancy Limited
11 April 2017
The compliance team (whether that is the COLP and COFA working on their own, or a committee selected from members of the firm, or a team of compliance specialists) must complement the business in which it operates. This in turn requires everyone in the business to work in a supportive manner with the compliance team rather than fighting against them or not involving them in decision-making. Easy for me to say! How is this achieved in practice?
My reflections on what’s needed are based on my experiences over the past couple of decades. I have witnessed a noticeable change in attitude to regulatory compliance and a revolution-like transformation in firms’ attitudes to the business-end of their work. There is a need to be open to the concept that being a good lawyer is not all that’s needed to survive and prosper in the legal services industry these days. Amongst other things, it is necessary to acknowledge that a good lawyer must work in a compliant way amongst like-minded colleagues.
Why? The bottom line, or the persuasive argument for compliance, is actually very simple. Without a commitment to understanding and upholding regulatory compliance standards, the firm will quickly lose favour with the SRA with consequences for the ongoing survival of the business. The firm may find its authorised status is subject to scrutiny. This in turn may have financial repercussions for the owners of the business who will be unable to deliver services to clients. This means that compliance is good for business. Who could argue anything else?
Of course, reaching this position of harmony between the compliance team and the rest of the firm, does not simply happen because an individual is given a compliance title and a desk within the building. Effort is needed to make the comp...
It might not seem like a radical or new initiative to produce a printed Newsletter but for those who would find it easier to catch up with DASLS news and what we have to offer in a print format, that is what we have done. We hope you like it. The email version will continue to be circulated to subscribing members and the articles contained here will be reproduced on DASLS website. This is part of our ongoing commitment to improve our PR and marketing. You may opt out of either service if you wish. In March the DASLS Committee agreed to a new marketing plan that will be driven from DASLS office. I have already asked for volunteers to be DASLS spokespeople and a few members have taken up this challenge. The aim is for DASLS to become the ‘go to’ organisation when the media seek comment. If you would be interested in helping with this please get in touch. Capitalising on the successful Legal Awards programme and attendant publicity, we are raising our profile through topical press releases. Another objective is to have greater engagement with the SME business community, especially through the Chambers of Commerce. News from Aston Court – you may have noticed a new name on recent emails. Francesca Hobbs joined us in February and has quickly settled into all things DASLS. Francesca graduated in Journalism last year from the University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth. Francesca will be helping with our various training and social events as well as our media and publicity activities....
The South West Peninsular Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)
District Judge Penny Taylor,
Lead FDAC Judge for the Southwest Peninsula
Her Honour Judge Miranda Robertshaw,
The Designated Family Judge for Devon
I began to write this article in December 2016 in the hope that by the New Year our three Local Authorities; Devon, Plymouth and Torbay (who fund FDAC going forward) will have been able to finalise a plan for the FDAC to continue in the South West. Happily we can now report that an extension for a year has been agreed. Great news.
This has been our pilot year since November 2015 after Sir James Munby challenged all Designated Family Judges in the country to have an FDAC in each DFJ area. HHJ Robertshaw rose to that challenge which was unique because of the size of our County and number of authorities who would have to commit to the pilot.
I am one of the five District Judges who sit in the South West Peninsula FDAC. I sit in the Torquay FDAC, District Judges Richards and Leech sit in the Plymouth FDAC and District Judges Gamwell and Arnold in the Exeter FDAC. It is hoped that we will also be able to hold a FDAC court in Barnstaple.
As you read this, you may be asking what is FDAC? I can do no better than to refer you to the FDAC website and blog http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/family-drug-and-alcohol-court-an-introduction#.WGzpIcZFDZ4 for detailed information about this innovative and successful program.
Essentially the FDAC model is about Local Authorities identifying those families with drugs and alcohol addictions with perhaps also domestic abuse and mental health issues mixed in which affect their ability to parent and where care proceedings are about to be or in some cases have been launched. Be under no illusion, these are care proceedings so the threshold is reached but what the court and the TEAM do is try to help the parents beat their addictions so their children can remain with them, or be returned to their ...
"Our staff have said how proud they feel to have won the award"
Beviss & Beckingsale talk about winning at DASLS Legal Awards
Photo credit: Pyramid Torbay Photography We had heard about the 2016 Awards, but, as is often the way, we simply didn’t get round to preparing an application for that year. Having read about the success of those awards we thought that we should get involved this time around and gave some thought to the categories which would apply to us. Our firm is split across four offices and in recent years we have been trying to do more to bring those offices together by emphasising a set of common values. We therefore decided to enter the Law Firm of the Year (1-10 Partners) category on the basis that it seemed to fit well with our ethos of being One Team rather than focusing on one individual. When we looked further into the process we realised that there was a lot to cover, but that we also had a lot to talk about. We decided to apply because, as they say, nothing ventured-nothing gained! It was a rewarding process in that it made us objectively evaluate our firm and also enabled us to focus on the good things which we were doing. The more that we started to note down, the more things we thought of which were relevant to the criteria that had been provided. It also provided an opportunity to take stock of some of the things that we had not perhaps concentrated as much on in the past and therefore which we could look to explore in the future. We involved our staff in the process of preparing the application and this provided us with a great insight into the way that they saw the firm. It also allowed us to take stock of just how many very long serving members of staff we have which we felt said a lot about what it was like to work for our firm. We were delighted to hear that we had been shortlisted. We didn’t know how popular the awards would be and so we didn’t really have any expectations when we put in our application. DASL...
Winning at DASLS Legal Awards
Trowers & Hamlins incorporating Stones speaks about their time at DASLS Legal Awards
Photo courtesy of Pyramid Torbay Photography
Trowers & Hamlins were delighted to receive the Innovation Award at this year's DASLS Awards. We were also shortlisted for the Team of the Year award, and were extremely proud to accept our award at the celebratory ceremony that took place at a Gala Dinner on 2nd March 2017 at Sandy Park, Exeter.
We were recognised for our innovative career framework, for opening up opportunities for entering into the legal profession for those from a 'non-traditional' background. This recognition, which has been well documented in the local media, has been a great profile-raiser for us as a firm. Trowers & Hamlins merged with Stones Solicitors in Exeter in October 2015, and winning such an award from DASLS clearly demonstrates the benefit of our integrated offering in this region.
We were commended by the judges for anticipating the needs and aspirations of aspiring lawyers from all backgrounds, by developing a dedicated career path for paralegals; and by providing funding for training and qualifications; and by allotting trainee solicitor roles for those in our paralegal ranks.
We also chose to enter our Travel Team for the Team of the Year award. The merger of Trowers & Hamlins with Stones has allowed for growth and expansion of our offering to both individuals and insurers. Our Travel Team is a truly lawyer-led specialist legal team, based in the South West, but whose direct competitors are both national and international. The team itself provides legal services to clients across the whole of the UK. We felt that this should be recognised across the region and we were extremely proud that our Travel Team was also shortlisted.
Through the process for each entry, we were encouraged to showcase our work and demonstrate our innovation, integrity and leadership in...
Newly Elected Presidential Team
As of the AGM held on Tuesday 25th April 2017, we have a newly elected Presidential Team. President: Sue Aggett of Teignbridge District Council. Vice - President (Left): Stephen Mahoney of Porter Dodson, Wellington. Deputy Vice - President (Right): Nigel Lyons of Browne Jacobson, Exeter....
President's Diary Sue Aggett
I am very proud and delighted to have been elected as your President for 2017/2018.
Personally, I qualified as a legal executive in 1985 and as a solicitor in 1987.My early career was in private practice with the majority spent in local government at South Hams and Teignbridge District Councils. In 2011, I was elected the local government representative of DASLS, a role which I have thoroughly enjoyed and which, I hope, has made a positive contribution to our profession.
I have had the privilege of spending the last two years learning the ropes, firstly as Deputy Vice President when Will Michelmore was President and for the last year as Vice President to Mark Roome. This has given me an opportunity to see at first hand their incredible work and dedication for DASLS. Thank you very much Mark for your hard work over the past three years and in particular for your guidance, leadership and commitment throughout the past year. I very much hope I can follow in your footsteps and, indeed, those of all my very distinguished predecessors.
The legal landscape is continually changing but a constant has been our Society. We have a steady growth in individual and corporate membership totalling 1400, a healthy bank balance, and excellent support from our wonderful team at DASLS’ office of Tony Steiner, Monique Bertoni and Francesca Hobbs, together with our Honorary Secretary Chris Hart and Honorary Treasurer, Richard Adams.
Solicitors are central to any community, whether in private practice or in-house. Our advice on many issues whether business, litigation, matrimonial, property, housing or many other topics is crucial to those who live and work in our communities. The importance of our ethics, professionalism, understanding and pragmatism cannot be underestimated.
Throughout my year as President I would like to continue to build on the enormous amount of work that has gone into promoting the skills and services of sol...