OUR NEWS AND VIEWS ISSUE 1, 2008 FAMILY TEAM GOES FROM NEW LOOK FOR CHARLES LUCAS STRENGTH TO STRENGTH & MARSHALL It has been a busy period for Charles Nicole Biggs has moved to strengthen the Charles Lucas & Marshall’s branding Lucas & Marshall’s family team which family team in Wantage, while colleagues strategy has sought to capture experience, reflects the firm’s commitment to stay Suzy Hamshaw and Lyn Ellins have innovation and a ‘can do’ attitude. one step ahead in what is a fast-changing qualified as collaborative family lawyers. The branding reflects our approachability, legal environment. Lyn has become one of the first lawyers transparency and the emphasis we place Everyone in the team is a member of in the country to obtain a new national on open communication. Resolution, an association committed to Resolution qualification – that of Family We carried out client surveys as part promoting a non-adversarial atmosphere Law Assistant. Peter Berry who heads up of the branding process. These revealed in which family law matters are dealt with the firm’s family team in Swindon, that clients consistently see us as in a sensitive, constructive and cost- qualified as a collaborative lawyer in 2005 “professional, friendly and helpful”. effective way. – again, one of the first in the UK. “We have always appreciated the However, Claire Marshall has become Collaborative family law has been importance of responding to clients’ the first lawyer in the firm to achieve introduced to allow couples to manage needs and changing circumstances,” specialist status by passing a series of their separation or divorce in a more says Hemant Amin, Head of Practice examinations to demonstrate her dignified and less confrontational way. Development. “As part of that process, specialist knowledge of family law issues. Crucially, couples agree from the outset we recognise we have to change too. that they will not drag each other Claire, who has been qualified for seven through the courts with their “Our new brand is part of this process. years, had to pass exams dealing with collaborative lawyers acting as guides, The way we present ourselves to clients complex financial settlements arising from by providing advice and legal support. has to show clear direction and give divorce proceedings and cohabitation. clients confidence they are working with advisers who have vision and understanding. We believe our new brand achieves this.” www.clmlaw.co.uk ISSUE 1 INHERITANCE TAX – BIKERS SUPPORT THE NEW RULES HEADWAY Simon Mee, a member of Charles Keen bikers, Michael Berrett and Jackie Lucas & Marshall’s Wills and Estate Waller, both based at Charles Lucas & Planning Team, reviews the changes Marshall’s Wantage office, are organising to inheritance tax. a treasure hunt this summer to raise funds for Headway, the charity that supports Inheritance tax is charged on the value people who have sustained head injuries. of a person’s estate transferred on their death – with any assets passing to a They will be joined by a team of fellow spouse or to a charity exempt. motorbike enthusiasts at the Harley- Davidson headquarters in Oxford from Therefore, if a husband or wife leaves where they will work their way towards their estate to their spouse, inheritance the ‘The Rising Sun’ pub in Stockcross tax does not apply. However, on the near Newbury, unravelling clues along second death, with assets typically the way. passing to children, tax is chargeable at 0 per cent – or the ‘nil rate band’ Michael, Partner and Head of Litigation at as it is commonly known – on the first Charles Lucas & Marshall and a specialist £300,000. Everything else above If, on the death of the first spouse, the trust in clinical negligence cases, is chairman this amount is taxed at 40 per cent. is wound up after three months but before of the Oxford Headway branch. Before the changes announced in the second anniversary, the trust is deemed For further information, contact October’s pre-budget report, only one never to have existed and the nil rate band Michael Berrett on 01235 771234 nil rate band would have been used. remains intact. It is therefore important to or email@example.com, However, tax-efficient wills would have review the position at that time, taking into or Jackie Waller on 01235 771234 included a ‘nil rate band discretionary account the possibility that if the nil rate or firstname.lastname@example.org trust’ to ensure each spouse made use band rises rapidly in the years between the of their respective nil rate bands. first and second death, the tax saving may be greater by not using the trust. Following the changes, if the first spouse does not use their entire nil rate band, It is worth noting that these changes the unused proportion now will become remain an announcement in the available on the second death. For pre-budget report and while the example, if (in this tax year) a person Chancellor has promised to include dies leaving gifts to children of £150,000 them in the March 2008 budget and make with the remainder to their spouse, 50 them retrospective to 9 October, they per cent of the nil rate band remains will not become law until the summer. available at the relevant rate on the For further information, contact death of the survivor. Simon Mee on 01635 521212 Despite the changes, the nil rate band or email@example.com discretionary trust will is not redundant and still holds many advantages. NEW HEAD OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TEAM A discretionary trust is usually very flexible Simon Pook is the new joint head of responsibility for and can be used to safeguard assets for Charles Lucas & Marshall’s Residential Head of Team with the family, such as provision for care fees, Property Team. Simon joined the firm ten Managing Partner, protecting assets for future generations in years ago and is a Fellow of the Institute Peter Graham who the cases of second marriage, or where of Legal Executives. has over 30 years’ children would prefer assets to be held for experience in the their own children without compromising In a recent client satisfaction survey, 98 residential property their own tax position. per cent of clients said the conveyancing market. service they received was either ‘good’ It is also a useful mechanism for taking or ‘excellent’. Simon Pook maximum advantage of tax rules relating Tel. 01635 521212 to business or farming assets. Simon has first-class contacts and excellent firstname.lastname@example.org knowledge of the local market. He shares PLANNING PERMISSION – NOW YOU HAVE IT, NOW YOU DON’T When planning permission is granted it will specify the latest date from when the development must start and often comes with conditions that must be met before the development can begin. For example, a landscaping scheme must be submitted and approved prior to the commencement of the development. Why did I choose that particular example? Because it is one that is frequently overlooked and has been the subject of recent court cases. What happens if the landscaping scheme is not submitted and therefore not approved within the lifetime of the planning permission? The courts are currently taking the view that planning permission cannot be implemented, which means the land does not have permission for the development and is consequently less valuable. So what if the development has already started? The work undertaken is not authorised and is liable to be subject to the enforcement procedures of the local planning authority. These consist of either a notice stopping further work until the issue is resolved or, even more seriously, a requirement that the land is reinstated to the way it was before the work started. While there are steps that can be taken to rectify the position, they will not always be successful and the opportunity for development may be lost for a long increasing significance. As the demand system better. They are just as likely time or for good. for new housing grows, there will be to be concerned with small planning more planning applications. This will applications as those for substantial The best advice is to ensure that undoubtedly increase the number of developments. before buying land with the benefit of objections. If a planning permission lapses permission, you are happy that all the For further because of a failure to meet timescales appropriate conditions are fulfilled or that information, contact and it has also been the subject of you are satisfied you can meet them Hugh Ellins on objection, the local planning authority will within the necessary timescales. 01793 511055 or have to consider its position carefully. If it If you own the land for which you have email@example.com does not, it may well find that its actions obtained planning permission, make sure are the subject of court proceedings, that you fully understand the conditions instigated by the objectors. and the timing implications. Objectors are now becoming better If you would like more information I am highlighting this issue now as it e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or organised and understand the planning is one that I believe will become of visit our website at www.clmlaw.co.uk 2008 JUDICIAL WORK – A DIFFERENT DIMENSION TO LAWYERING Michael Berrett, Partner with Charles “There is a wide range of work available Lucas & Marshall, explains why he in the county court. It has unlimited chooses to work as a part-time jurisdiction in family and insolvency district judge. matters. District judges hear the largest percentage of contested trials in small “Within Charles Lucas & Marshall, both claims jurisdiction – dealing with all claims Caroline Bamber and I sit in a part-time up to £5,000. District judges deal with judicial capacity. Caroline sits as a Justice over 90 per cent of all the work of the Peace and I sit as a Deputy District in the county courts. Judge in the county court. “I spend most of my time sitting in the “There are over 400 full-time district county court on the Midland circuit – judges and almost 800 deputy district Northampton, Worcester, Warwick and judges in England and Wales. From this Hereford. The work is challenging but it can be seen that the Department of rewarding. The nature of your ‘list’ can Constitutional Affairs (DCA) relies heavily be varied, there is little preparation you upon members of the legal profession to can do and the cases have to be fully supplement judicial requirements. dealt with within the working day. ceases to amaze me how widely known “I am required to hear cases for a Charles Lucas & Marshall is in the ranks “The working day lasts from around minimum of 15 days per year. The court of the judiciary. 9am to 4pm. Unfortunately, open court diary system allows me to fit this around hearings are very rare and although “The DCA has a number of current my client and management work. my wig box is ready it has not yet initiatives to target and encourage Barristers always see a part-time judicial been opened. solicitors to take up part-time judicial appointment as part of their career progression. There is no reason why “It gives the practitioner a chance to appointments. It is likely that the period solicitors should not think in the same way. understand the mysterious workings of of post-qualification experience will be the county court and to appreciate the reduced from seven years to five years. “Most of us have spent many years There is also a shadowing scheme pressures staff are under. advising clients and writing letters of whereby solicitors can spend a day report, advice and drafting Instructions to “It is also a good way to forge shadowing a district or circuit judge barristers. The assessment and reasoning relationships with the full-time judiciary in his or her work. process that goes on in preparing these as an ambassador for the firm. You also documents is very similar to the obtain an insight into judicial attitudes by “Of course, there are other avenues for processes judges use in trying cases. meeting fellow district and circuit judges part-time judicial work apart from the civil in the judges’ dining room! It never and criminal courts. The DCA also appoints members of the various tribunals. NEW ASSOCIATE “I have found the work to be satisfying and I have enjoyed meeting judges and Andrew Egan has been made an Associate at other lawyers I would not meet Charles Lucas & Marshall. Andrew joined the otherwise. The training given by the firm in 2006 to head up its employment team Judicial Studies Board is excellent. and develop the firm’s employment practice I believe it broadens your experience of across Wiltshire and West Berkshire. In that the legal system generally and makes you time he has developed strong links with a better and more confident lawyer when local employers as well as senior managers returning to the office.” and HR advisers in advising on changes in employment law and developing risk management policies and procedures. Andrew Egan If you would like more information e-mail us at email@example.com or Tel. 01793 511055 visit our website at www.clmlaw.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org www.clmlaw.co.uk ISSUE 1 BRIGITTE CHANDLER IMMIGRANT WORKERS – WHAT – STILL MAKING HEADLINES EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW Brigitte Chandler, Partner at Charles Once the work permit is approved, a visa Lucas & Marshall, is one of the UK’s application will need to be made at the leading lawyers in industrial disease law. British Embassy or Consulate where the Over the last year Brigitte has again been employee is resident. Only after this has involved in several leading-edge cases and been approved can a UK employer been the subject of considerable press employ a specific person in a specific attention through the people she has job at a specific location. represented. Employers who try to avoid prosecution One of the founders of the Swindon and by refusing to consider any applicants South West Asbestos Group – a charity because they are foreign will contravene to support people and their families the Race Relations Act 1976. Checks affected by exposure to asbestos – carried out by an employer must be Brigitte has worked tirelessly over conducted in a non-discriminatory 20 years to achieve compensation for Many businesses employ migrant manner and all job applicants must asbestos sufferers and those who go workers. However, new legislation that be treated equally. on to develop mesothelioma and came into effect on 5 November 2007 Employers must also ensure that their lung cancer. will impose tougher sanctions on those discrimination and diversity policies employing migrant workers illegally. reflect the growing trend of hiring Brigitte is frequently asked to comment on legal judgements Criminal sanctions for employing migrant workers. Workers who have and compensation awards. illegal immigrant workers are great. come from overseas are entitled to the An employer found guilty of such an same protection as UK-born workers. Based at the firm’s Swindon office, They have the right to be treated fairly offence may face imprisonment for up Brigitte has represented hundreds of and equally, and not to be discriminated to two years and/or an unlimited fine. former railway workers exposed to against or harassed on the grounds of It is not just the employer company asbestos from the 1960s onwards, as their nationality, race or gender. that is liable, any partner, director, well as people who have worked in manager, secretary or similar officer who Failure to either have such policies in the construction industry. consented to or negligently allowed the place or to adhere to those policies could Brigitte Chandler offence to take place can also be guilty. prove very costly for an employer if a Tel. 01793 511055 foreign worker brings a claim before an Under the new legislation, the email@example.com employment tribunal. employment of immigrant workers will also carry a civil penalty. An employer For further will not only be subject to the same information, contact criminal sanctions but could be fined Andrew Egan on up to £5,000 for each illegal worker 01793 511055 or they employ. firstname.lastname@example.org It is important that an employer takes all the necessary steps to avoid penalties that may be incurred by employing illegal workers. If the employee is resident outside the UK and wishes to come over to begin work, a new work permit application will need to be made to Work Permits UK. Such an application can be made by either the employer or the worker, but must ultimately be signed by the worker If you would like more information before being registered. e-mail us at email@example.com or visit our website at www.clmlaw.co.uk 2008 MOTORING OFFENCES – PREPARE FOR CHANGE Motorists will soon face a new series definition applies to all such offences of motoring offences, which bring with committed after 24th September 2007. them stiffer penalties and a new range A new and controversial offence of of penalty points. “causing death by driving whilst either The Road Safety Act 2006 received unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured” Royal Assent on 8 November 2006. is also created by the Act. Again, this Some provisions have already been can be tried in either the magistrates’ introduced – but implementation of the or crown court and carries a maximum Under the existing law, speeding offences major part of the Act has yet to take penalty of two years imprisonment carry a range of between three and six place but it is likely different provisions in the crown court or six months penalty points. This will change in that will be rolled out over a period of time. imprisonment in the magistrates’ court, speeding offences will carry a range of together with mandatory disqualification between two and six penalty points. NEW OFFENCES and endorsement. Further, the existing offence of failing to A new offence of “causing death by From the way the statute is framed, provide information about the identity careless or inconsiderate driving” has the nature and quality of the driving of a driver, which currently carries been created. If tried in crown court it concerned is irrelevant. For example, three penalty points, will increase to carries a maximum penalty of five years’ an uninsured, unlicensed or disqualified six penalty points. imprisonment whereas in the magistrates’ court the penalty will be a maximum driver, even if driving perfectly properly, The Act enables courts to offer persons of six months’ imprisonment. It also will be considered to have committed convicted of careless driving, speeding or carries mandatory disqualification this offence if involved in an accident that failing to comply with traffic signs, the and endorsement. leads to the death of another person. opportunity of reducing the number of penalty points on their licence by For the first time, the Government has NEW PENALTIES successfully completing a retraining course. provided a statutory definition of careless There will be a new range of penalties, or inconsiderate driving. A person is not only for these new offences but for To qualify for the scheme, there should regarded as driving without due care and existing offences. be at least seven and not more than attention “if the way he drives falls below eleven points to be taken into account One of the more important penalty what would be expected of a competent at the time of conviction. Successful changes relates to offences of speeding. and careful driver.” This statutory completion of the course will mean that 12 months after the conviction, three points, or fewer, if fewer were endorsed, SIMON MEE JOINS will cease to be taken into account. CHARLES LUCAS & MARSHALL This new provision will provide some relief from the rigours of the Charles Lucas & Marshall has appointed totting-up provisions. another specialist to its Wills and Estate Planning Team. Lawyer, Simon Mee will For further be based at the firm’s Newbury office information, contact and will work on existing accounts and Paul Trincas on develop his own client portfolio. 01635 521212 or firstname.lastname@example.org Areas such as inheritance tax planning and issues relating to the elderly have Wantage Newbury grown rapidly in the last five years and Tel. 01235 771234 Tel. 01635 521212 the need for professional advice has Fax 01235 772234 Fax 01635 37784 been reflected in the growth of Charles Hungerford Swindon Lucas & Marshall’s Wills and Estate Tel. 01488 682506 Tel. 01793 511055 Planning Team. Fax 01488 684824 Fax 01793 610518 Simon Mee If you would like more information Tel. 01635 521212 e-mail us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org visit our website at www.clmlaw.co.uk www.clmlaw.co.uk
"Financial Settlements in Uk Divorce Actions"