newsletter Issue 7

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                                                    Issue 7
                               Autumn / Winter 2006 | FREE

                         IN THIS ISSUE:
                          MWR NEWS

Comment from the partners
Welcome to the latest edition of Today.          forthcoming Christmas holiday period and            We are delighted to announce the launch of
                                                 highlighting the risks to consider when buying      our new website. At the time of writing, the
Once again, we have a packed issue of legal                                                          new site is scheduled to go live in the first
                                                 Christmas gifts for your children.
tips and advice, and the latest news on                                                              week of November. More about the new
MWR Solicitors.                                                                                      website can be found on page three, which
                                                 The latest employment law news is featured
                                                                                                     also features an update on our charity, Kricket
We feature our accident team on page five,       on page four and we profile Back Care – the
                                                                                                     4 Kenya, which seems to be capturing the
which is headed by Annette Thompson,             charity for healthy backs – on page seven.          imagination of our clients and contacts. Please
who has just announced she is expecting her                                                          keep your donations coming. Thanks to
second child. Congratulations Annette!           As always we have a number of legal briefs
                                                                                                     everyone connected with MWR for their
We also have a couple of seasonal features,      on page two and the latest firm news on             support in 2006. May everyone have a happy
namely how to keep fit and healthy over the      page eight.                                         holiday period and a successful 2007.

                                           newshound latest legal news
                                                 holiday - such as hotels, restaurants, shops        SCHOOL ASBESTOS WARNING
                                                 and theme parks.
                                                                                                     Unions in the north of England have warned
                                                 The Work and Families Bill, may be used to
                                                                                                     that teachers are contracting fatal asbestos
                                                 increase statutory holidays for UK workers
                                                                                                     cancers by putting children’s work up on walls
                                                 from 20 days to 28 days. This big increase is
                                                 to close the loophole that allows many              using drawing pins. Eight school staff in
                                                 employers to force their workers to take bank       Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside,
                                                 holidays as part of their statutory 20 days.        Sunderland and County Durham are seeking
                                                 According to the TUC, 700,000 people                compensation from education authorities after
                                                 worked on Christmas Day last year.
                                                                                                     getting asbestos-related cancers. A number of
                                                                                                     claims have been settled already.
                                                 NEW FIGURES SHOW NEED TO STEP
                                                 UP SPEED CAMPAIGNS
                                                                                                     WARNING FOR SITE WORKERS
                                                 A new report published into the contributory
                                                 factors into road accidents reinforces the need     Site owners and managers have been warned
                                                 to continue the fight against speeding drivers      of the danger of moving vehicles after two
                                                 and to persuade more motorists to take
                                                                                                     companies were fined in September following
                                                 refresher training, according to RoSPA.
                                                                                                     a prosecution brought by the Health and
                                                 The report, published by the Department for         Safety Executive (HSE).
                                                 Transport, provides latest casualty figures and
                                                 said that exceeding the speed limit or going        Aggregate Industries UK Limited (Bardon
Businesses face having to pick up a multi-       too fast for the conditions was a contributory      Contracting division) and Tripod Crest Planing
million pound increase in their wage bill next   factor in 26 per cent of all fatal accidents. The   Limited were each fined £25,000 after
year because of a change in the law regarding    study showed that failing to look properly was
                                                                                                     pleading guilty to breaches of Sections 2(1)
bank holidays.                                   the most frequently reported contributory
                                                                                                     and 3(1) respectively of the Health and Safety
                                                 factor in accidents (32 per cent) and loss of
The change will have a big impact on any         control was a factor in 35 per cent of fatal        at Work etc Act 1974 at the Central Criminal
employer that is open for business on a bank     accidents.                                          Court in London on Friday September 8.

02 | MWR today
Kenyan official jets in to lend GET CLICKING!
support to MWR campaign New MWR website online
                                                                                                                 MWR’s clients can now get legal advice at
                                                                                                                 the click of a button following the redesign
                                                                                                                 of its website. The firm has launched a new
                                                                                                                 webiste with a Fast Track Advice service,
                                                                                                                 where clients can complete and send an
                                                                                                                 online form that covers a number of legal
                                                                                                                 problems, and will receive an email within
                                                                                                                 24 hours to confirm whether they have a
                                                                                                                 case or not.

Surinder Biant with Altaf Patel, Jane Booker and Annette Thompson

The Chairman of Friends of Kenya                                       sports kit donated to the appeal.
Cricket UK (FOKC), Surinder Biant,                                        Jane Booker, MWR partner, said:
jetted into Preston on his way                                               “The appeal is starting to really   The new home page
back from Australia to lend his                                              gather momentum and with
support to MWR Solicitors’                                                   FOKC on board it adds more
Kricket 4 Kenya (K4K) charity                                               weight to the appeal. FOKC is a      The site went live in November 2006 and
appeal.                                                                    very well respected organisation      will feature a much more user friendly and
Surinder met representatives from                                     that does a great deal of work in          informative structure.
the firm to discuss the project and delivered                 Kenya and we are extremely thankful for their
the great news that FOKC is officially                        expertise and assistance.                          MWR Partner, Annette Thompson, said:
supporting the campaign.                                      “We are appealing to sports clubs, schools,        “In 2005, the firm implemented a new
Launched in summer 2006, the campaign’s                       individuals and leisure centres to donate          corporate look throughout its marketing
objective is to collect unwanted sports                       whatever sports kit they can. All the donations    material and we wanted to take this into
equipment and kit for underprivileged children                will be greatly appreciated and go towards         our website. The main benefit of the new
in Kenya.                                                     helping some of the less fortunate people in       site is usability.
Speaking during his visit, Surinder said: “We                 Kenya.”
are very excited to be getting on board with                  Kenya is one of the world’s poorest nations
the campaign. When we were contacted                          and at the start of 2006 suffered one of its
about the appeal by MWR the committee and                     worst droughts. This has threatened the lives
I did not hesitate to give it our blessing. There             of thousands of children across the country
are many people in the rural areas of Kenya                   and in some of the worst affected areas the
that are crying out for sports equipment and                  rate of malnutrition is double the World           MWR’s new fast-track service
this appeal will make a big difference.                       Health Organisation’s critical rate.
                                                                                                                 “Information on all our services, the law
“I will begin negotiations with Kenyan                                         .
                                                              WE NEED YOUR HELP IF YOU HAVE ANY
                                                                                                                 and our downloadable brochures are
Government to plan the arrival of the kit late                UNWANTED SPORTS KIT OR
                                                                                                                 much easier to access and use. The site
next year in which representatives from MWR                   EQUIPMENT, DON’T THROW AWAY,
and FOKC will travel to different schools and                 DONATE TODAY.                                      also features a comprehensive jargon
villages in Kenya to deliver the sports kit.”                                                                    buster on legal terminology. It will be
                                                                                                                 refreshed on a daily basis with new articles
Since its launch the campaign has attracted
interest from members of the public,                                                                             and stories. The site also conforms to the
                                                                    Contact:                                     highest level of AAA Disability and
businesses and sports clubs. The campaign
received another boost in September when                            Jayne Raven on 01772 254201.                 Discrimination legislation.”
Preston storage company, Stor-it, pledged a
free 100sq ft unit to house the cricket and                                                            

                                                                                                                                                MWR today | 03
New rules for working parents
October 1 2006 saw the well publicised age discrimination laws come into force. However, the changes to a
number of existing laws which are of significant interest to many working parents, also became law, as Sadiq
Vohra - head of employment law at MWR, writes.

                                                        leave is the leave from work that all women                However, the following provisions are applied
                                                        can take, of up to 26 weeks. In addition to                to this concept:
                                                        this, additional maternity leave allowed a
                                                        woman an extension to her leave if she were                  • the ten “in touch days” allowed cannot
                                                        able to meet certain conditions. The new                       take place within the first two weeks after
                                                        laws brought in remove the need to meet                        giving birth;
                                                        these certain conditions. Therefore the                      • the regulations do not give an employee
                                                        potential length of maternity leave for every
                                                                                                                       the right to demand work to be given
                                                        woman in the country now is 52 weeks,
                                                                                                                       and they do not give an employer the
                                                        regardless of the length of their employment.
                                                                                                                       right to dismiss if the employee refuses to
                                                        A further amendment made by the new                            work during her maternity leave;
                                                        regulations is that a woman must now give
                                                        eight weeks notice of her intention to return                • maternity, paternity or adoption pay will
                                                        to work if she intends to do so earlier than the               not be affected unless an employee
                                                        expiry of her ordinary maternity leave or                      works longer than the ten days allowed.
                                   Sadiq Vohra          additional maternity leave period, whichever
                                                                                                                   The above detailed changes also apply to
                                                        type of leave is in force. Prior to October 1,
                                                                                                                   either a mother or father adopting a child.
                                                        a woman needs only to have given 21 days
Amendment regulations in relation to                    notice of her intention to return to work.                 Again it should be emphasised that this only
maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave                                                                   applies if a child is adopted by a couple after
                                                        Finally, a new concept of “in touch days” is               April 1 2006.
and adoption leave have come into force and
                                                        brought in by the regulations. This new
have brought in some of the most significant            concept now means that a woman is able to                  In light of the fact that there are no longer
changes to employment law this year. The                work for her employer during her maternity                 extra provisions attached to the entitlement of
catch is that these regulations only apply to           leave without bringing an end to her leave, as             additional maternity leave, the period of
employees who are expected to give birth to             long as she works for no more than ten days                statutory maternity pay has been extended
or adopt a child, after April 1 2007.                   during this period. According to the                       from 26 weeks to 39 consecutive weeks.
MATERNITY AND ADOPTION LEAVE                            regulations these “in touch days” can include
                                                        any type of work including training. The                   New legislation in the form of the Work and
In the past there have been two types of                purpose of this new concept is to give women               Families Act 2006 has further extended the
maternity leave, ordinary maternity leave and           the opportunity to stay in touch with the ins              rights of the working father or partner, which
additional maternity leave. Ordinary maternity          and outs of their job if they choose to.                   we will discuss in the next issue.

                                                                                                                   Sir Tom Finney made a surprise visit to MWR’s
                                                                                                                   Cannon Street offices to officially acknowledge
                                                                                                                   the firm’s latest sporting community project.
                                                                                                                   MWR has signed a three year sponsorship deal
                                                                                                                   with Preston Sports Awards.

                                                                                                                   The awards, which held its inaugural event at
                                                                                                                   Preston North End in February 2006, was a
                            Sir Tom Finney (centre) with Phil Walsh of Preston City Council and the MWR partners
                                                                                                                   roaring success with individuals and teams from

04 | MWR today
MWR Service Focus: accident                                                                                                       team
With a history dating back to 1912, it’s safe to   and Omara Beg. An additional seven-man                 fide operation when dealing with a legal
assume that MWR’s accident team has seen           team provides administrative support, two              problem. We will guarantee a high quality
major changes to how victims of accidents and      of whom have the special function of                   personal service and we have a successful
injuries are compensated.                          client liaison.                                        track record in obtaining compensation for
New technology, evolving laws and changes in       “Client liaison is a vital role,” explains Annette:    clients. It’s these credentials which clients
society are just three areas which MWR has         “They’re the ones who will visit the client at         always mention on our service feedback forms
needed to embrace. But one element of              the start of the process to ascertain whether          which we use to monitor our performance.”
MWR’s offering which has remained the same         they have a case or not. They travel the
during 100 years of business is its                length and breadth of the country meeting              Annette concludes: “If required, we will make
commitment to personal service.                    victims of injuries and accidents and in most          a free home visit no matter where the client is
                                                   cases they see clients in their own homes.”            based and in each case, the client is given six
Headed by partner Annette Thompson,
                                                                                                          weekly case update reports. We have moved
MWR’s accident team comprises 15 members           In an industry which has had its reputation
                                                                                                          with the times by investing in state of the art
and represents clients across the UK in claims     smeared by unscrupulous claims management
                                                   companies, MWR believes that clients are               technology and case management systems but
for all forms of accidents and injuries. They
range from road traffic accidents (RTAs) and       reassured by a personal approach and actually          at the heart of our approach remains our
injuries sustained in the workplace to sporting    dealing with real lawyers.                             commitment to personal service.”
injuries and accidents abroad. The firm’s                                                                 If you ever suffer an accident or injury, why
                                                   Howard Moorby, senior legal executive, adds:
mission is simple: if you’ve had any form of
                                                   “Clients want to deal with a professional, bona        not give our team a call on 01772 254201.
accident or injury which wasn’t your fault – we
can help.

Annette Thompson explains: “Our mission
may sound clichéd but our cases are very
widespread and diverse. We come across
some very interesting situations, for example
we are in the process of advising a lady who
injured herself in a major high street shop
when an ornament rolled off a shelf and
broke her foot. Every situation is different,
placing great emphasis on legal knowledge
and experience.”

Annette is joined on the team by experienced
accident law experts, Howard Moorby, Eddie
Mansley, Henry Rudakowski, Lisa Nelson,                                                 MWR’s accident team L-R: Howard Moorby. Annette Thompson, Lisa Nelson,
                                                                                                       Vicky May, Eddie Mansley, Omara Beg and Henry Rudakowski
Kathryn Chadwick, Vicky May, Najma Ahmad

across Preston scooping a range of top prizes      higher and further education - and Preston City        Wooton, and has also helped fund local junior
including Rising Star, Performance of the Year     Council representatives.                               cricketer Anthony Dark on a cricket tour of
and Fair Play Award. Sporting heavyweights                                                                Trinidad and Tabago. In addition, the firm has
such as Sir Tom Finney, David Moyes and Mark       This latest sporting venture is one of a number        made a donation to the Gallica swim squad.
Lawrenson lent their support to the awards,        of local community projects which MWR
                                                   supports. The firm backs local amateur sports          Altaf Patel, partner, said: “As a firm, we have
which will again take place next year in March.
                                                   stars, Suz Member (boxing) and Shaun Calvert           always supported local sport and when
The awards are being managed by Ross               (BMX), the Double Six Racing team and Sport            opportunities arise to support local amateur
McWilliam of Simply Events and organised by        Relief.                                                stars, we are keen to help. We hope the 2007
Preston Sports Forum, an independent group                                                                PSA Awards will once again capture the
comprising of statutory and voluntary              MWR has also revealed that it will sponsor             imagination of the Preston public.”
organisations, local sports clubs, schools -       Preston North End’s female footballer, Jenny

                                                                                                                                              MWR today | 05
Lock out the risk of gazumping
                                                                                                          The problem is that in a buoyant market there
                                                                                                          is reluctance by sellers and their agents to bind
                                                                                                          themselves at such an early stage because
                                                                                                          they wish to be free to sell at a higher price or
                                                                                                          to another buyer who may be in a better
                                                                                                          position to proceed (e.g. no sale or mortgage
                                                                                                          to arrange).

                                                                                                          The important thing to do is to make clear to
                                                                                                          your seller at the earliest stage that you will be
                                                                                                          expecting a Lock-Out Agreement if your offer
                                                                                                          is accepted and it is sensible to give the
                                                                                                          reasons why. If this is negotiated correctly at
                                                                                                          the beginning then we could produce a Lock-
                                                                                                          Out Agreement immediately. There is no
                                                                                                          reason why this should not be signed within a
                                                                                                          few days thus giving you the breathing space
                                                                                                          you may need to make your survey and
                                                                                                          financial arrangements without the fear that
                                                                                                          someone else may purchase the property.

                                                                                                          This type of agreement only protects the
                                                                                                          purchaser and not the seller, as no sale is
                                                                                                          guaranteed and the purchaser can withdraw
                                                                                                          from the agreement at any time without
                                                                                                          penalty, apart the loss of the deposit.

                                                                                                          It is also hoped that with the introduction of
                                                                                                          HIPS in 2007 all essential information such as
                                                                                                          searches and surveys will be available at the
In October, the UK national press reported a         market giving the buyers the opportunity to          time of making an offer for a property.
return to gazumping in some parts of London.         exchange contracts within a reasonable time.         Reasons to delay matters prior to exchange
A further report from Scottish Widows                Unfortunately, in England and Wales there is         will become fewer and lock-out agreements
reckoned that this had happened to 3.3m              no law to this effect (as opposed to other           will become less essential.
buyers. It also shows that Britons are               countries including Scotland). In the recent
particularly dishonourable, with 37 per cent of      buoyant property market buyers have found
us being gazumped, compared with just 29             to their cost that sellers have proceeded with
per cent of the French, 25 per cent of the           other buyers at higher prices or have started a
Spanish and 18 per cent of the Germans.              contract race.                                          Brenda Shaw on 01772 254201

However, there is a little known legal tool          The Agreement gives the parties a breathing
called a Lock-Out Agreement which can                space to enable them to proceed with the sale
substantially reduce the risk of gazumping and       and purchase without interruption from other
guarantee that dream house.                          interested parties. This will enable the buyer
                                                     to deal with searches, survey and any
A Lock-Out Agreement is a preliminary                mortgage offer required. If at the end of the
agreement which parties can enter into at the        stipulated time the buyer cannot exchange
beginning of negotiations for the sale and           contracts then the agreement is at an end and
purchase of a property (commercial or                the seller is free to negotiate with other
residential). It is sometimes called an              buyers.
Exclusivity Agreement. The intention is to
give buyers a clear field for a specific period to   It is a relatively simple document consisting of
make their arrangements without the fear that        about two pages setting out the intentions of
other buyers may beat them to exchange of            the parties. It lasts for a fixed period (e.g. one
contracts.                                           month) and normally the buyer is required to
                                                     pay a non-returnable deposit to cover the
Many buyers of properties believe that once          seller’s expenses if the buyer does not
an offer for the property has been made the          proceed.                                               Brenda Shaw
seller will withdraw the property from the

06 | MWR today
12 MONTHS                                            Don’t rev up the risk
With the year drawing to an end,
Jayne Raven, MWR’s marketing
                                                     of Christmas accidents
manager, reviews some of the                         The latest craze of scooters and mini motos amongst children has
community projects that MWR has                      made them a must have Christmas toy for this year. However,
supported during the past 12 months.
                                                     unsuspecting parents may not be alert to the fact that some are
                                                     classed as motor vehicles even though many are marketed as toys.

                                                     Eddie Mansley of MWR Solicitors warns parents of the dangers they
                                                     could be putting their children in.

                                                     Many parents under pressure to buy mini         • it is essential that you treat the mini
                                                     motos for their children this Christmas may       moto as you would any other road
 Jayne Raven                                         not be aware that they are encouraging            vehicle, which means it must have the
                                                     them to break the law, as well as putting         following;
One of my main roles at MWR is to oversee            their children at risk of injury.                 • road tax;
the firm’s charity projects and I have to admit                                                        • insurance;
that this year has been the busiest. Corporate       Since 2004 there has been seven registered
Social Responsibility (CSR) is high on the list of   deaths involving mini motorbikes of which         • vehicle registration;
priorities at MWR and we are committed to            six occurred on the road, five involved           • MOT certificate;
giving something back to the community in            children under 15 years of age and one
                                                                                                     • check whether the vehicle can be legally
which we operate.                                    involved a child riding as passenger.
                                                                                                       ridden on the roads;
Kricket 4 Kenya has been the main focus of our
                                                     The Government regards machines with            • the rider must be a minimum of 16
efforts and activity seems to be making huge
progress week by week. Having heard about            electric or petrol motors as motor vehicles       years of age;
the plight of children in Kenya, the firm wanted     and any powered vehicle used on the public      • and always wear a crash helmet.
to make a contribution. From old clothing and        highway must comply with all aspects of
equipment to score boxes, clients and the            road traffic law.
general public have really taken to the
campaign well.                                       In order to be able to ride a mini moto
                                                     legally on the road, the rider must be a
Other charities which the firm has supported
include the Association for Spina Bifida &           minimum of 16 years of age, wearing a crash
Hydrocephalus (ASBAH), Children Today,               helmet and have a valid driving licence, road
Comic Relief, Derian House, Help a Local             tax, insurance, vehicle registration and an
Child, International Aid Trust, Medicine &           MOT certificate.
Chernobyl UK, Race for Life and Rosemere
Cancer Foundation.                                   Under the Highways Act in most cases it is
                                                     illegal for mini motos to be ridden on the
This year more than ever, the firm has striven
to make a difference to the lives of others less     road and it is certainly illegal to ride mini
fortunate. We couldn’t have done that without        motos on the pavement. The only place it is
the help of our clients, contacts and members        legal to ride on a mini moto is on private
of the public.                                       land but only with the landowner’s
Our latest piece of charity work saw the firm’s      permission.
staff wear it pink for the day - more of which
                                                     If you are considering purchasing a mini
can be found on page eight. Many thanks to
everyone’s contributions.                            motorbike then here are some simple

Jayne                                                  • before you purchase the machine,
                                                         check there are local legal riding sites;                                   Eddie Mansley

                                                                                                                                 MWR today | 07
                                                    Word on the street
Me and my job                                       We profile the rise of MWR fee
                                                    earner assistant Amanda Wensley.
                                                                                                             I have worked my way up the firm to a fee
                                                                                                             earner’s assistant and I am currently studying
                                                                                                             for my legal secretary certificate at Preston
Amanda Wensley

                                                            I joined MWR Solicitors as a junior and          College and I hope to become a fee earner
                                                            became a trainee fee earner’s assistant in       in the near future.
                                                    the conveyancing, wills and probate department
                                                    in March 2003.                                           One of the main issues in our industry at the
                                                    I am responsible for performing a number of              moment is the imminent arrival of Home
                                                    essential tasks on conveyancing, wills and probate       Information Packs (HIPS) in June 2007.
                                                    cases. It is a very busy department and on a             This will completely change the house buying
                                                    normal day most of my time is committed to               process and with the current controversy
                                                    assisting the fee earners and dealing with client        surrounding HIPS, our department is busy

                                                    queries on the telephone.                                preparing for their introduction.
                                 Amanda Wensley

New appointments at MWR
MWR has made a number of new appointments           official in the Transport & General Workers
as the firm continues to expand.                    Union brings his expertise to the firm to assist
Dawn Lamb joins MWR's Wills and Probate             Sadiq Vohra with our expanding employment
Department. Lisa Hodgkinson has joined the          department.
domestic conveyancing department to work            Vicki Leslie and Christine Morey have joined
alongside Brenda Shaw with our ever increasing      MWR as trainee fee earner’s assistants.
domestic property work.
                                                    Jane Booker said: "The firm has experienced
Jessica Bowman and Omara Beg join the firm as       growth right across its range of services. We
trainee solicitors and will spend the next two      have a strong commitment to client service
years spending time in each department whilst       which has been instrumental in our growth. I
they complete their training contracts.             am delighted to welcome into the firm so many
Peter Johnson who recently retired as a full time   new faces to assist in our future expansion."            L-R Peter Johnson, Vicky Lesley, Lisa Hodgkinson, Christine
                                                                                                             Morey, Jessica Bowman, Omara Beg and Dawn Lamb

Write to reply                                      MWR ‘wear it pink’
                                                    MWR’s staff wore it pink for the day in late
                                                    October for Breast Cancer. ‘Wear it pink’ is Breast
                                                    Cancer Campaign’s biggest fundraising event
                                                    during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and has
                                                    raised over £3.6 million since its launch in 2003.
                                                    Admin manager, Anne Pickles, said: “It was a great
Here is some latest feedback from clients…          day and the whole firm made a huge effort by
                                                    selling cakes and holding a raffle with all the prizes
  • I am very pleased with the professional way
                                                    being donated by members of the firm.”                   MWR’s pink ladies
    in which she has conducted herself and am
    impressed with the way in which you can
    get hold of her by email and a prompt reply
    is assured.
                                                    Can we help?
  • Good service as usual. Would gladly come        From road traffic accidents, industrial injuries, occupational diseases, employment problems to wills and
    to you with any further business.               conveyancing, MWR can help. Call us on freephone 0800 731 0717 and you’ll soon be speaking to a
                                                    legal specialist who will advise you on exactly what to do.
  • Excellent, 1st class company. Always felt in
                                                    Visit our website on
    good, safe hands. Thanking you all.
                                                    If you would like a brochure, please call Jayne Raven or Anne Pickles on 0800 731 0717.

                                                    MWR Solicitors
                                                    No.6 Cannon Street, Preston, Lancashire PR1 3PY
                                                    Freephone 0800 731 0717 Fax 01772 202976
                                                    Email Website

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