THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF M W R SOLICITORS
Autumn / Winter 2006 | FREE
IN THIS ISSUE:
REVIEW OF NEW MWR WEBSITE
LATEST EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS
SPOTLIGHT ON MWR’S ACCIDENT TEAM
THE PERILS OF CHRISTMAS GIFTS
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).
TIME OFF FOR BANK HOLIDAYS
Transport, provides latest casualty figures and
WILL PENALISE FIRMS
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 www.mwrlaw.com
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 www.mwrlaw.com.
good, safe hands. Thanking you all.
If you would like a brochure, please call Jayne Raven or Anne Pickles on 0800 731 0717.
No.6 Cannon Street, Preston, Lancashire PR1 3PY
Freephone 0800 731 0717 Fax 01772 202976
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.mwrlaw.com