Blog

Investigations into Attorney Actions on the Rise

We regularly advise clients on the benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney and always invite the attorneys to come along to the meeting to speak to us or to approach us by telephone before signing the document. Figures from the Office of the Public Guardian...

Single Women make up a third of the Equity Release Market

Married couples still take up 42% of the Equity Release market, but this year has shown a sharp increase in the number of single women over the age of 55 choosing to release Equity from their homes. Figures released show that single women are now 35% of the Equity...

Equity Release Q1 Figures

After its exponential increase in popularity throughout 2017, Equity Release shows no signs of slowing down in 2018. Over a quarter of all pensioners are now pursuing Equity release; Q1 has shown that 26% of over 55s are choosing Equity Release up from 22% previously....

Supreme Court Ruling on Contractual Notice Periods

In Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood [2018] the Supreme Court has held by a majority that, in cases of dismissal on notice by post, and where there is no contractual provision governing when notice takes effect, the contractual notice only...

First UK Employer faces Pension Fine

Auto-enrolment is a government pension scheme which, unless employees have already signed up for a workplace pension, automatically diverts a portion of an employee’s monthly salary into a pension pot. The employer and the government also make a contribution each...

Lasting Power of Attorney Court Fee Refund

If you applied for a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017 you may be entitled to a partial refund of the application fee.   This is because between 2013 and 2017, the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian...

Records Broken by Equity Release in 2018

We have been giving you updates based on the quarterly reports of Equity Release borrowing throughout 2017 and each one has shown growth from the previous quarter, but quarter 4 has shown that Equity Release is now at a 15-year high and the market appears not to have...

Right to Work Breaks

In late 2016 we reported on a case that showed employers must encourage their employees to take rest breaks or they are, in the eyes of the Employment Tribunal, ‘refusing’ a work break. A recent case looks at the nature of the 20-minute break workers are entitled to...

Data Protection in the News

The High Court has found that an employer, WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC, was vicariously liable for the deliberate and criminal disclosure by a rogue employee of personal data belonging to co-workers. This is the first group litigation data breach case to come before...

Worker Entitled to Unpaid Holiday

The gig-economy has been dominating the legal spotlight for a long time now, and it doesn’t seem to be changing. A window salesman worked for a company on a self-employed basis for twelve years. Upon his dismissal, he raised a claim for £27,000 in unpaid holiday over...

The Budget: Stamp Duty – A week on

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced on Wednesday 22nd November 2017 that the threshold for Stamp Duty, for first time buyers, will be raised from £125,000 to £300,000 resulting in potential savings of £5,000. Further, for first time buyers, properties valued up to...

Equity Release Market Growing

In August this year, we reported in our blog that the popularity of Equity Release was at its highest ever level, and the third quarter of 2017 has shown an even larger increase. £824 million has been released from equity in the last quarter alone. This is officially...

Can an unsent text message count as a Will?

In Queensland Australia, just before passing away, a man drafted a text message explaining he wished his assets to be left to his brother and nephew rather than wife and son. The Supreme Court of Australia decided to recognise the text message as a valid Will....

UPDATE – Gender Segregation in Schools

Further to our post on 6th December (which can be found HERE), Ofsted has since appealed the High Court’s ruling and taken the case to the Court of Appeal. Ofsted presented the case with the arguments that the High Court ‘erred’ in its decision and that it should have...

How Judges consider domestic abuse in Children Proceedings

When the court looks at making a Child Arrangements Order to determine who a child lives with, and what time they spend with each parent, they presume that the involvement of a parent in a child’s life is in the best interests of the child, unless there is evidence to...

Stamp Duty and Second Properties

Since 1st April 2016, those purchasing a second home that does not replace a previous main residence have been liable for an additional 3% stamp duty on the purchase. Married couples and civil partners are treated as one unit for this purpose. If the couple jointly...

Heterosexual Civil Partnerships

You may have recently read about a heterosexual couple applying to the court for the right to form a Civil Partnership, who were refused by the Judge in the first instance and then again by the Court of Appeal. Their application is for a judicial review of the...

Ex – wife not happy with £3.5 million from divorce

The Court of Appeal have recently heard the appeal of Karen Hart and found in favour of the husband, not allowing the appeal. Ms Hart was married for 23 years and she received from the court just over 37% of the capital matrimonial assets on the divorce (£3.5 million...

Increase in the Popularity Equity Release

Equity Release Activity increases substantially as figures show £700 million value in one quarter Equity release is now a key part of retirement planning for the over 55s. Equity release allows people who own their homes to utilise the value of the bricks and mortar...

Employment Tribunal Fees Ruled Unlawful

Today the Supreme Court has handed down its Judgement on Employment Tribunal fees, which have been ruled unlawful. This will mean that the Government must scrap employment tribunal fees with immediate effect, and pay back to Claimants some £32m. The Supreme Court...

The Success of Will Month

This June marked Jane Lodeto’s ninth year participating in Havens Hospices’ Will Month; an annual event in which Jane and our Wills and Probate team offer our full Will service, from drafting the Will to storing them in our fireproof safes, absolutely free of charge...

Triathlon Team in Training

Today, 3rd July, marks just two months until our Billericay team participate in their first team Triathlon, raising money for Havens Hospices. Over the last few months Jane Elgar has maintained her sporty regime in preparation, continuing to participate in her running...

School Holidays and Separation

School holidays, though eagerly anticipated by your children, can be a difficult time for parents – particularly if you’re bringing up children alone. One quarter of British families are now single parent families and, in these instances, the pressures of childcare,...

Child Arrangements Orders

If contact or the residence of your children cannot be agreed between the parents, you may have to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order. These orders were introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014 to replace the previous framework of contact and...

Havens Wills Month

For the past 8 years, Jane Lodeto who heads up our Wills and Probate Department has participated in Havens Will Month. Havens Hospices encourage people to make Wills by having one month a year where local firms offer their time and expertise free of charge in return...

Update on Probate Fees

Further to our blog post on 7th March 2017 regarding the controversial changes to probate fees, we can confirm that these have now been scrapped due to the upcoming general election and the fact that there was not enough time for Parliament to pass the Statutory...

Married 39 years… Denied a Divorce

A woman recently went to the Court of Appeal to overturn a Family Court ruling that she shouldn’t be granted a divorce on the grounds of the unreasonable behaviour of her husband of 39 years. Judge Tolson of the Family Court had ruled in favour of Mr Owens; he...

Free Employment Status Check-Up

The employment status of an individual is important for their employment rights including holidays, sick pay, and protection against unfair dismissal. There are 3 status categories: self-employed; employee; worker. Individuals who are self-employed have no employment...

Our Star Jess performs in ‘Into The Woods’

On 4th April 2017, for one week only, our Billericay star Jessica Merriam will be taking to the stage as Cinderella in Essex Police Musical Society’s production of ‘Into the Woods’! We first saw Jess tread the boards at Essex Police Musical Society in ‘The American...

High Court Awards £2 for Employment Breaches

After a Hearing that lasted nine days and a Judgment spanning more than 280 pages, Marathon Asset Management (MAM) walked away from a £15 million claim with an award of just £2 after a High Court Judge ruled that no injury was sustained. Before Mr Seddon and Mr...

Women’s Work

Having marked International Women’s day last week it seems only fitting to celebrate the achievements of female business owners. The Law Society has reported that, out of the 9,403 Law firms existing in England and Wales in 2015, approximately 34% were...

Transgender ‘mum’ loses contact with children

A father who has recently publicly confirmed that he identifies as a transgender woman has been denied the right, by a High Court Judge, to direct contact with his 5 children. In making the decision about whether or not to grant the father’s application for direct...

New Probate Fees

As of May 2017, probate fees will be changing. As it stands there is currently a set probate registry fee: £215 if probate is applied for by a family member or friend and £155 if done so by a solicitor. The fee will now be calculated based on a proportion of the...

Stamp Duty Changes

With the budget about to be announced on 8th March, there has been much speculation as to what it may include. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) seems to be where the spotlight is pointed. The last change to the threshold of SDLT was in 2006 to compensate for house price...

Heterosexual Civil Partnerships

Homosexual couples can now officially marry, giving a same sex couple the option of either marriage or a civil partnership. However, heterosexual couples are not able to opt for a civil partnership. The couple causing the spotlight to be turned to this topic were...

Friday Afternoon Fraud

Purchasing your first property is never cheap and with the transfer of large sums of money between solicitors’ firms, how can you guarantee the safety of your hard-earned cash? A recent scam has emphasised how important it is for clear communication between firms and...

The Right to Disconnect

France, which has a 35 hour working week, passed a law in the New Year changing how employees respond to work outside of their contracted hours. The new ‘Right to Disconnect’ law states that companies with over 50 employees must create a timetable in which it clearly...

So… You Are Getting Married!

  Congratulations! You have chosen the date… got the dress in mind, photographer is booked and you’ve ordered the invites! Everything is ready. But have you thought about what you are signing on the day you are getting married? You are signing a contract. The biggest...

12 Tips Of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas Browns Solicitors gave to me their first top tip on making a Will. If you are unmarried without a Will your partner is not automatically entitled to inherit from your estate on death but could make claims through the courts, reducing the...

Office Christmas Parties

Are you worried about how to act at your impending office Christmas party? Do you relax and enjoy the free bar or act professionally, as though you’re on a business meeting? The case of Bellman (B) V Northampton Recruitment (NR) may have some answers for you. In 2011...

Browns Brownie Day Thankyou

All the team at Browns would like to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came along to support our National Brownie Day! In just 3 hours we raised in excess of £100 from the very generous donations for the tombola!  Anna Watson from Scentsy also had her stall up and...

National Brownie Day at Browns

Tomorrow, 8th December, is National Brownie Day! We will be marking the occasion in Benfleet with a Christmas themed open office, with free brownies and complimentary mulled wine. We have stalls from Scentsy and Forever Living products in an attempt to raise money for...

Gender Segregation in Schools

  A recent High Court ruling has shown that gender segregation in schools, in particular faith schools, does not of itself constitute direct sex discrimination. The separate teaching of boys and girls between similar ages may seem commonplace for people around Essex...

Right to Work Breaks

In reality, many workers in high-pressured environments do not take rest breaks and will not complain that the right has been denied to them. Their perception may be that it is their choice, given their heavy workload, not to take a break. However, an employer will...

Good Divorce Week 28th November – 4th December

Our Family Law solicitor Jane Lodeto is a member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. She is standing behind the lobbying of government this week in ‘Good Divorce...

Equal Pay

The Manchester Employment Tribunal has ruled that female store workers from Asda are entitled to the same pay as their male depot worker counterparts. This has cleared the way for an estimated 7,000 claims to made, costing the company over £100m. The female store...

#FIRSTFIVER

We at Browns Solicitors have taken part in the #firstfiver campaign for charity - here is our first new five pound note which will be making its way to Havens Hospices to 'Make every day Count'. Please let us know if you have joined the...

Employment law – what Employers need to know

2016 has already brought many changes to employment law including new laws to protect apprentices, shared parental leave and more flexible rules to allow individuals access to pension funds. More changes are due throughout the year. Below is a brief summary of some...

Merry Christmas!

Many thanks to everyone for your support in our first year. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are looking forward to our Spring Dance-athon for Havens Hospices on 30th April 2016. You will see from our Christmas video that we have started...

Browns Celebrate 6 Months

The staff at Browns Solicitors enjoyed an evening at the Ragpoot at Tarpots (which is next door to our Benfleet office) this week to celebrate our first six months in business.   Thanks to all our clients for their support and the various friends and family for their...

July 2015 Budget – Inheritance Tax Changes

On the 8th July 2015 George Osbourne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the Government’s new budget for 2015 and within it brought about some interesting changes to the current inheritance tax rules. Inheritance tax is what is paid when a person leaves their...

Wills Week with Havens Hospices

Browns Solicitors will be taking part in Havens Wills Week from Monday 1st to Friday 5th June. Making a Will ensures that you have taken care of your family. Wills Week is designed to raise funds for Havens Hospices via participating solicitors and Will Writers. In...

‘A Bit of a Do’ – Supporting Havens Hospices

Browns Solicitors recently held a successful coffee morning (Brownies at Browns) raising £215 for Little Havens Hospice, as part of Haven’s “Bit of a Do” campaign. We were delighted to see so many local businesses and people in attendance, supporting the cause. Those attending were given an insight into the charity’s work on the day by a truly inspiring representative. She spoke of the positive experience that her daughter and the family have of the assistance Little Havens provides to them. All of our staff at Browns were very proud to be part of such an event.

Employment update blog

Spring Employment changes Here are some important changes for the month: Shared parental leave and pay is now in force, as of 5 April 2015. See previous blog for detail. Ordinary parental leave, namely the right of a parent to take 18 weeks unpaid leave in respect of...

Shared parental leave and pay: 5th April 2015

Did you know that in just a month Shared Parental Leave and Pay will be available for the partner of a child’s mother or adoptive parent? The basics of maternity and adoption leave and pay will not change but a mother or adoptive parent will be able to end such leave...

Whistleblowing

This week, the BBC has reported on a review into how ‘whistleblowers’ in the NHS have been treated after raising concerns about patient care or the environment in which they are working. The Freedom to Speak Up is “an independent review into creating the open and...

Changes To Stamp Duty Land Tax

On the 4th December 2014 the rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax changed for the purchase of Residential Property. The rates are still dependant on the purchase price but are no longer a percentage of the purchase price nor do they jump up on a tiered system. Stamp duty is...

Books For Children Of Separating Parents – Pre School

As a mum of a pre-schooler I’ve noticed how much easier it is to explain a situation to my questioning little one if the characters in a television programme or in a book have ‘been there and done it first’. Cbeebies’ ‘Wooly and Tig’ has been a constant blessing with...