‘Oppressive’ tribunal fees must be removed to ensure that justice is available for those who need it. That’s the opinion of the Law Society, in response to the Ministry of Justice’s review of the impact of tribunal fees. Continue reading…
On Sunday 19th March 2017, a team from Harold Stock & Co Solicitors took part in the St. Ann’s Hospice Obstacolour Run.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part. It was cold, wet and very muddy but I am pleased to say that everyone turned up and fought against the elements to complete the run.
If you would like to donate to St. Ann’s Hospice, you can do so here https://obstacolour.everydayhero.com/uk/harold-stock-co
The government’s proposed changes to the probate system have already come under fire from the Law Society and ; however, they have now been heavily criticised by a backbench Conservative MP. Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for north East Somerset, has expressed grave concerns about the governments’ probate plans and criticised his party’s proposals to introduce a huge increase in probate charges, claiming they will be seen as a ‘tax rather than a charge’. In his expressed opinion, it is wrong for any government to be seen to be introducing ‘stealth taxes.’ Continue reading…
The cost of inheriting is set to increase, thanks to a new government proposal to raise probate fees in line with the value of an estate. Continue reading…
Are you a regular user of social media? Covert video surveillance has been used by insurance companies for a long time in claims for compensation arising out of an accident or other injury. With advances in technology, our team of experienced specialists have seen insurance companies increasingly turn to social media and the internet as a method of surveillance using Facebook status updates, You Tube videos, Instagram and Snapchat posts and photographs together with tweets as a way to defeat or reduce a claim for compensation. It pays to remember that the internet is not private.
If you are involved in a claim for compensation arising out of an accident or poor medical treatment, the Defendant insurance company will search the internet for personal information about you. Facebook will generally be their first port of call. Our advice is therefore clear – don’t post details of your accident, injuries or rehabilitation on social media. This includes the uploading of videos and photographs.
Whether you are in the process of making a claim for compensation or not, we would always advise that you regularly review your security settings all of the social networking platforms you use.
Lord chancellor, Liz Truss, has finally announced that the discount rate applied to personal injury compensation payments will be slashed from 2.5 per cent to minus 0.75 per cent with effect from 20 March, 2017. The news was welcomed by campaigners for personal injury claimants who have long lobbied for change; however, the change was heavily criticised by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Continue reading…
From 20th March 2017, after a wait of 16 years, victims of accidents and medical mistakes will finally have their compensation worked out in a way that should help them to cover the costs of their rehabilitation and expenses going forwards.
This week’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice that the discount rate applied to compensation awards in personal injury cases will go from 2.5% to minus 0.75% is welcome news for those who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own.
For years, we have seen those who suffer catastrophic injuries left with settlements that have under compensated them because of the considerable economic changes that have taken place since 2001 when the rate was last changed. The new rate should provide lump sum settlements that will give our clients and their families some security and avoid them having to rely on scarce NHS and social care resources. They should be able to return to a life similar in quality to the one they lived before suffering life changing injuries, without having to take risks with their investments to try and avoid their compensation running out during their lifetime.
The discount rate is used to work out future losses, including the cost of care and support that an injured person will need together with an amount to cover any lost earnings. Using the 2.5% discount rate on future loss claims just doesn’t stack up when looking at interest rates and returns available in the market. Over the last 16 years the insurers, as well as those of us who act for victims of accidents and medical mistakes have been aware of the need for reform. The Ministry of Justice has consulted with all interested parties particularly over the last 4 years. During that period, and for longer, victims suffering life changing injuries, such as amputations, have not been able to get the financial returns on their compensation that the discount rate was designed to provide. This has impacted upon their ability to pay for continuing support and, for example, to replace aids and equipment such as high tech prosthetic limbs which in turn prevents them from sustained involvement in everyday activities such as managing stairs and managing their own health and well-being independently.
The overdue discount rate change is the news that those that have suffered significant injuries through no fault of their own, who are entitled to be compensated for what they have lost, have been waiting for. Hopefully, the Government announcement will go someway to provide certainty and security in a situation that is devastating enough without leaving an individual with the significant financial worries the 2.5% rate has provided.
Although growing concerns have been expressed both from within the legal system and without about the unsuitability of a fault-based divorce system for 21st century living, the government has decided that it will not amend the existing legislation and sanction no-fault divorces. Lord Keen, the government’s Justice Minister and House of Lords spokesperson, told the chamber last week that the government had no plans to change the existing legislation, but added that the government was committed to improving the family justice system. Continue reading…
A woman denied access to her late partner’s work pension because they were not married has been told by the UK’s highest court that she is entitled to the payments. The Supreme Court ruling extends the rights of millions of unmarried co-habitees and could have implications for all pension schemes. Continue reading…
As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at pre-nuptial agreements. I know, I know, last of the romantics !
Whilst it is not the most romantic of topics depending upon your circumstances, it may actually be very sensible to have an agreement in place prior to marriage. Most of us don’t go into marriage expecting it to end in divorce but it is a harsh reality that separation or divorce does happen and it may be sensible for you to set out your financial intentions in the event of a divorce at the outset.
When to make a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?
If either partner in the relationship has substantial assets independent of one another, you may wish to protect these before entering into a marriage or civil partnership. You may be involved in a business partnership which you would like to protect and not see this become part of any divorce settlement. You may have previously suffered financial hardship as a result of a failed marriage and do not wish to repeat this.
Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements Legally Binding?
As it stands, pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding. However, in the event of a divorce and associated financial proceedings, a Court is likely to take into account the wishes set out within the Agreement so long as certain criteria have been met. In order for a pre-nuptial agreement to be considered the following must be met:
- Both parties received independent legal advice at the outset.
- The agreement must be entered into more than 21 days before the marriage
- Full details of all assets were disclosed at the time the agreement was made.
- The agreement is fair.
- There has been no significant change in the relationship such as the birth of children of the marriage. The agreement can be reviewed and amended in the event of the birth of children or other significant changes.
- There was no duress or pressure upon either party to sign the agreement
If you would like further advice in relation to pre-nuptial agreements or any other family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0161 682 2400.