Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tunbridge Wells Newsletter – December 2018

The next Tunbridge Wells lunch will be 5th February 2019 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Tunbridge Wells hotel, Book here…

Upcoming Dates

5th February 2019 - Book Here

New Transparency Law Banner

The new transparency rules: what you need to know, A Guest Blog from Vicky Simpson from Teal Compliance

The Legal Services Board have recently approved the SRA’s proposed rule changing in relation to price transparency. What does this mean for your law firm? How are you going to ensure you comply with the new rules by the December 2018 deadline?

Under the new rules, firms will be required to:

Publish on their website price and service information for specified legal services:

  • Debt recovery (up to £100,000)
  • Employee and Employer tribunal claims (unfair/wrongful dismissal)
  • Immigration
  • Licensing applications for business premises
  • Probate
  • Residential conveyancing
  • Road traffic Offences
  • The rules do not apply for publicly funded work.

The aim of the changes is to assist clients by providing clarity in relation to their legal fees.

The rationale came from the recent Competition and Market Authority report. Where it was apparent that consumers wanted more information to enable them to make informed decisions about the range of services available to them when accessing legal services.

The report found that the prices charged. The services offered were unclear. Descriptions were ambiguous and that the client was not always getting what they expected.

In addition firms will be required to display the new SRA digital badge, which essentially provides a layer of protection against fraudulent activities. Other changes include the requirement to publish the firm’s complaints procedures, including how and when complaints may be made.

As a firm, you will be required to publish:

  1. A full description of services offered. This should be included in your Client Care Letter/Terms of Engagement
  2.  The costs of services:   These must be clear, no more hidden additional fees.  If it is not possible to provide the total costs. You should provide details of the costs in stages, and what each stage entails.
  3.  Hourly rates -v- fixed fee: If the firm is charging on an hourly rate basis these will need to be published.  Consider placing these on the profiles of the fee earners on the service pages, so potential clients can see the information sooner rather than later. Firms may also want to consider an hourly rates table on their website. If you are offering fixed fees, ensure that you clearly set out what is and isn’t included in the fee.
  4. Disbursements: Provide clarity and certainty (where possible) as to what the disbursements will be during the matter.  For example, for conveyancing transactions firms may want to consider providing a full list on the website of possible disbursements.  In other matters, the firm may want to consider listing the types of disbursements that may need to be funded, so that it does not come as a surprise to the client.
  5.  VAT:  Be clear as to what will have VAT added.
  6.  Referral Arrangements: You will need to disclosure any referral agreement you have in place, including how much you will receive.  This information should also be in the Client Care letter/Terms of Business.

How can you make this work on your website?

Firms will be considering how to achieve this. You should consider the “user experience” how will your clients find out this information. The draft guidance to support these rules suggests the information should be easily navigable if it is not on your home page.

Some firms are creating specific pages, others are building this into an online quote tool, or are considering connecting to price comparison sites.  There is an increasing number of firms that are white labelled under other organisations and they will all need to align, particularly in relation to conveyancing where clients can obtain online quotes.

Complaints information must also be published. It should include your complaints handling procedure as well as details about how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman.

Firms must also display in a prominent place its SRA number and digital badge.

What if I don’t have a website?

If a firm does not have a website the firm must make the information available on request. Firms are not expected to create a website simply to comply with these rules.

Worthing Newsletter – December 2018

The next Worthing lunch will be on 12th December 2018 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Ardington Hotel, sponsored by Bennett Griffin -Book here

Book onto the NEW 2019 upcoming dates here:

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A Case for Mediation in Resolving Civil Disputes

The Times recently reported on a dispute between two neighbours which perfectly illustrates how out of hand minor disagreements can become.  On face value, the story seems barely believable – two pensioners were ordered to pay over £20,000 in damages after trimming their neighbour’s hedge following a six-day trial in London; but as ever, the devil is in the details.  Pensioners Robert and Jennifer Oldfield had pruned their neighbour’s (Clare Pollock) 6-metre blackthorn and hazel hedge back to an earth bank as they believed it was encroaching on their land.  During the case, Mr Oldfield stated he believed the legal boundary was to the east of the earth bank while Ms Pollock believed it was to the west.

After pouring over photographs and aerial surveys, and visiting the site of the dispute, Judge Nicholas Parfitt ruled in favour of the Oldfields; however, this was later appealed.  The case then went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Arnold reasoned it was “more probable than not” that the actual boundary was originally a stock-proof fence (no longer in place) which had run along the West of the earth bank.  By giving his ruling, the original decision was overturned in favour of Ms Pollock, ordering the Oldfields to pay damages of £22,500.

What can be learned from this case?  While we can’t turn the time back, it is hard to see why two perfectly reasonable parties could not discuss the matter directly without the need for Court intervention, foreseeing that a legal battle would be counterproductive, stressful, and costly.  Enter the role of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers a way of resolving disputes without the need to involve the Courts.  Examples include methods such as negotiation and mediation.  Typically, such approaches involve a neutral third-party who will help the disputing parties work towards a common agreement – as such; they do not impose solutions.

ADR offers several distinct benefits:

  • Typically cheaper than resorting to formal litigation
  • The process is less stressful than going to Court
  • It can offer a fast resolution
  • It is confidential
  • It can help preserve the relationship between the disputing parties in the long-term

As part of the Jackson Reforms, a series of recommendations made by Lord Justice Jackson to reform costs in litigation, the importance of ADR was made clear, and there is greater pressure now to use this approach where possible.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a common method of ADR and involves a neutral third-party mediator, whose sole role is to find an arrangement that will work sufficiently amicably to avoid formal litigation.  While it offers considerable benefits, it may not be applicable in all contexts, for example whereby an urgent resolution is needed.  The process of mediation is as follows:

  • The suitable Mediator must be appointed and an agreement made on fees, the terms of the mediation, and arrangements for the process.
  • Having reviewed the case summary submissions of both parties, the Mediator will make contact with each person involved in the dispute to explain the process, confirm who will be attending, and confirm arrangements.
  • At the mediation, the format may be varied depending on the precise circumstances of the dispute. It is important to understand it is flexible.  During the mediation, the following will typically occur:
    1. The Mediator will introduce themselves to the parties in separate rooms.
    2. A joint meeting is then held to establish the rules for mediation, explain the process, review and sign the mediation agreement, and explain the likely timescales involved.
    3. Each party will then take turns in giving their opening presentations.
    4. If appropriate, it may be that each party is asked to comment briefly on the opening presentation of the other party.
    5. Parties will then return to their individual rooms – with the Mediator shuttling between rooms to help the disputing parties move closer to understanding each other’s views, and what will need to happen for an agreement to be found. Mediators are highly adept and trained in helping individuals to explore the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their case and will not make any judgements themselves.  At this stage, the Mediator will work to narrow down the range of issues which are key to settlement.
    6. At the end of the process, the parties may or may not reach an agreed settlement – or there may be a partial settlement. Any settlement will be written up by Solicitors present and then signed before leaving the mediation premises.  If there is no settlement, it may be that the mediation process is then ended, or it may be extended, or handled outside of the mediation process.  It may be that if an agreement was not made during the session, one is reached soon after, or the Mediator may be asked to make a non-binding recommendation by the parties.

In conclusion

During a civil dispute, it is important to weigh up the options for resolution carefully.  There is a range of alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation, which may help you avoid protracted and costly court action.  While not appropriate in all contexts, mediation can help you overcome your dispute cost-effectively and quickly, and importantly can help preserve your long-term relationship – which may be especially desirable for neighbours, friends, or those who work together.

Bennett Griffin are award-winning Solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring.  Our experienced and specialist Solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered, and practical manner.  Our civil dispute resolution Solicitors can advise and assist you in relation to resolving a civil dispute.  Please contact us on 01903 229 999 or by email at info@bennett-griffin.co.uk for more information.

Eastbourne Newsletter – December 2018

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 18th January 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Humphrey and Co.

Book onto the NEW 2019 upcoming dates here:

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Budget Summary 2018

 

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October 2018. In his speech he stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He also promised a ‘double deal dividend’ if the Brexit negotiations are successful but stated that there may be a full-scale Spring Budget in 2019 if not.

Our summary focuses on the tax measures which may affect you, your family and your business. To help you decipher what was said we have included our own comments. If you have any questions please contact us for advice.

Main Budget tax proposals

Our summary concentrates on the tax measures which include:

  • Increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band
  • Extending off-payroll working to medium/large organisations in the private sector
  • A temporary increase to the Annual Investment Allowance
  • Freezing the VAT registration threshold for a further two years
  • Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief and private residence relief
  • Measures to tackle the plastic problem.

Read the whole Budget summary 2018 here!

Brighton & Hove Newsletter – December 2018

The next Brighton & Hove lunch will be on 8th January 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Ginger Pig Pub.

Introducing the new sponsor’s Milly Stone from WhiteSpace & Lisa Ollerton from ViiSana

Book onto the NEW 2019 upcoming dates here:

We would like to say a big thank you to Sarah Hurst and her team for being the Brighton & Hove Ladies Lunch club Sponsor!

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New Advanced Aesthetic Skin Treatments at Sarah Hurst Skin & Beauty

We have been working very hard here at Sarah Hurst Skin & Beauty to bring you the most results driven aesthetic treatments to create the transformations in your skin that you have always longed for. If you are looking to create strong skin health along with amazing results, then look no further as we can bespoke you a programme that will leave your skin absolutely glowing.
Being already results driven with our facial offerings by providing Environ treatments that push the highest quality vitamins and anti-oxidants into the deepest layers of the skin to repair, hydrate and anti-age along with Caci for muscle toning and Plasma for skin tightening we now have several more offerings for you.

Super Skin Rejuvenation

Firstly let me introduce SSR or Super Skin Rejuvenation. This non-invasive treatment uses the latest technology to stimulate, rejuvenate, tighten and tone the skin, increasing collagen and fibroblast activity deep within the skin cells for dramatic and long-lasting results. Selected wavelengths of light are gently pulsed into the skin to reverse the signs of ageing and increase the skin’s metabolism, which in turn leads to reducing fine lines and wrinkles and leaving the skin healthy. This is a fantastic treatment for skin conditions such as pigmentation, thread veins and acne also.

Skin peels

Next, we have a range of skin peels from the pharmaceutical brand Mesoestetic. Being a pharmaceutical brand means that their grade of ingredient is purer and of higher grade than any products available over the counter. Mesoestetic spend 3 – 5 years developing their products and 40 – 50% of their worldwide profit is spent on research. This is what led us to introducing this fantastic range and feeling that this was the right brand for us and our Clients.
What is a peel? They work by encouraging deep exfoliation of different surface layers of the skin. It increases cell regeneration and restoration of collagen and elastin fibres. There are lots of different types of peels and strengths depending on the skin’s needs. We can build these up from highly superficial peels to almost medium strength. Glycolic peels are fabulous for ant-ageing, Lactic for sensitive, dry, dehydrated and dull, Salycylic for decongesting and antibacterial, Mandelic for thick, oily skin, Melanostop for pigmentation, Azelan for Acne and Modified Jessner for brightening a dull/tired skin, a great “party peel”. The ultimate peel for pigmentation is Cosmelan. This results driven treatment can really transform the skin, lightening and brightening and really correcting cause of pigmentation.

Finally, is our Celluma LED therapy. Originally researched and developed by NASA, low level light therapy is the application of light energy to the body to obtain therapeutic benefits. It produced a natural photo-biochemical reaction similar to the process of plant photosynthesis and has a wide range of beneficial applications across many medical fields, including the treatment of skin, muscle, joint and pain conditions.

Celluma light therapy

Celluma light therapy works safely and effectively without abrasive chemicals, harmful UV rays or side effects to destroy acne-causing bacteria – not only clearing up existing blemishes but preventing future breakouts before they happen. By following a regular treatment programme you’ll be on your way to a clearer, smoother, more radiant complexion.
• Non-toxic
• Non-invasive
• Effective for teenage acne
• Effective for adult onset acne
In an observational study using Celluma to treat facial wrinkles; 80% of participants said that they experienced an improvement in skin texture, 77% reported an improvement in skin firmness and 66% reported an improvement in facial wrinkles after only 4 weeks.

All these treatments can be standalone treatments or combined with other modalities to give even better results. Our skin analysis is usually £50 but as an introduction to these fabulous new treatments we invite you to come along for a complementary analysis so you can find out in more detail how we can start on your journey to total skin transformation that you will love. Please quote “FREE ANALYSIS/BLOG” when booking. Call us on 01273 270709 and we can arrange a time to come along and see one of very experienced Aesthetic Therapists here at Sarah Hurst Skin & Beauty.

Eastbourne Newsletter – November 2018

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 23rd November 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Humphrey and Co.

Book upcoming dates here:

For the final Eastbourne lunch there will be a table set up so those  attending can display a product. So remember to bring a product with you to the lunch if you wish!

 

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TAX EFFICIENT CHILDCARE SCHEMES

Earlier this year the government announced that no new childcare voucher schemes could be set up after 5 October 2018. This was a six month extension from the previous 5 April 2018 end date. If those employers offering such schemes at 5 October are prepared to keep administering their scheme then they will continue to be available but will eventually be phased out.

The current scheme allows employers to provide vouchers to employees to pay for care of their children up age 16. Vouchers to the value of £55 a week can be provided tax free to basic rate taxpayers with differing tax free amounts for higher rate and additional rate taxpayers.

The replacement scheme is the government’s “tax free” childcare account which started this year for children up to age 12. Under this scheme the government tops up the savings in the childcare account by 25% up to £2,000 per child per year (£4,000 for a disabled child). Thus, savings of £8,000 would be topped up by the government to £10,000 and the £10,000 could then be used to pay Ofsted registered childcare providers such as nursery fees, childminders, after school clubs and summer camps. Unlike childcare vouchers, the new childcare accounts will be available to both employees and the self-employed.

For those already in childcare voucher schemes it may be beneficial to switch to the new childcare account and we can help you calculate whether or not that would be beneficial.

HMRC APP

HMRC have now developed an app to find information about your tax, National Insurance, tax credits and benefits on the move..

You can use it to:

  • view your tax code and an estimate of the tax you need to pay
  • see your income and benefits
  • check your National Insurance number
  • view your tax credits payments schedule
  • renew your tax credits
  • access your Help to Save account
  • use our tax calculator to work out your take home pay after Income Tax and National Insurance deductions
  • track forms and letters you’ve sent to us
  • get 6—digit access codes to make your HMRC accounts more secure.

 

You can download the HMRC app from: 

the App Store for iOS https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hmrc/id514561561?mt=8

the Google Play Store for Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.gov.hmrc.ptcalc&hl=en_GB

 

The first time you sign in, you’ll need to enter your Government Gateway ID and password. If you haven’t got these, go to the Government Gateway website at www.gov.uk/government-gateway  and register as an individual.

 

Whenever you use the app again, depending on what your handset supports, you can sign in using:

  • a 6-digit PIN
  • fingerprint authentication
  • facial recognition.

Brighton & Hove Newsletter – November 2018

The next Brighton & Hove lunch will be on 13th November from 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Ginger Pig Pub in Hove, sponsored by Sarah Hurst Skin & Beauty.

Book upcoming dates here:

For the final lunch Sarah Hurst will be bringing some beauty products and gift vouchers that will be available to purchase! 

 

Our approach to transforming your skin.

sarahhurst our approach (1)

 

With the cooler months often being the advisable times for some of our treatments, we thought that we would show you what we can do.  At Sarah Hurst we have a multi-pronged approach to ensuring you get the very best results from your skincare programme.  Following on from our Full Skin Analysis we can discuss with you the best treatments for your particular skin to achieve the transformations that can be achieved with the right advise.

 

Environ skincare and facials.

Environ Skin Care provides a scientifically proven, vitamin-based skincare system that helps counteract the harmful effects of the environment, pollution and stress and helps create a radiant, visibly improved skin.

Environ Skin Care will correct the chronic deficiency of vitamins, antioxidants and essential nutrients of the skin

The facials enhance the penetration of active ingredients into the skin to rejuvenate and prevent ageing of the skin, and to assist with normalising the skin.

The outcome is a beautiful skin for a lifetime.

What can it treat?

•             Ageing and sun damage

•             Scar Tissue

•             Pigmentation

•             Thread Veins

•             Acne

•             Dry/Dehydrated skin

•             Fine lines and wrinkles.

•             Rough, textural skin.

 

 

Caci facials

Nicknamed the ‘non-surgical facelift’, the Caci Facial treatment a favourite amongst many celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez.

This clinically proven treatment has been around for 25 years.  It was originally developed as a muscle lifting procedure for people with Bell’s Palsy.  The results were so successful that it entered the aesthetic market and is an extremely popular treatment.

It incorporates a number of other pioneering technologies that assist in stimulating collagen production.

•             Ultrasonic peeling, that is a gentle, resurfacing peel that is controlled to reveal healthy, radiant skin

•             Wrinkle Comb targets deep lines and wrinkles to provide a non-invasive alternative to dermal fillers

•             Light therapy helps target area for rejuvenation as well as calming and anti-inflammatory for Rosacea and Acne

 

What can it treat?

•             Anyone considering botox or fillers

•             Ageing

•             Muscle laxity (drooping eyes, jowl etc)

•             Skin Rejuvenation

 

 

Accor Plasma Pen

A treatment with Accor Plasma Pen is the gentle alternative to skin tightening surgery. The combination of plasma and NF+ technology, currently makes the plasma pen unique, world-wide.

This is an exceptional procedure which achieves incredible, permanent results – immediately. Additionally, due to continued tightening after the treatment, we see further vast improvements, with plasma skin tightening.

 

What can it treat?

•             Skin tightening: Upper and lower lids, Soft Facelift, throat and tummy lift

•             Reduction of wrinkles and uneven surfaces: e.g. perioral wrinkles, worry lines, nasolabial folds, forehead

•             Reduction of unsightly pigmentation: e.g. age/sun spots, liver spots, moles

•             Scar reduction/improvement

 

 

Collagen Stimulation Therapy

Collagen stimulation therapy or CST for short goes by many names – microneedling, dermal needling, medical needling or dermaroller. This is a treatment designed for clients that are serious about their skin and serious about results.

This clinically proven treatment has been around for a while, and Dr Des Fernandes the founder of Environ, is the pioneer of needling and developed this treatment in 1997 as he wanted something that could naturally induce your own collagen and elastin to restore a youthful skin and generate all over skin health.  Dr Des has spent many a year perfecting the treatment and this is the procedure we follow to guarantee the best microneedling treatment with the best results.

 

What can it treat?

•             Ultimate in skin rejuvenation

•             Tired looking skin

•             Skin that needs lifting and tightening.

•             Scar reduction

•             Tighten pores

•             Evens out skin tone.

 

It can be performed practically anywhere on the face or body.

 

 

Peels

What Is the Purpose of a Chemical Peel?

A peel is a type of exfoliation for your skin. Apart from curing your skin problems, this procedure also allows your skin care products to penetrate deeper in the future, thus making them more effective.

Skin peels are an effective, affordable and safe way to achieve facial rejuvenation results, and they complement other treatments beautifully.

We use a range of different peels to ensure that we can treat your skin in the most accurate way.  These include Lactic, Glycolic, Mandelic, Azaleic, Salycylic and Citric.

 

What can it treat?

•             Repairing and regenerating

•             Oily and problematic

•             Congested and acne

•             Ageing

•             Sun damage

•             Pigmentation

•             Dry/dehydrated

•             Rosacea

•             Sensitive

 

LED therapy

Déesse Pro LED provides a safe, pain-free way to achieve naturally vibrant and clearer skin.

The device uses low-level light therapy (LLLT) by way of medical-grade, surface-mounted, light emitting diodes (LED’s) to expose the skin to clinically proven wavelengths of light, delivered at safe, therapeutic doses.

 

What can it treat?

•             Antiageing

•             Purifying

•             Brightening

•             Detoxifying

•             Post Procedure

•             Calming

 

 Skin Lab SSR/IPL

Skin Lab technology uses the latest SSR technology to deliver amazing non-invasive results. Pain free SSR technology stimulates, rejuvenates, tightens and tones the skin, increasing collagen and fibroblast activity deep within the structure of the skin for dramatic and long lasting results.

Selected wavelengths of light are gently pulsed into the skin to reverse the signs of ageing and increase the skins metabolism reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

 

Who is it for?

•             Vascular

•             Cellular Regeneration

•             Skin tightening

•             Pigmentation

•             Acne

 

Advanced Cosmetic Procedures

Advanced cosmetic procedures is an adaptation of an existing well established and safety proven treatment, namely electrolysis. Electrolysis, is best known as a permanent hair removal procedure which works by passing an electrical current into the root of the hair follicle and killing it. However, electrical current can also be used to remove skin blemishes such as skin tags, warts and thread veins. The electrical current passes down a probe and into the skin where it effectively cauterises the blemish enabling it to be removed without surgery.

This treatment has been successfully used for many decades having started in the early 1900’s where electrolysis was often used to treat broken capillaries, warts, spider naevi, port-wine marks and even xanthoma (yellow pigmented spots on the eye lids). So you can imagine how far theses simple treatments have progressed since then.

 

Who is it for?

•             Thread veins

•             Skin Tags

•             Warts

•             Veruccas

•             Moles

•             Syringoma

•             Milia

•             Xanthelasma

•             Cambell de Morgan (red spots)

•             Sebaceous Cysts

•             Sebaceous Hyperplasia

•             Sebaceous Keratosis

 

 

 

 

 

Worthing Newsletter – November 2018

The next Worthing lunch will be on 12th December from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Ardington Hotel, sponsored by Bennett Griffin.

 

Book upcoming dates here:

 

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A Broken Promise – The Doctrine Of Proprietary Estoppel And Inheritance Claims

Imagine being promised something in a Will, only to find that, upon the document’s reading, you have been left out in the cold.  This is what happened to Lucy Habberfield, the youngest daughter of Frank and Jane.  The latter owned the 220-acre Woodrow Farm, which was operated as a partnership and owned by the couple as beneficial joint tenants.  When Frank passed away, his Will left Jane his entire Estate.  The property also passed to her by survivorship.

Lucy worked on the farm from 1983 to 2013, when she left following a dispute with one of her sisters.  She focused her work on dairy farming, which became the heart of the business.  From 2007, Lucy’s partner also worked full-time on the farm.  Her three siblings did not work on the farm to the same extent; however, there had been fierce rows and previous litigation between the brothers and sisters about the distribution of benefits for the work done on the property.  Lucy alleged that she had continued working at the farm because her father had assured her that she would take it over when he retired.

When this failed to eventuate, Lucy made a claim under the doctrine of Proprietary Estoppel.

What is Proprietary Estoppel?

Proprietary Estoppel is a claim in Equity.  Claims are often brought in relation to inheritance disputes relating to farms or other family businesses.  Essentially, a claim in Proprietary Estoppel may arise if a person has been promised they will inherit the property when the owner dies and relies on that promise to their detriment.  For example, the person may have worked on the farm or in the family business for little or no remuneration after receiving a promise that the business would be passed onto them.

What is needed to establish a claim in Proprietary Estoppel?

To successfully establish a claim in Proprietary Estoppel, the Claimant must prove, on the balance of probabilities that:

  • a clear promise was made to them,
  • they relied on that promise, and
  • because of that reasonable reliance, they suffered a detriment

In the case of Habberfield v Habberfield, Jane Habberfield defended the claim brought by her daughter.  She argued that to her knowledge, her husband had never promised Lucy the farm, and even if he had done so without her knowledge, she could not be bound by such a promise.  She also stated that Lucy had exaggerated the work she had done on the property and had not suffered any detriment.

The court disagreed with Mrs Habberfield and awarded Lucy £1.17 million in cash.  This comprised of the value of part of the property and some farm buildings.  By awarding a cash sum, the need for the farm to be split and sold off was avoided.

Evidence presented convinced the Court that Frank had made a clear promise to Lucy regarding the inheritance of the farm and Jane was aware of the undertaking.  In reliance to the promise, Lucy had worked long hours, with few holidays and for little pay.  The judge commented that Lucy could have used her talents and resources to build a successful farm of her own, and the fact she did not due to her reliance on her father’s promise was to her detriment.

The key to determining a Proprietary Estoppel is whether it would be unconscionable to allow the Defendant to deny the Claimant the benefit that they were led to believe they were to receive and acted on that belief to their disadvantage.

In summary

Like all contentious Probate matters, Proprietary Estoppel is not easy to establish.  It is always essential to keep in mind that although disputes surrounding Wills and Probate are becoming increasingly common, there is still a pervading ethos in English law that a person is entitled to leave their property to whom they please.

To prove Proprietary Estoppel, it is not enough to state the outcome of the Will is unfair.  It must be proven that there must be an acceptable level of certainty as to precisely what a particular party is estopped from denying.

If you believe you may have a claim in Proprietary Estoppel, the first action to take is to seek professional legal advice.

Bennett Griffin are award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring.  Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered, and practical manner.  Our Wills, trusts, and Probate department is able to advise and assist you in relation to contesting a Will.  Please contact us on 01903 229 999 or by email at info@bennett-griffin.co.uk for more information.

Please note this article does not constitute legal advice.

Worthing Newsletter – September 2018

The next Worthing lunch will be on 10th October from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at Casa Ciro, sponsored by Bennett Griffin.

Book upcoming dates here:                                                                                                                10th October 2018 – Book Here                                                                                                            12th December 2018 – Book Here­­

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Supreme Court rules that an unhappy marriage is not grounds for divorce

In late July 2018, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41.  The verdict was inevitable and will re-ignite the debate over whether it is high time no-fault divorce is introduced in the UK.

The background to Owens v Owens has been extensively discussed.  The Supreme Court’s ruling means Tini Owens must wait until 2020 to petition her husband for divorce as it is only at this point that her husband’s consent will not be required.

The reasons for the Supreme Court’s decision

Ultimately, the court’s hands were tied.  Parliament has legislated under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s.1(2)(b) that the only ground for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage for one of the following reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion of at least two years
  • The parties have been separated for two years, and the respondent consents to a divorce
  • The parties have been separated for five years (no consent required)

Regardless of how the appeal judges, or indeed even the judge at first instance, felt about fault-based divorce itself, they were duty-bound to apply the law.

Why is divorce law in the UK seemingly so out-dated?

Refusing to allow a 68-year-old woman to become free from a spouse she clearly no longer loves and cannot bear to live with seems archaic and tyrannical.  Countries as culturally diverse as China, Australia, and even predominantly Catholic Spain have moved to a no-fault divorce system.

Why has the UK, which has brought in same-sex marriage and prides itself on being a progressive, family-friendly country, hung onto its Victorian-like divorce system?

Prior to the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, the church ruled the roost when it came to marriage.  Unless you were Henry VIII (and even he had to wait seven years and create his own church), the only way out of a marriage was via an annulment, unless you were extremely rich.  But it must be remembered, back in the days of yore, most marriages ended around eleven years thanks to one spouse’s death (interestingly, the average length of a modern marriage prior to a divorce being granted is 11.5 years).

The 1857 Act opened up divorce to ordinary folk, provided you were a man.  Men were permitted to apply for divorce based on their wife’s adultery.  Women could divorce on the grounds of adultery too, if they could prove there was an aggravating factor, such as the husband had committed rape or incest.

In 1923, the Matrimonial Causes Act of the same year gave men and women equal rights to divorce on the grounds of adultery and from 1937, couples could also divorce on the grounds of cruelty, desertion, and incurable insanity.

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which we are subject to today, was born out of the massive social changes ignited following the end of the Second World War.  Both the church and the government worried that divorce laws had become unfit for purpose.  The Divorce Reform Act 1969 provided the ground of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ and the associated five reasons (‘cruelty’ became the wider term of ‘unreasonable behaviour’).

This means current divorce law in England and Wales is almost 50 years old.  In that time, we have experienced the Women’s Revolution, the LGBT revolution, the digital, internet and social media revolution, and we are now heading rapidly towards the AI revolution.  Yet our society is still operating under a mish-mash of divorce laws that have barely changed in a century.

A push for change in the 1990s

The government has not been blind to the fact that English divorce law is about as fit for today’s society as bringing back the scold’s bridle or corporal punishment.  In the mid-1990s there was a major push to bring in no-fault divorce; however, so many changes and compromises were made to the proposal as it made its way through Parliament, it was eventually abandoned.

Today it would be difficult to find a family law solicitor who supports fault-based divorce.  Unless a couple want to wait two years (and that is only with consent) to leave their marriage, someone has to be blamed for the relationship failure.  Any lawyer will tell you this leads to at best negative feelings, at worst full-scale hatred between couples, leading to unnecessary pain and stress.  And against this backdrop, spouses are expected to work out matters involving finances and children peacefully between themselves.

The focus will now turn to the Private Member’s Bill introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Butler-Sloss.  The Divorce (etc.) Law Reform Bill requires the government to re-examine the current rules around divorce and civil partnership dissolution and consider a no-fault system.

Never have so many struggling families so desperately needed a change of law that reflects the non-confrontational and respectful family law court system that is miles ahead of the current legislation.

Bennett Griffin are award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring.  Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered, and practical manner.  Our family law team can advise and represent you in matters regarding divorce.  Please contact us on 01903 229 999 or by email at info@bennett-griffin.co.ukfor more information.

The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.

Tunbridge Wells Newsletter – September 2018

We are sorry to announce that the Tunbridge Wells lunch at the lovely Tunbridge Wells Hotel, has been placed on hold until the New Year!

We would love to see you at the other lunches and these are available to book on the dates below.

Brighton & Hove
11th September 2018 - Book Here
13th November 2018 – Book Here

Eastbourne
28th September 2018 – Book Here
23rd November 2018 – Book Here

Worthing
10th October 2018 – Book Here
12th December 2018 – Book Here

Eastbourne Newsletter – September 2018

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 28th September from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Humphrey and Co.

 Book upcoming dates here:                                                                                                               28th September 2018 – Book Here                                                                                                         23rd November 2018 – Book Here

H&Co_logo_hi-res

 MAKING TAX DIGITAL FOR VAT GUIDANCE ISSUED

HM Revenue & Customs have now issued their detailed guidance on the digital record keeping and return requirements for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT.

VAT Notice 700/22 clarifies that spreadsheets may still be used to keep business records if there is bridging software that links to the Government gateway. There will however be a one year “grace” period during the first year of MTD when businesses will not be required to have digital links between software programs, referred to in the VAT Notice as a “soft landing”.

The VAT notice includes a number of helpful examples illustrating different accounting systems and the digital links required to comply with MTD for VAT.

The VAT notice is essential reading for all VAT registered businesses.

 

When Does MTD for VAT start?

The Making Tax Digital rules apply from your first VAT period starting on or after 1 April 2019. A ‘VAT period’ is the inclusive dates covered by your VAT Return.

For example, where a business submits quarterly returns covering the periods to 28 February, 31 May, 31 August and 30 November, the business will need to comply with Making Tax Digital rules for the VAT quarter starting 1 June 2019 and ending on 31 August.

“Soft Landing” for MTD for VAT for the first year

For the first year of MTD for VAT (VAT periods commencing between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020) businesses will not be required to have digital links between software programs. The one exception to this is where data is transferred, following preparation of the information required for the VAT Return, to another product (for example, a bridging product) that is Application Programme Interface (API) – enabled solely for the purpose of submitting the 9 Box VAT Return data to HMRC. The transfer of data to this product must be digital.

For the first year of MTD for VAT (VAT periods commencing between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020), where a digital link has not been established between software programs, HMRC will accept the use of cut and paste as being a digital link for these VAT periods.

However, for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April 2020, there must be a digital link for any transfer or exchange of data between software programs, products or applications used as functional compatible software.

Use of spreadsheets in preparing  VAT returns

Example 3 in the VAT Notice describes a business that uses a spreadsheet and bridging software from April 2019, which allows the information to be transferred to HMRC via an API.  It uses a spreadsheet to record all sales, purchases, and expenses in a digital format. The VAT Return is then prepared within the spreadsheet, using formulae already written into the spreadsheet.

The VAT Return information is then sent via a mandatory digital link to bridging software, which digitally submits the information directly to HMRC.  Example 6 shows how a spreadsheet would be acceptable in order to consolidate VAT information prior to submitting a Group VAT return.

Whilst spreadsheets will continue to be permissible it is unclear at this point how bridging software will work. In most cases our preferred system is Xero Bookkeeping Software. (Link to Xero page on website).

If you haven’t already done so, please contact us to help you get ready for this significant change in VAT accounting and reporting.