Autumn Issue 2015
SurreyLawyer THE VOICE OF SURREY SOLICITORS
Leaving a legacy to Charity (cover story)
Inside this issue: ~ Local Issues ~ Conveyancing Focus ~ Agricultural Law
View our new website: www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk/SL
2 Surrey Lawyer
Contents Intro PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Facsimile: 0151 236 0440 email: email@example.com web: www.benhampublishing.com
ADVERTISING AND FEATURES EDITOR
List of officers
CEO Report Local Issues Local News
STUDIO MANAGER Neil Lloyd
New Care Act
MEDIA No. 1398
Ahoy There! - The Legal Cup
September 2015 © The Surrey Law Society - Benham Publishing
Wine of the Season
LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Publishing. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.
DISCLAIMER The Surrey Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of Sex, Race, Religion, Age or Sexual Orientation. All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between member and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance. Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice. COVER INFORMATION The cover image from: © Kew Gardens
Copy Deadlines Winter 2015 Issue Spring 2016 Issue Summer 2016 Issue Autumn 2016 Issue
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The Council for Licensed Conveyancers
Fixing The Roof While The Sun Shines
Technology in Conveyancing - Opportunity or Threat?
The role of today's search agent
When change is not a good thing - Planning Agricultural Law
R.A.B.I - the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
In The Spotlight: Proprietary Estoppel Legacies
Leaving a legacy to charity
The Royal Surrey County Hospital's Charitable Fund
A Legacy of Discovery
Canine Care Card
SBA - a good friend in times of need
The future of cancer research starts with you Management
Contracts - Sent by Email or Snail Mail?
Are you being sold short?
25 daily habits that are killing your productivity
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Surrey Lawyer 3
LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEMBERS
MAREK BEDNARCZYK Hart Brown Resolution House, Riverview, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4UX DX 2403 Guildford 1 Tel: 01483 887704 Fax: 01483 887758 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DAVID STEED Harold Bell & Co 174 Kingston Road, Ewell KT19 0SD Tel: 0208 393 0231 Fax: 0208 393 0155 Email: email@example.com
S Abraham Solicitors 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WIN CUMMINS 18 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DW DX 94652 Virginia Water
DANIEL CHURCH TWM Solicitors LLP. 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford GU1 4RD DX 2408 Guildford 1 Tel: 01483 752700 Fax: 01483 752899 Email: email@example.com
ELIZABETH EYRE Barlow Robbins LLP Church House, 30 Church Street, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1EP DX 58351 Godalming 2 Tel: 01483 417121 Fax: 01483 426836 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEPUTY VICE PRESIDENT MARK GOUGH Solicitor 22 Woodlands Road, Little Bookham, Surrey KT23 4HF Tel: 01372 230786 Email: email@example.com
HON SECRETARY KIERAN BOWE
SIMON KENNY Moore Blatch LLP 2 The Green Richmond TW9 1PL DX 100252 RICHMOND 2 Tel: +44 (0) 208-334-0312 FAX: +44 (0) 208-332-8630 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1QN DX 31546 Kingston upon Thames Tel: 020 8541 2041 Fax: 020 8541 2009
CHIEF EXECUTIVE & MAGAZINE EDITOR Sue Seakens Surrey Law Society 18 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DW Web: www.surreylawsociety.org.uk DX 94652 Virginia Water Tel: 01344 860830 Fax: 01344 428511 Email: email@example.com
GLORIA MCDERMOTT 18 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DW DX 94652 Virginia Water Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUO VADIS (Strategic Planning) Daniel Church (Chair) Nick Ball Marek Bednarczyk Mark Gough Ken Seakens
JULIE ROWE Russell-Cooke Solicitors Bishops Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1QN DX 31546 Kingston upon Thames Tel: 020 8541 2023 Email: Julie.Rowe@russell-cooke.co.uk
CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW Win Cummins (Chair) Gary Score* Maralyn Hutchinson* Ken Seakens Matthew Truelove*
Russell-Cooke Solicitors Bishops Palace House, Kingston Bridge,
JOHN PERRY Palmers Solicitors 89-91 Clarence Street Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1QY DX 31524 Kingston upon Thames Tel: 020 8549 7444 Fax: 020 8547 2117 Email: email@example.com
HON TREASURER NICK BALL Howell Jones Solicitors 75 Surbiton Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 2AF DX: 57715 Surbiton Tel (Office): 020 8549 5186 Tel (Fax): 020 8549 3383 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KEN SEAKENS Seakens Solicitors 18 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DW DX 94650 Virginia Water Tel: 01344 843666 Fax: 01344 844584 Email: email@example.com IAN WILKINSON The Castle Partnership 2 Wey Court, Mary Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4QU Tel: 01483 300905 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FINANCIAL Nick Ball (Chair) Kieran Bowe Mark Gough Ken Seakens SOCIAL Mark Gough (Chair) Daniel Church Gloria McDermott John Perry* Julie Rowe Ken Seakens *Non-Committee Member.
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Presidentâ€™s Jottings Autumn 2015 As we come to an end of fine warm weather and as you return from your well rested summer holiday, I too am coming to the end of my term as President of the Society and Daniel Church will take over the reins at the AGM on 26th November 2015 at the Guildhall in Kingston upon Thames.
he months of June and July were very busy and I attended the Local Law Societies Conference organised by Monmouthshire Law Society on 26th June at the Celtic Manor, Newport. It was well organised and well attended. On 9th July it was the National Law Societyâ€™s AGM and the installation of our new President Jonathan Smithers, Vice president Robert Bourns and Deputy Vice president Joe Egan. I congratulate them on their appointments and wish them all the very best for a very successful year. I am pleased to add that Joe Egan will be our guest speaker at the AGM on 26th November. On 13th July I attended an Advisory Forum at the University of Law, Guildford; it was an informal meeting covering a broad range of topics which relate to preparing students for a career in law and the latest developments and methods of teaching law and the developments that were taking place at the University. Thereafter I attended the production of The Taming of the Shrew (courtesy of the Guildford Shakespeare Company) at the University of Law.
planning. I am very pleased that Daniel Church will be taking on as President in November and I do hope that many young solicitors will follow in his footsteps. I would request that member firms encourage their young solicitors to play an active role on the committee.
I would like to thank David Steed for representing Surrey as Council member. I take this opportunity of thanking all of you for electing both John Perry and myself onto Council to represent you for the next four years. As Council members we are here to represent you and I would encourage all of you to contact us if there are any issues that you need us to raise with the National Law Society.
It has been a fruitful year for me and I am pleased that I have been able to meet a number of you including many young solicitors. It is my passion and vision to see an evolving Surrey Law Society where more young solicitors take up the challenge of not only getting involved with the committee but also becoming office holders. We do need you as it is so vital that we think about succession
The whole legal profession is changing and we do need to move on but we must not forget that we have to continue to retain our high values and professionalism as a Solicitor. I reiterate the importance of responding to consultation papers so that our voices can be heard. There are the consultations on Fixed Fees and Court Closures. I would recommend that you click the attached links and read about these as it is very vital that we know what is going on and we do need to give responses. The links are: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/analysis/co mment-and-opinion/fixed-costs-andclinical-negligence/5050646.article; https://www.research.net/r/clin-neg;
We continue to hold CPD events for our members and the main forthcoming event is the Conveyancing & Land Law Conference on 22nd October. I would urge all of you to attend and support these events and I hope to see many of you there. There will be a breakfast Seminar on the Care Act at Sunrise Living, Esher on 13th October organised by HFS Milbourne. I attended a similar seminar on 15th July and I found it very informative and interesting. I would recommend that you attend even if you are not involved in private client work as you may benefit from the knowledge of understanding what the Care Act is all about and how you could assist a family member or friend.
I attended a luncheon organised by the Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM) at the Middle Temple on 16th September. ILFM was formally known as the Institute of Legal Cashiers. As this is my last jottings as President I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Sue Seakens CEO for her advice and support throughout the year, to my Vice President Daniel Church and Deputy Vice President Mark Gough for their continued support and to all the other office holders and committee members for their support throughout the year. I would like to give special thanks to our Treasurer Nick Ball for sorting out the accounts of the Society with the help that he received from our accountant Rob Colepio and team at Ledger Sparks. I am also pleased that we are now giving our website a whole new perspective and if all goes to plan this will be launched at the AGM in November 2015. I am very pleased that a few new members have joined SLS and welcome them on board. I am very keen to see more young Solicitors joining the committee and would invite you to consider coming along to observe one of our committee meetings. It would also be good to see more articles from young solicitors in the Surrey Lawyer and if you are interested then please contact Sue Seakens. Please note that the Finals of the SLS Football Tournament, organised by Vice President Daniel Church, is on Monday 23rd November Finally, as I reach the end of my term and this being my last jottings as President, I would like to wish all of you every success in the coming legal year. n SUSHILA ABRAHAM, President
Surrey Lawyer 5
SLS CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW CONFERENCE 2015 Sponsored by Thames Water Property Searches Menzies & Wesleyan
Thursday 22nd October from 09:30 to 17:00 - 6 hours CPD Hilton Hotel, Cobham KT11 1EW As one of Surrey’s leading CPD providers Surrey Law Society are always striving to bring the very best speakers and topics to our members to keep their knowledge up-to-date on hot topics, latest developments, changes to legislation and new case law. The ever-changing legal marketplace, including the introduction of quality standards, provides significant challenges for conveyancing and land law practitioners. The SLS Annual Conveyancing & Land Law Conference offers practical sessions that help make the task a little easier and this year’s conference is no exception.
Registration & Coffee
Welcome & Introduction by Conference Chair: Win Cummins
Session 1: William Wates - Conveyancing from a Surveyor’s Perspective
10 minute presentation by Scott Wilson from Wesleyan
Session 2: Richard Snape - Spotting Mortgage Fraud and Conveyancers Liability
Session 3: Peter Reekie - Barriers to Exchange: Legal Obstacles
Session 4: Richard Turner & Sarah Barron - VAT Pitfalls, ATED and SDLT Update
Session 5: The Law Society President Jonathan Smithers – VEYO update
Session 6: Rob Hailstone - Hot Topics Roundup
Session 7: Thames Water Property Searches Update
Session 8: Stephen Desmond - Hot Topics in Flat and Apartment Leases
Session 9: The Land Registry - The Infrastructure Act 2015
Conclusion and Feedback by Conference Chair: Win Cummins
Conference Fees include :6 hours SRA Accredited CPD Points Delegate Pack and all course materials 3 course buffet lunch in the restaurant
Free on-site parking Tea, coffee and pastries throughout the day
To book your place, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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CEO Report Autumn 2015 Holidays over and work begins again! We have the end of our CPD year, together with the autumn Conferences to complete before it all starts again on 1st November.
uring the past few months I have overheard quite a few people rejoicing in the demise of the SRA’s 16 hour CPD rule. Some firms have already opted in to the new Continuing Competence regime from 1st April 2015 although it will not become mandatory until 1st November 2016. Far from being a total removal of the requirement to attend legal training it will be more far-reaching than this and will relate directly to Principle 5 of the SRA Handbook. You will be required to maintain competence in areas of law directly and indirectly related to your area of practice, but also other skills and experience required to carry our your daily work such as customer service, supervision, data protection and money laundering. Still confused? Don’t worry… you are not alone! As a result of all the rumours and confusion we are running a series of events to provide practical support with the new regime. If you missed the first one of 23rd September there will be others and we are always ready to assist by phone or email if you have any queries. I am often asked about the letters after my name on emails: CIPD is Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and ILM is the Institute of Leadership Management. So while I have no legal training whatsoever I probably know more about training and development than is necessary for my day-to-day role as your CEO. When it comes to line management, appraisals, training plans, competency statements and the like…I am ready, willing and able to assist… just let me know if you need a helping hand to navigate the SRA’s new maze.
The Conveyancing & Land Law Conference on 22nd October at the Hilton Hotel, Cobham, promises to be jam-packed with latest news, views and developments from the property law world. We have updates from The Law Society on Veyo and from the Land Registry on their new role, as well as the usual line-up of specialist speakers. You will find full details on page 6 of this magazine and also on the SLS website at surreylawsociety.org.uk. Bookings will be closing soon… so make sure your place is reserved by emailing our lovely Membership Administrator Elaine Jacobs at email@example.com On the subject of websites, we are in the process of a complete revamping of our SLS website and are close to having the new one ready for you to test out for us. All the usual sections will be there, especially the CPD, News and Events plus the Find-A-Solicitor function but we will be adding a section specifically on jobs and career opportunities. I am confident that you will find the new site more userfriendly and easier to navigate than before. It also has a brand new look and feel to it so we do hope you will approve. I shall of course be sending out an alert to get you to check your firm’s entry and explore the new site… so do look out for that.
have finalised the outline details for the courses they will go up on the new website and a printed programme will be mailed out to everyone. This year’s AGM will be held on Thursday 26th November at Kingston Town Hall from 6.30pm to 9.00pm. Our President for 2015-2016 is Daniel Church from TWM Solicitors in Guildford. Daniel will take over the presidential role from Sushila Abraham, who now joins John Perry as one of the two TLS Council Members for Surrey. Once the formal meeting is complete we are delighted to be welcoming The Law Society’s Deputy Vice President Joe Egan as our guest speaker. This will be followed as always by our annual Members Reception with canapes and drinks, when you can all meet our new President and Committee Members as well as colleagues from across Surrey. This is a free event for members and we hope lots of you will join us for this very special event in the SLS calendar. I hope you all have a good autumn, hopefully with a little late sunshine. n SUE SEAKENS, CEO Surrey Law Society
Date, topics and speakers are in place for the new CPD year commencing on 1st November. As always we have the usual suspects including Chris Whitehouse, Richard Snape and Cate Searle plus some new names for the Society, although not necessarily new to the speaker circuit. As soon as we
Surrey Lawyer 7
Local victory at Hurtwood Park The rolling Surrey Hills and soaring summer temperatures provided a perfect backdrop to the third annual HFS Milbourne Cup final which took place at Hurtwood Park Polo Club, Surrey recently.
he two finalists, local team Hurtwood Park and visitors Hincha Pelota, battled it out in a captivating match which saw the local team on the attack to clinch a victory and the HFS Milbourne cup, much to the delight of onlookers.
Ex England international polo player, Tarquin Southwell provided a colourful live commentary and afterwards challenged guests to try their hand at a few forehand and backhand shots using the polo mallet and ball. While presenting the cup to Cody Jones, the captain of the winning team Hurtwood Park, Colin Hayden Cook, joint managing director of HFS Milbourne Financial Services said,
William Edwards from Downs Solicitors (left), Will Burke (centre) and Ian Restall (right) from Sunrise Senior Living.
”Lovely weather, great company and a much deserved win for the home team, Once again, we’ve all enjoyed a fabulous afternoon here at Hurtwood Park.”
Chris Appleyard and Lynn Harris, TWM
Sara Jamison (left) and Sue Seakens, (right) chief executive, Surrey Law Society.
Rod Milne centre left, Colin Hayden Cook centre right, joint managing directors HFS Milbourne with the players, Hurtpark Park left and Hincha Pelota right.
Gerald Maurice Infield RIP Gerald Maurice Infield was born on the 1st June 1921. He was educated at Bryanston and then went up to Kings College Cambridge. He was at university during the Second World War. Although basically a Pacifist, he saw action in the desert with The Kings Royal Rifles, where he was shot. After recovery he joined the Parachute Regiment and was dropped at Arnhem, and got to the bridgehead.
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After the war, and completing his university course, he qualified as a solicitor practising in Hertford, after he married Ghislaine, before moving to Tunbridge Wells. He latterly became a partner of Harold Bell and opened that firm’s office in Hampton Wick. Subsequently he and Harold decided to go their separate ways, and the Hampton Wick office became Infields. The firm has remained based in Hampton Wick since 1972.
Gerald retired from full time practice in 1983, and, in retirement, remained in the area with his wife and family. He died, aged 94, on the 7th September, having contracted Prostate Cancer, but nevertheless after a relatively brief illness. He was surrounded by his wife and five children. He will be remembered by many as a cheerful and hard-working solicitor, who enjoyed starting his own Practice and seeing the firm continue to grow after his retirement.
Court Closures Historically, August has always been a quiet month as most members and stakeholders involved with the profession take a well-earned rest. However, this August has seen a break from the “norm” with a much busier month and a hive of activity in areas ranging from criminal legal aid to government proposals in relation to court fees and fees in clinical negligence work. I would like to use this opportunity to highlight one particular area that the Law Society has been focussing on over the last month which will impact members of Surrey Law Society too - the government’s current consultation on court closures.
Court Closures The government plans to close 91 courts and tribunals across England and Wales, and integrate or merge 31 more. In Surrey, it is suggested that the following courts are closed: • Redhill Magistrates Court and Family Court • Reigate County Court and Family Court It is proposed that the criminal work is moved to other courts in Surrey and that the family and county work is primarily transferred to Guildford County Court and Family Court. The Law Society has developed an interactive map which outlines the courts affected by the proposals and provides
further detail in relation to the proposals and links to the consultation document. Please visit the site for more information http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/News/Stories /Court-closures-we-want-your-views/
What can you do? 1. We would like to gather your views on how the proposals are likely to affect you and your clients. We have drafted a short online survey and ask that you complete it with your views https://www.research.net/r/courtclosures 2. If you have any particular views and/or case studies that could help inform our response to the consultation, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses will be treated in strict confidence. 3. We urge you to write to your local MP to highlight the proposals and the practical impact that these proposals
Pictured: Bhavni Fowler.
will have on the ground. To assist you in doing this we have produced a campaigner pack for you to raise the issue with your own, or your firm's, MP. This can be downloaded here http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policycampaigns/public-affairs/getinvolved/court-closures-campaignerbriefing/ n If there is any further information that you may need in relation to the court proposals, or if you would like to discuss anything else with me, please do not hesitate in contacting me. Bhavni Fowler Regional Manager (South East) The Law Society Email: email@example.com Tel: 07580 977 090
Nicola Conley who joins the Family team at Downs Solicitors LLP Surrey-based, entrepreneurial law firm, Downs Solicitors LLP, are pleased to announce the appointment of Solicitor, Nicola Conley who joins the Family team at its Dorking office. Nicola is a very experienced family solicitor specialising in all aspects of family law, including divorce, separation, financial remedy, arrangements for children, cohabitation disputes and injunctions. She also deals with complex children matters, where Guardians have been appointed to represent the children, as well as applying for without notice applications for the return of children and non molestation/occupation orders. Andrew Christmas, Partner and Head of Downs’ Family Law Department said: “We are delighted to welcome Nicola to the Firm. Her experience and expertise in all aspects of family law, together
with her well-rounded set of skills make her an ideal fit for the team. She is very committed to client care and believes in offering a sympathetic yet tough approach to tackling the many complex issues of a relationship breakdown. Nicola is an accredited member of Resolution which focuses on a constructive and nonconfrontational approach in resolving family disputes. Members encourage solutions which take into account the needs of the whole family and the best interests of any children and will aim to steer clients away from Court proceedings if at all possible.” Commenting on her appointment, Nicola said: “Downs Solicitors is one of Surrey’s leading divorce and family law practices and I am delighted to be joining the family team. I’m passionate about representing clients during what is a very difficult and emotional time for them and their
children. In addition to practical and realistic advice, they need understanding, care and compassion. My strength is in helping them emerge through the turmoil of a relationship breakdown with dignity and fairness. More information about Downs Solicitors LLP can be found at www.downslaw.co.uk Surrey Lawyer 9
Council Member’s Report by John Perry
Firstly, many congratulations to Sushila Abraham on her election to the Council of the Law Society of England & Wales where she will join me as the two representatives of all the constituent solicitors in Surrey. We know each other well and am sure will endeavour to promote the interest of Surrey lawyers at every available opportunity and conversely to keep you all thoroughly informed as to what is going on at Chancery Lane. As we always say, this is a two-way process and you really must be in touch with one of us if you have an issue with anything going on to do with, well anything relating to the Law Society or legislation generally really. You will know that the Law Society is consulted by Government before any legally related matters come before Parliament and the Law Society rely on its constituent members to provide the conduit between the high towers of Government and what the general population of the country actually need and want. The two perceptions are often poles apart and as your elected representative I am there to make sure that the views from the High Street get their fair airing when all this is going on. Often Council members have access to individuals at the Law Society
that cannot be approached direct, and so complex is the working of the law that valuable time can be lost trying to find out who the relevant person is within the organisation. It takes a long time but after 4 years in the job I reckon I now know who is who and what is what throughout 113 Chancery Lane and The Cube in Birmingham. There is not much technical information to report at this time as school has been out for the summer as I write this, but the first Council meeting of the new year under the chairmanship of Jonathan Smithers the new President will have taken place by the time you read this and we will be into our usual round of debate on matters of moment relating to everything we do here and not forgetting our support for lawyers abroad who, for various reasons, are finding it difficult or impossible to practise. For your information I have been appointed as a Trustee of the Law Society Charity. This organisation provides grants to law related charitable ends on
subjects from providing law books for those needing them in underdeveloped countries to helping fund the extremely worthy legal initiatives throughout England and Wales. Do remember that this is another potential recipient of those troublesome clients account balances that seem to stick around for years and cannot be got rid of. Any contributions gratefully received! Sushila and I will be alternating in giving this report as usual. The order will be reversed this year as having been elected at the AGM, Sushila had not had the opportunity of attending a Law Society Council Meeting before this went to press and it would hardly be fair to ask her to give a report on something she has not been part of! I look forward to seeing what she has to say in the next edition. Meanwhile welcome back to everybody after the summer holidays and enjoy going through all the piles of papers on your desks that have built up during the holiday season. n
Downs Solicitors LLP announces new appointment Surrey-based, entrepreneurial law firm, Downs Solicitors LLP, are delighted to announce that current Partner, Chris Millar, has been appointed to the position of Senior Partner with effect from 1 July 2015. After 13 years at the helm, Chris Shipley is stepping down as Senior Partner. He has been with the firm approaching 30 years and is a highly experienced and well respected corporate lawyer. He will remain as a Partner and continue to head up the Corporate team. Commenting on this change, Chris said, “Downs has come a very long way over the last 13 years and we have doubled in size as a result of a number of strategic mergers and in response to market demands for our services. It is has been an honour to serve as Senior Partner and to lead a great group of people. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me, not just within the firm but 10 Surrey Lawyer
also professional colleagues and friends. I look forward to handing the reins over to Chris, who I know will do an excellent job." Speaking of his appointment, Chris Millar said: "I am delighted to be leading Downs in what is, I believe, an exciting period in the firm’s life. My appointment is an honour and I'm looking forward to the next stage of the firm’s development. I’d like to thank Chris for his excellent leadership over the last 13 years.” Associate Solicitor, Richard Cunningham, who manages the Dorking residential conveyancing team, is promoted to Partner. Richard acts for a variety of clients including property developers. Previously he has managed the property portfolio of a large firm of London-based surveyors, as well as advising Premier League footballers and entertainment professionals on their property acquisitions. Emily Kidd, Solicitor, joins the Employment Team. Emily has over 10
years’ experience in dealing with Employment Law matters, with a particular specialism in contentious matters such as unfair dismissal, redundancy, settlement agreements, contractual issues, whistle-blowing and discrimination. She also advises on redundancy/restructuring, as well as other general employment advice. More information about Downs Solicitors LLP can be found at www.downslaw.co.uk
New Care Act Martin Clarke, technical analyst at HFS Milbourne looks at the implications of the new Care Act 2014. New Care Act 2014 - the biggest review of social care law for 60 years.
awyers with elderly clients who are residents of nursing homes will have taken a keen interest in the Care Act 2014 which, as the biggest review of social care law in 60 years, introduces a single, coherent approach to the provision of social care and support in England. The aim of the Act was to modernise the legal framework and this includes the financial assessments and charging structure for those adults requiring care. A key focus of the new rules is the promotion of the person’s ‘wellbeing’, which is very closely defined and goes far beyond clinical health. There is also more emphasis on the needs of carers, on the prevention of needs arising, on continuity of care when moving between areas and on involving the individual on planning their care. New criteria are now being used to determine whether adults with care needs are eligible for care / support from local authorities (LAs). This aims to remove regional inconsistencies by applying a national framework to determine the extent of care. However, the basic approach to social care remains the same. A local authority is required to assess an individual’s needs, decide how much support is necessary and then make appropriate provision for those needs. The amount the local authority determines it will pay to meet those needs is called the independent personal budget. The ‘assessment of financial resources’ sets out what “income” and “capital” should be taken into account in the assessment. The capital limit is £23,250. This is the maximum amount of ‘eligible’ capital a person can own in order for an LA to contribute towards the cost of their care.
A weekly tariff income from capital is set at £1 for every £250 (or part thereof) of capital. This is the amount that an individual will be expected to contribute towards the cost of their care from their capital, if the total value of their eligible capital is over £14,250 but under £23,250. This is in addition to any income they receive also being used to fund their care. If an individual chooses to stay in a home of better quality than the LA is prepared to pay for then they are able to self-fund the difference and this is called a top up.
The new care cap Most of the headlines have been given over to the new cap on lifetime care costs of £72,000 which will now come into effect in 2020 and not 1 April 2016 as originally suggested. Once an individual has been assessed as having an eligible need for social care support then the cap on funding will begin. Any money spent before 1 April 2020 will not be taken into account as far as the cap is concerned. There’s been a great deal of misunderstanding about how the cap will work and in reality it is only likely to apply to a small proportion of individuals. It was previously estimated that it would take individuals around 5 years to reach the care cap. However, as the care cap will only take into account care costs accrued once the scheme has been implemented, very few people currently requiring care are likely to benefit from it. Similarly, it will only be the costs of ‘eligible’ care needs that will be measured against the care cap. This means that individuals will continue to have to meet much of their costs of care, not just once the cap has been introduced, but even when the cap has been reached. The table below shows a figure of £38,064 which is made up of the LA rate of £15,664 pa, hotel costs of £12,000 and the client top up of £10,400 which is above the local authority rate. Any top up that the individual is paying does not count towards the cap. The cap also excludes ‘hotel costs’ - i.e. room, food, heating etc. with the maximum amount to be excluded fixed at £230 per week (£12,000 p.a.).
Care cap in practice over time
Pictured: Martin Clarke.
An additional factor that will come in when Part 2 of the Act is introduced in 2020 is a change to the upper and lower threshold levels of the means tested financial assessments. Instead of the current £23,250 and £14,250 limits, these will become: Upper: £118,000 (if property is included) and £27,000 (if property is not included) Lower £17,000.
Financial planning is critical It is clear is that the cost of funding care will remain a complex area of financial planning and may well involve utilising the individual’s property via equity release or a universal deferred payment arrangement (DPA). Alternatively, with the new Pensions Freedoms now in place, it is possible that an individual’s pension could provide a further source of funding for long term care, depending of course on the value of the pension pot and the cost of the care to be provided. n
Health and social care implications • 74% of women & 67% of men over age 85 suffer long-term illness or disability • 26% of women & 27% of men aged 50-64 • Approximately 750,000 suffer with dementia - Proportion doubles for every 5 year age group - 68% of all people with dementia are aged 80+ - 66% of people with dementia are women - 64% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will go into permanent care • 6 million carers estimated to rise to 9 million by 2037 • Women have a 50/50 chance of providing care by the time they are 59 • Women have a 50/50 chance of providing care by the time they are 59 Source: The Census
Surrey Lawyer 11
Ahoy There! The Legal Cup is a unique event; combining productive networking, constructive team building, raising funds for charity, learning a new skills and having lots of fun!
The Legal Cup is a unique event; combining productive networking, constructive team building, raising funds for charity, learning a new skills and having lots of fun! If you are a forward thinking legal firm looking for new ways to network with industry peers and support your internal team development the Legal Cup could be perfect for you. Open exclusively for legal Industry professionals, each company enters a team (of between 710 people) who sail together on a premium sailing yacht, racing against other teams from rival legal companies! It doesn’t matter if you have never set foot on a yacht before, part of the entry package includes hire of a high-quality, fully commercially insured yacht with professional sailors on board to literally show you the ropes, so you can learn to sail and be an
active crew member. Alternatively, if you own your own yacht you are welcome to enter it and bring your own crew. In May 2015, 19 teams took part including many Magic Circle and Silver Circle names, with the Bar Yacht Club and Allen & Overy claiming the Winner’s Trophies. Field Fisher, Linklaters and Ricoh also featured on the podium! The next chance to take part in the Legal Cup sailing regatta is on 14-15 May 2016 and Freshfields have already signed up! If you would like to find out more the Legal Cup including who took part in 2015, see the event photos and download a booking form and price list please visit the event website www.britanniaevents.co.uk/ legal-cup
Law Society Special Offer... 2014 Jean Colin Pouilly Fume £75 per 6 pack, usually £16.99 per bottle. 2013 Sottano Seleccion Malbec £75 per 6 pack, usually £16.99 per bottle.
WINE OF THE SEASON with Conal Gregory, Master of Wine
The white Burgundy district of Mâconnais tends to be overlooked but creates stunning value wines. Try the nutty, newly arrived 2014 Mâcon-Burgy ‘Les Trois Terroirs’ made by Olivier Fichet. He avoids oak entirely to ensure the clean fruit of the Chardonnay shines through. It can be safely cellared for up to three years. Lightly chilled, it accompanies fish and particularly shellfish well. £10.95 (Stone, Vine & Sun).
For a light autumnal red, be patriotic and enjoy an English vineyard wine. One of the best is Wickham Row Ash Red made mainly from Triomphe d’Alsace grapes. The vineyard was founded in 1984 at Shedfield near Southampton and now extends to seven hectares. The 2014 has a bright cherry character, soft tannins and appealing balance. It is delicious with lamb, cured meats and cheeses. £10.99 (Waitrose online and in 23 branches). Sponsored by NFU Mutual Bespoke, high-value home insurance tailored to protect everything you value, including art, antiques, fine wine and more.
Visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/bespoke for further information.
other great deals at our shops, call: 01293 771 305 or go online: www.thevineking.com 12 Surrey Lawyer
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers The CLC was created 30 years ago to act as a driver of innovation and competition in conveyancing services, clearly focused on consumer choice as well as consumer protection. There was no pre-existing profession on which to impose regulation but rather a new cadre of lawyers to support in developing new business and service delivery models. Since then, we have added probate to the services that we regulate, maintaining the specialisation in property law services.
ur origins make us fundamentally different from other players in the field of legal services regulation. They mean that we are able to regulate modern approaches to the delivery of legal services. We offer a distinct choice to new and existing legal businesses in the conveyancing and probate fields thanks to the opportunities created by the Legal Services Act 2007.
industry and fuelling a compensation culture.
Barriers to a truly free market in regulation remain and it is important they are removed so that providers of legal services have a genuine choice of regulatory regime that is best fitted to their work and that can support them in developing a thriving legal business.
On a practical level, acting for both sides can save buyers and sellers a great deal of time and money. Our policy is supported by the Legal Services Consumer Panel which has noted that it has posed no difficulties over the years and that it is appreciated by clients. Again, the key is that the consumer is able to make an informed choice and gives their informed consent.
High standards through specialisation The CLC is a specialist regulator of specialist lawyers. Our qualification in conveyancing is at degree level. That specialist qualification in just one area of law gives the practitioner enormous strength and depth for expertise and provides consumers with a very significant guarantee. Soon we will add a stand-alone qualification in probate to our qualification options.
The second point is that Licensed Conveyancers have long been able to act for both sides in a transaction. With the correct arrangements in place with the law firm conflict of interest in relation to the buyer and seller for whom different conveyancers in the firm are working is avoided.
Because of our specialisation we are able to take a different position on two key issues. We have not banned referral fees in relation to conveyancing work because, as long as the client is fully informed, we can see no consumer detriment or other evil that arises. It is very unlike the position in relation to personal injury work that other regulators needed to deal with and where referral fees were giving rise to a dubious
As more firms choose specialist regulation, demand for appropriately qualified conveyancers and probate lawyers is growing. So we are
delighted to have worked with groups of firms regulated by the CLC and SRA to develop apprenticeships in conveyancing and probate. They will offer new routes to a legal career that meet the expectations not only of young people but also of career changers today. They will provide a strong pipeline of specialist lawyers for specialist firms.
Find out more Thereâ€™s a great deal more information about the CLC on our website, of course and you can always reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org
The future At the CLC we are planning for a future market in legal services that we know will be very different than the present. CLCregulated firms outperformed the wider market during the recession after 2007. They began to recover sooner and more quickly than the general conveyancing market, carving themselves out a larger market share.
This level of specialist education and training along with practical experience means that an accreditation scheme for Licensed Conveyancers is unnecessary. The fact that lender instruction of licensed conveyancers on the same basis as solicitor members of the CQS scheme underlines that.
Sheila Kumar, Chief Executive
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Fixing The Roof While The Sun Shines As I write this ironically titled editorial the radio weather report has officially declared that a full months rain has just fallen in the last five hours across Dorset, Hampshire and much of the Thames Valley. Extreme and unforeseeable or highly likely and pretty much predictable approaching a Bank Holiday? So with plenty of experience and a healthy dose of English cynicism, why are we surprised by and always unprepared for even gradual changes in circumstances. How many of us have sat back with cool drink in the sunshine and said ‘I must clean out that guttering this weekend’ then done nothing? Conveyancing is not that different. Every year we see the peaks and troughs, the property market is steadily recovering with increased instructions and higher valuations but it’s by no means booming. On the surface this should be the perfect time to take a look at the roof and prepare for extreme and unforeseeable or highly likely and pretty much predictable. Of course it’s well recognised that the collapse of the housing market put a huge strain on the conveyancing profession, many practitioners left the profession altogether (some never to return). Conveyancing is the bedrock of many law firms income streams but so rarely is its potential as a growth vehicle recognised deliberately developed. In many firms, conveyancing is almost a loss leader. Fine if this is part of a conscious strategy, but irresponsible if it’s an un intended or unrecognised consequence. Depressed fee levels are still the norm in many practices and as volumes of instructions increase, the need to keep up with the workload is preventing many Managing Partners and heads of department from recognising key issues affecting their firm’s profitability and productivity. They’re too busy driving the car to stop and put petrol in it.
Let’s look at a case in point. Thomas Legal Group is a niche law firm specialising in property law. They are conveyancing experts dealing with all aspects of residential and commercial property conveyancing. Like a lot of busy practices they didn’t realise they had an issue in terms of producing new quotations and converting enquiries into instructions. By working with PIE and adopting MYFEES their team have increased conversion of enquiries to instructions from roughly 1/3 to
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more than 3/4 while increasing average fees by more than 10% per case. Step changes like this didn’t come over-night, but detailed Management Information accessible through MYFEES allowed Thomas Legal Group and PIE’s Legal Services Manager, to identify the most effective steps to move their business forward.
Simon Thomas; “Once we’d been using MYFEES for a while it became clear that we could confidently enable others to successfully provide conveyancing quotes within our business. There was no point in myself and my partners giving out quotes so we appointed a dedicated quotations administrator who was already working in sales and trained her in house as it was vital that she should live and breathe the Thomas Legal Group ethos of customer service excellence. MYFEES enabled us to tailor our quotes to portray our firm’s progressive and service focussed image”.
PIE have brought quite a number of other benefits to Thomas Legal Group. “Before MYFEES it was very difficult to determine what changes to our pricing would do to our conversion rates or whether selling points such as ‘no completion, no fee’ were effective or not. Also although we had invested in our website, making it smart phone and tablet friendly, we couldn’t track leads generated from our website, so we didn’t know whether the site was generating business or not, with MYFEES all of that changed”.
Working with PIE isn’t just about technology and business development input; PIE share a passion for service excellence and customer care. “PIE’s support service is absolute marvellous, we make it difficult for PIE as we are always
looking to do things differently but you always manage to deliver”. By the time this item goes to press it’s anyone’s guess what the weather will be doing. Thankfully for now, the property market is a bit more predictable and clearly some firms are taking a look at what they’re doing, how and why and recognising that there are painless cost effective measures that deliver fundamental business improvements without compromising quality and professionalism. n For more information please contact: 0118 976 9500
Technology in Conveyancing Opportunity or Threat? The technology revolution is transforming conveyancing, from big ideas such as the Land Registry’s ambitious plans for the digitisation of Local Land Charges to online chain management and electronic transactions. What does this changing landscape mean for conveyancers?
ith such high value transactions the conveyancing profession is finding itself under attack from cyber criminals who are targeting the profession. Their methods are wide, varied and most importantly clever; they are obtaining mortgage funds by fraud and, as we have seen in this year’s SRA Risk Outlook, the creation of cloned vendor firms (bogus firms) to steal client’s money is a serious threat. There is also now an expectation that conveyancers will utilise the range of IT services available to them to safeguard their client’s transaction. Professional negligence claims are on the increase and property solicitors are more likely than any other member of the profession to face a claim. Lack of awareness of the risk management and compliance services that are available in the modern era is not likely to be accepted as a defence when faced with a claim.
So what can conveyancers do to help themselves? Firstly don’t panic! As the conveyancing world changes, it can easily seem daunting. However you don’t need to be particularly IT literate to compete and thrive in it. Tony Clarke, Operations Director at Searchpoint explains why it is imperative that firms and conveyancers move with the times; “Conveyancing is a vibrant and dynamic area of the legal profession. There’s a lot of support and a range of IT based services that conveyancers can call upon to help mitigate risk and protect their clients. Being aware of and employing these services shows that you have acted responsibly and with reasonable skill and care. Ignoring technology and the risk management tools that are available for conveyancing solicitors isn’t an option and could be the biggest risk of all.’
Website Security - First and foremost is the security of the online services that you use, how easy is it to hack and for criminals to gain access to your client’s information? There are two quick ways for you to test this; does the website address begin with https and show a locked padlock before the web address? If so then the website is secure and uses encrypted data making it harder to get into. Secondly you should have a password to gain access. This password should not be visible to anyone including the owners of the website. You can test this yourself by phoning your service provider and asking for your password, if they are able to give it to you then it is recorded somewhere which means it can be obtained and used fraudulently.
Vendor Firm Clones - Lawyer Checker is a commercially available service, with a database which determines whether the bank account searched against has a track record of successful use within conveyancing. Although acting innocently the results of being duped by a bogus law firm could be devastating for a firm including removal from lenders panels, stress, distraction and brand damage.
Electronic AML Checks - These are an excellent way to support your Customer Due Diligence and help ensure you are meeting your obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. As well as matching personal data with recognised and reliable sources such as the Electoral Roll they also provide matches against negative information sources such as mortality databases, PEPs and Sanctions Lists from all over the world.
your clients purchase. These include hazards which you may not be aware of such as; planning applications, energy exploration schemes and infrastructure projects. Searchpoint are the leaders in this type of screening, providing you with a report which you can give to your client. The report details the hazards that have been screened for with the results in a traffic light format. This shows thorough screening on behalf of the solicitor but also provides protection, as it is up to the client if they wish to order additional searches, the solicitor has done their bit in informing the client of the potential problem.
Auto Boundary Mapping - This is a new feature which is starting to appear on a number of search provider websites. The freehold title boundary that surrounds a property is automatically shown when a case is created. This helps ensure the searches are ordered on the right property. It can also save time when ordering searches as you don't have to find and attach a boundary plan. instead you have the option to select the freehold boundary as registered at Land Registry via an interactive map. Tony Clarke - is Operations Director of Searchpoint, an online search partner. More information can be found at www.searchpoint.co.uk n
Search Alerts - These are widely available and used by most online search providers. A property is screened against various databases to reveal if a hazard is present, which could affect
Proactive, Professional, Problem Solving. Searchpoint provides a comprehensive range of conveyancing searches, insurance products and compliance tools for the conveyancing professional. T. 0845 680 5608 l E. email@example.com l www.searchpoint.co.uk
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www.clc-uk.org/changing-regulators or call 0207 250 8465 16 Surrey Lawyer
The role of today's search agent Like a naughty child in days of yore, today's search agent should be seen but not heard, or so it seems to me anyway. Our role is a very simple one; be available when needed, deliver outstanding customer service and provide good, accurate information in a timely manner at a competitive price that allows the solicitor to win business in the cutthroat world of legal conveyancing. I don’t think that it’s any more complicated than that..…
ith myriad products available covering everything from contaminated land to Japanese Knotweed, and the choice to be made between the Council and a Regulated Search not to mention drainage and water. Hardly surprisingly then that conveyancing solicitors become glassy eyed at the prospect of deciding what information they need to best inform their client, as they are about to invest hundreds of thousands, if not millions today, in their new home. But those choices are crucial because the threat to property (physically and to its value) from environmental issues such as flooding, infrastructure choices made by our Government such as the route of HS2 and the constant need for energy and exploration leading to controversial processes such as fracking, are very real. And so, equally, if search agents are to be seen and not heard, it's also a challenge for all of us on this side of the fence to promote our wares. Here at Index, we have a very straightforward philosophy - keep it simple! The world of property conveyancing is a complex one and so making at least one part of the process easy to comprehend and deal with has got to be an attractive option. Index has invested heavily in the technology and IT infrastructure that allows this to happen and solicitors that work with us recognise immediately the benefits that this brings. But if a solicitor wants to work in a different way, instructing by email, phone or even carrier pigeon, we’ll adapt accordingly! The latest iteration of our online ordering platform puts information literally at the solicitor’s fingertips when they need it; doubling up as a genuine search case management system. Quotes can be held,
profiles stored for later review and all of the search products, after delivery, remain instantly available for future download. Index has put product cards on the same platform so that conveyancing solicitors can see, at a glance, the information that will be provided within a report and, therefore, benefit their clients when they are thinking about their most significant of investments.
by Kevin Johnson, Director of Index
and the Index online ordering and case management system and our proactive support at all levels of the solicitors practice gives all of the visibility that you would want of us, and no more! n For more information please contact our office on 0843 659 4000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Index London South West, I have coined a strapline “Think Of Us As Part Of You”. We recognise that conveyancing can be stressful and difficult We provide our services to all conveyancing but the simple firms, including sole practioners, multiple philosophy behind Index is to support partner practices, legal executives and proactively everything licensed conveyancers. that the solicitor, and their staff, does. Whatever your In fact, those that we support most successfully are, more often than not, the assistants, secretaries, interns and anyone else that has been given the task internally to deliver. The need for them to try and find that one person in the council, water authority or other agency is taken away - they only need one contact and that’s us here at Index. Like the naughty schoolboy, search agents should be seen and not heard
requirements Index have the solution. • Local Authority Searches • Environmental Reports • Planning Reports • Chancel Repair & Indemnity • Mining Reports • Drainage & Water Reports • Anti-Money Laundering & Compliance • Land Registry • Utility Reports Index Property Information Trident Court, Oakcroft Road, Chessington, Surrey KT9 1BD Telephone: 0843 659 4000 Email: email@example.com Web: www.indexpi.co.uk
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Air Quality Developers, property investors and those concerned with commercial planning applications and property transactions will now need to pay far closer attention to the topic of air quality. This comes as the Government works on a major new strategy to tackle the UK’s air pollution following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that it was in breach of air quality regulations, and clearly has implications for commercial conveyancing due diligence - Landmark. Under the ‘Local Air Quality Management’ legislation Local Authorities now have a responsibility to factor air quality into any commercial planning or re-development application, potentially adding extra costs, complexity or delays to a project.
What is an AQMA? Since December 1997, every Local Authority has been required to monitor its air quality. This is not only to protect citizens’ health and the environment but to ensure that the National Air Quality Objectives will be achieved across the UK within the relevant deadlines. Where pollutants exceed national objectives, authorities must designate it an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ (AQMA). This could be just one or two streets, or it could be much bigger and, once designated, must be supported with an action plan to improve the air quality. There are currently over 580 individual AQMAs already allocated in Great Britain,
spread across 239 Local Authorities and covering a total area of 3,600km2, which highlights the growing need to improve air quality across the UK.
gives insight into air quality concentrations and any likely changes and will be used to assist with policy and decision making.
How to access Air Quality data The Impact of Air Quality on Planning Applications Organisations planning to redevelop sites located within 500 metres of an AQMA should be aware that failure to follow Local Authority guidelines in relation to air quality could greatly impact the progress of their proposals. It may be necessary to adjust proposals to meet the Local Authority’s Air Quality Plan to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents and to avoid adding any further pollutants into the area. It is also likely that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) may stipulate an air quality assessment to be submitted as part of the planning application with possible design requirements for mitigation. Predictive data
All of the data needed to adhere to Local Authority air quality planning processes can now be accessed in the form of the SiteSolutions Air Quality Report from Argyll Environmental. The report provides valuable insight into any potential air quality issues affecting a chosen site, both now and in the future, and is ideal for those dealing with commercial property transactions, planning applications and due diligence for site and property developments, and redevelopments. The report provides an early warning of any current or future atmospheric pollution issues that have the potential to impact the value of the property or result in planning restrictions or constraints and includes, Air Quality Management Areas, Air Quality Monitoring Stations, Local Emissions Sources and Predicted Air Quality Issues. n
When change is not a good thing - Planning This year’s Housing Bill intensified the focus on housing supply, and for good reason: if we are to reach the required number of new dwellings a lot of land needs to be found and a lot of property needs to be built. Indeed, according to the Barker Housing Review, 250,000 new dwellings need to be found per year. This increases the risk of development threatening your client’s investment, the surroundings, the view and potentially the value. This remains an issue whether it relates to a residential property or a commercial development. In the race to try and achieve this magic number there has been a marked increase in the change of use applications to convert office blocks to multiple apartments. However, commercial conveyancers and their clients must take care on the setting and suitability of their proposals. Paul Addison, Managing Director of DevAssist, who provide professional opinions on planning reports, says: “There is a clear need to understand the issues before the costs start to mount”.
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Case study - Hampshire This planning application was lost on appeal. It concerned plans to redevelop three office buildings, within a conservation area, as 24 flats. Whilst the number of flats proposed was nothing out of the ordinary, the impact of the scheme on its surroundings was considered to be a problem. The removal of trees to accommodate car parking and the scale of development on a part rural, part brownfield plot would make it considerably more visible than the existing buildings. It was considered to give the site an urban appearance. There was little development within the conservation area and it was considered that this scheme would not contribute to the character of the locality. The architecture of the village in which the site sat was built in the Arts and Crafts style, fashionable between 1800 and 1910, and the design failed to reflect this. In addition, the site was designated as having a significant flood risk and alternatives had not been assessed in response to this. Indeed, the removal of trees could lead to potential harm to
biodiversity, given the proximity to a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Understanding the context is at the heart of a successful planning application. STL is delighted to offer commercial conveyancers the DevAcquire report, which ensures your client understands the opportunities or restrictions that could impact on their potential investment. The report scans up to 75m beyond the full perimeter for sites up to 50 acres. It assesses land use zoning restrictions or past activity, permissions or refusals that signpost sensitivity for commercial development and also includes change of use. Knowing up front, allows your client to review the risk and/or the reward on the asset.
Next steps For more information on any of the interpreted planning and development risk reports from DevAssist, call STL on 0800 318611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
R.A.B.I - the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution R.A.B.I - is a welfare charity which helps farming people in financial difficulty. Each year we support around 2,000 farming families and pay out around £2 million in grants. Our farmers produce the food on which we depend and are the guardians of the countryside we enjoy. But the industry operates against a backdrop of constant and increasing pressure. For example, dairy farmers have been losing several pence on each and every litre of milk they produce; due to a substantial drop in the prices they are paid. And that’s since the Commission for Rural Communities found, in 2010, that one in four farming families live on or below the poverty line. It is typically a very proud community, but R.A.B.I’s experience is that a combination of factors and events can eventually take its toll on even the most resilient of farmers and farm workers. This is why we always encourage those with limited savings and low incomes to get in touch rather than suffer in silence. Support is offered in confidence to people of all ages, and includes oneoff, emergency or regular payments, as well as the provision of essential
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Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
household items and disability equipment. For working farmers, R.A.B.I can also fund relief staff to help in a crisis, and training through our Gateway scheme. This helps struggling farming people to develop their skills so they can increase their income off-farm and support themselves. For the retired and disabled, we can also pay towards care home and home-help costs - and we run two residential homes of our own, in Suffolk and Somerset. Our vital work is funded by both investment income and voluntary donations. Typically, money is raised at events arranged by county volunteer committees, businesses, community groups and our own fundraising staff; or donations come from charitable trusts and last but not least, gifts in wills. It’s thanks to a major legacy that we have been able to embark on a significant redevelopment of Manson House in Bury St Edmunds, one of our residential homes. But every gift, however small, helps us make a difference to farming people in need. We always say to our supporters: if the time is right and you are thinking of making a will, after taking care of loved ones, please consider helping R.A.B.I too.
We help farming families in financial difficulty. Farmers produce the food we depend on and look after the countryside we enjoy. Yet one in four lives on or below the poverty line (Commission for Rural Communities, 2010). Loved ones come first, but if your clients are able to leave our charity a gift in their will, however small, we promise we will value it highly and use it to change lives for the better.
Helpline: Website: General enquiries: Email:
0300 303 7373 www.rabi.org.uk 01865 724931 email@example.com Charity Reg. No. 208858
In The Spotlight: Proprietary Estoppel There aren't many people who can tell you the price of a pint of milk. The estimated 10,000 dairy farmers in England and Wales can. They can also tell you the farmgate price and the cost of production. As the recent media coverage has highlighted, the dairy industry is in trouble as world markets have depressed the farmgate price to below the cost of production. The price of milk is influenced by such factors as the instigation of sanctions against Russia, the up scaling of milk production in Ireland and dairy units being built in China on an immense scale.
he majority of dairy farmers (or their families) own the freehold of the farm. When incomes are falling, it is little comfort to know that their capital assets have increased in value more than three fold over the past 10 years as land prices have spiralled from an average of £2,500 per acre to over £8,000 an acre. Many farming families do not take a proper wage out of the business and are "employed" in the knowledge, or on the promise, that they will benefit from the capital, rather than the income. This is true of many farming families, not just in dairying. It can, of course, be a source of conflict, particularly as the value of farmland now means that it is worth arguing about. In the last year, the High Court has ruled on two cases involving farming families in Wales, coincidentally both called Davies, which have once again thrown the doctrine of proprietary estoppel into the spotlight. In the second Davies v Davies case ( EWHC 1384), James (57) was one of five children. His father died in 1999. By wills made in 1999, the parents made substantially similar provisions in respect of the farm whereby it was left on trust for James until he reaches the age of 60 or dies earlier and subject thereto on trust to sell and divide the proceeds into five shares, one for each of the other four children with the fifth share for the James's children. James's view was that the provision in the wills was contrary to oral promises made by his father and assented to by his mother. He said that verbal assurances had been made that if he worked on the farm it would eventually be left to him. The promises had been made over a period of 40 years, starting when he was 16 years old. In reliance upon those
assurances he decided to work on the farm rather than pursue a career as a police officer, and did so for long hours at low wages. James argued that as a consequence, the beneficial interest in the farm belonged to him as a result of the doctrine of proprietary estoppel. As is commonly the case, there was no documentary evidence in support of the promises and his mother did not recall them. The witness evidence given at trial was the determining factor. In assessing the evidence and the estoppel claimed, the court referred to the comments of Lord Walker in Gillett v Holt  Ch 210 in which he stated that the fundamental principle that equity is concerned to prevent unconscionable conduct permeates all elements of the doctrine of proprietary estoppel and the court is required to look at the matter in the round. The judge in Davies ruled that the balance of probabilities favoured James's making the following findings on the evidence before him: • James's father had been keen to keep the farm in the family and James had been the most likely candidate to achieve this aim; • In later years, relations between James and his parents had deteriorated and the wills were drawn up during this period; • The "promises and conduct amounted to a clear thread which played a significant part to a greater or lesser extent, and reasonably so, in each of the important decisions which [James] made in relation to the farm"; • James had relied upon those promises and that conduct to his detriment; • Although there were countervailing benefits
Tim Price, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist
enjoyed by James to be taken into account, there was "a substantial balance of detriment" which would make it unconscionable to deny James an equity in the farm or to allow the provisions set out in the wills to take effect. James was awarded a beneficial interest in the farm, with the exception of the bungalow. His siblings did not get anything. Some might say that was a fair outcome after years of working for low wages, giving some security in an uncertain industry. Others might take the view that it was a windfall, against the wishes of parents who had thought they were benefitting their children equally. What it does show is that estoppel cases are unpredictable, particularly when the claim is largely based upon witness testimony rather than documentary evidence. If a case is unpredictable it is less likely to settle. There is a difficult balance faced by land owning families who have competing, often mutually exclusive aims: on the one hand, a real and genuine wish to try and achieve fairness between children and on the other, an understandable desire to see the legacy of a hard earned, lifetime's work continuing within the family for years to come. As is so often the case, family dynamics and relationships shifted over time and the impact of this can be significant. Josie Edwards is a Solicitor at Michelmores LLP. Michelmores has the largest team of agricultural lawyers in the country, offering practical and commercial advice to landowners, farming businesses, landed estates, institutions and others with interests in land and the wider rural economy. www.michelmores.com
"However, in an increasingly competitive global market place it is more important than ever for farmers to be able to plan ahead and invest to keep at the forefront of technological and marketing developments.
Key findings are: 54% of owners have no succession plan 64% of respondents believe that a lack of succession planning is a threat to the future of the farm 46% have not made a plan because of the difficulty of raising the issue of who will take over the farm 33% said they had not planned because the farm could only support one successor In 28% or cases, the farmer had no plans to retire 24% of owners said they could not afford to retire 18% said they had not made plans because of family conflict 36% of farmers plan to pass the farm on to the eldest son 35% of owners planned to share the business amongst more than one child 14% of owners plan to pass on the business to a child who isn’t the eldest
"To research the challenges farmers face we have teamed up with Farmers’ Weekly - and the responses to our online survey of over 700 farmers confirms that this is a worrying problem, with potential to threaten the long-term viability of thousands of farms.
"We hope the survey findings will help farmers see a way ahead - and open up channels to discuss the thorny topic of succession with family members. It’s an issue which is all to easy to put off to another day - but failing to plan ahead could mean the present generation farming your land could be the last."
"At NFU Mutual we know that our members view farming as more than a business. It’s a way of life for families who have often farmed for generations and involves family members of all ages. "And because the running of the farm is so tightly woven into the fabric of the family, it can be very difficult for farmers to make long-term plans for the future of the farm, including who will eventually take over.
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WOULD YOU TWIG IF YOUR FAMILY TREE WAS INCORRECT?â€Ś THE IMPORTANCE OF USING A PROBATE GENEALOGIST As so often in life the basics are sometimes overlooked: in similar vein, the importance of identifying all known heirs prior to distribution is often Pictured: James Gartland not given the thought and effort that it deserves. In-house Solicitor at Estate Research Estate Research are a leading firm of probate genealogists with over 100 hundred years in-house experience and an array of specialist technology at our disposal to assist you with problems you may encounter in processing a probate file. One of the services we provide is our family tree verification service. We are often approached by clients asking to verify a hand-drawn family tree that they have been provided by an administrator that principally stems from a clientâ€™s testimony. By way of an example, by no means uncommon, we recently checked a tree for a solicitor who was on the verge of distributing an estate to a sole maternal cousin. The heir (also the administratrix) had provided a tree stating that the deceasedâ€™s father and paternal family had no family.
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Fortunately, the solicitor involved asked us to verify the estate before he finalised the estate for distribution. Our subsequent investigations revealed that the paternal family had over 25 full blood heirs, some as far afield as New Zealand and Eastern Europe; however, even more crucially we discovered that the administratrix was actually a half-blood maternal cousin and therefore not entitled to benefit under intestacy. Another case involved a large estate: the Administrator had stated he was the sole heir based mainly upon a family tree compiled from information he had discovered on the internet. The tree stated that numerous branches had no descendants. The administrating solicitor, mindful of the risk present to themselves and to the putative administrator, contacted
us to investigate the family tree; again, we discovered the tree was indeed incomplete and proceeded to locate heirs in South Africa and the US. If you are considering a missing beneficiary indemnity policy to address the risk posed by a missing heir or indeterminate family tree you will invariably be required to provide a genealogists report to the insurer. As part of our family tree verification service we provide a free no-obligation quotation for you to consider. The examples above highlight the necessity of confirming the family tree and the importance of instructing a genealogist. Please refer to our website for further details.
Leaving a legacy to charity Including a gift to charity in a will is a great way to make a difference and there are also tax benefits. Legacies are an important source of income for the charity and voluntary sector. £2.04 billion in legacy income was received in 2012/13. The most recent data from Legacy Foresight (an organisation that compiles data from 76 member charities) suggests that such legacy income is increasing (although year-on-year growth has slowed, in their opinion because of a slowdown in the rate of growth of the UK housing market). However, legacy income is still only 11% of total income from individuals and 5% of overall income to the sector. As solicitors and will writers we can play a role in changing this. A study carried out by the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team, published in 2013, found that when will writers mentioned the possibility of a leaving a legacy to charity, the percentage who did rose from 4.9% to 10.8%. This increased to 15.4% when people were asked if there are any causes they are passionate about. Asking people at the right moment whether they want to leave a legacy is important, as is the way in which the question is asked based on knowledge of the options available.
Types of gift A cash gift, or pecuniary legacy, is a straightforward option. But the effects of inflation could mean the ultimate value becomes less than intended. This problem can be dealt with by updating a will regularly, or linking a cash legacy with inflation. Another possibility is a gift of individual possessions, known as a specific legacy. This might be property, shares, rights or a valuable possession. It is also worth providing for what happens if the possession is sold during the client’s lifetime, otherwise the gift might fail completely. If a client would like a charity to benefit more significantly, an alternative option might be a residuary legacy. This involves giving all or a proportion of an estate to charity after expenses and any legacies have been paid. Finally, for more significant estates, the client may prefer to establish their own charity. This can happen either during lifetime, with the principal gift to that charity happening on death, or otherwise the charity is created in the Will itself. Clients can be concerned about whether existing charities would use the funds they receive in the way they would wish, or clients may have particular causes they wish to provide for. A bespoke charity can address these points.
Drafting the Will It is important that a charity is properly identified in the drafting of the legacy. The full name, address and registration number should be included, and this information is
Pictured: Chris Rowse
Pictured: Andrew Godfrey
often available from the Charity Commission for charities in England and Wales (or Scottish or Northern Irish regulators as appropriate). Many charities have a helpful section on their website with template wording for legacies.
based in the UK. It may also be possible to find a UK charity which will use the legacy to carry out activities aboard in the way the testator wishes (UK charities can of course provide benefit overseas, including to foreign charities). Gifts of foreign property to a UK charity will need careful consideration which is beyond the scope of this article.
• The UK Civil Society Almanac 2015, NCVO
• Legacy Foresight Bulletin (issue 2) 2015 • The UK Civil Society Almanac 2015, NCVO ‘Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving’ (28 May 2013), Cabinet Office A legacy can be given for specific activities of the charity, subject to an expression of wishes or binding obligations. The risk of including a binding obligation is that the legacy could fail if the charity isn’t able to use the legacy for the purpose. A letter setting out the client’s wishes provides more flexibility and is often a better option. The trustees of the recipient charity should take the wishes into account, but are not bound legally to follow them. You should also consider what happens if the charity beneficiary ceases to exist. If this is the result of a ‘relevant charity merger’ under the Charities Act 2011, and the merger is entered in the Charity Commission’s register of charity mergers, the legacy will usually take effect as a gift to the successor charity. However, a legacy may fail if the wording provides that the charity must be in existence at the date of the testator’s death. If a legacy intended for a charity fails, the property will become part of the deceased’s residuary estate. To avoid this it is advisable to discuss with clients whether they want to include power for executors to choose a suitable alternative charity if the intended charity no longer exists.
Tax benefits There is no Inheritance Tax (IHT) on gifts under a will to charities or community amateur sports clubs (CASCs). Legacies to overseas charities are mostly not exempt from IHT. But gifts to an organisation within the EU do now qualify, if the organisation would qualify for charitable status if it was
The value of a gift to a charity or CASC will be deducted from the estate before IHT is calculated. In some cases this may bring the total estate value below the taxable threshold, which is £325,000 for 2015/16. This may also be used in conjunction with the increased nil rate band as proposed in the recent Summer Budget. Where an individual leaves more than 10% of his or her net taxable estate to charity, the estate will benefit from a 36% rate of IHT, which is a 10% reduction from the usual rate of 40%. Charities are not liable to capital gains tax (CGT). If the executors sell assets a CGT liability may arise against the executors. This can be avoided by appropriating the assets to a beneficiary charity, and the executors will then sell as bare trustees on behalf of the charity. If the asset is land it will be necessary to comply with provisions in the Charities Act 2011 concerning the disposal of charity land. Care will be needed regarding a potential SDLT charge arising when the estate still has liabilities at the time of appropriating land.
Final tip It’s a good idea to encourage clients to let a charity know that they should benefit from a legacy under a will, as this helps charities to plan ahead. Andrew Godfrey and Chris Rowse are both at Russell-Cooke LLP. Andrew is a Partner in the Private Client Team and Chris is a Senior Associate in the Charity and Social Business Team.
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The Royal Surrey County Hospital's Charitable Fund The Vision Our long term vision at the Royal Surrey County Hospital is to transform the health services in Surrey with the aim of creating a nationally and internationally recognised centre of clinical and academic excellence.
How will this be achieved? This can only be achieved by working closely with other healthcare providers in the region and will help us to achieve the following: • • •
Specialist care closer to home Integration of care, teaching and research Becoming one of the top cancer centres in the UK
We wish to make certain that our services and care are enhanced in ways that are impossible to realise through traditional NHS funding alone and that is why we cannot do this without your help.
One of the best decisions you could make Once you have provided for your family and friends please consider remembering the Royal Surrey County Hospital in your will. This will help us to ensure we are able to offer the best possible patient care and medical treatment for generations to come.
Some great reasons to make a will • •
Family, friends and the cause you believe in will all benefit. It will ensure your wishes are known and your intentions are carried out after death. Being clear and precise, it will save your loved ones from unnecessary anxiety. It could reduce inheritance tax – your solicitor can advise on current tax legislation.
The next step Writing a will is relatively straight forward. However, it is always advisable to seek professional advice which can take you through the process and make sure everything is in order. If you decide
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to leave a legacy to the hospital please show your will writing professional our preferred wording.
Royal Surrey County Hospital Donations and legacies enable us to stay at the forefront of medical care providing state of the art equipment for treatment and research, improving facilities for patients, their families and for staff and staff training. Your gift could allow us to purchase equipment which goes beyond NHS provision. An example of this being stereotactic radiotherapy which is an advanced treatment available in only a few centres. By remembering the Royal Surrey in your Will, your gift will help us improve care for thousands of local people.
Two ways to give 1 2
Pecuniary gift – you can choose to give a gift of a fixed amount of money Residuary gift – you can choose to leave a share, or the whole, of what is left in your estate once you have provided for your loved ones.
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence please call the Fundraising Department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital on 01483 464146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. n
A Legacy of Discovery Without plants, there would be no life on Earth.
he Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, having been at the centre of plant science for two and a half centuries, is leading the search for plant-based solutions to the greatest challenges facing our planet, including climate change, disease and food security. We have a long legacy of discovery, from the earliest plant hunters bringing back breadfruit, bananas and coffee under the guidance of Sir Joseph Banks in the 1700s, to the expert Kew scientists today who collectively describe around 200 new species a year and explore the many benefits plants can provide for human wellbeing. Our world-heritage listed Kew Gardens in Surrey and stunning botanic garden at Wakehurst in Sussex bring joy to more than a million visitors each year. We use the power of our science and the rich diversity of our gardens
and collections to provide knowledge, inspiration and understanding of why plants matter to everyone, and provide interactive, educational sessions for thousands of school children each year to inspire a lifelong love of plants and the natural world. If your clients love Kew Gardens or share our passion for the Millennium Seed Bank, inspirational horticulture, cutting-edge science, botanical art, heritage landscapes or global plant conservation, Kew Foundation (RCN 803428) is the perfect home for their legacy. We would be grateful if they would consider sharing their wishes with us so we can acknowledge their kindness, include them in our exclusive legacy events and keep them up to date with our activities.
We are also keen to work with local solicitors to offer a promotional Will writing week for our supporters. If you would like to raise the profile of your company in Surrey and Sussex, build relationships with new clients and raise money to support the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please get in touch. n Contact: Kerry Watts on 020 8332 3249.
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Canine Care Card Some dog owners worry about what might happen to their dog if they were to pass away first, leaving their beloved four-legged friend without an owner. Thankfully, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, offers the Canine Care Card, a special free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that the charity will look after their dog if the worst should happen. Not only does this offer reassurance to dog owners, it also helps to ease the minds of friends and family during what is already a distressing time. Over the past 12 months, Dogs Trust has taken in a whole host of dogs across its 20 rehoming centres in the UK as part of the Canine Care Card scheme and helped them settle into happy new homes. Two such dogs are Poppy and Petal, a devoted duo who arrived at Dogs Trust Bridgend after their owner passed away unexpectedly. Whilst the loveable pair were unable to be cared for by family members, Dogs Trust Bridgend was able provide them with a home away from home while they awaited their furrytale ending. Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, and works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving owner. Currently being cared for by the staff at Dogs Trust Bridgend, Petal and Poppy are awaiting a loving new family to give them a second chance at happiness.
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Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO says, “Thanks to Dogs Trust’s Canine Card Card scheme, dogs in need of a new home are given a lifeline meaning that Poppy, Petal and many dogs like them are able to get a second chance at happiness and bring joy to a new family. If you decide to become a Canine Care Card holder, we will issue you with a wallet-sized card. It acts in a similar way to an organ donor card and notifies people of your wishes for your dogs, should anything happen to you. Dogs Trust also strongly recommends that you mention the care of your dog in your Will. That way, there can be no confusion about your wishes”
SBA - a good friend in times of need SBA The Solicitors’ Charity has been working at the heart of the profession for over 150 years to ensure that no solicitor is unsupported in times of need or crisis. Many lawyers have known about the charity since the day they were admitted but for others, news that the profession has its own benevolent fund, run by and for solicitors and their families, is a complete surprise. £330,000 to Surrey lawyers and their families SBA’s core purpose is to relieve the financial hardship of solicitors, former solicitors and their dependants. In the last five years alone, SBA has distributed over £330,000 in outright grants and interest-free loans (usually secured) to Surrey lawyers and their families.
e-learning, portal-based service, backed up with one-to-one skype and telephone coaching. Where appropriate, SBA can also provide financial support during the programme, so that participants can really focus on their job search, rather than worry about day-to-day household finances.
Visit www.sba.org.uk for more information, telephone us in confidence on 020 8675 6440 or email email@example.com
Help spread the word
Awards cover a wide range of essential everyday needs, including help with the basics, such as food, clothing and heating. SBA can also help with one-off items, when boilers break down or roofs need repairing. On occasion, we can take care of priority debts, if clearing them will bring household finances back on to a permanently even keel.
Despite being one of the best known of the legal charities, general awareness of what SBA can do to help - especially amongst younger solicitors and HR professionals - is still too low and we need colleagues to help spread the word. If you know someone who is finding it hard to cope, please mention SBA. If we can help, we will.
Help with career transition
A legacy to the profession
SBA now offers help with career transition as well as financial support. Solicitors who qualify under the financial criteria can join a three-month programme which offers holistic career, job search and wellbeing support via a professional consultancy. This is an
A gift in your Will can help SBA transform the future for many solicitors and their families. Loved ones come first but a gift in your Will means you can leave a lasting legacy of support for those whose lives in the law have been spent helping other people. n
Funding › Research › Cure
Give life through a legacy WE WILL USE YOUR LEGACY TO: › Improve the quality of life of those suffering with kidney disease › Finance equipment and research projects › Support research into the improved diagnosis and › › › ›
cure of end stage renal failure Improve the understanding of renal pathology Improve the care of renal patients Improve the treatment of renal disease Train and stimulate scientific, nursing and medical staff
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.kidneyfund.org.uk
South West Thames Kidney Fund, Renal Unit, St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey SM5 1AA
Charity Reg. No. 800952
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How legal professionals can make a real difference to charities Jonathan Powell for Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People. If you are advising clients that are making a will, the two main effects that a donation to a charity will have are that the gift amount will be taken off the value of the estate before inheritance tax is calculated, and it will reduce the tax rate, if more than 10% of the estate is donated. In terms of the percentages, this can mean that beneficiaries end up with a higher portion of the estate. Tax benefits aside, deciding to leave a gift to a charity is a very personal choice, but it can make a huge difference. An example is that funding from legacies meant QEF upgraded the capabilities of our Neuro Rehabilitation Services.
police car he was a passenger in was in an accident, he suffered a brain injury that meant he lost the use of his limbs and was dependent on carers for all of his needs. Our service upgrades meant we were able to offer a pioneering treatment that improved Reece’s hand functions and upper limb movement. He can once again brush his hair, use his iPad, and feed himself, all things that many people take for granted, but represent increased independence for Reece. n If you would like to find out more about how a legacy from a client could benefit adults and children with disabilities, please call us on 01372 841 131 or email email@example.com
This unit recently helped a young police constable, Reece. When the
The right care for the right person at the right time We often get asked for information about leaving some money to Princess Alice Hospice to help with our vital work - more than half the funds we raise come from such gifts. We look after more than 3,400 local people every year and we need to raise over £9.1 million to deliver our services. Over 77% of that money comes from voluntary donations without that vital support from our community, it’s no exaggeration to say that we simply could not deliver outstanding end of life care to those thousands of people who will need us in the years ahead. Gifts in Wills have been an essential part of that help. Last year, those gifts accounted for some 35% of the vital funds we raised. They’ve allowed us to successfully expand our care for patients to reach more people than ever before. Now we have the capacity to care for 24 in-patients at the Hospice, at any one time, while 28 Surrey Lawyer
supporting over 800 patients and their families in their own homes in community. A vital gift, large or small Legacies play a vital part in providing these services to more than a million people in our care area. Gifts can be a few hundred pounds or many thousands. Any gift will make a real difference. It means that when we are needed, we can always be there. n We are always happy to talk to you to discuss your legacy and, if you need it, to help you as much as we can with the technicalities. Our Supporter Care team will be delighted to talk to you in complete confidence. They’re available on 01372 461808 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
More than memories Leave behind ‘more than memories’ by leaving a gift in your Will Legacies are one type of gift that we depend on more than any other. These gifts help to cover not only our running costs but have also allowed us to re-furbish, rebuild and develop new services so that we can care for and support more people. If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, visit:
The future of cancer research starts with you It’s hard to know what the future might bring but we do know that cancer is something that touches us all. Sadly many of us will experience, or indeed will already have experienced the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have - it can be devastating, everything changes. Thankfully advances in our understanding of the biology and genetics of cancers mean we now have more targeted treatments and are able to diagnose cancers earlier, so survival rates have improved significantly in recent years. In fact between 2006 and 2011 survival from diagnosis doubled from an average of five years to 10 years. But we have a long way to go. Survival rates vary greatly between different cancer types and we currently only have drugs that target 5% of the 500 cancer genes we know of. At the ICR we want to continue developing more effective treatments for patients, no matter what type of cancer they have and our track record in this area is unrivalled. It
was our scientists who developed the drug abiraterone which recently became available on the NHS for men with advanced prostate cancer - men who previously had no further treatment options. There is no one-size-fits-all way of treating cancer and it can take many years of research to produce a discovery that leads to a new treatment; for example, it took 20 years before abiraterone could be used widely in the clinic. At the ICR we are working to increase the speed in which new treatments get to the patients who need them, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why legacies are so important to us. Knowing that we can rely on future funds allows the ICR to embark on major research initiatives and invest long-term in finding solutions to defeat cancer.
To find out more about the difference legacies could make to the future of cancer research, please visit our website icr.ac.uk/legacy or call Marcia on 020 7153 5387 or email email@example.com “Having been a researcher at the ICR for almost 20 years, I have seen it go from strength to strength. I am proud of the impact its research has had, and will continue to have in the future. I decided to leave a legacy to the ICR in my Will because I want their vital work to continue” Professor Robin Weiss FRS, former Director of Research at the ICR
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CYSTITIS What is cystitis?
Cystitis literally means “inflammation of the bladder” but the term is commonly used to describe a urinary infection involving the bladder. It can be a very painful and unpleasant condition for many patients.
by Miss Rashmi Singh, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital
blood in the urine, cloudy or offensive-smelling urine. In more elderly patients, the symptoms may be less typical and may simply be confusion, weakness and falls. The presence of fevers, shivers, vomiting or pain in the lower back region may suggest a more severe infection involving the kidneys.
Who gets cystitis?
How is the diagnosis made?
It is very common in women, with most women experiencing at least one episode of cystitis in their lifetime. Some women can be prone to recurrent cystitis. Men can also get cystitis but this is unusual and may be associated with an underlying urinary tract problem e.g. prostate enlargement. Although cystitis can occur at any age, it is particularly common in pregnant women, women who have been through the menopause and in sexually active women. Cystitis is a common condition in young females with busy, stressful careers.
The diagnosis is usually made on the basis of the symptoms. Your GP may ask you to provide a fresh urine sample which can be tested with chemical strips known as “dipsticks”, which can further help with confirming the diagnosis. The urine sample can also be sent for formal analysis to a laboratory. This gives more detailed information regarding the type of bacteria responsible for the infection and the antibiotic that can be used to treat it.
What causes cystitis? A bacterial infection of the urine is the commonest cause of cystitis, although it can be due to other causes such as radiotherapy or other inflammatory conditions of the bladder. Cystitis occurs when normal bacteria from the gut enter the bladder via the urethra (the passage through which urine flows out from the bladder) and then infects the urine. Compared to males, the female urethra is shorter and is closer to the anus, hence the increased incidence of cystitis in females. Some people may be more susceptible to cystitis if they have an underlying illness e.g. diabetes or a urinary tract condition which impairs the normal emptying of the bladder, or have a permanent catheter (artificial tube for bladder drainage).
What are the symptoms of cystitis? Once bacteria infect the urine, the lining of the bladder and urethra becomes irritated and inflamed. This results in the classical symptoms of cystitis: a painful burning sensation in the urethra when passing urine, an intense urge to frequently pass urine and pain in the lower (pubic) area of the tummy. Other symptoms can include visible
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How is cystitis treated? Most episodes of cystitis are short lived and last just a few days. General measures include maintaining a high intake of fluid and taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. “Cystitis relief” sachets that can be bought over the counter in pharmacies can also ease the symptoms. Avoiding sexual activity until the infection has settled is advisable. The above measures alone may be adequate to settle cases of mild cystitis. For moderate or severe symptoms, antibiotics will be necessary. Your GP will usually prescribe a short course of 3–5 days, rarely longer.
Who needs to see a urologist? In the vast majority of cases, cystitis is a self-limiting, uncomplicated condition that settles promptly with treatment. However, in some patients recurrent cystitis (more than three episodes a year) can be a problem. In such cases, further tests and assessment by a urologist may be recommended by your GP. Cystitis in males or complicated urine infections associated with heavy bleeding or other concerning
symptoms may also warrant a specialist opinion. The urologist will usually arrange an X-ray and ultrasound scan of the urinary tract to look for any underlying predisposing cause e.g. kidney stones or prostate enlargement, and to assess how well the bladder empties. In addition, a camera inspection of the inside of the bladder (known as a cystoscopy) may need to be performed under local anaesthetic.
How to prevent cystitis There are a number of self-help lifestyle measures that your GP and urologist can help you with e.g. maintaining a high fluid intake, regular and complete bladder emptying every 2–3 hours, urinating immediately after sexual intercourse, wiping from front to back after going to the toilet and using just water or unfragranced soap to clean the genital area. Avoid wearing tight, synthetic underwear. In some patients certain foods or fluids can trigger cystitis e.g. spicy food, coffee and alcohol. Taking cranberry juice or tablets has been shown to help with prevention of recurrent cystitis. Troublesome, recurrent cystitis can also be managed with either standby self-start antibiotics that the patient keeps at home or a prolonged period (3–6 months) of a low dose of antibiotic. In sexually active women, taking an antibiotic immediately after intercourse can be very effective prevention. Your urologist will advise on the best antibiotic regimen for you. Miss Rashmi Singh is a Consultant Urological Surgeon who has clinics at St Anthony’s on Friday mornings. Her special interests are urinary tract infections, kidney stone disease (including keyhole and laser surgery), urinary and prostate disorders, bladder pain and incontinence problems. Miss Singh has extensive experience in this area. After consultation she arranges investigations as needed and then a treatment plan tailor made to fit in with her patient’s lifestyle. If you would like to find out more about Miss Singh or to make an appointment please call us on 020 8337 6691 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contracts Sent by Email or Snail Mail? The members of the Bold Legal Group (BLG) recently debated the pros and cons of sending contract packs by post/DX or email. To say the debate was hot and divisive would be an understatement! The debate began with this little spat between a BLG member firm and a non BLG member firm: • “We do not accept legal papers by email; if you wish to adopt this practice you should have the courtesy to check and agree with us first.” • “Can I take this opportunity to welcome you into the 21st century - nearly all firms are now communicating by email and have been doing for some time. The days of firms using snail mail are now nearly gone. Please print the emails, review the legal title and progress matters.”
The first responses through were mainly pro email, with a few provisos: • “I encourage firms to send documents by email and often read simple sets of papers on screen and raise enquiries without having anything printed out. We have equipped all of our staff with dual screen PCs to assist them in working paper light and having the documents within our case management system means we are able to report to our clients electronically and deal with many telephone enquiries without having to get the paper file out (particularly useful and cost saving when files are already archived).” • “Irrespective of who is right, any prudent conveyancer would be looking to receive a letterhead from the firm acting, especially from an unknown firm. The volume of documentation is important. We recently received a contract pack by email and when a junior member of staff had printed everything off, it transpired all ten attachments had been duplicated!”
Then came the cons: • “It’s a myth it is more efficient to email contracts. In the “bad old days” the time was spent photocopying the documents. Now the same time spent copying them is spent scanning them plus all the additional time spent printing them and transferring them to a case management system.
Sending by post: 20 mins copying; job done. Emailing: 20 mins scanning, 20 mins printing and stapling and sorting out copier jams, etc, plus another 10 mins getting them properly organised in the case management system. We’re in a profession that sells time, it is staggering that people overlook all the additional time it actually takes to email documents.” • “Email has been around 20 years, sending pdfs by email is nothing new. I am against electronic dispatch of contract packages. Far too time consuming to print, and print a conveyancer must – you won’t get an interview to join my Team if you read off screen.” • “I received a contract pack yesterday via three separate emails and 40 pdfs, using two .zip folders. I wouldn’t normally insist on hard copies, but it would take the best part of a morning to collate and print them and I prefer to read large documents (e.g. lease) in hard copy. On requesting papers by post I was accused of delaying the transaction and if I won’t accept the email papers they will tell their client to re-market! I have explained the situation to my client and suggested I can “back down” but it would cost him for my additional unforeseen time in printing/collating etc. One more rebuttal and he’ll probably just swallow the cost and tell me to get on with it, but this hardly seems fair!”
I understand everyone’s frustration, but aren't the cons simply trying to hold back the inevitable with computers and IT? Surely, one day, paperless will come and now is the time to embrace it? Finally came the voices of reason:
procedures to the particular transaction. There is not a one size fits all solution. For example, if sending contracts by email is going to involve a lot of scanning of documents that for some reason the seller’s conveyancer would not otherwise be scanning onto their electronic file, then that is clearly not a suitable case for emailing the contract pack. However, where documents have been prepared or received electronically so are already downloaded on computer with only one or two small documents to be scanned, then it is much more efficient to send them by email. In either case I don’t think there is any excuse for sending shoddily prepared, unchecked documents.” • “When sending anything by email it is worth considering what the recipient is going to need to do with it. If it is inevitable they will have to spend hours printing attachments then email may not be the best medium. On the other hand there may be distinct advantages to sending electronic copies in some cases.”
My view is that there is no authority or code, we have to try to agree one between ourselves. If an agreed protocol said something like “draft contracts and supporting documentation shall be submitted by either post/DX/email unless the parties agree otherwise at the outset of a transaction”, that should help resolve matters. This issue is not going away anytime soon, what do you think? Feel free to send me your comments, or raise any questions you may have about the Bold Legal Group. Rob Hailstone, email@example.com
• “Having carefully considered all views, they all seem to come down on one side or the other, it seems to me that what we actually need to be doing is adapting our Surrey Lawyer 31
Getting Engaged The good, the bad and the future of digital interaction with government. by Sally Danby, Product Manager, Advanced Legal
ive years ago, the government responded to a report by the then UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox by declaring that public services should be provided digitally by default. The Government Digital Service (GDS) leads the digital transformation of UK government, with a digital by default remit. Increasingly we expect everything to be available online. Already much of how we interact with the taxman either is or can be online. Other Government departments and agencies are catching up, with varying levels of success.
The good GDS has recently come to the end of its initial period during which a number of exemplars were tasked with introducing a digital service, the GDS reported that Register to Vote saw 4.3 million registrations. Your tax account has 1.5 million users. More than 70,000 drivers view their licence information online each month and Renew a patent online has seen a digital take-up of 94%. In fact, a record-breaking 469,000 people registered to vote online in one day for the 2015 general election - as the deadline closed on 20 April. The online Lasting Power of Attorney service went from no online presence to 15% of LPAs created using the online service and a 90% satisfaction rating for this brand new service in 18 months. A fantastic result considering the average age of a person making an LPA is 80 years old.
The bad Contrast that good news with the experience of Legal Aid lawyers trying to get to grips with CCMS, which becomes mandatory from February next year. The Legal Aid agency say “CCMS is an online system for civil and family legal aid providers and others assigned to work on their cases”. The Legal Action Group say 32 Surrey Lawyer
“although some £31m of public money has been spent on CCMS over the past three years, it is not a bespoke product, designed to meet the needs of providers or clients”. Some reports put a much higher figure on the cost. At its recent conference Jo Edwards, chair of the family group Resolution said “the system continues to be unstable… users can’t keep a record of what they’ve actually submitted… it is so slow, it can take 3 times as long as the paper process.” The similarly beleaguered Rural Payments Agency (RPA), an executive agency of DEFRA, spent £154 million on a mandatory digital basic payments scheme, but due to significant ‘performance problems’ reverted to paper forms. A select committee criticized the agency for not paying enough attention to the needs of the users. The system features a painfully slow digital mapping tool, with a high proportion of users based in areas with no broadband access. There are other examples, the public Accounts Committee chair investigating the project for a new GP data system said “Failed government IT projects have long been an expensive cliché and, sadly for the taxpayer and service user, this is no exception”.
The future It is telling that the projects showing broad success have been built in an agile way. Small teams supported by GDS releasing iterations of their solutions, with real users trying it out along the way. Compare this to the big spend, big bang projects like CCMS and RPA basic payment scheme where little to nothing is seen until significant cash has been spent. Returning to the speech made by Jo Edwards, she said “My message to the Legal Aid Agency today is simple - just because something works for you, doesn’t mean that it works.”
GDS recently looked back over the last two years’ transformation. They emphasised User needs, not government needs. “We’ve done it by putting the user needs first.” The difference might be something already well understood by those who sell digital services to customers - rather than mandating its use, the key is user engagement. It isn’t possible to build the right digital service without working closely with those who will use the service. And that doesn’t mean providing updates and presentations about what you are building, it means working with users on every step of the journey. It also means embracing the fact that customers come in all forms. A good system will take all stakeholders into account. For this to work it needs users to get involved. We are all busy, but think of the often used argument for voting: if you don’t take part, can you really complain that you don’t like the outcome? Remember that new recruits coming into your business may well be the most experienced tech users you have and will be well placed to embrace these changes. Smart businesses harness that baked-in enthusiasm for the digital world, in preference to introducing them to the older kit that is still a familiar sight in some offices (try showing anyone under 25 a fax machine!). Whilst the digital strategy is sold as bringing lots of benefits in our interaction with government, the cost savings that can be delivered are huge. The original strategy predicted over £1.7billion savings each year. It is clear this drive will only increase pace, and businesses need to be ready to make their own processes fit efficiently with the increasingly digital world. Don’t only react when this strategy affects your business, get involved early and benefit from the move to digital. n
Are you being sold short? Short-form proposal forms are just one tactic brokers and insurers might employ to retain your business at renewal. Whilst short form proposal forms may save you time, do they save you money?
Why detail is important Underwriters love detail, the more they have, the more assured they feel when making a decision. The less information they have, the more likely they are to charge a higher price because the business they are insuring is not known to them. This is to a lesser extent when it comes to renewing a client’s policy for the obvious reason that they are a known entity. Full proposal forms are the best way to way to achieve competitive terms as they give insurers the most comprehensive overview of a firm’s business.
Being sold short When a broker or insurer tells a firm they can work off a short-form proposal form, what they are unlikely to tell you is that this will only be fitfor-purpose where their current insurer is concerned. This means they are only likely to receive only one renewal offer. While the broker might claim this is the most competitive price they have sourced, it is unlikely that this has been benchmarked.
We would suggest not simply relying upon a short-form proposal form to obtain the best terms, but also invest your time in completing a market standard proposal form, such as Chancery Pii’s which is available and stored online meaning at subsequent renewals the information simply needs up-dating, or the Law Society’s common proposal form which can be used to obtain alternative quotations.
Ask the question If your broker has advised that a short-form proposal form will suffice, think long and hard as to whether the saving in time equates to saving money on your renewal. Simply ask your broker the question as to whether the information is sufficient to obtain the best terms in the market or request a standard proposal form.
The managing general agent model
• We do not accept submissions from brokers meaning we can always offer an alternative • Our panel of markets is unique to this sector allowing us to offer genuinely alternative quotes • Our pricing structure is based solely around the experience of the 1 to 4 partner segment We realise however that completing proposal forms in full multiple times can be a painful process and for that reason we are accepting existing proposal forms for this renewal season. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mark Carver, of Chancery Pii
Chancery Pii is a managing general agency backed by a panel of A+ rated insurers on behalf of whom we write business. There are several benefits to this approach: • We are backed by the financial strength of several insurers instead of just one • Although our panel has not changed since we launched, if a single insurer did decide to exit the market, our security is not remotely compromised
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25 daily habits that are killing your productivity by Chad Halvorson
Extract from original article, first published on Citrix Interaction Blog 30th April 2015 Some days it seems almost impossible to be productive. There are beeps and buzzes coming from your phone and calendar notifications on your laptop for upcoming meetings. In order to be more productive during the day, try removing these 25 daily habits that are killing your productivity. 1. Making too many to-do lists
10. Getting the wrong amount of sleep
19. You don’t leave on your “breaks”
Making a to-do list is a great idea. Making an overly detailed and itemised to-do list that is impossible to complete is selfdefeating. When you spend more time on planning and thinking about how to be productive, you will never actually be productive.
Sleeping too little or too much can work against your productivity. The right amount of sleep brings clear headedness and the energy to do the work.
If it’s lunch break, eat away from your desk. If it’s your 15 minute break during the afternoon, get out of the office. The whole point of a break isn’t that you merely switch what you are doing, but that you also take a break from the geography of the work. If you think skipping breaks throughout the day helps you get more done, think again: breaks wake you up and help you form new thought patterns.
2. Eating a lot of sugar Weird, but true: the more sugar you consume, the more tired and foggy-headed you’ll feel. The same could be said for energy drinks and coffee. These things are not giving you more energy in the long run. Instead, they are robbing energy from the next hour for the moment.
3. Not moving enough “Sitting is the new smoking” has become the modern mantra, and office workers everywhere are finally realising that not moving during the day is doing their health no favours. Move around. Wake up. Stretch. Walk. Go up and down the stairs. You’ll more than make up the time.
4. Excelling at multitasking You cannot multitask. It doesn’t matter if you think you can. The truth is that you can’t. The truth is that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40 percent. It brings out the worst in you, and the quality of your work.
5. Doing your most important work later We’re not talking about procrastination - that’s clearly not productive. This is in reference to the time of day that you do your work. Mornings are the most productive time, when your head is clearer and your energy higher. Do the tough, important work right away.
6. Checking your phone Our mobile phones have turned us into little more than glorified Pavlovian dogs. Every beep, wiggle, or flashing light has us stopping in the middle of everything to see what’s new. Mute your phone when you’ve blocked out specific times to work on specific things. Keep your phone away from your bed (see #10). Otherwise, your phone is turning you into a “multitasker” and you know where that gets you.
7. Turning on browser notifications Turning off your browser and OS notifications is a must. Knowing that someone just tweeted to you might sound like great social media help, but unless your job is social media management, you don’t need to know immediately.
8. Attending too many meetings How many meetings that you are asked to attend really require you to be there? Pointless meetings should be avoided at all costs. It’s tough to do this when the boss insists you be there, but make an attempt to bring him or her around to your view or, at the very least, reject meeting requests that you know are not necessary.
9. Ignoring the triage approach Triage is an approach to work that identifies which things must be done, and which things can be put off for later. Being productive doesn’t mean doing everything. It means doing the most important things. Make a list of your goals. Circle the top five. You now have two lists: must-complete, and avoid-at-all-costs. The latter, even if they are good goals, will get in the way of your top goals.
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11. A manual approach all the way Technology can be your friend. Let it help you, by automating those tasks that you don’t need to waste time doing. Have your bills paid automatically. Schedule messages for your social media. Really think through the little black holes in your day’s time and find places where an automated system could do the same.
12. You never say no The word “yes” is not your friend. Say no more than you say yes. Saying “no” is not about being cruel. It’s about understanding what you are capable of and refusing to do anything less than your best work at all times.
13. Perfection is a goal In your pursuit of excellence, have you let perfection become a god? You cannot be perfect, and if perfection is a goal you’ll waste tons of time bemoaning and reliving those times when you “failed.” Let doing your best, constant learning, and improvement be your goal.
14. Micromanaging all the way As wonderful as you may think you are, the team members that you manage are equally capable. That’s why they were hired, isn’t it? If micromanaging is how you manage, you’re taking on not only your work, but everyone else’s. Learn to delegate work that others could do, trusting them to do it.
15. You’re oblivious to how you’re doing It pays to analyse and track your own progress once in a while. Do you have a way to measure your time and how long it takes to complete various projects? You should. How else will you know where you need improvement?
16. You fret over every decision Most decisions are simple ones, completely unimportant in the scheme of things. Should you have the mocha or the chai latte? It doesn’t really matter, does it? Practice the art of decision by making decisions without over-thinking.
17. You’ve given yourself too many choices One reason you might be struggling is because you have too many choices. Simplify your life so that you have less to decide in a given day. You don’t want to burn out your decision-making ability before you get to the office, do you? Remove the excess choices you’ve allowed into your life, whether it be your wardrobe, your transportation, or what you eat for breakfast.
18. You work longer hours Surely working more will make you more productive, right? Nope. Working longer hours is the same as never moving away from your desk: you bring about fatigue. And fatigue always, always, always works against your productivity. Instead of working a 50+ hour workweek, break up your work week into blocks and focus on specific projects during specific blocks of time.
20. Lacking a system or routine You need to create a system or routine that you naturally fall back on that helps you chug along and work. Whether through the tools you use or how you use them, or the way you break up your day and manage your time, find a routine that is built solidly on good habits. This personal system won’t just magically create itself. You must create it and turn it into a habit.
21. Using the wrong tools When you are at work, you might not have much say in the kinds of tools you need to use. Can you find a tool that lets you attack the work assigned to you? Can you use integrations (such as Zapier) between apps to connect your preferred tool to the others? Find the tool that works for you. Integrate the others to cut down on excessive logins and tools that don’t communicate.
22. Working with the TV on If you work from home, the TV is not your friend. Even listening to music can be distracting, particularly if the music has words. It seeps into your consciousness and can waylay your productivity ever so gradually. Headphones that cancel noise, white noise, or soft wordless music can help if you are in an open office setting.
23. Not starting with a plan While an overactive to-do list is a bad thing, you should at least head into the week (and even the day) with a plan of attack. Starting the day and the week without a plan on how it looks and should look is how you accomplish nothing.
24. You don’t want to learn anything new Learning something new doesn’t mean you’ll always be saddled with new responsibilities. Yet that fear keeps some people from pursuing new knowledge, happily slopping around in what they’ve always known and done. With new knowledge comes the opportunity to do things differently and to make connections you would have been unable to before.
25. You are a self-punisher Lastly, you waste a lot of energy punishing yourself for a lack of productivity. If you missed the productivity boat one day, you can start over tomorrow. Berating yourself and starting a new day behind the curve and with personal guilt will only keep you behind perpetually.
You can read Chad Halvorson‘s full article at on the Citrix website at http://ow.ly/RVAnp
Surrey Law Society Official Magazine - Autumn 2015