Surrey Lawyer July 2022

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■ S LAPPS ■ Practical Points to Increase Profitability ■ Imposter Syndrome


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PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey

Contents 05

SALES DIRECTOR Karen Hall STUDIO MANAGER Lee Finney MEDIA No. 1910 PUBLISHED Summer 2022 © The Surrey Law Society Benham Publishing Ltd. 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.


Copy Deadlines 23rd SEP 2022 (For OCT 2022) 9th DEC 2022 (For JAN 2023) Advertising Anyone wishing to advertise in Surrey Lawyer please contact Catherine McCarthy before the copy deadline. 0151 236 4141 Editorial Anyone wishing to submit editorial for publication in The Surrey Lawyer please contact Helen Opie before the copy deadline. 0333 577 3830

17 Events 20 10 practical points

22 SLAPPs 27 Reports 33 New guide tackles

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 members 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.

COVER INFORMATION Photo of Clive Anderson: © Steve Ullathorne

& Inclusion

for fee earners to increase profitability

DISCLAIMER The Surrey Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation.

Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.

05 President’s Jottings 06 Training & Events 07 CEO Report 08 Local News 14 Equality, Diversity

lack of empathy in law firms

34 How to burn brighter 22 34

than your Imposter Syndrome

37 Why words still matter

38 Opportunities for

solutions away from the Family Court

39 10 local authorities

with the most recorded landfill sites

Follow us on social media @SurreyLawSoc @surreylawsociety SURREYLAWYER | 3


KEY OFFICERS President MADELEINE BERESFORD TWM Solicitors LLP, 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel: 01483 752742 Email: Hon. Secretary KIERAN BOWE Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishops Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1QN DX 31546 Kingston upon Thames Tel: 020 8541 2041 Fax: 020 8541 2009 Email: Hon. Treasurer CLAUDENE HOWELL Owen White & Catlin LLP, 74 Church Road, Ashford, Middlesex TW15 2TP T: 01784 254188 E: COMMITTEE MEMBERS NICK BALL TWM Solicitors LLP, 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel: 01483 752700 Email: CARINA BRITS Palmers Solicitors, 89-91 Clarence Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1QY Tel: 020 8549 7444 Email: MARALYN HUTCHINSON Kagan Moss & Co, 22 The Causeway, Teddington TW11 0HF Tel: 020 8977 6633 Fax: 020 8977 0183 Email: RACHEL PHILIP S. Abraham Solicitors, 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: GERARD SANDERS Hart Brown, Resolution House, Riverview, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4UX DX 2403 Guildford 1 Tel: 01483 887704 Fax: 01483 887758 Email:


JAMES SCOZZI Elite Law Solicitors, 1 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BR DX: 14 London Chancery Lane Tel: 020 3440 5506 Fax: 01923 219416 Email: LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEMBERS SUSHILA ABRAHAM S Abraham Solicitors 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: ALASTAIR LOGAN Pound House, Skiff Lane, Wisborough Green, West Sussex RH14 DAG Email: Chief Executive & Magazine Editor HELEN OPIE Surrey Law Society, c/o Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishop’s Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN Web: Tel: 0333 577 3830 Email: SUB-COMMITTEES CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW Rachel Philip Carina Brits Maralyn Hutchinson Ema Jones Martin Whitehorn EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Emma Patel Tom Brook Victoria Clarke Alastair Logan Amber Matheson Emma Patel James Scozzi FINANCE Claudene Howell Nick Ball Maddie Beresford Kieran Bowe Helen Opie

PRIVATE CLIENT Kieran Bowe Maddie Beresford Karen Grimm Jess Buttaci QUO VADIS Claudene Howell Nick Ball Maddie Beresford Kieran Bowe James Scozzi Helen Opie SOCIAL Madeleine Beresford Claudene Howell Daphne Robertson Gerard Sanders Helen Opie Kim Wintle SURREY JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION Martin Whitehorn (Chair) Alice Barrett Sapphira Gold Victoria Batstone Katrina Burrows Adele Edwards Amber Matheson Kate Lewis Chloe Wallington Alexandra Milson Tabitha Lee Kim Wintle Sonay Erten William Smith-Brix James Fry Nedra Daniel Grace Butler Bethany Walker Seema Gill Email: LinkedIn: young-surrey-lawyers Instagram: jld_surrey Twitter: @YSL_Live / @SurreyJLD


President’s Jottings SUMMER 2022

Madeleine Beresford


am delighted to be taking over the role of President of Surrey Law Society, although we were sorry to say goodbye to the outgoing President Mumtaz Hussain, who after 12 months has stepped down. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mumtaz for her contribution to SLS, in particular the creation of SLS’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, which she chaired throughout her time as President. The EDI Committee is going from strength to strength to make sure that we are proactively encouraging a diverse profession, as well as making sure that the industry is an inclusive space for all those within. I was pleased to attend a session run by Sally Brett, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the Law Society to see how local law societies can work together to make sure that our profession reflects the community it serves. Please keep an eye out on SLS’s social media pages for news from the EDI Committee. About me To introduce myself, I have been a committee member of SLS since 2018. I am a Private Client solicitor at TWM in Guildford, having qualified in 2016. Before joining SLS I chaired the Surrey JLD (then Young Surrey Lawyers). I grew up in Surrey, and I live in Woking with my husband and our two-year-old, Lucas. Plans for the year ahead There is no doubt that the last few years have been challenging in many respects, and those challenges are far from behind us. It is my hope that at SLS we can continue to serve the legal community, representing our members in both local and national discussions. Please feel free to get in touch with me if there is anything we can support you with. I am looking forward to attending a Counties Society Group meeting later this month, and discussing the possibility of a Westminster visit with an opportunity for a discussion with Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, and I will provide a feedback on this as soon as I have it.

During my term I hope to focus on the following: Growing and strengthening the SLS committee, including stronger links with the Surrey Junior Lawyers Division. Having come to SLS via Surrey JLD I can really see the value in being involved early in your career; Changes in how SLS operates to reflect the changing nature of the industry and its members; Linking junior members of the profession with mentors who are prepared to offer their time; and Strengthening relationships with other local law societies. I was honoured to attend Kent Law Society’s awards ceremony in May and it was good to welcome their President Nick Fairweather and his team, to our Daytona Past President’s Go-carting Championship in June. Charity It is also my privilege to choose a charity for my Presidential term, and I am pleased to support The Samson Centre for MS, in Guildford. The Samson Centre is a small charity supporting those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis locally, offering physiotherapy, gym sessions and oxygen therapy. They are totally reliant on donations, so your support is really valuable. You can read more about The Samson Centre and the work the work they do here: Awards I am really looking forward to my term as President, and I look forward to meeting many of you hopefully, at the Surrey Legal Awards. The awards are taking place on 22nd September 2022 at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford. This is the fourth time the event has run, and following the success of previous years it promises to be a great evening, with guest speaker Clive Anderson. I hope to see you there.

Madeleine Beresford President



Training & Events Programme 2022 SEPTEMBER 2022


08.09 | 12:30 – 1:30pm | Webinar | Property MORTGAGE LENDING REQUIREMENTS FOR CONVEYANCERS Fiona Haggett and Chris Shute, Barclays UK Sponsored by Landmark Information Group


14.09 | 2:00 – 5:00pm | Course | Property LEASEHOLD CONVEYANCING AND LEASE EXTENSIONS: PROBLEM AREAS & SOLUTIONS Stephen Desmond 22.09 | 6:30pm – 00:00 am | Social | Social SLS LEGAL AWARDS 2022 The Mandolay Hotel, Guildford

OCTOBER 2022 05.10 | 12:30 – 1:30pm | Webinar | Family/PC COHABITATION CLAIMS & PROPERTY DISPUTES FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES – AN UPDATE FOR FAMILY & PRIVATE CLIENT LAWYERS Andrzej Bojarski, The 36 Group Sponsored by HFS Milbourne

TBC | TBC | Social | Management MANAGING PARTNERS’ EVENT Venue TBC 09.11 | 2:00 – 5:00pm | Course | PC TAXATION ISSUES IN ESTATES AND TRUSTS John Bunker, Irwin Mitchell Sponsored by Tower Street Finance 17.11 | 6:00 – 10:30pm | Social | Social AGM 2022 & LEGAL BRAIN OF SURREY QUIZ The Weyside, Millbrook, Guildford GU1 3XJ 23.11 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm | Webinar | Mental Wellbeing SUPPORTING SURREY - HAVING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS: HOW TO BUILD POSITIVE & STABLE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS Joanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image

12.10 | 2:00 – 5:00pm | Course | PC PRIVATE CLIENT UPDATE 2022 - A REVIEW OF CURRENT ISSUES IN PRIVATE CLIENT PRACTICE Professor Lesley King Sponsored by Chadwick Nott & Finders International

SLS PRICING Webinars & Workshops (1 hour): Member Fee: Free of Charge; Non-Member Fee: £15+VAT (including notes and a copy of the recording). Online Courses (2 hours): Member Fee: £50+VAT; Non-Member Fee: £100+VAT (including notes and a copy of the recording). Courses (3 hours): Member Fee: £95+VAT; Non-Member Fee: £180+VAT; Trainee/Student Fee: £40+VAT (including notes, refreshments and networking). All courses will be held at the TWM Offices, 65 Woodbridge Rd, Guildford GU1 4RD and will be subject to stringent COVID-19 safety procedures. Book with confidence While we hope that COVID-19 will not present any further issues with the delivery of our programme, if there should be an occasion where a session cannot take place due to the pandemic, we will transfer your booking to the revised date or an online alternative. Refunds will be provided if the course is cancelled.


Social Events & Awards: Details of fees will be announced with the invitations for each event. MEMBER OFFERS Buy one course (online or in-person) and get a second one of the same type half price Book one SLS Training course in 2022 and receive a second one at half the price. The two courses must be the same type of training and booked together. Season Ticket Book 4 or more courses (online or in person) and receive a 20% discount on those or any further courses booked in the same year. This offer does not apply to the Managing Partner’s Event or any other social events. To redeem an offer, bookings should be emailed to elaine@surreylawsociety., or call Helen on 0333 577 3830. For more information on all Surrey Law Society Training & Events, please visit ■


CEO Report SUMMER 2022 Helen Opie


t’s hard to believe that as I write this, we are almost halfway through the year. It doesn’t feel like much time has passed since Christmas, although it is nice to see the warmer temperatures and longer days. Thanks to the sunnier skies, Surrey Law Society members were able to enjoy a fantastic evening of racing at our Past President’s Championship Cup, which was held on the 16th June at Daytona Racetrack, Sandown Park. With 60 drivers, comprising 20 teams, taking part, this was certainly our best attended race yet. You can read a full report on the event later in the magazine, but, needless to say, great fun was had by all. In other news, we have recently released the shortlist for the SLS Legal Awards, which can be viewed overleaf. We were overwhelmed to receive so many nominations this year and I know that our shortlisters found their task extremely challenging. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all those who made submissions, it is so reassuring to see more and more people engaging with the programme every year, and of course, many congratulations to those who made the shortlist. The Awards Ceremony will take place at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford on the evening of Thursday 22nd September. This year, we are thrilled to welcome special guest speaker, Clive Anderson, who will also be our compère for the Awards ceremony. Clive is a barrister by training but is best known for being an award-winning and versatile, broadcaster and comedy writer, making him the perfect addition to the evening’s programme. We are also currently looking at other exciting additions to the event and hope to be sharing these with you very soon. We’re confident that this year will be our best yet, so don’t forget to visit the Awards website at https://awards. for all the latest news about the event and information on how to book. Away from events, we have been continuing our programme of training for members hosting a webinar on ‘Fire Safety and Cladding Issues for Residential Conveyancers’ and a Supporting Surrey session on ‘Burning Brighter than Your Imposter Syndrome’, as well as longer online courses on ‘Pensions and Life Policies in the Context of Estate Planning’ and ‘Crypto-Assets in Divorce & Separation’. We were also thrilled to resume our in-person training with a 3-hour course on ‘Maximising Family Wealth Through Efficient Tax Planning’ with the excellent Robert Jamieson MA FCA CTA. This was our first in-person course following the move to TWM Solicitors, and our new venue provided an excellent base in the heart of Guildford, and only a 10-minute walk from the station. Our next course, which will have taken place by the time you read this, is a ‘Residential Conveyancing Update’ given by David Keighley, and we are thrilled to have introduced a ‘Trainee and Student’ discounted fee for this, charging only £40 plus VAT for 3 hours of training. Moving forward, we will be offering this discounted rate on all our future training sessions to ensure that we are making the programme accessible to all members, irrespective of what stage they are at on their career path. And remember, our standard attendance rate is at its lowest ever, at just £95 plus

VAT, which we hope represents fantastic value for money for 3 hours of CPD, particularly when combined with one of our offers for multiple bookings. We are absolutely delighted that so many of you have processed your subscription renewal following the end of the membership year in March. This year, we have tried to ensure that you are receiving even more value for money with your annual membership by including new benefits such as access to the Law Firm Marketing Club webinar recordings, as well as offering a whole programme of our own free webinars. The average attendance at our SLS webinars has almost doubled since 2021, so we hope this gives a good indication that the programme is of interest. Don’t forget, that if you were unable to attend one of the webinars hosted so far, you can access this on our Vimeo channel, you just need to contact the SLS office, who will send you the relevant link and password. As we continue to improve the Society’s offering, I would like to mention the work of our main committee and sub-committees, who are instrumental in moving the Society forward and keeping us relevant. We are always looking for new people to join these groups, so if you are interested in helping shape the future direction of the Society, please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. No experience is required, and we try not to make any role overly time consuming, so if you think you could assist with the main committee, or one of our sub-committees (Private Client, Property, Social, or ED&I), then please do get in touch. As always, I would like to thank our patrons for their continued support of the Society, without which much of our activity would be impossible. They are: ■ Evelyn Partners (formerly HFS Milbourne) ■ Landmark Information Group ■ Howden ■ Tower Street Finance ■ Moneypenny

■ Chadwick Nott ■ Finders International ■ TWM Solicitors ■ Conscious Solutions ■ LawSure Insurance

It only remains for me to wish you a wonderful summer; I hope that those of you who have trips abroad planned have problemfree flights and anyone staying home will be enjoying sunny days and time away from the desk. ■

Helen Opie

Chief Executive & Magazine Editor T. 0333 5773830 E. @SurreyLawSoc @surreylawsociety Helen Opie (Chief Executive at Surrey Law Society) LinkedIn SLS Group SURREYLAWYER | 7


Say hello to the Prostate Project W

e are a volunteer-based charity helping to support world-leading prostate cancer research at the University of Surrey and world class treatment at the Stokes Centre for Urology at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Our fundraising efforts provided almost half of the £6 million that it took to build the Stokes Centre and today we continue to support vital work improving outcomes for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Stokes Centre for Urology was officially opened in 2019 and is now firmly established as a world-class facility for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, it is also a hub for research, with Prostate Project funding helping scientists and doctors working at other local hospitals and the University of Surrey to continue their life-saving work. Every penny raised by the Prostate Project is used to buy equipment, assist research or raise awareness of prostate cancer and the vital message for men aged 50 or over to get a PSA Blood Test, because the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of a more successful outcome. There are some stark facts about prostate cancer. ■ 12,000 men a year die from prostate cancer ■ 1 in 8 males will get prostate cancer ■ 1 in 4 black males will get prostate cancer ■ Men aged 50+, with a family history or black men are most at risk ■ The largest killer cancer among men ■ Early Diagnosis = Better Prognosis


But, if caught early enough, it’s one of the most curable forms of cancer that there is, and just to put every man’s mind at rest, we have moved on from the old-fashioned ‘finger up the you know where test’, nowadays, the best way to find out is with a simple blood test, called the PSA. Early stage prostate cancer is often symptomless, which is why having the PSA test is so vital, and it is exactly why the Prostate Project is raising the £200,000 necessary to buy, equip and help operate a mobile PSA Blood Testing Clinic. The mobile testing unit will be used to visit workplaces, sporting venues and outdoor events, raising awareness of prostate cancer and providing a clinical environment for men over the age of 50 to take their simple PSA blood test. Operated by the NHS, and working with the Surrey & Sussex Cancer Alliance, the mobile unit will provide access to testing for lower income groups, minorities and individuals that are unable to make a GP appointment. It will also address a situation caused by COVID which has resulted in over 3,000 fewer referrals in Surrey and Sussex for suspected prostate cancer. For more information about the Prostate Project and to see how you can help raise funds for the Mobile PSA Testing Clinic, please visit and if you are over 50, have a family history of the disease or are black, there’s no need to wait for the Unit, just contact your GP to discuss having a PSA blood test. ■


Charles Russell Speechlys appoints Sally Ashford to Head of Guildford office and promotes Richard Flenley to Partner Sally Ashford


harles Russell Speechlys has announced the appointment of Sally Ashford as the new Head of Guildford Office. The announcement was made alongside the firm’s annual promotions to partner and senior associate level which included Richard Flenley, specialist in real estate disputes, also from the Guildford office, promoted to Partner. Sally Ashford, who joined the firm in Guildford over 26 years ago, has headed up the non-contentious Private Client team since 2012 and was instrumental in the successful launch and subsequent significant growth of the Family Business specialist team. In addition to her expertise in advising high net worth individuals and family business owners in relation to their estates and family succession planning, Sally has considerable experience in capacity work and the court of protection. Sally takes over from Duncan Elson who has headed up the Guildford office for the last twenty years. Duncan stepped down from this management role as of 1 May 2022 but continues as a Partner leading the Guildford Private Wealth Disputes team, advising in relation to contentious trusts and estates. Richard Flenley, who joined the firm in 2012, is one of six individuals across Charles Russell Speechlys nationally to have been promoted to Partner. Richard is a commercially focused disputes lawyer specialising in real estate and infrastructure disputes, with clients ranging from major international companies to small businesses and individuals.

Duncan Elson, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys: “These promotions are extremely well deserved and reflect the expertise and continued growth of Charles Russell Speechlys in Guildford. It has been a huge privilege to have headed up the Guildford office for over 20 years, but the time has come for me to step down from this role. I am delighted that Sally Ashford, who has been a very valued colleague in the Guildford office for many years, has been appointed to take over the reins. Her reputation for excellence has helped the firm with significant growth and she is widely respected by our clients as well as our teams locally, nationally and internationally. I look forward to working with and supporting her in her new role and I also congratulate Richard, Aidan, Sophie and Lauren on their promotions.” Sally Ashford, Partner and Head of Charles Russell Speechlys’ Guildford office: “With Duncan at the helm, Charles Russell Speechlys in Guildford has experienced significant growth and become recognised as one of the leading law firms for business and private clients in the South East, with a reputation for a considered and personal approach and a team of highly talented lawyers. “I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Head of the Guildford office as we continue to invest in our teams and deliver exemplary service to our clients across a broad range of areas including corporate, family, property, litigation, employment, construction and private client work. We have ambitious plans for further growth, and I look forward to playing an even greater role in the firm’s expansion.” ■

In addition to Sally Ashford and Richard Flenley’s promotions, three lawyers from Charles Russell Speechlys’ Guildford office have been promoted to Senior Associate. These are: Aidan Welton (Real Estate); Sophie Lockwood (Employment, Pensions and Immigration); and Lauren Clarke (Tax, Trusts and Succession). SURREYLAWYER | 9


Community Call Out S

outh West London Law Centres helps people uphold their everyday rights, by providing free and low-cost legal advice on social justice issues including housing, employment, debt, benefits, asylum and immigration. Since their first establishment in the early 1970s, law centres have been proudly rooted in the communities they serve, striving to reach all those who need assistance, and shaping their services to meet the needs of local people. A new research project, spearheaded by South West London Law Centres and in part funded by the Community Foundation for Surrey, will map the provision of, and need for, free and low-cost legal advice in Surrey and Kingston to help ensure the needs of those communities are met. Eve Rogers, SWLLC’s Community Engagement Manager for Surrey said, “we are excited by the opportunity to learn from our neighbours and colleagues across Surrey. Law Centres occupy an exciting position in the struggle for social justice, providing legal representation and advice for those in need, and working collaboratively on campaigns to achieve real social change locally and beyond.” “With insights from those living and working in Surrey we’ll be able to map out the different projects already fighting to improve access to justice and continue to build a network of the people we serve.” As part of the project, in May 2022, SWLLC launched a ‘Community Consultation,’ in the form of a survey. The consultation is open to residents of Surrey and Kingston, and those who currently work in legal advice provision in the region. The insights and contributions will help create a network of the existing services and direct responses to current community need.


The survey will take 3-5 minutes to complete and can be accessed online by scanning the QR code. Just point your smart-phone camera at the code pictured, or alternatively access it online at: Please share it with your networks, to help reach more people and ensure the voices of the community are heard. If you have any questions, or would like the survey posted to you, translated or in a more accessible format, contact Eve at org, or 020 8208 5735. ■


Kirsty Bowyer, William Warnock, Louise Campbell

Three new partners among string of promotions at Moore Barlow S

A further 11 lawyers across the firm have been promoted to associate and senior associate.

Kirsty Bowyer, who began her legal career with the firm as a trainee solicitor more than 10 years ago, has been promoted to partner in the corporate team. Kirsty specialises in advising entrepreneurial businesses with mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate finance and reorganisations, fundraising, flotations and takeovers. Her promotion sees her become the firm’s first female corporate partner.

Ed Whittington, Managing Partner at Moore Barlow, said: “The post-pandemic landscape is littered with challenges that makes access to high-quality legal advice as important as it has ever been for both businesses and individuals. Our promotions this year demonstrate the strength in depth within our firm across our areas of expertise and the calibre of legal representation we offer to our clients.

Louise Campbell who joined Moore Barlow almost three years ago has been promoted to partner within the commercial property team. She qualified in 2007 and undertakes transactional property work for developers, lenders and owner/ occupiers along with all forms of landlord and tenant work for both landlord and tenant.

“Investing in our people is absolutely fundamental to our business model. We’re committed to providing our team members with the opportunities they need to progress in their careers, alongside a friendly, nurturing working environment where they feel empowered to provide first-class legal support.” ■

outh East-based law firm Moore Barlow has announced 14 promotions including three new partners.

The firm has also announced the promotion of William Warnock to partner in the commercial property team. William, who joined Moore Barlow in 2019, has a wealth of experience working with renowned developers and business owners dealing with complex land development and commercial property transactions. The three promotions take the overall number of partners at the firm to 70, 54 per cent of which are women.



© Will Aid

Surrey solicitors called on to support communities through ongoing crises Will Aid Campaign Director, Peter de Vena Franks


urrey solicitors are being called on to support those suffering through ongoing hardships such as the costof-living crisis and the war in Ukraine. Firms across the county are being encouraged to sign up to this year’s Will Aid campaign, an annual scheme raising money for nine of the UK’s most-loved charities. Running every November, Will Aid has so far raised more than £22million for ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire since its launch in 1988. Many of those charities are supporting people affected by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine, with the demand for their services continuing to increase post-COVID. Law firms participating in the scheme waive their fees for writing basic wills in return for a voluntary upfront donation to Will Aid, with moneys raised being shared among the nine charities. Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid, said: “These have been two very tough years for our partner charities and pressure is continuing to mount through the ongoing crises faced both here in the UK and around the world.

The suggested donation for people using a Will Aid solicitor is £100 for a basic will, or £180 for a pair of mirror wills. Firms taking part are introduced to new clients thanks to the scheme, many of whom need additional services on top of their basic will. Publicity support is also provided by Will Aid’s award-winning PR team, who help promote firms’ involvement with the local and national press – increasing their client reach. Larissa Bourgi, solicitor at Esher-based firm Audley Chaucer, said she would recommend other firms in the county to sign up to this year’s campaign. She said: “For our firm, Will Aid is all about connection – connecting and reaching out to the community and people around us – showing that we’re here to help. “Especially when we think about what we’ve all been through with the pandemic, it’s about showing our community that we’re here to help during the bad times and the good times. “Clients have definitely kept us in mind for other business and legal support they need, too.”

“Surrey solicitors played a fantastic role in last year’s campaign, helping us on our path to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to support good causes.

Celebrity supporters of the campaign include TV show host Graham Norton, Academy Award-winning actress Dame Judi Dench and ITV journalist Robert Peston, while the campaign has regularly been highlighted by financial guru Martin Lewis.

“Donating your time and expertise to Will Aid directly helps improve the lives of vulnerable people in the UK and around the world and highlights your firm’s commitment to community.

To sign up to Will Aid 2022 or express your interest, visit the Will Aid website, or contact the team directly, who will be happy to answer your questions. ■

“We have seen thousands of enquiries from people in the South East and it would be fantastic to see more firms from Surrey sign up and help transform the lives of those in need.”

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ational law firm Stevens & Bolton LLP has announced the appointment of James Waddell as its new Managing Partner. James, previously Head of Corporate and Commercial at the firm since 2015, succeeds Richard King, who has stepped down following a successful fiveyear tenure. Having started his career at a leading City firm, James joined Stevens & Bolton in 2001 and became a partner in 2007. James acts across a wide range of corporate, corporate finance and related regulatory work and is ranked as a leading corporate/ M&A lawyer in the Chambers UK directory. In tandem with this appointment, the firm has also announced a number of other changes to its senior leadership team, effective from 1 May. Keith Syson has been elected as Senior Partner, replacing Richard Baxter who has held the role for 10 years and continues as a partner in the corporate team. Sarah Murray replaces Jonathan Porteous as Head of the firm’s International Practice Group following Jonathan’s retirement from the partnership and Kate Schmit takes on the newly created role of Strategy Partner. The firm has also secured two competitive partner hires. Heidi Sawtell, after a 17-year career in the City as a corporate and regulatory lawyer and a three-year stint in-house advising the prudential regulator for banks and insurers, joins Stevens & Bolton as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice where she will focus on the insurance sector. Gareth Walliss, ex Principal Associate in Shoosmiths’ high-net-worth team, joins as a partner in the firm’s private client practice. Internally, Matthew Padian and Grace Parker-White have been promoted within the firm’s restructuring & insolvency and family practices respectively, bringing the total number of partners at the firm to 42. This round of partnership appointments and promotions is accompanied by a further 10 Managing Associate promotions and 9 Senior Associate promotions. Commenting on the news, James said: “I am very excited and proud to be taking over the managing partnership from Richard. The last five years have been an incredibly challenging time to run any business, and Richard has led our firm magnificently over that period. So, I am taking on the role while the firm continues to go from strength to strength and we have great ambition for our future growth and success. We have a strong market position as an independent, full-service firm outside London, offering quality and good value to our clients and a working environment in which our people can thrive.

James Waddell

Stevens & Bolton appoints new Managing Partner and adds four to partnership

It is also very exciting to be welcoming four new partners – Gareth, Grace, Heidi and Matthew – to our all-equity partnership, who will supplement our client offering and build on the strength in depth of our established teams. Congratulations also to our new Managing Associates and Senior Associates – further proof that the future is bright at Stevens & Bolton!” Outgoing Managing Partner, Richard King, added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Managing Partner at the firm – culminating in a particularly strong financial performance this year as we celebrate a return to normality after the pandemic. I am delighted to see James taking up the reins – he has led our market-leading corporate practice for the last seven years and is well placed to steer the firm to future success, supported by a strong leadership team. I wish them the very best of luck!”. ■



Post-Event Report from the Lawyers with Disabilities Division Summer Social By Martin Whitehorn


t was a delight to attend The Law Society’s Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD) Summer Social at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) on 15 June, which I will expand on in this article. As an autistic solicitor who has been involved with the LDD it was great to finally meet in person with LDD committee members and Law Society diversity leads who I had only met virtually before, and was relieved that I was not the only one peering at faces to try to discern whether they belonged to the same people I had talked to on screens during the lockdowns. The talks President of The Law Society I. Stephanie Boyce was the keynote speaker, who shared the news that Project Rise (more on that later) had had at least 7 more firms getting in touch with the LDD expressing their interest in getting involved. Peter Allen, Partner at Freshfields, was the next to talk, mentioning the firm’s disability confidence workshops and peer support network for its people, together with increasing outreach to disabled students, as among the initiatives that had earned the firm a place in the Valuable 500 as a disability-inclusive organisation. The event then proceeded to a series of fireside chats, with LDD committee member and diversity consultant Yazmin Sheikh interviewing Dame Fiona Woolf first, who emphasised the need for inclusive leadership to help disabled people develop our full potential. Readers may remember The Fiona Woolf Lecture in December last year, available on The Law Society’s online event recordings page, where she emphasised disability inclusion as perhaps the key part of what she wanted from her legacy. The subsequent fireside chats focused on what disabled 14 | SURREYLAWYER

lawyers have to offer to the profession. LDD committee member and solicitor at Penmans, Sanjay Solanki interviewed blind trainee solicitor Fraser Kane from Freeths LLP, who talked about software that helps him review documents quicker than many of his colleagues. This was followed by Freshfields knowledge lawyer, Reena Parmar, interviewing Mark Blois – Partner at Browne Jacobson heading its Education practice who was included in the Disability Power 100 in 2021 and The Lawyer’s Hot 100 in 2022 – who urged that organisations avoid the disability element of D&I being an afterthought, along with the need for visible role models for disabled lawyers. Both Reena and Mark are LDD committee members, and the conversation flowed easily, with another recommendation given being to ask disabled people what they need and listen to what they say. Reverse mentoring was also highlighted as a way senior lawyers can get to grips with the issues that disabled lawyers face. Afterwards I was glad to talk to some of the people outside of the LDD committee who are driving positive change for disability inclusion in law, for example Kim Crangle of Payne Hicks Beach who sits on the Employment Lawyers Association's training committee and has been spearheading making their events more accessible to disabled members. It was also a surprise and pleasure to see Junior Lawyers Division support at the event too, with Junior Lawyers Division chair Suzanna Eames and Junior Lawyer (0-6 years’ PQE) Law Society Council member Lizzy Lim attending, as was Aisling Hayward, chair of Hertfordshire Junior Lawyers Division.


How we got here In January 2020, Professor Debbie Foster of Cardiff University Business School and Dr Natasha Hirst launched the Legally Disabled? research report on the experiences of disabled people working in law, with another report being issued in 2021 on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to us: For years disabled lawyers had been aware of the struggles of my disabled friends and taken the opportunity to highlight the barriers to disabled people progressing through the legal profession. However, when the reports were released, it was shocking yet unsurprising at how eerily similar the report findings were to the experiences of disabled people in the profession. The reports add credibility to disabled people’s statements about their experiences as it provides evidence to support what we know anecdotally, encouraging the LDD and its members to speak up about these issues all the more. Employers wishing to improve accessibility can refer to the Law Society’s online guides on ‘Reasonable adjustments in organisations – best practice for disability inclusion’ which has examples of reasonable adjustments that organisations, both large and small, are currently providing their disabled employees, along with ‘Easy wins and action points for disability inclusion’. These draw from the “Legally Disabled?” reports with input from disabled lawyers.

time training positions (training contract does not seem the right word with the arrival of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination) for the current cohort of applicants. This initiative is not solely for disabled aspiring lawyers as there are candidates from a variety of backgrounds for whom not having the option to complete a part-time training position would be a significant barrier to becoming a solicitor. Participating firms benefit from regular meetings together to share their knowledge on providing part-time training positions, along with being able to draw on a wider array of talent. To try to obtain a part-time training position you should apply to one of the participating firms for a training position, ideally successfully completing a vacation scheme first so you can demonstrate that you are making an informed decision. Organisations looking to offer part-time training positions are encouraged to email: ■

Project Rise Project Rise is a scheme initiated by the LDD and supported by Aspiring Solicitors to encourage more part-time qualifying opportunities in law as a direct result of the findings in the 2020 “Legally Disabled?” report. Eversheds Sutherland and Osborne Clarke are the first firms to participate in the project in which they have committed to offering all successful candidates part-

Society Membership Membership details:

To apply for membership please contact:

Annual Subscriptions: Corporate Subscriptions: Solicitor: Solicitor: Honorary Membership: Associate Membership:

Helen Opie, Chief Executive Surrey Law Society c/o Russell-Cook Solicitors Bishop’s Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN Web: Email: Tel: 0333 577 3830

£98 per person, per year £1,850 per year (20+ fee earners) £60 (not in private practice) £35 (not practising) Free Free – no voting rights



Women would have to work from age 4 in order to have the same pension pot as men, new research reveals 1 in 6

women are currently ineligible for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension despite women’s employment rate being at its highest since records began (72.7%). This is leading millions to miss out on vital pensions saving and dramatically increasing their risk of pensioner poverty. A new report launched today by UK pension provider, NOW: Pensions, which has almost 2 million members and the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) shows that by the time women reach retirement age (65), they will have an average of £69,000 in their pension, £136,800 less than the average man, who will have saved £205,800 in the same period. While the average UK pension pot has almost doubled to £111,600, women’s savings have hardly increased at all. In fact, if inflation and the cost of living are taken into account, women are arguably in a worse position than before. With women living on average four years longer than men, women need to have saved more throughout their lifetime to accommodate a longer time in retirement and close the gender pension gap. Working, childcare and the COVID-19 pandemic Research shows the stark difference in working patterns between men and women throughout their careers. Just 27% of women work mostly full-time throughout their careers, compared to 45% of men. Women spend an average of 10 years away from the workforce to start families and care for children and relatives, contributing to both the gender pay and pensions gaps by presenting fewer opportunities for career progression and higher salaries. Over the past two years, working mothers have had to juggle work and caring responsibilities meaning that they are likely to have reduced their working hours or stopped working altogether. Over 5.8 million women are working in part-time roles (38%) which means they might not meet the £10,000 eligibility criteria to be automatically enrolled into their workplace pension. In fact, the average earnings for someone working part-time is £6,922. The spiralling cost of childcare is a hindrance to many working households as the cost of childcare now tops the average cost of a mortgage. Policies aimed at alleviating childcare responsibilities, in terms of both time and stress, could help to improve the labour market inequalities experienced by working mothers. 16 | SURREYLAWYER

Joanne Segars, Chair of Trustees at NOW: Pensions said: “It is now a decade since auto-enrolment was launched and it just proves what a powerful tool inertia has been to get over 10 million new savers into auto-enrolment. However, it is by no means a perfect picture as almost the same number of people (10.4 million) are currently ineligible. Women make up the biggest proportion of part-time workers in the UK and with reduced hours comes reduced pay. Millions of women have not been able to save via a workplace pension, nor take advantage of their employer contributions and the tax relief. Pension policies and regulations have not kept pace with how many of us now live and work, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we have been lobbying the government to fix these inequalities and enable ‘under-pensioned’ groups the same opportunity to build their retirement pot as others enjoy.” Anna Whitehouse, Author and founder of Flex Appeal, comments: “Flexible working is the number one way that we will close the gender pay gap. So, the idea that women are being penalised in later life by the gender pensions gap for working flexibly and therefore being able to work at all is exhausting. If women did not work flexibly and take on caring responsibilities, the economy would crumble. That this additional penalty is falling on women when they are at their most vulnerable is beyond cruel. We need to start supporting women; we need to level the playing field, and we need to start to close these gaps before things get any worse.” Joeli Brearly, Pregnant Then Screwed founder said: “We will only close the gender pension gap when women have equal access to the labour market. Our outdated parental leave system ensures that it is almost always women who take time out of the workforce to care for their children and this unequal share of the care work continues for many years. Meanwhile, we have the most expensive childcare in the world as a proportion of a mother’s earnings, resulting in hundreds of thousands of women reducing their hours or leaving the workforce altogether as it doesn’t make financial sense to continue working. If the Government were to invest in childcare and parental leave, we would undoubtedly see the gender pay gap and the gender pensions gap reduce, resulting in fewer women and families living in poverty.” ■


SLS Past President’s Championship Cup 2022 – The biggest and best yet!


n 16th June, Surrey Law Society members returned to the Daytona Raceway at Sandown Park for the 3rd Past President’s Championship Cup. Over 60 drivers, totalling 20 teams, battled it out to make the podium in this year’s 1.5-hour endurance race. It was bumper to bumper action from the start with so many on the track and there was no shortage of competitive spirit between all those who raced. In the end it was Gordons Koopa Troopas who triumphed, followed by Go Kart of Go Home, comprising drivers from SLS Patron Landmark Information, and in third, another Gordons team, Gordons Neat. This was a toughly fought contest between the 20 teams, with many different tactics deployed by our drivers to try and win the hotly contested trophy.

It wasn’t all about the racing though and those who came to spectate, enjoyed a delicious buffet of pulled pork baps and macaroni cheese, drinks and networking, whilst also listening to the commentary from the team at Daytona and enjoying a beautiful sunset over the track. The evening concluded with our podium presentation to the winners and a speech delivered by SLS President Madeleine Beresford.

This year, we were particularly pleased to welcome friends from Kent Law Society to the event, and were delighted that KLS President, Nick Fairweather, could join the fun. His team, the Kent Cruisers, came a very respectable 11th, a great result for their first time at the event.

A great evening had by all.

Kent Law Society President, Nick Fairweather with SLS President, Maddie Beresford.

As always, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the SLS patrons who sponsored this fantastic event, Evelyn Partners, Landmark Information Group, Tower Street Finance and LawSure Insurance. We would also like to congratulate Kyle Perreaux from Elite Law Solicitors who cracked the LawSure safe to win a bottle of champagne!

John Hutton-Attenborough and Alex Nieslen from SLS Patron, Evelyn Partners.



Thursday 22nd September 2022 The Mandolay Hotel, Guildford


SHORTLIST We are delighted to share with you the shortlisted nominations for the SLS Legal Awards 2022. The Surrey Law Society Committee would like to extend their sincere thanks to all members who made submissions this year, we were overwhelmed by the response and had a record number of entries.

1. LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR DMH Stallard LLP Howell-Jones LLP Peacock & Co Solicitors Nichols Marcy Dawson LLP Rosewood Solicitors Stevens & Bolton LLP

3. PRIVATE CLIENT LAWYER OF THE YEAR Annika Bell, Russell-Cooke LLP Caroline Foulger, TWM Solicitors Jade Gani, Meadows Ryan Solicitors Julie Man, Russell-Cooke LLP

5. PROPERTY LAWYER OF THE YEAR Michael Daniels, DMH Stallard LLP Charles Hylton-Potts, Peacock & Co Solicitors Ruben Perin, Taylor Rose MW Abiola Sealy, Taylor Rose MW

2. LAWYER OF THE YEAR Kate Doody, GBH Law Denise Herrington, GBH Law Emma Patel, Rosewood Solicitors Jade Quirke, Russell-Cooke LLP

4. DISPUTE RESOLUTION LAWYER OF THE YEAR Jonathan Compton, DMH Stallard LLP Scott Taylor, Moore Barlow LLP

6. EMPLOYMENT LAWYER OF THE YEAR Nick Hawkins, Charles Russell Speechlys Abigail Maino, DMH Stallard LLP



Victoria Clarke, Elite Law Solicitors Lauren Hall, Russell-Cooke LLP Niamh McCarthy, Stowe Family Law Grace Parker-White, Stevens & Bolton LLP Helen Worden, Blackfords LLP

Seema Gill, Howell-Jones LLP Tabitha Lee, GBH Law Amber Matheson, Moore Barlow LLP Bethany Walker, Moore Barlow LLP Chloe Wallington, GBH Law



9. PARALEGAL OF THE YEAR Justina Lukšaite, Blackfords LLP Alasdair Poole, Elite Law Solicitors Deanna Stephenson, Russell-Cooke LLP

10. SUPPORT TEAM MEMBER OF THE YEAR Ashley Burrow, Meadows Ryan Rebecca Carry, Peacock & Co Solicitors Kathryn Cotterill, GBH Law Marie Jackson, Meadows Ryan Pru Singer, Russell-Cooke LLP

BOOKING IS OPEN! Booking is now open for the SLS Legal Awards 2022 which will take place at the Mandolay Hotel Guildford on the evening of Thursday 22nd September 2022. The evening will see winners announced in the 10 award categories and all our shortlisted nominees recognised for their outstanding work in the past year. As usual, attendees will enjoy a drinks reception, exceptional 3-course dinner, and fantastic entertainment, including our special guest speaker Clive Anderson. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the exceptional work of the legal profession. This year, we are delighted to be offering an early bird rate for bookings made before Friday 29th July. Details on how to purchase tickets can be found at or by contacting Due to capacity limits at the venue, we don’t expect them to be available for long, so please don’t delay in reserving your space!

ABOUT CLIVE ANDERSON Clive Anderson is a barrister by training but is best known for being an award-winning and versatile, broadcaster and comedy writer. Winner of the British Comedy Award in 1991, Clive began his success during his 15-year law career with stand-up comedy and script writing, before rising to fame as the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on radio and then television. Clive went on to front ten series of his own show, Clive Anderson Talks Back on Channel 4 and four series of Clive Anderson All Talk on BBC 1. As well as presenting several other TV and radio programmes, he has made many guest appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, QI, Mock the Week, and The Bubble. Clive has been the unflappable host of live events and award ceremonies for BAFTA, the London Evening Standard Film Awards, the Chortle Awards and the Olivier Awards and has fronted other events and programmes ranging from the Proms to politics. In recent years, he has presented The Big Read and Maestro! on BBC 2. Clive has also presented a two-part series investigating China's Football Revolution, as well as being a regular contributor to The Footballs On on BT Sport. Clive hosted Whose Line Is It Anyway?...Live the official worldwide première at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 2015. Due to popular demand, the sold-out show returned to London Palladium for a limited run in 2016 and again to Royal Albert Hall in December 2018 to celebrate its 30th birthday with an exclusive run of three live festive shows. 2018 saw Clive, along with anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota, host Mystic Britain for showtime-owned Smithsonian Channel. The 10part series followed them travelling across the UK to explore ancient places and rituals, investigating the strange and sacred beliefs of Britain’s past with the help of scientists, archaeologists and historians. Clive took his first solo show Me, Macbeth & I to the fringe in 2019 to critical acclaim and a sold out run. He will take the show on the road, in debut tour across the UK. He writes for a variety of comedians, radio and TV programmes, for several national newspapers and magazines, hosts a variety of award ceremonies and continues to present Loose Ends and Unreliable Evidence (both BBC Radio 4). In 2021 Clive started his own podcast My Seven Wonders with Clive Anderson. The 18-part series saw Clive sitting down with famous guests and discussing their own personal Seven Wonders of the World. With no topic off limit, each guest guided Clive through the why, the how and the when of their seven passions.



10 practical points for fee earners to increase profitability (and avoid losing fees)


n the current civil litigation climate and, in particular, the imminent increase in Fixed Recoverable Costs for all cases valued at up to £100,000, it is more important than ever to maximise your return from work done and to avoid wasting time and losing costs. The intention of this article is to give you some practical (and hopefully simple) ways to achieve and / or avoid this. 1. Time recording I know this is boring and time consuming but hear me out! Let’s assume you work on 10 files a month. On each one you fail to record 12 minutes each month. Overall, that is 2 hours per month or 24 hours a year which = £3,024.00 as a Grade D fee earner on Guideline Hourly Rates. If your Grade A fee earner does the same that is at least £6,120. 00. Missing 12 minutes on each file every week changes these figures to £13,104.00 and £26,520.00! In other words, you are probably losing yourself and your firm a fortune! 2. Clerks / Secretaries / Assistants Think they are not fee earning? Think again! Most of the time they won’t be, but it is the nature of the work that makes it chargeable / recoverable, not who does it. Many conveyancing secretaries are actually conveyancing assistants and whilst 20 | SURREYLAWYER

Sue Nash

you are working on a fixed fee for conveyancing work, what if you have a civil litigation assistant that you trust to produce, send and check letters of authority (for example) or to collate documents for a brief to Counsel? [More about ‘collating’ below]. This is Grade D fee earning work and you are probably missing capturing it – see above for how much this could generate for you / your firm. 3. Collating / Sorting / Paginating / Copying Think none of this is chargeable? Once more, think again! The first two are – only the second two are not – and there is a precedent supporting this (Ahmed v Aventis Pharma Ltd (Rev 1) [2009] EWHC 90152 (Costs) (19 November 2009)). This leads to the more general point that it is important to use the correct words to describe the work done as some work is not recoverable Inter Partes and some is. A good example is ‘research’; if you are researching CPR or established precedents, then it is not (you are expected to know this, and it is built into your hourly rate) but if you are looking to find and then read a recent case which is relevant to the matter you are dealing with then it is. Likewise, reviewing a document is more likely to be recoverable than checking it.


4. Agents Following on from the last two points, if you read the Ahmed judgment you will see that if the work done by agents is fee earning work it can be recovered at your relevant hourly rate as profit costs. So, if your agent is charging you £50.00 per hour, you make a profit of at least £76.00 per hour (Grade D Guideline Hourly Rates) without ‘breaking sweat’! This is particularly important where you are paying a medical agency to sort and paginate medical records: the sorting / collating is fee earning, the paginating / copying is not so do ask them to split their invoice or at least give you a breakdown. Also, consider using Paralegal agents more! 5. Duplication / Reading in / Inter-fee earner discussions These are standard objections in most Points of Dispute and are often justified! In a ‘standard’ case, such ‘duplication’ of work cannot be justified as recoverable Inter Partes, the acid test being, was it necessary to progress the case or is it something you should know / know how to do anyway i.e., it is subsumed within your hourly rate. If it was necessary, then record the reason for it. For instance, why did two fee earners have to attend the client? There may well be a good reason (or there was one at the time) but unless you have recorded the reason you are going to struggle to recover the additional fee earner’s time. Likewise, on a handover of fee-earner; was this also a perfect / necessary time to review the matter to progress it? If so, the time (or at least some of it) may be recoverable but you need to have recorded this on the file. 6. Annual fee reviews Every client care letter contains the ability to review and increase the rates agreed with the client, usually annually. In my experience (35 years of it), less than 25% of the client firms I have worked with have actually done this or, rather, have failed to notify existing clients of any rises. For example, a case starts in 2018 with rates of, say, £250 / £200 / £175 / £125. The case finishes in 2022 by which time retainers for new clients are £300 / £250 / £200 / £135. You though are ‘stuck’ with the original rates and can only claim probably about 85%-95% of what you would have been able to charge / claim if you had simply let your clients know. Across the firm, that 5%-15% could represent thousands (or tens of thousands) of pounds of potentially lost revenue. 7. Delegation The conducting fee earner will recover time for considering and creating a bundle index or deciding on the enclosures to be sent to Counsel with instructions or a brief. However, they are unlikely to recover at their rate the collation of the bundle / documents. This is regarded as Grade D fee earning work. Likewise, sorting through and summarising medical records (where this is done in-house). Therefore, delegate this to a lower grade fee earner (ideally a D grade one) and if you do not have one then consider training an admin assistant to do this task. To avoid losing costs, instead spend those extra hours doing work that is recoverable at your grade. 8. Use of Counsel In the thousands of cases I have dealt with over my career, this is an issue which ‘divides the critics’. It is true that paying Counsel to draft pleadings is almost always cost effective – they will usually charge less than it would cost out at if you did it yourself (and, arguably, they may make a better job of it!). However, if you spend too long drafting the instructions, checking the draft pleadings and maybe amending them then you cannot always expect to recover all of that plus Counsel’s fee Inter Partes. Over reliance on Counsel (e.g. instructing them at every turn to advise on or draft offers and responses) will

have a knock-on effect on your hourly rate and / or grade of fee earner allowed by a Court. Use Counsel judiciously. 9. Counsel’s fees This is an altogether different point. You should always get a fee estimate for any work you wish to instruct Counsel to do and whilst we all have our preferred Counsel, it is often wise to ‘shop around’. Furthermore, the initial fee estimate will probably be like a hotel’s ‘rack rent’; reductions can almost always be negotiated! When it comes to paying Counsel, please do pay Counsel some of your payment on account when received but do not pay Counsel’s fee(s) in full. If you get a 50% payment on account, then pay them 50% at the same time. If you have paid them in full, then your costs representative cannot later negotiate a reduction in his / her fee(s). Paying their fees in full will mean a corresponding reduction in your net profit costs recoverability. 10. Use your Costs Specialists! A shameless plug but we / they are almost always cost effective and most of our work can be included in a claim for costs Inter Partes so we / they are costs neutral. This can help avoid you losing income by: A dvising on retainers to ensure that you can recover your fees against your client and therefore Inter Partes where there is an order Drafting your budgets so that they accurately record your incurred work (thus avoiding recovery problems on assessment) Working with you on forecast costs to avoid under budgeting Helping you avoid that worst of budgeting nightmares – exceeding it! In a recent case the client had to accept a net loss of £120,000.00 for going over budget without any application to vary and with no good reason to depart other than ‘over-working’ the case. They can help you maximise income by: D rafting realistic and recoverable N260’s and Schedules of Costs for interlocutory hearings or Joint Settlement Meetings Drafting accurate Schedules and Bills of Costs that maximise your recoverable costs Ensuring that early payments on account are received Drafting Part 8 costs only proceedings Negotiating fee reductions with Counsel Negotiating costs settlements They can also advise on any / all costs queries or issues you may have throughout the life of a case. Sue Nash has been practicing in legal costs for over 30 years and is well known for her specialist experience in group litigation as well as costs budgeting. She is a former chairman of the Association of Costs Lawyers and a leading authority on costs. As a result, she writes regularly for the legal press on costs related issues. Sue is a Senior Costs Consultant at Elite Law Solicitors and can provide specialist advice in relation to all aspects of legal costs. If you require advice or assistance on legal costs related issues, please get in touch with Sue by calling 0800 086 2929 or emailing



SLAPPs – Some thoughts – Another view What is a SLAPP? The term generally refers to a civil lawsuit filed by an individual or corporate body against non-government individuals or organisations (NGOs) including journalists, media bodies and others on a substantive issue of some political interest or social significance. SLAPPs are usually initiated by wealthy individuals or corporate bodies with the aim to shut down investigations and critical speech by intimidating critics into silence and draining their resources. In the process, they distract and deflect discussions on human rights, social responsibility and corporate social responsibility, and – by masquerading as ordinary civil lawsuits – convert matters of public interest into technical private law disputes. We should not lose sight of the fact that in other jurisdictions, where there are different laws, some SLAPPs result in criminal proceedings. Thankfully, that does not apply in the UK. “SLAPPs are abusive lawsuits filed with the purpose of shutting down acts of public participation, including public interest journalism, peaceful protest or boycotts, advocacy, whistleblowing, or simply speaking out against abuse of power. SLAPPs target anyone who works to hold the powerful to account or engage in matters of public interest: so-called “public watchdogs.” This includes journalists, activists, rights defenders, whistleblowers, civil society organisations, trade unions and professional associations, academics.” We need therefore to recognise that SLAPPs can affect a wider range of targets than those that have so far appeared in our courts and may be represented in past or live cases that have not (yet) resulted in the initiation of litigation. We should also remember that at the time of her assassination in 2017 Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese investigative journalist, was facing some 40 SLAPP cases. Do we need legislation to control SLAPPs? The Law Society (TLS) in its capacity as the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales, the voice of solicitors, and in its representative capacity for driving excellence in the profession and safeguarding the rule of law, responded to the Ministry of Justice call for evidence on SLAPPs and has decided that we do not. However, it said that any reforms or new measures should be proportionate, evidence-based and take account of the following: striking the right balance between freedom of speech especially in relation to the public interest and the rights of individuals and businesses to protect their reputation; retaining access to justice for both claimants and defendants, particularly when reforms are considered cumulatively; increasing legal certainty in the field (avoiding satellite litigation and associated costs/demands on court time); decreasing the “chilling effect” caused purely by uncertainty of the law, rather than the merits of a case; exploring methods which would ensure that the parties are operating on more of a level playing field concerning costs. In general terms, lower costs would be to the benefit of all parties. However, any changes to the current costs system 22 | SURREYLAWYER

must be undertaken after careful research and consultation and should be based on clear evidence. Whilst I agree with that decision in principle, TLS has decided that some control is needed provided that it is compliant with the Rule of Law and rights of access to the courts and justice. We should not lose sight of the fact that the Government may decide that legislation is needed despite the view we hold. Several countries have passed legislation that aims – or can be used – to protect defenders against SLAPPs, such as Australia, the US (30 states), Canada (in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec), Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. The EC is moving towards a common platform for controlling SLAPPs. The UK Government Justice Minister James Cartlidge said, “the Ministry of Justice is monitoring SLAPP threats against journalists and announced that the UK will be a member of the Council of Europe’s inaugural working group on SLAPPs with an anti-SLAPP draft recommendation for member states due in December 2023. “I will be giving SLAPPs in UK courts urgent consideration. I want to make it clear that the Government are committed to a robust defence of transparency and freedom of speech. We will not tolerate anything that risks tarnishing the integrity of our judicial and legal profession.” Do we need a definition of SLAPPs? TLS recognises that there is no universally accepted definition and that creating one that satisfies everyone is probably impossible. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that the government may wish to have such a definition in order to progress with reforms whether by legislation or otherwise. The likelihood of a definition being required is seriously


greater should the government decide to go down the route of legislation. So, my sense is that we will need to agree on a definition and/or we may have to challenge the definition that the government chooses. I would prefer to be ahead of the game on this issue. What are the other issues that SLAPPs critics have identified? 1. Aggressive behaviour by those using SLAPPs in challenging those they target whether by themselves or by their lawyers. This can be pre-action and can take many forms such as social media, formal letters before action and other methods such as attacking the intended Defendant, monitoring their movements, interfering with their communications, attacking/threatening their employers. 2. Legal firms that represent claimants in SLAPPs cases are providing their clients with aggressive litigation tactics which further the aim of the claimant to shut down criticism or to avoid their client being held to account. 3. Whilst the perception may be that wealthy individuals are the main users of this type of litigation the reality is that whistleblowers are also consistently attacked using similar tactics. Despite the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 which made it unlawful to subject workers to negative treatment or dismiss them because they have raised a whistleblowing concern, 64% of those who sought advice from Protect, a whistleblowing charity, said they had been victimised, dismissed or forced to resign and all complained that they were “priced out of justice” by well-resourced NHS trust lawyers who at public expense “deploy a menu of tactics” to defend cases including triggering satellite litigation to strike out claims as a means to drain the resources and by

threatening six-figure costs applications”. These tactics were described in Parliament as a “grotesque spectacle” of the NHS “deploying expensive QCs to defeat a junior doctor who raised serious and legitimate patient safety issues”. 4. Whistleblowers frequently find themselves engaged in employment litigation and critics argue that the employment tribunal judges failed to curb oppressive acts of employers including hospital trusts. Additionally, proceedings before Employment Tribunals are not recorded nor are official transcripts provided which should be done to improve fairness. 5. Those cases that do appear before the court involve extensive cross examination described by one journalist, Carole Cadwalladr, as “the most silencing experience of my adult life. The most powerless. My cross-examination the most brutal and aggressive my solicitor said he had ever seen. It felt like abuse. Because it was.” 6. We should not forget that “SLAPPs can be effective in gagging critics: they take advantage of the prohibitive costs and time that it takes to litigate a case, and can result, (in some jurisdictions), in prison sentences and other harmful physical, financial and psychological impacts on defenders. As importantly, they have a chilling effect on free expression, disrupt legitimate collective action to defend the rights of workers and communities.” 7. The book “Putin’s People” attracted a series of SLAPPs by very rich men who filed suits against the author, Catherine Belton, and her publisher HarperCollins. They included Roman Abramovich, banking tycoons Mikael Fridman and Petr Aven, the metals magnate Alisher Usmanov and the Russian oil giant company Rosneft. Such litigation goes hand-in-hand with building a reputation for such people or companies by philanthropy and thus creating a reputation which they then seek to defend against assertions of illegality and criminality in the way in which their money was generated. This in turn involves companies that specialise in creating and managing reputations for such people. Many of them have been identified as complicit in money laundering. 8. The Supreme Court by a majority of 3 to 2 ruled that Boris Berezovsky and an associate who both lived and worked in Russia could sue Forbes, a US magazine, in UK courts over an article entirely concerned with their rise to power and their business methods in Russia. There was no English connection in the article which was written in an American magazine in an American-style and wholly connected with matters in Russia and, but for a handful of copies which were sent to the UK, would not have enabled the plaintiffs to forum shop for the best outcome. Forbes’s lawyer, David Hooper said: “London has become known as a town named Sue – a place where you can launder your reputation on the basis of a few sales in the UK of some overseas publication”. 9. As the majority of such actions never materialise in actual litigation, they are conducted in the pre-litigation phase. They are “legal actions that are taken not necessarily with the goal of winning in court, but which instead aim to intimidate, to induce fear, to tire and consume the financial and psychological resources of the target.” 10. SLAPPs inhibit the exercise of human rights such as freedom of expression by the threat or actuality of litigation. “Human rights defenders, individually and collectively as part of their organizations, movements and communities, play an essential role in sustainable and rights-respecting economic development. They are at the forefront of protecting our environment, the health and safety of their communities, and human rights. Human rights defenders are not anti-development, but they are often painted as such and face a range of attacks for the mere reason of speaking out.



Business actors are often involved with these attacks, which in some parts of the world include killings, beatings, threats, judicial harassment, and other forms of violence. The criminalization of defenders and judicial harassment – a range of legal tactics used by states and business actors to violate the rights of defenders – is a growing problem worldwide...It is extremely concerning how SLAPPs have become a staple in the manipulation of the judicial system by business actors to stop legitimate human rights work, restrict civic space, and repress dissenting voices. SLAPPs drain the resources of defenders, take time away from human rights defense, and can intimidate others from engaging in legitimate human rights work.” 11. SLAPPs constitute “an important trend to pay attention to, as the world increasingly tries to reckon with the notion that any business can be a force for good or evil depending on how it’s led and engages with civil society writ large. Protecting these defenders’ freedom of expression and association is vital to our democracies, transparency in markets, and protection of workers and communities,” and includes critical recommendations for investors, businesses, law firms, and policymakers alike.” 12. “In South Africa, although there is no anti-SLAPP legislation, the High Court (Western Cape Division, Cape Town) recently dismissed a series of defamation lawsuits brought by the Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Ltd (MRC) and its local subsidiary against six environmental activists as an abuse of the legal process. The Court accepted the defendants’ arguments and stated “corporations should not be allowed to weaponize our legal system against the ordinary citizen and activists in order to intimidate and silence them”. The Court also argued that SLAPPs represent an abuse of the judicial process and undermine the fundamental notions of justice. This decision shows courts have the power to protect defenders from this type of abusive litigation even in the absence of explicit anti-SLAPPs laws.” 13. “SLAPPs go against the values on which the EU is founded, including democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. But SLAPPs have a broader, detrimental impact on the EU legal order. By impairing public watchdogs from doing their job, SLAPPs are a threat to the effective enforcement of EU law and hinder the effective legal protection of rights under EU law. As SLAPPs distort and abuse judicial remedies, they may also undermine the trust between the EU member states’ legal systems, posing a threat to access to justice and judicial cooperation. SLAPPs are also a threat to the freedom of movement as they discourage potential targets from confidently operating in jurisdictions where the risk of such abusive litigation is higher than elsewhere in the EU.” 14. “Britain has long had a reputation for plaintive-friendly libel laws, and despite reform efforts in the past decade, the country has remained an accommodating home away from home for Russia’s robber barons.” The war in Ukraine shone, for them, and unwelcome light and changed public perception of this behaviour because previously reporting the history of such men and companies, who earned their fortunes by aligning themselves with Mr Putin, could be financially ruinous through the use of SLAPPs. What options do we have other than legislation? SLAPPs operate through the litigation process whereby the outcome is generally of less importance to the Claimant. As such, anti-SLAPP measures need to be introduced to ensure this process causes as little harm to the victim as possible. This could mean:


Consideration should be given to any appropriate amendments to the Pre-Action Protocol for all defamation claims. Changing the burden of proof so that the Claimant has to prove the claim and not requiring the Defendant to prove that the claim is not libellous (as is the case in the US). Requiring Judicial permission to initiate litigation such as currently exists in relation to Judicial Review under Order 53. A clear requirement in the Rules identifying the information and detail that an Applicant for Consent must include in the Affidavit in support of the application. That must include the nature of the defamation alleged, as well as identifying the intended Defendants and specifying/exhibiting all communications by whomsoever, whether by notes of conversations, postings on social media, letters written to the intended Defendant and any other individual or organisation in relation to the alleged defamation, as well as any attempts to settle the dispute, whether without prejudice or not, so that the court can see the character of the pre application behaviour and assertions. Without this it will be very difficult for the Court to identify potential SLAPP litigation. An application for Consent would also enable the Court to identify any libel tourism at an early stage. If Permission is granted, the burden of proof should continue to be on the Claimant to prove the allegation throughout the proceedings; There should be an opportunity for early hearing to enable the Defendant to argue that this is SLAPP litigation, and this should also be with the requirement for the Defendant to provide full information as indicated above in the Affidavit in support of the Defendant’s case. Accelerated proceedings that can filter out SLAPPs as quickly as possible; Sanctions in costs to punish SLAPP litigants and deter further SLAPPs; Legal Aid/Financial support and compensation to enable SLAPP Defendants to fight claims on an equal footing (equality of arms) without being drained of resources and morale in the process. However, experience shows that the majority of SLAPP behaviour never results in litigation being initiated but the consequences for the journalist or whistleblower can be just as financially ruinous. Adjusting the litigation system will not tackle this particular method of SLAPPs legal action. For that to happen there must be a change in the ethics governing the conduct of litigation and prelitigation behaviour. A highly critical Report on the use and impact of SLAPPs was published by the Foreign Policy Centre, a thinktank, and the freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board and other legal regulators need to do more to deal with SLAPPs because they are undermining the profession’s reputation, the Report argued. It has also urged lawyers to ensure they are meeting high ethical standards when threatening journalists with legal action. The report says: “Therefore many, if not most, instances of SLAPPs do not reach the courts – and as such do not receive the public attention a court hearing provides. If journalists and media outlets feel they have no choice but to give in and accept settlements, for fear of losing a case in court and then facing costs that could bankrupt them, then there is normally no public record at all. Moreover, pre-emptive legal intimidation can be an effective strategy to stop information from being published in the first place. This chapter explores how and why this is happening through examples that have made their way into the public domain and helped to provide insight into this ‘hidden process’.”


The report also says: “The use of overblown language, threatening tone and outlandish demands for redress were a common theme raised by journalists and media defence lawyers spoken to as part of the research for this report. Clare Rewcastle Brown, the journalist who had been instrumental in uncovering the Malaysian 1MDB scandal (see page 22), gave evidence to the House of Lords alongside Wild. She was keen to stress how much this legal intimidation “is actually pre-action litigation that people do not hear about”. Lawyers who act in vexatious litigation should be sanctioned by their professional bodies, The Business and Human Rights Centre a rights charity has said, warning that ‘abusive’ legal tactics are on the rise. SLAPPs have become ‘a staple in the manipulation of the judicial system by business actors to stop legitimate human rights work, restrict civic space, and repress dissenting voices’. Regulators of lawyers “should update their ethics codes to ensure SLAPPs are a sanctionable offence, stipulating that lawyers who use ‘abusive tactics’ will face sanctions. It adds that lawyers should undertake rigorous due diligence to ensure the cases they take on are not SLAPPs and refrain from representing companies in such litigation.” It remains to be seen what the MoJ will do with the submissions it has received and whether any meaningful action will be taken to stop this abuse.

Alastair Logan OBE., LL.B.,

Council Member for the Surrey Constituency

1. 2. Between 2019 and 2021, CASE collected data from its members and from other civil society groups on apparent SLAPPs filed between 2010 and 2021, which led to the identification of 539 verified SLAPP cases across Europe. 3. Tobitt, Charlotte (24 January 2022). “SLAPP down: David Davis says Putin’s People libel case cost ex-FT journalist £1.5m”. Press Gazette. 4. https://www.thetimes/article/nhs-whistleblowers-still-faceconsequences-kl6mqtld0 5. Tweet by Carole Cadwalladr 6. corporate-legal-accountability/materials-on-slapps/ 7. https:// 8. 9. corporate-legal-accountability/materials-on-slapps/ 10. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur quoted in the BHRC Report documents/2021_SLAPPs_Briefing_EN_v51.pdf 11. Business and Human Rights Centre (BHRC) Report 12. Business and Human Rights Centre (BHRC) Report 13. 14.

How Legal Workflow Automation Can Improve Your Firm’s Operations


egal administrative work is crucial to running a successful firm, but it’s something law firms can struggle with. For many law firm staff, the processes at their firm make admin time-consuming and tedious and can pull their focus from building the firm. That’s where task and workflow automation comes in. According to Clio’s 2020 Legal Trends Report, 84% of legal professionals believe they could better serve their clients by automating more aspects of their firm’s operations. We also found that firms using a combination of legal technology collected an average of $19,541 (£14,334 at the time of writing) more per lawyer than those that did not use legal workflow automation. Let’s look at three legal workflow automation tools that can save your firm hours:

simply have to start and stop a timer to record how long they spend on any one particular case or matter. From there, they can create detailed (and accurate) time and expense reports in minutes, which can save hours for fee-earners and those responsible for collating and billing for time. 3. Issuing Bills Speaking of billing, legal workflow automation can be a huge boon for legal firms here, too. Instead of manually collecting and applying the information needed to client invoices, automating the process can cut hours from end-of-month billing cycles. If you use software that syncs to your accounting system (Clio, for example, integrates with Xero, QuickBooks Online, Klyant, and Cashroom), you can save even more time and admin work on your processes.

1. Document Automation and Management Creating new documents from scratch can eat up a lot of law firm time. Document automation makes it easier for lawyers and other law firm staff to create new documents from existing templates, reduces the time to create a first draft, and speeds up contracting and communication processes.

By automating what can be automated, law firm staff can spend more time on high-value tasks. If you’re seeking to maintain a competitive edge in a crowded market, embracing legal workflow automation could be the exact thing you need to take your law firm to that next level.

2. Time Recording Time recording can often fall to the bottom of to-do lists – and items can get missed. With legal time recording software, users

To see how Clio helps with workflow automation, see uk/surrey-home or, Surrey Lawyer readers can take advantage of a 7-day free trial ■ SURREYLAWYER | 25


Time to look at the “big picture” DISCOVERING THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL ADVICE No two individuals share the same goals or ambitions. Each person is unique, with their own needs, targets and budgets. So when it comes to managing your money, building wealth, securing your future and, above all else, drawing up an effective plan for fulfilling your investment objectives, professional financial advice should be tailored to your unique specific needs. FEELING LESS ANXIOUS Having access to financial advice is strongly linked to feeling more secure and less anxious about money. According to the survey, around 3 in 5 people who have received financial advice report that they feel financially more secure and stable, compared with under half of those who have not received any advice. Only 1 in 3 people who have received financial advice report feeling anxious about their household finances, compared with over 40% of those who haven’t. FEELING MORE CONFIDENT One of the key practical benefits of financial advice is that it gives you access to expertise on topics that are complex. This provides you with more confidence and increased peace of mind. People who have received financial advice report feeling three times more confident about their understanding of financial matters and products than those who haven’t. For example, areas that some people find confusing concern retirement planning and understanding their life insurance and critical illness options. Among those who have not received advice, around 1 in 4 people say they would not know where to start when it comes to the different options available to them. Among those who received advice, that number is fewer than 1 in 12. FEELING ABLE TO COPE IN A CRISIS The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling less stable in their financial situation. 35% of those who have not received financial advice report feeling anxious about their finances, while 65% see the value in being more prepared for unpredictable events in life. Financial advice helps you prepare, plan and navigate any future shocks or crisis. And while you can experience the benefits of advice after just one meeting, it’s essential to receive ongoing advice over the long term as your situation and life goals change. This means your adviser gets to know you and 26 | SURREYLAWYER

Steven Vallery your background, and can help you adjust to whatever life has in store. Those people who have an ongoing relationship and receive regular financial advice are twice as likely to report feeling in control of their finances as people who do not. ■

Steven Vallery

Managing Director S4 Financial Limited


Council Member’s Report

Sushila Abraham


s we approach the summer and have all come out of the difficult two years, I hope you have all managed to get back on track with work. The lockdown has made significant changes to the way we practice, and firms have become more accommodative to new structures and working from home arrangements. As you will all be aware, many representations were made against the SRA’s preferred option of closing the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF). This has been successful and, from the feedback, it is clear that the question now is not one of closure or loss of the Fund but how it can effectively continue in the future to give protection to consumers and retired practitioners. At last, the SRA are listening to representations and open to dialogue, rather than proceeding with the closure of the Fund. This has all been due to the representations from the profession and a large number of people. So, we can make a change as a profession if we stand together, which is why we all need to respond to consultations. Our criminal justice system is in crisis, and we have seen backlogs in the courts spiral to an unprecedented level. This has left victims, witnesses and defendants waiting years for justice. The government’s response sends a clear message that the Ministry of Justice is simply not serious about tackling this crisis. We need proper investment in police stations and magistrates’ court work. The overall package is short of the minimum identified by Sir Christopher Bellamy as necessary to keep the network of criminal defence services functioning. It does not help if only part of the system is economically viable. The number of criminal legal aid firms has almost halved in the last 15 years, and Law Society research shows that duty solicitors are ageing and increasingly scarce in some parts of the country. The Law Society has provided guidance on the position of criminal defence solicitors on the situation which can be found on the Law Society website.

The long awaited no fault divorce is now available to clients, thus helping more people to avoid having to apportion blame on their spouse. The Ukraine crisis has affected some 21 law firms who have now left citing incompatibility between their firms’ values and the Russian government’s actions. There are some law firms who have closed their offices in Ukraine with help from the Law Society. The firms are still supporting their colleagues and helping them to move to a safe country. On 25th March 2022, the Law Society launched a new questionnaire to help firms assess the cyber security arrangements of the Chambers whose Barristers they instruct. The form has been standardised jointly by the Law Society and the Bar Council information-security-questionnaire. I hope all of you will check that you have registered on “My Law Society” so that you can continue to receive updates and practice notes from the Law Society. As usual, if you have any matters that you wish to raise with the Law Society then please do not hesitate to contact me or Alastair. In the meantime, and as we approach the summer vacation, I would like to take the opportunity of wishing all of you a safe summer, and please stay safe and well. ■

Sushila Abraham Council Member



The Law Society By Beth Quinn, Key Account Manager, The Law Society Beth Quinn ACCESS TO JUSTICE New research on legal aid means tests proposals The Law Society have commissioned new research which has shown that a shakeup of legal aid financial eligibility criteria risks being undermined by a failure to account for spiralling inflation in those changes proposed by the Ministry of Justice. The Law Society commissioned Professor Donald Hirsch to follow up his research that the government undertook to review its criteria for who can receive legal aid. The new analysis confirms that the Ministry of Justice’s proposed changes to the means test should lead to more people on low incomes becoming eligible for legal aid. However, the Ministry of Justice oversights risk partially – and in some cases fully-reversing improvements over time. The most significant omission is the failure to update cost-of-living allowances regularly in line with inflation. The Ministry of Justice proposes using 2019 expenditure benchmarks through to 2026, but with cost-of-living crises these are already out of date (prices are expected to have risen by 20% by 2026). Single parent families will be disadvantaged compared to other types of households as the proposed changes fail to recognise one-parent families must budget a higher proportion of their income to pay for their children’s needs relative to twoparent families. Professor Hirsch suggests an additional allowance for single parents, which we support.

Successful candidates will take office at the conclusion of the AGM on 12 October 2022 except where they are filling those casual vacancies, when they take office immediately. Unless stated otherwise the normal term of office of a Council Member is 4 years. List of seats to be filled include: Criminal Defence Criminal Prosecution Services Employment Ethnic Minorities Family Legal Aid LGBT+ Private Client Women Lawyers Further information at: WELLBEING Best practice guidance for supporting wellbeing in the workplace Most solicitors are likely to say they work well under pressure. But when pressure develops into negative stress, it can start to affect performance. The Law Society have developed a guide that contains advice and resources to safeguard and promote employees’ wellbeing in the workplace. It focuses on three themes: Support Education and Training Culture

More information on the Law Society website at:

The guidance includes storyboards with practical steps that you can use to approach wellbeing conversations with employees. It also features case studies from firms including Pinsent Masons, Farrer & Co, Macfarlanes, Freeths, Giles Wilson and Thrive Law.


It's relevant to firms of all sizes, with specific recommendations for different sizes of firm.

Undertakings The Law Society’s Practice Note on Professional Undertakings has been drafted and is now going through our checking and governance process. We hope to be able to publish it in the next few weeks. NATIONAL LAW SOCIETY NEWS Council Elections Preliminary notice of the Law Society’s Council elections 2022 has been issued. We have seats that will fall vacant on the expiry of the terms of office of the current Council members at our AGM (12 October 2022), bar Sussex and Criminal Prosecution Services, where casual vacancies have arisen. 28 | SURREYLAWYER

This guidance has been designed for solicitors, managers, learning and development, diversity and inclusion and HR professionals. It applies to lawyers at any stage of their career, as well as business services support staff. The guidance is also transferable across other industry sectors. Read more at:


REGULATORY Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) & Post Six Year Run Off Cover (PSYROC) After extensive lobbying from the Law Society and other stakeholders, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced it would seek to defer the closure of SIF for a further year (to the end of September 2023) in what is a major policy reversal. The SRA had previously indicated its preferred option was to close SIF, claiming that the cost of running it was disproportionate to the consumer benefit it delivers in terms of volume and value claims.

The Law Society campaigned strongly for the continuation of SIF, arguing closure would have a detrimental impact on consumers, leaving them unable to seek redress on the rare occasion something goes wrong. We are delighted that the SRA has listened to our concerns and is refraining from deciding on SIF’s future while further work is done on whether consumer protection can be delivered in a more cost-effective way and additional research is carried out on those consumer protection issues raised in consultation responses. The Law Society is still pushing for the retention of SIF, funded by a levy (as set out in our consultation response), but will engage with the SRA in considering alternative options that could provide an equivalent level of protection.

Volunteer Legal Advice Coordinator


re you a legal professional with a few hours to spare? Are you looking to use your skills to support improved access to legal advice for local people? We are looking for a Legal Advice Coordinator to support our advice team in making client referrals to local pro bono lawyers. Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell (CAEE) is a wellestablished charity providing free, confidential and impartial advice on issues affecting people’s day-to-day lives. We are a local charity supported by local volunteers who help local people. Our volunteer advisers, together with paid specialist caseworkers, see circa 3000 unique clients per annum and advise on a wide range of increasingly complex issues. These include the areas of employment, housing, debt, benefits, family and immigration law. Although our advisers are highly trained, they are not able to give legal advice nor represent clients in ongoing disputes or proceedings. In an age of limited legal aid support and increasing cost of private legal advice, engaging a lawyer is often out of reach for many of our clients. Lack of professional legal advice can result in a client’s legal position being compromised. We are therefore developing our links with local law firms willing to provide pro bono advice in order to make such support available to CAEE clients. A number of firms have already pledged support. About the Role We are seeking a volunteer to: ■A ssist in establishing a collective of local lawyers willing to provide pro bono support; ■ Liaise with firms to arrange mechanisms for client referrals; ■ Agree Memoranda of Understanding with law firms setting out parameters for referrals and legal advice and/or representation; ■ If required, assist CAEE advisers in triage of cases for referral in line with arrangements agreed with law firms;

■K eep record of referrals, and monitor outcomes and assist with outcome reporting; ■ Comply with principles of confidentiality and GDPR. We estimate the role will require no more than 3 hours per week, but this is flexible. You will work with our Advice Services Manager and Volunteer Advice Service Supervisors Your skills The role would suit any legal professional including legal executive, solicitor, barrister or academic and may particularly suit those working part time, retired, nonpractising and/or in training. You will be: ■ f riendly and approachable; ■ have excellent verbal and written communication skills; ■ be willing to learn about and follow the Citizens advice aims, principles and policies. Why volunteer for CAEE? You will: ■m ake a real difference to people’s lives; ■ be part of a dedicated, friendly team; ■ network with local law firms. The role is unpaid but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. If you are interested in volunteering you can Apply Online ( If you would like to chat about things before applying, you can express your interest online ( contact-us/) and we will get back to you by phone or email. ■



Some of the committee members of Surrey JLD, JLD Berks, Bucks & Oxon, Herts JLD and Northants Bucks JLD from the recent Law Society event.

Surrey Junior Lawyers Division S

urrey JLD has been busy these past few months. Regarding events, we had a self-assurance and confidence webinar with leadership coach and former employment law partner Simona Hamblet on 23 March, which was organised by Diversity & Inclusion and Events Representative Amber Matheson, along with a Cocoa with The Committee hosted by University & Colleges Representative Bethany Walker on different routes into law on 31 March. On 12 April we were pleased to have a Cocoa with The Committee on art law with Racheal Muldoon and Tamara Manton, giving insight into their work as a solicitor and barrister respectively. On 5 May was the second in the Supporting Surrey series of mental health and well-being webinars this year with Surrey Law Society. Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) saw a series of webinars organised by Wellness Representative Sonay Erten with the first being a panel event of SJLD committee members including Wellness Representative William Smith-Brix, Amber Matheson, Charity Representative Katrina Burrows and Chair Martin Whitehorn. Unfortunately, Donna Smith could not make it to our webinar on 12 May, but Sonay managed to get Suzie Stanley at short notice to speak to members. After MHAW we had another webinar with Leah Steele on 19 May. The recordings of these MHAW webinars are available in the Webinars section of our website We were delighted to have a sold-out reception at The Law Society for private client and family junior lawyers on 25 May with speakers Melinda Giles from The Law Society’s Private Client Section, Jade Quirke from London YRes and Stephen Burgess from HMCTS. The event was in partnership with JLD Berks, Bucks and Oxon, Hertfordshire JLD and Northants Bucks JLD, and kindly sponsored by Chadwick Nott Legal Recruitment.

Upcoming elections We were excited to gain new ULaw Representative Khola Shah recently, an aspiring barrister whose proactive nature makes her well-suited to the committee. With only a few months until our next elections, we address common misconceptions about joining our committee to assist those interested in helping us support aspiring and junior lawyers. They won’t want someone with no experience of being on such a committee. As a committee made up of junior and aspiring lawyers, we readily appreciate that everyone has to start somewhere, so previous experience on a similar committee, for example at university, is by no means required. Asking for previous experience on a committee of junior lawyers is rather like asking for previous law firm experience for an entry-level job: contradictory. Even so, there are plenty of others applying; they won’t want me. Perhaps the most important thing we look for in prospective committee members is heartfelt appreciation of our events and a consequent desire to contribute to Surrey JLD’s success. You’d be surprised how many try to join our committee without having attended a single event. In short, if you’re passionate about helping, we’d love to have you. I won’t have the time. At their peak, no role apart from perhaps Chair of our committee takes up any more than 1 or 2 hours a week. You can always ask another committee member for help. There isn’t a role suitable for me. Our committee has expanded to 19 in November last year precisely because new committee members had not restricted themselves to applying for existing roles. As a result, we have Wellness, In-House, Career Changer, CILEx, SQE and Universities & Colleges Representatives on the committee, so if you can think of a role that would be a great fit, for example a SQE or Bar Representative, then do apply. For more information about what we look for in committee members, simply email us at surreyjuniorlawyersdivision@



HFS Milbourne & Evelyn Partners Edward Nice


or businesses and clients in and around Surrey, Evelyn Partners is the story of a merger and a rebrand. Yes, it is a new name but if you have worked with HFS Milbourne specifically, it is essentially the same trusted firm that has been helping law firms and clients make smart financial choices for decades. As a local Surrey-based business, HFS Milbourne has been a leading financial and investment advisory firm for the last 15 years, with a heritage that stretches back to the mid 1980s. Having joined Tilney, Smith & Williamson early last year, the firm is now providing services as an integral part of Evelyn Partners. It has clearly been a time of great change, and in the current market it is always reassuring to know that there are some constants. In fact, we believe that for our current and future clients we continue to offer the same full range of expected and valued capabilities along with an improved and complimentary range of services and expertise. A revised outlook for 2022 Change everywhere is of course a constant. For investors, this was thrown into stark relief in April, as the IMF revised its 2022 growth forecast markedly lower. Rising commodity prices, supply chain disruptions, the impact of the war in Ukraine and a resurgence of COVID in China are all contributing to this forecast, though growth prospects for 2023 do still remain above average. A buoyant labour market provides some hope for stock market investors, with jobless rates in the UK, Eurozone and US below pre-pandemic lows. The UK has seen the quickest labour market recovery in three decades. The latest UK CBI industrial trends survey also showed real appetite for capital investment from the corporate sector. However, this needs to be weighed against the hawkish tone from central banks and persistently high inflation. Government bonds are now adjusting to the new environment, with a significant rise in yields since the start of 2022. There are signs that US inflation could be peaking, which could temper the need for the Federal Reserve to raise rates aggressively and help ease investor concerns. Accommodating the changing market with right choices Given the myriad risks facing investors, from elevated inflation to slowing growth and rising interest rates, coupled with the geopolitical uncertainty, we believe asset managers should be cognizant of the macro conditions. That probably means tilting a portfolio more towards value-style stocks, which generally include energy, materials and financial

companies. Equities in these sectors tend to do well when an economy moves towards a more inflationary environment. For example, year-to-date, the MSCI All Country value index has gained 3% in GBP total return terms, materially outperforming a 17% decline seen in the growth index. Another consideration for investors is that there is increased risk associated with fixed income bonds. Among the significant financial sanctions against Russia has been the freezing of Russia’s overseas assets, including large bond holdings. This may encourage other major holders of US treasuries – such as China and Saudi Arabia – to recycle less of their country’s trade surplus into foreign bonds due to the fear that these holdings could be seized in the future. It’s a reasonable assumption therefore to suggest that while we should expect high volatility across the different investment options, we might reasonably expect equities to outperform bonds. Action versus inaction Of course regardless of the investment choice, volatility can be unnerving for both experienced and new investors. For those who are already in the market, it is usually sensible to sit out the current uncertainty and wait for the situation to improve. New investors may also be tempted to sit tight and wait for the ‘ideal’ time. But this carries its own risks. Being on the side lines means investors can easily miss upturns, with good news hidden behind grim headlines. In fact, many of the best periods for stock markets have occurred during periods of extreme volatility. So, while Brexit, the US/China trade war and the pandemic made many investors pause, they missed out on a 29% rise in global markets in 2016 and a 23.4% rise in 2019. On the surface, that would seem to suggest that the old cliché ‘time in the market beats timing the market’ is a sensible choice. But that’s also not entirely accurate – timing the market does carry the risk of missing significant share price increases, but equally it can present good opportunities for investors following good professional guidance. In summary, while steep falls in your investments can be unnerving, it’s important to bear in mind that short-term volatility is the price you must pay for the chance of higher long-term returns. Rather than try and second-guess market movements, a better strategy is to invest for the long term. Naturally the choice of portfolio should reflect individual circumstances, and that’s one of most important reasons to consult with an expert financial advisor or investment manager. ■

The power of good advice 01483 468888 | SURREYLAWYER | 31


Why sell a probate property at auction?


ealing with the estate of a loved one who has passed away is often a very sensitive issue. It can make all the difference ensuring that the disposal of any assets is made as simple and pain free as possible. In our experience probate properties are particularly well-suited for sale by auction. Most people want to sell a property as quickly and efficiently as possible as taxes need to be paid and the beneficiaries share of the estate need to be settled.

Public auctions provide a strong selling platform offering complete transparency and fairness throughout the selling process. The principal of transparency of marketing and selling ensures that the executor has achieved the highest possible price in an open market competition.

Probate properties are also often in need of refurbishment and modernisation. Fixer-uppers always do well at auction, often selling well above guide price to buyers looking for renovation projects and the opportunity to add value. This is the key element to success at auction and furthermore, probate properties are often fresh to the market, adding to their appeal and ultimately the sale price.

Upon the fall of the Auctioneer’s gavel contracts are exchanged, and the buyer is obliged to pay a deposit of 10% on the day of the sale, with the remaining 90% payable 20 business days thereafter (unless varied within the Special Conditions of Sale). This deposit is non-refundable and is held by the Auctioneers as stakeholder for the seller.

Any legal issues will be fully disclosed in the legal information pack well in advance. The availability of legal documents prior to the auction enables prospective purchasers to carry out their due diligence in order to make their best bid for the property on the day.

Ultimately a sale by auction provides a seller with certainty. Contracts are exchanged on the fall of the gavel and is legallybinding for both parties. The process offers a high degree of security and transparency for the executor and beneficiary compared with other more traditional methods of sale.

As we know, executors have a duty of care and certain other responsibilities towards the beneficiaries named within a Will.

For further information regarding Land & Property Auction please call Clive Emson Auctioneers on 01273 504232. ■ 0345 8500333

Selling Land & Property with Skill, Speed and Efficiency

Entries Continually Invited

Next Auctions 28th July 21st September 2nd November 14th December

Contact Us

We are only an email, call, or click away • • • 0345 8500333 If you would like to arrange a no-obligation auction appraisal please do not hesitate to contact us or complete our online form at

Why Sell by Auction? • • • •

Exchange of contracts on the fall of the gavel Completion within a specific time frame, usually 20 business days from the auction High profile local and national marketing Best possible price achieved (market value) on the day via competitive bidding - ideal for when an arm’s length transaction with transparency is required (e.g. selling as Executor or Power of Attorney) Suitable for anyone who wants to achieve the best price for their land or property! For immediate access to our website scan our QR code on your mobile device

- June 2022.indd 1 32Surrey | Lawyer SURREYLAWYER

14/06/22 09:57:36


New guide tackles lack of empathy in law firms Bernadette Bennett

By Bernadette Bennett


eading outsourced communications provider Moneypenny has compiled the free guide to help lawyers improve their reputation for client care, build more valuable relationships with clients, reduce client churn and maximise profits. Calling on its experience handling 2 million customer interactions for more than 1,000 UK legal firms each year, Moneypenny’s guide includes practical tips to improve empathy in legal practice and ensure employees’ use of language hits the mark. It also addresses the importance of active listening and the need for empathetic leadership, plus it also includes a short quiz to help firms ascertain just how empathetic they are. Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny said: “This guide reminds lawyers of the commercial necessity for empathy and shows how they can engrain it into their practices and service delivery – reassuring clients that they’re not only being heard but also listened to and understood.” “The pandemic has changed the relationships we have with each other – our peers, colleagues, and clients – and it’s made human connection more appreciated than ever. The legal business winners of the last two years prioritised empathy and have reaped the financial rewards for doing so. But as the world returns to normal, we have to make sure we don’t forget the importance of these behaviours.” Bernadette Bennett, head of the legal sector at Moneypenny said: “As a business that handles inbound and outbound communication around the clock, we know first-hand that empathy shapes client experience. It underpins how we connect with others and has the power to transform reputation. Actively

listening and displaying empathy not only puts nervous and vulnerable clients at ease but offers valuable insights that can shape service delivery and put you at the forefront of your market.” The guide was developed with insight from emotional intelligence expert and founder of the EI Evolution, Sandra Thompson. Sandra is the first Goleman emotional intelligence coach in the UK and an experienced customer experience management consultant. Sandra Thompson said: “Neuroscience tells us that it’s impossible to know exactly how someone else is feeling, yet the value of demonstrating that you’re doing your best to understand is huge – particularly when it comes to business. Brilliant client service experiences are built on empathetic interactions. That’s how you keep your clients loyal and make your employees feel empowered.” The guide is available to download for free on Moneypenny’s website: Moneypenny’s 95-strong team of dedicated legal receptionists provide firms with outsourced switchboard, managed live chat and outbound calling support – delivering scalable solutions that help legal practices remain agile, protect reputation and deliver a first-class client experience. For more information about Moneypenny’s work with the legal sector, visit:



How to burn brighter than your Imposter Syndrome R

ecently, I had the pleasure of speaking at a webinar as part of the ‘Supporting Surrey’ Programme.

When Helen Opie asked me to submit an article for the Surrey Lawyer Magazine by way of a follow up, I thought ‘I’m no good at writing articles!’. Well, hello again my dear friend – Imposter Syndrome! Isn’t that often the case? An exciting opportunity comes your way and there’s that voice, telling you that you are not good enough, you don’t have what it takes. You may relate to the following ways imposter syndrome gets in the way of burning bright in your legal career: – the voice in your head that says, ‘don’t put yourself forward for that opportunity, you don’t have what it takes.’ – It prevents you from telling someone you are struggling because you don’t want them to think you cannot cope – It’s the comparison monster that looks at what others are doing and achieving around you and tells you that you just don’t measure up. We can all be triggered by imposter syndrome. The key is what you do when that happens. Here are my three top tips on how to burn brighter than your imposter syndrome. Get clear on your why Ask yourself – what is it about my legal career that I’m passionate about? Being super clear about your why will carry you through those days when imposter syndrome strikes. Your ‘Why’ will give you the strength to push forward through the fear and doubt and keep going, no matter what. Many of us have an idea of our why but often it is only surface level. We never consider the deeper why underneath it, even though that is where the real power and motivation lies. So, get clear on why you do what you do, the deeper why, and remind yourself of that every day. 34 | SURREYLAWYER


Protect Your Best Asset – YOU Whatever stage you are at in your career, the learning never stops, it is a forever journey. Read! Read about all sorts of topics, not just your area of specialism. Read about networking, marketing, business development, referrals, personal branding, profit first, growth mindset. Being a successful lawyer is so much more than knowing the law, it is about you and your ability to interact, relate, influence others. It’s about your resilience and your ability to manage your own state, especially under times of pressure so the more you learn about this, the better. Be ruthless with your wellbeing. This is essential, especially for those of you with your wellbeing so far down your priority list, it never gets a look in.

developing empowering beliefs. So, I am going to leave you with a short poem that reminds us you can always change your mind!

Watch your thoughts, for they become words Watch your words, for they become actions Watch your actions, for they become habits Watch your habits, for they become character Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny – Lao Tzu

The thing is you already know how to do this. Here are some reminders just in case you need a prompt:

aintain work and life boundaries M Switch off at evenings, weekends and holidays Take a lunch break, every day Eat well, sleep well, exercise Have down time just for you

Donna Smith

Odonnata Growth & Transformation Coaching

Don’t underestimate the power this has over imposter syndrome. Every time you prioritise your wellbeing, you tell yourself on a subconscious level that you matter, you are worthy, you are enough. Ask for help! Get a coach, a mentor, an accountability buddy, all three! Someone you can talk to who will give you support, understanding and most importantly a safe space to find the answers to the questions/doubts in your mind. Imposter syndrome gets a grip on you because you are too busy to stop and shine a light on it for what it really is. A false belief, a misguided attempt at trying to keep you safe when it’s actually getting in the way of you fulfilling your potential. Ask yourself – who do you know who could help you with this? Who could help you on your journey of burning brighter than your imposter syndrome? Then… go and ask them! These three tips help you to do the best thing you can do when overcoming imposter syndrome. Change your mind about it. Decide that you are going to control your inner critic rather than it controlling you. Just think about the habitual thought patterns you have about yourself. Chances are a good few of them are negative. Thoughts like – ‘I am not good enough, old enough, young enough, smart enough, rich enough’….and so on. Plus, you may have thought these negative beliefs for so long that they feel ingrained in your total being. You have become them; you simply accept them as true! At the very basic level, your thoughts shape who you become. So, if you are thinking negative thoughts about yourself, the way you behave and the actions you take are shaped by those thoughts. The outcome then is that you get results which are based on that negative outlook, rather than a positive one!

Want to feature in Surrey Lawyer? To advertise in Surrey Lawyer, please call Catherine McCarthy our Business Features Editor on 0151 236 4141 or email catherine@

Knowing that you can ‘change your mind’ is marvellous news. You can change your mind and decide you want to think more positive things about yourself and focus on creating and SURREYLAWYER | 35


Poppy’s second chance at love P

oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.

Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■

Who’ll keep her happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets – and make a dog-lover happy.

E-mail Or call 020 7837 0006

Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®

Registered charity numbers: 227523 & SC037843


© Dogs Trust 2021


Why words still matter W

ith around 90 billion monthly visits to Google1, over 252,000 new websites being developed each day2, almost 4 billion3 active social media users and billions4 of annual voice commands on smart speakers, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed with just how much is happening online. There is an exponential growth in both usage and technology. Then you throw in super smart (and often good looking) confident young people talking about the benefits of democratisation in Web3, extended reality (XR), the qubits of computational power in quantum computers or the newest NFT they are thinking about investing in. All the while you may just be trying to wrap your head around why for love or money you can’t get this AI bot to pass you on to an actual agent that can help you understand the latest invoice. At Conscious, we have been fortunate to have seen a lot of internet trends come and go. Some of those trends had a real impact on how the online world operates, while others were quickly put on the digital dump of oblivion (remember Google+ anybody?). Despite all that technological development words and stories are still at the heart of any website shared with the public, especially one offering clients a service. If you want to bring an audience to your website and convert them into paying clients, you need to have detailed and well-constructed content. This could include discussing your services, doing regular blog posts on relevant news, and answering commonly asked questions. Other ways to develop your website include adding all your staff to your website ‘meet the team’ page, having a detailed ‘about us’ page, listing any awards and accreditations the firm has achieved and most importantly call to actions on every page as well as in the header and footer of your website. All the way back in 2010, Google and Harvard collaborated on a project to determine how many English words there were. They concluded it was just over a million words but perhaps more surprisingly they also shared that each year a couple of thousand words are added to the English language. This includes portmanteaus, neologisms, and malapropisms as well as naming of inventions. So perhaps unsurprisingly as we see this surge in online content, people have more and more questions when trying to make sense of it all. According to Google Trends, internet users have never asked Google more questions than we are asking right now. Those questions are no longer just ‘how’ but questions starting with ‘why’ and ‘what’ have seen a sharp increase.

How can you be keeping up this surge in curiosity and providing considered answers on your digital assets (including your website and social media channels)? One way is to use free services such as Google’s ‘People also ask’ that can be found on the first page of a Google search and another excellent free service is which will take a topic of your choice and suggest questions which are linked. These sources offer a wealth of inspiration for content ideas. If you want to bring an audience to your website and convert them into paying clients, you need to have detailed content. This could include discussing your services, writing regular blog posts on relevant news and answering commonly asked questions. As previously mentioned, other ways to develop your website include having all your staff on your website, a detailed about us page, listing awards and accreditations the firm has achieved and most importantly call to actions on every single page. Will content bring you more clients? Think about it this way, if your audience goes onto your website to find out how you can help them with their legal problem, only to find no content or any indication as to what your firm can offer them, they’ll go elsewhere, and the likelihood is that it’ll be a competitor that does provide this insight. So, the lesson to be learnt here is if your website is full of detailed information about your services and experience in helping clients navigate life challenges and situations, you will have a higher success rate of converting the website audience into paying clients. On top of the type of copy you include on your website, using keywords throughout is crucial. If you want to find out more about how we can help you craft a content strategy that will drive results, contact our team on 0117 325 0200 or email

Jonathan McGill

Conscious Solutions 1. 2. 3. use%20social,almost%204.41%20billion%20in%202025. 4.



Opportunities for solutions away from the Family Court A

t the request of Rhys Taylor of The 36 Group, in his capacity as Mr Recorder Taylor and a member of the Family Procedure Rule Committee, I was asked to collate a judicial and users’ guide to out of court options for both children and financial matters. My instructions were ‘to keep it to two pages’ – they are replicated below. I am grateful to Recorder Taylor and Mr Recorder Allen QC for their contributions and tweaks.

The Financial Remedies Journal has helpfully published the document at its frc corner which can be found here: 28a374cc.htm I am also told that subject to HMCTS approval Mr J Peel has agreed to my document being sent out by the court with the

Form C. As out of court processes continue to develop, I shall do my best to keep my colleagues in Surrey fully informed. Karen Barham is a Consultant at Moore Barlow, Mediator, Solicitor and Parenting Coordinator. She was recipient of the Family Lawyer of the Year Award at the SLS Legal Awards in 2021. She is a member of the Family Solutions Group and author of the Family Solutions Initiative comment/the-family-solutions-initiative-a-response-to-asystem-in-crisis.

Out of Family Court Resolution Helpful Links Mediation Family mediation helps you make arrangements for children, money & property and can be conducted in-person and/or online. The Family Mediation Council (the FMC) holds the register of family mediators: Arrangements for children (including their financial arrangements) qualify for a non-means tested voucher of up to £500 towards your mediation costs if you appoint an FMC mediator registered with the scheme. Family mediators may also be members of the following membership organisations and can be found here: w w Parenting Coordination Assists parents to implement their Parenting Plan or final Court Order. The Parenting Coordinator provides parenting support through discussion, mediation and when required by making binding determinations to resolve issues in a timely manner. Further details and the register of Parenting Coordinators can be found here: Parenting Support & Parenting Information Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP): divorce-and-separation/parenting-together/separatedparents-information-programme/ 38 | SURREYLAWYER

The Parenting Apart Programme: Contact Centres Providing support and facilities where children can spend time with family members they don’t live with – there are around 350 child contact centres across the UK: Early Neutral Evaluation / private FDR The database for practitioners offering a private non-binding evaluation/pFDR in financial matters can be found at: Arbitration If you cannot reach agreement arbitration provides an alternative to applying to the court. You enter an agreement whereby you appoint a suitably qualified person to adjudicate a dispute concerning money, property and/or children and agree to be bound by the written decision of the arbitrator. Arbitration is usually quicker and more flexible than the court process and will always be private. Further details can be found at: Legal Information, Parenting & other Support & information/101-questions-answered-about-separatingwith-children foreword by the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane.


10 local authorities with the most recorded landfill sites are all located in the South East of England L

andmark Information has announced the publication of the second edition of its Data Insights Report for property and land professionals, which this time delves into the history and origin of land contamination across England and Wales. The report provides an insight into land contamination risk that is today regulated under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This includes past industrial processes, waste disposal practices, military activities or accidents that may have released substances on or in land, which has the potential to be harmful to human health, damage property, impact ecosystems or pollute coastal, surface and ground water. It also offers an insight into the ten local authorities with the most Recorded Landfill Sites, all of which are located in the South East of England – with Spelthorne Borough Council leading the ranking with 20% of its land designated in this category. This is followed by the London Borough of Hounslow, Thurrock Borough Council, London Borough of Havering and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The report also considers Historic Land Use, taking into account manmade risks as well as naturally occurring land contaminants. Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (18%), Kingston upon Hull City Council (17%), Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (16%), Stoke-on-Trent City Council (16%) and Wolverhampton City Council (15%) have been identified as having the highest percentage of land covered by Potentially Infilled Land.

Chris Loaring, Managing Director of Landmark Information (Legal), said, “At Landmark, we provide data that helps to mitigate risk for our clients and helps them make due diligence decisions faster. Understanding the health of land and property is paramount in making those decisions. While we live on a relatively small island, the land has been used intensively since the 1700s. Therefore, having the ability to understand and assess historic and current land use, as well as naturally occurring hazards, is an essential element of managing our land use as it continues to evolve. “The latest edition of our Data Insights report provides a valuable insight into contaminated land risk as derived from our data, as well as information relating to the role of the Part 2A of the Environmental Act 1990 and the associated obligations that landowners, land developers and local authorities need to consider.” Landmark Information would like to extend its thanks to Paul Nathanail, Technical Director (Contamination) at GHD UK for providing the opening introduction to the Data Insights Report. Landmark Information has an extensive wealth of data that is used across the property industry, every day, by developers, property lawyers, environmental consultants, estate agents, surveyors, architects and planners to help in confident decisionmaking and in transactions. To download the report, please visit: https://go.landmark.



12,000 Solicitors ‘spin to win’ at London Legal Walk M

ore than 12,000 legal colleagues got together and picked up the pace to support The London Legal Support Trust at the London Legal Walk on June 28th 2022 and raised more than £550,000 for legal support services. The walk, now in its 18th year, was organised by the London Legal Support Trust and brought together the legal community supporting access to justice. Sponsored by The Solicitors’ Charity, participants were invited to stop at its stand en route to find out more about how it helps solicitors who are going through difficult times. There was also a fun ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on the charity stand – giving walkers the opportunity to win big, which proved a huge hit! It was a brilliant opportunity for The Solicitors' Charity to engage with solicitors from across the UK, and visitors loved taking part in the fun and games on the interactive stand.

Prizes a plenty with the spin to win game 12,000 solicitors out in force to show support for charity The Solicitors’ Charity sponsors event to raise awareness of the support it gives solicitors After crossing the finish line, the walkers celebrated at an evening street party featuring food vendors, fire jugglers and musicians. The Solicitors’ Charity Chief Executive Nick Gallagher said: “This year’s London Legal Walk had a great atmosphere created by all those taking part – including 10 of the charity’s volunteers and staff. A huge amount has been raised to help provide more free and pro bono advice to solicitors in London and the South East. “As a sponsor of The London Legal Walk again this year, we were delighted to chat to participants at our information stand and spread the word about the work we do and how it makes a positive difference to many lives in England and Wales. “The Wheel of Fortune proved popular too – it was lovely to see so many legal professionals having a fantastic time!” Find out more about The Solicitors’ Charity at:

London Legal Walk participants, including The Solicitors’ Charity team led by CEO Nick Gallagher, supporting access to justice.



Simple Contract Law

Articles of Association

Stripping English Law of Complexity

Guidance and Precedents


n his new book, WatsonGandy has bravely done a complete about-turn on traditional dusty textbooks, writing an illustrated guide to English contract law that is fun to read, entertaining and succinct. Synopsis of Simple Contract Law: A brief introduction to English Contract Law:

This book provides an essential introduction to English contract law. Written by practising barrister and law professor, Mark WatsonGandy, whose infectious enthusiasm for the subject permeates the text, the book simply explains all the core concepts and leading cases and what the most common terms and conditions actually do. Whether you are a law student, businessman or an international lawyer, you will find “Simple Contract Law” to be an easy-to-read, concise, and informative first guide into the subject. Enlivened by the colourful back stories to the case law and with witty illustrations by Gordon Collett, this book is a welcome antidote to stale traditional contract law textbooks. “People don’t realise quite how important English contract law is for us all. English contract law has long been the preferred choice of law for international contracts – often even where the parties or transaction has no connection to the UK. The UK legal services industry is worth £60 billion to the UK economy; the UK legal services market is the largest in Europe and second only globally to the USA. Three quarters of those using London’s commercial courts during litigation come from outside of the UK” explains the author. “I wanted to write something which would cut through the complexity, to give an accessible overview of the law. A quick and easy-to-read guide like this is long overdue.” Simple Contract Law: A brief introduction to English Contract Law is available now for £9.95 on Amazon: ■ Professor Mark Watson-Gandy K.S.G is a practising barrister at Three Stone Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn and has appeared in high-profile cases in the UK and abroad. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster and at the University of Lorraine in France. He was made a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great in recognition of his work as a barrister and law professor in 2007. In 2020, he was appointed as one of the UK Ministry of Justice’s “Legal Services are Great Champions” to promote English legal services internationally.


s the author, Richard Bishop, says in his introduction, “the development of modern company law and the ability for ordinary people to incorporate a company was driven by the industrial revolution” from the 1840s. Practitioners have all come a long way since then, care of massive statutory provisions. Today, nearly four million companies incorporated in the UK allow their constitution or company rule book to be dictated by the standard Articles of Association. This new book from Bloomsbury Professional Law has been constructed “to aid professional advisers, directors and shareholders make better decisions about any company’s constitution.” We were most impressed with the way in which the book is structured to follow the articles logically with useful examples in a blocked format to make the points stand out. Depending on what you might be looking for, the author reviews the following areas: the background to the articles of association, the Company Law Act 2006, business structures and their needs; reviews of the case law (without too many cases cited) and the implications for amending the articles of association; a detailed analysis of the default articles of association proscribed in The Companies (Model Articles) Regulations 2008 Table A; and a practical guide to drafting articles of association, real life examples and discussions on why companies should adapt Table A to suit specific company requirements. One splendid innovation which is becoming commonplace now is the facility to download precedents with instructions set out at the beginning of the work. There is also a licence agreement which is relatively straightforward to follow. The facility dispenses with the CD which has become obsolete for many new laptops by using the website to download what you may need for your practice. In the book, the precedents start from page 261 onwards which is approximately half-way through the book. We are confident that solicitors and accountants are presented here with the tools they need to offer sound advice to their clients on how articles may impact on the company. The key remains with what the author calls “clever drafting” on how the constitution of a company can be amended to provide clear provisions to suit its strategic position. It will always depend on the specific needs of the client, and these needs are well catered for in this book. And for those clients who may wish to consider changing the constitution of their own company, Richard Bishop’s book is full of practical examples. He covers the do’s and don’ts of drafting very pragmatically, and offers illustrations and full procedures for trustees, family investment and property companies providing guidelines for minority shareholders, investors, and directors. Indeed, it is a superior work which gets the right balance between detail and the practical requirements of the client. ■



Ground Hazards: Due Diligence for Today and the Future By Dr. Tim Farewell, Head of Science, Dye & Durham


o ensure that home buyers have a clear understanding of possible hazards or restrictions that have the potential to affect their future home, a diligent property professional will always recommend undertaking a variety of searches for every residential transaction. A contaminated land or flood search are often routinely undertaken by many, regardless of location, property type, size, proposed use or client. Yet, other well-known environmental issues such as subsidence, which has the potential to create a problem with lending and insurability if identified, are not always a go-to search. While this hazard may not be an issue everywhere in the UK today, we do believe it is an issue that should be taken seriously, particularly as we look into the future. We know that subsidence can be caused by a number of issues, including the shrinkage and swelling of soils in response to changing moisture conditions, the impact of trees, aging infrastructure or man-made disturbances. To date, subsidence searches have looked at historic data to understand if such risks pose a threat to a property address, however with the changing climate, we believe it is vital to instead look forward to model future hazards. Modelling Future Hazards for Homebuyers We have undertaken some analysis of our National Ground Risk Model (NGRM): Climate™, which models future climate-related environmental hazards, and identified that more than 7.65 million properties in Great Britain could be exposed to medium or high risk of soil subsidence by the 2080s. This is an increase of over 1.89 million individual properties, and is as a result of climate change1.

With all climate models projecting hotter, drier summers in the future, there is increasing likelihood of soil shrinkage, which can create downward movement in buildings located on vulnerable soils. This shrinkage is worse in clay soils, which are commonly found across the south east of England, and has the potential to move foundations, cracking walls and ceilings, resulting in expensive insurance claims and repair bills. Our data suggests that more than 5.76 million properties in Great Britain are today exposed to medium or high subsidence risk. This increases to approximately 6.64 million in the 2030s. Specifically, just over half a million more properties (547,317) could be at high exposure in the next 60 years, compared to today’s figures. Looking at Surrey, our data shows that 38% of the total county area could be exposed to high or very high soil subsidence hazard in the 2050s, compared to today’s baseline data which shows it is currently at 15%. In fact by the 2050s, our data shows us that over 80 counties across the UK are likely to experience an increased risk of soil subsidence hazard to some degree, moving from low to moderate, moderate to high, or high to very high, as a result of our changing climate. In particular, additional parts of Middlesex, 42 | SURREYLAWYER

Hampshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Surrey could move to the highest subsidence hazard classes by the 2050s2. Future Insights from the Climate Report Last October, the Law Society published a Climate Change Resolution3 that outlined the role solicitors can play in addressing the climate crisis, which included a call to action to develop a climate-conscious approach to legal practice. But what does this mean for property lawyers and conveyancers? We believe there is the potential to help clients understand climate change impacts by providing data insights as part of the conveyancing due diligence process. Dye & Durham’s market leading Climate Report launched to help property lawyers and conveyancers protect homebuyers’ best interests and make informed, future-facing decisions. In addition to subsidence, the Climate Report models a range of hazards for individual properties, including coastal erosion, flood risk exposure and extreme winds, over the next 60 years. The report has been designed to cover both physical hazards and delve into how extreme climate conditions could affect properties over time. Ultimately, robust climate science indicates that we will see more hotter, drier summers and wetter winters as a result of our changing climate. These conditions are of real concern as they are likely to result in an increase in both the severity and frequency of climate-related impacts to our homes, infrastructure and, more worryingly, the health of vulnerable members of our communities. In conveyancing, there is a tendency to look backwards to determine risk levels, however it is time to start using insight and data to look forward: If we, as an industry, can increase awareness of climate change and its potential impact on our homes and communities, more people will become engaged and want understand how this may affect their property in the future and take steps to help mitigate risks posed by the changing climate. To learn more about the Climate Report or to obtain a free sample, email or visit ■ 1. Climate change data has been calculated for Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) in Great Britain, based on a Medium Emissions Scenario (RCP:4.5 Equivalent to 2.4°C global warming by 2100s) 2. Climate change data has been calculated based on a High Emission Scenario (RCP 8.5, Equivalent to 4.3°C global warming by 2100s) 3.


HELP YOUR CLIENT TO PROTECT THEIR INTERESTS, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE Informing homebuyers of the hazards arising from climate change that could affect their future property. SURREYLAWYER | 43


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