Issue 4 - Spring 2018
Biblio Berkshire • Buckinghamshire • Oxfordshire Incorporated Law Society
In this issue: Promises, Promises, Promises • Rentcharges explained & much more...
Issue 4 - Spring 2018
Berkshire Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Incorporated Law Society Magazine
From the President...
Welcome to this edition of Biblio. In these pages there are a variety of interesting topics and articles but in particular please note the date and details for this year’s BB&O Annual Dinner being held in Oxford. The hotel is on the outskirts, has car-parking and rooms are available at discounted rates for those of us who prefer to stay-over. Places are of course limited and it tends to sell-out fast so don’t be tardy if you want a table or tickets!
From the President
A word from the Editor
BBO Lecture Programme Spring/Summer 2018
Legal Excellence Awards 2018
Obituary: Pamela Dorothy Robotham
Legal Excellence Awards Nomination Form
A Former President Recalls...
Awards Dinner Booking Form
The Community Impact of Charitable Gifts
Overhaul of Wills 'Critical' for Legacy Giving
If your firm has news then please do not hesitate to use Biblio for announcements. Copy should be sent to admin@ bbolawsoc.org.uk. Advertise vacancies and submit articles which you think may be helpful to your fellow professionals.
The Open Spaces Society
Royds Withy King's Inspiring Evening
Promises, Promises, Promises...
What is the issue with Rentcharges?
Delving Deeper into Flood Due Diligence
How legal technology can help your law firm
Data protection law evolves into a new niche
Achieving growth through efficiencies
Details of courses are also shown. The new continuing education requirements are by no means a relaxation of the rules, more a shift in emphasis towards relevant CPD. Failure to show you have done what is necessary will result in exposure to disciplinary action by the SRA. The BB&O courses are helpful both as to when they are held and cost, especially for members.
Simon Stone President, BB&O Law Society 2017/2018
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Berks, Bucks & Oxfordshire Incorporated Law Society
Committee 2017-18 President Simon Stone Kingsley David DX 45801 Woburn Sands email@example.com Vice President Jane Whitfield Barrett & Co DX 4033 Reading Email : jane.whitfield @barrettandco.co.uk Immediate Past President Cyrus Medora Kidd Rapinet DX 42269 Slough West CMedora@kiddrapinet.co.uk
Buckinghamshire Richard Sauvain Parrott & Coales DX 4100 Aylesbury richard.sauvain@parrott& coalesllp.co.uk
Oxfordshire Tracy Norris-Evans Royds Withy King DX 4314 Oxford 1 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roderick McCulloch Reynolds Parry Jones DX 4407 High Wycombe email@example.com Jonathan Warbey Horwood & James DX 4102 Aylesbury jonathan.warbey@ horwoodjames.co.uk
Edward Pilling Royds Withy King DX 4314 Oxford 1 firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Coleman Royds Withy King DX 4314 Oxford 1 email@example.com Special Members Council Members Razi Shah Appleby Shaw DX 3830 Windsor firstname.lastname@example.org
Nawaz Khan Abbott Forbes Council Member DX 45410 Cowley email@example.com
Local Authority Solicitors Nick Graham Oxfordshire County Council Local Authority DX 4310 Oxford Solicitor Nick.Graham@Oxfordshire.gov.uk Administrator Amanda Jopson BB&O Law Society DX 45803 Woburn Sands firstname.lastname@example.org
A word from the Editor
elcome to the Spring issue of Biblio. I say Spring with a note of caution given that as I sit in my office there is two feet of snow on the ground and its -6 outside . However, Spring is definitely underway with both our Spring lecture programme and the anticipation of our Awards Dinner which will take place on 15th June 2018 at the Spires Hotel Oxford. Please do support your local law society by nominating worthy recipients and attending the event. Tickets are now available and are proving popular so if you wish to attend please get in touch and/or complete the booking form in the magazine. Best wishes, Amanda Jopson Administrator Amanda@bbolawsoc.org.uk
Based in Denham, we are looking for a part-time Administrator who can demonstrate administrative competencies to the highest level. You will provide first class administrative support to the two fee earning partners and be responsible for your own areas of work. You will possess a strong client focus with an emphasis on confidentiality enabling you to interact well with them at all levels. We place an important emphasis on the development and personal well-being of everyone who works in the firm. We look to enable you to be the best you can be in order for you to deliver an excellent client service. We will therefore tailor, together with you, a training programme appropriate to you in addition to providing a phased induction programme. The firm holds Lexcel and CQS accreditations. This is a significant opportunity to contribute to the day to day work of the firm and to its development in the light of procedural and regulatory changes. Salary range ÂŁ22,000 to ÂŁ28,000 per annum, pro rata, with flexible hours, around 16 hours per week. For further information contact George Curran on: 01895 830700 or send your CV to: email@example.com
BERKS, BUCKS & OXON INC. LAW SOCIETY Lecture Programme Spring/Summer 2018
Please state number of tickets required with names of those attending and whether members, trainees or nonmembers. Please also provide your email address. Lectures will now start at 6.30 p.m. with refreshments from 6 p.m.
23rd April 2018 Conveyancing Update – Five Tricky Areas Richard Snape Holiday Inn High Wycombe Delegate name:
21st May 2018 The New Data Protection Act Emma Banister Dean Final Preparations Holiday Inn High Wycombe Delegate name:
11th June 2018 Contentious Trusts and Probate Freeths Holiday Inn High Wycombe Delegate name:
16th July 2018 Conveyancing Update Richard Snape Holiday Inn High Wycombe Delegate name:
15th June 2018
BB&O Annual Awards Dinner
Spires Hotel, Oxford
16th July 2018 Annual General Meeting Holiday Inn High Wycombe
Add the total number of tickets required, Members, Trainees & non-Members, then calculate cost inc VAT £78.00 (inc VAT) for members and their trainees, or Total tickets required: £114.00 (inc VAT) for non-members £42.00 (inc VAT) for non-qualified support staff Please make cheques payable to the BB&O Inc Law Society Total amount due:
Send to: BB&O , Shelton House, 4 High Street, Woburn Sands MK17 8SD or DX 45803 Woburn Sands
Legal Excellence Awards 2018 individuals, organisations and the local region and/or notable commitment to supporting causes or projects in the local region. Solicitor–Advocate of the Year Award 2018 GUIDANCE NOTES AND RULES OF ENTRY AWARD CATEGORIES Lawyer of the Year Award 2018 To be awarded to a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the success of significant cases or projects, as well as developing a reputation in their area of expertise. The winner will be someone who is seen by colleagues as “going that extra mile”, demonstrating inherent leadership qualities and making a positive contribution to the reputation of the legal profession. They may have proposed and implemented business solutions which have proved beneficial in securing outstanding results for their firm and clients. Whether working in the corporate world or with private clients, the winner of this award brings professionalism and commitment to all that they do. Junior Lawyer of the Year Award 2018
To be awarded to a solicitor-advocate with an outstanding achievement in advocacy made to their practice, client work and the wider community. This award will recognise an individual who has demonstrated a significant contribution in their advocacy work, a positive impact on the image of solicitor advocacy, as well as strong, practical advocacy skills. This award is open to all practising solicitors undertaking advocacy, and also barristers employed in law firms.
submitted. In particular, the judges will be looking for evidence of excellence which may include: innovation; creativity; exceptional conduct, dedication or commitment; determination and drive; highest professional standards; outstanding contribution or enhanced reputation to the profession and/or the wider community; the BB&O Law Society and/or ground-breaking or headlining work/case/project. Evidence may relate to activities carried out over a longer period than the 12 months to 15th May 2018, provided that such activities have yielded a result during that period. ENTRY REGULATIONS Eligibility
Legal Team of the Year 2018 To be awarded to a legal team (3 or more individuals) from private practice, in-house in commerce or public service, that is able to demonstrate excellence which has been recognised in Berks, Bucks or Oxon. This can include involvement in a law-changing case, or a team that has made an outstanding contribution either in their organisation or to their clients or the legal sector generally.
1. Nominees must be a member or be eligible to be a Member of the BB&O Law Society (as defined within the Rules of the BB&O Law Society). 2. An eligible person may nominate him/herself or may be nominated by another, provided that person is a Member of the BB&O Law Society. 3. Office holders of the BB&O Law Society are not eligible to enter the awards. Submissions
To be awarded to an individual who has shown an exceptional standard of work as well as great dedication in their role as a junior lawyer. They will be excelling in their role than just doing a good job, or making a significant contribution to their firm, their office, their clients and/or their local or legal community in the early part of their career, raising their own profile or that of their team/ firm and bringing flair, imagination and hard work to everything they do. This award is open to LPC students or LPC graduates (for example those working as a paralegal), CILEx students, trainee solicitors, and Solicitors or Chartered Legal Executives with up to 5 years’ PQE. Pro Bono / Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2018 To be awarded to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the local or legal community, or public service. The winner will have demonstrated a strong and dedicated commitment to the supply of pro bono work for the benefit of
President’s Award 2018 To be awarded to an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional contribution to the legal profession, their firm and/or their clients during their career.
GUIDANCE FOR APPLICANTS Please include in your application the reasons for which the nominee should be considered for the relevant award. This can include client care, case handling, a particular project or research, an initiative or any activity that goes above and beyond what one would usually expect within or relating to the working environment. Evidence should, if possible, be provided to show that the activities of the nominee have had some impact or made a difference within the legal profession or public service or the community in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and/or Oxfordshire. The judges will consider all relevant information
1. Submissions should relate to activities or initiatives conducted during the course of the 12 months prior to the closing date for the submission of the awards, being 15th May 2018. 2. Submissions should not exceed 200 words covering both role and contribution. 3. Applicants may provide evidence or testimonials from relevant third parties in support of their nomination provided such evidence does not exceed two sides of A4 paper. 4. The content of any entry may be used for publicity purposes unless the entrant withholds their consent to this in writing. 5. The deadline for submitting an entry is 15th May 2018. Nominations submitted after this date will not be considered. 6. Submissions must be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Amanda Jopson, Administrator, BB&O Law Society, Shelton House, 4 High Street, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes MK17 8SD or by DX to DX 45803 Woburn Sands.
Judging 1. The BB&O Law Society Awards Committee will consider all applications submitted prior to the closing date, and a shortlist will be produced. The nominees on this shortlist will be invited to attend the Annual Dinner at which the winners will be announced and the awards presented. 2. The final judging will take place prior to the awards ceremony on 15th June 2018 by an independent judging panel, whose decision will be final. 3. No feedback will be provided on submissions. General 1. Winners will receive a certificate and a trophy at the BB&O Law Society’s Annual Dinner where the winners will be announced and awards presented. 2. Nominated candidates and the winners of each of the awards categories will be able to attach the BB&O Excellence Award Nominee or BB&O Excellence Award Winner logo to their stationery. 3. Applicants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and to have agreed to be bound by them when submitting their application to be considered for the awards. 4. By submitting a nomination the applicant agrees to be contacted by BB&O Law Society in connection with the application and, if successful, the subsequent shortlist. 5. If a nomination is submitted by a third party applicant on behalf of the nominee, the applicant must state if the nominee is not aware of the nomination. 6. Applicants and nominees must inform BB&O Law Society of any negative media stories relating to the nominee (whether an individual or a firm) that have arisen during the period over which the nominee’s achievements are being considered. Negative publicity does not necessarily mean that your entry will be disallowed; however if it is not disclosed your entry may be invalidated. 7. Nominees may be considered for fast tracking into the Law Society’s National Awards.
Obituary: Pamela Dorothy Robotham
Pamela Dorothy Robotham
etter known to lawyers as Pam Styles, formerly a partner in Charsley Leonard, later Charsley Harrison in Slough, died on the 11th January 2018. She was aged 89. She is notable to the members of the BB&O because she was the first woman to be President of the Society. She had interests in many fields, the Soroptimists, the Girl Guides of which she was eventually the County Commissioner, Bray Parish Church of which she and her late husband Frank were loyal members. She had started her career in law as a Secretary to one of the partners. He moved away and she decided that she could do the job that he had been doing. Through hard work and correspondence courses, she passed the Law Society examinations and was admitted. Her main professional interest was in family law and she was the leading solicitor in Slough in family matters, and perhaps throughout the Thames Valley. To a fellow practitioner she was calm, knowledgeable and in control. It was no surprise that she was asked to accept an appointment as a Deputy Registrar, as District Judges were known until the 1990s. Her wisdom and cheerful disposition were noted as well as the knowledge and hard work for which she was known. Through her help to struggling Articled Clerks and young solicitors, and for all that she did through the Soroptimists to establish the Child Contact Centres in Maidenhead and Slough, her influence spread beyond the narrow interests of the law. In so many ways a help to young people, particularly Girl Guides, and continuing to support them in retirement, she will be greatly missed. Charles Elly
Nomination for BB&O Law Society Legal Excellence Awards 2018 BB&O Law Society Awards Sub-Committee will consider this nomination.
Selected candidates will be contacted by telephone by a member of the Sub-
Please clearly print in black ink or type the following details. You must ensure that
Committee. They will be asked to expand upon those areas set out below which
all sections of this form are completed otherwise the nomination cannot be accepted
identify the criteria for each of the awards. Following this, a short list will produced and forwarded to the judges for their final deliberations. Application Form for: (please select one) Lawyer of the Year Award 2018
Junior Lawyer of the Year Award 2018
Pro Bono / Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2018
Solicitor–Advocate of the Year Award 2018
Legal Team of the Year 2018
President’s Award 2018
Title: Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Surname: Forenames: Date of Birth: Name of firm/organisation: Telephone no: Position in firm/organisation: These Awards are aimed at individuals whose professional activities over the previous 12 months are worthy of special recognition. Particular regard will be paid to notable achievements; innovation and creativity; the highest standards of professionalism; groundbreaking or headlining work/case/project; determination and drive; outstanding dedication and commitment, and significant contributions to the local or legal or wider community. To come within the criteria, contributions must go beyond that which would be expected within a nominee’s regular tasks and duties. The nominations should include an account of what the nominee has done, the purpose and objective of the activity and, most importantly, the beneficial impact and added value that was thereby achieved.
Please provide answers to each of the following: 1. In what role(s) or area(s) has the nominee excelled? Describe the contribution made and the objective. (100 words max)
2. How has the nominee’s contribution impacted on the legal field, a particular practice area, their firm or organisation, a particular client/ group of clients, or the community? Why does the nominee deserve special recognition? (100 words max)
Is the nominee aware of this nomination? Yes / No (delete as appropriate) Declaration To the best of my knowledge all information given in this nomination is true and accurate in each and every particular, and can be substantiated if required.
Name: Signature: Date:
Position in firm/organisation:
Please send this form via post or email by 15th May 2018 to: Amanda Jopson, Administrator, BB&O Law Society, Shelton House, 4 High Street, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes MK17 8SD or DX 45803 Woburn Sands
A Former President recalls... in 1975; he had been Secretary for 25 years. At that time the BB&O had two formal social occasions, and informal so-called Country Dinners, also usually 2 per year.
was interested to read the Article in the last edition of Biblio featuring the photos on the front cover. They were apparently taken when my Principal and later Senior Partner, Maurice Parry-Jones was the President. This predated my time with the firm. I do not recognise any of the people featured; certainly none of them is P-J or his wife. My reason for writing is to correct some assumptions in the accompanying notes on page 10 of the magazine and in the editorial on page 4. I succeeded Harold Duce as Secretary
The main functions were the Annual Dinner and the Dinner Dance or President’s Ball. The Dinner was usually held in the County of the current President, and attracted 300 plus members and guests. The Dinner Dance was smaller and designed for members and their spouses. This would be held at a variety of places which could offer dining and a ballroom. By my time this was always at Phyllis Court Club at Henley, now the venue for the Past Presidents’ Lunch. The Country Dinners were held at hotels away from the centre, and the venues for the other dinners, such as Hopcroft’s Holt near Deddington. They usually were members only occasions. Their popularity waned and despite opening them to guests, they continued to decline and we discontinued them. Sadly, as costs rose and ballroom dancing went out of fashion, the Dinner Dance also died. The Annual Dinner remained popular and the highest number we ever seated in the late 1970s was 430. My assistants, John Fletcher
and Mary Ashworth, and I were holding our breath, hoping we had not miscounted on the seating plan! This was the maximum capacity of the Shoppenhangers Hotel in Maidenhead. The Hotel is still there, under another name, close to the exit 8/9 of the M4. Why do I think the photos were taken at the Dinner Dance not the Annual Dinner? First because the men are in White tie, the Dinner was Black tie. But more important, there are ladies there. Although the Annual Dinner was open to members and guests, it was not the custom to invite wives or girlfriends. Partners were the strictly business kind and most of the guests were estate agents, bankers and accountants with whom we did, or hoped to do, business. Of course, even in those unenlightened days there were women solicitors and other professionals, but not in the numbers on the photos. In fact the first President to invite his wife also had his Dinner at the Shoppenhangers Hotel. However he seated her in an alcove behind a curtain! Subsequent Presidents, including me when my time came, were bolder. Charles Elly President 1988/9, Hon Secretary 1975/81
AWARDS DINNER BOOKING FORM 15TH JUNE 2018, 6.45 FOR 7.30 CARRIAGES AT 11.30P.M. THE SPIRES HOTEL, ABINGDON ROAD, OXFORD OX1 4PS Tickets are now available for this event: £60.00 (inc VAT) for a single ticket and £540.00 (inc VAT) for a table of 10. Name:
No of tickets required:
Cheque enclosed: £
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: ADMIN@BBOLAWSOC.ORG.UK PLEASE RETURN YOUR BOOKING FORM TO: BB&O, DX 45803 WOBURN SANDS OR SHELTON HOUSE, 4 HIGH STREET WOBURN SANDS MILTON KEYNES MK17 8SD
transforming non-cash assets into community impact
hilanthropically minded clients may be able to do more for their community than they think. Property and other assets, where these exceed everyday needs, can be a powerful means of supporting causes close to a client’s heart.
Every client’s personal circumstances are different, and for many, charitable giving starts to become an interest later on in a career or life cycle. Several recent research reports* suggest that wealthy individuals would like their professional advisors to talk to them more proactively about their charitable options, and it cannot be assumed that successful people want to wait until they have died before their legacy can be felt. So how can clients unlock the value of their assets whilst remaining committed to the everyday expenses of their families and business interests? * CAF: The Art of Adaptation, 2015; Philanthropy Impact: The Changing Role of Professional Advisors, 2016 Different types of asset Charities can accept gifts of non-cash assets such as shares, property and art. With their long experience of stewarding donor funds, community foundations can be a great place to start for clients who know they want to give something back, and would like advice about how they can make a genuine and lasting difference in their local area. Retired company CEO John Taylor wanted to invest time and money into helping his community. After a highly successful career in the petrochemical industry, he was interested to understand which local social problems would benefit from strategic investment. After several months of discussions with Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF), he was appointed the charity’s Chair in January 2017. He says: “My wife and I have lived in Oxfordshire for many years, but we were still shocked when we learnt about some of the social problems happening right on our doorstep. The fact that pockets of terrible deprivation and need
exist side by side with this county’s wealth and prosperity was unacceptable to us, and that is why we decided to get more involved in the community foundation’s work. I have since become a passionate believer that urgent action is needed to address Oxfordshire’s key social problems, and in my capacity as recently appointed Chair of OCF, I wanted to raise awareness and lead by example.” John and his wife Julie went on to set up the Taylor Family Fund under OCF’s umbrella, by transferring nearly £100,000 in shares to the charity. “I had owned the shares for many years,” explains John. “The process itself was easy and straightforward, and has given us some added tax benefits. I would urge professional advisors to make this suggestion to their clients, and come on board with all of us who are striving to make our society better for everyone.” Community foundation expertise Community foundations in the Thames Valley region have experience of accepting generous gifts of land, property, and art, as well as share transfers. Community foundations are also used to working with clients wishing to donate a range of asset types, alongside their professional advisors and brokers. They can provide template documentation and streamlined procedures to make sure the process happens efficiently and at a time that is convenient to the donor. Tax efficiency Ownership of shares is typically transferred to a community foundation, following which they can be sold by the client’s broker. This means that the total value of the shares on the day the gift is made is crystallised, and no Capital Gains Tax is payable. A similar mechanism applies to other non-cash assets. Furthermore, the full value of the gift, without the deduction of CGT, is then eligible for higher rate tax relief.
Value to the community Donors like John and Julie can invest their assets into a ringfenced fund within the community foundation, which allows a client to make the charitable gift as soon as they would like to, but also gives time and space to reflect on what causes they would like it to support. The value of the assets is typically used to contribute towards the community foundation’s grant-making, or to drive strategic funding programmes that address root causes of deprivation in a particular area. For example, the Taylor Family Fund has now become the lead funder of a whole-community project in Berinsfield, Oxfordshire, that is looking to address multi-generational poverty, acute educational underachievement and lack of employment. Note that community foundations cannot give financial or legal advice, and always recommend that clients have a detailed conversation with their professional advisor before making any decisions. To find out more about transferring non-cash assets to charity, contact your local community foundation: • Berkshire www.berkshirecf.org • Buckinghamshire www.heartofbucks.org • Milton Keynes www.mkcommunityfoundation.co.uk • Oxfordshire www.oxfordshire.org
Overhauls of Wills ‘Critical’ for legacy giving new mental capacity test which takes into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia, and a suggestion that the age for making a will should be lowered from 18 to 16.
emember A Charity welcomes the Law Commission’s proposals and consultation to overhaul the current laws on Wills, saying that this could be ‘critical’ for legacy giving. Proposals include softening the strict formality rules, a
Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, says: “When you consider that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK die intestate each year, leaving no clear guidelines as to how any assets should be divided among their family, friends and good causes, it is long overdue that the Willwriting process is made more accessible, helping ensuring that people’s final wishes will be met. “If the legal sector succeeds in making it easier for people to write a Will, while putting adequate safeguards in place for the public and minimising
the opportunity for contested Wills, this could be a critical step forward for legacy giving. Ultimately, the more people that write a Will, the greater the potential for including a charitable donation. Even if just a small percentage of people who die intestate were to leave a gift in their Will, this could help close the gap between those that have the desire to give through wills (35%) and the 6% of people that leave a charitable legacy. This could potentially raise millions for good causes each year.” Find out more about Remember A Charity at: www.rememberacharity.org.uk
The Open Spaces Society
he Open Spaces Society, which is active throughout Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015. Founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society it is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. In its early years it saved many commons and other open spaces in and around London: Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and Wimbledon Common for example. It studied all the parliamentary bills, of which there were many in the late Victorian era for the building of railways in particular. The society helped save Hungerford Common in Berkshire, among others, from the Great Western Railway in 1908. In 1895 the society’s founders and early activists created the National Trust as a landholding body. The society then established local committees who raised money to buy threatened properties for the Trust. For instance, the society assisted local people with the acquisition of common land by the National Trust around Marlow and Maidenhead in Berkshire in the 1930s. Today the society still safeguards common land: as a statutory consultee it scrutinises every application for works there. Commons are important to their local communities and it is vital that the society examines all the applications for works. We have helped to defeat some inappropriate proposals, such as unsightly and restrictive fencing on Kingswood Common in the
Registered in England and Wales, limited company 7846516 Charity no 1144840 Chilterns. In 2010 the society published guidance to land managers, Finding Common Ground, on how to ensure that they take account of all those with a stake in the common before they proceed with plans which might alter its appearance or ecology. We also advise communities on protecting their green spaces, by registering them as town or village greens. Most recently, we have helped the Grange Area Trust to register 42 acres of Widmer Fields, near Hazlemere in Buckinghamshire, as a green—one of the largest in England. Also, we have assisted communities to register village greens at Trap Grounds, Oxford; Sunningwell, and Humpty Hill, Faringdon in Oxfordshire, Pimms Grove, High Wycombe and Woughton Park and Passmore, Old Woughton, Milton Keynes, among many others. Once land is registered as a green, local people have the right of recreation there and the land is protected from development.
Our history of defending public paths goes back a long way. For example, in 1902 the society secured the reopening of 35 footpaths and bridleways after they had been obstructed by the Chequers Estate. Today the society is notified of all proposed changes to public paths and, where we have a volunteer local correspondent, we object if we believe the change is against the public interest. This means that we may need to appear at public inquiries and hearings. We cannot afford legal representation so we make use of our in-house expertise from staff and volunteers with long experience. For example, at Witney in
Oxfordshire, we have won an additional path and an additional town green in negotiation with developers Richmond Care Villages. In Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and beyond we champion the cause of open spaces and public paths. We take up hundreds of cases each year and we lobby parliament for better, tougher laws. We have no public funding; we depend on legacies and donations to support our vital work. Web: www.oss.org.uk Tel: 01491 573535 Email: email@example.com
It is more difficult to claim land as a green now that the Growth and Infrastructure Act has been passed, outlawing the registration of greens where land is threatened with development. So we are promoting an alternative means of protecting land, by applying for its designation as Local Green Space in the local or neighbourhood plan. We were active in the campaign to achieve a responsible freedom to roam for the public on common land and mapped areas of moor, heath and down, culminating in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. We helped to win Beacon Hill, near Ellesborough, and Cobstone Hill at Ibstone, both in Bucks, as access land for the public.
“An inspiring evening” – Royds Withy King help raise £2,926.05 for the Silverlining charity in Oxford
oyds Withy King were once again delighted to collaborate with the Silverlining charity to host our second joint-venture fashion show at Rhodes House in Oxford, to celebrate the inspirational and astonishing achievements of our clients and the Silverliners. The result was nearly £3,000 in donations for Silverliners.
The event saw over twenty disabled and ablebodied models hit the runway to raise money for the Silverlining charity, alongside Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss new-boy Kit Butler, who first appeared as a model in the original show in 2015.
It could not be put better than Royds Withy King’s client Marsha Carty, who resolutely declared on the night that “people think that disabled people are not able to do this sort of thing but I can and I will”. It was Marsha’s lifelong dream to model.
All of the models wore a range of clothing generously provided by Jigsaw and bespoke men’s tailors Clements and Church. Hair was styled by Electric of London, with make-up by Katie Reay Scott.
The Silverlining charity offers opportunities for all those affected by brain injury to get involved in exciting and purposeful activities in the community. They include the brain injured as well as their family members and friends who are often overlooked despite the effects brain injury can have on loved ones.
The event inspired Royds Withy King’s clients, and the Silverliners, to change their perceptions of themselves and of others around them. It allowed them to prove to themselves that their disability does not define them. It was also a celebration of family and a recognition of the invaluable contribution of parents, siblings and children to the team.
Nicola Cale of CCM Services said: “The fashion show provides a marvellous therapeutic benefit for all of our models, many of whom were supported by their friends and families, which helped to create an inclusive and vibrant atmosphere on the night”. Tracy Norris-Evans, head of Royds Withy King Solicitors Personal Injury team, said: “Some of the models have been clients for over twenty years, and it was wonderful to see them out on the runway, especially as for many it takes real courage to perform in front of an audience that size”.
Promises, Promises, Promises... A letter written in 2008 was crucial to the success of Lucy’s claim. It set out a proposal for Lucy to be the owner of the farm following her parent’s death with her brother and sisters receiving some land. The judge concluded that Lucy had succeeded in proving her claim but limited her entitlement to a share in the farm, approximately 45%. In the alternative, Lucy had also brought a claim pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, but this was not needed due to the success of her proprietary estoppel claim.
n recent months, two notable cases have hit the headlines involving children seeking an interest in farming businesses following the death of a parent. Both cases have been pursued on the basis of proprietary estoppel – where to succeed, a claimant needs to show that they are entitled to property because it was promised to them, and they relied on that promise to their detriment. The first case involves 60 year old Sam James who, following the death of his father, made a claim that his father had, during his lifetime, promised him land that had already passed to one of his sisters, and farmland and a business which passed to his sisters and mother under his late father’s will. Sam had worked in the family business for nearly 35 years. Irrespective of whether any promise had been made, however, he was unable to demonstrate a financial disadvantage since he had been made a partner in the family haulage business following which he had received land and cash worth £200,000 on its dissolution. Sam and his family had also lived rent-free on part of his father’s land. Sam’s claim failed as the judge found that he had not relied on his father’s promises to his detriment. The judge upheld the will and found that the estate was divided up in a rational and balanced way taking into account the needs of the deceased’s wife and daughters. Sam also sought to challenge the validity of his father’s will on the ground of lack of testamentary capacity. That challenge also failed. In contrast to this case, Jane Habberfield was ordered to pay her daughter, Lucy Habberfield, £1.1million in cash to represent her interest in a farming business worth £2.5 million in a decision handed down in February. Lucy had worked on the family farm near Yeovil for 30 years until she left in 2013 following an argument with her sister. Lucy’s husband had also worked on the farm for many years. Lucy brought a proprietary estoppel claim saying that her father had assured her that she would take the farm over when he retired and that she had relied on that promise to her detriment. Lucy’s father had left his share of the farm to his wife Jane in his will.
These cases demonstrate how the success of claims based on proprietary estoppel can vary significantly and that they each turn on their own individual facts. Equally, the existence of a will does not prohibit a successful claim if evidence shows that a promise was made, and relied upon to the detriment of the person to whom the promise was made. The law of proprietary estoppel is complex and legal advice should be sought in each case. The cases can be read in full at: James v James & Ors  EWHC 43 (Ch) http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2018/43.html Habberfield v Habberfield  EWHC 317 (Ch) http://www.bailii.org/ew/ cases/EWHC/Ch/2018/317.html If you have any questions please contact Sally Goodger, Senior Associate, at Freeths Solicitors on 01865 781061 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FINDING YOUR VOICE IN DIGITAL AND PRINT MEDIA www.eastparkcommunications.co.uk
What is the issue with Rentcharges?
his is a matter of interest for conveyancing practitioners as getting it wrong would be troublesome for clients and for your firm.
Rentcharges – what are they? They are a means of obtaining money from a land owner. Typically by an annual charge. It gives the rentcharge owner an interest in the land and a means of forcing the land owner to pay the sum due. Rent in the word rentcharge does not imply a tenancy and there is no privity of estate between the rentcharge owner and the land owner.
How are rentcharges created? Apart from a certain type of rentcharge, no new ones can now be created. This was as a consequence of the Rent Charges Act 1977 (RA) and the operative date for no new creations was 22 August 1977. But you can create a rentcharge as we often see when buying a house on a housing estate where a rentcharge is used to enforce payment of money towards, for example, cost of care for amenity areas or grass verges; similar to a service charge within a lease. Prior to the RA, rentcharges may have been created by a deed but could also have been created under Statute or in a Will. Some cases even suggest payment over a long time can create a rentcharge.
How can a rentcharge be brought to an end? The RA will kill-off many types of rentcharge. Extinguishment will occur on 22 July 2037 or, if later, 60 years from the date the rentcharge first became payable. Rent charges can be redeemed or apportioned, released by express agreement in a deed, merge (the land charged and the land benefitting being in the same ownership) and fall away through lapse of time. Regarding lapse of time, nonpayment for a period of at least six years will prevent the rentcharge owner from recovering arrears and damages.
How is a rent charge enforced? The rentcharge owner can sue, subject to limitation periods. The rent owner can enter into possession. This is given by s121(3) LPA 1925. It can happen if the arrears are 40 days or more overdue. The rentcharge owner can then take income from the land to repay the debt and costs etc. There can also be an express right of entry and this can result in the land being forfeited. It is not certain but has been stated that the limitation period is six years because it is an action for the recovery of money rather than the charged land. Another statutory remedy is found in s121(4) of the LPA 1925. Watch this one! Again, if the rent is at least 40 days overdue, the rent owner can grant a lease of the land to trustees
whose job it is to try and raise enough to pay the rent and any arrears, costs etc by the likes of selling the land or mortgaging it. Bad news for the owner. It has been held (see Roberts and others v Lawton and others (2016) UKUT 395) by the Upper Tribunal that once a rentcharge lease has been granted it stays in existence even if the arrears have been paid, unless voluntarily surrendered.
What should you do if you come across these old types of rentcharge? Check to see if it has been paid and if there are arears. It is probably best to ignore the absence of demands. If all is in order then bring it to the attention of the client(s) so they are aware of the continuing obligation (buyer and lender clients of course). Otherwise it seems sensible to ‘run for cover ’ and seek an appropriate indemnity insurance policy that covers the issue especially the scenario of a lease being created. My experience to date is that the policies are available and are not prohibitively expensive. NB: This article is for guidance purposes only and is by no means a full explanation. Simon Stone (Simon Stone is the Senior Partner at Kingsley David, Milton Keynes and the President and Hon. Sec of the BB&O).
Delving Deeper into Flood Due Diligence
hen it comes to undertaking environmental due diligence as part of any property transaction, irrespective of whether it’s residential or commercial, it’s important to ensure that the right level of analysis is undertaken.
From a buyers’ perspective, they rely on their lawyer for insight and guidance into such hazards, and with research showing that one in every six residential properties is considered to be at some level of flood risk in the UK*, it is important to ensure all checks are made to ensure compliance.
led flood risk assessment offer advantages: identified risks are genuine and resulting guidance is of high quality and unambiguous; enabling solicitors, purchasers and - where relevant - lenders with the ability to make better informed decisions. A recent example of this can be seen in a case study following a solar farm purchase. The client had two lawyers acting on their behalf – one was an energy lawyer and the other was a property lawyer. The seller received two environmental reports for the farm – one commissioned by the seller at the outset, and the other by the financial institution later in the process.
The good news for conveyancers is that you’re not expected to become environmental specialists overnight. Flood reports have evolved and today the right reports present high quality consultant-led opinion and relevant flood data in an easy to understand, visual format that make them clear to interpret and more consumer-friendly than ever before.
One was a consultant-led report – which in this circumstance was an Argyll Site Solutions Combined report – and the other was a standard, automated flood report.
They make it clear what the results mean for the property purchaser and today, some provide a series of ‘next steps’ from qualified environmental consultants as part of the report, offering specialist guidance.
On review, while the data sources used in both reports were similar, the automated nature of the standard report meant that the proportion of the site at risk was not investigated.
This means that far more reports will be passed first time as any ‘at risk’ addresses will be manually assessed by a team of expert environmental consultants, at no additional cost. Ensuring the right calibre of report is used is important. There are reports that are automated, which present findings based on predetermined datasets. However, working with providers that offer consultant-
It resulted in a clear conflict of results between the two reports and, as such, the deal could not proceed until the issue was resolved.
The consultant-led report on the other hand was able to establish that the only area of risk is was in the far northern corner of the site and that defences made in the wider area by the Environment Agency have in fact risked the area to Low. A partner for the property lawyers was quoted as saying: “This was a good example of an automated search result being unhelpful and positively misleading, as the search result is based on manual review of the data and its
further review on the discrepancy being raised confirmed it could reduce the risk, as the last instance of flooding affected only 0.5% of the site.” The use of consultant-led reporting over computer modelled risk-only reports means there is greater opportunity to pass, wherever possible, avoiding false positives that lead to delay and extra costs - and even lost sales. Being able to combine the best environmental data with expert consultancy ultimately enables conveyancers to provide the most thorough guidance to client, while maximising passes and ensuring clients are reliably informed and confident of the information being presented. It also maximises the chances of progressing a transaction in an efficient and compliant manner.
With unseasonal and often extreme weather conditions continuing to occur, it is important that the correct level of due diligence is undertaken before any transaction completes to comply with the Law Society’s Flood Practice note: in my opinion, it doesn’t pay to leave flooding to chance, but instead is the duty of conveyancers to deliver clear advice upfront. And, with today’s consultant-led reports, it means you can do this with confidence – and without the need to acquire an environmental qualification to do so. https://www.landmark.co.uk/ landmark-legal/riskview * https://www.theguardian.com/ environment/2015/mar/25/one-insix-uk-homes-risk-from-floodingmps-report
How legal technology can help your law firm I want to build up a sound base of good-quality clients that provide regular revenue, which are either buying the software or buying the service underpinned by the software. What advice would you have for those thinking of setting up as a sole practitioner?
ndrew Scott set up his own law firm a year ago. Here he explains the challenges he faced and how he has developed his own legal technology to improve productivity. What prompted you to set up your own practice? I’d spent over 25 years working for large law firms and I felt I needed a new challenge. I wanted to break free, try something new and to indulge my interest in legal technology. What’s been the biggest mistake you’ve made? I don’t think I’ve made any howlers. The business has only been going for a year, so there’s plenty of time yet! But, it’s gone better than I could have hoped. What’s been the best decision you’ve made? Hiring the right people. They’ve lifted some of the weight of work off me and enabled me to focus
Don’t be overambitious. Be realistic about what you can achieve. on building the business. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to take the time to develop the technology. What’s the technology you’ve developed? I’d been working in document assembly and other areas of legal technology for about ten years before going out on my own. My idea was to help clients in day-to-day legal work, especially where the processes can be supported by technology. I wanted to create a platform onto which I could put all my years of experience to support clients in their contractual needs. I’ve had a piece of natural-language processing software called Repindex adapted for the legal market. I’ve also devised another piece of software that allows clients to model any aspect of a contract and enables users to automate ‘playbooks’. So, for example, clients can run all their non-disclosure agreements through Repindex, which will highlight problematic clauses. They can then refer to the playbook to
find out whether, and if so, how they should amend those clauses. Essentially, it helps improve productivity. How easy was it to get PI insurance? It was really straightforward. I was introduced to Richard Brown at Miller, who handled it all and made it a completely painless experience. What next? The big challenge is taking the business to the next level. I need more volume of work to generate the revenues that would allow me to hire more full-time staff. I’ve proved the concept in the first year, but to develop the technology further will entail a lot more cash, which is why I need to generate more volume. What’s your ultimate ambition? The business is ticking over quite nicely right now, but my objective is to get it to the point where I can sell it in three to five years’ time.
Have some clients already onboard before you do it. You’d be very brave if you took a leap in the dark thinking you’ll just pick up business. The first year is crucial. It’s easy though if you have foundation clients who will support you. Then you decide what you want to do with the business from there. I have some very loyal clients, including a large retail fund management company, and a tech firm, without whom I couldn’t have gone out on my own. Finally, be clear about what you want to achieve, and be very clear on what you want to deliver. Focus on depth, not breadth, otherwise there’s a risk you’ll spread yourself too thinly. To learn more about how Miller can help you obtain a PI insurance quote for a new firm or to request a copy of our free guide to understanding the SRA application process please go to: www.solicitors.millerinsurance.com
Data protection law evolves into a new niche
e are at present seemingly swamped by marketing materials which are keen to point out the financial consequences of non compliance with the new EU wide data protection regulation, the GDPR 1, which is due to come into force on 25th May 2018. This legislation, despite the inevitable cost to business in terms of change to process and procedure, is badly needed for the protection of all of us. The stealing of personal data for nefarious reasons is becoming more and more common and it is right that the law evolves to protect its citizens. Hailed by many as a “revolution”, we prefer to think of it as an “evolution” to fill a niche largely created by e-communication. For those of us involved in resolving family law cases using DNA testing technology, there are now some additional considerations, notably those relating to genetic information that could have derived from, say, a paternity test. For the first time, these data, along with biometric data are specifically mentioned in the legislation and are classified as sensitive personal information, along with religious beliefs, physical and mental health and ethnic origin. This is long overdue. Nothing is closer to your very being than your own unique genetic code. Analysis of your genes can already tell a lot about you, in the future this will be substantially more. Predicting (yes predicting, not just diagnosing) diseases, abilities or preferences all come under the spotlight. For those of you that think that the ability of ISPs to present advertisements based on your surfing activity is bad enough, it is truly little compared to what could be done with access to your genetic data. The key to unlocking your code is the physical DNA itself, which can be isolated from a bodily sample, most simply a cheek swab or saliva sample to collect some cells from inside the mouth. In a paternity test we look at regions of DNA that are to be found throughout your personal DNA code (your genome). For the most part, these regions (the DNA profile) have no functional consequence, they are just markers in the sand. They are powerful enough though, to identify your immediate family and who is, or is not, the father of a child. It is this DNA profile that you may hear about as being stored on DNA databases and retrieved for example, in connection with a crime. More imperative to consider is the rise of companies which obtain your DNA sample and sequence the entire genome or make a detailed map, thus providing you with a report on say, your distant ancestry or changes in your genome which relate to disease pre-disposition or other characteristics. These data are necessarily far from complete and conclusions are far from absolute, yet these providers often continue to hold the DNA,
sample and data. Consumers may find that they have agreed to retention of their DNA and the sharing of their genetic data (sometimes with payment) with third parties for other purposes. The consent these companies have obtained from consumers is not a fully informed consent as there may be risks and consequences that currently cannot be foreseen. The retention of genetic information is in fact broader than that too…such information is being held by healthcare providers and by universities and indeed, sometimes without limitation of time. You may have heard of “biobanks”, where genetic information is held for the purpose of “research”…i.e. DNA data mining, which is often carrying a tenuous rationality. This is precisely why GDPR is needed, consent buried in T&Cs is not a fair consent and the explicit “opt-in” required under GDPR will mean that consumers genetic data cannot now just be held in the expectation that an opportunity will arise for the testing company, without the consent of the donor to the use of their data in the new circumstances. GDPR also means that there will need to be accountability for the genetic data stored and how it is used. This is in no part a complete block on important genetic developments; GDPR is quite rightly asking for accountability for the DNA data, as it does with other pieces of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In family law cases, which generally involved DNA profiling, reasonable steps must be taken to protect clients data. Given the complexity of the cases we generally have to deal with, e.g. multiple solicitors representing different clients, the involvement of social services and local authorities, court orders, private individuals and international cases (including immigration), there is a veritable minefield of responsibility which must be attended to under GDPR. Coupled with the need of many to improve general internal practices (location of data, how it is used and shared, accessing from off site, cloud storage) GDPR will bring significant audit responsibility to the legal profession and it subcontractors. We stand ready to work with you on these complex issues. What will arise will be a better system where genetic and other data is properly accounted for. Dr Neil Sullivan, BSc., MBA (DIC), LLM, PhD. General Manager, Complement Genomics Ltd. (trading as www.dadcheckgold.com)
The General Data Protection Regulation see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-generaldata-protection-regulation-gdpr/ 1
Dr Gary Hartnoll
MA (Cantab.), MB, BCh, MRCP, FRCPCH
Consultant in Neonatal Medicine
Dr Gary Hartnoll has been a Consultant Neonatologist since 1999, working in tertiary level neonatal units covering both medical and surgical conditions. His clinical practice covers all areas of neonatal medicine, including the neonatal care of premature infants and of babies with surgical problems. Dr Hartnoll can act as an expert witness, including the preparation of medico legal reports and appearances in court, in negligence cases relating to his specialist areas of expertise. These include neonatology, neonatal intensive care, medical management of the surgical baby, birth asphyxia, new-born resuscitation and all aspects of new-born baby care. Dr Hartnoll can take instructions from either claimant or defendant or as a Single Joint Expert. He is a member of the Academy of Experts and holds the Bond Solon Cardiff University Certificate in Civil Law. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, member of the British Association of Prinatal Medicine and the Neonatal Society. Course director for the Newborn Life Support course of the UK Resuscitation Council.
T: Secretary 020 3315 7881 E: Gary.Hartnoll@chelwest.nhs.uk
Achieving growth through efficiencies
017 was yet another successive year of strong growth for Quill clients. That’s according to analysis undertaken by Quill using 4 years’ worth of anonymised accounts billings data for a sample of over 400 legal software and outsourced cashiering service clients. Some key findings from Quill’s research of law firms’ financial performance are:• 22% increase in average profit costs across the past 48 months • Average monthly billings in 2017 of £81,901 for SME businesses (Quill’s average client has around 11 software users) • The top third performers more than doubled their profits, with monthly billings increasing from £71k to £144k • The middle third performers achieved 12% increase in profits Translating what these statistics mean in real terms, it’s quantitative evidence that proper use of legal software and outsourcing back office tasks has a positive impact economically. Legal practices choosing Quill’s Interactive system – comprising document and case management, time recording, reporting and legal accounts tools – and outsourcing administrative functions – cashiering, payroll and typing – are able to significantly improve profitability. That’s because Interactive facilities efficiency improvements by straightforward management of in-progress matters, automatic population of templates and precedents, easy capturing of time, reduction of overheads, access to data and files 24/7 on the move, monitoring of performance and recovery of costs. Similarly, Quill’s Pinpoint cashiering service drives further efficiencies because, by offloading the entire accounting function with support given on a continuous basis, time can be channelled elsewhere, monthly costs minimised and regulations adhered to. Quill’s research is supported by anecdotal evidence from end users including Daniel Hewitt, Managing Director at JP Goldman Solicitors, who comments: “We've been using
Figures are shown above in visual graphical format.
Quill's Interactive cloud legal software and Pinpoint outsourced cashiering service since our company began trading in early 2016. “Since then we've seen sizeable growth within our business. This has been made possible by the functionality within Interactive and flexibility of Pinpoint. Having a supplier as professional as Quill providing feature-rich systems and allocating us an off-site cashier to manage our accounts brings peace of mind as we're able to work more efficiently, operate continuously and compliance with accounting rules is a given.” Quill’s MD, Julian Bryan, explains: “There is obviously variation in fees generated by the highest and lowest performing law firms in our study. This is partly resulting from the discipline of law, such as legal aid funded areas, but mainly it demonstrates adoption of good processes via Interactive and Pinpoint to log time at every touchpoint, use available functionality to its fullest capacity, take advantage of advanced reporting capabilities to delve deep into financial data, act upon system prompts to manage accounts in line with prescribed rules and much more besides. By doing so, legal practices are able to maximise billings per fee earner. “Additional benefits can be driven where law
firms have completely delegated their cashiering role because they’re able to focus exclusively on fee earning and business development without distraction. By being more productive in these two areas, businesses can assume a truly competitive stance in what’s becoming an increasingly challenging industry.” Quill’s results are echoed in various industry reports, the Law Society’s LMS Financial Benchmarking Survey amongst them. According to the Law Society’s evaluation of 152 participating firms, fee income increased by a median 5.8% in 2016, compared with a still-healthy 5.4% in the previous year. Median net profit per equity partner was similarly buoyant, standing at £135,979, up by 8.4% year-on-year. Overall, firms are achieving 10% net profit margins. If legal service providers are wavering in their decision to upgrade to newer systems and switch to an outsourced business model, it’s convincing proof that firms doing just that are being rewarded with superior revenues. To contact the Quill team: email email@example.com, call 0161 236 2910 or visit www.quill.co.uk/growth.