BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY
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COMPLIANCE TOP TEN FOR 2019
LEASEHOLD HOME OWNERSHIP
HOW TO LET YOUR HAIR AND NOT YOURSELF DOWN Your monthly update from the
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TAKING THE FAMILIAR INTO THE FUTURE
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PAST PRESIDENTS’ LUNCH 2018.
4. 6. 10. 11. 12. 14. 16. 20.
President’s Letter Birmingham Law Society’s President, James Turner. Society News. A round up of what's been happening at the Society and member's news. Best Practice. Leasehold Home Ownership Seminar, 10 December 2018, 3pm to 5pm Best Practice. Are Logbooks just HIPS?. Landmark's Tony Rollason asks the question. Best Practice. NALP's Amanda Hamilton looks at two things a Paralegal must never do. Regulation Report. Jayne Willet's gives her Compliance Top Ten for 2019. Best Practice. Why are public company valuations considered so fragile asks Adrian Pym. Out of Hours. 48 Hours in Agadir, brand new Bentleys, Christmas Parties and Concerts.
CONTACT US Birmingham Law Society Suite 101, Cheltenham House 14-16 Temple Street Birmingham B2 5BG Tel 0121 227 8700 email@example.com www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk @birminghamlawsociety Officers April 2018 - April 2019 President: James Turner Vice President: Linden Thomas Deputy Vice President: Inez Brown Joint Honorary Secretaries: Chaitali Desai and Sophie Samani Board of Directors 2017 - 2018 Chairman: Eileen Schofield Ex-Officio: Andrew Beedham Vice Chairman & Director: Prof. Bernardette Griffin Finance Director: Ben Henry Director: Caroline Coates Director: Laura Daly Director: Catherine Edwards Director: Dee Kundi Director: Tony McDaid Director: Regan Peggs Ex-Officio: James Turner Contact c/o Birmingham Law Society www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk 3
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL IN PERSON SUPPORT SCHE On 25 September BLS partnered with the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) and Judges of the Employment Tribunal to hold a meeting to discuss the creation of an Employment Tribunal Litigant in Person Support Scheme (ELIPS) in Birmingham. The event was very well attended. I am grateful to Judge Brian Doyle, President of the Employment Tribunal, for attending to give his perspective on the issues arising.
Those attending heard presentations building on the work undertaken in London and Cardiff where successful schemes are already in place. We were provided with a very useful FAQ document. As a result sufficient numbers of Employment Specialists in our region signed up to staff the scheme. I am pleased to confirm that on 5 October 2018 the first clinic for Litigants in Person was held at the Tribunal and was a resounding success. Although the introduction of fees saw a reduction in the number of claims those have now risen by 165% since mid-2017, when the fee scheme came to an end. The Tribunal is recruiting 54 full time salaried Tribunal Judges but those will only be inducted and effective from April 2019. I understand there are plans to recruit further fee paid Tribunal Judges in later 2019. It is hoped that this will improve the administration of the Tribunals, cut down on delays in listing and allow for more robust case management. Volunteers will attend the clinic on the first Friday of each month on a rota. It is hoped that for any individual the number of 4 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
attendances will therefore not prove problematic. The cause list will be sent to the volunteer in advance to avoid conflicts of interest arising. Students from local Universities will staff the triage surgery to ensure that those who have hearings listed on the day are priorities and to perform a gate keeping exercise for initial advice. The acid test of the scheme will be the provision of early advice. The intention of the Tribunals was that claimants could represent themselves. In reality however the hearings and jurisdiction have become more complex such that litigants in person face significant challenges. Advice agencies are not properly funded and there is of course an absence of public funding for claimants. As a consequence of lack of access to early advice claimants rarely appreciate what they can and cannot claim, are not aware of time limits and find it impossible to properly assess the value of their claim. As a criminal law specialist I reflect that the civil courts would be well served by the introduction of a statutory duty solicitor scheme. It ought not to be the role of solicitors to band together to undertake such work on a pro bono basis but is a sign of the generosity of those individuals and the times we live in that it has become necessary. My hope is that the Treasury and MoJ will take note of the schemes now provided in Birmingham, London and Cardiff, which provide a significant resource but that the resource is not available nationwide. BLS supports The Law Society campaign with regard to access to early advice. There is clearly a case to be made for the financial savings provided by ensuring that litigants have access to expert advice at the inception of a case. In my field the advice of the duty solicitor prevents the unnecessary listing of a vast number of cases for trial where there is no defence, no understanding of the law and importantly ensures that in those cases where the defendant may be ignorant of the law, the sentence they receive is proportionate and fair.
The BTSS Committee have been as busy as ever over the last few months. In September we welcomed our brand new intake of trainees and paralegals and were pleased to see lots of renewals of membership including many newly qualified solicitors! In true BTSS style, to celebrate all our new members we hosted the annual ‘New Intake Bar Crawl’. Every year the event is sponsored by BCL Legal and is one of the many highlights of the year for our members. This year’s Bar Crawl included visits to Lost and Found, Head of Steam and Revolucion De Cuba in Birmingham. It was exciting to see lots of networking amongst our members with many guests meeting for the very first time. The event also provided a fantastic opportunity for those new to Birmingham to get a feel for the Birmingham night life and the many highlights of being a Birmingham trainee!
LITIGANT EME For those embarking on this pro bono initiative you have the thanks of the Judges, the Bar Pro bono Unit, LawWorks, the Free Representation Unit and BLS. I am confident that you will experience the vast satisfaction that is felt by duty solicitors in the criminal courts. The work will be varied, unpredictable and there is huge scope to make an impact on the course of cases for LIPs. There are sufficient volunteers to launch the scheme but I anticipate further volunteers could be accommodated and would be welcomed. Those wishing to become involved should contact Nick Walsh to volunteer by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Birmingham Law Society are proud to work in partnership with our sponsors:
We have also been very busy with networking and mentoring events with BPP University and the University of Law over the last few months. Thank you to BPP and UoL for giving the BTSS the opportunity to host a ‘Welcome to BTSS’ panel talk, the ‘BTSS Panel and Networking’ session, the Speed Networking event and the Law Firm Tours over October and November. These events have been very inspiring and encouraging to the LPC and GDL students that have attended. The events have also enabled our members to impart their real life experiences of trainee recruitment on the students to ensure that these prospective trainees are provided
BTSS UPDATE Written by Jas Atwal, Chair of the Birmingham Trainee Solicitors’ Society (Trainee Solicitor at Anthony Collins Solicitors) 2017 BTSS Annual Winter Ball
with valuable hands on advice when applying to firms for training contracts. In other news, we are now approaching a very exciting time of the year as we get closer to the BTSS Annual Winter Ball. The Ball is a flagship event in the Birmingham trainee legal market and every year it gets bigger and better than ever. This year, the Ball’s theme will be ‘Rio Carnival’ and we are very excited to confirm that we will be having live music, dancers and many other exciting surprises. We also have a huge raffle this year which includes prizes from Gymshark, Bullring, the Birmingham Hippodrome and many others. A special thank you goes to our sponsors for the raffle which includes a number of law firms in Birmingham such as Mills
& Reeve, Gowling WLG, Gateley PLC, Eversheds Sutherland, Shakespeare Martineau, Trowers & Hamlins and DLA Piper. All the money raised for the raffle will go to our nominated charity of the year, Free@Last. Free@Last is fantastic charity with the vision to improve the lives of the children and young people of Nechells. We hope to raise as much as we can for them this year so don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets either on the night itself or reserve with your local BTSS committee member! A special thank you goes to our two sponsors for the night, Bygott Biggs and Errington Legal. If you are interested in finding out more about the BTSS including potential sponsorship opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Chair, Jas Atwal (jas.atwal@anthonycollins).
UPCOMING EVENTS ANNIVERSARY LECTURE BY BARONESS HALE OF RICHMOND 29th November 2018 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM The Barber Institute of Fine Arts University of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham, B15 2TS A GUIDE TO CORONIAL LAW 30th November 2018 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM St Ives Chambers 1-3 Whittall Street Birmingham, B4 6DH PROPERTY CONVEYANCING: STATE OF THE NATION ROUNDTABLE 12th December 2018 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM DWF One Snow Hill Snow Hill Queensway Birmingham, B4 6GA
PROPERTY SEMINAR WITH RICHARD SNAPE 21st January 2019 13.00 - 16.00 Clarke Willmott, 138 Edmund St, Birmingham B3 2ES LEGAL EAGLES QUIZ 7th February 2019 Details coming soon LEGAL AWARDS 2019 14 March 2019 7pm – 1pm The ICC, Birmingham BEAUTY AND THE BEAST AT THE BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET 28th February 2019 6:00 PM Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst Street Southside Birmingham, B5 4TB United Kingdom
LUNCH CLUB WITH LORD MAYOR OF BIRMINGHAM 11th January 2019 12.00 - 14.00 Revolucion de Cuba, 8 Temple St, Birmingham B2 5BN
To book: www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk or email: email@example.com www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk 5
CHARITY QUIZ SMASHES PREVIOUS TOTAL Winners on the night were Griffiths & Pegg’s team Skarravad, with Lloyds Bank team Black Horse Down the runners up. Tim Jones, Partner and Head of the Corporate Social Responsibility programme at Higgs said: “The annual Higgs Quiz really is becoming a real calendar highlight for the local businesses community, and yet again we had a wonderful turn out and fantastic support. Last year we raised just shy of £4,000, so to be able to hand over more than £4,500 to local charities was particularly pleasing.”
A charity quiz night held by Black Country law firm Higgs & Sons has raised more than £4,500 for charity – smashing last year’s fundraising total. The annual event was held at the Black Country Living Museum last week, and 35 teams from across the Midlands raised funds for Dudley Mind, the firm’s charity of the year, and the Higgs & Sons Charitable
Trust, which gives grants to small local organisations. The funds will be split 50/50. Teams were made up of Higgs' clients, professional contacts, suppliers and colleagues who gathered at the Workers’ Institute at the museum to test their general knowledge. The evening’s host and quizmaster, Black Country Museum character John Homer, was sponsored by Leonard Curtis Business Solutions group.
Guests took part in a silent auction for Wolves match day tickets and a Ryan Bennett home shirt while a hugely successful raffle raised more than £750 with prizes including a case of Enville Ales, a Fortnum & Mason hamper, John Lewis vouchers and Grand Theatre tickets. Mike Ball from Dudley Mind said: “Thank you so much to Higgs & Sons for their continued support, and for hosting such a fantastic and well-attended quiz - we hope everyone had a brilliant time.Dudley Mind is a local mental health charity that aims to improve and promote recovery and wellbeing for people in the Dudley borough affected by poor mental health.”
NO5 BARRISTERS’ CHAMBERS EARNS TOP RANKINGS
KANG & CO SOLICITORS BIRMINGHAM RECEPTION
No5 Barristers’ Chambers is delighted that its members and practice areas continue to receive Band 1 ranking in the 2019 edition of the Chambers UK Bar Guide.
Specialists in Driving Offence defence, Criminal Law, Regulatory Law, Transport Law and Debt Recovery, Kang & Co Solicitors held a special invitational drinks and canape reception at 1 Victoria Square where local business owners and professionals from throughout the region networked with one and other.
In total 12 practice areas received Band 1 rankings on the Midlands circuit and 3 Band 3 rankings.
Furthermore in attendance were a number of Birmingham Lawyers from local and national law firms and barristers chambers. These included; No5 Chambers, 43 Temple Row, St. Phillips Chambers, Thursfield Solicitors and Coley & Tilley Solicitors, all of who Kang & Co are proud to have a strong working relationship with. 6 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
This year’s guide sees 100 ranked barristers within the set, 12 Band 1 Silks and 23 Band 1 Juniors. Christopher Young QC gains “New Silk”, while Martin Kingston QC is recognised as a “Star Individual” and juniors Caroline Jennings, Jessica Smeaton and Hashi Mohamed are all recognised as “Up and Coming”.
Chief Executive and Director of Clerking at No5 Barristers’ Chambers, Tony McDaid said: “Securing these rankings recognises the hard work, dedication and professionalism of everyone at No5 Barristers’ Chambers. The number of areas handed a Band 1 ranking demonstrates a comprehensive breadth of expertise across all services and recognises the top-quality advocacy offered to all our clients. It is particularly pleasing that affirmations have been made to five individuals including QCs and Juniors within the set.” The rankings are secured on the back of No5 Barristers’ Chambers again being named as one of just two top-tier ranked sets on the Midland circuit in the annual Legal 500 listings. No5 Barristers’ Chambers has over 250 barristers and 32 silks. Its reach also extends beyond the UK into the international arena - most notably in recent years in Dubai and the Cayman Islands.
WIN A LUXURY SPA DAY FOR TWO AT HYATT REGENCY BIRMINGHAM What better than enjoying a luxurious break in your home city? Hyatt Regency Birmingham’s sumptuous Amala urban day spa offers a serene escape from the stress of city life. The luxury spa offers five private treatment rooms in which to enjoy an indulgent selection of ESPA or Comfort Zone treatments and is home to a private Hammam treatment room where traditional Turkish therapies are applied in a warm steam environment. Guests can also relax and rejuvenate in the 52 sq ft heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room,
whirlpool, and cold-water plunge pool before building up an appetite in the well-equipped gymnasium and cardiovascular training room. Ready to dine? Hyatt Regency Birmingham is home to several distinguished and inviting dining options. Aria, its signature restaurant offers fresh, seasonal British fare including grilled sea bream, Dingley Dell pork belly and Goosnargh chicken breast. Hyatt Regency Birmingham is offering one lucky reader a wonderfully relaxing spa experience with lunch in Aria.
THE LUCKY WINNER AND A GUEST WILL RECEIVE: · 90 minute ESPA Back, Face and Scalp Treatment with hot stones · Use of pool and gym facilities · Robes, slippers and towels · Two course light lunch or dinner in Aria restaurant For your chance to win, simply tell us the name of Hyatt Regency Birmingham’s Spa. Email your answer along with name and contact number to editorial@ birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
IGNORANCE IS NO DEFENCE
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SOCIETY EVENTS BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY NEWLY QUALIFIED CELEBRATION Birmingham Law Society put on a special welcome event for the next generation of legal talent in association with the National Law Society. More than 60 guests, including newly qualified solicitors and pupil barristers, enjoyed an evening of drinks and canapĂŠs at the Victoria Law Courts on the 15 November. The event was sponsored by St Ives Barrister Chambers and Wesleyan.
BLS NETWORKING AT IKON
THE BIRMINGHAM LAW SOCIETY PRO BONO COMMITTEE To celebrate the first ever Justice week, Birmingham Law Society Pro Bono Committee, organised an event highlighting the impact of pro bono support given to local, national and international charities. Hosted by, Gowling WLG, the event was attended by representatives from law firms, businesses, universities and charities from across the city. Committee chair, Linden Thomas, opened the event by urging attendees to support the Law Society’s campaign to re-introduce legal aid for early legal advice . Thomas commended innovative pro bono activity across the city whilst acknowledging the devastating impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on those unable to pay for legal advice. She also took the opportunity to welcome her successor as committee chair, partner at Eversheds Sutherland, Mark Taylor. Speaking at the event were: Sue Bent, Chief Executive of Central England Law Centre(CELC); Amelia Billington, Head of Legal at the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and Kevin Saunders, a barrister at St Ives Chambers who spoke on behalf of the African Prisons Project (APP). Bent explained how the work of CELC is supported by over 120 volunteers including lawyers and students acting in a pro bono capacity.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
AT THE BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET Date: Thursday 28 February 2019 Networking at Radisson Blu: 6:00 - 7:00pm a 5-minute walk from the Hippodrome Performance at the Hippodrome starts: 7:30pm Birmingham Law Society are partnering with Birmingham Royal Ballet for one night only, to offer an exclusive, invitation only evening of premium entertainment for senior and managing partners. The evening will begin with a free-to-attend preshow networking event at the Radisson Blu open exclusively to senior level Birmingham Law Society members with a plus one. Mingle amongst the costumes on display, and enjoy the complimentary prosecco and canapes available, before welcoming the rest of your team to join you at the Birmingham Hippodrome for a performance of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast. Birmingham Royal Ballet are kindly offering an exclusive 15% discount to Birmingham Law Society members for tickets to the evening’s performance: providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy a luxury evening out with the team. Spaces and tickets must operate on a first come first served basis: to register for the pre-show event or to book some tickets to the evening’s performance for your organisation, please contact Autumn Evans on 0121 245 3504 or at AutumnEvans@brb.org.uk
CELC specialises in social welfare law and offers free legal advice and representation to the most disadvantaged people in Birmingham and Coventry. Bent highlighted the close relationship the organisation has with universities across the region and student pro bono support is provided in the areas of benefits, employment and immigration. She also spoke about CELC’s innovative project, Kids in Need of Defense UK , which has enabled Birmingham law firms to provide free representation to children making British citizenship applications. Describing pro bono lawyers as, “angels,” RNIB’s, Billington, made clear that, as the only lawyer at a charity which employs 2000 people nationally, she relies heavily on pro bono support. Billington explained, “I’m not specialist and you never know what will come onto your desk.” As a result, the RNIB has been given free legal advice in areas of law from contracts to governance to fundraising. Billington explained how the RNIB’s Eye Care Liaison Service, for those diagnosed with serious sight loss, would have struggled to get off the ground without pro bono assistance. Saunders, the final speaker of the night, related his role in the APP’s mission to, “bring dignity and hope to men, women and children in prison through health, life skills, access to justice and leadership.” Saunders was funded to travel to the Lango region of Uganda in February 2018, where he set about using his experience in criminal law to help the region’s prisoners. Working with a team of local Human Rights Project officers, he developed a self-help guide for unrepresented prisoners to assist them in mitigation, bail applications and plea bargaining. Saunders was warmed by the interest of prison officers, who describe their relationship with prisoners as being like “family.” He was overjoyed when a prison officer took over his presentation saying, “I get this. I can teach them now!” Birmingham Law Society Pro Bono Committee will continue to promote the importance of pro bono throughout the year. For more information you can visit: www.birminghamlawsociety. co.uk/our-profession/pro-bono-services/12-legal-advice/31-probono-committee
LEASEHOLD HOME OWNERSHIP: BUYING YOUR FREEHOLD OR EXTENDING YOUR LEASE Birmingham Seminar, 10 December 2018, 3pm to 5pm (Hotel du Vin, Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2NR)
work of the Law Commission has focused a great deal on the practicalities of the exercise of enfranchisement or lease extension rights, since so many disputes have arisen about form and content. 10. A new and simplified system for dealing with missing landlord cases. The new procedure will harmonise the claims in the early stages. 11. The proposal is that all disputes regarding enfranchisement, or a claim for an extended Lease including missing landlord cases should fall within the jurisdiction of the First Tier Tribunal thus removing the County Court’s involvement. 12. Prescribed periods for completion of claims are proposed. This, along with the removal of some of the guillotine provisions under the current law will take a good deal of the stress out of making claims in the beginning and hopefully result in quicker settlement between the parties.
Have you ever experienced that feeling of dread when an important client asks you to serve a Notice claiming the Freehold of a property under the provisions of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967? How on earth do you interpret the questions in the schedule and provide the correct replies? Well, if the proposals contained in the Law Commissions’ recent consultation paper ‘Leasehold Home Ownership – Buying your Freehold or Extending your Lease’ comes into Law, then that dread may vanish. The Government wants to make buying the Freehold of a house or extending the Lease of a house or flat “cheaper, quicker and easier” for all. Some might say that’s impossible to achieve without there being consequential damage elsewhere. However, the Law Commission were tasked with the job, and, as a result have published a consultation paper of over 540 pages on the subject. Given that the current law has developed over a period of over of 50 years, is an amalgamation of several Acts of Parliament and countless court decisions, it’s no wonder that the inquiry has had to be thorough. So, if the proposals make their way through Parliament, what can you expect? In no order the salient points of the proposed changes are as follows:1. The qualifying period for tenants to claim the Freehold of their home or an extended Lease of their flat or house will be eliminated altogether (in contrast to thetwo year waiting period under the current law). 2. For the first time, it will be possible for tenants of mixed developments (i.e. houses and flats) to collectively acquire the Freehold of 10 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
their estate. 3. The new right to an extended lease of a house will mirror that of a right to extend a flat lease. Under the current law a leaseholder has a right to a 50 year lease extension whereas a flat-owner has a right to a 90 year lease extension. 4. A brand new and much revered right for leaseholders who did not participate in a previous collective enfranchisement to do so at a later date (a new right to participate). 5. A simplified basis of valuation both in respect of reversionary interests and of extended leases. The proposal is to determine valuation by an online calculator with fixed or variable credentials, thus helping to eliminate the most difficult obstacle, agreement as to price. Whether the new basis will include a margin for marriage value (as is currently the case in certain circumstances) or not, will be a hot issue for landlords. 6. A simplified method of calculating the amount of the landlord’s costs. 7. Except in very limited circumstances, a statutory obligation that a nominee purchaser must be a company limited by guarantee, rather than by shares. 8. A fundamental new right of participating tenants to compel the landlord to take a lease back of any parts of the building which are not let to participating tenants in a collective enfranchisement. This will mean leaseholders will not have to pay for non-participating flats. 9. A complete overhaul of the procedural system to harmonise different types of claims. There will be a single Notice for all types of claim, and in a form that should be capable of being completed by a relative novice. The
13. Apart from the thorny issue of valuation, a further difficulty that landlords and tenants face is agreeing the terms of the conveyance or lease extension deed. It is proposed that in all three types of claims (enfranchisement, collective enfranchisement and lease extensions) a template deed of assurance will be prescribed with optional additional clauses available to the parties to pick from a list as circumstances require. Those of you who practice in this area will know how complex and difficult the law relating to leasehold reform is. Often where the value of the reversionary interest or the premium payable for the lease extension is low, the cost of enforcing the tenants’ rights can far exceed the premium payable. The hope is that the new law if enacted as proposed will eliminate the traditional areas of dispute, lead to earlier settlement terms being agreed, and facilitate implementation in the spirit of compromise, which simply doesn’t exist under the current framework. Time will tell whether Parliament legislates in favour of the Law Commissions proposals, but one thing is certain. It is changing, and hopefully for the better. Mark Adcock is a solicitor in private practice and part time lawyer with the Law Commission Come and hear members of the Law Commission team speak about the Commission’s recent Consultation Paper, and help contribute to the debate. The Consultation Paper sets out provisional proposals for a root-and-branch reform of the law of enfranchisement, including the introduction of a new, single enfranchisement regime for lease-holders of houses and flats. It also examines options to reduce the price payable by leaseholders. Tickets for the seminar at Hotel Du Vin are available from www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ leasehold-enfranchisement-regionalconsultation-event-in-birminghamtickets-51288430075 Password: LCCEBIRM
LOGBOOKS JUST HIPS?
electronic conveyancing and in using technology wherever possible to simplify home buying and selling.
Written by Tony Rollason, Regional Manager, Landmark Information www.landmark.co.uk
In my view, the role of digital technology, data, software and online services are all pivotal in helping to improve the current way of working, create greater transparency for all involved in the chain, and in helping to solve communication bottlenecks.
I was intrigued to read an article on the Law Society Gazette’s website in early November where conveyancing was once again bearing the brunt of the overall conversation relating to delays in the homebuying cycle. What was interesting here however was a focus on what was referred to as ‘property logbooks’ and how the government is anticipated to “back these” in order to help speed up the overall transaction process. 1. The details were captured during the UK Finance's Annual Mortgage Conference where the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government were invited to participate in a panel discussion that discussed ‘digitising the home buying process’. The detail on what would be included in such a logbook was lacking in the write-up, however it was described as “[providing].. more up front information about their property before it goes on the market to make the homebuying process quicker, cheaper and less stressful.”
property listings and the market slowed as a result. From a logbook perspective, there is a benefit of presenting as much ‘static’ information to prospective buyers as early in the process as possible, to get the wheels in motion. For example, the Property Information Questionnaires form and the Fittings & Contents form could be made available upfront, in addition to the property’s official Property Register/ Title from Land Registry. Then, when an offer is accepted by the vendor, all the key documentation is ready for conveyancers to use, saving time or potential delays. We are already seeing some estate agents take on board this approach, which brings forward a number of tasks that will typically happen after the acceptance of an offer. I believe that any ‘dynamic’ data or information, which may be subject to periodical change, should however be left outside of any proposed logbook.
The article prompted a flurry of responses from the industry, with many making references comparing the mooted logbook as a reinvented Home Information Pack.
For example, flood risk is an ever changing beast; it should never be assumed that a property is not considered a flood risk just because it’s not next to a river for example. Land use changes, topology, groundwater or impact from local development are just some factors that may change a property’s risk factor over time. As such, the very latest flood information should always be accessed to ensure it provides the most up to date analysis.
Back in 2007, I was vociferous with my personal view against HIPs when they were introduced as it was clear to me that they halted speculative
The detail behind the logbook concept will be interesting to monitor, however this whole conversation does bring us back to the topic of
In today’s pressured market, where margins are being driven down, customer expectations are as high as they have ever been in terms of turnaround times; I know property solicitors are looking at ways to smooth the process. In my view, integration and workflow are key as we move ever closer to more seamless, digital transactions. Integrating existing working practices, for example ordering and assessing property searches directly into your case management workflow or practice management software will prove to be just one of the steps that will help to join all the dots together. Environmental reports have also advanced, and today reports such as RiskView or Homecheck Flood, provide online access to interactive maps, so all parties can visually see what risk is present, allowing further investigation to easily take place. So while logbooks may possibly have a place, presenting static information as early in the process can only help; but it is just one cog in the conveyancing wheel. After all, conveyancing is a highly complex, regulated legal service where security and compliance is key. Everyone is of course behind improvement and speeding-up the process, but in doing so we do not want to see corners being cut, and this is a topic that will continue to be in the headlines as we move into 2019. 1. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/ government-backs-property-logbooks-to-speedconveyancing/5068216.article www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk 11
1) THE EXERCISE OF A RIGHT OF AUDIENCE This means the right to represent a client in court and to call and examine witnesses. While this remains a prime reserved activity, in practice this is being eroded at the discretion of the Judge in a specific case. 2) THE CONDUCT OF LITIGATION Again, this is a prime reserved activity. However, a paralegal is able to assist clients in completing and signing necessary forms and documentation themselves, and to give advice. 3) RESERVED INSTRUMENT ACTIVITIES Such as conducting a conveyancing transaction on behalf of a buyer or seller of land or property. 4) PROBATE ACTIVITIES
TWO THINGS A PARALEGAL MUST NEVER DO WHEN OFFERING THEIR SERVICES DIRECT TO CONSUMERS Written by Amanda Hamilton, NALP With the opening up of legal services to consumers, more paralegals are gaining Licences to Practise. Although this is great for both consumers and the paralegal professions – there two things a Paralegal must never do.
a reasonable cost to consumers under the umbrella of being a ‘lawyer’. While technically calling oneself a ‘lawyer’ may be correct if an individual has studied law, the impression this gives to the average man on the street is that this individual is a solicitor.
There are many areas where a paralegal can offer assistance directly to a client. Some of these are the same as solicitors but it’s very important not to give the impression that you are anything other than a paralegal practitioner. Holding yourself out to be a solicitor by giving an inference and by not being explicit is illegal and can have serious consequences.
Understandably, someone endeavouring to start a paralegal business would want to promote it by giving the impression that they know what they are doing. However, inferring that they are anything other than a paralegal is completely wrong and illegal. It is referred to as ‘holding out’ i.e. giving the impression expressly or impliedly to the public or to a specific individual that you are a qualified and practising solicitor, barrister, chartered legal executive, licenced conveyancer or notary public. Only these individuals can carry out reserved legal activities.
1. HOLDING OUT
In 2007, The Legal Services Act outlined eight main objectives. Eleven years later there is still confusion on behalf of the consumer as to whom they can go to with their legal problem. Many paralegals are also confused as to what legal services they’re able to offer. With the withdrawal of legal aid for most cases, many consumers are unable to pay fees charged by solicitors. This has resulted in a plethora of individuals with the slightest training or knowledge of the legal system setting themselves up as ‘paralegals’ offering legal services and 12 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
The Paralegal Sector is not statutorily regulated and therefore, in effect, anyone can call themselves a paralegal whether or not they are qualified, trained, educated or affiliated to a professional membership body such as NALP. The potential dangers to the general public are therefore considerable.
2. RESERVED ACTIVITIES There are six main reserved activities which are activities that paralegals cannot perform. However, in practice, some of these reserved activities are being eroded and there are ways that a Licenced Paralegal can assist a client to get over the hurdles without utilising a solicitor.
This refers to such matters as applying for a Grant of Probate on behalf of an executor of a Will. Solicitors are able to apply and sign such applications on behalf of a client executor. However, a paralegal can guide client executors through the process. 5) NOTARIAL ACTIVITIES This involves independently witnessing and authenticating legal documents and transactions for production overseas, or to confirm the authenticity of copied or signed documents in order to confirm that they are fully compliant with the requirements of a relevant jurisdiction. 6) ADMINISTRATION OF OATHS The administering (swearing) an oath is solely the monopoly of solicitors. An example is when an individual needs to swear an affidavit (a sworn statement) which can then be admitted as sworn testimony in court instead of a witness physically attending. In such an open market, enabling many different types of legal service providers, it’s important that consumers have the necessary knowledge to choose. A consumer approached by an individual referring to themselves as a ‘paralegal’ should have the confidence to request evidence of that individual’s credentials with regard to their competence, as well as professional body affiliations. Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of the National Association of Licenced Paralegals (NALP), a non-profit Membership Body and the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its training arm, NALP Training, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional. See: www.nationalparalegals.co.uk and www.nalptraining.co.uk/nalp_training Twitter: @NALP_UK
COMPLIANCE TOP TEN FOR 2019
6. INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION ACTIVITIES Following an EU Insurance Directive, the SRA has issued amended rules for firms engaged in insurance distribution activities. Law firms involved in personal injury, conveyancing and probate are most likely to be affected. The focus is on strengthening client protections so firms need to update their existing procedures. 7. REVISED PRINCIPLES The Principles effective from April 2019 and applicable to individuals and firms are reduced in number from ten to six. Those removed are Principles 5 (proper standard of service), 7 (dealings with regulators), 8 (proper governance and risk principles), & 10 (protecting client money and assets). All are dealt with to a greater or lesser extent elsewhere in the Handbook, mostly in the Code and the Accounts Rules. Firms need to be aware that the SRA is already using the existing Principles very widely in framing allegations of misconduct and this is likely to increase when further significant detail is removed from the rules. Difficult ethical decisions should always be made with proper regard for the Principles – possibly with a written note to show how they were applied.
Written by Jayne Willetts, Solictor Advocate at Jayne Willetts & Co Solicitors What does 2019 have in store for us? With so much to choose from and in no particular order, here are ten of the significant compliance issues for the New Year. 1. SRA TRANSPARENCY RULES Firms should by now have published price information on their websites but that is only the start. Keeping the information up to date will be a continual struggle. Changes in hourly rates, fee earners and scope of work all add to the daily challenge. Firms should not forget the requirement under these Rules to publish their complaints procedures as well as the new SRA digital badge which will be available from 6 December 2018 and mandatory from a date yet to be fixed in spring 2019. For some, these new Rules may prove to be a business opportunity but for others a shock to the system. 2. SOLICITOR EMPLOYEES AT UNREGULATED FIRMS & FREELANCE UNREGULATED SOLE PRACTITIONERS Despite robust opposition from the Law Society, the Legal Services Board has agreed to the SRA’s proposals to permit solicitors to offer paid-for unreserved legal services through unregulated firms – for example an unregulated will-writing company could employ a solicitor to deliver services to the public. A further change will allow selfemployed solicitors to operate on a freelance basis provided that they do not hold client money or employ people. They would need adequate indemnity insurance whereas those working for unregulated businesses would not require insurance. Clients must be told in advance about insurance and that they would not have access to the Compensation Fund. The concern is that clients will find it difficult if not impossible to differentiate between the regulated and unregulated sector and that ultimately this can only damage the reputation of the profession. Firms will need to decide 14 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
whether there is anything here that might be of benefit to their business model. Costs for running non-reserved legal services through an unregulated business will be lower but will require very careful signposting for clients who must be informed of the risks through websites and other information. Any move to take advantage of this relaxation should not be undertaken lightly. Some firms however may decide that deregulation is not for them. 3. ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING PROCEDURES With the SRA itself under pressure from the National Crime Agency to do more, it is demanding more from firms in terms of AML procedures. To demonstrate its vigilance, it has been visiting firms to audit their AML procedures. More of the same is anticipated in the New Year. What was once acceptable to the regulator is no longer so. More firms are adopting centralised procedures to avoid fee earner omissions. Increased emphasis on staff training and just as important monitoring their performance is key to compliance in this area. 4. REGULATORY DEFENCE COSTS The eye-watering amount of legal costs (estimated at £7m after the SDT hearing) needed by Leigh Day to defend itself against the SRA allegations has brought into sharp focus the benefit of insurance cover for regulatory defence costs. Extensions to existing professional indemnity cover and/or directors and officers insurance are becoming more commonplace and a source of reassurance for many firms in case of SRA investigation. 5. CYBER SECURITY The number one risk to all firms should not be underestimated. With the police unable to offer an effective deterrent and with ever more sophisticated techniques from fraudsters, self-help appears to be the only answer. Awareness training for staff not just for accounts staff is essential, backing up offline, culling social media activity and cyber liability insurance should all be considered.
8. TWO CODES OF CONDUCT There will be two Codes from April 2019 – one for the individual solicitor which focuses on behavioural standards, and one for the firm, which looks more at business controls. In both Codes, outcomes are to be replaced by standards and indicative behaviours are to be discarded. The Codes are more high level as the SRA strips detail to try and give firms greater flexibility for service delivery. The good news is that there are no changes of substance but COLPs should start familiarising themselves with the content of the new Codes. With greater flexibility brings greater uncertainty so firms would do well not to dispose of the earlier versions of the Handbook in case of any differences of opinion with the SRA. 9. SIMPLIFIED ACCOUNTS RULES Again, there will be a removal of detail to allow for greater flexibility but the emphasis remains on keeping client money safe and separate from office money. These rules do not require firms to make any significant changes to their procedures but COFAs need to digest where the discretion lies. Prescriptive timetables, for example, to make certain transfers within 14 days, are replaced by requirements to do so within a reasonable time. Third party managed accounts are specifically covered by Rule 11. Finally, you should note that the rule on using client account as a banking facility is to be amended in the new Rules to “regulated services” as opposed to “an underlying legal transaction”. 10. BREXIT And last but not least Brexit. The Government has published a technical notice on the implications of a “no deal” EU exit as it affects legal services. The SRA has supplemented this with its own guidance. A “no deal” will particularly impact upon Registered European Lawyers, law firms that employ RELs and anyone providing legal services across the UK/EU border. The Law Society has also published more detailed guidance including the effects of a no deal on family law, data protection and civil and commercial co-operation. Firms will need to keep a close eye on developments as the EU negotiations grind inexorably to 29 March 2019.
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BEST PRACTICE WHY ARE PRIVATE COMPANY VALUATIONS by Adrian Pym, Director of Prime Forensic CONSIDERED FRAGILE? Written Accounting, part of the Prime Accountants Group. In the recent Versteegh case, which was heard by the Court of Appeal, it was noted that “The valuation of private companies is a matter of no little difficulty” and in H v H it was said that “valuation of shares in private companies are among the most fragile valuations which can be obtained”. In the Versteegh case Lord Justice Lewison made some general observations regarding the difficulties faced when valuing private companies and identified 5 reasons for the perceived fragility of such valuations. In the following paragraphs I consider each of the reasons in more detail. 1 THERE IS NO OBVIOUS MARKET Shares in private companies are less liquid than those in publically quoted companies, as there is no formal market on which prices are quoted. However, shares in private companies do change hands regularly and for “open market values”. The number of transactions in 2017 was 15% higher than in 2016, according to one M&A industry source, although deal values were down suggesting a greater number of smaller deals. Transparency in respect of the financial details of private company transactions varies making it difficult to make general market predictions about price / value. 2 VALUERS USING THE SAME METHOD CAN PRODUCE WIDELY DIFFERING RESULTS Valuation is an art and not a science. The science part is in the valuation formulae which exist, for example Future Maintainable Earnings × Profit Multiple. The art element exists in the assessment of FME and selection of an appropriate Profit Multiple. 16 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
Where the art element requires a subjective assessment of a figure then every valuer is capable of arriving at an infinite range of answers, depending upon the weight applied to each relevant factor. It is the interpretation of those factors that can lead to widely differing results. Assessing future earnings is to a degree crystal ball gazing. Identifying the appropriate profit multiple can be informed by actual transactions, but is still a subjective exercise. 3 THE PROFITABILITY OF PRIVATE COMPANIES MAY BE VOLATILE Private companies tend to be less diversified than larger quoted companies, and diversification is one way to reduce the risk of volatility in earnings. In addition smaller private companies often have much smaller membership, and less passive investor shareholders to answer to than publically quoted companies. Therefore, private companies suffer less scrutiny of their results, and can afford to have a bad year once in a while without significant consequences. It is also not unknown for private company results to be flattered in the run up to a sale, to get a better price, or be suppressed when a divorce settlement is being considered. The lack of audit requirement for companies with turnover less than £10.2m, and the reduction in the levels of disclosure required for small companies and micro entities means less ability to publically scrutinise results. 4 DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY OF VALUATIONS BASED ON OPINION EVIDENCE COMPARED TO HARD CASH It is often said of valuations that “There are many values but only one price.” The offer of hard cash to buy the company will always be more convincing than any academic opinion as to value, however well informed. But, would most sellers would not accept
the first offer to sell? In our experience sellers wouldn’t accept an offer until the reasonableness had been tested. We often look at company values following receipt of an offer, in contentious and noncontentious scenarios, to help inform the would-be seller. 5 THE ACID TEST OF ANY VALUATION IS EXPOSURE TO THE REAL MARKET It is true that the only way to accurately test any valuation is to put the business up for sale, to find its market price. There are many values but only one price. However, the market value can also be tested by reference to comparable transactions which goes someway towards a real market test. Most valuers have access to transaction databases which list the prices paid for private limited companies. And if no directly comparable company can be found other sales in the same sector may give an insight to the actual market value achievable were the company to be put up for sale. So are private company valuations fragile? Based on the headline 5 reasons alone you may be forgiven for thinking no private company valuation is worth paying for. However, scratch beneath the surface of each of the 5 reasons, as I have done above, and it can be seen that valuations of private companies are not as fragile as the quote from H v H would suggest. Staying with H v H, Justice Moylan asked “Why, a party might ask, should my share be fixed by reference other than to the real values of the assets?” So a broad brush valuation of a private company often has real utility, and can be undertaken without extreme expense. To discuss any valuation issues please contact Adrian at Prime Forensic Accounting on 0121 711 2468.
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BEST PRACTICE 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY... Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel? Think twice if celebrating at the office party writes Jasbir Raindi At most organisations the few occasions everyone gets together for a party is at the annual Christmas party, we have all probably been there – it’s the end of another year, a well deserved break is coming up and the country is getting well into the season of goodwill. I have been to end of year work parties so extravagant they needed to take place in January to modest meals several colleagues. All have one thing in common, they are extensions of your working day. It is all too easy to get so into the spirit of a get together that you neglect to bear in mind you are with your employers, colleagues and team members. But enough of that, it is a party after all right? I’m allowed to down a few and dance the night away? Yes, but moderation is the key. Xmas parties are an essential part of working, they offer everyone the opportunity to socialise outside the pressures of the normal working day. They provide the chance to have an informal chat with the boss, a catch up with a colleague from the other site and a chance to relax. It cannot be forgotten that you are of course with your colleagues, bosses and staff and how you behave will be remembered and could indelibly tarnish your reputation.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE OFFICE XMAS BASH: APPROACH IT LIKE A NETWORKING EVENT. A chance to enhance your image with your team, speak to people you don’t always have the time/chance to speak to you, make 18 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
a good impression with the boss which will not hurt when it comes to promotions and salary reviews. As such, enjoy the food and drink but with this mindset you will tether the potential for bad behaviour. BE PUNCTUAL. Be there on time and don’t be tempted to prove yourself to anyone by being the last to leave. This is a work event so punctuality is a virtue, sliding in several hours later may make you feel a star of the show but you would have lost a crucial opportunity to make a good impression by mingling with as many team members as possible. If in doubt, leave early discreetly after the desserts and coffees before the less discreet colleagues may really let loose. DON’T DRINK TOO MUCH. Yes, it’s on the company but it’s no excuse to over indulge. Be responsible, space the drinks apart, stay hydrated – everything we’re always told to do and know your limits. Relaxing with a drink is great but taking it too far could land you in hot water the next day if you do something you regret ending up with a disciplinary meeting or even dismissed as firms are well within their rights to warn you the company policies on harassment, bullying and inappropriate conduct still apply. If you cannot recall what happened or what you did you will not be excused. APPROACH ANY ROMANTIC FEELINGS WITH CAUTION. If you feel the Dutch courage to finally declare your true feelings for a colleague, have a dance with the boss or someone is flirting with you think twice before acting. You
will see them on Monday, the staff are likely to gossip, will your feelings be reciprocated? Is it worth it? If the answer to the last question is yes still bear in mind unwanted attention can amount to harassment. But dancing and having fun is the key, just don’t take it too far and judge the situation which is helped by keeping the alcohol light. A final word, have fun. Christmas comes around once a year, the office Xmas party is a great chance to have fun and should be enjoyed but not at cost of your career.
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48 HOURS IN A
Agadir, a new destination available from Birmingham Airport, is a beautiful city resort on the southern coast of Morocco, with temperatures averaging around 24 degrees. This destination not only offers warm sunny days but also boasts a busy port and stunning beach resorts sprawling beneath its Kasbah. Having been rebuilt after a major earthquake in the 1960s, Agadir is a modern resort with contemporary architecture and colourful and vibrant Moroccan street life. Offering boutique shops, an array of restaurants offering both authentic and modern cuisines, and scenic golf courses, it is perfect for those seeking a mix of sun and culture.
AGADIR BEACH… SURFS UP!
Agadir is well known for its six-mile crescent shaped beach where you can hit the waves at Devil’s Rock, Imsouane Bay or Anchor Point. Why not book a lesson at one of the many schools and camps to get you started? Devil’s Rock is best suited to intermediate-level surfers whilst Anchor Point is more of a challenge and should only be frequented by experienced surfers. If you’re not into water sports then take advantage of the warm climate, soak up the sun and relax on one of Agadir’s beautiful beach resorts.
Immerse yourself in true Agadir culture and visit the Kasbah, built in 1540. Referred to by locals as Agadir Oufella, it was once home to over 300 people. All that remains now of the old Kasbah are the fortified walls. However, the trip up the hill to this historic site is worth it for the view alone. Take in views of the city, its mosques, the crescent bay and the mountains. Engraved into the hill in Arabic are the words God, King and Country. If you are interested in history, you can easily find a
professional guide here to take you on a tour and explain the significance of these three words to the Moroccan people.
SHOPPING SOUK AL-HAD
If you’re ready to barter, visit Agadir’s walled souk to pick up some traditional Moroccan souvenirs including spices, soaps, jewellery and textiles. You’ll be sure to find locals stocking up on fresh produce from the souk including the ripest tomatoes and freshest of herbs. If you take a taxi to the Souk al-Had you should ask for it by name, since some taxi drivers take you to their own personal souk.
CULTURE & ARCHITECTURE
Start your day at the Mohammed V mosque. Although closed to non-Muslims, the exterior of the building alone is worth a look with its striking appearance. From here, make your way to La Médina d’Agadir, an interesting reconstruction of a typical Moroccan Berber village. Constructed using traditional building techniques and local materials, stroll the alleys and browse the small boutiques, amongst the bustling and colourful market. Grab lunch on the move from one of the fish stalls beside the port. It is a great place to stop for some freshly caught sea food, cooked in front of you as you wait and served with warm, freshly baked bread. In the afternoon, pop by the Valley of the Birds, a small park home to aviaries housing a variety of exotic birds and then head down to the beautiful
GOING FOR GOLD
All that glitters is most certainly gold when it comes to our festive food and drink edit from HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM. From showstopping spirits that’ll shine at parties, to crowdpleasing nibbles that’ll wow the foodies among us, these are the products that have the Midas touch this Christmas 2 1
AGADIR marina, located south of the main port. Built in 2008, it is made up of fresh produce markets and is perfect for a stroll in the afternoon sun.
The city is compact so is easy to get around on foot. That said, there are ‘petit taxis’ in abundance at very cheap rates if you do fancy giving your feet a rest after a day of walking around the sites.
Agadir boasts three different golf clubs, so for those keen golfers it is definitely worth paying a visit to at least one of the popular clubs. The Agadir Royal Golf Club, with 9 holes is the oldest one, founded in 1951, while the other two, Les Duned Golf Club and Le Soleil Golf Club, opened in the 1990’s. The climate in Agadir is perfect for golfing year-round.
Get there with Air Arabia… flying twice a week to Agadir, in Southern Morocco. Just 4 hours away from shopping in the Souk, teeing off on scenic golf courses, relaxing on the crescent beach or embarking on a desert adventure with a caravan of camels, you will not be short of things to do and places to see! Fly from Birmingham Airport from just £49 one way including taxes. Book now at www.airarabia.com.
Products are available from the Wine Shop and Foodmarket at Harvey Nichols Birmingham or online at harveynichols.com. 1: Au Vodka Premium Vodka, £39.95. 2: Saint Aymes Klimt 23ct Gold Salted Caramel and Hazelnut Bar, £9.50. 3: Bertrand Senencourt Brut NV Champagne, £150. 4: Royal Dragon Superior Vodka, £68. 5: Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV Champagne - Gold Limited Edition, £50. 6: SoSo Premium Sea Salt & Smoked Pepper, £9.95. 7: Harvey Nichols Petticoat Tails Handmade Butter Shortbread Biscuits, £7.95. 8: Savor & Sense Très Or Olive Oil With Truffle, £12.95. 9: Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Champagne 2008, £215. 10: Charbonnel et Walker Whisky Truffles, £14.50.
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IT’S QUITE TH THE
Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain, the new third-generation Bentley Continental GT combines spirited, focused performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology. Credited as the pinnacle of Bentley’s design and engineering achievements, at the heart of the new Continental GT sits an all-new, enhanced version of Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre, twinturbocharged W12 TSI engine, mated, for the first time, to a dual-clutch eightspeed transmission, for faster, more efficient gear changes.
While the Continental GT retains the classic elegance that made its forebear so popular, the form of the new car is more sculptural and sharply defined and takes much of its inspiration from the critically acclaimed EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. It’s a bold new vision that is unmistakably Bentley. The profile is longer and lower, due in part to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward, which in turn allows the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. This styling process allows for the to be positioned further back which in turn improves weight distribution, resulting in driver-
focused, dynamic performance. The key signature lines of the original Continental still dominate, with the ‘power line’ travelling from the headlights to the muscular rear haunch where jewel like, cut glass effect ellipse shaped taillights now reflect the silhouette of the exhaust tail pipes below them. The jewel like lighting is continued upfront with head lamps featuring sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond resulting in the look of an illuminated gem – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the
HE FASHION, E CONTINENTAL
race-style start is required by the driver whilst a new dual-mass flywheel replaces the torque converter, to dampen out the oscillations of the driveline and provide a fittingly smooth power delivery for luxury touring. The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission provides smooth acceleration, and impressively quick gearshifts, as well as improved combined fuel economy (23.2 mpg versus the previous model’s 19.9 mpg) and a new Active All-Wheel-Drive System replaces the traditional 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels respectively, instead varying the front-to-rear torque split dependent upon the driving situation. A lack of compromise between handling and ride is ensured by Bentley Dynamic Ride system that controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle and so improves handling and ride comfort, making the car feel lighter and more precise.
headlights as you approach the car. Inside the luxurious cabin is packed with exquisite details and showcases major technology evolutions for the brand including an advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and a 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided revolving unit. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard; the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display. Under the bonnet the enhanced 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine that sets a new benchmark in performance with the unique ‘W’ configuration
meaning that the engine is 24 per cent shorter than an equivalent V12, benefitting weight distribution and maximising usable cabin space. The new powertrain uses the very latest engine management technology, with 300 million software calculations per second. It produces 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerates the new Continental GT to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (060 mph in 3.6 seconds), and on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph)*. A dedicated Sport Launch mode delivers maximum acceleration through careful clutch pressure sensing and pre-loading when a
This system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre-to-road contact to deliver class-leading ride comfort and exceptional handling. Different pre set modes can be selected: Comfort, Bentley or Sport mode; the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected drive mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings. The air suspension system offers the scope to vary from sporting spring stiffness to luxury limousine refinement depending upon which mode the driver has selected whilst the Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) improves feedback to the driver, while providing isolation from unwanted road disturbances ensuring the Continental GT remains a true driver’s car. Pricing for the new Continental GT starts at £156,700. Visit www.bentley.co.uk to build your perfect Bentley; we’ve chosen ours! www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk 23
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GIVE THE GIFT OF VIP AND AMPLIFY YOUR CHRISTMAS
Amplify is the NEC Group’s premium hospitality business and the official hospitality provider for Resorts World Arena (formerly Genting Arena) and Arena Birmingham. Amplify delivers outstanding hospitality experiences for a range of world class events, through a variety of hospitality levels and membership packages. Solomon ‘Sol’ Smith is Amplify’s Sales Manager and has been a member of the team for 10 years. Looking after a whole host of clients from the property, legal, trade and banking sectors, plus private members, Sol’s enthusiastic and friendly approach has made him one of the goto hospitality experience managers in Birmingham. As we move into Christmas season, we’re all turning our thoughts to those all-important presents, so we got Sol to take us through his top picks for festive gifting. Whether it be a fussy mother, an awkward father-in-law or a funloving niece, Amplify has something for everyone in 2019. Gifting an Amplify package provides the ultimate live event experience, and memories that will last far longer than just Christmas Day itself! STRICTLY COME DANCING – 1821 JANUARY 2019 – ARENA BIRMINGHAM Strictly Come Dancing will be waltzing back to Brum in January for six supersized sequin-filled shows and for the first time all four TV Judges will join the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing UK 24 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
Arena Tour. Craig Revel Horwood, Dame Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli will star alongside Head TV Judge Shirley Ballas - who makes her debut on the live extravaganza. Strictly favourite and 2017 TV show winner Ore Oduba will also be hosting the tour for a second time. This is the perfect opportunity to get the family together for some post-festive fun and get their dancing shoes on! PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 25 APRIL 2019 – ARENA BIRMINGHAM Get your loved one in on the action of the Premier League Darts. An event that requires no dancing but is as equally enjoyable with their arena floor ticket – right in the heart of it. The ten-player tournament will hit Arena Birmingham for the 13th league night of the season, where you’ll be able to catch the likes of world number one Michael van Gerwen and current World Champion doing battle on the oche. TAKE THAT- 12-14 & 16, 19 MAY 2019 – ARENA BIRMINGHAM Undeniably one of the greatest boybands of all time, with tour productions having previously included everything from giant elephants, flying machines to a 70ft man and balls of fire, this is one of the hottest tickets of 2019. To celebrate the band’s 30th Anniversary this tour will run off the back of their re-imagined greatest hits album ‘Odyssey’. If you’re stuck for a present for the loved one who has everything, why not treat them to a couple of glasses of bubbly, private dining and exclusive facilities, plus some of the best seats in the house and spend some quality time together in style.
MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MUSICAL – 22-23 JUNE 2019 – RESORTS WORLD ARENA The award-winning Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs. Brown’s Boys are bringing their brand-new production “Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Musical?” to Resorts World Arena. It promises to take audiences on an exhilarating, side splitting and musical adventure, so if you haven’t experienced Mrs. Brown’s Boys live show, it’s worth checking out. LITTLE MIX – 7-9 NOVEMBER 2019 – RESORTS WORLD ARENA 'Touch', ‘Shout Out to My Ex', ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Wings' are just some of the band’s greatest hits, and you’ll be able to hear them all live at Resorts World Arena. The LM5 Tour will also include tracks from the band’s latest album, so it’s sure to be a fantastic show. If you are interested in an Amplify gift package this Christmas, take a look at the full list of what’s available at www. amplify.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call Solomon and the team direct by calling 0844 338 0333.
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spotted and resolved straightaway, giving you confidence in error-free bookkeeping. No other cashiering bureau can boast access to such management information intelligence drawn from one central software platform. Where speed’s concerned, there are strictly enforced deadlines for filing month and yearend accounts, including those all-important VAT returns. Our system also holds key compliance dates specified by each firm’s designated regulator to generate management alerts of overdue tasks. For example, we can identify sites not being closed quickly enough at month end and track that VAT submissions are lodged in time for the relevant quarter. Close monitoring, and intervention ensures accounts are submitted on time, every time. On the volume side of things, this behind-thescenes management information also tells us how many e-chits are being processed by each cashier. This helps us to allocate the right mix of sites to our cashiers so everyone’s got a similar balanced workload and no one’s being overworked. For end users, you can be reassured that your assigned cashier’s got the capacity to give your accounts their proper attention. By not being stretched too thinly, we’ve got your back.
OUTSOURCING YOUR CASHIERING? Managing WHY CHOOSE QUILL? By Julian Bryan, Director, Quill Once you’ve decided to outsource your legal cashiering, any supplier will do, right? After all, the way these outsourcing providers manage your accounts and support your business is the same, isn’t it? Surely the only difference will be the price you pay for the service, won’t it? The answer to these conundrums is a resounding ‘no’! There are an increasing number of outsourced cashiering suppliers so you’ve certainly got plenty of choice when it comes to outsourcing your back office accounts function. While there are some familiar threads running between these various suppliers, in comparison to Quill, they’re poles apart. We’re going to show you why… COMMONALITY: SHARED USE OF INTERACTIVE There’s a long list of legal accounts systems available in the market. These competitive systems contain tools to help cashiers maintain accounts in a compliant, secure, due diligent manner. But the way you perform an accounting task on one, let’s say posting your daily transactions, will vary on another. Also, not all systems will contain warnings and notifications for actual and potential breaches of legal accounts rules. As well as being the toolkit for in-house cashiers, these same systems are operated by outsourcing providers too. And, as any 26 www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk
workman knows, his work is only as good as his tools. In other words, the ensuing service you receive will fluctuate pretty drastically from one supplier to the next, depending upon the legal accounts system opted for.
There are a plethora of reports within Interactive, accessed by the Pinpoint management team, supporting the delivery of consistency across hundreds of clients. This starkly contrasts with other bureaus which lack the same control mechanisms thereby compromising consistent standards, and allowing opportunities for mistakes and bad habits to creep in. COLLABORATION: IT’S A TEAM EFFORT Pinpoint is a close alliance between you and us. We’re connected together by Interactive. You enter daily e-chits into Interactive – which is essentially a daily record of monies in and out to your client and office accounts – and we pick up from there. We literally do everything else – billing, reporting, VAT returns, ledger and bank account management.
In terms of our software, Interactive is a recognised market leader, has been around for 40+ years, holds two ILFM awards and contains functionality so your daily work’s easier, efficient and categorically compliant.
We rely on you to log all transactions. You rely on us to keep your accounts in order. By each fulfilling our side of the bargain, it’s a successful partnership.
Not only is our software high quality, which enables us to work better than other outsourcing providers, it’s gives our cashiers a common platform, facilitating common procedures, maintaining common standards, empowering a common experience for all users of our Pinpoint outsourcing service. No deviations. No inconsistencies.
There’s a point to be made about team working within Pinpoint as well. You see, our cashiers don’t operate in isolation. If your assigned cashier doesn’t know how to rectify any accounts-related problem, he/she will simply call upon the help of his/her colleagues and supervisor. We’ve seen it all before. No issue is novel. You can bet your bottom dollar that we know the solution.
OVERSEERS: MONITORING BY SENIOR STAFF As an additional guarantee of quality service provision, our cashiering operation is closely monitored by experienced, knowledgeable team members who cast a trained eye over completed tasks, checking for accuracy, speed, volume and consistency, reinforced by metrics from our powerful quality and performance management Interactive system, interpreting data processed by all the cashiers. Our cashiers work in teams of six with a supervisor. Any anomalies or discrepancies, including items highlighted by Interactive, are
Automatic absence cover is provided with the service too. If your cashier is off work on holiday, sickness, maternity, paternity or other leave, as everyone is from time to time, his/ her designated deputy will manage your accounts instead. Obviously you don’t get these advantages with a one-man-band type bureau. To find out more on our Pinpoint outsourced legal cashiering service, please visit www.quill.co.uk/OutsourcedLegal-Cashiering, email email@example.com or call 0161 236 2910.
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0161 236 2910 firstname.lastname@example.org quill.co.uk/quillit
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