Blog - The Verdict
MSB Solicitors Liverpool
MSB Blog - The Verdict
Despite the evidence of judicial geology, certain media are prone to peddle headlines which regularly exclaim that this country is suddenly in the grip of some alien and corrosive “compensation culture”. Similarly shrill voices are also likely to blithely comment on an unprecedented rise of criminal behaviour in today’s society.

It may be surprising, therefore, to know that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (C.I.C.A), was established to reflect the times and needs of society, as long ago as 1964.

Not unlike the spirit behind the initiative in creating the NHS and Legal Aid, it is funded by us all as tax-payers and specifically designed to pay money to people who have been physically or mentally injured because they were the blameless victim of a violent crime. It even has the discretion to make financial awards to close relatives of the victim, including their spouse, partner, parents or children.

Family proceedings will be one of the most stressful and daunting times in a parent’s life, as you are dealing with the unknown.

You will be asked to put your trust in professionals who you may have never met before or you don’t know very well.

As well as dealing with social services, solicitors, guardians and a judge, you may have to also engage with other agencies if there are issues involved such as drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse.

For many parents, the words ‘social services’, are met with panic or caution.

Social services’ involvement with families isn’t limited to certain socio-economic groups. If you have a child, and something unexplained happens to them, or if you’re struggling to cope with your child due to an addiction you may have, mental health issues, an abusive partner and domestic violence, or poverty, social services may be contacted by medical staff, school staff or police.
 
So, what should you do if social services contact you because of concerns about your child?

Just when you thought that you couldn’t manage your current social obligations of attending friends’ birthday meals, engagement parties, stag/hen parties, weddings (most likely in a foreign country), baby showers and gender reveal parties, along came the US import of the divorce party.

In a world where people increasingly live their lives through the prism of social media, the divorce party is just another opportunity for content. Personal announcements about people’s lives have become de rigueur on social media. We can track the lives of our friends’ children from baby scan to their first day of school. Staged and cringe-worthy influencer engagement proposals are becoming increasingly popular, weddings are over the top elaborate affairs, often becoming a week-long festival rather than a one-day event, and celebrities are making public announcements when their relationships end. So it makes sense that the divorce party would become the latest event in a person’s life that they can publicise.

1.    Before making the decision to begin the divorce process, assemble your trusted support network. Your support network should include your trusted friends and family members and professionals.

2.    The divorce process is exhausting both physically and emotionally. You must look after yourself, eat well, get regular exercise and get enough sleep.

3.    If you are struggling, consider the assistance of a counsellor. There is no shame in seeking professional help to guide you through this difficult, emotional period.

4.    Take legal advice early, before beginning the process. It is important to prepare. It is advisable to begin to collate all of your financial documents to include the CETV of any pension fund, bank statements and the redemption figures of any mortgage. This will become important further down the line when discussing a financial settlement ancillary to the divorce.

5.    Do not involve the children in the adult conflict. Try to keep all arrangements in respect of the children as child focused as possible.

6.    Be patient, the process will not be concluded overnight. Take a deep breath and focus on the long- term goal and what you want to receive by way of an overall settlement.

7.    Do not send any texts or emails to your ex partner which can cause embarrassment later on. In the heat of the moment and in the midst of an argument with your ex there is always a temptation to demonstrate your frustration in writing, avoid this temptation.

8.    Do not be influenced by what others will say in respect of their own divorce experience. Everyone’s experience of divorce is unique.

9.    Do not be frightened by the prospect of going to Court. It’s unlikely you will ever have to attend Court in respect of the divorce itself, but if you have to seek the Court’s assistance in respect of the children or financial matters be aware that the Court is there to assist you.

10.  Consider mediation. In cases that do not have complex issues in respect of children or finances mediation should be considered as this process can be less acrimonious and cost effective in reaching a resolution to all matters.
Parental abduction and wrongful retention –where a child has been taken to or kept in a foreign country following an overseas trip without the appropriate consent – are not issues that any parent wants to consider. However, unfortunately as the summer holidays draw to a close, many parents are having to face them as a life-altering reality. Most commonly, retention of a child abroad takes place following a separation or divorce and is carried out by the parent who is the primary carer of the child.

According to Missing Children Europe’s latest report, out of 1,246 new cases opened on the hotlines in 2018, just 18% were returned to their parent at home following abduction by another parent. In 1.2% of the cases, children were found to have died. In addition, 64% of children who are abducted by a parent have no contact with a parent left behind during the abduction.

These shocking statistics reinforce the importance of preventing this happening where possible and expeditious resolution when it does occur. By seeking legal advice at an early stage, parents can avoid tragic circumstances such as this and ensure the best possible outcome for both parent and child.

When dealing with disrepair claims, access is an age-old issue that comes up time and time again.
 
  These are our six top tips for access:
1.       Check the tenancy agreement– Ensure any request you make for access falls within the terms of the tenancy agreement. For instance, put all requests for access in writing, giving at least 24 hours notice. It’s vital that you understand and comply with the terms of your tenancy agreements, so make sure you are aware of it before making any requests. Many tenancies state that requests should be made with no less than 48 hours’ notice.
 
2.       Be specific– Make sure access letters are clear and specific, giving an exact date, time slot and reason for the visit. 
 
3.       You can’t always blame the tenant– Avoid sending letters asking the tenant to contact you to arrange access. In almost all cases, it is not a breach of tenancy if the tenant then fails to make contact. Follow point two instead if your first letter asking the tenant to make contact doesn’t work.
 
4.       Turn up!– Make sure your organisation attends on the exact date and time specified.  Unless you attend, the tenant won’t be deemed to have refused access. 
 
5.       Evidence– If access is refused, post a card and take a picture as evidence that you attended. Then rebook the appointment by following point two, above.
 
6.       You don’t have to reinvent the wheel– If access becomes an issue on a disrepair claim, your organisation should already have pre-existing gas / electrical inspection / access procedures. With a few tweaks, you can use those procedures to try to gain access. If you are still having problems, seek legal advice to gain an access injunction.
 
If you need advice or guidance in relation to gaining access when dealing with disrepair claims, contact our expert disrepair guru, Louise Murphy on 0151 420 0718 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The battle lines have been drawn for what is set to be one of the biggest and most high-profile divorce cases in over a decade.

Having fled Dubai in June, Princess Haya has sought refuge in London, and it has been reported that she is seeking political asylum in the UK on the basis that she is a former Jordanian official and is allegedly seeking diplomatic immunity.

Princess Haya is married to the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum. who has a personal wealth estimated in the region of £4.5 billion.

The Princess has issued applications in the High Court in London in respect of her children, specifically protection from forced marriage, and is also seeking the protection of the Court by way of a non-molestation order. The Sheikh is challenging these applications made by his wife.

Having recently marched with my firm, MSB Solicitors, in the Liverpool Pride celebrations, it gave me the opportunity to think more about what Pride really means to me.

The festivities on the day itself are great and a lot of fun to be a part of. I was inspired to see the number of people that had turned out (despite the rain) and it was encouraging to see so many children and families in attendance.

As much as the Pride events are an opportunity to celebrate how far the LGBTQ+ community has come in the quest for equality, they are also a great chance to witness how the world could be if everyone just accepted each other as the individuals they are. The Pride celebrations are open to people from all walks of life, whether they be gay, straight, black, white, it doesn’t matter, everyone is welcome to join in the fun. In a world that is becoming more and more polarised, this is a fantastic and uplifting thing to witness.

The Pride events are also vital for the younger generation, who may be struggling with their own identities, to experience at least one day of the year, unity between all communities. They can have the opportunity to identify with their own feelings and find comfort in knowing that it is ok to be who you are and love who you want to love. Our differences are what make us.

Working for MSB, a firm that prioritises equality and inclusion for all of its employees, gives me a personal sense of Pride. It is important for me to work for a company that allows me to be my true self and to know that everyone is given equal opportunities for career progression. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is still not commonplace.

MSB offers a full range of legal services to the LGBTQ+ community, including an increasing amount of cases involving surrogacy and adoption, which our family team have a particular interest and expertise in.
If you need support, get in touch with our team on 0151 281 9040.

And what it means for Creditors
The new Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) came into force in October 2017 and it affects ALL businesses who are dealing with sole traders or private individuals. The Protocol does not affect Limited Companies or Partnerships.

What is the objective of the Protocol?
The objective of the protocol is to encourage creditors and debtors to attempt to resolve matters or at least attempt to narrow down any issues, before bringing the matter before the Court so ensuring that litigation is a last resort.

So how is the Protocol different?
Prior to October 2017, if you were struggling to get your invoices paid, it would have been sufficient to simply send to the debtor a letter before action giving them 7 days to pay, or you would issue a claim against them, at Court. Since the implementation of this new legislation, it is no longer sufficient to do this and you now have to send a fairly detailed letter before claim and give a minimum of 30 days notice before issuing a claim at Court.

Recent press coverage concerning senior NHS staff and their pensions has again highlighted the difficulties that can arise for high earners and their pension saving plans.

It has been reported that hospitals have had to cancel operations, cancer scans are going unread for weeks and waiting times for patients are increasing exponentially, with waiting times already the worst on record, as consultants cannot afford to work beyond their contracted hours.

Changes to pension rules in 2016 have meant that rising numbers of consultants are receiving large bills linked to the value of their pension. It has been reported that some have had to remortgage their homes to pay the extensive tax bills. All of this has the potential to have a significant impact on the NHS.

Non-Disclosure Agreements, or NDAs, have featured regularly in the news in recent times. It is, however, not always obvious what they are, what they entail, and how legally binding they can be.

The recently reported cases involving Sir Phillip Green’s company, The Arcadia Group, and their reported use of NDAs with former employees has caused significant debate about their use.

These cases alongside the US cases involving Harvey Weinstein’s company, Miramax, and the now infamous #MeToo movement, have brought the use of NDAs firmly under the spotlight.

Key to being a progressive business is recognising that the people who help drive your organisation forward are imperfect human beings who all face their own struggles and challenges.

Supporting your employees through their own worst times will enable them to continue to make a substantive contribution to the growth of your business. Managing partner at MSB, Emma Carey, says that employee wellbeing is not only a moral responsibility for employers, but it makes good business sense too.

Mental health in the workplace in an issue that is finally gaining traction and this month offers an opportunity to give it a particular focus. The ‘Movember’ campaign seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues in men particularly.
The words Love Island have been hot on the lips of millions of viewers since the 2018 season launched on June 4. The fourth series of the popular reality show attracted record figures, with 3.6 million tuning in to watch the final this month.

And, this year, there has been no shortage of provocative headlines to further boost the show’s ratings.

From ex-partners entering the villa, to a double dumping for Scottish Laura Anderson and on-again off-again antics between Alex and Alexandra.

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