Bridge McFarlandLLP

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Bridge McFarland LLP can offer you practical, uncomplicated advice, support & guidance when you need it most. Whether it be an employment dispute, family advice, an accident or negligence, life planning or moving house, let us help you.
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Our commercial team in Lincoln, Hull, Market Rasen and Grimsby prides itself on its sound business sense, commercial insight, local knowledge and first class understanding of the relevant legal disciplines ranging from employment law, business contracts, dispute resolution to agriculture and property development. From company formation to sale, succession, dissolution or dispute resolution, you can trust our team to deliver first class service and results.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some answers? Check out our helpful FAQs section.

Frequently Asked Questions
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A deposit has been taken, does this need to be secured in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme?
For all tenancies from 6th April 2007 where a deposit has been taken this must be secured within a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. As a landlord you are not entitled to simply put this in a separate account. It must be deposited.

Failure to do so can result in a claim being made by the tenant for damages for up to three times the deposit in addition to return of the deposit.  Information as to where the deposit has been held and reference numbers relating to that deposit, along with other required information, must be provided to the tenant.

A sample FAQ
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After my case is settled, can I ask my opponent to pay me more compensation if my injuries worsen?
In cases where there is a risk of the injuries or condition becoming worse, it may be appropriate to obtain provisional compensation which would mean that you would be awarded a sum of money and will be permitted to seek further compensation should your injuries or condition deteriorate.

Those instances are very rare and generally arise in industrial disease cases involving asbestos related conditions. Otherwise, the amount of compensation you receive will be in full and final settlement of your claim.

Am I eligible for government compensation?
If you have more than pleural plaques, you may be entitled to state benefits such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

You may also qualify for a lump sum payment under the Workers’ Compensation Act scheme.

Even if you have not been exposed to asbestos through your own work, you may qualify for certain benefits/payments and you should contact us for more advice.

Are there any time limits?
In most cases a claim must be brought within 6 years from the date of the negligence. However, in cases where the negligence only becomes apparent at a later stage, this may be extended to 3 years from the date of knowledge of the facts which might give rise to the claim. There is a long-stop date of 15 years. After these limitation periods expire any claim will be statute barred and cannot be pursued. It is therefore important to seek legal advice quickly if you think your business may have a claim for professional negligence.
Are there any time limits?
Yes, in most cases a claim must be brought within 6 years from the date of the negligence. However, in cases where the negligence only becomes apparent at a later stage, this may be extended to 3 years from the date of knowledge of the facts which might give rise to the claim. There is a long-stop date of 15 years. After these limitation periods expire any claim will be statute barred and cannot be pursued. It is therefore important to seek legal advice quickly if you think you may have a claim for professional negligence.
As a landlord how can I evict my tenants?
It depends upon the reasons for which you wish to evict your tenant. Further, it depends on whether or not you wish to evict your tenant during the fixed term tenancy, or whether the fixed term tenancy, as stated above usually six months, has come to an end. You can only evict your tenants during a fixed term if they are in breach of the tenancy agreement.

A Section 8 Notice needs to be served.  There are both mandatory and discretionary grounds within that Section 8 Notice and the time periods as to how long the notice must be differs depending which ground possession is sought upon.  The usual ground is rent arrears.

A Section 21 Notice, which is a two month notice, can be served during the fixed term tenancy but cannot expire before the end of that fixed term.  After the fixed term Section 21 Notice can be served at any time however there are rules about the date on which it must end.

The landlord should always seek legal advice in serving notices if they are unsure and we can draft and serve notices for a fixed fee.

As an employer do I have to “top up” the remaining 20% of wages during this time?
If there is a lay off clause or the employee agrees to receive only 80% of pay then the 20% top up is optional.
By what time do we have to move out on the moving date?
The sale contract will usually stipulate that you must move out by 1pm. This is a fairly logical time as it means that if you are buying a new property on the same day you have the morning to pack up and leave the property you are selling and the afternoon to move into your new home.

We will telephone you on the moving day to let you know when the buyer’s money arrives and to check you are ready for the keys to be handed over. In practice depending on whether there is a chain and if so the size of the chain, you may find keys can be handed over before or sometimes after 1pm.

Can an employee be on and off furlough numerous times?
This remains unclear but there is nothing in the latest guidance which specifically prevents it, so long as on each occasion the employee is furloughed for a period of at least three weeks. However, employers should be cautious until this is further clarified.
Can anybody witness my will?
Any adult of full understanding, yes, but some categories will disqualify themselves from benefiting from the Will.
Can directors be personally liable?
The directors of a limited company are not generally personally liable for its debts, unless they have given a personal guarantee. However, directors (including both executive and non-executive directors and “shadow” directors) can be made personally liable in circumstances where there has been wrongful or fraudulent trading, misfeasance or breaches of duty. Directors can also face disqualification proceedings. Directors can avoid or reduce this risk by seeking professional advice as soon as they become aware that a company is in (or at risk of) financial difficulty.
Can I avoid rent reviews?
This is a matter for negotiation at the outset of the Lease. In shorter leases, you may have one rental figure for the duration of the lease. In longer leases, it may be possible to negotiate fixed increases (rather than rely on market conditions) throughout the Lease. You should take professional advice from a chartered surveyor as to what constitutes a market rent at the outset.
Can I contest or challenge the validity of a Will?
Yes, in certain circumstances. If you have concerns about whether any of the following situations apply to the deceased’s last Will, then you should seek legal advice: • The Will was not signed or witnessed properly; • The person who made the Will lacked the capacity (mental understanding) to do so; • The person who made the Will was pressured into or coerced by another person to make the Will in the terms that they did; • The person who made the Will did not know and approve the contents of their Will; • You suspect that the Will is forged. If a Will is found to be invalid by reason of any of the above, then the estate will be administered in accordance with the terms of the deceased's previous valid Will or, if there isn’t one, in accordance with the intestacy rules.
Can I continue to work in the industry after completion?
The purchaser is likely to want to restrict what you can do following completion of the sale. The sale agreement will therefore contain “restrictive covenants” which prevent you from competing with the business you have sold for a specific period and within a specific geographical area. How much you are restricted is a matter for negotiation and can have an impact on the sale price.
Can I create a trust for my children in my will?
Yes, children cannot generally receive money until they are 18 years old. It may be wise to let them benefit at a greater age, or be assisted by Trustees until, say, they finish education and training. A properly prepared Will can set this up.
Can I extend my lease?
Generally speaking a Business Lease of at least six months will enjoy what is known as “security of tenure” under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This means that once the lease period has expired the Tenant will be automatically entitled to a further lease at a market rent provided certain steps are taken.

The grounds on which the Landlord can oppose a lease renewal under the 1954 Act are limited (eg. where the Tenant is seriously in breach of his obligations, or where the Landlord intends to redevelop the property or use it for his own business). However, some leases are “contracted out” and do not benefit from this protection.

Can I get out of the lease early?
It may be possible to transfer the lease (often known by lawyers as “Assignment”) if you can find a willing tenant however it will be necessary for the Landlord to approve the new tenant. Alternatively, you should negotiate a break-clause entitling you to end the Lease on a specified date or dates during the lease.
Can I give my shares to my children?
It is possible to include in Shareholders Agreements what transfers will be permitted. For instance, if a Shareholder wanted an absolute right to be able to transfer their shares to a spouse, child or grandchild without having to first offer them to the existing Shareholders then this is something which could be included within the Agreement.
Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of my child?
Yes. Only, if you are the mother, father or parental guardian.
Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone who has died?
Yes, if you are the spouse of the deceased, executor of the estate or legally defined next of kin.
Can I make my own Lasting Power at Home?
Yes. However, if you make a small error, e.g. a wrong date in a 21 page form, the Office of the Public Guardian will keep your Court fee of £82 per document. A mistake may mean that you have to complete the whole form again. In the unlikely event that we get it wrong, we absorb the cost of getting it right. Think of it as an insurance premium of sorts. In addition we can explain the ins and outs. There may also be additional information that needs to be contained in the LPA that you may not have thought of.
Can I pull out after signing heads of terms?
Heads of terms generally set out the headline terms of the transaction and do not commit either seller or purchaser to the deal. Either party will usually be able to withdraw after signing heads of terms.

However, it possible to include commitments in the heads of terms which require the withdrawing party to cover the costs of the other party if they have withdrawn without good cause. You will appreciate that the purchaser will want to withdraw if, having carried out due diligence, he finds unexpected information about the business.

Can I sell my lease?
The majority of leases will allow the Tenant to transfer (often referred to by lawyers as “assign”) the lease with the Landlord's consent. The Landlord may impose conditions on the transfer, such as:
  • the outgoing tenant enters into an authorised guarantee agreement (i.e. you may be obliged to guarantee the performance of the lease terms by the incoming tenant); and/or
  • the incoming tenant provides a guarantee.
Can I sublet?
Landlord’s will normally permit subletting, subject to their prior consent. The Landlord will want to approve the terms of the sublease.
Can I take action against a search engine/website operator or host?
In certain circumstances it may be possible to take legal action against the host or operator of a website or app, or other internet intermediaries such as search engines and ISPs, in relation to the publication of defamatory content, misuse of private information or breach of confidence, copyright infringement or breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, they may be liable as secondary publishers of defamatory content if they fail to respond to notice of a complaint (‘notice and takedown’). It is often possible to persuade a website operator, host or ISP to remove or block content and/or to ban the individual(s) involved. It may also be possible to require them to identify those individuals by an application to court. Following the decision in Google Spain, it may also be possible to take action requiring Google or other search engines to filter out search results ‘under the right to be forgotten’.
Can my doctor/hospital stop treating me if I bring a claim against them?
It is entirely at the discretion of you and your treating clinician. Should you or your treating clinician consider that your doctor-patient relationship has broken down that treating clinician may consider that they can no longer treat you in a professional manner. However, if you have a complaint against your treating clinician it may not be wise to continue treatment from them in any event.
Can my employees do any work for me during that time?
No. The employee must not be working for you at all. However, they are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, provided they do not provide services to or make any money for you.
Can the Landlord end the lease early?
The Landlord may have the benefit of a “break clause”. This is rare and for business continuity purposes you should be reluctant to agree to such a clause. However, the Landlord will have the right to terminate the lease for:
  1. Non-payment of rent; or
  2. A breach of the terms of the Lease; or
  3. The Tenant becoming insolvent.
Can the majority shareholders sell up without me?
It is possible to ensure that a minority can join in an ‘exit’ on the same terms as the departing majority. These are known as “tag along” rights. If the majority shareholders wish to sell their shares to a third party, the majority must ensure that the buyer agrees to buy the remaining shares (i.e. those of the minority) on the same terms. This protects the minority from ending up in a company controlled by an unknown third party.
Can we put our employees on furlough?
The scheme is aimed at those employees who would otherwise be at risk of losing their jobs through lack of work. The guidance is clear that furlough remains subject to existing employment law. Agreement with employees will be necessary if a salary reduction is involved unless there is a clause in the employment contract which allows the employer to reduce pay (often referred to as a ‘lay off’ clause).
Can we recover goods supplied to a debtor?
As a general rule, no because legal title to goods will pass on delivery, but the exception to this is where goods are supplied on terms including retention (or reservation) of title provisions. Where such terms apply, it may be possible to recover goods by obtaining a court order for their delivery-up.
Can you act for both Landlord and Tenant
Unfortunately the professional rules which govern our profession prevent us from acting on both sides of transactions such as this. Both parties must be separately represented.
Can you act for both of us in the divorce?
No, we are only able to act for one party in the proceedings.
Can you claim compensation for pleural plaques?
The legal position in England and Wales is that they are not compensatable unless they are sufficiently extensive to cause symptoms. This is not often the case. In Scotland, the legal position is different and you should seek advice from a Scottish law firm if this affects you.
Can you force a shareholder to sell his shares?
It is possible to provide for a ‘forced’ exit for minority shareholders. These are known as “drag along” rights. They entitle the holders of a certain % of the Company’s shares to force a sale of all of the shares in the Company to a third party on equal terms.

This is a key provision which majority shareholders will rely on in the event that a buyer for the Company is found in the future. Any future buyer is unlikely to want to take a company with existing minority shareholders.

Can’t my executors in my Will set up Powers of Attorney?
No. Executors have no power until a person dies and the Will becomes effective. The authority your attorneys have under a Lasting Power of Attorney comes to an end on the death of the Donor.
Certified?
Yes, the Power, not you! When signed, someone has to sign to confirm that the Donor has the requisite capacity (as detailed under the Mental Capacity Act).. To become effective it is then stamped by the Office of the Public Guardian, a government body which oversees these powers and is there to prevent abuse of powers.
Do I charge VAT on top of the price?
In the majority of business sales (as opposed to share sales), it is possible to avoid having to charge VAT on the sale price. If the sale can be treated as the transfer of a going concern (“TOGC”) no VAT would be payable.

The transfer of a business as a going concern will not usually be regarded as a taxable supply of goods or of services for the purposes of value added tax.  However, for this exemption to apply, it is essential that the business or part of it is transferred as a going concern and that the assets are to be used by the purchaser in carrying on the same kind of business as that carried on by the seller.  If the sale relates to part only of a business, it must be a part which can be operated on its own.  There must be no break in trade.  Furthermore the purchaser must already be a registered person for VAT purposes or someone who will be immediately registerable as a result of the transfer.

Do I have a claim for professional negligence?
Negligence is more than just poor service by a professional advisor. In order for a claim to succeed it is necessary to show that the professional owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that this caused a loss. A professional advisor will usually owe their client a duty of care. The standard required of a professional is not one of perfection and the mere fact of an error does not necessarily constitute negligence. A professional will only breach their duty of care by making an error which no reasonable member of their profession, in their circumstances, would have made. Even then, a professional may have acted negligently, but a claim will only succeed if their actions or advice caused financial loss.
Do I have to visit my GP?
In the course of your claim, we may need to obtain your medical records from your General Practitioner and any hospitals attended. It is helpful if you have visited your GP as your attendance will then be mentioned within your records.
Do I have to visit you at the office?
It really is your own personal preference as to whether you want to meet with us face to face or whether you prefer to conduct matters over the telephone or by email.

In certain circumstances, it will be appropriate for us to meet face to face say for example if the circumstances of the accident are quite complex or if there is paperwork to go through. If for any reason it is difficult for you to attend our offices, then we can visit you at home.

There can also be occasions when it is necessary for us to have conferences with barristers or with medical experts. Generally, those conferences can be arranged over the telephone although on some occasions, it will be appropriate for you to attend in person. Again, we will make this as convenient for you as possible.

Do I need to employ a solicitor to prepare my will?
At present anyone can prepare your Will. We believe the safest way is to instruct a trained, regulated, insured specialist solicitor, with no hidden fees and guaranteed safe storage.
Do I need to pay the estate agents when we sell?
No. We will check you are happy with the amount of the estate agents’ bill but then pay it ourselves out of the money received from the buyer.
Do I really need to make a will?
Yes! Although the legal system will provide basic rules, known as the intestacy rules, for your estate (money and property), these may not suit your circumstances. It will not deal with guardianship, i.e. who supervises your children, and this can finish up being dealt with by Social Services. A Will cures both these problems. Co-habitees do not benefit under the basic rules, nor do step-children.
Do we have a claim for professional negligence?
Negligence is more than just poor service by a professional advisor. In order for a claim to succeed it is necessary to show that the professional owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that this caused a loss. A professional advisor will usually owe their client a duty of care. The standard required of a professional is not one of perfection and the mere fact of an error does not necessarily constitute negligence. A professional will only breach their duty of care by making an error which no reasonable member of their profession, in their circumstances, would have made. Even then, a professional may have acted negligently, but a claim will only succeed if their actions or advice caused the loss suffered by the business. For issues of poor service, most professional advisors will have their own complaints procedure or a complaint can be referred to a professional or trade body, such as the Legal Ombudsman for solicitors or barristers, the ICAEW for accountants or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for surveyors.
Do we need to have a Company Secretary?
This is no longer a requirement for private companies. Public companies must retain a Company Secretary.
Does a divorce/civil partnership dissolution automatically resolve financial issues?
No, financial issues are not resolved automatically, but it is something that we recommend you look into at the time of the divorce/civil partnership dissolution, and we can provide advice about that.
Does a shareholders agreement last forever?
The drafting of a shareholders agreement is a crystal ball exercise. It is impossible to contemplate every possible situation that the shareholders might face at the outset. It is therefore vital that the shareholders agreement is reviewed regularly and updated as appropriate. The agreement can be varied with the consent of all of the parties.
Furlough - What can I reclaim?
Employers can reclaim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus the associated employer NICs and minimum auto enrolment pension contributions on that wage. Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.
Getting a pressure sore is just one of those things though isn’t it?
No. Most pressure sores can and should be prevented. If appropriate risk assessments and preventative measures are put in place by nursing staff when someone is at high risk of developing a pressure sore they should not develop.
Great news, our purchase offer has been accepted.
Firstly your legal adviser will send you details of what it will cost to buy the property and will ask you for some money to pay for the property searches. The actual amount required for the searches does depend on the location of the property as search prices vary in different parts of the country. Secondly your legal adviser will advise you to have the property professionally surveyed.
How are commercial disputes resolved?
Disputes can be resolved in a number of different ways, including by legal proceedings (litigation) and by alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which can include (but is not limited to) mediation, expert determination, arbitration and adjudication. Most commercial disputes are settled without legal proceedings being issued or before trial. This is often a result of negotiation (whether between lawyers or the parties themselves), by settlement offers or through ADR.
How are legal proceedings started?
Pre-action protocols set out the procedure to be followed in most cases. The first step is usually to send a letter before claim setting out details of the claim and giving the receiving party a deadline by which to respond and/or provide proposals for settlement. The court can impose sanctions (including on costs) on any party that fails to comply with the relevant pre-action protocol. The next stage, if the dispute is not resolved, is for one party (the claimant) to issue proceedings in court and pay an issue fee. The claim is then served on the other party (the defendant) which will usually have 14 days to acknowledge the claim and, if they do, another 14 days to serve a defence. These time-limits can be extended. If the defendant fails to do either, the claimant can apply for judgment in default and take steps to enforce the judgment. If the claim is defended, the court will set a timetable for the case management of the claim through to trial.
How can a claim for judicial review be funded?
A claim for judicial review can be expensive. We offer fixed-fee initial consultations and a range of innovative and flexible funding options for judicial review cases, including (in appropriate cases) full (‘no win, no fee’) or discounted conditional fee agreements. Unfortunately, we are unable to undertake such work on a legal aid basis. The general rule in judicial review claims is that the losing party will have to pay its own and the other party’s legal costs. In some public interest cases, a ‘protective costs order’ (also called a ‘costs capping order’) can be applied for to remove or limit exposure to the other party’s costs. It may also be possible to obtain ‘after the event’ legal expenses insurance against this risk.
How can a judgment (CCJ) be enforced?
There are various options for enforcing court judgments (CCJs), including instruction of court bailiffs (or enforcement officers) to seize and sell a debtor’s goods, a charging order over property or other assets as security for a debt, a third party debt order where a debtor is owed money by a third-party such as a bank, attachment of earning to deduct from a debtor’s income at source, winding-up or bankruptcy proceedings. An application can also be made for a debtor (or director of a debtor company) to attend court for questioning about their assets and finances.
How can I contact Bridge McFarland LLP?
You can contact us by telephone, by email or fax and through our online enquiry facility found on this website.
How can I find out if medical treatment was negligent?
We can on your behalf, conduct an independent investigation into the standard of medical treatment you have received. We will be required to obtain disclosure of all relevant medical records - both hospital and GP - in the manner set out in the pre-action protocols. Once all of the relevant medical records have been received they will be considered on a preliminary basis. They will then be reviewed by a medical chronologist who will index and paginate the records to ensure that they are in some semblance of order.

Once all the relevant medical records have been obtained indexed and paginated, they will be reviewed in detail, following which a detailed chronology of events will then be prepared setting out, where appropriate, relevant entries in the medical records. You will be asked to comment on the chronology/medical records.

A detailed letter of instruction will thereafter be prepared and sent to an appropriate medical expert to provide an opinion on liability/causation, i.e. to assess the standard of care you received at the material time and its consequences, whether temporary or enduring.

It may be necessary to instruct more than one expert in your case if opinions are required from more than one area of medical expertise. If this is the case we will let you know in due course and we will inform you which experts are to be instructed.

Once medical reports on liability/causation are available, we will consider them in detail and thereafter review them with you. We will then be  in a better position to advise you as to the prospects of success of your claim.

How can we avoid bad debts?
(1) Most importantly, know your customer. Can they pay? Carry out credit checks, agree appropriate payment terms and keep them under review. (2) Use suitable terms and conditions or contracts and keep them up-to-date. (3) Have effective credit control procedures. We can provide advice and assistance with any of these matters.
How can we fund a claim?
We offer an unparalleled range of flexible and innovative funding options, including (in appropriate cases) conditional fee agreements (CFAs) (known as “no win, no fee” agreements), discounted CFAs (known as “no win, low fee” agreements) agreements, fixed fees and competitive hourly-rate fees. We also work with leading legal expenses insurers to provide “after-the-event” (ATE) legal expenses insurance to cover the risk of having to pay costs to the other party (and your own expenses) if your claim is unsuccessful and disbursement funding to pay expenses such as court fees and expert fees.
How can we recover a business-to-business debt?
The first step is usually to send a letter before action demanding payment within 7 or 14 days. This can be followed up with further letters and/or telephone calls. For some undisputed debts a statutory demand can also be served. If this doesn’t work, you may then issue legal proceedings in court to obtain a judgment or, for some undisputed debts, insolvency proceedings (company winding-up or bankruptcy). A judgment can then be enforced by various options.
How do fixed fees work?
We may agree to charge a fixed fee for a particular piece of work. The fee will usually be based on how much work we estimate will be involved. You will not be able to recover any more than the fixed fee from your opponent. Fixed fees are usually most appropriate for particular types of work or for stages in a case rather than for an entire claim. We routinely offer fixed fees for debt recovery and enforcement work and in relation to insolvency proceedings and procedures, but we will consider and discuss fixed fees in many other situations.
How do I decide whom to make my trustees?
As mentioned above, executors and trustees can benefit under a Will, but care should be taken to avoid conflict of interest between trustee duties and personal gain. Your solicitors will be able to give more detailed advice.
How do I form a limited company?
A company can be formed by lodging the relevant documents with Companies House and by paying the respective fee. We are able to form a limited company for you very quickly and easily even same day if required. You can invest as little as one pound into a limited company.
How do I get money out of a limited company?
Shareholders can declare dividends on the shares they hold and the company will pay its shareholders the specified amount. Shareholders can also be directors or employees of the company and it may be that the company pays the shareholder as director/employee a wage.
How do I keep my information private?
This is often a concern for sellers when providing potential purchasers with sensitive information about their business. Any prospective purchaser will need to see information about your business so as to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed and at what price.

However, you need to ensure that the purchaser cannot walk away from the deal and use the information you have provided for their own benefit. You can therefore enter into a “confidentiality agreement” or “non-disclosure” agreement with the purchaser. These documents contain details of what information will be regarded as “confidential” and to whom it can be disclosed (for instance, professional advisors). They will also deal with what happens if the purchaser breaches your confidentiality.

How do I protect myself against warranties?
The seller should make “disclosures” against the warranties. The disclosures are usually made in the form of a letter (often call “the disclosure letter”) from seller to purchaser. The disclosure letter will fulfil three functions:
  • the seller will provide information requested by the 'information seeking' warranties;
  • the seller will seek to impute certain knowledge (particularly matters of public record)to the purchaser; and
  • the seller will disclose specific information which might render one or more warranties untrue, again on the basis that the purchaser has agreed to proceed with the transaction despite having that knowledge and cannot therefore subsequently claim compensation under the warranties relying on that information.
How do I set up an attorney?
With a document called a Power of Attorney. Find out more on our Lasting Powers of Attorney page.
How do we decide who to furlough?
When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws and other legal obligations (such as the implied duty of trust and confidence) will apply in the usual way.
How do we organise board meetings?
Meetings of the board of directors must be arranged if any director asks for one. All the directors must be given reasonable notice of the meeting. Formal minutes of the meeting will need to be taken and recorded in the minute books of the company.
How do we organise shareholder meetings?
The directors are responsible for calling general meetings. There are certain decisions which can only be taken by the shareholders of the company. For those decisions to be made, the directors will need to call a general meeting.

In addition, any shareholder or group of shareholders with at least 5% of the company’s voting shares can require the board of directors to call a general meeting.

All directors and shareholders must be given written notice of any general meeting well in advance of the meeting. The notice period is usually 14 days, although the articles of association can require a longer notice period, such as 21 days. In certain circumstances and depending on what decisions are to be made, it is possible for shorter notice to be given providing the holders of shares carrying 90% of the company’s voting rights agree to it.

How does a conditional fee agreement (CFA) work?
A CFA is a risk-sharing arrangement whereby we agree to take a share of the risk in the claim. A full CFA or “no win, no fee” agreement is where, if you lose claim, you will not pay anything to us for our costs. If you win, you pay to us our fees on an hourly rate basis plus a success fee. The success fee is a percentage of our fees based on hourly rates. The level of the success fee will depend on all of the risk factors in the case including our assessment of the merits and the prospects of success on your claim. If you win, you will usually be entitled to recover costs from your opponent, but the success fee is not recoverable from your opponent however, as a firm, we agree to cap your success fee at 25% of your damages ensuring that you always retain the majority share of your compensation. You will be liable to pay to us any difference between the costs recovered from your opponent and the costs payable under the CFA including the success fee. If you lose, you will not pay anything to us for our costs, but will still be liable for any expenses and/or disbursements, but you may be able to take out after-the-event (ATE) legal expenses insurance against this risk.
How does a damages based agreement (DBA) work?
A DBA is a form of conditional fee agreement, whereby we agree to share the risk in the case in return for a share of any damages recovered. If you win the claim, you pay to us a percentage of any damages awarded to you, but if you lose, you will not pay anything to us for our costs. You may still be liable for your opponent’s costs however. Our share of any damages (the contingency fee) will depend on our assessment of the merits, risk and value in the case but cannot be more than 50% of the sums ultimately recovered by you. This includes counsel’s fees but excludes expenses such as court fees or expert’s fees which will be charged in addition. If you win, you will usually be entitled to recover your legal costs from your opponent in the way described above for hourly rate retainers. Those costs will be assessed by the court on an hourly rate basis and you will be liable to pay to us any difference between the costs recovered from your opponent and the contingency fee and expenses. The amount recoverable from your opponent will be capped at the amount of the contingency fee. If you lose the case, you will not pay anything to us for our costs, but will still be liable for any expenses. You may also be ordered to pay your opponent’s legal costs. You may be able to take out after the event (ATE) legal expenses insurance against this risk.
How does a discounted fee agreement (DFA) work?
A DFA is a type of conditional fee agreement and works in a similar way, except that you pay a discounted hourly rate during the case and, if you win, you pay the difference between the discounted hourly rates and our usual hourly rates plus a success fee. If you lose, you only pay at the discounted rates. It therefore sits somewhere between a full CFA and an hourly rate retainer and is sometimes referred to as a “no win, low fee” agreement.
How does after-the-event (ATE) insurance work?
After-the-event (ATE) legal expenses insurance can be used in conjunction with an hourly rate retainer, fixed fee, CFA, DFA or DBA to protect against the risk of having to pay the other party’s costs, and your own disbursements (or expenses), if you lose the claim. The ATE policy premium is self-insuring meaning it is only payable if you win - if you lose you do not pay anything. The premium payable if you win is based on a percentage of damages and is stepped to increase at certain stages in the claim. You cannot recover the ATE premium from the other party even if you win, so it effectively reduces any recovery of damages if you win. Our relationship with a leading ATE insurer enables us to place clients on ATE insurance cover for commercial disputes without the need for expensive, time consuming and often unsuccessful applications to the insurers themselves.
How does an hourly rate retainer work?
At the outset of a case we agree an hourly rate for each lawyer working on the case. This will depend on the seniority and experience of the lawyer and the nature of the case. We then record time for any work we carry out on the case and send you a bill for our fees based on that time at regular intervals during or at the end of the case. Our charges will be the same whatever the outcome of the case. We will always provide you with the best possible estimate of any costs to be incurred in a case at the outset and throughout the case. In order to enable you to budget for those costs and make informed decisions about how to proceed at each stage, we will send regular interim bills during the case and update our costs estimates whenever necessary. In addition to our fees, you may have to pay disbursements (or expenses) such as such as court fees, expert fees and counsel’s fees.
How does decision making work?
Decisions at general meetings (meetings of the shareholders) are passed either as:
  • ordinary resolutions (that can be passed by a simple majority of votes); or
  • special resolutions (that require a 75% majority of votes)

Copies of all special resolutions, and some ordinary resolutions, passed at a general meeting must be filed with Companies House within 15 days of the date of the meeting.

How does disbursement funding work?
Payment of court fees and other disbursements can be funded by a disbursement funding arrangement with a third party provided by way of a loan agreement. Simple interest is charged and only repayable at the end of a successful case. The loan and interest are backed by ATE insurance meaning there is nothing to pay if you lose the claim. Our relationship with a leading provider enables us to issue credit agreements to our clients directly.
How does the process of judicial review work?
Before making a claim for judicial review, where possible a claimant should follow the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review, which requires a letter before claim and an attempt at alternative dispute resolution. The objective of the pre-action protocol is to avoid unnecessary litigation. A claim for judicial review is then started by issuing proceedings in the Administrative Court (which is part of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice). There are strict time limits within which a claim must be brought following the making of the decision to be challenged. It may also be necessary to apply for interim relief, most commonly an injunction preventing a public body from acting on the decision under challenge pending the outcome of the review. An application for a ‘protective costs order’ (also called a ‘costs capping order’) should be considered at this stage. A judge will then decide (usually on the papers) whether to grant permission for the claim to proceed. The test is that there is “an arguable case”. If permission is granted, the claim will proceed to a substantive hearing in court, at which a judge will consider all the relevant evidence and decide the claim.
How involved will I be in my claim?
We know that bringing a legal claim can be stressful and you can be as involved in your claim as you wish to be. Of course, we will always provide you with real and honest advice throughout your claim and will always act in accordance with your instructions.

We understand that some people like as little involvement as possible, and some like to be involved as much as possible. We will be guided by you as to how involved you would like to be in your claim whilst ensuring that you are always kept fully up to date.

How involved will I be in my claim?
We know that bringing a legal claim can be stressful and you can be as involved in your claim as you wish to be. Of course, we will always provide you with real and honest advice throughout your claim and will always act in accordance with your instructions. We understand that some people like as little involvement as possible, and some like to be involved as much as possible. We will be guided by you as to how involved you would like to be in your claim whilst ensuring that you are always kept fully up to date.
How is a limited company governed?
Limited companies as stated above are ran by a board of directors. The shareholders generally do not get involved in the running of the company however there are provisions in law that allow shareholders to effectively overrule certain actions of directors.

A company must have a minimum of one shareholder and one director. Shareholders may also be directors. You may wish to also appoint a company secretary to handle the companies filing however it is not mandatory to have a company secretary.


Limited companies are generally governed by “articles of association”, which are essentially the rules that the directors of the company need to observe and perform. We can draft and tailor articles of association to your specific needs.


Shareholders can also enter into a contract (a shareholder agreement) with one another which is a private document and can govern how the shareholders deal with certain matters including selling their shares to third parties, what happens if a shareholder dies, entering into contracts or incurring debts and liabilities. It is advisable to have a good shareholders agreement that reflects the needs of the shareholders. Please ask us about shareholder agreements for further information.

How is litigation funded?
Usually each party to a dispute pays his or her own legal costs. The general rule is that the losing party in litigation is ordered to pay the successful party’s legal costs as well as having to bear their own.
If the value of the dispute is less than £10,000.00 the Court will not usually order the losing party to pay the successful party’s costs and for that reason it will not usually be economically viable to instruct Solicitors in cases where the value of the dispute is £10,000.00 or less.  Some claims can be funded on a Conditional Fee basis (sometimes known as a “no win, no fee” agreement) by virtue of which the lawyers concerned will only be paid if the claim succeeds.  Often when litigation is funded in this way insurance will also be taken out against the risk that the claim will fail and the Claimant will have to pay the other side’s costs.  We are authorised by one of the Country’s leading litigation insurers to issue insurance policies of this kind. 
How is my claim assessed?
We will start by taking your detailed instructions about the case, usually either by meeting with you or by phone. We will also talk to you about funding options and agree how the claim (or at least the first stages of work) will be funded. It will often then be necessary for us to obtain and review any files or other relevant documents held by your professional advisor. It may also be necessary for us to obtain evidence from an expert (such as an accountant, surveyor or a medical expert) to assess the value of your claim. We will then be in a position to advise you on the merits of your claim and to agree a case plan.
How long after my accident do I have to make a claim?
You have three years to pursue a claim for personal injury. If you are bringing a claim because of an accident that occurred at work, on the street, in someone’s premises or in a vehicle, the three years start to run from the date of your accident.

When you are bringing a claim for an industrial disease such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss, Vibration White Finger and Asbestos related conditions, then you have three years from the date of knowledge of your condition. When considering the issue of knowledge, factors taken into account will be when you first appreciated that the injury was significant and was linked to your employment and when you were first diagnosed by a health professional. This list is not limited to these matters and other factors will be taken into account in considering when knowledge has taken place.

If you do not bring your claim within the specified time, then you will be precluded from bringing your claim by legislation, namely the Limitation Act 1980.  It is only in very exceptional circumstances that a late claim will be allowed.

How long do I have to bring a claim?
Professional negligence claims generally arise from breach of contract and/tort. A claimant has 6 years to bring this kind of claim. This is the primary limitation period. This period begins from the date that the cause of action accrues.

If the prmary limitation period has expired but you had not realised your professional had been negligent, you have three years from the date that you first knew this or the date that you ought to have known. This is the secondary limitation period.

There is however, a 15 year longstop period. You cannot bring a claim after 15 years of the negligence or loss, regardless of whether you knew about the negligence.

How long do I have to bring a claim?
Professional negligence claims generally arise from breach of contract and/tort. A claimant has 6 years to bring this kind of claim. This is the primary limitation period. This period begins from the date that the cause of action accrues. If the primary limitation period has expired but you had not realised your professional had been negligent, you have three years from the date that you first knew this or the date that you ought to have known. This is the secondary limitation period. There is however, a 15 year longstop period. You cannot bring a claim after 15 years of the negligence or loss, regardless of whether you knew about the negligence.
How long does it take to complete my claim?
The estimated time scale involved in this matter will be eighteen to twenty-four months to conclude preliminary investigations. This can vary for many reasons but we will endeavour to keep you advised of any change in the likely time scale as the matter develops.
How long does it take to evict my tenants?
This depends upon the grounds upon which possession is being sought. If there is a written tenancy agreement, a Section 21 Notice has been served and you are not claiming rent arrears the accelerated possession procedure can be used which shortens the period for obtaining a possession order as no formal hearing is required.

However normally a possession hearing is required, and this is always the case when possession is being sought upon a Section 8 Notice or rent arrears are being claimed.  There has to be a minimum of four weeks from the date of service of the Court papers on the tenant to the date of the possession hearing.  The Court will normally grant a 14 day Possession Order however it does have the power, where there would be exceptional hardship to the tenant, to grant up to 42 days.

How long does it usually take?
As with any matter, this depends on a number of factors, some of which will be outside of your control. Preparation for the sale can begin months before the actual transaction takes place. You can start to gather together information about the business for the purchaser to inspect (see comments regarding “What is due diligence”).
How long does litigation take?
It varies enormously depending on the case and whether or not it is settled. Many claims are settled very quickly without legal proceedings or at an early stage in the process. Debt claims are often resolved within days or weeks if a debt is paid or settled or a default judgment obtained. On the other hand, a complex claim or one that is heavily contested could take 12 to 18 months to get to trial. So called “fast-track” claims (those with a value between £10k and £25k) are usually at trial within 30 weeks.
How long should I take a lease for?
No one can be sure what the future holds. Whilst a long Lease may provide you with the security of knowing you will be able to occupy the property for a long period, it also exposes you to long-term liabilities.

For example, a fifteen year lease is a commitment to pay rent and comply with other obligations throughout a fifteen year period.  You cannot simply walk away from these commitments because you wish to relocate or because of financial hardship.  If you are entering into a new business venture there is much to be said for taking a short-term Lease with an option included in the Lease allowing you to take a further lease at the end of the term if you wish.

How long will a divorce take?
A divorce or civil partnership dissolution will generally take between 5 and 7 months. This however may not be the case if there are complicating factors that need to be taken into consideration, for example personal service of papers, or where one party is out of the country.
How long will it take to sort out the estate?
This varies depending on each estate. It is not recommended to distribute an estate before 10 months has expired since the date of the Grant of Probate. This is because, anyone wishing to make a claim against the estate can do so within 6 months of obtaining the Grant of Probate. They then have a further 4 months in which to serve the claim. In the event that the Executors wish to distribute before the expiry of 10 months, then it is recommended that they obtain Early Distribution Insurance.
How long will it take to win compensation?
It is difficult to say exactly how long a personal injury claim will take to resolve as every case is unique. It will very much depend on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained. . In catastrophic cases and cases where significant injuries have been caused, it is important that we establish how your injuries are going to impact upon your life, both in terms of daily living and in terms of your employment, before we settle your claim.

That will be determined by medical evidence but until the final prognosis is known, the claim cannot be resolved.

In straight forward cases, where the injuries are less serious and the circumstances of the accident are not complex, then generally, a personal injury claim will take between 9 and 12 months to conclude.

We use up to date information technology to progress your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How long will my claim take?
Every professional negligence claim is different and the timeframe can vary.

However, the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol applies to the majority of professional negligence claims. This protocol governs the conduct of the parties in the initial stages of the claim, for example, after we have sent a Letter of Claim to the Defendant, they have 21 days to acknowledge it and then 3 months after that to respond.

Keeping this in mind, and the time it takes to investigate the claim, gather any expert evidence and take any other steps that may be required, the initial stages of the claim can take between 6 and 12 months.

If the matter proceeds to trial, this can take in excess of 2 years although very few claims reach this stage.

How long will my claim take?
Every professional negligence claim is different and the timeframe can vary. However, the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol applies to the majority of professional negligence claims. This protocol governs the conduct of the parties in the initial stages of the claim, for example, after we have sent a Letter of Claim to the Defendant, they have 21 days to acknowledge it and then 3 months after that to respond. Keeping this in mind, and the time it takes to investigate the claim, gather any expert evidence and take any other steps that may be required, the initial stages of the claim can take between 6 and 12 months. If the matter proceeds to trial, this can take in excess of 2 years although very few claims reach this stage.
How much can I claim?
Damages can be claimed as compensation for any loss resulting from the negligent actions or advice. Damages for professional negligence are intended to put you in the position you would have been but for the negligence. This is found by comparing what your position would have been if there had been no negligence and your actual position. This can include any financial loss (including lost profit or additional costs), a reduction in value of property or other assets and, in some cases, damages for physical or psychological harm.
How much compensation am I likely to receive?
Compensation for a personal injury claim is comprised of two elements. The first element is compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.

You are also entitled to claim back any out of pocket expenses/financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.  This can include loss of earnings, travelling expenses, the cost of private treatment, damage to clothing and any other miscellaneous items of loss/expenditure that have arisen of a result of your accident. You are also entitled to claim a monetary sum for any care and assistance that was provided to you by a partner, a friend or family member during your recovery.

Our online Compensation Calculator found on this website can give you an idea as to what you are likely to receive.

How much do I pay if I lose?
If you lose your claim, then you will not have to pay any of our legal costs however, there can be occasions when you are liable to pay your opponents costs and this generally arises when a case is lost in a Court hearing.

To protect you from any such liability, at the outset of your claim, we will obtain a policy of insurance for you, known as after the event insurance.  The policy is at no cost to you and is a self insuring policy. It will only become effective if the case is subsequently lost in a Court hearing. Should that happen, then the policy will cover your opponents legal costs and also any disbursements (fees for professional charges) that we have paid on your behalf. There is nothing to pay in respect of our legal costs.