Friday, 16 December 2011

Divorce On The Rise

Divorce and Family Law Solicitors

For the first time in a number of years divorce rates increased in the year 2010.

divorce and family law
The statistics from the Office for National Statistics(ONS) reveals that the number of completed divorces in England and Wales in 2010 was 119,589, an increase of 4.9 per cent since 2009, when there were 113,949 completed divorces. This gives a rising divorce rate to 11.1 divorcing people per thousand married population from 10.5 in 2009.
The number of divorces in 2010 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44, a slight increase from the previous year.
Almost a fifth of men and women who divorced in 2010 had had a previous marriage end in divorce.
Speculation is that the economical problems have caused greater financial problems for couples, who have struggled to get over the worsening problems over the last few years. And it seems the Christmas period may be the final straw with January statistically being the month for the most applications for divorce.
However, it seems that generally people have not been put off the idea of marriage. The statistics of couples divorcing in 2010 show that nearly a fifth of those divorcing has had had a previous marriage end in divorce.

If you are looking for approachable, straightforward legal advice MTA LawStore is the brand new way to receive legal advice and services from Solicitors in Kent. There is no need to make an appointment, you can visit them at the store for a warm welcome and legal advice you can trust. You can pick up free legal advice leaflets and attend one of the Legal Advice Clinics, including Wills and Probate, Family Law, Debt Recovery, Personal Injury and Conveyancing. Run by MTA Solicitors LLP, The LawStore in Bromley, Kent provides the opportunity for anyone to have access to plain speaking, approachable Solicitors and promises:
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Visit one of our Daily Law Clinics for a Free 15 minute consultation. The Law Store is located in Regent Arcade,  The Glades. Bromley. Call 020 8466 5764 and find out how MTA LawStore can help you.
Article by Emma Peart, Family Solicitor at MTA Solicitors LLP 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The muddied waters of Co-habitees’ entitlements to property

Property Law and Co-Habitation

The law surrounding co-habitation is extremely complex and technical and it really is impossible to condense in a way that is both understandable to a non-lawyer and precise or accurate enough to satisfy a lawyer.
The supreme court published a judgment this week about ex-cohabitees' entitlements to a share in their former home. It has been awaited up and down the country by ex- habitee’s and lawyers alike, whose cases all hinge upon the lengthy analysis of a long string of notoriously difficult case law. They were looking for a clear cut settlement but what they got was anything but straightforward (the full judgment on the supreme court website gives you an insight into its complexity

Supreme Court Judgement

The case concerned an ordinary couple: Patricia Jones and Leonard Kernott. They lived together, bought up their children together and owned a house together. When he left and the house failed to sell, Kernott bought his own home with a policy they cashed in. Jones carried on paying the mortgage, maintaining the house and caring for the children, with little child maintenance being paid. Fourteen years later, property values having gone up, he came back to claim his share in the property. The supreme court reinstated the original judge's decision that left him with only 10% of the property value. It has taken Jones and Kernott four courts and the same number of years to get to this simple outcome, with each subsequent court taking a different view. It might not have been so difficult if the court had been able to just look at all the circumstances and divide things fairly, as it can for married couples. But that's not something it can do with co-habitees.
There is a lot more to it than this brief summary but a few simple things can be taken from this ruling. Co habitation law will never be straightforward and different set-ups and circumstances will always make it complex to rule on.

Couples preparing to live together should take legal advice before they buy, take legal advice if they split up, and if they don't fancy being the next Jones v Kernott then either put intentions in writing in a deed of trust, or take the plunge and tie the knot!

Friday, 14 October 2011


  So D Day has been and gone, the supposed ‘Big Bang’ for Law Firms happened a week ago , but in reality it has passed as a bit of a damp squib!

From 6 October, non-lawyers are now able to invest in and own legal businesses for the first time, allowing banks and supermarkets and other businesses to offer the services of a lawyer alongside groceries and other items.

The government said that the new Legal Services Act would provide more choice for the public, and Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said it was "a landmark day" for the UK legal industry. These changes will enable firms to set up multi-disciplinary practices and provide opportunities for growth.

This is all very exciting and the change in the law, dubbed  "Tesco Law" by some, although the supermarket giant has not committed to taking part, will no doubt have a significant impact on Law Firms and the way they present and market their services.  However to what extent is yet to be seen…. since the MoJ is still yet to decide who can regulate what, and althought the Act has come into force,  existing law firms can’t actually take advantage of the Legal Services Act until that is defined, probably early next year.

However the ball is definitely rolling and now is not the time for the legal industry to sit on their laurels.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Temp Worker Law Comes into Force

The Government  has bought in new agency worker rules as planned  on October 1, despite attempts by David Cameron to water down the controversial EU law.

The new agency workers legislation, which entitles temps to the same pay and benefits as permanent staff after just 12 weeks in a job,  has now come into force.

This is despite the Prime Minister’s office secretly commissioning its own legal advice to see whether the law could be moderated to reduce its impact on UK employers.

It has been reported that Downing Street was told by lawyers that the regulations were “gold-plated” with additional unnecessary rules, making the law burdensome and costly to implement.

A recent survey suggested almost 500,000 agency workers could lose their jobs just before Christmas as businesses moved to sack temps to avoid the new rules. The law could cost employers £1.8bn a year to abide by.

This will  have a massive impact on businesses wanting to keep on temps over the Christmas period and may enforce a mass change in business strategy before the seasonal recruitment period.

It seems things have got ever more confusing over whether the Government plans to dilute the regulations to make it easier for companies to employ people, and looks like they might have failed.

It seems temporary contracts might have a lifespan of only 12 weeks in the very near future – which isn’t great news for temps or businesses!

For further info keep up to date with these links:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Launch of The Student Lawyer online

Its great to to see a new online student magazine has launched over the summer, providing up to date news and views for young future lawyers.

The StudentLawyer ( is intended for law students of all levels, across the world and is entirely free. The StudentLawyer is packed full of up to the minute headlines, in depth and thought provoking features and a career roadmap: The Guide. The most important principle, always in the minds of the creators, was that the content should be accessible to young lawyers, no matter what stage they are at, their previous experience or knowledge and their background. They have also created an iPad edition, along with an iPhone version.

It can only be a good thing for young up and coming lawyers to have access to news and views of their peer group. Improved communication will help with the development of our profession, especially at a time of such change in the industry.

We wish them luck!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Why Should You Join one of The Inns of Court?

An interesting question was posted on which we have used as inspiration for today's post!
"Does anyone have any advice about which Inn of Court they would suggest to join and why"
We felt that this warranted a lengthier response, as anyone wishing to train for the Bar must join one of the four Inns of Court as they alone have the power to call a student to the Bar.

They are Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn.
We asked Matthew Mason, In-house Counsel at MTA Solicitors LLP, for a little more insight in to the common considerations when making this important decision and the history behind this tradition.

The Inns are principally non-academic societies which provide collegiate and educational activities and support for barristers and student barristers. They all provide the use of a library, lunching and dining facilities, common rooms and gardens. They also provide a number of grants and scholarships for the various stages on the way to becoming a barrister. As well as awards and scholarships, the Inns are able to offer advice to their student members, for example, assistance with completing CVs and application forms for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and for pupillage. Each Inn also runs advocacy training courses for their pupils. These vary in format and length and combine advocacy training with lecturers on particular areas of law or forensic skills.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Late payment culture is getting worse

The trend towards delayed payment of invoices seems to have been made more prevalent since the recession took hold. Certainly we have noticed it. But the fact that so many businesses in the UK have become accepting of this 'late payment culture' is certainly a cause for concern as it is having major implications on the whole business community and economy.

 It is sad that it is the smaller businesses that take the strain and in the worst case scenarios have to fold.
 In some cases, there will be genuine reasons for late payments which are unavoidable but businesses shouldn't have to accept that this is somehow the 'inevitable' or the 'norm' because there are ways to combat this and keep your credit control in good shape.

 Without any current legislation in place, businesses need to have concrete terms and conditions in place and have the courage of their convictions to see them through. All too often businesses are allowed to get away with late payments as small businesses are worried about relationships souring and ruining repeat business.
 However business is business and cash flow is, and always will be king.

 More than 260 businesses across a number of industry sectors participated in a study recently, by, the online debt recovery service for businesses and consumers, which found that:
  • Small to medium sized businesses are the most likely to suffer from late payers (with 74 per cent stating that they are likely to accept late payment excuses).
  • 10 per cent of organisations avoid chasing debts in the first place as they are worried about losing future business or simply feel too uncomfortable about broaching the subject.
  • 16.5% of businesses would try to chase debts but avoid legal action as they believe its too expensive

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Referrals Industry needs to be cleaned up not banned

The government is worried the current referral system has created a US-style "compensation culture", in which people are encouraged to launch frivolous claims by law firms who have bought their contact details and are offering to work on a "no win, no fee" basis.

Those in favour of a ban say it would force lawyers to win clients purely on the basis of quality and cost, as well as bringing legal fees down.

However a ban will make it harder for less well off people to gain access to justice, particularly if law firms are banned from working on a "no win, no fee" basis.

Handled correctly, the referrals system is a useful marketing tool for lawyers, and nothing more sinister for consumers than a form of targeted advertising.

The problems are occurring from unscrupulous claims management companies, who are illegally selling on details without the authority to do so. In this respect the industry needs to be cleaned up. 

However many insurers provide a valuable service in terms of quality control. service delivery and best practice for panel solicitors, which ultimately benefits the Client.

With Law firms having to work so much harder to stand out from the competition, something that is only going to get more difficult with the launch of the legal services act in October, it doesn't seem  fair  to ban a legitimate and successful marketing tool.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Phone Hacking at News of the World

The News of the World is in increasing dire straits this morning as allegations of phone hacking mount. If it is indeed true that the phones of Milly Dowler, Jessica Chapman, Holly Wells and the 7/7 victims among others, were hacked they are going to see the wrath of the nation in their sales figures.
People will have much more sympathy in these new cases than previous allegations of celebrities and politicians having their privacy invaded. The public horror that this kind of thing has gone on will no doubt have a massive impact on News of the World sales as people lash back in the only way they can and boycot the paper.
Already the News of World is seeing its advertising being pulled and mounting calls for Rebecah Brooks (nee Wade)  now Chief Executive of News International in the UK and previously the newspapers editor, to resign.
Business decisions have to be made but it just goes to show that even in the heat of the moment, when a deal is being done, you must act professionally, morally and do the right thing. Otherwise quite rightly you will pay the consequences. 
This is an interesting, informative blog on business ethics:

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Criminals could walk free if not charged in 96 hours - really?

This ruling announced today could have massive implications. Made by a district judge at Salford Magistrates' Court and backed by the High Court, the ruling means an end to the practice of releasing people on bail and calling them back for further questioning later - a common practice in most major inquiries.

Police forces can no longer put anyone out on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release them. After the four days is up, officers can no longer question suspects and can only rearrest them if they have new evidence, the ruling says.
Apparently police chiefs have been left baffled by the "bizarre" ruling and both the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are currently considering the ramifications for forces across England and Wales.

Surely the ruling will be overturned otherwise it will change the whole face of the justice system. There will be chaos, with many cases having to be shelved, to the massive to distress of victims. My guess is emergency legislation will have to be put in place. Let's wait and see.

Friday, 24 June 2011

New "Reasonable Force" Definition to help Homeowners and Smallshopkeepers?

Prime Minister David Cameron this week vowed to bring in stronger measures to protect homeowners defending their property.
He said: "We will put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted."

It will be interesting to see how this legislation develops and how the definition of 'reasonable force' pans out, as this, it seems to me will be the stumbling block

Already an extreme case has been highlighted today where a burglar has been stabbed by a homeowner in Salford near Manchester and subsequently died from his injuries. The home owner is in custody. See  Surely it will still have to be assessed on a case by case basis, depending on the threat and the action taken in defence.

For more information about Property Law and Disputes please visit

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Interesting COI decision

Interesting decision to close the Government's Central Office of Information (COI) today - surely this will leave most of the government's communications in the hands of media agencies who are certain to be more expensive than in-house professionals - or perhaps the Government thinks specialist agencies may do a better job!

Sadly it has still left 400 people without a job and with very little warning of what was going on. Again as has been demonstated by Saab today, employees should ensure that they are protected and covered where possible for redundancy situations, whether that be through an employment contract or through a Union.

For further details on this story see

Find out objective feedback on employers by their employees at Employer-Information

Sad news for Saab today

Sad news for Saab today. Lets hope the business can come to some kind of agreement quickly for short term funding for the sake of its employees, who aren't getting paid.

Saab's owner, Swedish Automobile NV, formerly known as Spyker Cars NV, and Saab are still in discussions with various parties to obtain short-term funding, including the potential proceeds from a sale and lease-back of Saab's real estate, it said.

It just goes to show how volotile business can be and how as an employee you should ensure that you are protected and covered where possible for any given situation, whether that be through your employment contract or your Union.

For further details on this story see

David Green, managing partner MTA Solicitors:

For advice on employment law issues please visit

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Social Media and the Courts

Dave Green, Managing Partner at MTA:

Social media and the courts is obviously becoming a real issue. With super-injunctions being broken on Twitter and now a Juror about to be sentenced for contempt of court for contacting a defendant on facebook, what does the future hold for monitoring this kind of behaviour in and around the court process?

These are the first people in the UK ever to be prosecuted for contempt of court using the internet and its seriousness is emphasized by the seniority of the judges involved, led by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge.

Social media obviously has its place but now the lines between social contact and business use on these sites is becoming blurred, social media needs to be used wisely.

Businesses and this includes Lawyers need to be aware of its uses and its pitfalls and dangers. It is all very well for the legal profession to get up to date with using social media, as we are, but we need to be sure that it is used responsibly, the same as the general public need to be aware of the impact of what they do and say online.

The Facebook juror is about to be made an example of when she is sentenced this week, but how much of this has gone on before and how can it be monitored going forward?

It will be interesting to hear the Lord Chief Justice's summing up this week and the precedents set by this case. 

MTA has a twitter account that we try to keep updated with law related points of interest - follow us at @mtasolicitors. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Would you know your rights at work if you suddenly found yourself in the throws of redundancy proceedings, discovered you were pregnant or quite simply thought you were working too many hours or travelling more than you thought you should be?

There have been some big changes to  Employment Law  this year, which every employee should be aware of, in order to know their statutory rights at work.

·         phasing out of the default retirement age of 65
·         abolition of the statutory retirement procedure
·         an increase to statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay
·         additional paternity leave

In these times of economic instability it is a good idea to review or at least be aware of the terms and conditions of your employment contract, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Julie Edmonds, employment law litigator at MTA Solicitors outlines the key issues and the pitfalls to look out for...