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Japanese Knotweed - don't shrug it off! Have you checked your house?

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Japanese Knotweed is an intrusive plant that spreads swiftly. The roots can reach depths of up to three meters and it can seriously damage infrastructure and buildings. Concrete cannot withstand its strength, which is why it is causing problems for sellers...

What is a Grant of Representation?

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When someone dies, in order to access assets held with financial institutions, sell assets, and even pay any debts that the deceased held on their death, a legal document known as a Grant of Representation is required. What are the types of Grant of...

What is a Communicourt Intermediary?

Adarsh Patel
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Communicourt is an intermediary service mostly funded by HMCTS, with no charges or payments required by parents or legal professionals. In the context of Care Proceedings, their aim is to assist a parent who has a communication difficulty which impairs their...

Can my Legal Representative attend a Child Protection Conference with me?

Emily Jones
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What is a Child Protection Conference? A Child Protection Conference is a multi-agency meeting arranged by the Local Authority.  The purpose of the conference is for family members and professionals involved in a child’s life to share...

Domestic abusers could find themselves subject to electronic tags upon release from prison

Harriet Starkey
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A new scheme will be launched in the East and West Midlands, which will see offenders that pose a threat to their former partner and/or their children, being subject to electronic tagging. This will help protect victims from further abuse following their...

Can my baby be placed for adoption by the Local Authority against my will?

Chelsea  Harris
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Your baby being placed for adoption against your will is referred to as a non-consensual adoption or contested adoption. The term ‘forced adoption’ is not a term that is used within the Family Court but is used widely in the media. Before an...

Failing to provide driver identification details

Olivia Peck
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It is an offence if you fail to provide details of a driver, to the police, at the time an alleged offence has been committed, under S172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The registered keeper of a vehicle has a legal obligation to provide details of who was...

Frequently Asked Questions when Selling a Property

Katelyn  Isliker
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Why have I been asked to provide proof of identification? As a firm of solicitors, under the Money Laundering Regulations we must comply with the requirements for proof of identity and money laundering. This is a legal requirement, that means we require...

How Do I Appoint a Guardian For My Children In My Will?

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What is a Guardian appointed by my Will? If you die leaving children under the age of 18, you can make provision in your Will for who you would like to look after your children if there is no one else with Parental Responsibility. They would then  be...

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Harriet Starkey
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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is widely recognised as a month to raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence in our society and what can be done to stop it. It is a problem in every culture, religion and race and it can take...

How Much Is My Public Sector Pension Worth?

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For many people, a large part of the Divorce process will revolve around how their financial assets will be divided. However, for those who work in the public sector, the value of their pensions has been unusually uncertain over the past few years, which has...

What is a Child Assessment Order?

Emily Jones
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If the Local Authority are concerned about a child’s health, development or the way that they are being treated, but do not feel that there is an immediate risk to them, they may request that various assessments are undertaken. These assessments are...

Jade's Law: What is it and How Does it Affect Me?

Adarsh Patel
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By the end of 2023, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk plans to introduce a new law before Parliament which would result in parents who kill their partner or ex-partner with whom they have children to automatically have their parental responsibility suspended upon...

What is a ParentAssess Assessment: How is it different to PAMS?

Isabelle Swirles
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PAMS stands for ‘ parenting assessment manual software ’ . It was an assessment used with parents or carers that have learning difficulties or additional needs. Its aim is to assess the parent ’ s capacity and to support them in...

Tougher sentences for domestic killers

Harriet Starkey
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In March 2023, it was published that the government has plans to enforce tougher sentences on domestic abusers who kill their current or previous partners.  What does this mean for those found guilty of domestic homicide? The law will be changed...

Buildings Insurance

Katelyn  Isliker
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Buildings Insurance covers your home in the event that damage that occurs to the structure of the property i.e the actual building. This could be in the event of a fire, flood, storm or if the damage was caused by vandalism, theft, fire etc. When you are...

Free Wills Month

Jessica  Latimer
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Johnson Astills are pleased to announce that we are taking part in Free Wills Month during October 2023. Free Wills Month brings together a group of well-respected charities to offer members of the public the opportunity to make simple Wills prepared...

The Court could make a Supervision Order or Care Order, what approach needs to be applied by the Court when considering these Orders?

Chelsea  Harris
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The recent decision in the Court of Appeal in the case of JW (Child at home under Care Order) [2023] EWCA CIV 944 is a reminder of the approach that should be taken when considering making final Supervision and Care Orders. The judgement provides a summary...

Beware of the Remarriage Trap

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Dissolving your marriage may feel like the end of a very long and turbulent road, and that you have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. However, should you remarry, you may fall foul of what is commonly known as “the Remarriage...

What is a Placement Order?

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A Placement Order is a Court Order which says that a Local Authority can place a child for adoption with prospective adopters, who have passed all the necessary checks and are a suitable match for a child. It does not mean a child has been adopted. However,...

What is a Special Guardianship Order?

Isabelle Swirles
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A Special Guardianship Order is an order that can appoint one or more individuals to be a child ’ s ‘ Special Guardian ’ . They are typically made when a parent or carer can no longer care and is made pursuant to the Children Act 1989 and...

Intestacy Rules - The Increase in Statutory Legacy in 2023

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What is Intestacy? Intestacy is where someone dies without a Will, or without a valid Will. The Rules of Intestacy means that a deceased person’s estate will be distributed in accordance with these rules, and this may mean that the estate is not...

What is a Supervision Order?

Adarsh Patel
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A Supervision Order is one of many orders that the Court has the power to grant a Local Authority in Childcare Proceedings under section 35 Children Act 1989. The purpose of a Supervision Order is to impose a duty on the Local Authority to support the...

Child Support (Enforcement) Act 2023 and The Child Support Collection (Domestic Abuse) Act 2023

Harriet Starkey
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What is this new law? The Child Support (Enforcement) Bill was introduced by MP Siobhan Baillie and Baroness Redfern and received Royal Assent on 20 th July 2023, meaning it is now law. This Act means that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)...

Exchange of Contracts

Katelyn  Isliker
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What is an exchange of contracts? Exchange of contracts is when the buyer’s solicitor and the seller’s solicitor swap the contract documentation to confirm an agreement has been made between each party for the sale of the property. It is...

Can I Make Amendments To My Lasting Powers of Attorney?

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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs): Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. Each of these documents allow you to appoint Attorneys to deal with and manage your...

What is the new law on a Section 20 agreement and how does this affect me?

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What is a Section 20 agreement? You as a parent can voluntarily enter into a Section 20 agreement. A Section 20 agreement allows your child to be accommodated willingly in either foster care, with your friends, or with relatives, and this can be...

Mothers' reoccurrence at care proceedings: how can we prevent the cycle?

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It has been estimated that 1 in 4 women in England and Wales are at risk of return to court within 10 years after the initial set of proceedings. In 2015, findings from Broadhurst et al provided the first evidence presenting the repeated return of mothers to...

I received a Letter of Intent to Issue Care Proceedings - What Does This Mean?

Adarsh Patel
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The Local Authority will send you a Letter of Intent to Issue Care Proceedings once they have decided that there are significant concerns regarding the safety of your child/children, and the only way to keep them safe is to seek intervention from the Court....

Full Title vs Limited Title Guarantee

Katelyn  Isliker
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When a property is sold, generally the seller agrees to sell their property with ‘full’ or ‘limited’ title guarantee. Full Title Guarantee Full title guarantee confirms that the seller has the right to sell the property and that...

No Pride in Domestic Abuse.

Rhian Williams
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Approximately 25% of people in the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community suffer from Domestic Abuse within relationships. However, it is considered that domestic abuse within these communities is underreported, as the persons are fearful that...

Caught Speeding - What are the consequences?

Olivia Peck
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Leicestershire saw almost twice as many speeding prosecutions in 2022 compared to 2021, reports show. Nationally, the number of drivers receiving a speeding conviction has reached an eight-year high. Most people caught speeding were offered a fine and...

Separated Parents: Can I take my child on holiday abroad?

Bethany  Gray
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With the summer holidays fast approaching, many will be seeking some summer sun overseas. However, for some separated or divorced parents, this can be problematic and we suggest having the conversation about holidays as soon as possible, to try to prevent...

Why are Drug/Alcohol Tests Ordered with Child Care Cases?

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Substance abuse can have a significant impact on childcare proceedings, as it can lead to social workers having concerns about the safety and wellbeing of children. When a parent or caregiver struggles with substance abuse, it is thought they may be unable...

Can I Leave Gifts to Minors in My Will?

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People often want to leave money or gifts in their Will to children or grandchildren. There are different ways in which you can do this, and it is important to consider how you want to leave your money when making a Will. Here, at Johnson Astills , we...

I'm being asked to consent to a section 20, can this be a long-term agreement?

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What is a section 20? Section 20 is a voluntary arrangement that parents can consent to and withdraw this consent at any time. The agreement allows the child to be voluntarily accommodated in foster care or with friends or family and this can be supported...

Can the DVLA Revoke my Driving Licence?

Rachel  Gaffney
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Why would the DVLA revoke my licence? UK law requires motorists to notify the DVLA of any medical condition which could impair their ability to drive.  Medical reasons can include but are not limited to: epilepsy diabetes strokes and...

My children are in foster care, can I get them back?

Emily Jones
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  What is a Foster Carer? Foster Carers can offer children a safe and loving home when they are not able to remain with their birth parents. Why have my children been placed into Foster Care? Children may live with foster carers on a short or...

Love Bombing - attention today, abuse tomorrow

Rhian Williams
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As of 24 th April 2023, Love Bombing is now recognised by the Crown Prosecution Service as a sign of emotional abuse in the UK, but what is Love Bombing and what are the signs?  Love Bombing is often disguised as excessive flattery; showering with...

Can the Police Obtain Information From my Childcare Proceedings?

Adarsh Patel
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Childcare proceedings are confidential, which means the disclosure of information deriving from proceedings is governed by strict rules and protocols. If the Police wish to obtain information from your childcare proceedings, they need to make an application...

I have been arrested for rape what happens now?

Helen Johnson
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Being arrested for rape or any sort of sexual offence can be a terrifying experience. Having been through the turmoil of an arrest and interview you find yourself bailed to return to the police station. Of course, you are relieved that you have not been...

Building Safety Act 2022

Katelyn  Isliker
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Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the government aimed to reform building safety legislation through the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022. The act is up to 260 pages and contains 6 parts. Various consultations have taken place to...

Can I have more contact with my child who is in care?

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The Local Authority in each area will have a designated team who deal with Child Protection. They have a wide range of duties and powers as detailed within laws. One of the duties and powers of the Local Authority is contained within Section 34 and is around...

Misconceptions of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Jessica  Latimer
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Lasting Powers of Attorney are some of the most important documents you can make in your lifetime. LPAs have been in the news over the last few weeks following a discussion about them by Martin Lewis who emphasises the importance of these documents. ...

Can I Leave Cryptocurrency In My Will?

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Cryptocurrency is becoming more and more common in the investment market with at least 4.2 million people in the UK currently owning it in some form or another. You may choose to leave your digital assets to your family members or someone you trust, or,...

Judges have been told to jail fewer people due to the capacity crisis in the prison systems

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At the start of March there were 83,990 prisoners in England and Wales meaning that prisons were 1,200 prisoners short of the prison system’s useable operational capacity. What does this mean for me and my case? The new advice as a result of a...

What is a Section 91(14) Order and how can it protect me?

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A Section 91(14) Order is known as a ‘barring order’ and relates to Section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989. This type of Order allows the court to prevent individuals, usually parents, from making an application to the court without the...

What is a Fact-Finding Hearing?

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The Court has the power to order a fact-finding hearing in care proceedings, yet many parents did not know what a fact-finding hearing is until speaking to a solicitor. This article aims to explain what a fact-finding hearing is in a simple manner. To...

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022

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A new piece of legislation came into forced on the 27 th February 2023, which means it is no longer possible for anyone under the age of 18 to marry or enter into a civil partnership. This is a huge change because previously, 16 and 17 years olds have been...

Will I get extra support during Care Proceedings?

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If you are a parent with additional needs, such as learning difficulties or cognitive functioning issues and the Local Authority are involved with your children, you may be entitled to extra support. What are Care Proceedings? When the Local Authority...

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