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Received a letter from Social Services/Local Authority? What do I do?

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The Local Authority can become involved in your family life for a number of reasons. This may be because they think you or someone else in your family may have done something to harm the child/children. They can also become involved even if you do not give...

Can you afford to buy your first property?

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First time buyer looking to get on the property ladder? At Johnson Astills we are here to guide you through the legal process of buying a property.  The most essential factor to determine if you can buy a property is affordability. The aim of this...

Criminal Courts To Remain Open During Third Lockdown

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As the country goes into a third national lockdown the Lord Chancellor has confirmed that the criminal courts will not be closed. Attending court is a legal exemption to the national lockdown ‘stay at home’ restriction. Judges, jurors, court...

Special Reasons argument for Driving without Insurance

Olivia Peck
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What is a  Special Reasons argument? A special reasons argument is put forward to the Court in order to ask the court not to disqualify a motorist from driving or endorsing their licence with penalty points. A conviction for most road traffic offences...

Does lockdown affect whether I can spend time with my children?

Laura Cotton
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As England is placed into another national lockdown, many parents will have concerns about what impact this has on Child Arrangements. The government have released national lockdown guidance which includes direction for child arrangement matters. The...

Completing Conveyancing Protocol forms

Sunny Gangar
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Selling your House can be a stressful time, with many forms and documents which you will be required to complete which will be unfamiliar to you. Below we will break down the 3 main forms used when selling your property and explain what each form is used...

Domestic Abuse - Am I eligible for Legal Aid?

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Legal Aid is the provision of financial assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal Aid is payment from public funds, and only provided in cases of need. If you have been the victim of domestic...

What are property searches and why do you need them?

Sunny Gangar
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When you are purchasing a residential property, you will need searches carried out on the property. These are essential as they can help identify any previous planning permissions or building regulations which apply for the property. It can help identify...

Will I get free legal advice if the Local Authority become involved with my family?

Chelsea  Harris
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Depending upon the extent of the involvement by the Local Authority, you may be eligible for free legal help under three levels of public funding Legal Help Level 1, Legal Help Level 2 or Full Representation. The lowest level of Local Authority involvement...

Lasting Power of Attorneys - Health & Welfare

Jessica  Latimer
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There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA); one which deals with your Property and Financial Affairs and one which deals with your Health and Welfare. In this article, we will be discussing the Health and Welfare LPA. A Lasting Power of Attorney...

Managing affairs for a missing person

Jessica  Latimer
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The Guardianship Act was bought into power in 2019 to help families deal with the affairs of a missing loved one. Prior to this act being bought in, the only way to deal with a missing person’s affairs was to make a declaration to the High Court that...

Am I allowed to physical chastise my child such as smacking them?

Jasmine Lees
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The issue of smacking a child as a form of punishment or as a way to control a child’s behaviour is a contentious subject which divides public opinion. The issue has recently hit the headlines after Scotland introduced a law banning the smacking of...

Fail to Provide Driver Details - Company Prosecutions

Helen Johnson
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Does a Company have to provide details of their drivers’ (s172 notice)? If a vehicle is registered at DVLA as being owned by a Company then the Company must provide details of the driver's identity. How is driver information requested? The...

Declarations of Trust: what they are and when you should use one

Laura  Anderson
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If a property is in joint names, and the owners aren’t married/civil partners, the presumption upon sale is that each person will get an equal share of the net sale proceeds. If each individual owner contributed equally to the deposit and the mortgage,...

Local Authority concerns about drug and alcohol use around children

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The Local Authority have concerns about drug use and excessive use of alcohol around my children – what should I do? Worried family members, professionals or members of the public may notify the Local Authority of concerns about parents or carers...

Affray just really what is it?

Olivia Peck
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Affray is a public order offence, the offence is committed if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety. If two or more...

Are you still thinking of purchasing a property? The stamp duty holiday deadline is fast approaching!

Jade Sansoye
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The Government announced in July 2020 the new reduced stamp duty rates, which meant that residential purchasers only paid stamp duty on properties above £500,000.00. If residential purchasers were subject to higher rate stamp duty then the changes...

I have been accused of Rape. How is a Rape Investigated?

Zara Cowan
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It is regularly reported in the newspapers that the number of Rape prosecutions are falling. Early this year in order to identify areas for improvement the Crown Prosecution Service published a five-year strategy to look at all aspects of how Rape cases are...

According to Ofsted, there has been a 20% rise of non-accidental- injuries and deaths to babies during the first Covid 19 lockdown

Julia Shaikh
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During the first lockdown due to Covid-19  in March 2020, there was an alarming rise of 20% of accidental injuries in children under 12 months old. According to Ofsted, these children were either seriously injured or killed by a parent/carer. In...

How can I become a Solicitor?

Laura Cotton
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There are now two different routes to qualify as a solicitor following the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The traditional route to qualifying has the following requirements:- Qualifying Law degree If you have obtained a...

What can I do if my ex-partner is stopping me from seeing my child?

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Many parents experience problems securing contact with their children following the breakdown of a relationship.  Are you one of them?  If so, this article may help. In accordance with the Children Act 1989, as long as it is safe, children are...

Remote Hearings in the Family Justice System: A review of the Rapid Consultation by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

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It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in virtually every aspect of our lives.  Arguably, one of the most significant changes for us at Johnson Astills, and for our clients, is that court hearings for Family and...

Can my information be shared between my Care Proceedings and Criminal Proceedings?

Chelsea  Harris
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The simple answer is yes. Your information can be disclosed and shared between proceedings governed by the 2013 protocol and good practice model . In Care Proceedings, there is a form Annex D that the Local Authority will complete and send to the police to...

How am I meant to engage and follow a remote / hybrid Family Court hearing?

Jasmine Lees
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, Family Court hearings moved to remote hearings which take place over the telephone or via a video platform to allow for social distancing restrictions. Initially, all major hearings such as final...

Positive mental health is important in the work place.

Julia Shaikh
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It was World Mental Health Day this year on the 10 October. The Mental Health Foundation suggests that ‘Tea and Talk’ is a great way to come together in difficult times to raise awareness for mental health. Prior to the Covid 19 pandemic,...

Supply of a psychoactive substance and offering to supply

Olivia Peck
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While many of these drugs were once legal, under the Psychoactive Substances Act, 2016, it is now illegal to produce, supply, or import them for human consumption, including for personal use. However, possession for personal use is not an offence. The...

Why should I instruct a Solicitor to prepare my Will?

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When it comes to making a Will, there are two main pieces of advice that we at Johnson Astills give our clients. The first is to actually make one, and not keep putting it off. The second is to have a will drafted by a Solicitor that specialises in Wills. ...

Black History Month

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In the UK, the scale and impact of institutionalised racism has been laid bare, with young Black men stopped and searched 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown, along with Black MPs, barristers, senior police officers, sportspeople and many...

Domestic Abuse: The Shadow Pandemic

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Since the Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a sharp rise in reports of domestic abuse. The head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, declared that violence against women and girls is a “ shadow pandemic ” during the wider coronavirus crisis, as...

I have been charged with Voyeurism aka "Up skirting"- what does this mean?

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What is Voyeurism? Voyeurism is a relatively new offence which was implemented by the Voyeurism (Offences) Act, 2019 and introduced 2 new offences. A person commits voyeurism under Section 67A (1): where they operate equipment, under another...

Changes to the Use Classes Order

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The Government has introduced The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.757) which has amended the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. The new Regulations came into effect on the 1 st ...

Stamp Duty Land Tax: Temporary Reduced Rates for Residential Purchases

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Due to the Current pandemic which has affected every country globally, the UK government introduced temporary changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) effective from the 8 th July 2020 until 31 st March 2021. The temporary SDLT change which has been...

The impact Covid19 (Coronavirus) and contact with children in care?

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Legal practitioners in the field of childcare law will be aware that Covid-19 epidemic has significantly challenged the family justice system. This article covers the issues around contact with a child in care and the legal principles, which govern it. The...

Can my court hearing be filmed and shown on TV?

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Serious high-profile criminal cases can now be seen and heard by TV and online audiences after new Legislation was laid before parliament on 16 th January 2020. This marks a huge change as filming has only been permitted in some Court of Appeal cases since...

Bank Holiday Drinking? A warning to all from Johnson Astills

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Following the difficult times we have all suffered this year with the Covid-19 pandemic it will be easy to get caught up in the bank holiday spirit, especially as this bank holiday the bars in Leicester and other surrounding areas will finally be open, but,...

What is No-Fault Divorce?

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From autumn 2021, it will become much simpler for couples to get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Couples will no longer have to prove ‘reasons’ or ‘facts’ for the separation, ending the ‘blame game’ that...

What do the Court consider when making a financial order?

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When the Court decide how to distribute assets following the breakdown of a marriage, they have to consider the checklist contained within Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The main principle is that the settlement must be fair and reasonable...

What Happens in Care Proceedings?

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Care Proceedings begin when the Local Authority believe that your children have suffered or may be at risk of harm. The Local Authority will ask the Court to look at your situation and decide if the Local Authority should be granted a legal Order to...

Witnessing Wills online

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Since the pandemic and subsequent lockdown in March 2020 the demand by individuals wanting to create a Will increased and solicitors have been challenged with finding new ways to ensure that Wills are witnessed and executed correctly in line with social...

Can I use modern slavery as a defence to a crime?

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What is modern slavery? An offence of Modern Slavery is committed when someone holds another in slavery or servitude or when another person is made to perform forced or compulsory labour. What does modern slavery involve? The person must know or ought...

What are the risks children face in the Pandemic?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of daily life and has changed our way of living beyond recognition. The impact of the virus has meant that it will continue to cause disruption to society for considerable time. UNICEF states that more than...

What is the law in relation to Drug Driving?

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Is it an offence to drive after I have smoked cannabis? It is an offence under S5A, of the Road Traffic Act 1988, if you drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified controlled drug in your blood or urine in excess of...

Maximising technology in lockdown: A law firm's perspective

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The pandemic has shifted the way in which we all think about technology. We are all relying on technology more and the importance of having effective systems in place has increased to allow us to continue to communicate with colleagues, clients and other...

Recovering possession of residential property

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The law relating to Landlords and Tenants is complex, and a landlord will need to demonstrate compliance if they want to recover possession of a property that they let out under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Documentation/information Some of the...

Can the Police hack into my phone without me knowing?

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You will see from recent news the answer is yes! The National Crime Agency have today announced that they have successfully penetrated a top secret communications system commonly used for illegal activity.  How will the police know to find me from my...

Why should you make a Will?

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The creation of a Will ensures that following your death your wishes regarding your personal possessions, such as jewellery and family mementos are passed on to those you wish to receive them. As well as this, creation of a Will allows for your assets, such...

Rouncefield: Section 21 Notices & Gas Safety Certificates

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A Court of Appeal judgment handed down this week spells good news for landlords who failed to supply a copy of a valid gas safety certificate to their tenant before they moved in. If a landlord wants to recover possession of their property where a tenant is...

The Myth of the 'Common-Law Spouse'

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Legal rights are conferred upon a person when they marry or enter into a civil partnership . These rights include: to inherit automatically if their spouse/civil partner dies intestate (without a will) to a degree of financial support if the...

Solidarity Statement

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Johnson Astills join many people and organisations across the globe. We stand in solidarity with our Black and Ethnic Minority clients and colleagues and stand by our commitment to challenge discrimination and racism wherever we find it. We know that many...

Drunk in Charge

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I was sleeping in my car after drinking. Have I committed an offence? Many people are unaware that simply being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit is an offence. You may be guilty of an offence under Section 5(1) (b) of the Road...

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