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Having a drink whilst out on your Scooter, think again....

Olivia Peck
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Owning an E-Scooter legally is currently difficult, as there are strict rules on any privately owned E-Scooter to be used lawfully on a road or public place. The rider must have insurance, licence, safety equipment and vehicle tax. The Law E-Scooters are...

Special Guardianship Order and Care Order - Can they Co-Exist?

Julia Shaikh
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In the recent case of F v G [2021] EWCA Civ 622, The Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal to the mother, who argued that Special Guardianship Orders and Care Orders could not co-exist. This case was in relation to twin girls F and G. Prior to their...

Independent research recommends Care Services are in urgent need of investment and reform.

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The Case for Change, an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Report investigated Child Protection Services in England. According to a BBC News article written by Alison Holt Social Affairs Correspondent (June 2021) the system is under...

How to get the most from your Lifetime ISA account

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A lifetime ISA (LISA) is a savings account whereby you can save to help contribute to your first house purchase or to be used at the point of which you retire. It can be opened by anyone in the UK as long as you are between the ages of 18 and 39. This is a...

I have been told by the social worker that my care of my child has to be supervised. What does this mean?

Jasmine Lees
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Where the Local Authority have concerns about a person’s care of a child, they may commission various assessments of the person’s ability to care for them. The concerns may arise as a result of an injury to the child, the carer’s mental...

How can I assist a family member/friend who has lost capacity and is now unable to manage their finances?

Jessica  Latimer
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Where a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for someone’s property and finances has not been put in place prior to a loved one losing mental capacity, Deputyship may need to be applied for, to manage their affairs...

My child is in care and I want more contact

Julia Shaikh
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Local Authorities have a duty to promote contact between a child in their care and the relevant parties under Section 34 of the Children Act 1989 – unless it is not reasonably practical or consistent with the child’s welfare. If your child is...

Can I take my child on holiday if the other parent does not consent?

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Now that the national lockdown has lifted and the possibility of international travel is an increasingly more viable option, many will be looking to get away and go abroad for some proper summer sun. Issues often arise when parents are separated and one...

Do I need a Consent Order?

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We are often asked if a Consent Order is needed in divorce proceedings the answer is yes, it is advisable and recommended.  A Consent Order is a document that is entered into willingly by both parties and it records the financial terms agreed...

What can I do if my spouse doesn't respond to my divorce papers?

Laura Cotton
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When the Petitioner makes an application for a divorce, the spouse, known as the Respondent, is sent a copy of the application along with a form to complete called an Acknowledgement of Service (AOS). They are required to complete the AOS, which acknowledges...

What if your caught in charge of your motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit?

Olivia Peck
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With restrictions lifting there is an increase in drink driving offences , not only can you find yourself arrested for an offence of driving a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limited but also if you are found to be drunk in charge of a motor...

Will my baby be removed from me at birth?

Jasmine Lees
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A recent study by Nuffield Family Justice Observatory found that the number of care proceedings in England which involved newborn babies increased by 20%. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of newborn babies subject to care proceedings rose from 2425 to...

It's coming home. Oh no, sorry, it's not

Rhian Williams
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It’s not coming home and I wish you weren’t either. Euros 2020. The highlight of year. Gareth Southgate leading our boys in white to the final. 120 minutes of white-knuckle entertainment, to see Italy win at the final hurdle. Unlucky. Unluckier...

Covid-19: What if parents cannot agree on vaccinating their child?

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The decision as to whether to order the vaccination of a child has been an issue for the Courts for many years before the existence of the Covid-19 virus. Now that the roll-out of the vaccines for the virus have been a success in respect of adults, the...

What is a Section 7 Report?

Laura Cotton
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A Section 7 report is a report prepared by CAFCASS or a social worker from the Local Authority (Social Services) in cases where an application has been made to the Court under Section 8 of The Children Act 1989. A Section 7 report may be required in cases...

Breathing Space: what is it and how does it affect my ability to recover a debt? Will it apply to rental arrears owed by a Tenant?

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What is ‘Breathing Space’? Breathing Space is a newly established Debt Respite Scheme, that  will give an individual who is in debt the right to legal protections from being chased by creditors. The scheme applies to the rental sector and...

Failing to provide a breath specimen the consequences

Olivia Peck
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The police can request a specimen of breath when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you were driving, attempted to drive or drunk in charge of a vehicle where alcohol or drugs have been consumed. It is a criminal offence to refuse to provide a...

Important Things to Remember After You Move Home

Jade Sansoye
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The process of moving home can be exhausting and exciting all at the same time. However, once you have received the keys to the property there is still some important work that needs to carried out to the property. You will need to hold back on opening that...

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common, what is right for you?

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Buying a home with your partner or family member is an exciting and a life changing experience. It is therefore to know the different forms of legal ownership and to understand how they both work before you make an informed decision. Joint Tenants Joint...

'The Big Ask' Survey - Children in England to have their say on Childhood

Julia Shaikh
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From April to May 2021, millions of children in England told the Government what their childhoods should look like in the largest consultation undertaken in England. ‘The Big Ask’ survey was led by the Children’s Commissioner for England,...

Does the Human Rights Act 1998 protect parents in Care Proceedings

Chelsea  Harris
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The protection of your Human Rights is vital in all aspects of the Law. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act provides that everyone has the right to respect for private and family life. How is this right maintained in Care Proceedings for parents where the...

What will happen if I run away with my child to avoid Social Services involvement?

Jasmine Lees
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When the Local Authority become involved due to concerns regarding a parent’s care of a child / children , it can be a very challenging time for the family. Many people feel that they wish to escape so that they do not have to deal with any...

The Local Authority has applied to the Court for a Care Order - but what is it?

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What is a Care Order in my Care Proceedings case? A care order gives the local authority parental responsibility for the child . The court may make an interim care order so that arrangements can be made to look after the child until the court makes a...

How can someone find my Will after I die?

Jessica  Latimer
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You may choose to share the location of your Will with your family members or perhaps you keep a good record in your files. However, family members may not remember what you have told them or are not sure where to look when they need to find your Will. ...

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

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Following agreement by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords on its text, the Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent on 29 th April 2021, meaning that it is now an Act of Parliament and therefore, law. The aims of the Act were to make...

Revocation of driving licence for new drivers

Olivia Peck
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As a new driver your licence is particularly important to you, however are you aware that your driving licence is automatically revoked by the DVLA, if you build up six or more  penalty points  within two years of passing your first driving test? ...

What is involved in selling my property?

Jade Sansoye
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A sale transaction may sound simple and straightforward but there is a lot of work that needs to be carried out by Solicitors. Sale transactions can easily become complicated or prolonged. Not all transactions are the same and this is due to various reasons...

Mental Health Awareness Month

Gemma Curtis
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The week commencing 10 th May is mental health awareness week. Having lived through the period of Covid-19 and Lockdown, mental health has become more openly discussed and we are being urged to take care of our mental health as well as our physical health. ...

How do I complete a Form E?

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When you are going through a separation, your first thought might be to start divorce proceedings, but it is important to try and reach an agreement in relation to the finances at the same time. This can take some time as there are many things you will need...

I want to recover possession of property that I rent to tenants: what do I need to do? How is the process affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Laura  Anderson
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A landlord that lets residential property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) needs to give their tenant notice if they want them to leave. If the tenant doesn’t move out, the landlord needs to apply for a Possession Order, that will specify a...

What can I expect if I apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

Laura Cotton
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It is common that when a relationship breaks down, conversations need to be had about the arrangements for the children to be able to spend time with both parents. It is always best if parents can reach an agreement between themselves in an attempt to ensure...

Getting the most from your Help to Buy ISA account

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The government closed access to new help to buy ISA accounts from 30 th November 2019 and onwards. If you were fortunate enough to have opened a help to buy ISA prior to this date this guide will be useful to help you optimise the account for buying your...

IS IT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT FOR LANDLORDS TO HAVE THE ELECTRICS TESTED WHEN RENTING OUT A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY?

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As of 1 st April 2021, new electrical regulations came into force requiring Landlords to arrange an inspection and to supply an electrical safety certificate for all privately rented properties. What are the Regulations? The electrical inspections must...

Special Guardianship - An Agenda for Change

Julia Shaikh
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In August and November 2019, I wrote articles considering whether Special Guardianship Orders required reform. The case of Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407  spurred the need for change. Developments continue within this area of law....

Care Proceedings are lasting longer in Court due to COVID-19

Chelsea  Harris
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The duration of Care Proceedings in Court has increased since the beginning of the lockdown and has reached the longest length since the 26-week target rule was introduced in 2014, despite the number of cases being issued falling in 2019. Care Proceedings...

I have been asked to leave my family home away from partner and children by Social Services - what does this mean?

Jasmine Lees
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When the Local Authority have safeguarding concerns about a person within a household, they may ask them to leave the family home away from the children and other adults within the home to allow for various safeguarding assessments to be completed. The Local...

Appointeeship - What is an Appointee?

Jessica  Latimer
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An Appointee is an individual/organisation registered with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). The nominated Appointee is allowed to receive another person’s benefits when they are unable to manage their finances. This could be due to them...

Restricting your right to protest: the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2019-2021

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On 16 th March 2021, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Bill has already caused controversy within the media, particularly in relation to the restrictions it seeks to bring in, in respect of...

New Sentencing Guidelines for Drugs Offences

Zara Cowan
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The 1 st April 2021 will see updated and new sentencing guidelines for some drug offences come into force. These will apply to all cases sentenced on or after 1 st April 2021.   The updated and new guidelines are designed to take into consideration...

Is it normal to exchange financial disclosure to reach a financial settlement in divorce?

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Trying to agree a financial settlement during a divorce can be an intimidating and daunting prospect. In order to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement, we always advise clients of the need to exchange full and frank financial disclosure, whether in...

My relationship has ended: what happens to the house?

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According to the Office for National Statistics, there are over 6m people cohabiting without being married or in civil partnerships, However, unlike spouses and civil partners, cohabitees have no automatic right to make a financial claim against their former...

What is the role of mediation in family law matters?

Laura Cotton
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When a relationship breaks down, many issues can need resolving such as finances, divorce proceedings and often child arrangements. Sometimes it can be difficult to resolve these issues with your former partner and conversations may become heated. Roughly...

What is an Investigation in children matters? What types of investigations are there?

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There are two types of investigations, a Section 47 investigation, and a Section 17 investigation. Within 24 hours of suspected harm being reported it is the Social Workers decision in regards to what investigation is required. They will decide one of...

Should you use using an Estate Agent to sell your home?

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Are you looking to sell your home or investment property? One of the most important decisions you can make when selling your home is whether to sell through an estate agent or to arrange your sale privately directly to a prospective buyer. The aim of this...

Cladding - Government to bring an end to unsafe cladding

Jade Sansoye
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On the 10 th February 2021, The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick discussed the issues surrounding cladding in the House of Commons and unveiled a five-point plan to bring an end to unsafe cladding.  The Grenfell fire tragedy has highlighted and...

The Stamp Duty Holiday has been extended

Mandeep Rai
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What does this mean for you? We at Johnson Astills are excited to welcome the government’s announcement confirming the extension of the stamp duty holiday to 30 th June 2021. What is the Stamp Duty Holiday? The Stamp Duty Holiday was...

Did you know there is a legal requirement to restrain your dog in the car?

Olivia Peck
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Research shows that over a third of drivers fail to restrain pet passengers, with 1 in 10 allowing  pets to sit in the front seat of the car, and a further 9% of drivers, allowing their pet to sit on the back seat without a harness or seatbelt...

Social Services have asked me to leave the family home

Julia Shaikh
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What can I do in these circumstances? Parents often ask this question when seeking advice from our Care Team: When Social Services become involved with parents in relation to concerns about their child, they sometimes ask one parent to leave the family...

The Local Authority want to complete a Risk Assessment, what does this mean?

Chelsea  Harris
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The Local Authority are likely to want to complete a risk assessment where they consider there to be a likelihood of a significant risk of harm to a child. Where there are concerns around domestic violence in a relationship, allegations of sexual or physical...

Does a Non-UK Resident pay extra SDLT?

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From 1st April 2021, all non-UK residents who purchase a property  will be liable for a new surcharge of stamp duty land tax (SDLT). An additional 2% will be payable on all purchases of residential property (freehold or leasehold) situated in England or...

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