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Things to Look out for when Buying a New Build Property

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A New Build Property is a property that has never been lived in before and has been recently constructed. Buying a New Build property is different from buying an older property, so it is important that you know what to look out for. Here at Johnson Astills,...

New Domestic Abuse Offences as of 7th June 2022

Olivia Peck
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Section 70 Domestic Abuse Act 2021, introduced offences of non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation, these offences came into force on 7 th June 2022. What is the offence of strangulation or suffocation? The legislation states that a person...

What can I do as an executor to make sure I find the most recent Will and details of all assets and liabilities in an estate?

Jessica  Latimer
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If you are acting as an Executor or Administrator you have a legal obligation to ensure you have found and dealt with all of the assets in the estate of the deceased and that you are proving and administering the correct Will. There are various searches that...

Sentencing for sexual offending involving a "sting" operation

Olivia Peck
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From 31 st May 2022, the sentencing guidelines for child sexual offences where no child existed or is harmed will be revised. What are the changes? The new guidelines coming into force provide Judges and Magistrates with guidance on how to sentence...

Sexual Offences & Sexsomnia (Sex while you sleep)

Helen Johnson
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WHAT IS SEXSOMNIA?  Sexsomnia is sexual behaviour while asleep. It is recognised in both sleep disorder and psychiatric classifications. Sexsomnia occurs when the brain is disassociated or partially disassociated and covers a wide range of sexual...

Blood Alcohol Testing: Is PEth is leading the way?

Chelsea  Harris
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You may be asked to engage in blood alcohol testing. This has now become an essential part in providing an insight into an individual’s alcohol consumption and providing an evidential picture within proceedings before the Family Court. In Family cases...

Tips for First Time Buyers

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Purchasing a property is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make and doing it for the first time can be daunting. Here at Johnson Astills, we are here to make the journey as smooth as possible.  The process can be time consuming and...

Angel Lynn - Coercive Control

Rhian Williams
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Angel Lynn was in an abusive relationship with Chay Bowskill. On 17 th September 2020, Angel was kidnapped by Bowskill. Bowskill was captured on CCTV chasing Angel down a street following an argument. He was seen to grab her from behind and she was forced...

What will happen when my child is ready to leave Local Authority care?

Chelsea  Harris
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Once a Care Order is made at Court, this Order remains in place until a child reaches 18 years old. Once a child reaches adulthood, the Care Order will cease to have effect. The Local Authority have a duty to support young people who have been subject to a...

Caught driving whilst using a mobile phone?

Olivia Peck
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New legislation comes into force on 25 th March 2022 that prohibits the use, while driving a motor vehicle, of hand-held mobile telephones or other interactive communication devices, when performing an interactive communication function. This widens the...

No-fault divorce: Important dates

Laura Cotton
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The no-fault divorce is to be introduced on Wednesday 6 th April 2022. The Government have now published key dates, including cut off dates in relation to existing applications under the existing legislation . We have been notified by HMCTS   of...

Putting Children's voices at the heart of reform. A report by Dame Rachel De Souza, Children's Commissioner for England January 2022.

Chelsea  Harris
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The report completed by Dame Rachel De Souza is dedicated to the children in care, who have voiced their experiences. These children have shared their thoughts and personal experiences in the hope that change can be brought for the children who follow in...

WHAT SPEED CAN I DO BEFORE I GET A SPEEDING TICKET?

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The moment of dread. Did I activate that speed camera? Will I receive a ticket in the post? According to the latest official data 74% of all motoring offences are speed related and can be a major contributing factor to deaths and serious injuries on our...

What is Coercive Control?

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Coercive Control is a form of abuse, as set out in Section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Controlling behaviour is defined as a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant by isolating them from their sources of support,...

Impact of divorce on Wills & LPAs

Jessica  Latimer
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According to the latest figures the current rate of marriages ending in divorce in the UK is 42%. When going through divorce proceedings it is important to review and consider your Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys , and the implications divorce has...

Almost 100,000 children could be in Local Authority care in England by 2025

Julia Shaikh
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The County Councils network (CCN) say more needs to be done to assist keeping families together. If this is not achieved soon, Local Authorities could spend up to £3.6bn more a year placing children in care by 2025, compared to 2015. If these trends...

What happens if my children are separated in foster care?

Jasmine Lees
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A BBC article dated 26 th January 2022 shone a light on the separation of siblings upon children entering the foster care system. The article highlights that around 45% of sibling groups are split up into different placements when the Local Authority become...

Are Local Authority Leicester City Council Children's Services Department meeting the needs of families and their children? Update 2022

Chelsea  Harris
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We previously wrote about the first Social Care Annual Report that was released from Ofsted in 2013. This report identified that a vast majority of Local Authorities were inadequate, and some child safeguarding services were struggling to meet basic...

I have a meeting with social services, can a solicitor attend with me?

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There may be lots of reasons why social services are inviting you to a meeting. For some of these meetings, you may be entitled to legal representation, meaning a solicitor can attend the meeting with you and give you advice about the issues discussed. ...

Many people will know that it is an offence to have an offensive weapon in a public place but did you know that it can be a criminal offence to have this in a private dwelling?

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The increase in crimes of this nature has led to the implementation of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 specifically Section 46. This came into force on the 14 th July 2021. This section made amendments to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 which included banning...

Plan to reform Human Right Act

Julia Shaikh
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The government established the Independent Human Rights Act Review in December 2020 to examine the framework of the Human Rights Act. The review looked at how it operates in practice and whether there was a need for change, with consideration being...

What happens if the police want to speak to me?

Olivia Peck
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If the police wish to speak with you under caution it is extremely important that you understand your legal rights. Even if you are not under arrest or placed in police custody you still have the right to free and independent legal advice. Voluntary...

What does 'risk of sexual harm' mean?

Jasmine Lees
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In November 2021, the NSPCC confirmed that a record number of people had contacted their service due to concerns around child sexual abuse, with nearly 5,000 calls made within a 6 month period. There are concerns that the risk of this type of abuse has...

Police Targeting Drink Driving at Christmas

Olivia Peck
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The Christmas season is coming... As the Christmas season approaches the party season gets underway. You may see Christmas drink drive campaigns starting to appear from local police forces, which will mean that once again police will be targeting drink...

The Importance of Making an LPA

Jessica  Latimer
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In a recent study sent to the Ministry of Justice it has found that during the pandemic there has been a significant reduction (26.5%) in the registration of LPAs for both Health and Care and Property and Finances. This statistic is of concern, bearing in...

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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Thursday 25 th November 2021 marks the launch of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, consisting of 16 days of activism across the UN and concluding on 10 th December, which will be International Human Rights Day. This campaign, led by the UN...

What is a Life Interest Trust

Jessica  Latimer
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A Life Interest Trust is created by a Will and is commonly used by married couples as a way of protecting each other’s respective share of the property on first death. Situations where this may be appropriate are where there are children from previous...

Time limit for charges for Common Assault

Rhian Williams
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There is currently a six-month time limit for a charge to be brought against someone for common assault. The BBC recently revealed that 13,000 cases in England and Wales have been dropped in the last 5 years, due to exceeding the time limit. Currently,...

What can I expect when I start divorce proceedings?

Laura Cotton
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Deciding to start divorce proceedings can be a very overwhelming experience and you can often not know where to start. The following article explores the different steps involved in the divorce procedure and provides assistance on the process. Provided that...

Social Services have asked me to sign and adhere to a Written Agreement and Safety plan, should I sign?

Chelsea  Harris
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Written agreements and safety plans are intended to provide clarity about the way that the Local Authority and your family will work together to ensure that your children remain safe whilst in your care. A safety plan is usually a personalised document that...

What is a Residential Assessment Unit?

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Where concerns have been raised about a parent’s ability to provide safe care for their child, a residential assessment may be considered as opposed to a community-based assessment to assess if they can parent the child safely and appropriately with...

World Mental Health Day

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10 th October 2021 – World Mental Health Day. #pinitforformentalhealth Mental health is something that people are often scared to talk about or feel silly for doing so. This should never be the case. The conversation around mental health is always...

Land Registry Update 2021 - The Future

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This year HM Land Registry have introduced several innovative improvements to the registration and application process with a view to adjust and adapt to become more accessible to the public. This is mainly due to the need of the conveyancing process to be...

I only threatened to share the image - I didn't actually do it - why do I have to go to Court?

Zara Cowan
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Many will know it is already an offence to disclose a private sexual film or photograph in which another person appears without the consent of that person. Earlier this year and because of the Domestic Abuse Bill, a new offence has been created under...

Change in Court fees

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Generally, when an application is made to the Court a Court fee is required. As of 30 th September 2021, the HMCTS have raised their Court fees in respect of Family matters. Therefore, the Court fees are now: Divorce Petition       ...

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 you're 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...

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