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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 intervention...

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 intervention...

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. ...

How long will my information stay on Police Record?

Zara Cowan
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The Police National Computer (PNC) holds all records of arrests and summons, regardless of the outcome, and is kept until the individual is 100 years old. DNA samples/profiles and fingerprints can be taken and retained as set out in the Police and...

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?

Sunny Gangar
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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?

Sunny Gangar
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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...

Changes in Legal Aid Capital Assessment

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It has long been an issue that if a person has equity in a property over and above £8,000 (after all disregards are taken into consideration) then they will be refused Legal Aid on the basis of having too much capital. This has prevented many from...

What happens if do not want to care for my baby / child anymore?

Jasmine Lees
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The Local Authority (also known as Social Services) often become involved with families where there are concerns about the care being afforded to any child within a home. However, sometimes the Local Authority are approached by parents who feel that they are...

What is an Advance Decision?

Jessica  Latimer
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An Advance Decision, sometimes known as a ‘living Will’ is a set of instructions of measures you would like to refuse when you no longer have the capacity to give or refuse consent to treatment. This can surround both medical and health care...

Raising awareness of Domestic Abuse - LWA Wear, Share Aware Campaign

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Since  the third lockdown came into force reports of domestic abuse have continued to rise nationally, with many victims of domestic abuse being forced to isolate with their abuser.  As a result they  are experiencing increased difficulty in...

Mental Disorders and Sentencing - New Guidelines

Zara Cowan
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A new guideline for sentencing offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders and neurological impairments has recently come into force. The new guidelines provide transparency and clarity for sentencing offenders with development disorders,...

Separation - What are your options?

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Deciding to separate or divorce is one of the hardest decisions to make, but the process itself does not have to be difficult. Once you have decided to separate the first step should be finding the right solicitor for you and for the outcome you are aiming...

How can I challenge a Will?

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A Will is a legal document which sets out how an individual (known as ‘the Testator’) wants their assets to be distributed after they have died. Following a death, we are often contacted by people who are either: not named as a beneficiary ...

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...

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