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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...

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

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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?

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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...

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