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13 May 2021 Litigation

Tussles over a deceased loved one’s belongings are sadly not uncommon. Unpleasant in all situations, such disputes can be particularly problematic for farming families as it may mean the farm having to be sold or split up. Johanne Spittle, Director of Litigation and agricultural law specialist at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton outlines some common causes of probate disputes and provides guidance on how best to avoid them.  Probate is the process by which an estate is distributed under the terms of a Will after someone has died. Disputes can emerge for a variety of reasons during this process, but some common reasons in a farming context, include: the lack of a Will; an invalid Will; an outdated Will; a Will that was prepared close to death; lack of clarity on farm ownership; unmarried…
13 May 2021 Commercial property

The decisions in two cases recently heard by the High Court will be welcomed by landlords of commercial premises.  The cases of Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft mbH v TFS Stores Limited and Bank of New York Mellon (International) Ltd and v Cine-UK Ltd and others were disputes over non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and in both the Court decided that the rent arrears were payable despite the impact of closure and restrictions on the businesses. The facts in both cases were similar. In the first case the tenant TFS Stores Limited operates as ‘The Fragrance Shop’ and its landlord claimed £166,884.82. In the second case there were in fact separate claims heard together against Cine-UK Limited, operating a cinema complex, Mecca Bingo Limited and SportsDirect.com Retail Limited. In the TFS case the tenant put forward…
06 May 2021 Employment advice

While the predicted lockdown baby boom has not materialised and the birth rate is similar to 2020 (down just 0.5%), family caring responsibilities have been more evident in the last year as home-schooling affected many families and some children even made an appearance in professional video-calls. Employers need to be familiar with family-friendly rights and the impact of the pandemic on parents and pregnant workers. Gillian Reid, Head of Employment with Pearsons & Ward reminds employers that ‘not complying with family-friendly rights can lead to expensive and time-consuming tribunal claims.’ Gillian Reid runs through the main family-friendly rights and protections, including rights in a redundancy situation and the implications of furlough arrangements, as well as highlighting employer responsibilities to protect pregnant employees during the pandemic. What are the key rights to family-friendly leave? Regardless of length…
19 April 2021 Employment advice

The statutory definitions of the three categories of employment status have long been criticised as being unclear, and over the years a body of case law interpreting these definitions has grown up. Despite this, it remains difficult to set out a definitive list of criteria to allow employers or employees to determine whether an individual’s status is that of employee, worker or self-employed. The Supreme Court in Aslam v Uber [2021] recently gave useful guidance on the approach that should be taken, particularly with vulnerable workers, emphasising that it is the actual arrangements on the ground that matter and not what the contract says. ‘To add to the confusion, the definitions of employee and worker vary depending on the various rights,’ says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment law team with Ware & Kay. ‘The…
15 April 2021 Firm updates

David Hyams is director of commercial property at Ware & Kay Solicitors, based in the York office. What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber? In the mid to long term, I am positive about the prospects for the property sector as the region has so much to offer.  We are obviously facing challenging times at the moment, particularly in the hospitality sector, but once we have got through to the other side, I am confident that there will be a release of pent-up demand and we shall soon be back on our feet again. What is the best project you have been involved in? In recent times it was acting for a landlord on the grant of a lease of 15,000 sq ft office unit to a large regional accountancy practice.  It was a…
14 April 2021 Firm updates

Pearsons & Ward Solicitors is delighted to announce the appointment of Solicitor Tracie Middleton to its growing Residential Property Team in Malton. Tracie is the latest appointment for Pearsons & Ward, part of Ware & Kay Solicitors Ltd which serves clients across Ryedale, North and East Yorkshire. In her new role Tracie will provide comprehensive advice to clients on all types of residential property transactions, including buying and selling freehold properties for registered and unregistered land.  She also has experience of purchasing buy-to-lets, landlord and tenant work, mortgage transactions and property registrations. Originally from Cheshire Tracie moved to Yorkshire in 2001 and arrives at Pearsons & Ward with experience in Residential Property Law. She completed the legal practice course at the University of Law in Leeds with a Masters in 2017 and started her…
13 April 2021 Firm updates

Andrew Little, Commercial Property Solicitor at Pearsons & Ward in Malton features in the Yorkshire Post (Property People). What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber? Transactions involving light industrial units continue to go from strength to strength. Difficulties remain for those who own or let high street premises, but there are signs of this sector improving and the recent rollout of the government’s new Use Classes should allow more freedom for high street premises to adapt to changing consumer habits, without requirement planning permission. What is the best project you have been involved in? I acted on the granting of approximately 200 mineral leases to the owners of the York Potash Mine, based near my hometown of Whitby. The mine has recently received the funding necessary to become a major long-term employer…
12 April 2021 Wills and estates

The horrendous death rates of the coronavirus pandemic have brought one’s own mortality into sharp relief, leading many of us to consider getting our affairs in order in case the worst should happen. The first step in this regard is to make a Will to ensure your property and belongings are distributed according to your wishes when you pass away. If you die without leaving a valid Will it means you have died ‘intestate’ and the law decides who gets what, regardless of need and your relationship. Leaving a Will is particularly important if you are from a farming family as you may also want to ensure the continued success of your business. For example, you may want to pass the farm to a specific child who has continued working on the farm while their siblings have moved…
12 April 2021 Family Matters

Following separation parents usually want to minimise any disruption to their children, ensuring that they soon settle into a new routine - whether that is in the existing family home, or following a move to a new home.  Where your children will live may be an obvious or straightforward decision, for example if one parent works abroad or has a job which makes it difficult to accommodate childcare.  For other families, the decision can be complex especially if parents feel strongly that the children should continue to reside with them. If you find yourself in this scenario and fear that an agreement will never be reached, then it is wise to obtain early expert legal advice on the best way forward.  Robert Bellhouse at Pearsons & Ward in Malton has a wealth of experience and can…
01 April 2021 Family Matters

Following the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005 and same sex marriages in 2014, there has been an increase in families and then relationship breakdown between same sex parents.  Finding agreement over issues relating to children can be tricky in any relationship breakdown. When a same sex couple separate it can raise several unique additional questions regarding arrangements for children and each person’s legal rights when children may be adopted, the parents may benefit from surrogacy or sperm donation, or one partner may have children from a previous relationship. Robert Bellhouse, a Solicitor in the family law team with Pearsons & Ward in Malton looks at some of the steps and considerations same sex couples need to bear in mind in relation to agreeing future arrangements for children. Reaching agreement together In any family breakup, if…
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