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04 November 2020 Employment advice

The viability of many businesses is on a knife edge and flexibility in scaling the workforce up or down at short notice has become increasingly important. For many employers, keeping their workforce as flexible as possible will be essential for their future. However, the law around zero hours contracts, self-employment, personal service companies and agency workers is complex, and now is the time to take stock of your current arrangements. Gillian Reid, Head of Employment with Pearsons & Ward outlines how to manage the risks and obligations of the different options for a flexible workforce. Self-employed contractors: watch out for employment rights Contracting with a self-employed individual may seem like a low-risk option, without adding to the overheads. However, even if you and the individual initially agree that they are self-employed, an employment tribunal may see…
04 November 2020 Residential property

The easing of lockdown restrictions, a buoyant property market, and the temporary savings on stamp duty mean now could be the ideal time to sell up and buy your next home. Getting the timing right could be more important than ever and, once you have accepted an offer, you will want your sale to progress smoothly and quickly. Making sure the title to your property is in order will help keep your transaction on track, letting you and your buyer proceed with confidence. Ideally, you should do this before putting your home on the market but, whatever stage you are at, you should talk to your solicitor. She can identify potential title issues that could delay or jeopardise your sale and suggest ways to fix them. In this article, Philip Taylor, Head of Residential Conveyancing with…
29 October 2020 Commercial property

Pubs are closing all too often nowadays and while this is a sad sight, it means there may be opportunities to find a new use for one as a commercial development project.  If an empty pub is well-located, it could make an ideal setting for a new business, such as a care home, convenience store, or flexible workspace.  As well as negotiating, buying and redeveloping the building itself, you will need to get to grips with planning permission and other regulatory requirements for your proposed new business.  You will need contracts with professional advisers, including surveyors and architects, and with building contractors.  Once the building is operational you will need a lease with an operator.  ‘As your commercial property solicitor we will be key in bringing this complex project to fruition, and the sooner we are…
28 October 2020 Farming & Agriculture

In the current climate, many farmers are diversifying to future proof their farm business. In more recent years this has meant new non – farming business ventures. However, as an owner or tenant of agricultural land, you may be subject to restrictions as to how that land is used and now is probably a good time to check whether this applies to you and consider if this affects your diversification plans. The recent claim brought against the estate of Mr Philip Partridge (deceased) and his wife Mrs Lynette Partridge (Mills v Estate of Partridge and another [2020]) is a perfect example of why a requirement that land to be used for agricultural purposes only, certainly does matter. Pamela Mills (claimant) was the owner of land at Iverley House Farm in Staffordshire including a track which…
21 October 2020 Wills and estates

What is a trust? A trust is a legal arrangement where individuals are chosen (known as Trustees) to look after assets for the chosen beneficiaries. Trusts can take effect during a person’s lifetime or alternatively, they can be incorporated into Wills which take effect on death. This article focuses on Will Trusts. Circumstances where a Will Trust would be beneficial Most of us are unaware of the various ways in which setting up a Trust in a Will can help safeguard assets and protect beneficiaries including existing family members and also future generations. Some key uses of Will Trusts are set out below: Vulnerable beneficiaries. This could be relevant if the beneficiaries of your estate are physically or mentally disabled, are insolvent or have issues with substance abuse, for example. Setting up a Will…
20 October 2020 Wills and estates

Farming families have had a particularly difficult period during the Covid-19 pandemic, facing increased demand from consumers with limited time and resources at their disposal. Farming is an already demanding occupation with heavy machinery, livestock, dangerous chemicals, silos, and slurry pits as daily hazards encountered as part of running the business. With so much relying on the physical health and capability of key individuals, having a contingency plan in place in case something goes wrong is a must. Lynne Smith, Private Client Specialist and part of the agricultural law team at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton advises that making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) should be a vital part of business succession planning for farm owners, who are at increased risk of becoming physically or mentally incapacitated at any time. An LPA is a…
16 October 2020 Residential property

Programmes like Homes Under the Hammer have certainly raised the profile of property auctions. Although auctions still only account for two per cent of all property sales, some experts believe this proportion will rise. In an increasingly stagnant market, selling at auction may appear an attractive choice for sellers. However, if you are thinking about selling your property this way, there are some things you need to be aware of first.  Philip Taylor, Head of Residential Conveyancing at Pearsons & Ward in Malton, looks at the auction process, some of its advantages and disadvantages, and offers some advice. How auctions work, an outline An auction house will prepare a catalogue listing all the properties for sale, usually about a month before the auction. This catalogue gives a guide price for each property and will contain standard…
14 October 2020 Family Matters

A separation will inevitably mean a change in the family dynamic, and you may be concerned about what this will mean for your relationship with your children. New arrangements will have to be put in place in relation to where the children will reside, and what time they will spend with each parent. ‘There are no hard and fast rules about what time the children should spend with each parent,’ explains Robert Bellhouse family law expert. ‘Our laws are alive to the fact that each family is unique, and a number of factors need to be taken into account when deciding a child’s future living arrangements.  The starting point is to look at the welfare checklist’. The welfare checklist If a dispute over arrangements for children goes to court, the factors to be considered are primarily…
08 October 2020 Employment advice

As the Chancellor’s coronavirus job retention scheme enters its final phase and the prospect of a return to normal business seems distant for many companies, employers are having to contemplate redundancies if they are to keep their business afloat. ‘Getting the redundancy procedure right is crucial, as mistakes can open the door for an employee to bring a claim before an employment tribunal,’ explains Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward. ‘There has already been an increase in claims, particularly in regard to unfair dismissal relating to redundancy.’ Here are some common misunderstandings and mistakes for employers to avoid. Pitfall #1 - Failing to count voluntary redundancies towards the trigger for collective consultation The obligation to inform and consult with recognised trade unions or employee representatives kicks in when you are…
08 October 2020 COVID-19

This newsletter covers: Job Support Scheme Preventing the Second Wave Monitoring of Workers Working at Home Domestic Abuse and The Role of The Employer Redundancy Job Support Scheme The Flexible Furlough Scheme ends on 31 October and will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme on 1 November. This new scheme is available to all employers even if they have not previously furloughed workers. However, there’s a rule that large as opposed to SME businesses will have to show they have been adversely affected by Covid-19.    The new scheme will help where a worker is working at least one third of their usual hours but full hours aren’t available because of the current situation. The Government will help the employer pay the worker’s wages for the hours they aren’t required. But this top…
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