home | FAQs
  • Am I entitled to make a compensation claim?

    If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of another, it is likely that you will be entitled to make a personal injury claim. When you contact us, we will assess very quickly whether or not you have a valid claim. Please speak to us today for advice in relation to your own circumstances.

  • How long have I got to make a compensation claim?

    There are strict time limits which apply to personal injury claims. In the majority of cases, if you are 18 or over and have sustained an injury, then you have 3 years from the date of your accident in which to formally commence legal proceedings. However, time limits can vary and sometimes the time limit can be shorter than 3 years. We recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible in relation to your own circumstances.

  • What if my injury happened over 3 years ago?

    If you have suffered a personal injury which happened more than three years ago, the probability of you being able to make a compensation claim will be significantly reduced. However, we recommend that you contact us in order that we can advise you about your own circumstances. Therefore, please do not delay in contacting us for further advice.

  • Will I have to go to court?

    If you decide to instruct Millbank Solicitors to handle your Personal Injury case, we will make every effort to resolve your Personal Injury case as quickly as possible and to recover the maximum amount of compensation for you. As the details and complexities of each personal injury case vary, court attendance is sometimes inevitable.

  • What can I claim for?

    In our legal system, the payment of injury compensation is intended to place the injured victim in a position as close to that as if your accident, injury or illness had never happened. We will seek to recover compensation for both your injury and all consequential losses including, for example, loss of earnings.

  • How much compensation will I receive?

    Each personal injury case is assessed individually. However, there are guidelines in place to ensure that similar injuries are compensated in a consistent way.

    How is my compensation calculated?

    Your compensation is in two parts:

    a. A lump sum for the injuries you suffered and the ways in which your life has been affected by those injuries

    b. Your losses and expenses caused by the accident

    • E.g.
    • Car repairs / writes off value
    • Recovery and storage
    • Loss of earnings
    • Care provided because of your injuries
    • Prescriptions and painkillers
    • Travelling expenses

    It is important that you keep a note of all expenses as they arise, and retain all invoices and receipts safely.

  • How much will it cost?

    This will depend on the type of your case. We will provide you with our best estimate of our likely fees before you instruct us and we will give you regular updates throughout your case. Quite often a case can be conducted on a no win no fee basis.

  • Can a child claim?

    Yes. The only differences are:

    a. An adult (normally a parent) must act for the child. That adult is called the child's Litigation Friend.

    b. Any compensation settlement must be approved by a court. The approval process is quick and easy. This ensures that the     court is happy that the settlement reached is a good one for the child.

    c. The compensation is normally invested on behalf of the child until his/her 18th birthday.

Road Accidents
  • The other driver was not insured

    You can still claim but your claim will be against the Motor Insurers Bureau. This is a body set up by the insurance industry to handle claims against uninsured drivers.

  • The other driver cannot be identified

    This normally happens in so-called hit and run accidents. You can still claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau (see "The Other Driver is Uninsured"), but, in this situation, you cannot recover your legal costs.

  • I think I was partly to blame - can I claim?

    Yes. If you are indeed held partly to blame, your personal injury compensation may be reduced. For example if you were deemed to be one-third to blame, your compensation would be reduced by 33%.

CICA Claims
  • What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)?

    CICA is a government funded scheme that provides compensation to victims of crime in the UK. Compensation can only be claimed if your injury is worth £1,000 or more.

    The victim of the crime will be required to establish that he/she has been a victim of a violent crime. If the CICA considers that the victim provoked or willingly participated in the crime, it can reduce or withhold compensation.

  • What must I do before I submit my application to the CICA?

    You must personally report the incident to the police within 48 hours if possible.

    You must continue to co- operate with any police enquiries.

    If the crime is not reported to the police, the CICA may decline to award any compensation.

  • Can I make the application to the CICA on my own or do I need to instruct solicitors?

    You do not need to obtain legal advice before you submit your claim to the CICA. If you decide to instruct solicitors, you will be responsible for their fees, the CICA does not pay for such costs.

  • What is the time limit for making a claim to the CICA?

    Your application to the CICA must be lodged within 2 years of the date of the incident.

  • What happens after I submit my claim?

    The CICA will begin by gathering all necessary information including police reports and medical reports.

    Once the CICA has considered your application, it will write to you to inform you whether it accepts or rejects your application.

    If your claim is accepted, the CICA will determine how much compensation to award. The minimum award that can be made is £1,000 and the maximum is £500,000. Loss of earnings is recoverable after 28 weeks.

    If you application is rejected, you can ask the CICA to provide reasons for the rejection. You can also request that the CICA to review its decisions. A request for a review must be made within 90 days of the initial decision.

    If your application is rejected after review, you can appeal. The Appeal must be lodged within 90 days of the review decision.

  • What needs to happen before you can exchange contracts?

    All property searches and enquiries need to be dealt with and you must have a full mortgage offer before exchange of contracts. These include the following:-

    Local authority search

    Water search - we check whether the property has a water supply and is connected to mains drains and sewers.

    Pre-contract enquiries - these are enquiries specifically relating to the property.

    If the property you are buying is leasehold, we would also require replies to enquiries of the landlord/managing agents to give you an idea of what works are anticipated (if any) and also obtain confirmation of the current charges being demanded for maintenance/ground rent. We will also ask for a copy of the current buildings insurance policy and schedule to be supplied by the landlords/managing agents. An up to date copy schedule is required since there is usually a covenant in the lease for the landlord to arrange buildings insurance.

    If you require a mortgage to buy the property, we require your full mortgage offer before you commit yourself to the exchange. Exchanging contracts without the mortgage offer will mean you have a risk that the mortgage does not arrive in time for completion meaning that any resultant losses incurred by the Seller have to be paid by you (these can be considerable). It can mean we are not able to satisfy the lender's requirements so the mortgage cannot be completed and you would lose the deposit you paid on exchange of contracts. The Seller could even obtain a Court Order forcing you to proceed with the purchase of the property.

  • How long will it take to exchange contracts?

    Contracts are exchanged when a Seller and a Buyer are ready to commit themselves to the transaction. All searches and enquiries must therefore be carried out and the mortgage offer received (if a mortgage is being obtained) prior to committing yourself to an exchange of contracts. It can take some time to get replies to the enquiries and local authority search results which can often lead to a delay in exchanging contracts.

  • What is the local search and why do I need one?

    A local authority is required by law to keep a register of certain matters open to public inspection. This is known as the local land charges register. The search results reveal any entries kept by the council of financial charges, tree preservation orders, smoke control orders, compulsory purchase orders, planning permissions granted/refused.

  • What is 'building regulations consent'?

    Where work has been carried out to property, or the property has recently been built, Buildings Regulations control the methods and materials used to ensure that proper standards have been maintained throughout. The lack of Building Regulations Consent may suggest the works were not constructed to the proper standards of the local authority and Building Regulations.

  • What is the 'mortgage deed' ?

    The mortgage deed is the legal document which borrowers execute to confirm they understand all terms and conditions of a mortgage offer, and agree to comply with them. When our lawyers receive the mortgage offer we will write to you to advise you on the terms and also ask you to sign a form confirming that you have yourselves read the copy of the mortgage offer. Before signing the mortgage deed, you must let us know if there is anything in the mortgage offer which you do not understand or you would like us to explain to you.

  • What are 'office copy entries'?

    'Office Copy Entries' are copies of the Land Registry Registers showing who owns the property and what legal rights, restrictions and mortgages there are on it and the extent of the property. The three Registers (Property, Proprietorship and Charges Registers) need to be up-to-date.

  • What is a contract?

    In conveyancing, a contract is the document prepared by the Seller's solicitor and delivered in draft form together with copies of the title to the Buyer's solicitor for approval. When parties are ready to exchange contracts the signed copies of the contract are actually exchanged between the Seller's and Buyer's solicitor by telephone with each lawyer being legally obliged to send their client's signed copy to the other (with the deposit in the case of the Buyer's lawyer).

  • When do I pay the 10% deposit?

    On exchange of contracts a deposit of 10% of the purchase price is paid by the buyer's solicitor to the seller's solicitor. This deposit is forfeitable in the event of the buyer withdrawing from the purchase after contracts have been exchanged.

  • What does 'subject to contract' mean?

    This means that either the seller or buyer who are negotiating the sale or purchase of a property can withdraw from the transaction without incurring any penalty right up until contracts are exchanged.

  • What are the 'Standard Conditions of Sale'?

    The 'Standard Conditions of Sale' are incorporated into most contracts in England and Wales for the sale and purchase of residential property. They set out the general procedure and rules governing the transfer of property and the obligations on either party in the transaction.

  • Can we have access to the property between exchange and completion?

    Sometimes a buyer requires access to a property in order to carry out specified works/redecoration before the date of actual completion. Access to the property between exchange and completion is only ever available if your Seller is not actually living in the property and agrees to you carrying out the works/redecoration. If agreed, access is usually only on the basis that you do not take up occupation, but merely carry out the works/redecoration you require, and you will be required to sign an "access undertaking". This is an agreement which allows the buyer access to carry out the works/redecoration on the basis that if anything goes wrong or damage is caused the buyer will indemnify the Seller against any losses.

  • What does completion mean?

    Completion refers to the time when all terms of the contract exchanged between the buyer and Seller are fulfilled. This involves the balance of purchase monies (i.e. purchase price less deposit paid on exchange of contracts plus any apportionments of ground rent/service charges if leasehold property) being sent by telegraphic transfer to the Seller's solicitors. The Seller's solicitors acknowledge safe receipt of the payment, date the Transfer deed and send this together with the deeds (proof of ownership documents) through to the buyer's solicitors. When money has changed hands, and on the assumption the seller has moved out, the buyer will then be able to pick up the keys and move into the property.

  • What is a 'notice to complete'?

    In the event of either party failing to comply with the terms of the contract after exchange on the completion date, the party who is ready to complete (this could be the seller or the buyer) is entitled to serve a Notice to Complete. This notice will set out the fact the party is ready, willing and able to complete in accordance with the contract and put the other party on notice that he is entitled to interest plus costs and compensation for any losses incurred as a result of the delay and may be entitled to forfeit the deposit.

  • Why do I need a solicitor to act for me in the sale/purchase/remortgage of property?

    You can carry out your own conveyancing. If someone is charging you, they must either be a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. However, if there is a mortgage involved in the transaction (i.e. you require a mortgage over the purchase property; you will have a mortgage secured against the property you are selling; or you are remortgaging your property) the mortgage company will insist that a solicitor acts on their behalf in connection with the mortgage redemption/mortgage. offer/remortgage. Usually your mortgage company will instruct the same firm of solicitors who you instruct in connection with the sale/purchase/remortgage (i.e. us).

  • What is the difference between leasehold and freehold property?

    Leasehold property

    A lease grants the owner the right to use a property for a specified period of time (traditionally 99, 125 or 999 years) granted by a landlord to a tenant and recorded in a document known as a lease. Various obligations including legally binding promises, restrictions and regulations are created in the lease.

    Freehold property

    Freehold property is when you own a house outright and there is no landlord or management company to whom you owe obligations.

  • What is meant by 'share of freehold'?

    It has become common for leaseholders to acquire the freehold from the landlord using a limited company in which they each have a share. When a property is marketed for sale, agents will often describe it has having 'share of freehold' included. This generally refers to the share in the company which owns the freehold.

  • Why are buildings insurance details necessary when buying leasehold property?

    The lease normally requires the landlord or management company to arrange buildings insurance for the entire building. The cost is recovered from each individual tenant as a part of the service charge paid. The Buyer's solicitor will require such information prior to proceeding to an exchange of contracts to ensure the property is insured in accordance with the terms of the lease and is adequate to protect your interests and those of any mortgage company.

  • What is 'title'?

    'Good title' says the Seller of the property has a right to own it and therefore is able to sell the property. When preparing the draft contract documentation a Seller's solicitor will obtain a copy of the title from either the HM Land Registry (if the property is registered) or from an older deed (if the property is unregistered) to show the Seller is able to sell on the property to the buyer. A buyer's solicitor will then check the title to make sure the person selling the property is able to do so.

  • What is 'ground rent'?

    Ground rent is the periodical payment (usually stated 'per annum', payable in half yearly installments in advance) due from the tenant to the landlord.

  • What is the 'service charge'?

    In leasehold property it is usual to pay the landlord service charges for works required for the maintenance of the building and estate grounds / common parts.

  • What is the difference between 'joint tenants' and 'tenants in common'?

    Both expressions describe the legal relationship between them when two or more people own property together.

    Joint Tenancy

    If you hold property on a joint tenancy it means that if you die, your share would then pass to the surviving joint tenants automatically without being passed under a will.

    Tenancy in Common

    This is only type of ownership you can have if you wish to have unequal shares. It can, however, also be used where there are equal shares but you do not want your share to pass automatically to the surviving tenants in the event of your death. It is vital you have a will to specify how you wish to deal with your estate.

  • Why has my solicitor advised us to have a 'declaration of trust' and what does this mean?

    When buying property with your partner we strongly advise that you instruct us to prepare a separate document known as a 'Declaration of Trust' to document the respective contributions to the property and what will happen in the event of the relationship breaking down. This Declaration of Trust can also record which party in the relationship will be responsible for making the mortgage payments (whether jointly in equal shares, or separately), and can even spell out the responsibility for major and minor expenses.

  • What is the difference between a 'mortgagee and the mortgagor'?

    These are expressions used when referring to the mortgage lender (mortgagee) and the borrower (mortgagor).

  • Do I need to make a will?

    If you do not make a will your estate may not go to the people you want it to. Furthermore, you may not adequately protect your estate from inheritance tax.

    For example, if you die without making a will (known as being intestate) your estate will usually be divided amongst your family based on a series of rules. The rules depend on the value of your estate, whether you are married, whether you have children, whether your children and or dependants are alive. To ensure that your wishes are carried-out you should make a will.

    Our solicitors will provide expert legal advice concerning the management of your estate and advise you on inheritance tax.

    A will is one of the most important documents you will posses and it has direct implications for your next of kin when you die. Millbank Solicitors are experienced in the preparation of wills for all sizes of estates. Our team of will and probate solicitors provide straightforward and expert advice on all aspects of your estate. We can also help you through the procedure of obtaining probate, the administration of the estate and advice for the elderly client.

  • What can a Will do?

    Your Will can provide what is to happen to your estate when you die. However, your Will cannot say what is to happen to any of the following

    Planning a Will can often save inheritance tax payments in the future.

    Certain benefits payable under pension policies may pass to persons nominated by you in a separate letter of nomination.

    Property held for you under certain types of trust will not pass under your Will on your death, but will be distributed in accordance with the terms of the trust document.

    The proceeds under life policies written in trust for the benefit of named individuals will pass to those individuals, regardless of the terms of your Will.

    Property of the subject of nominations (for example, money in a friendly society) will pass to the nominated beneficiary.

  • Inheritance Tax

    The rules concerning Inheritance Tax are complicated. But as a general rule if the total of:
    the value of any Trust Fund in which you have a life interest at the date of your death (or within seven years before your death), and the value of any gifts you make in the seven years to the date of your death does not exceed £300,000 then there is unlikely to be any inheritance tax payable.

    If the total value does exceed £300,000, there are efficient and cheap ways of saving a substantial amount of inheritance tax. If you think that this is likely to apply to you, we recommend that you contact us to discuss it further

  • Who gets the estate if there is no will?

    All debts (including loans and mortgages) must be repaid first, whether the dead person has made a will or not. After that, the Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who gets what in every situation where there is no will.

  • Do I need to make a new will if I am divorcing?

    Yes, until the divorce is resolved, your spouse may be the main beneficiary under your current will. Once the divorce is complete, your will remains valid but any provisions relating to your former spouse will no longer apply.

  • What about civil partnerships?

    Since the introduction of new legislation in December 2005, members of a Civil Partnership will be treated the same way as married couples for the purposes of Intestacy Law.

  • What is a mirror Will?

    A Mirror Will is prepared when husband, wife or partner makes almost identical Wills leaving everything to each other and thereafter to the children (if any) or, if there are no children, to a named beneficiary. They are separate legal documents with similar content that "mirror" each other. When writing a Mirror Will in this way it is important to add at least one extra executor and beneficiary to each Will to safeguard the estate in the event that both should die together.

  • How long is a Will valid for?

    A Will remains valid for an unlimited period of time. It is valid until revoked.

  • Where should I keep my will once it is made?

    It is important that your last will and testament be kept in a safe place where it cannot come to any harm from fire, flood, theft or any number of other perils. There is no formal requirement as to where a Will should be stored but obviously it should be kept safe.

  • Can I change my Will after I have made it?

    You can change your will whenever you want to. In fact it is important that you review your Will from time to time and make any changes that are required due to altered circumstances. Any changes have to be made by incorporating them into a document called a Codicil. If the changes you want to make are quite substantial, it may be better to make a completely new Will. This will automatically revoke your earlier Will.

  • Can I represent myself?

    Yes, you can. However, the law can be complex and confusing. We would recommend that you obtain legal advice before taking any action.

  • What kind of court claims do you specialise in?

    • Debt collection
    • Insolvency / Bankruptcy
    • Commercial and contractual disputes
    • Building disputes
    • Landlord and tenant
    • Personal injury
    • Consumer activities and services
    • Professional negligence

  • Will I have to go to Court?

    Not necessarily, most cases are resolved without having to attend Court. Here at Millbank Solicitors, we encourage our clients to consider all options before resorting to Court action.

    However, when court action becomes inevitable, Millbank Solicitors take a no nonsense approach to fight for our clients interests and it may be necessary to attend Court in order to obtain the best results for our clients.

  • How much will it cost?

    This will depend on the type of your case. We will provide you with our best estimate of our likely fees before you instruct us and we will give you regular updates throughout your case

  • Which Court will hear my case?

    If your case proceeds to trial, it is likely that it will be heard in the County Court. High value claims are heard in the High Court

  • What does "ADR" stand for?

    ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Arbitration is, strictly, a form of alternative dispute resolution. However, the term 'ADR' has recently come to be used as comprising all those non-adjudicative methods of resolving a dispute which are alternative to litigating in Court. Mediation is the most common form, but there are many other forms of ADR that are being used increasingly to avoid the cost of litigation.

  • Is ADR successful?

    ADR has a high success rate but it does depend on the willingness of the parties to resolve the situation.

  • What does ADR cost?

    The costs are usually divided equally between the parties. This will include the cost of the mediator and venue. Each party will usually be responsible for their own legal costs. ADR is often more cost effective than the Court process.

  • What is Mediation?

    Mediation is a very quick, inexpensive and private way of settling disputes. Most mediations take place within one day. The extent of preparation is very limited compared to litigation and this enables mediations to take place within a very short time of the parties agreeing to mediate and reduces the cost of any professional advisers

  • What is a Dismissal?

    This is when an employer ends the employment. This can be with or without notice and includes redundancy, when a fixed term contract comes to an end and is not renewed and when an employee ends the contract and the reason is the employer's conduct.

  • Am I entitled to notice before dismissal?

    This will depend on the terms of your contract or statement of terms. If you have not been provided with this information, you are entitled to the following notice periods:
    1 week notice if you have worked continuously for 1 month but less than 2 years, After 2 years' of employment, an additional 1 weeks' notice for each whole year of continuous employment, up to a maximum of 12 years.

  • What is unfair dismissal?

    Unfair dismissal arises when an employee has been dismissed and the dismissal was not for one of the five permitted reasons.

    An Employer must be able to show that not only did he have a fair reason to dismiss the employee, but that he also acted fairly in the way in which he handled the dismissal.

  • Am I eligible to claim unfair dismissal?

    You must have one years' continuous employment, be below the retirement age and not within the excluded category (e.g. the armed forces and police).

    Continuous employment carries on during sick leave, holidays and Maternity Leave.

  • Have I been dismissed for a fair reason?

    There are 5 potentially fair reasons for terminating an employee's employment, these are:

    a) Capability

    If an employee does not have sufficient qualifications to do the job or if they are deemed to be incompetent, it may be fair to terminate their employment.

    b) Conduct

    An employee's conduct may give the employer good reason to dismiss. This would include theft, fighting, abusive behaviour etc. It can include misconduct that took place outside of employment.

    c) Redundancy

    It may be fair to terminate an employee's employment, if the employer's business has ceased to operate or has moved to a different place or if the needs of the business have changed.

    d) Contravention of a statutory provision

    It is a fair reason to dismiss an employee, if it becomes illegal for the employee to work in the position held or for the employer to employ him in it. For example, where a driver is disqualified by the Court from driving because of a motoring offence.

    e) Any other substantial reason

    This is very wide and covers a number of employment related reasons that are not included above. This would include an employee's refusal to accept a reorganisation affecting working hours.

  • Did my employer follow a fair procedure?

    If your employer did not follow a fair procedure, even if your dismissal was for a potentially fair reason, your dismissal may be unfair.

    Fair procedure can include:
    • The employer should carry out a reasonable investigation before making a decision;
    • The employer should arrange a disciplinary hearing where the employee is given the opportunity to state their case;
    • The employee should be notified of the hearing and the reasons for the hearing in writing;
    • The employee should be given the right to bring a companion to the hearing;
    • The employer should notify the employee in writing of the termination of employment and the reasons for it.
    • The employee should be notified of the right to appeal against the decision.

  • What type of compensation is available for unfair dismissal?

    Reinstatement - This is where an Employment Tribunal will place an employee back in their old job and pay compensation for the loss of wages for the time out of the job.

    Re-engagement- The employee returns to a similar job with the employer.

    Compensation – This is usually awarded when the employee wins their case.

    Subject to the merits of your claim, compensation for unfair dismissal is made up of a basic award and a compensatory award.

    The basic award is determined by your age, the length of time you have been in employment (20 years maximum) and weekly pay, limited to a maximum of £330 per week.

    The compensatory award is intended to compensate an employee for loss of employment, that is, the financial loss resulting from the dismissal including expenses and loss of benefits. It includes loss of wages up to the date of the Employment Tribunal hearing, as well as future losses. The Compensatory award is subject to a maximum of £63,000.

    When awarding compensation for unfair dismissal, the tribunal will consider whether the employee tried to resolve the dispute by using the employer's appeal procedures before making an application to the tribunal.

  • What is the time limit for brining a claim for Unfair Dismissal?

    An employee must bring an Unfair Dismissal claim within 3 months of being dismissed. If an employee does not bring a claim in this time, the employee may lose the right to claim.

    However, before making a claim to an Employment Tribunal, it is necessary for an employee to raise a grievance with the employer.

    We recommend that you contact one of our solicitors today for more information. We have a range of funding options, including 'No Win No Fee'.

  • What is wrongful dismissal?

    Wrongful dismissal is essentially a claim for breach of contract.

    It is where an employees' dismissal was in breach of contract, for example, the employee has been dismissed without notice or where the employee has not given the cor rect amount of notice as required by the contract of employment.

    An employee may be entitled to sue an employer for Wrongful Dismissal for breach contract.

    There is no requirement to have been employed for at least one year in order to bring a claim.

  • Is an employee able to bring a claim for both Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal?

    Yes, but there may be an overlap in the compensation awarded.

    A claim for Wrongful Dismissal can be brought in the Employment Tribunal, County Court or High Court, depending on the value of the claim.

  • What is Constructive Dismissal?

    This is where the employee leaves their job due to the employer's behaviour. For example, the employer has made the employee's life very difficult and the employee feels that they cannot remain in their job. The employer's actions must have amounted to a fundamental breach of contract.

    Examples of Constructive Dismissal can include harassing or humiliating staff, victimisation, varying an employee's contract of employment without consent.

  • How much notice do I have to give if I want to resign?

    You must give the proper notice stated in your contract of employment. If you do not have a contract of employment, you can give a minimum of 1 weeks' notice, depending on the length of your service.

    An employee may be entitled to resign without giving any notice if the employer commits a serious breach of the employment contract.

  • Can I be dismissed because I am pregnant?

    An employer cannot dismiss an employee because she is pregnant, if this occurs, the dismissal is automatically unfair. The employee does not have to have 1 year's continuous employment.

  • When will dismissal for pregnancy or for reasons connected to pregnancy be unfair?

    A dismissal would be automatically unfair when a woman is dismissed for being pregnant or for pregnancy related reasons either during her pregnancy or during maternity leave.

  • What is redundancy?

    This is where an employee is dismissed if the reason for the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to the fact that the employer's business or part of it has ceased to operate and/or the business has moved to a different location and/or the needs of the business for work of a particular type has ceased or diminished.

  • Does an employer need to follow a procedure before making redundancies.

    Yes, an employer must follow a set dismissal procedure and must use a selection criteria that is fair and non discriminatory. The employer should also consider if you can be offered a different position within the business.

    An employee is entitled to a written statement explaining why he/she is being considered for redundancy. Ideally, the employee should also have a meeting with the employer to discuss the proposed redundancy.

    If a fair procedure is not followed, a dismissal may be automatically unfair and the employee may be entitled to compensation.

  • If I am made redundant, am I entitled to redundancy pay?

    Statutory redundancy pay is determined by the length of your service, your age and your weekly pay.

    You should also check your contract of employment as it may provide for higher redundancy payment.

  • What is a Compromise Agreement?

    A Compromise Agreement is a legally recognised and safe way of terminating your employment and finalising a settlement. It reduces the danger of problems arising after the end of the employment.

  • Do you need a Compromise Agreement?

    The only way an employer can be sure that you will not complain to an Employment Tribunal after the termination of your employment, is for the employee to sign away his/her right to do so.

    This is done in a Compromise Agreement and has the effect of turning the agreement into a "full and final" settlement of any claims that you may have had in respect of your employment.

  • Should I sign the Compromise Agreement?

    There is no legal obligation on you to sign a Compromise Agreement. If you do not, you will be entitled to pursue an employment related claim.

    It is preferable to resolve potential disputes without bringing Employment Tribunal proceedings. We will be able to advice you on the merit of any proposed settlement and whether you should consider Employment Tribunal proceedings.

    Once a Compromise Agreement has been signed by all parties, it becomes a legally binding Agreement and can be enforced through the courts or Employment Tribunal if necessary.

    In the majority of cases, our fees are paid in full by the employer.

  • What is disability discrimination?

    The Disability Discrimination Act provides employment protection to disabled people.

    An employer's treatment of a disabled person amounts to discrimination if, on the grounds of the disability, he treats the disabled person less favourably than he would treat an employee without that disability.

    Alternatively, if the employer applies a policy to all employees but the disabled person is disadvantaged by it, this may be disability related discrimination.

    To prevent discrimination an employer will be expected to make adjustments to the workplace and working conditions, so that a disabled person is not placed at a 'substantial disadvantage'.

  • What is the meaning of 'disability'?

    A person is disabled if he or she has 'a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'.

  • What is an employer's duty to make Reasonable Adjustments?

    The duty to make reasonable adjustments arises where certain arrangements applied by the employer, or any physical feature of premises occupied by the employer, place a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with people who are not disabled.

    An employer has to take such steps as it is reasonable for it to have to take in all the circumstances to prevent that disadvantage. This may include making adjustments to premises and altering his working hours.

  • What is race discrimination?

    It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on racial grounds, including race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins

  • What is sex discrimination?

    It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds of their sex. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 applies to both men and women.

  • What is Direct Discrimination?

    Direct discrimination occurs where an employee or prospective employee is treated less favourably because of their race, sex, marital status, religion, sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

  • What is Indirect Discrimination?

    This occurs where the effect of certain requirements, conditions or practices imposed by an employer on all employees has an adverse impact on the complainants race, sex, marital status, religion or sexual orientation.

  • Am I eligible to claim discrimination?

    There is no minimum service requirement to bring a claim based on discrimination.

    A claim for discrimination can be made regardless of whether the complainant is an employee. Discrimination legislation applies throughout the employment relationship, during the recruitment process, in the workplace and following dismissal.

  • What is the time limit for submitting a claim for discrimination to the Employment Tribunal?

    A person can make an application to the Employment Tribunal within 3 months of the discrimination. The Tribunal has discretion to decide exactly when the 3 months should start.

  • What type of compensation is available if my claim for discrimination is successful?

    The Employment Tribunal can make the following orders if Discrimination has taken place:
    Compensation including damages for injury to feeling.
    A declaration of the parties rights
    A recommendation for action

  • What are grievances?

    Grievances are concerns or complaints that you might raise with your employer.

  • What is the statutory grievance procedure?

    The procedure has three steps:
    step one: you inform your employer of your grievance in writing
    step two: you meet your employer to discuss the grievance
    step three: your employer holds an appeal, if you request .

  • What is the Statutory Dismissal and Disciplinary Procedure?

    If an employer is contemplating dismissing or disciplining an employee, the employer must follow the minimum procedure introduced by the Employment Act 2002.

    The 3 step procedure is detailed below:

    Step 1
    The employer must give a written statement to the employee setting out why the employer has decided to take disciplinary action, the employee's alleged misconduct and the reasons for thinking why the employee is guilty.
    The employer should invite the employee to attend a meeting.

    step 2
    The employer must arrange a meeting with the employee, who has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or union representative. The meeting must take place at a reasonable time and at a convenient location. At the meeting the employer should state the case against the employee and give the employee an opportunity to respond.

    After the meeting the employer should notify the employee of their decision and tell the employee that they may appeal against the decision.

    Step 3
    The employee may appeal against the decision and choose to be accompanied at the appeal meeting, which should ideally be heard by a different or more senior manager.

    The employer should inform the employee of the decision of the appeal. The employee must appeal in order to complete the statutory procedure.

  • What do the Age Discrimination Regulations state?

    The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 state that is it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise job applicants, employees or trainees on the grounds of age.

  • When does direct age discrimination occur?

    Direct discrimination occurs where the employer treats a job applicant / employee / trainee less favourably than he treats or would treat other persons.

  • When does indirect age discrimination occur?

    Indirect discrimination occurs where the employer applies a provision, criterion or practice which puts persons of a particular age group at a particular disadvantage and they suffer disadvantage as a result.

  • How should I set up my own business?

    When setting up a business it is important to consider the various entities through which the business can operate, such as

    • a limited company;
    • a limited liability partnership;
    • an unlimited partnership; or
    • a sole trader.

    You should talk to an accountant to discuss which of these options would be the most tax efficient. Once you have done so, a solicitor can advise you of the legal pros and cons of each option.

    Once you know what form your business will take, you should consider other legal protection, for example the terms on which your business will operate, how to comply with relevant law (employment, health & safety, data protection), how you will govern your relationship with any co-owners of the business and whether you have any intellectual property that needs protecting.

  • What are the basic differences between a limited company, a partnership and a sole trader?

    A sole trader is one individual person who owns and runs a business on his or her own. The trader has unlimited personal liability for the business so he or she can be sued for the actions of the business and will personally carry all the debts of the business.

    A partnership operates like a sole-tradership but occurs where two or more people operate a business together with a view to making profit. The property of the business will be owned by the partners in their joint names and all contracts will be made with the partners, whether or not the partnership has a trading name. Again, the liabilities and debts of the business rest with the partners as individuals. However, each partner can be sued for the whole of the partnership's liability but each may be able to obtain contributions from the others.

    A limited company is a separate legal person, i.e. it can own property in its own right, employ staff and can be sued (and sue) in its own name. It is owned by its shareholders but run on a day-to-day basis by the directors who are appointed by the shareholders. The shareholders and directors may or may not be the same people. The liability of the shareholders is limited to the price they paid for their shares, i.e. where the company ceases to exist, the most a shareholder stands to lose is the price he paid for his or her shares.

    There are other variations on these structures, including limited liability partnerships and community interest companies

  • I want to set up a private limited company but do not know whether the name I have in mind is available. What can I do?

    The names of every private limited company incorporated in England, Wales and Scotland are registered with Companies House. It is therefore possible to view names on the Companies House website to see if your intended name or similar names are already in use. If you choose a company name which is too similar to one already registered some form of legal action could result to try to prevent you from using the name. It is therefore important to make necessary enquiries at an early stage.

    Even if your chosen name is not taken by another company you may still encounter problems as there are several groups of words which are prohibited or have restrictions on their use. In addition, even if the name is not taken by another company, it may be protected as a trademark.

  • My business needs more money to help it grow. What are my options and what are the risks?

    There are numerous funding options which in principal are available to a growing business. These include:

    Share finance - issuing shares in a limited company for a price. The money gained can then be invested in the business.

    Personal lending - directors, shareholders, partners or other parties involved in a business may choose to lend money to the business. The terms of the loan can be agreed between the parties and are likely to be vastly different from one business to the next.

    Institutional lending - banks offer specialised business loans. These are likely to be secured against assets of the business (e.g. properties, money owed to the business, intellectual property, credit balances in the bank), or where the business is a company, against the company itself.

    Joint venture - someone else invests in your business and in return, takes a share in the ownership of the business.

    New business sponsorship - there are organisations who will provide grants to certain types of new business to help them get started.

    Venture capitalist - there are groups who specialise in investing in businesses. What they will want in return for their investment is variable.

  • Options for a family run company

    It is important that no matter whom you go into business with, that you have considered the possibility that you might disagree with other owners of the business about important decisions including whether you should stay in business together. For this reason, we recommend a shareholders' agreement is put in place. This is a contract between the shareholders of the company and set out how the relationship between the shareholders is to operate. For example, how certain decisions will be made and who will make them, what happens when someone wants to sell their shares and leave the business and how much people will get paid for their involvement in the business. Numerous other issues can be settled in a shareholders' agreement and so, if a disagreement should arise, the shareholders can look to the agreement and hopefully settle the issue, without a dispute arising.

  • What is the minimum number of directors a company requires ?

    Every company must have formally appointed company officers at all times. A private company must have at least: one director; one secretary - formal qualifications are not required. A company's sole director is unable also be the company secretary. A public company must have at least: two directors and one secretary.

  • What is the'points' based system?

    In the most recent measure announced with respect to its Points Based System the UK Border Agency has announced that people currently in the United Kingdom in specific immigration categories which will be deleted as the Points Based System is implemented may complete their leave to remain under the existing terms of that leave. If they apply successfully to extend their leave in their existing categories they will be granted further leave to remain to entitle them to apply for settlement in the UK at the expiry of that further leave to remain.

    The eight categories which will be deleted as the Points Based System is fully "rolled out" are:

    • Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)
    • Writers, composers and artists;
    • Innovators;
    • Business persons;
    • Self-employed lawyers (this is a concession within the category of business persons);
    • Investors;
    • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme;
    • International Graduates Scheme.

  • What is the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)?

    The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) is unique among categories whereby a person from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) comes to the UK to work for an employer or to be self-employed. This is because the person working for an employer does not need to have a fixed job offer or other arranged work before they arrive in the UK. Successful applicants under the HSMP are free to change employers when they wish, and to work as consultants or start up their own business, with no specific requirements other than the general requirements that apply to anyone, British or from overseas, in self-employment or setting up a company in the UK.

    Whether or not you qualify as 'highly-skilled' is measured by awarding points for different attributes. Since December 2006, when the scheme was changed, points have been awarded for academic qualifications and on the basis of previous salary, with top-up points for those who have worked in the UK before, and for younger applicants. It is necessary to demonstrate proficiency in English to qualify under the scheme.

  • I have already applied successfully under HSMP. How does the revised HSMP affect me?

    A: Not at all. It is important to note that once you have entered under the programme you are in a category that has an avenue to settlement. Those who have already entered under HSMP will be allowed to stay and apply for settlement after four years qualifying residence regardless of these revisions to HSMP."

  • How do I obtain business and commercial work permits?

    If a person from outside the European Union wishes to take a job for an employer in the UK, even for a very short period, they will require a work permit. This is a two-stage process: an employer applies to Work Permits UK, part of the Home Office, for a work permit and then the employee takes the work permit and applies for leave: for a visa at a post abroad or, if taking up the job when in the UK, to the Home Office in the UK. Unless a special scheme is operating, Work Permits are only issued for skilled jobs.

    There are two levels, or 'tiers' of work permit.

    Tier 1 is for intra-company transfers (ICTs), where a company wishes to move its employee to work in the UK; for senior, board-level, posts; for work in occupations where Work Permits UK identifies a current shortage of UK and EU workers; for sponsored research; for inward investment, where a company based overseas is bringing jobs and money to the UK.

    Tier 2 is for jobs that do not fit into Tier 1. The employer has to show that there is no UK or EU worker who can take up the job. This is normally done by proving that the post was advertised to the standards expected by Work Permits UK but it was not possible to recruit a UK or EU worker.

  • What are Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES) permits?

    These work permits allow employers to bring people to the UK to benefit from training and work experience. The person is expected to return to their home country with their new skills when the training or work experience is completed. This type of work permit is not suitable where the training could be done as full-time study.

  • What should you consider before doing business in India?

    Doing business in India can be straight forward, however, businesses must take cultural differences into account.

    Businesses should also consider how disputes will be dealt with, if and when they arise and how to withdraw from transactions. The litigation process in India is somewhat slow and many foreign investors opt to have alternative dispute resolution or arbitration clauses in any agreements.

    The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 permits arbitration in various jurisdictions and awards made in foreign jurisdictions are recognized in India.

    The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 permits arbitration in various jurisdictions and awards made in foreign jurisdictions are recognized in India.

    Our lawyers recommend preparing a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties in order to ensure that there is a clear understanding of each others objectives.

  • What are the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules?

    India's FDI rules have relaxed substantially in recent years. Most areas of the Indian economy are open to FDI although there are some areas such as telecoms and insurance where FDI is capped or completely prohibited.

    Real Estate Development is subject to certain investment criteria. If these are not met, FDI is prohibited.

    Therefore, it is very important to the check the FDI rules to ensure that your foreign venture is permitted.

    If an investment falls within the FDI rules, it is deemed to have received automatic approval from the Reserve Bank of India, the body responsible for FDI in India.

  • Should we set up a Private Limited Company or a Public Limited Company?

    Private Limited Company is frequently used. It requires a minimum paid up capital of INR 100,000, a minimum of 2 directors and 2 shareholders.

    A Public Limited Company requires a minimum of seven members to form a company. The minimum paid up capital is INR 500,000.

  • How long does it take to incorporate a Private Limited Company?

    Company formation is not an easy process, it can take in the region of 8 weeks to incorporate a private limited company. It will involve:

    Choosing a name and reserving a company name with the Registrar of Companies, Drafting the Memorandum and Articles of Association and submitting them and other documents to the Registrar of Companies, Obtaining a certificate of incorporation.

    Once the Company has been established, it will be necessary to obtain VAT and sales tax registration.

    It will also be necessary to obtain various licences/permissions and register with the labour, excise, sales and income tax authorities.