Firm News and Blog

Welcome to our latest news and blogs page. Click to read the latest articles below or browse by category on the right.

Online divorce – shake up of the family justice system?

Tue, 14 Nov 2017  Legal

It is being said that family lawyers are no longer going to be needed to help people through their divorce, as after all it will be soon so simple, everyone can do it themselves online. The paperwork ...

Grieving Parents to have a New Leave Allowance

Thu, 19 Oct 2017  Legal

A Bill has been published this month which will entitle parents who lose a child who is under the age of eighteen years to two weeks’ paid leave.  At the moment, there is not a legal obliga...

Associated with Success

Fri, 13 Oct 2017  Firm News

SME Solicitors has announced the promotion of Litigation Solicitor Claire Bentick to the position of Associate.  As part of the SME Litigation team, Claire uses her extensive expertise across a ...

New Protocol for Debt Recovery Claims

Thu, 05 Oct 2017  Legal

From 1 October 2017 the new Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Recovery Claims (“the Protocol”) came into force for a business wishing to seek the recovery of a debt from an individual. The Prot...

Charities and Not For Profit

Mon, 25 Sep 2017  Legal

Our experienced solicitors have acted for a number of charities assisting with their legal needs. With our expert advice, we can help you resolve your matters quickly and effectively, providing a pers...

Data Protection Enforcement Notice

Thu, 21 Sep 2017  Firm News

Under Section 40 of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Information Commissioners Office has the power to issue an Enforcement Notice upon a Data Controller if it considers that the Data Controller has ...

Big Brother

Thu, 21 Sep 2017  Legal

Employers sometimes find themselves in a position where they have a concern about an employee’s activities. Are they stealing confidential information and preparing to compete for example? &nbs...

Sharing assets in short marriages

Fri, 25 Aug 2017  Legal

The case of Mr and Mrs Sharp has recently been to the Court of Appeal. At 6 years with 18 months cohabitation theirs was a shortish childless marriage. Both had worked hard but the wife had earned bi...

Let's Work For Less Division

Fri, 25 Aug 2017  Legal

Trying to reduce conflict   Specialist family solicitors’ group Resolution will be keeping up the pressure on the government to remove the concepts of blame family breakdown and to introd...

Clear evidence about contributions

Fri, 25 Aug 2017  Legal

Many people incorrectly assume that “contributions” will play a big part in divorce cases.   In the recent case of Christoforou (2016) the High Court has explained that if a party i...

The end of Employment Tribunal fees

Tue, 15 Aug 2017  Legal

In 2013, the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order was introduced. This order changed the rules on making a claim in the Employment Tribunal, the result of which was that those...

Holiday Pay – an update

Thu, 10 Aug 2017  Legal

Further clarification has now been received in respect of what should be included in a calculation of an employee’s holiday pay.   It has already been decided in case law that commission,...

SME Solicitors launch new ‘Business Start-up Packs’

Wed, 09 Aug 2017  Legal

From our wealth of experience we understand that starting a business can be stressful and cash flow is crucial. We have created a new service to assist start-ups and help them grow in their early stag...

Will Cadbury Qualifies as a Solicitor at SME

Tue, 08 Aug 2017  Firm News

SME Solicitors in Sansome Walk, Worcester has announced the qualification of William Cadbury as a Solicitor within its business services department.   Will, who has worked at SME Solicitors sin...

Fire Safety in the workplace: who's responsible?

Mon, 31 Jul 2017  Legal

With the recent tragedy at the Grenfell Tower in London and the large warehouse fire at the Blackpole Trading Estate fire safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.  The Regulatory Re...

Pension Inequality Ended for Same Sex Couples

Wed, 26 Jul 2017  Legal

In a landmark 2017 case, the Supreme Court has decided that an exemption in the Equality Act 2010, which let employers exclude same sex partners from spousal benefits which had been paid into pension ...

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Tue, 18 Jul 2017  None

We all know how important it is to make a will and more and more people are putting plans in place and updating them as their circumstances change.  However, we also need to think about who will ...

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Business

Tue, 18 Jul 2017  Legal

I have mentioned before in this column, the importance of putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.  This has centred on an individual’s needs and decisions that need to be made in day ...

Charities and Data Protection Law

Fri, 30 Jun 2017  Legal

  The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has been cracking down on charities and their compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Direct...

Wills and Probate - The New Residence Nil Rate Band

Fri, 30 Jun 2017  Legal

There have been some recent changes in legislation concerning Inheritance Tax and it is important that you review your circumstances in light of these changes.  You may recall that in 2007 the Co...

Keep calm and carry on - Will the surprise election result affect your business?

Fri, 09 Jun 2017  Legal

We are in uncertain times politically, with the unexpected election result and Brexit looming. However for SME Solicitors’ clients, it seems to be “business as usual” as Worcestershi...

Give me the gift of Patience!

Thu, 08 Jun 2017  Legal

Sometimes the end of a relationship comes out of the blue.  Sometimes it has been brewing for a long time and one person didn’t see it coming.  Sometimes a relationship has been in pai...

Careers Afternoon At St John's Middle With SME Solicitors

Wed, 07 Jun 2017  Events

Pupils at St John's Middle School received talks from a range of volunteers on Friday 26th May in a bid to help them decide their jobs of the future. Representatives from Worcestershire Fire Service...

How can you future proof your family business?

Tue, 06 Jun 2017  Legal

Each family business is different, often relying on trust and personal relationships to succeed. However there are legal steps you can take which can help protect the future of your family business an...

Thinking of selling your business?

Tue, 06 Jun 2017  Legal

There are a number of things to consider when selling your business. Here are our top tips: How much is your business worth? Get valuations from independent valuers. Think about what you want t...

Ten things you didn’t know about divorce

Thu, 01 Jun 2017  Legal

In the UK participants cannot divorce within one year of marriage. Although the welfare of children is the “paramount consideration” of the court there is no longer any need to name the...

Employment News Alert: Increases to Statutory Payments effective April 2017

Thu, 30 Mar 2017  Legal

From 1 April 2017, the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over increases from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour. The following national minimum wage increases will also take effect from th...

The return of Family Mediation to SME

Wed, 29 Mar 2017  Legal

What would happen if you and your other half split up?  What would happen for the children?  What about the house? Would you want to be able to sort out as possible for yourself before invol...

Increase in Probate fees

Tue, 21 Mar 2017  Legal

It has now been announced that the government’s proposal to increase the fees payable for probate applications in England and Wales, will come into effect in May this year.  This is despite...

Car parking wars

Tue, 28 Feb 2017  Legal

A legal easement (a right to use land that you do not own) can be created by long use also known as ‘by prescription’. One element necessary for creating an easement by prescription is tha...

The New Residence Nil Rate Band

Mon, 27 Feb 2017  Legal

We are on the eve of new legislation concerning Inheritance Tax and it is vital that you review your circumstances in light of these changes. You may recall that in 2007 the Conservative party include...

It’s worth getting divorced just to use SME

Mon, 27 Feb 2017  Firm News

  It is widely known that the removal of legal aid from the majority of family law cases has meant that more and more people believe that they simply can’t afford legal advice when divorci...

Chamber of Commerce Expo 2017

Mon, 27 Feb 2017  Events

Thoughts on future business planning?

Wed, 22 Feb 2017  Legal

We have recently received instructions from numerous of our new and established clients who have been attending to a restructuring of their business. There have been a variety of reasons behind these ...

Thoughts on future business planning

Wed, 22 Feb 2017  Legal

We have recently received instructions from numerous of our new and established clients who have been attending to a restructuring of their business. There have been a variety of reasons behind these ...

It's not just Disney's Frozen that was fiction

Tue, 21 Feb 2017  Legal

  Just about everyone will have seen the reports in the newspapers about the 14 year old cancer sufferer who wished to be cryogenically frozen after death and her body sent to the US in case a c...

Online divorce

Mon, 20 Feb 2017  Legal

In an update provided to subscribing lawyers leading legal support providers Practical Law have announced that a pilot on-line project should commence shortly at a couple of divorce centres. Initially...

Divorce petition thrown out

Mon, 20 Feb 2017  Legal

Many readers will have noticed in the press the case of Hugh and Tini Owens in which Mrs Owens was refused a divorce so needed to take her case to the Court of Appeal whose decision is now awaited. &...

Pensions and bankruptcy

Mon, 20 Feb 2017  Legal

In the recent case of Horton v Henry (2016) the Court of Appeal has unanimously confirmed an earlier decision that the Trustee in bankruptcy does not have power to require a bankrupt to draw in any wa...

Digitising the divorce process

Tue, 31 Jan 2017  Legal

  A professor of sociology-legal studies at the University of Exeter has proposed a complete reform of the current documentation used to obtain a divorce.   The proposal aims to simplify ...

The return of Family Mediation to SME

Tue, 24 Jan 2017  Firm News

We are pleased to confirm that very shortly we will be adding Family mediation to the services offered by the Family Law Department at SME Solicitors.   Our Senior Partner Ian Stirzaker origina...

New Resolution Code of Practice for Family Law work

Mon, 09 Jan 2017  Legal

  "Resolution" is the influential community of family lawyers and other professionals which has been working to improve the family law system for the last 35 years. It has promoted a constructiv...

Seasonal Closure

Wed, 21 Dec 2016  Firm News

      SEASONAL CLOSURE:   Our offices will close at 12.30pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 and will re-open at 9am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. We wish all our clients and cont...

Business brains show general knowledge for charity

Wed, 14 Dec 2016  Events

The combined brain power of 28 local businesses raised £1207.45 for the Prince’s Trust in Worcestershire at a recent quiz night organised by SME Solicitors at New Road   Teams from ...

SME drives festive food for thought

Wed, 14 Dec 2016  Firm News

  In the run up to Christmas, SME Solicitors is taking part in a Food Drive for the Worcester Foodbank.   The aim is to fill the boot of the SME Solicitors’ car with food essentials...

Guest Blog - Caroline Knight of Jkonsult HR

Tue, 13 Dec 2016  General & Guest

How to not end up with a headache that lasts longer than the Xmas hangover. Office Christmas parties are great fun and help boost morale, but as an employer it pays to think ahead of potent...

Merry Christmas

Wed, 07 Dec 2016  Firm News

        THE PARTNERS AND STAFF AT SME SOLICITORS WOULD LIKE TO WISH OUR CLIENTS, REFERRERS AND CONTACTS A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Click the link belo...

Sharing foreign pension funds

Tue, 06 Dec 2016  Legal

After the house (and sometimes even including the house) pension funds are often the second largest financial assets to be considered in divorce proceedings yet they remain something of a mystery to m...

How can a person with no money fund a court case?

Tue, 22 Nov 2016  Legal

Following the almost complete loss of legal aid from family cases there is widespread concern that clients are having to accept poor outcomes on the breakdown of relationships simply because no funds ...

Funding a Court case

Mon, 21 Nov 2016  Legal

  How can a person with no money fund a court case?   Following the almost complete loss of legal aid from family cases there is widespread concern that clients are having to accept poor ...

Top Ten Tips for settling a dispute

Wed, 02 Nov 2016  Legal

If you are involved in a dispute then you may wish to settle it as quickly and efficiently as possible.  It is therefore important that you understand how to manage the dispute to reach a favoura...

Residential Lettings – are you up to date?

Wed, 02 Nov 2016  Legal

On 1 October 2015 the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force and changed the rules and procedures relating to the eviction of tenants.  The implementation of the Act made a number of signifcant ch...

The Enforceability of County Court Judgments

Wed, 02 Nov 2016  Legal

Prior to the issuing of proceedings you must think carefully about the financial stability of the defendant.  Whilst you may succeed in law will you be in a position to enforce a Judgment?  ...

Debt Recovery letters - Don't ignore them

Wed, 02 Nov 2016  Legal

If you receive a letter or written document which sets out a claim or complaint don't ignore it. It is often fear of the unknown that causes us to put it to the bottom of the pile; deal with it later;...

Credit Control

Tue, 01 Nov 2016  Legal

Credit control can often be a time consuming exercise that detracts you from the day to day running of the business but as this article will explain it is an essential part to cash flow and growth.&nb...

Rights by prescription

Tue, 01 Nov 2016  Legal

Can a simple notice protect you from a claim of right by prescription? Over the years there has been much debate between land owners as to the nature and effect of easements arising by way of prescri...

Penalty Clauses – A change in the law

Tue, 01 Nov 2016  Legal

Historically the law surrounding penalty clauses was based on there being a genuine pre-estimate of loss.  Clauses of this nature were often found in contracts by reference to liquidated damages;...

Case law: High Court rules further on conditional break clauses

Tue, 01 Nov 2016  Legal

In a recent case the High Court has handed down a judgment relating to conditional break clauses which highlights the importance of drafting clear break clauses and following the correct procedures wh...

Modern Slavery Act 2015 statements: Does your organisation qualify?

Tue, 01 Nov 2016  Legal

Background The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force one year ago this month. It requires certain large businesses to produce a statement each year setting out the steps they have taken to ensure m...

Penalty Clauses – A change in the law

Mon, 31 Oct 2016  Legal

Historically the law surrounding penalty clauses was based on there being a genuine pre-estimate of loss. Clauses of this nature were often found in contracts by reference to liquidated damages; a tra...

Modern Slavery Act 2015

Mon, 31 Oct 2016  Legal

Modern Slavery Act 2015 statements: Does your organisation qualify? Background The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force one year ago this month. It requires certain large businesses to produce a ...

Chamber of Commerce Expo 2016

Mon, 10 Oct 2016  Events

Thank you to everyone that visited our stand at the H&W Chamber of Commerce Expo on Thursday 6th October 2016. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day catching up with contacts and clients old and new. ...

SME Charity Quiz 2016

Tue, 04 Oct 2016  Events

SME Solicitors are pleased to announce that we are once again hosting our annual charity quiz.  This year the event will be held in aid of The Prince's Trust (http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/) T...

The Archbishop of Canterbury is Coming to Worcester

Wed, 28 Sep 2016  General & Guest

Be certain before signing

Wed, 28 Sep 2016  General & Guest

  The majority of clients who divorce or separate do so because something in the relationship has turned out to be not as hoped or expected.   What happens if after all of the angst and e...

Bank of England speaker reports ‘good outlook’ to Worcestershire businesses

Mon, 26 Sep 2016  Events

Glynn Jones from The Bank of England gave Worcestershire businesses an exclusive insight into how The Bank views the implications of Brexit short and long term. This morning’s event was hosted b...

Claire Bentick makes Liveryman of London

Thu, 25 Aug 2016  Firm News

  Claire Bentick, Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution solicitor at SME Solicitors has joined her father and brother to add another string to her bow, by being admitted into the pre...

Good vs Bad behaviour – Contributions vs conduct and adding back to compensate for spending

Tue, 23 Aug 2016  Legal

  When is someone’s behaviour taken into account in setting the appropriate level of financial adjustment in divorce proceedings? The answer is – in comparatively few cases. Section...

Spouse Maintenance

Thu, 11 Aug 2016  Legal

What is the correct level of spouse maintenance? Many divorce cases involve detailed arguments about what level of maintenance should be paid. Various factors are taken into account in assessing the ...

#WorcestershireHour Festival of Business

Thu, 28 Jul 2016  Events

  #Worcestershirehour Festival of Business     We are huge fans of #Worcestershirehour and the Festival of Business. Both are important to our firm for raising profile and generatin...

SME Dressed for Drama

Thu, 28 Jul 2016  Events

Join SME Solicitors for a private viewing of   Dressed for Drama   An exhibition of period costumes from British Television and film including Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge and The Danish ...

Brexit Bank of England Breakfast with BRI

Thu, 28 Jul 2016  Events

After the success of our 2014 event SME Solicitors and BRI Wealth Management (http://www.brigroup.co.uk/) are teaming up again to bring you an update from the Bank of England (http://www.bankofengland...

Using IT to stop people playing the system

Mon, 20 Jun 2016  Legal

In difficult cases it can sometimes be hard to prove that a party who is playing the system or is otherwise being awkward has received paperwork.   In an effort to clarify the best approach in ...

Please sir, I want some more

Wed, 15 Jun 2016  Legal

The High Court has recently approved an agreement between Miss Wyatt and Mr Vince, in the well-publicized case concerning an application by Miss Wyatt for a share of Mr Vince’s money 18 years af...

Enforcing a financial order

Wed, 15 Jun 2016  Legal

For many years the beneficiary of a financial order has on occasions experienced difficulty in enforcing certain types of order because of the complexity of the rules around how an application to cour...

Guest Blog - Caroline Knight of Jkonsult HR

Mon, 13 Jun 2016  General & Guest

5 Ways to move towards success.   There are many things you come across over time that could help an organisation to succeed. Here are 5 ways to rethink your business approach for success. I...

Use of secret recordings in family proceedings

Wed, 01 Jun 2016  Legal

Are secret recordings permissible? In recent proceedings under the Children Act 1989 in the case of M v F (Covert Recording of Children) [2016] the Father disclosed that he had been making secret rec...

Case law: Disciplining an employee for proselytising in the workplace is not discrimination

Tue, 24 May 2016  Legal

    Employers should ensure their staff, particularly those in positions of power, are clear they should not do anything that could be construed as imposing their religious beliefs on othe...

A predictable formula for divorce

Tue, 24 May 2016  Legal

Gary Lineker recently made headlines saying that there ought to be a formula to be used to sort out the financial issues on divorce. His point seemed to be that the existing system enables voracious a...

Appointing a guardian in your Will

Thu, 19 May 2016  Legal

As a parent, the last thing we want to think about is not being around to look after our children and to be honest it is not a subject that most people want to think about at all. This is confirmed by...

Small businesses – 5 tips for managing successful teams

Thu, 12 May 2016  General & Guest

  So you are a small business with a few staff. Everyone seems to get on with each other and does their job and you don’t need to worry about how staff are doing. Really? How would you kn...

Pension sharing update

Mon, 09 May 2016  Legal

The concept of "pension sharing" was introduced by the Welfare and Pension Reform Act 1999. The intention was that upon divorce a spouse's entitlement under a pension scheme could be split so that eac...

Is your work place engaged?

Tue, 03 May 2016  General & Guest

 Well it really should be. Engagement is very powerful tool for business success. Engaged staff are more productive, happier, less likely to take absence, more likely to cooperate with others, b...

The Importance of being consistent

Wed, 27 Apr 2016  General & Guest

When entrepreneurs start up a new business, they might have one or two employees – or maybe even a few more in the early stages.  Managing them may be relatively straightforward if they are...

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Business Owners

Tue, 26 Apr 2016  Legal

  Did you know that unexpected incapacity may impact significantly on the day to day running of your business? If you cannot work or make decisions who will act in your place? Sometimes lack...

Think about “Now, Where, How”

Tue, 26 Apr 2016  Legal

  At SME Solicitors we don’t deal just with the legal issues. We believe that we help clients to achieve the best overall outcome by using all of our hard won experience to take account of...

From uncertainty to certainty

Mon, 18 Apr 2016  Legal

One of the biggest things that worries clients facing family breakdown is the fear of uncertainty. What is to happen about the children? What's going to happen about the house? What about maintenance?...

Whoever heard of this - get the lawyers in and speed things up!?

Mon, 18 Apr 2016  General & Guest

It's a standard grumble. Getting solicitors involved increases the arguments, inflates the never ending costs and reduces the speed. The concern is that it is in the interests of lawyers to spin a job...

Cohabitation Road Map

Mon, 18 Apr 2016  Legal

  The High Court has produced another judgment intended to make it easier for us to understand who may be entitled to what when cohabitees need to resolve their property disputes. It is already...

Financial contributions in family matters

Mon, 18 Apr 2016  Legal

The Court of Appeal has ruled that financial contributions made "towards the house" can give rise to an enforceable interest in the property In the case of Liden v Burton [2016] the Court of Appeal h...

70% wish they had used a lawyer

Thu, 07 Apr 2016  Legal

Research carried out by Citizens’ Advice has revealed that with hindsight 70% of people who had been through the family court process unrepresented realised the value of having a lawyer and woul...

Would you bee-lieve it?

Thu, 31 Mar 2016  Legal

  The latest puzzling law from Brussels has beekeepers in a spin. It has been known for years that a bumble bee should not be able to fly. Now EC Regulation 01905/723561(Health and Safety) bans ...

Is it worth a fight?

Wed, 23 Mar 2016  Legal

Most businesses experience some problems getting paid on time by their customers. Good credit control helps to prevent this becoming a serious problem. However, there are occasions when a customer ca...

County Court debt recovery - can I go it alone?

Wed, 23 Mar 2016  Legal

The Small Claims track within the County Court can be used to pursue debts for up to £10,000. In theory the procedure provides a rapid and simple method for individuals and small firms to pursue...

A Commercial Decision

Wed, 23 Mar 2016  Legal

I am often asked by clients, whether it is ‘commercial’ to pursue a debt. Businesses are looking to balance recovery of the debt with the worry that they may be throwing good money after b...

CREDIT CONTROL – Tips for businesses

Mon, 21 Mar 2016  Legal

The credit crunch may in theory be a distant bad dream but it is still as important as ever that businesses effectively manage payment of invoices to keep cash flow at its maximum. Prompt payment of i...

Something most barristers don’t know about Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mon, 21 Mar 2016  Legal

  What is an Ungley Order? In his address to a recent Dispute Resolution event Mr Justice Cobb made reference to an 'Ungley order' being made in the run up to a final hearing. But what is an &l...

Did you know that you can instruct a family lawyer just to deal with parts of your case?

Thu, 17 Mar 2016  Legal

The client contract under which a solicitor provides services is called a "retainer". The solicitor is obliged under the contract to provide services with reasonable skill and care.   If a soli...

Food for Thought

Tue, 08 Mar 2016  Firm News

  Last week we were delighted to take part in the Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce Expo 2016 (http://hwchamber.co.uk/) The early start for the biggest breakfast in the Three Counties ...

Costs orders in financial proceedings

Mon, 07 Mar 2016  Firm News

Clients are often surprised to find that whether they make attractive or unattractive offers to settle financial proceedings the rules on costs state that since 2006 “the general rule in financi...

Reclaiming possession of goods: Be Warned!

Tue, 01 Mar 2016  Legal

A retention of title clause (ROT clause) is commonly inserted into commercial contracts, but does that mean you can take back goods if you don’t get paid? Not always.   A basic ROT clause...

H&W Chamber of Commerce Expo 2016

Mon, 22 Feb 2016  Events

SME Solicitors are delighted to announce that we will once again be exhibiting at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Expo.   The Expo, which takes place on 3 March 2016, w...

Perfect Partners

Thu, 18 Feb 2016  Firm News

Samantha Lloyd and Rhiannon Edwards have been announced as new Partners at SME Solicitors.   They join the five other Partners of SME Solicitors.   Samantha Lloyd has been with the city ...

Event celebrates moves at the top and toasts a successful year

Mon, 15 Feb 2016  Firm News

Changes at the top and new Partners were officially welcomed at the annual SME Solicitors’ drinks reception last week.   The event which was attended by some 100 guests including SME clie...

Case law: Director in dispute who secretly recorded conversations with third parties had to disclose them to the other side

Mon, 15 Feb 2016  Legal

  A managing director who secretly recorded conversations with two business people for the purpose of using them in a legal dispute against their former employer, has been ordered by the High Co...

Fraud in Court orders

Thu, 04 Feb 2016  Legal

If a divorcing couple reach an agreement will the court always turn that agreement into an order?   Many people do not realise that simply sending agreed terms to court does not automatically m...

Protecting the bank of Mum and Dad

Thu, 04 Feb 2016  Legal

It is just over 30 years since my then other half and I both aged 23 bought our first house in Worcester. It was a huge 3 bed roomed terraced property purchased for the enormous sum of £21,000 w...

Suited and booted

Thu, 04 Feb 2016  Firm News

The office can often be a sea of grey – possibly even 50 shades of, as the workplace fills with suits, skirts and trousers in varying greys, blacks, navy…. Nothing to inspire a productive...

Case law: Instruction to employee to speak English at work not discriminatory, if justified by circumstances

Tue, 02 Feb 2016  Legal

Employers should ensure that instructions to employees to speak in English at work are justified by the circumstances, and are not linked to their race or national origin, a ruling makes clear. A Rus...

New law: Limited companies must have new statutory PSC register from April

Tue, 02 Feb 2016  Legal

Limited companies have started making the necessary enquiries of their members to ensure they are ready to enter accurate and complete information in a new, mandatory statutory register of Persons wit...

Expansion to SME’s Business Services team

Mon, 25 Jan 2016  Firm News

SME Solicitors are delighted to have secured the expertise of lawyer Rachael Smart as the latest addition to our Business Services Department.   Rachael qualified in 2003 into Co...

What happens when a parent wishes to move house within the UK?

Mon, 18 Jan 2016  Legal

Key principles that determine a relocation application As with all applications in relation to children the outcome of a relocation application will be based on the welfare of the child in accordance...

Amicable divorce

Mon, 18 Jan 2016  Legal

Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux are in the news for it and previously Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin hit the headlines for amicable divorce with their "conscious uncoupling".   How realist...

Recognising talent at SME Solicitors

Thu, 14 Jan 2016  Firm News

SME SOLICITORS are thrilled to announce that our very own Stacey Humm has been short listed for the award of Employee of the Year 2016 in the Wonderful Worcestershire Women Awards.Stacey is our Client...

Conduct as a factor in dealing with financial cases

Thu, 14 Jan 2016  Legal

Clients often visit solicitors in a state of hurt, anger or confusion and frequently the subject of that emotion is their spouse. At these times the question is asked "will the court take his/her beha...

Retirement from SME after 36 years

Thu, 14 Jan 2016  Firm News

  Brian O’Connell, has retired from the role of Senior Partner at SME Solicitors after 36 years with the firm.   Mr O’Connell aged 65, who specialises in motoring offences and...

Case law: Supreme Court clarifies when terms will be implied into commercial contracts

Wed, 06 Jan 2016  Legal

A tenant required to pay quarterly rent in advance before exercising a break clause to end the lease had no implied right to repayment of the part of the rent relating to the period after the lease en...

Changes at the top for SME

Tue, 05 Jan 2016  Firm News

  We are thrilled to announce that Yvonne Tivey and Ian Stirzaker have officially started in their respective new roles of Managing Partner and Senior Partner at SME Solicitors.   Yvonne ...

Merry Christmas

Mon, 21 Dec 2015  Events

     MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR CLIENTS, CONTACTS AND LOCAL BUSINESSES, FROM ALL THE PARTNERS AND STAFF AT SME SOLICITORS.

Drink Driving – Don’t get caught this Christmas!

Mon, 21 Dec 2015  Legal

The police are out in force over this festive period looking out for people who are drink driving. The legal limits in the UK are 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. This can also be measured as 35 mi...

Case law: Employers welcome clarification of worker's entitlement to annual leave when worker's hours change

Mon, 21 Dec 2015  Legal

Employers will welcome clarification from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on how to calculate a worker's entitlement to annual leave if their working pattern changes during a holiday year.  ...

Ladies enjoy festive fun and fundraising

Mon, 21 Dec 2015  Events

SME Solicitors hosted an evening of festive shopping and networking in early December for local business ladies.   Guests were invited to attend the event at Alexanders in New Street ...

Case law: Parties to contracts with pre-determined penalties for breach should review them now

Mon, 21 Dec 2015  Legal

Businesses who have contracts which impose pre-determined financial or other penalties in the event of a breach should review them to ensure they are enforceable, following a landmark Supreme Court de...

Ladies Evening

Wed, 18 Nov 2015  Events

Case law: Lower pension benefits for members' surviving civil partners and same-gender spouses are lawful

Tue, 17 Nov 2015  Legal

Trustees and employers will welcome a Court of Appeal ruling that pension schemes can lawfully provide lower pension benefits for surviving civil partners and same-gender spouses of scheme members. &...

Next Generation Networking Pie and a Pint

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Events

SME Solicitors are proud to be supporting Peach Recruitment ( http://www.peachrecruitment.net/) in their forthcoming Xmas Next Generation networking event. On 2 December 2015 Peach and SME welco...

Case law: Interim Order for sale

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Legal

Ian Stirzaker the Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors introduces his latest article explaining and keeping you up to date with developments in the divorce courts   Very often within divorce pr...

Case law: Re-opening a final order in divorce proceedings

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Legal

Ian Stirzaker the Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors introduces his latest article explaining and keeping you up to date with developments in the divorce courts The occasions upon which a final ord...

Case law: Divorce settlements

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Legal

Ian Stirzaker the Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors introduces his latest article explaining and keeping you up to date with developments in the divorce courts The Supreme Court has unanimously al...

Network, Shop, Indulge

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Events

SME Solicitors are delighted to be hosting our first Ladies’ Christmas Shopping Evening on 3 December 2015. Join us for an evening of networking, bubbly, and some fabulous stalls to really kick...

Business brains score for charity

Mon, 02 Nov 2015  Events

Teams from 17 local businesses wracked their brains recently when they joined staff from SME Solicitors  to answer different rounds of general knowledge questions.&n...

Re-opening a final order in divorce proceedings

Tue, 20 Oct 2015  Legal

The occasions upon which a final order may be reconsidered of always been very few. Usually a new and extremely unlikely event needs to have arisen after the order which totally invalidates the origin...

Guest Blog - Ormerod Rutter Accountants

Wed, 14 Oct 2015  General & Guest

  International tax authorities closing in on tax evaders Tax evaders are running out of hiding places as international tax authorities begin to take a tougher approach. In the UK, time is also...

Tea's up

Tue, 13 Oct 2015  Firm News

On 8 October 2015, SME Solicitors were delighted to be part of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. The Expo took place in the wonderful facilities of the Three Cou...

Tea with SME

Mon, 05 Oct 2015  Events

  Come and join SME Solicitors and 125 other exhibitors at the counties’ biggest business expo on Thursday 8th October at The Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. The Expo ...

Tee-time for junior golfers

Tue, 15 Sep 2015  Firm News

It has long been documented that learning any sport is great for team building, co-ordination, self-esteem, stress levels and goal setting as well as general health and wellbeing.  That is why SM...

Let them eat cake!

Tue, 15 Sep 2015  Firm News

Some of our readers may be aware that in December 2014 Kate Shrimpton, a member of our Conveyancing team, suddenly passed away. Kate was a very valued member of the team, fantastic with our clients an...

Let's get quizzical!

Mon, 07 Sep 2015  Events

SME Solicitors are pleased to announce that we are once again hosting our annual charity quiz.  This year the event will be held in aid of The Prince's Trust (http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/) T...

ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF DAY RAISES THOUSANDS FOR THE PRINCE’S TRUST

Mon, 07 Sep 2015  General & Guest

    The 2015 Herefordshire & Worcestershire golf day has raised over £4,500 for The Prince’s Trust which will help support disadvantaged young people in the local area. &n...

#WorcestershireHour Festival of Business

Tue, 18 Aug 2015  Events

SME Solicitors are passionate about Worcestershire, particularly doing business in Worcestershire. That is why we are pleased to be supporting the second annual #WorcestershireHour Festival of Busin...

Case law: Ruling clarifies when and for how long annual leave can be carried forward by employees on sick leave

Mon, 03 Aug 2015  Legal

  Employers will welcome clarification on whether and for how long employees on sick leave can carry forward untaken statutory annual leave under EU law.   An employee was off sick from A...

Guest Blog - BRI Wealth Management Plc

Tue, 28 Jul 2015  General & Guest

Ten tips for minimising IHT   Estate planning is a tricky topic to discuss because it involves facing death. People who have worked hard throughout life to protect their families and to pass on...

Case law: Employee under no implied duty to report police investigation against him to his employer

Tue, 21 Jul 2015  Legal

Employers who want employees to self-report criminal allegations against them and/or police investigations unrelated to their jobs, should ensure their contracts of employment expressly require this, ...

New law: New rules for landlords terminating Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) of residential property

Tue, 21 Jul 2015  Legal

Landlords of ASTs should review their tenancies to check whether, and how, new rules affect their ability to recover possession of their properties.   The law says that landlords can usually re...

New guidance: New guidance on calculating holiday pay and right to work

Tue, 21 Jul 2015  Legal

  Businesses will welcome new Acas guidance on calculating holiday pay, and new guidance on right to work checks from the Home Office.   Acas has published guidance on calculating holiday...

An Afternoon of Antiques

Tue, 07 Jul 2015  Events

  SME Solicitors were delighted to host afternoon tea for some of our valued clients on 24 June 2015 at Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Together with Bishop Fleming Accountants and Fielding...

Don’t gamble with your estate

Tue, 07 Jul 2015  Events

   Making a Will and perhaps more importantly an LPA is often something people overlook doing but the importance of these cannot be underestimated. That is why SME Solicitors attended Worc...

Case law: Employers revisit mobile phone policies following contrasting legal decisions

Tue, 07 Jul 2015  Legal

    Employers should ensure their mobile phone policies are clear and complete, to reduce uncertainty over whether or not they apply, following two contrasting legal decisions.   A ...

Case law: Contractual warranties must be crystal clear to avoid disputes

Tue, 23 Jun 2015  Legal

  Parties to a contract containing warranties should ensure the scope of the warranties, and any conditions on claims for breach - including time limits and the contents of any notice claiming t...

An Afternoon of Antiques

Mon, 15 Jun 2015  Events

 Join SME Solicitors, Bishop Fleming Chartered Accountants and Fieldings Auctioneers for a social afternoon of tea, cake and antiques.  Come along with a guest and a sma...

Employers may be able to continue disciplinary proceedings even where employee's grievance has not been resolved

Mon, 15 Jun 2015  Legal

 An employer could continue disciplinary proceedings and dismiss an employee, even though the employee had raised a grievance that had still not been resolved, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT...

Case law Bakery refusing an order because of customer's sexual orientation was discriminatory even though it was against their religious beliefs

Tue, 09 Jun 2015  Legal

A Northern Irish bakery describing itself as a 'Christian business' discriminated against a customer when it refused his order to decorate a cake with images and a slogan that were not illegal but wer...

Big Hitting Litigation Lawyers

Tue, 09 Jun 2015  Firm News

SME Solicitors are always keen to support and promote youth sports in the County.  So we were delighted when former England rounders cap turned Litigation Solicitor, Claire Bentick, off...

Magna Carta Lecture

Mon, 27 Apr 2015  Firm News

2015 marks a significant year in British history for it is the 800th year of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is a charter agreed by King John of England on 15 June 1215.  Drafted by the Archbis...

Moon Mission Blast Off

Tue, 07 Apr 2015  Firm News

SME Solicitors are pleased to be supporting the Moon Mission in association with University of Worcester which blasted off on 20 March 2015. The Moon Mission involves everyone in the community walkin...

Annual Drinks Event 2015

Tue, 07 Apr 2015  Events

SME Solicitors, in Sansome Walk Worcester recently hosted its annual drinks reception to welcome new members of the legal firm’s team, and as thanks to clients and contacts for ongoing support a...

New Year – New Website!

Mon, 16 Feb 2015  Firm News

After many months planning, SME Solicitors is delighted to announce the launch of our new website, created in partnership with Pinfields Marketing and profile photography by Sub-Studio Photograph...

Dismissal for pregnancy-related absence after maternity leave not discriminatory

Fri, 23 Jan 2015  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Maternity and dismissal  An employer could dismiss an employee for sickness absence for post-natal depression without it being discriminatory, because the absences were after mater...

Flexible Working

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

New flexible working rules came into force today giving the right to all employees to request flexible working regardless of their parental or caring responsibilities.  Previously only parents wi...

Family and civil partnerships

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

Civil partnerships can be converted to same sex marriages from today (10 December 2014) Couples can opt for the standard procedure at a register office or a two-stage process, where the conversion ta...

Employment law compensation limits increased

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Employment Law  Increased limits on compensation for unfair dismissal, redundancy and other employment law events are introduced with effect from 6 April 2014.   The main ch...

Employers should consider reasons of all involved in potentially discriminatory decisions to dismiss

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Employment Law  Employers considering terminating employees’ contracts should identify all employees influencing the decision and ensure their reasons for terminating, both c...

Employee who gave longer than contractual notice could not claim constructive dismissal

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Employment Law  An employee who gave seven months’ notice – far longer than his contractual minimum notice period – affirmed his contract of employment by doing s...

Unpaid shareholder director neither an employee nor ‘worker’

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Employee or Worker?  A shareholder/director with no contractual entitlement to be paid for his work was neither an employee nor a ‘worker’.   A shareholder and d...

Court gives guidance on when it will refuse access to a company’s register of shareholders

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Company Law  Companies will welcome guidance on when the court will refuse someone permission to inspect their register of shareholders on grounds the inspection is not for a &lsqu...

Developers benefit from Supreme Court right to light ruling

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Commercial/Development Property Developers will welcome a Supreme Court decision which makes it less likely neighbouring landowners can stop developments that breach rights to light, bu...

No implied term that landlords repay rent following exercise of break clause

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Commercial Property  A tenant required to pay quarterly rent in advance before exercising a break clause had no implied right to a repayment of the part of the rent relating to the...

Missing words invalidated tenant’s break notice

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

Legal Update: Commercial Property Tenants giving break notices must include any wording required by the lease, and comply completely with any notice requirements in the lease, or risk them being inva...

Court gives guidance on when withholding consent under commercial agreements is ‘unreasonable’

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Commercial Law   Businesses required to give consent that is ‘not to be unreasonably withheld’ under commercial agreements will welcome guidance from the Court of Appe...

Commercial

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

Failure to execute deeds properly could cost business £45m   Important deeds entered into under a partnership’s pension scheme were not properly executed because the partners’...

Are you a 'data controller'?

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Legal

NEW INFORMATION COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE GUIDANCE ON WHEN ORGANISATIONS IN RELATIONSHIPS ARE ‘DATA CONTROLLERS’   Businesses will welcome new guidance from the Information Commis...

Ballard Dale Syree Watson on Xero Accounting

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

XERO ACCOUNTANCY SOFTWARE   www.b-online.co.uk is the new online offering from award winning Worcestershire chartered accountants, Ballard Dale Syree Watson LLP.   The business spec...

What is a POWER OF ATTORNEY?

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

These enable you to appoint someone to deal with your personal and financial affairs when you cannot manage them yourself.   You can appoint an Attorney under a General Power to act on your beh...

Probate DIY

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

In recent years Probate Lawyers have certainly noticed an increase in individuals trying to deal themselves with the administration of an estate following the death of a family member.  The ultim...

Divorce and Finances

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

HOW PRIVATE IS YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION? THE HIGH COURT RESTRICTS REPORTING OF FINANCIAL DETAILS IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS   The High Court case of Cooper-Hohn v Hohn has clarified the way ...

Court of Appeal case for SME

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

SME Solicitors’ Alyson McGowan has recently had a case in the Court of Appeal cited. Reminder that Part 8 appeal lies to the High Court (Court of Appeal) The Court of Appeal has stated ob...

Contact with a violent parent

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

How do the Courts deal with applications for contact with a violent parent? In recent years the tolerance of the courts towards parents who display violence in the home – particularly in f...

Claims on the death of a cohabitee

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

In the case of Kaur v Dhaliwal & Another the Court of Appeal has clarified part of the test for bringing a successful case against the estate of a deceased. One of the categories of persons who m...

Charitable Giving

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  General & Guest

During difficult financial times as we cut back on our spending generally, we often stop or at least reduce our contributions to Charities.  So, if making donations to Charities during our lifeti...

WORCESTERSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

SME Solicitors are pleased to once again host Worcestershire Business Club’s next event. Join us and other local business professionals on Thursday 6th March 2014 for brilliant networking ...

Yvonne Tivey to speak at H&W Chamber of Commerce HR Forum

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

SME Solicitors have once again been asked to speak at the next Chamber of Commerce HR Forum.  The next event takes place on 8 April 2014 in historic Hereford.   The HR Forums are open...

#WorcestershireHour Festival of Business

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

We’ve been all of a flutter since we started on Twitter two years ago.  In particular we have enjoyed taking part in the #WorcestershireHour which takes place between 8pm-9pm on Monday even...

WORCESTERSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

SME Solicitors are pleased to be hosting Worcestershire Business Club on Thursday 6th February 2014. We have many connections with the local and wider business community. Hear from Partner Yvonne Tiv...

University of Worcester EUREKA MOMENT!

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

We are pleased to announce that on 16 September 2014 SME’s Adrian Leonard will be presenting at the next Eureka Moment! workshop in association with The University of Worcester in partnership wi...

The Tuxedo Challenge Team

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

Pimms Party On 4 September 2014 SME Solicitors will once again be supporting The Tuxedo Challenge Team who are running the Great North Run on 7 September 2014 to raise money for St Richards Hospice a...

SME Charity Quiz 2014

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?   We are pleased to be hosting our hugely successful annual charity quiz once again this year.  Come and test your team’s knowledge against other local ...

Pantomime Horse Race

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

On 10 June 2014 SME’s very own Managing Partner Ian Stirzaker and Probate team’s Alan James will be saddling up to take part in a very special event.  In support of the Tuxedo Team Ch...

Malvern Festival of Innovation 2014

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

The Festival of Innovation has become a thriving annual event in Malvern.  The Malvern Festival of Innovation 2014 plans to be better than ever.  The Festival is a showcase of busi...

Malvern Festival of Innovation

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

Breakfast Networking sponsored by SME Solicitors Malvern Festival of Innovation has become a thriving annual event in Malvern. The Festival of Innovation is a showcase of businesses from a range of s...

Chamber of Commerce HR FORUM

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

SME Solicitors have supported the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce HR Forum for a number of years.  We have spoken on various employment law topics from managing sickness abse...

Chamber of Commerce Expo 2014

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

SME Solicitors are pleased to announce that we will once again be exhibiting at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Expo 2014.  The event takes place on 5 March 2014 from 9am...

Bank of England Breakfast 12 June 2014

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

FULLY BOOKED On 12 June 2014 we are delighted to be hosting a unique business event with our business contacts BRI Asset Management. We have secured speaker Glynn Jones from the Bank of England to s...

University of Worcester – The Eureka Moment!

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

The University of Worcester in partnership with Shropshire Council, is delighted to announce the next workshop in our series of half-day events designed to help you think differently about your busine...

Risk Management Workshop

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

Our friends and colleagues at Worcester University and Haines Watts Accountants are hosting a Risk & Risk Management Workshop. We will be attending to see how this can help our business. We would...

Considering the sale of your business?

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Events

Free seminar – New date – 26th March 2014. The Commandery Worcester  Selling your business is likely to   be the largest and most important financial deal you will ever ...

#WorcestershireHour Festival of Business

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

Business event was more than social   SME Solicitors were one of nearly 70 businesses taking part in Saturday’s #WorcestershireHour Festival of Business, part of the #WorcestershireHour s...

Worcestershire LEP

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR GROWTH IN WORCESTERSHIRE   On Wednesday 30th July, SME Solicitors were delighted to be part of a gathering of Worcestershire businesses to hear exciting and ambitious p...

Worcestershire Law Society Awards

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

The Partners at SME Solicitors were delighted to attend the first ever Worcestershire Law Society ‘President’s Awards’ on 11 April 2014. The event, which saw more than 150 guests at...

Where there’s a Will – new Probate head joins SME team

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

We are pleased to announce that Samantha Lloyd has joined SME Solicitors as Head of Wills and Probate.   Joining us from another city centre law firm, Samantha brings 13 years’ experience...

Solicitors kick-start 2014!

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

To kick-start 2014, SME Solicitors hosted a ‘Meet and Greet’ event on 23 January 2014.  The event, held in the fantastic new View facilities at Worcester County Cricket Club, marked t...

New recruits

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

We are pleased to announce two new additions to the SME team. Hannah Halden joins the Residential Conveyancing team as a Legal Assistant.  Hannah will be on hand to assist Philip Mullins and the...

Horsing Around for charity

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

SME Solicitors were delighted to be part of the Tuxedo Challenge Teams’ Pantomime Horse Race on Tuesday evening. Held at Worcester Racecourse, the event saw teams from local businesses includin...

Exciting changes at SME!

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

We are starting 2014 with some exciting staff announcements. Firstly, we welcome Samantha Lloyd to the firm.  Sam joins us as Head of Probate from another local firm.  She brings with her a...

Donation to Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

We are delighted to announce that we have recently been able to donate £2000 to the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign.   Funds in the sum of £1700 were raised through fundraising ...

Chamber of Commerce Awards 2014

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

Last night SME’s Stacey Redman was fortunate enough to attend the prestigious Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony 2014. Held at the newly refurbished Bank House Hotel (www.bankhouseworcester.co...

Bank of England Event

Thu, 23 Jan 2014  Firm News

SME Solicitors and BRI Wealth Management host Bank of England speaker We were thrilled and privileged to welcome Glynn Jones from the Bank of England to speak to clients and contacts on 12 June 2014 ...

Landlords beware when tenants remain in occupation after lease has ended

Fri, 23 Jan 2015  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Commercial Property A landlord has missed out on an additional 13 months’ rent after its tenant remained in occupation of premises after its lease had ended. The tenant made only ...

European Court confirms employers should take commission into account when calculating statutory holiday pay

Fri, 23 Jan 2015  Legal

LEGAL UPDATE: Employment Law Employers paying a worker commission on sales, where the commission is intrinsically linked to the performance of the tasks the worker is required to carry out, must take...