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16 November 2021 Farming & Agriculture

The Ramblers' Association’s “Don't Lose Your Way” campaign last year uncovered almost 50,000 miles of historic rights of way missing from the definitive maps in England and Wales. New rights of way – such as a bridleway or footpath – can only be added by a Definitive Map Modification Order. However, anyone can apply for such an order for free, so farmers should take active steps to ensure a public right is not created which might interfere with the use of their land. Jacqueline Barr, Head of Agriculture at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton explains how public rights of way can be created, and she outlines what steps farmers can take to protect themselves. Definitive Map Modification Orders are granted by the surveying authority for the area (the county council or unitary authority) on one…
15 November 2021 Family Matters

If you and your partner have separated, you will be keen to start your life afresh and may wondering whether you can change the locks on your house. This may be particularly appealing if the relationship breakdown has been acrimonious and you have concerns that your former partner will turn up unannounced, remove belongings while you are out, or cause a nuisance. You may even have concerns for your safety. ‘While it can be unsettling, it is important that you do not change the locks without seeking legal advice’ explains Robert Bellhouse, family law expert with Ware & Kay in York & Wetherby ‘as the legal position varies depending on your circumstances’.  For married couples If you are married, then the starting point is that your spouse has a legal right to enter their matrimonial home…
09 November 2021 Wills and estates

The risks with informal arrangements Families sometimes rely on informal arrangements as a way of making provision for their disabled children after their death.  For example, a parent may have made a simple Will specifying that another family member is to be the beneficiary instead of the child themselves, on the assumption that the third party will use the inheritance to benefit the child.  Unless a formal arrangement such as a Will Trust is created, there are many reasons why you may want to reconsider relying on an informal arrangement: Inheritance Tax. Depending on the size of the beneficiary’s own estate, there may be adverse tax consequences for them both in terms of receiving funds from your estate and subsequently making regular gifts to benefit your child. When the third party beneficiary dies, any inherited…
04 November 2021 Employment advice

How do I know my job is really redundant? A redundancy situation occurs where: A business closes or relocates, or an employer decides to shut down its business. A particular workplace closes or relocates, or an employer decides to close a particular workplace, such as one of its offices or factories. An employer needs fewer employees to carry out a particular type of work. If at least one of the above does not apply then there may not be a genuine redundancy situation and you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. Have I been unfairly dismissed? To ensure that a dismissal for redundancy is fair, your employer must establish that: It is the real reason for your dismissal; and Your employer acted reasonably, in all the circumstances of the case, in treating…
04 November 2021 Family Matters

If you cannot reach an agreement with your former partner about arrangements for your children, one of you may apply to the family court for an independent decision.  The courts have a wide range of powers in deciding where a child should live and how often they should see each of their parents.  In most cases, a court will want to preserve a relationship between a child and both of their parents, even if it recognises that one parent’s behaviour is far from ideal.  ‘Understandably this can sometimes be difficult to accept, especially if your relationship with your partner has disintegrated and you have serious concerns about your child’s safety,’ says Robert Bellhouse family law expert at Pearsons & Ward in Malton. ‘However, if you fail to follow the orders of the court or are uncooperative…
04 November 2021 Employment advice

A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding contract between you and your employer to terminate your employment on agreed terms for a clean break with no opportunity for you to take them to court or a tribunal for more money. They are used for different reasons, the most common is if you are being made redundant. An enhanced sum may be offered in exchange for the employer not undertaking a fair process. Compensation for loss of office The Settlement Agreement will detail the payments due to you. Up to £30,000 compensation can be paid tax free if it is genuine compensation for losing your job. Notice payment If you don’t work your notice you can be paid in lieu subject to tax and National Insurance deducted. Bonus/commission These payments should be included in the agreement. As your…
02 November 2021 Employment advice

According to Care UK, three million people in the UK are juggling work with unpaid caring for disabled, seriously ill, or older loved ones. NHS England reports that carers are twice as likely to have poor health than those without caring responsibilities. ‘Working carers do have some legal rights. With the number of unpaid carers predicted to increase, employers may wish to go above and beyond these legal rights to support these employees and their wellbeing and to help retain them in the workforce,’ says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward. Gillian runs through the legal rights, likely changes to the law and steps employers can take to support carers. Flexible working requests Employees have the right, once every 12 months, to request flexible working arrangements like part-time hours or…
02 November 2021 Residential property

A home buyer on an internet forum asked, ‘What is the pettiest thing your seller has removed?’ Most replies are light-hearted: a loo roll holder, the curtain rails, a basketball hoop from above the garage door. Some tell a different story of buyers moving in and discovering missing kitchen units or damage from ripped out features. Others tell of an attic stuffed full of junk. ‘Fixtures and fittings can quickly become a source of irritation for buyers and sellers alike,’ agrees Philip Taylor, Head of Residential Property with Pearsons & Ward in Malton. ‘In some cases, their removal may even result in a costly dispute. It is a pity, as most problems can easily be avoided.’ Here he examines the thorny topic of fixtures and fittings and how your conveyancer will stop them spoiling your next…
28 October 2021 Commercial property

When farmers rent out a spare cottage on their land to one of their farm workers it may seem like a win-win all round: the farmer gets to fill their empty property and have a worker on site, and the farm worker gets somewhere convenient to live. However, as Andrew Little, Commercial Property Solicitor and agricultural law specialist at Pearsons & Ward in Malton explains, farmers should ensure they do not inadvertently grant an assured agricultural occupancy instead of an assured shorthold tenancy in such situations as this would give their tenant more rights than they perhaps intended. Unless farmers take specific steps to ensure the tenancy granted to an agricultural worker is an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured agricultural occupancy regulated by the Housing Act 1988 will automatically arise where a tenancy is granted on…
28 October 2021 Family Matters

The current economic climate, as a result of the pandemic, has put farming families under increased pressure and pushed many to breaking point and even divorce. Divorce is never easy, but for farming families it can be particularly traumatic and complex – particularly when it comes down to the division of assets required by law when a marriage breaks down. Robert Bellhouse, family law specialist at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton, advises farmers about the legal protections they can put in place to ensure the survival of the farming business in the event of a divorce. ‘As the farm is usually the main source of income for the family, changes in your personal relationship may also dramatically affect your working relationships and the future of your livelihood,’ he explains. Under section 25 of the Matrimonial…
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