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Legal updates

20 January 2021 COVID-19

In collaboration with HSE, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCOM), the Government has updated the advice for pregnant employees. This advice is for you if you are pregnant and working as an employee. This includes pregnant healthcare professionals. It will help you discuss with your line manager and occupational health team how best to ensure health and safety in the workplace. If you are pregnant and have let your employer know in writing of your pregnancy, your employer should carry out a risk assessment to follow the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) or the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000. This may involve obtaining advice from the occupational health department. See the workplace risk assessment guidance for healthcare…
19 January 2021 Family Matters

The Covid-19 pandemic made 2020 a difficult year for most people, but with Brexit predicted to hit the agricultural sector especially hard, farming families may be under considerable strain as we enter 2021. Couple these factors with the enormous stress Christmas can place on a relationship and it does not take a crystal ball to see a swathe of separations and divorce petitions emerging from farming families in the new year. Deciding what to do about dividing property, sorting financial affairs and making arrangements for children during separation is always stressful, but it can be particularly complicated where agricultural assets are concerned. Robert Bellhouse, specialist family law solicitor at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton explains the key things you need to know about farming divorce. Division of assets for farming families When a couple divorces…
18 January 2021 Litigation

This is a question that came before the High Court this week in a case that Michael Thomas Litigation Solicitor was involved with. The court provided useful examples of the sort of conduct that might allow a landlord to refuse a new lease, even though the tenant has security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“the Act”). The judgment can be found here. Background When granting most leases to be used as commercial premises, the landlord and tenant need to agree to follow a special procedure, known as ‘contracting out’, otherwise the tenant’s lease will not end at the end of the period stated in the lease. The lease is continued by law and the tenant has a right to apply to the court for a new lease, if terms cannot be agreed. The…
15 January 2021 Farming & Agriculture

Farmers are having to diversify part of the farm in these current times to stay financially afloat. This will likely increase due to the decline in subsidies. So how do Tenant farmers go about trying to diversify and what does this mean for Landlords? If you are a tenant farmer and you wish to diversify the farm or part of it to a non-farming activity e.g. Glamping pods, B&B, Farm Shop etc. it is likely you will need to obtain your Landlord’s consent to do so. Agricultural tenancies usually permit the tenant to use the Holding for agricultural purposes only and may contain restrictions against taking out any part of the holding from agricultural use. Tenants may choose to ignore the tenancy agreement and pursue diversification in any event but should be warned that the Landlord…
13 January 2021 Family Matters

If you are coming out of a relationship, whether you were cohabiting, married or in a civil partnership, you may be asking if you need to formalise that separation.  A separation agreement is a formal contract which can be agreed between you and your former partner to determine the division of your financial assets and responsibilities.  ‘No matter how amicable your separation is, and whether you were married or not, it is wise to seek legal advice on your financial position as complications can arise in the future,’ says Robert Bellhouse, a Family Solicitor in the family team with Pearsons & Ward.  ‘A separation agreement can save you money and upset in the long run.’ You are not legally required to obtain a separation agreement, but it will provide you with reassurance and certainty on where…
06 January 2021 Employment advice

Receiving a grievance from an employee is rarely welcome – dealing with it can soak up resources, cause disquiet among other employees and in some cases escalate into a dispute which ends up before an employment tribunal. However, as Gillian Reid, employment lawyer with Pearsons & Ward in Malton explains, handling grievances properly is a useful way of nipping workplace problems in the bud, stopping relations between you and an employee souring and resulting in legal action.    The key to dealing with grievances is to adopt a fair process and to be aware of some of the challenging issues that may crop up.   Importance of treating grievances seriously Dealing with a grievance promptly and thoroughly can avoid bigger problems arising later on, for example if the employee alleges that a colleague is harassing them…
06 January 2021 Employment advice

Homeworking and other forms of flexible working arrangements are increasingly common, as employees juggle caring responsibilities or try to avoid long and expensive commutes to work. Employees may be surprised to learn that there is no right to work flexibly, just a right to make a request. However, as Gillian Reid, employment law specialist at Pearsons & Ward in Malton explains, employers need to respond properly to any requests to work flexibly to avoid claims in an employment tribunal. What is flexible working? Working part-time, from home or only in term time are all examples of flexible working, along with job shares and exemption from night shifts. The legal process to request flexible working applies to working hours and the place of work. Who has the right to request flexible working? The scope of employees who…
06 January 2021 Employment advice

2020 was a tumultuous year with employers having to respond rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic. Culturally the world has shifted too, with the Black Lives Matter movement bringing momentum to improving equality and diversity at work. The end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020 means an end to free movement and has implications for UK employment law. Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward suggests that ‘Now is a good time to review and refresh HR policies and practices after a fast-paced 2020 and to get ready for the challenges of the new year.’ She recommends focusing on the following areas: Working from home Is your working from home policy fit for purpose? Does it adequately deal with homeworking as the norm for staff, rather than…
22 December 2020 Family Matters

When a relationship breaks down, it can be one of the most distressing events many of us will have to endure.  There can be a lot to sort out; family finances, arrangements for children and who stays in the house.  Most people assume that the only way to end their marriage or formalise a separation involves a visit to court to let a judge make those decisions. 
21 December 2020 Family Matters

Sometimes when the family court orders a payment to be made by your former spouse to settle a financial claim in divorce proceedings, the money owed is not always handed over when it should be. Where this happens, it can be difficult to know what to do. Robert Bellhouse, family law expert with Pearsons & Ward in Malton explains your options. ‘If money the court has ordered should be paid to you is not paid when due, it is up to you to take action’, says Robert. ‘The first step is to make contact with your former spouse to try to encourage them to pay you what is owed. If this does not work then you should contact your solicitor who will make a formal demand for payment and, if necessary, refer the matter back to…
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