Secretarial Job Opportunity in Family Department

Evans Derry Solicitors are seeking an experienced legal secretary to join our successful family law department. The successful candidate will provide secretarial support to the team including audio typing and document drafting, dealing with telephone and face to face client enquiries, communicating with third parties, diary management, filing and covering reception.

The incoming legal secretary will be a self-motivated individual with a desire to be a key part of this busy team. They should also have a keen eye for detail, have the ability to prioritise deadlines and show willingness to work independently.

This is a full-time, permanent role however part-time hours may be considered for the right candidate. The role will be based in our Coleshill office however flexibility to work in our other offices is required.

If you believe you’ve got what it takes, or for more information, please send your CV and covering letter to karenbeevers@evansderry.com by 7 February 2023.

Find out more about our family law department here

Family Mediators Welcome Additional Funding for Voucher Scheme

Evans Derry Mediation Services welcomes the further £5.4m investment the government is making into the family mediation voucher scheme, to provide a brighter future for thousands of families.

The funds will allow more separated parents to benefit from up to £500 of family mediation services for child arrangements, provided by Family Mediation Council Accredited mediators.

It is far better for children and for parents to work together to try to agree the way forward following separation rather than go to court, but this can be hard for people to do without help. Family mediation provides parents a safe and supported structure to sort out the best arrangements for the children, taking into account what is going to be important for them, as they grow up. It also provides parents with the space and time they need to think about what is most important for their children, and for the whole family. Each separating family can get up to £500 of funding for family mediation where there are issues relating to children that need to be discussed.

Since April 2021 the Vouchers have supported over 8,400 families. This has had a dramatic impact on the lives of these families with the vast majority reaching whole or partial agreement and avoiding any contested family court proceedings. The increased investment in the scheme announced by the Ministry of Justice for 2022/2023 will allow around 10,200 more families to be helped to access regulated family mediation and make arrangements that work best for them.

Family Mediation Council Accredited Mediator Karen Beevers of Evans Derry Mediation based in Coleshill, Atherstone & Marston Green is signed up to offer vouchers under the scheme. She said: “As Mediators we have long seen the benefits mediation can bring to families in helping to improve communication and avoid court processes which can be detrimental to all. It is great to see it’s benefits being recognized and backed with funding to enable increased numbers of families to benefit.

For more information about anything contained in this press release or family mediation in general, please contact Karen Beevers at karenbeevers@evansderry.com

Bereaved Families – One Step Closer to Financial Help at Inquests

If someone we love dies due to anything other than natural causes, a Coroner must open an inquest into their death. This can be a very daunting procedure however it is a crucial process for families of the person who has died. The inquest safeguards the legal rights of the deceased’s family and other interested persons, highlights lessons to be learned and advances medical knowledge.  Many families also find it helps to have the chance to ask questions and, at the end of the process, know that they have the full and accurate facts about their loved ones death.

 

Despite the importance of an inquest, and the possible implications of the inquest findings to the family of the deceased person, they do not get any financial support to instruct solicitors or barristers to help them. At present only those who can afford to pay legal fees out of their pocket get specialist legal advice.

 

To make matters worse, when public bodies such as hospitals and local authorities are involved in an inquest, the taxpayer will fund their legal help and representation. Yet the family of the person who died, sometimes in the most dreadful circumstances and possibly as a result of negligence or wrongdoing by that public body, gets nothing.

 

So, if you don’t have thousands of pounds stuffed under your mattress for a rainy day, the bereaved family have to deal with all the evidence collected from various agencies such as police, the NHS and the Health & Safety Executive themselves. Some reports, especially the post-mortem examination report, can contain detailed medical information and/or graphic descriptions of injuries suffered by the deceased person.

 

One can only imagine the pain and distress it would cause to have to look at this information if it were about a stranger – let alone someone you love and for whom you are still grieving.

 

However, after a vote by Peers in the House of Lords on 31 March 2022, legal aid for bereaved people at inquests is one step closer. The vote related to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill which would allow legal aid for families but only where there is a public body involved in the inquest whose legal representation is funded by the taxpayer. The Government is still against allowing families to access legal aid at inquests and MPs will debate the bill when it returns to the House of Commons on 21 April 2022. However, with the support of many charities, practitioners and support groups which work directly with bereaved families, hopefully the Government will continue to be defeated on this bill.

 

“It is a small but significant step for grieving families” says Julie Bennett, personal injury specialist and Partner at Evans Derry Solicitors. “We do all we can to support our families during this incredibly difficult time but there are so many other families who cannot access this support. Coronial Law is a complex and specialist area but the funding system as it stands is stacked in favour of all parties – except the bereaved families. It’s just not fair so anything to allow families to get access to the same support and advice as publicly funded parties, is a step in the right direction”.

 

For further information or advice please contact:- juliebennett@evansderry.com

Julie Bennett is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Partner working in personal injury law since 2002. Evans Derry have offices at Coleshill, Marston Green and Atherstone.

End of “Blame Game” Divorce

Over 25 years after proposed legislation to end the requirement to provide evidence of “conduct” or “separation facts” the fundamental new changes to current divorce laws will finally come into effect as from the 6th April 2022.

The changes are the most significant for 50 years and for the first time will require people to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown of marriage or civil partnership or to obtain a judicial separation.

Sweeping provisions are to be introduced under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. The new law will remove the requirement to assign blame, by allowing one party, or indeed the couple jointly together to make a statement of irretrievable breakdown.  No other evidence will be required beyond this statement.

 

So, What is New Under the New Provisions?

 

  • For the first time couples can make a joint application for divorce, dissolution and separation by making a joint statement of irretrievable breakdown.
  • No longer will couples be required to provide evidence based on conduct such as behaviour adultery or desertion.
  • The introduction of a new minimum overall timeframe of six months between the start of the proceedings and when an application can be made for the Order to be final.
  • The removal of the ability to defend the decision to divorce, or to end the civil partnership.
  • Updating legal language used for divorce to in turn simplify the processes for couples.

 

The fundamental aim of the reforms is to reduce the impact that conflict and allegations of blame can have upon families, and in particular on any children.

 

In addition, it will also limit the ability of one party to challenge a divorce, which in some cases currently, can be used as a tool to exercise coercive control.

 

The introduction of the six month period before proceedings can be concluded, provides the couple with a meaningful period of reflection, and to ensure the right decision is being taken for them.

 

The changes are widely welcomed by family lawyers and mediators alike and have been campaigned for many years.

 

“For too long the current law has been out of kilts with the need to avoid conflict wherever possible arising from separation, given the proven detrimental impact to both the couple and in particular any children. Instead, the law has encouraged parties to blame each other at a time they crucially need to work together in the best interests of their families.

Too often we have seen couples who have been able to work constructively through all issues arising from separation, making plans for their children and financial matters, only to be placed with the conundrum of having to then in turn blame each other within divorce proceedings. It makes no sense and is undoubtedly damaging.

It will be much easier after the introduction of the new law for couples to be able to work together collaboratively to resolve issues that arise on separation, as opposed to being involved in the blame game.  This is very much a welcome step” says Karen Beevers, Partner @ Evans Derry Solicitors

 

When Do the Changes Take Place?

 

The new law will come into effect as from the 6th April 2022 and will apply to all proceedings issued after that date.  The current law will continue in respect of all proceedings issued by the Court on or before the 5th April 2022.

 

For further information or advice please contact:-

karenbeevers@evansderry.com

Karen Beevers is a specialist Collaborative family Solicitor, Accredited family Mediator and Partner working in family law for over 20 years. Evans Derry have offices at Coleshill, Marston Green and Atherstone see www.evansderry.com

Financial Assistance towards Mediation Costs

The Ministry of Justice has developed a mediation voucher scheme, whereby a contribution of up to £500 per case/family to the mediation costs of a child arrangements case will be offered, encouraging people to seek to resolve their disputes outside of court where appropriate to do so. The scheme is set up to fund up to a maximum of 2000 cases at a cost of £1million.

The purpose of the scheme is to promote the benefits of mediation and divert matters where appropriate away from the family courts. The scheme will offer mediation participants a financial contribution of up to £500 per family towards the total costs of their mediation. All cases where MIAMS have been undertaken after 26th March 2021 are eligible to apply under the scheme.

Before confirming to clients that a voucher is available, mediators must make a request for voucher allocation to ensure that vouchers are only allocated where funds are available. The work can only be undertaken by accredited mediators.

Partner and accredited child inclusive mediator Karen Beevers commented:-

“This represents a fabulous opportunity for people to experience what mediation can offer in terms of improved communication and sustainable arrangements. Given the current delays in terms of court processes due to the impact of Covid-19 it presents people with a timely opportunity to work through arrangements in the bests interests of children.”

For further information please contact Karen Beevers :

email karenbeevers@evansderry.com telephone 01675 464 400

Welcome Delay for RTA Victims

In April 2020 the government announced that the proposed amendments to their plan to increase small claims limit for Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claims until April 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its impact on medical, insurance and legal services.

The aim of the reform is to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 for injuries resulting from RTA’s. This means that, as of the April 2021, anybody who sustained injuries in an RTA and whose likely settlement will be less than £5,000 will no longer be entitled to seek help from a solicitor on a NO Win NO Fee basis. This applies whether you are a driver or passenger in the vehicle.

Essentially, the government is working on creating a “Portal” where the injured person will be able to submit a claim directly, without having any access to legal help from a Solicitor. It will leave unrepresented injured people in a very vulnerable position if liability i.e. who is to blame for the accident, or the value of the claim is disputed as they would then have to issue small claims proceedings, possibly paying a Court fee and representing themselves at a Trial – a daunting prospect for most! There has been no guidance as to how an injured person will obtain medical evidence to support their injuries or assistance for them proving their financial losses such as lost earnings or care.

Bearing in mind, the other side will usually be an insurance company or claims handling services who train their staff with all the most up to date legal decisions and whose very job is to settle a claim with the smallest possible payments, this seems to be a huge inequity in arms.

The extension is a great news for all injured people who suffered as a result of RTAs as it means people can still to seek legal help from the solicitors on NO Win NO Fee basis, at least until April 2021. Once the reforms are implemented, Claimants will find it difficult to fund their own cases and compete against giant insurance companies who have unlimited resources.

So if you have been involved in RTA due to somebody else’s fault within last 3 years, please contact us so we can help you to get access to justice. It is important to act now before it’s too late! We offer No Win NO Fee agreements and free consultations.

If you think we can assist you, or anyone known to you, please email juliebennett@evansderry.com or call us on 0121 770 1721 to speak to one of the team.

DOMESTIC ARRANGEMENTS, COVID-19 & STAYING SAFE

In unprecedented circumstances when Government advice is to stay at home in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, we are very mindful that for many, home can be anything but a place of haven for people and their children.

Since the introduction of the stringent restrictions,  we are receiving calls from families in strained circumstances, living in difficult conditions, whether under self -isolation or otherwise. The uncertainty, pressures of home schooling, worries over money and  future job security are a potentially toxic combination. Based on data emerging from China and Italy over recent weeks, incidents of domestic abuse are expected to increase.

So, what can be done to stay safe? First and foremost there is help available. The Home Secretary has clarified advice to confirm victims of domestic abuse are able to leave their homes despite restrictions to seek help in refuge accommodation.

In certain circumstances a court injunction may be available to prevent a person from using or threatening violence against another or child, or to prevent them intimidating harassing or pestering them. In addition, an injunction can regulate who is able to occupy a family home. Sanctions for breaching an Order can be up to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment in the most serious cases.

The court is ensuring emergency procedures remain  in place to deal with injunctions if appropriate without notice being given to the alleged perpetrator. Legal Aid may also be available, subject to personal circumstances.

So, please do not suffer in silence or alone. Please use the following contacts for further information or advice:-

 Refuge:-  Tel : 0808 2000 247

Men’s Advice Line : – Tel : 0808 801 032 ( weekdays 9am -5pm)

Women’s Aid :– www.womensaid.org.uk

Victim Support:- 0808 1689111

For any further information or advice please do not hesitate to contact either Partner, Karen Beevers : karenbeevers@evansderry.com or Natalie Arnold , nataliearnold@evansderry.com

 

Written by Karen Beevers, Partner and specialist Family Lawyer and Accredited Family Mediator at Evans Derry Solicitors.

Legal Cashier Vacancy

We have an opportunity for a Legal Cashier based in our Coleshill office. Ideally, applicants will have experience of working in a law firm, but this is not essential.

The main responsibilities of the role include:

  • Receiving incoming funds and making outward payments via Barclays.net
  • Checking and processing bills
  • Checking completion statements
  • Daily banking of incoming cash and cheques
  • Financial postings to accounts system (ALB)
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Client to Office transfers
  • Month end reporting
  • Petty Cash transactions
  • Assisting Partners and staff with any accounts queries
  • File opening, closure and archiving procedures
  • Ensuring compliance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules

To apply, please send your CV to:

Mr Richard Holt

Evans Derry Solicitors

5 Church Hill

Coleshill

Birmingham

B46 3AD

 richardholt@evansderry.com