Happy #InternationalWomensDay

It’s the 8th of March, which is International Women’s Day, and although we celebrate our rich diversity and inspirational team everyday, we take some time today to stop and recognise the  immeasurable contribution made by the Women of the world.

1918 – Contance Markiewicz – First Woman elected to British House of Commons.

1921 – Edith Wharton – First Woman to win Pulitzer Prize.

1928 – Amelia Earhart – First Woman to fly a plan across the Atlantic.

1973 – Sybil Phoenix – First Black Woman to be awarded a MBE (35 years later in 2008 she was awarded an OBE).

1976 – Mary Joy Langdon – First Woman to become a fire fighter in the UK.

1981 – Baroness young – First Woman leader of the House of Lords.

2006 – Margaret Beckett – First Woman to become Foreign Secretary for the UK.

2017 – Lady Hale – Appointed first Female President of the UK Supreme court.

These are but a mere snapshot of the endless contributions and advancements Women have made throughout our history. We asked a few of the inspirational Women in our own team to reflect on their careers and share their experiences.

Amy Roberts-Rees, Solicitor and Partner: Head of Mental Health Law and Court of Protection Department

Amy has been with CJCH solicitors for 5 years and has been instrumental in growing the Mental Health Law practice, and establishing our Court of Protection service line. When asked what her proudest achievement has been in her professional career, Amy said:

I’m proud to be recognised as one of the leading female solicitors in the area of mental health law in South Wales, as well as having become a partner at the age of 29 to the largest mental health law firm in South Wales. I established the court of protection for welfare department at CJCH Solicitors who now lead in the area for Court of protection cases in relation to Deprivation of Liberty (Dols) and welfare matters. I am also a panel accredited member recognised by the law society in the area of mental health law.

We asked Amy what advice she would give to the next generation of young Women seeking to join the legal profession:

Becoming a solicitor is an aspirational position to obtain, long hours and extensive time in progressing in the area of law you wish to specialise in involves hard work and determination. If you have qualities such as being ambitious, driven and most importantly passionate about your work, your career will flourish. In order to achieve in life you get out what you put in.

Jodi Winter: Solicitor and Partner: Head of Family, Matrimonial and Child care Law Department, and Partner in charge of our Barry office

Jodi’s career in law boasts an impressive array of achievements. She joined CJCH Solicitors in 2013, and prior to this spent 14 years in the Public Sector, with half this time as a Chief Legal Officer.

We asked Jodi what barriers she has had to overcome to achieve success:

Being a female from a working class family in the Rhondda Valley ( of which I am very proud), with an ambition of embarking on what was a predominantly middle class male profession was something that was discouraged by careers advisors at my school. I recall the careers  questionnaire that I completed in 1991 where I clearly set out my preferences to be a solicitor, produced the most suitable job match for me as a librarian! Fortunately, apart from that I have always been supported in my career by those who have managed me, worked with me and for me regardless of gender.

When asked what her proudest achievement was, Jodi jovially commented:

After years of hard graft, part time jobs, study and 30k worth of debt – being admitted to the Roll of Solicitors.

She went on to add:

The second followed on from  that by being made a Chief Legal Officer (in the public Sector) at the age of 28 and then at 38 being invited to join CJCH as partner

Lastly, when asked if she felt that Women have more opportunities within the legal industry now, Jodi said:

Absolutely – there are  more women entering the profession, more female partners and directors. Far more women Judges – after all 2017 saw  Baroness Hale’s appointment as the first Female President of the UK Supreme Court …. YAY!

Amy Palin, Paralegal: Blackwood office, Private Law and Conveyancing

Amy is a recent addition to CJCH having started at the firm in 2017 after completing the Legal Practice Course at Cardiff University. She began with us in our Cardiff office in the Anti-Piracy and Licence Compliance research team, and has since been moved to being a dedicated Paralegal in the Blackwood office on the path to being a trainee solicitor with the firm.

When asked what barriers she has had to face, Amy replied:

Thankfully I do not feel I have faced nor have had to overcome any barriers so far. I do feel that I am very early in my career, and this may be something that is encountered later, however I do not believe or worry that that would ever be something I would experience in CJCH. It is great to be able to work for a firm that clearly holds no prejudice, with so many women holding important positions in the firm, not only several partners but also a senior partner.

Advice Amy would give aspiring lawyers looking to enter the profession:

I would say to not believe it is a profession which is dominated by men, as it may have been in the past, as this is not the case anymore. I also believe it is important to remember that men and women may have different qualities to bring to the profession. I am sure many women have believed they weren’t as outspoken or assertive as their male colleagues and superiors, so would never progress, so think “why should I bother?”. No one should feel that they don’t have what it takes because they don’t fulfill the classic idea of a lawyer, the intimidating “shark” in the big office, that always knows best. I believe times are very different now and as well as considering yourself equal to males in your profession, you must consider yourself equal to your client, so any arrogance or believing yourself as superior is unlikely to be a positive quality for a promising career in law in the future.

Sally Perrett, Solicitor: Child care Law

Sally has been with CJCH Solicitors for two and a half years, and although she represents clients throughout South Wales, she is based in our Barry office. Sally acts, mainly, on behalf of parents in child care proceedings brought by the Local Authorities.

When asked what her proudest professional achievement was:

For me, this would have to be being accepted on to the Law Society Children Panel.

We asked Sally what advice she would give to women starting out in the field:

The Legal profession isn’t easy, however if you work hard the rewards will follow.

Lastly, in reply to whether she thinks Women now have more opportunities within the legal industry now, Sally said:

Yes definitely, there are more women than ever before in senior positions both within the private and public sector and the judiciary. However, they have worked incredibly hard  and made sacrifices both professionally and personally to be there. Hopefully in the future these sacrifices will not have to be so great.

 

We would like to thank each of our team members who contributed to this post, and wish a happy Women’s Day to all.

 

 

Landlord and tenant issues: How long are you willing to wait to recover possession of your property?

By Nerys Thomas.

Generation rent (generation of young people living in rented accommodation with little immediate chance of becoming home owners due to the high cost of property) is an ever-increasing reality within the UK.  Whilst this is good news for landlords, whether they have one rental property to their name or those with large property portfolios, being a landlord can at times be compared to a costly roller coaster experience, especially when attempting to recover possession of your property.

Fundamentally, no landlord can recover possession of their property without the tenant providing vacant possession or the court ordering for the tenant to vacate.  If the tenant does not leave the property following a court order being obtained, landlords must then apply for a court approved bailiff to undertake an eviction.  All of which can become an expensive and time-consuming situation, where the landlord is usually already aggrieved e.g. unpaid rent.        

The Ministry of Justice published statistics in November 2017 surrounding landlord possession proceedings.  It is pleasing to note from this publication that the actual number of possession claims directed to court are slowly reducing, but those claims which are directed to court have seen the time frames for the matters being addressed marginally increasing.  On average, the Ministry of Justice inform us that it could take 11.4 weeks from the filing of a claim at court to getting a possession order.  This means that if your tenant has fallen into rent arrears and you have served the appropriate notice it will take, on average, just shy of three months from filing your claim at court to the matter being considered by a Judge.  That would potentially be three further months where rent is not being paid.

It is detailed in the Ministry of Justice report that it will take on average 41.2 weeks from the date of issuing a claim at court for possession to actually recovering possession, should a tenant fail to adhere to the court order requiring that he/she vacates, and a court approved bailiff is employed to undertake an eviction.  Once again, if the reason for pursuing possession is rent arrears, this time frame is likely to result in an eye-watering debt owed to the landlord.     

Please note that the Ministry of Justice statistics have been collated across England and Wales, therefore the true situation in your local court may vary depending on the court’s workload.  Nevertheless, the figures are a clear warning for landlords to try and protect themselves where possible.

At CJCH Solicitors, we have the experience and knowledge of providing an all-encompassing service in relation to landlord and tenant matters, whether this is to safeguard the landlord prior to entering into a rental agreement; when disputes have arisen or to recover possession and/or rent arrears through the court process.  Should you wish to discuss your situation further or seek assistance with a dispute, contact Nerys Thomas at disputeresolution@cjch.co.uk or by telephone on 0333 231 6405.

#SortYourLifeOut – A mantra of taking control

At CJCH Solicitors, we aim to put our clients first and to support the communities in which we operate. With four offices spanning across South Wales, and two satellite offices in England, we have the ability, expertise and resources to offer our clients a wide range of services in several locations.

Our Family, Matrimonial and Children Law and Private Client departments recently launched a new ad campaign to reach out to people who may have questions and need support in difficult times. We hope to help guide them and ease the stress associated with situations such as planning a will, dealing with the probate of an estate, or considering all elements involved in a separation or divorce. There are many instances when people could benefit from the advice and guidance of an experienced and approachable solicitor, and we at CJCH have made it our mission to improve access to legal support and deliver personalised service.

Our new campaign is called #SortYourLifeOut, which is positioned as a helpful and uplifting slogan rather than the joking and judgemental tone it is often said with.

Take charge of your life. Put your plans in place. Be the victor, not a victim. Sort your life out.

Our campaign focuses on the fact that in every situation we face in life, no matter how testing or difficult, the choice to proactively plan, react and prosper is our choice to make. No one enters a marriage with the dream of it ending, and no one has children with their partner with the plan to raise them in separation, but should these things happen, our team is here to help you take the right steps towards making the most out of it and planning for a positive outcome.

#SortYourLifeOut is an uplifting mantra, of possibility, opportunity and silver linings.

At CJCH, we can help you #SortYourLifeOut.

To get in touch with us and see how we can assist you, click here for our contact details.

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CJCH Solicitors acquires Blackwood based, Patchell Davis

Cardiff based CJCH Solicitors has attained considerable media and industry coverage recently due to our rapid expansion strategy, dedication to client services, thought leadership in global anti-piracy, and commitment to supporting the Welsh community. We continue that trend for service excellence and geographical reach with the recent acquisition of Blackwood based solicitor firm, Patchell Davies.

Patchell Davies Solicitors opened its doors in Blackwood over 30 years ago and has been dedicated to supporting the legal services needs of the local and neighbouring communities ever since.

As of May 2017, Patchell Davies Solicitors was officially incorporated into CJCH Solicitors expanding the practice, already servicing clients around the globe, to six offices across the United Kingdom.

“CJCH is constantly looking to see how it can make the Welsh legal industry a more integrated and customer-centric one. We have achieved levels of working efficiencies and client service excellence that allow us to complete in local markets where pricing is under pressure. Growth has always been our strategy and we are delighted to acquire Patchell Davies who complement our teams of advisors” Nick Wootton, CJCH Chief Financial Officer and Merger & Acquisition Specialist.

 

 

 “We pride ourselves in offering dedicated, personalised and results-orientated legal services to the Welsh community, and now we are proud to have become part of a practice which aligns to our core values and strives for excellence and innovation on a global scale.” Howard Patchell, Director of Patchell Davies Solicitors.  

CJCH has a global Intellectual Property and Technology with a Global Anti-Piracy and Cyber Protection development program, these skills are being rolled out across the firm in pursuit of our goals of establishing Wales and a central hub for Cyber Security thought leadership. The acquisition of Patchell Davies Solicitors will further promote our rollout plan, as we will be identifying and up-skills selected team members within the new Blackwood office to ensure the capability is present in all CJCH offices, and for all CJCH clients.

“The acquisition of Patchell Davies sees us broaden our services into a new geographical area. Our journey to a true customer focused legal practice, with local Welsh values and International capabilities is a continuous and evolutionary one. We see the incorporation of Patchell Davis into the CJCH Group as a step in the right direction towards achieving this goal, and bringing world-class legal support to Wales.” Tim Hartland, Managing Partner – CJCH Solicitors.

CJCH Solicitors contact information: admin@cjch.co.uk; 0333 231 6405

For further information on CJCH Solicitors please visit our website at www.cjchsolicitors.co.uk.

 

Reflection on Mental Health Awareness Week with a look to the future.

By Keith James, Solicitor/Partner

Last week, 8 to 14 May 2017, marked UK Mental Health Awareness week for 2017. The purpose of this annual event is to ‘prompt a national conversation about what we can do as communities, schools, families and individuals ‘to move from surviving to thriving’ (The Mental health foundation).

There is little doubt that in recent months awareness of the wide variety of mental health conditions and of the impact of mental health problems has grown and now appears to be rising up the political agenda.

High profile individuals who have experienced the impact of issues such as depression, including prominent figures in the football world, have helped to shine a light on how mental health problems can impact on the lives of everyday people – Mental Health issues do not discriminate.

Also in the news have been many stories from prominent individuals of how bereavement can impact on families and how help can be provided to families to talk through these issues.

Of particular current interest is how the result of the general election will impact on Mental Health Law and the provision of Mental Health Services. Already suggestions have been made of manifesto commitments to increase provision of community mental health staff and services but also a suggestion that the Mental Health Act should be replaced. This perhaps is the most intriguing suggestion.

The Mental Health Charity, Mind, has called for a review of the Mental health Act but there is a suggestion this could go further to avoid ‘unnecessary detentions’. It will certainly be interesting, during the General Election campaign, to see if this forms part of a manifesto commitment. Of particular interest will be what alternative proposals are suggested.

There is little doubt that Mental Health issues have risen up the political agenda, and for CJCH will continue to be an important part of our focus and drive to support our community.

For any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact our Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law team at mentalhealth@cjch.co.uk or call on +44 333 231 6405 (24 hour emergency line: +44 7967 305949)

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Planning for tomorrow – Introduction to Lasting Power of Attorney

By John Moore, Solicitor

We live in a time of better healthcare and advances in science where we are able to enjoy life for longer than previous generations.  We never know what is around the corner, however, with many people experiencing challenges with their mental health in their later years or are incapacitated through accident, injury or illness.

Here at CJCH, we regularly meet people of all ages who come to us for advice and who are concerned about safeguarding their personal affairs in the future.  Where appropriate, we try and assist by arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney for our clients in respect of their property and financial affairs.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows individuals to appoint someone of their choosing to act on their behalf (as their attorney) if they are no longer able to manage things themselves for whatever reason. An attorney would be able to access a person’s property and finances to help pay bills, manage investments and pay care home fees. An attorney is legally under a duty, however, to act in the person’s best interest at all times.

Sadly, however, many people that we meet have loved ones who have not set up a Lasting Power of Attorney and no longer have the mental capacity, whether by illness or accident, to be able to do so.  We often find that family members hit a brick wall when dealing with banks and buildings societies who will of course only deal with the account holder themselves.  As there is no one legally able to act for the person it means that there are often situations where bills and care fees cannot be paid. This causes a great deal of stress for everyone involved because a person’s finances cannot be accessed or their property cannot be managed or sold.

In order to resolve this our team of experienced lawyers represent families in making applications to the Court of Protection so that family members can be appointed as Deputies to manage a person’s property and financial affairs.  Once the Court has approved an application the family members who have applied will be able to access a person’s finances and manage the sale of a property under a Court Order.  The Majority of applications to the Court are straightforward and dealt with on paper and do not require any attendance at Court.

If you would like to speak with us for a free consultation on better preparing for your future to ensure those things that are so important to you can be managed property should you no longer be able to do so yourself, you can contact Mr John Moore (solicitor) in our Private Clients department:

Telephone number0333 231 6405, or email privateclients@cjch.co.uk.

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