Getting Married Abroad – Everything You Need To Know

If you dream of getting married abroad on a sunny beach with pristine white sand, you are not alone. The number of Brits saying ‘I do’ abroad continues to rise.

But it’s not just sorting out the dress and worrying about a wedding speech – you will need the correct documentation, which can cost money and take time.

Fortunately, Sally Perrett, family solicitor at CJCH, outlines everything you need to know about tying the knot abroad.

What conditions must be met for a marriage or civil partnership which has taken place abroad to be valid in the UK?

Firstly, the marriage has recognition as a legal marriage in the country in which it took place. Secondly, the parties have complied with the procedures in the country of marriage. In addition, each party must have the capacity to marry under the laws of the relevant country. Capacity covers issues such as age, consent and mental capacity. Finally, any previous marriage (if relevant) must have ended before marrying again.

What paperwork do you need to take with you when marrying or entering into a civil partnership abroad?

The full legal requirements will vary from country to country, but every country will require the bride and groom to have the following documents:

  • Valid 10-year passport with at least six months remaining on it
  • Full birth certificates
  • Deed poll proof of any name change
  • Decree absolute, if married
  • Marriage and death certificates of a deceased spouse, if widowed
  • Adoption certificate, if adopted
  • If marrying in a non-English speaking country, translation of documents may be required and given an apostille (additional certification of authenticity) to validate the document abroad. The Foreign Office carries out this service.

Other documents required:

Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) – Each party will need one to prove there is no reason they cannot marry. This document is obtainable from a local registry office or embassy. They take around a month to issue, cost £30 and last for 6 months from the date of issue. They are required in Aruba, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Turkey

Single Status Statutory Declaration – similar to the CNI, it proves the couple are free to marry. They must be stamped and certified by a solicitor in the UK. Countries that require this are Antigua, the Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Kenya, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

What are the main issues people run into when marrying or entering into a civil partnership abroad?

Generally, not leaving enough time to ensure correct documentation. Indeed, this may be the most complicated part of the wedding preparations! Ensure you leave enough time as certifying a document through the foreign office can take up to 6 weeks.

Are there any countries that have special requirements for getting married abroad?

Each country will have its own specific requirements. Make sure you do your research and check the rules beforehand. Some countries, such as Mexico and Turkey will require medical/blood tests so check before. Consult a solicitor with experience on these matters prior to the wedding.

What top tips would you give to someone looking to get married or enter into a civil partnership abroad?

Cost and time! Remember to factor the cost of obtaining documents into the wedding budget and the time to obtain documents. Be sure to speak to a solicitor if you are unclear about the documentation you may require.

How can we help:

CJCH has extensive knowledge and experience in family & matrimonial matters. Get in touch with a qualified member of our team today.


Telephone:  0333 231 6405


The Biggest Challenges SMEs Face – & How to Overcome Them

Business Law

Saturday 30th November marked Small Business Saturday, which celebrates small business across the United Kingdom. SMEs face several challenges in an uncertain market, from maintaining profitability, attracting new customers and retaining valuable employees.

Gareth Thompson

Gareth Thompson, Commercial Solicitor at CJCH, discusses the common challenges faced by SMEs and how advice from a specialist solicitor provides value to a small business.

What are the most common legal issues SMEs face?

Most common legal issues arise from failing to adequately have in place contracts between employees & suppliers. Additionally, poor management with cashflow or credit control causes issues for SMEs.

What are the different business structures?

Whether it’s a sole trader, partnership, private limited company or limited liability company. Solicitors advise on the different features of business structures. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whilst you can change the structure down the line, it is better to get it right from the outset. Importantly, seek legal advice to choose the correct structure for your business.

How can a solicitor help owners protect their business from copycats?

It is vital that SMEs protect their Intellectual Property! Especially for new businesses – incorporate to get the trade name registered, registering trademarks or patents. Moreover, ensure the service and employment contracts have valid non-compete clauses.

How can small businesses prepare for Brexit?

The dreaded B-word! The UK government published tailored advice to prepare your business – reading that is the best place to start. The link is found here:

Furthermore, if your SME is supplied or exports to the EU, it is imperative to ensure contracts are in place ahead of Brexit. Engage with your partners to asses their own readiness – it’s not just your own business, after all.

What top tips would you give to someone running a small business?

A common issue for SMEs, particularly new enterprises, is maintaining cash flow to sustain growth. It is important to know your outgoings, bundle products & services and encourage repeat business.

Above all, the three golden rules are – have appropriate contracts in place! Protect your IP! Ask for help/legal advice! The last point is especially important, seeking legal advice can save your SME costs down the line.

How can we help

CJCH’s commercial services span the full spectrum of corporate and commercial requirements. From start-ups, medium-sized and large organisations, we provide legal support and advice to leverage opportunities and minimize risk to your business.

Get in touch with a member of our commercial team today.

Telephone: 0333 231 6405


Leaving a Gift to a Charity in Your Will


Today is International Charity Day. It is an opportunity to reflect and contribute to the incredible work that charities do around the world. Leaving a gift to a charity in your will is a great way to leave a legacy that benefits the most vulnerable in society. In addition, it benefits the beneficiaries of your will.

Alexis Thomas, a Chartered Legal Executive in CJCH’s Wills & Probate team, outlines the benefits of leaving a gift to a charity in your will, how to ensure the gift is not legally challenged and how to ensure the gift you leave is used in a way that aligns with your wishes.

Benefits of leaving a gift to a charity

Leaving a gift to a charity in your will is an excellent way of supporting a cause dear to you. Most charities will rely on donations to carry out their work so this is a great way of contributing to your charity’s long-term vitality. In addition, a gift in your will to a charity will not count towards the total value of the estate and the gift will pass tax-free. If the value of the gift is 10%, or more, of the total taxable estate, this gift will also reduce the amount of IHT payable from 40% to 36%.

The different types of gift you can leave

You can leave any type of gift to a charity. This ranges from a specific sum of money, items of personal value such as jewellery or even a % of your estate. You do not have to contact the charity in your lifetime, your executor will inform the charity that you have left them a gift in your will.

Specifying how the charity uses the gift

You can express in a wish how you expect the money to be used. However, the testator should discuss their wishes with the charity first, as the charity may refuse the gift if it cannot comply with the testator’s wishes. The wish is not binding, but charities will usually seek to carry out the specified request.

If your gift is challenged and how to avoid it

Firstly, always seek legal advice! This is so important. The courts place more weight on a moral obligation to a family, which outweighs any commitment to charities. If the gift is successfully challenged, then the gift could fail. Regular communication from the solicitor goes a long way in ensuring that this does not happen.

Donating outside of the UK

Donations outside of the UK are different than domestic donations. Exemptions from inheritance tax only apply to gifts to charities in the UK, EU member states (plus Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland). Of course, this may change due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Furthermore, donations outside of the UK do not benefit from Gift Aid as Gift Aid enables the charities to reclaim an extra 25% in tax on each donation made by a UK taxpayer.

How can a solicitor help you leave a gift to a charity in your will?

A solicitor ensures your Will is written correctly. This gives you the peace of mind the gift will succeed. The full details of the charity (charity number etc) are included so that the charity receives the gift. Incorrect information may cause the gift to fail.

How can we help:

It is never too late or too early to start thinking about your future. For more information on writing your will and leaving a gift to charity, speak to an experienced member of our team today.

Contact us:


Telephone: 0333 231 6405

Supporting Clients Through Expert Legal Advice

Let’s face it. Legal issues are complicated and confusing. Unfortunately, whether you are buying or selling property, making a Will or trying to set up a business these complicated issues follow us around. Facing these issues can feel daunting.

Fortunately, solicitors are experts in their field and can effectively support their clients through sound legal advice. Ultimately, this helps reduce the stress the client will face throughout the process. Our trainee solicitor, Amy Palin lays out how she supports clients, providing them peace of mind that their matter is being dealt with promptly, professionally and with the client at the forefront.

As a solicitor, explain to us how you help your clients on a day-to-day basis.

Solicitors provide a service based on instructions received.  And it is important to remain alert to issues surrounding the primary reason a client is coming to you for advice. There may be wider considerations, or other services we can offer, of which the client may not have been aware. It is also important to provide a high level of client care, particularly if there are complex legal issues involved, to ensure the client fully understands their matter.

How do you work to build trust with your clients? Why is this important?

It is vital to be open with clients from the outset! Especially in relation to timescale, costs and the practical issues surrounding their matter. Maintaining good communication is the most effective way to build trust. Sometimes there may be an unforeseen issue or delay beyond immediate control. However, I usually find that as long as I communicate the issue promptly or assure the client I am still actively working on their matter, this maintains a positive relationship with the client.

In terms of solving legal issues, how do you support your clients throughout the process?

As above, communication is key! It is important to cut out legal jargon and explain legal issues in plain language. I always encourage questions, as this is the best way to not only make sure the clients understand everything, but also to help me improve the way I serve clients in future.

Do you ever find yourself providing support and advice on wider issues related to your client’s case?

All of the time! Asking open questions is a great way to get a fuller understanding of the client’s needs. There are other matters that arise once a client finishes a case. For example, if a client is purchasing a property, they might benefit from creating or updating their will to reflect this. Of course, this might not be something at the forefront of their minds. It’s the solicitor’s responsibility to be proactive in providing advice in these situations.

What do you enjoy most about working with and supporting your clients?

The opportunity to work closely with people and develop relationships with them is incredibly rewarding. Especially in the moments when the work itself is a grind. Additionally, I find their experiences can often provide me with context to the issues on which I am advising. It can be easy to focus only on the legal rules and principles, so real examples of these in practice can remind me of the practical benefits and importance of the advice we provide, as well as help me to help clients more effectively in future.

How can we help

CJCH has experienced professionals offering advice in wide areas of personal and business law. We provide bespoke legal service and high-quality advice. Get in touch with a member of our team today.

Get in touch via:


Telephone: +44 (0) 29 2048 3181

Cohabiting Couples & the Law – Protect Your Rights!

The number of cohabiting couples continues to rise to over 6 million in 2018. This coincides with a decline in marriage rates, which have fallen since their peak in the early 1970s. With this in mind, what does it mean for couples that are choosing to forgo tying the knot?

It is often overlooked that unmarried couples do not enjoy the same rights as married couples. It is therefore important that married couples are aware of this difference so that their rights are protected. Our solicitor in Family Law, Sarah Perkins, discusses the rights of married and unmarried couples and dispels some myths surrounding ‘common law marriage’.

What does ‘common law marriage’ mean when people refer to cohabiting couples? Is it a myth?

Common law marriage in the UK is a myth.  The term refers to couples who choose to live together unmarried.  Worryingly, many people in the UK believe “common law marriage” exists and that unmarried couples enjoy the same legal rights as married couples.  This is not the case.

How do the rights of married and unmarried couples differ?

The rights of married and unmarried couples differ in several ways. For example, when an unmarried partner dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner will not inherit anything.  Unless, however, the couple jointly owns property and assets. A married partner would automatically inherit all or some of the estate under the rules of intestacy.

Additionally, cohabiting partners cannot access their partner’s bank account if they die. Whereas married couples may be allowed to withdraw the balance providing the amount is small. Cohabiting partners are not legally considered to be next of kin.

Following separation, an unmarried partner who has stayed at home during the relationship to care for children cannot make any claims in their own right for property, maintenance or pension sharing. It is irrelevant if the decision to care for children was to the detriment of the person’s earning capacity and regardless of how long they lived together.

There is no legal obligation on unmarried couples to support each other financially. Whereas married partners have a legal duty to support each other.

Furthermore, if an unmarried couple lives in rented accommodation and the tenancy is in only one partner’s name, the other has no legal right to stay in and occupy the accommodation.  When married, each partner has the right to live in the matrimonial home.

What legal considerations do you think unmarried parents should be aware of?

An unmarried father does not have automatic parental responsibility for a child. Parental Responsibility is acquired by an unmarried Father when named on the Birth Certificate or an Order of the Court.

If an unmarried parent dies without leaving a will, the other parent will not inherit anything unless it is jointly owned.  If the child is the deceased parents’ next of kin, then the child will inherit all or part of the estate. The estate If the child is a minor, the estate will be held on trust. It is therefore of utmost importance that unmarried parents have up to date wills reflecting their wishes.

Tell us what a cohabitation agreement is and how it could help unmarried couples.

A Cohabitation Agreement is a written document which sets out the parties’ intentions concerning property and other assets. It provides certainty regarding property division in the event of a relationship breakdown.  Agreements can include the following information:

  • who will be responsible for payment of rent or mortgage and various household bills;
  • ownership of personal belongings and furniture;
  • ownership and shares of jointly owned property;
  • detail the living and contact arrangements for children following the breakdown of the relationship.

Provided the agreement is drafted correctly it is legally enforceable.

Are there any other measures cohabiting couples can put in place to protect themselves if they split up or one of them dies?

If properties are purchased jointly but with unequal contributions to the purchase price, unequal contributions to mortgage payments and other expenses related to the property, the property should be held as Tenants in Common and a Deed of Trust drawn up upon purchase reflecting the arrangement.

Cohabiting couples should ensure that they have up to date Wills reflecting ho should inherit their assets and belongings in the event of death.

How can we help:

Get in touch with an experienced member of our team today. Contact us via:

Telephone: 0333 231 6405


Communicating with Clients and Cutting through Legal Jargon

Communicating effectively with clients is essential for a productive client-solicitor relationship. Solicitors must take care to ensure that communication with clients is clear and tailored. It is important clients get the first-rate service they paid for. Our trainee solicitor, Amy Palin, sat down to discuss how she cuts through legal jargon and tailors advice so that both client and solicitor are always on the same page.

How do you help your clients understand their case when it comes to more complicated aspects and legal jargon?

I always try to simplify everything without patronising the client. It’s easy to get into the habit of using legal jargon with colleagues in the office, but when speaking to the client take care to explain the matter in plain language. I try to find examples that are more likely to stick in their mind, so that the client feels they know how their matter is being handled. Finally, I encourage the client to ask questions and create an environment where they feel comfortable doing so.

Every client is unique, how do you approach tailoring your advice to make sure their individual needs are met?

When taking instructions, I always start with an open discussion as to how the needs of the client can be met. This broadens the scope of the discussion and might reveal other concerns they may have. Ultimately, by getting to know the client and their concerns it means we can work out what the client needs. This is the best way to deliver a satisfactory conclusion to their matter.

Do you do anything aside from the usual emails and face to face meetings to communicate with clients?

At CJCH we try to accommodate our clients as best as we can. For our clients based overseas we can arrange Skype/conference calls. Furthermore, our diverse team speaks over 22 languages, which means we can usually deal with any translations for clients in-house rather than relying on an outside interpreter for communicating.

What are the benefits of clients feeling that they can ask a solicitor questions and then actually doing so?

When a client asks questions, they will have a better understanding of their matter. Additionally, it is good for the client-solicitor relationship if the client does not feel removed from the details & complexities of the process, they will likely be more satisfied with the service. Furthermore, clients asking questions forces me to challenge the way I respond and shows me areas where I might improve to provide clients a better service in future.

What tips would you give to clients when it comes to having open communication with a solicitor?

Ask questions! Always tell your solicitor if what they are saying does not make sense. Doing this at the outset will usually make the matter proceed more smoothly and efficiently. It is also the best way for law firms and solicitors to develop and make progress as to the best ways to meet clients’ needs.

How can we help:

CJCH is committed to providing expert, clear and tailored advice on a wide range of personal and business law matters. Speak to a qualified member of our team today. Get in touch via:

Telephone: 0333 231 6405


The Importance of Protecting your Intellectual Property

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, one third of the value of the products we buy comes from intangibles like Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property spurs innovation and drives growth in the economy.

Our specialist Solicitor, Ana Kocmut-Saunders, is on hand to explain the importance of Intellectual Property protection for your business and your brand.

What is Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) is a category of property resulting from human creativity. It is divided into two classifications. The first is Industrial Property, which includes patents, trademarks and geographical indications. The second is Copyright, which encompasses works of literature, films, drawings etc.

Benefits of protecting IP

IP rights allow creators & owners to benefit from their own work and investment. This gives owners a legal right to stop others from using their property without their permission. Through IP rights, holders set their business apart from their competitors by being recognised as a reputable supplier of goods and services.

The main goal of any business is to make a profit and IP rights, if protected and maintained properly, provides business with a revenue stream. Therefore, the risks of not protecting your IP can result in damage to your business and your brand.

Different types of IP protection

There are different types of protection depending on what was created. Under UK Law, some types of IP protection are automatic, whilst others you must apply for. Copyright is an example of automatic IP protection after the creation of music, literature or some other artistry and lasts for 70 years after the author’s death. Whilst Trademarks must be applied for and confer protection for 10 years.

Importance of seeking legal advice

Only through seeking legal advice can you ensure your business is fully protected from unfair competition and counterfeiters. Small businesses often make the mistake of not seeking legal advice on protecting their IP to save money. However, not protecting your IP can leave your business vulnerable, which can mean significantly higher legal costs down the line.

How we can help

For more advice on protecting your Intellectual Property, contact a member of our IP, Anti-Piracy & Compliance Team for dynamic, professional advice.

Telephone: 0333 231 6405