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To Litigate Or Problem-Solve? That Is The Question.

Jikoa is one of our Senior Consultants and specialises in providing legal support to clients and business owners. Here’s an inside view from him, on what it’s like to have to deal with legal representatives in dispute resolutions.

It’s upsetting to see a fellow lawyer with his nose stuck in the textbooks we get told to read at law school. I had an awkward case a few days ago. You didn’t need a law degree to decipher the protagonists had a problem, because for months prior to our day in court, I felt I had been banging my head against a wall with the other side’s solicitor.

gfh

I kept asking myself how he couldn’t he see there was actually a problem between the parties? Couldn’t he see my client had a problem paying for stuff that don’t work? Couldn’t he see that the stuff doesn’t actually work?! No, all he wanted was to go to court and argue his case, no matter how weak his client’s position was! So we did – go to court that is – and in response to my final attempt to resolve the matter before we met the judge – his best line was to ask, “Why should [he] make the case for the other side?”. Well listen up, you are an officer of the court, and that is what we are required to do. You may well ask: What does that mean? It means that whilst solicitors have a professional obligation to your client, they also have an equal obligation to assist the court. It is extremely unlikely that sitting on your hands and only detaching them from your backside to litigate, will be construed as assisting the court.

fsg

A long day it was but thankfully the judge saw the wood for the trees, and found supported our client’s position. The best part of my day came when the judge apologised for interrupting me to which I replied, that in fact I concurred completely with her summation. Yes, it was that kind of afternoon when the law would not be made an ass. Rest assured, I did nothing whatsoever to restrain the sense of vindication that wafted over me.

The moral of the case? The court rules, protocols and practice directions have one central thread and that is a lawyer is expected to try to solve problems first, second and maybe even third. All the dandy litigation skills in the world matter very little these days, if you can’t show the court you have tried demonstrably so, to solve what in most cases are usually straightforward problems.

Whilst we are happy to support clients through litigation matters, we also encourage them to attempt to resolve their differences and have had a great deal of success of achieving this without the need to resort to expensive litigation

It’s complicated.

In recent news, it has been found that some small medium enterprises and firms, are hit with costs of up to a £10bn  in tax compliance bills!

AAT members are experts at finding their way through the intricacies of tax compliance, and 80% of them are the ones who state that the UK tax system is too complicated, according to Mark Farrar, the Cheif Executive of AAT.

AAT are urging the Government to make changes to the UK tax system, so that they can address the growing trends of avoidance and evasion.

There was a survey completed with 1000 small to medium businesses, which revealed 55% think that the tax system has become more costly.

Seven out of ten small medium enterprises, say that the UK tax system is too complicated, which ends up with them spending too much time on tax issues.

The majority of small businesses are struggling and feel disadvantaged and unsupported, due to the UK tax system becoming too complicated for them to understand. Yet they are the ones that, we believe, are bringing us out of the recession, so we should be supporting them.

So isn’t it time that the UK tax system, gets a reconsideration? Let’s make the UK tax system easier, for businesses to understand – let’s not trip them up, let’s support them as they are supporting our economy.

If you are struggling with tax compliance, contact us on 01909 512 120 or info@loftusstowe.com, as we are trained to deal with any tax issues.

If you want to know more about the information above, find articles here -

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/business-news/small-firms-hit-by-10bn-tax-compliance-bill-1-7076624

https://www.aat.org.uk/about-aat/press-releases/Complexity-of-tax-system-hampering-SMEs

Remember, we have Twitter - https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

Did You Know…

Do you know that the HMRC has a charter? This means they have to behave in a certain way towards you.

The HMRC has a charter, which you can refer to if you feel like they have been unreasonable.

There are nine parts to the charter, which are:

  1. To respect you.
  2. To help and support you to get things right.
  3. Treat you as honest.
  4. Treat you even-handedly
  5. Be professional and act with integrity
  6. Confront people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules
  7. Protect your information and respect your privacy
  8. Accept that someone else can represent you
  9. Do all we can to keep the cost of dealing with HMRC, as low as possible.

If you feel as though, the HMRC have not treated you like this, then we can help.

If you want the charter in more detail, find the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/91888/charter.pdf

Our team can help represent you to the HMRC, if you want more information, contact us on 01909 512 120.

 

 

Tiny hands, and tiny toes.

A little hello.. 

As you may know, we said a temporary goodbye to our Legal Executive, at the end of January, as she left for maternity leave.

Luckily for Ella, her surprise didn’t keep them waiting for too long!

We are so happy to be able to announce, that Ella, has given birth on Friday afternoon.

Ella and her partner, never found out what sex their baby was, so we are also happy to announce they had a beautiful little baby boy – called Harry!

The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts.

 

The team, would like to congratulation Ella and her partner, and we can’t wait to meet the little one!

We are certain that she is settling into parenthood, recovering well and we look forward to welcoming Ella back later on this year.

Don’t forget – We now have a Twitter page: https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

Are they good, are they bad?

Did you know, just over 1 million of the UK’s workforce, are believed to be in a zero hour contract? http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/zero-hours-contracts_2013-myth-reality.pdf

 

Zero Hour Contracts

Zero Hour Contacts seem to be being discussed everywhere at the moment, are they good, are they bad – here’s some advice on Zero Hour Contracts and getting the best out of them.

A zero hours contract, is when the employer does not have to offer minimum working hours, and the employee does not have to agree to work when offered the work.

Important points to know about Zero Hour contacts:

  • The employer does not have to offer work, and the employee can say no to working when offered hours.
  • The worker gets the same employment rights as a normal worker.
  • The employee is entitled to annual leave and minimum wage.
  • It is all about flexible working, working when demand is high, and being off when demand is low.

http://www.acas.org.uk/zerohours

So, is a zero hour contract right for you?

It was found that different employee’s on zero hour contracts had different opinions. Some employees enjoyed being on a zero hour contract, as it suited the circumstance for them at that moment in their life, they could pick and choose when to work. However, for other people, it seemed that they did not like not knowing when they were next at work, or not knowing how much money they would be getting each month.

Overall, depending on personal circumstances, it depends if this type of contract is right for you. Working part-time allows you to ensure you have money coming in every month, therefore may be a better option for those employees who want to know when they will be working.

If you need any more information on zero hour contracts, you can visit some helpful websites:

If you want any guidance on creating zero hour contracts, or if you are on one, contact Loftus Stowe on 01909 512 120 or info@loftusstowe.com.

Or, visit our Twitter page, where you can find updates on any changes in zero hour contracts - https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

 

 

 

Have you heard?

It’s Joy here, and I have some new HR information for you this week!

Have you heard

  • Regardless of the length of service, (part-time or full time status), all relevant employees are entitled to ordinary maternity leave (OML).
  • A woman employee, who is the new mother of her biological child, is entitled to take 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML), followed by 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (AML) and up to four weeks unpaid parental leave (if she decides to take this up at this stage rather than subsequently). However, there are some exceptions…

References: (CIPD, 2015); (ACAS, 2015).

Want the full story and get some help, please contact Joy on 01909 512 120 or joy@loftusstowe.com.

Quote of the month: “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

 

Free Legal Advice Surgery

Have you heard? 

We are offering the chance for you, or your business, to get a FREE 30 minutes session with a qualified solicitor.

If you need some legal advice or guidance, on any business matter, then our free 30 minute drop in surgery’s are for you!

We are offering the businesses or individuals who have got business problems, 30 minutes with Femi Ogunshakin, to help discuss these problems and to get legal advice on how to overcome them.

It does not matter if you have a business of your own, or are an employee of a business, you can attend for any kind of legal advice you may need for example:

  • If you feel you have been dismissed unfairly
  • If you are being forced to retire
  • If you need some advice on employment contracts
  • You have clients that are refusing to pay and you don’t know where to turn to
  • And many more.

We are offering our legal advice surgery’s at three different locations. Please use the details below to reserve your slot at your preferred location-

  1. Worksop Turbine, The Turbine, Coach Close, Worksop, Notts, S81 8AP
  2. Newark Beacon Cafferata Way, Newark, Notts, NG24 2TN
  3. Mansfield I-Centre, Oakham Business Park, Hamilton Way, Mansfield, Notts, NG18 5BR         

To book for your free 30 minutes, contact Phillipa on phillipa@loftusstowe.com or Tel: 01909 512 120.

Or alternatively, contact us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

 

New HR Consultant

I’m new! 

My name is Joy Ogbemudia (Msc; CIPD). I have joined Loftus Stowe as a HR Consultant which means that I am going to build up our HR Consultancy practice.

I have really enjoyed my first few days in Loftus Stowe.

I enjoy the warmth and love shared by all members of staff, and I have settled in quickly and really well.

Joining and being the first member of the HR team, is interesting, although very challenging.

Our consultancy practice work collaboratively with organisations to create and develop participative processes that brings about change.

We work with organisations to ensure strategy development, organisational design that relates to sustainability and culture change. We are committed to building talent management strategies and making such strategies work in practice.

Our aspiration is to ensure employee engagement and help your Human Resources stand out as your competitive advantage.

I will be posting updates on employment laws, and other HR hot topics, over my time here at Loftus Stowe – so keep a look out for this!

I will also be posting on our Twitter page - https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

It’s upon us

Have you submitted yours? 

According to the BBC they say;

Something like half a million people, will leave it until the last day to get theirs submitted.

The dreaded tax return month for all Accountants, we can finally see the end (31st January) to all the last minute rushes to get returns submitted!

Here are some last-minute tips from Which, to help you meet the deadline: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/01/last-minute-tax-return-tips-393346/

Make sure you are not one of those, that give HMRC an excuse this year – get yours submitted today and don’t forget that if you do submit it late, you’ll be fined £100!

So, do want to hear the top five excuses that people gave in 2014, for not submitting theirs on time?

  1. My dog ate my tax return.. and the reminders.
  2. I was up a mountain in Wales and could not find a postbox or get an internet signal.
  3. I fell in with the wrong crowd.
  4. I have been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
  5. Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.

If you want more tax return reminders, just follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

 

Temporary goodbye, but a new hello

A temporary goodbye… 

The team are saying a temporary goodbye to our passionate Legal Executive, Ella Bramall, as she has finished her final day with us, now she has left for maternity leave.

Ella has not found out the sex of her baby – therefore there will be surprise for us all, when baby decides to make an appearance!

Our team, want to wish Ella the best of luck for her due date – 4th February. The countdown has now begun, and we will keep you up to date, on when the baby has arrived.

If you want to hear more on Ella’s maternity leave, or join the countdown with us, follow us on Twitter - https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

A new hello!

Although we have said a temporary goodbye to Ella, we have also had a new hello.

We are proud to announce, we have a new HR Consultant - Joy Ogbemudia.

Joy joined the team, on the 22nd January.

She will be working as our HR Consultant, on a Thursday and Friday. Joy will be writing a post, to introduce herself later on this week – so, keep a look out!

Although we have said a temporary goodbye to one member of our team, we welcome our new member with open arms, ready for another busy year for Loftus Stowe!

Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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