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Divorce Law Reform

The States of Jersey are looking to reform their divorce laws and have launched a social media consultation seeking the views of islanders on whether their divorce laws need to change. The divorce laws in Jersey are now seventy years old and are quite different to the laws regarding divorce in England and Wales.
The changes for Jersey include:
1) The States of Jersey are looking at removing the three year wait that parties currently have to file for divorce. At present in Jersey parties have to be married for three years before filing for divorce. The situation is different in England and Wales with parties only having to be married for the period of one year before filing for divorce.

2) The States of Jersey are looking to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce. We have looked at this in previous blog posts, it is something that people are currently campaigning for in England and Wales. At present in England and Wales if somebody wants to divorce their spouse sooner than two years after separating they must blame their spouse for the breakdown of the marriage which can cause upset and conflict.

3) The States of Jersey are looking at possibly introducing joint filing for divorce. Joint filing is not available in England and Wales at present; the divorce petition is presented by one spouse known as the ‘Petitioner’ in proceedings and is received by the spouse known as the ‘Respondent’, and the parties are not allowed to share the same solicitor in divorce proceedings. In enabling parties to file for divorce jointly it would allow parties to deal with matters in a more amicable way.

4) The States of Jersey are considering the introduction of compulsory mediation to look at whether or not they are able to agree their divorce settlement. In England and Wales we do not have compulsory mediation for all divorce matters but where a spouse is considering making an application to the court for financial remedy they must attempt mediation before making an application unless they are eligible for an exemption. Mediation can be extremely helpful to parties who both wish to engage.

The reforms being considered by the States of Jersey all point towards making the divorce process less confrontational, enabling parties to deal with matters as amicably as possible which is important especially when there are children of the marriage. Whilst the process is different in England and Wales, the idea is much the same amongst campaigners looking for reform of the divorce process in England and Wales. The thought being that the current systems are too adversarial.
Although there is still a lot that could be done in England and Wales to make the divorce process less confrontational a lot depends on how the divorce process is dealt with. At JNP Legal all of our solicitors dealing with separation and financial remedy are members of Resolution, promoting an approach which is sensitive, cost effective and most likely to result in an agreement. If you are looking to start divorce proceedings but are worried about how to handle matters please contact a member of our family department for some advice and assistance concentrating on minimising conflict and reducing the impact on you and your family.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

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Challenging the ‘Compensation Culture’ Myth

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a national not-for-profit membership group representing injured people, which JNP Legal is accredited by as specialist advisers on personal injury claims, have produced a booklet, Compensation Explained: A guide to personal injury compensation, its purpose, and its value to society, which aims to remove the myths associated with making a personal injury claim. The comprehensive booklet is aimed at the general public as a guide to the purpose of compensation for personal injuries.

As part of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ campaign activity, the booklet has been produced to help explain the principles of personal injury claims, why it is important that those who are injured are appropriately compensated, what needs to be proved and includes case studies along with questions and answers. The guide also provides information on some of the barriers to justice facing those who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence.

Unfortunately, there is a large amount of misinformation in the media suggesting that there is a ‘compensation culture’ and that those who have received personal injury damages have had a windfall. However, this is a misconception of the purpose of compensation and what needs to be proved in order to make a successful claim. Those who make such claims have often lost earnings as a result of being unable to work due to their injuries. They have required treatment to improve their symptoms, have needed assistance from others and incurred additional expenses. They have suffered needlessly due to someone else’s negligence, through no fault of their own. The booklet aims to help improve the understanding of personal injury claims for members of the public and explains the realities of compensation.

The booklet can be accessed online on the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ website at https://www.apil.org.uk/. Hard copies of the booklet have also been produced by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and we have copies available at our Nelson office reception.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of negligence and require specialist legal advice please do not hesitate to contact JNP Legal.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

Thinking of making a holiday sickness claim?

I have recently been abroad to Lanzarote for a week of winter sun. I was really looking forward to a week of relaxation and sun. However, the holiday was not what I expected. It started with a short delay. When I finally arrived at my hotel, which was all inclusive, I was then handed an information card about holiday sickness claims, along with a map and information about trips TUI (formerly known as Thomson) organised. The information card about holiday sickness claims warned me about the companies trying to submit claims for sickness on behalf of British holidaymakers and that I may receive a call about this upon my return to the UK. I did not think anything of this until the second day when my daughter became unwell and subsequently both myself and my husband became unwell with what seemed to be food poisoning. However, upon reporting it to the hotel, it appeared that no-one else had experienced the same symptoms. Unfortunately, I was unwell for the rest of my holiday.

Upon my return, I did some research into holiday sickness claims as it appeared that TUI were very concerned about claims being submitted. When I reported what had happened to the rep, the questions being asked did seem to be aimed at excluding the possibility of a claim being made. What I found on Google was lots of solicitors firms who would be able to investigate a claim of this nature. However, I also came across newspaper articles about fraudulent claims and one particular article by the Guardian was reporting on a couple who had been sent to prison in October 2017 for submitting false claims.

Deborah Briton and her partner Paul Roberts were sent to prison for fraud for 9 months and 15 months respectively for trying to claim £20,000 compensation for 2 holidays where they and Ms Briton’s children allegedly suffered from sickness. Thomson Cook brought private prosecutions against them when they discovered Facebook posts where the couple were talking about how fantastic their holidays were. They were attempting to claim £20,000 in compensation but legal costs were also £28,000. The Judge, David Aubrey QC, commented that this case would be a warning for all those tempted to make claims in the future. A Thomson Cook spokesperson after the hearing also commented that the sentences handed down demonstrated the seriousness of the issue.

The couple’s convictions also came on the day that the Government called for evidence from travel operators as part of a crackdown on these types of claims. There is a talk of a fixed fee regime for legal costs being introduced (which is used in other areas such as road traffic accidents and accidents at work). This is due to the fact that these types of claims have increased by 500% since 2013. Boris Johnson has even commented that the digestive systems of British holidaymakers had “become the most delicate in the world”. The Government’s crackdown has also been welcomed by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) who has stated that the cost of these claims are pushing up the cost of holidays abroad, especially to Spain. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has also issued a guidance note due to the number of fraudulent claims being submitted, which shows how serious the issue is.

However, the above should not put you off making a claim where you have genuinely suffered some form of gastric illness whilst abroad. If you find yourself unwell abroad, it is important that you seek medical advice and report what has happened to your hotel and rep if you have one. However, it is important to heed the above advice and be aware of the concerns surrounding these types of claims.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist you with all your legal needs.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org

SEASONS GREETINGS TO YOU ALL!!

If that headline seems a bit bland and generic to you that’s because it is! Deliberately. There are so many different faiths/non faiths/systems of belief out there that I wanted to try and include everyone and offend no one particularly at this most wonderful time of the year.
In contemplation of writing this, I thought I`d try and compile an A-Z of faiths/beliefs to reflect upon and consider, so here it is;

Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Ewokism (added by me for merriment, because I believe they are awesome), Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Zionism………….
I did say I thought I`d try and compile an A to Z. As you can see I wasn’t entirely successful. There are bound to be countless others that I could have unearthed had I the time, wisdom or knowledge, however at this time of year as I`m sure you`d all agree, time is something which comes at a premium (wisdom and knowledge are, alas, perennial)

Each and every faith/belief has reason to celebrate at some point in the year be it Lunar or otherwise.
Regardless of faith or belief it would seem that celebration involves indulgence, which is not necessarily a good thing, unless you look deeper into what that means (disclaimer – I am a solicitor (!) not a philosophist – all opinions are my own and not those of JNP). I for one always feel a pang of guilt amongst the indulgent celebration of Christmas because with it comes excess, waste, thoughtlessness and unhappiness for many.
On the plus side a common thread amongst all values seems to be a genuine love, compassion, humility, kindness, togetherness, grace and tradition… even if those things do get lost in the mire.
What a dilemma!?!

Bearing in mind those features, my own view is that we should all pledge to give something money can’t buy during this seasonal period; time, patience, kindness and understanding. Give back to your communities, to your family, friends and anyone else who may need a helping hand at what should be “the most wonderful time of the year“. It need not be difficult; recycle rubbish, donate unwanted `stuff` to charities, clear the snow from the pavement outside your home, bite your tongue when your mother/father/sister/brother/significant other says or does things that don’t fit with your own ideals.
Simple really!

So….that’s my take on the `seasonal` season! Take from it what you choose!
I will take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy end to 2017.
JNP will be here in 2018 in our freshly made over office building.
We`re moving to the bright side and we hope to see you there.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open  9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.

We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office)  01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

Why a letter of wishes may be a useful addition to your will

When it comes to making a will, there maybe many reasons why we make the decisions we do, and these decisions should most certainly be yours. However, there are situations where a person may contest a will, stating their claim against your estate.
There is no cast iron way of preventing someone from making a claim, however a letter of wishes accompanying your will may be of some assistance to your executors in the future.
If a person makes a claim against your estate that is taken to court, a court may assess your wishes at the time of making your will with reference to a letter of wishes. This can be used, for instance, to explain why someone has not been included in your will or why someone is to have a smaller proportion of your estate compared to another. It may also be useful if any such claim were to settle before the need for a court hearing, as there is less second guessing your decisions, as the reasons for them are in black and white.
The letter may only have a limited affect, as ultimately the court would have the discretion to make any such decision in respect of your estate following a claim, however it gives them a starting point, if nothing else, as to your reason and rationale.
Discuss whether a letter of wishes is necessary with one of our solicitors who can help you through the process of making a will.

Autumn Budget 2017- How does it affect you?

No doubt some of you have been closely following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Budget that was announced yesterday, we certainly have.

One of the main changes that will certainly be good news for prospective first time buyers is Government announcing that it will abolish stamp duty for first time buyers up to a limit of £300,000. This is immediately effective and means that 95% of first time buyers who would pay stamp duty will benefit.

80% of people buying their first home will not have to pay stamp duty.
Another welcomed change for first time buyers is that 300,000 new homes will be built over the next 5 years.

The national minimum wage is going to increase from April 2018. The wage for those that are over 25 will increase from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 per hour. Those in work will also benefit from an increased personal allowance for tax purposes from £11,500 to £11,850 from April 2018.

These are just some of the changes. For further information please visit the Gov.uk website that lists all of the announcements made.

The above information will certainly be important to anybody currently in the process of/intend to purchase their first property. As outlined above, the stamp duty changes are immediately effective. JNP Legal have a dedicated conveyancing team who can guide prospective buyers through property transactions including sales and purchases. We would be more than happy to advise regarding stamp duty in general and how the above changes may affect you directly.

We also have an Employment Department who can advise you fully regarding any employment law queries including wage enquiries.

We have offices in Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Llanishen, Cardiff . Our Nelson and Llanishen office is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-12pm on a Saturday for clients’ convenience.

As well as the above matters we also deal with: Family and child law, personal injury claims, civil litigation, criminal law and wills and probate. We have a variety of funding methods in place.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require assistance. Our contact details are as follows:
– Nelson office: 01443 450561
– Merthyr Tydfil office: 01685 350421
– Llanishen Office: 02920 763211
We can also be contacted via email on law@jnplegal.org.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Domestic abuse occurs when one person harms another person with whom they have or have had some sort of relationship and can be in a variety of forms such as physical, emotional, financial or sexual harm. This type of abuse is against the law.

As well as directly affecting the parties involved it can have huge repercussions on surrounding family, friends, and children.

Both women and men can be a victim of domestic abuse and can feel as though they are helpless and taking action against a domestic abuser can seem like a huge step. Many people put up with domestic abuse, often for years as most victims are scared to seek help. If you are caught up in a distressing and frightening situation at home, contact our experienced family team who can give you help and legal advice, always in complete confidence. Every case is different, but a victim cannot be expected to stay in a harmful environment.

There are two main ways in which victims of domestic abuse can be protected by the law.

1) Non-molestation Orders : This prevents someone from being violent or threatening violence against you or your child. It also includes intimidation, harassment, or pestering. A breach of a Non-Molestation Order is an arrestable offence and now carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

2) Occupation Orders : This order relates to who can live in the family home and can also restrict access to the surrounding area as well. If the abuser breaks this order then they will only be arrested if a power of arrest document was lodged with the occupation order.

Both types of Court Orders can be made with or without the abuser being made aware of it if appropriate.

Our team can assist by discussing your options with you confidentially and informing you of your potential choices which will help you be able to take back control and decide what you wish to happen next with our paramount consideration at heart – securing your safety.

If you need legal advice or representation in respect of a family matter and want to know whether or not you are eligible for legal aid please contact our family department.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.