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Same Roof’ rule abolished allowing victims to reapply Published by Ministry of Justice on 13 June 2019

Why?

In July 2018 the Court of Appeal decided that the ‘same-roof’ rule had unfairly denied a claimant who was abused by her stepfather the right to compensation. The government chose to not appeal this judgment, and confirmed that the rule would be removed as part of the Victims Strategy published in September.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme awards taxpayer-funded payments to victims injured as a result of violent crime, paying out over £150 million to victims in 2017/18.

What does this mean?

  • More victims will be apply to apply for compensation; and
  • Anyone previously denied compensation under the rule, or put off from coming forward because of it, will be able to make fresh applications.

What is the ‘same roof’ rule?

The so-called ‘same roof’ rule blocked victims of violent crime from receiving compensation if the attacker was a family member they were living with at the time of the incident.

  • The rule was part of the original (non-statutory) compensation scheme introduced in 1964 and was changed in October 1979, but the changes were not made retrospective.
  • The pre-1979 rule applied to adults and children. Under the rule applicants are not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant as members of the same family at the time of the incident.
  • The reasons for the rule were difficulties with evidence and a wish to ensure that offenders did not benefit from compensation paid to the victim who they were living with.
  • The rule applies to all victims of abuse, including physical as well as sexual abuse.
  • Under the 2012 Scheme, applicants can still be refused compensation if at the time of the incident they were adults living with the assailant as members of the same family unless they are no longer living together and are unlikely to do so again.

Victims Minister Edward Argar said:

“The ‘same-roof’ rule was unfair and we recognise the impact this had on victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker. Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering caused by such appalling crimes, by abolishing the rule we are widening access to much needed support and continue to review the entire scheme so it better supports victims. Improving support for victims is at the very heart of this government’s work, and through our Victims Strategy we are determined to improve their experience at every stage of the justice system.”

Gabrielle Shaw, NAPAC’s CEO, said:

“We are delighted that the ‘same roof’ rule has been scrapped. Given that most child abuse happens within the family and children are likely to have had no choice but to live under the same roof as their abuser, this rule was rightly viewed as deeply unfair and punitive.”

President of the Law Society of England and Wales Christina Blacklaws said:

“This change is a welcome correction to a historical anomaly that was causing significant injustice. We are very pleased the government has made this change, as a result of which more victims of historical child abuse will be able to claim recompense for the traumas they suffered.”

How to apply?

You can:

 

Victims applying or reapplying for compensation will still have to meet the Scheme’s other eligibility criteria to be made an award.

New Help Hub For The Seriously Injured

Solicitor Kate Morey  provides an overview of the new Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ Severe Injury Help Hub.

 

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) are a not-for-profit organisation representing injured people. Their members are lawyers dedicated to protecting and enhancing access to justice for victims of personal injury.

JNP Legal’s Nelson Office is an APIL accredited office and members of our personal injury department are accredited with APIL as Litigators and Senior Litigators. We are very proud of our long standing relationship with APIL.

APIL’s work is varied and includes lobbying Government as well as working alongside relevant stakeholders to ensure injured people’s rights are protected. It runs campaigns to change the law where appropriate in favour of injured people,  and also to improve the services available to them.

It also provides extensive, and first class training to its accredited personal injury lawyers to ensure that they are best positioned to fight for the seriously injured in society.

As part of their ongoing work offering valuable services to victims of personal injury, they have created a ‘Severe Injury Help Hub’. This can be accessed via their website at www.apil.org.uk/severe-injury-help-hub

The resource is aimed at members of the public who have been seriously injured and their family members. It provides valuable information to those in the aftermath of suffering such injuries.

Information is provided on a range of support services available, and includes signposting to relevant charities, the availability of specialist support services and contact details for accredited lawyers.

The resource is to be updated on a regular basis to ensure the most up to date and helpful information can be provided.

JNP Legal fully support APIL’s aims and objectives in ensuring access to justice for victims of personal injury.

Here at JNP Legal, we are passionate about making sure that the seriously injured receive prompt and effective access to justice. We very much welcome the introduction of the Serious Injury Hub.

If you have been injured as a result of an accident and require advice and support please do not hesitate to contact us for a no obligation discussion on 01443 454919 or by email at law@jnplegal.org

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Stamp Duty Holiday – Property Market Boost

Solicitor Rachel Church considers the Stamp Duty Holiday in England and Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday 8 July 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak,  announced  a temporary reduction in Stamp Duty Land tax payable on residential property transactions in England and Northern Ireland.

The changes, which took  effect immediately, will last up to 31st March 2021, raising the  stamp duty threshold from £125 000 to £500,000 in an effort to boost the housing market.

Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of  a main residence up to £500,000, for example, will now not be payable, with properties purchased over that figure only paying stamp duty  on the value over this amount.

Second home buyers, buy to let landlords and Companies,  although still having to pay a 3% surcharge of the property value, will also benefit  from the increased threshold.

There are no proposed changes at present to the rates of Land Transaction Tax payable  on property transactions in Wales which remain the same. There have been calls from those working in the Property sector in Wales to follow the changes applied in England and Wales in a bid to boost the Welsh Market.

It will be interesting to see what if any response is made by the Welsh Government to these announcements to support the Welsh Housing Market.

There are also no announcements as yet from the Scottish Government in relation to their equivalent  Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

If you have any queries regarding the SDLT changes or any potential LTT implications in Wales, contact our team of Property Experts who will be happy to assist you further.

You can also calculate the amount of stamp duty or LTT payable on a potential purchase by using the quoting tool on our website at http://www.jnplegal.org

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One Day I’ll Fly Away………..

Solicitor Evelyn James considers the impact the current pandemic is having on travel abroad, and your legal rights if your holiday plans have been impacted.

We suspect that that for many, the novelty of a stay vacation is wearing thin, and you are thinking about your holidays abroad right now.

Many people will be disappointed that pre-booked holidays have, or will have to be cancelled and  are unsure about what to do.

Holidays in the UK or abroad are classed as non-essential travel and are not permitted during the current lockdown, and are therefore having to be cancelled.

If your holiday has been cancelled because of the pandemic, you have the right to request a refund from your travel agent to be paid within 14 days of the holiday cancellation if you booked a package holiday (such as travel and accommodation) . However, many travel agencies and tour operators are facing severe cash flow problems and therefore offering Refund Credit Notes to cash or use at later date. Some of these have incentives such as 125% vouchers for future holidays.

You do not have to accept a Refund Credit Note, and are legally entitled to a refund. If you are tempted to accept one then make sure it is not time limited as the current crisis, and its impact on travel doesn’t look like it will pass any time soon.

The Refund Credit Note must record the original booking reference and attach the cancelled booking or invoice confirmation, and where appropriate the ATOL Certificate, if that applied to the original booking.

ATOL will provide you with some recompense if the travel agent or tour operator later ceases trading and becomes insolvent . 

Travel agents are currently contacting customers in order of date of holiday to deal with cancellations.

The current lockdown is in place until at least May 7th 2020, and if you are due to go on holiday around that time or shortly afterwards, you may be uncertain about whether to cancel, or to wait to see how the situation evolves. You may find it helpful to check your travel insurance, or to speak with your bank if you have travel cover as part of a premium bank account etc.

The issue of travel in the coming months is a very ‘hot’ topic at present and there are many websites and news articles out there to help but, as always, if you need our assistance then do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at JNP Legal.

Our Civil Litigation Team are on hand to assist you with all consumer  and contract issues, as well as general litigation and dispute resolution. Email law@jnplegal.org, call 01685 350421, or message us on any of our social media platforms.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF LIFE PLANNING – Are Your Affairs in Order?

Evelyn James, a Solicitor from JNP Legal Life Planning Team explores the importance of having a valid and up to date Will, particularly in the current unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.

Life is precious, life can be cut short.

We are all learning this lesson at present, and there has never been a more important time to get our affairs in order.

There would be nothing worse for a family stricken with grief to discover that no plans were made for who was to look after their children, or no consideration of what would happen to their home and other assets.

Take control; make sure that control of your estate and your assets go to the right people.  Make your wishes and feelings known so your loved ones are not left guessing or quarrelling, or worst – forgotten.

Make sure you make a Will and keep that Will updated by reviewing it every few years or when your circumstances change. Consider also your family and friends’ circumstances, and whether any changes in their lives mean you need to revisit your Will.

It is of vital importance that you ensure any Will you have has been validly executed so that it is not open to challenge.

Why be tempted to draft your own Will, when it is a document of such huge and lasting importance, and when instructing us is fast and straight forward to do.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak, we continue to take instructions, prepare and assist our clients to execute their Wills on a daily basis.  We have adapted our usual process to ensure that this can be done without you needing to leave your home.

The law relating to the signing of a Will in the presence of two witnesses is currently under review given the challenges of the present situation but, as it stands, it cannot be done by video link and the two witnesses must be present with you when you sign.

The rules relating to social distancing can be respected if the Will is signed in an open space or you are behind a window so that your witnesses can see you sign.

If you are physically incapable of signing you can direct another to do so on your behalf, subject to there being no issues with mental capacity. Again, this must be done in the presence of 2 witnesses.

Our Life Planning Team at JNP Legal are here to help you at this difficult time and provide any advice and assistance you require.

Our Civil Litigation team are also on hand to assist with any cases where disputes arise regarding the validity of Wills, and Estate distribution.

If you need our assistance we are here to help you. Contact us for a no obligation discussion on 01685 350421, by email at law@jnplegal.org, or by direct messaging us on any of our social media platforms.

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Keep Calm and Make the Most of It!

Crime Solicitor Lewys Dymond gives us a glance into his life in lock down, and provides some useful tips on things to do to keep ourselves occupied.

 

Not that long ago, if you had offered me the opportunity to work from home for a few weeks, I would have jumped at it. No daily commutes in rush hour traffic and best of all NO FILING, who could refuse??

But after nearly 4 weeks of working from home and depressing news stories, it’s easy to get lost in all the gloom. Whilst it is important that we all stay home to stay safe and help the NHS, I’m sure we all had very different plans for spring. As a hobbyist photographer spring is one of the best times of the year to get out with a camera. I had hoped to be taking a trip to Skomer Island to see the Puffins returning to their nesting sites (there’s a picture from a previous trip below to help brighten your day), enjoying long hikes in the spring sunshine and booking a long overdue holiday to somewhere hot and sunny. Instead, I am in self-isolation.

But don’t lose hope, you don’t have to look too hard to find some good news. Social media is awash with praise (and quite rightly) for Captain Tom Moore and his heroic efforts to raise money for our NHS. Every Thursday at 8pm thousands of us stand on our door steps in support for our NHS workers and people who are not able to go to work in these tough times are volunteering to support those who need help.

And whilst everything is in lock down, professionals such as chefs, hairdressers, musicians and fitness gurus are taking to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram like never before to keep us all motivated and educated to help get us through. All you have to do is look and you will find something for you.

In the last 4 weeks, I’ve had a go at cutting my own hair (though granted there wasn’t that much left to begin with), I’ve made a lamb rogan josh with pila rice, monster burger with spicy burger sauce (my favourite so far) and a Chinese take away inspired sesame and honey chicken, all made from scratch and I am already eyeing up a pasta machine for my next culinary experiment. As for exercise, I haven’t done this much running since I left school, I even tried Yoga, only to learn I really can’t bend that way but hey, I tried. If cooking, exercise and self-hair styling isn’t for you, there are countless tutorials covering everything from musical instruments, DIY and even learning a new language.

What I am trying to say, is that whilst we are all stuck indoors, there is so much we can learn and experience, things we never had the time for before but always wanted to try. As hard as it is to stay indoors, it’s vital that we do. So let’s make the most of it. Learn something new and come out of this with something to show off to your friends and family when we can finally meet up again.Puffin

Keep safe everyone!

Keep Calm and Make the Most of It

Crime Solicitor Lewys Dymond gives us a glance into his life in lock down, and provides some useful tips on things to do to keep ourselves occupied.

 

Not that long ago, if you had offered me the opportunity to work from home for a few weeks, I would have jumped at it. No daily commutes in rush hour traffic and best of all NO FILING, who could refuse??

But after nearly 4 weeks of working from home and depressing news stories, it’s easy to get lost in all the gloom. Whilst it is important that we all stay home to stay safe and help the NHS, I’m sure we all had very different plans for spring. As a hobbyist photographer spring is one of the best times of the year to get out with a camera. I had hoped to be taking a trip to Skomer Island to see the Puffins returning to their nesting sites (there’s a picture from a previous trip below to help brighten your day), enjoying long hikes in the spring sunshine and booking a long overdue holiday to somewhere hot and sunny. Instead, I am in self-isolation.

But don’t lose hope, you don’t have to look too hard to find some good news. Social media is awash with praise (and quite rightly) for Captain Tom Moore and his heroic efforts to raise money for our NHS. Every Thursday at 8pm thousands of us stand on our door steps in support for our NHS workers and people who are not able to go to work in these tough times are volunteering to support those who need help.

And whilst everything is in lock down, professionals such as chefs, hairdressers, musicians and fitness gurus are taking to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram like never before to keep us all motivated and educated to help get us through. All you have to do is look and you will find something for you.

In the last 4 weeks, I’ve had a go at cutting my own hair (though granted there wasn’t that much left to begin with), I’ve made a lamb rogan josh with pila rice, monster burger with spicy burger sauce (my favourite so far) and a Chinese take away inspired sesame and honey chicken, all made from scratch and I am already eyeing up a pasta machine for my next culinary experiment. As for exercise, I haven’t done this much running since I left school, I even tried Yoga, only to learn I really can’t bend that way but hey, I tried. If cooking, exercise and self-hair styling isn’t for you, there are countless tutorials covering everything from musical instruments, DIY and even learning a new language.

What I am trying to say, is that whilst we are all stuck indoors, there is so much we can learn and experience, things we never had the time for before but always wanted to try. As hard as it is to stay indoors, it’s vital that we do. So let’s make the most of it. Learn something new and come out of this with something to show off to your friends and family when we can finally meet up again.Puffin

Keep safe everyone!

New Tax Rules – Up to a Million Pounds Can Be Left to Children Without Paying Inheritance Tax

Solicitor Rachael McCarthy Jones considers the new tax rules which mean couples can now leave up to £1,000,000.00 to their children without paying Inheritance Tax.

 

The 6th April 2020 saw the start of a new tax year and a further increase to the residence nil rate band allowance.
 

The residence nil rate band allowance was introduced in April 2017 with £100,000 nil rate band per person and has increased by £25,000 at the start of every new tax year until it has reached £175,000, the maximum allowance. This residence nil rate band benefits those who leave their residence to their children or grandchildren on death.

 

This residence nil rate band is in addition to the nil rate band of £325,000.

 

A couple, when passing assets down to their children or grandchildren, can potentially benefit from 2 x nil rate band totalling £650,000 and 2 x residence nil rate band totalling £350,000, which equates to £1 million.

 

The nil rate band and residence nil rate band are complicated reliefs to maximise. It is therefore important that you take specialist legal advice to ensure that your Wills incorporate the necessary provisions.

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At JNP Legal, our Life Planning Team will ensure you receive expert legal advice, tailored to suit your individual circumstances. Due to the current restrictions on travel, and social distancing requirements, we are fully equipped to take instructions and prepare Wills without you needing to travel to our offices to execute them.

 

If you have any questions please contact a member of the Life Planning Department on 01685 350421 or law@jnplegal.org

 

 

Protection From Domestic Violence During Lockdown

Head of the Family Team at JNP Legal, Lee Davies, considers the issue of domestic violence during lockdown.

 

Victims of domestic violence often find it difficult to report the abuse they have suffered and may be feeling increasingly anxious during this period of government lockdown.

 

It is important to understand and recognise that domestic violence comes in many different forms and can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial; it also includes any controlling and coercive behaviour.

 

There is a fear that during this period of lockdown that many victims of domestic violence are trapped within abusive relationships and may be feeling increasingly dependant on their abuser, and therefore less likely to report any incidents and seek the support they require.

 

It is important to know that the family justice system is still functioning and has found, and continues to find, innovative ways to ensure that victims to domestic violence can continue to have access to justice through the courts and obtain the protection they require. The family courts are continuing to make non molestation and occupation orders to protect victims from domestic violence and ensure that their housing needs are secured.

 

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic violence then contact our experienced, accredited and specialist family law team at JNP Legal. We are currently offering new client appointments remotely by telephone and video conferencing.

 

We are here to help, support and represent you in obtaining the protective injunctions you need during this difficult time. You can contact us on 01685 350421 or law@jnplegal.org

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Why Lasting Powers Of Attorney Are So Important – Misconceptions and Practical Considerations

Natalie Welsh considers why making a Lasting Power of Attorney is so important.

Have you ever stopped to consider who would make decisions for you in relation to your property, finances and health if you were not able to?

It is a common misconception that your partner or close family member can automatically make decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Only a Lasting Power of Attorney gives someone the legal ability to make decisions on your behalf.

It is important that everyone should be able to plan for their future on their own terms with people they trust the most.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:

 

  • Property and Financial Decisions

 

  • Health and Welfare

 

Both documents are as important as each other, however you do not have to make them both at the same time.

By making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you are deciding who you would want to make those important decisions for you and how.

You can appoint more than one person to act for you and you can decide whether they make decisions jointly and/or independently.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place does not mean that you are losing control. It means that you have taken action to ensure that you have someone you trust who can step in and make decisions for you when you are not able to do so.

You can decide whether it can be used immediately or only when you have lost capacity.

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, someone would need to apply through the court system for permission to act on your behalf, which is a time consuming and expensive process.

Please contact us for an informal discussion with one of our Life Planning Solicitors who can advise you of your options based on your own individual circumstances and requirements.

Telephone: 01685 350421         Email: Law@jnplegal.org

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Government Guidance Issued on House Moves – Covid-19 Pandemic

Property solicitor Rachel Church considers the recent Government guidance issued, and the impact on house moves.

The current Covid-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing provisions have had a big impact on the housing market. This comes after the recent boost in house prices with months of price increases following the December election and the effect of the ‘Boris Bounce.’

The Government  is aware of the impact of the health restrictions on the housing market and  has issued advice to help clarify the position.  The Government has urged parties involved in sales and purchases ‘to adapt and be flexible’ and  to stay at home  and delay moving whilst the emergency measures are in place. The advice is to amicably agree alternative dates and not to withdraw from transactions.  The Government has stated, ‘prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.’

The health restrictions have raised a number of questions in relation to the conveyancing process, for example, issues in fully marketing properties  without viewings; possible delays in obtaining standard  searches from Local Authorities and mortgage lender’s ability to carry out physical inspections for valuations. There are also other questions arising, for example, where a matter is ready to complete but   a seller is in ‘isolation’ or a buyer is unable to book removalists whilst at all times  complying  with the social distancing provisions.

The Government advice includes guidance at various stages of  the home moving process,  such as marketing the Property, before and after exchange of contracts and moving into  unoccupied Properties.

The advice includes the following:

  • Where a Property  is not yet being marketed, a seller is able to  speak to estate agents over the phone to obtain advice on marketing but they are not allowed to invite’ unnecessary visitors’ into their home, including estate  agents to carry out a market appraisals or take internal photographs.
  • If a Property is already on the market, the advice is that a Seller can continue to advertise it as being for sale but they  should not allow people in to view the Property. Virtual viewings are however allowed.
  • If a Property is vacant, the parties are able to continue with the transaction,  as long as the Government guidance currently in force from Public Health England and Public Health Wales is strictly followed.
  • Where a Property is currently occupied and contracts have not been exchanged, the advice to all parties is ‘to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move’  for a time when the  stay-at-home restrictions are no longer in place.
  • If contracts have been exchanged and the Property is currently occupied , all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.  The advice states, ‘If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus. Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible.’

 

The Government also stated in its advice that UK Finance have confirmed that mortgage lenders are looking at finding ways to enable buyers  who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to 3 months so that they are able to delay completion.

The  effect  of the current health emergency  on the housing market is no doubt significant  but it  is temporary  and the  general  Government advice appears to be to sit tight and look to delay the moving process if you can until the restrictions are eased and then removed altogether.  Hopefully then the housing market will quickly start  to ‘bounce back’.

If you have any queries in respect of your house move please do not hesitate to contact our Property Team for expert advice. Paper house in hands_4278838_1