After Executing the first remote will in the UK, The Times’ law diary considers Solicitors Title’s landmark step and what possibilities the new law might bring, in Debate of the Week: Have Lawyer< Will Zoom, by Edward Fennell in The Times
Since the start of lockdown, necessitating a change in approach brought about by the pandemic, Solicitors Title and Dr Nicholas Bevan, have led a successful lone campaign to persuade the Government to sanction the most radical innovation in procedure for executing wills, in 343 years. The announcement legalising video wills being the first real change since King Charles II’s reign, under the Statute of Frauds 1677!
Such approval of Solicitors Title’s novel approach, utilising audio visual technology, enables private citizens to complete their will from the privacy and safety of their own homes, without having to travel into the office to sign their will in the presence of two witnesses. Alongside the obvious health benefit for anyone particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, such adoption of what is now common-place technology also aids convenience and discretion.
Our innovation has been made in the face of almost universal opposition from within the profession who believed, mistakenly, that section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 requires the testamentary witnesses to be physically present at the signing. The Government clearly shares our view that this is misconceived and this is why its guidance expressly states that it is not, in fact, changing the law; but merely clarifying it.
In light of such positive endorsement, yesterday we completed the world’s first completely remote cross-border will for a client in Crete.
An intended tie-up between two of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains has been blocked and does not now look like it will go ahead.
Merger and Acquisitions specialist, Richard James, explores the competition law aspects of the decision and why the law exists to regulate potentially anti-competitive behaviour or situations which might create market dominance.
On Valentine’s Day this year we were delighted to once again collaborate with Cancer Research UK in raising money for their work towards eradicating this awful condition. Held at Solicitors Title’s Yeovil office, based at Yeovil Innovation Centre, the many businesses based at the offices enjoyed a variety of cakes whilst learning more about the work being undertaken, the impact of cancer and how you can help (including via Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service, operated in collaboration with Solicitors Title.
For more information about leaving a legacy gift and Cancer Research UK’s free will service, visit www.cruk.org/freewillservice or contact us
2019 marks Solicitors Title’s 21st Anniversary year and the firm’s 6th year based in Somerset making their team accessible to local individuals and families.
Later this month sees the third annual Devon and Somerset Law Society (DASLS) Legal Awards, recognising the contribution that the South West’s numerous law firms bring to our locality.
In total 12 awards are being hotly contested, recognising both individuals and firms themselves, across a range of categories which include Client Experience, Corporate Social Responsibility and even Legal ‘Hero’ of the Year! In addition to these, firms of different sizes are also recognised for their overall success. In the 1-10 partner category, Solicitors Title, based in the City’s iconic Gandy Street, is again shortlisted, having been nominated for the same award at the inaugural event in 2016.
Perhaps fitting, given Solicitors Title celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. Originally set up as a property-focussed firm, with a new focus on the home-buying process, back in 1998, today, a focus on business and the people that own, grow and run them is the focus – from start-ups to some of the South West’s well-known names. Having expanded into Somerset some 5 years’ ago and in 2016 achieving recognition nationally for its corporate and commercial work by independent directory Legal 500, Solicitors Title certainly punches above its weight.
With a focus on certain sectors, not associated with many of its competitors, the firm is able to differentiate itself from more traditional firms. Technology law, franchising and complex property advice accounts for much of the firm’s work; and keeping their clients up-to-date on the topics that matter is key – feedback from recent events on GDPR – the new data protection code coming in from May this year – has been really positive, reflecting more of a practical approach to advice; being part of your own team rather than a service provider that you hire when things have gone wrong!
The awards evening is supported by headline sponsor SOS, a specialist legal software company.
Recognised alongside Solicitors Title in the Best Law Firm 1-10 Partners category, will be Boyce Hatton, Rosie Bracher, Cartridges Law and Beviss & Beckingsale. The awards dinner is being held in March.
As reported in recent days, many KFC outlets remain closed across the country, due to problems with a new supplier; what it has called “teething problems”, but whatever the reason, KFC’s predicament brings into sharp focus the reliance on suppliers in business and the risks that can arise if they are unable to deliver – in KFC’s case, literally.
Until last Tuesday, the South-African owned Bidvest distribution group handled the logistics in delivering KFC’s fresh chicken to its restaurants and outlets across the UK.
A change in supplier can be a common decision and no doubt, given the significance of KFC’s supply chain to its successful operations through the UK, that decision would not have been taken lightly.
Whatever the reason, one of the most important aspects in any business relationship, be it with your suppliers, as here, your clients or customers or your staff, is what happens if things go wrong? What a negative way to look at things you might think? But this is not about being negative; in fact it should be a positive aspect of any initial negotiations – sometimes things don’t go to plan; sometimes that will be outside of either party’s control – such as adverse weather delaying a shipment of goods, for example – but sometimes, it is caused by one side, for whatever reason, failing to meet the obligations they had agreed.
Naturally, in those circumstances, people think of insurance – if I crash my car, the insurance is there to protect me in any claim. However, SMEs have a real opportunity to manage their customer and supplier relationships, through well-thought-out contract terms.
We were recently advising a technology business on the supply of equipment to a much larger group. Say they on-sell that equipment to their own customers, to be used in ways that our client simply wouldn’t know and for some reason they decide the equipment isn’t suitable, causing them to lose a major contract – is that the responsibility of our client?
In KFC’s case, what is the value of potential damage to its brand and business from this current issue? With the majority of its outlets closed. And of course that is not only the loss of revenue but the potential for its brand to be tarnished in some way – in fact, KFC have been handling communications around the problem positively, with regular updates, but arguably their new supplier is liable for any losses and damage that they suffer.
It is often only when problems arise that SMEs and businesses recognise that in fact they do not have contracts in place. Within well-crafted terms and conditions, it is possible to spell out exactly what happens if a problem arises – this includes, practically, what should be done to try and manage the issue but also should outline where liability falls. Is DHL likely to be responsible for the entire loss of revenue suffered by KFC? Business owns can, within their terms, limit the extent of their liability in these kinds of circumstances; both, financially – perhaps with a cap on value of any claim and in terms of the kinds of los that are included – in DHL’s terms, no doubt, they would have excluded liability for loss of business caused by issues in delivery, given these issues are foreseeable. In your business, you can do the same – if a delay in supply to one of your clients and customers causes them to lose a major contract, costing £100,000, can they seek to pass that loss on to you, in a claim for damages? Or have you limited the potential for such claims in well-crafted terms and conditions?
Devising bespoke contracts and terms for your business can allow you to cover these issues, ensuring the risks in your business are minimized, even if things, as they will, sometimes go wrong. It also ensures that the relationship between you and your clients or customers is stronger, as the basis upon which you are doing business is clear. Click here for more information on our fixed price services in these areas: Commercial Contracts and Online Trading and E-Commerce
It has been a busy time over the last few months; with legal changes including the onset of GDPR and exciting developments for some of our clients and for us as we continue to grow our business. It’s nice for us to voice the positives but what we also like to do is share our clients and fellow businesses’ success too and that is why we produce our Business Round Up.
On 1 October 2017, the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (the “Protocol”) will come into force.
The Protocol will apply to any business, including sole traders and public bodies, (the “Creditor”) looking to bring a claim against an individual or a sole trader (the “Debtor”).
Our offices will be closed from 1pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 and we will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.
Wishing all our clients and contacts a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
For many, chasing their customers for payment is at best a necessary evil. In order to minimise the need to do so, we provide some tips on improving payment performance.
When should you chase payment?
In order to successfully recover payment it is essential to gather information about your customer before you carry out any work for them. You should be able to identify your customer’s full legal entity, their company registration number and their contact details, including the name of the person that you should communicate with for invoicing purposes and to deal with queries quickly.
Solicitors Title is delighted to have been recognised as a go-to firm for corporate and commercial work in this year’s Legal 500 rankings.
Legal 500 is an independent directory of the leading law firms and lawyers. Published annually, the guide is compiled after extensive research, including confidential references from clients and contacts and following assessment of the work carried out by each practice being reviewed.