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Your invite: Come to the Good Morning North Seminar – 25th October 2018

Senior partner at Sweeney Miller Law, Surbhi Vedhara, will be joining other regional business experts giving free guidance at a networking meeting at Durham Cricket Club later this month – and you’re welcome to along!

Surbhi will be talking about Shareholder Protection and Business Succession and among the questions she will be addressing will be:

  • Why have a shareholders agreement?
  • What protection does this offer?
  • The consequences of trading without one.
  • Cross option agreements and how they are an important tool for business succession planning.

Surbhi will be one of four on the panel and among other speakers will be Mark Everett from PM Stafford who will present an Introduction to Making Tax Digital – “Preparing for an era of digital change” This seminar will equip you with the key knowledge required to appreciate HMRC’s vision for the digital future and the scale of change facing all taxpayers in the new digital environment  2019.

Richard Lloyd from NC Insurance will be presenting: Making it Digital – “Keeping it safe”. He’ll be explaining cyber and data risks, what they are and how to manage them and in a world where we are increasingly reliant on technology, examining what risks exist.

Corryn Wild from Three Counties will be presenting: Reducing Financial Risks: Shareholder Protection, explaining what it is, who needs it, and what happens without it.

The event is being held by Good Morning North event on Thursday, October 25th. So join us for breakfast and networking opportunities with other businesses whilst staying in touch with the latest news in the business world.

For further details please click here Good Morning North 25th October Invitation

Come to our free November seminar – ‘Protecting Family Wealth’ – Thursday 8th November

Sweeney Miller Law is hosting a free event at Durham Cricket’s Riverside Stadium giving advice on the best ways to protect family wealth – but places are limited, so please book now!

The seminar takes place in the Royal Caribbean Suite, Emirates Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3QR on Thursday, November 8th, starting 2 pm.

This event is for you if you are:

  • Worried about the future and losing the family wealth;
  • Concerned about Inheritance Tax and paying for Residential Care;
  • Would you like some free advice from the region’s leading experts.

The main speakers at the event will be David Smith, solicitor and head of private client at Sweeney Miller Law and Andrew Alexander, director and financial adviser for Three Counties Limited.

For more information and to book your place, please click on this link: Protecting Family Wealth

Alternatively, you can contact: alexandra@sweeneymiller.co.uk or ring Alexandra on 0191 568 2050.

This is a rare chance to get expert advice on how best to preserve and protect family wealth with information on approaching wills and probate, inheritance tax and residential care among a host of other financial issues.

Tea and coffees will be served and there will be a chance to talk to David and Andrew on a one-to-one basis.

North East Landlords’ Association holds September meeting – tickets here!

THE recently launched North East Landlords Association (NEL) is holding a FREE event this Wednesday, (Sept 26th) and anyone with an interest in property or property-related services is welcome to come along!

The meeting will take place at the Northern Football, Club, McCracken Park, Great North Road, Newcastle, NE3 2DT from 6.30pm-9pm (doors open 5.30pm) and is open to landlords, investors and all those whose businesses deal in or with property
The NEL has been set up to help ALL landlords in the North East and experts will on hand to give advice on property and rental legal issues, tax & accounts, landlord and property insurance as well as mortgages -10-minute slots can be booked.

There are also talks on:

  • How to Protect Your Investment (Janet Fay),
  • Property & Landlord Tax Update (Martin Wardle),
  • Guaranteed Cures for Condensation & Mould (Anthony Hunter).
    There will also be local and national updates and exhibition stalls offering information, help and assistance for all those involved in the property business.

Sweeney Miller Law was involved in the creation of the NEL – which has been developed as a landlords’ forum with the goal of informing, educating and helping property investors, supplying them with opportunities while giving them a greater voice in the region.

Call for Home Office Not To Get Data Protection Exemptions

Exempting the Home Office from new data protection rules could lead to miscarriages of justice, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Bar Council have warned.

Exempting the Home Office from new data protection rules could lead to miscarriages of justice, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Bar Council have warned.

Like thousands of other firms across the country, Sweeney Miller has been ensuring compliance with new GDPR rules due to come into force before the end of May 2018.

But the Law Society has pointed out that The Data Protection Bill currently before Parliament exempts the Home Office from personal data requests, that has prompted Law Society president Joe Egan to warn the Bill will undermine the ability of British and EU citizens, as well as other non-UK nationals, to challenge unlawful deportation ordetention.

“Recent events have shown how important it is to be able to scrutinise Home Office decision making,” he said.

“The GDPR and Data Protection Bill are based on accountability and transparency and the proposed exemption completely flies in the face of these principles.

“Anyone seeking their own personal data from the Home Office could be denied access without justification and with no avenue to appeal.”

Chair of the Bar Andrew Walker QC said: “If the new law is brought into force in the form the government wants, then those Commonwealth citizens – and many others – who are lawfully living and working in the UK will be denied the right to know what information the Home Office holds about them, which could make the difference between success and failure in a legal challenge to their wrongful detention or removal.

“The Home Office has a notoriously bad track record for unlawful decision-making, which can have catastrophic consequences for people who are detained indefinitely in removal centres or wrongfully deported.

“The legal profession’s concerns about the Bill were first raised many months ago, and we would urge the government to listen to them, even at this late stage.”

The Law Society and Bar Council are calling on all parties to remove the immigration control exemption from the Data Protection Bill and leave the Home Office subject to the same rules as everybody else.

Paul Miller of Sweeney Miller said: “This is an ongoing issue that needs to be closely looked at.

“Ourselves, along with so many other companies, have worked hard on making sure we are GDPR compliant and it is important that every effort is made to ensure that the law is fit for purpose from the start.”

Early July meeting of North East Landlords Association to be held in Sunderland

A NEWLY created Landlords Association for the North East, supported by Sweeney Miller, is holding a meeting in Sunderland next month in the wake of a successful launch in May.

Guests who want to get involved with North East Landlords, which aims to bring together and support landlords across the region, can attend the meeting due to be held at Bede Tower in Burdon Road on Tuesday, July 3 at 5.30pm.

More than 100 guests attended the first meeting of North East Landlords, held at the NatWest offices in Broad Chare, Newcastle.

And the hope is the association will grow to become a big help and support to landlords as far north as Berwick and as far south as Bedale.

The new association is the brainchild of four separate businesses – solicitors Sweeney Miller, accountants Robson Laidler, mortgage advisers Approved Mortgages Solutions Ltd and Coversure Insurance Services Newcastle.

They are working with former National Landlords Association’s North East representatives Bruce Haagensen and Steve Johnson to engage with councils on behalf of members.

Paul Miller, of Sweeney Miller – whose Sunderland offices are a stone’s throw away from Bed Tower, gave a well-received talk on current legal issues in conveyancing at the opening meeting.

He told the Echo: “We’re trying to create an organisation that has all the benefits of a national association but with a local presence so it can do things like engaging with all 13 local councils on behalf of landlords.

“That way, we would look to help inform local authority policy, support their engagement with the private rented sector and improve housing on offer.

“North East Landlords will do that exactly that, run by local people and meeting the needs of all private landlords from the Border to North Yorkshire, however it will also have a national presence as it will be affiliated to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

“We plan to hold regular meetings throughout the area, both north and south of the Tyne where there is demand from landlords and it was great to get the launch off to a flying start with such a successful event.

”Now we want to follow that up in Sunderland, providing a regular forum for investors buying residential and commercial properties to talk about the various trends and opportunities in their areas. “

Surbhi Vedhara, of Sweeney Miller, who was instrumental in the creation of the association said: “Our intention is to make the meetings informative and useful with trade stands at each meeting providing information for landlords, refreshments and topics relevant and interesting to private sector landlords.

“We also would like to engage with all the Local Authorities in the North East to represent the views of the private rental sector and ensure a good working relationship.”

Bruce Haagensen said “It is important for the private rented sector to have a voice with the aim of balancing safeguards for tenants’ interests and setting the right conditions to enable the sector to contribute fully to the provision of good quality, well-managed housing.

As well as Paul Miller’s talk, the first meeting heard how the Residential Landlords Association have expressed their support for the new organisation, a brief discussion on the lending market currently and an update on national and local issues.

For anyone wanting to go to the Bede Tower meeting next month, the link to get tickets is:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/north-east-landlords-july-meeting-tickets-46611046896?aff=es2

North East property investors supported by Sweeney Miller

SWEENEY Miller was proud to be involved in the inception of ‘North East Landlords’ – a forum set up to give property investors in the region a platform.

The launch event was held on Thursday, May 17th at the NatWest Offices, One Trinity Gardens, Broad Chare, Newcastle.

Explaining the mission of the new group, a spokesperson said: “We are setting up a landlords’ group with a few other professionals in the area.

“The idea is that we will hold events aimed at investors buying residential and commercial properties and talk about the various trends in these areas.

“So our message to landlords is this – would you like to see a Landlord Association that has all the benefits that a National Association can offer but with a local presence engaging with local Councils on your behalf?

“If so, you are going to be interested in our new Landlord Association which will be run by local people for the benefit of local Landlords.

“The new organisation will look to meet the needs of all Private Landlords from the Border to North

Yorkshire and hold regular meetings throughout the area, both north and south of the Tyne where there

is demand from landlords.

“Our intention is to make the meetings informative and useful with trade stands at each

meeting to provide information for Landlords, refreshments and topics of interest to private sector landlords.

“We also would like to be engaging with all the Local Authorities in the North East to represent the views of the PRS and try to ensure a good working relationship.”

The agenda on the launch night was:

  • Explanation of why the organisation is being established, how it will operate and what landlords would like to see it deliver.
  • A speaker from the Residential Landlords Association on how they will support the organisation.
  • A brief update on the Lending Market along with an update on national and local issues.

Call for Home Office Not To Get Data Protection Exemptions

EXEMPTING the Home Office from new data protection rules could lead to miscarriages of justice, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Bar Council have warned.

Like thousands of other firms across the country, Sweeney Miller has been ensuring compliance with new GDPR rules due to come into force before the end of May 2018.

But the Law Society has pointed out that The Data Protection Bill currently before Parliament exempts the Home Office from personal data requests,

That has prompted Law Society president Joe Egan to warn the Bill will undermine the ability of British and EU citizens, as well as other non-UK nationals, to challenge unlawful deportation or detention.

“Recent events have shown how important it is to be able to scrutinise Home Office decision making,” he said.

“The GDPR and Data Protection Bill are based on accountability and transparency and the proposed exemption completely flies in the face of these principles.

“Anyone seeking their own personal data from the Home Office could be denied access without justification and with no avenue to appeal.”

Chair of the Bar Andrew Walker QC said: “If the new law is brought into force in the form the government wants, then those Commonwealth citizens – and many others – who are lawfully living and working in the UK will be denied the right to know what information the Home Office holds about them, which could make the difference between success and failure in a legal challenge to their wrongful detention or removal.

“The Home Office has a notoriously bad track record for unlawful decision-making, which can have catastrophic consequences for people who are detained indefinitely in removal centres or wrongfully deported.

“The legal profession’s concerns about the Bill were first raised many months ago, and we would urge the government to listen to them, even at this late stage.”

The Law Society and Bar Council are calling on all parties to remove the immigration control exemption from the Data Protection Bill and leave the Home Office subject to the same rules as everybody else.

Paul Miller of Sweeney Miller said: “This is an ongoing issue that needs to be closely looked at.

“Ourselves, along with so many other companies, have worked hard on making sure we are GDPR compliant and it is important that every effort is made to ensure that the law is fit for purpose from the start.”

Need for the vulnerable to be legally protected is highlighted

THE need for the state to protect vulnerable people from being deprived of their liberty without proper legal safeguards has been highlighted by the Law Society in the wake of a stinging ruling in the Court of Protection.

In an unprecedented judgment, Mr Justice Charles, vice president of the Court of Protection, placed responsibility on the government to ensure each vulnerable individual whose liberty is considered in the Court of Protection has appropriate representation when their case is considered.

Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws said: “The judgment shines a light on a largely hidden area of our justice system where people suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or a learning disability wait indefinitely for their cases to be heard because of a lack of funding for representation.”

“People can be deprived of their liberty, their movements closely supervised and restricted and they may be given medication and other treatments to control their behaviour.

“These restrictive arrangements may be in the individual’s best interests, but authorisation from the Court of Protection is needed to ensure the vulnerable person’s rights are adequately protected.”

The Law Society’s campaign has been backed by Sweeney Miller, with the company doing more and more work to make sure correct legal provisions are in place for families where dementia or Alzheimer’s begins to become a factor.

Senior partner Paul Miller said: “This is an area that we have a great deal of experience in as a firm of solicitors.

“And the reality is that as we all live longer, the prospect of dementia or Alzheimer’s is something that needs to be generally considered and the correct provisions made in good time.

“The Law Society is right to highlight these extreme cases of vulnerability but the fact is that in the years ahead, this field is something that people are going to have to factor in more and more as they look at their, and their family’s legal affairs.”

Many people will understand the challenges of making decisions for a relative who is unable to give their consent.

And Christina Blacklaws added: “We are very grateful to Mr Justice Charles for his continued determination to highlight the human cost of cuts to local authority and rationed Ministry of Justice funding – and to find a solution.”

“The 330 stayed cases at the Court of Protection represent a fraction of the thousands of people around the country who we believe are being deprived of their liberty without proper judicial oversight, in contravention of their rights under the Human Rights Act.

“The Law Society Mental Capacity Accreditation scheme, which trains and vets solicitors so that they have the skills and knowledge to represent the interests of people who lack capacity, is only part of the solution.

“As Mr Justice Charles makes clear, the State can no longer abdicate responsibility for providing funding – either to local authorities or to the Ministry of Justice – to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Public access to home-buying information welcomed by Sweeney Miller

PLANS to help the public understand more clearly how buying and selling houses works, have been supported by Sweeney Miller.

The suggestion was made by the  Law Society of England and Wales argued in response to a consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Law Society believes making clear and concise information available at the right time could speed up the entire home buying process.

And Sweeney Miller is all in favour of efforts to help the public understand what is often a very complex process.

Paul Miller said: “Buying or selling a house can be a time-consuming and complicated business and occasionally it can be very confusing to the public who are unsure of exactly what the process entails.

“In such circumstances, any moves which give the public a greater understanding of what is involved is to be welcomed.

Paul’s words were echoed by Law Society president Joe Egan.

He said: “Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions people make, and it is important they have access to enough information to make an informed choice.

“Many people can get lost in the conveyancing maze – estate agents, lenders and conveyancers all have a role to play in ensuring things proceed as smoothly as possible.

“Home buyers and sellers should be aware of their rights, as well as the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the transaction. This should include an overview of the process and the potential costs and fees involved.

“We are calling on the government to ensure consumers have access to this information at the beginning of transactions. This should limit the number of purchases that fall through.”

On top of that, The Law Society has also argued the need for strong consumer protection.

Mr Egan added: “Ensuring clients are able to make informed decisions is just the first step in protecting their interests.

“We are also calling for all stakeholders to be held to codes of conduct or protocols which will maintain the high standards expected by consumers.

“There need to be minimum standards which require all relevant information to be shared.

“Too often we hear stories about consumers being surprised at the eleventh hour or after a sale has gone through about extra costs involved in their purchase – this is unacceptable.

“We want to ensure consumers are well-informed and protected.

“This consultation is a good first step in improving this process and we hope the government takes action to address our concerns – and more particularly the concerns of consumers.”