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What is a shareholders’ agreement and does your business need one?

It is easy to assume that nothing will go wrong in the future and hopefully nothing will. You might assume that as you have a good working relationship and trust your fellow shareholders, you don’t need a formal document that sets out your working arrangement. If a situation arises in future where there is a disagreement, although the articles will help to some extent, a well thought through shareholders’ agreement will give individual shareholders more protection. For example, if one shareholder acts dishonestly then there is normally not a lot that you can do to make them transfer their shares unless there are specific provisions contained within the documentation. If you are going into a new venture with someone, shareholders’ agreement gives you more confidence about your future relationships with them and helps you to avoid costly litigation in future. Are articles…

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Co-habitation agreements and Civil Partnerships

As of 31.12.2019, opposite sex couples are now able to enter into a Civil Partnership. Many people ask, what is the benefit of this? Until recently, a civil partnership was reserved for same-sex couples as same-sex couples were not allowed to marry. As marriage is now a possibility for both same-sex and opposite sex couples, a change was required so the same right could be given to opposite sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. Many couples in our generation do not agree with the archaic terminology and practices of marriage such as being someone’s “wife” or “husband” rather than equal partners. Many couples do not practice any religion and therefore being married in a church may be inappropriate for them. We have seen a shift in how people view older practices such as marriage in our modern society and experts…

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The importance of seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity during a divorce or separation

Baroness Hale of Richmond, who will shortly retire, is the first female president of the Supreme Court, which is the final court of appeal in the UK. As outgoing president, she has recently taken the opportunity to highlight her concerns about access to justice following legal aid cuts and said the problem was particularly evident in family courts. Lady Hale said: “It’s unreasonable to expect a husband and wife or mother and father who are in crisis in their personal relationship to make their own arrangements without help.” She said in such family dispute cases “there may be an imbalance in resources because of the lack of access”. She added that most people require legal help at the beginning of cases and additional resources would allow many disputes to be resolved at an early stage, without the need to go to court or…

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All I want for Christmas is…a divorce

At Sweeney Miller, we see it as assisting clients by taking away some of that pressure and to help them start afresh in the New Year. Couples who divorce or separate need to try and make suitable arrangements as to where a child should live or any other special arrangements which are needed for their children. Couples also need to have arrangements in place with the wider complexities following a split such as splitting assets, the family home, or pensions. Reaching a divorce agreement Some couples are able to reach an agreement themselves, but it is sensible to have the agreement put into an order which is approved by the Court so that is can be made legally binding. This would be as effective as an order made by a judge following a full hearing. In this scenario, we…

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What is an Option Agreement? 

The purchase price for the property may be agreed between the parties at the outset of the Option. Alternatively, a mechanism for calculating the final price may be inserted into the document and this may be by reference to formula (such as by reference to the market value of each plot developed on the land). Protection for the developer The Option Agreement blocks the landowner from selling the property to a third party during the Option period whilst the developer is exploring the viability of the project, thereby reducing the risk and potential cost to the developer. Once the developer has satisfied himself as to the feasibility of the proposed development, he can trigger the purchase of the property by ‘exercising’ the option. Once the Option has been exercised, it becomes an agreement to purchase making it obligatory for…

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North East Landlords Association Meeting – Next meeting Thursday 28th November

About this event There are experts on hand during the event to give you advice on investing in commercial property, tax and mortgage updates. Speakers at this event are: Surbhi Vedhara, Partner at Sweeney Miller Law – Surbhi will provide advice on ‘Investing in Commercial Property’ which will be a guide to residential property investors wanting to make the jump to commercial property investing. Bob Evans, Head of Outsourcing at Robson Laidler – Bob will be presenting a talk around Tax Updates Paul Hampton, Owner of Approved Mortgage – Paul will be presenting a talk around Mortgage Updates Come along and get the information, help and assistance you need for your property business. Doors open 5.30 pm. Tickets are free but spaces must be reserved here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/north-east-landlords-meeting-tickets-77860868955

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Three questions every business should ask before signing a commercial lease

Signing a commercial lease is often the first big financial commitment that a business makes. It is a legally binding contractual agreement between a business tenant and a landlord, which gives the tenant the right to use the property for business operations. In return for this, the tenant pays a fee and agrees to comply with certain other obligations. There are many different types of commercial leases and each come with their own costs and responsibilities. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to commercial leases, and each business should negotiate an agreement that best matches their business model. Before any business signs a lease agreement, they should make sure that they’ve asked the following three questions: How long do I need to pay the lease for? You must continue to pay your monthly lease agreement until the contract is ended….

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Sweeney Miller Law advises new ethical venture set to open its doors on Jesmond Road

The eco-conscious initiative started when founder Lauren Wedderburn and her partner watched a documentary which revealed how much waste the nation throws away. After making incremental changes, Lauren founded the business to help others do the same and live more consciously. From packaging-free groceries to bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel lunch boxes, the brand is offering non-plastic alternatives to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint. Speaking about the venture, Lauren said, “We decided it was time to do something. We started to make small, everyday changes to reduce our waste, to live a little slower and to lighten our footprints…But we wished it was more accessible, and more desirable, to live a more sustainable lifestyle in our city, and we knew there were many others who felt the same.” Set to open their store on Jesmond Road in Newcastle next…

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North East Landlords Association Meeting – Next meeting Thursday 26th September

About this event The event will help you get to know why NEL is being established, how we see it working and hear what you would like to see it deliver. There are experts on hand during the event to give you advice on Property and Rental legal issues, Tax & Accounts, Landlord and Property Insurance as well as Mortgages. There are also talks too: Tim Frome, Associate Director of Hamilton Fraser – Tim will update Landlords on the Property Redress Scheme. Suzy Hershman, MyDeposits – Suzy will give Landlords guidance on resolving disputes. Landlord Action – Providing tips on avoiding going to Court and dealing with problem Tenants. Bruce Haagensen of NEL – Providing usual update on issues affecting Landlords including legislative changes. There will also be some stalls from companies and people that can help you with your property business. Come along…

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When choosing a Family Law solicitor, why are location and face-to-face interaction a client’s priority?

Sweeney Miller has recognised that this is especially prominent in the Family Law department where people prefer to choose a solicitor that they can visit in person. The reasons for this could be that face-to-face interaction provides the opportunity for the client to fully explain their, often complex, situation. Another reason for the preference towards local solicitors is the frequency of word-of-mouth referrals for Family Law solicitors. Due to the sensitivity of the cases, people tend to go through a solicitor that a friend or family member has had a successful experience with. As people usually live close to their kin, they find themselves approaching a local firm. The YouGov survey also revealed that, when it comes to the delivery of legal services, online channels have replaced postal services while face-to-face offerings have remained relatively stable over the past…

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offices, commercial property

How do I pay stamp duty on commercial property leases?

In this blog post, the Sweeney Miller team takes you through the most common questions people ask us about Stamp Duty Land Tax and commercial leases. Do I have to pay Stamp Duty on a Commercial Property Lease? The simple (and probably disappointing) answer is – it depends. If you are a commercial tenant, SDLT may be payable on any of the following facets of your commercial lease: Grant Assignment Variation Surrender SDLT is not payable on all commercial leases, which makes this area of law particularly complex. To add insult to injury, failure to pay on time often results in additional liability for the overdue payment plus accrued interest, as well as a fine payable to HMRC. Calculating your liabilities wrong can also lead to unintended consequences. If you happen to overpay your SDLT, obtaining a refund from HMRC is not a…

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