Frequently Asked Questions

Childcare

The local authority has applied to court for a care order (or supervision order), can you help?
The local authority have arranged a child protection conference, can you help?
The local authority is threatening to remove my child from my care, can this happen?
My grandchildren are in local authority care and I would like to care for them. Can you help?
The local authority has applied to court for a care order (or supervision order), can you help?

Yes we can.
If you are a parent, or a person with parental responsibility, for a child and the local authority has made an application for a care or supervision order for that child, you will be entitled to legal aid, regardless of your income or any savings you have. This will enable us to help you understand the legal process and attend all court hearings with to ensure that your views are heard and considered by the court.

If you do not have parental responsibility, you may still be entitled to legal aid, but this will be dependent on your income and the likelihood of your case succeeding. If this applies to you, contact us to arrange an appointment where we can advise you further.

The local authority have arranged a child protection conference, can you help?

The local authority is responding to a concern that your child is or might be at risk of suffering some form of harm. They will invite all professionals involved in your child’s life, to a meeting (a child protection conference), to see what assistance or support can be provided to you and your child. You will be invited to this meeting and you should attend to ensure that no decisions about your child are made without your knowledge and input.

You may wish to take someone with you to these meetings for support. You may be entitled to legal aid, to obtain full advice and assistance and if so, we will be able to attend these meetings with you. Please do contact us, to find out whether you are eligible for legal aid, to arrange an appointment and obtain the benefit of legal advice at this early stage.

The local authority is threatening to remove my child from my care, can this happen?

Yes.
However, there are only three ways in which the removal of your child from you care, can legally occur.

Firstly, the police may remove your child, if they have reasonable cause to believe that your child is likely to suffer significant harm. This is known as Police Protection. Your child can only be removed by the police for a maximum of 72 hours. After this your child must be returned to your care, or, an application must be made to the court for a court order.

Secondly, by way of a court order such as an Emergency Protection Order or an Interim Care Order. In both of these instances, you should have the opportunity to attend court, before the order is made, to ensure that you have your say. If you receive notice that a court hearing is to take place, please do contact us and we will do all that we can to assist you.

Thirdly, you may be asked by the local authority to give your consent to the removal of your child. It is in your interests to seek legal advice before providing such consent and again if you contact us, at this stage, we will do all that we can to advise and assist you as to the appropriate way forward for you and your child.

My grandchildren are in local authority care and I would like to care for them. Can you help?

Yes.
The local authority always has to consider whether there are any family members who can provide care for children who cannot live with their parents. The local authority will need to undertake some assessment of you to make sure that you are able to look after the children and meet their needs.

It is important that you contact the social worker so that the local authority is aware that you wish to look after the child and can start the process.

It is also in your interests to seek legal advice, so that you can be re-assured that all is being done to consider you. Legal aid may be available so please do contact us, to find out whether you are eligible, to arrange an appointment and obtain the benefit of legal advice at this early stage

Conveyancing

What do the Solicitors Actually Do?
How Speedily can the Transaction be Carried Out?
Are There Hidden Charges in Your Quotation?
What Happens if the Transaction does not Complete?
Is it not Cheaper to use a Conveyancing or Internet Company?
Do you Offer a Personal Service?
Why Choose Carvers?
What do the Solicitors Actually Do?

In essence, we arrange for the transfer of the property from one person to another. This involves carrying out searches to ensure the property is not blighted by such matters as road widening, flooding, mining, or landfills and ensuring that all existing restrictions on the property such as mortgages and obligations, imposed in the case of leasehold property, have been removed. In the case of a sale transaction, your solicitor will ensure that all the queries raised by the buyer’s solicitor are responded to and in the case of a purchase transaction, will raise all the necessary questions relating to the seller’s ownership of the property. On completion of your purchase, your solicitor will arrange for your title to the property to be registered at H M Land Registry.

How Speedily can the Transaction be Carried Out?

We will move very quickly but the speed of your transaction will depend on many factors such as how long it takes for your mortgage offer to be available and the circumstances of all the other parties involved in the chain.

We will always do our best to move you as quickly as possible but this will not be allowed to impede the quality of the work we do for you.

Are There Hidden Charges in Your Quotation?

In short, No. We will quote you one fee for our professional services and also inform you of the cost of the disbursements.

What Happens if the Transaction does not Complete?

We do not charge for abortive transactions. This could save you hundreds of pounds if your transaction does not ultimately proceed to completion if, for example, your Buyer’s should withdraw from their purchase of your property or your circumstances change and you are unable to proceed with your sale.

Is it not Cheaper to use a Conveyancing or Internet Company?

Often these firms offer cheaper ‘up front fees’ but there are usually substantial hidden fees that greatly increase the real cost, i.e. Additional separate charges for acting for a lender, if you are obtaining a mortgage and for completion of the Inland Revenue Stamp Duty Land Tax Form.

It is important to bear in mind that Solicitors have many years of legal training and expertise and in addition, this Firm is proud to be a member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which is the Law Society’s sign of excellence.

Do you Offer a Personal Service?

Yes, we meet all of our clients and Client Care is of paramount importance. You will be able to contact the person dealing with your case by telephone or email.

If however you are out of area and it is not convenient to meet with us at our offices, we can correspond by post, email and all other modern forms of communication. We act for clients in all parts of England and Wales.

Why Choose Carvers?

Because, modestly, we offer an unsurpassed service committed to Client Care, Speed and Excellence and we are members of the specialist Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

Divorce

What are the grounds for divorce?
What is the procedure for obtaining a divorce?
How much will my divorce cost?
What are the grounds for divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The person who starts the divorce proceedings is known as ‘the Petitioner’ and his/her spouse is called ‘the Respondent’.

To satisfy the court that there has been an irretrievable breakdown the Petitioner must prove one of the following five facts:

  • That the Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent.
  • That the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent.
  • That the Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce.
  • That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce and the Respondent consents to a Decree being granted.
  • That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately before the start of the divorce.
What is the procedure for obtaining a divorce?

The divorce process is started by filing with the County Court a divorce application. If there are any relevant children of the family a statement of arrangements for those children has to be submitted with the divorce application to the Court.

The Court will send copies of these documents to your spouse. Your husband or wife should return to the Court the acknowledgement of service form saying whether or not they will defend the divorce.

They should do this within 8 days of receiving the petition.

Once your husband or wife has sent the acknowledgement of service form to the Court, the Court will send a copy to you.

Should they fail to acknowledge service, it may be necessary to ask the Court Bailiffs to hand copies to them personally.

Once the acknowledgement of service form has been received, or once service of the Court application/petition has been proven, an application for the Decree Nisi can be prepared. A date for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced will be fixed by the Court.

Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, then six weeks afterwards you can apply for the divorce to be finalised, called the Decree Absolute. In all, a divorce can take as little as 4 , 6 months from start to finish.

How much will my divorce cost?

We charge £495.00 plus VAT for the work that we undertake in respect of an undefended divorce on behalf of a Petitioner. In addition there will be Court fees of the divorce petition fee of £550.00.

If we act for the Respondent, the person who responds to the divorce, our costs will be £250.00 plus VAT. There are no Court fees.

However any work with regard to dealing with issues relating to children or finance would be charged separately.

Employment

Do you advise on settlement agreements? If so, how much will it cost?
I believe I have been unfairly dismissed by my employer. What is the deadline for filing my employment tribunal claim? Is there a proscribed form?
I believe I have a sex discrimination claim. How quickly do I need to lodge my employment tribunal claim? Do I have to leave my employment?
I wish to raise a grievance against my employer. Can Carvers help?
I have been invited to attend a disciplinary hearing by my employer. My employer has written to me saying that I could be dismissed. Can you help?
I have received a letter from my employer stating that I am “at risk” of redundancy. No one else has received this letter. Is this legal?
If I bring a claim in the employment tribunal, what compensation will I recover?
Do I have to pay any fee to bring an employment tribunal claim?
Do I have to pay the other side’s legal or other costs, if I lose my claim?
Is my claim covered by insurance?
Do you advise on settlement agreements? If so, how much will it cost?

Yes, we can provide advice on settlement agreements. Usually the employer will pay the cost of this advice (or contribute up to a limit) so that you potentially pay nothing to receive the advice.

I believe I have been unfairly dismissed by my employer. What is the deadline for filing my employment tribunal claim? Is there a proscribed form?

Since 2014 there has been a requirement to follow the ACAS Early Conciliation process (the ‘EC Process’) before you can submit an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal.  You require an EC certificate number before you can submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

You must enter into the EC process within 3 months (less 1 day) from the date of termination.  While in the EC process it temporarily stops the clock running on the ordinary limitation period.  However, the rules surrounding activation of the EC process and extension to the ordinary time limits are complicated.  We can assist you and guide you through this process.

There is a form which you must use to file your Employment Tribunal claim, called an “ET1”.  This requires you to complete certain mandatory details and requires you to insert your EC certificate number.  If the form is completed incorrectly it can be rejected.  Again, we can assist you with drafting and/or filing your claim.

I believe I have a sex discrimination claim. How quickly do I need to lodge my employment tribunal claim? Do I have to leave my employment?

The time limit for bringing a discrimination complaint is generally within three months from the date of the act complained of. You can bring discrimination complaints, for example, a sex/race/disability discrimination complaint, whilst still being employed. There are circumstances in which the usual time limits may be extended, but you should seek specialist advice as the time limits are very strictly observed. Note that if your claim is for equal pay, the usual time limit is six months from termination of employment. You do not need to have left your employment.

I wish to raise a grievance against my employer. Can Carvers help?

All employers must operate a grievance procedure and this will detail the process you must follow. We can advise you on whether it’s worth raising a grievance in the first place, how you should raise it and advice on possible outcomes. The level of support we will provide depends on how much of our help you need. We could, for example, help you write appropriate letters and statements and help you compile evidence to substantiate your grievance and we can assist you with any negotiations with your employer.

I have been invited to attend a disciplinary hearing by my employer. My employer has written to me saying that I could be dismissed. Can you help?

Yes, we can advise on process issues and help you know what to expect. All employers usually operate a disciplinary procedure, which is the starting point. If you have at least two years’ service with your employer the employer must follow a “fair” process (which usually involves the employer following its own disciplinary procedure) before they dismiss you. Otherwise you could have the right to claim unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal against your employer.

I have received a letter from my employer stating that I am “at risk” of redundancy. No one else has received this letter. Is this legal?

There is a specific definition of redundancy in the Employment Rights Act 1996. Basically, the business’ requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind has ceased or diminished. This usually means that there is to be a reduction in employee headcount and the work may still need to be performed, but in a different manner. The employer is usually obliged to follow a fair process before implementing a redundancy dismissal, including consultation with the employee (particularly if you have at least two years’ service). If there are other employees doing similar work to you, they should arguably be pooled with you and a selection exercise carried out. If redundancy is confirmed, you will (so long as you have at least two years’ service) receive a statutory redundancy payment. The employer must give you notice of termination of employment. Carvers can advise you on whether the correct process has been followed and if you have any potential claims.

If I bring a claim in the employment tribunal, what compensation will I recover?

Compensation for unfair dismissal is made up of two elements:

  • The basic award; and
  • The compensatory award.

The basic award is calculated via a set formula and is equivalent to statutory redundancy pay. The compensatory award is linked to the actual financial loss caused by the dismissal. The maximum compensatory award is currently £83,682 for the year 2018 commencing 6 April. The figure is reviewed in April each year.

Do I have to pay any fee to bring an employment tribunal claim?

On 26 July 2017, the government abolished Tribunal fees.  There are no fees to be paid when submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

Do I have to pay the other side’s legal or other costs, if I lose my claim?

In employment tribunals, awards in respect of costs are the exception, rather than (as applies in the civil courts) the general rule. Costs do not follow the event. It is only if a party is found to have acted vexatiously or unreasonably in the bringing or conduct of the proceedings, or the claim is misconceived, that a costs award will be made. The tribunal can take into account the paying party’s ability to pay.

Is my claim covered by insurance?

Ordinarily we charge for the advice and assistance that we provide.  At the outset we will let you know how we will charge and provide an estimate for the work required.

However in certain circumstances we may assist you if you have Legal Expense Insurance (LEI insurance’) to cover your claim, without sending you any bill.  If you have an insurance product (e.g. house had insurance) you may have optional Legal Expense Insurance which may cover our legal costs for employment advice.  When speaking to us please let us know if you have such insurance cover.  We would then check whether we would be able to cover our costs under your insurance, and potentially without any direct cost to you.

Wills

Why make a will?
Why make an LPA?
Why make a will?

If you have children, you will need to make a Will so that arrangements for the children can be made if either one or both parents die;

It may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on the inheritance if advice is taken in advance and a suitable Will made;

Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a Will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner;

If your circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a Will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your Will. If you are married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous Will you have made invalid.

Why make an LPA?

While you are mentally capable you can choose the people you would like to act on your behalf if you become mentally or physically incapacitated.

You can give authority to “Attorneys” to make decisions concerning your PERSONAL WELFARE and/or PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS.

If you make a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”), the Power will still be valid even if you become mentally incapable later on.

Personal Injury

Where my matter has been referred to you, as opposed to me approaching you directly, will you pay a fee to that referrer and will that money come out of my compensation award? Will the referrer have any influence over my case?
Are no win-no fee arrangements still available?
Are no win-no fee arrangements still available?

Yes, such agreements have survived the recent changes to the rules regarding funding of the claim, and the recoverability of certain costs and disbursements, and are in fact, in appropriate circumstances, still one of the most commonly employed means of funding a personal claim.

Legal Notices/ Pricing

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Complaints Procedure
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Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure here. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

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