Most of us don’t need to go to a solicitor that often but when we do it’s important to get the right legal advice. Ideally, you want someone who is not only competent and fully qualified but is an expert in the particular area of law that you need.
At Forster Dean, we’ve been providing legal advice across the North West for many years now and have built up a reputation for supporting people from all walks of life.
Whether you need advice on your legal position at work, have suffered a serious injury and want to claim compensation or simply want to write a will or settle a loved one’s estate, our team is here to help.
Employment law is a broad area and covers a range of different areas relating to the workplace and the relationship between business owners and employees.
Making a claim against your employer can be a daunting prospect which is why your solicitor must maintain confidentiality when you approach them for advice.
At Forster Dean, you can contact our specialist employment law team and talk in complete confidence and get the advice you need at any time. We won’t contact your employer directly unless you agree to us doing so. Areas where you may be able to claim or can get advice include:
- Disciplinary action: This can be taken by a business for a variety of reasons such as poor work performance, sickness and absence or breaking the terms of your contract. Employers need to follow a fairly formal process when it comes to disciplinary action, including informing you in writing of what you have done wrong and allowing you to set out your case.
- Health and safety issues: All workplaces have to follow the rules set down by health and safety legislation. Certain other industries have specific regulations that they need to abide by. In short, your employer should ensure that you can always work in a safe environment that does not adversely affect your health.
- Equal pay: The rules are quite clear on this – your employer should not pay you less because of a disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender.
- Discrimination: Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace still happens and it can be a traumatic experience to go through for anyone. Under the Equalities Act, you cannot be discriminated against because of your sex, religion, disability or other protected characteristic.
- Harassment: This can be difficult to handle and can have a huge impact on someone’s well-being. If you are being harassed at work and your employer is doing nothing about it, it’s important to seek legal advice about what you should do next.
- Unfair dismissal: While many businesses follow the right procedures, others do not. If you think the reason you have been dismissed is unfairly, then again you should contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
- Redundancy: In all cases, if you are being made redundant there is a strict process to follow according to the current regulations. This includes having access to a solicitor to check through the redundancy agreement for you.
- Contract violations: Many people sign a contract when they start work for a business. It’s not always the employee who breaks that agreement, however, business owners can do it too. If you think there has been a violation of your contract, talking to a solicitor can help you understand what your next move should be.
- Holiday pay: Most people who work a five-day week are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday a year. If you are working part-time you are also entitled to holiday pay on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you work three days a week you should get 16.8 days of holiday a year.
- Employment tribunals: Most disputes between employers and employees don’t go to a tribunal but if this is the case for you, it can be a demanding and trying experience. It’s imperative to have legal support if you are facing a tribunal.
Family law is another wide-ranging area of the legal profession and covers many different situations. Disputes within the family can be extremely traumatic and it’s important to work with a solicitor that has empathy and understands the delicate nature of the problem. Here are some things our expert team of family lawyers can help with:
- Divorce: This is probably the most common issue that is associated with family law services. When relationships break up it can be confrontational and a level head is needed when handling all the legal aspects. Working with a pragmatic and supportive legal team is essential.
- Cohabitee disputes: It’s not just married couples and those in civil partnerships that can struggle when things go wrong. Many people cohabit and have a family together and when the relationship fails then both sides need to have the right legal advice.
- Financial disputes: These can be a big part of relationship breakups especially if there are children involved. Settlement is normally achieved through negotiation but can, under certain circumstances, involve legal action where a financial order is made through the courts.
- Pre-nuptial agreements: Not all family law is confrontational. Pre-nuptial agreements are fairly common nowadays, especially when couples with high net worth are building a relationship.
- Child custody: One of the more sensitive aspects of separation involves child custody, including who looks after the children and what visitation rights there should be.
- Domestic violence: Providing support for victims of domestic abuse is critical and a professional legal team can help with aspects such as applying for court orders that state who can stay in a particular property and preventing a partner or former partner from harming you or your children.
As with other legal services, your family law solicitor must be not only empathetic but also completely discrete. You may not want others to know that you are getting legal advice and your solicitor should maintain confidentiality at all times unless you agree otherwise.
The most common reason any of us might want to hire the services of a legal team is when we buy or sell a house or other property. Conveyancing is the legal process by which contracts and the ownership of a property change hands.
Both buyers and sellers will hire the services of a conveyancing solicitor and most of the legal communication will go back and forth between these professionals. You can, if you choose, decide to do the conveyancing yourself but this has several pitfalls. If you get it wrong then you have no recourse if you lose out. Conveyancing solicitors are fully insured and highly experienced and are well worth the extra cost.
Conveyancing usually goes through a set process and that includes the solicitor carrying out various searches on the property. For example, they will check that there are no new planning projects (like a huge motorway) likely to affect the property in the future or they’ll investigate whether the area is categorised as a flood risk.
In addition, your conveyancing solicitor will advise you of additional costs that need to be paid such as stamp duty, liaise with your mortgage lender to make sure they have all the relevant information and check any legal documents presented by the other party involved in the transaction.
Once all the payments and fees have been made, your conveyancing solicitor will then register you as the new owner of the property with the Land Registry.
In most cases, conveyancing runs pretty smoothly and is a seamless process but things can go wrong. That’s why it’s important to have a fully qualified and expert solicitor on your side. At Forster Dean, we have many years of experience providing conveyancing services across the North West, including in areas such as Widnes, St Helens and Wigan.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury and it wasn’t your fault, then you may be able to claim compensation if a third party is at fault. A serious injury can cause long-lasting issues for any individual and it’s important to reach out for legal advice as soon as you can.
If you’ve been in an accident, you may not be able to work for some time. You then have the financial problem of not earning money and being unable, for example, to meet your mortgage obligations or pay the rent.
If the injury has left you with a disability, your return to work may be curtailed. You might not be capable of doing the same job and earning the same level of pay. You may have to make adjustments to your daily living, for example, if you have to use a wheelchair or are left visually impaired. There could be psychological effects from the injury that prevents you from living your life to the full.
Of course, if you’ve been injured, contacting a solicitor may be the last thing on your mind. Compensation, however, can help you manage your financial situation and put in place adjustments to your daily living that make a positive difference.
A personal injury lawyer is there to provide support for you at all stages of the claim process. That can include arranging interim payments to help you recover and get your life back on track and give you certainty about your current financial situation.
Personal injury lawyers are highly specialised and focused on doing the best for their clients. At Forster Dean, you’ll find an empathetic and supportive team who have your best interests at heart.
The first thing we can do is offer you a free initial consultation where we discuss your injury and the impact that it has had on your life. That way you can find out if there is a basis for a claim and what you need to do next.
If there is a basis for a claim, we offer a no win no fee service. Taking legal action can be expensive. What this service means is that we don’t charge you upfront fees for the work we are undertaking. Fees will only be charged once the case has been one and compensation awarded. If the case is not successful, then you pay nothing.
Wills and Probate
Another more common reason to seek legal advice is when you are putting together a will. According to some research, as much as 60% of the adult population in the UK doesn’t have a will.
Of course, none of us wants to think about a time when we are no longer here. Dying intestate, or without a will, however, means that those you leave behind will not be able to settle your estate quickly. It normally ensures that the courts take over and determine who should be the executor and to who your assets should be given. This can take a lot of time and money at a time of deep distress. It pays to have a will so that you have complete peace of mind.
Putting together a will is a relatively simple process and doesn’t have to be expensive. Using a qualified will and probate solicitor makes sense because they have experience and understanding of the law. They can talk through all the options and make sure the document is drawn up correctly. You then need to sign it and have the will witnessed.
If you already have a will but want to revise it or have a solicitor look over it for you, our team can do this for you as well.
At Forster Dean, we also provide full probate services. When someone passes away a named executor usually handles the disposal of the estate and the distribution of assets. A solicitor will help you with the paperwork and put together a grant of probate. This then gives you the authority to handle your loved one’s estate, from closing down bank accounts to passing on assets to those named in the will.
We can also help with other aspects such as setting up Lasting Power of Attorney and creating trusts for loved ones.
Contact Forster Dean Today
With offices in Widnes, Runcorn and St Helens, Forster Dean is one of the leading law firms in the North West. We provide a range of different legal services and advice including employment law, personal injury claims, wills and probate and conveyancing.
If you need legal advice, contact our friendly team today.