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Sickness Absence: Fit for Work Service

Posted by on February 27th 2015 in Blog Posts

The Department for Work and Pensions has published a recent guidance note for employers on the new Fit for Work service (FFW). The service will be introduced on a phased basis and is due to be completed by May 2015. In addition to an online and telephone advice service, FFW will provide free occupational health assessments and return to work plans to assist employees who have been on sickness absence for four weeks or more to return to work.

This below checklist provides details on the FFW.

If you would like to contact Kitsons in regards to the FFW Policy, please call

Kitsons Partner set for Everest Base Camp Charity Trek

Posted by on February 18th 2015 in Kitsons News

                            

A Partner at Plymouth law firm Kitsons is facing the challenge of a lifetime when he will swap South Devon for the steep climbs of Nepal to take part in an expedition to walk to Everest Base Camp in aid of The Chestnut Appeal.

On April 16th 2015, family lawyer Tony Hunt will tackle the gruelling 130km climb to 5,500 metres above sea level across uneven terrain in challenging weather conditions. The 14-day trek will see Tony walk through some of the highest villages on earth and experience night temperatures of -15...

Is your aged debt causing more than cash flow problems?

Posted by on February 17th 2015 in Blog Posts, Debt Recovery

A recent study by Bacs, the payment processor, has uncovered some interesting, if not perturbing, statistics on the late payment of invoices. Consider the following:

  • The average small company is owed some £32,000;
  • The additional costs incurred by small companies resulting from late payments are in the region of £677 per month;
  • Companies employing fewer than 250 people are owed £32.4 billion;
  • Larger companies are owed £9.1 billion;
  • Overall, some 59% of businesses are affected by the issue.

If that wasn’t enough to give you pause, the overall effect of unpaid invoices means that a lot of directors, partners and sole traders are forced to...

Kitsons Solicitors Secures Top Accolade from National Law Society

Posted by on February 17th 2015 in Kitsons News

Kitsons Solicitors in Torquay, Exeter and Plymouth has secured The National Law Society’s law management quality mark, Lexcel.

Lexcel is developed specifically for the legal profession. It is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and in-house legal departments, which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards.

To gain and retain Lexcel accreditation, practice must undergo a rigorous initial then annual application and assessment process. This includes conducting background checks and an on-site visit from an experienced, trained Lexcel assessor.

James Cross, Managing Partner of Kitsons LLP said:

“While we are proud to have secured Lexcel,...

Litigants in Person: Blissful Ignorance?

Posted by on February 13th 2015 in Blog Posts

Since the courts increased the small claims track limit to £10,000.00 more and more cases are being allocated to a track that does not normally allow for the vast majority of costs to be recovered. This is despite parties often instructing lawyers to deal with the matter for them.

The starting point is that a Claimant (not typically a Defendant) can, if successful, recover their court fees and a nominal amount (usually between £70.00-£100.00) for the issuing of a claim form and obtaining judgment in certain circumstances. The exception to this rule can be found under CPR 27.14(2)(g) which allows for...

Stretching the Nil Rate Band?

Posted by on February 2nd 2015 in Blog Posts, Contentious Probate

This recent case involved a dispute between the family of the late Valerie Smith and a charity, the Woodland Trust.

What’s the background?

The current inheritance tax threshold (‘Nil Rate Band’) is £325,000. This amount is available to the estate of each individual, free of tax, in England and Wales on their death.

In order to protect against payment of inheritance tax, many people choose to leave a gift in their Will, which is equal to the value of the Nil Rate Band, with the balance being left to charity.

When someone dies leaving the whole of their estate to their surviving spouse or...

Online and Email Risks: Business Development Briefing

Posted by on January 30th 2015 in Blog Posts, Employment

This business development briefing highlights the risks all employees should be aware of when using email and the internet at work, sending work related emails or discussing the workplace on the internet.

Reputational risks

What you write in emails or on the internet could seriously damage your own or another person's reputation, you could lose your job and you and your employer could be sued, fined or even imprisoned.

Stop and think before you click

  • Anything written in an email has the potential for public exposure (for example, if the email is forwarded to others).
  • Posting on the internet is essentially making a public statement...

Social Media: The Termination of Employment

Posted by on January 30th 2015 in Blog Posts, Employment

The use of social media is fast expanding in the workplace. While an employer may legitimately restrict an employee's freedom of expression at work, or in a work-related context, whether that restriction can extend to personal, out-of-work, activities will depend on the circumstances of each case.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that an employment judge failed to take full account of the public nature of Twitter when finding that an employee's dismissal for posting offensive tweets was unfair. The judge did not properly consider whether the employee's purportedly private use of Twitter was truly private, given that he was...

Marriage (Same Sex) Conversion Act 2013

Posted by on January 29th 2015 in Blog Posts, Family

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was introduced to provide for legal status of relationships between two members of the same sex.  By giving legal status to same-sex relationships, the Act conferred rights and obligations similar to those available to married couples. In addition, on dissolution of the Partnership, the parties were entitled to make claims against one another in respect of income, capital, property and pensions, mirroring the S25 factors under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

After much debate, in December 2014, the Marriage (Same Sex) Conversion Act 2013 enabled Civil Partnerships to be converted to marriage. In addition, as of...

Lasting Powers Of Attorney - Are You Covered In Your Lifetime?

Posted by on January 28th 2015 in Blog Posts, Private Client

Last Friday evening on ITV, Money Expert Martin Lewis highlighted the importance of preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney. He talked about what would happen if you lost capacity without putting something in place to ensure that someone trustworthy can step in to manage your financial affairs or act on your behalf concerning your health and welfare.

Everyone knows it is important to make a Will to ensure assets are passed to the beneficiaries of your choice when you die, but what about protecting the assets when you are alive?

Illness or accidents can happen suddenly and without warning.  Common conditions relating to...