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Coronavirus

 

Charities facing hardships during Covid-19

Tim Field
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As if being a trustee of a charity was not hard enough, the financial pressure that has been placed on the charity sector by Covid-19 has made operating a charity even tougher. All charity trustees have a duty to act in their charity’s best...

No holiday to Scotland, but you can claim maintenance in England

Philip Hoddell
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In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court has held that a wife can pursue her ex-husband for maintenance through the English courts, even though they lived in Scotland and got divorced there.   When Emma Villiers separated from her wealthy...

Charity Checks! Are you operating within the rules?

Tim Field
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A Charity Commission reminder - Trustees must not be paid for their services as a trustee – read on and ensure your charity does not fall foul of the charity commission rules As if Prince Andrew was not surrounded in enough controversy at the moment,...

Can an employer make their employees take holiday?

Hannah Maxwell
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With travel plans disrupted this summer, most employees will be hesitant to use their holiday allowance until the current restrictions are lifted.  Employers are keen to have workers working rather than on holiday, especially as the business starts to...

New insolvency provisions and the impact on suppliers

Tracey Dickens
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This Act came into force on the 26 June 2020. The Government has been looking at amending the Insolvency Act 1986 ( “1986 Act” ) for some time now. Following the acceptance that the world was facing a pandemic, the Government announced it was...

Charity fundraising event cancellations

Tim Field
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Event cancellations due to Covid-19? Read about event deposits, contracts and more…  As we enter into the summer months it is highly likely that a number of charities would have been holding, or hoping to benefit from, a range of fundraising...

Charities step up to respond to the Covid-19 crisis

Tim Field
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Are your Charities objectives fit for purposes? Charities have been working hard during lockdown. The Covid-19 crisis remains financially viable and also determines how best they can help those most in need.  When a charity diverts its funds to help...

Can I get divorced during lockdown?

Melanie Loxley
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The end of a relationship is generally a very difficult and upsetting time.  For those who are in a failing relationship during lockdown, it must be even harder. If you find yourself in this situation then here are the answers to some questions you may...

Flexible furlough - one thing you might have missed

Julie Temple
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I am sure many, business and employees alike, are looking forward to the flexibility under the coronavirus job retention scheme from 1 July 2020 and the possibilities it brings. However, there is one important restriction that might have been overlooked and...

How furlough is changing from 1 July 2020

Julie Temple
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We've known some of the details since the changes were announced in May and guidance released earlier this month. Further guidance was released on 12 June 2020. What follows is a summary of how furlough will operate from 1 July 2020 and collated...

My experience of home working

Kevin Sullivan
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Kevin Sullivan, an Insolvency Partner, tells us about his experience working from home. Before the coronavirus pandemic, I was never keen on working from home – mainly because I never had the set-up and preferred the convenience and comforts...

Coronavirus: Family leave and furlough

Julie Temple
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Since the announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June, and the last day to place ‘new’ employees on furlough is 10 June 2020, confusion has come to the fore about those on family leave.  We...

Notice pay during furlough

Reggie Lloyd
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Employers may be considering making redundancies and employees may be notified that they are to be made redundant. Both will be keen to understand what payment they should receive if the employee is on furlough. How is notice pay calculated if an employee...

Furlough and flexible furlough - limitations and corrections

Julie Temple
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From 1 July onwards, the maximum number of employees that can be claimed for in any period cannot be higher than the maximum number that have been claimed for in a previous period. For example, if the highest single claim for periods up to and including 30...

Important changes to furlough and self-employed support scheme

Julie Temple
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On 29 May 2020, as part of the government daily briefing, the Chancellor announced the awaited details of how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (or furlough scheme) will change come 1 August 2020.  The headlines are that: For June and July...

COVID-19 sick pay for employers

Reggie Lloyd
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The reclaim scheme put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic for some organisations to reclaim statutory sick pay is now live (26 May 2020). Broadly, employers who had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020, are eligible to reclaim up to two...

Buying a house during coronavirus

Jemma Jones
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On 13 May 2020, the government brought in new rules for moving house during the COVID-19 outbreak. The current situation is not a return to normality and there are certain things you should think about carefully. Our expert property lawyers have this advice...

IR35 and off-payroll working rules update

Julie Temple
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It seems like a lifetime ago we were discussing and preparing for the implementation of changes to IR35 and off-payroll working rules from 6 April 2020.  On 17 March 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government took the welcome step to delay the...

Who helps you if you lose mental capacity?

Lisa Cox
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The Coronavirus outbreak has prompted many of us to think about the future. Specifically, who would help us if we lost mental capacity.  When someone has the capacity, they can make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This appoints attorneys to make important...

COVID-19 - returning to work and the next steps

Reggie Lloyd
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The Government set out revised guidance on 10 May 2020. It said where employees could do so they should work from home but where that was not possible employers are encouraged to get employees back to work in a safe environment.   If employers are...

Making a will - reforms on the way?

Tim Ogle
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We all know that it is important to put a will in place to make sure on our death, the executors we appoint are the ones entrusted to administer our estate as we wish it to be done, and the beneficiaries we wish to inherit our estate do so.  In short,...

Return from Furlough

Reggie Lloyd
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Government has said that it is important for businesses to carry on during this crisis. Some businesses are starting to reopen or seeing workload increase and looking to employees to return to the workplace, having worked from home or been on furlough under...

Employment guidance from 13 May 2020

Julie Temple
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Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May 2020, guidance was issued late on 11 May 2020: Our plan to rebuild - The UK government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy  New guidance launched to help Brits safely back to work  ...

Government plea to act responsibly in contractual relations

Tracey Dickens
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On 7 May 2020 the Cabinet Office issued guidance requesting that parties to contracts should act responsibly and fairly. Particularly in dealing with potential disputes and enforcement of terms, in order to support the response to Covid-19.  The...

Lasting Powers of Attorney: necessary & important documents

Tim Ogle
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The good news is that more and more people are sensibly choosing to protect their family and their family’s assets by putting lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) in place.   LPAs are the mechanism by which an individual (donor) chooses a...

Being on furlough and family leave

Reggie Lloyd
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Furlough before leave New regulations came into force on 25 April 2020. An individual on furlough and receiving less than normal pay during part or all of the relevant period, for the purposes of calculating statutory maternity pay, (or Maternity Allowance,...

Attending work meetings during furlough

Julie Temple
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Whilst on furlough, employees cannot work for or on behalf of their employer. Guidance says work is any work that: makes money for the employer or any organisation linked or associated with the employer provides services for the employer or any...

The challenge for business and HR continues

Julie Temple
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It was unusual for me to listen to the Prime Minister’s address on 10 May 2020 as it happened. I have made the deliberate and conscious decision to stay away from as much of the news around Covid-19 as possible. The conjecture and speculation are...

Resourceful business partner

David Cant
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We were really impressed to see our friends at Lambert Chapman setting up at home to make PPE with a 3D printer – they have produced 250 masks for local care homes and doctors’ surgeries on a 3d printer they bought with money they would...

Making the most of...pets, hobbies and leisure time

Jennie Skingsley
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Whilst working from home, many of our colleagues have found new talents or developed lockdown skills in their downtime, including baking, DIY, gardening and questionable hairstyles! They are also managing to keep sane with daily walks and we’ve all...

Making the most of...our community

Martin Hopkins
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Birkett Long has people and community at its heart. Since 2002, the firm has raised in excess of £350,000 for charities, but the aim is always to be involved. Birkett Long undertakes to provide practical, as well as financial, help wherever...

Disciplinary, grievance and consultation meetings during furlough

Julie Temple
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HMRC guidance issued on 30 April 2020 relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or CJRS, or the furlough scheme) clarified that employees on furlough (acting as representatives or companions) can carry out their duties and activities as a companion...

Making a will during the Coronavirus

Leah Woodnott
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My clients tell me that the current situation has made them think about whether they need to make a will, or whether their current will no longer reflects their wishes. As a firm, we are following government guidance and are now working from home, but we are...

COVID-19 The impact on borrowers & things to look out for in loan agreements

Thomas Emmett
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No business is sheltered from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Business owners are turning to their advisers for advice on how to deal with the short term impact of the crisis and also to help plan for the medium term. One of the key considerations for...

Employment after Covid-19: what will this look like?

Julie Temple
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For most, but not all, the ‘crisis’ stage of the Covid-19 pandemic is over and both business and employees are starting to reflect on what has happened and, more importantly, focus on what is to come. When and how the lockdown will be lifted? ...

Making an emergency statutory will

Rachel Leech
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During the coronavirus pandemic, the Court of Protection are prioritising their workload. One type of work they are prioritising is statutory wills for people who have a very short life expectancy.  What is a statutory will?  These are wills...

Attorneys behaving badly - when you should seek advice

Rachel Leech
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My colleague Leah recently wrote a helpful blog about managing someone else’s financial affairs during isolation .  This is one of many helpful articles online providing guidance for attorneys and deputies about how to correctly fulfil their...

Entering into a new contract during the COVID-19 outbreak

Thomas Emmett
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In the UK and around the world, governments have announced a variety of measures to support businesses whilst COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures remain in place.   Many businesses are facing commercial and practical...

Can I divorce during the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown?

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A common question being asked of family lawyers during the current crisis is whether it is still possible to obtain a divorce whilst the UK remains on lockdown. The simple answer to this question is yes. However, depending on what stage the divorce...

Dealing with wills and LPAs whilst social distancing

Claire Read
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The experiences I have had with dealing with wills and LPAs whilst social distancing...  If you need it changed or otherwise just let me know. There is no change in sight for the relaxation of the rules regarding the witnessing of wills or Lasting...

Arranging a funeral during COVID-19

Leah Woodnott
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The government has recently published guidance online for individuals who are arranging funerals. There are restrictions on how many people can attend funerals and the types of services that can now take place, in order to help prevent the spread of...

Deputies and attorneys must maintain their duties

Leah Woodnott
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The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) has recently published guidance regarding deputies and attorneys’ duties in England and Wales whilst they are in isolation. The OPG have stated that deputies and attorneys must continue in their...

Can employees refuse to return to work because of COVID-19?

Reggie Lloyd
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Some employees may be concerned about being required to work, or being asked to return to work, during the COVID-19 crisis. This is especially as the Secretary of State said that COVID-19 posed a serious and immediate threat to health on 10 February 2020. ...

How to check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy

Leah Woodnott
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The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) has recently published guidance notes detailing how NHS staff or local authorities in England and Wales can check to see whether a COVID-19 patient has a Deputyship Order, lasting power of attorney or...

Supporting families following parental separation

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On 2 April 2020, a message was issued on the importance of supporting children and families following parental separation from Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division. His message came as a result of a second report published on 12 March 2020...

Keeping your board meetings going whilst in lockdown

Tim Field
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As the country continues to be affected by the effects of Covid-19, I have been asked by a number of clients how they can continue to hold board meetings and effectively operate their company, whilst social distancing rules apply. Fortunately, there are a...

The impact of Coronavirus on the family justice system

Melanie Loxley
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The impact of the Coronavirus on our everyday lives is huge. Now that much of the UK is working from home or being unable to work, schools closed and our everyday routines and luxuries taken from us. One would be forgiven for thinking that the family...

What should you consider before using video conferencing?

Tracey Dickens
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Video conferencing app Houseparty’s owner, Epic Games, has been accused of enabling other apps of those using Houseparty to be hacked.  This accusation could have appeared through a commercial smear campaign. However, it made me think more...

How the furlough scheme works for office holders and LLP members

Tracey Dickens
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On 4 April 2020, the government updated its guidance for employers in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which enables employers to claim for employee wages, up to specified limits. The updated guidance addresses office holders, company...

Minimising the spread of COVID-19 in the construction industry

Perdeep Grewal
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What can the construction industry do to minimise the spread of Covid-19? The Government has recently told the construction industry to continue with its “critical contribution” to the UK economy. This means construction sites can remain open if...

EMI Schemes and furloughing staff

Tim Field
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In recent years, Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) share options have become an increasingly popular way for owners of small and medium sized businesses to incentivise and provide an opportunity for employees to become shareholders. Therefore they...

COVID-19: insolvency and winding up petition changes

Kevin Sullivan
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The impact COVID-19 is having on businesses and individuals is enormous and unprecedented. In response, governments across the globe are adapting to mitigate the economic disruption and to enable struggling businesses to weather the storm. On 28 March 2020,...

Coronavirus: what do landlords need to know?

Perdeep Grewal
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Parliament has now enacted the Coronavirus Act 2020. There are temporary changes affecting landlords and tenants: Landlords cannot waive the right to forfeit for non-payment of rent; Landlords must give 3 months’ notice to terminate all residential...

Is coronavirus going to cause a spike in divorces?

Melanie Loxley
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We are hearing reports that coronavirus may be responsible for a spike in divorce rates in certain provinces in China. This could be a side effect of couples being quarantined and the stress associated with being isolated with a loved one for a prolonged...

COVID-19: the first Court of Protection trial via Skype

Lisa Cox
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Last week the Court of Protection set a precedent conducting the first all-Skype trial in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus. If successful this could be a model for how the Court of Protection could continue to operate through this global health...

The Coronavirus Act

Reggie Lloyd
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On 25 March 2020 the Coronavirus Act became law. One of its purposes is to ease the burden of frontline staff, both within the NHS and beyond. It provides for Emergency Volunteer Leave. The Act sets out a new statutory right for workers to take emergency...

COVID 19: The increased use of electronic signatures

Jonathon Holyhead
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The precautions being put into place in the United Kingdom to address the spread of Coronavirus (COVID 19) includes, requiring many people to work from home. Birkett Long is no different, our staff are now working remotely. I myself have now had to take the...

COVID-19: Government considers changes to the ways wills are executed

Rachel Leech
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Currently, wills must be witnessed by two people. However, self-isolation can make this difficult, so the Government has announced that they are urgently look to change the requirements around witnessing wills. However, in the meantime, find out how you...

COVID-19: temporary change to buying or selling shares

Tim Field
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The government has released updated advice relating to the stamping of stock transfer forms, payment of stamp duty and the new measures put in place because of coronavirus. As you will be aware, when buying shares in a limited company the government imposes...

Coronavirus: a quick how-to guide for co-parenting

Karen Johnson
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We have been looking at some frequently asked questions and one that appears a few times is co-parenting. It’s fair to say that co-parenting effectively, following the breakdown of a relationship can be difficult at the best of times. These are not the...

Domestic Abuse and COVID-19

Karen Johnson
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The current health crisis being dealt with across the globe is placing exceptional strain on people and businesses as Governments fight to contain the coronavirus and protect public health, whilst maintaining key services.  Advice to the vulnerable and...

Are you an attorney for someone that is self-isolating?

Leah Woodnott
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The COVID-19 outbreak is causing an influx of attorneys having to take up their appointment under a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney due to the donor self-isolating. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA is a legal document which...

COVID-19 and the impact on family law

Karen Johnson
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The world is currently facing a global pandemic of proportions and impact that we have never seen in the modern world outside of the movies. The personal and economic consequences are immense, and the coming weeks and months will no doubt bring further...

Covid-19: Summary guidance for employees

Julie Temple
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14 May update The Prime Minister announced a change in the position on working on 10 May 2020. It represents a shift from “you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must” to “work from home if you can, but .. go to...

Are you self-isolating and need your will updating?

Leah Woodnott
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We know the importance of having your affairs in order can provide you with peace of mind, especially at a particularly unnerving time. The government has issued guidance on social distancing measures and the country should be taking steps to reduce the...

Is coronavirus a force majeure event?

Tracy England
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The UK government has recently announced guidance to contain the spread of coronavirus, advising that people should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres and stop all non-essential travel.  With the impending disruption posed to businesses, from cancellation...

Covid19 and the rental market

David Feakins
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Emergency legislation is being implemented which will stop landlords from issuing proceedings to evict tenants. The Government announced radical measures yesterday. These measures ensure that no renter, in either social or private accommodation, will be...

Covid-19: Summary guidance for employers

Julie Temple
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14 May update The Prime Minister announced a change in the position on working on 10 May 2020. It represents a shift from “you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must” to “work from home if you can, but .. go...

Coronavirus guidance for employers

Julie Temple
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The Prime Minister has said coronavirus could spread 'significantly' and, potentially, a fifth of the workforce could be off sick at its peak. I understand the situation is of growing concern to individuals and employers alike.  At work, both...

Force majeure: Is Coronavirus an Act of God?

David Wisbey
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This is one of a number of questions I have been asked by a client about the impact of the coronavirus on supply chains. Our client manufactures car components in factories in China. It also relies on suppliers of sub-components and raw materials that are...