LGBT Library

A guide for individuals: discrimination in the workplace

Unfortunately discrimination in the workplace has not been confined to the annals of history. If you are an employer or you find yourself subject to discrimination it is important to know your rights and how the law can offer protection. Discrimination...

Avoid empty buildings

Farming families, particularly those who have suffered a family bereavement, will be familiar with the battle with the Revenue to secure Agricultural Property Relief (APR) or Business Property Relief over farming assets. The reality is that many leave it too...

Birkett Long to provide free legal advice for those celebrating Essex Pride

A team of solicitors from law firm Birkett Long will be on hand at Essex Pride in Chelmsford Central Park on Sunday 4 September to provide free legal advice. Those seeking a fun family day out at Essex Pride will be able to drop in on the team for...

Blended families - why it's important to have a will

In a recent study, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) found that an increase in what are known as ‘blended families’ is leading to increased complexity in estate planning. Blended families are where there are children from...

Buying and selling a business - Preparation is key

Whether you are considering an exit from or entrance into a business, preparation is key!  If you plan to purchase shares in a company, or  you want to sell your shares, there are certain important aspects of which you should be aware. Here we...

Child Maintenance Debt

The Child Support Agency (CSA) was set up in the early 1990s with a remit to trace parents who no longer live with their children, calculate how much maintenance should be paid and monitor those payments. Failure to meet its targets and internal procedural...

Cohabitation and Death

When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to the bereaved partner to discover that not all of their late partner’s estate will pass to them in the absence of a will. It is only when this happens that many people...

Cohabitation v marriage

For many years it has been felt that the law for cohabiting couples needs reform, to bring the remedies for these relationships more in line with those available to married couples.  But does the law, as it currently stands, ever bring greater rewards...

Collaborative law might be the answer

There have been some high profile divorces in the news in recent months, for all the wrong reasons.  Michelle Young received £20 million from the businessman, Scott Young.  During the case the judge rightly criticised Ms Young’s...

Common law husband or wife

There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife. Many people are left in a difficult position following their partner’s death having relied on this fictitious concept. If you have provided for your partner by making a will, and named them...

Could your will be disputed?

No one wants their loved ones to squabble over their will, but these types of disputes are on the increase.  Many people make a will and then forget all about it.  But everyone’s circumstances change and your will needs to reflect...

Difficulties surrounding a child's name in blended families

In most heterosexual relationships, children still take their father’s surname at birth. That surname cannot be legally changed without the consent of both parents or a court order.  In unmarried families this can result in the child having a...

Divorce in mid life

An increasing number of couples are separating and divorcing in their 50’s.  Opinions why are divided.  Twenty years of raising children may have helped cover over fault lines in the marriage or even just a gradual drifting apart.  But...

Don't let tax bills double the heartache

From their initial introduction at University in the late 1970s, Sam and Terry became devoted to each other. A property developer, Sam made a good living, enough to buy a house in London worth £650,000, which they owned in joint names. In addition Sam...

Equality for LGBTQ+ families when someone passes away

As it is Pride Month, I thought what better time to reflect on the laws that have come into force to provide equality for LGBTQ+ families. In particular, I want to look at what happens when dealing with someone’s estate when they pass away.  ...

How to ensure that your loved ones are protected...

…and your inheritance is given to the right people! Did you know LGBTQIA people are less likely to get married and often don’t feel the need to write a will.  While the change in laws that protect LGBTQIA families have led to better...

How to protect your business should something happen to you

Are you running a business as a company director or as a partner? Perhaps you are a sole trader. Maybe you are working successfully as a freelancer. It’s only natural to focus on the ‘here and now.’ But it's also important to think...

IHT Nil Rate Bands

The recent Inheritance Tax (IHT) change which allows the transfer of ‘unused’ nil rate bands from spouse to spouse or from civil partner to civil partner has been generally welcomed, but it has caused some consternation as determining the...

ISPs Exempt from Hate Speech Charges

New Regulations have recently been passed that exempt internet service providers (ISPs) from responsibility for sexuality-related hate speech transmitted over their networks. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 amended the Public Order Act 1986...

Inheritance and same sex partners: to what extent does the law protect those who decide against Civil Partnership?

Prior to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 the law created a wholly unfair inequality in inheritance laws between different and same sex couples. The only way to ensure that your partner would receive anything from your estate was to make a Will specifically...

Intestacy Limits - Reminder

Although we have mentioned this before, we make no apology for repeating ourselves! The levels of statutory legacy (the amount that surviving spouses or civil partners are allowed to inherit if their spouse/civil partner dies without leaving a will)...

Modern families and family law

The excitement and thrill of planning a new baby can - for some couples - turn to heartache as they experience difficulties in conceiving. If you are considering fertility treatment, donor conception or surrogacy, there are certain important legal aspects of...

Parental responsibility - what does it mean?

We are regularly asked by parents what parental responsibility means, what rights parents have and the circumstances in which these rights can be acquired.  We hope that this article will assist with some of the misunderstandings in this complex area...

Same Sex Marriage; One Step Closer?

Recently, the equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone, said that key religious elements, which are currently prohibited from civil partnership ceremonies, could soon be permitted under proposed changes to the law. This change will allow elements such as...

Same-Sex Couples and Parenthood

When the relationship of a same-sex couple who have children breaks up, there can be a problem regarding the meaning of the word ‘parent’, because at least one of the couple will not be the biological parent of the children. In a recent case, a...

Solicitor in unique tie-up with Essex gay group

An Essex firm of solicitors has sealed a unique tie-up with a group representing the county’s gay community. Birkett Long, which has offices in Chelmsford and Colchester, sponsors the Essex Gay Men (EGM) website, and provides a service tailored to the...

The LGBTQ+ community and the Family Courts

We have come a long way in the Family Courts in recognising all members of our community when considering what is acceptable in family law.  A prime example is marriage.  Historically, only a heterosexual couple could formalise their union...

Top 10 reasons to review your will

With spring around the corner, why not take the opportunity to do a spring clean and tidy away your copy of your will? Whilst you are there, it is a good idea to check through each clause in your will to see whether your personal circumstances have...

Turn to Twitter for free legal advice from Birkett Long

Essex law firm, Birkett Long, is preparing to use the power of social media to offer members of the public free help with their legal enquiries. Lisa Collins, a family lawyer, is holding a question and answer session via her Twitter account, @LisaCollinsBL,...

We've come a long way, but inheritance tax still exists!

In 2003, Essex Pride was established, and how far the law has come even since then! It is now illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the workplace under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations. Same-sex couples undergoing fertility...

What is a Special Guardianship Order?

A Special Guardianship Order is an order made by the court appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian’.  It is effectively an enhanced Child Arrangements Order as the child will be deemed to live with you...

Who pays for children in same sex relationships?

In June this year, the High Court considered the question of maintenance for children where a same sex relationship had broken down.  The birth mother (referred to as T) and her former female partner (referred to as B) started living together in 1994,...

Your digital afterlife

Recent news stories have highlighted how we do not take seriously the issue of what happens to our digital records after we die.  We live in a world where many of us have digitally stored financial details, emails, music collections, social media...