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What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection appoints a Deputy or Deputies to act for someone who cannot manage their affairs due to mental incapacity and who has not previously made an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney. 

The Court of Protection also resolves disputes about whether a person should act as an Attorney or Deputy.  The Court has the power to remove Attorneys and Deputies and appoint a new Deputy as a replacement. 

The Court can also authorise gifts and the creation of a will if the person does not have a will, or if an existing will needs to be altered.  There are also powers of the Court to make orders about an incapacitated person’s health & welfare.

In order to obtain a Deputyship Order, there are fixed legal fees of £1,140 (£950 + VAT) to prepare the application. These fees can increase where there is complexity, for example:

  • Additional orders (e.g. appointment of trustee for sale of co-owned property)
  • Additional deputies
  • Need to investigate and report on assets where unknown at time of application
  • Objections raised by others (where there is an objection there will be delays to the appointment, statements to be drafted and preparation for hearings, so costs can quickly escalate in these circumstances)

  • Plus:
  • Court application fee of £365
    N.B. If capital is less than £16,000 for over 60s, or £3,000 for under 60s  - there may be an exemption (means-tested benefits) or remission (100% for income under £12k, then sliding scale to where no remission) available for those on low incomes. 
  • There may be further expenses such as for a doctor’s report (normally £150 - £250).

The time scale is 4 - 6 months for a simple application.

The Court of Protection team has considerable experience with this kind of work and we currently look after the affairs of more than 150 clients on a continuing basis.

A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made if a person has capacity.  The mother or father’s capacity will need to be assessed. If they lack the capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed.

A will can be contested on the basis that it is invalid for one of a number of formal reasons or where an individual may feel they have not been sufficiently provided for (if at all) and are therefore thinking about making a claim for financial provision.

Most commonly claims begin with correspondence between competing parties and their lawyers. This first stage is often key to success. Setting out a claim carefully and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the other party’s claim and early disclosure can often help resolve disputes.

In all cases we would advocate early mediation as an alternative to going to Court.  If the dispute can be ​resolved by agreement the claim will be settled more quickly, more cheaply and often in circumstances that enable the parties to obtain closure and possibly reconciliation. The vast majority of the cases are settled before trial, usually within 12-18 months.

It is generally the case that each party will be responsible for his/her own costs during the course of any litigation. At the end of the case a Judge will decide which party should pay the cost of the litigation. The usual rule is that the losing party will pay the costs of both parties (subject to some exceptions) although on many occasions costs will be paid from the estate.

The potential liability for costs and various funding options is something that is discussed with Claimants or personal representative at the outset so that they can decide how they wish to proceed in pursuing or defending a claim.

Only certain categories of person are eligible to make a claim for financial provision against an estate and this is a matter that is discussed at the outset of the first enquiry. Any claim is subject to strict time limits and must be made within six months of the issue of the Grant of Probate.

We provide advice and representation across the spectrum of family law.
The services which we cover in our family department are:

  • Divorce
  • Property and financial disputes including businesses, pensions and maintenance
  • Children Law; Parental Responsibility, Child Arrangements Orders (which parent the children live with and when they will see the other parent), Change of Name
  • Domestic Abuse cases
  • Property disputes between unmarried couples or cohabitees
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Separation Agreements
  • Pre-nuptial Agreements
  • Mediation

The initial family matter consultation is completely free of charge for 40 minutes.  Additionally, we can facilitate evening appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.00pm and 6.00pm. At the initial family consultation you will be given costs and these vary depending on the seniority of the solicitor and complexity of your case.

Yes. Our family department is headed by Roisin McCorry, who has over 30 years’ experience; Angela Sharma has over 20 years’ experience in all areas of family law and Jessica Thrower has 11 years’ experience as a specialised family solicitor with a breadth of knowledge in all aspects of family law.

You will need to bring two forms of ID.  One photographic ID (either your driving licence or your passport) and proof of address (either a utility bill or a bank statement). 

Step 1 - New Referral

It helps us to deal with new referrals more efficiently if one of our Mediation Referral Forms has been completed either by the client or their solicitor. The form is available on our website. Alternatively, we are able to e-mail a copy to you upon request.

Step 2 - Mediation Packs

As soon as we receive a completed Mediation Referral Form we send a mediation pack by post to both partners. (The pack can be sent by e-mail in cases of an urgent referral). The initial pack contains Resolution’s “Separating together” and “Mediation” leaflets, our Family Mediation leaflet, a Mediation Information Form for completion by the client and a covering letter.

Step 3 - Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings

As soon as we receive a completed Mediation Information Form from each of the partners, we contact them to arrange an appointment for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. We always see clients separately for this meeting. One of the main purposes of this meeting is to screen for domestic violence and child protection issues and it is not possible to do this effectively if both parties are present.

It is very often the case that one person is keener to try mediation than the other. If the second partner hasn’t contacted us after we have had a MIAM with the first partner, we then renew our efforts to contact the second partner and usually make a more direct approach this time either by telephone call, e-mail or text. ​Jessica is often able to engage the second party in the process once she has assured them of her impartiality and allayed any fears they may have regarding the process.

Following the first partner’s MIAM, we will usually wait a maximum of 14 days for the second partner to contact us before providing a C100 or Form A MIAM Certificate to the first partner. We are usually able to resolve issues concerning how the fees for the mediation sessions are to be shared between the partners, at the MIAMs. We also establish whether it will be necessary to use separate waiting areas or shuttle mediation.

Step 4 - Commencement of Mediation  

If both parties confirm that they wish to give mediation a try and ​Jessica has assessed the case to be suitable for mediation, we will then fix a time for the first joint session. 

We charge £125 plus VAT (total £150) for each Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

The cost of each joint session of up to 1 and ½ hours is £300 plus VAT (total £360). This charge is per couple rather than per person. Most couples choose to pay half each but there are some cases in which one person will pay the whole amount (e.g. if one person is working and the other is not) or the couple may share the cost between them in any proportion they agree. 

Your ex-partner will receive exactly the same information pack as you. If they do not respond immediately, we will try to contact them again by telephone or text or e-mail following the MIAM with you. It is often possible for us to engage people in mediation once we have had an opportunity to speak to them and ​can explain how mediation may assist in your particular circumstances.

We are unable to answer this until we know more about the claim.  In all cases we are willing to speak to a client free of charge to assess their claim on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis. These initial enquiries are undertaken by experienced case workers who have day to day dealings with the victims of accidents. They are experienced legal practitioners and not merely administrators.

We would generally expect to spend anything between half an hour and an hour with the client which is unlike many firms who proceed on the basis of a questionnaire. This personal engagement provides a mechanism to address the client’s concern whilst at the same time giving us all the information to move the claim forward as swiftly as possible.

Each client is given a designated case worker who will be involved at all stages in a case from start to finish. This level of personal engagement generally provides a better outcome and better experience for you, our client. We do not adopt a factory approach with multiple people working on matters.

An undisputed straight forward injury claim may be resolved in as little as a few months. More complicated claims may take longer as time has to pass for the injuries to stabilise. The factors which can affect the timescale are:

  •  A dispute as to what has happened. The question of blame or whether the amount of your claim is reasonable may be argued by the other party.
  • Insurance Companies may be slow in dealing with claims and particularly with answering correspondence.
  • Medical evidence is generally required before an assessment of compensation can be made. Medical experts are very busy and from time to time there may be delays in receiving appointments or written reports.
  • A small majority of cases go to Court and the Court process can be slow.

Whilst speed is good, it is better to ensure the right outcome. A thorough consideration of your claim may result in higher compensation. It is important to ensure that you receive the appropriate level of damages.

In all cases we are happy to offer a free consultation about claiming accident compensation. During this process we assess the claim on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis so that we can tell you how successful your claim is likely to be. This service is free and confidential.

A Conditional Fee Agreement is an arrangement between the client and their solicitors which means that if the compensation claim is not successful the solicitor is not paid for the work they have done. If the client wins their claim then the solicitor is paid part of the fees by the other party, typically an insurance company. If the claim loses, provided the client has not misled us, they ​should not pay anything.

Each claim is assessed on its merits to determine its likely success rate. This success rate informs us whether we can take on an individual case on a ​Conditional Fee Agreement basis. Sometimes our client have legal expenses insurance but may not know it, that is an insurance policy that provides cover for the cost of legal advice should they need it.

Costs vary depending on where the property is, how much it is being brought or sold for and whether it is a flat or a house. We will provide an estimate in writing which will include all of the third party payments. We believe in transparency and do not believe in hidden extras.

We regularly check that our prices are competitive, locally and further afield and we are proud of our prices and the services which we have to offer.

We are not able to offer this to our clients and our charges reflect this; we do not charge on a percentage basis and therefore must a charge a fee if the case does not proceed. 

As a general rule, the more parties involved and the larger the chain, the more time it will take. Generally, an average case takes around 6-8 weeks from the contract papers being sent out or received to exchange of contracts. The case will normally complete 2 – 4 weeks later. This means that the norm is around three months. Some cases proceed much more quickly although there are others which take much longer too. We try to adhere to the timescales our clients want, though we can only proceed as quickly as the slowest party in the chain.

Most wills can be drafted for you at a fixed cost, which can be confirmed when we know more about your personal situation.   The cost of a will would be higher if you wanted to incorporate a trust to provide for a vulnerable beneficiary or where there are other complexities to be addressed.

We will see you initially to take instructions, before drafting the will and sending it to you for approval.  You will then be seen at a second meeting when you will sign the will in the presence of two witnesses from Mullis & Peake LLP.  This ensures that the legal requirements for the signing of wills are met and that the will is validly completed. The will can usually be completed within two weeks, depending on your availability. 

Yes, home or hospital visits can be arranged on request.

A couple may make wills that reflect the other.  These are referred to as “Mirror Wills”.  For example, a couple may leave the estate to whichever survives and then the estate passes to their children on the second death.  A couple will have one will each, so although the wills are very similar, they are not a ‘joint will’.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that allows you to appoint an Attorney to assist you either with Financial and Property matters or Health and Welfare issues.  This can be important if you are unable to manage these matters when you get older, become ill, or even if you are abroad for an extended period of time. 

Yes, we can store wills, powers of attorney and deeds free of charge.

We can offer two options.  The first is to assist you with obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration only, which means that you will collect the information about the value of assets, confirm debts and provide the information to us.  Once the Grant is received you will then collect in the assets of the estate, pay the liabilities and distribute the funds to the beneficiaries.  The second option is for us to assist with the full estate administration from start to finish. This option may appeal to you if you do not have the time to deal with it personally, or because you do not want to deal with the paperwork when you are recently bereaved.

We can usually offer fixed costs or a costs limit so that the fees can be ascertained at the outset.

A Trust is a legal concept where Trustees hold assets for Beneficiaries.  This may be because the Beneficiary is vulnerable and the funds need to be protected from financial abuse, or the Beneficiary is unable to manage the funds personally. Other uses include ensuring that funds remain in the family in the event that a widow or widower remarries, or to hold funds from life insurance policies.

At the outset of the matter you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past. If something unexpected happens and it appears that fees are going to increase we will contact you and agree a new estimate prior to carrying out further work. Likewise if we spend less time on the matter than expected we will not charge you the original fee estimate.

The amount of time it takes to conclude a matter will differ from case to case, however we will use our best endeavours to finalise the matter as quickly as possible. We will ensure that we respond to your telephone calls and correspondence promptly in order that we can progress your matter further.

 It is not always necessary to attend our offices and have a meeting. We understand that time constraints affect businesses and that a telephone conversation is sometimes more convenient for clients. Alternatively we are happy to meet with clients even if they only have a few queries. We will always be flexible in order to meet your business needs.

Mullis & Peake offer an insurance backed Employment Protection Scheme for business clients. This means you pay a fixed fee for a years’ worth of ad hoc advice alongside an insurance policy premium. If you are ever faced with an Employment Tribunal claim the insurance policy would pay your legal fees and any sum awarded by the Tribunal.*

Another aspect which makes us stand out is that, unlike a lot of other firms, we have a dedicated Employment Law function which sits in our commercial department solely for businesses. Our lawyers are both commercial and employment experts so we know how businesses work and are able to appreciate the time and cost restraints involve. This enables  us to provide a better service to our commercial clients.

*subject to you not breaching the terms and conditions of the insurance policy

Yes we can.  It is always important to adopt a sensible procedure for resolving any grievance or disciplinary matters.  Early direct communications between an employer and employee can help resolve a problem before it goes too far.  We can advise you on the procedures you might need to follow.

The ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website is also a good portal for obtaining information on disciplinary and grievance procedures.  ACAS provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

There are different time limits depending on the type of claim that is being pursued, but as a very general rule, the majority of claims need to be brought within 3 months of the date of the act complained of.  For example, if you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, the time limit would normally be 3 calendar months from the date of dismissal.  If in doubt, always start from the earliest incident or trigger for a claim.

You should also be aware that an Employment Tribunal claim cannot be brought until you have attempted early conciliation through ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).  ACAS act as an impartial intermediary to help resolve a dispute.   If conciliation is not successful and you still need to bring an Employment Tribunal claim, where both parties have actively engage in the process, you can usually obtain a lawful extension of time for lodging the claim by the same period of time spent engaged in conciliation.

We always work with you to calculate a range of awards a Tribunal might make as early as possible in a case as we understand it influences your decision whether to pursue a claim.

Generally speaking, for successful unfair dismissal claims you may be able to recover a basic award equivalent to your statutory redundancy entitlement (which is based on your age, salary and length of service).  The employee may also be entitled to a compensatory award for reimbursement of actual financial losses (e.g. loss of salary and benefits), subject to a cap. 

From a statistical point of view, the median unfair dismissal award made by an Employment Tribunal (as published by the Ministry of Justice) for the financial year 2017/18, was £8,015, with the average award £15,007.  For successful claims of discrimination, the compensation will be determined by a Tribunal based on the severity of the individual case.  The average award made Employment Tribunals for the financial year 2017/18 ranged from £5,074 for religious discrimination, up to £30,698 for disability discrimination.

Costs are an important consideration in Employment Tribunal proceedings as it can still be difficult to obtain a significant contribution towards costs from your opponent, even if you are successful with the claim at a final hearing.

At the outset of the matter you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past.  If we cannot give an estimate for the whole case, we will tell you the likely cost for the next stage. 

We can also act under a legal expenses insurance policy (often included in many home insurance policies) where the insurer meets our fees.  This means there is usually nothing for you to pay, subject to any excess or particular terms under the policy. 

We always look to tailor costs to suit a client’s particular needs and will explore the funding options available, whether that means acting for free under an insurance policy, agreeing fixed-fees or a setting cap on costs so that they remain within your budget.

Civil or private claims brought in a Court or Tribunal are determined by a judge on the balance of probabilities. This means that a judge will need to prefer your evidence over your opponent’s. In percentage terms, to tip the balance in your favour you need to reach 51%.

At the outset of the matter we will always review the evidence or information you have provided to us to give you an initial opinion on whether your case meets the threshold.  If we are unable to provide an accurate assessment we will explain what further information is needed before we can give you an opinion. The merits will be regularly reviewed as it often changes throughout a case as evidence or information comes to light. 

Generally speaking, you should avoid bringing or defending a claim where the prospects of success fall below 51%.  

But the merits should not be the only factor taken into account when considering a claim. That is why we will also give you important information about costs and recovery of costs so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is economically viable to proceed with a claim.  Likewise, we will discuss and explore the finances and solvency of the opposing party so that you can consider the prospects of recovery and their ability to pay any compensation you might recover.

The short answer is no.  It is often better to avoid Court proceedings and in fact, the majority of disputes never end up at trial. 

Even the Courts themselves promote traditional litigation as a last resort.  If a judge feels that you have been premature in bringing a matter to Court you may be punished with a costs order where you have to make a contribution towards your opponent’s legal costs.  It is therefore important to look at other options available to you. 

Whenever you have a potential legal problem, we will help you find the most appropriate and cost effective way of resolving the issue.  Often just speaking directly with your opponent about the problem can help narrow issues in dispute and achieve a resolution.  Other times, mediation or arbitration may be more effective. 

Occasionally, when all else fails, or where the matter is particularly urgent or important, Court proceedings can be the most appropriate forum for getting the outcome you are looking for.

Costs are an important consideration in any Court proceedings as it will help you conduct a cost-benefit analysis on whether it is likely to be worthwhile to either issue or defend a claim.

At the outset of the matter we will conduct a cost-benefit analysis with you and discuss the funding options available.  This might include us acting under an existing legal expenses insurance policy where the insurers meet all of your legal fees, or perhaps agreeing a fixed-fee structure. 

In every case you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past.  If we cannot give an estimate for the whole case, we will tell you the likely cost for the next stage. 

If something unexpected happens and it appears that fees are going to increase we will contact you and inform you of any increase prior to carrying out further work.  Likewise if we spend less time on the matter than expected, the fees will be reduced accordingly.

The majority of cases do not lead to a final trial.  The most common outcome is where a negotiated settlement is reached between the parties.  In such circumstances, whether you recover your costs depends on the terms that you agree as part of any settlement deal.

 If you have to take your case to Court and you win at trial, you are entitled to ask the Judge to make a ‘Costs Order’.  The Judge will then decide whether one party should be ordered to make a contribution to another’s costs by way of a reimbursement.   

The general rule in Court proceedings is that the winning party is entitled to ask for a Losts Order.  However, this rule may not apply in certain circumstances, for example where value of the claim is low (cost orders are not routinely made for claims worth under £10,000) or there has been unreasonable conduct by the parties.  

A costs order does not provide a full indemnity, but rather a contribution which is typically around 65% of the winning party’s actual outlay.  Thereafter, the matter of recovering payment is separate and there is no certainty an opponent will have the ability to pay the amount it has been ordered to.  

In any case, it pays to do investigations into the opposing party’s finances early on to gauge their ability to pay any compensation recovered and costs order made against them.

The amount of time it takes to conclude a matter will differ from case to case and can depend on how busy the Court is, the number of witnesses needed and the level of co-operation received from your opponent.  Typically, a final trial is unlikely to be listed within 9 months from the date a claim is issued.  It is not unusual to wait more than 12 months.  Litigation is known to be slow and expensive so it is important to keep resolution options open at all times.  For example, mediation could be held whilst parties await a trial date.

In all cases, we will work with you to achieve the best result for you in the circumstances.  For our part, we will do what we can to finalise the matter as quickly as possible, although sometimes a delay might be in your interests for tactical reasons.  We will also ensure that we respond to your telephone calls and correspondence promptly.

Here at Mullis & Peake LLP Solicitors, we are experts.  What we do, we do well.  However, we can also recognise where someone else will be better for you.  We often use barristers to assist in cases where it can achieve a better result or save money for our clients.  For example, if you have an upcoming final trial at Court, it may be better to use a barrister who will be a specially trained, experienced Court advocate.