The Nottinghamshire County Show took place at the Newark Showground last weekend. It was the Newark & Notts County Show, but I understand that there was a fear that the name made it sound very parochial and meant that people in other parts of the County felt that it wasn’t for them. It would be interesting to see the stats and whether the visitor demographics changed as a result of the name change this year.
For many, many years, Tallents Solicitors have sponsored the Show to one degree or another. Visitors to the main show ring will be familiar with the big advertising hoarding bearing our name. The Lincolnshire Longwool sheep also compete for the Tallents Godfrey Perpetual Trophy each year! This year, we contributed by paying for a full page in the programme. That was another change – previously, the show catalogue and programme had been separate but this year they were amalgamated.
Tallents staff often serve as Stewards at the Show (the traditional looking chaps in the bowler hats). In 2010, I was asked to judge the sheep and pigs. It panicked me somewhat as, although I work with and for quite a number of farming families in the area, my knowledge of these animals is limited to their taste…and I can tell the difference between the two! Thankfully, that was all of the knowledge that I needed for the job. Essentially, I was judging the quality of the grooming and how tidy the pens were!
Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed the County Show and, as a family, we now have a tradition where we take guests up to the Showground on that weekend. The kids love the animals and the variety of attractions and sports taster sessions available. I love the food hall where I stock up on meats (pork, spring onion and ginger this year), cheeses and, last year, a bottle of rose port. There’s always a great show in the main ring, after the parading of tractors, shire horses and other agriculturally based displays. This year it was the White Helmets motor cycle display team. In previous years there have been some breathtaking motorcycle stunt shows.
All in all, the show is good value – kids get in free and parking is free, so we got a family of 4 in this year for £24. That’s roughly the same price of a ticket for one person to see Nottingham Forest for 90 minutes. This is a blatant plug for the Nottinghamshire County Show, but it is such an important event in Newark, bringing in thousands of people from all over the country over the two days. It’s been around for something close to 150 years and last year it was visited by 50,000 people (no stats for this year yet). The staff at the Showground work unbelievably hard to bring it all together each year.
Agriculture is something that I’m very interested in. When I came to Tallents, I took over from a couple of people who had been dealing with agricultural work and, in the ten years I’ve been with the firm, I have improved my knowledge year on year. We have always serviced our agricultural clients and farming families well and been able to offer a good service. However, this year, all of the disparate elements that make up an agricultural service will be brought together at Tallents and will be covered by one single ‘Agricultural Department’ I am looking forward to being able to offer an even better service and growing our relationships with our agricultural family clients, some of whom we have served for generations.
I just wanted to follow my last blog entry by letting you know that Farndon Colts U11s won their last league game 15-3 (without their goalkeeper and one other player). We were approached afterwards by an FA assessor who had come to check that both teams were keeping to the spirit of the FA’s Respect Charter. He was almost gushing about our approach to the game and particularly the attitude of our parents who encouraged and applauded the opposition as well as their own kids.
Final reminder – If you are in Newark next Monday (22nd April), get to Flowserve Sports ground on Hawton Road, for 6.15pm when Farndon Under 11s (league winners) take on Newark Town Under 11s (league runners-up) in what should be a thoroughly entertaining game of football. £2 entry for adults, free for Under 16s…and there’s a bar!
Its been a couple of months since I posted anything other than legal related items, so its time for a lapse into self-indulgent personal nonsense! I’m afraid that there will inevitably be a football bias so those who don’t want to know the score…look away now.
As many of you are aware, I am involved with Farndon Colts Football Club (have I mentioned that before?) both as a coach and as the Vice-Chairman. During the last few months, I have been busy plotting the rise ofthis great kids’ football club. It is a club with a great reputation that has achieved FA Chartered Standard status. It stunned me when I realised that we are providing facilities, equipment and coaching to approximately 180 boys and girls. There is so much potential here.
I mentioned in November that I was applying to be registered as a Community Amateur Sports Club and we were successful with that application. The Club can now claim Gift Aid on donations from individuals and the first claim will go in to HMRC during April.
I’m trying to promote a funding-seeking culture within the Club. After all, we provide a great service, on an entirely voluntary basis, to 180 kids (with the possibility of more in the future). We now have a much-improved Management structure with a properly-constituted committee overseeing things. This means that the grant-funding message can be reinforced throughout the teams at every opportunity. Our first specific applications have raised £170 from Waitrose towards the Under 11s kit (thank you very much, Waitrose) and we have an application for £1000 towards new 9v9 goalposts (bigger than any we have and a requirement for Under 11 and Under 12 next year – see the FA’s new youth policy) and a new spray pitch marker (the current roller one is a real *%?*@ to push and has seen it’s best days)
However, the funding required for this is nothing compared to what is to come. I am currently negotiating terms for a better licence to use Farndon Playing Fields with a view to subsequently getting a lease for some land to build a clubhouse and changing rooms on. This will be a massive project and initial research suggests we may well need more than £200,000. Currently we have no changing facilities and nowhere to call ‘home’. Our kids deserve this and we need it if we are to keep attracting new players and keep Farndon as a focus of football excellence, as well as helping to ensure that the village keeps its playing fields in perpetuity.
Each individual team/age group has its own sponsors, who generally come from within the players’ parents. My firm, Tallents, sponsor the U11s training kit and some of the equipment and Delta Simons are the main kit sponsors for the U11s. However, we have big plans for the Club as a whole and are looking for some companies/organisations to sponsor some elements that we are putting in place. We are always looking for new support/sponsors.
We currently need someone to sponsor our new website – click here to see it. The site is only just being built by volunteers but we expect it to be fully functioning by August for the start of the 2013/14 season. We are looking to build in a club shop, SMS capability so that we can contact all players, parents and sponsors direct and a number of other additions. The cost for these is around £380 per year. If anyone is interested in being involved, having their company logo on the website (viewed by 180 players, parents, grandparents, other local teams, etc) then please contact me. There will be other sponsorship opportunities coming in the near future.
Its an exciting time, behind the scenes, with the Colts.
Oh…and if anyone is looking to see what the players are capable of, the Under 11s (who won their league with a few games to spare) are playing in the League Cup Final at Flowserve at 6.15pm on Monday 22 April. £2 entry, free for children.
Below is an article that has appeared in a number of places this week, including the Newark Advertiser. It is a subject close to my heart – choosing your conveyancer wisely!
Finally, there’s some good news for the UK’s housing market; the National Association of Estate Agents is reporting a 41% increase in house hunter numbers in December 2012 since their lowest December level in 2008 and, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk the cost of a two-year fixed-rate mortgage is now at a record low. But if you want to buy a property how do choose the right conveyancing solicitor? Kerry Baldwin, from Tallents Solicitors in Newark, offers some advice for house hunters.
“House buying is expensive and it can be all to easy to cut corners, but when it comes to conveyancing, this is one area where you shouldn’t just pick the lowest price. Sadly the reasons can be very clear if things go wrong:
- You might end up paying more in ‘hidden extras’ that are added to your final legal bill.
- You never actually speak to your solicitor and instead deal with paralegals, or staff in a call centre.
- In a worst case scenario, you might miss out on the house of your dreams because another solicitor exchanged first.”
“We would always recommend that people do their research and look for a conveyancing solicitor with an established local reputation for providing fast and efficient property transactions. Perhaps ask friends or colleagues whom they would recommend or visit your local law firms personally and ask for quotes.
“A local law firm will always have an advantage since they are likely to know and have a good business relationship with the estate agent or builder selling the property. If things don’t quite go to plan, this relationship could prove invaluable in getting things sorted and the sale back on track quickly.
“I would also ask your solicitor to fully explain their quote to you so you know, and can anticipate the full conveyancing costs, and what disbursements will also be incurred such as: search costs, land registry fees and bank transfers. You shouldn’t be charged for items such as photocopying or phone calls.
“A cheap conveyancing quote can be very tempting but it will be cheap for a reason. It’s not worth losing your dream home for the sake of a couple of hundred pounds. Always choose an experienced conveyancing solicitor who you can rely on to complete your transaction quickly and efficiently.
“Even if you’re just looking for a house at the moment, you should find and instruct a solicitor as soon as possible to allow them to be ready to act when you do find your dream home.”
“At Tallents we understand that buying a home can be an emotional and stressful time so we will always work hard to keep our clients fully informed during the process. We’ve been helping people buy and sell houses since 1774, so have a wealth of local experience to draw on.”
Below is an article that was written for the Newark Advertiser (and appeared in other places) last month. It considers the importance of agricultural land-owners preparing properly for future generations.
For owners of tenanted farmland, 50% Agricultural Property Relief (APR) is available on land subject to a tenancy granted before 1 September 1995. Only if the tenancy was granted on or after this date, does the land attract 100% relief. Alistair Millar, agricultural lawyer at Tallents Solicitors in Southwell explains that as part of an estate planning and inheritance tax exercise, it could be worthwhile landowners reviewing older tenancies and holdings to see if 100% APR can be achieved.
“Much landlord and tenant law is complex and hard to understand. The rules relating to agricultural tenancies could be regulated by one of two acts depending on the start date of the tenancy so it makes good business sense for landlords to seek specific agricultural legal advice as there are potential pitfalls for the unwary.”
The Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (“the Act”) introduced the concept of ‘Farm Business Tenancy’ to replace the old style Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (AHA 1986). The Act was introduced to ensure that the relationship between landlord and tenant would be governed by the agreement between them but it also increased APR to 100%.
So, the potential positives for landowners to amend old tenancies to come under the Act are undeniable, but why should tenants agree to a surrender and re-grant of an older tenancy? Especially when AHA 1986 has many advantages for a tenant.
“Prior to the introduction of the Act, all tenancies were governed by the AHA 1986 under which tenants enjoyed extensive security of tenure rights and rights of compensation upon quitting of the tenancy. Landlords should note that AHA 1986 will still continue to have practical implications for some time into the future and this is especially true when it comes to APR and inheritance tax implications.”
However, it may be possible to create a new tenancy which will give the tenant all the advantages and securities he enjoys under AHA 1986 but which is a tenancy under the Act for the purposes of APR.
“The surrendering and re-granting of a tenancy may have additional tax implications for the tenant which will need to be considered carefully by an experienced agricultural lawyer as the transactions may attract Capital Gains Tax and/or Stamp Duty Land Tax.
“But with careful negotiations during the process and appropriate tax advice, a tenancy review could result in a positive outcome for everyone, continued security for the tenant and APR at 100% for the landowner.”
For more information, contact Tallents on 01636 813411
Tallents Solicitors, 2 Westgate, Southwell
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.
I composed this post initially on the train on my way to London yesterday for a 2 day course in Law Firm Management. Somehow, my 3/4 finished draft has disappeared. With hindsight, this is a good thing because I was posting about Tallents’ success recently and the giant leaps they have taken in terms of customer service and quality. I was posting from what the psychologists would call an ‘unconsciously incompetent’ viewpoint. I didn’t know much of what I needed to know and thought that everything was great so we could be very self-congratulatory.
One day into the course and I am feeling ‘consciously incompetent’ – I now know a lot of what I should know, what needs to be done. Its all rather scary. Instead of closing a chapter and being very self-congratultory, I now find that we are just a few steps into a very long journey and, at the risk of sounding like a third rate fantasy novel, we must arm ourselves for the battle ahead.
Law firms are facing massive threats and competition from other groups as familiar household brands like RAC, Co-op and others start to move into legal services in a big way. The Co-op, for example, is backing this up with a marketing budget that is 2,500 times the one I have for Tallents. We have also suffered some huge regulatory changes. Historically, lawyers have always considered themselves as different to businessmen and haven’t coped well with change – when the Land Registration system was introduced in 1925, 40% of all conveyancers retired rather than deal with it! It is to the eternal credit of the partners at Tallents that they have accepted that “change is a-comin’”
In spite of the challenges ahead, Tallents Solicitors has had a fantastic last 12-18 months (and this is where this post originally started!). In June 2011 we were awarded Conveyancing Quality Standard as a quality accreditation. I had taken the conveyancing department as a test and stripped everything back to basics and then re-built it all with new procedures and new ways of keeping clients informed. We were the 317th firm to receive the accreditation. It might sound like a high number, but bear in mind that there are 10,500 law firms in England & Wales, so we were early adopters. The systems we introduced last year have proved robust as we have been re-accredited for a second year.
Years ago, these sorts of accreditations just seemed like lip service but we have seen some real benefits. We are now on building society and bank panels that many firms are not qualified for by virtue of their lack of CQS.
We looked at what had been achieved in conveyancing and decided that if we could achieve the changes in one department, we could achieve them across the whole firm. That was hard work. It took 6 months of dedication and all of our staff had to embrace new notions and ideas as well as new forms and additional procedures. It is to their credit that they took those steps, accepted them and embraced them. We were awarded Lexcel (the Law Society’s mark of quality) in March this year. Not being allowed to rest on our laurels, Lexcel upgraded to the latest version in June so next March we will be reviewed on a whole raft of new criteria and our client care work continues to evolve.
Whilst Tallents as a firm is almost 240 years old, we are thinking very much about our role in the Nottinghamshire communities we serve in the 21st Century. I was therefore delighted for our staff that their hard work was recognised last week at the annual Newark Business Awards. Tallents Solicitors came runners-up for Excellence in Business but went one better and won the Commitment to the Community Award. I’ve mentioned before the charitable and pro-bono works carried out by our staff and partners over each year,so I don’t need to expand here. However, they have all worked unbelievably hard to embrace and cope with the rapid changes that we have introduced with alarming regularity, whilst continuing to show us in a good light with their various endeavours in the community.
Great, I thought. Job done. Three year plan that involved new case management software and systems, a quality accreditation and re-vamped client care systems and winning a major award. Ticks in all three boxes. Time for a rest.
Not a bit of it. Now I’ve been on this blasted management course and seen a glimpse of how non-legal businesses run and face challenges. It is unceasing and that is the only way we can face these challenges. The Co-op will no doubt win over those people who place price as the only criteria on their legal shopping list and there will be a place for them. High Street firms will now have to plan a strategy for how they will retain their market share of clients who want a face-to-face service with a named person – a personal service. All firms will be looking to do this and those who steal a march on the others will survive.
In much the way that this blog post has evolved and is unrecognisable from the first draft, the changes to the ways in which lawyers operate will continue and they will have to evolve. I think I’ll take a break over Christmas, take a deep breath in the New Year and then begin work on those next stages.
Regular readers of this blog will know how keen I am on youth sport. I’ve not hidden the fact that I coach youth football and am now vice-chair of a youth football club, Farndon Colts, which I’m currently setting up as a Community Amateur Sports Club.
A while back, I learned tag rugby and went on a coaching course when Xander, my son, was involved with Newark Rugby Club. Rugby is a sport that I should probably know better. Its not a sport that I follow but I desperately wanted to be involved in engaging Xander in sports. He later dropped rugby to concentrate on football and hockey, as well as netball (or Hi-5, as they call it when boys are involved). It has always been my aim to engage my kids in as much sport as possible and to try everything. Nancy hasn’t shown much interest yet, but did come with me to see Doncaster Rovers lose to Bournemouth this last weekend, so I have welcomed her to a whole world of pain!
Xander has been put at his favoured left-back position in the school football A-team (last year he was in the B-team as goalkeeper) and this has invoked a school rule that says he can’t now take up a place in the netball team, so its just football and hockey from hereon in. However, I should go on record as saying that the sports opportunities at Barnby Road Academy are second to none and it is no coincidence that the headmaster, Kevin Eveleigh, is advising the government on school sports.
What prompted this piece was an article in the Independent this week about schools chess. I learned chess at
school and played against my Dad a lot as a child. The article was about the ‘sport’ (I’ve had debates about whether it can be classed as a sport) making a comeback in primary schools after 30 years. The article goes on to say that financial support is lacking because people don’t believe that any financial input is required. Barnby Road Academy, with their fine sports tradition, are now entering several teams.
I am doubly delighted that Tallents Solicitors have been ahead of their time once again! We have sponsored the Newark Schools Chess League for the last 3 or 4 years and have seen it grow from a handful of schools taking part to around 100 boards at the last competition.
Tallents are improving young minds and promoting minority sports. Now, we’re trendsetters as chess takes off around the UK!
Badly made Wills is a topic I’ve touched on before. It is incredibly important to be sure that your Will achieves what you think, and hope, it will. Below is an article by Tallents’ highly regarded Senior Partner, Frances Kelly. It first appeared in the Newark Advertiser a few weeks ago.
With the wealth of DIY information and online template forms available to everyone today, often it’s very easy to think you can do something better yourself. However, there’s one area of Do-It-Yourself that should really be left to the experts – the law. Frances Kelly, solicitor at Tallents in Newark says: “People might think they are saving themselves perhaps time or money by completing their own wills, or a Lasting Power of Attorney, but it’s a false economy in the long run that generally requires great deal of expense to put right.”
There’s a growing market for online legal documents and a huge number of DIY legal forms available today; everything from DIY divorces, wills and trusts to partnership agreements for businesses. However, Frances is keen to point out the dangers and potential pitfalls of DIY legal forms.
“Even though many of these forms have templates which guide you through their completion, without experience in the legal system and the law, you may not fully understand the legal significance of what you’re doing and the long-term effects signing this document could have, on your or your family.
“As a solicitor, I’ve spent years ensuring I know everything required to draft a legal document that will meet the wishes of my client exactly. I can advise them about additional areas they may need to consider, or even additional legal documents they should sign.
“I’ve experienced many different scenarios and can provide additional legal advice or guidance outwith the current situation to anticipate future events. This is something a template legal form cannot do.”
When it comes to legal documents, the simplest of mistakes can have serious and long lasting consequences. Take Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) forms, says Frances:
“An LPA is designed to allow someone else to be your legal authority and control you or your estate in case you are incapacitated. Within specific parameters your attorney can make key decisions for you. However, many of the online forms give total control over your estate to your attorney, meaning they can sell, buy or transfer your assets, or withdraw unlimited funds from your account. This is often not what the client actually wanted to happen.
“An experienced solicitor will draft an LPA to limit the attorney’s powers, take into account the current wishes of a client, plus advise on the best wording to cover future eventualities.”
But there’s one are of DIY law that really concerns Frances:
“By far the worst-case scenarios involving disastrous DIY legal forms involve wills. Just one misplaced word can completely change the writer’s intention completely and leave heartache, and probably a very large financial mess, for the loved ones left behind. These DIY will forms are truly a disaster waiting to happen and a will is definitely one time when you shouldn’t attempt to Do-It-Yourself.”
So, what can you do if you’ve already completed a template legal form? Frances finishes:
“It’s probably not too late for your solicitor to take a look at the document and ensure that it is fit for purpose and will result in your preferred intentions. You may think you saved money by completing the form yourself in the first place, but a meeting with your solicitor now could save significant costs in the future. Don’t leave anything to chance and make an appointment today.”
This blog mixes a bit of business with a bit of pleasure and proffers legal, local, business and family news. However, last night I saw something that makes me feel forced to proffer an opinion. Last night, I took Tracy to see the re-boot (popular buzzword) of The Sweeney. Who said romance was dead?
I am a big fan of the original series which ran from 1974 to 1978. It was like nothing else on TV at the time and is so evocative of the times. The writing of Ian Kennedy Martin was beyond superb and the depth of characters he created took British television forward several steps.
Ask anybody now what it was about, and people will say “Shut it!” very loudly, mention the Ford Consul, the car chase with a Jaguar and gratuitous violence. This new film’s writer had obviously decided that those elements were the soul of the original series and simply wrote a script around them. Jack Regan has become a sadistic thug with no redeeming qualities. If that is what you require, then Ray Winstone is perfect for the role. Nobody does sadistic thug better. But it’s not Jack Regan. Watch some of the Thames TV series and you’ll see that Regan has warmth and melancholy and humour. He also has principles and wouldn’t have taken part of the loot from a robbery he’d thwarted for any reason.
The film has the Flying Squad in the present day. In spite of the fact that the real Flying Squad was shut down in the early eighties as a result of corruption and a lack of accountability, I could suspend disbelief for that because the government are trying to organise a new national organised crime squad as I write this. But for a Detective in a national squad to talk about people doing things on his ‘patch’ makes absolutely no sense.
Before I move on to the massive holes in the plot, surely I’m not the only one to have spotted at least three scenes lifted directly from The French Connection. When Regan walked into the pool hall and gave everyone a beating, I was half expecting him to ask one of the alleged criminals if he “ever picked your feet in Poughkeepsie”, a la Popeye Doyle. Nobody could deny that the scene on the Tube when he steps on and off the train to lose the Internal Affairs officers tailing him was taken almost frame for frame from William Friedkin’s classic film. Take a look at the new film’s car chase and then the one from 1971, too.
Now..holes in the plot. How does a trained, armed police officer stand by a car door and then, whilst we look away, the car door opens (without alerting her), she is grabbed and makes no sound (without alerting Regan in the otherwise deserted car park) and she is dragged into the car by a terrorist/criminal who then shuts the car door (again, without alerting Regan). Is the man deaf?
Would any armed squad, in any version of reality, really run through Trafalgar Square as tourists scatter, entering into a firefight with criminals armed with machine guns, provoking them to fire the guns indiscriminately? Would they force that same fight through a library or club and threaten more lives? Watch Thou Shalt Not Kill from the second series and you’ll see that what people remember as gratuitous violence was not actually correct. There are police negotiators involved in the siege and gunfire is only exchanged when the civilians have been cleared out.
It is also the case that Regaan & Carter would not have risked their colleagues’ lives to bring in criminals on the basis that a jeweller’s ‘blag’ was carried out using an explosive, a bit like one someone had used before. It was always the case that they wanted the evidence to make it stand up in court and ensure the incarceration of the villains.
A lot of the film is based around the 4th series’ premise of the Flying Squad being under threat of closure, but the film makes it purely an issue about the way Regan works (not surprising – he is a sadistic thug!). Surely any proper organisation would just move the bad seed out, rather than close an organisation with a great record of achievement.
Towards the end, when Regan is released early from prison (after, apparently, only a few hours), there is no background explaining how this comes about. We simply go, immediately, from a situation where he has been imprisoned and abandoned, to him being released with everyone supporting him and no explanation as to why or how the change came about.
Some will say that this film incorporated a homage and wasn’t a remake. If that was the case, then why use so many of the details of the original series? If they’d kept the names of Regan, Carter and Haskins out of it and changed the film’s title, then it may have been a fairly average action movie. However, someone was clearly hoping to make money from nostalgia. Sadly, I gave them my money before I found out. If you want to see The Sweeney, watch the series. It’s regularly on ITV4, or can be bought on DVD or Blu Ray here. If you just want a sample, try ‘Regan’ the Armchair Cinema presentation which proved to be the series pilot. They are fantastic representations of the mid-1970s.
I came away from the cinema feeling cheated.
The title to this piece is a quote from Haskins about Regan. I’ll leave the last word to Regan himself:
“I am utterly and abjectly pissed-off with this little lot. I’ve given the best years of my life to the job. I’ve got eighteen bloody commendations, if you include the one I *didn’t* get yesterday. And how does this “wonderful” police force show its gratitude for all my years of unstinting effort? It bangs me up in a crummy little cell like some cheap little villain – all because a toerag called Hutchinson’s got a few bottles twitching on the Fifth Floor. Now, because that poor little bastard had the guts to get off his arse, I’m going to have to be reinstated. And what do you bunch of bleeding double-dyed hypocrits want now? You want me to crawl back to work and be terribly grateful that I didn’t get nicked for something I didn’t do. Well you can stuff it! ” [walks away in disgust]