Thursday 20 October 2011

Compromise Agreements

Article by
Nidhi Chopra
With the recession continuing to affect the economy, I am finding a significant increase in Employees seeking advice on Compromise Agreements that have been given to them by their Employers. 

More often than not the Compromise Agreement is presented to the Employee when the Employer wants to terminate a contract of employment, settle existing disputes and/or curtail the risk of future claims. The existence of the Compromise Agreement can be kept confidential and all discussions relating to it should be on a without prejudice basis. 

Thursday 13 October 2011

Free Will Review

Article by
Sharon Brown
Here at Garden House we pride ourselves in assisting you before a problem arises.  For that reason, we are happy to offer all new and existing clients a free Will review. 

Regardless of who prepared your Will or when it was made one of our specialist solicitors can review the contents to ensure it still meets your current wishes and circumstances. 

Will Aid - November 2011

Article by
Sharon Brown
We are pleased to announce that we will be taking part in Will Aid in November 2011.

Will Aid is a national event whereby solicitors offer clients the chance to update an existing Will or make a new Will free of charge.  All we ask is that you consider making a donation to Will Aid, who support the work of the following charities:

  • Actionaid
  • Age UK
  • British Red Cross
  • Christian Aid
  • Save the Children
  • SCiAF
  • Sightsavers
  • Trocaire
The amount you donate is entirely up to you, but Will Aid have suggested a minimum amount of £85 for a basic single Wills or £125 for ‘mirror’ Wills (Wills for a couple).  If you already have a Will and wish to update it with a ‘codicil’ the suggested minimum donation is £40.

For more details of the scheme please see the Will Aid website.  If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment please telephone 01992 422128 or email Sharon Brown

Appointments are available throughout November but are booking up fast.     Tel: 01992 422 128

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Will a Bank Accept an Unregistered LPA?

Article by
Sharon Brown
The simple answer to this question is no.  A Lasting Power of Attorney is not valid until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. 

On the contrary, an unregistered EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney) may be accepted by banks and other financial organisations – it is at their discretion though, so there are no guarantees.  An attorney under an EPA has a duty to register the document with the Office of the Public Guardian when the donor has lost, or is beginning to lose mental capacity. 

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Personal Injury Trusts - Frequently Asked Questions

Article by
Sharon Brown
What is a Personal Injury Trust?
A Personal Injury Trust is a legal document which allows any compensation you receive as a result of an accident to be disregarded when you are assessed for means tested benefits.
Also, if you believe you may need to go into residential care in the future then setting up a personal injury trust can protect your compensation from being used to pay your care fees.
State support is designed to assist people when they need it, and therefore with careful planning it is possible to retain your compensation and maximise state support.

Monday 3 October 2011

Alzheimer's Fundraising Event 1 October 2011

Article by
Sharon Brown
On 1 October 2011 Garden House Solicitors held an event to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society in Benfleet, Essex.

The event was enjoyed by all.

We would like to thank the following people for attending the Essex event to provide additional information to the public:

Sunday 2 October 2011

Product Liability Claims - What You Need to Know

Article by
Kevin Timms
Product Liability Claims
You are entitled to bring a claim against the manufacturer of a faulty product where that product has caused you personal injury or damaged your property. This covers all products from general household goods and toys to medical devices, such as hip implants and PIP breast implants.

Re M - High Court Ruling 29th September 2011 - The Right to Die

Article by
Sharon Brown
Many people have been following the sad story of the brain injured lady known as M. It was announced in the press yesterday that Mr Justice Baker in the High Court ruled that M should not be allowed to die.

Her family had argued that they wished her life support machine to be turned off as she was in pain and would not have wanted a life where she was dependent on others. The Official Solicitor and the local authority responsible for her care opposed the application.

DePuy Product Liability Claims

Article by
Kevin Timms
Garden House Solicitors are acting on behalf of a number of individuals who have suffered injuries as a result of a defect in the artificial hip implant manufactured by DePuy International Limited, the DePuy ASR hip implant. This has been highly reported by Dispatches .

DePuy International Limited has recalled all the ASR devices and the recall relates to both the total hip replacement and the resurfacing devices.

What is 'Probate'?

Article by
Sharon Brown
The loss of a loved one is always a difficult time, and being confronted with legal terms such as ‘Grant of Representation’ is not helpful. It can be daunting and confusing trying to plough through legal processes and work out what actually needs to be done. Many people mistakenly believe that a Grant is always needed but this is not the case; it is dependent on the value of the estate and whether any assets were owned jointly with someone else or held only in the deceased person’s sole name.

Have Your Circumstances Changed?

Article by
Sharon Brown
When was the last time you reviewed your Will?
Many people finally get round to making their Will, breathe a sigh of relief and forget all about it. Whilst a Will can cover many different eventualities, it is still vitally important that you regularly check the contents to see if it still meets your exact wishes and requirements.

How often should I review my Will?
We recommend that you review your Will at least every couple of years, and in particular if any of the following situations are relevant to you: 

Frequently Asked Questions on Powers of Attorney

Article by
Sharon Brown
Is my Enduring Power of Attorney still valid?
Since October 2007 it has not been possible to prepare new Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA’s), but any documents made before that date are still valid.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a special type of power of attorney which allows the donor to choose someone to act on their behalf and to make decisions for you if you lose mental capacity. There are two types of LPA, one to cover your Property and Financial affairs and one to cover your Health and Welfare.

The Effect of a Divorce on Your Will

Article by
Sharon Brown
Sadly, many relationships break down and end in divorce. It can be a very emotional time for everybody but particularly for parents with children to consider as well.

If you made a Will whilst you were married it is important to review your Will as soon as possible into the divorce proceedings. Until your decree absolute has been granted you remain married and if your Will leaves everything to your spouse he or she will still inherit.

If you have not made a Will, your estate will pass under the intestacy rules which still make provision for your spouse.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Article by
Sharon Brown
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) could be made prior to October 2007, and enabled a person to choose who they wished to assist them in relation to the financial affairs.

Since October 2007 it has not been possible to prepare new EPA’s, but any that are already in existence are still valid. The change in the law made it possible to produce two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA); one to cover your property and financial affairs and one to cover your health and personal welfare.

Signing Your Will

Article by
Sharon Brown
The legal term for the signing and witnessing element of writing a valid Will is called attestation.

The testator (person making the Will) must sign the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses, who should then sign, print their name and add their address and occupation beneath the testator’s signature. These details are needed in case a problem arises with your Will after your death, as your witnesses may be asked to provide evidence, confirm it was you who signed the Will, etc.

Changing a Will After Death

Article by
Sharon Brown
Unbeknown to many people, it is possible to ‘vary’ the contents of someone’s Will after they have passed away, provided the people who would have inherited are happy to sign a Deed of Variation (also called a Deed of Family Arrangement).

A Will sets out the final wishes of a person and many people mistakenly believe that this cannot be altered. However, a Deed of Variation can be used to ‘re-write’ certain parts of a person’s Will. The original purpose of these documents was to protect people’s dependents being unfairly deprived but they are now commonly used to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on an estate.

What are the Intestacy Rules?

Article by
Sharon Brown
If someone dies without leaving a valid Will, they die ‘intestate’. The law then determines who their estate passes to.  This is a simple guide only, and we would urge you to contact us if you require advice relevant to your own circumstances. Please note that the figures quoted are correct as at June 2011.

The Truth About Going Under the Knife - Dispatches Reports (DePuy ASR Hip Implants)

Article by
Kevin Timms
On Monday 16 May 2011 Dispatches reported on investigations into whether manufacturers of medical devices have been putting innovation before patient safety. The focus was very much on the artificial hip implant protheses manufactured by DePuy International Limited.

‘The Truth About Going Under the Knife’ primarily explored the ASR hip implant, which applies to both the resurfacing system and the total hip replacement. The programme focussed on the manufacturer DePuy.

Metal on Metal Hip Resurfacings and Pseudotumours (DePuy ASR)

Article by
Kevin Timms
The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford have published a study on a clinical trial concerning a number of patients who had received metal on metal resurfacing, who has various symptoms and a pseudotumour (these are non malignant).

This study showed that the most common symptom was discomfort in the hip whereas other symptoms included spontaneous dislocation, nerve palsy (a collective term for a range of nervous disorders that result in weakness or immobility of nerves in some region of the body) a noticeable mass or a rash.

DePuy ASR Hip Implants - long-term biological effects of exposure to orthopaedic metal alloys

Article by
Kevin Timms
At present there are many people who have concerns over their DePuy ASR hip resurfacing systems. The reason for this is that it has been reported that the DePuyASR hip replacement and hip resurfacing system have an abnormally high failure rate. In terms of statistics, this equates to 1 in 8 patients requiring revision surgery within 5 years of implantation.

The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford have published a study on the long-term biological effects of exposure to orthopaedic metal alloys. The study particularly focused on Cobalt and Chromium ions derived from metal on metal wear debris from medical implants such as hip implants.

Biological Effects of Wear Particles from Metal on Metal Hip Protheses (Relevant to DePuy ASR Hip Implants)

Article by
Kevin Timms
In 2008 the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at the University of Leeds published a study on the metal particles released from metal on metal hip protheses (implants).

This study was concerned with the release of Cobalt and Chromium particles, particles which are also tested for when seeing if the DePuy ASR hip replacement or resurfacing systems have failed.

Why those with Metal on Metal Hip Implants Should have Regular Blood Tests

Article by
Kevin Timms
Recent studies have shown that metal on metal hip implants, such as the DePuy ASR hip replacement of resurfacing system release metal particles into the blood stream of a patient.

These metal particles are a good indicator of whether a hip implant is functioning correctly. Regular blood tests should be taken to see whether there are increased levels of Cobalt or Chromium ions within the blood. Increased Cobalt and Chromium ions are an indicator of surface wear of a metal on metal hip implant and can cause a soft tissue reaction leading to severe tissue damage.

Johnson & Johnson in the News Again - DePuy ASR Hip Implants Revisited

Article by
Kevin Timms
Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, have issued an urgent product recall of a number of its products.

The following products are affected:

1. BLAKE® Silicone Drain 2. BLAKE® Silicone Drain Kit 3. BLAKE® Cardio Connector 4. J-VAC™ Reservoir 5. J-VAC™ Drain Adapter 
6. Multiple Product Codes and Lots are subject to the recall

Wheelchair Liable to Cause Serious Injury

Article by
Kevin Timms
In February 2011 Sunrise Medical Limited (UK) issued a field safety notice relating to their Quickie Neon Swing Away wheelchair. A number of ‘upper frame tubes’ which support the backrest of the wheelchair have failed.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have now issued a Medical Device Alert in respect of these wheelchairs.

Bently Folding Step from Wilkinson - Health Hazard

The Bently folding step stool which is sold at Wilkinson has been recalled following reports that the folding step is not capable of supporting the a users weight making it liable to break unexpectedly posing a risk of the user suffering from personal injuries.

The manufacturer has requested that consumers stop using this product immediately and return it to a Wilkinson store for a refund.

If you have suffered personal injuries as a result of a defective household appliance you may be entitled to make a product liability claim. Please contact Kevin Timms in the product liability team at Garden House Solicitors on             01992 422 128       or email him at for further information. Tel: 01992 422 128

MEDICAL DEVICE ALERT - All Breast Implants

Article by
Kevin Timms
The MHRA has reported that there is uncertain evidence that women with breast implants may have a very small but increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma of the breast. The MHRA commented in a Medical Device Alert on 16 February 2011 as follows:

“The FDA recently published a Safety Communication entitled ‘FDA Medical Device Safety Communication:

Wells and Young's Bottled Beers - Recalled Due to Health Fears

Wells and Young’s have announced that they have recalled numerous bottled of beers produced since 4 January 2011 due to a quality issue which may result in fragments of glass being found in a number of bottles.

For a detailed list of the products affected and their best before dates please see the list enclosed below.
If you are concerned that you may have suffered an injury from glass within one of these bottles or you have suffered injury from any drinks, food or other defective product you may be entitled to make a product liability claim.

An increasingly large number of people are suffering injuries as a result of food an drinks products which are defective. This may include food and drink products which do not have an adequate or appropriate allergy warning or have dangerous substances or materials which are dangerous to the health of consumers. Such dangerous materials may include glass, plastic or metal which were not intended to be included within the food or drink but have nonetheless be introduced to the product (accidentally or otherwise) during the manufacturing process.

If you are concerned that you have suffered an injury from a faulty or defective food or drinks product or any other defective product you may be entitled to make a product liability claim. Should you wish to discuss you possible claim further please contact Kevin Timms in the product liability team at Garden House Solicitors or email him at


(Ref) (Best Before Date)
Wels Bombadier Burning Gold (500ml)
L1011 14.10.11
L1018 21.10.11
L1033 04.10.11

Wells Bombadier (500ml)
L1004 07.10.11
L1005 08.10.11
L1011 14.10.11
L1012 15.10.11
L1017 20.10.11
L1018 21.10.11
L1032 03.11.11
L1033 04.11.11

Young’s Ram Rod (275ml)
L1009 12.10.11
L1010 13.10.11

Courage Light Ale (275ml)
L1010 13.10.11
L1026 29.10.11
L1027 30.10.11

Courage Best Bitter (500ml)
L1006 09.10.11

Young’s Light Ale (275ml)
L1010 13.10.11
L1011 14.10.11

Courage Directors (500ml)
L1007 10.10.11
L1018 21.10.11

Mongoose Premium Lager (330ml)
L1025 25.10.11

Mongoose Premium Lager (670ml)
L1027 27.10.11
L1028 28.10.11

Wells Banana Bread (500ml)
L1021 24.10.11

Young’s Bitter (500ml)
L1020 20.01.11

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (500ml)
L1012 12.01.11 Tel: 01992 422 128

Silver Cross Halo Pushchair - Safety Notice

The Manufacturers of the Silver Cross Halo Pushchair have reissued the safety notice issued in April 2010.

Three batches of the Halo pushchair 150209, 150409 and 150509 manufactured and sold in 2009 may cause injury to the users of this product. This is because some parts of the pushchair are wearing prematurely.

The manufacturers are urging those using the Halo pushchair to have the product repaired or replaced by them. There are no reports that other Silver Cross products have been affected.

If you have been injured as a result of a defective pushchair, stroller or other product, you may be entitled to make a product liability claim. Please contact Kevin Timms in the product liability team at Garden House Solicitors or email him at Tel: 01992 422 128

Phill & Teds Strollers - Recalled and Discontinued

Phill & Teds have voluntarily recalled the now, discontinued, sport v2 and classic v1 strollers, manufactured between April 2008 and June 2010. This is due to a number of reported incidents in which the frame lock of a sport v2 (which is the same as the v1 stroller) was not utilised causing injury to adult users who caught a finger in the hinge mechanism. Phill & Teds have reported that all other models have a different hinge mechanism and are therefore unaffected.

Phill & Teds are offering a free self-fit hinge cover to anyone who has a sport v2 or classic v1 stroller.
Buggy identification methods:

1. The sport v2 and classic v1 were manufactured between March 2008 and May 2010.

2. Affected serial numbers (located on the inner face of the main hinge, underneath the seat):

Sport V2 affected serial numbers – 0308/0001 to 0510/0840
Classic V1 affected serial numbers – 0308/0001 to 0510/0906
3. The strollers have the codes ‘SPv2’ (sport v2) or ‘E3C’ (classic v1) printed on the wrist safety strap attached to the stroller handle

If you have unfortunatelty been injured by a stroller manufactured by Phill & Teds you may have a product liability claim. If you would like to discuss you possible product liability claim please contact Kevin Timms within the product liability team at Garden House Solicitors on             01992 422 128       or at Tel: 01992 422 128

Law Society badge of excellence awarded to firm

We are proud to announce that Garden House Solicitors has been accredited by Lexcel, which is the Law Society’s practice management standard of excellence. The Lexcel accreditiation is only awarded to solicitors who meet the highest management and customer care standards.

Lexcel accredited practices undergo rigorous independent assessment every year to ensure they meet required standards of excellence in areas such as client care, case management and risk management.

If you want peace of mind and assurance that you will receive a quality service choose Garden House Solicitors where you can be sure you will get excellent client care services. Tel: 01992 422 128

Metal on Metal Hip Implants - DePuy ASR hip implants revisited

Article by
Kevin Timms
Recents studies have shown that the adverse symptoms experienced by 1 in 8 people ,who have received DePuy ASR hip implants and needed revision surgery within 5 years of implantation, may also be experienced by others who have metal on metal hip implants.

If you are experiencing pain, swelling or having problems walking, please contact the product liability team at Garden House Solicitors for advice on whether you are entitled to make a claim for injuries sustained and financial loss associated with such injuries.

Call us on 01992 422 128 or send us an email at

DePuy ASR Hip Replacements and Resurfacing Systems

Article by
Kevin Timms
In August 2010 DePuy, a division of Johnson and Johnson, voluntarily recalled its ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement system and its hip resurfacing system.

Data has shown that within five years of implantation, approximately 12% of patients who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients who had received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have revision surgery. This equates to 1 patient in 8.

Disabled man wins the right to appeal the Court’s decision to allow his ex wife to claim half his compensation

Kevin Mansfield, 41, was involved in a car accident in 1992. As a result of the accident he lost a leg and suffered serious spinal injuries leaving him partially paralysed. He was awarded £500,000 in compensation to enable him to purchase an adapted bungalow to live in and a flat as an investment for his future.

Mr Mansfield met his wife Catherine five years later and they had twins together. They separated in 2008. Mr and Mrs Mansfield share custody of their children who spend six days every fortnight with their father.

In a landmark divorce case in May 2010 the Judge ordered Mr Mansfield to pay his ex-wife more than half his compensation as part of the divorce settlement despite the fact that the compensation awarded was to make his life easier following his catastrophic life changing injuries. The judge commented that all his money should be “put into the pot” of matrimonial assets to be divided up.

On 7th February 2011 Lady Justice Black gave Mr Mansfield permission to take his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of having the original decision overturned. The appeal is based on the fact that the compensation is Mr Mansfield’s only means of support and if he has to pay more than half of it to his ex-wife he will have to sell his especially adapted bungalow and move out of Chelmsford in Essex where his children live to a less expensive location. The Judge urged the couple to try to settle their dispute out of court to avoid potentially enormous legal costs; they have already spent approximately £40,000 each on the dispute.

This situation could happen to anyone which is why Garden House Solicitors always recommend our clients who receive significant sums in compensation to place the money into a personal injury trust. The trust money is easily accessible to the client and in the event of subsequent divorce proceedings the Judge would give careful consideration to the Trust in particular money ear marked for the client’s future care. Furthermore, when the compensation is within a trust it is not considered when calculating means tested benefits which is often an essential income for a person who has sustained catastrophic injury.

If you need advice about catastrophic injury or personal injury trusts please contact Patricia Ling on             01992 422128       or by email to Tel: 01992 422 128

Deed not Breed

The issue of dangerous dogs and protecting the public has posed a problem for legislators for many years.
The number of attacks on members of the general public and in particular children have steadily risen over the last 5 years and we at Garden House Solicitors have had first hand experience dealing with the aftermath of what can be a traumatic and life changing experience.

But a review of the current law is currently underway that will hopefully provide greater protection to members of the public.

Under the proposed changes the options for consideration are the introduction of Dog Control Notices; mandatory third party insurance for all dogs; the mandatory microchipping of all dogs; the extension of a dog owner’s liability to attacks which take place on the property of the dog owner and more effective enforcement of the existing law.
It is hoped that with a change in the law dog owners would have to take a greater level of responsibility for their dogs but the proposed changes do not go far enough as they relate to specific breeds of dog and in our experience dog attacks are not breed specific.

Your right to compensation and rehabilitation should not be affected by the fact that the breed of dog that attacked you is a specific breed of dog, we consider breed to be irrelevant and consider that it is the dog owner’s lack of control over their dog that is the major issue.

If you have been injured by a dog please contact us for advice. Tel: 01992 422 128

Will Drafting Offer

During the months of August and September 2010 Garden House Solicitors is offering a substantially discounted Will drafting service. For more information email Tel: 01992 422 128

UK pushchair manufacturer Maclaren has agreed to compensate children who have been injured in their buggies

UK pushchair manufacturer Maclaren has agreed to compensate children who have been injured in their buggies.
It is thought the move will affect more than 40 children who lost their fingertips in the hinge mechanism of some models of collapsible buggies.
Last November it emerged that 12 US children had suffered fingertip lacerations in Maclaren buggies.
Maclaren said the compensation was not an admission of liability and it took children’s safety “very seriously”.
Last year the brand was seriously damaged after it recalled a million buggies in the US following reports that children’s fingers had been lacerated. Tel: 01992 422 128

23 year old man injured by toxic sap from giant Cacti suceeds in case against Rentokill Initial PLC

A man who worked for a pest control company is seeking compensation from his former employer, Rentokill Initial PLC after he was nearly blinded by a cactus. He is represented by Dave Koon Koon of Garden House solicitors.
Carl had been pruning a giant cacti in a Milton Keynes shopping centre when the incident occurred.
As he cut into the cacti toxic sap squirted from it and went into his eye causing burning to his cornea. He had to be treated in hospital and was blind in one eye for a week. He also had to take six weeks off work to recover.
Carl had not received training on how to prune the cacti and was not given safety goggles, the Company has been fined £12,000 by the Health and Safety Executive for breaching safety regulations and also court costs.