Wednesday 28 August 2013

Five Key Questions About Forming A New Company

David Hughes of Garden House Solicitors
Article by David Hughes
How do I form a company?
The quickest, easiest way to do it is to buy one ready made from a company formation agent. This is called an ‘off-the-shelf company. You can fill in your details on their website and they will form a brand new company just for you.

What is a company formation agent?
It is the name for a business that does nothing else but form new companies. There are hundreds of them on the web. Just google for ‘company formation agent’.

Can I trust a company formation agent?
Yes. It is their day job to form new companies so they know what they are doing. The company formation process isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming and a hassle for those who are not familiar with it.

How quickly will my new company be ready?
It can be formed in a day. The company formation agents are linked to Companies House via specialist software, so they can usually form a new company within a few hours.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

LPA and EPA Registration Fees to be Reduced

Article by Sharon Brown
Every Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.  Enduring Powers of Attorney must be registered at such time as the donor (the person who made the EPA) has lost or is beginning to lose mental capacity.  The current fee for registering an LPA or EPA with the OPG is £130.00 per document. 

On 16th Jul 2013 it was announced by Helen Grant (the Under-Secretary of State for Justice) that the fees will be reduced.  From 1st October 2013 the registration fee will be £110.00 per document, a very welcome saving for people trying to put their affairs in order.  Also, where an application to register has to be resubmitted to the OPG the fee is being reduced from £65.00 to £55.00.    

The Government has previously stated that it would like every adult to have an LPA in place and I feel this is a step in the right direction to making that wish a reality.

If you have any questions regarding EPAs or LPAs please feel free to contact me on 01992 422128 or by email to

Garden House Solicitors in Hertfordshire

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Friday 26 July 2013

Thank you!

Thank you so much to the local businesses and individual people who donated prizes for our Garden Party raffle.  The value of the raffle prizes donated exceeded £1,000.00 and helped us to raise over that amount for The Alzheimer's Society.

Please show your support to these businesses, and if you pop in please say hello from us!

Cut & blow dry – donated by Mannie Di Gesaro Saks, Hertford

Two bottles of wine – donated by Bradshaw Johnson Accountants

Bottle of red wine – donated by Ask Italian Restaurant

Garden Party 2013

Patricia Ling of Garden House Solicitors in Hertfordshire
Article by Patricia Ling

Garden House Solicitors hold a Garden Party on the first Friday of July annually to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.  This year the Garden Party was held on 5th July and was attended by about 100 people including the Town’s Mayor, Patricia Moore.

Patricial Ling and Hertford Town Mayor Patricia Moore
Myself and Patricia Moore
The Garden Party was a huge success and we are enormously grateful to Waitrose Hertford and its customers for sponsoring the event through its Community Matters Scheme.  Thank you to everyone who attended and the local people and businesses who donated raffle prizes, we are delighted to report that we raised the sum of £1,020 for the Alzheimer’s Society.  The Garden Party was a chance for local people and business to meet the Garden House team in a relaxed and informal environment.  Afternoon tea was served and we received compliments from everyone on the delicious food.  Sharon and Erica served Pimms and bubbly and everyone enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine having a drink and a chat. 

Thursday 25 July 2013

Fatal Accidents and Claims for Bereavement Compensation

Specialist in Fatal Accident Claims
Article by
Nidhi Chopra

It is an extremely difficult time when a loved one passes away, but when the death is caused by someone else’s negligence or fault then natural feelings of bereavement are also accompanied by resentment and numerous unanswered questions.

When there has been a violent, suspicious, unnatural or a sudden death of an unknown cause, the death is reported to a Coroner who will make inquiries to establish the cause of death. The Coroner may hold an inquest hearing. Reports to the Coroner are often made by doctors, hospitals and the police. The victim’s family are able to review the reports and attend the inquest to hear the evidence.

Whether the death was caused through a road traffic incident, a hospital operation going wrong, or a workplace disease; if investigations and evidence suggests that the death was caused by someone’s negligence or fault, then the law has made provisions to allow bereaved relatives to claim compensation from the wrong doer to support them, as far as money can provide, for their future. 

What is a discretionary trust?

Discretionary Trusts Specialist
Article by
Chris Lucas

A discretionary trust is a trust set up whereby the trustees are given discretion over the trust fund, typically with regard to the payment of trust money to one or more beneficiaires. 

Who are the legal owners of the trust fund?
The trustees are the legal owners of the trust fund which can comprise of any assets, such as money, land or buildings.

What 'discretion' do the trustees have? 
Normally, the trustees will be able to decide how to use or invest the trust assets in the interests of the beneficiaries and how the trust fund should be distributed between the beneficiaries if at all.  Quite often, the person setting up the trust will have prepared a 'letter of wishes' to the trustees setting out how they would like the trustees to exercise their discretion. The extent of the trustees' discretion will depend on the terms of the trust.

Why use discretionary trusts?
One reason may simply be to allow the trustees flexibility to pay different amounts of income or capital to different beneficiaries. This can be useful if the future needs of a beneficiary is not known; for example a grandchild who may require greater financial assistance in the future.

Discretionary trusts are also particularly useful if one or more of the beneficiaries are not capable or responsible enough to look after money for themselves.  Common examples of this include a child or adult beneficiary with severe learning disabilities. In relation to the latter, particularly where a vulnerable beneficiary is in receipt of means tested benefits, a discretionary trust will enable the trustees to pay money to that beneficiary as and when required in such a way that the arrangment will not affect the beneficiary's entitlement to benefits. This is because the beneficiary would have no beneficial right to the trust money, rather a mere chance that the trustees might exercise the discretion in their favour. The situation would be very different in the case of a bare trust, where the beneficiary would have an absolute right to the trust fund.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Annual Garden Party 2013

An exciting date in the Garden House calendar is nearly here - our annual Garden Party on the 5 July 2013 between 1pm and 5pm!  Once again we are hosting a Garden Party to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society.

Julie Retallick of Garden House Solicitors
Article by
Julie Retallick

There will be a raffle and an afternoon tea available.  Fingers crossed the sun will shine for us!   We were very lucky last year and currently we are forecast sun and 22 degrees.  Fancy a glass of Pimms in the sun?  If so, please join us?  We are delighted that the Mayor of Hertford, Patricia Moore, is joining us at 3 pm.  It will be a fabulous opportunity to meet old and new friends.  Just give us a quick call on 01992 422128 to confirm your attendance, so that we are able to cater appropriately.

For the past week I have been busy telephoning, emailing and personally calling into local business begging raffle prizes. I am delighted to say that local businesses have been very generous and we have some fabulous prizes waiting for you!
Fundraising Garden Party
Garden Party 2012

Last year we raised £538.00 and we aim to beat that this year, please help us by buying raffle tickets on the day.

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease for all the family and I decided sometime ago that should I fall victim to this dreaded disease I would make sure that my grandchildren, two boys aged 8 and 6 would be well cared for.  Consequently I have made Lasting Powers of Attorney and a Will.  What about my own children I hear you say, well they have made their own way in life and are well able to look after themselves but I might leave them a little something!  Obviously I intend to enjoy life and if that means spending money I will, but I will definitely make sure that my grandchildren have that little pot to help them along the way and will think of me with love when spending my hard earned cash (hopefully)!

Friday 28 June 2013

Care funding – the proposed reforms and how they will affect you

Care fees, care funding, residential care, government reforms
Article by
Chris Lucas
Care funding might seem like a confusing topic, but it is an issue which is likely to affect many of us at some point in our lives. If you or a loved one is going into residential care, it is advised that you seek advice early on. Lack of planning can result in the depletion of assets which can have a big impact on the inheritance for those loved ones left behind.

The present position
If you are in need of residential care, the current position is that you will be required to pay the full cost of your care for as long as you need it if you have assets worth over £23,250. This is known as the means test threshold. If your assets are worth less than £23,250 but more than £14,250, you will be required to pay a contribution.

What are the proposed reforms?
Earlier this year, the government set out reforms to adult social care funding which are due to be implemented in April 2016. These reforms can be broadly summarised as follows:
  • A cap of £72,000 on the total amount any individual will have to pay for their care, meaning that after this amount has been paid the local authority will step in and meet the costs;
  • Deferred payment arrangements to ensure that no one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for their care;
  • Increasing the means test threshold from £23,250 to £118,500, meaning that those with assets worth less than £118,500 (as opposed to £23,250) will be entitled to some financial assistance from the local authority.
These plans appear to be a considerable step forward and the idea of capping care costs is likely to be welcomed by many. However, the reality is not so simple…

Accidents at Work

Article by
Dave Koon Koon
In yet another blow to the genuinely injured individual the laws which cover many of the aspects of an employer’s liability to their employee, should an accident happen at work, are changing from October 2013.

There will be many changes that will affect the prospects of success of claims being made by those injured at work and one of these changes is the removal of the requirement that the employer must prove that they have taken steps that are ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure that their employee is not injured at work.

At present it is for the employer to prove that they have taken all reasonably practicable steps to reduce the risk of injury to its lowest level in compliance with whichever regulation or statute is relevant to the circumstances. It is not for the injured employee to do this.

Following the changes in October 2013 it will be more than likely up to the injured employee to prove that the employer failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to reduce that risk to its lowest level in order to comply with the relevant regulation or statute. This will in turn lead to increased expense for the injured party as additional expert evidence will be required to prove their case.

Another particularly significant change is the removal of ‘strict liability’ from the various Health & Safety regulations. An example of how this works is that at present, if an employee is injured at work, through no fault of their own, whilst using machinery or tools, which are defective or faulty and that work equipment has been provided by their employer then their employer will be liable to compensate the injured employee for their injury, regardless of whether the employer had knowledge of any problem with the equipment.

Following the changes to the Health & Safety regulations in October 2013 ‘strict liability’ will have been removed which means that should an employee be injured at work by defective or faulty equipment, provided by their employer, then the employee will have to prove that their employer was negligent in providing that equipment. This change will therefore shift the burden of proving the case to the injured employee who has done nothing wrong.   

If you have been involved in an accident at work please contact me on 01992 422 128 or at for further advice and assistance.

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Monday 24 June 2013

Manual Handling at Work

One of the most common causes of injury at work is incorrect manual handling. It can cause Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) which account for more than a third of all workplace injuries. Common questions regarding manual lifting at work include:

Are there any weight limits on manual lifting?
The law does not specify a safe maximum weight limit. Instead it places a duty on employers to manage or control risk. The measures an employer must take to meet this duty will vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, the employer should consider the strength and fitness of the employee and the weight of the load and distance to be carried.

Should I take a manual handling training course and what will it involve?  
Manual handling training courses should involve learning about manual handling risk factors and how to avoid injuries along with how to safely manually handle goods and the use of mechanical aids. Although training can be important in reducing the risk of injury at work, employers should supplement this with monitoring and reviews of procedures to guarantee that practice is safe. 

Does a 'no lifting' policy exist?
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) do not exclude individual types of manual handling or endorse 'no lifting' policies. Manual handling should be limited to circumstances where it cannot be avoided and only where the risk has been assessed and minimised.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Personal injury trusts – what’s the story?

Chris Lucas of Garden House Solicitors - Personal Injury Trusts Specialist
Article by
Chris Lucas
I have just settled a personal injury case for one of my clients who had an unfortunate accident whereby a barrel was thrown onto his leg causing a significant trauma injury with various other complications. The case settled for a five figure sum and was actually the highest award I have ever achieved for one of my own clients in my career as a trainee. Given the amount of compensation my client is due to receive, I have advised him to give careful consideration to setting up a personal injury trust.

What is a personal injury trust?
A personal injury trust is a legal arrangement whereby the compensation awarded from a personal injury claim is held and controlled by people chosen by the injured client, the ‘trustees’. The trustees’ responsibility is to look after the money and use it for the benefit of the injured client, the ‘beneficiary’.

Can’t I just pay my compensation into my bank account?
There are a number of reasons why we would advise any client receiving a large amount of compensation to set up a personal injury trust. The most common reason is that if you are in receipt of means tested benefits, the money you have will be taken into account. The threshold is that if you have over £6,000, your entitlement to benefits will be affected. In addition, if you currently receive or will need Community Care Support at some point in the future, having a large sum of money can lead to your support costs increasing significantly.

What if I just spend my compensation quickly?
Your entitlement to benefits could still be affected if you do not act in a way which is considered reasonable. Spending your compensation all at once on a shopping spree or using the money to pay off your mortgage are examples of where the Benefits Agency might conclude that you have attempted to defraud the system and you could be penalised as a result.

Thursday 16 May 2013

How to Sell a Company

David Hughes of Garden House Solicitors
Article by David Hughes

If you are a business owner you will know that building your company is hard work. Selling your business often seems like a distant dream, many years in the future - if only you could get there.

However, the years pass and the sale of the company seems to get no closer. Does that sound familiar? For many company owners it is an uncomfortable reality. If building the company is hard, selling it can feel like the ultimate goal that is forever out of reach.

It is a good idea to do a legal health check on your company each year, which will look at whether all your client contracts and compliance paperwork is in place. It will review your employee contracts and staff handbook and it will look at your online presence and whether your activities online are fully compliant with relevant laws. The aim is to make sure that your business is continually ready to be sold as it grows, because you never know when the right time to sell will come along.

The truth is that no company ever reaches a ‘perfect moment’ at which point it is sold. Selling a company, as with most things in life, is a compromise. It also takes hard work and serious planning. How do you value a company? What if your co-owners don’t want to sell? Who would want to buy your company? Is the company value too reliant on your employees?

The good news is that you can increase both the value of your company and the likelihood that it will be sold by understanding the key factors that a buyer will look for.

Garden House Solicitors offer their clients the legal advice to ensure a successful business sale. To book your free consultation contact our business law advisor, David Hughes at or by telephone on 01992 422128

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Top 3 Pitfalls in Franchise Agreements

More than 1 in 2 potential franchisees sign up to the standard franchise agreement of the brand they decide to go into business with without taking legal advice.
David Hughes of Garden House Solicitors
Article by David Hughes

The most common question of those that do take advice is to know what the pitfalls of the agreement are.

The top 3 pitfalls of franchise agreements, (which are a surprise for those who don’t take legal advice!), are:

1. It’s your full time job. Most franchise agreements contain a clause stating that you will have to devote your ‘full time and attention’ to the franchise and are not allowed to be involved in any other business while you are part of the franchise. This means that you will be in breach of the agreement if you are continuing to work part-time in another business (even a non-competing one) while you build up your franchise business.

2. You can’t choose your suppliers. A franchise agreement will state that you have to get your supplies from the franchisor at their list prices – so even if you can find the same equipment or products at a cheaper price elsewhere you do not have the discretion to buy from them.

3. No right to walk away. Almost all reputed franchises are for a fixed 5 year term with the option to renew at the end. This means you are tied in for 5 years! Usually the only way out is to sell the franchise. If you stop trading and walk away early, then you will likely be liable to the franchisor for lost royalty fees for the unexpired part of your franchise term.

Garden House Solicitors offers a franchise agreement review. Taking advice on the contents of a franchise agreement starts from £450 + VAT. It is a relatively quick process and can give you the peace of mind that you are not signing up to years of headaches later on.  

If you are considering entering into a franchise agreement or you are already involved in a franchise and need assistance you can telephone me on 01992 422128 or email

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.


Personal injury specialist
Article by
Chris Lucas

It is important that nurses and other hospital workers are aware of the occupational hazards of working in hospitals and the duties owed to them by their employers. We have received many enquiries from nurses who have been involved in different kinds of accidents ranging from slips, trips and falls to unsecured equipment falling from walls in hospitals and x-ray machines being rolled over nurses’ feet.

Needle stick injuries are also an occupational hazard for nurses and other healthcare workers. According to the Health Protection Agency’s fourth Eye of the Needle report, there were 541 reports of needle stick injuries which exposed healthcare workers to patients carrying blood-borne viruses in 2011 alone.

Other hazards facing nurses include:
-          Exposure to x-rays
-          Handling of cytotoxic drugs
-          Exposure to infections
-          Splashes of chemical or bodily fluids into eyes
-          Back injury as a result of moving and handling patients
-          Assaults on nursing staff by violent patients

Both the NHS and private hospitals have duties to maintain safe systems of work and ensure that workplaces are safe for their employees. Of course, accidents do happen. If you are a nurse or healthcare worker who has suffered an injury at work, please do not hesitate to contact me for further advice.

You can call me on 01992 422 128 or email me at

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Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Free Employment Seminar

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Finsbury Adept 12/14 Modular Head – Medical Device Alert

Article by
Kevin Timms

The UK medical device manufacturer has issued a formal Medical Device Alert in respect of the Finsbury Adept 12/14 Modular Head, a component used in the Finsbury Adept Total Hip Replacement. This is a metal on metal hip implant.

Whilst the Medical Device Alert has not specifically said this is a formal recall of the Finsbury Adept metal Modular Head, it reaffirms the Urgent Field Safety Notice issued by Finsbury Orthopaedics on 15 January 2013 that the Finsbury Adept metal Modular Head should not be implanted and all affected devices should be returned to DePuy International Limited.

Whilst a different manufacturer, DePuy International Limited purchased Finsbury Orthopaedics Limited in 2009. DePuy is the manufacturer of the recalled ASR metal on metal hip implant, in which Garden House Solicitors are already bringing claims.

Garden House Solicitors are instructed by a growing number of patients who have been injured as a result of the Finsbury Adept metal Modular Head when used as a total hip replacement and are forming a group action against the manufacturer.

If you or someone you know have suffered adverse symptoms as a result of these implants, whether you have had revision surgery or not, please contact Kevin Timms for free advice on whether you could bring a claim against Finsbury Orthopaedics Limited and join a group of claimants suffering from similar problems.

Kevin is also instructed by individuals with the Finsbury Adept resurfacing metal on metal hip implant and non approved Finsbury Adept Total Hip Replacements.

Kevin can be contacted on 01992 422 128 or at

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Access to Justice Post 1 April 2013

Article by
Dave Koon Koon

Following a review of the funding of Personal Injury claims by the Government drastic changes are being implemented from 1April 2013.

The major consequence of the changes is that the cost of pursuing a claim for Personal Injury has been shifted from the insurer of the guilty party to the injured party and in some circumstances this will mean that legal costs will have to be deducted from the injured party’s compensation.

The insurance companies claim that this will bring legal costs down and allow them to in turn reduce insurance premiums but only time will tell if that actually happens.

Monday 4 March 2013

A Defeat for Access to Legal Advice

Article by
Dave Koon Koon

Many vulnerable victims of injury will now find it impossible to obtain independent legal representation as a result of Friday’s bitterly disappointing judgment in the Administrative Court.

As the Government has now decided to slash lawyers’ fees in the road traffic accident claims process, many people will be left on their own to negotiate with insurers for fair and proper compensation for their injuries.

The vast majority of injured people have no knowledge of what their injuries are ‘worth’ in terms of damages, so such negotiations will inevitably be biased in favour of the insurers. A recent independent survey found, for example, that 70 per cent of people would not know what level of compensation to claim for a whiplash injury.
This is a dark day for people who are injured through no fault of their own. We can only hope that the Government does not take this judgment as licence to ride rough-shod over the needs of vulnerable people in the future.
We are committed to continuing our work to helping victims of road traffic accidents. If you need advice contact Dave Koon Koon on  01992 422 128 or email .                             

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Finsbury ADEPT Total Hip Replacement Claims

Article by
Kevin Timms

A number of individuals with Finsbury ADEPT Total Hip Replacements have instructed Garden House Solicitors to pursue a compensation claim.

The Finsbury ADEPT Total Hip Replacement (THR) was manufactured by Finsbury Orthopaedics Limited which was acquired by DePuy International Limited in 2009 and now forms part of the Johnson and Johnson group of companies.

The Finsbury ADEPT THR is a metal on metal hip replacement consisting of a metal stem, a metal modular head and a metal acetabular cup.

Kevin Timms of Garden House Solicitors is instructed to bring claims on behalf of a group of claimants on the grounds that the Finsbury ADEPT THR metal on metal (MoM) hip implant has an inherent design defect which leads to the excessive release of cobalt and chromium ions into the area around the ADEPT MoM hip implant.

The Finsbury ADEPT MoM THR was the subject of an Urgent Field Safety Notice on 15 January 2013. As a result of higher than expected revision rates for the ADEPT 12/14 Modular Head, DePuy has ordered that all ADEPT 12/14 Modular heads held by hospitals should be quarantined and returned to the manufacturer. The manufacturer states that problems associated with the ADEPT THR which led to premature revision surgery include loosening of the stem, soft tissue reactions and pain.

Garden House Solicitors have noted that as a result of these cobalt and chromium ions, patients have suffered from their muscles and bones being destroyed. Patients have needed revision surgery prematurely as a result of the damaged caused by their Finsbury ADEPT MoM THR. In some cases, the damage has been so extensive that patients have been left with an ongoing disability. Often the full extent of the damage caused by a Finsbury ADEPT MoM implant is unknown until a patient requires revision surgery where extensive metallosis and tissue and bone necrosis is noted. This can make the process of performing revision surgery more complex and result in the replacement hip implant not lasting as long as expected.

It is important that patients with a Finsbury ADEPT MoM THR contact their surgeon to arrange for an appropriate investigation to take place which should include blood tests to measure the level of cobalt and chromium ions and an MRI scan. This is all the more important if you are suffering from pain in the groin, have trouble walking or experience grinding, noises or swelling associated with the Finsbury ADEPT hip implant.

Kevin Timms is forming a group of claimants and encourages anyone with a Finsbury ADEPT MoM THR to contact him for free advice on whether a compensation claim can be taken forward on a No Win No Fee agreement.

Kevin specialises in defective product claims and is in receipt of instructions from all over the country in respect of metal on metal hip implants, both resurfacing and total hip replacement. The symptoms experienced from these hip implants are not acceptable and after sustaining life changing injuries as a result of a MoM hip implant you should seek legal advice from someone who has the expertise and understanding to guide you in your claim and to identify the right defendant to pursue.

Kevin can be contacted on 01992 422 128 or at

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.