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“People tell me that I am an unusual sort of lawyer. By this I hope they mean that I am not at all pompous, I don’t talk down to people, I like to get out of my office and see clients where its more convenient for us both – their home, office, a handy café, a country hotel.

 

I have an office at home but I realise what people buy is the knowledge between my ears and the ease with which they can deal with me. I don’t see why I should hide in a city centre office."

About

Mark Foley qualified as a solicitor in Canterbury in 1994 and worked subsequently in West Norfolk then at Clapham & Collinge solicitors in Norwich from 2001 until 2007 when he set up on my own as Linked Law.

 

Mark has a wider experience than most solicitors; civil litigation, divorce and family law, wills and inheritance, business law. He is also unusually willing to research unusual issues, just out of the interest of it.

 

So many lawyers tend to have one specialism that they think “this person is a company law client, that person is a wills client”. The fact is all people at various times in their life a person are going to be buying or selling a house, making a will, resolving a dispute, dealing with issues in business. By calling my business Linked Law what I want to express is that all these issues can inter- relate, and you’ll be better off talking to someone who has a wider experience.

 

A sample of the past few years’ cases:

 

Wills, wills and more wills, for spouses, for second marriages, for singles, for unmarried couples, for company directors, for partnerships, to save care home fees.

 

Lasting Powers of Attorney, dealing with social services and the elderly.

 

Civil litigation disputes over life insurance policies, property boundaries, rights of way, noise nuisance, contract terms, damp to property, sales of goods and consumer legislation, rental agreements, restrictive covenants, pension investments, building works, motor vehicles, employment termination agreements, sub-contract labour, electricity and gas charges.

 

Contract and documents drafting for:

 

Heating engineers terms of business

Loans for business

Partnership agreements

Revisions of company articles

Shareholders agreements

 

Business advice on shop rental and lease agreements, purchase of land for use as a garden.

 

Family law:  Prenuptial agreements, unmarried relationship breakdown, contact and residence arrangements for children, capital payment for the benefit of a child under the Children Act 1989 Schedule 1, divorce, resolving the financial issues in divorce.

 

Married to Charlotte, another solicitor, he is a very keen sailor racing a dinghy on the North Norfolk coast most weekends from March to October.

Link to 25am Networking website

Member and a founder of the 25:am Business Group in Norwich (a group of 30 local businesses of different skills  that cooperate to share market information, introduce work to each other, and run events). We formed it in 2005 and it goes from strength to strength.

 

“Membership of 25:am Business Group gives me great confidence that I can offer better value to my clients by calling on other experts when I need them to help me, or to help my clients regardless of their legal issues.”

 

Independent Law Network

In 2008 I founded the Independent Law Network to bring together independent solicitors in the Norwich area to provide services in most fields of legal expertise:

 

Employment

Family

Litigation

Inheritance and probate

Crime

Local government and parish councils

Education

Agricultural and rural law

Property

 

I may refer you to another solicitor in the Independent Law Network where I think they can better serve your issues.

 

 

Practice Statutory Information

Linked Law is the practice name of Mark Foley, Solicitor. The practice is Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, number 471736.

Practice Information and policies

Equality and Diversity Policy

adopted on 20th August 2010 by the law firm of Linked Law Solicitors Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

 

Click here to

download the policy.

 

Family Law

  • What is divorce?

    Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage. Marriage and divorce go together; if one is not married there can be no divorce, and without a divorce one cannot marry for a second time. There is no such legal status as common law partner, or common law wife ; one is either single, married , or divorced. The term “common law wife” or partner is frequently used where couples cohabit for many years, but while cohabiting can bring some rights, there is no such legal status in England as “common law wife” or “common law husband”.

     

    Getting a divorce is not for everyone. In some cases in spite of the relationship breaking down, a spouse will choose not to get a divorce but will choose to have a legal separation, or a separation agreement, or merely to live apart. This might typically be because they have a moral or religious objection to divorce, or because they might lose valuable property, inheritance or pension rights in a divorce.

     

    In the Courts system in England and Wales it usually takes from 4 to 6 months to get a divorce, if both parties cooperate with the procedure in a prompt manner.

     

  • What's the procedure for divorce?

    One of the spouses (husband or wife) gets the court to issue a Divorce Petition. In the process, the spouse who issued the petitioner is called the “Petitioner”

     

    The court posts the petition to the other spouse. This is called “service” of the Petition.

     

    The other spouse (in this process called the “Respondent”) completes a form called an Acknowledgement of Service and sends it back to the court.

     

    The court sends a copy of the Acknowledgement of Service to the Petitioner.

     

    The Petitioner swears an Affidavit, and sends that in to the court with their Application for Decree Nisi.

     

    The District Judge at the court looks at the Application and if they are happy the procedure has been correctly followed and that the situation for any children of the family are satisfactory, then they will make a court order for the Decree Nisi to be issued.

     

    After a wait of 6 weeks, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute.

  • What does getting a divorce mean?

    Getting divorced means that one person has to be the Petitioner and the other spouse has to be the Respondent. Most people think that adultery and divorce are synonymous, but there are 5 “Grounds” that can be used to satisfy the court that the marriage has broken down. A divorce petition can be based on:

     

    • Adultery

    • Unreasonable behaviour

    • Two years of separation with the Respondent’s consent

    • Five years of separation without the Respondent’s consent

    • Desertion

     

    The most frequently used grounds are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, and two years of separation with the Respondent’s consent.

  • What's the cost of obtaining a divorce decree absolute?

    The costs of divorce decree absolute are in two parts:

     

    • Court Fees: A fee has to paid when the petition is issued  and when the Decree Absolute is applied for.

    The court fees change from time to time.

    • Solicitor’s charges: The solicitor’s charges will depend on what their hourly charging rate is, and how much

    time they spend conducting the case doing things such as seeing the client taking instructions,

    drafting court documents, making phone calls, and writing letters, and VAT on those time charges.

     

    Usually, including the solicitor’s charges and the court fees, the Decree Absolute costs from £1200.00 to £1600.00. Bear in mind that it will take about 4 to 6 months to get from the start of the process to the end, so this money does not have to be paid all at once.

    It is frequently possible for the husband and wife to agree they are going to share these costs, or for the Petitioner to recover them from the Respondent in full.

     

  • The problems of the 'Kernott v. Jones' types of claim.

    1. One person owns a property and has made no money contribution to the value of it but has done a lot of work to it that has

     added value.

    2. One person owns a property and the other person doesn’t own it but has contributed money to help buy it.

    3. Two people own a property together but one of them thinks that they contributed more than a half to the value of it, and the

    way the legal title is set up it doesn’t reflect that extra value.

     

    The legal issues that come up in advancing these arguments frankly cannot be discussed fully here, you’ll need to talk to me

    in person, but here is the gist of it.

     

    1. Where no money contribution has been made then the best that can be argued is Promissory Estoppel. To succeed the

    claimant has to show:

    a. that they were PROMISED that they would obtain some valuable interest in the property (a “beneficial interest”)

    b. that the person who received the promise (the “promisee”) acted to their DETRIMENT in RELIANCE on the promise.

    c. In such circumstances, the promisee can argue that the promisor should be “estopped” from denying the claimant the right

    that was promised.

     

    The troubles with this type of claim are that the evidence to prove it can be very difficult to obtain. The promise will not have been put in writing. It may have been made when no one else was present.  It may have been a “one off “statement, never repeated.

    The detriment may have been incurred for ambiguous reasons that are not clearly related to the promise.  The “detriment” may not be sufficient to satisfy the court.

     

    For these reasons – and more – your solicitor will prefer to bring a claim in resulting or constructive trust.

     

Wills & Inheritance

Wills, Inheritance and Estate Planning.

These are the questions we are most frequently asked; have you thought about these issues and how they affect your family?

  • Why should I make a Will?

    If you die without a will there are consequences. The cost of administering your estate will be higher.  The person who administers your assets will not necessarily be someone you would have chosen. The distribution of your estate is fixed by law, irrespective of your intentions or the beneficiaries’ needs.

    If you are unmarried and live with a partner they may not be able to benefit. All your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules. Your parents, children, brothers and sisters, and even cousins uncles and aunts will benefit, but not your partner. In Law, there is no such thing as “Common Law Husband / Wife."

     

    The law would determine the distribution of your estate even if you are married. For example your spouse, if you have children, gets only the first £250,000, including the value of your house. See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/relationships/death-and-wills/who-can-inherit-if-there-is-no-will-the-rules-of-intestacy/#h-what-are-the-rules-of-intestacy

  • Do I need to worry about taxes on my death?

    If your assets total more than £325,000 then your beneficiaries may be liable to pay 40% on everything over this amount. Proper professional tax and estate planning could minimise exposure to this tax on your death, whether through your will or by taking steps during your lifetime.

  • I already have a Will. How often should it be reviewed?

    You should review your will whenever there have been changes in family circumstances (for example, births, deaths, disabilities, marriages, separation or divorce) or if there has been a significant change in your wealth, whether an increase or a decrease. Also, there may be changes in the law that should be taken into account. Look at the Budget announcements each year.

  • What is a simple Will?

    The essential attributes of a will are:

    It has 2 Executors. These are the people who have the job of carrying out the wishes in the will.

    It is a good idea that they:

    1. There is a clear statement of what specific items (if any) are going to be left to which particular people.

    2. There is a clear statement of who is going to get the “residue “of the estate, and if more than

    one person, how they are going to share it.

    3. It is properly executed. If it not properly executed, it will be invalid.

    • Are local to the place of the deceased’s home.

    • They are younger than the deceased, therefore likely to survive them

    • They have some business or administrative experience

     Other matters you may want to consider when making your will:

    • What do you want to happen to your remains?

    • Who might care for your children if they are minors when you die?

    • Who might look after the money in the estate for your children if they are minors when you die?

    • At what age would you like your children to inherit money?

    • Do you want to leave any gifts to people or to charity?

    • What can be done to minimise the incidence of inheritance tax and care home fees?

  • I divorced recently; how can I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything under my will?

    Divorce revokes gifts to a former spouse and removes that person as an executor if they were appointed. However, it is risky to simply rely on the revocation rule. Also, unless you make a new will, your executor is obliged to notify your ex-spouse that an application for probate has been submitted to the court, and your former spouse may participate in the proceedings if they want to.

  • My wife and I have separated – do I need to change my will?

    Yes! Separation does not affect your will, even if you have a Separation Agreement, which provides that your spouse will have no claim against you under your will.

  • Who pays if I have to go into a care home?

    It is often a person’s intention to pass on their estate to their children or other relatives upon their death. Sadly sometimes the assets are diminished by care home fees.

    With advances in medical science, it is highly probable that one or even both partners in a household will require long-term residential care later in their lives.

     

    A nursing assessment is always carried out when a person needs to be admitted into long-term residential care and this assessment dictates how the fees are met. Should it be decided that full nursing/residential care is required; the state may pay for most, if not all, of the fees. Should it be decided that such care could be received at home then that person may well be liable for some, if not all, of the residential fees.

     

    Anyone with assets currently over £23,500 will have to meet these fees from their own capital/income. Clearly these funds will be depleted quite speedily as the average residential care home in this area is approximately £500 per week.

     

    Should the resident own their home the local council can apply a charge to that property so that once it is eventually sold they can recoup the contributions they have been making on behalf of that resident whilst they have been in the residential home. The council can become the outright owner of the family home.

     

    There is a potential solution:-

     

    THE PROPERTY TRUST

    A “property Trust” (i.e. the matrimonial home/main residence of a person) is usually held by both partners as joint tenants. This means that on the death of one of them the whole property will pass to the survivor.

    This joint tenancy can be severed so that the property is held as tenants in common in equal shares, then, under the terms of the will, each person’s one-half share in the property can be held upon trust for the lifetime of the surviving partner, and then ultimately for the benefit of their beneficiaries e.g. their children.

    This would mean that each half share in the property will ultimately fall to the absolute beneficiaries once both partners have passed away.

     

    Potentially, should one partner become a resident in a care home, they will only legally own a one-half share in the property and only that one-half share can be taken into account in relation to the residential home fees. This does give some protection for the other share held upon trust.

     

    Please ask us how this general information affects your particular situation

  • Should I use a Will writer?

    Many will writers can write a will perfectly adequately, but there are important differences between solicitors and an online will, or will writers in general:

    Except in Scotland, will writers are not regulated. This means no one over sees their work to ensure that they are performing a good service that carries out your legal needs properly. If the will writer gets it wrong, they do not have insurance to cover the cost of any damages you would be entitled to. Solicitors, by contrast, are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and have to have Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover claims up to a minimum of £2,000,000 two million pounds.

  • Should I have a “living will”?

    A “living wills”, as they are commonly called, are documents that set out directions for the medical care and treatment of a person when they have become incapable of making decisions and/or expressing those decisions for themselves. These are called Advance Directives.  When you speak to a lawyer, they may instead  prefer you to consider another type of document which is a“Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare”.  LPAs are more flexible than Advamce Directives. You should certainly consider one if you think that those who love you, such as children and spouses or partners, would have difficulty dealing with these issues for you. You can give clear guidance about decisions concerning life sustaining treatment; whether or not it is given, who can make those decisions, whether they can make them singly or jointly.

  • What is a Power of Attorney? How can I get someone to look after my property & financial affairs?

    A power of attorney is a document which gives another person power to carry out your affairs on your behalf. These can be very wide in scope, such as a general power of attorney, but in the context of their later years, most people need to consider a “Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare” (see above) or a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs.  The Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs gives one or more persons the right to administer your affairs singly or jointly, to a greater or lesser degree, as you decide. The powers of the attorneys are overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian. They have to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.

  • What is Estate Planning? What is the tax on inheritance?

    In essence, estate planning is working out how to make sure most of your money goes to the people you want after your death, and is not paid to the government in taxes or spent on care home fees.

    The main tax to be avoided is Inheritance Tax. The Inheritance Tax threshold (or ‘nil rate band’) is the amount up to which an estate will have no Inheritance Tax to pay. If the estate – including any assets held in trust and gifts made within seven years of death – is more than the threshold, Inheritance Tax will be due at 40 per cent on the amount over the nil rate band. In 2012 the threshold is £325,000. Anyone who is likely to have this much in their estate at their death (and it includes the property they live in) should get advice and make a plan.

     

Elderly

Long Term Care Provision

The following commentary on finances is provided by Sue Gamble, a Norwich I.F.A.:

  • Planning For Long Term Care

    As life expectancy improves and more of us are living into our 80s and 90s, more people need care on a long-term basis. This is something that touches us all, whether directly or through our parents and grandparents. With complicated legislation and many financial options to consider, it is no wonder that moving into a care home or arranging ‘at home’ care can be a stressful and difficult process.

  • The Cost of Care

    The average cost of residential care in East Anglia is around £700 per week and only those with very limited capital means (under £23,250) will qualify for financial assistance. Capital disappears very quickly at the rate of £700 per week. Although some help can be obtained in the form of attendance allowance, this does not usually provide a complete solution.

     

    One option is to explore the advantages of dedicated financial policies that cover all or part of the cost of care. In the right circumstances, this can provide a core solution and with the help and advice of a specialist, many of the problems of funding care fees can be solved.

     

    Sue Gamble , I.F.A. Oracle Financial Services Limited, Norwich.

  • Who pays if I have to go into a care home?

    It is often a person’s intention to pass on their estate to their children or other relatives upon their death. Sadly sometimes the assets are diminished by care home fees.

     

    With advances in medical science, it is highly probable that one or even both partners in a household will require long-term residential care later in their lives.

     

    A nursing assessment is always carried out when a person needs to be admitted into long-term residential care and this assessment dictates how the fees are met. Should it be decided that full nursing/residential care is required; the state may pay for most, if not all, of the fees. Should it be decided that such care could be received at home then that person may well be liable for some, if not all, of the residential fees.

     

    Anyone with assets currently over £23,250 will have to meet these fees from their own capital/income. Clearly these funds will be depleted quite speedily as the average residential care home in this area is approximately £700 per week.

     

    Should the resident own their home the local council can apply a charge to that property so that once it is eventually sold they can recoup the contributions they have been making on behalf of that resident whilst they have been in the residential home. The council can become the outright owner of the family home.

    There is a potential solution:-

     

    THE PROPERTY TRUST

    A “property Trust” (i.e. the matrimonial home/main residence of a person) is usually held by both partners as joint tenants. This means that on the death of one of them the whole property will pass to the survivor.

     

    This joint tenancy can be severed so that the property is held as tenants in common in equal shares, then, under the terms of the will, each person’s one-half share in the property can be held upon trust for the lifetime of the surviving partner, and then ultimately for the benefit of their beneficiaries e.g. their children.

     

    This would mean that each half share in the property will ultimately fall to the absolute beneficiaries once both partners have passed away.

     

    Potentially, should one partner become a resident in a care home, they will only legally own a one-half share in the property and only that one-half share can be taken into account in relation to the residential home fees. This does give some protection for the other share held upon trust.

     

    Please ask us how this general information affects your particular situation

     

Disputes and Litigation

Resolving disputes can be done in several ways, and one dispute can be tackled in all of these ways:

 

• Negotiation by the participants.

• Negotiation by lawyers

• Mediation between the parties involving their lawyers and a trained Mediator

• Litigation through the court and a decision by a Judge.

  • Disputes arise about all sorts of issues.

    In the last 5 years we have dealt with:

     

    • Rights of way over neighbouring land

    • A contract for an employment agency

    • Breaches of contract for professional services

    • Breaches of contract  over the supply of goods

    • Sales of goods disputes ( vehicles)

    • Collection of commercial debts

    • Business tenancies

    • Residential landlord and tenant

    • Negotiation of a reduction of debts

    • Insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings

    • Defamation

    • Mobile home park disputes

    • Repatriation of money from abroad

    • Solicitors negligence

    • Release of a covenant on land

     

  • What do dispute issues have in common?

    Frankly, very little, which illustrates the nature of litigation and dispute resolution.  As a lawyer you have to get to grips with a situation quickly and understand the merits and what the client wants. An advantage I have is that I will always want to come to where you do your business and keep your papers relating to the dispute for the initial meeting so that I can appraise the situation as quickly as possible.

     

    The variety of disputes means that frequently we have to research the law thoroughly in order to advise you and sometimes I draw on other expertise.

     

    I have valuable and flexible arrangements with local barristers to draw on their knowledge when required, and an extensive network of other professionals in all fields of enterprise who can add their weight of experience to the issues that concern our clients.

     

    I also draw on the legal expertise of the other members of the Independent Law Network and if I feel that you will be better served by one of our members of ILN I will introduce you to them.

  • What will it cost?

    First steps: At the start of any dispute resolution it is difficult to say, so usually we will set a limit of price and actions that we will take initially – investigation, research, advice to you, contact with your opponent and feedback from them, analysis of available evidence, input from other professionals – and then take your instructions on what you want to do next.

     

    These first steps will usually cost between £500 to £2,000.

  • The next steps?

    You will have to take a decision on whether to persue it and how to persue it, whether by negotiation, mediation or litigation. We will give you a costs estimate for those steps and keep it under review.

     

    Remember that you may have insurance to fund this work; you may recover your costs or part of them if you succeed, and you may have a case that we will take under the “no win – no fee“ arrangements.

     

Business Law

  • Shareholders Agreements

    A shareholders’ agreement is a contract entered into between a company and its shareholders. It can deal with all aspects of the relationship between the parties, including the personal rights and obligations of the shareholders. Together with the company’s articles of association a shareholders’ agreement creates internal “rules” by which a company is governed.

     

    One reason to put a shareholders’ agreement in place early on in the life of a company is that it is quicker, cheaper and easier to do that  than negotiating a settlement when a dispute arises and no agreement is in place to determine how a dispute will be resolved.

     

    Frequently a shareholders’ agreement gets forgotten about as shareholders they devote their time and attention to making the business a success. Their personal plans and expectations can diverge over time, making it harder to agree the terms of the shareholders’ agreement. Certain matters such as issues and transfers of shares, board and shareholder meetings and so on are best dealt with in the company’s articles of association instead of/as well as the shareholders’ agreement, because unlike shareholders’ agreements, which are only binding on those shareholders that are parties to the agreement, the articles of association are automatically binding on all shareholders.

     

    Disputes commonly arise with such matters are set out below. Shareholders’ agreements that are intended to deal with these issues before they arise.

  • Management

    The directors of a company are responsible for the management of its business and are generally entitled to exercise all the powers of the company. As a general rule they are not required by the law to consult the shareholders about decisions relating to the management of the company and its business. Where all the shareholders are also directors this may not be an issue. Shareholders who are not directors may nevertheless want to be consulted about and/or have the right to veto important decisions about the company and its business.

     

    Shareholders’ agreements will usually reserve decisions about certain matters of the management of the company to the shareholders. For example:

     

    • issuing new shares

    • selling assets of the business

    • appointing new directors

    A departing shareholder

     

    Shareholders can agreed that one of them will “earn” their shares in the company by working as an employee and the success of the business may depend on such shareholders fulfilling their work. If the employee shareholder changes their mind and resigns, they will not automatically be required to offer their shares for sale to the continuing shareholders. They may therefore benefit from a windfall attributable to the value created by his fellow shareholders.

     

    Shareholders’ agreements can require an outgoing shareholder to offer their shares for sale to the remaining shareholders. The price of the shares – “market” value or at a “discount” – depends on whether the departing employee / shareholder is a “good” leaver or a “bad” leaver. A shareholder may be a bad leaver where they resign within a minimum period of being issued the shares or perhaps dismissed in circumstances in which he is guilty of fraud, dishonesty or gross negligence.

     

    Shareholders will be concerned about a departing shareholder using knowledge, experience and contacts acquired during their employment to set up a competing businesses and poach the company’s customers. Shareholders agreements will usually include restrictive covenants to restrict departing shareholders (or even all shareholders) from setting up in competition with the company and poaching after they have ceased to hold shares.

  • Selling the company.

    Shareholders can have different ideas about what their business is worth and the best time to sell. They may disagree about the terms of any sale. However, purchasers of private companies usually want to acquire the entire issued share capital free of any minority interests and, for this reason, shareholders’ agreements commonly include “drag along” rights entitling the majority shareholders to compel the minority to sell their shares in the company to any proposed purchaser of the shares of the majority shareholders. Drag-along rights are accompanied by “tag along” rights which entitle the minority shareholder to require the majority to ensure that any proposed purchaser of the shares of the majority also purchases the shares of the minority shareholder on the same terms.

  • Deadlock

    Where a company is owned in equal shares and jointly managed by two individuals, there is a risk that deadlock may arise at both board and at shareholder level. One person wishes to take the business in a new direction while the other wants to carry on business as usual.

     

    This can be disruptive and damaging for any business, particularly for a business working to tight deadlines and budgets. If not resolved quickly, deadlock can cause failure of a business. Unless one party has acted in breach of contract or duty the parties may not have recourse to the courts to settle the dispute. Litigation is usually expensive and very time consuming and can damage the company’s reputation and the goodwill. It is important to have a mechanism in place to resolve any deadlock quickly and privately.

     

    Shareholders’ agreements can include deadlock resolution clauses to require the parties to use commercially reasonable efforts to resolve deadlock in accordance with a procedure and timetable. In the event that deadlock cannot be resolved by negotiation within the agreed timetable, it will provide a mechanism for the compulsory purchase by one party of the other’s shares in the company.

Contact

Mark Foley

 

Phone: 01362 688946

Mobile / text : 078 3333 2055

Fax: 01362 688645

Email: law@25am.co.uk

 

One Church Farm Barns , Well Lane , Sparham, Norwich NR9 5PY.

 

Enquiries.

I insist that you phone me and talk about what concerns you. I will not charge you for the twenty minutes or so that we need to get acquainted. I hope that by the end of that chat I will have identified the issues sufficiently to give you a very good idea of what will be involved, the time it will take, and the money it will cost.

 

I also hope that by the end of that chat you will have formed a good opinion of me, and that you will want to work with me, and we will have arranged our first meeting.

 

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