In his Guardian article today (17th Feb 2017), Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales writes:

"In 2015, 38 separate serious misconduct cases were opened against superintendents and chief superintendents. Almost half of these cases are still ongoing, up to two years later.

Of those completed, 70% resulted in no further action – not even words of advice were required. All that effort; all that angst – to find nothing had been done wrong. This cannot be a sensible way forward."


Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

While we agree that the prompt conclusion of serious misconduct allegations against police officers is essential for the maintenance of public confidence in the police, it remains essential that concerns raised by the public are not disregarded and considered promptly.

We Need an Accessible, Transparent and Timely Police Complaints Process

We act for a family who have made a complaint against a police officer who inaccurately reported allegations against them on a police database. Our clients were unaware of the report that had been entered nor were they aware that the officer who had raised the report was related to an individual who had been in conflict with our clients. Our clients had no knowledge and therefore no right to reply in terms of the report.

On learning of the report, our clients were advised to complain and the complaint was initially dismissed by the police force concerned. on our advice, the complaint was appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who have determined that the officer concerned has a case to answer and should face a misconduct hearing.

What the above shows is that it is very difficult to force the police to examine their own conduct. We must ensure that the complaints process is accessible, transparent and timely.

We Can Help

At MW, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been subjected to Police Misconduct or have raised an allegation or complained to the Police.

Our experienced and specialist Actions Against the Police Lawyers can help you at every stage of the complaints process.  If you would like to talk to one of our Team about your complaint or allegation, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.   

MW’s Head of Estate and Trust Dispute Team, Hayley Bundey, announces the arrival of Katie Woodcock to the team.


Katie Woodcock
Katie Woodcock
Solicitor - Estate & Trust Disputes Specialist

MW are very proud to announce the arrival of Katie Woodcock to the Estate & Trust Dispute Team in January 2017. Katie joins the firm from Penningtons, having formerly trained at TWM Solicitors.  She will be based out of our Guildford office.

Katie has many years of experience in all aspects of contentious probate work including challenging the validity of wills, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”), claims for constructive trusts / proprietary estoppel and specifically she has a keen interest in, and passion for, contentious Court of Protection work.

Her Court of Protection specialism covers all aspects of work assisting clients with disputes that involve a person who lacks capacity – whether because of a mental health issue (such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia) or due to a brain injury. She is specialist in all aspects of lack of capacity work, is a member of the Mencap Shared Lives Panel Review team and volunteers for her local Citizens Advice Bureau in her spare time to ensure she can reach out to the most vulnerable in society to help them through this tricky area of the law.

Katie’s Court of Protection practice covers challenges to the appointment of Attorneys/Deputies and applications to the Court to make a decision as to the residence or treatment of an individual who is unable to make those decisions for themselves. She also makes applications to the Court to approve Statutory Wills for incapacitated individuals.

Katie is a student member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), a further recognition of her expertise in this often complex and specialist field. She is also a keen advocate of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and specifically mediation and joins MW’s existing team who all strongly favour mediation as the preferred method of resolving contentious probate work where possible.

Examples of Katie’s successes in the past have included representing a client successfully at mediation to settle a claim by a partner under the 1975 Act , making an application to the Court of Protection to object to the appointment of an Attorney and the successful appointment of a professional Deputy in their stead and successfully applying to the Court of Protection for approval of a Statutory Will.

Katie’s addition to the Estate & Trust Dispute Team means the team is now represented in four locations across the MW network (MW Devon, MW Guildford, MW Sevenoaks and MW Worthing), joining Hayley Bundey, Sharon Bell, Hayley Prideaux and Wendy Rixon.  The team continues to grow to meet the demands of their rapidly expanding client base and are ready and able to help callers with any queries they may have about their Estate or Trust Dispute.

Katie in particular will be expanding the team’s specialism in contentious Court of Protection work, building on her expertise in this field, to increase the depth of service we can offer to our clients on this key aspect of the team’s work.

On joining MW Katie said:

“I am pleased to have joined such a dynamic and forward thinking firm and specifically the exciting opportunities in MW’s Estate & Trust Dispute Team. I am looking forward to helping expand our work in the field of contentious Court of Protection work and to continue to be the compassionate helping hand that our clients need at often the most difficult times in their lives”. 

We Can Help

At McMillan Williams, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who find themselves in a Trust or Estate dispute.

Our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team can advise you on all aspects of Estate and Trust Disputes (including TOLATA – Trusts of Property - claims) and Contentious Court of Protection work.

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know if you would have a claim against an Estate or need help after someone has lost capacity then our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team can guide you through the process step by step and as quickly and painlessly as possible.  If you would like to take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

tug of war

MW’s Head of Estate and Trust Dispute Team, Hayley Bundey, discusses the common scenario of siblings finding themselves at war over the distribution of their parents’ Estates and how our Specialist Team can help you break through deadlocks.

As the Supreme Court’s decision on Illott v Mitson is imminently awaited, following the hearing on 12th December 2016, it is inevitable that the decision (whatever it may be) will shed light once again upon the issue of financial provision made by parents for their children in their Wills. This is in the context of claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”) however it is not only these sorts of claims which can pitch sibling against sibling following their parents’ death.

Dealing with Unreasonable Siblings

Apart from other claims (such as challenging the validity of Wills), our Estate & Trust Dispute Team are seeing an increase in the number of clients who simply need our help in dealing with their, often unreasonable, siblings just to ensure they obtain from their parents’ Estate what they are already entitled to under a Will or Intestacy. A difficult economic climate, larger Estates and more complex families (including step-families) can all contribute to this but sometimes it can simply be that clients see a change in their family member that they never saw coming until the worst happened and their parents passed.

Joint Executors

This becomes all the more difficult when siblings are jointly appointed as Executors in a Will as this can often lead to deadlock, with the administration grinding to a standstill if agreement cannot be reached. Sometimes the only way to break that deadlock is to apply to remove a sibling as a co-Executor of the Estate or agreeing to the appointment of an independent firm of solicitors to administer the Estate instead.

Even then our ongoing help is often required to ensure that the due administration of the Estate proceeds without further incident – particularly to ensure that you are kept fully informed of progress with the administration, that the distribution which is received at the end of the administration is the correct one and that an unreasonable sibling has not managed to reduce the value of the Estate or, worse still, hide assets along the way. We can also help to ensure a fair division of sentimental items in the Estate – something which often means as much, if not more, to our clients than their financial distribution from the Estate.

Deferred Funding Arrangement

Often our Estate & Trust Dispute Team can act for clients in these situations on a deferred privately funded arrangement so that you simply pay our costs from your inheritance at the end of the administration of the Estate – i.e. you don’t need to fund them as you go. We find this is reassuring to clients who already come to us in a state of high stress, due to the conduct of their sibling, and who need our immediate help to break through the deadlock but who simply can’t afford to pay for it until they receive their inheritance.

So don’t despair and suffer in silence – pick up the phone or email us today. We are here to help you fight for your inheritance, to stand up to your sibling and remind them of your rights in relation to the Estate and to ensure you receive what is rightfully yours without their conduct holding you to ransom.

We Can Help

At McMillan Williams, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who find themselves in a trust dispute with their siblings.

Our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team are here to offer a helping hand and to guide you through the process of breaking that deadlock as quickly and painlessly as possible.  If you would like to take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Army Uniform

Sgt X was engaged in the repair of a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System when he was subjected to a series of unprovoked assaults by a Staff Sergeant who was his colleague and superior officer. Sgt X subsequently underwent surgery for the removal of a large intracranial haematoma. He has been left with residual symptoms which have prevented him from returning to his pre-accident role.

Sgt X’s solicitor, Helen Clifford, head of personal injury at MW Solicitors said


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

“I am delighted that we have finally achieved justice for Sgt X. Not only was he assaulted in a  series of shocking and unprovoked attacks, he was denied justice through the Army’s internal procedures. The MoD has tried to prevent Sgt X from securing justice and proper compensation. They made unsubstantiated claims against him, failed to follow their internal procedures and failed to disclose relevant documents during the course of the claim. Sgt X has remained in the Army throughout the case and is now being considered for medical discharge. He is a brave and determined man. Sgt X’s assailant was promoted rather than disciplined following the assault. I would urge the MoD to review its disciplinary procedures and their implementation”.

Sgt X said

“Before being assaulted, by a member of my chain of command that I had known for 17 years, I was  adhering to what the army thrives on and this is ‘Operational Effectiveness’. I was ultimately assaulted not once but twice by the same person. He was head of the Regiment’s boxing team and introduced the motto ‘Fighting Solves Everything’.  I also didn’t retaliate as there were junior members present. After the assaults I, (the victim), was taken away from post whilst the assailant was left in post and ultimately promoted.

The Regiment gave me no support or backing. They at first promised me the world in relation to getting me booked on educational courses and rehabilitation programmes. None of which materialised. They realised it would be a logistical nightmare as I had to surrender my licence for at least 6 months. Furthermore they agreed to take me to all my hospital appointments, but rarely did. My wife had to take holiday from work to take me to the majority of these appointments. During my time on sick leave I had no rehabilitation, which is mandatory for service personnel who are wounded, injured or sick. The Army failed to rehabilitate me for a further 3 and a half years until I was sent to Headley Court. In my opinion, if I was given elements of this rehabilitation soon after the haemorrhage I would be a different person today. The lack of backing and support given to me has left me with life changing differences in relation to the person I was prior to the assault. After returning to work I had to beg and borrow lifts to work from people who lived in the local area as yet again the Army’s welfare system failed to pick me up and I had no driving licence for 14 months.

I was prevented from telling my version of events to hierarchy who visited the Regiment or APC Glasgow for 4 years as this would discredit the assailant and the chain of command. SSgt ‘Y’ was then promoted to WO2 and given a Brigade Commanders Commendation for his boxing achievements. My promotion prospects ceased as I was seen to be ‘problem child’ within the Regiment, also my injuries restricted me in competing with my peers for promotion.

I started legal proceedings as a result of the lack of support from my chain of command.  The failings in their ‘duty of care’ in accordance with policies and instructions set out by the MoD was another reason for me to take independent legal advice. Even when I told my immediate hierarchy I was taking legal proceedings they didn’t believe me, also reinforcing the ‘problem child’ perception. Luckily as a result of the care and support from my wife in taking me to hospital on the night of the operation I was able to start legal proceedings.
 
Throughout the legal process the support given by Helen Clifford and her team has been outstanding. Helen is a solicitor who knows which consultants to instruct and represent your case in the best possible way. We have seen some of the country’s leading consultants who also supported and understood our case and were also surprised as to how little the Army has rehabilitated me. For the past 4 years, my wife, daughter and myself the whole legal process has been tiring and a long slog, with no support or backing from the Army. However, Helen has been there to guide, support and advise us all the way. Not only to me but she has always been concerned for the welfare of my wife and daughter too. Helen truly is an admirable lady who our respect for, has grown over the last 4 years throughout the process. Even having been involved in a separate traumatic event that occurred 16 months after the haemorrhage, Helen guided us in the right direction. Helen Clifford, as we have discovered is not your average solicitor, as we have found she is there at the end of the phone or an email 24 hours a day to listen to your concerns or queries about your case. This, in itself, we commend her for. Helen’s devotion to her clients, their family and the case is paramount.
 
In reference to the outcome, we are pleased that the MoD has settled out of court and justice has been served. However, the settlement will never recoup the injuries and illnesses over the last 4 years and the changes that I continue to live with for my family and myself. My future civilian employment will also have been impacted by what has occurred over the last 4 years. People on the outside and those that have been in charge of me don’t realise what impact the whole event has had on our family. The MoD admitted liability, this is on the basis that they are vicariously liable for the actions of SSgt ‘Y’. It was their intention to seek to recover any outlay they have in the case from SSgt ‘Y’.
 
My sincere thanks go to my family and close friends for their support over the last 4 years. Especially my wife and daughter, who took me to North Tees Hospital in December 2012 and ultimately saved my life. To Helen Clifford and her team at MW Solicitors for enabling us to now move on with our lives and future in 2017 and beyond. Thank You."

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including service personnel who have been unfairly treated by their employer through no fault of their own.

If you wish to talk to one of our Military Claims specialist Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Army Uniform

A Sergeant who was assaulted by his colleagues whilst stationed in Cyprus has recovered substantial damages from the Ministry of Defence following a fight for justice which has lasted almost 6 years.

Sgt X had received professional appraisals of excellence and was due for further promotion at the time he was subjected to an unprovoked assault which resulted in physical and psychological injuries which ended his career.

Sgt X’s case was that the assailants were seeking to enforce Mess Rules which prohibit the wearing of trainers in the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess bar. The assault occurred during the course of Sgt X’s employment and was carried out by employees of the MoD. A claim was brought against the MoD on the grounds that they were vicariously liable for the actions of their personnel.

The MoD denied liability throughout and the case was due to be heard at the High Court in London in April 2017. The MoD agreed terms at a settlement meeting on 8 December 2016.

Sgt X’s solicitor, Helen Clifford, head of personal injury at MW Solicitors said

“I am delighted that we have finally achieved justice for Sgt X. Not only was he assaulted in a shocking and unprovoked attack, he was denied justice through the Army’s internal procedures. The MoD has fought this case and denied liability throughout. Despite being turned away by 2 previous firms of solicitors Sgt X was determined to fight for justice. His determination is a testament to what a fine soldier he was. I would urge the MoD to review its policies in relation to the consumption of alcohol by personnel on military basis. Sgt X is not alone in having been subject to such an assault”.

Sgt X said

“This savage unprovoked assault was carried out because I was wearing white trainers in the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ mess bar. I was assaulted by work colleagues while posted overseas. The attack was likened to the actions of a ‘pack of wolves’. During the prolonged attack I suffered severe head injuries leading to memory loss, physical and psychological injuries which ended my military career.

Me and my family have been totally appalled by the whole Military legal system throughout the 6 years. The MoD, Service Prosecuting Authority, and the Service Police, all have failed under its own produces and guidelines to protect its employees. The legal process was a long drawn out process from start to finish misleading, inaccurate and unpleasant. A lot of buck passing was obvious and self-preservation. Subsequently as a victim of a very severe assault I feel there was a serious failings throughout the organisation which was unsupportive and grossly negligent.

We have been with 2 previous solicitors and we were not happy with the way our case was been dealt with so we changed to Helen Clifford, who achieved us the right result. This was overwhelming to say the last. Receiving a positive outcome on my case has been the best news for a long time. The services provided by Helen and her team at MW were outstanding, exceptional in her field, Helen is efficient and very friendly. She conducted our case with great care and professionalism. After 2 previous solicitors we needed someone that we could trust, not only did we trust Helen but we could see she believed in us. I would highly recommend McMillan Williams Solicitors, in particular Helen Clifford and her legal family. I found myself in a situation with the MoD I was nervous and apprehensive about how to deal with the MoD. Helen and her team took me through the legal process with ease patience and diligence. She just took the weight off my shoulders whilst keeping me in the loop at every stage. Her negotiation skills were unwavering and confident which ensured me the best possible result for my case. Can’t thank you enough nothing short than first class."

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including service personnel who have been unfairly treated by their employer through no fault of their own.

If you wish to talk to one of our Military Claims specialist Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

 

 

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