Helen Clifford, Head of MW Solicitors’ Personal Injury Department and a solicitor specialising in accidents in the workplace will be attending this year’s Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) AGM.


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

Helen has a strong commitment to CSC as did her father, Frank Clifford, also a lawyer, a founding member of the CSC back in 1988.

Helen recently represented the family of construction worker René Tkacik tragically killed whilst working on Crossrail.  She will be speaking about the inquest and HSE prosecution, which brought £1m fines against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd). 

The Tkacik family have generously donated the £6000 expenses they were given by BFK to the CSC in appreciation of the support they have provided and Helen will be presenting a cheque to the CSC at the AGM.

Katie Woodcock recently acted for sibling Attorneys involved in a dispute with a third sibling regarding their Mother who had executed an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) appointing them many years ago. 

Our client’s Mother suffered with Alzheimer’s and when her health started to decline, the Attorneys made a decision to move her into a home suitable for her needs where she would receive 24 hour care. The only asset that could fund her care was the Mother’s house and a dispute arose with the third sibling as to how this would work. Shortly after the disagreement, a Deed revoking the EPA turned up, purportedly signed by the Mother.

The Case in Court


Katie Woodcock
Katie Woodcock
Solicitor - Estate & Trust Disputes Specialist

Court proceedings were served on the Attorneys asking the Court of Protection to revoke the EPA, authorise a “gift” of the Mother’s property to the third sibling and to appoint her as sole Attorney. Shortly thereafter, access to the Mother was denied by the third sibling.

A difficult three day hearing took place in which the Court heard evidence from medical experts and the parties themselves including the Mother.  Sadly, it became quite clear that the Mother’s mind had been poisoned by the third sibling against the Attorneys and very worrying evidence showing undue influence on the part of the third sibling was presented to the Court.   Furthermore, during the evidence, the third sibling constantly prompted the Mother and handwritten notes were found in the witness box.

The Court handed down a preliminary judgement stating that the Mother lacked capacity, the third sibling had unduly influenced her and that she was considering making a costs award against the third sibling.  Furthermore, the Judge expressed great concern that the Mother had not received any independent legal advice through the course of the proceedings.  The Judge noted that the Attorneys Solicitors (McMillan Williams) had tried to encourage the third sibling to take her Mother to a solicitor but she did not heed our advice. The Judge ordered that the Official Solicitor now step in to give legal advice to the Mother and, as she lacked capacity, act as her litigation friend. 

The Outcome

The parties returned to the Court twelve weeks later where the Official Solicitor agreed with our position and endorsed the concerns of the Judge.  The Judge found overwhelming evidence of undue influence and this enabled her to deviate from the normal costs rules in the Court of Protection that the protected party i.e. the Mother, pays the costs.  The Court ordered a significant percentage of costs be paid directly by the third sibling on account of her unreasonable conduct and undue influence. This represents a great result for the Attorneys and indeed, a significant success in this very difficult area of law.

We Can Help

There are 850,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer’s and with an ever aging population this figure is only set to increase. Issues faced by Attorneys and vulnerable individuals are on the rise and it is important to know where to turn when things don’t go according to plan.   Vulnerable individuals are targets for financial abuse and Katie Woodcock and Sharon Bell both have considerable experience and a keen interest in this work.

At MW Solicitors, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including Attorneys who are experiencing difficulty in dealing with the affairs of a loved one. If you think that someone you know needs protecting, please  call our specialist Estate & Trust Disputes Team.  Our dedicated and experienced Solicitors will happily discuss your case on a no obligation basis. Please get in touch with Katie Woodcock or Sharon Bell on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

At MW Solicitors we are serious about how we train our Paralegals and Trainees and we are rightly proud of our Training and Development Programme which is crucial to MW's promise to make the best advocates available to clients not just now but for years to come.

What is the Advocacy Competition?

Put simply the MW Advocacy Competition is an annual event which pits Paralegals and Trainees against each other in mock court room trials.  Our junior legal staff gain practical experience and learn vital skills for their future as MW Solicitors.  During the course of several hotly contested rounds they examine their briefs in close detail, construct their arguments and present their case as either the counsel for the defence or prosecution in front of real judges.

Unique Among Law Firms

The Advocacy Competion is a unique feature of the MW Training and Development Programme which attracts prospective candidates to MW from Universities and Law Schools all over the country.  We have made a video to give  a taste of what it is like to compete as an MW advocate and what a career as an MW Paralegal or Trainee might entail.  

Part 1

Part 2

Advocacy Competition Final 2017

This year's Final Round takes place at the Royal Courts of Justice on the 13th of September 2017 and promises to be another exciting event eagerly anticipated by everyone at MW.  If you are interested in a career at MW Solicitors, visit our Vacancies Page follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin to get the latest news about recruitment opportunities.

Shock

Actress Jennifer Lawrence told Vogue magazine this month (Aug 2017) that she still suffers the psychological effects of the internet attack on her in 2014, in which nude pictures of her were hacked and then posted online.


Ryan Dunleavy
Ryan Dunleavy
Partner & Head of Media Law Reputation Management

She was not the only celebrity affected at the time, but she is almost certainly the most commonly mentioned one.

Lawrence said:

"It’s scary when you feel the whole world judges you… I think people saw [the event] for what it was, which was a sex crime, but that feeling, I haven’t been able to get rid of it. Having your privacy violated constantly isn’t a problem if you’re perfect. But if you’re human, it’s terrifying. When my publicist calls me, I’m like, “Oh, my God, what is it?” Even when it’s nothing.  I’m always waiting to get blindsided again."

Revenge Pornography and Sextortion Can Happen to Anyone

This type of situation is not exclusive to celebrities. Indeed, many thousands of people suffer from ‘revenge pornography’ attacks upon them, which has a similar impact on their well being. Revenge pornography is where someone releases naked images or sexual information about a person without their consent as part of a vendetta. There is also a problem with ‘sextortion’ on the internet, where people threaten to carry out the above.

A few months ago, The Guardian newspaper published an article about a leaked Facebook document.  It indicated that in a single month Facebook needed to deal with nearly 54,000 potential cases of revenge pornography and sextortion. These cases occur on all types of social media platforms of course, not just Facebook, and we at MW Solicitors are seeing an increase in clients approaching us with an emotional and reputational crisis on their hands because of revenge pornography and sextortion attacks. 

In our experience, these incidents often arise when people are having affairs, are getting divorced, or have a spiteful partner or ex-partner.  We have even had cases where people in relationships have had to resort to sleeping with their mobile telephones under their pillows because they are concerned about their partners using their private PIN numbers to access their phones while they are sleeping.  Whether the intention is to snoop, or to forward sexual or naked images to themselves or to share with others such as with the victim’s work colleagues or the victim’s family and friends, revenge pornography is almost always used to cause maximum embarrassment and emotional damage to the victim.

What Can I do if I am a victim of Revenge Pornography?

Sometimes contacting the social media provider directly to require it to remove the images or information is successful, but at other times a victim might not know where the pictures or information are published or stored and they can be difficult to trace. Despite the amount of resources they are reported to spend on tackling the issue, some social media companies are not as quick or as effective as victims may expect when it comes to removing revenge pornography from their networks.

What Can the Law Do to Help Victims?

UK laws and courts do provide various very efficient avenues to protect victims of revenge pornography, or sextortion.  These can be used to deal with a problem quickly, to have the items traced, to have them removed from a particular website or IT storage facility, and to ensure that they are not disseminated further afield.

Once the law is used to protect a victim or potential victim, the legal sanctions on the offending person or host of the material can be severe. 

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including people who are the victims of revenge pornography or sextortion. 

If you would like to discuss the above with our team of experts and specialist Media and Reputation Lawyers, don't delay, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

 

Accidents at Work

Deaths at work are tragic and sudden, leaving family members with many questions about the circumstances in which their loved one was killed.  


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

The Inquest process is designed to answer these questions, but can be a traumatic and confusing process for families without legal representation.  

At MW Solicitors our Personal Injury Lawyers are experts at representing families at Inquests and helping them to understand the process and to get the answers they deserve.  Our work in this field is endorsed by Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) and the Hazards Campaign.

A recent example of this was the case of René Tkacik, who was killed whilst employed by the joint venture BFK on the Crossrail project.  Helen Clifford, MW's Head of Personal Injury, represented René's parents at the Inquest in February 2015 and on 3rd March 2015 the Inquest Jury determined that his death was accidental, but raised concerns about health and safety on site.

Prosecutions following Inquest

In some cases, particularly where breaches of Health & Safety Legislation or Corporate Manslaughter are concerned, prosecutions may follow.

Following the Inquest, Helen Clifford liaised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide essential information to assist them in considering a prosecution for breaches of Health & Safety Regulations against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd)

On 7th Dec 2016 the HSE announced their decision to prosecute the companies involved under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  The companies were charged with four breaches relating to Mr Tkacik's death and to injuries sustained by two other workers on the same project, including Alex Vizitiu who is also represented by Helen Clifford.

The Trial and Sentencing

On 19th July 2017 BFK pleaded guilty having reached agreement with the HSE that they would do so on condition that the prosecution be brought against the Joint Venture BFK rather than the individual companies BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd.

At a sentencing hearing on 27th and 28th July 2017 BFK were fined £300,000 for the offences which resulted in René’s death; £600,000 in relation to serious injuries suffered by another worker and £165,000 in relation to Alex Vizitiu’s accident.

Continuous Support to The Family

Helen Clifford gave continuous support to her clients from Inquest through to the final sentencing and made several statements both to the court and outside to awaiting press on behalf of René's mother, Marta Tkacikova.

Marta said

We (Rene's family) are very disappointed with the sentence, the fine is inadequate.  BFK have agreed to pay my expenses in attending court. I am donating that blood money to the Construction Safety Campaign in memory of René, to assist them in their campaign to prevent further deaths”

We Can Help

At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been injured or the families of those killed in workplace accidents.  Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way.  From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation.  We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.

If you or your family have suffered an accident at work and would like to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

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