MW Solicitors are proud to announce that our Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, has been named as UK Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year in the Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2018
Helen is a partner and Head of the Personal Injury department at MW Solicitors. She qualified at niche practice, Clifford and Co, in 1996 and went on to become senior partner in 2002. In 2012 she joined Leigh Day where she set up and was head of the construction injury team.
Helen joined MW in 2015 as Head of Personal Injury. She practises in the full range of personal injury claims and a large proportion of her work is catastrophic injury cases with a concentration on brain and spinal injuries.
She is a recognised expert and speaker in the field of accidents at work, with a particular interest in the construction industry. She conducts complex and high value claims, including fatal accidents, which have occurred on projects such as Crossrail.
Helen has a reputation for maximising her clients’ claims, is adept in dealing with issues of quantum and liability, for being a skilled and tenacious negotiator and is tactically very able. She is committed to her clients and achieves excellent results whilst providing the support they require throughout the course of their claims, ensuring they have access to appropriate rehabilitation and early interim payments.
Her current caseload includes fatal accident claims, a young paraplegic, accidents abroad and several teenagers with brain injuries. One of the claims is valued in excess of £10m.
In addition to her fee earning role, Helen is an active campaigner for improved health and safety in the workplace, working closely with National campaigning groups such as Families Against Corporate Killers and the London Hazards Center. She is committed to helping to make workplaces safer and to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by work. She is a trustee of the London Hazards Centre and legal adviser to the Construction Safety Campaign.
Helen’s role includes marketing and business development as well as managing the department. She is an effective manager and mentor.
She is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association. She is ranked in the Legal 500.
At MW, Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered personal injury.
Our dedicated and expert specialist Personal Injury Solicitors strive to get you the financial support that makes a real difference to your long-term recovery and the security of you and your family. If you would like to speak to a specialist to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at email@example.com
Fans of the ITV Soap Opera Coronation Street will no doubt be familiar with the current inheritance storyline following the tragic suicide of Aidan Connor. Whilst Coronation Street is a fiction, it has to be assumed that the bigger, more sensational storylines are researched thoroughly to ensure a true depiction before it reaches the homes of millions.
Aidan Connor left a Will which was found by family friend Michelle when the family was sorting out his possessions after his suicide. The Will purportedly leaves Aiden’s share of his business to his business partner Alya who had helped Aidan rebuild the business after it had previously gone bankrupt. Until recently, the terms of the Will have been concealed from the wider family and from Alya herself.
After the Will was made, but before Aidan's death, Carla Connor had given Aidan her share in the business in order to assist Aidan in a new venture. This was against the background of Aidan donating his kidney to Carla to save her life.
Michelle originally held back the Will and didn’t show anyone; but then showed it to Carla after she witnessed Carla’s "bullying" treatment of Alya and she also told Jenny, Aidan’s stepmother.
Everyone was outraged and promptly headed to the local solicitor (Adam Barlow) to get some legal advice.
Adam's initial advice was that the Will appeared to be valid and it would be difficult to challenge.
However, the three women were not satisfied with this answer and urged him to “think again" referring to the fact that he, previously, had not always acted by the book. That episode ended with him saying he would have a rethink. While in the solicitor's office, Jenny started to attempt to destroy the Will by tearing it up, but was prevented from doing so.
Adam has since suggested that the family could challenge the Will for lack of mental capacity; this is based on Aidan’s depression and subsequent suicide.
The story now hangs in the balance and we will have to wait, in true soap land style, for all the threads to come together before we see any outcome in relation to Aidan’s affairs. In the meantime, I will set out the facts of the scenario so far:
The Will will be deemed valid as long as Aidan had the necessary mental capacity to make the Will and was not unduly influenced to do so, and so long as it was signed by him and witnessed by two independent witnesses who were both in the presence of Aidan at the time he signed the Will (as per Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837). This can be challenged if there is strong evidence to support such challenge. It is unlikely that depression would be a sufficient reason to allege lack of capacity.
If the Will is deemed to be valid it is the duty of the executors to administer the Will in accordance with the terms of the Will. In the case of Aidan's Will, it is not clear who the executors are or what other provisions were made, but certainly insofar as the business is concerned, Alya is entitled to Aidan’s share.
It is illegal for anyone to destroy or otherwise conceal the existence of a Will. If Jenny had succeeded in destroying the Will it would have been a criminal offence.
However, if the existence of the Will had not been found and brought to the attention of Alya (or any of the family) then it would be assumed that Aidan did not leave a Will and the estate will be administered under the Intestacy Rules. In this case, Aidan did not leave a spouse so his estate would go primarily to any children of his. He recently fathered a child with Eva (Susie) but none of the family know this about Susie so the assumption would be that his estate would be shared between his closest relatives. He has a sister, Kate and father Johnny. Also a half sister, Carla. In this scenario everything would go to Johnny.
If Eva comes clean about Susie, Susie will be entitled to the whole estate under the Intestacy Rules. However if the Will is not destroyed, and deemed valid, Susie will have a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 as a child of the family who was not left reasonable provision. As a minor child in all the circumstances. she could have a very strong claim. However if Susie is formally adopted by Toyah and Peter, she will not have recourse under this Act. Therefore, if Eva is going to acknowledge that Aidan is Susie’s father, she needs to act quickly before Susie loses her right to any claim once the adoption process is complete.
Carla may be able to bring a claim for a share of the business, given the monies she invested but if that money was deemed to be a “gift” to Aidan then this will no doubt be the subject of the litigation.
If the Will is ‘lost’ she may have a claim to a share of the business if she invested money in it.
At MW Solicitors, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who find themselves in a similar situation to those of the fictional characters of Weatherfield. Whether you are part owner of an up and coming knicker factory or a minor beneficiary about to be adopted there are avenues that can be explored to help you.
In a recent article MW Solicitors highlighted the tragic case of Robin Richards and others who suffer from Aspergers and who are cared for in a failing system which does not meet their specific needs.
As instructed by the findings of the inquest, the senior coroner for Somerset, Mr Tony Williams, has written to the Health Secretary expressing concerns about the shortage of suitable supported accommodation for vulnerable people with Asperger syndrome following Richard's death in a home that had not even been inspected by the care regulator.
Mr Williams has given the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP and the chief executive of Somerset Partnership NHS foundation trust, 56 days to reply to his report "Prevention of Future Deaths" outlining the actions which have or are proposed to be taken.
Mr Richard's family are represented by Clare Evans, a member of MW Solicitor's special Inquest team. She said:
"Robin’s family sadly came to a conclusion, long before his untimely death, that such was the almost inevitable, though avoidable, outcome in a system which does not cater for people diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
One of the main aims of the family in this inquest, was to highlight the ongoing risk of death to other Asperger’s sufferers nationally, created by this void in care provision, so that lessons could be learned from Robin’s death.
They are pleased the Coroner has communicated this message. One can only hope that the Department of Health will now take the action desperately required to prevent further Asperger’s deaths.”
My name is Helen Clifford, I am a solicitor & I specialise in acting for the victims of work incidents. I am an elected officer of the Construction Safety Campaign, Trustee of the London Hazards Centre, and legal adviser to Families Against Corporate Killers. My father was a founding member of the Construction Safety Campaign & I am proud to be carrying on his work. Together these organisations fight to make our workplaces safer for each & every one of us.
Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day
There has been an enlightened understanding since the time of Cicero that the primary duty of any government is to prevent the premature death of every member of the population it governs without fear or favour. The unavoidable corollary of this understanding is that any government which disregards that primary duty threatens the well-being of less-favoured members of the population it governs.
This enlightened understanding underpinned the 1833 Factory Act to prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting children. However, self-employed workers were not protected by the law until the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 introduced by the Secretary of State for Employment at the time Michael Foot.
The negation of Michael Foot’s legislation gathered pace in January 2012 when prime minister David Cameron pledged to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”. Since then, many UK local authorities have followed the example of unscrupulous contractors and employers, by hiring consultants and lawyers who specialise in exploiting legal loopholes to avoid taking responsibility for the harm they cause.
Some local authority leaders have gone so far as to denigrate critics of this reckless disregard of their primary duty. This was epitomised in the well-known prelude to the Grenfell Tower catastrophe, in the wake of Southwark council’s 2017 guilty plea to four counts of breaking fire safety regulations in Lakanal House, a similar high-rise tower-block fire in 2009 which killed 6 people.
The HSE’s annual figure of 137 deaths at work only covers those reported to the HSE and local authorities. The Hazards Campaign estimates that 1,477 people are killed in work related incidents each year & those dying of work illnesses is 50,000 per year. That is around 140 people dying from work per day or 1 person every 10 mins. These are truly shocking numbers.
The ITUC says that “Union organisation is the antidote”. A large body of evidence shows that unionised workplaces are happier and safer workplaces. Trade union organisation is linked to up to 50% less injuries & also significantly less ill-health related work. Unions save lives & health, they also save money for employers & the economy.
Yet time & time again we see employers opposing union presence in the workplace, we see those who raise health & safety concerns blacklisted, spied on & prevented from working. Legal claims against major construction companies highlighted these practices but it is still going on & we have seen this for example on Crossrail.
Frank Morris raised health & safety concerns. Had he been listened to rather than sacked, would Rene Tkacik have been killed? Rene was killed on 7 March 2014 on Crossrail when he was crushed to death by 1 ton of shotcrete which fell on him when he was ordered to work in the exclusion zone. The inquest & the HSE prosecution which followed Rene’s death highlighted the obstacles that families face when trying to secure justice. Relevant evidence from a whistleblower, was excluded from both proceedings. Why?
Today, in this country and all over the world, families are remembering their loved ones who died as a result of the negligence of their employers. Families like Rene’s. Families like Mark Seward’s. Mark was killed 27 May 2015 because him employer did not realise that pressure testing was a dangerous activity so had undertaken no risk assessment of the work they told him to do. Families like those of the 1,134 people killed at Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013.
We must use our voices to increase a chorus of disapproval aimed at seeking an end to this era of de-regulation, in which health & safety protections have been undermined & preventative enforcement has been slashed.
In 2018 we are celebrating 40 years of the Safety Committee Regulations & 150 years since the birth of the TUC. Now more than ever we must encourage workers to join unions, to stand together, to raise their voices in order to protect ourselves from preventable work-related death, injury & illness. The aim of International Workers’ Memorial Day is to “remember the dead” & “fight for the living”. We must not stop that fight until there are no more empty boots & every worker returns home safely to their loved ones.
Every 90 seconds somebody in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury. The long term effect of a brain injury can alter how a person walks, thinks, talks and feels and can be devastating for the injured person and their loved ones.
Action for Brain Injury Week is an annual week-long awareness raising event that this year takes place between 14th and 20th May. The event is organised by Headway, a leading charity dedicated to promoting and understanding of all aspects of brain injury.
This year, the theme of Action for Brain Injury Week is You, Me and Brain Injury. The aim of the week is to highlight the fact that a brain injury doesn’t just affect the individual, but also their family, friends, work colleagues, and wider network. It is often the care and support provided by their friends and family that helps a person with a brain injury to adapt to the life-changing effect of their injury.
As lawyers, working with individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the specialist team at McMillan Williams put the injured person and their family at the heart of what we do. We work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate level of compensation to assist them and their loved ones to rebuild their lives but we also ensure they are provided with the right support and advice throughout the process.
We understand the need to secure early interim payments and private rehabilitation to supplement or take the place of the care already provided by the NHS. We aim to secure funding from the party at fault to put a programme of rehabilitation in place as early as possible. We work closely with Case Managers specialising in brain injury rehabilitation who work with the individual and family to provide a comprehensive package of support. Our Private Client Team are also able to help by appointing a Deputy if a client lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs.
We have close working relationships with private rehabilitation providers and charities such as Headway Guildford, UKABIF and The Silverlining Charity for our work with brain injury survivors and we strive to ensure our clients are able to regain their confidence and independence as far as possible and reach their optimum level of recovery, with our help and the support of their family and friends.
On Friday 18th May, the team at MW will once again be taking part in Hats for Headway Day – a fundraising event which takes place during Action for Brain Injury Week. Our team will be sporting our most outrageous, weird and wonderful headgear on social media to help raise money and awareness for the charity. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin or through the hashtag #HatsForHeadway.
At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered an Acquired Brian Injury. We will arrange a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager to help plan and implement a rehabilitation package which can incorporate your health, psychological, educational or occupational needs. We will work with medical, clinical and other experts to value your past and most importantly, future needs, such as personal and medical care, income, accommodation and transport.
Where possible we will secure interim payments to assist with day to day and rehabilitation needs throughout the course of your claim.