News

Do you want to mark your commitment to your long-term partner but do not want to get married?

Well now you can. As of next week it will be possible for heterosexual couples to undertake a Civil Partnership ceremony previously only available to gay people.  The Civil Partnerships Marriages and Deaths Act 2019 comes into force and it will be popular with a lot of people who don’t like all that is associated with old style marriage ceremonies.

No more honouring and obeying and a more modern take on a long-term commitment.  If you are interested, have assets  you want to protect, children from an earlier relationship or just a question then please phone and one of our trained family law specialists will help. At HRS we are experienced in the traditional divorce law but also keep up-to-date with developments as and when they happen. We stay in touch with legal changes so that our clients get the very best advice no matter how society changes and what challenges those changes bring.

All of our first interviews are free and we offer payment plans as well as fixed fees. Call any of our eight offices to book a face to face, telephone or Skype appointment. We are specialists in Family Law. We do nothing else.

To mark the new law we are offering 50% on all instructions concerning civil partnership or issues pertaining to the new legal framework and half price advice or assistance for those already in a civil partnership who have legal issues concerning their family law situation. Please quote the code: 1976.

Sharia Law

Sharia Law in British Courts- a move in the right direction?

It is very common for Muslims to participate in only an Islamic Marriage; that is, a Nikah, without undertaking the civil ceremony at a register office.

Marriage as a Legal Concept

Marriage as a legal concept has a prescriptive regime under which a marriage may be solemnized. Section 26(1) of the Marriages Act 1949 provides that a marriage ‘in a registered building’ may be solemnized on the authority of a superintendent registrar. Section 41 then provides for the steps required for a building, such as a mosque, to be registered for the solemnization of marriages. Section 44 then gives certain requirements for the solemnization of marriage in a registered building, and it includes the making of a declaration by the parties to marriage in the words ‘I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I [name], may not be joined in matrimony to [name].

Without fulfillment of those requirements, a marriage is not solemnized for the purposes of English Law and is not a marriage in the legal sense. Section 44 is a mandatory requirement and must be complied with. The same goes for any religious ceremony which does not include any solemnization, and which is not followed or preceded by a civil ceremony.

Many couples who have Islamic faith marriages conducted in the Nikah ceremony are therefore not legally recognized under British Matrimonial Law.

In a Landmark High Court case last year, the Husband, Mr Khan, whom had an Islamic Marriage sought to argue the above point and block his Wife, Mrs Akhtar’s, application for Divorce in the UK Court stating that they were never legally married as their marriage was compliant with Sharia Law, but they did not participate in the civil ceremony at a register office.

For the first time in the UK Courts following a landmark divorce ruling in this case, Sharia Law was recognized which will inevitably change the way Islamic Marriage and Divorce works in the UK.

In this high-profile case, the High Court ruled that an estranged couple’s Islamic Faith Marriage, falls under British Matrimonial Law despite it not being legally recognized as such which meant the Wife, Mrs Akhtar was able to bring her case to the Courts and claim a share of the Matrimonial Assets which she previously would not have been able to do.

The Judge, Mr Justice Williams, stated that ‘the Union should be recognized because the couple, who took their vows in 1998 lived as man and wife, introduced each other as such and had expectations similar to a British Marriage Contract.’ However, he went on to say that because the ‘marriage was entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of the marriage… the marriage was therefore void and that Mrs Akhtar was entitled to a decree of nullity.’ Had the Judge ruled that it was not a marriage, Mrs Akhtar would not have been able to issue a case in the UK Divorce Courts and make any financial claims for herself.

This ruling will have significant implications for women who marry under Sharia Law and could give them the right to divorce their spouses and split the Matrimonial Assets as well as securing a divorce more easily.

In this case, Mrs Akhtar and Mr Khan both knew that their Sharia Marriage was not a legally registered marriage and therefore it became important for Mrs Akhtar that the Courts ruled in her favour that the marriage was ‘void’ and not a ‘non-marriage’ so that she could claim under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 for Ancillary Relief.

Many women in Islamic Marriages do not realize they have no legal protection under UK law unless they have a second civil ceremony alongside the Nikah. Under Sharia Law, women often must appeal to Sharia Councils in order to be released from their marriage.

What is Sharia?

Sharia acts as a religious code for Muslims including matters such as marriage, divorce and financial affairs.

How does Sharia work?

An Islamic Scholar, or Panel of Scholars, will hear evidence from both sides before handing down their ruling which often have no legal status.

Why is it Controversial?

It is often said that the status of women in Sharia Courts can be significantly lower than men.

Why HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd?

At HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd we have specialist Solicitors who can advise and assist on various types of Sharia Law such as Islamic Marriages and claiming financial remedies following its breakdown and even preparing Sharia compliant Wills.

For further information, call us on 01384 458 835 to speak to Sehra Tabasum who is an Accredited Family Law Specialist, a Supervisor of the Matrimonial team at the Dudley Office and a member of Resolution. She can speak Urdu and Hindko for those whose first language is not English.

By Sehra Tabasum, 1st March 2019.

A busy start to the year…

Did you know that January is the busiest month of the year for family law solicitors?  It has been said that there are twice as many people getting divorced in January than any other month of the year.  Our Managing Director Clive Iain Rebbeck says: “January is always busy but contrary to the prevailing view, I think our busiest time is late summer / early autumn at the end of the long summer holiday.  Draw your own conclusions, but that does seem to be the case.  Perhaps it’s the stress of those hot foreign holidays with the kids running amok!”

With 2019 well under way, our busy specialist family lawyers can settle down and process all the new instructions and cases that have come in through January.  It is not only divorce work.  There are civil partnerships, matters relating to cohabitation; and of course, disputes about where children should live.

The firm offers pay as you go arrangements and a monthly direct debit scheme so clients can get started and worry about payment over the course of the year.  Subject to credit search in some instances just £200 on account can mean that work will start and the beginning of the process to resolving problems can begin.  We have a Payment Agreement Form for client and Solicitor to sign in order that there are no mistakes.  It sets out the basis for payment and how much is due.  Clive Rebbeck again: “I wanted a transparent system that set out all the charges up front.  We want clients to be happy and to know exactly what things are going to cost right from the outset.  Whatever arrangement is agreed, the Payment Agreement Form sets it all out and everyone can then concentrate on the job in hand; getting the best possible result for the client”.

HRS Family Law Solicitors aim to offer a price competitive service with the very best customer care.  That is why we don’t meddle with areas of law that are peripheral to our expertise.  That is also why you can be assured of receiving the very best advice available in the select areas of law that we do offer.

Eight offices, one firm. HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd

35 lawyers. One team.

 

Q: What other types of law do HRS cover?

A: We are specialists in Family law, we do nothing else, however family law to a member of the public is wider in scope than some practitioners pretend. That is why for some years now we have been running our Entourage service for people who like the firm but have issues in and need help with other areas of law. Typically, we access the best advice in the country from specialist counsel and facilitate matters for the client.  It has worked well.  As of 2019 two new products have been launched; Family immigration and Family finances.

Q: What do these involve?

A: Family immigration is the law connected to migration of family members such as blood relatives or wives, short or longer term.  We offer affordable sensible advice as per our main model.

Family finance is the law pertaining to running the family household and balancing that household’s books.  It encompasses employment law and consumer disputes such as the rights of the buyer and recovering losses due to breach of contract.  Think in terms of what effects the family finances and then you can answer if a particular family law dispute will be covered.  All interviews are free as usual so if in doubt please just ask.

 

“I am excited about the renewal of our website.
We really are at the forefront of our industry and client’s like that.” – Victoria.

 

Moving on up!

Congratulations to Lauren Garner in our Walsall office.  Lauren has been a paralegal with the firm since the summer and has excelled helping out in the care department.  In recognition of her efforts the firm has awarded her a training contract that means she will qualify as a Solicitor in September 2021, all being well.

An integral part of our tight management system over the eight offices is that we have a specialist panel member in each office who is recognised by the Law Society as a specialist in their chosen field of family law.  Sana Ahmed joined the family law panel in 2018 and now has been appointed as the Supervisor for Wolverhampton.  The Supervisor system ensures compliance with the Specialist Quality Mark awarded to HRS in 2007 and maintained by the company ever since.

SATURDAY OPENING

At HRS we want to be available to our clients.  In the C21 it is imperative to realise that we all have busy lives and methods for allowing access to legal servies are an essential part of a modern law firms methodology. That is why we always have one or more offices open on a Saturday.  Currently our Erdington office is open every Saturday so Ruby and her team can give free initial advice to any who book in.

Did you know that we can also do free first interviews by skype for those with mobility or travel issues?

Networking

The new year brings decision time for HRS fee earners.  All our lawyers are expected to undertake networking at least once per month in order to get involved in the community and give something back.  Some choose to join organisations such as the Lions in order to contribute by volunteering or fundraising.  Others choose activities such as volunteering at the CAB or attending Court meetings.  There is an endless number of possibilities.  Stakeholders such as other lawyers and business organisations provide a valuable alternative through mechanisms such as the TSG and networking groups.  Ultimately, it does not matter what you choose to do as long as you get involved and do some good!  We are always on the look out for new arrangements in order to put something back and widen our horizons so if you the reader have something in mind please let us know.

Appraisals

The new year also brings the much misunderstood “Appraisal” into view.  The system provides for all of our staff to fill out an appraisal questionnaire in which thy consider their role and performance for the previous year.  This is then followed up by a discussion with a member of the management team.  Together they devise a set of targets and goals as well as action for the forthcoming 12 months to include key skills to be achieved and training to undertake,

Although this is part of the Specialist Quality Mark that the company holds we find it to be a system that helpfully focuses on the key issue of staff development.  Our training system is the envy of many firms and encompasses external courses combined with a bespoke scheme for staff depending specifically on their level of experience and responsibilities.

Training is key to delivering excellent legal services and so at HRS we prioritise it.  That may be why there is such demand for our paralegal and training contract opportunities.  As always, if you, a friend or a relative has an interest in working for our progressive firm please email our Practice Manager William Raine; wr@hrsfamilylawsolicitors.com

Probate

HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd are pleased to confirm our prices for Probate work which as per new SRA regulations is noted on our website through this monthly newsletter.  We charge from £150 plus VAT for a last Will and Testament, 1% of the estate (with a minimum of £500 plus VAT) and disbursements for Probate work, and £750 for a Lasting Power of Attorney.  There is a discount available if more than one piece of work is involved.  All travel time is included but mileage is charged.

Clive Iain Rebbeck, Director, Managing Director. 5th February 2019.

Where there’s a will.. there’s a way.

Did you know that you can have your will written at HRS Family Law Solicitors?  All of our offices have expertise in non-contentious work.  We will prepare a Last Will and Testament from just £250 plus VAT.  Preparing a Will is often a good idea in case of divorce because otherwise your spouse remains your main beneficiary until decree absolute and afterwards it may be that your assets do not go to whom you would wish.

We also prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney and Living Wills at very competitive rates.  £1000 plus VAT and £750 respectively.  Just ask at any of our receptions for an appointment with a member of the non-contentious team.  Probate can be hard work.  We offer a very competitive price of £1,000 plus VAT and disbursements or 1% of the total estate depending on the circumstances.

HRS Family Law Solicitors aim to offer a price competitive service with the very best customer care.  That is why we don’t meddle with areas of law that are peripheral to our expertise.  That is also why you can be assured of receiving the very best advice available in the select areas of law that we do offer.

Eight offices, one firm. HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd

35 lawyers. One team.

Q: How much does a divorce cost?

A: If it is only the divorce itself with no children or financial issues then it is inexpensive.  If no court attendances are required then at HRS we charge a fixed fee.  Its £750 plus VAT for a petitioner and just £500 plus VAT for a respondent.  Court fees are extra but you might qualify for an exemption fee.  Please ask at your first free interview.

Q: How long does it take?

A: Law is not an exact science but usually it is possible to get divorced within three to six months.  Allow six months or up to twelve if there are children or financial issues.  At HRS we give it to you straight and that is how long it takes.

 

Moving on up!

In 2018 we opened our eighth office.  Victoria, Ben and Namita are eager to help the people of Kings Heath address their family law and associated problems.  Ben has returned to the firm from a year away studying legal practice.  Victoria, the office Supervisor is, of course, a Director of HRS.  Namita brings her wide experience to the office having worked in the law for many years.

We are delighted to announce that Claire McCallum and Nisha Bakshi have been promoted and appointed as associates with the company.  Both have been with HRS for over five years and now commence a quasi managerial role whereby they will learn the ins and outs of the business as the first step in widening our managerial team.  Both are already office Supervisors at Birmingham and Bearwood respectively and members of specialist legal panels.

Aime based in Birmingham and Delores at Wolverhampton are stepping up in to fee earning roles and are now paralegals at the firm.  They will both work in the care department supporting the front line staff and maintaining legal help work which is vital in helping people who are involved with but have not yet been the subject of Court action by social services.  They join the largest Care department in the West Midlands which is busier than ever.

Mobeen Tasadiq has moved in to a specialist advocacy role to replace Todd Killeen who left for pastures new.  Mobeen, in turn, is replaced by Bryan Reed, a Solicitor of considerable experience with particular expertise in divorce and finance.  We are very pleased to have Bryan join our Birmingham team.

Great Success

We are delighted to announce the qualification of Kiran Sumera as a Solicitor on the 1st of December.

Kiran is the 15th Solicitor who has trained and qualified through HRS.  She like the others trained with the firm after first excelling as a paralegal and earning the privilege of a training contract.  There are currently six trainees at the firm who will now work to follow Kiran’s example.  At HRS we believe in training our own.

 

Openings for a new generation.

At HRS we believe that training is not just important but essential to help grow our expertise and ensure that all our advisors are truly prepared for the task of giving the best advice to our clients in perhaps the most important area of applicable law to people’s lives.  When you instruct a Solicitor you need to know that the advice you receive is the very best available.  That is why we at HRS Family Law Solicitors specialise in what we do.  Not only are we a specialist firm but we also specialise within that framework and divide our work in to private and public law.

There are three vacancies across offices and departments for paralegals to join our specialist firm.  The successful candidates will learn the vital skill of preparing and arguing for Domestic Violence injunctions known as Non-Molestation orders.  They will issue divorce cases and attend Social services’ meetings.  The role is client facing and taxing with the reward of a possible training contract to become a Solicitor for those who excel.

Those who join us may be just three years away from qualification as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in England and Wales.  The firm pays for the required external training and requires that all staff undertake our market leading in-house course that teaches all aspects of practice when advising and assisting clients’ in the C21.

To apply, please email William Raine the Practice Manager at wr@hrsfamilylawsolicitors.com with a cv and covering letter.  We have positions available now and want people to start asap.

It only remains for me to with all our staff and clients a very Happy New Year!

Clive Iain Rebbeck, Director.

TOP