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ARCHIVE: Petherbridge Bassra News archive

  • 2015 Legal 500 Accolades For Opus Law - Leading Individuals & Fraud Specialism Highlighted

    Opus's standing in the Yorkshire & The Humber Region has been noted in this year's Legal 500 Guide and once again praises our expertise in complex and high value Fraud cases. Ben Jones and Sarah Batty receive special mention as 'Leading Individuals', with the listing reading as follows: 'Up-and-coming firm' Opus Law’s niche practice is co-led by 'influential rainmaker' Ben Jones and Sarah Batty.

  • The Annual Golf Match between Bradford Magistrates and the Solicitors was hosted by Northcliffe Golf Club in Shipley on the 20th May 2015

    There was a subsequent gathering of over 60 people in the clubhouse for a meal and prize presentation. The overall winner, for a third occasion, was Ray Singh from Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors who shot 36 points. A close second was HHJ Roger Thomas QC (second year running) with 34 points. The team trophy was successfully retained by the magistrates.

  • A Change In The Law Needed For Grandparents

    A tragic case recently reported has highlighted the need for a radical overhaul of the Law in relation to Grandparents seeking to maintain relationships with their children. Often after family breakdown Grandparents find their relationship with Grandchildren a casualty. In some cases the Parent who cares for the Grandchildren may seek to move abroad whilst the other Parent could challenge the decision to move abroad. Grandparents, however, have no automatic "right" to be included in those proceedings to have their voice heard and need to ask permission from the Court to become involved. According to the Grandparents' Association (www.grandparents-association.org.uk) 42% of Grandparents lose contact with Grandchildren upon divorce or relationship breakdown. In one case, Chris and Dawn Clark’s Daughter-in-Law made an application to resettle in Australia with her two Daughters aged 6 and 2. She was given permission to leave the Country but the Grandparents were not given permission to become involved in that application but did succeed in part of the Court Judgment compelling their Daughter-in-Law to Skype her former Husband and no provision was made for Grandparents. This is an increasing phenomenon of which we are aware and we can help in this regard with the arrangements that need to be made to facilitate contact. Such arrangements could even include regular Skype contact as part of a Court Order and this is increasingly being used if the Grandchildren are some distance away. It is clear there is a loophole in the Law to ensure that valuable relationships with Grandchildren are protected and enshrined in Law. If you have been affected by this in any way please do contact us for assistance.

  • Domestic Abuse Does Not Respect Gender

    A case recently reported in the Daily Mail on the 12th May highlighted that domestic abuse can affect everyone from all walks of life irrespective of background and gender. It has been reported that Julie Griffiths had tormented her Husband, Norman, for more than 25 years. She was handed a five year Anti-Social Behaviour Order in 2012. Neighbours had even resorted to recording arguments between the couple and that their neighbours had moved out of their houses due to the behaviour of Mrs Griffiths. This case highlights the need for vigilance within our own communities and support of those who may be survivors of domestic violence. We regularly work with and assist male survivors coming forward and receive Legal Help and work closely with organisations such as Men Standing Up in Bradford and Mankind nationally. Please call us today is you are affected by domestic abuse in any way and we can help put in an action plan for you.

  • Pole Position at Rockingham for Luke Pinder Racing

    The Petherbridge Bassra branding moved faster than ever before at Rockingham Motor Circuit this weekend, as Luke Pinder Racing scooped three poles, three wins and the fastest lap in all three races at the Michelin Clio Cup Series. Our logo proudly adorned the side of the vehicle as Luke raced to victory.

  • Acquittal in major fraud trial at Bradford Crown Court

    Ben Jones was instructed by G in respect of a single charge of Conspiracy to Defraud. G was charged with 9 others with a very serious allegation arising out of a North Yorkshire Police investigation. The case was meticulously prepared, along with the assistance of Forths Forensic Accountants, and this analytical and legal research resulted in a skeleton argument being served upon the Crown and the court just before the festive break. The trial began on Monday 5 January but the prosecution, having reflected on our submissions, offered no evidence against G on day two and a formal not guilty verdict was delivered. The others on the indictment will face a lengthy trial to determine their guilt. This case has attracted local and national media attention, with note being made to the fact that our client, G, was found not guilty.

  • Petherbridge Bassra acts for two former police officers featured in BBC Panorama’s "the girl who vanished".

    On Monday 10 November 2014 the BBC’s Panorama programme broadcast "the girl who vanished", an account of the disappearance of Charlene Downes from Blackpool in November 2003. The documentary featured ex detectives Janet Beasant and Donald Fraser who were both the subject of disciplinary proceedings following the collapse of the murder trial of two men accused of Charlene’s murder. Janet Beasant is bringing misfeasance in public office proceedings against the Chief Constable of Lancashire. She was eventually cleared by the Police Appeal Tribunal and alleges the disciplinary proceedings were unlawfully and knowingly instituted against her. Don Fraser has brought proceedings for unfair dismissal against the Chief Constable. He was disciplined after he provided internal documents to Ms Beasant that he believed assisted her meet the disciplinary allegations she faced. Mr Fraser’s case is that the disclosures were "protected" and that his dismissal was automatically unfair. Both cases are proceeding.

  • Further acquittal for Ray Singh

    At the Bradford Crown Court Ray Singh (Higher Court Advocate) defended an employee charged with large scale fraud at a garden centre where he had worked. Following robust interrogation of the evidence a tactical decision was made to make a submission of no case to answer at the close of the Crowns case. It was forcibly submitted there was no evidence to point to appropriation of monies, despite possible false accounting. The Judge upheld the submission and the defendant was acquitted of all counts he faced.

  • Simon McKay of Petherbridge Bassra represents the families of murdered Red Caps. Did spy agency GCHQ have intelligence that could have prevented their deaths?

    On 24 June 2003 six military policemen, serving in Iraq were murdered by a mob that stormed the police station the men were visiting. In April 2006 the Coroner of Oxfordshire concluded the "red caps", as they became known, had been unlawfully killed. In a letter to the then Secretary of State the Coroner expressed concern about the lack of ammunition issued to the men, inadequate communications and the road-worthiness of the vehicles the men were driving. A dossier of new evidence has been submitted to the Attorney General that supports the belief of the families of four of the men that their murder could have been avoided. The evidence comes from two witnesses, a former SAS Lieutenant Colonel, known as Colonel X and Captain T. The new information suggests that spy agency GCHQ had intelligence that an attack was imminent. In addition, it has emerged that four of the red caps had been captured by the mob and were later executed by an insurgent called Rufeiq a known target of the allied forces. Rufieq was initially believed to have been killed at the Battle of Danny Boy but this was later dismissed. The evidence of the execution is supported by additional information that the six British servicemen did not die until up to 90 minutes after the original time of death. The dossier has been submitted to the Attorney General as the four families wish to secure a fresh inquest into their loved ones’ deaths. John Miller, the father of Corporal Simon Miller said, "this new evidence was withheld from us and I always knew from day one that the MOD were complicit in concocting a believable story". Reg Keys, whose son, Lance Corporal Thomas Keys was also murdered, said, "I have always been of the belief that the true nature of the events that led to my son’s murder and the murder of his colleagues was withheld from the families by the Army and MOD and the families were given a ‘sanitized’ version. The subsequent inquest too had many shortcomings". Under the Coroners Act 1988 the Attorney General can either apply or authorize an application for a new inquest. The lawyer representing the families, Simon McKay of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors in Bradford said, "this is new and at times remarkable evidence which begins to piece together the jigsaw of the tragic events in 2003 when the red caps were savagely murdered". He went on, "in my opinion the legal test is met to enable the Attorney General to either apply for a new inquest or authorize the families to do so. It is essential that issues such as whether the deaths of the men could have been avoided as well as the truth of the circumstances of their murders is put before a proper court of law".

  • Petherbridge Bassra Appoints A New Director to the Board.

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors are pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Pinder to the board of directors. Rebecca specialises in claimant personal injury work and has been associated with the firm for a number of years. Chairman of the Board Alan Petherbridge said that "Rebecca has been instrumental in developing a sophisticated case management system for the company to assist in making claims for personal injury. She is highly professional and committed to serving the clients’ needs...her promotion is due recognition of her dedication and talent".

  • Dating whilst divorced?

    A High Court judge has warned newly divorced women should avoid settling down with new partners if they want to receive a larger share of their ex-husband’s money. In a written ruling, Mr Justice Mostyn said dating before divorce was a "fly in the ointment" for family court judges, and that women risked losing out financially because judges might naturally assume they would set up home with their new partners, thereby assuring their financial future. Louise Halford, a family lawyer for Irwin Mitchell, said she was "surprised" by the ruling but warned wives to be careful about having relationships while in dispute over money. Erika Williman, Consultant at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, echoes this sentiment and says "It’s a very difficult situation, especially when somebody’s fallen head over heels in love and is looking to the future - the marriage, in their eyes, is very much dead and gone, but according to the Law you are still husband and wife. People don’t necessarily know how permanent the ‘new’ relationship is going to be, but yet it could jeopardise your Divorce settlement if the Judge assumes, rightly or wrongly, that the new Partner is going to support the woman financially and for the long term. My advice is to try and keep a lid on any new relationships until the legal and financial aspects are absolutely cut and dried to make sure you get the settlement you deserve. Not very romantic, I know, but this is one time when the head has to rule the heart." Erika Williman specialises in high value and complex divorce settlements and is based at our offices in Bradford

  • Changes Made on 1 August 2014

    Before the 1st August 2014, Petherbridge Bassra was a general partnership constituted under the laws of England and Wales. In common with other professional services firms, Petherbridge Bassra converted to a Private Limited Company under English law. We are now Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. This change took effect on 1 August 2014. The business, assets and liabilities of Petherbridge Bassra (the partnership) were transferred to the Company as of 1st August 2014. The partnership ceased to trade on the 31st July 2014. The practical effect of the change is simply that, from 1 August 2014, the client relationship will be with the new Company. The new Company is now responsible to clients for all new and current work, rather than Petherbridge Bassra (the partnership) or any of its partners. Money held on client accounts are now run by Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. Information we hold about our clients has been transferred to Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited, which now controls and is responsible for that information and will use it to continue to operate and conduct its practice. Reasons for Change The main reason for the changes is to enable us to trade with limited liability – we consider it is appropriate that it is only the firm’s assets that are at risk rather than the personal assets of our Partners. Converting to Company status does not affect the delivery or quality of service that we provide nor does it fundamentally change the way in which we operate or work with you. We remain committed to you and the service we provide. The conversion simply means that clients are being advised by a firm which has adopted a modern and transparent corporate structure. The interests of our clients will continue to come first. Clients with Matters Current as at 1 August 2014 The business, assets and liabilities of Petherbridge Bassra (the partnership), which carried on the practice in England and Wales were transferred to Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited on 1st August 2014 (the ‘transfer date’). This paragraph is only relevant to you if you were a client of Petherbridge Bassra (the partnership) prior to the transfer date in respect of a matter then current. In that case Petherbridge Bassra’s outstanding services on all matters for you which were current at the transfer date are to be carried out by Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. New terms and conditions of business apply to all work which Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited is instructed to carry out on or after the transfer date. Existing terms and conditions which had been agreed with Petherbridge Bassra (as a partnership) in relation to our role, the services you have asked us to provide, the team working for you, costs, and timescales (or any other terms which have not been superseded by the new terms) will continue to operate as set out in your original retainer letter with Petherbridge Bassra (the partnership) but will now be terms of your contract with Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. For the avoidance of doubt, all aspects of your relationship going forward are now with Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. If you would like a copy of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited Terms of Business please speak to your usual contact. Additional Points Petherbridge Bassra, Opus Law and Brimble & Co are trading names of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited. Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors Limited is a Company registered in England & Wales under Company number 9049249. The registered address is Vintry House, 18-24 Piccadilly, Bradford, BD1 3LS. A list of Directors is open to inspection at the registered office. We use the word ‘Partner’ to refer to a shareholder or director of the company or an employee or consultant who is a lawyer with equivalent standing and practice. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to speak to your usual contact or for general Company-related enquiries please contact Lisa Julian on 01274 724114.

  • BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON DOMESTIC ABUSE...

    A recent study* has confirmed a significant spike in domestic violence incidents when England are playing football. If England lose, domestic abuse incidents are up by 38%, and even if they win, incidents still rise by a considerable 26%.

    No Excuses

    With the World Cup about to kick off, Petherbridge Bassra feels that this is a timely moment to remind victims of domestic violence that there is never an excuse to be subjected to verbal, physical or emotional abuse. Erika Williman, Consultant in Family Law at the firm, has a strong specialism in supporting victims of Domestic Violence and understands the triggers and patterns behind abusive incidents. Talking about the World Cup in particular, Erika raises the following concerns. "Alcohol, national pride and high testosterone levels in places where men congregate to watch the football can be a really dangerous combination for people who are prone to violent outbursts – sadly some women will be on the receiving end of frustrations following a loss and this study shows that even a good result for England doesn’t guarantee that tempers off the pitch won’t fray to breaking point. I’m also concerned that this event, due to time differences, will see much later kick off and finish times and therefore the opportunity to consume more alcohol prior to the match. Alcohol really is a key contributing factor in many of these football-related Domestic Violence incidents."

    Help & Support

    Erika and the rest of the Family Law team at Petherbridge Bassra urge victims to dial 999 without hesitation in the case of personal safety being compromised. For those that wish to put robust legal protection in place to prevent attacks the team offer FREE advice and, in cases where Domestic Violence is a proven factor, LEGAL AID is still available to safeguard families against domestic abuse. In summary, Erika says "Football is something that should bring the nation together this Summer, but sadly it’s something that could break families apart." Contact Information: For a FREE consultation on any legal matter, including advice for victims of Domestic Violence, please call the team in confidence on 01274 724114. The firm also holds a FREE drop-in clinic every Tuesday (5-6 pm) where no appointment is needed. E-mail mail@petherbridgebassra.com for more information.

    *Study by Lancaster University, published in September 2013 in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

  • Seeing Things From Both Sides In Disability Review Monthly July 2014.

    We’re promoting our capabilities in resolving disability discrimation issues in this month’s issue of Disability Review, a leading source of information for people with disabilities and their care providers. There are over 6.9 million disabled people of working age in the UK which represents 19% of the working population* and it’s against the Law for employers to discriminate against somebody because of a disability. The Equality Act 2010 goes a significant way to protect people but Louise Colledge of the Petherbridge Bassra Employment Law team feels that there is still a lot of ambiguity around accurately defining and quantifying a disability, whilst still empowering employers and employees to develop their own working strategies to make sure their working relationship is a mutually beneficial one and neither party feels stifled or treated unfairly. "Employing somebody with a disability can sadly be seen as a real challenge by even the most forward-thinking Employer. Their first thoughts may focus on everyday logistical practicalities such as car parking provision, toilets, doorways and ramps but the intricacies of Employment Law when it comes to disability rights can also be seen as a big hurdle before it even comes to interview stage, particularly for small or medium sized companies. Employers can get scared. They think they’re going to have to change the whole way their business runs to accommodate one person. We aim to break down a lot of these preconceptions and barriers by enabling employers to see past the disability and focus on the person. It’s about developing a strategy and understanding the Law as well as your business needs" says Louise. "Equally we come across scenarios where Employers are scared not to offer a disabled applicant a role, even if they are not the strongest candidate, because they are fearful of being taken to a tribunal or being seen as discriminatory. Sometimes, for this reason, a disabled candidate may not even be called to interview – Employers don’t want to run the risk of being branded as discriminatory." An employer also has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable a member of staff with a disability to carry out a task to the same level as a non-disabled colleague eg adjusting working hours or providing special equipment. Employers also need to be careful about asking questions about health or disability, either face to face during an interview or on an application form. They can ask if it’s a question that will help them decide whether the candidate can carry out a task that's an essential part of the work, or to find out if you can take part in an interview. Louise and the Employment Law Team also support people with a disability (NB this also includes conditions such as epilepsy or long-term degenerative conditions such as arthritis or MS which may flare up and recede over a period of time) who feel that they have been treated unfairly, or discriminated against, in the workplace. Examples of this can include an Employer’s reluctance or refusal to adjust working hours or being made redundant or sacked without proper consultation. Disabled people may also have been discriminated against before or during initial job interviews and failed to be promoted in the same way as their colleagues, despite performing to the same level. Louise points out that Employers’ attitudes to disability could mean they are missing opportunities to recruit motivated and educated team members by saying "There are currently 1.3 million** disabled people in the UK who are available for, and want to, work so it really is worthwhile getting some advice about making sure that your recruitment and HR procedures don’t only accommodate disabilities, but that your organisation actually embraces the challenge of building diversity and talent into its operations." For Employees and Employers with questions or concerns about Disability Discrimination issues in the workplace, Petherbridge Bassra offer a FREE consultation which will explain the legal situation and options available, plus the best steps to take to either resolve a problem, or to prevent an issue occurring the first place. Call the team in complete confidence on 01274 724114 or email mail@petherbridgebassra.com.

  • Forced Marriage To Be Criminalised from 16 June 2014;

    New Law Welcomed by Petherbridge Bassra’s Family Law Team

    The Family Law Team at Petherbridge Bassra wholeheartedly welcomes new legislation that will see individuals facilitating Forced Marriages facing a jail term of up to 7 years. The traditional method of obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order through the family courts will continue to exist alongside the new criminal offence, so victims can choose how they wish to be assisted. It is estimated that around 8,000 women in the UK every year are forced into marriage against their will, although the true figure could be yet higher due to the ‘hidden’ nature of this practice.

    Strong Deterrent

    Commenting on this new legislation, Jamil Ismail, Partner & Head of Family Law said "This law has been a long time coming and sends out a stronger message that Forced Marriages will not be tolerated, accepted or overlooked in the UK and should make parents and relatives carefully consider whether the marriage they are planning is Arranged or Forced - that’s an important distinction to make. The Courts how have the power to prosecute and impose a jail sentence. Equally for young people fearful of being forced into a marriage against their wishes, they know they have the full support of the Law and that they do have a choice about their future. In most cases the initial step of putting a Forced Marriage Protection Order in place through the Family Courts will still be enough to nip matters in the bud, but when this is breached the legal position is now far clearer."

    Summer Holidays = Peak Risk Period

    Nazia Shaukat of the Family Law Team also welcomes the timing of the new powers saying "Summer Holidays see a peak in the number of girls being taken abroad under the promising guise of a family holiday, only to find on arrival at their destination that they are being set up for marriage to a complete stranger or a distant family member. A marriage can take place literally with a day’s notice, leaving the victim vulnerable, alone and railroaded into doing something against their wishes. Education of border control and check-in personnel at airports, plus a hotline for young people who do find themselves facing a marriage scenario overseas bolster the steps in place to prevent Forced Marriages. Stopping Forced Marriages will not be easy – it’s a responsibility we must share as a Society. We need to educate parents and older family members, educate and empower victims to speak out and also combine the resources and intelligence of teachers, community members, Police, Social Workers and airport personnel to spot the signs of a Forced Marriage. It’s also about knowing what action to take, and putting cultural preconceptions and sensibilities to one side to protect and support victims. I also think it’s important to stress that this doesn’t just affect girls – men are equally at risk of being forced into marriage. Those with learning disabilities or mental health issues are also extremely vulnerable to exploitation and find it even more difficult to seek help."

    Force A Marriage – Face Jail

    Jamil summarises matters by saying "It’s simple now in the eyes of the Law. Force a marriage - face jail. No excuses."

    Help & Advice Available

    The Government’s Forced Marriage Unit is dedicated to preventing British nationals being forced into marriage overseas. If you are worried that you might be forced into a marriage or are worried about someone else who may you should contact them on - 020 7008 0151 (or 0044 20 7008 0151 if you are overseas). In an emergency or where personal safety is being threatened call 999 without hesitation.

    Our Family Law team can also offer advice and support on the legal steps that can be taken to prevent Forced Marriage and when a marriage has actually taken place we can advise people on how to legally resolve the situation to avoid any future ramifications of their connection to their ex partner. Call us in complete confidence on 01274 724 114 or mail@petherbridgebassra.com to arrange a FREE consultation. Our team is multilingual and includes Punjabi, Urdu, Slovak and Polish speakers.

  • The Petherbridge Bassra ‘Back To Basics’ Employment Law Seminar on the 24th June 2014 – Bookings Now OPEN.

    The Employment Law team would like to invite Employers and HR Professionals to join them at at 10.00am on Tuesday 24th June 2014 at our offices in the centre of Bradford for a refreshingly sharp and topical insight into Employment Law. The seminar will concentrate on providing delegates with a basic understanding of Employment Law and will include recent Employment Law updates. Some of the points covered in the seminar will be:

    Disciplinary action – conduct

    Performance Procedures

    Holiday pay – updates

    ACAS early conciliation

    Following the seminar delegates be given the opportunity to ask questions to our expert Employment Lawyers conducting the seminar. If you would like to attend the seminar please confirm your attendance by the 13th June 2014 by e-mailing munisamalik@petherbridgebassra.com

  • Catterick Military Court - Not Guilty Verdict Reached on Charges of Disgraceful Conduct.

    On 1st May at Catterick Military Court Private Hawksley of 2 Mercian Palace Barracks was acquitted by the Board of the charges of disgraceful conduct of a cruel or indecent kind, and conduct prejudicial to good order and service discipline. These charges resulted from an incident in 2012 involving a drinking game. Tony Moore Barrister of 39 Park Sq Leeds assisted by Phillip Priestley of Petherbridge Bassra successfully made a submission to the court after the prosecution case that there was a lack of evidence which was reliable enough to be left before the board. The Judge Advocate agreed with those submissions and directed the board to return Not Guilty verdicts. Talking about this case, Stuart Lowrey of the firm’s specialist military law department says "This is classic case of a ‘game’ involving alcohol getting out of hand. It’s easy to get carried away and be left facing a serious disciplinary charge and possibly the end of your military career. Sometimes it can really pay to get proper, robust legal representation for military personnel who happen to find themselves involved in disciplinary matters, and that’s why we were delighted to represent Private Hawksley. For anybody in a similar situation my advice would be not to ‘bottle it up’ or think it will ‘go away’ – come to an expert in Military Law straight away to find out where you stand and what options you have and from there we can plan your defence." Stuart Lowrey can be contacted on stuart@petherbridgebassra.com or 01274 727190.

  • Petherbridge Bassra successful in Court of Arbitration for Sport Appeal

    Ben Jones, Partner, was instructed by Bradford City Football Club in respect of a decision by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber in relation to professional player Mark Stewart. At the time of instruction FIFA had ordered Bradford City FC to pay €250,000 in training compensation to Falkirk FC in respect of the afore mentioned player. We were asked to advise whether or not the club had a potentially viable appeal. The only other option to the club being to pay the amount ordered in full. Leading Queens Counsel, Mr Simon Csoka QC, was instructed and the facts of the case scrutinised. The club were subsequently advised to appeal the FIFA DRC ruling to the highest sporting court, The Court of Arbitration for Sport. Appeal documents were lodged and the matter listed for a full hearing in Lausanne. In November 2013 Ben Jones and Simon Csoka QC flew to Switzerland along with Bradford City CEO Mr David Baldwin. During a 3 hour hearing our appeal was argued on very novel and complex legal points. The appointed panel chose to consider the case and reserved judgment. This judgment was ultimately not delivered until March 2014. The appeal was partially allowed and the amount of training compensation reduced from €250,000 to €185,000. Falkirk FC were also ordered to pay 20% of the CAS costs, which had initially been borne by Bradford City.

  • Bradford City Football Club Player of the Year Awards Report.

    On Tuesday evening 6th May, Ben Jones, Partner at Petherbridge Bassra and Anne Petherbridge, Office Manager attended the Player of the Year Awards which took place in the McCall and Hendrie suites at Bradford City Football Club. This proved to be such a popular, sell out event. Approximately 600 guests attended as all the players received a rousing applause and rapturous welcome. Awards were given throughout the evening, primarily to Stephen Darby who not only received the Player of the Year award but was unanimously chosen as the Player’s Player of the Year. Ben and Anne were guests of The Pulse Radio together with Steve Parkin, Assistant Manager, and Ian Ormondroyd. Ewan Miller of Pulse Radio presented the Goal of the Year award to Kyel Reid. Interspersed throughout the evening with the awards, an auction and a silent auction got underway and Petherbridge Bassra are very pleased to announce that they were successful in their bids to acquire a signed Wembley shirt from the play-off final and a Phil Parkinson training top, the proceeds of which went towards research into prostate cancer. These shirts will be destined for display in our Reception and members of the public will be welcomed in should they wish to take a look at a piece of history. At the end of such a successful evening, the new home strip was unveiled.

  • Petherbridge Bassra Secures The Release of Youth Detained Under Suspicion Of Terrorism.

    Rachel Sparling, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and long standing member of the criminal team recently represented M, a youth arrested when attempting to travel from Heathrow to Syria for what was believed to be the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Miss Sparling represented M throughout the period of detention, in what were very difficult and stressful circumstances, particularly taking into account M’s age. In excess of 200 officers were involved in the investigation day and night, working towards a strict seven day time limit. A large volume of evidence was produced, often during the course of ongoing interviews, and without notice. Miss Sparling worked tirelessly to represent M to the highest standard, with M vehemently denying all allegations made. Having been in custody for a total of six days, five days longer than for a standard arrest, M was released without charge. The staff of Petherbridge Bassra have vast experience of the most serious of crimes. If you need advice, support or representation on any criminal matter, please contact Rachel Sparling or any other member of the criminal team.

  • New Law Commission Proposals on Nuptial Agreements Are Welcomed By Jamil Ismail, Partner & Head of Family Law at Petherbridge Bassra.

    The Law Commission has recommended that the Government brings in legislation that would legally recognise qualifying nuptial agreements. The Law currently states that couples can make pre and post nuptial agreements but they are not binding and the parties cannot be certain that they will be upheld. Particularly if they are deemed to be unfair against a party. If the Law Commission proposals are adopted by the Government they would enable married couples and civil partners to make a binding agreement about how their property or finances should be shared if their relationship breaks down. Commenting on this topic, Jamil Ismail, Partner & Head of Family Law at Petherbridge Bassra said "These proposals would give married couples and civil partners the power to decide their own financial arrangements. These recommendations are a positive move forward towards certainty and autonomy for couples". For more information on Pre or Post Nuptial Agreements, please contact the Family Law Team at Petherbridge Bassra.

  • Roaring Success! Punjab Rescue Fundraising Dinner Nets over £5,000 To Fight Fires & Save Lives (Corporate Sponsor: Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors)

    Please find below an update note we’ve received from the Event Organisers, along with some pictures from a fabulous evening on Friday 14 March 2014 in aid of an extremely worthy cause. We were honoured to have been one of the corporate sponsors of the event. "A big thank you to everyone who attended the Punjab Rescue Fundraising Dinner on Friday. We had speeches from Ummar Zamman (National Chair of Asian Fires Service Association), Mohammed Ali, (Organiser), Henna from the Africa Expedition, Ian Bitcon (Area Manager of Fire Safety West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue), and Counsellor Khadim Hussain (Lord Mayor of Bradford). We had an outstanding performance from Hussnain Lahori. The event was a huge success and over £5000 was raised from raffles, auction, sponsors and donations. We will keep you updated with events following the visit to Pakistan which is planned for early April." Well done from all at Petherbridge Bassra!

  • In recognition of International Women’s Day...

    Petherbridge Bassra Joined Peacemaker International & Women In Safe Hands to Launch the "Leave It Intact" Campaign to Stop FGM. Anne Petherbridge (Practice Manager) and Nazia Ali (Family Law Department) were honoured to be present at an important event in Bradford on Thursday 6 March 2014 that not only marks the weekend’s International Women’s Day but also highlighted the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and a new initiative that has been launched to eradicate FGM, known as "Leaving It Intact". Currently a staggering 20,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM every year in the UK alone. The event was very well-supported and attendees included The Deputy Lord Mayor, David Ward MP (LibDem MP for Bradford West) and other influential figures from across our region. The remarkable Yemi Fagborun, CEO of Peacemaker International and Women In Safe Hands, hosted the event and explained that worldwide there are 140 million women and children who have undergone FGM, 3 million in Africa and 20,000 are at risk every year in England and Wales. An Act was passed in 2004 making FGM illegal in this country, however as yet no prosecutions have ever been brought. Awareness needs to be raised but resources and funding are desperately needed to help raise the profile of FGM. Education is key and not only in schools but in colleges and universities. Yemi pointed out that cultures can change and they should do as communities unite against these atrocities. Despite the hard-hitting message, no-one could forget that this was a day of celebration. The celebration of women. Awards were given to worthy female community figures and to celebrate the launch of the Leaving It Intact campaign, a huge cake was donated by a local baker. If you, or somebody that you know, is at risk of FGM (or has already experienced undergone FGM) please contact the Police or social care immediately for advice and support.

  • Bradford Solicitors Sponsor Daffodil Walk for Bradford Hospice

    Bradford law firm, Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, are sponsoring an annual walk, organised by one of the Marie Curie Hospice support groups, The Daffs. The 2013 Daffodil Walk which is in its fifth year is on Sunday 24 March 2013 and walkers will enjoy a pleasant stroll through the grounds of Bingley St Ives. It will start and finish at The Old White HorseInn. The Daffs have raised over £100,000 for the Hospice and want to make The Daffodil Walk its most successful yet. The walk is suitable for families and dogs, on leads, are most welcome. Dave Harvey, who Chairs The Daffs said "We are grateful to Petherbridge Bassra for being our first sponsors and hope to attract walkers from throughout the district. The Hospice provides local people with the best care possible and we want to support it through this and many other events." Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, expressed her delight in the firm’s sponsorship of the event saying "Marie Curie is a Charity that we feel very strongly about and over the past few years we’ve taken part in a number of fundraising events including a staff bag collection that created literally a mountain of items to be sold in the Darley Street store, a trek across Jordan and being volunteer gardeners at the Hospice." Anne also paid tribute to the personal connection that the firm’s staff and clients have with Marie Curie by saying "We know first hand about the amazing work that Marie Curie and The Daffs do to support people living with cancer, and their families, in Bradford. This is an issue that touches many people and, for us, The Daffodil Walk brings together the concept of fun, family, hope and remembering loved ones perfectly. We’re going to be immensely proud to don our walking boots and take a stroll through Bingley St Ives this Spring!"

  • FIGHTING FIRES & SAVING LIVES... Proudly supporting Punjab Rescue Fundraising Event - 14 March at Aagrah Midpoint Restaurant, Thornbury

    This event will raise essential funds to enable firefighters from Bradford to provide training and resources to Punjab Rescue Lahore Pakistan to upskill them to deal with Fire and other emergencies more effectively. Many lives are lost each year in Pakistan each year due to lack of effective fire-fighting facilities and technical knowledge. The project also educates paramedics to deal with injuries resulting from fires. Commenting on the firm’s support for this innovative project, Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager said "West Yorkshire Fire Service have actively supported us on our awareness-raising events for Domestic Violence and Forced Marriage, sharing their first-hand insight with us and our delegates to help protect vulnerable people and to think that they are going to be sharing their technical expertise with colleagues thousands of miles away is amazing. We wish them every success with this venture and are pleased to sponsor the high-profile fundraiser on the 14th of March". Anne extends her thanks to Mohammed Ali who serves with our local Fire Service and is the nominated project manager for Punjab Rescue project through Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) for letting us know about this great initiative to share best practice between Britain and Pakistan to save lives and protect communities. All details for the event shown below and if you would like to know more this project please contact Mohammed directly on 07786 431409.

  • On The Pulse With Family Matters – New Petherbridge Bassra Advert Airs Throughout February

    On The Pulse With Family Matters – New Petherbridge Bassra Advert Airs Throughout February

    Our new advertising campaign has a strong focus on Family Law, promoting the work we do to help couples who are separating with our fixed price divorce offers, starting from just £300*. Also mentioned is our strong specialism in cases relating to children including custody, residence and issues involving social services. Click below to listen and for FREE initial advice all you need to do is call us to arrange an appointment or call into the drop-in clinic at our offices every Tuesday 5-6 pm (no appointment needed).

  • Successful application for an anonymity order before the military court at Bulford

    Ray Singh, Partner at Petherbridge Bassra, successfully applied for an anonymity order on behalf of Marine E before the military court at Bulford. 5 Marines had initially been charged with the murder of an Afghan insurgent. After submissions made on behalf of Marine E proceedings were successfully discontinued. The military court initially lifted anonymity against Marine E but a successful challenge to the Court of Appeal against that order meant that it was remitted for consideration to the military court. Further submissions were then made to the military court based upon a serious and immediate risk to the life of Marine E if he was named. The Judge advocate agreed and anonymity has now been granted for life. If you need advice, support or representation on any military (or civil) law matter, please contact us in confidence.

  • Petherbridge Bassra Displays Sports Law & Employment Law Credentials At Bradford City Business Networking Event

    On the 31st January 2014 Ben Jones, Partner and Head of Sports Law at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, and members of the Employment Law department attended the Bradford City Bantams4business networking event at Bradford City stadium. Ben gave a short presentation on the company’s affiliation with Bradford City Football Club and Louise Colledge and Munisa Malik gave a joint presentation about the unexpected problems employers can face with particular mention to the Employment Protection Scheme. The scheme provides insurance for employers should they be faced with legalaction against them and also includes a legal help line. The presentation was very well received and Louise and Munisa stayed for some time after the event to answer legal questions the employers had and speak with them about their businesses and how we can tailor the packages to their particular needs. The event was a great success and we look forward to attending again in the future.

  • Petherbridge Bassra Sports Law Division Advises Player and Club on New Bradford City Signing, Aaron McClean.

    Petherbridge Bassra can confirm Ben Jones and Jagtar Rooprai, Partners, have today provided legal advice and assistance to both Bradford City and Aaron McLean in respect of his transfer from Premier League Hull City to the mighty Bantams. Ben (Head of Sports Law) and Jagtar (Head of Employment Law) attended at the training ground to advise both parties as to the move and to help to complete the deal. Both were later thanked personally by a happy Phil Parkinson, who has secured the 30-year old player on a two and a half year contract. For more information on this Case or advice on any aspect of Sports Law, please contact Ben Jones on 01274 724114 or 07939 593769 or via email on b.jones@petherbridgebassra.com.

  • Join Us On The Daffodil Walk

    We’re delighted to once again be sponsoring this amazing event, which raises money for our local Marie Curie hospice. The Daffodil Walk, which is now in its sixth year, is on Sunday 23rd March 2014 and walkers will enjoy a pleasant stroll through the grounds of Bingley St Ives. It will start and finish at The Locks in Bingley and with The Locks generously offering to provide teas/coffees to starters and finishers. The Daffs have so far raised over £130,000 for the Hospice and want to make this year’s Daffodil Walk its most successful yet. Last year the walk raised £1,500. The walk is suitable for families and dogs, on leads, are most welcome. Dave Harvey, who Chairs The Daffs said, "We are grateful to Petherbridge Bassra for agreeing to sponsor the walk for a second year and hope to attract walkers from throughout the district. The Hospice provides local people with the best care possible and we want to support it through this and many other events." Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors said, "It’s a great honour for us to be able to help The Daffs with this magnificent fundraising venture again. It’s an event that really brings the whole local community together to show active support for their local Hospice, especially as so many families are sadly affected by cancer in some way. Even the snow didn’t chill the enthusiasm of last year’s walkers so this year we’re hoping the sun might make an appearance and that we’ll raise even more money for the Hospice."

    Click here to see the T&A's coverage in the run up to the 2014 Daffodil Walk.

  • Legal Update On Army Deafness Claims by Stuart Lowrey, Military Personal Injury Specialist

    High Court throws out the Ministry of Defence Application to have all the soldiers deafness claims transferred to the High Court and three test cases taken to trial. Good news for soldiers who are seeking damages as a result of noise induced hearing loss due to service. Had the application been allowed it would have meant a delay running in to years for claimants whilst the three test cases were taken to trial and almost certainly to an appeal irrespective of which way the Judgment goes. At the time of writing the Ministry of Defence have until 31st January 2014 to appeal the decision ... watch this space. At the time of writing (24 January 2014) it looks almost certain that the Ministry of Defence will apply for permission to appeal the High Courts decision. We would urge those with hearing problems caused either by long term (eg rifle firing, noisy transportation) or short term (eg explosion) exposure to noise during their service to contact us immediately to see if we can assist. Equally where personnel have not been equipped with appropriate ear protection by the MoD we are well-placed to advise soldiers whether they are still serving or not. Stuart Lowrey is Petherbridge Bassra’s specialist in Military Personal Injury Claims. Call him today in confidence on 01274 724114 or e-mail stuart@petherbridgebassra.com.

  • All I want for Christmas is... a DIVORCE.

    Erika Williman, Divorce Consultant at Petherbridge Bassra, shares some of her insight with ‘Local Focal’ and ‘Here & Now’ readers into why the festive period can result in high levels of marital stress and advises people on taking things forward if they feel their relationship has come to an end and want to make a fresh start in 2014. "Tis the season to be merry", as the saying goes. But let’s face it, after you’ve battled through the shops, wrestled with a ten ton turkey and endured endless evenings with relatives, your level of festive cheer is likely to be dropping as quickly as needles from a Nordic Spruce. So, for couples that might not be getting on very well to start with, the stress and high expectation levels around creating the perfect Christmas mean that this time of year can signify the final straw in a relationship.

    New Year, New Start

    It probably won’t surprise you to hear that January and February are the peak months for Divorce proceedings to be put in place. We can’t blame it all on Christmas, but the two weeks spent in close proximity with the addition of a bit too much sherry, impending credit card bills and the time to reflect on the year that’s passed (whether it be good or bad) can prove a real wake-up call as to the future direction you’d like your life to take. If you’re thinking that you need some advice about how best to approach separation or divorce, even if you’re not quite sure whether this is the path you’d like to go down, please just call me to arrange a free consultation to talk through the choices open to you and the‘what if’s?’. Uppermost on many couples’ minds is the impact that a Divorce is going to have on their children and their future financial security, particularly if there are joint assets or joint debts to consider. As a couple, you work hard to build a life together and create a home. My job is to make sure youleave the relationship in the best possible way to give you emotional and financial stability – I sit down and plan together with my clients to minimise stress and conflict and keep legal costs down. Unlike those Christmas jumpers, this isn’t a case of ‘one size fits all’. The Divorce packages and support that we offer are tailored exactly to your needs and your family circumstances.

    Domestic Abuse Flashpoints

    As well as couples who’ve just grown apart over a period of time, I also have lots of experience in scenarios where Domestic Abuse (emotional and/or physical) is a factor in the break-up of arelationship. Christmas really is a flash point for incidents of Domestic Abuse and Violence – again alcohol or money worries can be triggers. If you are frightened for your personal safety you must call 999 without hesitation and keep your own log of any incidents. We can then help with emergency orders and other legal steps to keep you and your children safe.

    Cutting The Cost of Divorce

    Understandably, as well as worrying about how they are going to manage financially after a Divorce, many people are also concerned about affording the Legal Fees. We offer Fixed Price Divorce Packages starting from just £250 + VAT*. We can arrange flexible payment plans and work to capped fees. At a time when lots of things in your life maybe uncertain, we are always clear on costs and ensuring you feel in control. I know that for the vast majority of our readers, you’re going to have a fantastic Christmas and New Year, filled with memories to treasure, but if you are at all uncertain about what the futuremight hold for your relationship and are considering moving on, then you might like to think about talking to me first to explore the options. To arrange a free and no-obligation meeting with Erika Williman please call 01274 724114 or email: mail@petherbridgebassra.com.

    *Terms & Conditions apply.

    December 2 2013: Erika Williman outlines the implications of the newly-passed
    ‘Clare’s Law’, giving women the right to find out if their partner has a history of violence.

    Clare’s Law Extended – Domestic Violence Closure Scheme

    This is a preventative measure and enables informed decision making to take place by a woman regarding her partner.

    The Law is expected to become in force, across England and Wales, in March 2014 although as the consultation has been taking place since March 2011 progress does seem to have been slow.

    Initial consultation was launched in November 2011 which was known as the "Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme".

    Clare Wood was murdered by her former partner in 2009. He had three previous convictions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which Clare was unaware of. Clare’s father stated that she knew nothing of her partner’s violent past and had she done so she may have ended the relationship. She was unaware that he had served two prison sentences for domestic violence, aggravated burglary, stalking and kidnapping of a previous girlfriend at knifepoint. Clare was strangled and set on fire by her partner who then hung himself.

    Sadly for Clare she had first called the Police for help in October 2008 after her partner had damaged her front door by attempting to gain entry, threatened her with an iron and threatened to kill her. A later ruling by the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that she had been badly let down by the Police.

    The initial pilot schemes were run in Nottingham, Greater Manchester, Gwent and Wiltshire and it had two elements, "a right to know" and "a right to ask".

    Prior the scheme running you had the right to ask the Police if their partner has a violent past, this is known as "the right to ask". However, the Police are not obliged to respond by if the check reveals that a person may be at risk of domestic violence they may consider revealing this.

    Do note, however, that a concerned third party reporting these worries to the Police would not necessarily receive any information back from the Police.

    There is also ’the right to know’ scheme which gives Police and other agencies such as Social Care/Children’s Services and the NSPCC to proactively disclose such a history where they feel somebody is at risk. This could, for example, be used by Children’s Services in care cases.

    Although the current law on disclosure is unclear it is hoped that fresh guidelines can be drawn following the pilot. Giving basic information such as names, dates of birth and addresses means that initial checks can be carried out and then a multi-agency meeting can take place to establish whether the disclosure is necessary and proportionate. The aim is to facilitate and framework for clear and consistent measures for disclosing information.

    Statistics show that 70 women have been helped to make decisions under "the right to know" element in Greater Manchester so far and in Manchester there was a surge in requests after a surge in publicity and after a leaflet drop took place along with posters in G.P. surgeries, community hubs and children’s centres.

    However, it does not sit well with the Government’s restriction of public funding (Legal Aid) and the barriers put in place to obtain Legal Aid and domestic violence cases. A Government Minister, Louise Casey, has said "our priority should not be protecting a perpetrator’s privacy at the expense of costing a woman’s life".

    It can be argued that Clare’s Law is too simplistic as a key element of domestic violence’s control and isolation so would a woman really seek Police advice given that we know, on average, a woman puts up with multiple assaults before help is sought and the scheme also assumes that a woman will leave her partner once she finds out about her partner’s past.

    Refuge, the charity that helps victims of domestic violence, is an opponent of Clare’s Law and believe that it is too simplistic and ignores huge social issues connected with domestic violence and is asking for there to be a public enquiry dealing with the response of Police to domestic violence call-outs.

    November 1 2013 – Significant Payout Secured in Maternity Discrimination Case

    Petherbridge Bassra has been successful in obtaining a £20,000 settlement in a pregnancy and maternity discrimination case, in which we argued that our client was dismissed after 3 months of employment for informing her employer she was pregnant.

    Commenting on this interesting case, Louise Colledge of the Employment Law team said "Thankfully, the Law provides extremely robust protection for Employees during pregnancy and maternity leave. The joy and excitement that prospective and new parents feel is not always shared by an employer or Manager, who is worried about matters such as having to pay for or find maternity cover, business disruption and the possibility of the employee not returning to the workplace or wishing to renegotiate their terms to fit their change in family circumstances. In small to medium size businesses accommodating maternity leave can be seen as a particularly big issue. It’s this fear and lack of legal understanding that can prompt Employers to contravene Employment Law and land themselves at Employment Tribunal or having to make an out of Court settlement. In this maternity discrimination case the Employee had only recently joined the organisation before discovering she was pregnant and was subsequently dismissed. Fortunately this lady had the courage to seek legal advice, rather than just resigning herself to losing her job - she knew she had been treated unfairly and was determined to seek legal redress, and I hope others will do the same.

    If you’re an Employee and feel that your Employer is trying to manage you ‘out’ of the business due to your pregnancy, or making it difficult for you to return to your role then please contact me in complete confidence. Equally, if you’re running a business and wishing to make changes to the contract or terms of employment of somebody who is pregnant or on maternity leave, I can’t stress the importance of double checking with an Employment Law specialist before you take any action at all. It’s not worth taking any risks when it comes to maternity and pregnancy cases as the ‘usual’ rules don't necessarily apply here."

    For further information about discrimination at work due to pregnancy or maternity leave please do not hesitate to contact Louise Colledge or Munisa Malik on 01274 724114 or contact us via email on munisamalik@petherbridgebassra.com.

    September 6 2013 – Alan Petherbridge talking on BCB Radio.

    Alan Petherbridge has been talking to BCB Radio again today about the proposed cuts in Legal Aid for criminal defence work.

    Alan outlines wide-ranging implications such as people being forced to represent themselves in Court, the difficulties for Law Firms looking to survive in these tough times plus the possibility of fewer talented graduates opting for a career in Law.

    Click here to listen to Alan on air at around 5.25 pm.


    September 25 2013 – Forced Marriage Seminar Makes Airwaves At Pulse FM

    Jamil Ismail (Partner & Head of Family Law) and Sameem Ali were both interviewed by James Crossling of Pulse FM at the Forced Marriage Seminar and their interviews were broadcast throughout the day.

    Click below to listen:


    Jamil Ismail interview:

    Sameem Ali interview:



    September 6 2013 – Alan Petherbridge talking on BCB Radio.

    Alan Petherbridge has been talking to BCB Radio again today about the proposed cuts in Legal Aid for criminal defence work.

    Alan outlines wide-ranging implications such as people being forced to represent themselves in Court, the difficulties for Law Firms looking to survive in these tough times plus the possibility of fewer talented graduates opting for a career in Law.

    Click here to listen to Alan on air at around 5.25 pm.


    September 25 2013 – Forced Marriage Seminar Makes Airwaves At Pulse FM

    Jamil Ismail (Partner & Head of Family Law) and Sameem Ali were both interviewed by James Crossling of Pulse FM at the Forced Marriage Seminar and their interviews were broadcast throughout the day.

    Click below to listen:


    Jamil Ismail interview:

    Sameem Ali interview:



    September 19 2013 – Forced Marriage & Honour Based Violence Seminar – FULLY BOOKED.
    David Ward MP also set to attend this high profile event.

    A Seminar organised by local law firm, Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, focusing on the issues surrounding Forced Marriage & Honour Based Abuse is now fully booked, having attracted over 100 delegates from Bradford and further afield. Representatives from schools, colleges, support agencies, police, probation, fire service and healthcare settings plus individuals who have personally been affected by Forced Marriage or Honour Based Violence will all be joining together to raise awareness of these issues and plan strategies for working together to support victims and encourage them to come forward in the knowledge that appropriate help, support and understanding is out there.

    Keynote speakers at the event will be Sameem Ali, a survivor of Forced Marriage who is now a Councillor for the Moss Side Ward of Manchester. Sameem has most recently fronted a campaign aimed at stopping children being taken out of the UK to be married against their will during school holidays and works closely with schools and colleges. Jasvinder Sanghera founded the UK’s first and largest Charity to support victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence, Karma Nirvana. Both speakers are also acclaimed Authors. David Ward, Lib Dem MP for Bradford East will also be calling into the event in the afternoon, demonstrating his commitment to ensuring the issues affecting Bradford are reflected and reported in Westminster. Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors will also outline the legal perspective on Forced Marriage and how the Law can protect those at risk.

    Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors has been overwhelmed by the response and interest to this event which follows a successful Consortium meeting hosted by the firm to discuss Domestic Violence in January. "It’s a great honour to be welcoming such high profile speakers to this event. By being attuned to the ‘signs’ and understanding the real and current threat that Forced Marriage poses to young women and men in Bradford, support professionals can link together more swiftly and effectively to prevent Forced Marriages from taking place. Together we can start to change the future for many young people in Bradford by making it easier and more acceptable for them to speak out and seek help."

    The Seminar is being held at The Midland Hotel, Bradford from 9.30 am to 2.45 pm on Wednesday 25 September 2013.


    August 19 2013 - Nazia Shaukat live on Radio Leeds ‘Connections’ programme

    Nazia Shaukat from the Family Law team was on the Radio Leeds ‘Connections’ programme last night at 7pm, talking about the issue of Forced Marriage and the fact that the Summer Holidays see a hike in the number of young Asian women being taken out the UK to countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to be married against their will.

    To listen to last night’s Connections programme, click here.

    August 5 2013 – The Rise of Social Media and The Fall of Relationships.

    The Rise of Social Media and Dating Websites: Causing Marital and Family Breakdown?

    The increased use of Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, on-line Chat Rooms and also dating websites/adultery websites are being cited as the reason for marital breakdown.

    It could even be said that social media and the fact it is instant adds a new dimension to all of our lives. It is all too easy to leave a permanent trail of tweets or posts that potentially can have devastating implications. Overuse of social media can be used as particulars of unreasonable behaviour in Divorce Proceedings and also in protracted contact disputes with one Parent alleging that the other Parent was spending too much time dealing with Social Media and neglecting their children. The use of Social Media can also be raised as a concern in care proceedings.

    Often the person who is being accused of overusing the Social Media sites will have their usage monitored and this can be used as evidence in Court. There also appears to be a surge in usage of "adultery websites", openly bringing together married men and women seeking sex. We know of several suspicious spouses who have made up false identities on the sites to ensnare their spouses. This has been used as evidence in on-going Divorce Proceedings or Children Act Proceedings, therefore, use these sites at your peril!

    To book a free consultation with Erika call in complete confidence on 01274 724 114 or e-mail erika.williman@petherbridgebassra.com.


    August 29 2013 – Top Speakers Secured For The ‘You’re Not Alone’ Forced Marriage Seminar on 25 September 2013.

    Registration now OPEN

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors is delighted to announce that they will be holding an event focusing on Forced Marriages and Honour Based Violence on 25 September 2013. This follows the success of the inaugural event in January and reflects delegates’ feedback and wishes to explore this topic in more detail.

    The firm has secured two incredibly high profile speakers for the event, who will share not only their personal (and different) experiences of being victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse, but also share an incredible insight into the very real issues facing women at risk of Forced Marriage today. The vital role that support workers, teachers, healthcare professionals and the police can play in putting an end to Forced Marriages will also be explored.

    There will also opportunities for questions, debate and networking.

    25 September 2013 at The Midland Hotel, Bradford – 9.30 am to 2.45 pm

    Registration now OPEN (click here to register)


    Key Note Speakers

    Sameem Ali (click here to find out more Ms Ali)

    Jasvinder Sanghera of Karma Nirvana (click here to find out more about Ms Sanghera)

    Plus Nazia Shaukat, Solicitor at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors who specialises in putting legal steps in place (such as Forced Marriage Orders) will explain in practical terms how the Law views Forced Marriages, protects victims and how delegates can access appropriate legal support and Legal Aid for their clients.


    Who’s The Event Aimed At?

    This event will be particularly appropriate for:

    • Community Support Workers/Charity Workers
    • Social Workers
    • Teachers and those with Pastoral Care responsibilities for young people – particularly in secondary schools or colleges
    • Healthcare Professionals
    • Police, Fire Service, Probation Service and other key safeguarding organisations

    To book your place, click HERE now.

    Click here to read the review of the first meeting of the ‘You’re Not Alone Consortium’ held on Friday 18 January 2013.


    Sameem Ali
    www.sameemali.com

    Abandoned by her parents, Sameem Ali grew up in a childrens’ home. When she was told that her family wanted her back, she couldn’t wait. However she returned to a dirty house where she was subjected to endless chores. Her mother beat her and unhappiness drove her to self harm. So Sameem was excited when she visited Pakistan for the first time with her mother, only to discover she wasn’t there for a holiday. Aged just 13, Sameem was forced to marry a complete stranger. Two months later and pregnant, she returned home to Glasgow where she suffered further abuse from her family.

    After finding love, Sameem fled the violence and escaped to Manchester with her son. Believing she had put her horrific experiences behind her, she was unprepared for the consequences of violating her family’s honour.

    Sameem is now a Labour Councillor for the Moss Side ward of Manchester and has an active role in visiting schools and lecturing at Universities to discuss the concept and reality of ‘Forced Marriage’, and runs a number of her own projects.

    She has also written a book, ‘Belonging’, about her own struggle to break free from her past and recently appeared on BBC News to talk about the problem of girls simply ‘disappearing’ over the school Summer Holidays as they are taken abroad to be married against their will.

    As well as talking to our delegates about her own experiences of being a victim of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence, Sameem will also highlight the challenges and pre-conceptions Support Workers face in tackling the issues surrounding Forced Marriage. Delegates will be encouraged to go away with their own action plans, feeling empowered about the role they can play in supporting those affected or at risk of a Forced Marriage situation.


    Jasvinder Sanghera of Karma Nirvana
    www.karmanirvana.org.uk

    Jasvinder is the UK’s foremost national campaigner on honour-based violence and forced marriage. Acting as an expert to Government, Jasvinder has used the authority of her life experience to inform legislative change and has been credited for her role in bringing about the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007.

    Best-selling author of ‘Shame’ and ‘Daughters of Shame’, she has dedicated her life’s work to making sure the subject of honour-based violence is brought out into the open – where it can be seen, heard, critically examined and stopped. Among her many accolades and awards, she has been recognised as an Ambassador for Peace by the Women’s Federation of Peace. Along the way she has also scooped up the ultimate national badge of respect – the Pride of Britain award 2009.

    Having founded the Karma Nirvana project in 1993, Jasvinder’s life has been profoundly shaped by her passionate commitment to justice and her belief that all people, regardless of race, colour or creed, have an unequivocal right to the same human freedoms. She has taken the fight to end honour-based violence to the whole of the UK and plans to go on – and on – until this scandal ends.


    July 8 2013 - How did you plead? – Marie Akers comments on vacating a guilty plea
    in Inside Time Magazine

    A common enquiry I receive is how to appeal against a conviction following a guilty plea.
    So how do you vacate your guilty plea?

    To view the full article, please click here.

    July 9 2013 – Team PB In Action At The Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy,
    Ullswater Yacht Club, July 6 & 7 2013. Race report by Phil Priestley.

    Team Petherbridge Bassra

    On a gloriously sunny weekend, the 215 entries enjoyed what commodore John Spivey described at the prize giving as a ‘festival of sailing’ – wonderful competition on the water amid beautiful scenery and wonderful hospitality on shore.This was Lakeland sailing at its best.

    Saturday brought ideal Birkett conditions, sun and a brisk South-westerly wind. Race officer Neil Thompson and his team set a course to Wall Holm, the second of the three islands at Glenridding and then back to the Pooley Bridge end before finishing at the clubhouse.

    With a start line across the full width of the lake, the fleet got away at the first attempt and a spectacularly fast foiling Moth sailed by Olympic coach and sailing superstar Paul Brotherton soon took the lead, followed by the 49ers of Matty and James Lyons previous Birkett winners Lester Noble, and Keith Escritt / Phil Priestley sailing team Petherbridge Bassra.

    Seventy passengers on board the Ullswater ‘Steamer’ the Western Belle got a superb view of the racing at close quarters as it took up position next to the start line and then followed the fleet.

    Team PB had a tremendous start first out of the blocks with a quick tack passed the entire fleet of 215 boats on port! The first beat was tricky and in very shifty wind conditions causing team Petherbridge Bassra to slip back 0.7 miles down the lake and drawing close to the island they were in a very creditable 3rd position when disaster struck! Jib sheet snapped in the gusty conditions. It looked like they were going to have to retire from the race. After at least 5 minutes of Phil’s handy work they were off and back in the race rounding the island now in 5th.

    The 49ers took advantage of the downwind leg with their spinnakers.Now back in the race and chasing hard, the wind was gusty but with some near perfect gybes finished in 3rd.

    Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club

    Sunday brought bright sunshine, but every race officer’s nightmare - a flat calm. The race was delayed for 30 minutes while a very light Northerly wind kicked in and a shorter course was set to the Pooley Bridge end and then to a buoy placed half way down the lake.

    The competitors got away at the first attempt and slowly made their way down the lake.

    The 49ers took a good lead on the run past the clubhouse there was much place swapping down the run, team Orange (Noble/McAfee) was first round the mark with Team Petherbridge Bassra 2nd and Team Lyons 3rd.

    Unfortunately for team Petherbridge Bassra the spectator steamer by now close to the action was so close it was too close for comfort for team PB. To avoid collision a few tacks had to be made losing out some considerable ground to the other 49 errs.

    With a shortened course, all the competitors managed it back to the finishing line in reasonable time with team PB crossing the line in 3rd.

    The results were worked out applying the handicap system and team PB finished on corrected time 15th. The complete race results table can be viewed here.


    April 2013 – Driving Down the Cost of Divorce

    Petherbridge Bassra has once again slashed the costs associated with Divorce by cutting the basic price of their Fixed Fee Divorce package to £330 + VAT.

    This reflects a strong need in the marketplace for cost-effective legal advice and solutions, particularly for families or individuals on low incomes.

    As Jamil Ismail, Head of Family Law, comments "Recent changes to Legal Aid have meant that it's more and more difficult to qualify for financial assistance with the cost of Divorce or finalising arrangements regarding children or joint property. People who previously would have received Legal Aid could now find themselves stuck in ‘limbo’, unsure of how they are going to afford a divorce and unable to move forward with their lives – it’s this type of individual who can be greatly reassured by our accessible fixed fee packages."

    The firm also offers other measures to ease the pressure of paying for essential legal services including a FREE initial consultation, weekly or monthly staged payment plans and working to fixed fees or capped fees.

    A free drop in clinic operates on Tuesday evening from 5-6 pm at their offices in Piccadilly or alternatively call to book a free initial consultation at a time to suit you.

    Petherbridge Bassra Fixed Fee Divorce Package

    June 2013 – Firm Announces Autumn Event Programme – Domestic Violence & Forced Marriage Seminars

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors is pleased to announce that, based on the very useful feedback our delegates shared following the initial launch event of the You’re Not Alone Consortium in January 2013, we will be running a series of niche seminars this Autumn, enabling us to focus in more depth on specific elements of Domestic Violence/Forced Marriage scenarios.

    These events will be held at our offices and will be ‘by invitation only’ so we can match delegates’ interests and experiences to the topic of the event. Ultimately, we are aiming to make each event more relevant and allow more opportunities for discussion with only a limited number of people attending each event.

    We are now in the process of shaping a series of four FREE events which will be taking place at our offices in Bradford City Centre on Wednesdays, commencing 18 September 2013 and we very much hope to be joined again by support professionals, plus individuals who have a strong commitment to making sure victims of Domestic Violence or Forced Marriage have a ‘voice’ within the justice system.

    If you would like to register your interest in joining one of these events, please contact Anne Petherbridge anne@petherbridgebassra.com.

    Click here to return to the main news page

    June 2013 - Keeping it REAL, Keeping it LOCAL!

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors now run FREE Legal Advice Clinics at FOUR of Bradford’s Children’s Centres.

    We often talk about the barriers people face when they are looking for legal advice – they could be financial, educational, emotional, cultural, linguistic or geographical (and in a City as diverse as Bradford, it could even be a mix of a number of these elements). That’s why we are particularly proud to have teamed up with various Children’s Centres across the City to back up the excellent work they do in supporting local families by providing FREE legal advice clinics at the Centres.

    The idea was spearheaded by Practice Manager, Anne Petherbridge, who recognised a need for providing localised and immediate legal advice, particularly regarding Family Law issues. As Anne explains "We set up the first Legal Clinic in Heaton Children’s Centre a couple of years ago and the take up and reaction to our presence within the Centre was great. Instead of coming into town to see a Solicitor, people in Heaton could just walk along to the Centre to their pre-booked appointment, kids in tow, and grab a quick half hour consultation with one of our team before or after picking the kids up from school. It didn’t take all day, it was in a friendly but confidential environment, and people got the practical and sensible advice that they needed on matters such as divorce, separation, children, employment or criminal matters right on their doorstep. It was a service we were delighted to offer and the clinic in Heaton is still going strong."

    Other Children’s Centres became interested in following the model established at Heaton Children’s Centre and, in the last couple of months, clinics have also opened at St Edmunds Children's Centre, Princeville Children’s Centre and Allerton Children’s Centre. To make an appointment to see a solicitor free of charge at their local Centre, all people have to do is ask their support worker to make an appointment, ask at reception or contact Petherbridge Bassra directly to arrange their consultation. "Working with us gives the Children’s Centres an additional way of giving great service and advice to their users" says Anne. "Getting the right legal advice can solve a lot of stress, worry and prevent financial hardship for families. The Solicitors who attend the clinics bring a whole raft of experience with them and speak Punjabi, Urdu, Polish, Slovak and Czech as well as English so we feel really well placed to support and advise people who might otherwise not be in a position to get proper legal advice or know how to ‘go about’ things. We are pleased to be able to help families navigate tough times and the complexities of the British legal system by getting out into the heart of the community."

    June 5 2013 - On Air At BCB Radio Today. Alan Petherbridge Discusses Proposed Legal Aid Cuts

    Alan Petherbridge has been talking to the BCB Radio team about the cuts in Legal Aid and the impact this is going to have on those seeking legal representation.

    If you’d like to hear the broadcast, click here and scroll 15 minutes into the programme to listen to what Alan has to say on the matter.

    May 2 2013 – Marie Akers Comments on Funding for Prison Appeals In Inside Time

    Our Prison Appeals Lawyer, Marie Akers, is featured in Inside Time again this month. Her article outlines the funding process for Appeals and will be read by thousands of prisoners all over the UK.

    To view the full article, please click here.

    May 20 2013 – Legal Aid Cuts Warning: Alan Petherbridge Features In Telegraph & Argus

    A top Bradford solicitor has warned that city law firms will go out of business and members of the public will not get justice if the Government pushes through controversial legal aid proposals.

    The Ministry of Justice has published a consultation paper which proposes dismantling the current criminal legal aid system and replacing it with a tendering system, aimed at providing the most economic and efficient representation for criminal clients.

    But Alan Petherbridge, senior partner of leading Bradford law firm Petherbridge Bassra, said the MoJ was trying to save £220 million, and the measures, proposed to be brought in by October 2014, would leave only 25 legal aid contracts for the whole of West Yorkshire.

    Click here to read the article in full.

    May 2013 – Petherbridge Bassra Becomes an Official Partner to Bradford City FC

    Following 12 months of working closely with Bradford City FC on a variety of initiatives, including providing legal support to the Club in a vital FA Cup Appeal in December 2012 which saw the Club successfully re-instated in the competition, Petherbridge Bassra is delighted to announce that the firm is now an Official Partner to Bradford City FC.

    As Ben Jones, Partner, comments "We share the passion of many people in Bradford when it comes to our local club and we are very proud that they recognise us as one of their key partners. With a proven track record in Sports Law we are on hand to make sure they get the best advice regarding transfers, contracts and appeals and we have invested in the rejuvenation of the Community Kop stand with our branding prominent both inside and outside the stadium. It’s been an unbelievable year for the Club and we look forward to continuing to support them on their journey into League One and beyond".

    Petherbridge Bassra FA Programme full page advert

    Copy of Petherbridge Bassra advert published in the FA Wembley Programme

    May 2013 – Splitting Up? Who’s Going To Pay The Kids’ School Fees?

    Petherbridge Bassra was pleased to support Bradford Grammar School’s Spring Fair with a full page advert in the event programme detailing the Family Law services we offer to safeguard the continuity of paying for private education following a divorce or separation.

    Erika Williman, Family Law Consultant, deals with many high value and complex divorce cases where negotiating a provision for school fees or University can be a key factor in the financial settlement.

    As Erika explains "Choosing private education is a real priority for some families, with this choice representing a considerable expenditure that can often continue into further education. My clients are concerned about how they will continue to afford the school fees by themselves, or what will happen if their partner suddenly ‘stops paying’ and the effect that a change of school would have on their children at a time that has already posed much uncertainty. I design specially tailored financial settlement packages that take this, amongst other factors, into account so that parents can know that their children’s education is being properly provided for – not just for now, but well into the future."

    If you are splitting up and would like to secure provision for school fees, please contact Erika Williman to arrange a FREE and confidential initial consultation.

    Bradford Grammar School Full Page Advert

    March 28 2013 – Behind Closed Doors

    Domestic Abuse will affect 1 in 4 women at some point in their lives*. Here Erika Williman, Consultant in Family Law, from Bradford’s Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors defines domestic abuse, the barriers that people face in speaking out, and the steps that victims can take to safeguard themselves and their families.

    It doesn’t matter if you live in a lovely house, drive a nice car, have gorgeous kids and a good-looking partner – domestic abuse is a horrific and hidden crime that transcends all social classes, all ages, and it doesn’t just affect women either. Men are nearly as likely to suffer abuse at the hands of a partner, but are just far less likely to report it. And, as unwilling and unwitting bystanders, the biggest impact by far is felt by children. So why, in 2013, is it still so hard for people to speak out about Domestic Abuse?

    The Scars You Can’t See

    The first problem is that it can be very hard to accept (and even harder to tell somebody) that you’re a victim of Domestic Abuse. A woman is typically assaulted 35 times before she will seek help**. Initially abuse may have been dismissed as a ‘one off’ or they may blame themselves or use an external influence such as drink or financial pressures as an excuse. To some people, it’s actually become ‘the norm’ in their relationship. The Law defines domestic abuse as not just physical violence but also includes emotional and psychological abuse (bullying, threats, name-calling, constant criticism, belittling, harassment etc) as well as financial control. Financial abuse can mean victims not being allowed to have their own money or access to a bank account, leaving them completely dependent on their partner. It can also include reckless and selfish spending. Emotional abuse also covers the constant checking of texts, e-mails, monitoring FaceBook and controlling where somebody goes, what they wear, who they see or even who they marry.

    Domestic abuse is a systematic pattern of behavior designed to control. If you’re being subjected to abuse of any kind try to keep some kind of record such as a diary or photographic evidence to help build an accurate picture of the pattern of abuse over time and keep copies of any threatening or abusive texts or e-mails too.

    You’re Not Alone

    The second problem is who to confide in. Victims feel very shameful about what’s been happening to them and I see this particularly often with intelligent, successful people who appear to have the ‘perfect’ relationship. They fear a social backlash, playground gossip and ultimately the fact that people might not believe them when everybody thinks their partner is so wonderful. For this type of couple, the factor of financial control can be great. They may have threatened to leave, only for the abuser to say ‘you won’t take the kids, I won’t give you a penny and don’t think for a minute you can stay in this house’. They may even have actually left before andended up returning to their abuser. They feel completely and utterly trapped – they don’t want to get the police involved, or for the neighbours to know, but they know they need to get themselves (and their children) out of the relationship, but when’s the right time to leave and how will they manage without any money?

    Breaking Free

    We work with various excellent support organisations such as Staying Put, Women’s Aid and Karma Nirvana who help with issues such as housing, refuge accommodation and emotional support. Equally many people contact us directly for some free initial advice and to find out what their options are and where they stand in the eyes of the Law.

    In situations where you are scared for your personal safety you should, without hesitation, call 999. In such circumstances we can issue emergency injunctions, non-molestation and occupation orders and also orders relating to contact with children that are immediately effective. We specialise in putting in place Divorce proceedings, financial settlements and arrangements for children that secure your future. If Domestic Violence is a proven factor in relationship breakdown, you will usually be entitled to Legal Aid to help with your costs – again this is something that I can talk you through.

    You can call me in complete confidence on 01274 724 114 or e-mail mail@petherbridgebassra.com – sometimes just knowing that you DO have options can be greatly reassuring and helps people to actually see a future for themselves and their family that’s free from oppression and fear.

    Click here to view the original published article (PDF format).

    *Refuge Study 2013 (www. refuge.org.uk)
    **Domestic Violence: New initiatives in the Criminal Justice System (March 2004)

    March 5 2013 – How and When to Appeal
    By Marie Akers, from insidetime issue March 2013

    Marie Akers, Appeal lawyer at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors continues to answer common questions about the appeal process.

    Question: I have just been convicted and sentenced and want to appeal

    Answer: What did your legal team advise you about appeal? Your legal team should have told you orally or in writing if you have any grounds of appeal. If you are unsure contact them to find out. You are entitled to the advice in writing. You have 28 days from the day of your sentence to lodge an appeal.

    Question: It is more than 28 days since my conviction/sentence

    Answer: Even if it has been more than 28 days since your sentence, you can still appeal as there is an "out of time" procedure which will allow you to appeal outside this period if you can justify the reason for the delay. It may be that you want to get advice from a different solicitor other than your trial solicitor, or you will have been ill, or waiting for information to become available or have just discovered something new. The Court of Appeal is quite flexible in accepting an application out of time as long as there are good reasons for doing so and each case is different and dealt with on its merits.

    Question: I was sentenced years ago – can I still appeal?

    Answer: It is possible but we need really good reasons for appealing so long after your conviction. One of the most straightforward reasons is that "fresh evidence" has been discovered, but the list doesn’t stop there.

    Question: How long does it take?

    Answer: The appeal process can be very long. In October 2009-2010 the average time for an appeal against sentence was 4-5 months and for conviction it was 11-12 months.

    Question: The Single Judge refused my application – what now?

    Answer: You can make an application to renew and you have 14 days to decide whether you should do this. This can be extended, but in very limited circumstances. There must be reasons that were beyond your control.

    Question: My appeal has been dismissed by a full Court / three Judges – can I appeal again?

    Answer: You cannot appeal again unless there is compelling "fresh evidence" or new argument. The best course of action would be to apply to the CCRC to see if they refer your case back to the Court of Appeal.

    Question: What is the CCRC?

    Answer: The Criminal Cases Review Commission are a government organisation that is independent of the Court system and was set up in order to investigate possible cases of miscarriage of justice and to decide whether they should be referred back to the Court of Appeal. Their role is limited to considering one question – is there is a realistic prospect of a claim succeeding at the Court of Appeal? That is, is this conviction really going to be considered unsafe? Or is this sentence really going to be considered manifestly excessive or unlawful? They do have useful investigation powers and can often access information not normally available to appellants or their lawyers.

    Question: The CCRC have told me that they will not refer my case to the Court of Appeal – what can I do?

    Answer: You can make a further application to the CCRC if you have discovered "fresh evidence" or new argument. A case can always be re-opened by the CCRC if they think that there may be merit investigating it further.

    Question: Can I Judicially Review the Court of Appeal or the CCRC?

    Answer: If you disagree with a decision, you do have the option to do this although this is a very difficult route to go down and you risk a Costs Order being made against you. You need to seek specialist legal advice on this matter.

    Question: How long will the CCRC take in dealing with my appeal?

    Answer: The CCRC have an extremely long waiting list and can take months to consider a case. Be realistic, you may be in this for the long haul. Try to be patient with your solicitor if you have instructed one. They are limited by public funding and the delays in the system.

    February 18 2013 – Independent Broadcasters Bantams Banter Cleared to Broadcast From Wembley - Thanks to Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors

    Bradford City has many loyal followers, but not many as loyal as local lads, Tom and Dom who actually set up their own broadcasting company, Bantams Banter, to bring topical real-time commentary on all Bradford City games straight from the terraces and direct to fans through their website and downloadable Podcasts. After following Bradford City’s journey through the highs, the lows and the unbelievable pinnacle of a trip to the Cup Final at Wembley, Tom and Dom were left devastated at the very realistic prospect of not be allowed to broadcast their Bantams Banter podcast live from Wembley. Equally, Bradford City fans were also outraged that they would not be able to receive commentary on the match from their trusted sources.

    As Dom explains "Our whole ethos is around bringing commentary direct from the terraces - we talk to our listeners like you would speak to your mates at the game, relaying the passion and atmosphere in a way that’s only possible to do if you are there at the ground with the sights, smells and matchday atmosphere of standing in amongst the Bradford fans. This match means the world to us and our listeners and to think that we weren’t going to be there in person on the day was a massive blow."

    Hearing of Bantams Banter’s plight and their desperation to broadcast their show from the Home of Football, Ben Jones of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors stepped in to help the boys with his expert knowledge of the law. As a lifelong Bradford City supporter and follower of Bantams Banter, Ben also had a vested interest in making sure that fellow fans could still listen to live commentary from Wembley in the ‘Tom & Dom Style’. Ben was also fresh from the firm’s success in representing the Club at the FA Appeal Hearing in December which resulted in Bradford City being reinstated in the FA Cup.

    As Ben said "This was another classic case of David vs Goliath, two young, creative and dynamic guys from Bradford with their own unique style of broadcasting up against the ‘establishment’. We stated the case for Bantams Banter broadcasting on two fronts, both legal and emotive. It is without doubt that this years final represents a romantic conclusion to an amazing and deserved cup run for the two teams involved. We were anxious that Tom and Dom’s dedicated journey also ended in a romantic and deserved conclusion. Thankfully the matter has been decided in their favour. This is a great result for truly independent broadcasting, giving Bradford City fans the style and quality of coverage that they want and need - especially with so many unable to get tickets to attend the game in person, listening to Tom & Dom is the nearest they will get to being at Wembley."

    Now the Bantams Banter boys have packed their campervan, microphones and City shirts and are well and truly off to Wembley to do what they do best - broadcast it just like it is, straight from the terraces. They’ve even written a song about it. Click here to view - and here is a link to the Bantams Banter website - http://www.bantamsbanter.com.

    February 14 2013 – Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors To Represent Bradford City
    at FIFA Appeal

    Petherbridge Bassra are pleased to announce that they have been instructed by Bradford City FC to appeal the findings of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber in relation to training compensation for former player Mark Stewart.

    On 7 February 2013 Bradford City were ordered to pay Falkirk FC £250,000 when the findings of the FIFA decision were published.

    Ben Jones, Partner at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors and Mr Simon Csoka QC of Carmelite Chambers have been instructed to advise upon appeal.

    Both Ben Jones and Simon Csoka QC represented Bradford City FC when they successfully appealed an FA decision resulting in the club being reinstated into the FA Cup.

    For Sports Law advice, please contact Ben Jones (Partner) directly on 01274 724114 or
    07939 593769 or via email on b.jones@petherbridgebassra.com.

    This item was reported in the Telegraph & Argus.

    Bradford City FC

    February 14 2013 – Bradford Solicitors Sponsor Daffodil Walk for Bradford Hospice

    Bradford law firm, Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, are sponsoring an annual walk, organised by one of the Marie Curie Hospice support groups, The Daffs.

    The 2013 Daffodil Walk which is in its fifth year is on Sunday 24 March 2013 and walkers will enjoy a pleasant stroll through the grounds of Bingley St Ives. It will start and finish at The Old White HorseInn.

    The Daffs have raised over £100,000 for the Hospice and want to make The Daffodil Walk its most successful yet. The walk is suitable for families and dogs, on leads, are most welcome.

    Dave Harvey, who Chairs The Daffs said "We are grateful to Petherbridge Bassra for being our first sponsors and hope to attract walkers from throughout the district. The Hospice provides local people with the best care possible and we want to support it through this and many other events."

    Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, expressed her delight in the firm’s sponsorship of the event saying "Marie Curie is a Charity that we feel very strongly about and over the past few years we’ve taken part in a number of fundraising events including a staff bag collection that created literally a mountain of items to be sold in the Darley Street store, a trek across Jordan and being volunteer gardeners at the Hospice."

    Anne also paid tribute to the personal connection that the firm’s staff and clients have with Marie Curie by saying "We know first hand about the amazing work that Marie Curie and The Daffs do to support people living with cancer, and their families, in Bradford. This is an issue that touches many people and, for us, The Daffodil Walk brings together the concept of fun, family, hope and remembering loved ones perfectly. We’re going to be immensely proud to don our walking boots and take a stroll through Bingley St Ives this Spring!"

    To register for the walk please contact:
    Jean Peart on 01274 599950 (evenings) - email jeanpeart@blueyonder.co.uk.

    The Great Daffodil Appeal Walk

    Picture Shows some of the Petherbridge Bassra team (Jackie Petherbridge, Anne Petherbridge, Racheal Grogan and Zoe Grogan) with Dave Harvey and Jeant Peart of The Daffs at Myrtle Park Bingley – accompanied by their 4-legged friends, Tattie and Bertie.

    February 15 2013 – Sanam Speaks Up For Victims of Forced Marriage

    Karma Nirvana Roadshow Event Review by Sanam Fazal, Family Law Solicitor.

    Tuesday’s Karma Nirvana roadshow in Halifax was organised by Jill Pilling of West Yorkshire Police. Jill’s unit safeguards people at risk of abuse thoughout Calderdale. There were many professionals attending the meeting from schools, support workers, police officers. The aim of the presentation was mainly to highlight the issue of forced marriage and raise awareness about this.

    To start the event, Anup, a project manager from Karma Nirvana, gave a speech regarding the work they carry out as the UK’s leading charity to support victims of Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage via their 24 hr helpline also going out and about in the Community to Roadshows (just like the one this week) to educate support workers as to how to identify and help victims.

    Another speaker, who was a victim of Forced Marriage, did not turn up and I was asked to fill in!

    Panic stations!! Fortunately this is an area of the law that I know very well so I gave a short ‘off the cuff’ speech regarding the criteria required for an application for a Forced Marriage Order and the procedure. I further discussed the work Petherbridge Bassra did with regard to domestic violence and the Orders available to victims. I gave advice as to what professionals should do if they were aware of someone they know or come into contact with, is a victim of DV or forced marriage. I then gave a case study of a typical case I had dealt with.

    If you can personally identify with this subject, or are concerned about somebody, and would like to know how the law can prevent Forced Marriages from taking place, please do not hesitate to contact me in complete confidence. We will do everything we can to protect your safety and link with various support agencies (including Karma Nirvana and Staying Put) that can assist with issues such as emergency accommodation, protecting children, and helping victims to re-build their lives. Email SanamFazal@petherbridgebassra.com or call 01274 724114. We also have a Family Law Drop In Clinic on Tuesday evenings 5.00 - 6.00pm and Saturdays 9.30am - 12.30pm – no need to make an appointment.

    Karma Nirvana Roadshow Event

    January 14 2013 – Announcement: Petherbridge Bassra To Continue Bradford Bulls Sponsorship for 2013/14 Season

    Bradford Bulls

    We are proud to announce that we are continuing to support the Bradford Bulls for the 2013 season with our pitch-side advertising. Watch out for it next time you’re at Odsal.

    January 10 2013 – Mortgage Fraud Article by Ian Anderson of Opus Law Features in Inside Time Magazine

    Confiscation Order Guidelines Changed in Mortgage Fraud Cases
    By Ian Anderson, solicitor at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors

    A landmark judgment in a long awaited case involving mortgage fraud has finally been published by the Supreme Court on 14 November 2012.

    R. vs. Waya, which has taken nine months to conclude, will affect the way that confiscation orders are calculated in mortgage fraud cases.

    The case will mean that convicted defendants who face confiscation proceedings or who have been subjected to hefty confiscation orders could have those orders reduced by hundreds of thousands of pounds, or quashed altogether and sent back to the Crown Court to be heard again.

    The Defendant, Mr. Waya was a businessman who resided in London. In 2003 he bought a flat for £775,000, of which £310,000 came from his own resources. The payment of £310,000 was shown to be from legitimate funds. The balance of £465,000 was obtained from a mortgage lender. In order to obtain the mortgage Mr. Waya made false statements about his earnings and his credit history. It was suggested that Mr. Waya’s mortgage advisor may have encouraged him to make those false claims. The mortgage and purchase were completed in the usual way and Mr. Waya moved into the flat.

    In April 2005 Mr. Waya remortgaged. The remortgage was in the sum of £838,943. Some of that money was spent on improving the property and some was spent by Mr. Waya on living expenses. The value of property in London had gone up dramatically between 2003 and 2005.

    Mr. Waya was arrested in November 2005 and was charged with two counts of Obtaining a Money Transfer by Deception. He was convicted and ordered to pay back £1.54m in confiscation proceedings. That figure was arrived at by deducting the £310,000 deposit from the full market value of the flat, which was by then worth £1.85m.

    Mr. Waya appealed against the confiscation order to the Court of Appeal and the amount was reduced from £1.54m to £1.1m.

    Mr. Waya appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court and it was decided that he should pay back only £392,400.

    In arriving at that decision to reduce the original order by some £1.2m, the Supreme Court have radically changed the approach to be adopted in confiscation cases involving mortgage fraud.

    The thrust of the judgment is easier to explain using an example:

    A house is bought for £200,000. The deposit on the house is £20,000 (10%) and the deposit has come from a legitimate source. However, the mortgage of £180,000 has been fraudulently obtained because the person applying has over-inflated their income.

    Two years later when the house is worth £250,000 the defendant is convicted of fraud by false representation in relation to the mortgage application.

    The Supreme Court judgment in Waya states that this is the correct way to calculate the benefit figure:

    Market value now: £250,000
    less
    Mortgage: £180,000

    equals
    Equity £70,000

    less
    Original Equity (deposit) £20,000

    Increase in value £50,000
    90% thereof £40,000

    So in this example case, the Supreme Court guidance suggests that the confiscation order should be £40,000. That being the amount the asset has appreciated by, less the legitimate deposit, less the mortgage. Under the procedure being adopted prior to Waya the confiscation order would have been at least £70,000, that being the equity in the property and could quite easily have been £230,000, that being the value of the property minus the deposit.

    The Supreme Court also issued some guidance on what should happen where a mortgage has been paid off over the years from a defendant’s legitimate income. The Court stated that once the repayment of capital was made, that amount could be added to the legitimate deposit monies and so reduce the amount which has to be confiscated.

    It remains to be seen exactly how the Court of Appeal and Crown Court will deal with any mortgage fraud confiscation orders referred back to them following Waya, but we would suggest acting as soon as possible and contacting Petherbridge Bassra for a confidential and free discussion regarding your situation.

    The original article in Inside Time Magazine can be viewed online here

    January 4 2013 – New Year Resolution at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors

    Jagtar Rooprai, Ray Singh, Anne-Marie Hutton, Jamil Ismail, Alan Petherbridge

    Picture Shows (left to right): Jagtar Rooprai (Partner), Ray Singh (Senior Partner), Anne-Marie Hutton (Partner), Jamil Ismail (Partner), Alan Petherbridge (Senior Partner)

    The New Year heralds further positive developments at leading Bradford law firm Petherbridge Bassra.

    Jamil Ismail, the Head of the firm’s Family Department, becomes a Partner, a move that signifies the continued growth of this area of the firm’s work:

    "I am obviously personally, very proud of this achievement, all the more so because I will be the first Partner from the Family team. This shows how much work everyone has put in to build this department in recent years".

    Mr Ismail and his colleagues undertake all areas of Family and Matrimonial law and specialise in cases dealing with domestic abuse and children.

    In the longer established Criminal Department Anne-Marie Hutton brings her skills as a Solicitor Advocate to the helm of the Crown Court team. She too becomes a Partner:

    "I am really excited about this new challenge. We have an ever improving team here and I want to play my part in keeping this firm as one of the best regarded Criminal Defence firms in the region".

    The firm’s Senior Partner, Mr Alan Petherbridge adds:

    "It is gratifying that the firm continues to grow and develop and that we have such a pool of talent from which to draw upon for its future leaders. The residents of Bradford and beyond can be certain in the fact that we remain on their side when needing legal advice".

    January 25 2013 – Splitting Up? Time’s Running Out On Legal Aid For Divorces

    Jamil Ismail, Partner and Head of Family Law, issues a warning about changes to Legal Aid from April 2013 that will affect people currently entitled to Legal Aid to assist with their legal costs.

    From April 2013, regardless of your income or assets, you will no longer be able to claim Legal Aid to help cover the costs of divorce or settling joint financial matters including the division of property and assets. Additionally, there will be no financial assistance to help with other factors that often come into play regarding children, such as contact and residence. This means that, unless a victim has suffered Domestic Violence or a child is at risk of being taken into care people will have to be in a position to foot the cost of their legal fees themselves.

    This is going to have a serious impact on people on low incomes, or stay-at-home parents as they could, quite literally, not be able to afford to get divorced, even if a relationship is over. People could find themselves trapped and unable to formally end their marriage in the eyes of the law simply due to lack of funds.

    I would urge people who have already decided to go their separate ways, but who have not commenced proceedings, to act sooner rather than later to make the most of the Legal Aid assistance which may be available to them whilst they still can. If you leave it until after April, you will have missed the boat on Legal Aid.

    To see if you might be entitled to Legal Aid to help with your legal costs for divorce, call the Family Law Team today for a free initial consultation.

    December 4 2012 – Tackling Domestic Violence & Forced Marriages in Bradford

    Advance Notice of Inaugural Meeting of The ‘You’re Not Alone’ Consortium at The Midland Hotel on 18th January 2013

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors is proud to announce the formation of The ‘You’re Not Alone’ Consortium, dedicated to raising awareness of Domestic Violence and Forced Marriages in Bradford. The Consortium will comprise key agencies such as Staying Put and Karma Nirvana who assist families affected by abuse, as well as community leaders, legal professionals and people who have personal experience of Domestic Violence or Forced Marriage. By coming together to share ideas, knowledge and personal experiences, The Consortium will aim to educate victims as to the support and choices available to them, and thus encourage people to come forward and seek appropriate help.

    Erika Williman, Head of Private Divorce at Petherbridge Bassra, was instrumental in devising the concept of the Consortium. With over 15 years’ experience in helping to safeguard families living at risk or in fear, Erika is familiar with the social and cultural factors that keep these issues hidden. "There are many reasons why people don’t seek help." says Erika.

    You're Not Alone Consortium

    "It may to due to a fear of further attacks, feeling ashamed or embarrassed, language or cultural barriers or, quite simply, that people don’t know how or where to get help. Even despite the systematic and prolonged abuse that some victims suffer, they are often still worried about getting their aggressor into ‘trouble’ so making that first step can be incredibly hard."

    Nazia Shaukat, Family Law Solicitor at Petherbridge Bassra, runs the firm’s Community-based free legal clinics and highlights the prevalence of abuse in relationships and how it affects every member of the family, particularly children. "It’s a sad fact, that even in this day in age, and the many excellent support groups that are out there, victims of Domestic Violence or Forced Marriages can literally feel more alone than ever. This is a problem that transcends the whole of society, regardless of age, sex, race or class, but yet it still remains a ‘taboo’ subject. Even the issue as to what constitutes ‘abuse’ is a grey area and this can also make people feel very unsure about seeking help. Some people I meet have even come to accept abuse as being ‘normal’ or ‘accepted‘ and feel powerless to do anything about it. Friends and family can also sometimes discourage victims from seeking outside help and this can compound the feelings of isolation or even social exclusion. It’s a vicious circle. This isn’t an issue that goes away" says Nazia.

    After talking to other experts working in this arena, the need for a concerted working group to take positive action in Bradford became clear. Anne Petherbridge, Practice Manager at Petherbridge Bassra, has forged close links with support agencies for a number of years and sees this event as a natural extension of these partnerships. "The whole focus of The Consortium is to give these women, men and children a voice that can be heard, backed up by the protection and support they need from professionals to re-build their lives free from fear or oppression. Really our overall aim is to put these issues firmly on the map and to get people talking openly about how to solve them. We hope that the Consortium will create the perfect platform for open and constructive dialogue" she concludes.

    The inaugural meeting of the Consortium will take place on 18th January 2013 at The Midland Hotel, from 11 am to 2 pm. The event will include keynote speakers, discussions and networking to create a focused working party to tackle Domestic Violence and Forced Marriages in a conjoined and practical way.

    Registration is now closed for this event

    16:00 December 12 2012 - BREAKING BRADFORD CITY FC NEWS:
    Petherbridge Bassra Secures Appeal Success at FA Hearing at Wembley

    Bradford City FC has issued a statement to confirm that Ben Jones, Partner at Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, and Mr Simon Csoka QC of Carmelite Chambers attended an appeal hearing with Dave Baldwin of Bradford City FC today (Wednesday 12 December 2012). The appeal was heard before the FA Appeal Committee at Wembley Stadium in relation to the matter of their expulsion from the FA Cup.

    Bradford City FC confirms that on appeal the club has been reinstated into the FA Challenge Cup Competition sponsored by Budweiser and has been fined for its actions. The club deeply regrets its breach of the rules and is currently reviewing their procedures to ensure no repeat of this situation.

    The club would like to go on record and express their gratitude to their legal partners who represented them before the tribunal. The club also wishes to extend its gratitude to the FA Appeals Committee for dealing with this matter expeditiously, justly and mercifully.

    December 7 2012 - R v M - Opus Law secure the acquittal of M

    Opus Law secure the acquittal of M in Operation Hornbeam, this being a lengthy HMRC investigation which bust one of the largest tobacco rings ever seen in this country.

    Following months of surveillance, covert recordings and observations of top ranking meetings, Officers of HMRC raided various properties and made numerous arrests. Large amounts of property and cash was seized along with full accounting records said to represent the rings entire UK operational movements and profit.

    The duty evaded was estimated at £26million.

    Ben Jones and Mohammed Asif interrogated the prosecution case and used proactive techniques to gather vital Defence evidence to be presented at trial.

    Following a trial at Derby Crown Court, conducted by defence counsel Nigel Edwards of Carmelite Chambers, M was unanimously found not guilty by the jury.

    November 28 2012 – BBC Investigation into Legal Aid Reform

    A BBC Investigation is due to be aired urging the Government to reform the legal aid provisions for defendants with assets and money held under restraint. Ian Anderson (solicitor at Opus Law) analyses the article:

    Defendants in complex criminal cases are routinely subjected to restraint orders and as a result of this, they can receive ‘free’ Legal Aid because of the effect that restraint has on their ability to pay a contribution toward the costs of defending themselves. In short, they have no means to pay as their assets are frozen, so they don’t have to.

    At present, the law states that legal bills cannot be met by restrained funds and we at Opus Law broadly support that position.

    The BBC investigation focused on the wealthy few and the reporters appear to have cherry picked cases where wealthy individuals have been convicted of complex criminal offences which have cost many thousands of pounds in Legal Aid.

    What the report neglects to focus on is the vast majority of cases where the restraint of legitimately earned assets and monies causes huge problems for defendants who routinely see property repossessed, bank balances obliterated by greedy Court appointed Receivers and innocent defendants left counting the cost of an ex-parte Restraint Order which is all too often rubber stamped with little apparent thought for a defendant caught in legal mire which is not of their own making.

    Lord Macdonald QC, says a large proportion of the Legal Aid budget goes to a few wealthy criminals.

    He argues that the situation worsened at the beginning of the last decade, when the government decided people with frozen assets should not be able to use their wealth to fund their own defence.

    He states that "it’s well-known a high proportion of the criminal legal aid budget is consumed by a small number of very complex cases in which the defence lawyers’ costs can be very high,".

    "People worth tens of millions [are] getting money from the state to fund representation in criminal cases - it’s completely wrong.

    "It does rather stick in the craw that very wealthy defendants are getting legal aid - and people who have housing or welfare difficulties are told, ‘Too bad’."

    The article states that confiscation orders are often worthless because criminals use every tactic possible to avoid paying up. We submit that it cannot be the case that a convicted Defendant with a large amount of restrained assets can "wriggle out" of paying up as they suggest. Indeed, it is more often than not the case that any convicted defendant with restrained funds and assets loses most, if not all of those funds and assets, regardless of their actual benefit from the crime because of the draconian nature of the legislative framework in confiscation proceedings. If that was not the practice, we ask, what would be the point in restraining the assets?

    The BBC point out that the amount of outstanding confiscation orders currently stands at well over £1bn. We believe that the £1bn will be made up largely of fanciful ‘Hidden Assets’ calculations, double counting and joint and several liability in multi-handed cases. Not taking account of those lacunas in calculating the figure is, in our submission, misguided.

    The documentary will be an interesting one to watch as reform of the Legal Aid structure becomes a hotter and hotter topic in these times of economic uncertainty.

    BBC Inside Out is on BBC One in the London region on Monday, 26 November at 19:30 GMT and nationwide on the iPlayer for seven days thereafter.

    A link to the article is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20472186

    November 14 2012 – More Criminals to Pay Back Legal Aid Costs

    By Ian Anderson, complex crime and regulatory solicitor, Opus Law:

    Being granted Legal Aid can be a difficult and complex process, particularly for defendants who have assets and income, and particularly for those who are self-employed. At Opus Law we are highly experienced in all matters pertaining to applying for Legal Aid and appealing against contribution orders, which can cost the litigant several thousand pounds in fees. We deal regularly with directors, self-employed business people and defendants with assets under restraint.

    Whilst we are able, in many cases to reduced or negate the need for defendants to pay contributions toward the cost of Legal Aid, it would appear that the Ministry of Justice are determined to ensure that those who are asked to pay a contribution, and are convicted of an offence, pay back their bill.

    We wish to flag up and highlight these proposed new measures which aim to ensure those who are convicted are ordered to pay their fees to the Government. A new consultation paper proposes seizing and selling vehicles pursuing defendants for the entire cost of their bill if they refuse to provide the financial information needed to judge their contribution and adjusting the amount they are obligated to pay if assets or earnings come to light after their contribution has been imposed.

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

    "Convicted criminals have cheated innocent taxpayers for too long by dodging requirements to contribute to the legal costs of their defence. It is not right that law abiding citizens foot the bill when those concerned can pay. These proposals set out robust measures that will see costs recuperated from criminals."

    Anyone accused of a crime is granted legal aid to cover the cost of their defence in Crown Court.

    If they are convicted and deemed capable of paying back some, or all, of that legal aid bill they are required to do so.

    What we will strive to ensure, is that the proposal is adequately tested prior to implementation. There are several issues to consider, not least of which, what happens to the confiscation process in a case where a Legal Aid Contribution Order remains unpaid?

    The consultation paper can found on this link to the Ministry of Justice website

    October 7 2012 – Family Breakdown - Grandparents have rights too!

    Erika Williman issues a timely reminder on Grandparents Day 2012

    Grandparents are often overlooked in a relationship breakdown as the need for children to have an on-going relationship with their Grandparents who, quite rightly, will not have wanted to interfere within the relationship breakdown itself. Here at Petherbridge Bassra we recognise the importance of an inter-generational bond between children and their Grandparents and the contribution a Grandparent can make to the life of a child.

    Unfortunately upon relationship breakdown one Parent may not wish the children to have contact with Grandparents and this could sadly become needlessly hostile.

    Grandparents do have legal rights to have contact although these rights are limited and we are experienced in dealing with such cases with sensitivity and are able to put forward various solutions to your ongoing difficulties although we would stress that Court action should be used as a last resort.

    To discuss the full options please do not hesitate to contact these offices for further information or to make a free appointment. You can also e-mail erikawilliman@petherbridgebassra.com to find out more.

    October 1 2012 – Merger Announcement

    Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors (Bradford) Merge With Brimble & Co (Halifax).

    Two well-known local firms have joined forces to create one of the largest Criminal Defence Teams in Yorkshire. Petherbridge Bassra of Bradford who provide services in Crime, Family, Care, Personal Injury and Employment have merged with Specialist Criminal Law Firm Brimble & Co of Halifax.

    Ray Singh, highly respected as aCriminal Law Practitioner, said "It will be a welcome return for me to Halifax having started my career here with Bassra Solicitors. The firm will aim to provide market leader coverage in the area with few firms able to match the breadth of experience and knowledge of the combined offices. The provision of a broad high quality service will provide each client with the help that will most meet their needs."

    Maggie Cavanagh, resident partner at the Halifax Office said "This is an exciting development. Brimble & Co have always provided a local and friendly service. This will not change and our clients will now have the benefit of additional areas of support and assistance from a major player in the area."

    Petherbridge Bassra Merger Announcement

    Picture Shows (left to right): Ray Singh, Janice Sain Reiners, Maggie Cavanagh, Chris Finnegan, Alan Petherbridge.

    October 24 2012 – Opus Law Pulls No Punches at Fight Night (Part VII)

    Park Lane’s glittering Grosvenor House Hotel was the venue for the much-anticipated charity fund-raiser of the season where key players from the legal arena battle it out in the boxing ring, rather than in the Courtroom – and all in the name of Charity. In the red corner Lee "Left Hook" Mayers fought on behalf of Opus Law against Chris Mitchell of Carmelite Chambers in the blue corner. The fiercely contested bout was rightly declared a draw.

    Ben Jones, Partner at Opus Law, expressed his pride at their association with the ‘White Collar’ boxing event "We are delighted to be involved in Fight Night again this year" he said. "It’s always a great event, a lot of fun and all in aid of a particularly worthy cause. It just shows how when the legal community pulls together, we can achieve amazing results."

    Opus Law specialises in serious and complex crime, and their involvement in this prestigious event, which has traditionally raised more than £60,000 per event for a chosen Charity, included sponsoring a boxer, a bout and an advertisement in the programme. This year all proceeds from the evening will be going to the teenage cancer Charity, Teens Unite, which is dedicated to improving the lives of young people aged 13-24 with life limiting illnesses. Now in its seventh year the event, which attracts over a 1000 lawyers and professionals, is organised and hosted by Carmelite Chambers and took place on Friday 19 October 2012.

    Opus Law Pulls No Punches at Fight Night (Part VII)

    Opus Law is a specialist division of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors. The Head Office of the firm is located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, plus other locations around the UK including London and Birmingham. The firm typically work on multi-million pound fraud and complex crime cases and are regarded as experts in this field.

    September 5 2012 - A New Guardian Angel for Bradford Employers.

    Bradford law firm, Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors, has recently put together a whole package of cost-effective services and advice to support local employers in making sure they stay on the right side of the law when it comes to personnel and HR issues.

    As Louise Colledge, Employment Solicitor, explains "This is one area of the law where prevention is better than cure. Lots of common problems can be avoided in the first place by having legally watertight contracts, policies and procedures. We often work with businesses to make sure that this core bank of documentation is up to date and reflects the demands of their particular business."

    Inevitably, problems can crop up from time to time and the Petherbridge Bassra team is also on hand to assist with matters such as disciplinary hearings, tribunals, absence management, court representation and compromise or settlement agreements. In the current climate, many businesses are looking to re-structure or revise their employees’ terms and conditions and the team can also make sure that any such changes are implemented legally and in a straight-forward way.

    If you’ve been wondering about how your contracts and policies would stand up in Court, there has never been a better time to book an initial appointment and avoid getting caught in an area that can be a potential minefield. E-mail munisamalik@petherbridgebassra.com to find out more.

    August 31 2012 - Ben Jones, Partner, issues warning to those in the booze trade as MPs slam customs officials after only 20 people have been convicted of dodging alcohol tax in four years.

    On 29 August this year various media outlets ran the story that MPs on the powerful Public Accounts Committee had lambasted Customs officials for its lax enforcement regime. Further criticism was channelled at the lack of successful prosecutions against bootleggers.

    The headline was powerful. The Treasury is losing £1.2 billion due to smuggled alcohol. Richard Bacon, an MP on the committee, expressed his concern at the lack of prosecutions brought by HMRC stating "The department seems to be reluctant to prosecute offenders".

    Such high profile criticism will undoubtedly sting HMRC investigation units in to action. They will no doubt set out to disprove their alleged reluctance. Their response will certainly be rapid, and maybe rash.

    A knee jerk reaction is not the way to launch a criminal investigation, which should be tactically considered. Fraudsters often utilise legitimate businesses as vehicles for their dishonesty. A considered investigation helps HMRC decipher between legitimate and illegal behaviour.

    There is a danger that hastily brought investigations may involve honest businesses and people being caught in the cross fire. In the booze trade that may be the obvious businesses such as bonded warehouses and the less obvious such as hauliers.

    The implications of being accused are horrendous and can, without sound legal advice, be irreparable. The investigation may be lengthy and may involve arrest, a search of the home and business premises, restraining of ones assets and being bailed with conditions which restrict everyday living.

    Opus Law have a track record of successfully representing those charged with alcohol tax offences. We have successfully obtained Not Guilty verdicts in R v B, a trial relating to the now infamous London City Bonds and in R v P a significantly complex case brought before the Kingston Crown Court.

    Please feel free to contact Ben Jones on 07939 593769 or b.jones@opuslaw.co.uk to discuss any aspects of this article.

    August 23 2012 - Petherbridge Bassra Announce Successful Conclusion of Complex Money Laundering Trial

    The organised crime and serious fraud defence department of Petherbridge Bassra, Opus Law, are delighted to announce the conclusion of a complex money laundering trial with a not guilty verdict for our client ‘H’.

    The Serious Organised Crime Agency accused H of being a ‘high ranking member of an organised criminal group’ and involved in an international money laundering operation. It was alleged that the 19 defendants on trial were responsible for laundering in excess of £170,000,000 in cash out of the jurisdiction to Dubai and China. Businesses in Birmingham, Manchester, Doncaster and Leicester were raided and individuals connected to those businesses arrested. H was arrested in Leeds carrying a bag containing over £340,000 in cash. The cash was forensically examined and found to be contaminated with traces of cannabis and amphetamine. A search of H’s home address revealed further cash sums, anti-surveillance equipment and a quantity of cannabis. Examination of a telephone SIM card uplifted from H’s home address revealed contact with a telephone belonging to a member of the alleged criminal group and surveillance evidence was disclosed showing a meeting between H and that defendant "S". S subsequently entered a guilty plea.

    Opus Law Solicitor, Ian Anderson, identified that extensive and proactive defence work was required in order to surmount the prosecution case, this included the defence team traveling to Dubai to speak to business owners and photograph locations, liaising with businesses in Hong Kong, obtaining expert forensic drug contamination evidence, instructing computer forensics experts, instructing forensic accountants to prepare an expert accounting report, tracing and interviewing in excess of fifteen potential defence witnesses and obtaining witness summonses for prosecution witnesses.

    During the trial the expert skills and acumen of barrister Nigel Edwards (St Pauls Chambers, Leeds and Carmelite Chambers, London) a fraud specialist with over fifteen years top level advocacy experience, secured the right result for H and for Opus Law. Tim Keeling of Forths Forensic Accounting, Leeds, was instructed to examine and dissect the defendants business records and to prepare an expert accountancy report.

    It is of note that of the 18 defendants on trial so for Money Laundering, only H and one other secured not guilty verdicts.

    August 7 2012 - New Appointments: Employment Law Team

    Employment Law Team

    Left to right: Corrine Manfield, Jagtar Rooprai, Louise Colledge


    Petherbridge Bassra has boosted its employment law team with the appointments of Corrine Manfield and Louise Colledge.

    Corrine, newly qualified, joined from Lyons Davidson last year. She has extensive experience of representing employees and employers in relation to a variety of complex employment issues.

    She also provides concise and commercial advice to employers in relation to dispute resolution and avoiding litigation.

    Corrine said: “Petherbridge Bassra is recognised as an innovative and progressive law firm at the forefront of change and this in turn has allowed the firm to succeed and grow in this challenging economic climate”.

    Latest recruit, Louise, says “I’m excited about being able to use my knowledge and expertise to help establish a reputation for Petherbridge Bassra as experts in employment law”.

    Louise has dealt with numerous unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal cases as well as a range of discrimination cases. She also has experience in advising companies on their internal procedures and employee contracts.

    This latest move by Petherbridge Bassra is part of an ongoing strategic drive by the firm to establish a leading employment law team.

    Jagtar Rooprai, partner and head of civil litigation added: “These are two significant appointments and form part of the firm’s continued strategy, consolidating the firm’s presence across Yorkshire.”

    July 21 2012 – Bradford Law Firm Bags Up A Mountain for Cash for Marie Curie

    Petherbridge Bassra collection for Marie Curie

    Spring cleaning took on a new dimension for the staff at Bradford’s Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors as they sprung into action to collect a veritable mountain of unwanted items from their own homes to be sold at Marie Curie’s Darley Street Shop.

    Speaking about the difference such donations make to the shop, Brian Curran Corporate Development Manager at Marie Curie, said "This kind of support is invaluable for keeping our work going as we support local people living with cancer and their families. One large bag of clothes will raise £20 – that’s enough to pay for one hour of Marie Curie nursing care in a patient’s home."

    The collection was organised by Anne Petherbridge, Office Manager at Petherbridge Bassra, who praised the staff for their enthusiasm for the initiative, saying "As soon as I put the request out, my office quickly filled up with bags brimming with lovely toys, clothing, books and linen. People enjoy the chance to have a good old de-clutter as well as doing something for charity. Marie Curie is a cause that’s close to many of our hearts."

    The bag collection is just one in a series of fundraising events that the firm undertakes to support Marie Curie on an on-going basis. Anne has previously taken part in one of the Charity’s treks in the Middle-East to raise thousands of pounds for the Charity.

    July 3 2012 - Helicopter Smash Results in £275,000 Payout

    Significant Win Secured for Injured Personnel by Petherbridge Bassra

    Petherbridge Bassra has once again reinforced its reputation as a firm to trust for securing significant levels of financial compensation for injured military personnel. Soldiers involved in a helicopter crash were awarded £275,000 thanks to Petherbridge Bassra’s sector specific personal injury expertise.

    Talking about his other recent cases, Stuart Lowrey of Petherbridge Bassra explains "We handle all types of cases from soldiers injured whilst serving at home or abroad. A big problem for soldiers at the moment is hearing damage or tinnitus resulting from exposure to excessive noise on live firing ranges and lack of adequate hearing protection – I’ve just secured a £9,000 payout for a mild hearing loss case."

    Another client suffered a knee injury due to faulty equipment, forcing him to leave the military and he received £100,000 after contacting Petherbridge Bassra to handle his case. "Even if you’ve been already been offered a settlement figure through The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme following accident or injury at work, still give me a ring" says Stuart "In many cases, we can negotiate a better settlement for you that can make all the difference to you and your family".

    Petherbridge Bassra works on a no win, no fee basis (subject to taking full instructions) which means that if your claim fails you have nothing to pay. If you’ve been injured, contact Stuart Lowrey today in complete confidence to find out if the firm might be able to get you the compensation you deserve.

    Telephone: 01274 727 190 or e-mail stuart@petherbridgebassra.com

    July 1 2012 - Lexcel Accreditation for Petherbridge Bassra

    Lexcel Accreditation for Petherbridge Bassra

    Petherbridge Bassra, a Bradford firm with offices in Birmingham and London has been awarded the Law Society’s top management accreditation LEXCEL at the first time of application.

    Petherbridge Bassra joins a small group of practices in the North of England who, following a rigorous assessment process, have met thehigh standards of client care, business and risk management required.

    Lisa Julian, the firm’s Compliance Officer and Partner, confirmed that the firm had been working for some time to raise standards of client care and implement quality systems that ensured clients and staff benefitted. She added that an assured work environment provided for a better client experience and the accreditation required all members of staff to focus on the provision of a quality service which, in a competitive marketplace, confirmed the high standards and values of the firm.

    July 12 2012 - New Radio Ads are On The Pulse!

    Petherbridge Bassra on The Pulse FM

    Petherbridge Bassra has unveiled their new radio advertising campaign on Bradford’s local radio station, Pulse FM. The adverts have been created to reflect the approachable, forward-thinking nature of the firm with a jingle that's undeniably catchy. For the last two months, the firm has been advertising their Fixed Price Divorce packages and from July will be advertising their Criminal Law capabilities.

    Click below to listen to the latest Pulse ad.

    July 6 2012 - Plain Sailing for Team PB

    Plain Sailing for Team PB

    On Friday 6th July team Petherbridge Bassra travelled up to Lake Ullswater for the 50th Anniversary of the Lord Birkett Memorial trophy being held at Ullswater Yacht Club.

    The event was first raced in honour of Lord Norman Birkett who had made a successful speech in the House of Lords, which helped prevent Ullswater from becoming a sterile reservoir feeding Manchester. Sadly, he died two days after the speech was made.

    Every year since 1963, the club has held the prestigious two-day long distance race in which boats sail the full length of the lake and back in memory of the ‘Saviour of Ullswater.’

    Twenty-five former winners (which included Team PB helm Keith) and hundreds of guests were honoured at a Commodore’s and President’s reception at the club on the Friday eve of the event as part of the 50th Birkett celebrations.

    The weather had been poor for many weeks and although we travelled in a complete downpour the following morning we awoke on the shore of Ullswater to beautiful sunshine.

    Boats of all sizes and shapes sail past Kailpot Crag, which bears a plaque memory of Lord Birkett and then on more than seven miles to Glenridding at the other end of the lake in the shadow of Birkett Fell.

    On Saturday, the winds were light and variable and from the North and race officer David Clarke set a course with a beat to Pooley Bridge, round two marks, followed by a run to the Glenridding end, round Norfolk Island and back.

    The 200+ boats on the start line across the width of the lake made a magnificent sight for the 120 passengers on board the Ullswater ‘Steamer’ Raven on the first-ever special Birkett trip. The Raven ‘steamed’ ahead of the race and stopped near Kailpot Crag where the racers had to pass between the slate ‘Lord Birkett’ plaque on the crag and the Raven and the 50th boat through received a new trophy.

    Past winners taking part this year (including the Team PB 49er) had gold championship-style discs on their sails to identify them to the watching supporters.

    In Saturday’s Race, Team Petherbridge Bassra took off with a fantastic start and led the fleet of 200 plus boats up to Pooley Bridge and around the windward marks before a long and difficult leg the length of Ullswater. Despite damaging the boat in a poor tack, Team PB kept the lead for a good 4 miles before into a calm patch. This allowed 3 of the chasing 49ers to overtake, but by the halfway point at Norfolk Island, team PB had recovered to second and were challenging 6 times winner Lester Noble for the lead. The wind stayed light and fickle for the rest of the race making the conditions challenging. The 49ers came in 1st to 5th on the water in a tight finish with only a minute between 2nd and 4th after four hours of racing - Team Petherbridge Bassra narrowly missing out on 2nd eventually finished 4th.

    Sunday brought every sailor’s nightmare - a flat calm with the occasional light puff of wind from random directions. With a six-hour time limit for the race, the decision was taken not to race the full length of the lake but to Kailpot Crag and back. Having not been able to repair the previous days damage to the boat Team PB made a decision not to risk sailing in such poor conditions, and watching the fleet hardly moving, theywere glad they had!

    It was a much-reduced fleet that took to the water; the lack of wind made starting difficult and after several false starts the black flag (instant disqualification if over the start line) finally came out. When the boats got away, the fleet slowly made drifted their way to the top of the lake, then back past the club – taking 2 hours to cover barely 2 miles. A good while later, the leaders finished – with the backmarkers taking hours more.

    The prize-giving on Sunday also made history with Tom Birkett, grandson of Lord Norman Birkett, presenting some of the trophies. Tom had never been to Ullswater before and had no idea what ‘the Birkett’ means to racing sailors. Other trophies were presented by Lady Lonsdale on behalf of event sponsor Lonsdale Estates, a representative of Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and Dalemain Mansion.

    June 25 2012 – Think Before You Tweet Your Split

    Erika Williman, Head of Private Divorce at Petherbridge Bassra, urges that warring couples use restraint before posting comments on Facebook or Twitter or changing their relationship status to make your split public. Citing a recent high profile case, Erika says, "Much has been made in the media of the breakdown of Ben and Kate Goldsmith’s marriage and the public war of words between them on social media sites. Caution should always be exercised as these posts can be used as evidence in any disputes over the children and family finances. Depending on content the posts could be used as a conduct point and reduce any financial settlement due following divorce. The moral of the tale is to think twice before pressing the ‘send’ button."

    June 2012 – Top ten tips for Separated and Divorced Dads
    By Erika Williman

    Certain key dates in the year such as Fathers Day, Christmas, Birthdays etc can be especially difficult for fathers if you are not having contact so we would suggest trying to plan these days with your ex- partner well in advance so you have some scheduled time with your children

    Also remember that there is a shift away from making Residence Orders ie where children live and also Contact Orders setting out when children see their parents as the Courts believe an Order should only be made if really necessary and the child’s welfare requires it. There is also now more recognition of shared care arrangements where there is a high degree of cooperation between the parents and they live near to each other.

    1. Consider drawing up a detailed contact schedule several months in advance so there is certainty for your children and it will avoid confrontations- children thrive on routine.
    2. Ensure you have registered your own address and details with your children’s GP and school so that you will receive reports and notice of parent’s evenings and school events. Keep in regular touch with the school.
    3. Keep a dialogue going with your former partner. If this proves difficult consider mediation or a round table meeting between the two of you and solicitors.
    4. It is essential to ensure children’s needs are prioritised above any disagreements between parents- although often easier said than done do not make any negative comments about your ex -partner in front of the children.
    5. Ensure you do not attempt to take the children on holiday or remove them from the country without reaching an agreement with your former partner and then ensuring you provide full contact details of the trip. Failure to follow this golden rule could result in emergency legal action being taken against you by a worried ex- partner and lead to longstanding mistrust.
    6. If you are working away or work shift patterns, consider the use of Skype to maintain contact or you could set up an email account depending on the age of your children .Likewise you could also consider the use of mobile phones .Often if you choose a mobile on the same network as your own mobile phone, telephone calls and texts are free. Ensure these arrangements are included in part of the contact schedule with your former partner.
    7. Act quickly and seek legal advice if you encounter any problem regarding ongoing contact on a regular basis for example the children not being made available to you. The longer you delay taking action the harder it will be to reinstate a regular programme of contact. Also your former partner could capitalise on any delay.
    8. Remember that if a Contact Order is in force and your former partner still prevents contact from taking place there are methods of enforcing the order .The key is not to delay and to take legal advice immediately.
    9. Concentrate on the positives not the negatives .Time spent is crucial and does not have to involve expense particularly when your budget will be stretched already as a single parent- baking, a walk, a trip to the park will be time cherished by you and your children.
    10. Keep your contact time child focused- all too often this time is used as a fishing exercise to find out what an ex-partner is doing and this is very damaging to the children.

    June 17 2012 - Happy Father’s Day From Her Majesty

    The Queen’s Speech set out planned reforms for Fathers to have increased rights to contact with their children following relationship breakdown as long as it is safe and in the child’s best interests. This underscored the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both parents and makes sure that fathers have a voice in the justice system. "Sadly many men have their children used ‘against’ them by an ex-partner. Fathers do have many rights so make sure you know where you stand by contacting me today", says Erika Williman, Head of Private Divorce at Petherbridge Bassra.

    June 17 2012 - Here Come The Girls

    Petherbridge Bassra Race for Life

    Petherbridge Bassra was looking pretty in pink at this Sunday’s Race for Life Event in Bradford's Lister Park. Joining another 2,200 thousand runners were the firm’s dedicated team of 8 sportswomen (plus two of their children), all running, walking or jogging the 5K to raise funds for Cancer Research. In total the event raised over £125,000 and Jenny Key, event manager for Race for Life in Yorkshire, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that so many women have entered Race for Life Together, they will help us raise crucial funds to help beat cancer." Petherbridge Bassra was proud to lend their support (and branding!) to the event by supplying each of the team with their own personalised T-shirt, produced by Candeserv of Leeds.

    The Petherbridge Bassra team for this great ocassion, where even the sun made a rare appearance, was: Becky, Louise, Nicola, Kasey, Corrine, Gill, Zoe, Becca, Racheal, Fiona and Rachel. The fastest was Rebecca Grogan in 27 mins 59 secs.

    June 22 2012 – Multi-Lingual Boost for Petherbridge Bassra
    Alan Petherbridge with Martin Belica
    The arrival of Martin Belica complements the existing linguistic skills of the Petherbridge Bassra team by adding fluent Slovak Polish and Czech to the range of foreign languages spoken. Martin originates from Slovakia, graduated with a law degree from Hull University and is fluent in the language of Slovak Polish and Czech.

    Senior Partner Alan Petherbridge said that Martin and the firm are committed to ensuring access to justice for all. The use of Martin’s language skills will ensure those from Eastern Europe who choose to make Bradford their home will have the same opportunity for fairness, equality and legal remedy to ensure their rights. The firm also has Punjabi and Urdu speaking fee-earners.

    May 25 2012 - Anne & Jackie Follow in Wainwright’s Steps for Marie Curie

    Petherbridge Bassra’s avid ramblers, Anne and Jackie Petherbridge, have just walked part of the Coast to Coast in six days to show their support for Marie Curie Cancer Care. They started the challenging 100 mile route starting in St Bees and finishing in Brough just beyond Kirkby Stephen.

    Devised by the late Alfred Wainwright in 1973 to link the Irish Sea and the North Sea via the hills, moors and valleys of northern England. The route crosses three National Parks: the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. As Anne, Office Manager, explains "We trekked through the Lake District which is a beautiful route, and we met some great people along the way. Some parts were very challenging with rough terrain and steep inclines but the feeling of achieving our half way destination was amazing." "The weather was unbelievable" adds Receptionist, Jackie, "in fact, it was almost too hot with temperatures close to 25 degrees but everything came together perfectly and it was a week we’ll never forget for a fantastic cause".

    Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of Petherbridge Bassra’s chosen charities and the firm organise a number of fundraising activities a year as well as individual members of staff undertaking their own challenges to help the work the Centre does to support families in the Bradford area affected by cancer. On this occasion, Jackie and Anne are donating their personal time to the Centre and carrying out some volunteer work in the gardens during July.

    Anne and Jackie both wore branded shirts produced by Candeserv of Leeds.

    May 15 2012 – Bev Scales New Heights for Help for Heroes

    Bev Baker

    Bev Baker became Petherbridge Bassra’s own hero after completing a mammoth 3 Peak Challenge in aid of Help for Heroes. Bev tackled all 24.5 miles in a very respectable 11 hours and 3 mins. Help for Heroes is a cause that’s close to Bev’s own heart, with two of her sons currently serving in the Military. The firm will also be supporting the Help for Heroes Journal this year, which raises money and awareness for injured personnel and their families.

    May 11 2012 – Cutting the Cost of Divorce

    Nazia Shaukat

    Bradford-based law firm Petherbridge Bassra aims to slash costs traditionally associated with divorce by offering fixed price divorce packages starting from just £400 including VAT.

    As Nazia Shaukat (pictured above) of Petherbridge Bassra explains "Divorce is a very stressful time, and as well as being uncertain about their future, many people are worried about the legal fees – especially if children are involved. Following an initial free consultation, people can be a lot clearer about their options and also have an accurate picture of how much their divorce is going to cost and how long the process will take. It means they can start to move forward and plan for the future in a positive way."

    Whatever your situation, Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors can help. They have specialist expertise in resolving more complicated cases, concerning access and custody of children, as well as the division of assets such as property and even family businesses. The Family Law team includes female solicitors and Urdu and Punjabi speakers.

    Nazia offers one piece of invaluable advice to anybody starting to contemplate dissolving their marriage. "Remember you only get one chance at a fair divorce settlement. The decisions you make now will shape your financial future so you owe it to yourself to get the best legal advice possible, at the best price."

    To arrange your free confidential consultation at Petherbridge Bassra’s offices in the City Centre, call Nazia today on 01274 724114.

    April 2012 – Renowned Private Divorce Lawyer Joins Petherbridge Bassra

    Erika Williman

    Petherbridge Bassra is pleased to announce the appointment of Erika Williman. Erika will join the Family Law team as a Consultant to specialise in Private Divorces and brings particular expertise in securing swift and cost-effective resolutions.

    Erika qualified in 1994 and was a partner at a York firm for over 8 years and Head of Department at another. In latter years Erika has carried out freelance family work throughout the whole of the Yorkshire region. Erika has substantial experience in dealing with all family and children related matters including care proceedings, finances, cohabitation disputes, domestic violence, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships. Erika has extensive experience in dealing with the division of a matrimonial assets in both modest wealth and high net worth cases involving businesses.

    Erika adopts a flexible approach to solving complex cases and regularly takes over seemingly difficult to resolve and entrenched cases and is adept at breaking "deadlock" between parties.

    February 2012: Opus Law represents private detective in landmark ‘blagging’ trial

    As a result of a long running surveillance operation by SOCA, four private detectives were jailed at Kingston Crown Court after a landmark fraud case in which the defendants talked or ‘blagged’ confidential information out of banks and phone companies. Opus Law, the specialist division of Petherbridge Bassra that focuses on business and complex crime, represented S, who had previously had a career as a metropolitan police officer and subsequently set up a private investigations company. Other defendants included a former member the British Army’s Special forces who had served in Northern Ireland. Operation Millipede involved the investigation of the illegal practice of pre-texting in which freelance investigators such as the defendants are commissioned to obtain personal information, including bank and credit card details, from individuals. Much of the evidence in this case was obtained from incriminating emails recovered from the hard drive of a laptop computer of one of the defendants.

    See the following sources for further details:

    BBC
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17157490

    Guardian
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/24/alleged-now-hacker-former-army-officer

    Independent
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/court-told-of-murky-world-of-blagger-at-heart-of-computerhacking-allegations-7440665.html

    June 5 2012 – A Divorce Only Ends Your Marriage... Not Your Financial Relationship

    Erika Williman

    Erika Williman, Divorce Solicitor at Bradford’s Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors highlights the fact that divorce does not automatically deal with a couple’s finances.

    As a Family Lawyer, one of my responsibilities is to dispel the many myths surrounding the divorce process. The first time I meet a client they are often, understandably, dealing with a barrage of emotions and unsure of what to do next – often the uppermost thought in their mind is simply ‘getting out’ of the marriage as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. They often lose sight of the fact that they need to protect themselves financially for their life after divorce.

    Right to Claim

    A divorce ends the marriage contract between the couple, effectively replacing the marriage certificate with a decree absolute. It often amazes clients that matrimonial finances are not dealt with automatically as part of the divorce. Spouses and indeed ex-spouses have the right to make claims for property, maintenance and savings (including pensions).

    Should a financial claim be made following a divorce it can only be settled in one of two ways. Firstly, via court order setting out the parties obligations to the other. The second way matters can be brought to an end is if one party re-marries and therefore loses any right to make a financial claim against their previous spouse.

    Future-proof Finances

    Even if there are no savings or property at the particular time that a client seeks my advice regarding a divorce, I always recommend an order being drawn up to fully dismiss any potential claims from being made in the future. This prevents the situation whereby the parties have been divorced without drawing up a financial agreement and one party may receive an inheritance, win the lottery or just end up earning large sums of money. This was a scenario faced in 2010 when an ex wife made a claim for a share of the winnings plus increased child maintenance ten years after the divorce had been ‘finalised’. The case was settled out of court.

    Protecting yourself against future financial claims is simple. A Solicitor will prepare your financial order, which is approved by Court. In most cases, there is no need for you to even attend Court and you can simply relax and know that, after all the trauma of divorce, your money and future earnings are yours and yours alone.

    Erika has extensive experience in dealing with the division of matrimonial assets in both modest wealth and high net worth cases involving businesses. To book a free consultation with Erika call in complete confidence
    01274 724 114 or e-mail erika.williman@petherbridgebassra.com.

    Petherbridge Bassra release press release dated 10 January 2012

    Petherbridge Bassra, a Bradford firm of Solicitors, have produced the highest fees for Criminal Law work in Yorkshire for the period 2010/2011 according to figures produced by the Legal Services Commission. The firm employs over 70 members of staff of which there are 20 fee earners dedicated to the provision of Criminal Defence services.

    Some years ago the firm established a specialist fraud practice- Opus Law which deals with very high cost cases resulting from the most serious types of fraud and highly complex crime and now also has offices based in Birmingham and London.

    "People may feel that generating fees from criminal work is not particularly attractive", Mr Petherbridge the Senior Partner acknowledged, "however I would prefer to think that the fees generated demonstrate our strong commitment to championing the rights of an individual whatever difficult circumstances they face, should their case be criminal, family, personal injury, employment or immigration. Furthermore, the fees generated allow the firm to carry out a fair proportion of pro-bono work within the local community and to assist local charities".

    Tuesday 10 January 2012.

    For further information contact:

    Mr R Singh 07887 953982
    Mr A Petherbridge 01274 724114

    Employment Law Update: The Bribery Act 2010

    The Bribery Act 2010 ("The Act") comes into force on 1st July 2011, modernising the current laws on bribery. The Act sets out four offences.

    These are as follows:

    • Paying Bribes: It will be an offence to offer or give someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so;
    • Receiving Bribes: It will be an offence to receive a financial or other advantage intending that a relevant function or activity should be performed improperly as a result;
    • Bribery of Foreign Public Officials: It will be an offence if a person offers or gives a financial or other advantage to a foreign public official with the intention of influencing the foreign public official and obtaining or retaining business, where the foreign public official was neither permitted nor required by written law to be so influenced; and
    • Failure of Commercial Organisations to Prevent Bribery: It will be an offence committed by a commercial organisation when a person associated with a relevant commercial organisation (such as employees, agents and external third parties) bribes another person intending to obtain or retain a business advantage; and

    The organisation cannot show that it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribes being paid.

    The first two offences above are fairly straight forward and similar to the current law on bribery. It is the fourth offence which is new and the most drastic and controversial change imposed by the Act.

    Essentially, the fourth offence means that a business can be guilty of bribery even if nobody within the business knew of the bribery. However, a business will have a full defence to this offence if it can show that it had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.

    What is an ‘adequate procedure’?

    To determine whether a business has an adequate procedure in place to prevent bribery will depend on the bribery risks that the business faces. The risks would depend upon a number of factors such as the size of the business, the market in which the business operates and whether the business only operates within the United Kingdom or overseas.

    Whether the procedure is adequate would be a question of proportionality and risk assessment. So, a larger business that operates overseas would be at a large risk of bribery and would therefore need a far more complex procedure than for example, a small business which only operates within the United Kingdom.

    It will be crucial for a business to actively encourage and enhance awareness of their procedure to prove its adequacy. It would be prudent to ensure that all people within the business and people who perform services for the business understand that the business does not tolerate bribery.

    It may also be worthwhile for a business to know exactly who it is dealing with. For example, by researching the market online and obtaining references for employees.

    Like many other employment policies and procedures, an adequate procedure preventing bribery should be reviewed and monitored. This will allow a business to keep up to pace with any changes in the bribery risks facing a business.

    Hospitality

    The Act is not intended to capture genuine hospitality or similar business expenditure that is reasonable and proportionate. Therefore, businesses can continue to provide hospitality, promotional or other business expenditure provided it is in good faith.

    Penalties

    The Act will raise the maximum jail term for bribery for an individual from 7 years to 10 years. If a business is convicted for failing to prevent bribery it could be subjected to an unlimited fine.

    Conclusion

    Whilst the Act does not impose a great deal of change for individuals; it puts the burden upon those carrying out business within the United Kingdom to ensure that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery and corruption.

    The first meeting of the ‘You’re Not Alone Consortium’ to highlight Domestic Violence & Forced Marriages on Friday 18 January 2013 has been a resounding success.

    The Princes Ballroom at The Midland Hotel in Bradford was filled with 150 people representing a wide range of local support agencies and charities, West Yorkshire Police Force, Fire Service, Probation Service, fellow legal professionals, schools and Children’s Centres, all coming together to discuss and learn more about these important issues which impact so many families in the Bradford area.

    Despite sub zero temperatures outside, there was some hot debate around cultural, legal and gender issues, inspired by thought-provoking speeches from Erika Williman of Petherbridge Bassra, Pat Moffatt of ManKind and top Barrister and Recorder from Exchange Chambers, Tina Landale. Sadly our speaker from Karma Nirvana, Jasvinder Sanghera, was unable to make the event due to inclement weather conditions in The Midlands, but delegates still took the opportunity to raise the topic of Forced Marriages and Honour-Based Violence.

    Many thanks to all our delegates for supporting this event and making it happen. Alex Richardson from The Pulse! FM Radio station was also on hand to speak to some of our delegates for a feature next week to raise public awareness of Domestic Violence and Forced Marriages, and the T&A and Asian Sunday were also in attendance to report the event.

    Commenting on this event, the host of the event, Anne Petherbridge, said "It was an honour for Petherbridge Bassra to be able to stage this event for such a fabulous audience, all sharing our vision of giving victims a voice, access to justice, and the best support possible."

    Whether you are a support worker and/or have personal experience of these issues and would be interested in attending or getting involved with future events, please contact Anne Petherbridge at anne@petherbridgebassra.com for more information.

    Click here to view the Telegraph and Argus’ coverage of the event.

    Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishing of Offenders Bill

    Ian Anderson, Solicitor at Opus Law and specialist in Criminal Defence; provides an article on the possible inroads the government and MOJ could make on the right to a free solicitor at the Police Station:

    A long established right afforded to any individual arrested and taken to the Police station for interview could be removed in favour of means-testing according to proposals drawn up by the Ministry of Justice.

    The new measure was quietly slipped into the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishing of Offenders Bill and would set a bar that would see people earning over and above a certain threshold of income, or those with access to a set level of savings to be forced to pay for legal advice and assistance at the Police station.

    Legal experts including Lord Ken Macdonald QC, a former director of public prosecutions, have expressed alarm at the proposal and questioned how it would work in practice. We at Opus Law hope that the measure will be highlighted by party whips, voted against by right thinking MPs and removed from the bill before it becomes enshrined in statute. Mr. Macdonald QC was quoted in the Guardian saying "[the right to free legal advice] is a critical part of the apparatus of protection that we have, the presence of a lawyer doesn't just protect the defendant from police, it protects the police from a defendant making up allegations about what happened, for instance during the course of an interrogation. I think the government should be very cautious about interfering in any way with the absolute right to representation in police stations. It's there for a very good reason. When we didn't have it, we saw the consequences."

    Richard Miller, head of legal aid policy at the Law Society added: "There are issues of principle here; when someone is arrested they are in the power of the state, subject to the mercies of the police officers involved."

    "The purpose of having a solicitor acting for them is to ensure their rights are respected, that they are not physically abused, that their confessions are not forged and they are not detained for longer than legally allowed."

    "It’s been a cornerstone of our justice system for the last 25 years and the idea that it should be changed is entirely wrong."

    We at Opus Law agree entirely with Mr. Miller and Mr. Macdonald QC’s analyses. The universal right to representation by a solicitor at a police station was enacted in the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) in response to a series of serious miscarriages of justice in the 1970s and 80s involving unrepresented defendants.

    The government has already set out far-reaching cuts to the legal aid budget and is determined to save further money wherever it can. We understand that although plans do not exist to remove the right to free legal advice at the Police station immediately, the new clause would give the government the power to introduce it if circumstances dictated. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson added "the provision in the bill to permit means-testing ensures future flexibility over the operation of the legal aid system should it be needed."

    At Opus Law we believe that a means testing system would be unwieldy, costly, ineffective and likely to lead to miscarriages of justice. On a practical level it is difficult to imagine how the detained suspect could have access to the necessary proof of income and savings necessary to establish whether they had to pay for the services of a solicitor. We perceive the proposed removal of the right to free legal advice at the Police station as a step backwards for a so-called "Big Society", and a cost cutting measure too far.

    Live on Radio Leeds Breakfast Show

    Ben Jones, Partner, took part in an "on air" debate this morning on the Radio Leeds Breakfast Show regarding the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), explaining the confiscation process and what currently happens to any monies recouped. For more details on POCA please contact Ben Jones on
    01274 724114 or via email on b.jones@petherbridgebassra.com.

    December 7 2012 - R v M - Opus Law secure the acquittal of M

    Opus Law secure the acquittal of M in Operation Hornbeam, this being a lengthy HMRC investigation which bust one of the largest tobacco rings ever seen in this country.

    Following months of surveillance, covert recordings and observations of top ranking meetings, Officers of HMRC raided various properties and made numerous arrests. Large amounts of property and cash was seized along with full accounting records said to represent the rings entire UK operational movements and profit.

    The duty evaded was estimated at £26million.

    Ben Jones and Mohammed Asif interrogated the prosecution case and used proactive techniques to gather vital Defence evidence to be presented at trial.

    Following a trial at Derby Crown Court, conducted by defence counsel Nigel Edwards of Carmelite Chambers, M was unanimously found not guilty by the jury.

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    mail@petherbridgebassra.com

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