Former legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, has commented that he finds it surprising that there is currently no legal adviser present at Downing Street. Much of his surprise stems from the fact that there is no one to offer instant advice should short term legal issues crop up for the Prime Minister.

Sir Daniel appeared on Radio 4's Law In Action programme commenting: "I imagine that it would be useful and salutary to the Prime Minister to have a lawyer in his team to be able to say 'Prime Minister, there is a legal issue here' when there is a breaking news story."

Whilst the Prime Minister doesn't have a lawyer within his immediate circle of advisers, David Cameron does have advisers in other fields including; science, foreign policy and economics. Sir Daniel expressed concerns that legal issues are not currently addressed as effectively as they could be. He felt that someone within the inner circle...

Tenants in many parts of East London are threatened by eviction as landlords try to cash in on the London Olympics. As one estate agent has commented, many properties that are normally rented for £300-350 a week are now being marketed for £6,000, as the Games are approaching.

 
Although it is a criminal offence for landlords to evict tenants without satisfactory notice, there’s been evidence of landlords evicting tenants illegally. As the charity, Shelter commented: "Increasingly, we are seeing signs that the Olympics are exacerbating these problems, with some landlords looking to evict tenants and re-let their homes to Olympic visitors, without any guarantee that they will be filled."
 
During the Olympics, over 900,000 athletes, their families, journalists and other staff will need to be accommodated, in addition to the 1.4 million tourists London receives in the summer and those who are...

Home repossessions have remained stable in the first quarter of 2012, with a total of 9600 home repossessions in the first three months of the year. This is identical to the same period in 2011 according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders and is good news for the UK property market and home owners.

 
Homes are repossessed when home owners fall behind on their mortgage repayments and are unable to pay. Pressures on household finances, the increasing cost of living, high unemployment and rising mortgage rates can all contribute to higher levels of repossessions. In 2011, for example, over 35,000 UK homes were repossessed, while figures peaked in 1991 with 75,500 house repossessions. Repossession is considered to be a last resort, and as Paul Smee, director of the CML comments: "Anyone worried about their mortgage should be assured that lenders will try to help them get back on track, as long as this is a realistic prospect."
...

Whilst many people consider buying a leasehold property the same as buying a freehold, in reality there are many pitfalls you need to be aware of before you buy...as usual these are contained the small print! Make sure when you buy a leasehold property you obtain a copy of the lease and ask the landlord for up to date information on charges. You must check what it is you have to pay out for, not just during the time you are living at the property, but also when you move in and, most importantly, when you sell.
 

WHEN YOU BUY A PROPERTY
 
Many landlords and managing agents will have a variety of charges you have to pay when you buy a property.
 
You may have to pay a notice of assignment fee -  this is a notice which advises the landlord that you are the new owner and that all paperwork should be sent to you. The amount charged varies but can, at worst, be more than £100. Do remember...

Drafting your own will and not using a solicitor might seem like a good money-saving idea. However, you should not be tempted as a homemade will could not only turn out to be a false economy but can also create unintended consequences causing unnecessary problems and distress for the family members you leave behind.
 
There is no legal requirement for a will to be made by a solicitor, however, it will only be valid if the legal requirements for making a will have been complied with. If your homemade will falls short of these requirements it has the consequence of your estate being treated as if you had died intestate (i.e. without a will) and your estate will be passed to your next of kin in a fixed order, which may not be the people you intended.
 

PROBLEMS WITH HOMEMADE WILLS
 
Small errors made in homemade wills can cause huge problems in the...

Choosing a solicitor for the first time can be scary.  There have been reports in of people impersonating solicitors and legal firms for financial benefit to themselves.  This is understandably enough to make you very cautious about instructing a solicitor to ensure they will act in nothing but your best interests.
 
This article is hopefully going to give a little insight into the best way to choose your solicitor and ensure you are happy with your choice.
 

WHAT HELP DO YOU NEED?
 
The first thing to consider is the area of law in which you need help.  As there are so many different areas of law and each areas is so wide many solicitors specialise in only one or two areas and do not cover everything.  However, should you contact a firm that does not cover your needs, they should be helpful enough to point you in the direction of someone that can.
 
You can find most firms by...

You have probably received numerous flyers through your door espousing the merits of affixing solar panels to your property - earn some extra income and reduce energy bills. It is a great idea but there are a number of issues cropping up as a result of this....
 

CONSENTS YOU MAY NEED:
 
I hear stories of firms selling solar panels telling potential clients “its easy – it wont take long, no consents are needed and it will save you loads of money!” Usually solar panels will fall within your “permitted development” for the property and not require planning consent but this is not always the case. Solar panels WILL need additional consents in the following situations:
 
Planning consent may be required if:

  • The panels are installed above the highest part of the roof
  • The panels project more than 200mm...

We are delighted to have received the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Standard (CQS) accreditation on 21 May 2012. CQS is a recognised standard of excellence for residential conveyancing services based on:
 
1. The integrity of the Senior Responsible Officer and other team members
2. The firm’s adherence to good practice management standards
3. Adherence to prudent and efficient conveyancing procedures.
 
The accreditation process is a rigorous one and, achieving the required standard, shows that the firm has what it takes to provide excellent client service standards and achieve and maintain high professional standards. It involves a thorough assessment of the firm’s client care, auditing, training and review systems.
 
Instructing a firm with the CQS accreditation provides a guarantee, endorsed by the Law Society, that certain practices and procedures will be followed enabling a smooth, speedy and...

The number of tenants evicted by private landlords has increased by 17% since 2007, the beginning of the financial crisis. As opposed to 12,686 possession orders in 2008, this number has gone up to 14,985 by 2011. A possession order is the legal entitlement of a landlord to evict a tenant and take possession of his or her property. 

The most likely causes of this rise in evictions stem from the economic recession. The sharp rise in national unemployment rates, especially among the youth, who are less likely to own their own property has certainly contributed to many tenants finding themselves unable to pay. The number of unemployed in the UK rose to over 2.6 million during 2011, which is a record high since 1995. The other major contributing factor is the 8% rise in rents since 2009. These factors mean that some can no longer pay full rent and thus landlords have little option but to evict tenants who are unable to pay. 
 
Tenants...

If you own a furnished holiday letting (FHL), you should get ready for the new rules set to come into effect in April 2012. The changes will mainly affect the actual letting of the properties, so those who have previously benefited from tax advantages on furnished holiday lettings should be prepared for the new regulations. 

The new rules will increase the time the property must be let to qualify as a furnished holiday letting from April 6, 2012. While a holiday property must currently be available for letting for at least 140 days per year, the number of days will be increased to 210. Currently, the property has to be actually let for 70 days, but this is bound to rise to 105 days per year once the new regulations take effect. For your property to qualify, it will also have to be located in the UK or the EEA and be furnished. In practice, this means that owners of holiday properties in...

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