Howells Solicitors Successfully Ranked by the Legal 500

The Legal 500 is an independent and impartial body that reviews and offers information regarding professional law firms in the UK. Their ranking tier allows individuals to see how the Legal 500 have scored the law firm in question, and includes professional testimonials for peers and clients.

This week the 2021 edition of the Legal 500 report has been released, and Howells Solicitors are thrilled that 5 of their departments have been highly ranked.

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Good news on court fees (for a change)

It was only in November 2018 that probate practitioners were protesting against the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) proposed probate fee hikes.  At that stage some fees were proposed to increase from the current £155.00 (or £215.00 for an applicant is person) to £6,000 for the wealthiest estates.  If accepted the fee changes would have come into force in April 2019 but were delayed indefinitely.

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Government issues new coronavirus immigration guidance

The government has today issued updated immigration guidance for people in the UK who have been unable to return to their home countries due to coronavirus. If you are in the UK and your visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, you were able to request an extension to your visa until the end of July 2020. The government has now stated that people in this situation will be given an extra month’s ‘grace period’ until the 31 August 2020 to either make arrangements to leave the UK, or to apply for leave to remain in the UK. During this extra month, the conditions of your visa will stay the same, e.g. if your visa allowed you to work, then you will continue to be allowed to work until the end of August. If you do decide to leave the UK but are unable to do so by the end of August, you can now ask the Home Office for additional time to stay in the UK (called ‘exceptional indemnity’).
If your visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and you did not make an application to extend it, you must now urgently apply to stay in the UK or face future adverse immigration consequences.

If you have any queries regarding your immigration status, please contact us to arrange an appointment (by telephone or in person) with our expert Immigration Team on 0114 249 6666 or at [email protected]

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No-Fault divorce set to become reality

We are pleased to announce that at long last “no-fault divorce” is set to become reality after the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal Assent last week.

Head of the Family Department Alyson Siddall says:

“This is very welcome news. Having been a family law specialist for nearly 35 years, I have seen how upsetting and inflammatory the present system is. It is the biggest change to the divorce laws that I have known during my years in practice.
Divorcing couples will no longer have to assign blame in order to be granted a divorce. This should make it easier for divorcing parties to resolve other issues such as finances and disputes over the children more easily”

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Ban on evictions extended for 2 months

All housing possession proceedings were suspended in March 2020 for 90 days to protect private and social renters and those with mortgages.

The suspension was due to be lifted on 25 June 2020 but has been extended until 23 August 2020.

We have seen an increase in landlords resorting to trying to evict tenants by illegal means through harassment or threats.

Such actions are illegal. In these circumstances you may be able to obtain an injunction against your landlord and claim damages.

If this affects you, please get in contact on 0114 2496666, or email our new enquiry team at [email protected]

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‘Tenants could lose access to duty solicitors in eviction cases’

Vulnerable tenants could be evicted without help from a duty solicitor under county court plans to resume housing possession cases next month. Howells are the only firm of solicitors in South Yorkshire who have a contract with the government to obtain legal aid for those threatened with eviction.

All housing possession proceedings were suspended in March 2020 for 90 days to protect private and social renters and those with mortgages.

The suspension is due to be lifted on 25 June 2020. The courts are looking at how ongoing and new cases could be heard from 29 June 2020.

It is thought most possession hearings are now likely to take place remotely e.g. by Skype or telephone until the autumn.

With parties and representatives not being physically present at court, tenants and those struggling to pay their mortgage will be unable to see a duty solicitor at court who prior to the lock-down could provide last ditch representation for those facing eviction.

With that service at risk of being removed it has never therefore been more important for those threatened with eviction to take advice as soon as they can and well before the court hearing so that they can arrange for a solicitor of their own to represent them at the remote court hearing dealt with by telephone or Skype.

If this affects you, please get in contact on 0114 2496666, or email our new enquiry team at [email protected]

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