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News & Events

Double Celebration for Legal Director Suzanne Williams - acknowledged in Chambers and Partners 2021 and Reaccreditation onto the Law Society Panel

Davies and Partners Solicitors’ Legal Director Suzanne Williams, has a double celebration, having received recognition in the prestigious Chambers and Partners directory 2021 and achieving reaccreditation on to The Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme.

Chambers and Partners is a rigorous, independent processes that is recognised as the gold standard in legal insight.

Suzanne who is on the Firm’s Board and heads up the Bristol office’s Medical Negligence Team, has been highlighted in Chambers and Partners for over five years. This year’s entry states that: Suzanne is “well versed in matters concerning catastrophic brain and spinal injuries. A source remarks that she has "excellent judgement and an eye for detail," adding: "She chases the issues in a case."

Davies and Partners Announce Gloucester 10k is ready to run again!

Davies and Partners are delighted to announce that subject to Covid restrictions continuing to be lifted, the Gloucester 10k will be run again this year on 4 July 2021.

The 10K route provides an opportunity to run again through the City, or for those who would rather, it is possible to run the race virtually, or run both.

Half a Million People in Wales Awaiting NHS Treatment

Davies and Partner's Medical Negligence Solicitor James Wickett highlights another disappointing report has emerged today that estimates half a million people in Wales are waiting for NHS treatment and it is unlikely that the backlog will be cleared within the next 5 years. See report on BBC News Wales https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-56842562

Currently, there is also an increase in people waiting for diagnostic testing.

Hope that increased maternity funding will reduce medical negligence claims

Today, Davies and Partners welcome the news that the Government is allocating the NHS an extra £95 million to improve maternity care in all areas of England, including the South-West.

This news follows a report by Donna Ockenden, an independent midwifery expert, who looked at how failings in maternity care had resulted in the avoidable death of numerous babies and mothers at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust over a twenty-year period. The report was damning and identified seven immediate and essential actions needed to improve maternity care services across England.

Essential Employment Law Update Seminar – 27 April 2021

Following what has been an extremely difficult year for many businesses, Davies and Partners specialist employment law team are holding an Essential Employment Law Update Seminar on Tuesday, 27 April at 9.30 am, to highlight and discuss the key changes to employment law that will impact businesses during 2021.

The Employment team is offering this essential update as part of their ongoing commitment to their valued clients. It will provide an essential update for Business Owners, Managers, HR personnel and anyone who has employees, workers or employs contractors.

Two of Davies and Partners’ Leading Medical Negligence Specialists Re-accepted into prestigious Headway’s Legal Directory

Two of Davies and Partners’ specialist medical negligence and personal injury lawyers Tracy Edwards and Lorna Lymer have been successfully re-accepted for inclusion in a specialist legal directory for Headway, the brain injury association.

Headway is a national charity which promotes understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provides information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their family and carers.

Davies and Partners has long been recognised for its expertise in brain injury claims, which are often highly complex and require a holistic approach.

Double Celebration for James Wickett

Congratulations to Davies and Partners’ medical negligence specialist James Wickett, who has two reasons for celebration this month, having been promoted to Legal Director and successfully completing the opening of a new dedicated office in North Devon.

James, who has worked for Davies and Partners since 2003, has spent over 20 years working exclusively in the field of claimant clinical negligence, making him one of the most experienced specialist solicitors in the country.

James, who grew up in North Devon, worked in Davies and Partners’ Bristol office for several years. He returned to live in his home county and has spent the last few years developing a successful practice in the area, with the support of his assistant Kirrin Snell.

James has a strong reputation within the medical negligence sector having an enviable 100% success rate at trial and having achieved some of the largest settlements in the UK for specific injuries at the time. Claims pursued by James have also resulted in changes being adopted in NHS practice in areas as diverse as infant tongue-tie and the management of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

How do we want to live?

On 31 January 2021, the government responded to the January 2020 Living with Beauty report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission.
If you have not already read the 2020 report, it may be accessed here

Lockdowns have given us pause to consider our values and how the planning system and construction industry impacts the people living in its buildings and using open spaces. I hope that, like me, you will find the report inspiring. Ironically, I have had to block the light from a large window to read the report on screen.

The report is an uplifting read, with fantastic photographs of beautiful living spaces. It encourages the government and the construction industry to be aspirational in its design and creation of neighbourhoods.

Family Law Specialist Hazel McNaught Joins Davies and Partners to Head up Team in London

Prominent family law specialist Hazel McNaught, has joined Davies and Partners Solicitors as Legal Director, to Head up the Firm’s growing family department in their West End London office.

Hazel, who previously worked for Simons Muirhead and Burton LLP and Camilla Baldwin Solicitors, specialises in divorce and all family related matters including separation, pre-nuptial agreements and children matters.

Hazel has extensive experience representing high-profile and ultra high-net-worth clients and frequently advises in high conflict situations with complex assets and across several jurisdictions. She represents clients across the worlds of media, music, international sportsmen and politicians, both in the UK and globally.

New Senior Associate to Head up Bristol Office’s Employment Law Team

Specialist Employment Lawyer, Angela West has joined Davies and Partners Solicitors as a Senior Associate, to head up the Firm’s Bristol Office Employment Law Team.

Angela, who has over 20 years’ experience in employment law, joins Davies and Partners from Goughs Solicitors in Wiltshire, where she worked for five years as Head of Employment and Head of Healthcare Sector.

In her new role, Angela will be helping to expand Davies and Partners’ specialist legal services and to provide practical and proactive advice to both employers and employees, throughout Bristol and across the South West.

Angela has extensive experience acting for SMEs, national and international companies, undertaking all aspects of employment work, both contentious and non-contentious. She has also acted for charities and various institutions within the education sector.

Happy New Year to you all!

Against the backdrop of another lockdown, the construction industry is to be commended for continuing to work on projects in very difficult circumstances. Since the start of the New Year there have been a few developments worth noting:

  1. 7 January: CLC Seventh Site Operating Procedures published: https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/site-operating-procedures-version-7-published/

  2. 8 January: RICS public consultation opens on guidance for the valuation of buildings with cladding: https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/latest-news/press/press-releases/new-consultation-as-guidance-aims-to-improve-consistency-in-ews1-requests/: our recent articles on the Grenfell tragedy here Grenfell- planning for fire protection and Grenfell Tower - taking action

  3. Government £30 million fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding opens, including retrospective recovery of cost of alarms installed after 17 December 2020 and a deadline for submission of 30 June 2021: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-relief-fund.

Grenfell- planning for fire protection

Since our article, Grenfell Tower- taking action, The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Order 2020 has been made. Coming into force on 30th of December 2020, it requires that an applicant seeking prior approval of a development of an existing building of 18 meters or more, must provide a report from a chartered engineer (or other relevant professional) confirming that the external wall structure adequately resists the spread of fire over the walls and from building to building.

Attention All Residential Landlords

The Government has produced a new version of the How to Rent guide, entitled “How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England”.

The significance of this is that a landlord under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) will be prevented from serving a notice seeking possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, unless it has provided the tenant with prescribed information, including the current version of the How to Rent guide. Therefore it is essential the new version of the guide is given to a tenant at the outset of the tenancy, along with:

 An Energy Performance Certificate
 A Gas Safety Certificate
 Prescribed information in relation to deposit protection, if a deposit is taken

Medical Negligence Specialist Rachel Bowen Achieves Reaccreditation to the Law Society Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme

Davies and Partners Solicitor’s medical negligence specialist, Rachel Bowen, has gained reaccreditation to the prestigious Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme.

The Law Society Clinical Negligence Accreditation is a recognised quality standard for practitioners representing claimants in clinical negligence matters. The Law Society’s stringent rules require a formal application for reaccreditation every three years.

 

Davies and Partners Solicitors Joins the Bristol Green Capital Partnership

We are pleased to announce that Davies and Partners Solicitors has become a member of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership is a network of organisations that have pledged to work towards a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all. The Partnership is a further boost to our move to become more sustainable generally and in our Bristol office move in December to a new location within the Aztec West Business Park in Almondsbury, Bristol.

Directors Suzanne Williams and Ewan Kilgour are managing the Bristol office relocation, assisted on sustainability issues by Head of Construction, Jan Grimshaw.

Several patients affected by Bariatric surgery errors at Southmead Hospital, Bristol

Davies and Partners’ Medical Negligence team specialises in surgical cases and are currently acting for several Claimants who underwent Bariatric surgery involving a surgical error made by Mr James Hopkins, Consultant General Surgeon at Southmead hospital in Bristol. 

The surgical error Mr Hopkins made during these surgeries have caused each Claimant to suffer avoidable complications and injury.

Employment Law Update - Back to the Future
Furlough Scheme back, Job Support Scheme delayed

Another day, another change in direction. Just as we were all beginning to implement the Job Support Scheme this has been delayed and we are back with furlough. So far as I can ascertain the Government has not published the detail as yet. However, from what I can gather it is intended that ongoing furlough will look much more like the scheme back in the summer. The Government will contribute 80% of salary up to £2,500 per month. The employer will need to pay National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions. There will still be the availability of flexi-furlough.

It appears that there is no requirement for a person being furloughed to have previously been on furlough, but they must have been on the company’s payroll as at 23:59 on Friday 30th October.

Davies and Partners’ Doubles up on Rugby Player Sponsorship

Davies and Partners is to continue and expand upon, its long-standing sponsorship of Players at Gloucester Rugby Club.
This year the Firm will be sponsoring New Zealand born, Full Back, Jason Woodward, who has played for the Cherry and White’s since 2016. Although Jason was born in New Zealand, he is English qualified through residency and has trained with the English squad.

In addition, Davies and Partners will also be sponsoring a second player - 19-year-old Hooker, Ethan Hunt, who was born and bred in Gloucester and who has risen through the Club’s Academy Squad. Ethan played his Club rugby for Longlevens RFC, where our IT Manager Dan Smith, is a coach with the junior section of the club.

Grenfell Tower - taking action

Before the night of 14th June 2017, to most people around my age, Grenfell was Joyce Grenfell the comedienne who delivered quirky monologues as a strict school mistress. Now Grenfell means tragedy. The impact of Grenfell has been rippling through the construction industry and the emergency services ever since that night. Recently, we had harrowing testimony from those involved in the design and construction of the refurbishment.

In response to the Grenfell disaster, the Government commissioned an Independent Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt, which was published on 17 May 2018. The review introduced the notion of a ‘Golden Thread’ of information about structural and fire safety, which is reflected in the Building Safety Bill (the Bill) published on 20 July 2020. It is intended that design and fire safety information will be held digitally in accordance with specified standards and will weave through the various stages of the construction process and into occupation.

Employment Law Update - Job Support Scheme


The Government has now announced significant changes to the intended Job Support Scheme. The basic principles of the Scheme, such as the 6 month running period starting on the 1st November and the eligibility criteria for businesses, remain the same as set out in our previous explanation (https://www.daviesandpartners.com/news-events/427-employment-regulatory-law-update-move-over-furlough-leave).

However, there are a number of key changes that have been implemented to offer greater support to businesses. These changes are available across the UK and are not limited to businesses located in high-alert level areas. The significant details which have so far been announced are:

• The required minimum number of normal working hours that an employee must work has been reduced from one-third to 20%, during which time employers must still pay the contracted wage. Therefore, if an employee previously worked for 5 days a week, they would now only need to work 1 day to become eligible.

Assignment – accrued and future rights

Energy Works (Hull) Ltd v MW High Tech Projects UK Ltd and OUTOTEC (USA) INC [2020] EWHC 2537 (TCC) concerned a power plant. The main contract was an amended IChemE Red Book 5th edition, 2013 and the subcontract an amended IChemE Yellow Book 4th edition, 2013. The main contract was terminated by the Employer (EWHL) and the subcontract was assigned to EWHL. All well and good, until EWHL commenced proceedings against the contractor (MW) for damages estimated to be in the sum of £133m for the costs of rectifying defects, delay damages and additional costs. MW disputed the claim and pursued a counterclaim against EWHL. MW sought to claim against the subcontractor (O) in respect of sums claimed by EWHL.

The Court had to decide preliminary issues as to the effect of the assignment from O to EWHL and whether MW could pursue its claims against O as direct claims under the sub-contract or under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 (CLA).

No More Reverses on VAT Reverse Charge

Despite being delayed on two occasions, HMRC’s Domestic Reverse Charge for Building and Construction Services (VAT Reverse Charge) starts in the Spring of 2021.

This means that the construction sector has another change to grapple with, against the already uniquely challenging Covid-19 backdrop.

The VAT Reverse Charge is to help combat organised crime groups operating within the construction industry. We all know what these criminals do - charge VAT and never account to HMRC for it. However, moving the obligation to pay VAT to HMRC up the supply chain impacts on the cashflow of contractors and subcontractors.

Who is affected by these changes,and when?

Contractors and subcontractors who are registered for the purposes of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and receive building and construction services from others will be required to pay those others net of VAT and account for the VAT to HMRC.

Employment & Regulatory Law Update - Move over furlough leave, make way for the Job Support Scheme


It has been clear for some time that the furlough scheme would come to an end on 31st October. The Chancellor has been under increasing pressure to put something in its place and yesterday the Job Support Scheme was announced. This is about supporting jobs where there is some work available and it is believed that in time the work will increase. If a role is genuinely redundant the scheme encourages this fact to be recognised so that employees are not kept on when there is no prospect of a return and are encouraged to look for work elsewhere, perhaps in a different sector.

The detail is yet to be published, but the following headlines are known: -

• An employee must work at least one-third of his or her normal working hours. There is no problem with the employee working longer hours than that. The employer must pay for hours actually worked in full. For the hours not worked, the Government will pay one-third, the employer will pay one-third and the employee will give up one-third of his or her wage.

Covid-19 Impact on Employment Law

With the furlough scheme apparently on the wind down there have been fewer employment law developments of late. The Government has been concentrating upon Covid-19 and more recently Brexit has come onto the agenda. Courts and Tribunals have been hearing many fewer cases and therefore not making much new law.

Covid-19 has further impacted upon delays in the Employment Tribunal service. Pre-lockdown there was a backlog of single cases of 30,687. By the end of June, it had increased to 36,616. No doubt it is higher than this now. Tribunals stopped hearing cases altogether for a period and have more recently been undertaking hearings using video facilities. To compound this, the increase in redundancy dismissals which has already occurred, and which will no doubt accelerate during the Autumn, is predicted to lead to a further rise in cases, especially as many employees will fail to obtain alternative work quickly. The wait for a final hearing is getting longer and longer. The worst region appears to be the South East. At present cases of 2 or more days duration are being listed for well into 2022!

Isaac Qualifies as Solicitor and joins the Construction Department after training at Davies and Partners

Davies and Partners is delighted to announce that Isaac Cole has qualified as a Solicitor following the completion of his training contract with the firm.

Isaac started work at Davies and Partners as a secretary whilst he studied for his Legal Practice Course (LPC) four years ago. Isaac began his training contract in 2018. As a trainee, Isaac had placements in the Firm’s Bristol Office in the Medical Negligence Department and then in the Construction Department before he moved to the Firm’s London, Office.

Having successfully completed his two years of training and qualified, Isaac has now been offered a position as Solicitor in the Construction Department where he will deal with contentious construction and general litigation matters.

Commenting on his new role Isaac said, “The process to qualify as a solicitor is acknowledged as being extensive and testing and I can certainly vouch for this. I am extremely proud and excited to have now qualified and to begin my career as a Solicitor. Davies and Partners has accommodated and supported me throughout the years of my training and I am now looking forward to a long and prosperous career with the Firm.”

Commenting Legal Director Suzanne Williams, who heads up the Firm’s Bristol Medical Negligence team where Isaac began his training, said, “Qualifying as a Solicitor is a long and at times difficult journey. It is very competitive and there are many stages that have to be completed. Isaac has worked extremely hard and we would all like to congratulate him on reaching this final goal and to wish him all the very best in his future career.”

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