Solicitors in Market Harborough

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We aim to provide practical guidance on useful areas of busness law.  

By brocs1, Jun 28 2017 08:49AM

We are often instructed by clients who have experienced problems with plumbing works at their residential property. A frequent problem is where a plumber fails to carry out works with reasonable care and skill and the plumber then demands payment by issuing an invoice. The invoice is then disputed by the customer and a stalemate is reached.

The first stage is to attempt to resolve the dispute amicably. If the parties are no longer on speaking terms you should consider writing a formal letter to the plumber explaining why the invoice is not going to be paid. You should outline the reasons why you believe the plumber failed to use reasonable care and skill. It may be sensible at this stage to get a quote for the remedial works required (to find out how much it costs to put right the work that the plumber did/damage caused). The quote for the remedial works can be used as evidence later down the line and can also be used to quantify your anticipated financial losses


Disputes over the quality of workmanship can be subjective and what appears to be a significant problem to the customer (damage to tiles, damage to a shower unit/toilet) can be seen differently by the plumber who caused the damage. Photographs of the damage (if the damage is visible) should be attached to the first letter to the plumber and copies of the letter and the photographs should be kept by you.

The first letter would typically notify the plumber of the steps needed to put right the works (this can either be in the form of compensation – if you are instructing an alternative plumber/tradesperson to carry out the works) or if you propose that the plumber carries out the remedial works. If you do not receive a response from the plumber to this first letter you can send a further letter known as a “letter before claim” giving the plumber 28 days to agree to a remedy (compensation or the remedial works). The letter would state that if after 28 days have expired a satisfactory resolution has not been achieved then a county court claim will be issued. In the “letter before claim” it may be advisable to put the plumber on notice that your claim will include i. the costs of the remedial works ii. court costs iii. Interest. If after the 28 days have expired you have not received a response county court proceedings can be issued. Once the claim has been issued the plumber will have a limited time to respond and if the plumber fails to respond to the proceedings then a county court judgment (a CCJ) can be entered in default.

We often advise clients who have reached the stage where they have issued a county court claim and then received a defence from the other side. The court process can be daunting to those unfamiliar with the terminology and we understand that clients often feel more confident when legally represented.

Summerfield Browne Solicitors have offices in London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford and Market Harborough, Leicester. Our administrative office is at the Harborough Innovation Centre, Leicester Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7WB.

By brocs1, Jun 23 2017 10:14AM

It came as little surprise when the FA (football association) announced the end of their 4-year sponsor with the betting giant Ladbrokes. A deal worth reportedly in the region of £4 million a year.

The FA is renowned for its blanket ban which it imposes on all footballers betting on matches worldwide. It is this blanket ban which some saw as contradicting the sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes, and which placed pressure on the FA to end the deal. Examples of the strict penalties are well publicised, recently headlines saw Joey Barton at the forefront after receiving an 18-month ban for breaching the rule.

Sponsorship agreements vary in size and while all are not in the region of the 7 figure deals, they can add value to a team in many other ways. Even smaller teams rely on sponsorship agreements to promote the team and they are a vital method of funding. Sponsorship agreements will vary in length and size and can be rather bespoke arrangements between the two parties.

A sponsorship agreement should contain certain key clauses, including obligations of both parties, consideration, exclusivity rights, intellectual property rights and other boilerplate clauses.

Summerfield Browne Solicitors are specialists in sports law and drafting sporting agreements. They have an administrative office at the Harborough Innovation Centre, Leicester Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7WB.

By brocs1, Jun 15 2017 03:04PM

The decision for Britain to leave the EU was decided on Thursday 23 June 2016, and whilst most of the politician’s arguments concerned issues of the free movement of people and goods and the implications that Brexit would have on our own legal system, the world of intellectual property law appeared somewhat absent from the political debates.

Intellectual property rights are an amalgamation of rights afforded to a company or an individual. They vary by the particular right, with the most commonly heard of being trademarks and copyrights.

At present, ‘design right’ which is an intellectual property right can afford protection to a ‘design’ in the UK and the EU. There are four different types of design right, these are;

- Unregistered design right in the UK;

- Registered design right in the UK;

- Unregistered community design; and

- Registered community design.

Each of the above rights are separate and carry with them differentiating features, including the scope of protection and the duration of said protection.

One market sector which has already expressed its concerns regarding the implications of Brexit is the fashion industry. The fashion industry is a market sector which is heavily reliant upon the unregistered community design right protection, however this will no longer have any effect in the UK after the UK leaves the EU. The fashion industry must remain adaptive and with new releases each season, it would add unnecessary complications to companies in the sector if they were under an obligation to register each new design, however this could be the predicament that these companies will soon face.

As previously stated, the fashion industry has been reliant on the unregistered community design. A reason for this is that the unregistered community design right protection protects surface decoration, whereas the UK registered design right does not. It will still be possible to obtain an unregistered community design right after the UK leaves the EU which will still be valid throughout the remaining EU countries. To achieve this companies will have to first release their product in the EU prior to its launch in the UK.

Summerfield Browne Solicitors have offices in London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough, Leicester.

By sfbsolicitors, Jun 7 2017 10:55AM

The term paralegal is defined as “a person qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of the law and procedures but who is not a qualified solicitor, barrister or chartered legal executive”.

The number involved in law has significantly increased during the last few years. They can work for, or be retained by solicitors within the legal profession.

Paralegals provide a unique service for law firms, since they can provide cost effective services that a more qualified solicitor might not be able to. This happens in litigation matters where a claimant or defendant requires legal assistance but cannot afford the fees of a more qualified solicitor. This is particularly the case with small claims where fees generally cannot be recovered, even if the claimant or defendant is successful, and therefore the client might not wish to incur significant legal costs.

Paralegals can also provide invaluable support on large litigation matters where there is a lot of documentation which needs to be recorded and filed, and where it would not be appropriate or too costly to involve a more experienced lawyer.

Paralegals provide an invaluable service. At Summerfield Browne we use them to deal with litigation, corporate/commercial and commercial property matters. They have their own case load and manage their matters under supervision.

If you wish to join Summerfield Browne as a paralegal please contact us on 01858 414284

Summerfield Browne Solicitors have offices in London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough, Leicester.

By sfbsolicitors, May 31 2017 11:32AM

Do you own a property which you let out to more than three households? Yes

Are the occupiers of the property using the property as their main residence? Yes

At least one occupier pays rent on the property? Yes

If you have answered yes to the questions above then you may need a licence under the Housing Act 2004. Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 provides certain criteria to determine as to whether your property falls under the definition of “House in Multiple Occupation” commonly known as an “HMO”. There are however certain exemptions such as social housing (where the HMO rules do not apply).

From October 2010, properties that have changed from dwelling houses to HMOs may no longer require planning permission. Under the Permitted Development Order properties defined as HMO under class C4 of the Town & Country Planning Act do not require planning permission for the change of use. However, a local authority can under Article 4 make a direction to remove these automatic rights. Accordingly, it is always best in the first instance, to seek guidance from the local authority as to whether an Article 4 direction has been made.

Examples of HMOs include:-

• A property occupied by 2 or more households* sharing amenities, such as a kitchen/bathroom;

• A landlord sharing his/her property with 2 or more tenants sharing amenities;

• Student accommodation owned by a private landlord letting out to students exclusively;

• Where a building or a part of a building has been converted into self-contained flats; or

• Where the whole of the building has been converted into self-contained flats but does not meet Building Regulations 1991 (Section 257 HMO).

* 'Household' may be a single person or a family (couples, including same sex couples, children, parents etc) living together.

Summerfield Browne Solicitors have expertise in commercial property law and have offices in London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough, Leicester.

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