About us

Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Friday
Aug312018

Who's ready for the Accumulator Challenge ?

Greene & Greene is proud to announce that it will once again be participating in the 2018 Jacobs Allen Accumulator Challenge in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care.

To raise funds for this incredible charity we invite local businesses to take part in our Laser Tag Tournament at Planet Laser on Western Way in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday 20th September from 6pm. Entry this year is £150 per team of up to 6 people which includes a hot and cold buffet at the venue after the tournament.

All proceeds will go to St Nicholas Hospice.

If your business would like to participate in the challenge for this year’s title of ‘Laser Tag Champions’, please contact andrewcooper@greene-greene.com by Monday 10th September.

We look forward to seeing you in the arena!

Thursday
Aug302018

£43,000 and rising for St. Nicholas Hospice Care

Nick Duncan, Martine Swaep & Suzanne Wiseman

Bury St. Edmunds law firm Greene & Greene Solicitors has been supporting ‘Wills Weeks’ in aid of St. Nicholas Hospice Care since 2011.

As an alternative to charging a fee for the service, legal advisers ask for a donation to the Hospice. In the past 8 years Greene & Greene has received donations totalling £35,831. With a Gift Aid top-up from HMRC of £7,542.75, the final amount raised totals an astonishing £43,373.75 thanks to the generous contributions of clients and the hard work of the Private Client team at the firm.

Trusts & Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep said, “We offer 25 appointments during Wills Weeks and they are all booked well in advance of the cut-off date with a significant number of people opting to join a waiting list should a late cancellation become available. We are astounded once again by the generosity of our clients and grateful for their continued support of such a worthy cause”.  

On being presented with this year’s donations, St. Nicholas Hospice Care’s Legacy Officer Nick Duncan said “Once again this year the Private Client team at Greene & Greene has worked hard to secure a remarkably generous level of Wills Weeks donations from their clients which enables us to continue our support of people with long-term and life-limiting conditions entirely free of charge. We value very much Greene & Greene’s commitment to us and we are both humbled and delighted to note the extent of their and their clients’ contributions over the years.  Long may they continue!”

If you are considering making a Will please contact Martine Swaep (martineswaep@greene-greene.com or 01284 717458) or Sandra Bowden (sandrabowden@greene-greene.com or 01284 717411) who would be happy to talk through the process and advise of estimated costs.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw

Tuesday
Jul312018

Heads (of Terms) you win, Tails…

The phrases that corporate lawyers hear most often during initial conversations with clients are: “it is pretty straightforward” and "everything is agreed".  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for this not to be the case at all!  In the light of this, lawyers, accountants, business sales agents and corporate finance specialists will always recommend that "Heads of Terms” (or a “Term Sheet") are prepared and agreed.  Estate Agents commonly deal with property sales in a similar way, by circulating a “Memorandum of Sale”.

The main focus of Heads of Terms is to agree points of principle in writing, clarify any major issues and provide an aide memoire for the proposed transaction.  The detail will follow in the documents that are to be drafted by and negotiated between the lawyers.  

An important point to remember is that Heads of Terms are not intended to be legally binding.  Parties will not usually want to go 'back on their word' or contradict a previously agreed written term, which can damage goodwill.  However, it is common for issues to arise once due diligence has commenced and an unknown liability or risk arises.  I always recommend that the document states on the face of it that it is not legally binding. If you intend the Heads to contain legally binding provisions, e.g. confidentiality, exclusivity, costs contributions or deposits, it is wise to seek legal advice at this stage.

This is a good opportunity to also consider the tax implications for the parties. Your accountant or tax adviser will be able to assist you with this. An experienced adviser may quickly discover an issue that the parties may not have previously considered.

Every deal is different and has its own particular set of circumstances, but here are some pointers on what to consider:

  • Who are the parties?  This seems an obvious point, but is the purchaser the individual(s) that have negotiated the deal or a corporate entity?  If one of the parties is from a corporate group, which company will be involved?  Include contact details for all parties and their advisers - it will save time in the end. Furthermore, if the deal is for a set of assets, what is included and what is excluded?
  • What is the purchase price? Details such as any deposit, deferred payments, contingent payments, and any security that is required should all be noted in the Heads.  Is the purchase price dependent upon performance of the business or the net assets at completion?  What about cash, retained profits or any debts that are currently in the business?
  • Are there any conditions to the deal proceeding?  This could include further due diligence, the performance of the business, receipt of external funding, tax clearance, regulatory or shareholder approval.
  • Should the sellers be restricted from competing with the target business after the sale?  The length of time and geographical area should be noted.
  • When is this due to happen?  Try to be realistic.

The initial time and effort committed to the preparation of a complete set of Heads of Terms can remove much of the pain of corporate transactions and put the parties in the best position to ensure that the deal runs on time, on budget and 11th hour negotiations are avoided.

For help and guidance in all matters regarding your business please contact Mark Daly, a partner at Greene & Greene solicitors in Bury St Edmunds, on 01284 717500 or markdaly@greene-greene.com.  For more information on Greene & Greene please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow @greenegreenelaw.

This article was first published in Business East Monthly Magazine on July 17 2018.

Wednesday
Jul252018

Stand by your man?

  1. The Respondent prioritised his work over home life and was often inflexible in making time available for the family, often missing family holidays and events.
  2. The Respondent did not provide the Petitioner with love, attention or affection and was not supportive of her role as a homemaker and mother.
  3. The Respondent suffered from mood swings, which caused frequent arguments.
  4. The Respondent was unpleasant and disparaging about the Petitioner, both to her and their family and friends.

Are these examples of one person behaving in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to continue living with them?

Until the case of Owens v Owens, first heard in 2016, most divorce lawyers would have said this was sufficient.

English law does not recognise so called “no fault” divorce until parties have been separated for two years and only then if they both consent. Otherwise it is necessary to wait for five years to divorce without blaming the other party.

Often one party has to rely upon the other party’s unreasonable behaviour in order to begin divorce proceedings straightaway. English family lawyers have for many years advised their clients to draft allegations of unreasonable behaviour as mildly as possible so as to avoid creating further animosity, especially where there are children involved.

Mr Owens objected to his wife’s divorce petition based upon his unreasonable behaviour and maintained the marriage had not irretrievably broken down. At the initial hearing the Judge agreed with Mr Owens. He held that the allegations made by the wife were “at best flimsy” and they were “all at most minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage”.

Mrs Owens appealed arguing, amongst other reasons, that the Judge’s decision was wrong as he had failed to assess her subjective view of the husband’s behaviour and the cumulative effect upon her of that behaviour.

The case came before the Court of Appeal in 2017. The appeal was unsuccessful. The Judges however made clear their dissatisfaction with the current legal position. In the words of Lady Justice Hallett “try as I might, I cannot find a legitimate basis for challenging the judge’s conclusions”.  She continued “I very much regret that our decision will leave the wife in a very unhappy situation…On any view, the marriage is over”.

Mrs Owens’ appeal from this decision was heard by the Supreme Court on 17th May 2018 and judgment was given on 25th July 2018. The Supreme Court has also dismissed Mrs Owens’ appeal.

The Supreme Court has described the case as “very troubling” and “generating uneasy feelings”, but has acknowledged it is not for the Court to change the law laid down by Parliament. The Court has suggested Parliament may wish to consider whether to replace the current law.

The results of a study by Professor Liz Trinder at the University of Exeter, which was funded by The Nuffield Foundation, found that divorce petitions are often not accurate descriptions of why a marriage broke down. In addition, the use of fault may trigger, or exacerbate, parental conflict, which has a negative impact upon children. The study also found no support for the common argument that allowing fault may protect marriages because having to provide a reason for the divorce encourages spouses to think twice about separating.

Resolution, an organisation representing 6,500 solicitors and other professionals involved with family law issues, will continue to lobby Parliament for the introduction of no fault divorce, which is already available in many countries including Australia, the USA and Spain.

Resolution propose a divorce procedure whereby one or both partners can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The divorce can then proceed and after six months if one or both parties would still like to proceed the divorce is finalised.

All members of the family team at Greene & Greene are Resolution members and support the introduction of “no fault” divorce.

Mrs Owens will now need to wait until February 2020 to divorce Mr Owens, being the fifth anniversary of their separation.

For further advice following a relationship breakdown please contact Melanie Pilmer, solicitor in the Family Team at Greene & Greene on 01284 717418 or melaniepilmer@greene-greene.com.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Monday
Jul232018

Should you write a Will?

The simple answer to this question is “Yes” but invariably more often than not the answer is likely to be “I haven’t yet, but I will do when the time is right”.

So when is the right time? Trusts and Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep of Greene & Greene talks about the benefits of making a Will.  

Although thinking, talking and planning for death can make you feel uncomfortable, making a Will is one of the most important things to do if you want to be sure that your wishes will be met after you die.

If you die without leaving a Will your assets become subject to the “laws of intestacy”; unforgiving and inflexible rules meaning that your house, savings and other possessions will be distributed under fixed rules as laid down by the law.  This will depend on how you own your assets, in your sole name or jointly. You will also have no say in who administers your estate. These rules may not be in accordance with your wishes, the needs of individuals or family situation, especially if you are unmarried and living with a partner. Equally, if you are married or in a civil partnership, it is a common misconception that everything will pass to your spouse or civil partner when you die. This is not always the case when there is no Will. Your relatives will not only have to cope with your death but also with the uncertainties and injustices of seeing your assets sent where you would not want them to go and decisions being made for you by others. A bad situation is made very much worse, and in some cases the family is left having to pay Inheritance Tax that could have been avoided with some simple planning.

A Will can help to avoid these issues and is the only way to make sure your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people and causes that you care about.

Whilst it is not difficult to make a Will, it does have to be done properly, to avoid costly arguments after your death.

Here are some questions about making a Will. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions and do not currently have a Will, you need to be taking some action:

  • Do you wish to ensure that your estate is inherited by the people you choose?
  • Do you wish your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner to inherit your entire estate?
  • Do you wish to appoint guardians for your young children?
  • Do you wish to set up a trust?
  • Do you wish to pass on your business or farm to people you choose?
  • Do you wish to choose the people (executors) who will be responsible for winding up all your affairs and implementing your wishes?
  • Do you wish to leave a legacy to a friend or charity?

If you have already made a Will you should also ensure that you review it every few years, or as your family circumstances change.

At Greene & Greene Solicitors instructions for Wills are taken by experienced lawyers who know exactly what questions to ask. They will advise you on how best to achieve your intentions without undue complexity or uncertainty, delivering workable solutions in a sympathetic and professional manner.

For more information on Wills please contact Martine Swaep in the Private Client Department martineswaep@greene-greene.com or by calling 01284 717458 (Direct).  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

This article was first pubsihed in the July edition of bury & West Suffolk Magazine.

Wednesday
Jul182018

Bury St. Eds Tri Festival raises £5000.00 for SARS

Five thousand pounds has been raised for local emergency medical charity, Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) thanks to the participants of the 2nd St. Edmunds Tri Festival and the support of event sponsor, local law firm, Greene & Greene Solicitors.

The festival, held at Abbeycroft Leisure in Bury St. Edmunds, saw 261 athletes take part in a variety of events including Triathlon, Aquathlon, and Duathlon with varying distances to suit all ages and abilities.

Michael Batty, Senior Partner at Greene & Greene saidWe were delighted to be given the opportunity of sponsoring the St Eds Tri Festival in our 125th Anniversary year in support of SARS. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and we are therefore thrilled that donations totalled £5000.00 following the event. We thank the organisers, Haversports who contributed £1400 to SARS and local businesses and associates that also supported the event.”

Ben Hall, Operations Manager at SARS said “We were extremely grateful for the support of Greene & Greene throughout the event. Without a doubt, we would not have raised such a fantastic amount without their sponsorship and promotion of the triathlon. Events like this are so important for SARS, not only do they raise vital sums to support equipment and training costs for our emergency medical volunteers but they also raise crucial awareness of our charity. Subsequent to this event, we were delighted to be able to set up a new local SARS responder to increase our coverage in the St Edmundsbury area. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who fundraised on our behalf. It was a brilliant effort by all concerned.”

If you would like to make a donation to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) you can do so by visiting their website at www.sars999.org.uk

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.