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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Wednesday
Feb072018

Power of Attorney Registration Fees… Are you due a refund?

Last year the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) admitted to charging excessive fees for registering Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) for the period 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2017.

The fees charged (£130 per document from April 2013 to September 2013 and £110 per document from October 2013 to March 2017) were well above the costs the OPG incurred in processing the applications.

Government agencies are not permitted to make a profit unless they have specific legislative authority.  The amount owed is estimated at £89 million and a scheme is now in place to refund those that have overpaid.

The refund can be claimed online and the process takes around ten minutes.  You can expect to receive the funds in around 12 weeks if approved.

Who can claim a refund?

The claim must be made by either

  • The ‘donor’ - the person who made the power of attorney; or
  • An ‘attorney’ - appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA.

The refunds are payable to the donor, even if the claim is made by the attorney.  You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you registered more than one power of attorney, but refunds can be payable for multiple registration fees. 

Please note that Greene & Greene cannot claim a refund on behalf of a client, even if we were involved in the preparation and/or registration of a power of attorney.

How much you will get?

How much you get depends on when you paid the fees.

When you paid the fee

Refund for each document registered

01/04/2013 – 30/09/2013

£54 plus 0.5% interest.

01/10/2013 – 31/03/2014

£34 plus 0.5% interest.

01/04/2014 – 31/03/2015

£37 plus 0.5% interest.

01/04/2015 – 31/03/2016

£38 plus 0.5% interest.

01/04/2016 – 31/03/2017

£45 plus 0.5% interest.

If you applied for a remission when you made your application and paid a reduced fee, you will get a reduced refund.

Example:

Mr & Mrs. Smith made Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and for Health and Welfare in August 2013 but did not register them. 

In July 2016 Mr Smith began to lose capacity and he decided to register his Lasting Powers of Attorney so they would be available to his Attorneys to use in the future.

The refund due to Mr Smith is £90 (plus interest), being £45 per document.

How to claim

Claims can be made online via the following link:  https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund

In certain cases it may be necessary to claim by phone.

If you have any questions relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact Martine Swaep (martineswaep@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717458).

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

Friday
Jan192018

Introducing Stuart Hughes as our new Managing Partner

We are pleased to announced the appointment of Stuart Hughes as our new Managing Partner, in the 125th year of the firm.

Stuart joined Greene & Greene in July 2012 and is a specialist family lawyer and Head of the Family & Matrimonial Department. Stuart has over 20 years of experience specialising in Family Law and is well regarded for his ability to handle all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, separation, finances and disputes concerning children. He is an accredited Family Law specialist, member of Resolution, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer.

“I am very much looking forward to my additional role at Greene & Greene and would like to thank Simon Ratcliffe, who has done an excellent job as Managing Partner for the past three years. Thanks also to my fellow partners for their support and their vote of confidence.  We have just begun our 125th anniversary celebrations, having originally been established in Bury St Edmunds in 1893, and the team of 80 lawyers and support staff have big plans for the year ahead.  This is an exciting time for the whole firm.”

Simon Ratcliffe, will continue in his role as the Head of Greene & Greene’s leading Company Commercial team, specialising in the acquisition, disposal and reorganisation of businesses.  The team advised upon transactions with a total aggregate value of circa £1bn during 2017.

For further information please telephone Jools Windermere on 01284 717430, visit www.greene-greene.com and follow @greenegreenelaw.

Wednesday
Jan102018

A year of equal pay

It is a century since women first won the right to vote in Britain. Let us honour that brave generation by making this the year we win equal pay.” Carrie Gracie, Journalist.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 was introduced 48 years ago to ensure equal pay for men and women who do equivalent or ‘like’ work, yet women are still earning less than men. 

The Government has pledged to ‘end gender pay gap in a generation.’  Consequently, gender pay gap reporting is now mandatory for all organisations with 250 or more employees.

We predicted that one of the consequences of publishing the gender pay gap would be an increase in grievances about pay which in turn could result in equal pay claims; our prediction was right!

Last year the BBC published a 10.7% gender pay gap. As a result, according to BBC Women, a group of about 150 broadcasters and producers made complaints about equal pay.  

Carrie Gracie, who worked as the China Editor for the BBC learned that in the previous financial year, the two men earned at least 50% more than the two women”.  She maintains that “this is not the gender pay gap that the BBC admits to.... It is pay discrimination and it is illegal.” The BBC maintains that there were differences between roles which justified the pay gap. Carrie Gracie resigned as a result of a “dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process which still has no outcome.” It is said that the BBC have commissioned PwC to conduct a pay audit of all ‘on-air’ staff. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also recently announced that it will consider whether further action against the BBC is required.

The BBC is not however the only organisation which has identified a gender pay gap.  Based on the data published to date (of approximately 500 organisations); PwC themselves have a high gender pay gap, with a 33.1% difference in women’s pay compared to men. Based on published data, the highest is Phase Eight with a 64.8% difference. Virgin Money, Ladbrokes Coral and Easy Jet have all been in the news recently as a result of their high gender pay gap.

The pressure for transparency and equal pay is growing; is your business ready for this change?

Links:

http://carriegracie.com/news.html

https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/Viewing/search-results

 Contact Us

If you have any questions on gender pay gap reporting, equal pay or employment law generally please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446).

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

Friday
Jan052018

Divorce - Don’t leave me this way

Act One – cupid strikes

Zoom, just one kiss and then my heart went boom. Girl (or boy) you look wonderful tonight. You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, it’s true. I have never had such a feeling of complete and utter love. Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married. Love is all you need.

Final Act – the end

I hate you so much right now. Shoot that poison arrow. What’s a matter you? Got no respect? Argh… shaddup-a you face! You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille. D.i.v.o.r.c.e

If, like us, you are more than a little sceptical of the myriad of headlines announcing that today, tomorrow or whenever is ‘D-Day’ and the soundtrack to your life is most definitely not songs selected by the self-serving writers of the press but you have issues with your relationship, then why not talk to someone who…

  • Listens to you and will help you find solutions that are best for you and your family
  • Will steer you towards a collaborative (non-confrontational) approach to addressing the issues that arise on a relationship breakdown
  • Are members of Resolution – first for family law – and who follow their code of practice
  • Have specialists who can offer Mediation, Collaborative Law, Round Table discussions and (if required) court based solutions.

If you require any further advice regarding divorce or separation please contact Stuart Hughes (stuarthughes@greene-greene.com or call direct on 01284 717493)

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

Wednesday
Jan032018

Update on Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Employers with 250 or more employees have until 4 April 2018 to publish their gender pay gap reports. To date, only 502 employers (out of an estimated 9,000) have reported on their gender pay obligations.

If you require any assistance in order to comply with your obligations under Gender Pay Gap Reporting (GPGR) please get in touch with our Employment Team.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) has launched a consultation on its proposal to use enforcement powers to take action against employers who do not comply with the requirement to publish information on their gender pay gap.

The consultation for the planned approach to enforcement will run until 2 February 2018.

In summary the ECHR’s proposal includes:

  • Encouraging overall compliance, such as posting the number of compliant and non-compliant employers on social media before and just after the compliance date.
  • Promotion of enforcement work in order to encourage other employers to comply with the GPGR.
  • Informal action and cooperation is the preferred option but formal enforcement action will be pursued where employers do not comply.
  • In 2018/19, the intention is to focus enforcement work on employers who do not publish the information required by the GPGR. If they have the capacity to do so, they may also take action against employers for publication of inaccurate data.

Further information about the proposal and responding to the consultation are available by following the link below.

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/what-we-do/our-consultations/our-plans-enforce-gender-pay-gap-regulations-have-your-say

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Dec152017

Tribunal Claims up by 64% 

The Ministry of Justice published the tribunals’ quarterly statistics on 14 December 2017. In the period of July to September 2017 the number of single claims received increased by 64% to the highest rise in the past four years. By way of comparison, the increase in claims in the previous quarter (between April and June 2017) was only 2%. This sharp increase can only be as a result of the abolition of tribunal fees on 26 July 2017.  This culture change highlights the importance for employers to follow fair procedures and make sound decisions when it comes to their employees.

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446).

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