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.

agr (1) Agriculture & Farming (9) Arbitration (2) Articles (11) Bribery Act (1) Business (36) Business Law (2) Charity (1) Charity Fundraising (9) Children Issues (10) Cohabitation (11) Collaborative Law (4) Commercial (9) Commercial Property (12) Compromise Agreements (5) Construction Law (1) Consumer (3) Contracts (2) Copyright (1) Corporate and M&A (18) Corporate Finance (7) Debt Recovery (2) Defamation (1) Development Rights (1) Dispute Resolution (48) Disputed Wills (6) Divorce (14) Divorce and Separation (27) Education (1) Employment (43) Employment Advice (23) Employment Law (31) Employment Rights (15) Employment Tribunal (14) Environment Agency Prosecutions (2) Environmental Law (5) Expert Witnesses (1) Family Businesses (6) Family Law (35) Family Mediation (9) fFamily Mediation (1) Freedom Workshop (1) GDPR (1) General (14) Health & Safety (2) Inheritance Tax (2) Insolvency & Bankruptcy (1) Insurance (3) Intellectual Property (4) Landlord & Tenant (7) Lasting Powers of Attorney (4) Lawyers (3) Legal Update (6) Letter of Claim (2) Marriage (11) Motoring (12) Pension (1) Personal Affairs (13) Personal Injury (9) Pre-nuptial Agreements (5) Professional Advisers (4) Professional Negligence (3) Profile (2) Property (18) Property Disputes (18) Redundancies (7) Renewable Energy (2) Residential Conveyancing (8) Scams (1) Selling (1) Selling Company (1) Seminar (2) Small Claims (1) SME (1) Social Media (2) Tax (5) Tax Planning (6) Terms and Conditions (2) Trusts (6) UKELA (1) Unfair Dismissal (5) Wills & Estates (14) Wind Farm (2) Workshop (2) wWills & Estates (1)



Monthly Archives


Data breach by rogue employee – are you insured?

Last week the Court of Appeal handed down a significant judgment in the case of WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court that Morrisons was vicariously liable for a data breach caused by a rogue employee.

In 2014, Mr Skelton, a senior IT auditor (who had a grudge against his employer following disciplinary action the year before), published personal and confidential information of almost 100,000 Morrisons employees on the internet; the information was also sent to three newspapers.

Mr Skelton’s role involved the receiving, storing and disclosing of payroll data to auditors. However, the breach occurred when he published personal data from his home, on his personal computer and outside of working hours.

Over 5,500 employees brought claims against Morrisons for damages for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.

The Court of Appeal agreed that what happened was a ”seamless and continuous sequence of events” and was within the field of activities assigned to Mr Skelton by Morrisons.

What is novel about this case is that it is the first reported case in which the motive of the employee was to deliberately harm the employer, rather than for any personal gain.

The Court of Appeal was not persuaded by the argument that a finding of vicarious liability in this case would result in ‘Doomsday’ or ‘Armageddon’ for employers. The Court of Appeal recognised that data breaches may, depending on the circumstances, lead to a large number of claims against companies for potentially ruinous amounts. However, it observed that a solution would be for employers to insure against catastrophes, and losses caused by dishonest or malicious employees.

It is understood that Morrisons intend to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Skelton was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in July 2015 for his actions.

If you have any questions on employment law or data protection please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

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


Employment Barrister Angharad is competing at Horse of the Year Show

On Thursday Angharad who works in our employment team will be competing with her horse, Woody at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). HOYS is “the world’s most famous horse show” which most horse owners and riders aspire to be a part of.

Earlier this month the pair were champion at the British Show Horse Association National Championship Show. 

We wish them the best of luck at HOYS.


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!


£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


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.


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.