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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Thursday
Jul062017

Data Protection is evolving - are you ready?

Angharad Ellis Owen, a Barrister within the Greene & Greene Employment Team, talks about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is due to come into force on 25 May 2018. This new EU regulation replaces the existing Data Protection Act 1998 and aims to keep pace with the evolving digital world.

With Brexit looming, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) reported the government’s confirmation that the UK will be implementing the GDPR. Karen Bradley, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, stated: “We will be members of the EU in 2018 and therefore it would be expected and quite normal for us to opt into the GDPR and then look later at how best we might be able to help British business with data protection while maintaining high levels of protection for members of the public.”  

Whilst Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has told businesses there’s no time to delay in preparing for “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation”, a YouGov report suggests that only 30% of the UK's businesses have so far taken steps to prepare for the introduction of the GDPR.

It has been said that the “GDPR is an evolution of the existing rules, not a revolution” and it is fair to say that the main concepts and principles remain unchanged; for example, the concepts of personal data, data controllers and data processors are broadly similar. However, the GDPR introduces new concepts and enhancements, such as the definition of personal data being extended to include IP addresses. Accountability and transparency are key concepts of the GDPR and preparing for the change will certainly require the attention and additional financial resources from organisations.  

Some of the main changes to be introduced by the GDPR are:

  • Harmonisation – of privacy laws across EU members states.
  • Fines – the ICO wields a bigger stick with fines against data controllers and data processors based on a two-tier basis. For the most serious violations of the law, the ICO will have the power to fine companies up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s total annual worldwide turnover for the preceding year.
  • Consent - the framework for consent is strengthened. Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous, and a positive affirmation of the individual’s agreement. It will no longer be possible to rely on implied consent.  You should therefore review how consent is managed and explore seeking consent to meet the new GDPR requirement.
  • Data breaches – the GDPR places an obligation to notify the ICO within 72 hours of a data breach where it is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, such as through identity theft or a confidentiality breach. The ICO recommends that you take action now to ensure that you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.
  • Subject access requests (SAR) - in most cases the charge will no longer apply to process the SAR and organisations will have a month to comply with a SAR request.
  • Privacy Notices - additional information must be provided to data subjects, such as explaining the lawful basis for processing personal data.
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) - this will become a legal requirement in circumstances where processing operations are likely to present specific risks to data subjects (e.g where new technology is being deployed).
  • Data Protection Officers - whilst public authorities (and some other specific organisations) must designate a named Data Protection Officer who has responsibility for data protection compliance, it is recommended by the ICO that all organisations have such a designated officer.
  • Demonstrating compliance - organisations will need to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR.
  • Children - GDPR introduces special protection for children’s personal data, though only in the context of commercial internet services, such as social networking.
  • International - for organisations that operate in more than one EU member state, the ‘main establishment’ will become the lead data protection supervisory authority.

Action

It is important that you start preparing now, for example you should consider:

  • Conducting an audit of all personal data processed - to understand what personal data you hold, the source of the data and who it is shared with. 
  • Consider why you process this data.
  • Ensure that you have systems (e.g. audit trails) in place to demonstrate compliance.
  • Allocate a Data Protection Officer.
  • Review all data processing contracts with a view to updating from May 2018.
  • Review and update internal policies and procedures, such as Data Protection Policies, Bring Your Own Device to Work Policy, Privacy Notices and Consent.
  • Review, update and/or implement internal processes, e.g. SAR process, DPIA, and data breaches.
  • Consider training key personnel on GDPR, who in turn can cascade knowledge business-wide.

The ICO has produced guidance on the steps that organisations should be taking now to prepare for the introduction of the GDPR (see useful links below).

Contact Us

If you have any questions in relation to your obligations or any other employment law matters please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones  (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717 446).

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

Useful links

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/improve-your-practices/data-protection-self-assessment/getting-ready-for-the-gdpr/

Wednesday
Jul052017

Greene & Greene present Law Award at West Suffolk College

                      

West Suffolk College held its Celebration of Achievement Awards for 2017 in a large marquee in the college grounds on Friday 30 June. This annual event recognises students for their hard work and dedication to their chosen subjects.

Greene & Greene is proud of its association with West Suffolk College and sponsored its ‘Outstanding Student of the Year Business Management (Law)’ award for the second year. Angharad Ellis Owen, Employment Law Barrister at Greene & Greene, was delighted to present the award to Andrew Stokes for his hard work throughout the year, which was rewarded with excellent results.

Hospitality students from the College’s Edmunds restaurant catered for the gala dinner, with entertainment provided by the A Capella student group, Amado, and a choir from Conservatoire East.

If you have any questions regarding employment law matters please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit http://www.greene-greene.com/index.html and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Jun302017

Greene & Greene advises Nexus on acquisition of Vectura 

Greene & Greene has advised Nexus Underwriting Management Limited on its acquisition of Vectura Underwriting, a specialist Marine insurer and reinsurer of niche marine business from Aquila Underwriting LLP.

Andrew Cooper

The Greene & Greene team was headed by mergers and acquisition specialists, Simon Ratcliffe and Andrew Cooper, both partners in the Corporate team at the firm’s office in Bury St. Edmunds.

Founded in October 2008, the Nexus Group is one of the largest and most profitable independent specialty Managing General Agents (MGA) in the London market, concentrating on niche classes of business whilst delivering excellent service and cutting edge products.  Vectura, founded in 2007, will operate as a Nexus Marine business unit within Nexus Underwriting Limited and will continue to specialise in International Cargo and Freight Liability Insurance, ATA Carnet and Customs Bonds associated with the transport of goods. As part of the transaction, founding partners of Vectura, Stephen Fletcher and Tim Hancox, will continue to lead the business and shall bring with them a wealth of experience in the speciality marine market.

Colin Thompson, Founder & Executive Chairman of Nexus commented:

“I have been impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm that has been shown by the Vectura management team through this process and look forward to them joining us at Nexus and helping us to grow our business further.  Simon Ratcliffe, Andrew Cooper and their team at Greene & Greene have been a great support to me and my fellow directors through this process and over the last 10 years as advisers to our company, providing invaluable commercially focused advice, for which we are very grateful.”

Simon RatcliffeSimon Ratcliffe of Greene & Greene added:

“We are delighted to have helped Nexus finalise the acquisition of Vectura Underwriting, and to continue our support of Nexus’s growth strategy. Nexus has made a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years, which have successfully integrated into the Group and we look forward to working with them again on future matters.”

Greene & Greene’s involvement in the acquisition of Vectura Underwriting follows on from its lead role in advising Nexus on its purchase of various businesses since 2011.

If you have any questions with regards to the acquisition, disposal or reorganisation of a private company, or any other Corporate law matters, please contact: Simon Ratcliffe (simonratcliffe@greene-greene.com  ~ 01284 717426) or Andrew Cooper (andrewcooper@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717511).

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

Thursday
Jun152017

Introducing the Gardeners Keeping the Greene & Greene Garden in Tip Top Condition

The Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds, in support of St Nicholas Hospice Care, now in its 31st year is taking place on Sunday 18th June.  Greene & Greene Solicitors has participated for a number of years and the firm is regularly said to have the best office garden in town. The firm’s gardeners, husband and wife Barry & Wendy Hooper-Greenhill, are busy putting the final touches to the Greene & Greene garden in readiness for an enthusiastic group of visitors.

Barry & Wendy have always been interested in gardening but it became a real passion for them when their house they purchased 30 years ago came with a delightful one acre garden.  Whilst both were working in high profile jobs at the time they took pleasure in spending time in their garden, changing and fine-tuning it over the years to what has now become a place to relax and enjoy.

After almost 25 years of working in London, Barry decided it was time to get out of the city and take his passion for gardening and the joy of working outdoors more seriously. Not one for starting small, in 1998 Barry was appointed as head gardener at Kentwell Hall. In 2000 he began working for himself, and with a host of regular clients already filling the majority of his working week he took on the additional role of gardener with Greene & Greene – a position he has lovingly held ever since.

It was during a spate of major surgery, that Wendy deputised for Barry and her passion for the Greene & Greene garden grew, a place that she calls “a contented and calm space”.

Over the years the garden at Greene & Greene has changed considerably, none more so than when additional offices were constructed on the old vegetable patch.  The wall to the back of property separating the garden from the visitor’s car park was demolished to make way for a ramp that allowed access for the builders and their heavy duty equipment.

It was after the buildings were completed that the garden could be reinstated once again - a time that Barry & Wendy fondly remember. “We were given the opportunity of the planning, the design and the planting of the garden”, Barry says.  “We made some mistakes initially as plants that were planted in certain areas of the garden simply didn’t thrive as well as we had liked, due to soil conditions and sunlight that they received, so that first year was a case of moving things around until the garden settled.”

The revived garden has been maturing for the past 10 years and although Barry stepped away from his other gardening clients 18 months ago they continue to look after and maintain the garden at Greene & Greene. “We just love it here, we have seen the garden nurture and grow over the years since putting pen to paper and it’s just such a wonderful place to work.”

Over the years both have been called upon as judges of Bury in Bloom and Barry has also written several articles and features on gardening for local magazines.

This will be Barry’s 17th year as one of the hosts for the Greene & Greene garden during the Hidden Gardens of Bury and says that he is always asked lots and lots of questions regarding the specific names of plants. “What is the name of that tree? (Holm Oak) and what is that beautiful rose called?” being the most popular.

When asked of their favourite plant in the garden, Wendy told of her love for peonies and Barry of his fondness for roses or quite simply “anything that is in flower at the time”.

Greene & Greene’s Senior Partner, Michael Batty, added: “We are very proud of our garden and the way that it contributes to an enjoyable working environment.  We have recently celebrated the 80th anniversary of the firm moving into 80 Guildhall Street and I can see that in my 30 years here the garden has never looked better.  We are hugely grateful for Barry & Wendy’s ongoing commitment, hard work and good humour.  Staff and visitors regularly comment on the exquisite care that they display and their close attention to detail – in fact, these skills would make them excellent lawyers!”

Further information regarding Tickets for the Hidden Gardens of Bury which is in support of St Nicholas Hospice Care serving West Suffolk can be found via the following website: https://www.hiddengardens.co.uk/tickets/

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

Thursday
May252017

Greene & Greene continue its sponsorship of The Suffolk Show

The Suffolk Show is the county’s largest two-day visitor experience and a unique celebration of everything that makes Suffolk great, showcasing its agricultural heritage and unique offering of world-beating food and drink.

Greene & Greene Solicitors has been a loyal advocate of the Suffolk Show for a number of years and are delighted to be supporting the event again as joint sponsors of the Honorary Director’s Dinner.  Held the night before the show, the dinner is an opportunity for the judges, stewards and other supporters to raise a glass to the Show’s success.

Jonathan Mathers, head of the firm's agricultural and rural affairs team, is widely respected for his advice on farming matters and is looking forward to this year’s show. “The show seems to get bigger and better year on year, which is a credit to the team at the Suffolk Agricultural Association. Whilst my colleagues and I have enjoyed working with Bill Baker over the past three years, and wish him all the very best for the future, with this year’s show just around the corner we are delighted to join Bee Kemball, the first female director of the Suffolk Show in its 185-year history, at the Honorary Director’s Dinner”

If you would like advice on agricultural and rural property matters please get in touch with Jonathan Mathers via email at jonathanmathers@greene-greene.com or call him direct on 01284 717404.

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

Friday
May122017

Gender pay gap reporting in practice

In December 2016 we reported on how we had been working with clients for a number of months to prepare them for the new gender pay gap reporting procedures.  

In this latest blog employment specialist, Angharad Ellis Owen, takes us through the gender pay gap reporting obligation that came into effect on 6 April 2017.  Whilst there have been some amendments to the initial draft, which was published in January 2017, the final version of the ACAS Guide ‘Managing Gender Pay Reporting’ is now available. The most notable amendment was that the obligation now also applies to public authorities.

Employers have been wondering how the data will be displayed on the government website. Well, the wait is over as the website is now live and at the time of writing, six employers have already uploaded their gender pay gap information.

You can view it here: https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/Viewing/search-results

The government website

The website has two sections; ‘find employer’ and ‘download data’.  In the ‘find employer’ section, companies are listed by name, address and sector. There is also a function to filter the list of employers by reference to one of 22 sectors.

When selecting the company, the gender pay gap figures are displayed on three ‘tabs’ (1) hourly rate,  (2) pay quartiles, and (3) bonus pay. Surprisingly, despite there being a requirement to publish data relating to the proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment and the proportion of males and females in each quartile band; the website does not provide this data and I wonder whether this is an omission which will be corrected.

The name of the person responsible for the employer’s report is also clearly stated on the page together with their job title. However, this is not a requirement for public sector employers.

Interestingly, despite the ACAS Guide suggesting that employers’ should provide a narrative to support their gender pay gap report there is no section on the website that enables you to document a supporting narrative.  

The Regulations also state that the information must be published on the employer’s website ‘in a manner that is accessible’.  Many employers are waiting to see how others are publishing the data on their respective websites. At the time of writing, there are two examples of how this has been done and can be seen via the following links:

http://www.contractorumbrella.com/genderpayreporting.html https://www.fdmgroup.com/uk/investors/gender-pay-gap-reporting/

The ‘download data’ section collates all employers’ data into one Excel spreadsheet. With only six companies having published so far, I do wonder whether this spreadsheet will become more sophisticated once greater numbers of employers have uploaded their data. Currently listed in alphabetical order, I also query whether over time, business sector may be included in the spreadsheet to enable the data to be compared by sector thus enabling greater analysis and comparison of the gender pay gap to take place.

Action required

It is important that relevant employers (any organisation that has 250 or more employees) are collating their gender pay gap data and preparing it for publishing.

If you have any questions regarding your obligations to gender pay reporting or any other employment law matters please contact 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.  

Other useful links

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

ACAS Guide: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/m/4/Gender_Pay_Reporting_GUIDE3.pdf