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
Dec072017

Employment status – raising the stakes!

On 29 November 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered a judgment in the case of King v The Sash Window Workshop, which concluded that a worker was entitled to backdated holiday pay from the start of his appointment.  

Mr King had worked on a self-employed, commission-only contract. Upon his retirement Mr King sought to recover payment for annual leave from the start of his appointment, a total of 13 years.  

Mr King was determined to be a worker. The Court of Appeal sought a preliminary ruling from the ECJ. The ECJ found that there should be no limitation imposed on the right of workers to claim backdated holiday pay where they have been denied the right to take or be paid for annual leave.  The ECJ judgment will now be considered by the Court of Appeal. 

The ECJ observed that it was beyond Mr King’s control that he was not able to exercise his right to paid annual leave before his retirement.  This situation was distinguished from workers who have accumulated entitlement to paid annual leave due to sickness absence (which is limited to a carry-over period of 15 months). Interestingly, the ECJ commented that an employer that does not allow a worker to exercise his right to paid annual leave must bear the consequences.

This decision is going to be particularly relevant to those in the gig economy or those where their employment status has been wrongly labelled and they have been denied the ability to take holiday.

This could open the flood-gates to lengthy backdated holiday pay claims for those in the gig economy and is another blow to the likes of Uber.  The Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014, which limits any claim for unlawful deduction from wages (including holiday pay) to two years of back pay, is likely to be challenged in light of this ECJ ruling.

Employers who are concerned about the employment status of their workforce need to re-assess the potential exposure to the risk of lengthy backdated holiday pay claims.

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment status or employment law generally 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.

Wednesday
Dec062017

5 Top Tips when Purchasing a Property

Purchasing a property is exciting, but it is undoubtedly a stressful time. Conveyancing Solicitor, Jemma Jones from Greene & Greene, explains how to take the stress out of your purchase by providing several tips to help your transaction run smoothly

1)   Be Prepared

You will, of course, have already considered how you are going to finance your property purchase.

If you are financing the purchase with a mortgage, you may need to seek the advice of a financial advisor or a bank to check that you are able to obtain sufficient funding. 

Perhaps it is the bank of mum and dad or another relative providing assistance.  If so, they will need to have any necessary funding available for use.  You will also need to think about whether the assistance will be a gift, a loan or will they become a part owner of the property? 

More often than not, a deposit of 10% must be paid on entering into the purchase contract.  You should have this ready for use.  If you are also selling a property the deposit may come from further down the chain but please note you may be required to “top up” the deposit to the full 10% if the deposit is less.

You will be required to provide identification to your solicitor.  This should be dealt with at an early stage to prevent holding up the transaction.

2)   Have a Survey Undertaken

The conveyancing process is based on the principle of “buyer beware” and, generally speaking, after exchange of contracts you will have no recourse to the seller for any defects in the property.

A full structural survey should be carried out if it is a period or listed property, if it has been subject to alterations or if alterations are planned.  In other cases a Home Buyers Report may be appropriate. A Surveyor can advise on the type of survey most appropriate to you.

3)   Read and Keep all Documents

During the transaction your solicitor will report to you on all aspects of the purchase, including searches, plans and the title to the property. 

As your solicitor is unlikely to have visited the property you are purchasing, you should check any plans of the property are correct and that any rights or restrictions on the property do not restrict what you would like to do at the property.

You should also retain any certificates or guarantees that you receive during the transaction as you will need to provide these to any purchaser when you sell the property.

4)   Be Patient

The average conveyancing process takes approximately 6 weeks to get to the point of exchange of contracts (when you become contractually bound to purchase the property) and then a further 2 weeks or so to completion.  If you are purchasing a leasehold property, the timescales may be slightly longer.

 Should you be in a chain, any completion dates will need to be agreed by all other buyers and sellers in the chain.  It is important that you communicate with your solicitor in order that you are kept updated on progress.

5)   Choose the Right Solicitor

In order to have your matter dealt with smoothly it is important to have the right legal team behind you.  An experienced and approachable firm who provide an efficient and personal service will help keep the process as stress-free as possible.  You should be able to speak directly with the person dealing with your matter, who should be a qualified practitioner and able to advise you on all aspects of your transaction.

If you would like a no obligation quotation in respect of your purchase or any other conveyancing transaction please contact us at mail@greene-greene.com or call 01284 762211.  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw

* This article previously appeared in the Winter 2017-18 edition of Rooftops Magazine.

Tuesday
Nov282017

Budget 2017: Mr Hammond’s SDLT giveaway for first-time buyers

 

First-time buyers struggling to obtain a foothold on the housing ladder will be overjoyed by the Chancellor’s announcement in the Autumn Budget of a new Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) holiday on first-time purchases.

The Government has recognised that house prices in certain regions in the UK, particularly London and sought after towns such as Bury St Edmunds, are at a level, which prevents many first-time buyers from being able to consider purchasing their own home.  The SDLT cost along with a deposit and conveyancing fees present too much of an upfront cash burden for many, causing the membership of “Generation Rent” to be ever increasing.

The relief is available to purchases below £500,000: SDLT is abolished for first-time purchasers up to and including £300,000, and above £300,000 to £500,000 the rate of SDLT is 5%.  The standard SDLT residential rates apply to purchases above £500,000.

The purchaser, or if more than one, purchasers, must all be first-time buyers and must intend to occupy the property as an only or main residence.  Being a first-time buyer means that an individual has not owned a “major interest” (i.e. a freehold or long leasehold interest) anywhere in the world.  So if a purchaser already owns a property in France, for example, they will not be regarded as a first-time buyer in the UK.

The Treasury’s own assessment is that following the introduction of this measure, 80% of first-time buyers will pay no SDLT at all on a first-time purchase and that at least 95% of first-time buyers that pay SDLT will benefit.

Time will only tell if this measure is a success or not.  Critics of the measure believe that it is of little benefit to first-time buyers (being worth c. £1,660 to someone buying the average first-time property), and that a wider reduction in SDLT rates would be more effective to help the entire UK property market, by encouraging transactions across the board. 

If you require any advice regarding SDLT then please contact our specialist tax solicitor Natalie Stoter please contact Natalie Stoter on nataliestoter@greene-greene.com or 01284 717462 (Direct). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw

Thursday
Nov232017

What does the 2017 Autumn Budget mean for Employers and Employees?

The Chancellor delivered his 2017 Autumn Budget speech on Wednesday 22 November. On the same day, the full Budget report was published by the Government.

Employment lawyer, Greg Jones talks through the key points that will be of interest to employers and employees as summarised by the Employment Lawyers Association.

Wages

The Government has confirmed that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) for increases to the national living wage (NLW) and the national minimum wage (NMW). Accordingly, from April 2018 the Government will increase the NLW, which applies to workers aged 25 and over, by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83. The LPC has estimated that this will benefit over 2 million workers. At the same time, the NMW rates will be increased as follows:

•             from £7.05 to £7.38 for 21 to 24 year olds;

•             from £5.60 to £5.90 for 18 to 20 year olds;

•             from £4.05 to £4.20 for 16 and 17 year olds; and

•             from £3.50 to £3.70 for apprentices.

Taxation

In accordance with its commitment to raise the personal allowance (PA) to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold (HRT) to £50,000 by 2020, the Government has announced that in the 2018/19 tax year the PA and HRT will be increased to £11,850 and £46,350 respectively. The Government has also announced that, with effect from April 2018, there will be no benefit in kind charges on electricity that employers provide to charge employees’ electric vehicles. The report further details a number of changes the Government will make to the taxation of employee expenses following a call for evidence that was published in March 2017.

Employment status

The Government has stated that it will publish a discussion paper as part of its response to the Taylor review of employment practices, which will explore the case and options for longer-term reform to make employment status tests for both employment rights and tax clearer. It has acknowledged that this is an important and complex issue, and it will therefore work with stakeholders to ensure that any potential changes are considered carefully.

Link to Budget report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661583/autumn_budget_2017_print.pdf

If you have any questions regarding employment matters please contact 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.

Thursday
Nov022017

Greene & Greene ‘Second to none for Client Service’

Picture: David Garrad

2017 has been a great year for Bury St Edmunds based Greene & Greene, with its clients and the region’s economy continuing to thrive.  This has culminated in the new edition of the independent legal guide, The Legal 500, recommending Greene & Greene as a top-tier firm in four of its core practice areas:

  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate
  • Contentious Trusts and Probate

Clients said that Greene & Greene is “second to none for client service” and have praised its “exemplary knowledge with the ability to explain technical issues in layman’s terms”.

In addition to recommending the firm for 11 different practice areas, The Legal 500 2017 has also recommended 21 of its lawyers and singled out four with particular praise. 

Senior Partner, Michael Batty, is again named as a ‘Leading Individual’ within the field of Commercial Litigation, being commended for “clear and concise” advice, heading this Band 1 rated team.  Jonathan Mathers has joined Michael with this accolade for his work in Agriculture and Estates, the guide commenting that his team is “large enough to offer comprehensive expertise and resources, but small enough to provide a personal service”.

Of particular note were new honours for two of Greene & Greene’s ‘Next Generation Lawyers’.  Contentious Trusts and Probate lawyer, Ben Fox, helped his team secure a Band 1 rating within the region, singling him out as one of the region’s top lawyers and praising him for “first-class advice that always meets clients’ needs”.  Recent recruit to the firm’s Corporate and Commercial team, Mark Williams, was also promoted into this group for his work within Intellectual Property, with his Band 1 Corporate and Commercial team being highlighted for its “robust and in-depth understanding of its clients’ business”.

Simon Ratcliffe, Managing Partner at Greene & Greene, said:

“We are delighted to be complimented by our clients and other professional advisers within this leading legal guide.  I am delighted for all of our lawyers whose teams have been commended, but I am particularly delighted for Michael, Jonathan, Ben and Mark, who have received special praise this year for their great client service.”

For more information about Greene & Greene Solicitors and the services it can provide please visit www.greene-greene.com, telephone 01284 762211 and follow the firm on Twitter @greenegreenelaw.

* This article first appeared in the EADT on 25th October 2017

Monday
Oct232017

Proud Sponsors of First Bury St. Edmunds Literature Festival

Greene & Greene is proud to be one of the principal sponsors of the first Bury St. Edmunds Literature Festival running from 25th – 29th October.

With events taking place at various venues around the town (many of them free), this year’s guest authors range from local writers to international bestsellers, including the winner of last year’s Waterstones Book of the Year – Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent).

There are workshops for children and adults, networking events for writers, poetry and book readings around the town, and a literature-themed film screening.  The festival has something for everyone; books in all genres, for all ages and also a short story competition for young people to encourage authors of the future.

For further information about the festival please take a look at the Programme of Events For details of the authors and how to book please click here.

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

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