New Appointment to head up Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team.

Bevirs Law is excited to announce the new appointment of Nicola Heales, Consultant Solicitor, who joins us to head up our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team.

Nicola qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 and is a personal injury and clinical negligence specialist, and her expertise is recognised by her accreditations with both the Law Society and APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). Nicola has been successful in a number of significant Personal Injury and clinical negligence cases during her career. Nicola has particular expertise in acting for people who have suffered brain and birth injuries as well as representing clients at inquests.

Nicola said: “I am delighted to be joining such a dedicated team at Bevirs Law. It is absolutely clear that the team all work hard together for the benefit of their clients. We are more than happy to travel and make home visits so we can advise people across the region. I think there is great potential for Bevirs Law to continue to grow its services to people who have experienced clinical negligence or suffered a personal injury across the South West and beyond.”

Nicola has also achieved a Band 1 ranking with Chambers, where individual lawyers are ranked in bands from 1 (highest)-6 (lowest). Being ranked in any band is a significant achievement.

Chambers UK states:

Nicola Heales in an experienced operator in the market and is active on serious head injury claims arising from RTAs. A client describes her as “excellent in every respect” adding that she is “caring and professional, with an eye for detail”.

Nicola has previously been appointed as a Visiting Lecturer with Birmingham University and the University of Gloucestershire and is also a Lay Member of the Medical Research and Ethics Committee for Wales.

Stuart McNeil, Senior Partner, said: “Nicola Heales brings unique expertise to Bevirs Law and is highly motivated to do justice for her clients. Nicola comes with a high level of personal injury and clinical negligence expertise and a highly approachable manner, which is crucial for this complex type of work.

Anyone who has suffered serious, life-changing injuries as a result of mistakes deserves the best representation without having to leave Wiltshire. We are absolutely delighted that Nicola is joining us and helping us to continue our growth across the region”.

If you have suffered as a result of personal injury or medical malpractice, we are here for you. Our experienced personal injury and medical negligence solicitors will take the time to understand what you are going through, helping you with the answers and compensation you deserve.

In the first instance please contact us. We are always happy to discuss your circumstances and the prospect of a legal remedy for the loss you have incurred, without obligation and charge.

You can contact Nicola Heales, Head of our Personal/Serious Injury Department, directly on 01249 814536.

Meet Alaina Owens – Associate Solicitor, Commercial

Alaina joined the team in April 2019 and is based in our Royal Wootton Bassett office.

Alaina deals with various types of commercial work, with a particular interest in commercial property matters, including sales and purchases, leases, financing, development and pension property work. Alaina also deals with matters relating to the sale, purchase, leasing, financing and development of agricultural land and properties.

Alaina is one of three new recruits and will join our commercial department which has seen considerable growth over the last two years and will strengthen the team headed up by Sonyia Woolnough, Partner and supported by Associate Solicitors’ Zoe Tibbles and Hugh Ellins.

Welcome to Bevirs Law Alaina!

Community Interest Companies

High Ellins – Blog April 2019

Community Interest Companies

Despite the fact that Community Interest Companies have now been around for a long time, we were only recently asked to be involved in the creation of a Community Interest Company (CIC).  The first question to ask is whether the intention of those promoting the company can fall within the definition of a CIC.  In broad terms, a CIC must be a company whereby there is no intention to make profit for distribution to the investors.  The intention is that any profit is made for the benefit of the community.  There is an ability to pay shareholders but this is subject to a cap.

In many ways a CIC is similar to a charity but the principal difference is that the intention is to use commercial expertise for the benefit of the community as distinct from doing this from a charitable perspective.  I appreciate that the line between the two is blurred.  There is one important point which is if a CIC is created it cannot be converted into a charity.  Having said that, a charity can use a CIC for its commercial activities.

There may be many reasons for not creating a charity but the principal will be that the objectives are not charitable objectives.  For example, a CIC may be used to save the village pub.  Whilst many of us consider that to be a laudable and worthwhile exercise it is not, by definition, charitable.

In setting up a CIC you have to have a clear idea of the community which you are trying to benefit.  A community may either be the whole of the population or a definable group within the UK or elsewhere.  The important point is that the community must share a common characteristic and be recognisable as a section of the community.  Reverting to the example of the village pub, to describe the community as regular drinkers of the pub, or a particular type of beer within a pub, is unlikely to be acceptable.  However, if the community is described as the residents of the particular village then that should be sufficient.  In case the readers should get the wrong impression of the significance of alcohol in my life, other examples could be the running of a bus service for a community or a community centre. 

What is a community is widely drawn.  For example, the residents of a particular area, people with leaning difficulties, sufferers from a particular disease.  In all this, there has to be a wider community interest so that a company set up to benefit the employees of a particular employer will not be sufficient.  If the primary interest is to benefit the employees or ex-employees of a particular employer then the wording in the creation of the CIC will have to be carefully considered. 

Certain activities are specifically excluded from being capable of being incorporated into a CIC.  I have already mentioned charities and another is a political party.

CICs are regulated by the CIC Regulator who will have to approve the creation of such company.

Leaving aside the fact that a CIC has to be set up for the benefit of the community and not for the purpose of making a profit to be distributed to its members, the company will be the subject of the requirements of running a limited company with directors and the necessity of filing documentation.

CICs have been successfully used but merely because they are a CIC does not guarantee the success of the activity.  For example, if the CIC has been set up to run a taxi service, if there are not enough people who are prepared to be taxi drivers the project will fail.  The CIC is an interesting and useful concept which has assisted many worthwhile projects to be incepted and then progressed.

Hugh Ellins – 4th April 2019

Congratulations Emily Clayton-Lang

Congratulations to Emily for passing her final exam which was contract law. Emily is now a graduate of CILEx and her qualification is Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice. The CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice is set and assessed at level 6, honours degree level.

Emily now has one-year qualifying employment left and Emily needs to complete a portfolio before she becomes a fellow of CILEx.

Well done from everyone at Bevirs Emily . We are very lucky to have you. 

Ridgeway and Swindon College Careers Fair

We have had a wonderful week doing both the Swindon College Career Fair and Ridgeway School which we have done for the last three years.

The Bevirs Law team always find it very valuable and it’s great to hear such positive feedback from the schools. Michelle Godwin and Michelle Bowyer, both from our Family Team, shared their love of law and their journey to law and the route they took.

It’s always lovely to hear that students have found our advice beneficial and how we have inspired them to become a successful lawyer one day.

Hugh Ellins Blog – Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

Recently I attended one of Webb Paton’s excellent seminars on farming related matters. George Paton spoke on development issues that may affect farmers.

One of the points that was discussed is that both the Wiltshire Council and the Swindon Borough Council are beginning the process of renewing their Strategic Plans which, if approved, will set out the type of development that both Councils wish to see and also the broad areas in which that development will be permitted.

Although Wiltshire and Swindon are two independent Councils they are obligated, where appropriate, to work together and, indeed, have been under some pressure so to do.

The fact that the Councils are now working on their Plans is significant in terms of strategic planning for those with land holdings. There is both a positive and negative reason for this. The positive and negative reasons are two sides of the same coin.

By making representations at the appropriate times, a landowner may be able to influence where land is allocated for development and the type of development. On one side of the coin this may be that the land which would not otherwise be allocated for development is included in the Plan. On the other side of the coin the influence may be to ensure that the land that would have been allocated is excluded.

The importance of land being allocated for development is that the question is then not whether the land should be developed but the nature of the development. In other words, in boxing terms, rounds one and two of the three round fight have already been won.

If the land is not allocated and someone wants to develop it, there is a much greater difficulty in obtaining the relevant planning permissions. To keep to the fighting analogy, it is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Taking all that into account what should a landowner do? My advice is that he should start preparing for making representations by discussing matters with the likes of George or myself.

Hugh Ellins – March 2019

Review of 2018

Review of 2018!

As 2018 draws to a close, we wanted to reflect on how positive our year has been.

We have seen consistent growth across all the departments and have recruited additional staff over the past 12 months to meet the demand for high quality legal services from our clients.

Our client feedback questionnaires show that many of those replying were repeat clients and we are thrilled that they chose to use us again. Thank you.
We have also seen our Trainee Legal Executives succeed in their annual exams and look forward to supporting them through the rest of their training and watching them continue to grow into exceptional lawyers.

Due to the growth within the business, we have seen numerous internal promotions to include new Partners, Associates and Legal Secretaries.

We have celebrated a merger with David Jeacock and are looking forward to working with David’s clients and indeed with David who has agreed to be a consultant.

We have invested money into community projects and we are proud sponsors of: –

Swindon Supermarine Sports and Education Trust
• Calne Bike Meet
• Calne Heritage Week
• Calne Arts and Music Festival
• Royal Wootton Bassett Christmas Trees
• Calne Rugby Club
• Royal Wootton Basset Rugby Club
• The Bevirs Law Excellence in Law prize at RWB Academy
• Tockenham Village magazine

We have sponsored, supported or taken part in many other community events such as: –

• St Bartholomew and All Saints Church, Christmas Tree Festival
• Wanborough Scarecrow Trial
• Tockenham Summer Fair
• The sale of Scout Christmas stamps
• Wroughton School Careers fair
• Sacred Heart Church
• Wessex Male Choir
• Calne Duck Race
• Supported Wiltshire Air Ambulance within the firm

We very much look forward to seeing what 2019 has in store for us and would like to wish all our clients and business colleagues a Happy New Year!

Excellence in Law awarded to local Year 13 Student from Royal Wootton Bassett

Last night Sonyia Woolnough, of Bevirs Law, attended Royal Wootton Bassett High School to present the ‘Excellence in Law’ award which Bevirs sponsor annually.

Congratulations to Emily Howse who won the award this year. Emily is a current Year 13 student studying BTEC Applied Law, Applied Business and BTEC Engineering. She is applying for University and plans to study Law at either Exeter or Worcester.

Her Law teachers had the following to say:

“She has been an exemplary student – amazing hard work displayed by her through the course of the whole year which was shown through her amazing grade in her exam in Year 12 and her coursework. Really conscientious student. “- Anthony Matthews

“I would like to add that she is an excellent role model, a real team player with a mature attitude to her studies.” – Georgina King

We look forward to working alongside Emily who, after invitation, plans to do some work experience with Bevirs in her gap year.

We look forward to having you Emily!

Blog – December 2018 – Renewables are coming of age

Blog – December 2018 – Renewables are coming of age

The UK may be in all sorts of muddle over Brexit with the country split, the Tory party split and the Labour party apparently playing a political game, but, at least, in one area we seem to be making progress. The sources of production of electricity is shifting more and more towards renewable sources. In the second quarter of 2018 31.7% of the total generated electricity came from renewable sources. On one day, 9th April, 26.25% of the total energy demand was supplied by solar and, when the other renewable sources were taken into account, the amount so supplied amounted to 46.989%.

There is political will for the use of renewables and that, coupled with the difficulties associated with the construction of nuclear power stations and the dealing with the waste produced, makes me say “renewables are coming of age”.

Added to that there is the forecast for consumption of electricity which is that it will substantially increase from about 2025. That increase will be largely be fuelled by the increase in the use of electric vehicles. If such forecast is correct then the electricity will either have to be produced in the UK or imported. In some ways, the importation of electricity is the easiest method as it overcomes the problems of (A) the withdrawal of support mechanisms such as the feed in tariff and (B) local opposition to the infrastructure needed for the production of electricity, (C) availability of grid connection and (D) the possible push toward nuclear (which now seems unlikely in a reasonable timescale), fracking or interconnectors. Even if those threats have an adverse effect on the renewables market, it will continue to grow.

Coupled to that growth will be the need to store the produced electricity. One disadvantage of renewables is that the electricity cannot only be produced when it is needed. Regretfully, the wind does not blow, nor the sun shine, to order.

This will lead to a growth in the market for electricity storage facilities which can be large or small scale. There are a variety of ways of becoming involved in that market but, for most people, the commonest and easiest is where there is an option for the operator to take a lease on an area of land which is exercised if the operator obtains the necessary planning permission.

Usually, there is considerable pressure from the operator to get the documentation signed. Some operators even try to make the landowners sign without having proper advice from a surveyor, as to whether the proposed deal is financially reasonable and the general terms acceptable, or a lawyer, to advise as to whether the landowner has proper protection in respect of ensuring payment of rent, indemnity against claims or decommissioning of the site. That is not a complete list of what the surveyor and the lawyer should be considering.

There is one other area to consider which is whether the erection of a battery storage system will reduce the value of the surrounding land. Most short-term operating reserve systems (STOR) will sterilise future residential development within 30 metres radius. That is something in the region of 75 acres or 30 hectares. The effect on the value of the retained land is therefore significant. Taking a pessimistic value of residential land in this area the loss of value is likely to be in the region of £45 million. The siting of a storage facility must, therefore, be carefully considered even before the landowner becomes involved in the niceties of the documentation.

To summarise, I do see an increase in the number of operators knocking on landowners’ doors and the need for those landowners to be properly advised to ensure that the proposed transaction properly reflects what is on offer in the marketplace and that the potential value of their retained land is not significantly adversely affected.

Hugh Ellins