Shentons Solicitors & Mediators

Law Talk Issue 2

April 1, 2017CarolineLaw Talk

 

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In this issue:-

  • Child Law Specialist:- Jon Whettingsteel
  • Will Your Property be an IHT Trap?
  • Court Stresses need for Facts in Child Residence Dispute

The information in these downloads is provided for your use but we do not accept responsibility for their content and they should not be regarded as an alternative for taking legal advice.

If you would like to go on our mailing list for Law Talk please contact Caroline Jones to be placed on our database.

 

Law Talk Issue 1, 2017

January 11, 2017CarolineLaw Talk

 

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In this issue:-

  • Introducing David Watson
  • When is a loss not a loss
  • Uber drivers win first round of employment battle

The information in these downloads is provided for your use but we do not accept responsibility for their content and they should not be regarded as an alternative for taking legal advice.

If you would like to go on our mailing list for Law Talk please contact Caroline Jones to be placed on our database.

Good Divorce Week

November 28, 2016Chloe JayUncategorized

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I’m a proud member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.  This week they are raising awareness of the difficult issues involved in divorce and lobbying Parliament – you can read about it here

 

Resolution membership is about the approach I take to my work. This means that as a Resolution member, I will always seek to reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation, support and encourage families to put the best interests of any children first and act with honesty, integrity and objectivity.

 

I know from experience working as a family law professional, that clients reach the best outcomes when they are helped to understand and manage the potential long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions. This is why I use experience and knowledge to guide my clients through the options available to them.

 

As a Resolution member, I have signed up to a Code of Practice that will demonstrate to clients the approach I will always take. The Code promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.

 

If you decide to work with me, this means:

  • Listening to you, being honest with you and treating you with respect.
  • Explaining all the options and giving you confidence to make the right decisions.
  • Helping you focus on what’s important in the long-term.
  • Helping you balance financial and emotional costs with what you want to achieve.
  • Working with others to find the right approach and the best solutions for you.
  • Managing stress in what can be an already stressful situation.

 

I’m signed up to the Resolution Code and because of this I work with a network of other like-minded professionals, including mediators, financial planners and family consultants, to make sure I’m helping my clients find the right approach for them.

Are you suffering?

November 3, 2016Chloe JayUncategorized

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Mental health issues are some of the most common reasons people find themselves in the criminal justice system. There is very often a grey area surrounding how ill you have to be for medical intervention and this results in many falling between the cracks because they are just not ‘ill enough’. At Shentons we frequently deal with vulnerable clients with mental health difficulties and as such many of our fee earners have had specialist training in this area. Our mental health specialist Harriet Parker (Criminal Solicitor) spent two days in London at the Law Society extending her knowledge with Mental Health First Aid England.

Here Harriet Parker gives us her insight into this problem

Have you ever considered how lucky you are to have good health; does this ever extend so far as your mental health? The criminal justice system brings people from all walks of life to the doors of Shentons. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. They are frequently perceived as ‘different’, ‘odd’ or ‘unusual’, but having spent time getting to know numerous clients with mental health difficulties they are just that…people, like everyone else.

Mental health difficulties present themselves with hundreds of different symptoms and affect all walks of life. Sadly a very high percentage of the people I deal with at the police station and court suffer from a vast variety of mental health conditions, such as Schizophrenia, psychosis, Bipolar, Personality Disorder, OCD, depression, anxiety – the list is endless.

I recently had the opportunity to train with Mental Health First Aid England in London at the Law Society. I already had a good foundation of mental health knowledge, but this allowed me to take a step back and look afresh at those people suffering from mental health problems. It is all too easy to be impatient or cast a view on someone because of what they say or how they behave. However, this training allowed me to see mental health issues with ‘new eyes’ and assess why someone may present in different ways. Clients with mental health problems are often terrified of the situation they find themselves in, but frequently are unable to articulate this.

Shentons previously had a long standing client (we’ll call him ‘Daniel’) who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The client struggled immensely with this label. Schizophrenia strikes fear into the heart of the public, the condition is frequently hyped in the Media, who refer to violent schizophrenics whose actions grab the headlines. The reality is that it is far more likely that an individual with mental health problems will hurt themselves rather than hurt anyone else. Moreover, a condition such as schizophrenia can be managed quite effectively in the community with the correct treatment.

Have you ever tried having a conversation with someone whilst a child is trying to grab a parent’s attention in one ear? It is near on impossible to stay focused and listen to what someone is saying when the child is talking in the other ear. Put yourself in the same position as Daniel, trying to remain focused in a formal Court setting, whilst due to mental health issues three other voices were talking to him at the same time.

These voices spoke so strongly to Daniel, they told him not to live at his home. It resulted in him sleeping rough for a week until he came to us at Shentons. We spent theextra time needed with him to work out what had happened and to get him back safely into his property. He wasn’t able to process what he needed to do as his mental issues had completelytaken hold of him. We took on the fight for him because he wasn’t able to.

When I am taking a client’s instructions and advising them I’m not just listening to what they are saying. I look at how they present, their body language, and most importantly their understanding of my advice. A look, a glance or a posture can give so much more away about how a person is dealing with a situation and their understanding of what is happening.

 

At Shentons we specialise with dealing with clients with vulnerabilities, and pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients. Any Court process is a daunting one for any individual, but layer this with the added difficulty of a mental health condition it can become overwhelming. If you or anyone you know needs assistance at the police station or court, do not hesitate to call us.”

 

Domestic Violence – what does it mean?

October 14, 2016Chloe JayUncategorized

by Jon Whettingsteel

Whether or not you are a fan of The Archers on Radio 4 you will heard about the recent storyline involving Helen Titchener who stood trial for stabbing her husband. There are no spoilers below and I won’t reveal the verdict!

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Helen’s trial was the culmination of a storyline lasting more than two and a half years with Helen being a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband Rob.  The abuse, as is frequently the case, escalated over time. Rob’s suspect behaviour began in February 2014 after Helen spent a long time preparing a meal for Rob which he then refused to eat, saying he ‘didn’t like tuna’ and on New Year’s Eve 2014 Helen selected a dress which Rob decided was ‘too revealing’. In 2015 matters escalated, with Rob forcing himself on Helen resulting in a friend noticing bruising around Helen’s wrist. Rob continued exhibiting controlling behaviour, including stopping Helen driving and isolating her from her friends by convincing her he was ‘looking after her’ and she ‘didn’t need anybody else’. Rob convinced Helen she was the one with issues and persuaded her to see a psychiatrist. This conduct is sometimes referred to as ‘gaslighting’; a reference to the play Gaslight in which a husband makes his wife believe she is losing her mind.

 

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Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight

Due to Rob’s behaviour Helen was isolated from her friends and family and had few people to turn to for help; it took some time before she found the courage and strength to tell her close friend who convinced her to phone a helpline and seek assistance.

Matters went full circle and during dinner one evening in April 2016 when the couple were eating a tuna pasta, Rob denied ever saying he didn’t like tuna and Helen must have imagined it. When Helen told Rob she was leaving him and an argument ensued, Helen stabbed Rob.

Although this trial marks the end of one aspect of this story, it is far from over with the couple now pursuing court proceedings for their two children.

This story, and subsequent media coverage has done an excellent job in highlighting the changes in legislation which included the definition of domestic violence to include ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse.’ This includes emotional, financial and psychological abuse, not just physical. The length of time over which this story had unfolded has also served to illustrate how perpetrators of domestic abuse seek to manipulate and control their victims over time, sometimes over a period of years.

Women’s Aid report that in England and Wales two women are killed by their partners or ex-partners every week and 95% of female survivors of domestic violence report being victims of coercive control.

As well as women it is important to remember men can also be victims of domestic violence with The Office for National Statistics releasing figures stating for the year ending March 2015 around 1.3 million women and 600,000 men in England and Wales reported being victims of domestic violence. There is a stigma for men in reporting the issue which is still considered a ‘taboo’ subject.

In April 2013 Michelle Mills received a prison sentence after being convicted of murdering her boyfriend Edward Miller who had been subject to a history of physical, verbal and emotional abuse from Miss Mills.

The family department at Shentons have a number of years of experience in helping victims of domestic violence as well as those that have been accused of perpetrating domestic abuse in both a family and criminal capacity. We believe it is important not just to put in legal measures to protect victims of abuse and their childrenm, such as Occupation and Non-Molestation orders but also in working with a number of local agencies to provide them with ongoing support. We recognise that many need more to overcome the trauma of past experiences and we have strong connections with a number of local agencies who can offer long term support and assistance, such as the Women’s programme at The Trinity Centre in Winchester.

 

To seek advice about any of the above issues or any family matters please call our offices on 01962 844544. All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Contact
Shentons Solicitors & Mediators, Star Lane House, Staple Gardens, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9AD

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 844544
Facsimile: +44 (0) 1962 844501
DX: 2503 Winchester 1

E-mail: main@shentons.co.uk

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