NGA Solicitors Burnley

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Staff changes

At NGA Solicitors we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible service . To ensure that happens, 3 new members of staff have recently joined our team as we continue to grow.

Our new members are Darran Harris, Catherine Harris and Joanne Hindsley and they can offer a variety of legal services including commercial and civil litigation, employment, personal injury and residential conveyancing. Further information can be found on the ‘Our Team’ page.

All 3 are currently working from our satellite office in Burnley, the full address is 10 Hargreaves Street, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1ED and the contact number is 01282 457264.

We would like to announce that Paul Montgomery has retired and we thank him for his service. Geoffrey Ireland continues to lead the family department and he will be happy to assist with family law matters.

 

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All Geared Up to Win the Case.

Our Geoffrey Ireland, partner and Head of the Crime department dealt with a case that involved a young man who had been riding his motorbike along a country road. As the client approached a right hand bend he said that a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction had come round the bend at speed on the client’s side of the road causing him to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Unfortunately the client hit the wall on his near side.

The client was taken to hospital, followed there by a police officer who then sought to interview him, unfairly in Geoffrey’s view, due to the fact that the client had sustained serious injuries to his left leg including a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Whilst being treated by the doctor, the officer sought to interview the client taking contemporaneous notes. Not surprisingly the officer suggested to the client during the course of that ‘interview’ that if he had been travelling slower and in a lower gear, the client might have been able to avoid the collision with the wall.

Perhaps as a consequence of some of the veiled admissions the client made in his interview, he was summoned in connection with an allegation of driving without due care and attention (careless driving), all which carries between 3 and 9 points and what could have been a substantial fine.

Although the client was not able to provide any details of the motor vehicle he said caused him to collide with the wall other than the make and colour of the vehicle, there surely could have been no other reason for the accident having occurred. The day in question was a clear dry summer’s afternoon with good vision and road conditions.

The client pleaded not guilty and gave evidence at his trial. Geoffrey had to cross examine the police officer particularly in relation to his decision to interview his client whilst he was being treated. The client was having his knee flushed out (he was probably in excruciating pain at the time!).

Happily the magistrates found Geoffrey’s client not guilty.

If you find yourself facing a motoring offence, it is a good idea to initially seek our advice. Usually in this type of case, although we charge out our time on an hourly basis, we are usually prepared to consider a fixed fee by negotiation.

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1st Class Delivery of this Unfolding Case

This was a complicated case and involved 2 separate offences, both of which had come before the courts and had resulted in two sets of 6 penalty points being endorsed upon the client’s previously unblemished driving record which had resulted in the client being disqualified in her absence.

The lady concerned had had genuine problems with delivery of her post at her home ( a matter which she is still attempting to resolve with the post office ).

The client’s first case involved a motor vehicle which she had sold some months before the alleged offence. The vehicle had gone through a speed camera in the Wakefield area. For reasons which we were unable to resolve, the vehicle had remained registered to the client and due to the fact that she had not received any paperwork, the client had been convicted in absence not for the speeding offence but for the offence of failing to give information of the drivers identity as required. This has resulted in the client being convicted and having 6 penalty points endorsed upon her driving record.

The second offence was of driving without insurance. The client had been with the same insurance brokers for over 10 years who sent her a reminder annually to enable the client to renew her insurance. Her premiums were paid by monthly standing order. The client had not received the renewal notice so therefore failed to renew her insurance. The police stopped the client one evening on her way home from work and fortunately the sympathetic police officers did not impound her motor vehicle and allowed the client to drive home in order to check her insurance documentation. The documents revealed that the client had no insurance as she had failed to renew. The client immediately arranged a completely new policy of insurance via the internet late that night. Driving without insurance carries between 6 and 8 penalty points. The client was offered a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points which she initially accepted. The client paid the £300 but subsequently the Central Process Unit could not accept the fixed penalty because unbeknown to her she already had 6 penalty points on her driving record from the Wakefield offence. Just to make matters a little more complicated the £300 fixed penalty the client had paid was paid back into her account but the bank statement for that particular month was not delivered due to the postal problem. The client was subsequently convicted in her absence and disqualified. It was only when she was contacted by the bailiffs that the client discovered that she owed a huge amount in financial penalties and had been disqualified from driving.

The Wakefield matter was resolved relatively easily. We set aside the conviction and then entered a not guilty plea. The prosecution considered the representation that we made and they offered no evidence in relation  to that particular offence.

That left our client having to resolve the no insurance matter. The client was clearly guilty because she had failed to renew her insurance. I took the view that we might be able to argue Special Reasons. Special Reasons in this case essentially meant that I was seeking to persuade the court that Special Reasons applied which would enable the court not to impose any penalty points.

For a Special Reasons argument to succeed, a court would have to be satisfied that there are extenuating and mitigating circumstances but it must relate to the facts of the offence and  be a circumstance in which the court can properly take into account. In this particular case, whilst the client’s previous unblemished driving record of over 20 years should not necessarily have been a factor, I believe it may well have been something the court took into account. I successfully argued that there was an honest and genuine belief on the client’s part that she had been covered by insurance. Rightly or wrongly the court accepted there were Special Reasons and therefore although the client was guilty of the no insurance offence, the court enforced an absolute discharge with no order to costs and no penalty points.

Essentially all the financial penalties which would have amounted to over £1000 had been wiped out and the client retained her clean driving record. Although the client had to pay our firm for the work that our Geoffrey Ireland, Partner and Head of the Criminal Department  had carried out as Legal Aid is not available in a case such as this. I am sure that the client would agree that it was money well spent.

If you find yourself facing a motoring offence, it is advisable that you seek our advice and although we charge out our time on an hourly basis, we are usually prepared to consider a fixed fee by negotiation.

 

Penalty-Points-Licence

 

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Caught Speeding?

A recent case that Our Geoffrey Ireland, Partner and head of the Criminal Department, has dealt with in court illustrates the benefit of having professional advice and legal representation in court when it comes to motoring offences.

This case involved a young client who had been caught speeding, travelling at almost double the speed limit in a 30mph zone. The guideline sentence for a driver travelling between 51 and 60 mph is to disqualify for between 7 and 56 days or impose 6 penalty points ( as well as a substantial fine ).

Either of these courses of action would have spelt disaster for this particular client.

His employers were located on 4 separate sites and he worked highly unsociable hours. As he was required to travel between the 4 sites which were all located in different towns in the North West and that travelling was often in the early hours of the morning,using public transport was completely out of the question. His license was therefore vital to his continued employment. Being disqualified would have meant instant dismissal but even 6 points on his license would have also spelt disaster. He had only passed his driving test just over 12 months before his court appearance and therefore the imposition of 6 penalty points on his driving license would have meant the DVLA at Swansea would have immediately revoked his full license status and he would have reverted to provisional. Again that would have meant instant dismissal.

Geoffrey was successfully able to argue the point and the magistrates deviated from the guideline sentence and imposed 5 penalty points thereby enabling his client to continue to drive.

Clients who find themselves facing motoring offences will be well advised to initially seek our advice and usually in this type of case although we charge out our time on an hourly basis, we are usually prepared to consider a fixed fee by negotiation.

which-speeding-offence-is-worse-ftr 

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NEW Year, New Beginnings, New Relationships

The New Year is traditionally thought of as a time when clients may consider resolving difficulties in their relationship with their partner.

Here at NGA we are very sympathetic to couples who are thinking of or have separated. Due to the experience and expertise of our Family Law Solicitor, Paul Montgomery, we can offer a range of services to resolve discord issues including family mediation or collaborative family law.

If you are experiencing difficulties in this area then please feel free to contact Paul Montgomery. He is on 01282 862000 or 07977280334

Divorce in dictionary

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Christmas 2015 Opening Hours

Christmas Opening Times

Wednesday 23rd December -9.00 – 1.30 pm
Thursday 24th December – Closed
Friday 25th December – Closed
Monday 28th December – Closed
Tuesday 29th December – 9.00 – 5.00
Wednesday 30th December – 9.00 – 5.00
Thursday 31st December – Closed
Friday 1st January 2016 – Closed
Monday 4th January 2016 – 9.00 – 5.00

FOR EMERGENCY ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE PLEASE CONTACT 07866 458396

May we take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at NGA Solicitors.

 

Christmas tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Divorce Settlement Form E Error

You may have heard on the news that couples who have divorced and settled their finances should check the settlement because of a government divorce form error.

 

It is estimated that there are 120,000 divorces in England and Wales each year but not all couples who in the last 20 months have divorced will be affected, but it is important that people should check.

 

The error has been discovered in the Ministry of Justice’s form E which is used in England and Wales as detailed documentation of each party’s finances. The form has an automatic calculation to add up all assets and deduct liabilities but some forms have left the debts out of the calculation of assets, which could give a skewed outcome of what each party is worth.

 

Clients are therefore advised to review their form E to see what version they have. If it is the Ministry of Justice version, then it may be worth checking the calculations.

 

Thereafter it is advisable for clients to check their partners form E and then to contact NGA Solicitors for assistance.

 

If the mistake is substantial, it could mean that those clients who have settled their finances in the last 20 months might have to consider re opening negotiations.

 

Those who believe they may have been affected by this error are being asked to also e mail the ministry of justice to identify cases where this may have happened and had an impact.

 

Anyone concerned to check their own proceedings should contact formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk or Paul Montgomery of NGA Solicitors who would be willing to assist further

.Divorce

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Legal Secretary Vacancy – Colne Office

Legal Secretary Vacancy

We require a full time, experienced Legal Secretary to join our Litigation and Family Departments at our Colne office.

Responsibilities include audio typing and document preparation, strong IT/Audio typing skills are essential. Excellent communications skills are vital to assist solicitors and other staff members as well as clients. Accurate diary management is important.

You will be well organised, have excellent and accurate secretarial skills. An ability to work as part of a team and you must also demonstrate initiative and time management skills and be able to work without supervision.

No agencies

Please email a copy of your CV to Paul Montgomery p.montgomery@ngasolicitors.co.uk

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Criminal Department Update

Our criminal team, which is comprised of solicitors Geoff Ireland and Kristian Cavanagh, continue to have success in the criminal courts.
Two of our clients were recently appearing separately where they had been summoned to appear before the court for failing to provide information leading to the identification of a driver.

In each case, unbeknown to them, they had been caught by a speed camera. The documents in each case had gone to previous addresses and they had never received the documentation.  As a consequence of failing to respond they had both been found guilty in absence, had been fined and had their licenses endorsed with penalty points.

They successfully set aside the convictions, the Prosecution had then re-issued the summons alleging that they had failed to provide the necessary information leading to the identification of the driver responsible for committing the original speeding offence.

We successfully argued in each case that it was not reasonably practicable for them to have been able to supply the information and they were acquitted, furthermore, we successfully applied for an Order for Costs.  If they had been convicted their licenses would have been endorsed with six penalty points and they would have been fined.

Kristian recently represented a client at Northallerton who had acquired 12 penalty points on his driving licence and faced a ban. His licence was crucial to his employment and if he had been disqualified he would have lost his job. We successfully argued mitigating circumstances based upon ‘Exceptional Financial Hardship’ and was permitted to keep his licence. He can however only use this argument once.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation?  If so, please contact our Criminal Department.  We can provide you with advice and if necessary, make arrangements to represent you at a competitive fee.

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Legal Secretary Vacancy – Colne

Legal Secretary Vacancy – Colne 

We require a full time Legal Secretary to join our busy Colne office.

Responsibilities include Audio Typing and document preparation so strong IT/Audio Typing skills are essential. Strong communications skills are vital to assist solicitors and other staff members as well as clients. Accurate diary management is important.

You will be well organised and have excellent and accurate secretarial skills with an eye for detail. The ability to work as part of a team but you must also demonstrate initiative and time management skills when working without supervision, alone and to strict deadlines.

No agencies

Job share may be available – Legal Secretary Vacancy – Colne

Please email a copy of your CV to Anthony Allen a.allen@ngasolicitors.co.uk

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