LITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION

  • What is Legal Expenses Insurance?

    Legal Expenses Insurance is an insurance policy which will cover the costs of bringing or defending a claim. Often these are available as part of a person’s home or motor insurance at a small additional fee although they can be purchased separately. There are two types of Legal Expenses Insurance – “Before the Event” Insurance and “After the Event” Insurance. Before the Event Insurance can be quite inexpensive and is usually readily available whereas After the Event Insurance would need to be applied for from a specialist insurance provider with supporting evidence showing that the party has a good chance of successfully bringing or defending the claim.

  • What is Expert Determination?

    Expert Determination is very similar to Arbitration in that the parties agree to be bound by the decision of the jointly appointed expert. However, the key difference is that expert determination is principally aimed at resolving issues which are technical rather than legal. For instance, where the dispute relates to the construction of a building, then a surveyor may be appointed as the expert to determine whether any defect complained of was caused by the contractor. Similarly, where a person claims to have been injured, an expert medical practitioner could be appointed to ascertain the extent of the injury and the consequences of the injury.

  • What is Arbitration?

    Arbitration is an alternative to determining a dispute through the court system. In Arbitration, both parties agree to appoint an arbitrator to make a determination that will bind the parties. The parties will be allowed to make representations to the arbitrator and to submit evidence to the arbitrator. The parties can also agree for the arbitrator to deal with specific issues rather than the whole dispute, thereby making the arbitration process flexible. The decision of the arbitrator will be binding on the parties and would usually be enforceable through the courts in the event that one of the parties failed to comply with the arbitrator’s decision.

  • What is Mediation?

    Mediation is often a practical way of resolving disputes without the necessity of court proceedings. In Mediation, the parties to a dispute agree to appoint a mediator to see whether it is possible to establish some common ground between the parties which will allow for the dispute to be resolved. Mediation is entirely voluntary and therefore, unlike court proceedings, there is no binding outcome unless the parties expressly agree. Mediation can be extremely useful where the parties would wish to continue to work with another.

PERSONAL INJURY

  • What do I do now?

    Whatever the circumstances of the accident, even if you’re unsure whether or not you are entitled to make a claim, call AMT Lawyers today for a free friendly chat or alternatively complete the accident questionnaire form. If you have a claim we will advise you as such, and don’t forget majority of the claims we take are on a No Win No Fee basis. You have nothing to lose!

  • Will I have to go to court?

    A vast majority of claims are settled without the need to go to court. Even when court proceedings are issued, the majority of the cases settle prior to the trial date. If it becomes necessary to issue court proceedings and you are required to attend a hearing then we will be there to guide you every step of the way.

  • How much compensation will I receive?

    The amount of compensation varies with the severity of the accident or injury. Naturally therefore a compensation award varies from individual to individual. We at AMT Lawyers will fight your corner and will ensure you are awarded the maximum amount of compensation. We will claim for the injury, pain and suffering you have experienced and also for the cost of medical expenses, physiotherapy, counselling or nursing expenses. We will also claim for other financial losses due to the accident, such as loss of earnings. Unfortunately no one can provide you with the exact amount of compensation you will receive without obtaining medical evidence. However, why not give AMT Lawyers a call and having examined the circumstances surrounding your accident and injuries suffered, one of our expert solicitors will be in a position to provide a more detailed guideline of what you may receive if your claim is successful.

  • Will it cost me?

    As experts in claiming compensation we are confident in our ability, that’s why the vast majority of our cases are taken on a ‘No Win – No Fee’ basis. Basically if we are unsuccessful you pay us nothing. If we are successful your legal fees will be paid by the losing party leaving you with 100% of your compensation. We will also advise you on your opponent’s costs in the unfortunate event you are unsuccessful. You have nothing to lose, call AMT Lawyers today to claim what is rightfully yours.

  • Can I make a claim?

    If you are injured through someone else’s negligence then you may be entitled to claim for compensation.

    • Have you been involved in an accident as a driver or passenger which was not your fault?
    • Have you had an accident at work, i.e. due to a fall or faulty machinery?
    • Have you tripped on a road due to the surface being faulty i.e. there being a pothole, cracked or uneven pavement, wet floor, inadequate lighting?
    • Have you had an accident in a public place i.e. supermarket, shopping centre, car park, at work?
    • Have you had an accident due to a defective product?

    To make a claim or simply to find out more information as to whether or not you are entitled to claim compensation call AMT Lawyers today or alternatively complete the online application. We have found that many individuals are unaware they are entitled to claim compensation and are surprised when informed they could claim thousands of pounds in compensation. If you are not sure you have a claim call our specialist team of lawyers who will be able to answer your questions or you can simply provide as much information as you can in the “Ask AMT Lawyers” section. If we can assist you and you have a claim then we will take your details and start your case on a No Win – No Fee basis.

  • Is it too late to claim compensation?

    In most cases you have 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim. If the accident occurred when you were under the age of 18 then the 3 year period starts from your 18th birthday. There are exceptions to the 3 year rule.

  • How long will my personal injury claim take to settle?

    This depends on how complex your claim is and the stance of the third party. Generally straightforward low value claims can be settled in a matter of months. More serious claims or cases where the third party deny liability at the outset can take longer.

  • Will I have to attend a medical appointment?

    Yes, to confirm the injuries you have suffered, the effect of these injuries and the prognosis we will need to obtain medical evidence. We will arrange an independent medical expert to examine you and provide a medical report. The medical evidence is required to value your claim.

  • What is indemnity insurance and why have you recommended that I take this out?

    Where either our title investigations or our property searches and enquiries reveal matters which adversely affect (or potentially, may adversely affect) the property, then we may recommend to you that indemnity insurance is obtained to cover against any losses you may suffer as a result of those adverse matters. Where we recommend that indemnity insurance is obtained, we will let you have a quote from at least two insurance providers. In the majority of cases, indemnity insurance is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained for a single one-off premium which is paid when the policy is put in place (usually at completion).

CHILD ARRANGEMENTS ORDERS

  • Do I have Parental Responsibility?

    A father automatically has parental responsibility if he is married to the mother when the child is born, or if he marries the mother at any point after the child is born. If the mother and father are unmarried, the father will have parental responsibility only if he is named on the child’s birth certificate. If there is agreement we can assist you with a Parental Responsibility Agreement or if there is no agreement from the mother then an application can be made to Court.

  • Is there a court fee to make a Child Arrangements Order application?

    The Court fee for a Child Arrangements Order application is £215. If you are unemployed, on a low income or in receipt of benefits you may be entitled to a fee remission or reduction of the court fee.

  • What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

    A Prohibited Steps Order is an application which asks the Court to make an Order to prevent something, for example removing a child from the jurisdiction.

  • What is a Specific Issue Order?

    A Specific Issue Order gives directions for determining a specific question that has arisen, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

    It can be used to determine questions about a child’s upbringing, e.g. whether the child should go to a state school or be educated privately or in relation to medical treatment.

CONSENT ORDERS

  • What is a clean break consent order?

    A simple divorce does not resolve the financial aspects of the marriage. A Clean Break Consent Order is a legally binding agreement which prevents your ex-spouse from making a claim for a share of your assets, any properties you may own or have an interest in, your income or pension in the future. Without entering into a Clean Break, your ex-spouse will be open to making a claim at any point.

  • What are financial remedy proceedings?

    If you and your ex-spouse are unable to reach an agreement through negotiations or mediation, either party can make an application for a financial remedy order. This is an application to the Court to start proceedings. The Application, known as the Form A is completed by the Applicant, submitted at the Court and a First Hearing will be listed.

  • When are financial matters dealt with during a divorce?

    We would always advise that the financial aspects of a marriage are dealt with prior to the divorce being finalised. This is because once the Decree Absolute has been granted, the spousal rights, pension and inheritance rights of both parties may change.

IMMIGRATION

  • What if I am refused permission to stay in the UK?

    If the UKBA refuse your application for a visa or to enter the UK, you will receive a notice of refusal. This document will list the reasons for the refusal, and will tell you whether you have the right to appeal. The notice will also give you advice on where to send your appeal. There will be a strict time limit that needs to be met.

  • I entered the UK as a prospective student, can I extend my stay?

    You will have to continue to meet the requirements as a prospective student. When applying make sure you submit the correct application form for this category, either online or by post. Seek expert immigration advice so that you are aware the correct application has been made or you could lose your application fee.

  • I have met all the requirements for the visa I require but I have still been refused?

    This could be due to a variety of other reasons such as your previous immigration history.

  • I am in the UK how do I switch immigration categories?

    This will depend on the visa you currently have and the category you wish to switch into. There are a variety of categories which have differing criteria. In some cases it may not be possible to switch in the UK at all and so you will need to return to your home country and apply from abroad. You should always check by seeking expert immigration advice.

  • I want to sponsor my husband/wife from abroad, what documents do I need?

    You will need to meet the requirements for this category which will include showing the UKBA that:

    • Your Marriage is genuine and subsisting
    • You are of the correct age
    • Your marriage or civil partnership is valid in UK law
    • You meet the financial, accommodation, English language requirement
    • You and your partner have met in person
    • that you meet the suitability requirements

FAMILY LAW

  • How do I start a divorce?

    To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least a year and it must be established that your marriage has irretrievably broken, and there is no possibility of reconciliation. There are five grounds to show irretrievable breakdown and you must choose one to rely on. The document that starts the divorce is called a petition which is sent to the Court. There is a court fee payable of £550 to start the process.

  • How long does a divorce take?

    If each step in the divorce is taken promptly and financial arrangements do not hold things up, the divorce process is likely to take between four and six months.

  • What is a Decree Nisi?

    The decree nisi is the second-to-last phase of the divorce. It means the court has agreed that you are entitled to a divorce, but has not yet made it final. After the court has received your application for Decree Nisi, a judge will look at your papers to make sure they fulfil the legal criteria and if they do the court will issue a certificate telling you when the Decree Nisi will be pronounced.

  • What is a Decree Absolute?

    Six weeks and one day after the grant of Decree Nisi, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute, which formally ends the marriage. A Decree Absolute is the final Order, which officially ends a marriage. Once the Decree Absolute has been granted, both parties are free to re-marry.

  • Will I be eligible for a remission of the court fee?

    If you are unemployed, on a low income or receiving benefits, it is likely that you will be eligible for a fee remission – reduction or waiver of the Court fee. The court may ask to see evidence of your income in the form of bank statements, wage slips and benefits letters. We can assist you with this and advise you at the first meeting whether you would be entitled to fee remission.

  • Will I have to attend Court?

    In a straightforward divorce you will not have to attend Court. The divorce process is generally administrative, which means that the Court is able to make a decision based on the paperwork submitted to them. If a Costs Order is made and contested, it is possible that a short hearing will be listed, which would require the parties to attend.

  • Do I have Parental Responsibility?

    A father automatically has parental responsibility if he is married to the mother when the child is born, or if he marries the mother at any point after the child is born. If the mother and father are unmarried, the father will have parental responsibility only if he is named on the child’s birth certificate. If there is agreement we can assist you with a Parental Responsibility Agreement or if there is no agreement from the mother then an application can be made to Court.

  • Is there a court fee to make a Child Arrangements Order application?

    The Court fee for a Child Arrangements Order application is £215. If you are unemployed, on a low income or in receipt of benefits you may be entitled to a fee remission or reduction of the court fee.

  • What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

    A Prohibited Steps Order is an application which asks the Court to make an Order to prevent something, for example removing a child from the jurisdiction.

  • What is a Specific Issue Order?

    A Specific Issue Order gives directions for determining a specific question that has arisen, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

    It can be used to determine questions about a child’s upbringing, e.g. whether the child should go to a state school or be educated privately or in relation to medical treatment.

PROPERTY

  • What is a “contracted out” lease?

    A contracted out lease is a lease where the Tenant does not have security of tenure. In England and Wales, most business tenants will usually have the right to stay in occupation of the rented premises at the end of a lease and require the Landlord to grant them a new lease. This is known as security of tenure. A “contracted out” lease is a lease where these general principles do not apply. Consequently, at the end of a “contracted out” lease, a Landlord can require a tenant to vacate the rented premises.

  • What is an “FRI” lease?

    The abbreviation “FRI” means full repairing and insuring. In simple terms, this type of lease will require the tenant to bear full responsibility for putting and keeping the rented premises in repair as well as having responsibility for the insurance costs incurred for obtaining buildings insurance for the rented premises. In practice, a Landlord will usually take out the buildings insurance policy and then require the Tenant to reimburse the Landlord for the cost incurred.

  • Why is VAT payable on some properties and not on others?

    The rules for payment of VAT in respect of commercial property transactions are complex. However, the general rule is that all property is exempt from VAT unless it falls within one of the exceptions. These exceptions include newly built commercial property and also property where the current owner has made an “Option to Tax” (formerly known as an “Election to waive exemption from VAT”). There are also other exceptions which can affect whether VAT is payable or not.

  • I have seen a property at auction that I like. How will I know whether it is a good investment?

    Whenever a property is listed for sale at a public auction, the seller should have lodged a detailed legal pack with the auctioneers. Often these legal packs will be available via the auctioneer’s website. We are experts at reviewing auction packs and ascertaining whether there are any legal issues affecting the property. If you would like us to provide a quote for reviewing an auction pack for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Is stamp duty land tax payable on leases?

    Most people appreciate that when you buy a property, stamp duty land tax may be payable by the purchaser. However, stamp duty land tax can also apply to tenants when they take on a lease. We will always let you know if stamp duty land tax will be payable on a lease transaction and will provide you with an estimate of the tax that may be payable.

  • Do you offer your commercial property services at fixed fees?

    Yes, absolutely. The majority of our commercial property services are provided under fixed fee arrangements which are agreed at the outset of a matter. We will always stick to our fee quote even where there are minor changes in our instructions. However, if there are any fundamental changes which alter the transaction, then you can rest assured that we will let you know as soon as possible and not engage in any additional work unless you have specifically approved any additional costs.

  • What happens if the other party withdraws from the transaction?

    Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that sometimes a party will withdraw from a transaction. There are a number of different reasons why this could occur. The law is very clear that any party is free to withdraw from a transaction at any time before exchange of contracts occurs. We appreciate the deep anguish and upset that this causes and therefore, will always endeavour to exchange contracts as swiftly as possible to minimise any risk to you. Once contracts are exchanged, the parties are contractually bound to the transaction and it is unlikely that either party would be able to withdraw from the transaction without becoming bound to legally compensate the other party.

  • Who pays the estate agents fees?

    It is usually the seller who will be responsible for payment of the estate agents fees. To assist you, we will arrange to pay the estate agent’s fees directly from the sale proceeds of a sale although we will only do so if you ask us to do so on your behalf.

  • What is Stamp Duty Land Tax?

    Stamp Duty Land Tax is a specific tax which is payable by the buyer of a property on many property purchases. We will always advise you at the outset whether Stamp Duty Land Tax will be payable and if so, the amount of tax we estimate will be due. Although we do not provide tax advice, we will endeavour to make you aware of any tax reliefs that may be relevant. It should be noted that even if Stamp Duty Land Tax is not payable, it is likely that the buyer will be under an obligation to file a Stamp Duty Land Tax return with HM Revenue & Customs. Unlike many law firms, we do not charge a separate fee for preparing and filing the return as we consider this to be an intrinsic part of our role. Please note all Stamp Duty Land Tax returns and any tax due must be paid within 30 days of completion. HM Revenue & Customs may impose penalties and interest on any returns that are filed late or any tax that is not paid by the date due. We will always look to file the return and pay any tax due on your behalf as soon as practicable following completion and it is usually a condition of any mortgage provider that we hold a signed return and monies to cover the stamp duty land tax payable before completion.

  • Why do you need to obtain an Environmental Report?

    Under Environmental law, where a property is “contaminated”, then the principal responsibility for remedying that contamination lies with the party that caused it. Where this person or entity cannot be found or no longer exists, then in most situations, responsibility will pass to the property owner. This is important as by buying a property, a buyer could become responsible for the costs of remedying any contamination. This potential cost could be many tens of thousands of pounds and therefore, it is strongly recommended that an environmental report is obtained which assesses the risk of contamination. The report does not guarantee that the property is not contaminated but assesses the likelihood of contamination based on a combination of historical information, the local geography and scientific data.

  • I don’t know where my title deeds are. Is this a problem?

    It shouldn’t be a problem. Most properties are registered at the Land Registry and this is the definitive record of who owns a registered property and what matters affect that property. It has been compulsory to register a property whenever it is bought or sold for a very long time and therefore, unless the property has been within the same person’s ownership for in excess of 30 years, it is likely to be registered.

  • How long will it take for me to buy/sell a property?

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to give any precise indication on timings as a lot depends upon information and documentation being received from third parties. In addition, matters can be delayed where the transaction forms part of a long “chain” of property transactions (i.e. where the purchase of one property is dependent upon the sale of another). We will endeavour to keep you updated on timings but please rest assured that we will always aim to deal with matters as efficiently and expeditiously as reasonably possible.

  • What searches do you undertake?

    The type of searches we undertake will depend upon the nature and location of the property but generally speaking, we would look to undertake some or all of the following:

    • Local Authority Search – This is to confirm that there are no matters recorded in any registers held by the local authority which affect the property.
    • Water & Drainage Search – This is to confirm that the property is connected to mains water and drainage and also to ensure that there are no public water pipes or sewers which run through the property.
    • Coal Authority Search – This is to confirm that the property is not at risk of ground movement or subsidence due to historical mining.
    • Chancel Repair Liability Search – This is to confirm whether the property is located within an area where property owners are obliged to contribute towards the costs of repairing the chancel of the local church.
    • Environmental & Flood Report – This is to confirm that the property is not within an area which could be identified as contaminated or at risk of flooding.

    Where a property is being bought with the aid of a mortgage, the mortgage provider will usually insist that all appropriate searches are undertaken and that the results are satisfactory before agreeing to release the mortgage funds to the buyer’s conveyancer.

  • What do the words “exchange” and “completion” mean?

    When buying or selling a property, there are two key stages in the transfer of the property. At the end of the first stage of the transaction, there is the exchange of contracts (“exchange”), and at the end of the second stage, there is the completion of the transfer (“completion”). Exchange takes place when the buyer and the seller enter into a formal legally-binding contract that the buyer will buy and the seller will sell the property. At exchange, the property is not actually transferred but instead a deposit (usually 10% of the sale price) is paid to the seller’s conveyancers. At this time, a completion date is set so that the parties can make all practical arrangements to ensure that the property is vacant and that the new owner can move in. On the agreed completion date, the transfer deed is completed. This is where formal legal ownership of the property passes from the seller to the buyer. At the same time, the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller’s conveyancers, who will arrange to pay off any monies due to any mortgage holder who has a mortgage over the property. Following completion, the buyer’s conveyancer will arrange for the transfer (and any new mortgage) to be registered at the Land Registry.

  • What is Conveyancing?

    Conveyancing is the name used to describe the process by which a property is transferred from one party to another. The conveyancing process involves a number of steps which can be briefly summarised as follows:

    • Checking the title deeds to the property to confirm whether there are any rights or restrictions which could affect your proposed use of the property and to ensure that the property has sufficient legal rights over any adjoining property which may be required (e.g. rights of way).
    • Where a property is being bought:
      • Making enquiries of the seller to ensure that the transaction reflects what has been agreed by the parties and also to confirm that the seller is not aware of any adverse matters which could affect the property.
      • Making searches and enquiries of third parties (e.g. local authority, water and drainage authority, coal authority, etc.) to ensure that the property is not at risk of being affected by any matters recorded in any public registers held by those third parties. This may also include additional searches and enquiries (e.g. environmental and flood reports, chancel repair liability, etc.) to ensure that there are no liabilities which could affect the property which would be revealed by such searches and enquiries.
      • Liaising with any mortgage provider and providing them with a written certificate confirming that there are no adverse matters of a legal nature which affect the property.
      • Preparing the Stamp Duty Land Tax return and following completion, lodging the return and paying any tax due to HM Revenue & Customs.
      • Registering the transfer of the property at the Land Registry.
    • Where a property is being sold:
      • Drafting the contract papers.
      • Obtaining and collating all of the relevant title documents and pre-contract enquiries and documentation.
      • Liaising with any mortgage holder to ensure that the mortgage is repaid in full immediately following the sale of the property so that the property can be released from the mortgage.
    • Negotiating the property contract and form of transfer with the other party’s conveyancer.

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