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26 February 2016

Do we really need local law societies?

Amy Clowrey, Assistant Solicitor at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors, Vice Chair of the Halifax & Huddersfield Junior Lawyers Division and Executive Committee member of the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society comments about the regeneration of the local law societies in Kirklees and Calderdale.

In recent years Calderdale has seen the reformation of the Huddersfield Law Society and it's merge with the Dewsbury law Society. There has also been more of an interest by members in the Halifax Law Society and the formation of the Junior Lawyers Division of Halifax, which changed to cover Huddersfield in 2015.

There has been a marked increase in social activities and networking between lawyers within Kirklees and Calderdale in recent years. Personally I believe it is wonderful that lawyers are supporting one another rather than seeing each other as competitors, over the last few years the Government has changed the way many legal sectors work and it's important for lawyers to stand together. For example, the proposals for the Calderdale courts to be closed resulted in the legal community standing as one, as have reforms which affect the nation generally such as the LAPSO and the proposal for legal aid duty contracts, the Jackson reforms, court fee increases and changes to the small claims track. I believe that the regeneration of local law societies is as a result of this Governments continual hit on high street lawyers (of which the majority of solicitors within Kirklees and Calderdale are) resulting in the need to network for business and/or support.

With regard to the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD), it's getting more and more difficult to enter the profession and the JLD (set up in 2008) is one of the biggest and most active divisions of The Law Society, representing over 70,000 members. Prior to 2013 there was no JLD within the Kirklees and Calderdale area despite there being a University in Huddersfield. Junior Lawyers understand the difficulties that they face in entering the profession, particularly with the ongoing cuts and changes to the legal sector and I believe that they are more than willing to take advantage of the benefits of being a member of the local legal community which provides educational events, social/ networking opportunities and continual support.

I hope that the local law societies continue to flourish and grow as the benefits to our members are invaluable.

9 February 2016

APIL Yorkshire Division Meeting

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Graham Roberts attended at the APIL Yorkshire Division meeting on the 21 st January 2016 to discuss the ongoing developments with law and the government's recent proposals with respect to increasing the small claims limit to £5000.00, and to get rid of general damages for whip lash type injuries altogether.

The meeting was hosted by John McQuater and he spoke about clinical negligence past, present and future and the APIL campaign update.

John initially pointed out that all lawyers do is to try and uphold standards in a certain profession. With clinical negligence the standards to be upheld are by the professionals undertaking clinical work; doctors, nurses etc.

The emergence of such professions meant standards had to be set by that profession and all lawyers do is to work to uphold the standards, which have been set by the organisations themselves.

These are standards go back to the 19 th century.

We were reminded that since 2013, as well as success fees being taken away, stopping the Claimant's claiming the success fee from their opponents and then taking this from the client's compensation to compensate, damages are supposed to have increased by 10%. This is across the board and for any cases which are commenced after April 2013, this must be adhered to. It is not up to a court's discretion.

The meeting acknowledge how much of a big issue a change to increase the small claims limit to £5000.00 is, as so many claims are low level soft tissue type injury claims. Everyone in the room at the meeting confirmed their firm would be affected by such a change.

The MOJ will be consulting on the proposals in March. Such consultation will be concerning the implementation rather than the principle. There is some confusion as to whether it will be a £5000.00 limit on all claims or just road traffic accident claims. It is probably going to come in April or October 2017.

The government can increase the small claim limit by rule change however removal of the right to claim for whip lash injuries has to be by Act of parliament.

What is and what is not important to the Government?

It seems perverse that someone who suffers a legitimate injury which happened through a road traffic accident who can go through months of pain and suffering, may have time off work, may have people looking after them, suffer out of pocket expense, and will not be able to claim for such injury. However, if your aeroplane is late, you can automatically claim compensation for your late flight.

APIL are lobbying parts of the Government and hope they will realise that there is a right to compensation, which has been enshrined in law for hundreds of years and is about to be swept away. This is the only way of making people accountable for their wrongdoing.

The Government seem quite concerned with the price of insurance premiums and the insurance companies have indicated with such a change, the insurance premiums are likely to come down £50.00 per year. This is yet to be seen and we have never seen the insurance companies reduce premiums for the other changes that have been made in the past. Do we believe that premiums would go down now?

What guarantees will we have that premiums will go down? Surely the Government should be putting some process in place to ensure that premiums will actually come down rather than just relying upon the insurance company to spout market forces.

It seems confusing that the Government have increased insurance premium tax, putting insurance premiums up, at a time when they are taking measures to try and bring insurance premiums down. It does not make sense.

Whiplash claims have fallen since 2013 and the changes haven't come through into actual figures yet. Why rush through new changes when the conclusions from the initial changes haven't yet been seen?

In 2013, the Government indicated that we didn't have to put the small claims limit up, so what has changed?

APIL is asking for the help of members by providing examples of cases. These are particularly cases that we may have turned down or cases where the clients will suffer if these measures are introduced.

The Government have also proposed fixed costs in clinical negligence claims by October 2016. Why are the Government making such changes at an early stage when the results of LASPO haven't really come in for clinical negligence claims yet, because the cases take so long to deal with?

When the Defendants give examples of costs, the costs always seem low but they don't actually include the costs for the in-house lawyers in those estimates of costs. When the Defendants say that the Claimant's costs are 6 times higher than their own costs, we are not actually comparing like with like.

The implementation date is too soon.

APIL don't really believe in fixed costs for the larger cases. There is some scope where there is some fixed process, such as with the portal, but complicated clinical negligence cases are not appropriate for fixed costs. Perhaps where liability is conceded straight away, but apart from that, we believe it is much less appropriate.

Also APIL want to look at the ways the NHS can save money, such as by making sensible offers, as cases progress.

15 January 2016

Back to the Dark Ages: access to justice for the working class is further trampled upon

law

In autumn 2015 the government announced their plans to raise the personal injury small claims limit to £5,000.00 and abolish general damages for minor soft tissue injuries with a view to cracking down on the fraud and claims culture in motor insurance.

Currently, the small claims limit is set to £1,000.00. This means that anyone who has suffered an injury as a result of another's negligence which has lasted approximately 1 month can bring a civil action under the law of tort, which dates back to 1932.

Under the small claims track, each party is liable for their own costs, whereas if the injury is worth £1,000.00 (and therefore subject to the fast track) the innocent party's legal costs are generally recovered from the negligent party. If the Chancellors plans to increase the small claims limit to £5,000.00 go ahead, then this will mean that a significant amount of the public will have no option but to represent themselves or bring no action at all, a stance which we believe many people may take due to fear and uncertainty of the legal process... especially against an insurance giant with a legal team.

The proposal to abolish general damages for minor soft tissue injuries is confusing; it would seem a result of insurance companies putting pressure on the government to crack down on fraud which they allege will be reflected in lower insurance premiums. Whilst we can understand the need to reduce fraud in motor claims, we cannot comprehend why the government would discriminate against motor drivers who have suffered similar injuries to someone who may have tripped as a result of a defect or had an accident at work due to the negligence of their employer.

£5,000.00 might not seem a lot of money to some, but injuries which can attract compensation of less than £5,000 are things like broken wrists, ankles, back injuries lasting up to 18 months, some minor burns and scars.

With such injuries may come significant special damages for things such as loss of earnings, care and nursing, medication and treatment, which can result in the case becoming complex. In such cases unless the full claim is worth over £10,000 the innocent party would not be able to recover his/her costs from the opponents and so would find it difficult to find a solicitor to take on such a case.

It seems absurd that such clients may not be able to seek the assistance of a solicitor, unless they paid them privately. This makes such proposals an access to justice issue, harking back to the dark ages when justice was for the rich and the less well-off would have to muddle along and hope for the best.

It seems this government continually puts the interests of the insurance industry first, whilst the rights of the working class are eroded more and more.

It has been announced that the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) and the Law Society are joining forces to fight against this proposal.

It's imperative that the legal profession work together to oppose this change which will further diminish access to justice for the working class.

19 November 2015

Safeguarding Children

As well as assisting any who have suffered abuse Benjamin Roberts Solicitors have developed and are actively working to safeguard children. In our pursuit to work with the community to protect the vulnerable Amy Clowrey has recently begun a volunteering role with ChildLine, educating children of ages 10/11 about the different types of child abuse.

Amy underwent intensive training to obtain such a role, which included a course on Child Protection which dealt with discussing the abuse with the victim and how to spot potential child abuse issues.

As part of her role, Amy attends schools within the locality on a regular basis providing assemblies and workshops to young children with a view to educating children about safeguarding themselves and giving them a voice.

Amy is keen to assist those vulnerable in the community and has recently completed her Masters degree on the topic 'The Voice of the Child' and developing her practice to solely specialise in cases of Child Abuse, helping to fight for justice for abused children and those that face abuse.

Having been involved in a number of Child Abuse cases, it became apparent that most of the victims felt unable to speak out at the time they were being abused. There was a common theme of worries about being believed, scared or confused about whether they were actually being abused and not knowing that what was happening was wrong. Often, this abuse leads to the victim suffering psychological conditions which is why Amy is hopeful that educating children about safeguarding themselves and how they can gain help will minimise, what could potentially lead to, severe psychological problems.

For many, this move to safeguard children comes too late, as they have already been the victims of abuse.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of child abuse, or you merely suspect that something is not right with something you or a loved one is going through you can seek help.

In the event that you believe that a child is currently the victim of abuse, please contact the police and inform the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000. Please don't wait until it is too late.

If you don't know what to do about an issue like this Amy is available for a confidential chat on 0800 432 0122 and will be able to talk you through both the personal and legal options available and if needed put you or your loved ones in touch with specialist groups / charities who can offer invaluable support.

If you have any queries about your rights or the help available, please do not hesitate to contact Amy.

17 November 2015

Benjamin Roberts Solicitors Successfully Seek Justice for Victims of Historical Child Abuse in Calderdale.

Benjamin Roberts are pleased to confirm that we have recently settled a group action against Calderdale M.D.C for the abuse suffered by young boys at the hands of their school teacher Mr Alan Birkby in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Birkby, who was convicted of the offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child in 2012, took advantage of his young students at Park Lane Community Primary School, Halifax.

Child Abuse matters are notoriously difficult actions to win, due to limitation issues and lack of current evidence, and this matter was no different. Despite the difficulties, we are pleased to confirm that we obtained over £90,000.00 in settlement monies for our clients.

We know through talking to others abused by this man that there are many people out there who have suffered in silence for many years over what this man did.

For all of those victims of historical abuse, we hope you have found a way to deal with the torment of your past and have managed to move on with life successfully. For those who have found they have been unable to properly deal with the effects of such abuse in their lives, please remember there is help out there.

We, as specialist solicitors, can only help in claiming compensation for the abuse one has been through and for the funds needed to compensate for loss of earnings through life and into the future, and for the costs of psychological treatment. We are connected with treatment providers who will provide private psychological input, which means that our clients receive invaluable treatment without having to be placed on the NHS waiting list.

We also put our clients in touch with support groups and specialist charities such as Victim Support, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NSPAC), The Survivors Trust and Support Online, who can be a great source of support and/or assistance.

If you need help, please click on one of the following links, to see what help may be available;

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-victims/ive-been-affected/childhood-abuse

http://napac.org.uk/

http://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/

http://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/child_abuse_survivors.php

Alternatively, if you have reason to believe that a child is currently the victim of abuse, please report this to the police and the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000.

If you would like to have a confidential chat, even if it's just to find out what support is available, that may suit your needs, please do not hesitate to contact Amy at our office on 0800 432 0122,  who will be more than happy to help.

November 2015

Make a Will with Will Aid this November

Benjamin Roberts is pleased to announce that we will be taking part in Will Aid this November.

We will waive our fee for drawing up a basic Will and instead invite our clients to donate to the Will Aid group of charities. The suggested minimum donation £95 for a single basic Will and £150 for mirror Wills.

The money raised is shared by the nine Will Aid charities* and is used to transform the lives of people in the UK and around the world.

Will Aid has raised over £15 million since its launch over 25 years ago and an estimated £95 million has been pledged as legacies by people making their Will through the scheme. The campaign is proud to have helped more than 275,000 to write a proper Will with a professional solicitor.

Having an up to date and properly written Will is the only way to be sure that your money and possessions will be distributed according to your wishes. It is also the only certain way to avoid difficulties for your relatives and friends after your death. By making a Will with Will Aid you will be protecting your loved ones' future and helping to raise money to support the vital work of the Will Aid charities.

For further information or to make an appointment to make a Will please call:

Somiyah Hussain at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors on 01422 356633.

Together we can make a real difference to your loved ones security in the future and at the same time help the thousands of people in the UK and around the world helped by the Will Aid charities.

*The Will Aid charities are: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland).

15 th September 2015

Yet another Budding Solicitor qualifies with Benjamin Roberts!

All of the team at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors would like to congratulate Somiyah Hussain on qualifying to become a Solicitor. Somiyah will become the fifth solicitor to qualify through being trained by Benjamin Roberts in the past 5 years. Somiyah has been with Benjamin Roberts for four years starting out as a Paralegal and then going on to complete her training with us.

Like Amy and Kerrie who recently qualified a few months earlier, Somiyah is primarily trained in personal injury law, however has gained valuable experience in Family Law, Wills, Probate and Administration and Immigration.

Benjamin Roberts Solicitors believe it is important not only for our future of the individual but for the future of the legal services industry to continue to provide the high level of training to our staff. We have seen over the last couple of years that with so many cuts to our industry, training people into higher careers is not as attractive to firms as it once was. Further, due to the lack of progression new talent may be put off pursuing a career in Law, particularly in the private client sector.

Benjamin Roberts believe in progression and allowing the graduates we engage to flourish and realise their dream of becoming solicitors. How they fare once qualified is really up to the market, and how the government treats the providers of legal services in the future.

With the training we provide we give bright young minds like Somiyah, Amy and Kerrie a chance to work and learn in this valued sector of the community, helping those who need it the most.

Somiyah is able to deal with low and high valued Personal Injury cases and has the added advantage of being fluent in a number of languages including English, Urdu and Punjabi.

Well Done Somiyah !

July 2015

Yet another attack on our access to justice!

The Ministry of Justice have announced further increases to court and tribunal fees just months after rises in March 2015 to court fees. The MoJ will proceed with rises to costs in possession claims and general applications meaning a rise in civil fees.

How many more hits can our most vulnerable members of society take?

Divorce fees will rise to £550 with the MoJ arguing that "this is a 'more affordable increase' than the £750 proposed in December 2013, and that fee remissions will help to 'protect the most vulnerable'." (Law Society, 2015)

Surely protecting the more vulnerable would be to keep prices as low as they possibly can for cases that directly help people who need it.

The reason we are in this business is to help the most vulnerable members of our community. Cuts like these are making things more difficult for us but we will keep on fighting for those who are affected most by more and more cuts to our legal system. Call us today for 24 hour support on 0800 432 0122.

July 2015

Overgate Colour Run

Benjamin Roberts Solicitors are proud to have sponsored of the Overgate Hospice Colour Run for the second time this summer. The event was a major success for the charity who achieved their expectations of reaching over 1000 runners in a giant celebration of colour for a great local cause. Overgate Hospice and Benjamin Roberts would like to thank everyone who attended and took part for making this such a great day out.

In our second year of sponsoring the event Benjamin Roberts rallied some of the local businesses to assist by donating prizes to the raffle with all the proceeds going to the charity. This year we had more prizes on offer and they were even bigger and better than ever! The star prize was a 48 inch Smart TV donated by Benjamin Roberts. Other prizes kindly donated by businesses in Calderdale, included; A family ticket at Halifax RLFC, Two tickets to Cinderella at the Victoria Theatre, along with meals for two at the Nando's and Romeo & Juliet's restaurants in Halifax. The prize raffle raised £250 with all proceeds going directly to the hospice to add to the £30,000 already raised at the event by the hospice.

Registration has already begun for next year's run so get helping and get registered. Your donations will help the Hospice provide the much needed help, care and sympathetic service we all wish for at the end of our lives and those of our loved ones.

Roll on the next Overgate Halifax Colour Run

January 2015

What Price Justice: More Ways to Prevent the Innocent Seeking Justice.

The Ministry of Justice has announced that the plan to increase civil court fees from April will go ahead. It was confirmed by Shailesh Vara, justice minister, that claims over £10,000.00 will attract a new fee based on 5% of the total value of the claim. It is apparent that this is good news for court, as it is estimated that this will increase revenue by £120 million a year, but what about businesses and litigants?

This increase means that those individuals with more severe injuries are likely to be unable to afford to bring an action, yet another move against access to justice. For example, an action worth in the region of £200,000.00 from April will attract an upfront court fee of £10,000.00.

This consultation has been ongoing since December 2013 and has been widely opposed by those in the Profession, which has been united against the changes, acknowledging that this change will have a negative impact on small to medium businesses and litigants in person.

From April, solicitors will have to undertake a robust risk assessment, meaning that cases that would normally be taken to court will be left behind as solicitors will be unable to proceed on a CFA due to the high risk. We have not yet heard how this change will affect ATE premiums, but we anticipate that those fees - which since April 2013 are no longer recoverable from the opponent - will also increase.

There is one saving grace, those on benefits or on a low income are still able to claim the costs of court fees. In April 2014, the court brought in a remission system, whereby in certain circumstances litigants may not have to pay a court fee. The fee remission system is based on two tests, the first assesses household disposable capital and the second assesses gross monthly income (both tests must be satisfied to be eligible). An individual would be able to recover full remission of a court fee if they are on certain benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Scottish Legal Aid, State Pension or Universal Credit (with earnings less than £6,000.00 per year). Full and partial recovery of fees is available to those on a lower income, for example, a single person earning less than £1,085 per month would be entitled to full fee remission, and this amount does increase dependent upon whether the litigant lives as a couple and how many children they have. For further information with respect to fee remission, please download Form EX160A by clicking this link: http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex160a-from-07-october-eng.pdf.

At present fee remission is not widely used, perhaps it's because it's relatively new and solicitors are unsure of the process; the tests and necessary evidence seems to onerous a task; or that they are even unaware of the changes. Perhaps it's because court fees are reasonable and recoverable from the opposition upon winning a civil action; or perhaps it's due to confidence that the ATE company will cover the fees if an action is lost. In any event, what is clear, is that this is all about to change and solicitors will have to get to grips with fee remission if they want to facilitate access to justice for their clients. After all, that is why we entered the Profession, isn't it?

Amy Clowrey

Solicitor

December 2014

Small Halifax practice trains its fourth solicitor in 4 years!!

Everyone at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors would like to send their congratulations to both Amy Clowrey and Kerrie Speight who have now both completed their training contracts at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors and are now fully qualified solicitors.

Both Amy and Kerrie have been primarily trained in personal injury.

Amy with her strong family orientation and having spent a seat in child protection is passionate about helping those who have been victims of abuse, be it children who are currently in abusive situations or those adults that have had to endure a lifetime of living with the pain of dealing with the abuse which they previously suffered. Amy will use her experience to help all of those who come to us wanting to get some recompense for what they have been through, in a thoughtful and compassionate way, whilst fighting to ensure they get all they are entitled to from the perpetrator, the state and or the organisation responsible for allowing such abuse to take place.

Kerrie is more commercially minded and will use the commercial awareness she has gained whilst undertaking a seat in commercial law to support the more rigid aspects of personal injury. Kerrie's talents compliment the Order and eye for detail needed for dealing with Industrial Injury litigation. Kerrie has had recent success in dealing with industrial disease cases and has a particular interest in Industrial Deafness (Noise Induced Hearing Loss), Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Upper Limb Disorders (Repetitive Strain type Injuries) and will be building on her success in this area of law.

Amy and Kerrie will be the third and fourth solicitors trained by Benjamin Roberts over the past 4 years, and in the next 3 months there will be another 2 trainees coming through our organisation. Our Principal Solicitor Graham Roberts commented on the importance of giving staff the opportunity to train; for the purpose of their own career progression, but, also to ensure the future for all of us. The Government champion training, but how much do they actually value it in the legal profession?

Legal practices the length and breadth of the country are seeing their costs slashed due to government changes. We believe this will lead to a loss of justice to many consumers, the reduction of choice for consumers and loss of jobs for legally qualified people. We can see firms employing more unqualified people to carry out the roles which used to require a solicitor or legal executive. More unqualified people with poor training can only lead to less justice for the consumer who will not receive the service they have come to expect from their local high street firm.

"Benjamin Roberts are a progressive firm who take pride in our employees and try to develop them as much as possible in order to prepare them for their future careers as solicitors, in which they will be expected to give the best service possible to their clients. There is no better feeling than believing your have done a good job for your client".

With cuts to legal aid and rising tuition costs junior lawyers are facing problems both finding work and financially supporting their careers as well as the cuts affecting justice to vulnerable members of our society. Andrew Caplen, President of The Law Society has said that "legal aid cuts and wider funding cuts are chipping away at access to justice".

Benjamin Roberts says we can't let this happen. Big business should not be allowed to run rough shod over the lives of those who don't have the knowledge of how to stand up and fight for their right to compensation for their losses. You need strong knowledgeable solicitors to deal with difficult problems.

November 2014

Will Aid Month

At Benjamin Roberts Solicitors are proud to be taking part in Will Aid month during the month of November. Where instead of charging for will writing we offer our clients the opportunity to donate the fee we usually charge to charity.

Will Aid is a national fundraising scheme that benefits these nine UK charity's by splitting the donations made by our kind clients, when they come to us to write a will during the month of November;

• Action Aid

• Age UK

• British Red Cross

• Christian Aid

• NSPCC

• Save the Children

• SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund)

• Sightsavers

• Trócaire

The money raised during Will Aid is split between the nine charities to help benefit people less fortunate in the UK and overseas. The donation from your will can help change lives of these people in need as well as your loved ones when you make the sensible decision to secure their future.

How your donations can change lives . . .

• £95 could cover the cost of the child line service to reach seven primary school children.

• £150 could pay for cataract operations for three children helping them see the world for the first time.

• £200 could pay for two older people feel safe in their homes by enhancing security

• £5,000 could provide training for vitally needed community health workers in Sierra Leone. (Will Aid, 2014)

Benjamin Roberts are taking part by writing a basic will for free during the month of November. All we ask for is a suggested donation of £95 for a single basic will and £150 for a pair of basic matching wills or mirror wills.

Only 64% of people in the UK over 55 have made a will. Don't leave you and your family's future to chance. Last year the government collected 8 million pounds when people passed away intestate, 23% of people believed that when they go the possessions will automatically stay with their loved ones. This is wrong. Only with a valid will you can secure their future and leave a real legacy. (Law Society, 2014)

Four Simple steps to take part in Will Aid

•1. Call Benjamin Roberts today on 0800 432 0122 or 01422 356 633.

•2. Write down a list of your assets and where you would like them to go to

•3. Meet with one of our specialist will writers. (If your instructions are complicated, or need advice on inheritance tax planning, we may advise extra work and related fees needed at this stage.)

•4. We will draft you a will. At this point you can donate money to benefit the nine charities we are supporting throughout the month.

26 September 2014

Overgate colour run 2015 & our Partnership with the charity in 2014

As you may have seen earlier this week, after the success of the inaugural event in 2014 we announced on our social media pages that we are proud to be sponsoring the Overgate Hospice Colour Run in 2015.

As part of our relationship with Overgate in 2014 we selected the hospice to be our charity of the year. This saw our team take on a few different challenges to help the hospice raise money.

In April the team at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors took on a 5k run in aid of the charity. We donated the bottled water for all of those thirsty runners who took part that day.

In July we were the main sponsors in Overgate's first ever colour run. This was a huge success not only for those taking part in the run but for the Hospice, who only a week before had to rearrange the run due to adverse weather conditions. Despite this setback the hospice managed to raise over £16,000.00. An impressive figure, especially when you take into account the issues the charity had to face leading up to the event.

As part of our sponsorship of the event we had a team of runners who raised money for the charity. As well as a dedicated team of bakers who worked tirelessly to bake buns for the event as well as for the cancelled one! Don't worry the spare buns were not wasted; we distributed these to the guests and residence of the hospice and visitors to the New Ebenezer charity in Halifax. We also staged a prize raffle with proceeds going to the charity. The lucky winner picked up a brand new 42 inch smart TV. Overall Benjamin Roberts raised over £450.00 on the day of the colour run.

We really look forward to seeing you again in 2015 as well as some new faces. Everyone from Benjamin Roberts Solicitors thoroughly enjoyed themselves at both events we attended and we all raised money for a great cause.

For more information about Overgate Hospice please visit their website overgatehospice.org.uk

To get involved with us on social media please click on these links . . .

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BenjaminRobertsSolicitors

Twitter https://twitter.com/benrobertssols

Google+ http://goo.gl/lvs1fO

LinkedIn http://goo.gl/znTDpG

18 July 2014

Interview with Overgate Hospice

Overgate Hospice located in Halifax provides valued care to the terminally ill in the community of Calderdale. They receive only a fraction of their required running budget from the Government and are left to raise funds through various community events to ensure they can continue to give the care we all hope to receive at the end of our life.

As part of Benjamin Roberts' partnership with the charity we are sponsoring and taking part in the Colour Run this weekend in Saville Park Halifax. It's going to be a fun filled day out for all the family with embarrassing moments for the staff and friends of Benjamin Roberts, so come along and support a great cause. Enter the prize drawer, enjoy a Benjamin Roberts cup cake and get the kids a goody bag (with bag of paint included for the lucky).

Visit www.overgatehospice.org.uk/ for more details of how to get involved and support them.

In preparation of the event we interviewed members of the marketing team at the Hospice. Here's what they had to say:


Overgate hospice is known for the care it provides for people with life limiting illness. What values underpin the care you provide?
Overgate hospice has a set of unique values "to provide care and assistance for the whole person to give them the best quality of life" The hospice treats people as individuals and provides support for carers and their families. The charity has over 100 staff working for the Hospice however for every one paid member of staff the charity kindly receives help from 6 unpaid volunteers.


The services you provide are varied and wide-scoped, are there any services you offer which are not widely known about?
Spirituality

The hospice has a chaplain on hand to provide spiritual support to the patients during their stay.

Social workers

Respite care patients can get help at home from social workers who provide care for people who have recently been sent home after their treatment has ended. Anyone who leaves the hospice to return home are provided with a care package so they are not sent home without being fully ready.

Therapeutic Support

This includes Holistic care. This service is taken care by volunteer therapists who kindly donate their time to help.


What would you regard as Overgate's biggest achievement so far?
To still be providing the care 33 years on. We accredited this to the good will of the local community and the volunteers who help the cause every day. Overgate is not NHS funded. "The local community creates this place"

Overgate's biggest achievement in terms of fundraising has to be the success of the midnight walk we had last year. 950 people took part in the event in September 2013 when we hosted a 13 mile walk and a 6 mile route that last year brought in around £65,000 pounds for the hospice.


What is the best thing about working for Overgate Hospice?
The people. This includes the patients, the family's, the support workers and the support we receive from the community of Calderdale, who are an inspiration to the people of Overgate. We give a special mention to Benjamin Roberts who telephoned out of the blue and asked if they could supply the water for the 10k charity fun run. It's the people who, off their own back, ask if there is anything they can do for the charity.


Overgate Hospice is approaching its 33rd Birthday this year, Do you have any plans to celebrate?
In terms of the wider environment we see that there is a need for more hospices this is coming on the back of financial constraints of the NHS we believe there needs to be more charity's like Overgate who provide support for the community without having to rely on the support of the NHS.

Costs for the Hospice are increasing all the time as they improve with the services they offer and the care they give to the community. Initiatives like the Colour Run on the 19 th of July will help the hospice to raise much needed funds.

Last year was the first year we had a financial deficit. This was because the outside financial climate has affected the local community. "People don't have as much expendable income so the first thing to go is the £4.34 a month for the lottery." On the other hand corporate social responsibility is a trend that is growing massively with the likes of local businesses helping the charity.

Overgate is currently hosting more events in the future such as the midnight walk that was so successful last year so make sure you book your place on the journey.

The idea behind the midnight memory walk is that you walk for your star in memory of someone special to you. We offer both a 13 mile and 6 mile routes so there is something for everyone. You could even take part on your horse as someone who could not walk did last year. The walk takes place on the 13 th of September so make sure you book your place.


We are excited to be sponsoring your upcoming 'Colour Run' on the 19 th of July. Are there going to be any surprises on the day or anything that you can give us an exclusive preview of for our followers?

The charity has kindly received a couple of fire extinguishers to spray paint in the air on the start line. The have tried to create a day out experience as well as an event for the colour run on the day there will be stalls serving freshly made doughnuts. The support Benjamin Roberts is providing is helping Overgate cover the cost of the event so anything they do make for the event is going straight to the charity so your donations and entry fees are helping an important cause.

Benjamin Roberts will be hosting a prize raffle on the day of the event so don't miss out on that too!

Any support you can give to the hospice will be gratefully accepted however small or large.

You can support the hospice in so many different ways by doing little things like recycling your old stamps, ink cartridges, mobile phones, and chargers also clothes and rags are lots of ways you can help the hospice.

You can donate by either ringing the hospice on 01422 379151 or donating these items to one of their shops.

11 June 2014

Could We Learn From America?

Health and Safety gets a bad press these days. Branded by many 'Elf and Safety', people often see such policies as hindering creativity and feel common sense should prevail.
It is not until somebody is seriously hurt or worse, before people recognise the value of so called 'red tape'.

Each June in America everyone from business owners to local carers take part in what is known as 'National Safety Month' which has the sole purpose of educating the public in ways to avoid injuries which otherwise could be evaded. Safety is not just required in the workplace, it can be extended to checking your fire alarms or driving safely on the roads. The National Safety Council works to provide guidance on everything from avoiding trips and falls to preventing prescription drug addictions.

It is your employer's responsibility to provide a safe working environment for you on a daily basis. This can include making sure work premises are properly maintained, ventilated and lit. If you feel like your employer is not doing enough to guarantee your welfare, check out what they should be doing on the Heath Executive Website.

Our solicitors are expertly trained in dealing with cases where clients have developed injuries and sickness caused by poor working conditions and negligence of their employers. For more information regarding claims for employer liability, please click Here. We take the personal care of our clients seriously and we endeavour to provide them with the best rehabilitation and post-injury care. Call one of our legal specialists for free, confidential advice on 01422 356633 or visit our Contact Page.

Health and Safety

02 May 2014

Numbers, What They Say About Us

5,4,3,2,1

We are soon approaching our fifth birthday at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors, which has left us feeling rather reflective. Counting down from five, we have analysed what each of the number of years we have been practicing means to us.

Interestingly, there are five colours which are used in every flag of the world (Black, Blue, Green, Red and Yellow), the very same colours which make up our own brand colour pallet. Over the past five years we have made it our goal to accommodate diversity in our local communities; we have employed Punjabi, Urdu, Hindu and Polish speakers striving to reach as many people in our area as possible.

The number 4 symbolically represents productivity and putting ideas into form. For us, four represents our location, 4 Wards End, Halifax - our central hub for productivity. We are based in the centre of Halifax, we welcome all clients to call in and have a chat with our dedicated staff members.

Three is considered a lucky number in various cultures, the number is often used in countdown to represent a synchronised action, such as beginning a race. Three for us represents the synchronicity between our organisation and our three trainee solicitors that we have recently received special dispensation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to employ. We believe it is important to nurture and develop young people, as they are the future and they need employers who are willing to invest in them. You can find the profiles of our trainee solicitors on our team page.

There are two sides to every coin, which creates an even probability that when a coin is tossed, it will reveal heads or tails. We don't deal in probabilities here at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors, we guarantee to offer maximum compensation on a no win - no fee basis to all of our clients.

The number one is often used is often used to indicate a winner or best in class. We strive to be each and every one of our client's priority and first choice when it comes to choosing a solicitor.

Samson Kovacs

29 July 2013


Benjamin Roberts Solicitors are proud to announce the new appointment of two new Trainee Solicitors, Kerrie Speight and Amy Clowrey.

Both Kerrie and Amy have over 18 months experience of dealing with personal injury claims as Litigation Executives and have progressed due to their dedication, hard work, professionalism and good results for their clients.

Well done and congratulations to these two dedicated professionals.

4 July 2013


On 31 July 2013 Claimant solicitor costs for the internet system for road traffic accidents (Ministry of Justice RTA Portal) will be reduced by £700.00 to a total of £500.00 for each and every case that proceeds through this system. It is generally seen that this is wholly unfair on Claimants but as with previous decisions the Government has given consideration, it seems, only to the insurance companies. The fear is that some large national injury lawyers will use less skilled employees to deal with these cases, but we can assure you if you suffer a road traffic accident here at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors we will deal with your case with the same attention as if it was a much larger, higher value accident.

2 April 2013


The government has changed the way personal injury legal cases are funded which means we can no longer promise that you will receive 100% of your compensation. As some of your compensation will now have to be used to pay for legal costs we promise that you will receive maximum compensation for all your losses if your case is successful and you have to pay nothing if your case is unsuccessful. Our client's keep maximum compensation for all your losses.

22 March 2013


A recent article has been posted on the Law Society website from James Dalton who is the head of the Association of British Employers.

Mr Dalton is stating in this article that as well as the cost of solicitor fees, especially with low value road traffic accidents, he has proposed that the value of compensation be lowered too! It has been admitted by a few insurance companies that the lowering of the costs that solicitors will be able to claim will not have any effect on the cost of insurance premiums, and it is most likely that this proposal would not either. This is going to show the ideals of the insurance industry, they have had the amount of solicitor costs reduced and now they want to stop access to justice for more innocent victims by reducing the money they deserve. This will not have any effect on the profits that insurance companies make.

11 March 2013


A further case that we have been victorious in, this time against the Police in a case of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious persecution. See this latest case here.

Also in the news recently, the House of Lords reject a clamp down on Health & Safety at Work regulations that the Government were attempting to instate. As stated in Claims Magazine, it was a close call 225 in favour to 223 against, which would have put the burden on the injured party to prove their employer was negligent, and not the employer to prove otherwise, which would increase cost, which the Government seems to want to crack down on!

4 March 2013


As time passes on towards 1 April 2013 (the date when changes to how we can deal and finance your case comes in) many hurdles are being put up in front of Claimant solicitors and their representatives. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers unfortunately were unsuccessful in a Judicial Review against the Government lackluster way of implementing the upcoming changes. But here at Benjamin Roberts Solicitors we still fight to ensure you receive as much compensation as you deserve, as is demonstrated in our latest case we have been victorious in. Check this case out on our Previous Cases page here.

14 February 2013


Here is our Principal Solicitor Graham Robert's views on the recent comments made by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling regarding the possible further increase of the Small Claims Track Limit (smalls claims track is the limit of where a solicitor can help you with your case, due to the solicitor's fees being swallowed up by the smaller value of a claim).

"The Government are currently consulting about raising the small claims limit for personal injury matters from £1,000.00 to £5,000.00. The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling said, "although the consultation is based upon a £5,000.00 limit running until the 8th March, the Government is considering raising it further". He said, "I think there is a case for saying that the small claims court limit for £5,000.00 is too low". He then continued to say, "I am keen for people to have access to proper legal process, but the benefit of the small claims court is in part arbitration. They plan to make the process cleaner and simpler for people who have been through a difficult time."

What the Government are proposing is that anyone who has an injury as a result of an accident which is worth less than £5,000.00 will not be able to instruct a solicitor to act for them in bringing that case. Instead, they will be required to value their own case, source their own medical reports, consider all of the losses they have suffered, value technical heads of claim including gratuitous care and nursing, disadvantage on the open labour market, loss of opportunity, loss of congenial employment etc. in order to be able to value their own case and then present such a case to the court if the Defendants are not willing to pay them the appropriate amount of compensation.

How many of you out there would know where to start with bringing such a claim and how to value such a claim without the assistance of a solicitor? The Government realise that bringing in such a measure will mean that a great many justified claims are not brought which will be cheaper for the insurance industry. The Government have indicated that the insurance industry will pass the reduction in cost down to policy holders. So the Government believes that in order for us to receive maybe up to a £5.00 reduction in our yearly premiums, those who have been injured as a result of an accident and where there injuries are less than £5,000.00 should be stopped from getting compensation for the losses they have suffered.

Presently, if you suffer whiplash and suffer the symptoms from such whiplash for 2 years, you would receive in the region of £5,000.00. Accordingly, it is unlikely that such a person would be able to bring the case due to not being able to value their case properly and not being able to instruct a solicitor to deal with that case for them.

If you suffer post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of witnessing a loved one nearly die and you suffer the effects of this for 2 years, you will not be able to employ a solicitor to assist you to bring your claim for compensation.

If you suffer from a fractured rib, uncomplicated inguinal hernia, a displaced fracture of the wrist or a partial amputation to a finger or a fracture of the finger, you will not be able to obtain the assistance of a solicitor for a claim for compensation.

Indeed, the vast majority of people who make claims for compensation presently will not be able to make a claim for compensation through a solicitor. Many of those people will not proceed with any claim for compensation because of not knowing how to go about it, others may try and get some compensation but it certainly won't be the compensation that they are entitled to and would obtain if they went through a solicitor who undertakes this type of work professionally. Therefore this Government is proposing to remove justice from the majority of people who suffer injuries as a result of accidents. It seems that with all of the changes that the Government are making, it detrimentally affects the man on the street and never the person who has substantial funds or finances which mean that they are not affected by the recession. This is nothing to do with the recession and this is to do with the Government pandering to insurance companies and ensuring that insurance companies make the largest profits possible and that the executives of insurance companies are well looked after. Again, it seems that this government wants to look after the wealthy in society and take away the benefits of those who have the least.

We will wait to see what actually occurs as this may be another one of those policies of this Government they may make a total u-turn upon; however they won't make any such u-turn unless public opinion is against them.

Think of family and friends who may have had an accident and were able to claim compensation for what they had been through and think how their lives would have been affected if they weren't able to claim for that compensation.

At Benjamin Roberts Solicitors, we try to ensure that people who have suffered accidents are inconvenienced as little as possible, however people who suffer injuries through accidents are always inconvenienced and in some occasions, they lose their livelihood and may even lose their home because of being involved in an accident. Everyone will potentially be affected by such changes, unless you can say that you will never suffer an injury through an accident in your life time. Who of us can ever say that? When it happens you will want compensation for the wrong you have suffered and if this government gets its way, if that loss is £5,000 or less, you won't be able to claim it.

Graham Roberts"

1 February 2013


The Law Society Gazette has a new article posted. It relates to the proposed changes. It confirms that the Civil Justice Council have also condemned the proposed changes to the fees that solicitors who help injured people gain compensation is too unrealistic for the April 2013 deadline and should be delayed until 2014. The Civil Justice Council will hopefully sway the Government more than previous campaigns from the likes of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society or the Association for Personal Injury Lawyers. We will keep you posted on any further developments.

18 January 2013



We have another new case in our Previous Cases page, a Mr M (which can be found here). Also Anthony Hughes of Manchester firm Horwich Farrelly has stated that the proposed increase of the Small Claims track (the way that claims that are under £1,000 in value go through County Courts) to £5,000 will do nothing to combat fraud. This is another example of opposition to the impending changes imposed by the Government, though this time from someone who works as a solicitor for the insurance companies.

10 January 2013



Following another article on 8 January 2013 in The Law Society Gazette following on from the Dispatches programme on Channel 4 on Monday 7 January 2013 it seems that insurance companies are partly to blame for the rise in insurance policies and not just the 'ambulance chasing' Claimant lawyers as is claimed. Mr John Hyde in the article states that surely if the Claimant 'no win, no fee' lawyers are due a big overhaul, then why should any bad practise done by the insurance companies not be subject to overhaul also. We will all have to wait and see what happens, but keep yourself up to date with Benjamin Roberts Solicitors news and latest law news on our Facebook and our Twitter.

9 January 2013



Following on from the news from 8 January 2013, The Law Society have told the government that they have "substantial evidence" to state that costs for the MOJ RTA Portal system should actually increase by £100 and not the planned decrease of £700 as reported by Litigation Futures. Lets hope the government listen as anything to help us deal with your case the best we can is a good thing. We will keep you updated on our website, our Facebook and our Twitter.

8 January 2013



Due to the proposals set out by the Government to extend the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Road Traffic Accident (RTA) Portal system to include car accidents up to £25,000 and also Public and Employer Liability cases, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have conducted a reply to these proposals, which also includes fixing of costs for the Claimant lawyers, seemingly all to the benefit of the insurance companies. We'll keep you updated on any further developments.

Why choose Benjamin Roberts Solicitors? Click here to learn more! get up to £1000 Advance To help while you recover. Learn How (Terms Apply)! No Win, No Fee If we do not win your case, you pay nothing. Learn More!

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