Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book recommendation: Crucial Evidence by Margaret Barnes

Lenny Barker is pleading not guilty to the brutal murder of prostitute Shelley Paulson, while his defence barrister Cassie Hardman is left in no doubt of his guilt - that is until she learns of compelling new evidence in the high profile case to which only she is privy. Risking her future career and her ambition to become a QC, Cassie Hardman seeks a fair trial for the accused Barker, and will stop at nothing to locate the missing witness who may hold the key to his acquittal. Will she find the man in question before the jury retires to consider their verdict at the Old Bailey? And if Barker is acquitted of the gruesome crime who was really responsible? Available from Amazon.

Book recommendation: Crucial Evidence by Margaret Barnes

Lenny Barker is pleading not guilty to the brutal murder of prostitute Shelley Paulson, while his defence barrister Cassie Hardman is left in no doubt of his guilt - that is until shelearns of compelling new evidence in the highprofile case to which only she is privy. Risking her future career and her ambition to become a QC, Cassie Hardman seeks a fair trial for the accused Barker, and will stop at nothing to locate the missing witness who may hold the key to his acquittal. Will she find the man in question before the jury retires to consider their verdict at the Old Bailey? And if Barker is acquitted of the gruesome crime who was really responsible? Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book recommendation: Order in Court: 2 (Toby Potts) by David Osborne

Toby Potts, fresh from Bar School, and clutching his graduation diploma, is a young, aspiring barrister, full of hopes and dreams and intent on becoming the leading criminal advocate of his time. He can hardly wait to get on his feet and impress the jury with his incisive cross-examination, his mastery of all things legal, and his spellbinding final speeches. Sadly, reality kicks in, and Toby finds the path to fame and fortune far from smooth and uneventful. Chambers politics, strange clients, solicitors who come and go on a whim, and even stranger and eccentric judges, all have their part to play in Toby’s climb up the greasy pole. Moments of courtroom drama, and many more moments of high fiasco, mark Toby’s initiation into the heady world of the Criminal Bar. So much to learn, so little time. Will Toby succeed where so many have failed? He has the determination, he has the self-belief, but does he have what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the profession? Only time will tell. One thing is certain - never a dull moment! Why be ordinary, Toby was once told, if you have it in you to be extraordinary? Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book recommendation: Winners: And How They Succeed Hardcover by Alastair Campbell


Alastair Campbell knows all about winning. As Tony Blair’s chief spokesman and strategist he helped guide the Labour Party to victory in three successive general elections, and he’s fascinated by what it takes to win. How do sports stars excel, entrepreneurs thrive, or individuals achieve their ambition? Is their ability to win innate? Or is the winning mindset something we can all develop? Drawing on the wisdom of an astonishing array of talented people – from elite athletes to top managers, from rulers of countries to rulers of global business empires – Alastair Campbell uses his forensic skills, as well as his own experience of politics and sport, to get to the heart of success. He examines how winners tick. He considers how they build great teams. He analyses how they deal with unexpected setbacks and new challenges. He judges what the very different worlds of politics, business and sport can learn from one another. And he sets out a blueprint for winning that we can all follow. Available from Amazon.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kevin Carr - round the world runner from Devon!

What a privilege to get out and support Kevin Carr today as he comes towards the end of his gruelling round the world run. All things being well, by tomorrow evening he will have broken the record for running over 16,000 miles around the world. It's a mind-blowing feat that has included running through Australia's Nullarbor Desert, over the Andes and even being stalked by a black bear in Canada. You can read more about this at The Independent and on his website. He's also raising funds for the British Red Cross and mental health charity Sane and you can donate here.

It's a rare privilege to meet someone achieving something so extraordinary and all the more so when he is so understated and humble about the whole thing. It brings to mind Hugh Symonds who 25 years ago this year ran the first continuous traverse of the 3,000 foot mountains of Britain and Ireland (which you can read about in his book here).

So, here's to Kevin completing the run in fine style tomorrow. After that, wouldn't it be great to see him up there in the running for Sports Personality of the Year?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Focus On: Reasons Why Will Writing Is Important for Everybody

Brought to you by our friends at Vincents Solicitors

Dying without a will – or intestate – is an unfortunately common problem. As of 2014, 48% of the UK’s 64 million population had not made a will. This represents at least £250million of untapped business for UK based solicitors; each one of those 33 million people is a potential client of the future. 

It isn’t just bad news from a business perspective. For clients and their families – who, in a large proportion of cases, have not made a conscious decision to avoid writing a will, instead simply forgetting or putting it off for later – it represents a potential disaster.

Why Are Wills Important?

When somebody dies intestate, the decision as to where assets are placed is made by the courts based on a raft of rules. Often – if the person dies with no known kin - that inheritance can go directly to the state. In the six years from 2006 to 2012, over £1m of bona vacantia property was inherited by the Duchy.  It can also, in some cases, go to a person with whom the person has little to no contact or relationship. There have been thousands of cases in which a cohabitant or long-term partner of the deceased has been legally unentitled to inheritance; despite what would have usually been agreed was intended.

In some cases, this happens when estates are particularly big: celebrities such as Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Bob Marley and Stieg Larsson all died either with an out-of-date will - or without one at all. In each case, this causes problems for the relatives of the deceased.

No Will = Problems for All

Amy Winehouse’s parents inherited her £3million fortune after she died in 2011, leaving her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil with nothing; Heath Ledger’s will was out-of-date, accidentally leaving his then 3 year-old daughter Matilda out of his inheritance. Bob Marley’s $30million estate was fought over by dozens of claimants, including his 9 children, when he died intestate in 1981, and Stieg Larsson’s estate was inherited by his father and brother, as opposed to his long-term partner, when he died in 2004. The latter was particularly contested, and Larsson’s former partner has battled for literary control of his works ever since. 

Whilst these would be expected to cast a spotlight on the importance of creating a will, little impact seems to have been made on the number of people who are preparing for their families after their own deaths. 

Many people cite lack of urgency as a reason for not creating a will; viewing themselves as somehow infallible; ‘too young’ to consider what will happen after the inevitable.

The above examples show that you can never be too early to plan for the future, however.

Lack of forward thinking is not only bad for legal business, but for individuals and their families; it’s so important to prepare as best as possible, especially when support which helps guide you through the process can be given via specialists wills and probate solicitors, like these. Have you written your will? How does your legal practice encourage clients to prepare their wills? Let us know in the comments below.

This post has been written by Anastasia Evans.

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