You now have more time to enter the National Paralegal Awards 2020!

After receiving feedback, for those of you who would like to enter but have commitments ahead of the Christmas break, the decision has been made to extend the final deadline for entries to Friday 3rd January 2020 at 5pm.

There will be no further extensions after this date.

Why enter? 
Winning or being a finalist of an award is a great way to progress your career or to develop your business.  It brings great recognition for your expertise, hard work and commitment to the paralegal profession!

How to enter? 
Entry is open now, online and free. You do not need to be nominated.

To find out how to enter and to download the entry pack and template visit www.nationalparalegalawards.com
 
Please ensure that you read the pack carefully and use the entry form template, sections and headers provided.  It is important that you use these as they match the criteria and score cards our judges will be using. Once completed these are to be copied and pasted into the online entry form
 
If you need any help or advice on what categories to enter or the type of supporting evidence you need to include, please contact us on 01442 508 206 or email [email protected] 
Please note that the PPR office closes on the 20th December and reopens on 2nd January 2020. 

Spotlight on the PPR Register Regulatory Committee

In this article Amanda Lee, Chair of the RRC explains what is the purpose of the committee, how it handles complaints and how you can get involved.

What is the Register Regulatory Committee? 

The Register Regulatory Committee (RRC) is responsible for managing the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) and providing strategic and operational advice on issues that affect the PPR. To fulfil this role it considers advice received from the PPR’s independent Advisory Board.

Led by Chair Amanda Lee, the RRC is composed of six members with professional experience in a broad range of different disciplines. Members of the RRC are committed to ensuring that members of the PPR uphold the highest standards of professional service and support the PPR’s goals of raising the profile of professional paralegals and protecting consumers.

What does it do?

The RRC plays a vital role in supporting the PPR’s mission of providing its members and the public with the ability to make informed choices when choosing a legal representative. If a complaint is made about a registered or regulated paralegal then the RRC is responsible for considering that complaint and taking whatever action is necessary.

The RRC acts in accordance with clear rules and procedures in order to ensure that complaints are considered fairly and in a timely fashion. It therefore helps the PPR to ensure that paralegal work is of the highest standard by providing consumers with a remedy if they have any complaints about the work undertaken by a PPR member.

How does the RRC handle complaints?

The RRC’s powers differ depending on whether the complaint made relates to a regulated or registered paralegal. It may dismiss complaints or impose some sort of sanction if it is determined that a complaint should be upheld, such as requiring a paralegal to pay compensation or suspending their PPR membership. These broad powers help it to protect the public and to ensure that the standard of service provided by paralegals that are voluntarily regulated by the PPR is reflective of the high standards of service that PPR members strive to provide to their clients. 

The RRC has the power to appoint independent bodies to investigate complaints. If the value of the compensation sought by the complaining party is £500 or less then the RRC will appoint a Complaints Committee to consider the allegations made and determine whether any sanctions should be applied to the paralegal involved. If the value of the compensation sought exceeds £500 then the RRC will appoint an independent Adjudication and Appeals Panel. This panel has broader powers and the ability to impose a penalty of up to £5,000.

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in supporting the important work of the RRC then please consider applying to join the committee. The RRC meets a minimum of twice per year. The deadline to apply is 20 December 2019. For further information see the advertisement here.

A Day in the life of a PI

During her travels around the country our MD, Rita Leat meets some very interesting people and this ‘Life in the day of’ blog is our way of sharing our networking with our members.  First in this series is an article from Dave Clark, who shares with us his day as a PI.

A Day in the life of a PI

Up and about early today, need to be in the office by 6am, we have a busy day ahead.

First order of business is to get the staff organised and on the road. John will be in at 8am, he has several Winding up Petitions, and Statutory Demands, all Limited Companies, to be served. These almost invariably are served in office hours and within forty eight hours of receipt by us.

Terry is working later, he has various Process serves as well, but these are individuals, usually easier to find in the early evenings and weekends.

Once their papers and routes are ready, I can turn to the e-mails, hard to believe this many arrived whilst I slept! Some are update requests on work in hand, quotes for new work, tracing instructions, and general enquiries from the mundane to the bizarre.

The overnight ones tend to be private clients and overseas. During the day I will get the professional clients, other Agents, Solicitors and Paralegals, all of whom understand the demands on us and are usually better organised and don’t suffer from over expectation!

Now I can organise my day, although organise is a fluid term.

I check the electronic trackers on the web platform, see if our targets have been busy, and how much battery life we have left. One is quite low, (note to self ), out at 3am to change the battery pack. I collect the process serves I have to fit in en route today, and head out to my morning networking meeting, praying for a decent breakfast. I know the phone will start around 8am must remember to put it on silent.

Networking over, couple of interesting contacts, now to the day proper.

We have a request for a surveillance this evening, cheating husband apparently, where does he get the time? Bearing in mind I am now out very early to change the tracker batteries, I ring round to find who wants the job, as always John is keen, and my preferred option as we were both Special Branch trained.

Always a minefield these jobs. Private clients want you to peer through windows and get “in flagrante” photos, completely outside of RIPA. At least our professional contacts, especially our PPR Paralegals talk the matter through and understand the legislative constraints.

Try explaining RIPA, HRA or even PACE to an outraged partner, never goes well.

I also have two repossessions to collect today, both cars, so off goes Chris my towing expert, armed with his paperwork and usual grumpy attitude, hey ho.

My favourite local Solicitor (because he hates going out and gets us to do most things!) has asked for a quote for attending a commercial property, changing the locks and completing an inventory, need to get that out today.

I also need to arrange a couple of test purchases this week in a bar selling unbranded booze as the real thing, list of volunteers for that is growing daily.

As always some new stuff will arrive, invariably urgent, just to ruin the day, some will be cancelled and some will go so horribly wrong you just wonder what you did to upset the big guy!

But on the upside the range of work means I am never bored, and also the range of people I meet is always interesting. If I had more space the stories I could tell!

So if you need a PI or Process Server give us a call at Adams for help anywhere in the country on 020 3745 5711, or speak to Dave direct on 07787 555 932.

Become a Board Member of the PPR’s Register Regulatory Committee

We are looking for board members to join our Register Regulatory Committee (RRC), which is a committee that manages the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR).

It, with advice from the independent Advisory Board, decides on the strategies and operational issues of the PPR.

Applicants must be able to operate at a strategic level and be committed to the goals and values of the PPR in raising the standard and profile of professional Paralegals and in consumer protection.

Ideally applicants will have previous committee experience, whether at a professional organisation or in their firm/organisation.

An understanding or experience of compliance, regulatory, dispute resolution, consumer protection or complaints handling is advantageous.

You must be a good communicator.

Applicants must be ready and able to contribute to the work of the PPR RRC and to actively participate in committee meetings.

These positions will require a commitment to attend a minimum of 2 meetings per year. The meetings are normally in London or via a conference call between 11-2pm on a weekday.

In addition, members will be required to undertake tasks such as reviewing drafts of updated policies and providing comments on the same and considering complaints raised.

These are non-remunerated positions.

Closing Date for applications:  20 December 2019

Interviews will be held early January 2020

To express an interest in the role or to find out more please email [email protected] or call 01442 508 206.

About the PPR

The Professional Paralegal Register is the overarching voluntary regulator for professional Paralegals and exists as a not-for-profit organisation. The PPR has been developed in direct response to the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) that recommended a body should come forward to regulate paralegals who are working outside of the regulated sector.

We have recognised the need for Paralegals to be regulated for two reasons:

  • To provide greater consumer choice and protection
  • To professionalise Paralegals and recognise them as the fourth arm of the legal profession

The PPR is a voluntary scheme for Paralegals who do not work in solicitors firms and is not governed by the legal services regulator, The Legal Services Board.

The regulatory framework of the PPR is designed to be proportionate to match the perceived or real risk attached to different areas of work that Paralegals do.

The PPR defines Paralegals into four tiers so that for the first time in England and Wales, Paralegals can be clearly identified and valued for the professionals that they are.

Head of the Professional Paralegal Register is shortlisted in the National Business Women Awards

Managing Director of the voluntary regulator for paralegals, Rita Leat, is a finalist in the third sector category of the National Business Women Awards for her pro-bono role with the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR).

Rita who co-founded the not for profit scheme, the PPR works tirelessly to promote professional paralegals as a recognised fourth arm of the legal profession and to enhance consumer choice and protection.

Speaking about her recent shortlisting “I am honoured to be shortlisted as a Finalist in these prestigious awards.  Awards such as these play a vital role in promoting the hard work of female leaders”.

This is the second business women award that Rita has been shortlisted for in recent months.

Finalists will gather at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington, London on Thursday 12 December to find out who has won.

To find out more about the Professional Paralegal Register please visit www.ppr.org.uk

3,500 LEGAL PROFESSIONALS ALL UNDER ONE ROOF

After the huge success of our last show held in March 2019, LegalEx will be back for another edition! On the 18th & 19th of March, 2020, London’s ExCeL will again play host to Europe’s most comprehensive and all-encompassing trade show for legal professionals.

LegalEx 2020 is set to be the biggest & best edition to date. It will host 200 cutting- edge exhibitors and 150 educational seminars from some of the world’s top legal experts, innovators and forward-thinking speakers. In association with The Solicitors Regulation Authority and HM Courts & Tribunal Services, LegalEx 2020 is an event that anyone within the legal profession looking for business growth, professional development and cyber security can not afford to miss.

Designed to help the business behind the solicitor, attending the event is one of the most effective ways to increase the profit of legal practices, to step up marketing efforts, to increase client retention, and increase billable hours. With a focus on the innovations in Artificial Intelligence for legal firms, how the implementation of GDPR is affecting the efficiency of solicitors, the rise in Cyber Terrorism and how the Conveyancing sectors are expanding, there will be more than enough for the modern law professional to benefit from. With the relevance and expected expansion of these topics further into the heart of the law industry, LegalEx 2020 will keep visitors well ahead of the curve.

Last March 3,300 professionals within the Legal sector came together to explore the latest tools, products, services, resources and innovations that are changing the game in legal business growth and data security. The next edition of LegalEx is planned to be bigger and better and tickets are already available on its website and are completely free. The website will also be giving all the latest updates about next year’s LegalEx.

With exhibitors from across the many legal sectors all coming together under one roof, it is hard to find a reason not to attend. This approach creates an efficient solution to your legal problems. Instead of spending hours looking at companies on the internet, speak to the people behind the solution face to face and choose what you can be sure is the best option for your specific firm and needs. As well as this, you can learn where the trends are by getting immediate feedback, keeping your finger well and truly on the pulse and further preparing you for success in the following months.

For full details and to register for your free ticket to attend please visit www.legalex.co.uk

PPR's Managing Director, Rita Leat shortlisted as Finalist in Best Business Women Awards

Rita Leat, Finalist Best Business Women Awards - Legal ServicesThe Best Business Women Awards have announced their finalists for 2019. The business world is full of talented and dedicated female entrepreneurs who not only run successful businesses but, in many cases, also juggle the needs of their families. The Best Business Women Awards are designed to recognise the achievement of those women across a wide range of business categories from women across the UK.

Rita Leat from the Professional Paralegal Register has been shortlisted as a finalist in the legal services categories. The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) is the overarching independent voluntary regulator for paralegals. Its aims are to promote professional paralegals as the recognised fourth arm of the legal profession and to enhance consumer choice and protection.

Debbie Gilbert, organiser of The Best Business Women Awards said “This is the 5th year of these prestigious awards. We were delighted with the number of entries this year, which came in from all over the UK. This is a tough competition judged by business experts. To be a finalist is a major achievement. Finalists have been selected for their business acumen, determination, creativity and tenacity. Well over 80% of start-ups fail in the first 3 years and all our finalists are all shining examples of being successful entrepreneurs who have proved their success to our judges.”

Rita Leat, PPR's Managing DirectorRita Leat, who is the Managing Director of the PPR said “I am honoured to be a Finalist for the legal sector category in this year’s Best Business Women Awards. Having achieved my Law Degree as a mature student with three children in 1994 I entered my legal career that has now spanned 27 years”. She continued “The Awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate not only women in business but for this particular category, women in law”.

The gala final of The Best Business Women Awards will be held on 11th October 2019 at The Tower Hotel in London when the winners will be announced.

The search is on to find the Best Paralegals 2020 NATIONAL PARALEGALS AWARDS

Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural awards, The National Paralegal Awards are back, and the search is on to find the Best Paralegals in the UK and businesses that support the industry.

This year there are 14 categories comprising of 10 awards for individuals including Best Civil Litigation Paralegal, Best Patent Paralegal, Probate Researcher of the Year, Will Writer of the Year and Best Mediator and Arbitration Paralegal.  There are four categories for businesses to enter including Best Recruitment Organisation for Paralegals and Best Law Firm – Paralegal Development.

Entries are now open, and close on 13 December 2019 at 5pm.

Finalists and sponsors will gather together on 27 March 2020 for a black-tie gala final held in the Grand Hall, Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden to celebrate achievements and announce the winners of each category.

Rita Leat, Managing Director of The Professional Paralegal Register who host the awards said: “We are delighted to host these annual awards to showcase and reward the work of Paralegals across the UK. These are professional awards with strict criteria to ensure that our Finalists and Winners are the best the UK has to offer”.

This year’s headline sponsor is international genealogists and probate researchers, Fraser and Fraser, who were awarded ‘Paralegal Business of the Year 2019’.

Neil Fraser, Partner said “Fraser and Fraser celebrate its 50th anniversary this year and we are delighted to be the headline sponsor of this year’s National Paralegal Awards.  As a firm we understand the crucial role paralegals play across the sector and these awards provide well-deserved recognition to the individuals and organisations that have achieved great things.”

Amir Ali, Chairman of the CCUA will be heading up the independent judging panel, which is made highly regarded business and legal professionals.    Amir said “I was honoured to be asked to return to this year’s Judging Panel and to Chair the panel.  The PPR’s National Paralegal Awards is now very much a firm fixture within the legal calendar.  Paralegals, in all their forms, are the backbone of the industry, often working in the shadows and these awards shine a much-needed light on the vital role they play in the delivery of Legal Services in the marketplace”.

For the second year, the events charity partner will support The Young Citizens, who work to help young people become active, engaged and motivated citizens, who are able to contribute positively to their communities.

For further information and to enter the awards visit www.nationalparalegalawards.com

Enter the British Wills & Probate Awards

Would you like to win an industry accolade for high achievement in the sector?British Wills and Probate Awards

Following the overwhelming success of last year’s event, The British Wills & Probate Awards are back – bigger and better.

Taking place on the 17th October 2019, the prestigious awards are being held at the Belfry Hotel and Resort in Birmingham. The 2019 attendee list is double the size of last year, reaching just shy of 300.

The awards will again be hosted by broadcaster and journalist Jennie Bond, who appears regularly on a wide range of television and radio programmes – from light entertainment to documentaries.

Why not highlight your achievement and successes in the Wills and Probate sector by entering the awards?

Not only will you have the chance of winning an award, you will also receive the following benefits:

  • Full coverage on leading news publication Today’s Wills & Probate
  • Content to use for your marketing purposes
  • Use of the British Wills & Probate Awards logo
  • Enhanced brand profile and recognition
  • Networking opportunities

With more choice of categories to choose from than ever before, you and your firm will be sure to find plenty to apply for, especially as you can enter up to three categories for the cost of £145 plus VAT – which is less than the cost of writing a Will for most of us, and of course, the more categories you enter, the more chance you have of being shortlisted and maybe even winning.

To find out more about this year’s new categories and which ones best represent your business please click here. The closing date for submissions is 14th June, so don’t wait, get your nominations in now!

Furthermore, bookings for this key event are now open here where you will find information and pricing for individual tickets and whole tables of twelve.

If you would like more information about how the awards work and how to go about entering please call Josh Hall on 01829 307 505 or email [email protected]

British Wills & Probate Awards with Jennie Bond

British Wills & Probate Awards 2019

A time of change in the world of probate

Guest blog from one of the recognised bodies of the Professional Paralegal Register, The Association of Probate Researchers (APR) on the proposed changes within the probate sector.

These are interesting times for the probate sector, with the government looking to push through its much-publicised fee changes while at the same time introducing a new online application process that has been dogged by controversy virtually from the day it was first mooted.

Proposed reforms will bring an end to the current flat rate of probate fees of £215 (£155 if estates are settled through a solicitor) and the implementation of a six-band sliding scale.

The new system will see people whose estates are valued at between £50,000 and £300,000 pay £250, with fees rising to £750 for estates valued between £300,000 and £500,000, and £2,500 for those worth between £500,000 and £1m. A maximum fee of £6,000 will be levied on those with estates worth more than £2m.

Fees will be capped at no more than 0.5 per cent of the value of an estate and the government suggests that around 80% of estates will pay no more than £750. In addition, the threshold below which no fees are payable will rise from £5,000 to £50,000.

The Ministry of Justice has stressed that additional funds raised will be spent on the courts and tribunal service.

In a written statement it noted: ‘The new banded fee model represents a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services compared to the current flat fee.’

However, many in the media have not agreed with this assessment and the proposals have come in for considerable criticism, especially as they coincide with the introduction of a controversial online application process.

Rolled out by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) in 2017 as part of a £1 billion reform programme, the latter’s stated aim is to make probate simpler and more convenient, remove the need for people to attend a probate registry and swear an oath in person, and make the justice system easier to navigate for all.

Government sources say that take up of the new system has been relatively rapid and point to advantages of security and ease of use.

Under the proposals, “bulk scanning and printing services” will replace work that has traditionally been carried out by people – in this case civil servants – who check whether wills are original before issuing probate.

The Public and Commercial Services Union, some of whose members are now facing an uncertain future, has however reacted with alarm at the plan.

“Thousands of years of experience are being lost,” a union spokesperson commented in March, “We are concerned that the current model of probate is having to change to fit HMCTS proposals for a paperless system, a system that they have not consulted upon, our members maintain is not fit for purpose and threatens the integrity of the grant.”

Neil Fraser, partner at genealogists and international probate researchers Fraser and Fraser, said: “In principle, automating the system makes sense and will make the process simpler for many people. However, it’s important there is a system of checks in place that allows individual cases to be scrutinised.”

“The digitisation process should be extended to cover the entire probate period, with estate accounts being required to be filed at the end of the process.

“Complex estates by their very nature can be challenging to administer and we would strongly advise these are dealt with by a professional. Many members of the public will be unaware that if they make mistakes they could be at risk of facing prosecution for fraud.”

 

Recognised Body of the Professional Paralegal Register: The Association of Probate Researchers

The Association of Probate Researchers
In the context of the current changes faced by the sector, the Association of Probate Researchers (APR) has an important role to play.

The organisation brings regulation to the professional probate research industry, guards against the fraudulent or misguided and ensures beneficiaries receive the best advice at a time of changing realities and regulations.

For more information about the organisation’s activities visit www.a-p-r.org