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

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.

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

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.

Celebrating the Successes of Finalists!

Finalists of the first National Paralegal Awards, and industry leaders and supporters, will be coming together on Friday 29 March for the inaugural awards event, which is being held in the The May Fair Hotel London’s prestigious Crystal Room, showcasing and celebrating Paralegal talent from across the UK.

The evening commences with a champagne reception and dinner, which will be followed by the main awards ceremony. Here are the Finalists who were selected by an independent judging panel from hundreds of entries.

Best Family Law Paralegal
Alison Collier- Nowell Meller
Dawn Gore – Trethowans LLP
Iselin Jones- Corbett Le Quesne
Kaya Suleyman – Morrison Solicitors LLP
Nicola Phipps – Wikivorce

Will Writing Organisation of the Year
Bill Hogg – Attorney Wills
Nick Ash – Will and Probate Services
Heritage Will Writers

Best Law Firm – Paralegal Development
Dentons UK and Middle East LLP
Eric Robinson Solicitors
Mayo Wynne Baxter
PM Property Lawyers
Shakespeare Martineau
Shoosmiths
Which Legal

Paralegal Recruitment Organisation of the Year
EJ Group
F Lex
Law Staff Legal Recruitment
The Stephen James Partnership
Simply Law Jobs

Best Trademark Paralegal
Peter Fisher -CP Law Associates
Rebecca McBride
Roy Scott – Keltie LLP

Best ADR Paralegal
Clive Lewis- Globis Mediation Group
Maria Arpa
Qaiser Bari

Best Employment/HR Paralegal
Bina Briggs – Plain Talking HR
Joe Milner – Loch Associates
Leah Caprani – Winckworth Sherwood LLP
Michael Coe-Dimension Eighty Eight

Best Conveyancing Paralegal
Kay Liddle- PM Property Lawyers
Kelvin Cooper-Birketts
Laura Kate Morley- PM Property Lawyers
Rachel Lawrence – Dentons UK

Best Pro Bono Paralegal
Ashleah Skinner
Lyn Berry
Nisar Afsar -BCADS

Best Probate Research Paralegal
Alex Horrod -Anglia Research
Katie Lowe- Estate Research
Lauren Geary – Treethorpe
Lorna Gallacher- Treethorpe
Neil Fraser – Fraser and Fraser

Paralegal Business of the Year
Champion Law
Construction Legal
Divorce Online
Estate Research
Derby Legal Assistance
Fraser and Fraser
Lender & Court
Problem Percy
White Collar Legal

Paralegal of the Year
Ashleah Skinner
Caroline Spencer- Boulton
Gerald Murphy
Ian Lobb
Jonathan Dattani
Julie Herbert
Katie Lowe
Leah Caprani
Michael Coe
Nick Ash
Paige George
Peter Fisher
Philip Nam
Sharon Baker

This year’s headline sponsor is Treethorpes and individual awards have been sponsored by Which Legal, The Institute of Paralegals, Lawyer checker, Heslewood and Grant, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, The Stephen James Partnership, Golden Leaves, Clerksroom, Central Law Training and F-Lex.

Other sponsors include Orion Legal Marketing, Legal Futures and Auscript.

 

Continuing Professional Development spot checks

Continuing Professional DevelopmentThe PPR will be carrying out random spot checks on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) records of registered professional paralegals starting in June 2019.

Why is the PPR doing this?

CPD is required to be undertaken by Tier 2 Paralegals and above.

Members of the PPR are responsible for their own professional development in accordance with the Paralegal Practitioners Rules however to ensure that registered paralegals keep their record cards updated and undertake their set number of CPD hours, we believe spot checks will prove more proportionate and less onerous than requiring all registered members of the PPR to submit their record cards annually.

It is worth noting that registered members who hold Professional Practising Certificates (PPC’s) and are fully regulated by the PPR will be excluded from the spot checks as they must provide their CPD records annually to comply with the Paralegal Practising Certificate Rules.

How will I know if I’ve been selected for spot-checking?

The PPR will contact those selected for spot-checking to ask for evidence of completion of their CPD hours and their record card.

Why have I been selected?

Paralegals will be selected entirely at random.

What is Continual Professional Development (CPD)?

Continual Professional Development (CPD) is any relevant and valid education or training by a Paralegal to enable them to develop his or her professional knowledge, skills and abilities.

The CPD should cover:

  • Law – procedure and practice
  • Client care skills
  • Practice skills
  • Organisational and management skills

What are the PPR’s CPD Requirements?

Members at Associate level (Tier 2) and above are required to undertake a minimum of 12 hours CPD in each year of practice.  This increased from 7 hours in each year of practice on 1st September 2018.

3 hours must be gained through formal means such as:

  • Attendance at a legal conference
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Courses
  • Training
  • Publishing papers, articles or books

The remaining hours may be gained through private study; taking part in consultations; in-house training; reading journals or books; preparing training materials or presentations.

Records and Monitoring

Paralegals who are registered are required to complete and maintain a CPD record in good faith.

If a member does not have a summary of their CPD i.e. what you did, when, with which provider (if relevant) and the benefit to your professional education (e.g. legal updating, new skill, etc.) then they can download the PPR’s CPD Record Template to complete by clicking here.

Are there any exemptions?

A Member may, in extenuating circumstances, apply for an exemption of up to 4 hours CPD.

If a Member has not complied with the requisite CPD requirements and they are not entitled to an exemption, the PPR will investigate and may withdraw the Member from the PPR. A Member’s CPD record may be used in any complaint investigation that alleges lack of knowledge or incompetent practice.

If a Member holds a practising certificate, they will be excluded from the spot checks.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Head of Memberships and Events, Abby Dennis by email on [email protected] or phone 01442 508 206.

Coronavirus: Managing Director Message

Rita Leat, PPR's Managing DirectorIt has been a very difficult time for all of us since Covid-19 came unwanted into our lives. Here at the PPR it is business as usual albeit we are working from different locations.

Our RRC Committee will function as normal and so there are no changes to the rules, procedures or policies at this time.

The most important thing is that you keep physically and mentally safe and follow the government guidelines.

Keep communicating with friends, family, clients and us by any distant medium you have available to you.   If you have any concerns about your registration or Paralegal Practising Certificate then please do contact us as we are here to help.

The Institute of Paralegals, one of our Recognised Bodies has published two articles in the last few days which may be useful 5 Tips on Taking Instructions Remotely and Paralegal Business: A Guide to Business Continuity and we are reminding paralegals that they have access to LawCare should they need to talk about anything that is worrying them.

Keep Safe,

Rita Leat

Managing Director, The PPR.

COVID-19 update - what we are doing

The Professional Paralegal Register have taken the advice of the UK Government and have implemented the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, members and attendees to our events.

Our staff are now working from home.  Working hours remain the same (Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm) and we can still be contacted by email, telephone and via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you are planning on sending anything by post, we will probably get it late or not at all, so our advice is to send anything you need to via email at [email protected]

The team may be working remotely for the time being but our commitment to serving both our members, recognised bodies and consumers with their enquiries remains.

The PPR also made the decision to postpone the National Paralegal Awards 2020 Gala Final until the 18 September 2020.  The timings and venue will remain the same.  To read the announcement sent to our finalists, judges and sponsors please visit this article National Paralegal Awards Gala Postponed on the National Paralegal Awards website.

In addition, due to the uncertainty of what we can expect over the coming months the Paralegal Conference will also be postponed until 2021.

We’ll continue to update you as our plans evolve. We urge you all to look after yourselves, your families, colleagues and friends in what we know, is an unsettling time.

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