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Cohabiting couples warned of ‘common law marriage’ myths

Millions of unmarried couples who live together could be unaware of their rights if the relationship breaks down, a family law group has warned. Resolution carried out a survey which found two-thirds of cohabiting couples wrongly believe "common-law marriage" laws exist when dividing up finances. The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017. Resolution chairman Nigel Shepherd said current laws were "behind the times". He said: "The government must listen to the public, legal professionals and a growing number of politicians who all agree that we need reform to provide basic rights to cohabiting couples should they separate." Mr Shepherd said "society has changed", as cohabiting couples...

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Mansfield Solicitor ‘saves 2 dogs lives’ and proves they are not dangerous

Mansfield based Partner, Tom Oates, helped his client successfully prove that his two dogs were not Pitbulls and avoided them being put to sleep. The two dogs were seized because a Police expert said they had ‘substantial characteristics’ of a Pitbull, a [caption id="" align="alignright" width="164"] Mansfield Solicitor: Tom Oates[/caption] prohibited breed in the UK. There was no suggestion that they had acted aggressively. Our client was sure that the dogs were not Pitbulls but he was going to plead guilty ‘to get it over with’. Doing this would have seen the dogs, loved by the client and his family, destroyed. Our client would also have received a criminal conviction and potentially a prison sentence. Thankfully our client contacted Mr...

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Ashfield Councillor cleared of all charges following evidence obtained by Bhatia Best

Leader of the Ashfield Independents, Councillor Jason Zadrozny was cleared of 24 counts of sexual abuse on Monday 30th October 2017 at Nottingham Crown Court before HHJ Coe QC when the Prosecution offered no evidence on the day the case was listed for trial. Mr Zadrozny represented by solicitor Matt Hayes of Bhatia Best has spent 2 ½ years attempting to clear his name in relation to what he described as politically motivated false allegations. Commenting afterwards Matt stated that fundamental pieces of the prosecution evidence were undermined by detailed research thus calling into question the credibility of the primary prosecution witness. A substantial amount of analysis also led to criticism in relation to the lack of disclosure of relevant...

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Case dropped against youth who was ‘playing with toy gun in garden’

Rebecca Williams (who is one of our Criminal Defence Solicitors at our Mansfield office) recently represented a 12 year old client after he was arrested by police on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. [caption id="attachment_9201" align="alignright" width="187"] Mansfield Solicitor: Rebecca Williams[/caption] The client (who had never been in trouble with the police before) had been playing in his friend’s back garden with a toy gun. Police received a 999 call following which our client was arrested, taken to a police station and detained in a cell. At the police station, the client requested Bhatia Best Solicitors and and Rebecca Williams attended to represent him. Following Rebecca's expert advice and assistance, our client was released without charge...

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Nottingham Solicitor obtains community order for man who grew cannabis to aid a severe disability

Bhatia Best Solicitor Matthew Smith recently represented a client who was found with a cannabis grow at his home address. Following a police raid, a quantity of cannabis plants were discovered in various stages of growth. The client was subsequently arrested for production of cannabis. [caption id="attachment_9184" align="alignright" width="199"] Nottingham Solicitor: Matthew Smith[/caption] The police were adamant that they had found over 110 cannabis plants, but Bhatia Best instructed a forensic expert who examined the plants and found that in fact only 27 of the plants were cannabis, the rest being completely legal houseplants. At Nottingham Crown Court, the Crown Prosecution Service accepted our client’s basis of plea that he was not a drug dealer and that the cannabis was...

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Mansfield Solicitor secures suspended sentence for client on 9th driving offence

Morgan Hogarth (who is based at our Mansfield office) recently represented a client who was charged with his 9th offence of driving whilst disqualified. These offences took place between 1990 to 2015 and the most recent was in October 2017. Having regard to the sentencing guidelines, the client faced an immediate prison sentence. [caption id="attachment_9162" align="alignright" width="201"] Mansfield Crime Solicitor: Morgan Hogarth[/caption] Thanks to the client requesting our services at the police station and the continuity of representation, Mr Hogarth was able to successfully persuade the Magistrates Court to deal with the client by way of a Suspended Sentence Order and therefore the client avoided an immediate prison sentence. This case underlines the importance of requesting a solicitor at the police station and...

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Divorce numbers for opposite-sex couples highest since 2009

The number of divorces last year in England and Wales was the highest since 2009, official figures show. There were 106,959 divorces of opposite-sex couples in 2016 - an increase of 5.8% from 2015. It was the biggest year-on-year rise since 1985, when there was a jump of 10.9%. Of 112 divorces of same-sex couples in 2016, 78% involved female couples. Charity Relate said rising levels of household debt and stagnating wages could be putting a strain on marriages. For those in opposite-sex marriages, the divorce rate was highest for women in their 30s and men aged between 45 and 49. Overall, there were 8.9 divorces per 1,000 married men and women. ONS spokeswoman Nicola Haines said: "Although the number of...

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Should children be heard in English family court cases?

Children, campaigners and some judges are calling for a change in the law so that children at the heart of family cases in England and Wales can talk in private to the judge if they so choose. More than 100,000 children were involved in family court cases over the past year, according to the guardian service Cafcass. Many are at the centre of bitter fights - either between their parents or between their families and local authorities. The decisions made will have a fundamental impact on their lives. Yet they do not give evidence directly, nor routinely meet the judge. Instead, Cafcass asks them about their wishes and feelings and reports to the court. This is intended to protect the child...

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Hate crimes: Online abuse ‘as serious as face-to-face’

Online hate crimes should be treated as seriously as abuse committed face-to-face, prosecutors in England and Wales have been told. Revising its guidance for prosecutors, the Crown Prosecution Service said the impact of tweeting abuse can be as "equally devastating" as shouting it. The guidance includes offences against bisexual people for the first time. Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said online abuse can fuel "dangerous hostility". A hate crime is an offence motivated by a "hostility or prejudice", including racism, sexism or homophobia. Writing in the Guardian, Ms Saunders said recent events in the US - where white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters in Charlottesville - showed what online abuse can lead to. "Whether shouted in their face on the...

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Judge approves suicidal girl care plan

A judge who said society should be "ashamed" for not protecting a suicidal girl has approved a care plan for her. The girl, known as X, will be moved to a special unit on Thursday after doctors managed to find her a place. Sir James Munby, head of the family courts in England and Wales, said the provision of care "should not be dependent" on legal involvement. The secure unit where the 17-year-old has been living has spent £125,000 on extra staff to care for her. The unit - which has not been named - said the Youth Justice Board "failed" to provide additional resources to maintain X's safety despite repeated requests. The details were revealed in the latest judgement...

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