We are in the news!

With Philcox Gray having served the communities of south London for over 100 years, we have been featured in The Voice Newspaper. Since joining forces last year, Philcox Gray and Hornby & Levy Solicitors have gone from strength to strength, providing a high quality of service for all with offices in both Brixton and Elephant and Castle.

Despite the introduction of LASPO 2012, a piece of legislation which has significantly reduced the availability of legal aid, we remain committed to provide a quality service to all of our clients.

If you need any advice with a family matter, please contact us to see if we can assist you on 020 3207 2074.

Domestic Abuse Bill

It is estimated that around 2 million adults experience domestic abuse each year. On 17 July 2019, the government introduced the domestic abuse bill into Parliament.  The legislation is aimed at supporting victims of domestic abuse and their families and pursuing offenders. It has been revealed the estimated cost for domestic abuse victims in 2017 in England and Wales was £66 billion. The proposed legislation will:

  • Introduce the first statutory government definition of “domestic abuse”. This will specifically include economic abuse, controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse
  • Establish a Domestic Abuse Commission to drive the response to domestic abuse issues
  • Introduce new measures of protection for victims and to place restrictions on the actions of offenders
  • Provide automatic eligibility for special court measures to support victims giving evidence in criminal courts
  • Hopefully transform the response to domestic abuse in the justice system

The bill has been described by government and charities that this is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to making sure a step is made in the right direction. A charity supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse, has highlighted the importance of ensuring survivors of abuse are able to escape to safety and access support they need.

On 2 October 2019, the bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons and will now be examined in detail by a committee of MPs. All of us here at Philcox Gray are hopeful that the bill will brings changes to legislation which are required.

If you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law please contact our us on 020 3207 2074, by email at postroom@philcoxgray.co.uk

The contents of this article is general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should obtain independent expert advice from qualified solicitors such as those within our firm.

London Legal Walk 2019

The London Legal Walk is taking place on Monday 17 June 2019 and all our walkers are signed up to take part!

Philcox Gray Solicitors will join over 14,000 walkers from different legal practices across London who will be doing a 10k sponsored walk to raise funds for legal advice charities in and around London.

In the words of Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, these charities ‘provide a lifeline to people who do not have the resources to pay for legal advice but whose circumstances can be greatly improved by the intervention of a lawyer.’

You can sponsor our 2019 walkers by visiting our Philcox Gray Fundraising Page

Children’s Rights and Counter-Terrorism

Philcox Gray family paralegal Heidi Burrows, has recently written an article for her University’s Law Blog in which she summarises her Masters thesis in International Children’s Rights.

In both pieces Heidi comments on how children charged or convicted of terrorism related offences are treated and proposes that policy makers reconsider their counter-terrorism efforts to ensure measures do not only comply with children’s rights, but positively reinforce the rights of the child.

Heidi’s blog can be found here Leiden University’s Law Blog

Sheila Donn

Philcox Gray are very sad to announce that Sheila Donn passed away on 27th June 2018.  All of those who knew her personally and / or professionally will have known what an amazing person she was and how great a loss this is.  We are grateful already for the many truly heartfelt messages of love and support we have received.

London Legal Walk 2018

The Philcox Gray team joined over 13,000 legal professionals on 21st May 2018 to take part in this year’s London Legal Walk. The 10km walk took us through St James’ Park, past Buckingham Palace and around the Serpentine before bringing us back along The Strand. By the time the walk started over £400,000 pounds had been raised already by participants.

All the funds raised go towards the provision of free legal services in and around London and the South East. The charities providing these services are invaluable to those most in need such as people who suffer disability or illness and their carers, women and children trafficked to the UK and those who are unfairly dismissed or discriminated against at work. The money raised from the London Legal Walk will help these charities to continue to provide life changing advice and representation to those who have been unable to access legal help.

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Woman’s Hour – discussing Family law and a new BBC drama

The new BBC TV drama The Split brings to the screen a portrayal of family law and family lawyers.

Philcox Gray Director Lucy Verity gives her view on the drama in this week’s Woman’s Hour, discussing the conduct of the lawyers portrayed on screen and how this differs to the work and conduct of professional family lawyers on a day to day basis. The episode can be found at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09zt3mt

Lucy’s discussion on the TV drama begins 33 minutes into the programme. The panel also discusses a variety of other topics including a new classical music piece, Cancer research and the affect of losing your mother at any age.

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Homelessness – Changes to eligibility for Legal Aid

Tenants living in England threatened with homelessness within 56 days are now within scope for legal advice following the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Until recently, under the Housing Act 1996, tenants in England had to wait until they were faced with homelessness within 28 before they were considered ‘threatened’ with homelessness. With the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is in effect from 4th April 2018, English law has now been updated and provides for the same definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ as Wales, that a tenant is facing homelessness within 56 days.

People threatened with homelessness are entitled (following means and merits testing) to advice on entitlement and suitability of accommodation, as well as assistance with making an application and any appeal that may follow.

If you need any advice with a Housing matter, please contact us to see if we can assist you.

Changes to legal aid for victims of domestic abuse

The domestic violence gateway was introduced in April 2013 as part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The gateway effectively removed legal aid for private family law matters, save where individuals could prove that they were victims of domestic abuse or there was evidence of child abuse. The evidence a victim had to provide in order to be granted legal aid was set out in a number of regulations and included letters from a Refuge provider or GP confirming an individual had been a victim of domestic abuse. The evidence also had to have been no more than two years old.

These restrictions were heavily criticised by many, including victims support groups and legal professionals, as severely restricting access to legal aid and often making it impossible to secure.

Following the prolonged and dedicated campaigning spearheaded by the charity organisation Rights of Women, the time limit applied to evidence of domestic abuse was increased from two years to five in mid 2016. In addition to this amendment the Ministry of Justice agreed to conduct a formal review on the impact of the LASPO regulations on access to justice.

In January 2018 the Ministry of Justice announced a number new guidelines in provision of domestic abuse evidence effective from 8 January 2018. Key changes include:

• the removal of the time limit on evidence;
• the recognition of evidence from organisations providing domestic violence support services
• evidence from housing officers, and
• evidence of violence towards a previous partner as risk of abuse.

The changes are a life line for many victims who were previously deprived of legal advice and representation in family court disputes over custody and contact with children.

If you need any advice with a family matter, please contact us to see if we can assist you.

Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards – 2017

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A very big congratulations to our very own Sheila Donn winning ‘Public Family Lawyer of the Year – 2017.’

Sheila has had an exceptional year, with a string of landmark cases, including Re W which led to the Court giving guidance on the separate representation of children and Re N which led to much needed clarification of Re Valentine Settlement in relation to international adoptions. The Philcox Gray team were out in force to celebrate Sheila’s achievement and a great night was had by all.