Matthew Dowell

matt.dowell@legalstudio.co.uk

LITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION SPECIALIST

Matt Dowell qualified as a Solicitor in 1996 and has many years of experience in Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Matt’s first degree was in Management and Marketing and he worked for a multi-national IT company in a number of industry sectors focussing on early AI and expert systems before re-training as a lawyer.

Matt’s experience covers most areas of business and contentious law and Matt has worked for clients ranging from sole-traders to multi-national companies. Matt also acts for individuals in certain specialist areas.

Matt's specialisms include contract disputes, professional negligence, construction, and high value co-habitation claims.

Matt has a continuing interest in technology, AI and new ways of delivering legal services to market.

Matt is also a director and a founder of Legal Studio Solicitors.

In his spare time, Matt enjoys fell-walking, cooking, skiing and spending time with his family.

Specialist Areas of Interest

Contractual Disputes

Co-habitation Disputes

Professional Negligence

Construction

Matthew Dowell Client Testimonials

“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your help in sorting out this matter. I still cannot believe that the matter was settled in full.”
Jacqueline Wolstenholme. Highcliffe Engineering Limited

Matthew Dowell Client Testimonials

"Thank you so much you were brilliant.”
Cohabitation Client

CONTACT Matthew Dowell

Landline: 0113 247 3801
Mobile: 07766 746 741

EMAIL MATTHEW

 

Matthew's Latest Blogs

Any individual living in the current technological age may have had some doubts about the protection of their personal data. When personal data is given over for social media accounts, automatic online sign-ins, employment contracts, legal claims, health records and other reasons so freely, it is understandable why these doubts arise.

The doubts are only provoked by seeing advertisements that relate so closely to search history patterns and the receiving of emails from businesses without giving explicit consent to them. Businesses process and control personal data on a daily basis for these reasons and only now have individuals been given further rights to protect them against this.
 
The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) has recognised the need for protection of personal data. It will apply from 25 May 2018 and makes sure that personal data flowing in, or from, the EU is protected under one harmonized law.
 
For any business processing data, or controlling data with businesses that process data, compliance is essential. There are new requirements under the GDPR that need to be followed. These include, but are not limited to:
 
  1. Ensuring that consent has been genuinely obtained for the processing. If consent is obtained from a child, parental consent must also be obtained. This must be freely given, obvious to the individual that it is the giving of consent, clearly separate from other information, a positive action and be in plain language. This means that the ticking of a box would be acceptable, but the unticking of a box would not be.
 
  1. Making sure that the whole business is educated and trained about the GDPR, carrying out impact assessments and documenting all processing activities that are carried out. Records of training and impact assessments must be kept as a Supervising Authority may ask a business to show proof of GDPR compliance.
 
  1. Allowing individuals extra rights after the processing. This includes:
     
    • A way to withdraw consent as easily as giving it;
    • A way to access personal data that a business has, in a readable format; and
    • A way to request that their data is completely deleted.
       
Information about how an individual may initiate these rights must be provided by a business such as within a privacy notice or at the time of giving consent.
 
And what if a business doesn’t comply? They can be fined over 20 million euros! For any business, this is huge sanction. Non-compliance is not an option when faced with this potential penalty.
2018 00 22
Matthew Dowell
A recent poll commissioned to mark Cohabitation Awareness week revealed that out of 2,000 adults, 37% wrongly believed that unmarried couples can obtain a ‘common law marriage’ and 27% wrongly believed that if they separated they would have the same rights as a married couple. Whilst it might be seen as unromantic, this blog helps to clarify 4 myths about cohabitation so you can understand your rights as a cohabiting couple better and get back to enjoying your day!
 

Myth 1: Because you have lived together for so long, you are treated as husband and wife

WRONG 

A common law marriage does not exist in any form. Regardless of the duration of the relationship, the laws applied to cohabiting couples are completely different to those applied to married couples.
 

Myth 2: If we split up, the main carer of children will get the cohabited home

WRONG

This should not be assumed. Although a court considers the needs of the children, the main carer may not be able to keep the shared home. Once a child reaches the age of 18 years old, their needs are no longer prioritised and the house will usually be sold in order for the other parent to retain their rights in the house.

 
Myth 3: Cohabitation agreements are of no assistance

WRONG

A cohabitation agreement allows both parties’ promises to be recorded in a written agreement. This helps you to know the rights that you and your partner have, and allows the court to know what the parties intended.
 

Myth 4: The court will consider a fair outcome

WRONG

Because you are not married, the question is: “who legally owns the assets in dispute?”. The argument of fairness is not of any huge influence. Factors that do come into consideration are whether there was a common intention to share the property and there had been an express conversation stating this, or, whether the property is held jointly in proportion to the amount paid.
 
Whilst we sincerely hope that you never need to get into this kind of situation (and not on today of all days!), if you do want a free, confidential discussion regarding a co-habitation dispute, take a look at our Cohabitation Dispute page on our website, or get in touch with Matthew Dowell.
 
2018 30 14
Matthew Dowell
New year, new home improvements?  If you are planning on carrying out any changes which may affect a shared wall, then take a look at our,
 
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PARTY WALL ACT: 
 
  1. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (“PWA”) provides that a neighbour must be notified of any work intended to be carried out which may affect the structural strength or support function of a party wall or may cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall.
 
  1. A building owner must comply with the PWA where they intend to:
  • Carry out works to an existing party wall, including rebuilding a wall to a reduced height;
  • Build a new party wall;
  • Build within 3 or 6 metres of the adjoining owner’s walls or buildings where the works involve excavation.
 
  1. A party wall is one which stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two or more different owners. It may be part of one building or may separate two or more buildings. A wall is also a party wall if it stands wholly on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
 
  1. A party fence wall is one which separates land but is not part of a building, such as a garden wall. A wooden fence is not a party fence wall for the purposes of the PWA.
 
  1. The rights and obligations of the building owner vary according to the type of works which are being undertaken. Generally speaking, there is a requirement to serve notice on the adjoining owner, to carry out the works in accordance with the agreed plans, to exercise reasonable care when carrying out the works, to avoid causing unnecessary inconvenience to the adjoining owner during the works, to compensate the adjoining owner for any damage caused, and to pay for all expenses relating to the works.
 
  1. If the building owner fails to serve notice, the adjoining owner can seek an Injunction preventing the works being carried out or compensation. However, where the notice has been correctly served, it is an offence for the adjoining owner to refuse access to the land or obstruct the works. The building owner is permitted (with police assistance) to break any doors or fences which prevent their right of access.
 
  1. The obligations on the building owner must be complied with, otherwise they can be liable for breach of statutory duty, for which damages can be sought, and they will not benefit from the protection provided by the PWA. Where damage or loss is caused as a result of a failure to comply with the PWA, the adjoining land owner has a claim in private nuisance against the building owner, who may also be liable in trespass.
 
  1. The PWA does not affect any requirement to obtain planning permission or building regulation approval and likewise these do not negate the requirements of the PWA.
 
  1. The PWA provides a dispute resolution procedure which gives the building owner the rights needed to carry out the works, whilst at the same time protecting the interests of the adjoining owner.
 
  1. Where agreement cannot be reached, the parties can instruct a surveyor to draw up an Award. A Party Wall Award will govern the extent of the building owner’s works, set out the manner in which the works are to be carried out and document the original condition of the land in case damage is subsequently caused. The Award is final and binding and can only be overturned on appeal to the County Court. Any appeal does not automatically stay an Award, meaning that the building works can continue unless a stay or injunction are granted.
2018 21 08
Matthew Dowell