Where different works
Legal Studio's message is 'Where different works.' But is this just groovy law firm marketing designed to make us look good? Surprisingly, for all you cynics out there, it isn't. If you are an established solicitor who is looking for a different career pathway in these troubled times, read on...........

I left an established conventional law firm in 2011. Since that time, I have been a self-employed home-working consultant solicitor with no monthly salary and no fixed hours. The transformation in my life has been astonishing. I have been able to devote time to my clients in a way that means they get the best of me. I can work in a more relaxed and flexible way, while continuing to fight their corner as hard as I have ever done. I can relax when work is slow and cope when work is frenetic.

I am a happier lawyer because I keep more of what I earn and can spend more time with my gorgeous but demanding family (three girls aged 9, 13 and 14 if you are asking). If I am happier, it translates into the quality of service I give clients. I can essentially work where I want, when I want, and can therefore cater better to their legal needs.

I am different and work in a different law firm. Better for clients, better for me. If you doubt it, talk to me or my colleagues. I dare you to pick up the phone to Legal Studio and take the first step ............... you won't regret it, and it might just change your life. It did mine.
2020 56 02 56
Our employment law specialist Nathan Combes has produced a FREE temporary homeworking policy which has been put together with current events very much in mind.

Standard homeworking policies do not really cover off issues such as working from home and childcare (given the closure of schools) and self-isolation/social and social distancing etc.

If you would like to receive a copy then please contact Nathan by email at
2020 10 26 289
With many people self isolating there are practical problems cropping up, not least how to collect monies and pay for day to day items.
If someone has a lasting power of attorney registered in respect of their property and financial affairs, then this can be used by the person who made the power (referred to as "the donor") and they can instruct their attorney to go to the bank etc for them.
If however you do not have a lasting power or attorney in place, then all is not lost. There is a "general power of attorney" that you can put in place immediately to enable someone to assist you. This is a very limited document in that it will allow your appointed attorneys to carry out that specific task set out within the power (such as obtaining your monies and purchasing day to day items). General powers of attorney can be time limited or revoked in writing. Therefore, this may be suitable if you would like assistance throughout the isolation period only.
For further information please contact Helen Forster by email at
2020 52 26 284
There’s been a lot of discussion recently, about contracts and what happens, or could happen, with them in the current climate. One of the phases that keeps coming up is ‘ooh, that contract might be frustrated’. This doesn’t mean that it’s fed up, but that the parties are legally excused from their performance obligations under it.
So, what is frustration and when does it occur?
Well, the case law on frustration started in 1863 and involved a Music Hall, “fireworks and full illuminations, Grecian statues, tight rope performances and air gun shooting” or rather the lack thereof as the Music hall burned down. But don’t worry, we’re not going into detail on that.
We’re going to look at pens.
A practical example: Geoff, the Journal and the Pens.
Imagine you’ve entered into a contract regarding pens. The terms of the contract govern the supply and maintenance of pens to be used by Geoff for writing in his one of a kind irreplaceable bespoke personal journal. For which Geoff pays a hansom fee. Now, several things could go wrong during the course of this contract. Lets’ consider some examples:
  • A pen runs out of ink. This is to be expected at some point as, frankly, pens do run out of ink. The contract ought to cover this and deal with who is responsible for finding new ink, who pays for it and how long Geoff can be left waiting for the new ink to arrive as well as, if no new ink turns up, who can terminate the contract and what happens if they do. Running out of ink whilst annoying, isn’t a frustrating event for the contract; or
  • The price of pens increases. It’s therefore commercially unattractive to stay in the contract. Well, again that’s annoying and should have been dealt with in the contract. But it isn’t frustration; or
  • The supplier of the pens buys them in from a third party, doesn’t get them delivered to them on time and they are late supplying them to Geoff. That’s the supplier’s problem and it’s problem alone. It’s not a frustration of the contract; or
  • The pens don’t write as well as they usually do in Geoff’s one of a kind irreplaceable journal. This isn’t frustration. The supplier knew about the specific requirements of Geoff at the time they entered the contract, so they can’t rely on this as an event of frustration.
However, if:
  • After 6 months of supply the government bans the use of pens and makes possession or supply of them illegal that is a frustrating event and the parties can be released from their obligations under the contract ;or
  • Geoff dies (sorry Geoff) that’s a frustrating event and Geoff’s Estate doesn’t have to pay to buy pens nor does the supplier have to supply them to Geoff’s estate; or
  • Geoff’s one of a kind irreplaceable journal is completely destroyed (through no fault of Geoff or the supplier) then that would be a frustrating event.
Essential elements of Frustration
These are all rather silly and very simplistic examples, but generally speaking, a frustrating event is an event which:
  • Happens after the contract has been formed;
  • Attacks the fundamental purpose of the contract;
  • Is completely beyond what was expected by the parties when they entered into the contract;
  • Is neither of the contracting party’s faults; and
  • Makes performing the contract from that point on impossible, illegal or radically different from what was expected by the parties when they entered into the contract.
What is the effect of frustration?
If a contract is frustrated, then the parties are excused from their future performance of it (in this case the supply and maintenance of pens or payment for them). In certain circumstances you can get back sums you’ve already paid over before the frustrating event happens or be entitled to charge a ‘just sum’ if you couldn’t perform the whole of your obligations but did do something.
Other options
Even if your contract is not frustrated, there may still be terms in it that you can turn to your advantage. These may include:
  • The right to vary the price you have to pay, or the volume/ timing of supplies you have to make;
  • The right to request changes to the services that you have to provide;
  • The ability to temporarily take over services that you have outsourced;
  • The right to give notice of termination on the contract.
So, if recent events have left you thinking about what to do about your obligations under your contracts of if your customers have started to question whether they can cancel do get in touch with the team at Legal Studio as a review of your contract will help you to understand your legal options and the strength of your negotiating position with your customers and suppliers.
P.s sorry again Geoff.
2020 36 26 59
Employer update | Homeworking & COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

We’re all currently living in uncertain and unprecedented times. In light of the government’s present focus on social distancing as a means of slowing down the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and protecting vulnerable groups, it’s likely that employers will increasingly need to utilise home working, wherever possible, in order to mitigate  the impact that these strategies will have upon their businesses and operations. Our latest blog examines some of the key homeworking related questions and issues.

Can we insist that one or more of our employees works from home?
In the absence of an established right to compel individuals to work from home, it’s likely that an employer’s decision to insist on a period of home working would amount to a variation of the employee’s contract of employment and that the relevant employee or employees would need to consent to this change.
For some employers, this may be the first time that homeworking has been introduced. Bear in mind that the health and safety implications of individuals working from home will need to be considered. The HSE has published some useful guidance on this issue which can be accessed here.

Are there any particular types of employees that we should allow to work from home?
Yes, the government’s latest advice (published on 16 March 2020) states that individuals falling into certain categories are "strongly advised" to work from home wherever possible. The relevant guidance can be accessed here.
Note that the governments guidance also states that all other workers are "advised" to work from home or vary their daily commute and use less public transport, whenever and wherever this is possible.

Can employers refuse to allow an employee to work from home if that individual will also be looking after children during working hours?

Ordinarily it would not be appropriate for an employee to care for others whilst working from home. However, as we all know these are far from ordinary times and as the COVID-19 outbreak gathers pace and the impact upon society as a whole increases, it’s likely that employers are going to need to relax and temporarily disapply the standard rules and expectations insofar as they relate to individuals needing to work from home.

If (as is increasingly being speculated) schools and nurseries are shortly ordered to close, then an outright ban or prohibition on employees looking after children whilst working from home will simply not be workable.

It may however be the case that certain employees with younger children or children with additional needs (requiring a greater degree of attention and care) may not be able to work whilst providing that care. Employers should be alert however to the possibility that employees in these circumstances may be able to share the burden of childcare with another parent or adult in order to work flexibly or on a part-time basis.
Be alert to the fact that employees who suddenly find themselves unable to work because of school and/or nursery closures may choose to assert their right to time off to care for a dependant Time off in these circumstances is usually unpaid (unless their contract of employment says otherwise).
Are there any particular concerns involving data protection and home working?
It would be sensible for employers to consider whether large scale working from home means that updated training and/or information should be given to employees regarding data protection and confidentiality. Employees need to know what is, and is not, in terms of the use of data.
Employers should also consider whether a data privacy impact assessment examining the data protection implications of working from home should be carried out.
Issues that might be considered as part of the employer’s assessment could include:
  • Who will have access to the employee's computer and personal data stored on it?
  • Whether any specific security measures or rules should be in place to ensure that members of the household do not have access to personal data held on the computer.
  • If personal data is being created and/or stored at home is it properly secured?
  • Is encryption and password protection in place?
  • How will information be moved between the employee’s home and the office?
  • Is the employee’s home internet connection password protected and secure?
  • Do new rules concerning the retention of documents, proper disposal (e.g. shredding) need to be created and observed?
  • Will regular reminders be sent to employee’s reminding them about their obligations to safeguard personal data?
Please contact us if you’d like more information about the issues raised in this article and/or or to find out more about the various legal services that we provide.
Disclaimer: the information set out above does not constitute legal advice and it is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given and neither the author or Legal Studio Solicitors shall be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the information provided.

2020 30 18 289
At Legal Studio Solicitors, flexible working and remote working aren't the future. They're the present.

Our firm and it’s systems were designed to be flexible and agile. So, whilst Covid-19 means we have to make some practical changes, we’re still 'open', available and working to assist current and prospective clients with their legal issues

Yes, we're replacing face to face meetings with calls and video conferencing. Yes, we’ve got the majority of the team working remotely/from home.

And, yes, the welfare, physical and mental health of our team is paramount and we’ll take the steps necessary in the future to protect them.

But, no, we aren’t closed.

So, if you need legal support at this difficult time please get in touch. We’re looking forward to helping you.
2020 29 17 59
There is always great positivity surrounding International Women’s Day. It happened yesterday (Sunday 8 March 2020) but throughout March it is difficult to scroll through various Social Media sites without coming across a motivational, supportive post about female empowerment which has always been something close to my heart. This got me thinking about what International Women’s Day means to me and led me to reflect on what I have achieved so far, with the support of my colleagues here at Legal Studio, my family and my friends.

I joined Legal Studio as a Paralegal in September 2018 and was delighted to accept a training contract in the Summer of 2019. From the outset, Legal Studio always had an interest in my ultimate goals and were keen to encourage me to achieve these. As most of us will know, 1920 was the year that women were first able to practice law. Therefore, I feel incredibly grateful to be carrying out my training this year in particular at a firm which actively promotes you to be the best you can be.

I feel proud to work alongside such strong, supportive women each day and the dynamic in the office is unmatched. There is no hierarchy system and I very much believe that everyone is treated equal here. If I have an idea, I am listened to and if I want to do something which I feel will benefit the firm then Legal Studio will help me and see it through. For example, I have recently been appointed Social Media exec which is a new challenge I am finding both exciting and rewarding! 

In this area of work, it is refreshing to work at a firm where your fellow colleagues have time for you and will go out of their way to make time to actually know you. Working in an environment which recognises your ambition and where you feel respected by what you do, not who you are, is what International Women’s Day means to me.
2020 46 09 277
New ICO guidance published on the time limits for responding to data subject access requests (DSARs).

The ICO’s revised guidance confirms that where a data controller asks the individual making the subject access request for additional information in order to enable them to deal with the request effectively the one-month time period for compliance will no longer be paused until after the controller receives the requested information. The amended guidance also confirms that the extended timescale for responding to complex or multiple DSARs will similarly also no longer be paused.

These changes mean that the new timescale for responding to subject access requests will run from the date that the DSAR is received or, if later, the date on which proof of an individual’s identification has been received. This constitutes an important change from the previous position which stated that the time period for compliance would be paused until the controller was in receipt of any additional information that had been sought from the individual.

The ICO’s revised Right of Access guidance confirms that where additional information is requested from the data subject by the controller, to enable it to properly respond to a subject access request, then:

“…..this does not affect the timescale for responding – you must still respond to their request within one month. You may be able to extend the time limit by two months if the request is complex or the individual has made a number of requests”.

Controllers will likely be concerned that any delay on the data subject’s part in providing any additional information that has reasonably been requested will have an adverse impact upon their ability to provide all of the necessary data within the required timescale. For this reason, the use of subject access request forms may become more common as controllers take steps to try and limit the impact of the ICO’s changes by encouraging data subjects to provide relevant information at the same time that the subject access request is submitted.

Please contact us if you’d like more information about the issues raised in this article and/or or to find out more about the various legal services that we provide.
2020 23 28 289

For the neighbours involved, boundary disputes can be expensive and stressful. To try and make the process easier, the Property Litigation Association has published a ‘Protocol for Disputes between Neighbours about the Location of their Boundary’, known as the ‘Boundary Disputes Protocol’.

The Protocol applies to both residential and commercial properties. It aims to encourage neighbours to exchange information in a timely manner, minimising the potential for dispute, saving time, and keeping costs to a minimum.

The Protocol is currently voluntary, although we suspect it will become a formal pre-action protocol under CPR in due course.In the meantime Judges will no doubt be critical of parties who don’t engage with it. 

As soon as a boundary dispute arises, parties can agree to adopt the Protocol.

The date in which this has been agreed is known as the ‘Start Date’.

2 weeks from the Start Date, the parties must provide each other with official copies of the Land Registry title(s) for their own property and seek to agree whether any determined boundary exists. If there is, no further action will be required. 

If there is no resolution from exchanging the official copies, the parties should exchange all of the information they have in their possession within 4 weeks from the Start Date, including: 

  • Past conveyances;
  • Conveyances referred to in the official copies; and
  • Photographs of each property showing the disputed boundary
Within 7 weeks from the Start Date, the parties need to determine whether they have the first conveyance (when the properties were split from a larger title and passed into separate ownership). If they do not have this, they should discuss their options for finding the first conveyance. The parties should then seek to agree one of the following options:
  • An adverse possession/ boundary agreement claim is made; or
  • To proceed to investigate the paper title position, the adverse possession claim/ boundary agreement or both. 

Within 8 weeks from the Start Date the parties should discuss whether they wish to enter into negotiations or mediation or proceed with the next steps of the protocol. 

If a first conveyance has been identified(this is often not the case in our experience),then each party must determine the evidence they have in terms of showing what features existed on the ground at the date when the first conveyance occurred. In addition, any proposed witnesses of fact need to be identified within 3 weeks of the first conveyance being identified. 

If the first conveyance provides accurate plans and the parties cannot reach an agreement, a an expert surveyor will need to be instructed. They may visit the property and produce a plan of the physical features existing on the ground at the date of inspection. In some instances, a joint expert may be appropriate for this. However, in certain cases (such as those involving development proposals) it may be appropriate for each party to instruct their own expert. Instructions should be given within 5 weeks of the date when the first conveyance is identified. Short reports should be exchanged within 4 weeks after instructions are provided. Following this, within 2 weeks the experts should have a discussion in order to agree a short summary, to be provided to both parties. 

Within 4 weeks of the Start Date if either party believes that they may have a claim for adverse possession, they must inform the other party, setting out the basis of their claim and the following information: 

  • Description or plan of the area claiming to be in their possession;
  • The period during which it is claimed that the land has been in possession; and
  • Whether the claim is an “old-style” claim or “new-style” claim 

If the other party wishes to oppose the claim, they must provide an explanation for the opposition within 6 weeks of the Start Date. 

Within 14 weeks of the Start Date each party should provide the other party with all relevant documentary evidence and also identify their witnesses of fact will be. Documentary evidence may include: 

  • Photographs (including aerial photographs); and
  • Receipts for work carried out to the boundary. 

Where the interpretation of plans or photographs is not agreed it may be necessary to instruct an expert, which should be done within 16 weeks of the Start Date. The experts or experts should provide a report within 4 weeks of their appointment; once reports are exchanged, both experts should have a discussion within 2 weeks to provide a short summary to both parties. 

The parties should meet again within 2 weeks of the date on which the last steps set out above is taken. Ideally, the meeting should take place at the location of the disputed boundary with the expert(s). The discussions should be carried out “without prejudice” so they cannot be relied upon should legal proceedings arise. 

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they may consider alternative dispute resolution before proceeding with litigation. Alternative options include:

  • Arbitration;
  • Expert determination by an independent third party; or
  • Mediation 

If the parties reach an agreement with reference to a line on the ground, the line needs to be marked out by stakes. It is also important to mark the side of the stake on which the boundary lies. If the parties reach an agreement by reference to a plan, experts should be instructed to transfer the line on the plan onto the ground and place stakes to clearly outline the boundary. 

A written document setting out what has been agreed will need to be drafted, ideally by a solicitor, with a plan attached. Each party should then apply to the Land Registry to record the agreement against their titles. 


2018 49 07 158
The recent case of Vastint Leeds BV v Persons Unknown [2018] EWHC 2456 (Ch) has provided clarity for landowners suffering from repeat trespass on their property, have no idea who the trespassers are and fear further trespass.

The Claimant was the owner of the former Tetley Brewery site in Leeds. There had been a series of incidents of trespass between 2011 and 2018. On the most recent occasion in 2018, the trespassers triggered alarms and held a number of illegal raves in empty buildings on the site. The Claimant spent £25,000 cleaning up the mess.

Given the risk of fly-tipping (well known with such sites) as well as further illegal raves, the Claimant wanted to take steps to take decisive steps to prevent further trespass. Despite having fenced the site, installing alarms and paying for a weekly security patrol, determined trespassers were still gaining access. The Claimant applied for an injunction against unknown future trespassers so that they could call upon High Court Enforcement Officers and, if necessary, the police to quickly remove trespassers should there be a any further trespass.

It is not unusual not to know the identity of trespassers. The CPR provides for 3 scenarios where an unknown persons or persons could become a party in trespass proceedings:
  • Where a particular person was identified (e.g. in a photograph) but their name is not known.
  • Where a person was part of a fluctuating class or group or persons some of which were known.
  • Where the identity of the Defendant is defined by a likely prospective acts of infringement of the order the court is being invited to make
The Tetley Brewery case fell within the final category, the prospective acts including further illegal raves and fly-tipping.

The court gave useful guidance as what is required to obtain such an injunction and applied a two stage test:
  1. Is there a strong probability that, unless restrained by an injunctions, the Defendant will act on breach of the Claimant's right?
  2. If the Defendant has acted in breach of the Claimant's rights, whether the harm would be so grave that damages are no an adequate remedy
The test was made and the court granted the injunction taking into account the following;
  • The steps taken by the Claimant to secure the land
  • The brazen attitude of the trespasser and anticipated future trespassers
  • That there had been incidents of trespass of 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • The timeframe between the application and the threatened further trespass
  • The risk to the lives of the trespassers given the unsafe site
  • The cost to the Claimant of removing the trespassers
The case shows that the courts will be very open to granting broad and extensive injunctions binding unknown future trespassers. This is good news for landowners.
2018 26 07 158
A multi-disciplinary team of lawyers at law firm Legal Studio, led by property litigation specialist Matt Pugh and supported by leading silk Tim Ward QC of Monckton Chambers and the highly rated junior Andy Creer of Hardwicke, recently acted for Red & White Services Ltd  in the widely reported case Red and White Services Ltd v Phil Anslow Ltd and Anor [2018] EWHC 1699 (Ch).  

The case concerned a dispute over the use of bus bays at Cwmbran Bus Station, which has since been resolved, and involved complex and novel issues of competition law and property law.

The reported decision concerns the setting of cost budgets by Mr Justice Birss at a Costs and Case Management Conference in May 2018.  Directions had been agreed between the parties prior to the CCMC, but the issue of costs budgets was contentious.  The case was expected to involve complex expert evidence from economists, extensive disclosure, a substantial number of witnesses and a 10-day trial.  The Defendant’s budget totalled £288,000 including £103,000 of incurred costs, whereas the Claimants and the Third Party’s budgets were around £1.5m each, with the Claimant’s incurred costs around £100,000 and the Third Party’s around £350,000.  

Mr Justice’s Birss’ approach to budgets was somewhat unusual.  Rather than going through the budgets phase by phase (or indeed in any detail), he simply looked at the totals and took the view that both the Claimant’s budget and the Third Party’s budget totals were disproportionately high when compared to the subject matter of the dispute.  He also commented that the Defendant’s budget was unrealistically low and not a good guide but declined to comment as to whether that the Defendant had intentionally pitched its budget low as a tactic.  We submitted that they had.

In approaching proportionality, instead of setting phase totals, Birss J decided to allow the Claimant and the Third Party to spent up to a further £800,000 each and to allow those parties the flexibility as to whether they sought to cut costs on disclosure, expert evidence, witness evidence, the trial or a combination of those phases.  This may have been because at the time of the CCMC it would have been very difficult for the judge to make an informed decision as to whether, for example, an AI platform was required for e-disclosure.
2018 45 06 158
Today a number of changes related to property law have come into effect. These include: 
  • HMO licensing and regulations – properties will now require a HMO licence if there are five or more people in two or more separate households. This includes two storey households and one storey properties, removing the requirement that a licensable HMO must be three storeys. There are also new room size requirements.
  • Section 21 notices – sections 33 to 38 and 40 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (related to retaliatory eviction, prescribed forms, and compliance with prescribed legal requirements) will now apply to all tenancies, as opposed to tenancies commencing on or after 1 October 2015 as previously was the case. This could cause difficulties for landlords with older tenancies in obtaining possession.
  • Suspended possession order – there is now no requirement to make a separate part 83(2) application for permission for a warrant for breach of a suspended possession order where the breach is failure to pay rent and/or arrears instalments. 
  • Rogue landlord database – a local authority may place any person on the database who has been convicted of a banning order offence or has received a fine in respect of a banning order within the same 12 month period. 

The PLA’s boundary dispute protocol has recently also come into effect. We’ll be blogging about that shortly…
2018 40 01 164