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Christmas is rapidly approaching, and families across the country are finalising their holiday plans.

For some families, this isn’t always an easy task, particularly when parents have separated or divorced. In these cases, the decision about where a child should spend the festive period can be fraught with disagreement and heartache.

In cases where parents are unable to agree about a child’s living arrangements, or with whom they spend time, it’s sometimes necessary for the Court to get involved. When mediation has proved unsuccessful (and domestic abuse is not an issue), a Child Arrangements Order (previously known as a ‘child residence order’ or ‘child contact order’) will be issued by the Court to clarify a child’s living arrangements.

Unfortunately, however, once these orders are made, they are not always complied with. When this happens, the person failing to comply could be held in contempt of court, which could mean fines, enforcement orders and even imprisonment.More...

In his Autumn Statement Chancellor George Osbourne announced buy-to-let landlords and people buying second homes in England and Wales will have to pay an additional 3% on each stamp duty band from April 2016.

Mark Hobbs, managing partner of Howells Solicitors, one of the UK’s largest conveyancing firms, anticipates that this will prompt an increase in activity by investors as they rush to complete property transactions before the April deadline. This flurry of activity is then likely to be followed by a lull in the property market after the new changes have come into place, and this might benefit first-time buyers.

“At this early stage it is very hard to predict how this change will impact the property market. After the initial rush to complete transactions in the run up to April next year, there is likely to be a lull in the marketplace. This could be good news for first time buyers, as there may be less competition for certain types of property that would otherwise have been purchased by investors.”

“In my opinion this could have a very positive effect in the marketplace in the latter half of next year. In the slightly longer term, if the additional tax reduces the number of buy-to-let properties being purchased, this will create less supply, and with an ever-increasing demand in the rental sector, is bound to result in an increase in rental fees. If rents do increase, this is likely to increase the yield in property and then in my opinion in the longer term it is unlikely to be significantly affected by these changes”. More...

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr).
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes andrea.c@howellslegal.com