Tag Archive for: law firm

November issue of Inspire Cheshire is now out

The November edition of Inspire Cheshire is now live on the website with lots of interesting articles, competitions and news stories.
This month, we’ve got an interview with the The Sandbar Seafood Shack Chester chef who is serving the freshest and most exciting seafood in Chester Market – and we’re offering a prize to dine there for Inspire Cheshire readers.
We talk to Bense Burnett about the oH Collective and the foundation’s creative vision for Chester.
And we find out what kept Chester RUFC’s Guy Ford going during his epic 114 mile fund-raising run from the city to Abersoch.
As ever, we’ve also got lots of ideas for things to do in the region over the coming weeks.
There are also details about the next Inspire Cheshire Luncheon Club which is being held on December 5th at The Forge Restaurant in Chester, which has just won 2 AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence. Book your place now!
Sign up for free at www.inspirecheshire.co.uk

Read the October issue of Inspire Cheshire

The October edition of Inspire Cheshire is now live on the website with lots more interesting articles, competitions and reader offers.

This month, we tell the story of Cheshire business woman Geraldine Marks who has created her own range of amazing seasonings called Herby Hog. Geraldine is offering two prizes for Inspire Cheshire readers.

We chat to permanent make-up artist Charlene Baker about her business and how she is seeing an increase in the number of men seeking aesthetic treatments.

We profile Great British Bake Off contestant Dan, who lives in Cheshire with his wife and two children, and is proving a big hit on this year’s show.

Cathy Pettingale, Director of Operations for KidsBank, spoke at the latest Inspire Cheshire Luncheon Club where she asked for your help to collect toys, clothes and toiletries for children living in poverty in Cheshire this Christmas.

Leaseholders: Right to Manage your Block

By Megan Bedwell, a Paralegal in our Commercial Litigation Team.

Many leaseholders are finding that their service charge demands are increasing but the level of service is not improved because of those additional charges.

Most leaseholders are aware they have a statutory right to collectively purchase their freehold but there is another and much cheaper route to consider if they wish to take control of the management of their block, without having to find the funds to buy the freehold.

Right to manage is available to leaseholders in a building which enables them to take over management responsibilities of the freeholder.

There are several qualifying factors which allows the leaseholders to exercise their right:

  1. The building must be made up of flats (houses don’t qualify).
  2. At least two-thirds of the flats in the building must be leasehold – with leases that were for more than 21 years when they were granted.
  3. At least 75% of the building must be residential – for example, if there’s a shop in the building, it can’t take up more than 25% of the total floor area.
  4. They must live somewhere else if there are less than 4 flats in the block – unless the block was purpose-built as flats, rather than converted from another type of building.
  5. There is no requirement (unlike collective enfranchisement) to hold no more than two leasehold properties so one person owning all the flats can still exercise their right to manage their block.
  6. Any number of owners can set up an RTM company – but at least half of the flats in the building must be members of the company before it can take over management.

The tenant who wishes to be part of the right to manage must be a long leaseholder (has a lease of 21 years or more) and the lease must not be a business tenancy. The leaseholder does not have to reside in the property, and they can hold more than two flats and still be involved, unlike the enfranchisement route.

There are many benefits to pursuing the right to manage route as opposed to enfranchisement.

Right to manage is a procedure which leaseholders can pursue without permission or authority from the Landlord or Management Company. If the requirements above are satisfied, then the right to manage can proceed.

If leaseholders are frustrated by their landlord’s actions of poor management or upkeep of the building, there is no requirement for the leaseholders to prove that this is the case and therefore no requirement to justify their application of a right to manage. This provides a substantial benefit for leaseholders in that they can proceed down the right to manage route without needing to gather evidence to support their decision. It provides ease for all leaseholders pursuing this route.

The right to manage is a cheap and cost-effective route in comparison to looking to acquire the freehold.

Legal costs will still be involved, but this will not involve the leaseholders covering the costs to purchase the freehold. The right to manage process is also quick, especially if it is not disputed with a counter-notice.

The leases do not need to be varied when the transfer of management takes place. The management responsibilities are acquired once the acquisition date is provided.

Another advantage has been shown in the recent case of Eastpoint Block A RTM Company Ltd v Otubaga [2023]. The Court of Appeal held that a right to manage has a right to enforce untransferred covenants ‘in the same manner’ as the landlord and they can commence an action for damages for breach of covenant or for an injunction restraining breach (in the county court) or a claim for section 168(4) determination (in the First Tier Tribunal). This allows the right to manage company the opportunity to recover losses where they have experienced a breach of a covenant, which provides members of the company with more confidence and reassurance in pursuing the process.

The overall process of right to manage is straightforward and can save you money in the long run. It provides you with control over the building, enabling decisions to be made mutually between parties who hold the same interests. It can help maintain a positive relationship with your neighbours and allows discussions to take place that are in each other’s best interests in establishing the best way forward on crucial management matters for the building.

If you would like to arrange a free initial consultation with a member of our litigation team, please contact us on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk


Cullimore Dutton renews its support for KidsBank and their Christmas One More Gift Appeal

We are delighted to have renewed our support for Cheshire charity KidsBank making it our nominated charity for the next six months.

Colleagues at the firm will be holding a series of fundraising events over the coming months to raise money for the charity. They will also be collecting donations of toys, clothes and toiletries from now until November 30th to help children living in poverty in Cheshire this Christmas.

One in three children in the UK are living in poverty and 7.2 million families in the UK are going without essentials.

Staff, friends, partners and clients are being invited to donate a gift to the charity’s One More Gift Appeal, to donate to their Crowdfunding page, or to volunteer some time to help Cullimore Dutton and the charity to process and distribute presents from the charity’s Christmas Hub in Ellesmere Port to children facing hardship.

Andrew Wright, Managing Director of Cullimore Dutton, said: “This is our second year supporting KidsBank, an inspiring charity that does so much to help families in Cheshire.

“We are encouraging everyone in the business to get involved to do their bit to help, whether that’s donating a gift, giving their spare time to fundraise or helping to distribute the gifts we collect to families in need.

“We’ll also be giving staff time during their working hours to support the appeal so they can help to process and distribute all the gifts. Together, we can make a difference and help to change lives.”

KidsBank Chester was set up in 2019 by Cathy Pettingale based on the idea of food banks, but supplying pre-loved and new toys, clothes and equipment to children aged between 0-12 years within the Cheshire West and Chester area. To date almost 111,000 items have been gifted to KidsBank families. Each year the number of children referred at Christmas has doubled.

Cathy Pettingale, Founder and Director of Operations for KidsBank, said: “We’re delighted that Cullimore Dutton has nominated KidsBank as their chosen charity for the second year.

“Each year we help to provide gifts to children who would otherwise not receive a present at Christmas. In 2022, with the help of our supporters, we ensured 790 children were provided with gifts. We anticipate up to 1,500 children will need our support this year.

“We try to give as many children as we can a bundle of gifts and sometimes this is all they have. By helping to provide gifts to all children referred to us, we can help provide hope and joy to those families and help improve mental health and well-being.”

Cullimore Dutton will be accepting donations of gifts, marked for the ‘KidsBank Appeal’, at our office on 27 Newgate Street, Chester CH1 1DE between Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, between now and November 30.

We will then be helping the charity to distribute the gifts during the first week of December.

If you’d like to find out more please contact us. 

The KidsBank Christmas Wish List has lots of ideas for boys and girls of different age groups.


Sign up to read the new issue of Inspire Cheshire

In this month’s Inspire Cheshire, we tell the story of Cheshire paratriathlete Lizzie Tench who recently battled gale force winds to climb Yr Wyddfa (formerly Snowdon) in her wheelchair.

We’re tickled by a new exhibition in Liverpool celebrating the life of Sir Ken Dodd and we have a profile on TV anchor Clive Myrie who will be appearing at Chester Cathedral tomorrow to talk about his journey from a paperboy to a BBC star.

We talk to Jeremy Jordan, a director at Changing Home, one of the best-known estate agents in Chester. Changing Home is offering readers of Inspire Cheshire the chance to win two £50 vouchers for a meal at the popular Italian family restaurant La Fattoria, which is very close to their office in Lower Bridge Street.

We’re also giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to listen to Countryfile star Julia Bradbury talking about the power of nature following her treatment for breast cancer. She’ll be appearing at Birkenhead School in Oxton, Wirral, on Wednesday.

There are also details about the next Inspire Cheshire Luncheon Club which is being held on October 3rd at Brasserie Abode in Chester.

Ajith Prasad

It’s time to mediate

It’s time to mediate

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has recently confirmed that mediation will soon be compulsory for civil claims valued up to £10,000 (small claims track), with changes coming into effect during 2024. This will see mediation become more common in most small claims proceedings.

Compulsory mediation
Compulsory mediation will apply only to specified money claims, but it will eventually expand to all small claims i.e. claims up to £10,000.

In terms of how this will look in practice, a Claimant will bring proceedings in the usual way, however when a defence is filed and the case allocated to the small claims track, the parties will be advised by the court that they must now mediate.

The parties will complete a directions questionnaire (a document used by the Court to determine how to allocate the case) and the claim will move to the Small Claims Mediation Service where mediation appointments will be offered within 28 days.

Crucially, the mediation will be free, and the parties will have a separate 1-hour long telephone conversation with a mediator. If a settlement is agreed, a legally binding formal agreement will be recorded with the court. If agreement is not reached, the dispute will be heard by a judge in the usual way. The judge will be able to impose sanctions on parties that did not comply with mediation. The sanctions could include automatically ruling in one party’s favour or ordering that one party pay part or all the other sides legal costs.

Pros and Cons
There are a number of advantages of mediation including claims being settled more quickly and at less cost to the parties when compared to litigation. Also, compulsory mediation may remove the stigma of being the first party to propose it, which might encourage more parties to engage in mediation.

In terms of downsides, forcing parties to mediate where it is clear the parties will not reach an agreement may lead to time and resources being wasted.

While compulsory mediation will only apply to cases up to £10,000 for now, it is likely that the MoJ will increase the scope to higher value claims up to £25,000 (fast-track) and possibly those over £25,000 (multi-track).

While compulsory mediation may not be to everyone’s liking, it is ultimately a positive step by the MoJ and should help parties resolve disputes more effectively and alleviate pressure in the court system.

If you are considering filing or defending a civil claim and would like a free initial consultation with a member of the Litigation team simply click on the “Speak to Our Experts” button on this page, call us on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Helping families plan for the future

We are helping families to plan for the future by investing in the number of solicitors on our team who are STEP qualified.

STEP members are specialists in inheritance and succession planning and can draft wills and trusts, administer estates, act as trustees and advise families on how best to structure their finances to ensure compliance and preserve their assets for future generations.

We are delighted that Alexandra Chambers, a solicitor in our Wills & Trusts team, has recently qualified as a STEP practitioner.

Alexandra, who joined Cullimore Dutton in May last year, said: “The STEP diploma is highly regarded by both the profession and clients alike. My STEP qualification has enhanced my technical knowledge of Trusts and Estates and allows me to give my clients the best possible service.

“I was thrilled to be invited to the STEP annual dinner by the STEP committee as a high achiever guest for the marks achieved on my diploma.  All my hard work had paid off and I had a wonderful evening celebrating.

“I’m now looking forward to using my expertise to help provide the best possible advice to my clients.”

Alexandra is one of four fully qualified Trust & Estate practitioners at the firm.

The Mini-Budget: What did it mean?

It has been quite a week since the Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng delivered his so-called Mini-Budget.

While some of the measures were broadly welcomed, they were completely overshadowed by the response to the announcement that the 45% top rate of tax would be scrapped, benefiting only those earning more than £150,000 a year.

Overall, the package of measures unveiled by the new Chancellor amounted to the biggest tax-cutting package since 1972.

Following a turbulent few days, the Government had to beat a hasty retreat, leaving the 45% rate of tax as it is to avoid it “distracting” from the wider objective of growing the UK economy.

The initial reaction of the markets to the U-turn were mildly favourable, but this was from a low base with sterling having fallen to its lowest ever level against the US dollar and bonds and equities also falling sharply in the immediate aftermath of the Mini-Budget.

By way of a reminder, the key announcements included:

Personal tax

There is to be a cut in the basic rate of tax from 20% to 19% which means a tax cut for over 31 million of us. The 45% rate of income tax remains the same following the backlash over the decision to scrap it.

Corporation Tax

The proposed increase in Corporation Tax to 25% has also been abandoned in a move to attract investment into the UK.


The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is to support all non-domestic customers, a move to mirror the Energy Price Guarantee that is available to households.

Investment Zones

New Investment Zones have been created, including Cheshire West and Chester Council, in a bid to accelerate growth in these recently identified areas.


Rules introduced in 2017 and 2021 for how contractors are engaged are to be relaxed with responsibility resting with the company which hires an individual.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This is to be increased from £125,000 to £250,000 with first time buyers benefitting from an increase to £425,000.


Growing the economy by taking bold steps in how we are taxed is at the heart of the Government’s plans.

What is clear is that the financial landscape for us all, whether employed, self-employed or business owners is changing.

Now, more than ever, the need to take financial planning guidance is critical to ensure that our goals are achieved, our tax managed professionally and our money works as hard as it possibly can.

At Cullimore Dutton we aim to Change Lives by working with clients to support them in everything they want to achieve at every step of the journey. If you would like to speak someone from our specialist finance and estate team, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01244 729073.


On the ball with Cheshire football club

We are delighted to have kicked off a new season supporting Frodsham Junior Football Club.

The club, which recently celebrated its 43rd anniversary, is one of the largest junior football clubs in the Cheshire FA with 30 teams from under 7s to under 18s and one of the largest girls’ sections in Cheshire with over 120 girls playing for the club.

Cullimore Dutton Managing Director Andrew Wright and Marketing Manager Phil Wood have both been coaches at the club and we have provided the under 8 girls and boys teams with branded kit for a number of years.

Jeff Abbott, Chairman of Frodsham Junior Football Club, said: “Cullimore Dutton is a long-standing and generous sponsor of our Club and it is a relationship which we value highly. Our Club could not function without the fantastic support and contributions given by such generous sponsors.

“We would like to sincerely thank Cullimore Dutton for their continued support, we achieve so much more as a Club because of it.”

Louise Holmes​, Cullimore Dutton Wills, Trusts & Estates

How one of Chester’s few ‘Solicitors for the Elderly’ helps clients to plan ahead

Associate Director Louise Holmes specialises in drafting wills, tax planning, trusts and inheritance tax planning and drawing up Powers of Attorney. She joined the Cullimore Dutton team in June and is passionate about changing the lives of our clients. Here she talks about her work with clients approaching retirement, her home visits and her love of Chester.

What inspired you to become a solicitor?

I picked a career in the law because I wanted to really help people and to make a difference to their lives. For example, one of my specialisms is drawing up Powers of Attorney for people.

This is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so. It is important for anyone who has money or assets they want to protect – or who wants someone to act in their best interest when it comes to healthcare choices – in a scenario when they can’t personally make the decision.

Most people I help are making them when they hit retirement age and want to get their affairs in order. Having a Power of Attorney in place is like a kindness to a family because it can potentially save a lot of stress.


How did you get started in your legal career?

I began by volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Chester whilst I was completing my Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and really enjoyed it. Before that, I studied Business at Coventry University. Today, working in a busy Wills department really makes me think I have achieved my goal to help people.


Working with the elderly

I am a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (there are only a few of us in Cheshire), which means I specialise in dealing with older and vulnerable clients on a regular basis. Being able to explain legal information and options in a clear and sensitive way is particularly important. If clients can’t come into the office, or feel nervous about doing so, I often pop out to see them in their home. I feel very privileged to be invited into someone’s home and to be trusted to help them resolve a legal issue. Sometimes I can be the only person they have spoken to all week and I love chatting to them and hearing about their family history.


What do you love about Chester and working at Cullimore Dutton?

I grew up in Chester and love working in such a beautiful city that is proud of its history.

The people and the excellent reputation of Cullimore Dutton are what makes it such a special place to work. I also like working for an MD who isn’t a solicitor, but has a business background, which fits with my business degree!


Life outside work?

My weekends are a whirlwind of activity running three young children and walking the family’s 8-year-old pet Cavapoo. I am also treasurer of our primary school’s PTA and help to run the Tarvin toddler group every Friday.