Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors Announced as Finalists at the HIVE Business Awards

Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted as finalists in the HIVE Blackburn and Darwen Business Awards 2017. We have been shortlisted in the Growing Business category. This year our residential conveyancing department has expanded to become one of the largest in the North West and our stalking and domestic abuse department has received national recognition and media attention.

Hive Finalist

Phillip Thompson, Managing Partner comments “I am delighted that the firm have been shortlisted for the HIVE Blackburn and Darwen business awards, it is such an honour. I am extremely proud of the team we have here at Watson Ramsbottom, they go above and beyond at everything they do and it’s great that these efforts are being recognised.”

The awards will take place on Wednesday 10 May 2017 at the iconic Blackburn venue, King George’s Hall.

Watson Ramsbottom Property Team Shortlisted for Solicitors Journal Conveyancing Team of the Year Award 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Watson Ramsbottom Property Team have been shortlisted for the 2017 Solicitors Journal Conveyancing Team of the Year Award.

The Solicitors Journal Awards are designed to showcase and celebrate solicitors, law firms, barristers, and other legal professionals who are making significant contributions to the legal services sector


Elton Ashworth, Director and Head of the Property Team commented “Our team is one of the fastest growing conveyancing teams in the North West of England and we place a huge emphasis on delivering great service to our clients. We are therefore delighted that they have helped support this recognition with all their kind comments. We are proud to be representing the North of England on a national stage.”

The Solicitors Journal Awards take place in May 2017. The awards ceremony will be held on 17 May at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London, hosted by Brian Moore, ex-England rugby player, and will feature 18 categories celebrating and recognising the very best in the legal profession.

For further information about the Watson Ramsbottom Property Team please visit http://www.watsonramsbottom.com/property/

Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors support the East Lancashire Hospice

East Lancashire hospice logoWatson Ramsbottom Solicitors are delighted to announce that once again they have been able to support the East Lancashire Hospice. With the help of our loyal clients we have presented a cheque for £1,705 from their Wills Week campaign.

The annual event, held in October, sees solicitors donating their time and helping people make a will, in exchange for a donation to East Lancashire Hospice.

Stuart Maher, Director and Head of the Wills & Estate Planning team at Watson Ramsbottom – which has branches in Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington and Great Harwood, said: “We are delighted to have again been involved with the Hospice’s Will Week, and are pleased that it has been such a success.

“Many supporters of the Hospice who took part in the Will Week also took advantage of our Free Wills & Estate Planning report service at the same time.

“Uniquely at Watson Ramsbottom, we offer this service which identifies both your intentions and the outcomes you wish to achieve on your death and sets out the options available to you free of charge and without obligation.

Fundraising chequew presentation from Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors to East Lancashire Hospice 2017“We are looking forward to being involved next year and hope that many more people can take advantage of the scheme in October 2017 to raise valuable funds for the Hospice.”

For further information please contact Stuart Maher on 01254 88 08 34.

Planning Ahead: Why you should use a solicitor to make your Will

When it comes to protecting you and your family’s welfare, it is important to plan ahead for how you want your assets to be distributed. It is imperative to make sure that your plans are documented correctly so that you and not the law decides how it is shared between your family.

Most will writers charge a fee for making a Will. These vary greatly and many people often shop around for the cheapest price. Indeed, a Solicitor will often charge a relatively higher price for their advice and assistance in preparing a Will.

But you should remember that you often get what you pay for, and price should not be the only factor you consider when choosing a professional person to assist you with the preparation of a will and estate planning.

We often come across multiple issues in Wills made by the person directly having bought a ‘Make a Will’ pack from a shop or stationers, and from other will writers offering discounted services. These mistakes include:

  • Not being aware of the formal requirements needed to make a Will legally valid
  • Failing to take account of all the money and property available
  • Failing to take account of the possibility that a beneficiary may die before the person making the Will
  • Being unaware of the effect of marriage or registered civil partnership, or a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, has on a Will
  • Being unaware of the rules which exist to enable dependants to claim from the estate if they believe they are not adequately provided for. These rules mean that the provisions in the Will could be overturned.

We also regularly come across unscrupulous sales tactics from will writers who will sell additional ‘products’ to their clients, without undertaking any analysis as to whether these ‘products’ are appropriate or indeed even necessary for their customers. We do not sell you a product, we will advise you as to what provisions you should consider making, all of which will be in your best interests having conducted an analysis as to the likely benefits of proceeding set against the costs of our advice and assistance

A solicitor will be able to advise holistically on all issues relating to later life. Some advisors cannot legally do so and are not qualified to do so. Will-writing services are available, but these are not necessarily regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or indeed anyone at all. If you use such a service provider you ruin the risk of having no one to turn to in order to seek redress if something goes wrong. On the contrary, all solicitors are obliged to hold substantial levels of indemnity insurance to protect you in the unlikely event that something was to wrong.

Our specialist solicitors contain members of STEP, a worldwide professional association for those advising families across generations, members of Solicitors for the Elderly, and Dementia Friends so you can be reassured that we will always act professionally and in your best interests, not in the interests of making a quick profit.

If you would like further information, please contact Stuart Maher by email, stuart.maher@watsonramsbottom.com or fill out our simple ‘request a call back’ and we will be in touch at our earliest convenience.

Rachel Horman scoops top accolade at the Law Society Excellence Awards

law-soc-hcWe are delighted to announce that at the prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards 2016, Watson Ramsbottom Director Rachel Horman was highly commended as Woman Lawyer of the Year.

The Law Society Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate excellence nationally within the legal profession and the criteria for Woman Lawyer of the Year are to award someone who “in addition to achieving professional excellence in her field, has achieved significant results at a senior level either in business or for the benefit of society, through a specific practice or segment of the legal profession. She will have opened doors historically closed to women and will be inspiring and influencing other female solicitors to pursue a career in law.”

Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors have developed a market leading expertise in domestic violence, stalking and forced marriage within the department initially set up by Rachel Horman as one of the first such specialist teams in the country. Rachel is also the Chair of Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service.  Her expertise combined with empathy and understanding of the issues faced by her clients has driven her and her team to provide an unrivalled service with outstanding levels of client satisfaction and be recognised for their groundbreaking work nationally in these complex areas of law.

Rachel commented “I am overwhelmed to be highly commended in the category for Woman Lawyer of the Year, it is such an honour. I am extremely proud of the domestic violence team we have here at Watson Ramsbottom, they go above and beyond at everything they do and it’s great that these efforts are being recognised.”

Further information about the services provided by our multi-award winning team can be found on our family law, stalking and harassment, domestic abuse and forced marriage webpages.

2016 Will Week


East Lancashire residents have the chance to have a free Will written for a charity fundraiser.

East Lancashire Hospice’s Will Week offers people the chance to write the document thanks to local solicitors who waive their normal fee for a standard Will in return for a hospice donation. The scheme has been running for 6 years and has raised in excess of £27,000 for patient care.

Stuart Maher who is Director and Head of the Wills and Estate Planning team at participating solicitors Watson Ramsbottom said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Hospice’s Will Week again in 2016 and are pleased that it is continuing this year following the previous years’ successes. Taking part in Will Week gives Watson Ramsbottom the chance to continue our commitment of giving back to the community where we can, and supporting Will Week for the hospice is one of the best ways to show this given the care they offer to everyone within the region at times of their greatest need.”

A new basic Will can be written by the solicitor in return for a donation to East Lancashire Hospice with the individual donating the approximate amount it would normally cost to provide the service. The writing of a Will can cost approximately £75 per person. Donations to the charity can be gift aided.

Once a person’s details are registered they are sent a pack with a voucher and details of the participating solicitors. They then contact the solicitor during Will Week to make their appointment to have their Will written.

Fundraising manager Sharon Crymble said: “We’re very grateful to all the solicitors who have continued to support Will Week since we started it in 2010. The money donated goes directly to patient care and I would urge anyone who hasn’t already made a Will to use the opportunity to make sure others know your wishes and to help the hospice raise vital funds at the same time.”

East Lancashire Hospice Will Week runs from Monday October 17 – Friday 21 and packs should be requested before then. People can fill in their details at eastlancshospice.org.uk or call 01254 287010. Information is treated in strictest confidence.

It costs £3.5m a year to keep the hospice and all of its services running. East Lancashire Hospice opened its doors in 1984 and has been caring for people with life-limiting illnesses from Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley ever since. It offers specialist, supportive and end of life care to patients and their families.


North West award win for Watson Ramsbottom!

winners-signatureWatson Ramsbottom Director Rachel Horman was announced the winner in the professional services sector at the North West Enterprise Vision Awards at the 2016 final event held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

The Enterprise Vision Awards recognise, award and celebrate the inspiring achievements of women throughout the region and the winners are selected across each sector by a panel of judges from the North West business community who conduct interviews with every shortlisted nominee.

Rachel Horman is a Director at Watson Ramsbottom and the Head of Family Law, Domestic Abuse, Forced Marriage and Stalking & Harassment. Her department are recognised nationally for their groundbreaking work. Speaking of the award Rachel said “This award is very much for the amazing team I am fortunate enough to work with. To receive this recognition from across the North West business community and our work to be seen as inspirational in the communities we serve is a fabulous boost”.


What you need to know about the impending European exit

brexit-1074x716Following the EU referendum vote, where the British public voted by majority to leave the European Union, Watson Ramsbottom have put together some information that some European natives may find useful. The article features many of the frequently asked questions that our immigration department have experienced since the ‘Brexit’ vote was confirmed.

What are my current rights to remain in the UK as an EU national?

EU nationals have rights to remain in the UK, under what is referred to as ‘freedom of movement’ whether you are a worker, self-employed, student, self-sufficient or job seeker (known as treaty rights). These rights will continue until the UK comes out of the EU. Any EU national can continue to enter or remain in the UK until any changes in the law are effective.

As an EU national currently in the UK you will have acquired rights, depending on how long you have lived in the UK. This can be shown by obtaining a 5 year residence card evidencing your rights. Whilst this is not compulsory, it would be proof of your right to remain, to work etc. These rights in the future are likely to be part of the negotiations when the prime minister chooses to invoke the decision to leave the European Parliament.

How will Britain leave the EU?

Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, will be triggered by the Prime Minister making an application to withdraw from the EU. UK will begin talks on the terms of the exit and trade deals.   This may not happen until 2017 and it may take 2 years before the UK comes out of the EU.

How will I be affected?

There are concerns that those currently resident in the UK will lose their rights under European Economic Area (EEA) regulations. However, a person who has been in the UK exercising treaty rights for a continuous period of 5 years will automatically acquire permanent residence. It is likely these rights will continue where a person has acquired permanent residence.

What if I have not been in the UK for 5 years to acquire permanent residence?

It is anticipated the UK is likely to introduce new legislation. This may not be as favourable as the EEA Regulations, because the Home Office may require an application under immigration law to be made and the rules will probably be sterner. However until Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is invoked and negotiations begin, it is unknown whether the same protection would be given in the future if a person entered the UK after the vote.

How do I qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Any European Union national who has lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years in accordance with the EEA Regulations 2006, can apply for indefinite leave to remain under Regulation 15 of the EEA Regulations 2006.

It is unknown what future developments there will be and for this reason we would strongly advise you to make an application for Indefinite leave to remain as that may give you peace of mind for your future. You can do this by contacting our immigration department at our Blackburn office on 01254 67 22 22.

Once you have obtained a permanent residence card it is unlikely that this will be taken from you unless there is an element of fraud in obtaining the card or serious criminality occurs after it has been granted.

Do I need to apply for permanent residence?

If you have exercised treaty rights for 5 years, permanent residence is granted automatically. An application to confirm permanent residence can be made by calling our Blackburn office (01254 67 22 22) and speaking to a member of our immigration department. Since November 2015, if you wish to apply for British nationality you will need to have written confirmation of a Permanent Residence Card showing permanent residence. To accompany this an application to the Home Office would need to be made.

To qualify, you would need to provide documents that show you have been in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of 5 years, exercising a treaty right as a qualified person (worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, student or job seeker) with supporting documents for the 5 year period.

Having permanent residence means there are no restrictions on leave to remain in the UK.

What will happen to immigration when Britain leaves the EU?

Britain will no longer have to accept ‘free movement of people’ from Europe. Following the leave vote, it is unknown what agreements will be made and whether free movement will continue.

The entitlements of existing EU nationals such as right to work, access to benefits and use of NHS are expected be different and relevant immigration laws are likely to be updated.

Relevant authorities may say that there is no protection for EU nationals who entered the UK after the vote. Again this is uncertain and only estimates can be made at the likely changes at this stage, because it is dependent on the negotiations regarding entitlements of European nationals after UK leaves the European Union.

Watson Ramsbottom retain leading law firm ranking

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law FirmsWatson Ramsbottom have once again been confirmed as a leading law firm by being awarded continued inclusion in the prestigious UK Legal 500 guide. The annual Legal 500 publication involves a comprehensive research process examining both the types of work handled by the firm and client and referee feedback to assess suitability for inclusion in the guide.

Director Stuart Maher said “Quality of advice and service to our clients is at the forefront of all we do, so it is rewarding to receive this validation from the independent research carried out by the Legal 500.”


BBC Inside Out North West Stalking feature – September 2016

Watson Ramsbottom Director Rachel Horman was interviewed by BBC North West Inside Out recently as part of the programme’s feature on the reported increase in cases of stalking across the North West. Rachel is recognised nationally as a leading expert in stalking and harassment and is also Chair of Paladin the National Stalking Advocacy Service. The interview took place at the Watson Ramsbottom office in Blackburn and the Inside Out feature can be viewed below.

If you are a victim of stalking or harassment and require legal assistance please contact Watson Ramsbottom on 01254 67 22 22 or complete our online contact form.