My name is Helen Clifford, I am a solicitor & I specialise in acting for the victims of work incidents. I am an elected officer of the Construction Safety Campaign, Trustee of the London Hazards Centre, and legal adviser to Families Against Corporate Killers. My father was a founding member of the Construction Safety Campaign & I am proud to be carrying on his work. Together these organisations fight to make our workplaces safer for each & every one of us.

Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day event
Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day

There has been an enlightened understanding since the time of Cicero that the primary duty of any government is to prevent the premature death of every member of the population it governs without fear or favour. The unavoidable corollary of this understanding is that any government which disregards that primary duty threatens the well-being of less-favoured members of the population it governs.

This enlightened understanding underpinned the 1833 Factory Act to prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting children.  However, self-employed workers were not protected by the law until the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 introduced by the Secretary of State for Employment at the time Michael Foot.

The negation of Michael Foot’s legislation gathered pace in January 2012 when prime minister David Cameron pledged to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”. Since then, many UK local authorities have followed the example of unscrupulous contractors and employers, by hiring consultants and lawyers who specialise in exploiting legal loopholes to avoid taking responsibility for the harm they cause.

Some local authority leaders have gone so far as to denigrate critics of this reckless disregard of their primary duty. This was epitomised in the well-known prelude to the Grenfell Tower catastrophe, in the wake of Southwark council’s 2017 guilty plea to four counts of breaking fire safety regulations in Lakanal House, a similar high-rise tower-block fire in 2009 which killed 6 people.

The HSE’s annual figure of 137 deaths at work only covers those reported to the HSE and local authorities. The Hazards Campaign estimates that 1,477 people are killed in work related incidents each year & those dying of work illnesses is 50,000 per year. That is around 140 people dying from work per day or 1 person every 10 mins.  These are truly shocking numbers.

The ITUC says that “Union organisation is the antidote”. A large body of evidence shows that unionised workplaces are happier and safer workplaces. Trade union organisation is linked to up to 50% less injuries & also significantly less ill-health related work. Unions save lives & health, they also save money for employers & the economy.

Yet time & time again we see employers opposing union presence in the workplace, we see those who raise health & safety concerns blacklisted, spied on & prevented from working. Legal claims against major construction companies highlighted these practices but it is still going on & we have seen this for example on Crossrail.

Frank Morris raised health & safety concerns. Had he been listened to rather than sacked, would Rene Tkacik have been killed? Rene was killed on 7 March 2014 on Crossrail when he was crushed to death by 1 ton of shotcrete which fell on him when he was ordered to work in the exclusion zone. The inquest & the HSE prosecution which followed Rene’s death highlighted the obstacles that families face when trying to secure justice. Relevant evidence from a whistleblower, was excluded from both proceedings. Why?

Today, in this country and all over the world, families are remembering their loved ones who died as a result of the negligence of their employers. Families like Rene’s. Families like Mark Seward’s. Mark was killed 27 May 2015 because him employer did not realise that pressure testing was a dangerous activity so had undertaken no risk assessment of the work they told him to do. Families like those of the 1,134 people killed at Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013.

We must use our voices to increase a chorus of disapproval aimed at seeking an end to this era of de-regulation, in which health & safety protections have been undermined & preventative enforcement has been slashed.

In 2018 we are celebrating 40 years of the Safety Committee Regulations & 150 years since the birth of the TUC. Now more than ever we must encourage workers to join unions, to stand together, to raise their voices in order to protect ourselves from preventable work-related death, injury & illness. The aim of International Workers’ Memorial Day is to “remember the dead” & “fight for the living”. We must not stop that fight until there are no more empty boots & every worker returns home safely to their loved ones.

Action for Brain Injury Week

Every 90 seconds somebody in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury. The long term effect of a brain injury can alter how a person walks, thinks, talks and feels and can be devastating for the injured person and their loved ones.

Action for Brain Injury Week


Emma Wilson
Emma Wilson
Solicitor - Health & Injury

Action for Brain Injury Week is an annual week-long awareness raising event that this year takes place between 14th and 20th May. The event is organised by Headway, a leading charity dedicated to promoting and understanding of all aspects of brain injury.

This year, the theme of Action for Brain Injury Week is You, Me and Brain Injury. The aim of the week is to highlight the fact that a brain injury doesn’t just affect the individual, but also their  family, friends, work colleagues, and wider network. It is often the care and support provided by their friends and family that helps a person with a brain injury to adapt to the life-changing effect of their injury.

As lawyers, working with individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the specialist team at McMillan Williams put the injured person and their family at the heart of what we do.  We work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate level of compensation to assist them and their loved ones to rebuild their lives but we also ensure they are provided with the right support and advice throughout the process.

We understand the need to secure early interim payments and private rehabilitation to supplement or take the place of the care already provided by the NHS. We aim to secure funding from the party at fault to put a programme of rehabilitation in place as early as possible. We work closely with Case Managers specialising in brain injury rehabilitation who work with the individual and family to provide a comprehensive package of support.  Our Private Client Team are also able to help by appointing a Deputy if a client lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs.

We have close working relationships with private rehabilitation providers and charities such as Headway Guildford, UKABIF and The Silverlining Charity for our work with brain injury survivors and we strive to ensure our clients are able to regain their confidence and independence as far as possible and reach their optimum level of recovery, with our help and the support of their family and friends.

Hats For Headway - 18th May 2018

On Friday 18th May, the team at MW will once again be taking part in Hats for Headway Day – a fundraising event which takes place during Action for Brain Injury Week. Our team will be sporting our most outrageous, weird and wonderful headgear on social media to help raise money and awareness for the charity.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin or through the hashtag #HatsForHeadway.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered an Acquired Brian Injury.  We will arrange a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager to help plan and implement a rehabilitation package which can incorporate your health, psychological, educational or occupational needs.   We will work with medical, clinical and other experts to value your past and most importantly, future needs, such as personal and medical care, income, accommodation and transport.

Where possible we will secure interim payments to assist with day to day and rehabilitation needs throughout the course of your claim.

If you would like to speak to our team of specialist Personal Injury Solicitors to discuss your case, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

India

Wherever I Lay My Hat...

All too often Domicile is thought to be a relatively straightforward concept and Paul Young’s song is considered to be fairly apt in setting the scene that Home is wherever you want it to be.  However, this is not the case and Domicile is often a complex concept.  It is an important consideration in Inheritance Act claims as a claim can only be brought against the estate of a deceased person who was domiciled in England and Wales at the time of his/her death.


Wendy Rixon
Wendy Rixon
Associate – Estate & Trust Disputes Specialist

Everyone has a domicile of origin which is based upon the domicile of your father (in the event that your parents are married) or your mother (if unmarried or father has deceased), i.e. where they consider their permanent home to be at the time of your birth.  Therefore, even if you were born in, say, England; if your parent(s) permanent home was in, say, India – that is the domicile of origin that you will take. 

An individual over the age of 16 can revert to a Domicile of Choice.  They must be living in a different country from their domicile of origin and must have an intention to remain in that country permanently or indefinitely.

A recent case in the Chancery Division of the High Court addressed the domicile question as a preliminary issue in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act).  Proles –v- Kohli [2018] EWHC 767 (CH) found that the deceased was domiciled in England at the date of his death on 8 December 2015.

The Claimant was the 5 year old daughter of the deceased (by her mother and litigation friend) and, given the content of section 1(1) of the 1975 Act, the burden of proof was on the Claimant to show that the deceased was indeed domiciled in England and Wales at the time of his death.

It was accepted that the deceased’s domicile of origin was India, but that he had lived for a considerable amount of time in England before travelling to and remaining in India for just a month before he died.   Therefore the preliminary issue to be decided can be divided into two further issues:

  1. Firstly, did the deceased acquire a domicile of choice in England? And, if so;

  2. Did he abandon his domicile of choice by travelling to India where he remained until his death?

When considering domicile, the whole of the deceased’s life and what his inferred intentions were,  need to be taken into account.

The facts in this case were, of course, detailed and varied and beyond the scope of this article.   However, the evidence before the court showed a long history of the deceased living and working in England.  Although he remained married, he held himself out as divorced and had other relationships, including a brief relationship with Amelie’s mother in 2012.  Although that relationship did not work out, he accepted Amelie as his child (at least initially) and retained a cordial and friendly relationship with her mother.  He did not travel to India much over the years and certainly spent more time in England and his business ventures were all ultimately in England.

There are some records of conversations around domicile while the deceased was alive which were not conclusive.  There is a report of him saying, in 2014, that he hadn’t decided whether he wanted to stay in England or return to India.  He was resident in the UK for tax purposes.  Solicitors acting for him in relation to a Will around this time mention that the deceased considered himself to be domiciled in India; however, the deceased did not respond to this, nor sign the draft Will.

Later, in 2015, he instructed different solicitors to prepare a Will and told them that he was domiciled and resident for tax purposes in the UK and that he held no property abroad or offshore, but his wife was currently in India.

The deceased was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and after lengthy treatment decided to travel to India for rest and recuperation.

The claimant’s case was that in about 2010, following lengthy residence and estrangement from his wife, it is to be inferred that the deceased had the intention to reside in England indefinitely and to abandon his domicile of origin.   His return to India in 2015 was only intended to be temporary.   Indeed he had shown an intention to become a British national after Christmas 2014, for tax purposes, and as he has no intention of ever returning to India to live.

Mrs Kohli’s case was that the deceased never formed an intention to abandon his Indian domicile or acquire any settled residence in England  He held an Indian passport, identity card and election card; he had an international driving permit and a limited visa to live and work in the UK.

There is strong contemporaneous evidence that the deceased intended to return to England after a rest from his cancer treatment.  He had follow up appointments in England which he appeared to be intending to keep.

Therefore, in this case, it was found that the deceased took on a domicile of choice in England and Wales and did not abandon that domicile of choice when he returned temporarily to India.  Therefore, it was found that the deceased was domiciled in England at the date of his death on 8 December 2015.

Although it remains the case that domicile can be a choice; it is clear that this is not a simple concept and involves many factors; not just where you lay your hat.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who wish to pursue Inheritance Act Claims.

Our Estate & Trust Disputes Team are dedicated and specialist inheritance disputes Solicitors and are experts in pursuing Inheritance Act Claims.  Take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Breast Screening

 

Many women between the ages of 68 and 71 will be waking up to the news that they might be a victim to the NHS computer system which failed to call women for their final breast cancer screening scan.

Screening in the UK starts at the age of 50 and carries on until the age of 71, with scans being undertaken every 3 years to catch any suspicious changes early and to give patients the best chance of a good outcome following a breast cancer diagnosis.  For many the system has not worked and an IT error has resulted in the screening not being carried out as it should have been.

The stories and numbers that are in the press are alarming and it is reported that 450,000 women missed out on the screening between 2009 and this year and of those women, 309,000 are still alive. It is very sad to hear that this means some 41,000 women may have died as a result and gives rise to a serious concern that some of these deaths might have been avoided if screening had taken place.

This is a lot of information and will no doubt be distressing to those who may be affected, someone who thinks that they have missed a screening, a family member who has lost a loved to breast cancer or someone who in the coming days receives an NHS recall letter. 

The NHS have assured the public that they will act quickly and remedy the situation where it is possible to do so.  While we wait for further information to emerge, MW Solicitors encourages those who suspect that they may be affected to use the NHS helpline to seek answers to any queries they may have.

We also encourage patients to seek legal advice as they may be able to seek compensation for any harm that has come to them as a result of a delayed diagnosis.

We Can Help


Nisha Sharma
Nisha Sharma
Partner - Health & Injury

At MW Solicitors, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been affected by the failure of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Nisha Sharma is a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor with a wealth of experience in this area and has previously acted for many women in breast cancer claims, most notably in the Ian Paterson litigation.  Nisha can travel to see her clients wherever they may be based in the UK.   

If you feel you may be a patient affected by this failure of the Breast Screening Programme, contact us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

London Legal Walk

MW Solicitors are proud to announce that for the sixth year in a row we will be demonstrating our support for Legal Aid Charities by walking the London Legal Walk.


Keeley Lengthorn
Keeley Lengthorn
Solicitor - Family & Child Law

Staff from every one of our network of Our Offices will be helping to raise money by donating and walking the walk to support the vital work we see every day carried out by Legal Aid Support Charities throughout the London Region.

Family Solicitor and MW Legal Walk Organiser Keeley Lengthorn said:

"During a time when access to justice is being hindered, the Legal Walk is a real testament and example of the legal professions continued commitment to providing access to Justice to all and is a stellar example of how legal professionals from all areas of law can come together for one afternoon of the year to raise much needed funds for this great cause. Last year saw 12,000 people walk and £800,000 raised. Lets make this years walk bigger and better than ever!"

Dominic Harrison
Dominic Harrison
Chief Executive Officer

MW CEO Dominic Harrison said:

“The London Legal Walk is a great opportunity for us to give back to those often unsung heroes who make it possible for us to provide much needed Legal Aid funded advice to some of the most vulnerable clients who are at the heart of Our Mission; To make quality legal services accessible to everyone”.

London Legal Walk 2016

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