Sponsors of Eggesford Point-to-Point

7th May 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors were pleased to have been one of the sponsors of the Eggesford Point-to-Point race meeting at Upcott Cross, Okehampton on Saturday 27th April.

Gilbert Stephens sponsored the winners’ presentations for the Mementoes Mixed Open race. Dana Mulligan represented the firm on the day and had an enjoyable afternoon as spectators cheered their horses on to the finish line.

The annual meeting is an important event for the local rural community, and though the weather was very windy, the race meeting was well attended. Spectators watched as the runners and riders tested themselves around a course of jumps over three feet high, which were built out of birch by a team of volunteers in the lead up to the day.

These horse racing events are a great example of the professionalism of local amateur sport. Run by the Eggesford Hunt and staffed by volunteers, Point-to-Points are a chance for the community to get together and share a day of sport while supporting the rural economy. Vets, farriers, local business stands and food stalls attended to support the horses and their teams and provide refreshments and shopping for members of the public.

Gilbert Stephens would like to congratulate the winners, favourite Herbert Park, ridden by Fergus Gillard, and all their connections for a well earned win in the Mementoes Mixed Open. We wish you the best of luck in your racing careers!

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors have 6 offices across Devon. With specialist departments in various areas of law – including agricultural law and property – if you need advice we have the solution.

For further information about our services or for legal advice, contact our Okehampton office on 01837 512100 or email ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@wal1561439651.


Get the right advice for your separation or divorce

2nd May 2019

At Gilbert Stephens Solicitors, we have a number of specialists in Family Law, including the difficult and often complex circumstance of a separation.

If you have decided to separate it is important to get early legal advice. The sooner you know what you can expect from the process, the sooner you will be able to start planning.

The first thing we would recommend is to seek practical legal advice. At Gilbert Stephens we offer an initial ‘information and options’ meeting where we will provide information about how the breakdown of your relationship may affect you legally, the specific things that you need to consider and a brief outline of the options that may be open to you. This will give you a clear idea of any action that needs to be taken and the costs involved.

It is rare for a divorce to be contested except in very unusual circumstances, but in the unlikely event that you need to consider this we will give you advice specific to your case.

What happens if you are separating but are not married?

At the moment, rights for cohabiting couples are different than for married couples. If you are married, you can ask the Court to make Orders dividing property between you and to make decisions about your finances, such as ordering one party to pay maintenance or a lump sum.

If you are not married, any property dispute will be dealt with under the normal law relating to property and there is no power for the Court to order maintenance or lump sums. There are signs that the law may change in the future, but this depends on Parliament acting on the recommendations made by the Law Commission.

What about the children?
Often there are children who need to be considered when going through a separation. Contact and the childrens’ wellbeing is one of the greatest concerns and needs handling carefully and correctly.

In the vast majority of cases, parents agree on the arrangements for children following separation. If agreement is reached there is no need for any formal arrangement, but sometimes an agreed parenting plan can be helpful.

Where agreement cannot be reached, mediation may be a good way forward. If appropriate, the children can be involved in the process so that their wishes and feelings can be taken into consideration.

A last resort is asking the Family Court to make a Child Arrangements Order setting out the details of contact between each of the parents and the children.

If you need advice regarding this difficult topic, we recommend speaking to a solicitor as early as possible. You can contact us on 01392 424242 or email ku.oc1561439651.srot1561439651cilos1561439651snehp1561439651etstr1561439651eblig1561439651@waly1561439651limaf1561439651.

What does a paralegal do?

1st May 2019

At Gilbert Stephens Solicitors, we know that our solicitors would not be able to provide the service they do without the help of our highly skilled support staff.

Deborah Langham, private client paralegal at Gilbert Stephens, talks us through the roles and responsibilities of a paralegal.

“There are many vital roles in a law firm, and the role of a paralegal is, in fact, a multitude of roles carried out on behalf of a solicitor. Paralegals are not qualified solicitors, but their skill set is accomplished and diverse. Paralegals qualify through a combination of on-the-job training and education. Paralegals who are licensed by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals are also able to offer certain legal services to clients without a solicitor also handling the case.

“A paralegal will work with a solicitor to carry out the tasks needed for the solicitor to form their advice and take action. For example, a paralegal may be required to interview a client, research a particular question, complete a legal document under the instruction of a solicitor and – of course – keep highly sensitive information safe and organised so that a solicitor can get to the data they need, when they need it.

“Experienced paralegals often take on more complex work, assisting in the handling of process driven cases like the incorporation of a company or acting in debt recovery tasks.

“Typically, as a paralegal in the private client department I work on wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate administration and elderly client matters.

The key skills of a successful paralegal are a high level of organisation, adaptability, confidentiality and attention to detail – as well as good people skills!”

We have a number of paralegals working at Gilbert Stephens and it is safe to say, we simply could not operate effectively without them.

If you have a legal matter that you need advice on, please get in touch with us on 01392 424242 or emailku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@wal1561439651 1561439651.

Sarah Heath is expert speaker at first time buyers events

30th April 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors were delighted that Sarah Heath, Chartered Legal Executive from our Exeter office, was one of the expert speakers at the Halifax first time buyer events last week in Exeter and Barnstaple. Martin Pratley (head of our conveyancing department) also attended the events.

The two events were held in the Exeter and Barnstaple Halifax buildings, on Tuesday 23rd and Thursday 25th April, and were very well attended by prospective buyers from the local areas.

These events are designed to inform prospective buyers about everything they need to consider when looking to purchase their first home, from securing a mortgage in principle to taking advantage of available first time buyer schemes.

Sarah Heath gave an engaging presentation, speaking about the legal aspects of purchasing a property. Sarah specialises in residential conveyancing and was able to discuss the various stages of purchasing a property for the first time.

Sarah talked the attendees through the stages, showing that with the right advice and support buying your first home doesn’t need to be daunting. From why you need a solicitor to how to instruct them and what information they will ask for. Sarah gave a break down of how long the process will take and the costs that can be expected on the journey to exchanging contracts and completing!

Sarah tells us, “This is an exciting time in peoples’ lives and I was happy to be able to present important information and answer the questions of the people who attended these first time buyers events. I really hope that the evenings helped people to realise that buying a property doesn’t need to be stressful, if you are in the right hands.”

At Gilbert Stephens we offer clients the benefit of many years of expertise in dealing with all residential property matters. Our aim is to make the buying of property as quick and easy as possible, offering a personalised service and advice to all our clients.

For further information or advice regarding the purchase or sale of your property, you can contact our conveyancing team on 01392 424242 or email ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@gni1561439651cnaye1561439651vnoC1561439651.

Halifax first time buyers event Gilbert Stephens Solicitors

Consulting period over Section 21

26th April 2019

Last week, the government announced that there will be a period of consultation on the rights allowing landlords to remove tenants using Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The government proposes to reform this law to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants at short notice or without a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law”.

This would be a big change to the current system. Section 21 allows landlords to serve notice to tenants to leave a property without giving reason, either by giving 2 months written notice after the first 6 months in a periodic tenancy (one which has no end date), or if an assured shorthold tenancy has come to an end.

If Section 21 is reformed as the government proposes, landlords could find themselves committed to effectively indefinite tenancies unless they sell the property or the tenant fails in their obligations.

The move is intended to end ‘unfair’ evictions and give tenants more security and the time to find a new place to live if they are asked to leave their current home. Many critics, including David Cox, chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), have warned that it is important to make sure big changes like this are balanced to serve both tenants and landlords, as the rental market is an important part of the UK economy.

It has also been suggested that court procedures regarding tenancy law are not currently adequate to cope with this change, and that more clarity regarding Section 8 (which gives landlords eviction rights in the case of bad tenants) is needed before reforming Section 21.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has expressed an opinion that the removal of Section 21 could be ‘chaos’ if not handled correctly. More landlords could be forced to go through the slow and expensive process of court hearings to try and regain possession without this option.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, said: “Landlords currently have little choice but to use Section 21. They have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case.

“England’s model of tenancy was always intended to operate in a sector where Section 21 exists. This change makes the fixed term meaningless, and so creates a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door.

“The onus is on the government to get this right. It’s entirely dependent on the government’s ability to re-balance the system through Section 8 and court process so that it works for landlords and tenants alike.”

Currently, there is no change to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. When the government have finished their period of consultation regarding this we will have a better idea of any possible changes to legislation.

If you need advice concerning tenancy law, contact our expert team on 01392 424242 or email ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@wal1561439651.

Congratulations Susan Hein-Griggs

25th April 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors would like to congratulate team member Susan Hein-Griggs for her recent qualification as a Graduate Legal Executive.

Susan works in our Exeter office and obtained an Honours degree in English Literature from Ohio State University, which included studying for a year at the University of York. She has recently achieved Graduate status with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Legal executives are trained to a very high standard and are often responsible for many legal tasks that are also undertaken by solicitors. Legal executives usually specialise in a particular area of law, so when you meet with a legal executive you can be sure that you are talking to someone who has in depth and current knowledge of the legislation and options that are relevant to your case.

Susan joined Gilbert Stephens in 2015 and specialises in private client law, assisting with wills, powers of attorney and estate administration.

Susan told us that, “I had considered a career in law for a long time. After having a family I decided to pursue it – and I’m quite determined once I set my mind to something!

“It was a challenge to balance working, studying and having time with family. My husband helped a lot by taking the children out to give me study time. Gilbert Stephens have been supportive throughout my studies, funding my course and giving me time off to study and take exams.”

Managing Partner Terry Bastyan said: “I’m very happy that we have been able to support Susan in her career and education. At Gilbert Stephens we have a long tradition of encouraging the ambitions of our staff and supporting their professional development. Susan quickly showed when she came to the firm what an asset she was. We are really proud of her for all the hard work she has put into this course. Her dedication has paid off and her new qualification is well deserved.”

We are very proud that Susan is continuing her career – now as a qualified Legal Executive – with Gilbert Stephens Solicitors.

If you need any legal advice regarding private client matters, you can get in touch with Susan on 01392 424242 or email ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@wal1561439651.

Charity Golf Day

25th April 2019

Last week, Gilbert Stephens Solicitors were pleased to sponsor a hole at a Charity Golf Day in aid of two charities, Balloons, a charity that supports young people and their families through bereavement, and the Royal Papworth Hospital Charity, one of the world leading specialist heart and lung hospitals.

The 18 hole golf tournament is held every year at the Stover Golf Club in Newton Abbot and is organised by Andy Pritchard in memory of his wife, Kim, who sadly passed away 9 years ago. The teams of 2 from local businesses test their clubs on the course to compete for the Kim Pritchard Cup.

This is a great event, encouraging local businesses to get together for some friendly competition and fresh air. Gilbert Stephens are always keen to support local fundraising efforts and charitable events. Balloons and the Royal Papworth Hospital Charity are extremely worthy causes. We take our responsibility to our local communities seriously and always endeavour to give back in any way we can.

This was a fantastic day for all involved, sunshine and a friendly game of golf followed by refreshments at The New Inn in Alphington. It was a wonderful way to start the Easter break. The fact that we were able to raise funds for such important charities made the effort put in by everyone involved even more worthwhile.

Thank you to Andy Pritchard for giving us the opportunity to sponsor a hole and thank you to all the local businesses and competitors who turned up and made the day such a fun social event.

Proud sponsors of Crediton Operatic Dramatic Society

24th April 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are very pleased to have sponsored a performance by the Crediton Operatic Dramatic Society (CODS) of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.

The performances ran all last week with the final performance on Saturday 20th April 2019. The show was staged at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnfield in Crediton.

CODS are famous in the area for their musical productions. They are extremely active in the local community, recruiting young performers from the age of 8 to join more seasoned actors and learn stage craft. The growing group have worked together to produce a fantastic musical theatre production and everyone involved should be very proud.

Carousel is an action packed love story, set on the coast of New England in the late 19th Century. The cast delighted their audience last night with plenty of drama, song and dances overseen by choreographer Amy Charles.

Gilbert Stephens were represented on the night by Judi Thistlewood from our Crediton office. Judi tells us, “the performance was very well done, an immense effort went into it from everyone and the audience had such fun. Buffy May, who played Carrie, was so impressive – a really stand out performance. The story was very moving, it brought a lump to my throat.”

Gilbert Stephens are always keen to support our local communities and being a sponsor for this extremely talented and hard working group of performers is very exciting. We are looking forward to their future productions and encourage anyone in the Crediton and surrounding area to go and see their shows.

For more photos and details of upcoming productions, contact CODS via their website


First time buyer events with advice, help & tips for buying your first property

18th April 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors will be one of the expert speakers attending the First time buyer events at Halifax in Exeter on Tuesday 23rd April and in Barnstaple on Thursday 25th April. The events run from 5.30pm – 8pm and are free to attend.

These events are put on to inform prospective buyers about all the things they need to consider when looking to purchase their first home, from securing a mortgage in principle to taking advantage of available first time buyer schemes.

Sarah Heath will be representing Gilbert Stephens at these events, speaking about the legal aspects of purchasing a property. Sarah is a Chartered Legal Executive with a wealth of experience in residential conveyancing. She will be presenting the main themes that prospective purchasers need to consider, as well as answering questions that attendees may have.

Buying a first home can be a daunting journey. This event is designed to reassure those who attend by offering up to date information about the process of becoming a home owner.

Sarah tells us, “Explaining how the buying process works from the point of instructing a solicitor helps buyers to understand the steps and possible costs involved. This is an exciting time in people’s lives and I hope that this event will help potential buyers feel more confident in taking the steps towards purchasing their first property.”

At Gilbert Stephens we offer clients the benefit of many years expertise in dealing with all residential property matters. Our aim is to make the buying of property as easy and quick as possible, so we welcome the opportunity to help encourage and inform first time buyers!

If you are interested in attending this event in either Exeter or Barnstaple, you can register for your free place by speaking to a member of staff at Halifax.

For any information or advice regarding the purchase and sale of property, you can contact our conveyancing team on 01392 424242 or email ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@gni1561439651cnaye1561439651vnoC1561439651.

YPN Rockfish spring fun!

12th April 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors Young Professionals Network had their bimonthly networking event yesterday at the new Rockfish restaurant on the Quayside, Exeter. There was an exceptional turn out of young professionals to the Rockfish restaurant, from their various roles in local businesses and organisations. This was a great opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and network with other likeminded young professionals.

One of our YPN members Zach Maiden from Lambert Hampton-Smith, had some exciting news to share – he has recently become a Dad to his beautiful daughter Dolphina.

As with all YPN events, the emphasis is on mingling and enjoying each other’s company rather than formal networking. Antonia from Gilbert Stephens, who organised the event, said, “It was nice to see some new faces attending the networking event and it was an enjoyable lunch, giving us the chance to catch up with other members of the Young Professionals Network”

Membership to the Young Professionals Network is free, and it provides the opportunity to attend many varied and interesting events throughout the year. If you are interested in joining, get in touch with us via email at ku.oc1561439651.sneh1561439651petst1561439651rebli1561439651g@npy1561439651 or follow us on Facebook @GSYPN and Twitter @GS_YPN.

To check out the sorts of things we get up to, have a look at our website.