Update on the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

15th July 2020

On 25th June 2020, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation bill concluded its long journey through the House of Commons and obtained Royal Assent.

Whilst many family law solicitors and divorcing couples are delighted to see the bill finally become a law, they have been told to expect further delays whilst changes to the court forms and online portal are implemented. Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor, has informed MPs that any couples seeking a no-fault divorce will have to wait until autumn 2021. Read more…

Temporary stamp duty holiday introduced to revive property market

8th July 2020

This morning, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary holiday would be placed on stamp duty land tax for all property sales up to the value of £500,000, rising from its previous threshold of £125,000. This payment holiday will take immediate effect and run until 31st March 2021.

The change has been warmly welcomed by home buyers and those who work in real estate, property development, among other related industries, and are reliant on a buoyant property market. Read more…

New Beginnings

3rd July 2020

Private Client Solicitor at our Exeter office, Alyson Coulson, joined the firm in March 2020. In this blog, Alyson reflects on her first few months at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors and her experience of starting a new job amidst a devastating pandemic.

It has now been four months since I arrived in Exeter for my first day at Gilbert Stephens, shoes polished and new pencil case in hand. I’ve started new jobs before, but I have to say that this is the most unusual probationary period that I have ever had. Within a month we were in lockdown. My revised commute is a short walk across the landing and every day is Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Read more…

Exeter Property Circle Zoom Chat with Phil Keddie (President of ARLA)

29th June 2020

On Thursday 25th June at 5:30pm, Exeter Property Circle hosted their first ever virtual event with property expert and President of ARLA, Phil Keddie.

Exeter Property Circle was first established by staff at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors to include Dana Mulligan, Marketing Manager, Sarah Heath and Antonia D’Alessio, Chartered Legal Executives. The collaborative networking group hosts bimonthly networking events for property professionals to meet and forge relationships within the Exeter area. Read more…

A First Time Buyer’s Guide to the Conveyancing Process

26th June 2020

Most first time buyers will have never heard of conveyancing before deciding to buy their first property. The process of buying a house, instructing conveyancers, surveyors, estate agents, and parting with a large sum of hard-earned cash is often a stressful experience for those who have not done it before.

Sarah Heath, Chartered Legal Executive in our Conveyancing Department, guides us through the conveyancing process and details exactly what you can expect when buying your first home with Gilbert Stephens Solicitors. Knowing what to expect from the process will help to alleviate stress and prevent any unnecessary costs further down the line. Read more…

Housing possession proceedings suspended until end of August

11th June 2020

On 27th March 2020, the Government announced a suspension to all housing possession proceedings going through the courts until 25th June 2020. Last week, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced a further two-month extension to the housing possession suspension.

First established to protect vulnerable tenants from being evicted for coronavirus-related reasons, the suspension protects private and social renters, alongside those with mortgages and licenses covered by the Protection from the Eviction Act 1977. Read more…

Peace of mind for home buyers and sellers with new remote identity checks

10th June 2020

Cryptographic and biometric techniques are now being used in law firms across the UK to help Conveyancers confirm the identities of their clients. The process will involve users placing their smartphone (Android or iPhone) next to their microchip-enabled passport. An app will then determine the validity of the passport by gathering information from the microchip. The user will record a video of themselves, which is compared to the passport photo on the microchip, in efforts to achieve facial recognition. The results for this check are almost instant. Read more…

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme launches

2nd June 2020

Applications are now open for small to medium sized employers to claim back any coronavirus related statutory sick pay (SSP) they have paid on or following 13th March 2020.

The Rebate Scheme will reimburse SSP for employees who have been unable to work as they have been infected with coronavirus; self-isolating in accordance with official guidance; or shielding following a letter from their doctor or health authority. Read more…