Preparations are well under way for this year’s annual Two Castles run between Warwick and Kenilworth, which is being sponsored by Blythe Liggins for the 13th consecutive year.

The race, which attracts 4,000 runners, will be run on Sunday June 10. Organised by Kenilworth Rotary Club it is one of the main events in the Warwickshire Road Race League.

Race organiser and Rotarian Philip Southwell, who was responsible for introducing the ballot last year – replacing the previous ‘first come first served’ system – said there had been the usual rush of applications for a place and that those who had been unsuccessful have been placed on a waiting list.

Blythe Liggins, in addition to being the headline sponsor, will also be fielding a team of runners and manning a water station.

Richard Thornton, joint senior partner, said: “The Two Castles run is an excellent event and we are delighted to be supporting it once again. The move to a ballot system, which is obviously used so successfully with major events such as the London Marathon, has proved to be a much fairer way to ensure registration for the thousands who wish to take part in this increasingly popular run.”

CAPTION: Rotarian Philip Southwell (left) with Blythe Liggins joint senior partner Richard Thornton.

So what is ‘unreasonable behaviour’?

There is no such thing as no fault divorce. This is because the 1973 Act of Parliament (now 44 years old and many say painfully out of date) sets out the grounds for divorce and provides a limited framework for a divorce petition to be acceptable to the court and for the parties to ultimately divorce. There are other grounds for divorce, but very often these are not available to the parties. It is for this reason that a divorce based upon ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is so very often the only way forward.

One of the grounds for divorce is, ‘unreasonable behaviour’. In a recent high profile case involving Mr and Mrs Owen, a divorce was refused because the, ‘unreasonable behaviour’ was described, to be at best, flimsy. For example, one of the allegations was that the husband in the case was slow putting the bins out for collection.

It is, therefore important to ensure that when a divorce petition is drafted it meets certain criteria, meets a certain threshold which will be acceptable to the Judge. It is not the Judge’s job to rubberstamp the divorce petition based upon unreasonable behaviour, but to vet it carefully. If the petition is weak or flimsy the District Judge has the discretion to dismiss it. This can waste a great deal of cost and time.

Mr and Mrs Owen even appealed. The case went all the way to the Court of Appeal in London, to the most senior Judges in the land and they decided that the law must be respected even though nowadays most people simply want to get divorced without apportioning blame. That is just not possible, there has to be substantial ‘unreasonable behaviour’, without which and in the absence of other grounds for divorce, a petition will be dismissed and the divorce thwarted.

Drafting a divorce, petition based on ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is a challenge for family lawyers. On the one hand they do not want to inflame the relationship between the husband and wife, but on the other hand they need to ensure that the petition is strong enough to be acceptable to the Judge, when later on, he or she vets its content. Expert family lawyers are adept at dealing with this emotionally charged situation and seek, as far as possible to advise clients on what constitutes ‘unreasonable behaviour’ without causing offence.

Perhaps the motto is “not to fall out over the wheelie bin” but seek proper legal advice.

Caption: Andrew Brooks. Partner – Head of the Family Department.

Blythe Liggins are looking forward to their post-Christmas raffle in aid of Myton Hospice which is taking place today.

Every year, the staff at Blythe Liggins bring in any unwanted Christmas gifts and raffle them off in order to raise money for Myton Hospice. It is a fantastic cause and it is the first of many fund raising events which take place each year.

Monday 15 January 2018 is officially predicted to be the gloomiest day of the year. The fact is that for most of us the summer is too far away. This can be a truly depressing time of year and sadly for family lawyers it can also be one of our busiest periods. More divorce petitions will be lodged at Court during the early part of the year than at any other time.

If you are contemplating divorce you should ask yourself if you have exhausted all other avenues first, such as marriage guidance counselling. Divorce is a big step.

The mechanics of obtaining a divorce nowadays are usually straightforward, particularly if both agree that the marriage is over. The difficulties tend to lie in resolving practical issues stemming from the divorce such as how to separate, arrangements for the children and money matters.

It is vital that you appoint a specialist family lawyer. A personal recommendation from a friend or colleague is great. However, if you don’t know who to approach you should consider contacting Resolution (tel 01689 820272) whose members are committed to a constructive resolution of family disputes.

Further, make sure that your family lawyer has the contacts that you need. Such a specialist will be “networked”. Sometimes in putting a case together it is necessary to employ other professionals such as valuers, pension actuaries and in big money cases forensic accountants. Your family lawyer should also be able to recommend mediators and have contact with collaborative lawyers if needed.

You should listen to the advice your lawyer gives you, after all you are paying for it! A good family lawyer will take a sensible approach to your case and give you sound and pragmatic advice. Most family lawyers adopt a non-confrontational approach. A good lawyer will encourage solutions.

Caption: Louise Sheasby, Family Lawyer.

Three south Warwickshire men have raised £2,000 for Myton Hospice by undertaking a gruelling 24 km race over a Welsh mountain, used by the military for Special Forces training.

The three friends, who all train together at the same gym, took on the challenge to raise money for Myton Hospice “because we all have personal associations with the hospice through family and friends benefitting from their services,” said Arvi Samra, who lives in Warwick and is a conveyancing solicitor with Leamington law firm Blythe Liggins.

He was joined on the challenge by Andrew Doust from Leamington Spa, who owns a quantity surveyor practice in the town and is a 2nd Degree Black Sash in Shaolin Fist Kung and the county coach for Master Johns Kung Fu School and Shaolin Fist Kung Fu; and Phil Sims, also from Leamington, who is a Healthformation Coach and trains both Arvi and Andrew.

“The route is a real lung buster that throws everything at you, including the elements. There are steady slopes that allow a solid jogging pace, shocking inclines that have you almost on your hands and knees, loose stone tracks that require cautious foot placements and a forested vehicle track that allows for some rapid going. Even SAS recruits at the height of their physical abilities regard beating the clock in this event as a serious challenge,” said Arvi.

The trio are all veterans of various running events, such as the Wolf Run, Regency Run and the Two Castles, which is sponsored by Arvi’s firm, Blythe Liggins.

Caption: Myton Hospices corporate fundraiser Abigail Smith with (left to right) Phil Sims, Arvi Samra and Andrew Doust.

A former British Army nurse has opened a new health clinic in Leamington.

Clare Barkway, who has 30 years’ experience of general nursing and mental health, including 15 years in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps, has launched The Health & Vitality Clinic in Augusta Place.

A former pupil at Myton School in Warwick, Clare studied nursing at what was then Mid-Warwickshire College in Leamington, before working as a mental nurse at the old Central Hospital in Warwick.

“I then spent 15 years nursing in the Army, serving in variety of locations before leaving to start my own business. I began by working from other health clinics in Leamington and Solihull, but always wanted to consolidate and have my own practice,” she said.

The clinic offers a wide range of treatments, including dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections, laser hair removal, laser lipolysis, skin rejuvenation, food tolerance testing, colon health and vitamin injections.
Commercial solicitor Nick Watts from Leamington law firm Blythe Liggins, who handled the legal work, said that the clinic had four staff and a chiropodist. “Clare has built up a loyal following through the years and hundreds of her clients are now joining her at the new clinic.”

Caption: Clare Barkway from The Health & Vitality Clinic in Leamington with Nick Watts from Blythe Liggins Solicitors.

A British soldier severely injured in Afghanistan has thanked all those who helped renovate his new lodgings at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick.

Former Guardsman John Dawson was shot in the head by a sniper in Helmand Province, leaving him with life-long injuries

The Master of the Lord Leycester Hospital, Heidi Meyer, said they had been given a generous grant by the Grocers Livery Company to renovate a flat for the ‘wounded warrior’.

She said: “Working with BLESMA (a charity for limbless veterans), John was selected as an ideal person to occupy the flat. With his arrival we are truly meeting our founder Robert Dudley’s intent and our 1572 charter to provide for those “maimed or hurt in the wars, in the service of the Queens Majesty”.

Local organisations and individuals were quick to offer their support for this initiative, including former Warwick mayor Mandy Littlejohn, deputy patrons Rosie Bragg and Janet Honnoraty, the Army Benevolent Fund, Rugby for Heroes, the 353 charity, the Grenadier Guards, Warwick Relief in Need, the Lions and Blythe Liggins Solicitors.

Leamington solicitor Nick Watts from Blythe Liggins, who gave his time for free to handle all the legal work, said: “It has been heart-warming to see so many people rallying to support John. He gave so much for his country and it’s wonderful that so many people wanted him to know how much they appreciated his sacrifice.”

Mr Dawson was serving with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards when he went up a lookout tower to relieve another sentry and was shot in the head. “The boys came running and started to return fire and to give me first aid. I was evacuated and flown to Kabul where I was operated on in a US hospital before being flown back to Brize Norton and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. I was in a coma for a few weeks and was then taken for rehabilitation at a military unit in Surrey where I spent the next two years, 18 months of which I couldn’t even walk. I then spent a further two years at a brain trauma unit in Nuneaton.”

The former guardsman, who has titanium plates in his head and is blind in one eye, remains extremely positive and humorous. “I was very lucky really compared with the injuries that so many servicemen suffered out there, not to mention all those who never did come back.”

Although he remembers very little of that day he does recall that it was his parents’ wedding anniversary, and that his son was only five weeks old at the time.

He also remembers with great pride his meetings with senior members of the Royal Family. As well as being asked by Prince Harry for some advice about the Invictus Games, he also met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle, and again as a guest at Royal Ascot.

“People have been so kind to me and it’s wonderful to see how proud they are of our Armed Forces and to know that our military is held in such high esteem. I have been so lucky to get a place at the Lord Leycester Hospital where I live alongside other retired servicemen, and I am very grateful to the master and her team for all they have done for me,” he said.

Despite its name, the Lord Leycester Hospital has never been a medical establishment. The word hospital is used in its ancient sense meaning a charitable institution founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and soldiers who live there are referred to as the Brethren. Today, the Lord Leycester is open to the public who can view 700-year-old rooms built by the medieval guilds of Warwick and where they conducted business as the civic and philanthropic heart of Warwick.

Caption: War hero John Dawson with solicitor Nick Watts and Lord Leycester Hospital Brethren John Wilcock (left) and John Maughan (right).

Work is beginning on the new £3.7 million Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) national training centre in Shrewley, near Warwick.

The charity, whose president is Princess Anne, uses horse-riding and carriage driving to provide therapy for 25,000 disabled children and adults.

It plans to move from its current national office in Warwick to the new site at Lowlands Farm by December next year.

The Lowlands Equestrian Centre, which has been used by 4 RDA groups for many years, will now be the national centre for training riding coaches and other volunteers from all the country.

The charity’s chief executive Ed Bracher said there would be stables and grazing for 20 horses; indoor and outdoor arenas; training and conference facilities; and overnight accommodation and offices.
“As a working yard with indoor and outdoor arenas it will provide an ideal environment for hosting practical training sessions, workshop and demonstrations, events and competitions and will be an inspirational venue in which to bring together, train and inspire RDA volunteers and coaches from around the UK,” said Mr Bracher.

“We currently work with thousands of people across 500 sites in the UK. To have national facilities is a big step for us. We are delighted that the council has supported us with planning permission and that we are going to be able to develop the facilities in this area,” he said.

Kevin Mitchell, a partner and commercial lawyer with Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Leamington, handled all the legal work relating to the acquisition. “Our firm has acted for the RDA since it was launched back in 1969, providing all legal work and a legal helpline for the 500 RDA groups.

“The charity was granted planning permission in June and the final stage of the purchase was completed in August. A working group of RDA officers, architects and other advisers are now deciding on the next step regarding a phased development, including the demolition of existing equestrian buildings, the construction of new offices and the extension of the car park,” he said.

CAPTION: RDA chief executive Ed Bracher (left) with RDA chairman Sam Orde, Blythe Liggins solicitor Kevin Mitchell, Patrick Riley, who chairs the Project committee for the new national training centre, and yard manager Charlotte Williams on Rover.

Issued by Newsline PR. Tel: 01926 888308

Leading barristers from one of the longest established chambers in England will be in Leamington next month at a family law seminar, attended by lawyers from across the region.

Katherine Dunseath and Hamish Dunlop are based at the new Birmingham chambers of 3PB, one of the oldest and largest chambers in the country with almost 200 barristers and silks across five offices. They will be bringing delegates up to date with the latest legal developments in family law.

The seminar is being hosted at the offices of Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Rugby Road, Leamington, on October 19 and delegates will be given the opportunity of making a donation to Myton Hospice, the law firm’s main charity.

Louise Sheasby of Blythe Liggins’ family law department said: “This will be an excellent opportunity for local lawyers to discuss all the latest issues with two of the most respected leading barristers in family law.

CAPTION: Louise Sheasby, Family Law Department