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Posts tagged ‘family law’

FAMILY PARALEGAL VACANCY at Camberwell Office

PARALEGAL VACANCY

Venters Solicitors is a well-respected law firm with offices in Camberwell and Reigate, Surrey. The firm was established in 1991 by its Managing Partner June Venters QC. Venters Solicitors has an established reputation.

The firm’s dedicated team of lawyers and case workers specialise in all areas of Family law, Crime and Mediation. For further information regarding the company, please visit our website www.venters.co.uk

Venters Solicitors require a Paralegal for our Family department based at the Camberwell office, whose role will include the following:

  1. Assisting other fee earners with case work, research and legal administration
  2. Accompany counsel/advocates to court
  3. Dealing with new client enquiries
  4. Administrative tasks

You will need to have completed either the LPC or BVC/BPTC [preferably with Family law options]. Experience in a solicitor’s legal aid practice would be an advantage.

You will need the following skills:

  1. Confidence and enthusiasm 2. Excellent organisational and time management skills 3.      Ability to prioritise workloads and focus on a number of unrelated tasks 4.      High level of attention to detail and accuracy 5.      Good communication skills (verbal and written) 6.      Ability to work under pressure and work effectively as part of a team 7.      Ability to use initiative and work with minimum supervision 8.      Willingness to take on tasks beyond basic job description

Closing date for applications is 27th November 2015, if you are successful in your application, interviews will take place in the week of 7th December 2015.

Please send CV’s to denise.hoilette@venters.co.uk

Interview with Damian Norris

Tell us about yourself

As at  1st November this year I have been a solicitor for twenty years. I qualified later than most having done a variety of things after my Law Degree at Southampton (1980 – 1983)  including advertising copywriter, worked in the City for a year  or so in the heady mid 80’s, graphic design, petrol pump monkey, painter and decorator on building sites, gardener and a host of other long-forgotten best forgotten fill-in jobs. Accidentally started doing family law and felt at home in the hurly burly world of the family courts. I quickly learnt to pick up a case and run with it and ended up doing Care work which strikes me as one of the most worthwhile ways of earning a living I can think of. I love the people involved – the great and the good as well as the mad and bad! I like the fact that the other lawyers in Care – even we disagree completely with each other – are usually able to work together for the good of the children involved. There is a good deal of respect for the other lawyers because they are doing a hard job in difficult circumstances but we do try and do our best. Sometimes we even succeed.

What drew you to the law?

I loved history and the people I respected at the time, Thomas Moore, Erasmus (that lot) were often lawyers (as were the artists Cezanne and Sisley). On the very first day at University, my tutor said to me: “I know why you’re doing law. For the money!”  I didn’t realise that. Not sure how true that is even now!

What do you offer clients?

Straight talking and absolute commitment to do my best for my client.

What do you do when you are not working?

I have three great children so that takes up most of the time. Otherwise I read if I can and paint portraits. I have painted all my life.

Can you sum yourself up in 5 words?     

No. I’m far too vain.

                                                                              

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June Venters QC Top Ranked in Chambers UK 2016

Chambers 2016

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Top Ranked Leading Firm Chambers 2015

June Venters QC writes to the Lord Chancellor about her concerns concerning changes which have been made to legal aid

June Venters QC has written personally to the Lord Chancellor, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Chief Executive of the Legal aid agency to express her immense concern at the change to the means testing of legal aid.  She drew to his attention one particular case as an example in respect of which she is instructed and which involves potentially serious risks to an abducted child where urgent High Court Orders were necessary to seek the child’s return to the jurisdiction of England and Wales.    Legal aid was not available because the client did not qualify on means even though she was in receipt of a “passported benefit.”

Extracts of her letter are as follows:

I am writing to you to express my immense and continuing concern about the inadequacies of our failing justice system brought about in particular by the implementation of what I can only describe as illogical and unfair legal aid decisions which are seriously impacting, in my view, on the ability to secure necessary access to justice.

I have always accepted that legal aid needed to be controlled and I accept in the past just as with any system there has been abuse but what is now happening is that there is a justice system for the rich and none for the rest of society in many instances and I cannot believe that is the desire or intention of this Government. 

I wish to draw to your attention one particular example with which I am involved and in respect of which I have spent many hours of providing pro bono work.

My client failed the means test because of recent changes to legal aid whereby even though previously the receipt of certain state benefits would automatically “passport” someone to legal aid eligibility this is no longer the case and capital has to be taken into consideration.

She explained that in her client’s case the client whilst having a property which had, on paper, an equity of £200,000, in practice she was not in a financially credible position sufficient to enable her to raise monies against the equity in order to fund her legal costs.

The client was in receipt of income-related employment and support allowance [a “passport” benefit] but because of the equity in her property [which was not in dispute within these proceedings and thus could not be disregarded] she was not eligible for legal aid.

She went on to say in her letter:

It has to be questioned why it is that one Government department deems my client’s income sufficiently limited so as to justify supplementing it by way of a state benefit when another Government department responsible for justice deems my client’s financial position sufficiently able to fund her own legal costs.   I understand that the theory behind this illogical decision is that my client could raise a loan against her property, however, my client’s debt is such that she is not able to acquire a loan and in any event if she did this would increase her outgoings placing an additional burden on her income necessitating further supplementation by way of state benefits..

I urge some consideration for changing the current policy with regard to legal aid financial “passporting.”  It is not serving the public and in my view is placing children at risk such as in this case.

One further issue and which I know has been raised by our professional bodies, the removal of legal aid per se in relation to family cases [save for child abduction] unless it meets the domestic violence criteria which remains increasingly difficult is also having a seriously negative impact on the most vulnerable members in society.  Time and time again I am faced with family issues that cannot be resolved without legal advice and representation and at times court intervention. At times members of the public and their children are left in an untenable situation and which then impacts negatively on their health which in turn affects their ability to work and takes up NHS resources.  I know that as an individual I am not going to achieve the abandonment of this policy when our professional organisations have failed to do so but I felt I could not ignore this subject whilst writing about my concerns.  It is my view that the short term saving the Government will have made with regard to this policy will be the Government’s long term loss overall although without proper financial monitoring and reporting the losses that will be incurred to other Government departments as a result of this policy such as NHS and DWP will simply be absorbed without the cause for such losses being obvious.

I am perfectly aware of the drive to provide pro bono services.  I have done this the whole of my career and continue to offer a pro bono clinic one evening every week.  However, if I am to remain in business and employ staff and I hope provide training to future lawyers I cannot undertake only Pro Bono work as much as I would like to do so. 

I urge this Government to review its policies with regard to legal aid and in particular with regard to the specific issue which I have addressed in this letter concerning the “passporting” of benefits. 

June Venters QC on the Vanessa Feltz Show

Cick here to listen to June Venters QC discuss with Vanessa Feltz the Sarah Sands Case.

This was broadcast on 30th September 2015.

London Legal Walk 2015

As a firm we are committed to assisting those who are in greatest need and in addition to our extensive pro-bono work we actively engage in raising awareness and funds for good causes. We are kicking off our charity drive with the London Legal Walk on 18th May 2015. This is a time when the legal community in particular the Judiciary, Partners and senior staff come together to raise money for organisations and causes where there is a gap in services and where there is a lack of awareness. All too often the plight at home is overshadowed by global events and disasters which require assistance on a global scale. This year the organisations that we are raising money for are

Women and children who have been the victims of human trafficking for domestic and sex slave purposes
Families who live in poor housing and poverty in the UK with the associated negative impact on the children
Elderly individuals who require help to remain independent
Men and Women who work for less than the minimum wage
Cancer Research
Altzheimers Society
Tadworth Children’s Trust

In this time of Austerity we understand the many pressures and demands on resources however we would be grateful to receive any amount that can be spared and are grateful for what ever contribution can be made. Donating is simple and can be done with just a few clicks of a button to our just giving web page which can be found at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Venters

Our team is:- June Venters QC, Suzanne Kelly, Nicola Legg, Riona Mark, Jenny Davies, Christine Boot, Troy Stimpson, Lauren Harris

Please help us to make a difference and change lives for the better.

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