Parental Responsibility – What it is and how to get it.

Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility is the term used to define a person’s responsibility and obligations towards a child. A person with Parental Responsibility can make decisions on behalf of a child such as determining the name that they will be known by, consenting to medical treatment as well as decisions as to how a child is to be educated.

Parental Responsibility can be held by one person or more than one person. Where Parental Responsibility is held by one person, that person has the sole right to make decisions regarding a child and can for example, lawfully change a child’s name, remove the child from England and Wales or appoint a guardian in their will which will take effect upon their death.

Where Parental Responsibility is held by more than one person, they will each hold it jointly and any significant decisions such as changing a child’s name or removing the child from England and Wales (even for a holiday) will have to be agreed by all.

A mother will automatically get Parental Responsibility when the child is born. Unfortunately, it is not so straight forward for a biological father but there are a number of ways in which he might acquire it.

Firstly, he might acquire it if he is married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth or subsequently. Secondly, if he and the mother are not married, he will automatically acquire it if he is named on the child’s birth certificate (for births registered after 1st December 2003). Thirdly, he and the mother can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement and finally, an application can be made to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

There are also provisions for same sex parents to both acquire it where assisted reproduction has been used including a Parental Order when a surrogate has carried the baby.

People other than the parents can also acquire Parental Responsibility. A Step- Parent might get it by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, getting a Parental Responsibility Order or being named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order.

Other people may get Parental Responsibility if they are named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order, appointed as Special Guardians for the child or validly appointed as a child’s guardian in a parents will on their death or appointed by the court as a guardian following the parent’s death and of course, if they formally adopt the child.

Whether a father has Parental Responsibility or not does not however, mean that he can avoid responsibility for paying Child Maintenance and a lack of it does not impact upon the child’s inheritance rights. It is also the case that where a father does not have responsibility, although the mother may have the sole right to make decisions on behalf of the child, it is still subject to the fathers right to make an application to the court for a Section 8 Order if he does not agree with the decision made.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd our specialist family solicitors have assisted countless people in resolving issues concerning Parental Responsibility and the arrangements for children. We offer initial fixed fee appointments at prices from as little as £50 + vat. We have offices in Enfield, Hertford and Bishops Stortford and also offer telephone or Skype appointments if preferred.

For more information please call us on 01992 558411 or contact us here:



Company Sale

Directors and Associates Loan Account in M&A transactions

Company Sale

“So you want to pay more tax than you ought when you sell shares in a company?” If the answer to this question is "NO!" then this article is essential reading.

Problems can arise in one of two situations:

If you have a group company or a number of companies in common ownership it is possible that you have inter group loan accounts on the balance sheets of some or all of these companies. It is essential in those circumstances that you have deal with them prior to sale.

You may have purchased the shares in the company with a completion payment that is split into two parts, part purchase price and part introduction of a loan amount. This often occurs where the original seller had introduced loan capital into the company to develop the business or to expand it but did not do so by the creation and acquisition of additional shares. This would mean that the purchase price element would be the starting point for the calculation of Capital Gains Tax on sale.

Why is there a problem?

Section 455 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 provides for a 25% tax charge where a loan is created in favour of a participator or an associate of a participator that is not at arms-length. In a sale if the loan is not dealt with appropriately it is likely that the loan itself will be a breach of warranty if not fully and fairly disclosed. Furthermore, the writing down of the loan at completion would create the 25% tax charge on the company and have to be borne by the buyer. In addition, the structure of the purchase price as the full completion payment might not be tax efficient. For instance if you don’t consider the loans at sale having done so at purchase the full amount of the loan capital that you introduced would be subject to Capital Gains Tax as it would not have formed part of the original purchase price meaning that the starting point from which CGT liability will be calculated will be lower. It is essential that careful consideration is given in these circumstances to how to deal with the inter group loans as part of the completion process.

So what should you do now?

If you are thinking of selling a business and you think this is relevant we recommend that you contact our Brendan O’Brien to discuss your options. We work with a number of accountants who will be able to assist you in determining the appropriate method to use to complete the transaction in a tax efficient manner. Contact us here:

Director's Friend

THE DIRECTOR’S FRIEND BLOG - ‘Directors assumption of personal liability’

Director's Friend

This is the next in the series of blogs for the Director’s Friend blog.

The case:

This is a discussion about a recent case decided in the Chancery Division of the High Court – Situl Devji Raithatha (as Liquidator of Halal Monitoring Committee Limited and Mir Nazeer Ahmed Baig and others a judgment by Chief Registrar Briggs.


The company The Halal Monitoring Committee Limited (the ‘Company’) was incorporated as a community project ensuring that the meat and poultry consumed by the Muslim community was Halal.  The Company was intended to be run on a not for profit basis. The Company did not register for VAT. HMRC asked that the Company register for VAT. It did not do so. A VAT Assessment was raised and not paid. HMRC presenting a winding up petition that was not opposed by the Company. A winding up order was made on 30 April 2012.

So, were the directors of the Company liable for the failure to register for and pay VAT?

Section 212 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (the ‘Act’)

In the Director’s Friend earlier blog this section of the Act was explained. Whilst the Chief Registrar does not refer specifically to this law it is likely that the claim advanced was for Misfeasance under this section of the Act.

The pleaded issue for the Court to decide was in circumstances where HMRC had submitted a proof of debt; the Company suffered a loss as a result of the failure to register for VAT in 2005 and collect in that VAT. The Liquidators case was that as a consequence the directors acted in breach of duty of care, skill and diligence owed to the Company (and so were personally liable).

The directors admitted the failings in respect of VAT. They took issue that they had breached their duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence. Amongst other technical arguments put the directors argued that they were non- specialist volunteers and were entitled to rely upon independent specialist advice. The directors also relied upon the Company accountants to advice. The latter argument was a key part of the defence.

The judgment:

At paragraph 27 the Chief Registrar proceeded on the basis that the Company should have been registered for VAT from 2005. The Registrar went on to consider whether the directors had acted in breach of section 174 of the Companies Act 2006 (which is a part of the presumed claim for Misfeasance claim).

The Chief Registrar considered the evidence and law at paragraphs 28 to 34 and observed at paragraph 34 that:

… part of the modern landscape of corporate responsibility is to place on directors the obligation to ensure adequate monitoring and supervision of delegates’

 At paragraph 35 the Chief Registrar found:

In my judgment the duty of the Directors to acquire and maintain sufficient knowledge and understanding of the Company’s business to enable them to discharge their duties as director, is inescapable. It may seem harsh on the facts of this case that an incoming, inexperienced director should acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of the Company’s operations, and ensure that it is compliant with issues as wide ranging as trading standards, health and safety and taxation.’

At paragraph 36 the Chief Registrar went on:

The Directors were not required to obtain the specialist knowledge of an accountant but needed, in my judgment to ask if the Company had an exemption for VAT rather than assume the situation. Reliance on the accountant’s silence demonstrates, objectively, a lack of care, skill and diligence.’

 37. … The Directors worked on an assumption and did not take any or any proper steps to discharge their duty of care and skill… The Directors obtained no advice but made an incorrect assumption and took no steps to validate the assumption.’

It was found that there was a loss to the Company caused by the failure to collect in VAT as the VAT will have to be met from its own resources rather than from customers (as per paragraph 42).

The directors should have asked the Company accountants about liability for VAT on the supplies (per paragraph 45). It was found at paragraph 46 that the Company should have been collecting in VAT from April 2010.

As to the directors’ request for relief under section 1157 of the Companies Act 2006 also failed (per paragraph 56) due to the failure to explore the tax position or to take advice which were found to be unreasonable steps.

The Director’s Friend comments:

This case is a harsh lesson for directors of a company. The Directors Friend says that if you wish to be appointed a director of a company then you must understand your duties to the company. The directors in this case have been made personally liable for the loss of VAT when the company did not register.

The directors assumed without checking that the company was not liable for VAT. They did not seek advice. They should have done so.

Therefore, the Director’s Friend says that three lessons need to be drawn from this case:

  1. Do not sign up to being a director without first understanding your duties;
  2. If you want to rely upon professional advice then you must ask for it; and
  3. If you delegate then you must monitor and supervise that delegation.

No doubt this has been a very expensive and harsh lesson for these directors.


If you are faced with:

  • worrying insolvency issues with your company;
  • a claim against you for misfeasance / breaching your duties as a director to a company or any claim for personal liability; and / or
  • director disqualification

then please talk to me today on +44 (0)1992 558411.  That is in order to protect your position without delay.  The earlier that you speak with me the more that I can likely help.

The Director’s Friend is a Hertfordshire / London based solicitor and a full member both the Insolvency Lawyers Association and the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.

Until the next time...


Signing a Surname

Husbands Who Take on their Wife's Surname

Signing documents


The BBC has this week issued a report on the increasing number of husbands who have chosen to take their wife’s surname rather than the wife taking the husband’s family name. Whilst there is no reason a husband should not be able to take his wife’s surname, it is often a more difficult process. If a wife chooses to take her husband’s surname, as is the tradition, all that is usually required as evidence of the name change is a copy of the marriage certificate. However, if the husband chooses to take his wife’s surname, the husband may need to execute a change of name deed to avoid any difficulties with the passport agency, banks or other professional institutions.


Our family department at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd offers a range of services, including the drafting and execution of change of name deeds. We also offer expert advice relating to protecting your interests upon marriage, including advice on co-ownership of property and nuptial agreements. We also specialise in separation, divorce, finances and children matters and can offer a personal service to meet your specific needs.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here:

The Importance of Capacity When Making a Will

Mental Capacity

For a Will to be a valid document the person signing the will (‘the Testator or Testarix’) must have capacity. Capacity can be assessed by looking at the testator’s decision making abilities and understanding on the date the document was signed. There is a presumption that a properly executed Will is made by a person with capacity. However this can be challenged with evidence.

The Testator must understand what he or she is doing. Any Will entered into where it can be shown that the Testator did not understand will be void. Key elements of this are;

  1. The Testator must understand the information relevant to the decision.
  2. The Testator must be able to use or weigh up any information when making any decisions in relation to the Will. So the Testator should understand what might happen as a consequence one way or another.
  3. The Testator must be able to communicate their decision. Communication can be verbal, using sign language, writing information down or any other means.
  4. A Testator will likely lack capacity if they suffer from a disorder of the mind. A disorder of the mind would cover any mental disorder that alters the Testator’s ability to make a decision or comprehend their decisions.

Please bear in mind that a person will not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because they make an unwise decision.

If you have reasonable grounds to believe that your loved one lacked capacity when signing their will and you would like some advice please contact Sharon Matchwick on 01992 558 411

or click here:


This article deals only with capacity and does not cover other options that may be available if you have reasonable grounds to challenge the validity of a Will.

Divorce Split who gets the dog?

Cheryl Cole Dismisses Reports of a Split

Divorce Header

Cheryl Cole this morning dismissed reports of a split from her partner and father of her son, Liam Payne, instead focussing on her new charity project.

It remains to be seen whether the rumours of a break up are true and how this will affect the arrangements for their son, Bear. It is rumoured Liam holds a £54m fortune, Cheryl has only been valued at £20m. Reportedly Liam has called in Lawyers in an attempt to protect his wealth, although the parties are not married.

Here at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd we offer expert advice on all matters relating to children, including advice on contact arrangements and financial provision for children.

Our experienced lawyers also provide advice on all aspects of separation whether the parties are married or not, including advice relating to finances and how best to protect your interests.

We also offer family mediation, collaborative law and family arbitration within our broad range of services.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here


Director's Friend

The Director’s Friend and a Statutory Demand – a testimonial received:

Directors Desk
The Director's Friend

This blog post features a testimonial from a director client who was served with a Statutory Demand by two purported creditors. The client was recommended to the Director’s Friend by their business adviser.

A Statutory Demand:

A Statutory Demand is served by a creditor. It demands that the person pay a sum of money within 21 days or apply to set aside the Statutory Demand within 18 days.  Otherwise that person could be served with a bankruptcy petition.  If they are made bankrupt their property and goods are taken away from them.  Therefore, it is a very serious matter for the person in that it is a very real threat of being made bankrupt.

A Statutory Demand can also be served upon a company.  How the company can respond is different as a company cannot apply to set aside a Statutory Demand.  Amongst the options a company has is to apply to court to restrain presentation of a winding up petition.  This should also be made within 21 days of service.

Details of the Statutory Demand:

The Statutory Demand was attempting to make the director client personally liable for debts of his company.

The Director’s Friend was able to help:

This is the testimonial for the advice of the Director’s Friend:

“I instructed Richard Cole (the Director’s Friend) in respect of a Statutory Demand that had been served upon me. I was extremely concerned and worried by receiving the Statutory Demand particularly as my first language is not English.  I was referred to Richard Cole who was able to take my instructions.  Richard Cole was able to file my application to set aside the Statutory Demand at court within 48 hours of receiving my initial instructions.

Negotiations were entered into with my purported creditors. The Statutory Demand was successfully set aside at Court on the basis that I disputed the same.  With Richard Cole’s timely advice, the Deputy Registrar awarded me 90% of my legal costs for making the application.

I was very pleased and impressed with the service that Richard Cole as the Director’s Friend provided to me and the result that he achieved for me. Richard Cole certainly is the Director’s Friend!  I would have no hesitation in recommending Richard Cole to you for insolvency / directors’ advice.”

RL – Oxfordshire.

The Statutory Demand was dismissed with costs awarded.

If you, someone you know or a company is served with a Statutory Demand then bearing in mind the short timescales to respond please contact the Director’s Friend for help.

As the Director’s Friend, I was very grateful to receive this testimonial. It demonstrates the approach (and speed) that the Director’s Friend takes with the experience and knowledge that the Director’s Friend can bring to bear for you in your corner.

My name is Richard Cole. I am an insolvency solicitor who formerly worked in the Insolvency Service carrying out director disqualification investigations.  I am now the Director’s Friend.  Why not contact me to discuss on +44(0) 1992 558 411.  The earlier that you speak with me the more that I can likely help.

Until the next time ...

The Director’s Friend

tug rope

Reports suggest Judge Rinder & Seth Cummings Split...

Recent media reports suggest Judge Rinder has separated from his husband, Seth Cummings after 11 years together.

Following changes in the law allowing same sex marriages, divorce is treated in the same way for same sex couples as for couples of the opposite sex. When issuing divorce proceedings in both cases, the petitioner must show the marriage has irretrievably broken down and must rely upon one of five facts; Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour, 2 years separation with the other party’s consent, 5 years separation or desertion. It should be noted however, that the law remains the same in respect of Adultery; the petition must show the Respondent has had intercourse with another person of the opposite sex; it cannot be relied upon if the Respondent has had intercourse with a person of the same sex. It remains to be seen whether the law will be changed in that respect.  

Here at Breeze and Wyles Ltd we offer expert advice on divorce whether it is a same sex marriage or couples of the opposite sex. We also offer advice in respect of the dissolution of a civil partnership or separation advice. Our lawyers are highly trained in all aspects of divorce and separation including advice on finances and matters relating to children.

Call us to discuss further on 01992 558411

Signing a Surname

Does a periodic tenancy count as being repeatedly renewed/granted?

Signing Document
Signing Document


This was the subject of a decision in Walcott v Jones & Jones. Central London County Court, 15 November 2017

The tenants, who commenced a tenancy in 2007, argued that the Section 21 served was invalid because the Landlord had failed to adhere to the requirements of the Deregulation Act 2015. They argued that the oral monthly tenancy was a re-grant of the tenancy every month that each periodic tenancy was a re-grant of the tenancy and therefore the Landlord failed to comply with the Deregulation Act 2015 when serving the s21. The DDJ agreed in the first instance and the claim for possession was struck out.  Not surprisingly the Landlord appealed and the Appeal Judge held that a periodic tenancy for the purposes of Housing Act 1988 (as amended) did not amount to a ‘grant’ of a new tenancy . The tenancy merely continued. Parliament did not intend a ‘grant’ in such circumstances. The DDJ had erred in law and appeal allowed.

Whilst this is great news for Landlords it is important to note that from October 2018 the Deregulation Act will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies no matter when and how they commenced.

Should you be facing a similar situation, feel free to contact our Landlord and Tenant team on 01992 558411 and they would be more than happy to assist you.

Moving on

8th January 2018 AKA "DIVORCE DAY"



The beginning of the year always brings with it an increase in instructions as couples make the decision to separate. For some the stress over the festive period was simply too much for the relationship to bear; for others perhaps the decision was made towards the end of the last year but put on hold to allow for “one last Christmas”. Additionally, the New Year is generally a time when we are expected to take stock of our lives and make changes to tackle things that we are not happy with and it stands to reason that this applies just as much to problems with a relationship as with the other areas of our lives such as health or fitness.

A decision to separate is not one to be taken lightly. It has significant consequences for all concerned and especially children. Consideration should always be given to whether the relationship can be saved and in this respect marriage counselling can be of significant benefit. If however the breakdown is irretrievable, early advice from a specialist family solicitor will ensure that you are aware of your options going forward so that you know where you stand in relation to a divorce, the financial arrangements resulting from the separation and also the arrangements for the children.

Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are specialist family solicitors in Hertford, Enfield and Bishops Stortford, able to offer advice and support in relation to divorce and other family law matters. We are also one of only a few solicitors able to offer the full range of process options including mediation, collaborative law and Arbitration. More information of the services we are able to offer is available on our website , including details of our fixed fee services or alternatively call 01992 558411.