I think my ex is stalking me. What can I do?



Although often the subject of fictional dramas, domestic abuse and stalking are very real issues with figures showing that 11,889 stalking and harassment prosecutions were started in 2016/2017. The actual number of incidents is actually likely to be significantly higher as many incidents will not be reported. Whilst a stalker can be a stranger to you, it is far more likely to be someone you know with 71% of the prosecuted incidents being related to domestic abuse.

The breakdown of a relationship is a very difficult time. When a relationship comes to an end, people will generally go through a grieving process and the range of emotions that go with that. They may be angry or having trouble accepting that the relationship is over or want to try and control you and the decisions you make. The separation may also result in various other issues needing to be resolved such as finances or the arrangements for the children, which can further heighten the tension levels for all as the future becomes uncertain.

Stalking can be defined as persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.

That attention can take many forms and can include things that might not seem obviously sinister such as;

  • sending flowers, letters, cards or presents
  • following you, turning up at your place of work or home uninvited
  • persistent phone calls or texts
  • contacting people who know you to get information about you,

It can also escalate and include more obviously concerning behaviour such as

  • manipulative behaviour such as threatening to commit suicide
  • telling lies about you to others to weaken your support network or undermine your employment.

There is also the risk that escalation can result in violence or threats of violence with damage to property and physical assaults which can and have historically resulted in murder.

If you think that you are being stalked then it is important to get help and we would most definitely recommend that you keep a diary as this will allow you to make a record of all incidents and is likely to be crucial evidence in helping to get it to stop.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 introduced the crime of Harassment. This made it an offence to pursue a course of conduct causing alarm or distress or putting a person in fear of violence. In 2012 the Government changed the law, introducing two new offences covering stalking and providing further options to assist in prosecutions. These provisions allow the criminal courts to punish a person found guilty of an offence but also allow the criminal court to make a restraining order which can impose controls upon the accused for example preventing them from contacting the victim. Such an order can be made if the court considers it appropriate whether or not the person has been found guilty of the crime. More recently in a bid to further help victims of stalking the government have expressed an intention to introduce a new Stalking Protection Order which is intended to protect victims from unwanted attention and may be obtained without a prosecution for an offence unlike a restraining order. Furthermore, it has been announced that those committing offences will also be facing tougher sentences in future.

It is also possible to take action against someone in the civil courts even if they have not been convicted of an offence as an application can be made under the Protection from Harrassment Act 1997 for an injunction ordering the person harassing you to stop. In the event that the person harassing you is an “associated person” such as an ex partner then an application can be made to the court for a non molestation order under the Family Law Act 1996 which is an order which forbids your ex partner from using or threatening violence, harassment, intimidation or pestering you.

In the event that the ex partner fails to stop then they will be committing a criminal offence and can be sent to prison.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, our experienced team of family solicitors have significant experience in dealing with problems involving stalking, harassment and domestic abuse. Karen Johnson, our joint head of department is an accredited domestic abuse specialist with over 15 years experience in helping male and female clients who had or were suffering domestic abuse and harassment including victims of rape, psychological and physical abuse, controlling and manipulative behaviour. With her help, those people were able to end the abuse, protect themselves from further incidents and ensure outcomes with regards to children or finances that allowed them to move forward with their lives in safety.

Our qualified solicitors are able to offer appointments at our offices in Bishops Stortford, Enfield and Hertford as well as appointments via telephone or skype from as little as £50 + vat. For more information call us on 01992 558411. Or contact us here:

Beware the Expiring Lease

Signing Document
Lease Extension

I have noticed a huge increase in enquiries for lease extensions as Mortgage companies are becoming increasingly nervous about lending on shorter leases.  The less years to run on your lease the more expensive the premium to extend. Delaying could end up costing you thousands of pounds more.


What are your options?

You can extend your lease on a voluntary basis with your landlord or alternatively if your Landlord is unwilling to agree to a lease extension you can make a claim under the Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 (“the statutory route”)

If your landlord is willing you will need to agree a price and the terms which could include  an increased ground rent or other terms for agreeing to extend the lease.

If you use the statutory route, 90 years will be added to the remaining term and ground rent will be reduced to zero.  However in order to use the statutory route you have to satisfy certain criteria, one of which is that you have been the registered proprietor of the property for at least two years.

It is important in both cases to obtain a lease extension valuation by an experienced Surveyor to make sure that you are not paying too much or you are agreeing to terms that may be detrimental and unattractive to a prospective buyer.

What else do I need to think about?

If you use the statutory method you are required to pay your landlord’s reasonable legal and valuation costs.  If you are agreeing a lease extension with your Landlord it is likely that they will still want their costs paid by you as part of the agreement.

If you use the statutory route and you are unable to reach an agreement with the Landlord you are able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a determination of the premium and also the Landlord costs if you think that these are unreasonable.

Need more information?

Please ring Rita Wright for further information or even a chat to discuss your options on 01992 558411

Director's Desk

The Director’s Friend and a winding up petition – a testimonial received:


Directors Desk
The Director's Friend


This blog post features a testimonial from a director client whose company was faced with a winding up petition in a substantial sum presented by H M Revenue & Customs. The client was recommended to the Director’s Friend by their business adviser.

A winding up petition:

A winding up petition presented by a creditor asks the Court to order a company into compulsory liquidation. Part of the process pre order is that the winding up petition is advertised. The Director’s Friend says that this can be terminal for the company as its bank and the wider world becomes aware of the winding up petition. That usually means that the company bank account is frozen and suppliers cease trading with the company and/or support the winding up petition. Therefore, a winding up petition is very serious for a company.

Details of the The Director’s Friend and a winding up petition – a testimonial received::  

The client’s company was faced with a winding up petition for National Insurance Contributions, income tax PAYE, company tax, VAT as well as interest and surcharges.

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 winding up petition that had been presented against my company by H M Revenue & Customs. I was a director of that company. I was extremely concerned and worried by the winding up petition. I was referred to Richard Cole who was able to take instructions and the worry away from me.

 After negotiating with H M Revenue & Customs over a protracted period of time Richard Cole was able to negotiate to pay a lesser sum than was demanded by way of the winding up petition and importantly to me personally obtain time for payment from the sale of a property.

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

SH, Kent, United Kingdom’

The winding up petition was dismissed.

If you or someone you know is a director of a company that may be insolvent or is facing a winding up petition, contact the Directors Friend for help

As the Director’s Friend, I was very grateful to receive this testimonial. It demonstrates the approach that the Directors 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 at 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

notarising documents

Good practice vital for employers in managing tribunal claims

notarising_documentsIn July, the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal claim fees were unlawful, and now it’s been confirmed that an ex-employee has been granted an extension of time to pursue their out-of-date unfair dismissal claim, on the basis that the original action was dropped due to the fees.

In giving the go-ahead for an extension in the case of Dhami v Tesco Stores Ltd, the claimant could show they had lodged the original claim within the three-month time limit and the fees were an important reason for not proceeding.  It is likely that many more out-of-date claims will be put forward, and, as a result, employers may find themselves firefighting situations that were considered closed.

The Supreme Court ruling in July in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor put an end to the requirement for a fee to be paid on submitting a claim, known as the issue fee, and another a few weeks before the hearing.  Introduced in 2013, the cost was more than £1,000 for complex claims, and the number of tribunal claims dropped by two-thirds as a result.

The public service union UNISON brought the case, arguing that the fees undermined the fundamental principle of access to justice for all, and that it was discriminatory as women generally earn less and so were likely to find it harder to pay. The Supreme Court agreed, saying it was unlawful under both domestic and EU law, and the fees were abolished with immediate effect, and  payments made under the scheme are to be refunded.

Commentators and employer groups were quick to predict a steep increase in claims back to previous levels, arguing that with no financial risk involved, employees will be more likely to make a claim, whether legitimate or bogus.

Said employment law expert, Sharon Matchwick of Hertford town solicitors Breeze & Wyles:  “For now, employers who focus on best practice and knowing their responsibilities will be better placed to manage any such claims.  This is the time to identify any potential claims that may be made, and having reviewed the circumstances take steps to avoid such things recurring.  Demonstrating a positive attitude to any Employment Tribunal will stand a business in good stead.”

She added: “It’s more important than ever to have a positive working environment, as well as complying with the many laws applying in the workplace. It’s good for business, as well as minimising the risk of claims.

“If you do find yourself facing a claim, then think about maximising mediation efforts, and using ACAS Early Conciliation as an opportunity to resolve things swiftly. Equally, if having investigated the claim and having tried to resolve the matter by conciliation, you believe that the employee is just trying it on because they have nothing to lose, it may be worth being bullish and going for costs, a deposit order or applying to strike out proceedings.”

If you want to know any more, feel free to contact our Business Services Department on 01992 558411


R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor

Dhami v Tesco Stores Ltd

Web site content note: 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.