Ridley & Hall Celebrates Double Accreditation
The 2015 Legal 500 rankings have been announced and Ridley & Hall is pleased to be named as the highest ranking law firm in Huddersfield in all the categories it was nominated for, as well as passing its annual Lexcel audit with its highest mark to date.
Managing Partner, Adam Fletcher, said, “It is great that our hard work to become one of the leading law firms in West Yorkshire is recognised by organisations such as the Legal 500. I want to thank all the departments involved whose hard work has resulted in the final rankings. We have a double celebration as we have recently passed our Lexcel audit with the highest result in our 11 years of being audited. Lexcel is the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and excellence in client care so we are very proud with the recent announcements!”
This is the first year that our Contentious Probate department has applied for a ranking in the Legal 500 and we are pleased to announce that they have been placed in the third tier in the Yorkshire & Humber region – and the only law firm outside of the cities to be ranked. The team, head of department Sarah Young and experienced paralegal Samantha Hirst, grew with Helen Dandridge qualifying as a solicitor in 2014, to assist the team in a variety of areas including disputed wills, financial abuse and Court of Protection. Sarah also has a growing specialisation in missing people cases.
Wills & Probate
The department continues to provide comprehensive and excellent services covering Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Trusts and Court of Protection work under the stewardship of experienced solicitor and Head of Department Jill Waddington. The department works closely with the local Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK in Kirklees and Calderdale. Ridley & Hall signed up to commit to the Dementia Action Alliance and became the one hundredth organisation, and one of the few organisations from the legal sector, to sign up to the Alliance in the Yorkshire and Humber region. As a result of our initial involvement at regional level, Ridley & Hall has been at the forefront of creating Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance. Managing Partner, Adam Fletcher, is the chair of KDAA and both he and Wills & Probate solicitor, Helen Webster, are dementia friends champions.
With cuts to legal aid continuing, Ridley & Hall have had to be innovative and flexible with their fee arrangements with clients. Familyfirst was set up in 2013, but continues to evolve today. We have rolled out a new look website which simplifies the levels of fees that we offer, so that clients can more readily see what services are available, and which will be most appropriate to them. Most importantly the team are continuing to provide good client care to clients going through a very difficult time in their lives. Vicky Medd, head of the Family department, and her team have many years of experience of dealing with clients going through separation. They are very approachable, and care very much about the outcome for their clients. Vicky is also an experienced mediator and has carried out many mediations since joining the firm, and deals with both financial and private children mediations. She has assisted many separated couples in being able to negotiate together to seek resolution to their issues, and, in the case of children, to be able to co-parent effectively.
There is a national shortage of foster carers. This has led to a significant growth in the number of kinship carers – relatives caring for children who would otherwise be fostered. Many lack appropriate support. Nigel Priestley, head of Kinship & Community Care, and his team have developed an expertise in representing vulnerable carers. One of the key kinship support groups, Grandparents as Parents, states on its website that Ridley & Hall is “the leading firm in England and Wales for advice on kinship care.” It further states, “Their commitment to human rights and their cutting edge legal work means that we can provide advice on the responsibilities of local authorities and we know how to hold them to account for their actions.” Ridley & Hall frequently supports individuals and families in their challenges to local authorities. In 2014 there were five significant court decisions which either had a national impact or a significant outcome for the family involved.
The third branch of the family division is the Care & Adoption department, headed by James Cook. The team undertakes a diverse range of family cases from Contact, Residence, Specific Issue Applications and Special Guardianship to representing parents and relatives in public child care cases including Care, Placement and Adoption Orders. They have represented clients on cases involving the abduction of children, removal of children from the jurisdiction of the UK and injunctions under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court. James and his colleagues Michael George and Samantha Sanders are all members of the Law Society’s Children Law Panel.