Tram Stop


Oldham Athletic Football Club

LaticsCongratulations to Oldham Athletic FC on the FA Cup 3rd Round win.

A round of applause to local man and Caretaker Manager Pete Wilde on stepping in and guiding the team to a 2-1 victory against Premier League side Fulham!

Pictured right, a shot of our LED perimeter board!  I wonder which avid fan took this?!

At North Ainley Solicitors we pride ourselves on combining a local, friendly, personal service, with city professionalism from all our high calibre lawyers and support staff.

Our ethos is to provide straight forward advice, using everyday terms that can be understood.  We provide comprehensive legal services to individuals with a range of business clients from start-ups to large corporate organisations.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our team.

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Seek advice from a Family lawyer

It’s tempting to try and cut costs by seeking help from a cheaper, lay adviser, for example ‘MacKenzie Friends’, however, they are untrained, the law is complex and if things go wrong you would have no right of redress against them like you would against a Solicitor regulated by The Law Society.


With the launch of the online government divorce service in April 2018, sadly, it’s easier than ever to make a life changing decision with the simple click of button.

Between 24 December and 1 January, 455 divorce applications were filed in England & Wales with 13 submitted on Christmas Day itself…which begs the question whether these applications were made in the heat of the moment, without any advice or consideration of the long term costs and implications.

Even if you want to manage the process yourself, you should still seek professional advice from a qualified family lawyer BEFORE taking any hasty steps.

But, quite rightly, instructing a lawyer doesn’t have to mean going to Court.  We are Resolution Accredited which means we are wholly committed to a non-confrontational approach to family matters.

For more information please contact Alison Winterbottom at our office.



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Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cuisine – New Restaurant

Lilys 1Thank you to Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cuisine for the invite to the soft launch on Sunday.  The food was amazing as usual and the new venue looks great!

Best wishes from all the team here at North Ainley for the Grand Opening tomorrow.

Pictured right, a hand-painted mural of an Indian street scene references the family’s history and the story of Lily’s.

We look forward to continuing to support you for legal services in 2019.

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New Year, New Start

ChangeAre you buying a new house, starting a new business venture, getting married or expecting a new arrival this year?  However your life changes in 2019, make sure you keep your Will up to date to protect the ones you love.

Contact a member our legal team who can provide you advice and guidance on Wills, house sales or purchases, business advice and all family related matters.

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North Ainley – Christmas Closing Times

Our office will close at 17.00 on Friday 21 December 2018 and re-open at 09.00 on Wednesday 2 January 2019.Bauble

Limited staff will be available at the office between 10.00 – 16.00 on 27, 28 December 2018.

The Partners and Staff would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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North Ainley – Closing early Thursday 13 December 2018

Please note that the office will be closed from 16.30 to allow our staff to prepare for the Christmas Party.

We will reopen at 09.00 on Friday 14 December 2018.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

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Christmas Parties Gone Wrong

As the Christmas party season gets into its full swing and the free booze is flowing, it’s easy to see how things can be said or done that will be regretted the next day. As such, whilst it ‘tis the season to be jolly, hosting a Christmas party can cause problems for employers long after the tree has come down.


Vicarious liability holds an employer strictly liable for the wrongful conduct of its employees but will only arise where that conduct occurs ‘in the course of his/her employment’. It can arise from actions outside of usual working hours and will apply regardless of whether the acts are done with the employer’s knowledge or approval but not where the employee was on a ‘frolic of their own’. The Court’s consider ‘what was the nature of the employee’s job?’ and ‘is there a sufficient connection between the employee’s position and the conduct to make it just for the employer to be held liable?’.

Christmas parties are grey areas when it comes to vicarious liability as they are often held outside working hours and away from the workplace but paid for by the employer.  Adding alcohol into the mix means the usual boundaries are blurred and this can lead to inappropriate behaviour, unwanted advances, discrimination and misconduct. As is shown by the first example below, the Courts draw a distinction between events during the party itself and any subsequent gathering.

In Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd (2016) the Managing Director punched an employee twice during a disagreement at 3am at a Christmas ‘after party’.  Mr Bellman’s head hit a marble floor causing brain damage and he sued his employer arguing that they were vicariously liable for the MD’s actions. The altercation was triggered by a work related dispute but the Judge drew a distinction between the main party and the after party at a different location; as nobody had been obliged to attend for late night drinks it was no longer a company event and the MD was no longer acting ‘in the course of his employment’ as organiser or host. As such the Judge found that the Company could not be vicariously liable.  Incidentally, it didn’t matter that the company contributed to the drinks bill and organised taxis to and from the after party.

The Courts can go the other way though. In Livesey v. Parker Merchanting Ltd (2004) the employer was found vicariously liable for the actions of an employee who sexually assaulted a colleague. The assault occurred in the car on the way home, immediately after the Christmas party and the Court found that the conduct was a continuation of sexual harassment at the work event and therefore ‘in the course of employment’.

What’s the answer? Employers need to be mindful of their potential liabilities and manage Christmas parties with care.  Having policies in place can make it clear what behaviour will not be tolerated and whilst nobody wants to be a Scrooge, staff should be reminded that the party will be an extension of the workplace so the same ground rules will apply.  It is also worth putting a Social Media policy in place regarding unflattering pictures, videos and comment being shared without consent.  Further, any inappropriate behaviour or actions which are reported or are seen at the party should be dealt with as a priority to mitigate the risk of claims.

If you are an employer or employee and need advice on any of the issues above, contact our Employment & Dispute Resolution team.

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Maggie’s Oldham – Free Monthly Will Writing Service

Our Private Client Team are proud to announce their support of Maggie’s Oldham by providing a monthly Will writing service for their visitors and their loved ones.

Under the scheme straightforward Wills will be provided free of charge.

maggie's clinic

The sessions will be held on the second Tuesday of each month between 2-5pm at the Maggie’s Centre, based in the grounds of the Royal Oldham Hospital.  The next session will be held on 11 December.

We are honoured to be able to be involved with such an amazing charity and to be able to offer some peace of mind and comfort to those affected in a time of need.

We understand that making a Will can be a daunting prospect to some people but it really needn’t be.  Everyone should make a Will and it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and for our families.

Appointments at any of the sessions can be made by contacting Laura Tomlinson or Tom Hall at Maggie’s on 0161 989 0550 or by emailing [email protected] .

We cannot wait to start the scheme and to meet many of the wonderful people who visit Maggie’s.

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Is your property energy efficient?

For most residential lettings, a Landlord has to have an Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) before they let a property.  As part of the government’s strive for energy efficiency, with effect from 1 April 2018, a Landlord should not grant a new tenancy/lease if the property has an EPC rating below E.  This is according to Part Three of The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, known as the MEES Regulations.

From 1 April 2020, the MEES Regulations apply to existing tenancies of domestic properties (usually granted prior to 1 April 2018) and from 1 April 2023 to commercial properties.

This article gives an overview of the Regulations and will focus on domestic private rented properties.  Broadly, this term covers ordinary lettings of properties by a private landlord.

What to do if your property has an EPC rating of less than E?   energy-efficiency-154006_960_720

  • A Landlord should check the MEES Regulations apply to the property and the type of tenancy.
  • A Landlord should carry out “relevant energy efficiency improvements” (for the meaning of which see below) to bring the EPC rating above the minimum threshold, unless an exemption to the MEES Regulations (as set out in the PRS Exemptions Register) applies.

The exemptions are:-

  • No funding exemption – If the costs of purchasing and installing the “relevant energy efficiency improvements” cannot be financed at no cost to the Landlord.
  • The consent exemption – A Tenant or other third party refuses to give consent to the relevant works being carried out to increase the energy efficiency or the Tenant refuses to give Consent to Green Deal funding.
  • The devaluation exemption – A Landlord has obtained a report from a Surveyor, which shows that the works to improve the energy efficiency would result in a reduction of more than five per cent in the value of the property.
  • Temporary exemption – In some situations, a Landlord (usually if the Landlord has recently acquired the property) may be given six months to comply with the prohibition on letting and carry out the relevant energy efficiency improvements.
  • Wall insulation exemption – If a Landlord has obtained written expert advice that cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation or internal wall insulation is not appropriate due to its negative impact on the structure of the property.
  • Although not classified as an exemption, if all relevant energy efficiency improvement works have been carried out but the property still has an EPC rating of lower than E, it may be let and the Landlord has up to five years to grant new lettings or continue existing lettings.

For all exemptions, the Landlord must register the property and his/her details on the PRS Exemptions Register.  The exemption is to be registered before it can be relied upon.

A relevant energy efficient improvement is a list of recommendations (often detailed on the EPC or a Surveyor’s report) and the impact they will have.  If such works are required, they must be one of the following:-

  • A measure to improve efficiency in the use of energy in the property and;
  • Identified as an improvement for the property in question.
  • Can also include installation of a service pipe for the supply of gas, if the property is not fuelled by mains gas and is situated 23 metres from the main of a gas transporter.

If a Landlord does not carry out the energy efficiency improvements and does not register the property on the PRS Exemptions Register, or puts false or mis-leading information on the PRS Exemptions register, a Landlord is likely to face enforcement action. This could mean a fine, depending on the type of breach up to £5,000 per breach for each property and/or publication of a notice detailing the non-compliant property, details of the breach of the MEES Regulations, the financial penalty (if any) and the Landlord’s details but not if the Landlord is an individual.


On 5 November 2018, following  a consultation, the Government confirmed that new Regulations will shortly be put before Parliament.  These will apply on the grant of a new tenancy to a new tenant or an existing tenant.  These Regulations will remove the “no cost to Landlord” principle and:-

  • Introduce a Landlord contribution towards any works required to improve energy efficiency capped at £3,500 including VAT.  Any energy efficiency measures undertaken since October 2017, will be included within the £3,500 cap, as will any available third party funding
  • There will be a new “high cost” exemption if the EPC grading of E of a property cannot be achieved for £3,500 or less.  Landlords will have to obtain three quotes, to enable registration of this exemption on the PRS Register
  • The “consent exemption” referred to above will be removed where a tenant has withheld consent to a Green Deal finance plan.

For advice and guidance on these issues or other Landlord/Tenant issues contact our litigation team.

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Stroke Association

Alison Brown, who works in our Commercial Department here at North Ainley Solicitors, has now successfully completed all sections of her training to become an Ambassador for the Stroke Association.

Having experienced a trauma stroke herself in February 2017 after which she could not walk or lift her head, Alison now strives to help people to ‘put the word out’ to raise awareness regarding stroke prevention.  With her knowledge of ‘life after stroke’ recovery, Alison seeks to raise awareness with young doctors, GPs and ambulance staff regarding the effects of a stroke on younger people, and also raise funds for the Stroke Association to help them carry on providing their excellent services.

Alison understands the strains a stroke can have on relationships, friends or close family and how this can affect people’s future plans.  Her first hand knowledge helps her to appreciate the effort people have to go through and sympathise with the difficulties.

As an involved Ambassador, Alison gives talks to companies and organisations who have kindly chosen the Stroke Association as their ‘charity of the year’.  She has also been asked to present a ‘fundraiser of the year’ award at The Well Pharmacy annual dinner which was held last nigh at the Imperial War Museum North, an invitation which she was both pleased and honoured to accept.strokeAssocLogo-20180830120222642

Next year, Alison is taking on the challenge of the 10K Resolution Run for the Stroke Association.  Last year she walked the 5K route but is hoping to run the full distance next time around.  This is another goal and step for her to achieve in her recovery and her determination is clear to see.

We would like to congratulate Alison on behalf of North Ainley for her dedication to such a good cause.  If you would like to donate to Alison’s 10k, her Just Giving Page is:

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National Work Life Week

It’s ‘National Work Life Week’ – an opportunity to focus on well-being at work and work-life balance.National work life week

Any employee with 26 weeks service for the same employer has a legal right to make a request to work flexibly – you don’t have to be a parent or carer.  If your request has been refused you may be able to do something about it.

Call our Employment team to book an appointment for further information and advice.

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Macmillan Coffee Morning

Our coffee morning in support of Macmillan Cancer went down a treat today. Coffee Morning Thanks to all those who slaved in the kitchen and all those who visited our office.

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Professionals Quiz Night

A respectable 3rd place for Ainley’s Aces who took part at the ‘Professionals Quiz Night’ hosted by Handelsbanken Oldham at Saddleworth Golf Club last night.

A great night in support of Oldham Action Fund.

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Important tips for Landlord’s on granting or ending an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (‘AST’)

Since 1 October 2015, under the Deregulation Act 2015, a Landlord offering a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to a tenant must ensure that the tenant is provided with :-

  • A Gas Safety Certificate for the property to be occupied
  • An Energy Performance Certificate
  • The booklet entitled – How to rent: the checklist for renting in England

With effect from 1 October 2018, the above requirements will apply to all tenancies, even those in existence prior to 1 October 2015.

It has also been the case for some time that if a deposit is paid by the Tenant, the Landlord must ensure that:-

  • The deposit is being held in accordance with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme and;
  • the Tenant has received the information about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of the Deposit being received.  Failure to provide such information means that the Tenant has a claim against the Landlord of up to three times the amount of the Deposit.

It is important that a Landlord complies with the above points as this could impede a Landlord’s right to obtain possession of their property at the end of the term of the tenancy.  It is common for Landlords to serve a Section 21 Notice upon the Tenant, if the Tenant does not vacate at the end of the term.  Non-compliance with the requirements set out above will mean a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice, although steps may be taken to rectify the situation and enable service of a Notice.  Alternatively, a Landlord may be able to serve a Section 8 Notice.

A Landlord is further prevented from serving a Section 21 notice:-

  • Within the first four months of the tenancy and must issue any possession proceedings within six months of the date of the Section 21 Notice.
  • If a local housing authority has served notice upon the Landlord about the condition of the property.

With effect from 1 October 2015  for any tenancies granted after that date (and 1 October 2018 for any other tenancies) Landlords must serve upon the Tenants the prescribed form of the Section 21 notice, otherwise, the Section 21 notice will be deemed ineffective.

For further information on granting a new tenancy please contact our Commercial Property team or for advice on serving a Notice to end a tenancy, please contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team.  Both departments can work together to provide overall comprehensive advice to suit your individual or business needs.

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Dementia Awarness

Delighted to report that all North Ainley staff have become ‘Dementia Friends’ today, joining the UK’s biggest ever initiative to change the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia.  Engaging and informative session by @MakingSpaceUK


For more information visit

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Helping Society Grow


North Ainley value the importance of supporting young people, schools and colleges.

One of our Solicitors, Laura Campbell, will be starting her role as an #EnterpriseAdviser with a local school today – we are proud to be part of


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Mahdlo – Queens Award

John Ainley receiving his certificate from the Youth Zone’s president, Sir Norman Stoller

The hard work and dedication of the volunteers who have supported the Mahdlo Charity, which was opened in Oldham six years ago, has been recognised with the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The formal presentation of the Award took place at the Monastery in Manchester and was followed by the presentation of Certificates and Badges at Mahdlo on Tuesday by the President of the Oldham Youth Zone, Sir Norman Stoller.

Our Senior Partner, John Ainley, was one of the volunteers honoured at the event. He said ‘I was really surprised and touched to be recognised in this way. I have been on the Board of Mahdlo since it was planned and have been only too happy to make a contribution to such a fantastic organisation in Oldham for young people. To think we have a £5 million facility in the centre of Oldham that provides world class opportunities for local youngsters, is something that we should all be extremely proud of ‘.

North Ainley look forward to supporting Mahdlo at future events.

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The Supreme Court has today ruled that Tini Owens cannot divorce her husband, Hugh Owens of 40 years until 2020, when they will have been separated for 5 years.  This is because of the manner in which the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (which provides the basis of a divorce) is drafted and because Hugh Owens refuses to agree to a divorce.   The couple have been separated since 2015.


This case and others have prompted a campaign for a change in the law to allow couples to divorce without a finding of fault on either party to the marriage.  Until the law is changed, it remains necessary for a party who wants to divorce their spouse to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably relying on one of  the 5 facts out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

For expert help and guidance on any aspect of relationship breakdown, contact the Family team at North Ainley Solicitors.

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Should we end the blame game of divorce?

Under current English law, even if both parties agree that their marriage has broken down, unless and until they have been separated for 2 years, they cannot get divorced without one party being blamed.

The reasons for the breakdown of a marriage are usually complex and it is not uncommon for both parties to have quite different views regarding the cause of the difficulties that have arisen. When emotions are already running high, the law, which requires reliance upon either adultery or unreasonable behaviour (unless parties are willing to wait 2 years) is only likely to add fuel to the fire.

Forcing couples to blame each other when there is no real need to do so, can create unnecessary conflict which can in turn affect how the couple deal with the related arrangements that must be made in respect of any children and regarding financial matters.Resolution Standard

Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals who believe in a constructive and non-confrontational approach to family law matters, is currently campaigning for a change in the law that would allow couples to divorce without blame.

The need for reform has to a great extent been highlighted by the recent case of Owens v Owens in which a wife has been denied a divorce because the Court determined that her husband’s behaviour was insufficient to justify the granting of a divorce decree.  A decision of the Supreme Court is still awaited and will turn upon the interpretation of the relevant section of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Whatever the outcome, the case highlights the need for change.

Resolution are proposing a new “no fault” process allowing one or both parties to give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  The divorce can then be progressed and if after a period of 6 months , either or both remain of the view that the marriage is over, the divorce can be finalised without any blame being assigned to either party.

Our family team at North Ainley are accredited Resolution members and can advise and assist you with divorce proceedings and all other issues that can arise following the breakdown of a relationship.


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On Saturday 7 July 2018, Team North Ainley took on the ‘Saddleworth Three Peaks Challenge’ – organised by registered charity Mahdlo Youth Zone, to raise money for its state of the art facility in the heart of Oldham.

3 peak - Team NA Photo

As the day approached and the heat wave showed no signs of subsiding, extra sunscreen, sunhats, ice-packs and lightweight everything was panic bought and we wondered whether it would be deemed too hot for the event to go ahead.  We then heard that as one of the peaks (Indian’s Head) was off limits due to the moor fires it would be replaced with a mystery ‘peak’ on the day….the fear of the unknown set in!

On the day, we all arrived bright and breezy at the starting point (Royal George in Mossley) to find the sun still had its hat on and that we were technically climbing 4 peaks (thanks for that Mahdlo/Chris Wareing!).  The route included Dovestones, Pots and Pans, Alderman’s Hill, a particularly gruelling section up Lark Hill from Dobcross, along the Delph Donkey Trail and a final push up Wharmton Hill.  The sun beamed down all day and our feet nearly gave up but we were rewarded with amazing views and a fantastic sense of camaraderie between the 90 walkers who took part.  That said, the hills were no match for our very own Laura Brennan who was first back having completed the route in just over 5 hours!!

Congratulations to all our team who took part (Laura Campbell, Alison Winterbottom, Lisa Yates, Val Stocker, Laura Brennan, Jill Gregory, Jamie Holmes, Sophie Lee) flying the flag for North Ainley and raising essential funds for Mahdlo.  With some sponsors still to be collected, we are thrilled to report that our total raised currently stands at £875 – which is just fantastic for a one off event.  A big thank you to all the firm’s friends, family and clients who sponsored us, we hope we did you proud!

If you didn’t get chance you can still sponsor us on the link below until 31 August  2018.

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  • All of the staff I came into contact with were very helpful and professional.  Particularly Jill Gregory, who managed the sale and purchase of houses.  She was very friendly, helpful and professional.
    Mr W Marrs - Whickham