WJM spin-out company featured in the Financial Times
WJM’s spin-out family business consulting company, Family Business Solutions, has been in the news recently with Susan Hoyle contributing to The Rich Column in the Financial Times’s FT Wealth Magazine.
The article looks at the growth of family business education (a good thing in Susan’s view) around the world. Universities from Hong Kong to Harvard are opening departments both to study and advise family businesses
FBS was at the forefront of setting up an interface between business and academia when, back in 1995, it sponsored the Centre for Family Enterprise at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Debbie King promoted to Associate
On 1st December 2013, Debbie King was promoted to Associate.
Debbie works in the Private Client team where she specialises in working with family businesses and the business families who run them. She recently achieved, with distinction, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’ Certificate in Family Business advising.
Debbie also works extensively with the firm’s Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property team providing advice to landowning, farming and agricultural businesses.
Ian Macdonald, who heads the WJM Private Client team, said “We are delighted to promote Debbie to Associate. Her contribution to the team, and the wider WJM effort, means this promotion was well merited.”
Wright, Johnston & Macke adds to STEP Qualified Team
WJM is delighted to announce that Debbie King has just received her Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Certificate in Family Business Advising, which she obtained with distinction. Debbie joins WJM Partner, Lesley Elrick in holding this highly regarded, specialist STEP Certificate.
With Debbie’s qualification the firm now has 8 STEP qualified Practitioners in its Private Client team, which is thought to be one of the highest in a single law firm in Scotland.
The WJM Private Client team is led by Ian Macdonald, himself described by STEP as a “walking recommendation for Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie.” The team’s work is primarily with high net worth individuals, business families and charitable trusts.
Ian said “we are delighted that Debbie has achieved this specialist Certificate and with distinction. Family businesses and business families deserve the best possible professional advice when they seek to manage their affairs and the STEP Certificate is a ‘gold standard’ for wealth planning, family business and private client advising.”
Ian Macdonald profiled by STEP
Ian Macdonald, who leads WJM’s Private Client team, has recently been profiled in the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Journal.
In the article STEP described Ian as “a walking recommendation for Scottish law firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie”.
The STEP Journal is an international publication looking at how individuals, trusts, charities and others can best manage their affairs, often across multiple jurisdictions. STEP disseminates and promotes best practice amongst professionals; its qualifications are the mark of a committed professional in the field of Trusts and Estates.
Ian, naturally, is a fully qualified Trust and Estate Practitioner as well as being qualified to practice law in both Scotland and England & Wales.
WJM expands Commercial Property Team
In response to sustained growth, we have expanded our Commercial Property team with the recruitment of Alan Bauchop as an Associate.
Alan joins WJM at a time of expansion for the Commercial Property team following a number of tender wins. He will be based in the firm’s Edinburgh office where he will assist the partners in developing the firm’s commercial property offering in the capital.
Chief Executive Liam Entwistle said, “I’m delighted to welcome someone of Alan’s calibre to WJM. He brings a highly developed skill set to our property team which will further enhance our reputation in this area. In addition to Commercial Property work, Alan will also work with our Public Sector, Corporate and Renewable Energy teams.”
The firm has been expanding its Commercial Property team in both Edinburgh and Glasgow in anticipation of increasing growth rates in the marketplace. Colin Brass, WJM’s Head of Commercial Property, said “We’ve seen more movement, more confidence and more money coming into the commercial property market. Adding tender wins into that mix, means we needed to strengthen our teams. Alan’s recruitment is part of that process.”
Don’t let the Employment Law tail wag the Business Dog: Liam Entwistle webinar
Liam Entwistle of WJM’s Employment Team recently took part in a webinar featuring a discussion on the wider aspects of Employment Law and how it can be minefield for employers.
When it comes to employment law, Liam has two very firm beliefs. The first is that the employment law tail should never wag the business dog, and the second is that its better to resolve conflict in the workplace before anyone thinks of going to a tribunal.
You can see the full webinar by following this link Employment Law with WJM Webinar
Liam Entwistle appointed as Chief Executive
Liam Entwistle has been appointed WJM’s new Chief Executive.
He moves into his role on October 1st 2013 after heading WJM’s Conflict Resolution Team for a number of years. He takes over from Graham Bell who has held the reins since 2010.
On his appointment Liam said, “Graham has done a fantastic job for the firm over the last few years, and I am looking forward to succeeding him as Chief Executive. While we have maintained a steady position during Graham’s stewardship, in challenging times, I know I can make a positive difference for our clients, our contacts and our people. Being asked to lead such a talented family at such an exciting time for the legal profession is an enormous privilege. Team WJM is energetic and innovative - qualities needed in a period of dramatic change – and I have absolute faith in them. I believe that, with those benefits and our very clear strategy, we will continue to find new levels of truly client centric service benefiting both us and our clients.”
In addition to his Chief Executive role, Liam will continue to direct and influence Family Business & Business Family services within both WJM and its spin-out consulting company, Family Business Solutions, as well as looking after clients.
Graham said, “Liam was the unanimous choice of the partnership to lead us forward through a period of great change not only for the legal profession, but also for businesses more generally. My role will be to support him and the rest of the partnership going forward, while also developing my existing practice.’
Read more about Liam here.
How to sack your Father: Susan Hoyle at UHI
WJM’s family business expert, Susan Hoyle, was on hand to give advice on How to sack your Father (and other pressing issues in family businesses) at a recent University of the Highlands and Islands Management School Business Seminar.
“Each generation of a family business has to make some tough decisions,” said Susan. “Sometimes those tough decisions do include having to sack your father or your mother. Other pressing issues in the same vein can be refusing your cousin a job as he doesn’t have the skills the business needs or asking a grandparent to stand aside from the Board. Every family in business together has its own family dynamic and we at WJM work with families in business together to help them succeed across the generations.”
See a video of Susan’s talk here.
WJM supports Highland Business Week with family business event
WJM is using its sponsorship of the Scottish Family Business Association (SFBA) to bring the popular family business speaker, Martin Stepek, to Inverness in support of Highland Business Week.
In a free seminar Martin will be presenting an innovative and refreshing view of marketing for the family business, highlighting the unique selling point (USP) of a family business – its family.
For too many years family businesses have been told to market and promote themselves just like any other business. But family businesses are not like other businesses. Family makes the difference, and that difference is huge. It is that business’ permanent unique selling point.
Martin said, “Competitors can copy your products, mimic your services, even try to emulate your values and attention to detail. But they can’t become you or your family. Every family is unique and that uniqueness shines through their family business. You should be using your uniqueness as a business family to get and keep ahead of the competition, and to nurture a deep lasting relationship based on trust and real mutual understanding with your customers”
Martin added, “In a world with a vast array of communication tools, there is the opportunity to be authentic in your marketing, to reflect what your deepest business and family purpose is, why you do what you do, and why you do it the way you do it.”
Angus MacLeod, Head of WJM Inverness, said “WJM was delighted to add in the family business element to Highland Business Week by bringing Martin to Inverness and hosting this free seminar. We have been at the forefront of family business advising since 1995, helping family businesses and business families to manage the challenges of being a family in business together. Martin is a great speaker giving attendees a raft of hints, tips and advice on making the most of their USP – their family.”
New Head of Renewables at WJM
In a move to further promote WJM’s expertise in the growing renewable energy marketplace WJM has appointed it’s planning expert, Fraser Gillies, to head their renewable energy team.
Fraser succeeds the highly regarded Andy McFarlane. Under Andy’s tenure the team has retained its market leading position, continuing to act for key clients such as RWE Npower Renewables and E.ON Climate and Renewables. Several notable client wins under his leadership include Renewable Energy Systems (RES), so adding to the team’s leading position all whilst broadening the scope of services on offer to clients.
The multi-partner team now advises on every stage of the project life cycle, from the initial property work, through the planning consenting process, on to financial close with specialist advice in areas such as tax and agricultural law.
Andy remains in the expanded team and will now concentrate on key relationships within the industry. He said “I am delighted to hand the team leadership over to Fraser. He takes over what I believe to be the best multi-disciplinary renewable energy team in the business today. Our expertise is second to none and we continue to develop new services and solutions to enhance client value. Having a planning expert head the team highlights our broad skills base. ”
Fraser has extensive experience of acting for renewables developers in relation to planning and environmental issues, having acted in seventeen Appeals and s.36 inquiries since 2006. He said, “I am very pleased to take on the role of Head of Renewable Energy and to build on the considerable successes the team has enjoyed under Andy’s leadership. The experience we have within the team is amongst the best in the market and I look forward to building on that to maintain and consolidate our position as one of Scotland’s foremost Renewable Energy teams.”
Graham Bell, WJM’s Chief Executive, said, “Part of our ethos is to be the best at what we do and in renewable energy we are amongst the market leaders. Fraser’s appointment in this role comes at an exciting time for the firm as we introduce new products and services to our focus on the renewables sector. I am delighted he is moving into this role which further consolidates our position.”
Highlights of the last twelve months for the team include completing the £15m financial close of Corrimony Wind Farms, and an £7.6m investment in to marine developers Scotrenewables Tidal Power Limited, the financial close of the Kintarbert Hydro Scheme, acting in the Allt Duine and Rowantree s.36 Inquiries, and securing planning consent for two large wind farms.
WJM Expertise - Available for all
WJM Partner and Head of Conflict Resolution, Liam Entwistle has been showcasing WJM’s unique approaches to managing and resolving conflicts through a short series of video training presentations aimed at other lawyers and business professionals.
Working with The Solicitors Group, he has authored and presented training on Managing Conflicts Within Family Run Businesses and a Conflict Resolution Toolbox.
With WJM’s unique experience in the family business field, Liam is well placed to advise other professionals looking to work in the area. Liam said “WJM has many years of working with family businesses and business families to help them resolve the conflicts which can occur. All families, whether in business together or not, have a certain degree of conflict. When you add in a business with employees, customers and suppliers, conflict in the owning family dramatically increases the potential for trouble.”
A taster of Liam’s work can be seen in these two short video clips:
Should you be interested, further information and copies of the DVD’s can be purchased through these links:
CAADs and Dogs: Fraser Gillies comments on a recent case
CAADs and Dogs
A recent decision (Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Scottish Ministers and Others  CSIH 64) highlights the risks of being caught out by time limits.
The case concerned the issue of three Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development (CAADs) in respect of land to be compulsorily acquired in connection with the Waverley Railway. The CAADs specified the classes of development for which planning permission would have been granted. The acquiring authority (Network Rail Infrastructure Limited) Appealed to the Scottish Ministers against the granting of the certificates.
Article 4 of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Development Order 1975 required the Appellants, within one month of giving notice of appeal, or such longer period as the Scottish Ministers may in any particular case allow, to furnish to the Scottish Ministers a copy of the application to the planning authority, and of the certificate (if any) issued by the planning authority together with a statement of the grounds of appeal. The Order goes on to provide that if these documents are not furnished to the Scottish Ministers within that time limit the Appeals are treated as withdrawn.
A Notice of Appeal against each CAAD was submitted on 19 October 2011. Following some initial procedural scuffles as to whether the Appeal has actually been lodged on time, the Reporter confirmed by email of 14 November the procedural position to the appellants as follows:
“We are currently looking into whether these appeals are valid. In the meantime, I can confirm that we will inform you of a new date for submitting grounds of appeal once we inform you of the result of our considerations”.
Subsequently, by letter dated 17 January 2012, the Reporter confirmed that:
”...notice of appeal in relation to [the] certificates ... was given within one month of their receipt and is, accordingly, in time.
Accordingly, the appellants are requested to submit the statement of their grounds of appeal and supporting documentation in relation to [the] certificates ... within one month of today’s date”.
The appellants submitted grounds of appeal in respect of each certificate on 14 February 2012. They did not submit the other information required by Article 4.
One of the parties holding a CAAD submitted that the Appeals were to be treated as withdrawn, since the documentation required to be furnished to the Ministers in terms of Article 4 had not been submitted.
The Reporter decided the Appeals should be treated as withdrawn. She said:
“...The appellant furnished grounds of appeal within one month of 17 January 2012, but did not furnish the applications or the certificates.
... the reporter has concluded .. that regulation 4(3) is mandatory and that there is no discretion to extend the one month period that was allowed on 17 January. Accordingly, regulation 4(4) applies and the appeals are being treated as withdrawn.”
Network Rail appealed that decision. The arguments turned on the interpretation of the various letters and emails from the DPEA. They submitted that the correspondence had to be construed objectively. They submitted that the time limits for submission of all of the documents had in effect been suspended by the email of 14 November. They submitted that the reference to submitting “supporting documentation” in the letter of 27 January was too vague to be read as meaning the information required by Article 4. It was also suggested that the 1975 Order had to be interpreted in light of advancements such as the internet, and that the requirement to “furnish” documents to the Ministers could be achieved where those documents were already available online.
The Respondents argued that the time limit effectively ran for one month from the letter of 17 January when the Reporter requested the Grounds of Appeal “and supporting information” be lodged within a month. They argued that to give the word “furnish” the meaning suggested by the Appellants was, borrowing Lord Bingham’s metaphor, in R (Quintavalle) v Secretary of State for Health, to call a cat a dog.
In dismissing the Appeal the Court concluded that the earlier correspondence from the Reporter had in effect suspended the time limit for submission of Grounds of Appeal and other information set out in Article 4 (including the certificates and copy applications), but that request in the subsequent letter of 27 January for “grounds of appeal and supporting documentation” was to be taken, in the light of all the circumstances, as a request that all of the information required by Article 4 () should have been lodged within a month.
The Court also concluded that placing of material on a website, without something more (for example submitting a reference to a hyperlink), was not sufficient to amount to the “furnishing” of that material to another for the purposes of statutory interpretation.
The case serves as an illustration of the potential pitfalls which can arise where time limits are being extended but there is, in the background, a statutory provision.
In many Appeals procedural deadlines are often extended at the discretion of the Reporter. Multiple time limits can be running simultaneously, with different time limits for submission of responses, and comments on those responses, as well as other matters such as Inquiry Statements, supporting documents and so on. In most cases the discretion is available to the Reporter to extend those deadlines or excuse non-compliance, where there is no demonstrable prejudice and/or a good reason for the non-compliance.
In some cases, however, the underlying statutory framework limits the extent of that discretion, and as illustrated starkly here, care needs to be taken that deadlines are not missed. If there is any doubt as to the meaning of a particular request or communication from a Reporter it would be wise to seek early clarification.
WJM Sponsors Sheep Section at Biggar Show
WJM’s Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property Team is sponsoring the Sheep Section at Biggar Show.
Taking place on Saturday 20th July, the show is one of Scotland’s premier one-day agricultural events showcasing the best in livestock, horses and country life.
In the Sheep Section, visitors to the show will see native Scottish Breeds such as the Scottish Blackface, the Scottish Mule and Shetland sheep, along with traditional British sheep breeds such as Blue Faced Leicesters, Suffolks and Border Leicesters. Other breeds on show include Texels, Charollais and the exotically named, and striking looking, Zwartbles sheep.
In addition the show has full Cattle and Horse sections and an enter on the day Dog Show as well as a range of trade and demonstration stands.
David Boyce, Head of Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property Team, said “We are delighted to sponsor the Sheep Section at Biggar Show in 2013. Events like Biggar Show which bring the agricultural community together to showcase the high standard and excellence to be found in Scottish farming should be supported and we are delighted to be able to do so.”
Click here for more information about Biggar Show.
Click here for more information about WJM’s Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property Team
Stuart Gibb Promoted to Associate
Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP have announced the promotion of Stuart Gibb to Associate.
Stuart is a key member of our highly regarded Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property team where he advises landowners, farmers, tenants and other land users on the impact of the law on their land. In this role he also provides advice on agricultural issues to the firm’s Renewable Energy Team.
David Boyce, who heads the Agricultural, Rural & Sporting Property team, said “we were delighted to promote Stuart to Associate. His contribution to the team, and the wider WJM effort, means this promotion was well merited.”
Stuart will also continue with his role as Tribunal Judge in the First Tier Tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support).
Read more about Stuart here.
Joint Head of Family Business speaking at UHI Event 17th May 2013
WJM’s Joint Head of Family Business, Susan Hoyle, is the key speaker at the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Management School first lunchtime business talk on Friday 17th May.
Part of UHI’s partnership with Business Gateway, the Management School is hosting a series of talks to highlight the practical approaches it can take in helping Highlands and Islands businesses.
Susan’s lively and interesting talk, the provocatively titled “How to sack your father (and other pressing issues in family businesses)”, will give an insight into the journeys taken by successful family businesses as they deal with inter-generational change.
Dr Neil Simco, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business at the university, adds: “The lunchtime seminar series is an important opportunity to build links between the worlds of academia and business. We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues from the business community for these events.”
WJM changes leadership of Family Business Consultancy
WJM have announced changes in our spin out consulting business, Family Business Solutions Limited (FBS) which works closely with our in-house, specialist family business legal team.
WJM and FBS have been thought leaders in the UK family business market since 1995 – WJM through the introduction of innovative legal services for family businesses and FBS through the development of a leading edge consulting process. This market expertise has been recognised by Withers LLP with Ken McCracken’s move to Withers to help them set up a new international family office consultancy.
The WJM team is led by head of tax, Susan Hoyle and Liam Entwistle who is head of the firm’s dispute resolution services. Their team of lawyers come from every other department in WJM, all of whom have received specialist, family business training.
Susan will also be involved in FBS where she will work with George Stevenson, who was the founding chair of the Scottish Family Business Association (SFBA). Under their joint leadership, FBS will help families who want to know about the best practice structures and policies for running their businesses. FBS will also provide training programmes for family business owners and their advisers.
Margaret Robertson, the managing partner of Withers said, “We admire the knowledge and practical expertise that WJM and FBS have developed and we believe that this will be very successful in the international market-place. I expect the relationship between Withers and WJM will grow as we develop our distinct interests in this important market.”
This link will be aided by Ken McCracken continuing as a consultant to WJM and FBS. The Chairman of WJM, Colin Brass, said, “We’re delighted that our innovative work in this field has been recognised by a firm of Withers’ calibre and wish Ken all the best in his new international role.”
Colin continued, “WJM is the family business law firm and we are very proud of the independent work done by FBS for their clients. George is a great asset for FBS given his experience as a family business owner and leader, and his contribution to the wider family business community through SFBA.”
Family Business Conference Update: Insider & Outsider
WJM have brought together a family business “insider” and an “outsider” to present both sides of a family business story.
Angus MacLeod, who heads up WJM’s Highland & Islands office in Inverness said, “WJM expect the conference to be very popular because it gives family businesses and advisers a unique opportunity to hear from a family who tackled the challenges that every family business faces at some time.”
Hugh Raven will be the keynote speaker, and the conference is based on the story of his family business, Ardtornish Estate in Morvern.
The untimely death of Hugh’s brother during a period when the Estate was going through an ambitious diversification, created pressures that understandably led to the type of anxiety that every family-in-business has to cope with at some time. Hugh will explain how the Raven family responded to the challenge of finding a better balance between the interests of the family and their business by creating the Raven Family Constitution.
Hugh will also speak about how he felt during this testing time as an “Insider” who wore different hats; family member, a trustee and beneficiary of the trust that owns the Estate, and a director of the company that runs the estate.
The “Outsider’s” perspective will be presented by Andrew Hamilton of Strutt & Parker, a long-standing adviser to the Raven Family and director of the estate company. Andrew now chairs the Raven Family Council and will explain how the Council works as well as giving his view of the overall effect the changes had on the Raven family and Ardtornish Estate.
The seminar will be chaired by Ken McCracken of Family Business Solutions (FBS) who helped the Raven family through the process of creating their Family Constitution.
The story of Ardtornish will be valuable for every family in business who seek a secure and prosperous future. It will be equally enlightening for advisers who want to provide creative and practical help to family businesses. Those attending will have a rare opportunity to learn what is emerging as best practice in family business governance.
Angus said, “We are delighted to provide the platform for Hugh and Andrew to speak publicly about their experiences. This story is a great example of how families-in-business can thrive through becoming better organised. I know that’s easier said than done, but the story of the Raven Family shows how it can be done well.”
The Conference takes place on 19th March 2013 at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, from 12.00pm until 5.00pm. Attendance is free and includes a buffet lunch. Demand for places is expected to be high and early booking is encouraged.
Book your place here
Non-Domestic Rates Relief Substantially Reduced!
The Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Properties etc.) (Scotland) Act 2012 (“the 2012 Act”) came into force in December 2012.
One of its key provisions is the slashing of non-domestic rates relief from a maximum of 50% to a maximum of 10% for unoccupied commercial properties which have been empty for more than three months.
For landlords, tenants and property owners of vacant commercial premises, the implications of the 2012 Act are:
- If you currently receive a business rates’ discount, your liability for business rates may increase from 50% to 90%;
- 100% business rates relief should still apply for the first three months of a commercial property becoming vacant, but, after the initial three months’ period, the business rates relief may be reduced to as little as 10%; however . . .
- listed properties, industrial properties, and those of low rateable value continue to enjoy 100% business rates relief.
Some more encouraging news is:
- under the Government’s “Fresh Start” scheme, there is to be a 50% discount to anyone taking on a shop or office that has been empty for over 12 months; and
- this week Scotland’s Local Government Minister, Derek Mackay, announced a new business rates relief scheme for new build empty properties in the hope of encouraging commercial development and an increase in the supply of new build properties for businesses in Scotland. The relief scheme is set to run for a period of three years from 1st April 2013 by providing rates relief of up to 100% that can be applied for up to 18 months by owners and developers of new build empty properties built in Scotland from 1st April 2013.
The 2012 Act provisions are in force and apply only to property in Scotland.
For more information regarding your Scottish properties or for guidance on the rates position in England and Wales, contact Jillian Bynoth.
Read more on WJM’s highly rated Commercial Property Team.
WJM launches Family Business Event in Inverness
As the market leading Family Business firm, WJM continue to innovate in their offerings to family businesses and the business families who run them.
The latest offering is another in WJM’s series of mini-conferences. The popular and well subscribed mini-conferences present a short, sharp overview of a particular topic and on March 19 2013, Family Businesses are the key topic.
At the conference, you’ll hear a family business insider tell of the changes in his family business and a family business outsider will give his insights into working with a family in their business. Naturally as the longest established family business solicitors in Scotland, you’ll also hear from WJM’s award-winning, market-leading family business team.
The conference will be of interest to those with family enterprises or an interest in the wellbeing of family enterprises.
Hugh Raven, Ardtornish Estate
Andrew Hamilton, Strutt & Parker
Ken McCracken, Family Business Solutions
Liam Entwistle, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie
The event follows WJM’s usual short, sharp conference format starting with lunch at 12.30pm.
Attendance is free and demand for places is expected to be high.
Booking is now open - simply click here for more details and a booking form.