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All our solicitors hold a practising certificate issued by The Solicitors Regulatory Authority. This guarantees that the solicitor is qualified to practise and has insurance to protect you if anything goes wrong.

We have members of The Solicitors Regulatory Authority Quality Assured Panels covering Children Law, Family Law, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence. To be asked to join these panels, solicitors must show that they have considerable specialist knowledge.

Wolferstans holds the Law Society’s quality mark for practice excellence ‘Lexcel’. We have been independently assessed by external auditors each year since we obtained the award in 2009. Lexcel covers all aspects of managing a law firm and confirms that we place our clients needs at the heart of everything that we do.

Yes, we hold a contract with the Legal Aid Agency for Family and Clinical Negligence work.

Recent changes in the availability of legal aid mean that scope is more limited than it used to be. We have legal aid specialists who can explain whether you are entitled to assistance and what the alternatives are if you are not.

For personal injury cases we may be able to work on a conditional fee basis.

This is more commonly known as a “no win, no fee” arrangement. If you win the case, your fees will mostly be paid by the other side. If you lose, you do not have to pay your solicitor’s fees. You may be asked to take out an insurance policy to pay for the other side’s costs if you lose, and we may be able to help you to make those arrangements.

We are used to dealing with personal matters and will want to ensure that you feel comfortable.

We will be sympathetic and understanding if you are distressed and may be able to arrange other services, such as counselling or mediation, which can help at a difficult time.

We have clients all over the country and abroad and may be able to advise you wherever you live, subject to our client identification procedures.

If we feel that it would be better for you to see a local solicitor, we will say so. We may be able to offer you home visits if you have difficulty travelling.

The Court of Protection is the Court in England and Wales dedicated to issues relating to people who lack mental capacity. The Court can make decisions or appoint deputies to make decisions in relation to a person’s property and financial affairs or a person’s health and welfare. It follows the rules set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which protects and empowers individuals who are unable to make certain decisions for themselves.

A Deputy may be appointed if a person is assessed as not having the capacity to make decisions about his or her affairs or personal welfare, although personal welfare Deputyships are less common.

A person must be assumed as having capacity unless it is established that he or she lacks capacity. This is normally determined by a “capacity assessment”, which can be completed by the individual’s own GP or a specialist practitioner. There is normally a charge of around £100 – £200 for this assessment.

If an individual is found to lack capacity, a Deputy can be appointed to help manage his or her affairs. A Deputy may be a professional Deputy or a relative or friend of the person alleged to lack capacity. It is possible that the Court may decide to appoint joint Deputies if this is believed to be in his or her best interests. A Panel Deputy may be appointed in situations where an individual has no friends or relatives or where there is no-one deemed suitable or willing to act.

The Court of Protection maintains a select Panel of individuals who act as Deputies, recognising their skill and expertise in this area. The Panel nationwide consists of a small number of members and a Panel Deputy will be appointed by the Court if there is no-one else available and willing to act.

Samantha Buckthought, Senior Private Client Partner at Wolferstans, is a Panel Deputy.

If a person does not have the mental capacity to make a decision, then any decision taken or act done for them must be in their best interests. It could be a day to day decision such as what to wear, or a complex healthcare decision such as what treatment to have.

Whoever makes the decision, whether it is made by the family carer, paid carer, Attorney, Deputy or Healthcare Professional, best interests must always be considered. Exactly how a Deputy decides what is in someone’s best interests will depend on the circumstances, but there are various steps you can go through that can help you make this determination.

Find out more about how to decide what is in a vulnerable person’s best interests.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is responsible for supervising appointed Deputies and investigating any complaints about a Deputy when concerns are raised that they may not be acting in a person’s best interests.

The OPG oversees Deputies by asking them to complete an annual report. This helps to ensure the funds are being managed appropriately and in accordance with the Deputy Order.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is made by a person who has mental capacity and they can choose who they would like to act on their behalf. If it is not clear if a person has the mental capacity to make an LPA, a qualified professional will do a capacity assessment.

If a person lacks the capacity to make an LPA it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship.

If you need an LPA visit our Power of Attorney page for more information.

In order to avoid any loss of benefits, a Personal Injury Trust should be set up as soon as possible before you receive your award.

There is a ‘grace period’ of 52 weeks from the date you first receive any payment in relation to the injury – which could be a charitable payment. However, the 52-week period is subject to special rules and we do not recommend that you rely on it.

When deciding who to appoint as your trustees, it is important that they are individuals whom you trust and who are good at managing money. You should have at least two trustees although you may have up to four.

Your trustees must be at least 18 years of age and you should not appoint anybody who is bankrupt, has entered into an individual voluntary arrangement with their creditors, or who has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty.

Upon completion of the Trust document, the trustees will need to set up a trustee bank or building society account to hold the Trust funds once received. The account will be in the name of the Trust. In order to set up the account, the trustees will need to provide the bank with identification as well a copy of the Trust Deed.

When the Trust is established, they must act in your best interests. Depending on the value of the award they may have to consider seeking advice on investing the monies. They would also need to meet at least annually, and sometimes more frequently to discuss the Trust.

No, the Trust monies are not in any way part of their funds.

You can put either all or part of your compensation payment into the Trust. It is important to appreciate that anything that is not paid into the Trust may affect your benefit entitlement.

Yes. Since 1987, if you can show that the MoD has been negligent or in breach of a duty towards you, you can make a claim.

Yes. AFCS is a tariff based scheme. If injuries are serious or there has been a fatality the amount that is awarded by the Courts is often higher. You cannot be compensated twice. You give credit for your AFCS award and receive the balance.

Yes. Also, you do not have to credit for the insurance payment when you make a claim.

It depends. If combat immunity applies, the MoD will not have to pay. However, if there is a breach of duty away from the battlefield, they may have to pay for some or all your claim. It is necessary to look at all the circumstances in detail, including lack of equipment and training away from the battlefield.

Yes. If your claim is successful, your loss of career, promotion and perks will be considered and claimed for. We will also claim in respect of the impact on your civilian career.

No. Only a small number of cases end up in Court. Costs rules mean it makes sense for parties to settle cases.

This is a common misunderstanding. It is not the case and can result in injured members of the Armed Forces missing out on much needed compensation. If you have sustained an injury and are thinking about making a claim for compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible, even if you are still a serving member of the Armed Forces. Time limits apply to claims for compensation and if you wait until you leave the military it may be too late to make a claim.

You have three years from the date of your injury to start a Court case for a civil claim, but there is a lot of preparatory work to be done. You should seek advice as soon as possible. You have 7 years to make an AFCS claim. You should not wait until you know the outcome of your AFCS claim as by then it may be too late to make a civil claim.

There are a number of ways in which we can deal with legal costs, including ‘No Win, No Fee’. We shall ensure that you receive advise upon the most appropriate method for your circumstances.

If we successfully recover compensation for you, we can provide help and advice on a number of other issues including writing a Will, buying or selling a home, setting up a personal injury trust to ensure you are entitled to continue claiming certain welfare benefits and also make recommendations so that you get the right financial advice. We believe it is important to support you and your family after your claim has settled and not only whilst the case is ongoing.