For the third year, Woodfines Solicitors hosted a Legal Forum on Thursday 16th February, during LGBT History Month covering themes relating to Family matters, Wills and Probate, Criminal issues and Discrimination specifically for the LGBT community.
Given the level of questions arising, the evening was most useful and appreciated by the audience. With the level of interest shown this is now a firm fixture in the Woodfines calendar.
Karl Dembicki (solicitor, STEP and Partner) who chaired the forum answered questions on topics such as Wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate planning and tax. In particular, he emphasised the importance of creating and updating wills (particularly where same sex couples have entered into, or are about to enter, civil partnership or marriage), as well as the significance of lasting powers of attorney enabling them to step into the shoes of their civil partner/spouse.
Tim Ridyard (Solicitor and Partner) spoke about how the Police would view issued of “hate crime” and the complexities of how individuals could be prosecuted. This was more widely discussed within the context of whether employers could be held criminally responsible for the actions of their staff.
Nick Sayer (Senior Associate and Employment lawyer), As always the employment element of the evening attracted many questions. Nick spoke about the impact upon occupational pension benefits and the constant pressure through cases before the Courts to keep employment issues moving forward, particularly to avoid discrimination for anyone within the LGBT community.
Jackie Jessiman (Fellow Chartered Legal Executive) spoke about the recognition of same sex marriage and civil partnerships abroad, which led to many questions, given the topical nature of this after Marine Le Pen’s comments about abolishing same sex marriage in France if she were elected. Jackie also spoke on adoption for same sex couples in contrast with heterosexual couples.