On the 26th September 2014, Bedford Hospital launched their Challenge Cancer fundraising campaign. Thanks to generous sponsors and donations, we were able to raise a total of £2631.25 towards the campaign through our climbing expedition to Snowdonia last year. On the 10th of June 2016, we tweeted a picture featuring staff and Partners of Sharman Law handing the cheque over to Gordon Beeden, the Vice Chair of Bedford Hospital.

Now that the Challenge Cancer campaign has been successfully completed, two of our Partners (Mel Lawrence and Philip Elliott) were invited to a reception held by Bedford Hospital on the 18th of January 2017. There, it was announced that the target of £750,000 had been met and we are delighted to have been able to help in that sum being raised.

Two-thirds of the money raised has been spent on improving services at the Primrose Unit of Bedford Hospital and the remainder of the monies has been spent on purchasing new specialist equipment. Mel and Philip were delighted to be invited to the reception and to see how well the funds were being spent. We would like to congratulate Bedford Hospital on their successful campaign and thank everyone who sponsored us to enable us to help this worthy cause.

To read more about Bedford Hospital and the Challenge Cancer campaign, visit their website at: http://www.bedfordhospitalcharity.org.uk/cchallenge


Once again, it is that time of year, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


During Christmas Jumper Day 2016, Staff and Partners of Sharman Law displayed their festive spirit by wearing their Christmas jumpers in aid of Save the Children. The photo above shows the variety of jumpers on display! The money raised will be donated to Save the Children helping them bring essentials such as healthcare, education, protection and food to the millions of children around the world who are unfortunately missing out on the most basic support.


To read more about Save the Children and the great work that they do; please click HERE


The next Letting Forum will take place on Wednesday, 12th October 2016 in Bedford.


We will be focusing our discussions on council tax and, in particular, the position following the case of Leeds City Council v Broadley.  Council tax is not something which we have considered in any of our previous forums, so I hope that this will be of interest to you.

In addition, we will have a reminder of the Section 21 Notice procedure bearing in mind that the new regulations have now been in effect for 12 months, and I hope that this will give you an opportunity to share any experiences (good or bad) that you have had over the last year.

As usual, we ask you to meet at our offices at 12.30pm.  Light refreshments will be served, and we will aim to start the presentation around 1.00pm.  We are always happy to field questions and hope to finish about 2.00pm.

I hope that you will be able to come along.  If you can attend please let me or my secretary Ann McFarlane know.  Ann’s email is ku.oc.walnamrahsnull@enalrafcm.nna

With my best wishes.

Simon Parrott




Parental Alienation


Parental alienation is when the psychological influence of a parent on a child leads to the child developing negative opinions towards the other parent. This occurs mostly in intractable contact disputes (where one party is denied contact to the child). Parental alienation can develop as a natural result of the situation the child is placed in or, more sinisterly, can be purposefully instigated by the resident parent. Due to this, many see parental alienation as a form of psychological child abuse.

The courts are beginning to recognise parental alienation as a phenomenon though identifying when it is occurring in a certain case can be difficult for the courts. In routine Children Act cases, the courts normally make use of an officer from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) or independent social workers to provide recommendations on the appropriate steps to take regarding a child. This is not sufficient when a case involves parental alienation. In these cases, noticing the elements of parental alienation should mean that the appropriate skilled practitioners (such as psychologists, psychiatrists or psychotherapists) are instructed to prepare assessments though the Court will need to be satisfied that such an assessment is required.

We here at Sharman Law keep elements such as parental alienation in mind when dealing with these sensitive cases to make sure that this is considered where appropriate. If you have any questions regarding parental alienation or have any other issues concerning Family Law, please contact:

Philip Elliott on ku.oc.walnamrahsnull@ttoille.pilihp or
Jonathan Copper on ku.oc.walnamrahsnull@reppoc.nahtanoj or
Janet Brown on ku.oc.walnamrahsnull@nworb.tenaj
Or call us on 01234 30 30 30




Cybercrime is a growing threat to businesses and individuals. This means that everyone needs to be on high alert. There has been an increase in the number of high end criminal activity where fraudsters use sophisticated cyber-attacks such as malware-facilitated fraud in order to obtain large sums of money and other assets. This kind of criminal activity is highly profitable.

In response to this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have recently included cybercrime among their list of illegal activities for their annual crime survey. The ONS estimates that there were around 2.5 million incidents involving cybercrime of which over 2 million people were affected during the last year. Due to the scale and increased growth of cybercrime, businesses are being challenged to find more effective ways to fight this new threat.

For businesses, perfect security is almost impossible. The technical challenges evolve at a very fast rate ensuring that solutions which may be effective today may be vulnerable to a cyber-attack from a skilled group of cyber criminals in the near future.

We here at Sharman Law, take cybercrime very seriously and we do our best to ensure that our digital security is not compromised. To achieve this, our firm employs the use of rigid systems for transfers of money as well as using robust security systems and top of the line databases to make sure that information is not leaked. Clients of Sharman Law can rest assured that we do everything in our power to keep their personal details beyond the reach of cyber-criminals.


Aiming for a win-win separation


With court documents detailing lavish lifestyles and counter-accusations of drug taking and abuse, the proceedings look set to secure many more headlines as they unfold.

By contrast, BBC2’s TV latest series, Mr & Mrs : Call the Mediator, shows a different side to divorce, with negotiated outcomes, as couples are helped through the separation of their finances and childcare arrangements outside the courts.

Every relationship breakdown is painful, especially when children are involved, but with all of us living ever more public lives, played out on social media, what may have a significant impact on the process is the way that couples conduct themselves through their Twitter thoughts or Instagram images.

Here, family law expert Philip Elliott of Sharman Law Solicitors explains some of the ways that separating couples can make the journey to divorce less painful.


The Depp/Heard divorce started with a war of words and flying accusations. It would be hard not to know what was going on between the couple, with their pictures splashed across front pages in both the print and online media.
As I write, the headlines are focused on another ‘divorce’: that of the UK’s split with Europe, and emotions are running high, as with the break-up of any long term relationship.

It’s a thorny issue, but it’s fair to assume that the majority, whatever their voting preference, will be hoping that any withdrawal by the UK from the EU will be approached in a positive spirit, to achieve the best possible negotiated outcome.
It’s an attitude that can make the difference for couples and their families too. The Children and Families Act 2014 says that before a separating couple can ask a court to sort things out for them, they must consider using mediation.

The BBC2 series Mr & Mrs shows that it’s not plain sailing, even with experienced and impartial mediation, but it gives a good idea of how it all works. Many people reject mediation if they are concerned about having to face their ex; perhaps they fear they’ll be intimidated, but it’s a flexible process and you don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

The big difference between going to court and mediation is that a judge has much wider discretion and does not have to come up with a solution where both sides are happy. Mediation can give more control over the outcome as each side can keep on negotiating, until an agreeable compromise is reached.

Social media:

The privacy risks around social media should be obvious: one has only to look at the chatter around recent celebrity injunctions. But for some people, translating that into their own day-to-day lives does not seem to be so obvious. It may be hard to maintain privacy in this always-on, digital world, but re-thinking how you use social media when you’re going through a break-up should be a priority – not just for your own peace of mind, as where children are involved, it’s even more important.

Just type “divorce and social media” into a search engine and you’ll find millions of results, covering everything from advice to academic research. The use of social media is even given as the reason that people separate, whether because of discovery of illicit affairs or because of postings made by a partner.

There are all sorts of simple things you can do to avoid becoming drawn into damaging dialogues with your ex or upsetting each other by showing what is happening in the new life you are each living.

First, it’s a good idea to break all links and connections with your ex on each site you use. Check your settings to be sure that your profile is set to private and that you can’t be tagged by friends in newly posted pictures so you’re not sharing with your ex. You may be drawn to see what is happening with your former partner, and they with you, but it’s unlikely to help the process of moving on.

And think carefully before you post, so you avoid posting anything in anger or to try and score against your ex. Remember that once it’s out there, it’s in the public domain and can be seen by family, children, and even by a judge, if things come to court. It’s sometimes easy to imagine you are just ‘talking’ to close friends and followers when you post, but these are public platforms with a world-wide audience.

Across borders:

In the EU referendum aftermath, those in a relationship where one is a national of another EU country, may be wondering what is going to happen in future if their marriage suffers a break-down. But for now, there’s no change, while the UK remains a member of the EU. It’s likely there will be changes ahead, but those will be revealed as we progress through the lengthy negotiations that will be required.

For now, let’s focus on how sparring can be turned into conciliation and positive outcomes.


Handover photo cropped

Thank you to everyone who supported us during our recent Challenge, today we had the pleasure of handing the cheque over to Gordon Beeden, the Vice Chair of Bedford Hospitals Charity.


LawNet Quality Standard and ISO 9001 Certification

We are delighted to have been granted the above certification. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems is the world’s leading Quality Management Standard. The LawNet Quality Standard is the bespoke ISO 9001 Standard written specifically for law firms.

By achieving this Standard we have been able to demonstrate to our assessor good management practice across the firm to include the management of risk and performance measurement. We are pleased that it will be our clients who will be the true beneficiaries of us achieving this accreditation which undoubtedly provides us with a competitive edge


LawNet Challenge – An Updatecantilever


They told us it was a challenge – and they certainly weren’t wrong! We set off bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7.30 on the morning of Saturday 14th May (none of us really had a clue what lay ahead) and didn’t arrive back until after 6pm, by which time it’s fair to say we were all ready for our evening meal and free drink!.

On the way we climbed the equivalent of over 400 flights of stairs, walked (mostly vertically it felt) over 14 miles and literally clambered our way up and over some of the most breath-taking scenery Wales has to offer. We were blessed by the weather and so thankfully didn’t need any of our wet weather gear. Perhaps the highlight for all of us was when we clambered on to the famous cantilevered stone high up in the mountains, which just balances on it’s own weight. Whilst we got up there, we weren’t brave enough, like some others, to jump on it to feel it move though we have the photo to prove we got there!!

We are so grateful to everyone who supported us and are thrilled to have raised over £2,500.00 for Bedford Hospitals Challenge Cancer Campaign.


Lawnet Challenge


Lawnet photo

Sharman Law have decided to take part in the LawNet Challenge which is open to all firms of solicitors who are members of the LawNet organisation. From this firm Mel Lawrence, Philip Elliott, Jonathan Copper, Anna Jenkins, Ann Pryer, Helen Broom and Philip Botterill will be taking part and on the 14th May 2016 will be setting off to attempt the daunting task of climbing around the Glyder Loop in Wales.

Preparation has been going well with those involved walking as often as possible to raise their fitness levels for the task ahead!

As a firm we have decided to use this challenge to raise money for the Bedford Hospital Challenge Cancer Campaign. More information on this and what the money will be used for can be found at www.bedfordhospitalcharity.org.uk/cchallenge. This is a campaign that is very dear to the hearts of all staff here having had staff members beat and lose the battle with this devastating disease.

We have set up a Just Giving page for anyone who wishes to sponsor our intrepid walkers and the link for that is https://www.justgiving.com/SharmanLaw. If however you would prefer to call in then there are sponsor forms on both reception desks at our Ampthill and Bedford offices.