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Latest News

Rebecca Walker – coming soon to Max Engel!

Everyone is looking forward to welcoming Rebecca Walker on 4th November 2019. Rebecca will be joining us as an Associate Solicitor in our private client department dealing with Wills, Probate, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work.

Max Engel welcomes …

Max Engel welcomes James Harvey and Emma Akhtar to the team!

James joins as the head of the litigation department and Emma joins as a paralegal in the commercial department.

Easter Giveaway!

🐥🐥 It’s Easter giveaway time again … 🐥🐥

For a chance to win our stunning hamper, all you need to do is visit our facebook page:

1. Like our page
2. Comment “Hamper”
3. Share this post.

Entrants must be 18 & over. A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday 16th April. Prize must be collected from the office by Thursday 18th April.

Good luck!!!

Special Offer!

We are offering discounted conveyancing fees for a limited time only!

If you are looking to buy, sell, remortgage or transfer your equity in a residential or buy to let property and come to us quoting the code ‘Facebook19’ we will reduce our fee by £50 and of course the VAT will reduce accordingly saving you £60! The terms and conditions of this offer are below.

The discount will be applied to each transaction – for example, if you are selling your current property and also buying a new one, the total discount will be £100.

You can get in touch with us either by calling 01604 887456/7 or emailing or

Terms and conditions of this offer:

  • This offer remains valid for formal instructions received up to and including 31st March 2019
  • You must state the code at the point of obtaining an initial fee quotation from us
  • Minimum fee spend of £175.00 per transaction
  • All fees mentioned within this offer are exclusive of VAT
  • Cannot be used against disbursements incurred
  • Only one code per transaction
  • Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer

Subject to our standard terms of engagement, a copy of which is available on request

Christmas Giveaway!

Christmas Elves have visited Max Engel!

For a chance to win our fabulous Lindt Chocolate Father Christmas all you need to do is:-
1. Follow the link to our Facebook Post
2. Click Like
3. Comment “Santa”
4. Share the post.
A winner will be chosen at random on Monday 17th December…Good luck.
(The prize must be collected from our office.)

Easter Giveaway!

The Easter Bunny has arrived at Max Engel!

For a chance to win our fabulous 1kg Lindt Chocolate Bunny all you need to do is:-
1. Follow the link to our Facebook Post
2. Click Like
3. Comment “Bunny”
4. Share the post.
A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday 28th March…Good luck.
(The prize must be collected from our office.)


Find Max Engel on Facebook!

Our ethos is and always has been to provide a traditional and personal approach to the delivery of legal services. We are proud to maintain that in the face of the modern world of volumised and factory style delivery where technology replaces the human approach, and the computer often says “no” to sympathetic guidance and support during the often difficult matters which our clients are facing while using our services.

Despite this however we do recognise that technology can play an important part in effective and streamlined service so we do seek to use it where possible to keep costs to a minimum and help our clients stay in contact with the firm even where they don’t have an immediate need for our assistance.

To that end we are pleased to announce that today Max Engel & Co LLP have launched into our first “social media” outing, with our new Facebook page here. We hope that all our clients; past present and future, will take the opportunity to keep up to date with us and share your experiences of using the firm, or even just say hello.

New protocol for debt claims

By Victoria Radford

On 1 October 2017, a new pre-action protocol for debt claims came in to force. The new protocol can be found here.

A protocol is simply the Court’s expectation of how parties should conduct themselves before resorting to Court. The purpose of the Protocol is to encourage parties to communicate at an early stage in an attempt to avoid the need for Court proceedings in the first place.

The Protocol applies to business creditors seeking to recover a debt from an individual or a sole trader. It does not apply to other business-to-business debts. The Protocol significantly increases formalities prior to issuing a claim and it is important to consider this before embarking on the litigation process.

The New Procedure

The new Debt Claims Protocol requires a creditor to issue a letter of claim to the debtor before any legal proceedings are commenced. The letter must provide certain mandatory information; a large number of detailed requirements must now be included in the initial letter, and failure to comply can have cost penalties when the matter comes before the Court.

The following are examples of what should be included. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and legal advice should be sought prior to a letter before claim being sent.

  1. where the debt arises from an oral agreement, who made the agreement, what was agreed (including, as far as possible, what words were used) and when and where it was agreed;
  2. where the debt has been assigned, the details of the original debt and creditor, when it was assigned and to whom;
  3. if regular instalments are currently being offered by or on behalf of the debtor, or are being paid, an explanation of why the offer is not acceptable and why a court claim is still being considered.

The letter of claim must be posted on the day on which it is dated and signed or if not reasonably possible, the following working day.

Response to claim

The debtor should respond within 30 days (an increase on the 14 days previously allowed). Again there are detailed requirements for what should be included. Where parties have been unable to reach an agreement, the creditor should then give the debtor at least 14 days’ notice of their intention to issue court proceedings.

Sanctions for non-compliance

If a party fails to comply with the Protocol and proceedings are issued, the Court can take this into consideration when giving directions. The Court has the discretion to impose cost sanctions against non-complying parties.

What do these changes mean for creditors?

The letter of claim is likely to have to be longer and include more detailed information than before. It is good practice for the letter of claim to be sent by post even if the creditor has additional contact details for the debtor, such as an email address.

The time lapse from the letter before claim to the issue of proceedings is likely to double. If the debtor seeks legal advice, this could delay issue for up to 3 months.

The Courts may not be overly concerned with minor breaches of the Protocol, especially in cases involving urgency, but they will have the power to consider breaches and impose sanctions so compliance is advisable at all times!

Our Observations

It appears that the changes will put a greater burden on a creditor prior to issuing a claim, specifically the requirement to provide historical credit information.

Creditors (or those who wish to avoid becoming creditors!) should take steps to tighten up their internal processes so that;

  1. greater consideration is given before an individual is given credit in the first place; and
  2. the information required by the Protocol is readily available and complete in the event of a dispute.

Whilst the aim of the Protocol is undoubtedly an attempt to reduce the amount of litigation and provide extra protection for consumers, the practical implications are material.

The increasing complexity of the Court procedure and the ability of the Court to impose financial penalties even if your claim is successful, means that it is more important than ever for specific legal advice to be sought prior to embarking on litigation. Sometimes this may not be cost effective, so prevention is better than cure!

If you are considering legal action against a debtor or if you receive a letter before claim from a creditor, please contact Victoria Radford on 01604 887452 to discuss the position further.


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought from our litigation team before acting on any of the information given in this article.


Sara Lawson acquires more development sites for Bewick Homes Limited!

Sara Lawson has recently acquired two more residential development sites for Bewick Homes Limited. The first site is at Pottersbury in Northamptonshire and will be a development of 10 dwellings. This will include 6 new build properties, the conversion of the maltings into three properties and the refurbishment of the original Grade 2 listed house. The second site is at Whitehall Farm, Offord Cluny in Cambridgeshire and will be a development of 8 executive homes. See for further details.


Welcoming Lee Humphries to Max Engel!

Max Engel are pleased to welcome Lee Humphries to the team! Lee joins as the Head of our Residential Conveyancing department. Lee has more than 20 years experience in dealing with all aspects of residential conveyancing.

April 2016 changes to employment law

Businesses should be made aware of several key changes to employment law that came into force in April 2016. They included the introduction of the National Living Wage and financial penalties for unpaid employment tribunal awards and settlements, and increases in employment tribunal compensation limits.

Guidance on unfair contract terms for businesses published

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a series of new “at a glance” guides to help businesses understand what terms are likely to be considered “fair” and “unfair” when used in a consumer contract. The guides are aimed at small businesses and provide an overview of some of the main mistakes that a business should avoid when writing its terms. They add to the various guidance that the CMA published in October 2015 when the main provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force.

Sick and tired of EU Regulation?

The Court of Appeal has recently decided that EU Regulations on employment mean that if you are off sick for a whole year then when you return to work you can carry forward the paid holiday which you would have had during that year into the following period.  However, if you work all year and do not take your holiday during that period then you cannot carry forward any holiday entitlement (save if the employer decides to grant it as a kindness).  Ask us to explain this paradox further …if we can.

Chancel Repairs. Are they important?

This legal anachronism gave rise to a claim of several hundred thousand pounds against an unwitting purchaser of former glebe land in a test case.  The government of the time decided to regularise the position by forcing church authorities to register at the Land Registry if they claim their neighbours should pay to repair the church.  As a result, what used to be a very, very rare occurrence has been brought to the attention of the church financial authorities who are now rushing to register their rights to make such claims before the deadline in 2013.  It means that many more people will now be at risk and there is an argument for saying that anyone who could be affected by such a claim should obtain insurance now before the claim is registered.  Insurance cover thereafter might not be available or if it is it will be at a much greater sum.  You may wish to talk to us about whether this could apply to you and if so what to do about it. 

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA ID: 389678). Max Engel is the trading name of Max Engel & Co LLP a limited liability partnership (Members: R E Engel, H L Carville and S G Lawson) registered in England, registered number: OC 305962. Registered office: 8 Hazelwood Road, Northampton NN1 1lP. VAT Number: 119 4485 55.

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