It gives me great pleasure to write the first committee report the newly (re)formed private client committee. We formed a year ago in the middle of a global pandemic and what a first year it has been.
It has been a busy year for private client practitioners with ongoing changes to the probate registry, changes to the witnessing of wills to deal with pandemic situations and new challenges in carrying out our role brought by the pandemic and adapting to a changed world. The demand for the work we do has increased as well as the challenges in providing a professional service.
In these difficult times the committee will focus on the law and the legislative process relating to non-contentious private client work through meaningfully and pro-actively represent non-contentious private client practitioners; seeking to pursue the best interests of non-contentious private client practitioners in the Birmingham and surrounding areas.
This will include engaging with relevant consultations and in our first year we engaged and responded to the HMCTS consultation on the mandating of all professionals grant applications to be made online. We continue to engage with HMCTS on improving the probate service which is based at the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre here in Birmingham. Although, like the rest of us, the reality is that their staff are working from home throughout the pandemic.
We look forward to the coming year where we will develop up-to-date professional training on various private client matters that will be of interest to practitioners. Focusing on the practicalities of performing the job rather than the technicalities of the law itself. Please keep a look out for more news on this and we would welcome suggestions on topics that practitioners may find helpful as we develop the training schedule. As a committee we will work with like- minded private client organisations (for example STEP, SFE, CIOT, ICAEW) in the Birmingham and surrounding areas.
I am really grateful to Matthew Hansell for taking the role as Deputy Chair, Amanda Elwell in becoming the committee’s Secretary and Bernard Shepherd for bringing his years of experience at BLS to our novice committee. I also thank other committee members Anne Tromans, Rachel Armstrong, Richard Neea, Beth King-Smith and Gavin Faber for joining and contributing to the committee in this first year.
All our meetings have been held via Zoom due to the pandemic, but with the end of the pandemic restrictions we are looking forward to our first ‘in person’ committee meeting; hopefully to take place in the pub. If anyone would like to join the committee or would like to raise any points of concern which the committee can assist then please do get in touch with me through BLS.