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President's Column for the Birmingham Post
22 August 2013
By Martin Allsopp, President of Birmingham Law Society

Divorce by lynch mob


It is amazing how we, the public, believe that we have a right to determine the outcome of the lives of those who, knowingly or not, lead theirs on the public stage.

Take Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi, for example. The high profile "celebrity" couple recently found their private lives splashed across the front pages of the national newspapers following an incident outside a London restaurant.

The nature of the incident in question sparked a furore among the public, who demanded retribution for what had reportedly happened. As a result of the national outpouring, the parties gave in to public pressure as opposed to privately resolving their differences for good or ill.
This example, while topical, serves to highlight an important issue, which needs to be dispelled – the so called 'quickie divorce'.



Lawyers have a roaring good time

Birmingham Law Society celebrated its annual summer event by throwing a 1920s Speakeasy party.


 Birmingham Post column 22 July, 2013 BY MARTIN ALLSOPP

The one thing that is certain about life is that death will follow. Fewer than 40 per cent of the population of England and Wales currently hold a will. This is an unfortunate statistic given the financial problems that death may bring.

Many assume that if they have a spouse and children that their assets will pass to their spouse and then on to their children. This is not necessarily the case, as a spouse on death is currently entitled to receive £250,000 from the deceased’s estate, together with any joint property. The balance of the deceased’s estate is then held on trust, with half of the income passing to the spouse and the other half to the children.  


The President’s Golf Day at Nailcote Hall, 11th July 2013

The Presidents Fun Golf Day was held at Nailcote Hall in blazing sunshine on Thursday 11th July 2013. Nailcote Hall hosts the British Par Three Championships and the course was as we played in ideal condition, in readiness for the championship to be held there on the 6th August.   The course consists of 9 par three holes and BLS guests were invited to play the course twice. Mr Richard Cressman the owner of Nailcote Hall, welcomed us all to the event and we were entertained on arrival to a light lunch.   A shotgun start followed and the President’s PA (his wife Tracey!) drove a buggy onto the course at the half way point to provide non-alcoholic beverages for the good players and alcoholic beverages for the players shall we say with slightly less ability. Within the competition, a separate yellow ball competition was held to ensure regular participation of every golfer at every hole and following several drinks at the bar at the end of evening, we were then entertained in the stately surroundings of Nailcote Hall by a sumptuous three course dinner. Various prizes were presented to golfers of varying abilities, (it was a fun day) but the principal prize was won by Colin French and Simon Hurley-Smith with a score of 40 points, some 27 points more than was accrued by the pairing who shall remain anonymous for the purposes of this article in collecting the booby prize. A great day out was enjoyed by all and following dinner a raffle was held to which our generous host Mr Cressman, donated a round of two for four people at the course, including lunch.   The President was pleased to announce that a sum of £385.00 had been raised from the proceeds of the raffle, for the President’s charity, St Basil’s, and thanks go to all of the administrators and participants who took part in a splendid day’s entertainment.

Martin Allsopp


BLS –v- West Midlands Police Cricket – 6 July 2013 – A policeman’s lot is not a happy one!
On a glorious summer evening a representative side from the Birmingham Law Society visited the WMP sports and social club at Tally Ho! to take on the Chief Constable and a representative side from West Midlands Police.  The BLS skipper – appointed on the night on the strength of his cricket shirt – Andy Ford of Hamer Childs duly won the toss and decided to bat.  Umpires were Martin Allsopp, BLS and Tony Rollason of Landmark.  David Brammer from SGH Martineau and Nick Kates from Pinsent Masons opened the batting and got the lawyers off to a strong start, with David retiring on 32 not out.  There were plenty of other robust contributions with the bat, playing to local rules with retirement compulsory at 30 (we all wish!) including that of Andy who reached his ‘compulsory retirement’ with five huge sixes! An imposing total of 177 was set in 20 overs. 
A swift turnaround was called for and the light was already beginning to fade as the police came out to open their innings.  It was apparent from the start that not all of the police team were what you might call “regular coppers” and, bearing in mind the fact that BLS had never lost this fixture in the seven years it has been held, there was even some suggestion that the Chief Constable may have sought support from outside consultants.  They batted strongly through the order with several of the boys in blue (or white) retiring on 30 and playing impressive shots as the sun set over Edgbaston.  James Parkes of No 5 Chambers opened the bowling and put the ball on the spot.  The skipper bowled tightly and there were good performances in the field, with the wicket keeper James Allsopp, the President’s son, performing admirably behind the stumps. Another of the highlights was Pete Lowen, ex of Birmingham Law Society, now sadly closed, bowling his loopy leg spin. 
At the end of the evening the target of 177 proved three runs too many for the police and the players and umpires retired to the sports and social club to take advantage of the offered hospitality.  The Chief Constable made a gracious speech in defeat which was responded to by Martin Allsopp on behalf of BLS.  This is a great event bringing together lawyers from all sectors in a common sporting purpose and friendly atmosphere, long may it continue in the sunshine.

 David Brammer
SGH Martineau





Birmingham Post Legal column, 24 June, 2013 BY MARTIN ALLSOPP

Recently, my friend's cat was put down due to cancer. There were no lawyers involved – just the vet, the cat and its owner.

While it is generally accepted that the terminal suffering of animals should not be prolonged, there is still much debate about whether humans should have the same assistance.

 Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 makes it illegal to assist another to commit suicide, a crime punishable as either murder or manslaughter. The debate as to whether this should remain so has been the subject of much discussion and a number of understandably high profile cases. 


 18 June 2013 - Law Society toasts new partnership

Birmingham Law Society held a networking event to toast its new preferred supplier partnership with two of the city’s top legal recruitment firms.

More than 70 people from the region’s legal sector gathered at Maple House to celebrate the Society’s new partnership with firms Badenoch & Clark and Bell Cornwall.

The organisation has struck a 12-month deal with the two firms, which will provide its 4000 members with help and advice on sourcing qualified and support staff.

The event was sponsored by Badenoch & Clark, Bell Cornwall and Maple House (etc. venues).

Click here for photos

6 June 2013 -


We have just heard that Wolverhampton City Council wishes to dispose of the majority of its Law books and the proceeds of sale of which will pass to the Mayor’s Charity. Access to an information sheet will be obtained via our website, together with the rules of the Auction which will commence on 17th June. Please follow the link for further details if this is of interest.


 3 June 2013 - Joint Press Release on behalf of Resolution West Midlands Committee and the Birmingham Law Society Family Law Committee

Legal Aid Cuts Threaten Access to Justice in the Midlands

Resolution, the country's largest association of family law practitioners, and the Birmingham Law Society, the largest regional Law Society in the country, have joined together to warn of the devastating effects of further legal aid cuts, which will result in 200,000 people a year being denied access to justice across England and Wales.





Birmingham Post legal column - 20 May, 2013 -BY MARTIN ALLSOPP

One of the reasons the British legal system is regarded as the fairest in the world its that the scales of justice are balanced evenly for accusers and the accused. 

Of late, however, I have become concerned that this principle is being undermined.

I’m talking in particular about Operation Yew Tree and the weekly ‘outing’ of celebrities involved in the on-going police investigation into sexual assaults.


 Tuesday 13 May  - Law Society joins forces with legal recruiters

Birmingham Law Society (BLS) has announced a new preferred supplier partnership with two of the city’s top legal recruitment firms.

The organisation has struck a 12-month deal with Badenoch & Clark and Bell Cornwall, which will provide the Society’s 4000 members with help and advice on sourcing qualified and support staff, such as paralegals and legal assistants.

Both agencies will also offer assistance with CV writing and interviewing techniques, as well as providing seminars on career progression and development.

The agencies were shortlisted following a nine-month long selection process, headed by BLS chairman Chris Owen.


Tuesday 23 April 2013 

New president takes over the reins at law society

Martin Allsopp, partner at law firm Allsopp & Co, has been appointed as the new president of Birmingham Law Society.

He takes the helm from Mary Kaye, who stepped down at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, to become the 194th president of the organisation.




 Birmingham Post legal column  -Monday 22 April 2013 - BY MARTIN ALLSOPP

Spring is here at last, bringing the prospect of better times round the corner. I very much hope the same can be said for the legal profession and for other businesses throughout the Birmingham area.

I am Birmingham Law Society’s new President. I am a partner,in a small firm practising on the High Street and am very honoured indeed to have been asked to represent the region’s legal profession.

This year Birmingham Law Society has given me an opportunity to speak for various High Street practices in the Birmingham area. To do so I intend during my presidential year to meet many people across the region and to visit as many of our town centres as possible.


Society digs deep for local charities -

Tuesday 9 April 2013


Members of Birmingham Law Society have dug deep into their pockets to raise more than £9,000 for local charities Birmingham Law Centre and SIFA Fireside.

The money was raised at events held throughout the year including the Society’s annual Legal Awards and President’s Dinner, as well as its inaugural talent competition, BLS Has Got Talent, which raised more than £3000 on the night.