For a values-driven business such as Anthony Collins Solicitors, International Women’s Day is not just another event in the calendar. Striving for social equality is a daily mission as we work towards building a society of gender equality. As such, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we are reflecting on the work that we, and our clients, have done that supports women. Here are just some recent examples of how we have directly or through the work with our clients supported gender equality and female empowerment:

Supporting individuals

By managing their property and finances, we ensure that vulnerable women have access to their money and are reunited with their belongings, which can be locked away in banks and inaccessible due to their health. In our Court of Protection team, we manage our client’s property and finances when they have been deemed not to have capacity to do this themselves. We offer support to a wide range of often very vulnerable women, including those who have dementia or mental health issues, are victims of domestic abuse, have acquired brain injury due to failed suicide attempts, and many others.

We achieved a matrimonial settlement for our client that gave her a clean break and that should enable her to rehouse herself and her children whilst managing significant debts independently of her husband. Through our representation of this client we achieved a better than expected financial settlement. The divorce was highly contentious and we faced a very obstructive husband throughout, who did not comply with court deadlines, adopted an unrealistic approach to managing finances and stopped house viewings from taking place when the marital home needed to be sold.

We supported our client to care for her son as she desperately wanted, whilst not causing harm to herself or putting him at risk. We represented the mother of a baby who suffered a major brain injury when he was a few months old.  He needed 24-hour care, which his mother was providing mostly on her own.  Her consequential gross lack of sleep led to a significant deterioration in her (previously well-managed) epilepsy to the extent that she started to have lots of seizures every day, which in turn affected her ability to care for her son.  The local authority would only fund a paid carer for a few hours a week, which was significantly less than she needed.  Our successful challenge of that decision resulted in the local authority putting in a 24-hour care and support package every day as well as paying our client’s existing carer who lived in the same household (an exception to the usual rule that Direct Payments are not paid to a carer who lives in the same household).

We represented a lady who suffered a haemorrhage after giving birth to her first child, which resulted in a life-saving hysterectomy. She wouldn’t have needed the hysterectomy if the care had not been negligent. Being part of a large, close-knit family, she had always wanted a big family herself, so we are claiming compensation to give her the option of growing her little family through IVF treatment and surrogacy.

Supporting organisational clients to champion women and women’s rights

Our client is at the forefront of finding ways to ensure women can access vital information about their fertility before they cease to be eligible for NHS support. Last year we supported an organisation that provides at-home tests to help women understand their fertility. Customers can purchase an at-home blood test and discuss their results with experts, accessing holistic support so that women are empowered to understand their hormones and improve their fertility health. Women face the increasing difficulties of an IVF postcode lottery, and our client is at the forefront of finding ways to ensure women can access vital information about their fertility before they cease to be eligible for NHS support. We provided advice about the regulatory regime that applies to diagnostic testing and also supported them in responding to a trademark dispute.

By providing strategic advice, we can ensure that our charity client is able to focus on its mission to help girls and women increase their confidence, resilience and wellbeing, and develop important life skills. We have supported the Girls’ Brigade with various employment law queries. By providing strategic advice, we can ensure the charity can focus on its mission. You can find out more about the Girls’ Brigade and their work at girlsbrigadeministries.org.uk.

Our advice ensured that our client could provide vital domestic abuse services in the borough. We advised a women’s charity on its entry to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). Our client was awarded a contract for a refuge and community-based support following a tendering exercise by a council. In order to fulfil the contract, the client had to gain entry to the LGPS. Our advice ensured that our client could provide vital domestic abuse services in the borough.

Our client, MacIntyre Care, has an all-female board and has supported its directors by enrolling them on the “Top Flight” leadership programme. This is designed to encourage female executives to have the confidence to develop and go for promotion by providing coaching and career planning sessions.

Our client, Tearfund, is addressing violence against women. Tearfund has founded Restored, an international Christian alliance aiming to draw the church’s attention to violence against women both within and beyond its own walls. You can read more about the work Tearfund is doing to help women on their website.