Our News

Are you eligible for a Powers of Attorney refund?

Almost two million people in England and Wales could be entitled to a partial refund of their Power of Attorney fees, after the Office of the Public Guardian overcharged them for applications.

The Ministry of Justice has revealed that individuals who applied to register lasting or enduring powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 were charged too much in fees by The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) who processes the applications and as such, they could be owed up to £108 each (£54 per power of attorney registered).

You can make a claim if you’re either:

- the donor (the person who set up the power of attorney), or

- an attorney (someone appointed by the donor to make decisions on their behalf in their lasting power of attorney {LPA} or enduring power of attorney {EPA}).

Refund claims can be made online by EITHER completing a 10-minute form (in order to make an online claim, you must have the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code) or by calling the Refunds Helpline on 0300 456 0300 (claims can only be made via phone if: the donor doesn’t have a UK bank account; the donor has died or you’re the court-appointed deputy).

The refund will be paid to the donor, although Gov.uk has more information on what to do if the donor has died 

If you have any questions, feel free to call our Wills & Probate Department on 01606 48777 or drop into our FREE weekly Wills & Probate clinic.


Jane Williamson, Director & Head of Care Department, retires from SH&Co. after 17 years

Jane Williamson, a highly experienced and respected Solicitor and Head of Care at SH&Co., is retiring to focus on judicial work.

Jane joined the company as a partner in 2000, has recently been extending her tribunal work which has seen her join the Social Security Tribunal and more recently, the Mental Health tribunal.

This work has enabled Jane to combine her interests and especially to work on the interrelation of mental health and family dynamics, particularly as she is also a member of the specialist Child and Adolescent Mental health panel.

Jane helped co-manage the firm, working closely and alongside Director Susan Howarth for the last 17 years to help steer it through the recession without any redundancies.

All of the staff are sad to see Jane go with Susan commenting: “’Having known and worked with Jane in the legal sector since the early 1990’s and as a Partner in Susan Howarth & Co since 2000, I have throughout been impressed by her personable nature, depth of legal knowledge, professionalism and her sense of dedication to duty and hard work.

“She has been a massive asset to the firm over the years and those of us left behind at Susan Howarth & Co will sorely miss her.”

On retiring, Jane said: ““After 36 years as a child care solicitor being in court most days of the week, it was a big decision to make, but I’ve never regretted my choice of career for a moment as it has always been stimulating and never boring! I am looking forward to being able to do more tribunal work sitting in different parts of the country as well as having just a little more free time – hopefully!

“Inevitably I will miss colleagues who have become friends after so many years working together and of course all the staff I’m leaving behind at Susan Howarth & Co. Solicitors. I know the calibre of the solicitors there is very high and so I firmly believe the firm will continue to go from strength to strength as they continue to offer a caring and highly competent service to our clients .”

Jane will continue to work with SH&Co. for a further year in a Consultancy capacity and we all wish her the very best of luck in all her future endeavours.

November 2017 - SH&Co. join Cheshire Without Abuse to help celebrate 40 years of changing lives

In May 2016, we announced Cheshire Without Abuse as our Charity of the Year, and we’ve not looked back since!

Domestic abuse is an ever-present problem in all parts of our society, with bullying, psychological abuse and intimidation presenting as some of the most insidious forms of abuse. Add to that coercive control, gaslighting, physical or sexual violence, and it’s easy to see why the work that CWA do is vital.

On Friday 17th November, our Family Law Department joined CWA at their 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner at Crewe Hall, to celebrate 40 years of supporting families affected by domestic abuse.

It was a fabulous evening with drinks flowing, fantastic entertainment, scintillating conversation and delicious food – a wonderful celebration to mark a truly marvellous milestone.

We were delighted to also present the team with a cheque for £3326.13 – the total funds we’ve raised for the charity in our first year.

CWA is a much-needed organisation offering crisis accommodation and a wide variety of advice, practical and emotional support and information through a range of clinics, recovery & support groups, counselling services and specialist children’s programmes for those who are currently or have previously experienced domestic abuse as an adult or child.

We look forward to continuing our support of CWA throughout 2018.

If you’re experiencing any form of domestic abuse, or you know someone who has, contact CWA direct on 01270 250390 or contact one of our specialist lawyers for legal advice on 01606 48777.


October 2017 - Victoria Poole is shortlisted for Family Law Award

Victoria Poole, a Chartered Legal Executive and Director at SH&Co., has been shortlisted as 1 of only 4 nominees for the Family Law Awards in the ‘Family Law Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year’ category.

The Awards were launched to recognise the important work of family lawyers, and celebrate their many successes and outstanding achievements.

The shortlist has been chosen by a judging panel made up of the heads of the Family Law Bar Association, Resolution and the Association of Lawyers for Children, along with Family Law editors and publishing executives.

In keeping with tradition, three of this year’s Awards, including the Family Law Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year, will be voted for by the family law community.

Susan Howarth, Founder and Director of SH&Co., has said “In the 12 years Vicky has been with SH&Co., her legal skills, expertise and sound judgement, not to mention sheer common sense, have shone through, making her an excellent family lawyer that we, as a firm, are proud to have on our board.

I am thrilled and delighted that Vicky is nominated as 1 of the 4 nominees for the prestigious award of Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year, hosted by the national legal organisation of Family Law and Lexis Nexis. Not just well deserved but an accolade for herself and also the firm. Well done Vicky!”

Profiles of the shortlisted nominees for the Family Law Awards voted for by the family law community can be found here and if you’d like to show your support of Victoria’s work and her nomination, you can vote here: http://www.familylawawards.com/ext/vote.asp

Voting will close at midday on Friday 20th October and the winners will be announced at this year's ceremony on Wednesday 29th November at the Ballroom South Bank, London.

Huge congratulations on being shortlisted Vicky and very best of luck!

July 2017 - SH&Co. welcomes John Spittle as Consultant Solicitor

We're delighted to welcome John Spittle to Susan Howarth & Company as a Consultant Solicitor to work alongside Ray Melia in further developing the Property Department.

A vastly experienced, highly-respected and reputable solicitor, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in Residential Conveyancing, Wills & Probate and Lasting Power of Attorney.

For John's full profile and background, click here.



We know that many relationships and marriages can experience difficulty and/or break down for all manner of reasons.

And, with or without children, aside from the heartache and turmoil of a relationship breakdown, resolving separation matters can become extremely complicated and messy.

This is why we recommend seeking legal advice at the earliest possible stage.

Joint counselling can be an excellent idea for couples who are experiencing problems and struggling to communicate. Conversely, you may have already tried counselling and need to explore separation, divorce or mediation options. You may have children to consider or perhaps the relationship is now no longer healthy.

Whatever the reason, a specialist family lawyer can advise on your position and options, and give information about joint or family finances and negotiating financial settlements.

If you are unable to attend one of our FREE Family Law drop-in clinics, we are now offering all new Family Law clients a FREE 30 minute consultation – for more details or to book an appointment, please contact us directly on 01606 48777 or fill in the contact form on the left and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.



On Friday 7th April 2017, we will have been in business for 20 years to the day.

To celebrate this milestone, we’re offering clients 10% off all our services from 7th April 2017 until 31st May 2017.

The offer is applicable for new instructions received between these dates only, quoting SH20. Reductions will be applied on work undertaken up until 31st May 2017, after which normal fees will be charged. Offer excludes Legal Aid and Legal Help, commercial property, urgent court applications and all disbursements.

MAY 2017 - ***Victoria Poole Appointed Director***

We’re absolutely delighted to announce Victoria Poole’s appointment as a Director at Susan Howarth & Company.
Victoria joined the practice in 2005 and is a long-standing, much-loved member of the Family Law department who’s made significant and valuable contributions to the firm.
With a career in law spanning 30 years, Victoria qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2010 and has a wealth of experience she offers her clients. A member of Resolution, she was accredited by Resolution as a specialist in Domestic Abuse and in Children in 2015 and qualified as a Resolution Family Mediator in 2016.
Congratulations Victoria!

NOVEMBER 2016 - Will Aid month

Following on from last month’s introduction of the new free Will initiative here at Susan Howarth & Co., we’re delighted to announce our participation in Will Aid this November.

A UK-wide scheme, Will Aid is a simply way to make your Will and support nine fantastic charities. Absolutely anyone and everyone can take part throughout the month, and there is no minimum age imposed on who can get a Will.

As a part of Will Aid, we will waive our usual fee and you are invited to make a donation to charity (the suggested voluntary donation is £95 for a basic single Will or £150 for a pair of basic mirror Wills).

As there is limited availability and some conditions apply, please contact our Wills & Probate lawyer Natalie Whitmore on 01606 48777 or nataliewhitemore@susanhowarthsolicitors.co.uk for more details.


SH&Co. recommended again in The Legal 500 2016-2017 edition             

The latest edition of The Legal 500 has been published in September 2016 and once again Susan Howarth & Co. Solicitors has been included in recognition of our work in the area of Family Law and Child Care.

The Legal 500 is the UK’s leading independent guide to law firms and inclusion in the guide is highly prized by lawyers as it represents an objective endorsement of the level of service and expertise being offered by the firm, as benchmarked against its main competition.

Susan Howarth, Director of SH&Co., said: “We are absolutely delighted to not only be ranked in The Legal 500 for the 3rd year running, but to also move up a tier - it’s a credit to the whole team for their high level of service, success and hard work.”



Congratulations to Lizzy Emmington from our Child Care department, who has gained recognition for her expertise in Children's Law and has been approved as an accredited member of the Law Society Children's Panel.



Wonderful people of Northwich - we salute you!

Despite the downpours, you came out in droves to the Northwich Summer Extravaganza last Saturday and helped us raise ***£150*** for our nominated charity this year, Cheshire Without Abuse - a very worthy local charity that provides much needed support to victims of domestic abuse.


We had a whale of a time and a big special thanks goes to Steve (of Small Tops Circus - balloonist, stiltwalker, plate spinner and juggler extraordinaire!) and Jim (super speedy balloonist) for entertaining the masses!



Victoria Poole has been recognised by the Family Mediation Council to undertake All Issues Mediation which includes all aspects of family mediation i.e. divorce, children and finances.

If you wish to discuss mediation or attend a mediation session with Victoria, please contact the office on 01606 48777.


ANNOUNCING Cheshire Without Abuse as our Charity of the Year 2016- 2017

Domestic abuse is sadly an ever-present and ever-real (ever-growing) problem in today’s society, with frightening statistics to support this. And yet, with stigma and shame seemingly still attached to the issue, many instances of domestic abuse still go unrecognised and unreported.

In December 2015 a new domestic abuse law came into force, which paves the way for charges in cases where there is evidence of repeated "controlling or coercive behaviour" - read our blog on the new law and what constitutes controlling and coercive behaviour.

And earlier this year, BBC Radio 4’s The Archers’ main plot depicted coercive control, showing how domestic abuse can easily become a shameful secret, hidden by fear and manipulation.

At Susan Howarth & Company, we have members of our team who are members of Law Society Family Law Panel, Law Society Childrens Panel and Resolution Panel, in addition to two specialist mediators and two experts in domestic violence.

We deal with many cases involving domestic abuse so nominating Cheshire Without Abuse as our chosen charity to support this year felt like a natural choice. Click this link for more details on Cheshire Without Abuse.

We’re really excited about working with CWA and will be putting on several fundraising events throughout this year. Watch this space!



Legal 500 - We are extremely pleased to have been recently recognised as one of the top 500 law firms in the United Kingdom in respect of  our family law and care specialism.

WIQS - We have also been recently accredited with the Law Society's Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme, which recognises the firm as providing a best quality mark for wills and estate administration advice that our client's can trust.

Resolution Accredited Specialist - On the 19th February 2015, Victoria Poole in our Family Team was accredited by Resolution as a specialist in Domestic Abuse and in Children, gaining specialist status under the Resolution scheme. To enable Victoria to become a Resolution Accredited Specialist, she had to pass a tough independent assessment to show her skills, expertise and knowledge.



Congratulations to our very own Jane Williamson who has recently been appointed as a Tribunal judge at the Mental Health Tribunal. Jane is a Director and Head of our Care and Adoption Team at Susan Howarth & Co Solicitors. Jane already sits as a part-time Judge on the Special Educational Needs Tribunal and Social Security Tribunal.



The rules surrounding Domestic Violence and Abuse have recently changed to allow people to request the police to check their partner’s previous history of Domestic Violence or violent acts. This is known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or “Clare’s Law”, which is named after Claire Wood, who was strangled by her boyfriend, George Appleton and set on fire at her home in Salford, in February 2009. The couple had met on the internet and Mr Appleton had a record of violence against women.

The checks also stretch to anyone who is worried about someone they know who is in a potentially abusive relationship and believe they are at risk of domestic violence and/or abuse.

The checks allow the police to look through the person’s criminal history/records and if they have reason to believe this person is a risk due to offences they may have committed or other information arising from their system, they can consider disclosing such background information to the potential victim. The victim can then make their own choice as to whether to continue in the relationship or not.

This also coincides with a further change and introduction of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs), which help and provide support for victims who have been subjected to incidents of Domestic Violence and Abuse. They have been implemented from the 8th March 2014. DVPOs can last for up to 28 days, during which time an offender can be prevented from having contact with the victim and/or returning to the home where they have both lived.

This is designed to be a “filler”, which provides immediate protection to the victim so it gives them enough time to think about their options and what to do next. We would advise the victim should always seek legal assistance from a solicitor to see what more permanent measures can be taken against an offender. For more information on this and generally in relation to Domestic Violence and Abuse, please consult the police website or visit: https://www.gov.uk/domestic-violence-and-abuse

If you believe you are a victim of Domestic Violence and/or Abuse and want to know your options in terms of protecting yourself, your children and your home then please call our Office on 01606 48777 to make an appointment to see one of our highly trained solicitors. We also offer public funding for those on limited means subject to meeting the criteria.



If you are in receipt of one of the following benefits then you will be entitled to our discounted fixed fee divorce products, whether you are the person initiating the divorce or whether you have received divorce papers from the court:

  - Income Support

  - Income Related Employment and Support Allowance

  - Income Related Jobseekers Allowance

Please contact our office for further information on these products if you are in receipt of one of these benefits.



The launch of our sister business and its new DIY divorce form filling service featured in the Northwich Guardian on November 5th when the paper highlighted recent legal aid cuts and how our firm is trying to assist people who can no longer get legal aid for their divorce. For the full article follow this link to 





Our associated business, Cheshire Family Law, have launched a new service for people who are doing their own divorce but need help to complete the various forms.  An evening session provides the forms needed, helping people to fill them out and providing copies to keep.  Due to limited spaces, places need to be booked in advance.  See our Events section for the next session or look on our Services list for the link to Cheshire Family Law where more detail about the session is available.



The Firm are delighted and honoured to have received the prestigious National Award of "Niche (Specialist) Firm of the Year." 



Get in touch

If you would like to make an enquiry, please complete the form below. Fields marked with a * must be completed.

Your Details

Mandatory: To help us distinguish between forms submitted by individuals and those automatically generated by spam software, please type the word shown here into the box below.

We’ll only use this information to handle your enquiry and we won’t share it with any third parties. For more details see our Privacy Policy.