From Darkness to Light

This coming Sunday 28th November at 5.30pm, Liverpool Cathedral is once again holding its spectacular From Darkness to Light service to mark the first Sunday of the Advent season.

The service begins with the entire Cathedral in total darkness, and as the procession, accompanied by music, slowly wends its way from the west end to the east end of the building, the darkness is gradually transformed by more and more light from the candles held by the procession’s participants and the Cathedral’s natural lighting.

When the procession reaches the Altar at the east end of the building, the Cathedral is bathed in light, creating a warm, welcoming and stunning effect that symbolises both the daily rhythms of our lives, and the light which Christ and the Word of God bring into the hearts and lives of Christians. At the end of the service, the procession retraces its steps signifying Christ’s second coming.

The From Darkness to Light Advent service was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making this year’s service all the more special and heralding the start of a more typical festive season at Liverpool Cathedral. Admission is free and no booking is required. The Cathedral doors open at 4.30pm, and bell ringing will take place before the service from 4pm to 5.30pm. 

Bartletts Solicitors are proud to be long-term supporters of Liverpool Cathedral, with Thomas Bartlett, a direct ancestor of the firm’s owners, leaving a bequest for the construction of the array of 13 bells for the new cathedral which was then being built in 1912. We wish our friends and partners at Liverpool Cathedral all the very best wishes for the upcoming festive season!

Return of the Wondrous Place Gallery

The Museum of Liverpool is reopening its popular Wondrous Place gallery next Friday, 26th November, showcasing and celebrating Liverpool’s internationally recognised roll call of creative talent in music, sport, cinema, TV, comedy, art, poetry and more. New displays and immersive experiences help visitors better understand the city’s array of trailblazing talent, and its genuine influence around the world in different creative spheres.  

The new Stage and Screen display looks at how Liverpool has been used as a backdrop for Hollywood blockbuster films and award-winning TV shows, and also explores some of Merseyside’s less well-known cultural creators, including writers, producers and performers. Among the famous items of costume on display are iconic Beatles’ suits, one of Lita Rosa’s favourite stage dresses, a Melanie C stage costume worn on the Spice Girls’ 2019 Spice World tour and Cillian Murphy’s cap from the BBC gangster drama Peaky Blinders.

Liverpool’s sporting legacy is not overlooked, with Bill Shankly’s trademark overcoat taking pride of place alongside other more recent items such as 2019 heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s running shoes, Grand National winner Rachael Blackmore’s racing silks and Natasha Jonas’ Team GB boxing shorts. The Wondrous Place gallery also examines the region’s gaming industry and offers visitors the chance to play some of the iconic games developed in and around Liverpool.

The Wondrous Place gallery reopens on 26th November 2021.The Museum of Liverpool is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am – 4pm. Visitors can explore Liverpool’s fascinating, diverse history in this magnificent waterfront museum:

Advice on Buying and Selling Pubs

There is no doubt that the last 18 months have been incredibly tough for pub owners and tenants across the UK, with the latest figures suggesting sales over the 12 months to September this year were 45% down on the same period in 2019. The industry’s struggles mean that more pub buying opportunities are coming on the market, and sound legal advice for both prospective buyers and sellers can be critical to the success of the purchase or sale of a pub.

Our business purchases and sales team offers a cost-effective and efficient fixed fee service for buying and selling pubs. We can advise pub buyers on whether a freehold, leasehold or tenanted pub purchase is the best option. We can also help both buyers and sellers negotiate lease terms, tenancy agreements, or the transfer documentation or contract for sale of the business in the case of a freehold purchase.

Checks and enquiries need to be made to establish the seller’s title to the pub, as well as any other interests or restrictions affecting the property and the legal viability of the business. It is essential for pub buyers to know as much about the finances of the business they are buying as possible, and an accountant with experience of licensed properties will need to examine audited accounts and related financial information to avoid any nasty surprises for the buyer down the line.

In June this year, James Edwards, a commercial property solicitor at Bartletts, received a five star review on Trustpilot for his handling of the sale of a public house. The client had used our commercial property legal services before, and commented on James’ ‘very efficient service’ which made for ‘an easy sale’. Our experience and expertise in this area means we serve prospective pub buyers and sellers nationwide. Give us a call for a free no obligation discussion.

Majority of Tenants Report Disrepair

A recently released survey of both private and social tenants across the UK has found that a shocking two thirds of respondents experienced a disrepair issue during their tenancy, with almost four fifths of London tenants reporting disrepair of some sort, making it the UK’s disrepair capital. The most common disrepair issue was damp caused by water leaking into properties due to disrepair issues such as water leaking through roofs, rotten window frames, and cracked and damaged pipes.

Every year, almost half a million tenants report dampness in their homes according to the English Housing Survey, with over one third of all tenants experiencing dampness in their properties during the past five years, and roughly one quarter reporting a recent mould infestation. Damp and mould are often the result of water leaks and broken pipes, disrepair issues which landlords are obliged to address within a reasonable time frame. How long is judged to be ‘reasonable’ will depend on the specific circumstances, but landlords are expected to act promptly when disrepair issues are reported to them, and urgently if the problem poses a risk to tenants’ health.  

Landlords are responsible for the exterior of their properties, including the roof, water and gas pipes, boilers and other appliances. Loss of heating or hot water can make a property uninhabitable in a short space of time, especially in winter, yet the survey revealed that tenants wait 41 days on average for reported disrepair issues to be resolved, while almost a quarter reported having to wait more than six months for their landlord to take action. Leaking water, blocked pipes and roof damage are the most common problems that tenants experience according to the research, disrepair issues which can contribute to damp and mould at properties.

Damp and mould can cause health problems for tenants, including asthma, flu-type symptoms, infections and allergies. Tenants are often able to claim compensation for medical issues caused or made worse by damp and mould, as well as damage to personal possessions. Specialist housing disrepair solicitors like Bartletts can also help local council and housing association tenants obtain a court order for repair work to be carried out:

E-Scooter Accidents on the Rise

Recent figures from the Department for Transport show that 100 road users and pedestrians were injured in collisions with e-scooter riders during 2020, while 383 riders were also injured in accidents. Given the surging popularity of both rental and privately-owned e-scooters, the equivalent figures for 2021 are likely to be substantially higher, as safety concerns regarding the use of e-scooters in public areas continue to grow.

The figures reveal that 21 cyclists, 22 people in vehicles and 57 pedestrians were injured in accidents involving e-scooters last year, with 13 pedestrians seriously injured. This shows that all road users are at risk from e-scooter riders, with the charity Guide Dogs reporting visually impaired people are having to either change their usual routes or stop travelling independently altogether due to the perceived danger from e-scooters and their riders.

While e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on pavements (and only rental e-scooters can be used on roads), they are unfortunately becoming a common sight across the UK. The vehicles are supposed to be limited to a top speed of 15.5mph, but many privately-owned e-scooters can travel much faster. The popularity of e-scooters reflects their convenience as a means of transport in urban areas, especially among young people, some of whom ride them irresponsibly and without wearing helmets.

E-scooter riders are themselves extremely vulnerable if they lose control of their vehicle and are involved in an accident, but they also pose a serious risk to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. With reports indicating that the government is likely to legalise the personal use of e-scooters in public areas in the next 12 months, an increasing number of e-scooter accidents are likely to be recorded across the UK in the future.

Find out more:

30 in 30 Challenge Returns

Zoë’s Place Baby Hospices in Liverpool, Coventry and Middlesbrough are hoping to repeat the success of last year’s 30 in 30 Challenge during October this year, and raise vital funds to enable the independent registered Children’s Charity to continue to provide its free services to families that need them most.

The 30 in 30 Challenge invites individuals or teams to cover 30 miles in 30 days by walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling, and to encourage friends, family and colleagues to donate and reward participants’ efforts. You can also set your own distance target if you think you can manage more than 30 miles during the month of October.

The 30 in 30 Challenge is a great way to get fit, have fun and make a much-needed contribution to Zoë’s Place, and the services it is able to provide to infants aged 0-5 years with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. Zoë’s Place has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds during the pandemic due to cancelled events and a drop in donations, so now is the perfect time to get involved and help secure the charity’s future.

To give an idea, it costs £30 an hour for respite care for one child at Zoë’s, while £45 provides one hour of music therapy for a child, and £100 would cover a day out for four children. Every donation helps provide short-term regular care with dedicated nursing staff, in a home from home environment to give parents and carers a well-deserved break.

You can find out more about the 30 in 30 Challenge and sign up to participate on the Zoë’s Place website:

Hair Dye Reactions and Covid-19

Various reports suggest that people are experiencing unexpected allergic reactions to hair dye after contracting Covid-19, indicating that the virus may be permanently changing the immune system of a minority and making them vulnerable to new allergies, including to hair dye products which they may have used for many years without any ill effect.

One woman who had recently recovered from Covid-19 told the BBC she experienced an adverse reaction following a patch test for the same hair dye product she had used regularly for 10 years. Multiple anecdotal reports from within the industry also appear to confirm that clients are suffering allergic reactions to various hair dye products which they previously used safely.    

There is currently no evidence of a direct link between coronavirus and allergic reactions, but the long-term effects of Covid-19 and its differing impact on certain individuals remains unclear. Researchers at Imperial College London are now investigating whether the virus does indeed have a permanent impact on some people’s immune systems in the same way that other illnesses do, making individuals more susceptible to allergic reactions to hair dye.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF), the trade body that represents hairdressers and beauticians, is currently calling on all salons to carry out skin patch tests on existing as well as new customers to minimise the risk of allergic reactions among clients who may have only recently developed a sensitivity to hair dye ingredients like phenylenediamine (PPD). Many salons are now implementing compulsory patch testing for all clients, and this may be the only way forward in terms of minimising the risk of allergic reactions in the future.

Staycations & Bed Bug Infestations

With many people having recently returned from staycations in the UK this summer, an unfortunate few will have unknowingly brought unwelcome visitors home with them in the form of bed bugs. These small (roughly 5mm long) blood-sucking insects are often transported from hotels, B&Bs and holiday rentals in guests’ clothing and luggage, resulting in a domestic infestation which can be extremely difficult and expensive to eradicate.   

As they only emerge at night, bed bugs can be difficult to spot, although the bite marks they leave on all parts of the body are usually obvious, typically grouped together and becoming red, inflamed and itchy within 24 hours of a person being bitten. While bed bug bites can sometimes leave no mark at all, there are a number of other indications of an infestation, including blood and copper coloured fecal stains on sheets, bedding and mattresses. Bed bugs also shed their skin multiple times as they mature and lay eggs, both of which can be spotted, while a further telltale sign of an infestation is the musty, sweet and unpleasant smell which bed bugs release.

Bed bugs are resilient creatures and notoriously difficult to eliminate. The services of a professional pest control company will be necessary to eradicate a bed bug infestation, and multiple visits will normally be necessary to deal with the issue. Over time, bed bugs have become resistant to many insecticides and chemicals, and attempting to deal with an infestation without professional help can make the problem worse by only killing some of the insects and dispersing the rest to new locations at a property. While costly and time-consuming, professional pest control services are absolutely necessary for an infestation to be eradicated effectively.

Our firm has particular expertise in claiming compensation for bed bug bites and domestic bed bug infestations resulting from hotel, B&B and holiday rental stays. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients in these specialist claims over the years, and this experience means that our clients receive the most effective legal representation, as well as the highest amount of compensation for bed bug bites and infestations.

Housing Association Shamed on Twitter

Over a period of 18 months, a housing association tenant repeatedly begged his landlord for repair work to be done on his mould and vermin-infested property, but without success, during which time he and his two sisters were forced to live in appalling conditions.

The tenant’s property had multiple problems, including damp and mould caused by water streaming into the property, a missing ceiling, exposed asbestos, and a cockroach and rodent infestation. He informed his landlord (Europe’s largest housing association) about the issues on numerous occasions, yet no repair work was carried out until the tenant posted photos of the dilapidated flat on Twitter, after which his case quickly gained publicity and the housing association finally took action.

The chairman of the housing association told the BBC, “We have been publicly shamed by the quality of some of our homes. We took our eye off the ball.”

The tenant has since decided to campaign on behalf of other social housing tenants, and shame housing associations and local councils into taking action to deal with disrepair issues. Many social housing tenants have been living in squalid conditions for decades, but have had their complaints ignored time and again. This recent case highlights how social media can be important in circulating pictures of unacceptable living conditions, and in helping tenants band together to force landlords into taking immediate action to fix problems.

Our firm has considerable experience in suing housing associations and local councils for disrepair issues including damp and mould, vermin infestations, and structural issues with walls and ceilings. Contact our housing law team for a free consultation:

Walter Sickert Retrospective Opening

The highly-anticipated Sickert: A Life in Art exhibition opens at the Walker Art Gallery on 18th September (next Saturday), and will run until 27th February next year.

This major Walter Sickert retrospective will feature paintings by the artist loaned from national and international collections, as well as drawings from the Walker Gallery’s own collection of Sickert’s work, many of which are being displayed for the first time. The exhibition will showcase around 100 paintings loaned to the Walker Gallery for the Life in Art exhibition and 200 drawings.

A Life in Art is the largest retrospective exhibition of Walter Richard Sickert’s work to be held in the UK for more than 30 years, providing a once-in-generation opportunity for art lovers and anyone interested in the development of modern British art to explore the life and work of one of the country’s most radical and influential artists.

Walter Sickert was born in Munich, Germany and moved to the UK as a child in 1868. In a career spanning six decades, he became a pivotal figure in British avant-garde painting, influencing a generation of British artists as the leader of the Camden Town Group, an association of artists who advocated a rough and unromanticized vision of urban life.

Tickets for The Walker Gallery’s Sickert: A Life in Art exhibition can be booked in advance on National Museums Liverpool’s website: