Paragon Law has a long, sometimes painful, always tiring, tradition of supporting charitable causes both nationally and locally. Previous years have seen our team members undertake the National 3 Peaks Challenge, the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, and a 50 mile return walk from Nottingham to Newark and back again. This year saw us completing a 50 mile return bike ride from Nottingham to Calke Abbey to Nottingham in support of the Rik Basra Leukaemia Appeal, a fantastic local charity with a an inspiring personal story at its heart.
Initially scheduled for Saturday 4th October but postponed until Sunday 5th due to a particularly nasty band of weather circling in from the North Atlantic, we were a small but dedicated team of 5. Convincing the Irish member of the team of the incapacitating nature of wet leaves on the British psyche and therefore the need to postpone by one day meant that we were hoping for much better conditions on the Sunday and we were not disappointed.
At 8.00am on Nottingham Embankment, in the shadow of Trent Bridge, we were faced with the glorious sight of a cold morning sun and mist swirling over the surface of the Trent, with only Canada geese and some early morning rowers for company. After obligatory “before” photographs courtesy of the passing rowing coach, we commenced our journey along the scenic banks of the River Trent and on to the Trent Navigation Canal. Passing through some picturesque settings with the idyllic sound of local church bells calling locals to Sunday Service we made good progress in high spirits along the flat and generally well cared-for route.
With the sun now making a full appearance and highlighting a beautiful autumnal day things were warming up in many ways. Leaving the cycle paths and joining the main roads we were faced with a long, if not particularly steep, climb uphill into the village of Castle Donnington. Heads down, teeth-gritted we felt we were making good (but not spectacular) progress, that is at least until a local cycling group on road bikes came past us with absolute ease at twice our speed to put any lingering thoughts of joining Le Tour next year firmly out of our minds. Pausing at the top of the hill to take in the view of the planes taking off from East Midlands Airport to our left and the sounds of cars buzzing around Donnington Park Race Track in the distance on our right, we sampled the recuperative powers of flapjack, water and (for one person) an impromptu toilet break behind some trees in the centre of a roundabout, ready to complete the remaining 11 miles to the half-way point of Calke Abbey.
This was an 11 miles of thigh-burning climbs followed by steep downhill freewheeling, tempered by the thought that some of the exhilarating downhill bits would be lung-busting uphill sections on the return journey. The pain of the steepness of some of the roads was made far easier by the distracting beauty of Derbyshire as well as being part of a supportive team and remembering that it was for a more than worthwhile cause.
By 11.30 our wobbly legs had reached the imposing buildings of Calke Abbey. This is perhaps the part where most people would reflect on how this is a Grade 1 protected stately home which has been preserved as an example of a story of the decline of a country house estate, maybe even drawing metaphoric parallels between the decline of the buildings and how our bodies were feeling after the initial 25 miles. No. All we can say is that the £2.50 we each individually paid for a warm, if slightly soggy, cheese slice was the best money we had parted with in a long time. Each minute spent savouring the food and coffee allowed us to get some strength back into our weary legs before the return journey.
We had a different route home planned to make it a more interesting journey, but this wasn’t aided by the fact that the sat-nav applications on our phones were draining the batteries at an alarming rate. The laws of physics dictated that the return journey would be far more downhill than up, for which we are forever endebted to Einstein, Rutherford or whoever it was who invented this. It was slightly more uphill for one member of our team who had the unerring ability to charge off in front at enormous speeds downhill before realising that they were not aware of the turning we needed to take part-way down the hill and therefore requiring an unscheduled climb back up the hill. Although this person will remain nameless, let’s just say that the danger of wet leaves and the importance of staying close to the person who has the map are two important life skills learnt by them over the course of the weekend.
The return route took us via the upper reaches of the Trent Navigation Canal along a tow-path which has not seen a great deal of footfall (or wheelfall) over recent years which meant that we had to follow a hypnotic rutted trail on the narrow banks for a good few miles which considerably slowed our progress home. The challenging terrain meant that one team member took a much closer look at the ground when taking an unscheduled dive from her bike, inches away from the murky-looking water.
A lunch break in Sawley created legal arguments over the definition of “lite bites” on the pub menu after portions the size of a house led to only half-joking suggestions of hiring a narrow boat for the rest of the journey home.
The weather continued to be kind to us and the gods of battery-life had decreed that we would have enough juice left to allow us to get to the part of the return journey that we had used for the outward leg, but tiredness was setting in and the “lite bite” was beginning to set. Conversation was at a low point, other than complaints about which unmentionable parts of the body hurt the most and with a resolute determination we counted down the miles back to Trent Bridge. What had seemed like an exciting and short route on the way out had somehow turned into a never-ending repeat pattern of fields and paths.
Finally, we reached the welcome sight of the Embankment which even a sudden strong headwind which made us feel like we were riding through sand couldn’t stop a smile being raised for. The inevitable “sprint for the line” meant that the yellow jersey went to an unexpected candidate but we had started as a team and more importantly this was how we had finished. 50ish miles, 5 people, 8 hours and a bit total journey time with money and publicity raised for an amazing cause is not a bad way to spend your Sunday. Not that we want to do it again anytime soon you understand? No, next year’s challenge will definitely involve narrow boats – that seems like something far more relaxing right?
The team members were (from left to right) :-
Deirdre Sheahan; Zhiwen Guan; Nigel Smith; Mark Lilley-Tams; Marcus Worthington.
To donate please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/rikbasra
To follow are two tables setting out the ONS Annual Population Survey which shows unemployment by ethnic background and age or gender. Key points are as follows:
- The figures do not include migrants who are in the UK on temporary visas.
- There is high youth unemployment and this is disproportionately higher in Black, Asian and “other” ethnic backgrounds.
- When you look at the rate for “all ethnic backgrounds” you will note that there is little or no difference when compared to the overall population however, unemployment amongst the Black community is too high and any initiatives that tackle this problem should be endorsed.
- Figures in the Black, Asian and Other categories should be broken down further, e.g. African, Indian, Pakistani etc to determine whether specific work is needed in particular communities.
The Court of Appeal have on Friday (11th July 2014) handed down their judgment in MM v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 985, the test case challenging the income requirement of £18,600 imposed on those wishing to bring their partners to the UK.
In an earlier article, we commented on the decision reached by the High Court that the £18,600 threshold was considered unlawful. (To read the article please click here)
Since the High Court reached the decision that the financial requirement was unlawful, the Home Office had put on hold all the applications by partners where the only reason for refusing the application would be because of the financial requirement. The outcome of this is that there are now thousands of applications on hold, awaiting the Court of Appeal’s decision in this case.
After considering the arguments, the Court of Appeal have on Friday (11th July 2014) released a very lengthy decision, finding, in summary, that the financial requirement of £18,600 is lawful. This will be an enormous set back for all of those applicants who are prevented from reuniting with their partners, because their British based partner is not able to earn enough. The Court of Appeal accepted that the outcome of this appeal was that there would be people who would never be able to sponsor their partner to come to the UK as they would not reach the relevant financial thresholds, but they did not accept that this would breach the UK’s obligations under human rights laws. It is possible though for individual applicants to show that refusing them a visa to come to the UK would breach their own human rights where they cannot meet the financial requirement, depending on all of the circumstances.
The Solicitors who brought the case have indicated that they will be pursuing a claim to the Supreme Court, however such a challenge is likely to take a number of months before it is fully resolved.
Paragon Law associate solicitor Mark Lilley-Tams took up the immigration tribunal victory for Reagan family who is now set to be reunited after ten months apart.
To read more about the story.
Nottingham solicitors Paragon Law sponsored a round table event to discuss inward investment to the East Midlands following the demise of the Development Agencies. East Midlands Business Link will take you to the discussions that took place amongst the high profile panel that came together for this event.
All the information with regard to UK visas or the Immigration Rules are now within the Gov.UK website. There are a number of routes in to the relevant section of the website, though we would advise that this link https://www.gov.uk/visas-immigration will take you to the best page from where you can navigate on according to what information you are searching.
As with anything new, the new website will take time to get used to and to find the information you need, but as always please feel free to ask your Paragon Law contact for assistance. We too are getting used to the new website but needless to say are well underway and are happy to help you too.
The Paragon Law Team
Corporate immigration law specialist Thalej Vasishta discusses the 3 important ‘I’s (immigration being one) which are important to the UK economy. Please click here to read further.
The Home Office have issued new fees for visa and extension applications to be introduced on 6 April 2014.
To download the table, which sets out current fees, future fees and the unit costs to the Home Office for processing applications, please click here.
Should you have any enquiry as regards please do not hesitate to contact Paragon Law.
Those of us from the Orient or the Occident who are sagacious in coming together in business, friendship and love are helping to create a brighter world for our children.
In a democratic society no Government should allow injustice, discrimination and disadvantage. This is exactly what will happen if the Governments legal aid cut backs are carried through. An effective Rule of law means that courts must be to balance and be able to remain an effective check on Government law and policy. Without legal aid this will be undermined. PLEASE sign the petition below to protect basic human rights.