Archive for the ‘Our Staff’ Category


Friday, July 15th, 2016

Forgive me if you are already aware that Coley & Tilley Solicitors are fundraising for our lovely colleague Katy Dawson, but if you are not aware please read on:-

Katy is a solicitor in our Employment and Litigation Department.  She already has a 4 year old daughter, but left a few months ago to give birth to her second child, a little boy.Katy with Evan - Personal Injury Pal Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham

We have recently found out that Katy, who is only 36 years of age, left suddenly because she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and had to have emergency surgery whilst still carrying her unborn son. Fortunately, the surgery went well and her son was born safely, but I can’t help thinking how frightened Katy must have been. She is now undergoing chemotherapy treatment which is making her unwell. Katy has a supportive husband, Paul. At a time when they should be experiencing great joy at the new addition to their family, they are having to deal with cancer and the effects of treatment. It must be so difficult for them all.

There is revolutionary treatment available in Germany for the aggressive cancer which Katy has, but at a cost of £50,000. Katy has set up a fundraising page to raise money to have the treatment.  All Katy wants is to be here to be a Mum to her children.

We at Coley & Tilley Solicitors have joined together as a team to help raise money for Katy. We are all walking, running, cycling, swimming etc and counting our miles. We hope as a combined team to clock up the same amount of miles in our day to day lives (in 3 weeks only) that Katy has to cover to get to Germany and back home again. We are getting sponsored for our efforts.

We ask that you sponsor us, even just a little amount, through Katy’s fundraising page. Here is the link Katy’s fund is already at £23,000. She is therefore almost half way to her target of £50,000.

We will update you with Katy’s progress. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  Please follow the links from our website.

Thank you in advance for your donations.

(Personal Injury Pal is the Personal Injury Department at Coley & Tilley Solicitors)Aurelia and Evan - Personal Injury Pal Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham


Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I am a personal injury solicitor employed by Personal Injury Pal, the Personal Injury Department of Coley & Tilley Solicitors, Birmingham.Helen Powell, Personal Injury Pal, Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham

I am also the proud mother of two adult children who have both graduated from university.

I am, therefore, well versed on the current process of how to apply to university, student accommodation, student loans and when these steps have to be done by.

I discovered something was missing from the application process; a “Guide for Worried Parents!”

Here is my Guide for the Parents of “would be” students!


Applying for university is done through UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service) where students state their options of what course they would like to do and at which university.  They have to place their choices in order, their first choice being their option they want the most.  Generally, when applying for university, the first choice course/university requires more UCAS points and the second fewer.  The reason for doing so is the idea of a ‘Plan B’.  If they don’t reach their required grades they will always have another option which they will have the required UCAS points for.

Once you have applied to UCAS you will receive either an unconditional offer, a conditional offer or a decline.  If the student accepts the unconditional offer they will be accepted on the course at that university regardless of the grades they achieve.  If the student accepts the conditional offer they will be accepted on the course at that university provided they have met the conditions (usually the required amount of UCAS points). If the student does not achieve enough UCAS points for any of their choices they will get the option to go into the ‘Clearing’ process which commences on ‘A’ level results’ day.  This is where students can reapply for courses at universities which still have empty places.


(Assuming your child is planning on commencing university in the autumn of 2015)

Step 1 – Open Days

In autumn 2014 students and parents will have the option to visit the Open Days of different universities.  There will be guidance and information about the different courses, tours around the buildings and student accommodation.  Most Open Days are usually held on Saturdays of which dates can be found on the university’s website.

Step 2 – UCAS Application

The whole UCAS application is completed online which can be revisited at any time.  In order to make the application students will need to submit a personal statement.  College tutors usually check the forms before they are submitted.  This application process is normally done after the Open Days.  The deadline is usually the last day in January 2015.

Step 3 – Offers/Decline

Sometimes a student is asked to attend for an interview or a test (Law National Admissions Test) at the university before an offer is made. If the student is successful they should receive a notification online from UCAS around March 2015 with the offer of a course from the university(s).  As explained above the offer may be unconditional or conditional.  The student will receive offers and sometimes rejections for every choice they give.

Step 4 – Accepting Offers

The offer will come with a timescale when it has to be accepted or not.  If the student accepts the unconditional offer, their place will be secured.  If the student accepts the conditional offer, their place will be on hold until the conditions have been met, i.e. will they achieve the required UCAS points?  Usually the outcome will be known on ‘A’ level results’ day.

Step 5 – Applying for Accommodation

Once the offer is accepted, whether unconditional or conditional, the student should start to apply for student accommodation at their preferred university (soon after March 2015).  A deposit or rent paid upfront will usually have to be paid and may be in the region of £500 which is usually refundable if the student does not take up the offer of the course (but do check the small-print).  The student can, of course, apply for accommodation further along the line but the student may not get their choice (this did happen to my son).

Step 6 – Applying for Student Finance

Once the offer is accepted, whether unconditional or conditional, the student will need to apply online for Student Finance.  The form they will need to complete is called PN1.  Your child has to complete the form and parents have their own individual forms to complete.  The PN1 form is a thick form.  Evidence of earnings/income etc. has to be produced by parents and entered on the parent’s form.  There is a deadline for this to be submitted to guarantee the money before the start of the university year.  The deadline is usually in July 2015.

Step 7 – ‘A’ Level Results Day and ‘Clearing’

This is relevant if the offer is conditional on obtaining the required amount of UCAS points.  My son was able to check whether he had his place at university in the early hours by logging on to the university website to see if he was offered a place.  Usually students will attend college or 6th form for their results, then they check out with UCAS whether they have succeeded in getting their 1st choice, 2nd choice etc.  Students who do not get their grades MUST NOT PANIC.  They can go through the ‘Clearing’ process.  This is a hectic time for those desperate to secure a place at university.

Step 8 – Shopping for Household Goods

Spend, spend, spend as you buy your child’s household goods which will include laptops, tablets etc. in readiness for their move.

Step 9 – Food Shopping

More digging deep as you buy their food etc.

Step 10 – The Move

September 2015.  Complete chaos as you fight to park at the ‘Halls’ and unload and carry the stuff to their room which is usually on the top floor!

The relief that your child has gone safely to university soon turns into worry as to how they will cope on their own and you do get ‘empty nest syndrome’.

Not for long though as they turn up with their clutter at Christmas, Easter and they are back home again in the summer.  Usually they move to different accommodation in the second year so all their stuff comes home with them!

Things were different for me.  I studied part-time for my law degree whilst working and whilst bringing up my two young children.  It was all worth it though as I turn to consider my next client’s file who is claiming for personal injury following their accident in Birmingham!

Disclaimer:- This is a guide on how to apply to university from a parent’s perspective.  Please ensure you get expert advice from UCAS, the individual university or from the Student Loan Company.



Sunburn – The power of the sun!

Friday, August 1st, 2014

How can I possibly have sunburn? Me of all people? I have sunburn on my lower back!

As I put pen to paper to write my next Blog, it’s not hard to think of a subject:- Sunburn, the power of the sun!

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - sun

To start the story I have to turn the pages back a few years.  A strange mark appeared on my face so off I went to see my GP.  He referred me to the Dermatology Department at the local hospital.  A doctor there advised that it was one of those age spots.  The perils of growing old hey?  Whilst there though they did remove a mole which they thought was suspect, but fortunately it turned out to be fine.

Turning the pages, a year or two later I noticed a mole which seemed to be growing on my arm.  As I had already been through the mill at the Dermatology Department, I was more aware of suspicious moles.  I therefore decided again to visit my GP and routinely I was referred to Dermatology.  To my surprise when I got there they wanted to remove my mole there and then!  “To be on the safe side,” they said.  I opted not to have my mole removed there and then as I faced a long drive, however I was soon back at the hospital.

My mole was removed and I attended for a follow up appointment to get my results.  It was an evening appointment after a long day’s work.  I was kept waiting so long I thought they had forgotten me.  It was a job to keep calm, but after around an hour’s wait I was called in.  Almost immediately the consultant said that cancer cells had been found in the mole, a melanoma. What? Was the word ringing around in my head.  And there was me worrying about being kept waiting!  The rest of the appointment was a blur, but I did establish that I had to have a further operation to remove skin around my cancerous mole.

I had my operation and the skin was removed.  It was sent off for analysis.  It was not long and I was back before the consultant.  This time, fortunately, the result was negative.  The cancer had not spread.

The consultant was really helpful.  I admitted that as a child I did get sunburnt, but this was quite common in the 60’s because people did not know the dangers then. I admitted that I liked to sunbathe which was usually only on holiday and possibly the occasional weekend.  After all, spare time was a luxury as I had a full time job and a family.  I did not think the cause was foreign holidays because I had only been abroad a few times and not for years.  Nor did I use sunbeds.    The cause may have just been walking around with my arms exposed, like most people do!

A page had now turned and things changed.  My consultant advised me to still go in the sun otherwise I would become vitamin D deficient.  He advised me to wear factor 30, to only sit in the sun for a while and never to sunbathe.  And that’s what I’ve stuck to for the last 4 years.  Fake tan is good!

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - untidy garden

Which brings me back to last weekend.  I did not plan to weed the garden, but once I’d started there was no stopping me.  I was out there Saturday and Sunday.  The sun was strong.  My arms and face were exposed, but I had applied plenty of factor 30.  I therefore could not believe it when I realised I had sunburn on my lower back.  I’d been bending over to take out the weeds and of course I had not realised that my T shirt had been riding up my back!  I had been burnt by the sun whilst weeding and whilst I was covered up – or so I thought!

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - sunburn



Just be careful out there!



A Day in the Life of a Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Another Blog to write, a blank page, what can I write about today?  I do like to read Blogs about what people in other professions do on a day to day basis, so maybe people may like to read about what we do, or maybe not!

The alarm buzzes at 5.30am.  I hit the snooze button for five and then get up.  It is actually 5.30am as my clock is always five minutes fast.  My husband will never understand me.

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - Eamonn

The next hour is spent getting ready, a quick cuppa with toast.  Making sandwiches to go.  Catching up with the news, with Eamonn Holmes and Charlotte Hawkins.  Their banter does make me laugh.  Not forgetting the quick conversation with my husband about where the cats are.

Then I get dropped off at the station.  I stand on the platform, same place every morning, it is as if my name is written there in invisible ink.

The journey is around 40 minutes.  Sometimes I chat, if not I catch up with Facebook and read snippets from the Metro when I lose my signal.

I arrive at work at around 8am.  This gives me an hour before the phones start.  I chat to colleagues, yes most of us do start early, another cuppa, then I ensure all emails and messages from the previous day are dealt with.

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - Train

A personal injury solicitor runs many cases at the same time.  The skill you need is to ensure that every client is happy with the progress you are making on their personal injury claim.  Your underlying duty is to your client.

Urgent cases do take priority so it is a juggling act most of the time.  Keeping those balls in the air, keeping the tide back.

Sometimes you just do not know where to start.  A good system of work helps.  A ‘To Do List’.

I jot down tasks to do.  It could be writing a statement, reading a medical report or entering the injury claim on the ‘Claims Portal’. We rarely sent ‘letters of claim’ now as the process starts when we enter the claim on the ‘Claims Portal’ which is a secure website linked up to insurance companies.

Interruptions come throughout the day.  Telephone calls, emails, post coming in, colleagues asking questions… You are distracted and leave one job, then start another.

Yesterday an offer came in.  I stopped what I was doing.  I looked at the value of the claim then rang the client.  The offer was good, the client was happy.  I was able to accept the offer there and then.  Accepting an offer is one of the best parts of the job, only beaten by winning at trial and handing your client their damages cheque.

Then it is back to what you were doing before you were interrupted.  You open the file you were working on before, then the phone rings again…

At lunch I walk out in the fresh air.  It is twofold, fresh air and nobody can find me!  My sandwiches I eat at my desk.

As well as paperwork the job entails interviewing new clients, sometimes in the office, at their homes or on the telephone.  You go to conferences with barrister at Chambers, to court for hearings and trials, the list is endless.

Also creeping into my job description is marketing.  Exactly what I am doing now.  I have just stopped being a Personal Injury Lawyer whilst I write this Blog.

At 5.30pm the office closes, but I do carry a work mobile for new personal injury claims only.  On the train journey home I chat or catch up with Facebook.  I have tried reading but I am simply done in.  Occasionally I listen to music.

I do keep fit.  Sometimes I walk from the station home.  Yesterday there were no street lights lit and it was pitch black.  Maybe not such a good idea.   Sometimes I jog.

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - Sea 2

Winter evenings are probably spent chatting with hubby, who by the way cooks my tea, watching a bit of TV, looking at Facebook.

The summer evenings are what I like best, a glass of wine in the garden – not too long now as there is supposed to be an early heat wave on the way!

And do you know what?  In spite of all the stress, all the ball juggling, life is good!


Happy Retirement Maisie

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Personal Injury Pal, Personal Injury Solicitors, Birmingham wish Maisie Darby, consultant at Coley & Tilley Solicitors a well-earned retirement.

Nigel Dace with Maisie Darby

Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham - Maisie Darby