Get to know our legal experts: Barry Wood

Title: Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Area of Law: Dispute Resolution / Civil Litigation

Specialisms:  I deal with many different areas of Dispute Resolution / Civil Litigation.  This can include (but is not limited to):

Contractual disputes (for both individuals and companies), negligence claims, nuisance, trespass and conversion claims, contentious probate disputes, Inheritance Act 1975 claims and also personal bankruptcy/insolvency and company liquidation claims.

I also deal with commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes and repossessions, mortgage repossessions and rent arrears disputes.

In addition, I deal with preparation of business terms and conditions or advising clients with regards to contracts and breach of contracts, building disputes, engineering disputes, debt recovery, motor vehicle claims and disputes; and consumer law, rights and regulations.

Why did you decide on a career in law?

After completing my A Levels and not being sure about what I wanted to do, I applied for a Legal Assistant position with a firm of Solicitors in Hartlepool.  I went on to train with that firm for 9 years whilst studying to become a Chartered Legal Executive.

Once fully qualified, I moved to Richard Reed Solicitors where I have happily worked for the last 32 years.

For someone at the age of 18 that had no idea of what career path to follow, it appears I found my calling.

Why did you choose your area of law?

I have always had a keen interest in trying to resolve disputes.

Being able to make a real difference to people’s lives by helping them to resolve their legal problems is my biggest motivation and the reason for choosing to do the work that I do.

I am able to resolve disputes amicably by negotiation, by way of formal or informal mediation or ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) or if necessary, I will move matters forward by proceeding to Court or Insolvency action to ensure I get the best possible outcome for my clients.

What does your role involve?

I resolve disputes and no case is ever the same.

I listen to the needs of my clients to gain a greater understanding of their legal issue and will then advise as to the available options, the pros and cons of each option and then pursue matters in accordance with my client’s instructions and with the benefit of my best advice.

I adopt a down to earth, practical approach and am a firm believer in being proactive and providing a high level of service with a friendly and responsive attitude.

What would you reform or change about your area of law?

I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years and don’t really feel that Law is crying out for any suggestions or comments from me.

However, the one huge bug bear for me was a few years ago when the Ministry of Justice and Government decided to substantially increase the amount payable in respect of Court fees.  In some instances they went up in excess of 600%!

The fee increases meant that the vast majority of people within England and Wales would essentially be denied access to justice as they would not be able to afford to pursue their legal rights through the Courts.

At the thought of this, I raised a complaint by writing to my local MP who responded and assured me that very few people would be affected by the changes.  He was wrong!

What is your most rewarding case?

It’s difficult to limit an answer to just one case as there have been so many over the years but I am proud to have been successful in Court proceedings not only at the Court of Appeal but also in the European Court of Justice.

However, if I did have to pick one, it would have to be those cases that involved disputed probate claims where family members of a deceased’s Estate found themselves not as beneficiaries or recipients of any inheritance.

At such a distressing and upsetting time for my clients, I fought hard for the rights of these individuals and was successful in proving that the family members did indeed have a legal right to make a claim for inheritance.  This can make a great difference to a person’s life, not only financially but emotionally too.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself…

I am a cyclist, I wear Lycra, I ride a road bike on the road with traffic – that can be eventful!

To speak with Barry or another member of our Dispute Resolution / Civil Litigation team, call us today on 0191 567 0465 or email us at: [email protected]

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