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Employment | Litigation & Dispute Resolution | Notary | Personal Injury | Probate & Estates | Property Dispute Resolution | Relationships & Family | Residential Property | Tax Planning | Trusts | Wills

Employee Not Entitled to Protection from the Sun’s Rays
20 Aug 2014
In a case which demonstrates that there is a limit to the duties owed by employers under health and safety legislation, the Court of Appeal has rejected arguments that a local authority was obliged to provide sun cream and a hat for a gardener who...

Judge Calls Halt to Fifty-Year Inheritance Saga
17 Aug 2014
An 'extraordinary saga' that began in a seaside hotel more than 50 years ago – and ended with a bitter dispute between elderly ladies over a £2 million architectural gem on the Cornish Riviera – has been finally brought to an end by a judge. Two daughters...

Court Denies Father Direct or Indirect Access to Daughter
14 Aug 2014
When a relationship breaks down and the couple have children, the Family Court will always put the best interests of the children first in determining residence and contact arrangements. The Court begins with the assumption that for children to have...

Maternity Leave and Surrogacy – Update
13 Aug 2014
The purpose of EU Directive 92/85EC – the Pregnant Workers Directive – is 'to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding'. In the UK, surrogacy is...

High Court Grants Order for the Inspection of Ex-Employees' Computers
10 Aug 2014
When considering an application for a mandatory injunction pending trial proceedings, the court must determine which course is likely to involve least risk of injustice if it turns out to have been the 'wrong' decision. In a case concerning commercial confidentiality...

Court Removes Attorneys Who Abused Position of Trust
09 Aug 2014
The creation of a power of attorney is a good way of making sure that your affairs are dealt with by a responsible person if you are unable to manage them yourself. However, when the choice of attorney is a poor one, many difficulties can arise, as a recent...

From “Custody”… to the 21st century
07 Aug 2014
In April 2014, the terms which we use to denote how a child lives with a parent upon a couple’s separation changed. The shift emphasises a departure from the use of the labels such as “Residence” and “contact” all together, and now we speak about the general arrangements for a child as living with one parent and spending time with, or staying with, the other. The aim of this is to highlight the importance of having both parents involved in a child’s life, and to ensure that responsibility for that child is shared.

Discriminatory Language Not Material in Breach of Contract Case
06 Aug 2014
In a case concerning the constructive dismissal of a senior bank employee (Clements v Lloyds Banking plc and Others), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the view of the Employment Tribunal (ET) that a manager's use of discriminatory...

Informal Arrangements Land Woman With Massive Costs Bill
03 Aug 2014
A woman who sold her mother's house in order to buy her a more suitable home has been left with a large legal costs bill as a result of her action. Her mother is incapacitated by dementia and unable to look after her own affairs. The resulting court case shows...

Woman is Baby's Psychological Parent, Rules Court
01 Aug 2014
In a landmark decision, a lesbian has won a High Court ruling that, whilst bereft of legal rights over a child conceived by her ex-partner during their relationship, she is the child's 'psychological parent'. During the couple's turbulent 18-month relationship...

More Time for Pension Planning Announced
31 Jul 2014
The new regime that will apply to pensions from April 2015 was the chief surprise in this year's Budget. Under the old tax rules applying to pensions, an individual had to decide within six months of taking the tax-free lump sum whether to take an annuity...

LLP Member is a 'Worker', Supreme Court Rules
30 Jul 2014
In a decision which clarifies an important aspect of employment law, the Supreme Court has ruled that a solicitor member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) was a 'worker' within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) and was thus...

Covert Recordings of Grievance and Disciplinary Hearings
26 Jul 2014
In a further case on the admissibility as evidence before the Employment Tribunal (ET) of an employee's covert recordings of grievance and disciplinary hearings, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that not only those parts of the employee's recording...

Relationship Break-Up and Tax
25 Jul 2014
Getting divorced is never a pleasant experience and couples going through the process have a lot to think about. Whilst management of the tax consequences of the split is not normally at the top of their priority list, these can be considerable, even where family...

In Brief - Challenge to the Unfair Dismissal Cap Fails
23 Jul 2014
In July 2013, a 12 months' pay cap was placed on the unfair dismissal compensatory award if this amount is less than the statutory maximum or overall cap – currently £76,574. Where the employee's annual salary exceeds the limit, the statutory maximum applies...

Delusions Do Not Prevent Creation of Valid Will
22 Jul 2014
The difficulties of challenging a will on the ground that a person lacks mental capacity (more commonly known as not 'being of sound mind') were clearly illustrated by a recent case. It concerned a challenge to the will of a delusional man who...

CJEU Rules on Holiday Pay and Unearned Commission
19 Jul 2014
In the latest in a series of cases on the correct calculation of holiday pay (Lock v British Gas Trading Limited and Others), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has followed the preliminary opinion given by the Advocate General...

Wayward Son Stripped of Power of Attorney
18 Jul 2014
It is a regrettable truth that even close family members cannot always be trusted to do the right thing, as illustrated by a case dealing with a wayward son who was appointed as attorney over his elderly mother's financial affairs. Unfortunately, he...

In Brief - New Minimum Wage Rates
12 Jul 2014
The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates for 2014/2015. The following changes will come into effect on 1 October 2014...

Funding Care in Later Life
11 Jul 2014
Under the changes proposed in the Care Act 2014, which received the Royal Assent in May and which is expected to come into effect in 2015 or 2016, the funding of elderly care will change significantly. One of the...

Discrimination – Religion or Belief
08 Jul 2014
A nursery manager has failed in her attempt to persuade the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that she had been subjected to unlawful discrimination because of her religion when she was dismissed from her post...

88th Birthday Will Valid, Rules Court of Appeal
07 Jul 2014
A mother who decided to change her will at a birthday party attended by all her children except the one disadvantaged by the change had the mental capacity to do so, despite suffering from mild dementia, the Court...

Schizophrenic's Will Upheld By Court
30 Jun 2014
A recent decision shows that the courts place a heavy burden of proof on those who claim that a will should be invalidated because the person making it lacks testamentary capacity (the legal term for 'being of unsound...

Courts Should Listen to Teenagers
26 Jun 2014
Child custody battles involving an international element are becoming increasingly frequent as the world becomes more and more a global village. When relationships between people of different nationalities break down...

Repair Obligations Do Not Create IHT Charge
23 Jun 2014
Yet another attempt by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to persuade the court that a gift of a property from parent to child should be a 'gift with reservation of benefit' has failed. Where any asset is gifted from a person...

Opportunistic Objection Overruled
17 Jun 2014
When a barrister who was acting for a woman in proceedings connected with her divorce realised that he had earlier acted for her husband in connection with his divorce from a previous wife, he promptly informed both...

Signature On Will Was a Clever Forgery, Rules Court
15 Jun 2014
In resolving a bitter family dispute, the High Court had no hesitation in finding that the signature on a woman's purported last will was a clever forgery designed to cheat a favoured relative of his rightful inheritance. The...

False Claim Not Enough to Overturn Divorce Settlement
12 Jun 2014
The ex-wife of a software company tycoon has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that financial aspects of her 'big money' divorce should be re-opened – despite three senior judges agreeing that her ex-husband...

Commencement of Work Not a Disposal of Property
09 Jun 2014
When the seller of a property allowed the purchaser to start the groundworks for developing it prior to the exchange of contracts for sale, she would not have expected HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to assert that...

'Plainly Wrong' Divorce Settlement Overturned
03 Jun 2014
When a court ordered a banker who had divorced his wife to pay her a quarter of his future bonuses for the rest of his life, his dissatisfaction led to an appeal against the decision. The original ruling of the Family Court was...

Is Grief Enough to Sustain a Challenge to a Will?
29 May 2014
When a man's wife died, his decision to execute a new will less than a month later led to a legal challenge. Two earlier wills had made his wife his principal beneficiary and provided that, should she predecease him...

Pre-Nup Not Binding, Rules Court
25 May 2014
When the marriage of a wealthy Scandinavian couple broke up, the English court had to consider the effect of a pre-nuptial agreement ('pre-nup') which they had entered into in their homeland. Their considerable...

Luxury Flats – Leaseholders' Right to Manage Hopes Stymied
21 May 2014
In a case which vividly illustrates the difficulties faced by leaseholders wishing to take over management of their homes, residents of a block of luxury riverside apartments hit a fatal stumbling block when the Upper Tribunal...

Abuse of Power of Attorney Leads to Cancellation
20 May 2014
Cases involving the misuse of powers of attorney are turning up frequently in the courts and illustrate the wisdom of making sure that any person you appoint to act as an attorney to manage your affairs should you no longer...

Case Shows Need For Care in IHT Planning
16 May 2014
When a woman transferred the lease on her Knightsbridge flat into a trust for the benefit of her two sons, the intention was to provide a benefit to them which would, over time, be free of Inheritance Tax (IHT). Such gifts...

Court of Appeal Issues Guidance on Child Cases
14 May 2014
A recent decision of the Court of Appeal has emphasised the importance of the provision of good quality, relevant evidence in cases involving children. The case concerned a council's decision to place two children up for adoption...

Not Registered to Vote Means Bequest Invalid
08 May 2014
When a Spanish resident made his will, having arranged his affairs so as to avoid the compulsory inheritance laws that apply in Spain, he intended that his estate – worth nearly £400,000 – should go to the British...

Arbitrator's Decision Will Bind in Financial Settlements
02 May 2014
When a divorce leads to arbitration proceedings, which is not uncommon where the financial settlement is difficult to negotiate, the decision of the arbitrator can only be overturned by the court in exceptional circumstances...

Nice Cup of Tea Helps to Heal Long-Standing Family Rift
23 Apr 2014
A family judge has hailed the miraculous benefits of sitting down to a 'nice cup of tea' after this played a central role in healing a bitter ten-year rift between parents of twin boys and enabled them to agree a shared residency...

Incorrect Planning Permission Claim Not Actionable, Rules Court
22 Apr 2014
You would think that where you enter into a contract to buy a property because you have relied on a statement or statements made by the vendor that turn out to be incorrect, you would have a very good case for...

Couple Win Tax Claim Over Property Occupied Rent Free by Mother
20 Apr 2014
Being able one day to pass on one's property to one's children is a common wish for many parents, but the need to have a suitable place to live as one gets older is also an important consideration. It is not uncommon...

Distance No Obstacle to English Divorce Courts
16 Apr 2014
The judge came down hard on a Singapore-based businessman who first told his ex-wife that she was entitled to more than €2 million from the sale of company shares – before seeking to reduce that figure a few months...

Cost Effective Alternatives to Court Battles on Divorce
16 Apr 2014
On meeting a new client for the first time, one of their key questions is how much is the divorce likely to cost? Most clients know of a family member or friend who has been through a messy and expensive divorce and are terrified of racking up huge legal bills...

Theatre Director Strikes Legal Blow for the Elderly
14 Apr 2014
A globe-trotting theatre director who fought a marathon legal campaign to save the value of her beloved childhood home from being eaten away by her mother's care home costs has triumphed in a High Court test case...

Valid 'Pre-Nup' Scuppers Claim By Ex-Wife
12 Apr 2014
Following recent reports that pre-nuptial agreements are soon to be given legislative support comes a case in which the current attitude of the courts towards 'pre-nups' has been made clear. It involved a wealthy couple...

Relying On an Expert Not Enough
10 Apr 2014
When a couple entered into an artificial tax-saving scheme which subsequently failed, they placed the blame firmly at the door of the Isle of Man tax consultancy that had advised them. The scheme involved the purchase...

Warners Solicitors secures Law Society's new quality mark
09 Apr 2014
Warners Solicitors in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks has been one of the first firms in the country to secure membership to the Law Society's Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS). Warners Solicitors underwent...

Nationality Trumps Residence in Battle for Child Custody
06 Apr 2014
Cases of marital breakdown with an international element are now commonplace. In one such case, the Supreme Court recently ruled that an American child should be returned to the USA after an order allowing him...

Council's Care Fees House Grab Attempt Stymied by Court
04 Apr 2014
The fear that the local council will force the sale of the family home is a real one for many elderly people and their families. Recently, an attempt by a council to force the sale of a 92-year-old woman's house was prevented on...

Prove It or Lose It
28 Feb 2014
A recent tax case shows how important it is to be able to prove one’s claims when dealing with the tax authorities. It involved a couple who moved to Belgium in 2001, having left the UK before 6 April that year. They...

Buying a Self-Build Home – Beware of Insurance Snags
27 Feb 2014
A couple who bought a newly-built home for more than £770,000 – only to discover that the construction guarantee that came with it was not worth the paper it was written on – have been awarded more than £50,000...

Better Protection for Consumers On the Way?
26 Feb 2014
The Government is proposing to improve protection for consumers who purchase goods or services (including those supplied in electronic form) from businesses. Under the Consumer Rights Bill, consumers will have...

Vicarious Liability for Extreme Acts
25 Feb 2014
Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, an employer can be held vicariously liable for harassment by one employee of another, in the course of his or her employment, provided a sufficiently clear link can be established...

Cohabitation and the Law – Changes Afoot
25 Feb 2014
At the end of October 2013, the Cohabitation Rights Bill 2013 started its progress through Parliament. The Private Member’s Bill aims to give long-term cohabitants rights more akin to those enjoyed by married couples...

PPR – Degree of Permanence Paramount in Determining CGT Liability
24 Feb 2014
When determining whether or not a claim for principal private residence (PPR) relief for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes can be made when a property is sold, the exact nature of the arrangements can be paramount...

The Repeal of the Third Party Harassment Provisions
23 Feb 2014
With effect from 1 October 2013, the third party harassment provisions contained in Section 40 of the Equality Act 2010 have been repealed. The provisions made employers liable for harassment of their employees...

Substantial Connection Needed to Bring Divorce Proceedings
22 Feb 2014
The English courts are a popular place to bring divorce proceedings because the financial settlements they order are usually much more equal than those made under other jurisdictions. This has led to accusations...

Maternity Leave and Flexible Working Hours
21 Feb 2014
In a ruling which underlines the fact that discrimination cases are particularly ‘fact sensitive’, a sales executive whose request for flexible working on her return from maternity leave was initially refused by her...

In Brief - Property Buyer Beware (Again)
20 Feb 2014
The Government has repealed the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, which made it a criminal offence to make a misleading or false statement regarding a property offered for sale. The Government concluded that the...

The Calculation of Holiday Pay
19 Feb 2014
It was recently reported that the John Lewis Partnership had authorised a payout of £40 million to compensate 69,000 of its workers after a member of staff pointed out an error in the way the organisation...

Executor and Attorney Convicted of Theft
18 Feb 2014
The folly of appointing the ‘wrong’ person to be an attorney or executor has been exemplified recently by two cases in which an attorney and an executor were both convicted of misappropriating assets. In the first instance...

Later Life Changes
17 Feb 2014
Statistics suggest that divorce rates have been falling steadily since the 1990’s but there is one age group continuing to buck this trend.

Tech Workers Triumph in Unlawful Pay Deductions Test Case
17 Feb 2014
In an important decision which helps to clarify the impact of ‘custom and practice’ on employment cases, the Court of Appeal has upheld claims by 23 workers that their technology company employer made unlawful...

Religious Discrimination – The Right of Christians Not to Work on Sundays
15 Feb 2014
A Christian care worker who resigned from her post after being required to work on Sundays – which she regarded as a violation of the fourth commandment – has failed in her landmark fight for compensation (Mba...

Late Claim Against Estate Rejected by Court
15 Feb 2014
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows those who have been financially dependent on a person who dies to seek financial provision to be made for them from the deceased’s estate...

Teenager’s Wishes Decisive in Contact Dispute
14 Feb 2014
In a ruling that underlines that the wishes and feelings of children can be decisive in even the most intractable family cases, a father has won a seven-year battle to have more contact with his daughter. The ‘doggedly...

Religion or Belief Discrimination – What Constitutes a Philosophical Belief?
13 Feb 2014
In Arya v London Borough of Waltham Forest, a primary school teacher failed to persuade the Employment Tribunal (ET) that his anti-Semitic views constituted a ‘philosophical belief’ for the purposes of the...

Court Despair Over Costs
12 Feb 2014
When positions in a family break-up become so entrenched that even the most basic issues are disputed all the way to the court, the result can be legal costs which drive a judge ‘to despair’. Proceedings to determine...

Refusal of Suitable Alternative Employment – The Correct Test
11 Feb 2014
In Readman v Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT), the Court of Appeal has reaffirmed that when deciding whether or not it was reasonable for an employee at risk of redundancy to refuse an offer of suitable alternative...

Temporary Occupation Does Not Justify Residence Claim
08 Feb 2014
As most people know, there is normally no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability on a profit on the sale of your principal private residence (PPR). However, a claim that the PPR exemption applies must be based on the facts...

Pharmaceutical Company Fined After Worker Sprayed with Toxic Chemical
07 Feb 2014
A pharmaceutical company has been fined £100,000 after a worker was left fighting for his life as a result of being sprayed with seven litres of bromine, a substance that is classified as potentially fatal if inhaled and...

Chancel Repair Liability Risk – Reduced But Not Gone
05 Feb 2014
Homeowners may be breathing a sigh of relief following the widely publicised reports that ‘chancel repair liability’ (CRL) must now be registered to be effective – but the risk still remains for some. CRL can arise where...

Solicitor’s Evidence Crucial in Undue Influence Claim
04 Feb 2014
When an elderly couple fell out, the circumstances surrounding their land transfers meant that a court hearing was necessary to unscramble the position. The two had formed a partnership in August 2001. Two years...

Maternity Leave and Surrogacy
03 Feb 2014
The purpose of EU Directive 92/85EC – the Pregnant Workers Directive – is ‘to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding'...

Substantial Case Does Not Mean Likely to Win
03 Feb 2014
When the marriage of a couple who were married in Pakistan but then lived in England broke up, the wife applied to the English family court for financial relief. The couple married in 2008 and moved to London. When...

Victimisation – Dismissal Because of a Protected Act
01 Feb 2014
Victimisation occurs when an employer subjects an employee to a detriment because he or she has done a protected act. For example, making an allegation that the employer has contravened the Equality Act 2010...

Wrong Will Case in Supreme Court
01 Feb 2014
The widely reported case concerning an elderly couple who signed each other’s wills by mistake has reached the Supreme Court. The case sparked outrage because the incorrect signing of the wills was an obvious...

Unfair Dismissal – Reasonable Investigation into Alleged Misconduct
30 Jan 2014
In a case that concerned an employee who was dismissed for dishonesty, the Court of Appeal has given guidance on what constitutes a reasonable investigation into an employee’s conduct in such circumstances...

Misappropriation Case Highlights Value of Using Professionals
28 Jan 2014
A sad recent criminal case illustrates the wisdom of appointing a professional person to assist when substantial family funds are being administered. The case involved a disabled woman who received a settlement...

Man’s Estate Entitled to ‘Death-in-Service’ Benefit
26 Jan 2014
In an unusual case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that if it were established that a man who died shortly after he was dismissed for medical incapacity was unfairly dismissed or that his dismissal constituted unlawful...

Taxpayer Wins Appeal Against Information Notice
25 Jan 2014
A taxpayer has succeeded in persuading the First-tier Tribunal that an information notice issued by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) should be set aside. The man had submitted a return for the 2008/2009 tax...

Instant Online Checks of DBS Certificates
24 Jan 2014
From 1 December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks and the DBS...

HSE Publishes Workplace Ill Health and Injury Statistics
23 Jan 2014
Provisional statistics for the year April 2012 to March 2013, published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), show that the number of people in Britain injured and made unwell at work has again fallen. In 2012/2013...

Guidance on the National Minimum Wage
20 Jan 2014
All employers must pay those who work for them at least the appropriate rate of the National Minimum Wage if they are a ‘worker’ for minimum wage purposes and a specific exemption does not apply to them. The...

In Brief - Private Residence ‘Deemed Residence Period’ Reduced
20 Jan 2014
The UK tax system has traditionally exempted any profit on the sale of a person’s principal private residence (PPR) from Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The exemption applies to make any gain accruing during periods...

Employment Tribunal Fees and Fines
18 Jan 2014
Since 29 July 2013, bringing an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim or making an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) is no longer free of charge for all claimants. The Government’s aim in introducing fees is...

Disability Discrimination – The Law Does Not Require Employer Omniscience
16 Jan 2014
In emphasising that the law does not expect employers to be omniscient, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a fire and rescue service neither knew nor should have known that a senior employee...

Court Rejects Claim for Share When Couple Break Up
15 Jan 2014
When a couple break up, the division of the assets they own is often problematic, whether they are married or not. In a recent case, the Court of Appeal was asked to consider the appropriate division of assets...

Dental Practice Manager Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim
14 Jan 2014
In The Leeds Dental Team Limited v Rose, a dental practice manager has succeeded in her claim for constructive unfair dismissal after her employer’s refusal to allow her to be accompanied by a friend or adviser...

HMRC Gain Right to Check Credit Card Statements
13 Jan 2014
Not well publicised in the press was the revelation that since September 2013 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have had the power to access your credit card statements by making a request for information from...

Collective Redundancy Consultation – Government Granted Leave to Appeal
12 Jan 2014
Under Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, employers have a duty to consult with appropriate representatives of employees concerning forthcoming redundancies if 20 or more...

CIPD/Simplyhealth Annual Absence Management Survey
10 Jan 2014
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently published the findings of its fourteenth absence management survey, carried out in partnership with Simplyhealth. The average absence...

Joint Accounts and Mental Capacity
09 Jan 2014
If you are concerned about the future mental capacity of a relative or any other person with whom you have a joint bank account, it makes sense to consider setting up the appropriate power(s) of attorney. The British...

Carer Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim
08 Jan 2014
Many arrangements with carers are informal and it is easy to forget that this does not mean that ‘anything goes’. Where a carer is paid, an employer/employee relationship will normally arise. This carries implications...

Husband Who Hid Assets Faces New Settlement
07 Jan 2014
If you have negotiated a divorce settlement and then find out that your ex-spouse has been less than open when disclosing their personal finances, the court will reopen the matter if there is sufficient evidence...

What is a ‘Pre-Nup’, do I need one and how much will it cost?
06 Jan 2014
Pre-Nup is the slang term used for a Pre-Nuptial Agreement which is a document setting out how a marrying couple would wish to share their individual and jointly owned assets, should they subsequently separate...

Couple Jailed for Misappropriation of Elderly Woman’s Assets
06 Jan 2014
The wisdom of having professional oversight of attorney arrangements has yet again been made clear following the conviction of a Teesside couple for defrauding the estate of an elderly woman out of a six-figure...

Working With Display Screen Equipment
23 Dec 2013
Many workers spend a large part of their day in front of a computer screen or using a laptop or touch screen device. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 specifically deal with the...

Failure to Act on Instructions Costs Firm
20 Dec 2013
When an elderly woman decided to change her will, leaving most of her £2.6 million estate to a woman she regarded as her granddaughter, a successful challenge to the will was made. The deceased woman’s will was home made...

Nut Allergy or Eczema Can Amount to a Disability
19 Dec 2013
A person is disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. In Wheeldon...

Same-Sex Marriages Latest
19 Dec 2013
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on 17 July 2013 and is expected to come into force in 2014. The Bill enjoyed a complex passage through the legislature, largely due to the need to accommodate...

Worker Told to Clear Her Desk Can Bring Personal Injury Claim
17 Dec 2013

Whistleblowing Laws – Amendments and Consultation on Further Changes
12 Dec 2013
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 – often referred to as the ‘Whistleblowing’ Act – was introduced in the wake of various workplace scandals and disasters after official enquiries revealed that workers had known...

Will Clarity Means Grandchildren Denied Inheritance
12 Dec 2013
When the wording of a will is clear, the likelihood of a successful challenge is much reduced. A recent dispute over a woman’s will illustrates the point. The will in question gave the testator’s (the legal term for the person who...

Use of Covert Surveillance Did Not Make Dismissal Unfair
09 Dec 2013
In City and County of Swansea v Gayle, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the Employment Tribunal (ET) was in error in finding that an employer’s use of covert video surveillance to check...

Grandmother Triumphs in Care Order Appeal
09 Dec 2013
In a ruling which underlines the need for careful gathering of evidence in family cases, a grandmother who stepped in to care for her baby granddaughter after the child’s parents could not cope has triumphed in an appeal...

Unhappy Beneficiary Counts Cost
06 Dec 2013
When a beneficiary initiated ‘considerable efforts’ to check up on the activities of the executor of a deceased woman’s estate, the decision to investigate the conduct of the executor (who had also had a power of attorney...

TUPE – Post-Transfer Obligations and Collective Agreements
05 Dec 2013
In a decision that will be welcomed by employers considering acquiring undertakings that were previously part of the public sector, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Article 3 of the European Acquired...

Sexual Harassment Findings ‘Procedurally Unfair’
03 Dec 2013
In a ruling which emphasises the requirements of procedural fairness in employment proceedings, the Court of Appeal has upheld a challenge by a building site manager who was found to have sexually harassed...

Record Keeping Failure Means No CGT Deduction
02 Dec 2013
A recent tax dispute shows the importance of retaining records. It concerned a man who bought two properties which he let out. When he disposed of them, he did not make returns of the capital gains which arose because...

Settlement Agreements – What Has Changed?
29 Nov 2013
Following changes made by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, as of 29 July 2013 compromise agreements have been renamed ‘settlement agreements’ and new provisions (Section 111A) have...

RIDDOR – Reporting Requirements Simplified
27 Nov 2013
The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) that come into effect on 1 October 2013. The main...

Property Dealings in Last Year of Life Challenged Successfully
26 Nov 2013
When an 86-year-old woman died in 2008, it was found that she had, during the preceding nine months, made substantial gifts to one of her three children – her daughter – which enabled the daughter and her husband...

Redundant Diversity Adviser’s Discrimination Claims Fail
25 Nov 2013
A mixed-race diversity adviser who claimed in protracted employment proceedings that a colleague was more favourably treated than her because she had ‘blue eyes and blonde hair’ has had her complaints dismissed...

Family Pays Price for Ignoring Contact Order
25 Nov 2013
When a care plan for children is agreed and there are conditions that apply, it is essential to make sure that these are complied with, as a recent decision shows. When grandparents allowed ‘sneaky visits’ to their grandchildren...

Redundancy – All-Inclusive Selection Pool and the Reason for Dismissal
21 Nov 2013
In Contract Bottling Limited v Cave and McNaughton, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that in finding that two employees had not been dismissed by reason of redundancy, the Employment Tribunal (ET) had...

Recycling Firm Fined After Worker Crushed
19 Nov 2013
A company has been found guilty of breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 after a worker was seriously injured at its recycling facility in Bolton. DS Smith Paper Limited was prosecuted...

Mental Capacity is Task Specific
19 Nov 2013
The law relating to mental capacity (the legal term for soundness of mind) does not stipulate that a person has to be ‘capable’ or ‘incapable’ as regards making any decision. Whether a person has or lacks mental capacity...

New Type of Employment Status – The Employee Shareholder
14 Nov 2013
On 1 September, a new type of employment status – the employee shareholder – was introduced by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. Under this new type of contract, employee shareholders will agree to surrender...

Legal Ombudsman Hits Out at Lottery of Unregulated Legal Services Market
13 Nov 2013
The Legal Ombudsman has recently published a report indicating that there are more than 130,000 unregulated providers of legal services in the UK, offering advice to the three million users of legal services annually...

New National Minimum Wage Rates – A Reminder
12 Nov 2013
Employers are reminded that the following changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates come into effect on 1 October 2013:...

Divorcing Couple Face Financial Suicide, Warns Judge
11 Nov 2013
When a separated couple appeared before the family court, having already spent more than 20 per cent of their combined wealth of £4 million on legal costs, the judge felt it necessary to warn them of the danger...

Help to Buy Scheme
08 Nov 2013
The Government recently unveiled the second phase of the Help to Buy scheme which is designed to help those buyers who can only afford a small deposit to purchase either their first home or move to another home...

New Conveyancing Forms
08 Nov 2013
Two newly revised and exciting forms have recently been launched to help speed up the conveyancing process and provide more detailed information to the Buyer. Ok, perhaps not exciting for most, but these...

Long-Term Sickness Leave and Accrued Holiday Pay
08 Nov 2013
Over time, EU case law has established that an employee on long-term sick leave who has been unable to take the statutory annual leave entitlement guaranteed under EU Directive 2003/88/EC, the Working Time...

Legal Form Determines Tax Treatment
08 Nov 2013
In a cautionary tale for ‘buy-to-let’ property owners, an accountant who was hit with demands for back taxes and penalties in respect of rental profits has failed to convince the First-tier Tribunal that his wife, a basic rate...

Lack of Legal Advice Leads to Striking Out of Employee’s Claim
06 Nov 2013
In a case which underlines the wisdom of taking professional legal advice before embarking on Employment Tribunal (ET) proceedings, the Court of Appeal has lamented the tortuous procedural history of...

Intestacy Law Shake-Up Ahead as Bill Enters Lords
05 Nov 2013
Following an extensive consultation, the Government has introduced the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill into the House of Lords. The Bill aims to reform the laws of intestacy (i.e. the rules that apply when a person dies without...

HSE Publishes Latest Fatal Injury Statistics
01 Nov 2013
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published provisional statistics for fatal workplace injuries in Britain for the year 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. The total number of deaths has fallen, with 148 workers...

Divorce – Equal Division of Assets Not Always the Right Solution
01 Nov 2013
There are no hard and fast rules over the division of assets in divorce cases. In particular, an equal partition of assets is not always appropriate, as was illustrated by the Court of Appeal’s upholding of a judge’s...

Heir Hunters Convicted of Fraud
31 Oct 2013
When ‘heir hunters’ approached three family members with the unexpected news that they stood to inherit money from a person who died without leaving a will, they were asked to sign a contract giving 40 per cent of the...

Government to Consult on Zero-Hours Contracts
30 Oct 2013
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the use of ‘zero-hours’ contracts, whereby people agree to be available for work as and when required, but have no guaranteed hours or times of work and are...

Government Announces Proposed Changes to TUPE
28 Oct 2013
The Government has published its response to the consultation on proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). The service provision change rules introduced...

Eight Months’ Occupancy Not Residence, Rules Tribunal
25 Oct 2013
When a woman and her husband separated and were subsequently reconciled, a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability was probably the last thing they were thinking about. The woman owned a house with her husband and they...

Employee Who Refused to Compromise Hit in the Pocket
23 Oct 2013
In a decision which starkly reveals that those who dig their heels in and refuse to compromise in employment proceedings are likely to be hit in the pocket, a worker who turned away ‘out of hand’ her local...

Court of Appeal Decides Anglo-American Child Residence Battle
23 Oct 2013
Relationship break-ups where the couple are of different nationalities often present particular difficulties for the courts – especially where the custody of children is in dispute. A recent case involving an American father and...

County Council Wrests Control of Dementia Sufferer’s Estate
22 Oct 2013
When a person loses their ability to function intellectually, dealing with their affairs can be extremely difficult unless there is a power of attorney in place. In a recent instance, a local council went to court to obtain permission...

EAT Distinguishes ‘Employment’ from ‘Consultancy’
21 Oct 2013
In a case which helps to draw a dividing line between consultancy and employment, a veteran solicitor who took on a more distant role following his resignation as a partner in a law firm has convinced the Employment...

Discrimination by Association
17 Oct 2013
Under the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of their association with someone who has a protected characteristic. A recent Employment...

Close Relationship Not Undue Influence, Rules Court
17 Oct 2013
Cases involving claims of ‘undue influence’ are not uncommon. Recently, one such claim concerning the estate of a farm labourer was heard by the court. The labourer had worked for a couple the whole of his working life...

Disability Discrimination – Reasonable Adjustments
15 Oct 2013
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ (PCP) puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. The duty...

Cases Show Need for Care in Appointing Representatives
14 Oct 2013
Two recent cases show the wisdom when appointing an attorney or executor of making sure that the person or persons you choose are entirely trustworthy. In the first, a man chosen by a friend to act as executor...

Delayed Resignation Re-Affirmed Employment Contract
11 Oct 2013
In a stark warning to employees that they should not delay too long in reacting to ill treatment by their bosses, a health worker’s constructive dismissal claim has failed after she took four months to consider her...

British Weather Clinches Foreign Residence Claim
10 Oct 2013
A recent attempt by the wife of a British expatriate, who had lived for many years in Spain, to persuade the English court to accept jurisdiction over their divorce was frustrated by the Court of Appeal, which decided...

Avoiding Will Disputes
09 Oct 2013
It is common for couples to make what are called ‘mirror wills’ – in which both wills contain essentially the same clauses. These wills are often in the form of ‘all to other’, whereby the whole of the estate of the first to...

Collective Redundancies – The Scope of the Duty to Consult
08 Oct 2013
Under Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA), employers have a duty to consult with appropriate representatives of employees concerning forthcoming redundancies...

In Brief - AIM Shares and ISAs – A Reminder
04 Oct 2013
Clients holding shares in companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) are reminded that, from 5 August 2013, it has been possible to hold such shares within an ISA, making gains and income effectively tax...

Betting Shop Manager Triumphs in Unfair Dismissal Claim
03 Oct 2013
A betting shop worker who was summarily dismissed after she was accused of ‘pocketing’ punters’ stakes which should have been refunded has succeeded in her unfair dismissal claim. The Employment Appeal Tribunal...

‘Custom and Practice’ Can Add to Employment Contract Terms
01 Oct 2013
A recent case (Park Cakes Limited v Shumba and Others) serves as a clear reminder that not every contractual term need be in writing and, where the individual facts support such a conclusion, obligations may...

Divorcee Must Vacate Home After Ex-Husband’s Bankruptcy
01 Oct 2013
When a woman’s ex-husband was made bankrupt, the mortgage lender on their home sought repossession of the property. The property had been purchased in her ex-husband’s sole name in 1978. When the...

Ownership Not Necessary for IHT Relief on Farmhouse
30 Sep 2013
There are significant reliefs available against Inheritance Tax (IHT) for business assets and agricultural property. With regard to the latter, ‘agricultural property’ can include a farmhouse. The relevant legislation states...

Habitual Residence of Child Determines Which Court Has Jurisdiction
27 Sep 2013
With ever increasing global travel, child custody cases which have an international aspect are becoming more common. These in turn can raise questions as to which country’s legal system should assume the responsibility...

Age-Related Differences in Voluntary Redundancy Scheme Justifiable
26 Sep 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a voluntary redundancy scheme whereby employees over the age of 35 were paid more than younger employees with identical length of service did not constitute...

Property Developer’s ‘Pyrrhic’ Breach of Confidence Victory
25 Sep 2013
A property developer who withdrew from a project which turned out to be a roaring success has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that he is entitled to a share of the profits. Although in pressing ahead with the project...

Unfair Dismissal – Final Warnings
24 Sep 2013
In Simmonds v Milford Club, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that where there is a real concern that an earlier final written warning that was material in the decision to dismiss an employee may have been...

Codicil Invalidity Claim Fails
23 Sep 2013
A recent case in which the son of an elderly man challenged an alteration made to his father’s will shortly before he died shows how high the hurdle is set when attempts are made to revoke a will on the ground that...

Criminal Record Checks – Rules Relaxed
20 Sep 2013
A new system has come into force which relaxes the rules regarding the disclosure of past convictions and cautions when checks are carried out on job applicants by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – formerly...

Tax Saving Advice Compulsory, Rules Court
18 Sep 2013
A firm of accountants which failed to point out tax saving opportunities to a client when he sold his company was found to be negligent by the High Court recently. The accountants had failed to bring to the attention...

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness
17 Sep 2013
The Equality Act 2010 protects a worker from discrimination on account of their religion or any religious or philosophical belief they hold. There is no specific list of religions or beliefs that qualify for protection. Less widely...

New Minimum Wage Rates
16 Sep 2013
The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) for the adult and youth rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 2013/2014. However, the apprentice rate will be increased rather...

Entrepreneurs Relief
12 Sep 2013
Entrepreneurs Relief (ER) has provided a valuable tax relief when exiting a business either completely or partially since 2008. However the seemingly simplistic reduction of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability to an attractive 10%, often disguises the complexities of the rules and pit falls for business owners.

Chancel Repair Liability
12 Sep 2013
The issue of chancel repairs hit the headlines with the notorious case of Aston Cantlow and others v Wallbank (2003) (House of Lords) in which the owners of a farm faced ruin because their property was saddled with an ancient responsibility to maintain the local church...

Blind NHS Worker Wins Discrimination Claim
12 Sep 2013
An NHS worker who was ultimately made redundant following a serious deterioration in her eyesight is due substantial compensation after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that her employer had failed to...

Challenge to Gift in Contemplation of Death Fails
10 Sep 2013
When a person expects to die, their thoughts often turn to those who have helped them most in life. In such circumstances, it is by no means uncommon for quite substantial gifts which take effect on death to be made...

Struck Off Midwife Wins High Court Appeal
09 Sep 2013
A midwife who claimed that she was ‘victimised for whistleblowing’ has won an appeal against a decision of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to strike her off the register. In the light of potentially crucial fresh...

Tax Bill Brought About by Break-Up Quashed
05 Sep 2013
When affairs of the heart went awry, a man faced an unexpected tax bill. The man decided to buy a property in 2001 when he was engaged to be married. Shortly before the completion date on the purchase...

Territorial Jurisdiction in Unfair Dismissal Claims
04 Sep 2013
Under Section 94(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), an employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Whilst the legislation does not contain any geographical limitation, it is agreed that the scope of...

Employment Measures in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act
30 Aug 2013
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013. The scope of the Act is wide ranging. It includes provisions to give shareholders more say on directors’ pay, to establish a new Competition...

Intent Not in Point in Environmental Law Conviction
29 Aug 2013
Crime, it is well known, involves intent, which normally means that there has to be the intent to commit the crime or at least recklessness regarding the potential consequences. However, some crimes are crimes...

Children Must Take Care Not to Exercise Undue Influence Over Elderly Parents
28 Aug 2013
It is widely known that when someone exerts ‘undue influence’ over a vulnerable person, this can lead to a legal challenge to any will or financial arrangements made as a result, but it is less widely known that it is not...

Collective Redundancy – Careful Consultation Vital
27 Aug 2013
In a recent dispute, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) stressed how important it is for employers to follow the correct procedure for consulting staff when they are proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more...

Homeowners Triumph in Storm Damage Claim
26 Aug 2013
Householders whose homes suffered storm and flood damage reluctantly found themselves at the epicentre of a High Court case in which they defeated claims that they should be held personally liable to pay...

ECJ Guidance on Disability Discrimination
22 Aug 2013
In HK Danmark acting on behalf of Ring and Werge v Dansk Almennyttigt Boligselskab and Another, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) responded to a range of questions posed by the Danish courts with regard to...

Vulnerable Woman’s Will Overturned
20 Aug 2013
A recent case concerned the estate of a woman who died in 2008 aged 98. One of her sons had lived with her during the final three years of her life after she had suffered a fall. She made a will in 2006, which left...

In Brief - Payment Scheme for Mesothelioma Sufferers
19 Aug 2013
The Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament for the forthcoming year included the announcement of a Bill to establish a payment scheme for people diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result...

Employment Rights – Ministers of Religion
16 Aug 2013
The Supreme Court has ruled that a Methodist minister was not an employee of the Church and so cannot pursue her claim for unfair dismissal (President of the Methodist Conference v Preston). For many years, it was accepted...

Getting Your Money Back May Mean Massive Tax Bill
12 Aug 2013
When a Dutch man invested $1,400,000 (half from the sale of his house in the Netherlands and half borrowed) in a bundle of life assurance policies, he did not anticipate that the result would be a financial disaster...

BYOD – Data Controllers’ Obligations
09 Aug 2013
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) requires data controllers to take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss...

Genetic Disease Test Not In Children’s Best Interests
08 Aug 2013
The correct approach to take as regards screening for a rare genetic disorder when children are being considered for adoption was tested in the family court recently. The case involved two small boys who were...

Objector Fails to Block Basement Extension Plans
08 Aug 2013
A long leaseholder (a company) has failed in a High Court attempt to block neighbouring property owners’ plans for a substantial basement extension, comprising a swimming pool, play room and wine cellars. The Court...

Conveyance Rectified to Give Effect to Pensioner’s Wishes
07 Aug 2013
A fundamental drafting error in a conveyance, which resulted in a son being given a beneficial interest in his elderly mother’s home, contrary to her intentions, has been rectified by the Court of Appeal. Due to the error...

TUPE – Affected Employees
06 Aug 2013
When a business or undertaking, or a part of one, is sold and this amounts to a ‘relevant transfer’ under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), both the transferor and the...

Tax Follows Source of Funds, Says Tribunal
02 Aug 2013
When a bank account is held in the names of several people, the interest earned on the account normally ‘belongs’ equally to all of them. Does that mean that the tax liability on the interest is shared? The answer...

The Introduction of Costs in the Employment Tribunal
01 Aug 2013
Historically, a wronged employee has been able to present a claim to the Employment Tribunal without charge. However, that has now changed with the introduction of the payment of fees in the Employment Tribunals, which came into force on Monday 29 July 2013...

Covert Recordings – Admissible as Evidence?
01 Aug 2013
In Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) reaffirmed that whilst the practice of making secret recordings may be regarded as ‘very distasteful’ and a breach of mutual...

Restrictive Employment Covenants Must Be ‘Reasonable’
31 Jul 2013
In declaring unenforceable a restrictive covenant contained in a senior financial adviser’s employment contract, the High Court has emphasised that such clauses are not worth the paper they are written on if they...

Buyer Who Failed to Complete Must Pay for Loss of Value
30 Jul 2013
In these straitened times, it is regrettably not uncommon for a buyer to withdraw from the purchase of a property after a legal agreement to purchase has been completed. When this happens, the vendor may be...

The Perennial Nuisance Sausage
30 Jul 2013
At this time of year we all appreciate the warm evenings, under light-dappled shade, perhaps with a glass of wine and enjoying the “spit and sizzle” of a sausage as it cooks on the family barbecue. What happens, though, if your neighbour is the one enjoying his barbecue, perhaps a little too much...

Evidential Failure Means Will Challenge Success
30 Jul 2013
When an elderly lady decided to change her will in order to disinherit her family and give her entire estate – worth more than £500,000 – to a couple who had befriended her, a challenge to the will was almost inevitable...

Written Statement of Employment Particulars
29 Jul 2013
A contract of employment may be verbal but all employees, whether part-time or full-time, are entitled by law to be given a written statement setting out the main particulars of their employment, provided their employment...

Employment Tribunal Fees
26 Jul 2013
From 29 July 2013, bringing an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim will no longer be free of charge. From that date, the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 introduce a fee structure...

Payment for Services Rendered Not an Advance of Bequest
25 Jul 2013
When an elderly man who was dying of cancer was no longer able to look after himself, he sold his house and moved in with one of his daughters. He had previously made a will, which divided his estate into three with...

Disability Discrimination – Effect, Not the Cause
24 Jul 2013
In Walker v Sita Information Networking Computing Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that the Employment Tribunal (ET) was in error in concluding that a claimant who was overweight and who suffered...

Two-Year Rule for Partner Claims Justifiable, Rules Court
22 Jul 2013
When a man was killed at work due to the negligence of a third party, his child (born six months after his death) was able to bring a claim for financial support under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The child’s mother...

Collective Redundancy Consultation – Acas Guidance
19 Jul 2013
The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 2013 has made changes to the rules relating to collective redundancy consultation. From 6 April 2013, where an employer is proposing...

Failed Tax Avoidance Scheme Leads to Compensation
19 Jul 2013
When a scheme for mitigation of tax liabilities was found to be ineffective, following a challenge by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), five investors in the scheme sought to recoup their losses from the advisers...

In Brief - HMRC Daily Penalties for Late Tax Returns Quashed
17 Jul 2013
The First-tier Tribunal has quashed the penalty assessments made on two taxpayers who had failed to file their tax returns in time, because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) failed clearly to inform them of the dates on...

Packaging Firm Fined Over Worker’s Severed Fingers
16 Jul 2013
A packaging firm has been fined £200,000 after one of its employees severely injured both hands when they became trapped in heavy machinery. The 25-year-old man worked for Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd. at its factory in...

Paranoia Does Not Mean Not of Sound Mind
12 Jul 2013
In order for a will to be valid, the person making it must have ‘testamentary capacity’ – the legal term for being ‘of sound mind’. Challenges to a will on the ground that the person who made it (the ‘testator’) did not have...

Protection From Post-Employment Acts of Victimisation
11 Jul 2013
The Equality Act 2010 contains measures that protect employees from victimisation for having made a complaint of unlawful discrimination, but does that protection extend to the period after the employment has...

Grass-Free Beach is Village Green, Rules Court
11 Jul 2013
The term ‘village green’ may conjure up to most people an image of a picturesque piece of open grass. However, the Court of Appeal has ruled in an important test case that a beach can be regarded as a village..

Court Acts to Divide £3 Million Estate
09 Jul 2013
When a person is unable to create a will for themselves, because they are no longer of sound mind (‘lack testamentary capacity’ in legal language), an application may be made for a statutory will to be made on their...

University Lecturer’s Disability Discrimination Claim Fails
08 Jul 2013
A university lecturer whose career has been blighted by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has failed to convince the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that she was allocated an unfair workload or that her employers...

Natural Father Denied Right to Oppose Adoption
04 Jul 2013
A recent case dealt with the issues surrounding the respective rights of a parent and child in unusual circumstances. The natural father of the child wished to join in the proceedings to oppose his son being adopted...

Christian Teacher’s Classroom Ban Upheld
03 Jul 2013
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, the High Court has dismissed an appeal by a Christian schoolteacher against the imposition of an indefinite classroom ban after he condemned the ‘homosexual lifestyle’...

Ruling Underlines Pitfalls of Offshore Trust Property Ownership
03 Jul 2013
In an important ruling that underlines the potential pitfalls of owning property through offshore trusts, the Court of Appeal has rejected a wealthy Russian businessman’s plea that he is entitled to a half share of a London...

Unauthorised Gifts Leave Deputies With £200,000 Bill
01 Jul 2013
When a woman’s niece and great niece were appointed her deputies (persons responsible for looking after her financial affairs) under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, they made gifts of her assets to charities, themselves...

Will Invalid After Court Rules Witness Unlikely to Forget
27 Jun 2013
For a will to be valid, one of the conditions imposed by the Wills Act 1837 is that two witnesses must attest the will by signing and acknowledging the signature of the person making it (the ‘testator’) and must...

Race Discrimination – Council Loses Appeal
26 Jun 2013
A local authority which was ordered to pay more than £420,000 in compensation to a disappointed job applicant in settlement of a race discrimination claim has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that the...

Possible Past Child Abuse Not Ground for Predicting Future Abuse
25 Jun 2013
Violence against children is sometimes a major factor for consideration when deciding the arrangements for care after a relationship breakdown. The interests of the child are always paramount in such cases...

Will Challenge Fails
21 Jun 2013
If you sign a will that is incorrectly drafted, you may think it would be a simple matter for the will to be amended after your death. Regrettably, this is often not the case. A will can be varied, with the agreement...

Property Sale Based on Forged Document Was Void
21 Jun 2013
A businessman who had an £850,000 London property sold from under him by a forger whilst he languished in prison in the Middle East has been handed the property back by a judge. The High Court...

Nursery Officer’s Disability Discrimination Claim to be Reheard
20 Jun 2013
In directing reconsideration of a local authority employee’s disability discrimination claim, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has emphasised that the making of an assessment as to what reasonable...

Tribunal Gives Equality Act Guidance
18 Jun 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has given guidance on the correct approach to defining disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. In determining such cases, the Employment Tribunal (ET)...

What is a Trust Fund?
17 Jun 2013
A trust comes into effect when a ‘settlor’ places money, land or other assets in the hands of trustees. The trustees are the legal owners of the property but are obliged to hold and manage the property for the...

Father Entitled to ‘Proper Relationship’ With Son
13 Jun 2013
In a ruling which emphasises the importance of fathers in the lives of young children, the Court of Appeal has upheld a man’s right to have contact with his eight-year-old son. Despite concerns expressed by the...

Tribunal Gives Guidance on ‘Totting-Up’ Dismissals
12 Jun 2013
In circumstances where a prior written warning ‘tipped the balance’ in favour of an employee’s dismissal following a further incident of alleged misconduct, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has given...

Undue Influence Claim Fails
11 Jun 2013
Many people fail to make a will, thus causing problems for surviving family members. However, difficulties can also arise when a person makes several wills, particularly if these contain drafting errors. A recent...

Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service
10 Jun 2013
In 2011, Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE were commissioned to carry out a review of sickness absence in Great Britain and make recommendations on ways to improve the current system. Their findings...

Mortgage Debt Not Regulated by Consumer Credit Act 1974
10 Jun 2013
A couple who defaulted on their £500,000 mortgage have failed to convince the High Court that the loan is unenforceable by reason of the lender’s failure to comply with the safeguards contained within the...

Mediation After A Relationship Breakdown
06 Jun 2013
Over the recent months, partly as a result of the withdrawal of Legal Aid from family cases, there has been increased interest in mediation as a method of resolving issues arising from a relationship...

In Brief Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay Increases
06 Jun 2013
Employers are reminded that the standard weekly rate of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay increases from £135.45 to £136.78 for weeks commencing on or after 7 April 2013...

Trustees’ Responsibilities – Be Careful
05 Jun 2013
Traditionally, trustees used to regard their responsibilities as being almost exclusively the safeguarding of the assets of the trust. However, the Trustee Act 2000 raised the bar somewhat and it is clear that many...

In Brief - Government to Remove Unfair Dismissal Qualifying Period for Political Claims
04 Jun 2013
In Redfearn v United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that UK legislation is deficient in that it does not protect employees, including those with less than the qualifying length of service necessary...

Caring Son Deserved His Inheritance, Rules Court
03 Jun 2013
A son who devoted eight years of his life to caring for his ailing mother has fought off a claim made by his brother and sister that he was an alcoholic tyrant who crushed their mother’s free will. Upholding the son’s...

Court Upholds Deferment of Payment After Business Fails
31 May 2013
A businesswoman whose business fell victim to the recession has persuaded the family court that it would be appropriate for the settlement she had agreed to pay her ex-husband to be varied. The total settlement...

Tax Evasion Leads to Prison and £500,000 Repayment Order
30 May 2013
Two company directors who lied to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when under investigation for possible tax offences have been jailed for tax evasion and fraud. The pair ran a successful IT firm. When...

Government Amends ‘Whistleblowing’ Legislation
29 May 2013
Under Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996, a worker has the right not to be subjected to unwanted treatment amounting to a detriment by their employer because the worker has made a protected...

Whistleblowing – Protected Disclosure Can Be Made Post Employment
27 May 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a claimant can continue with his claim under Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 that he suffered detrimental treatment at the hands of his employer...

Tax Case Cheer for Owners of Second Homes
24 May 2013
Many countries charge the equivalent of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the profits made when a person’s private residence is sold. The UK does not. In addition, the availability of an election as to which residence...

Estate Caretakers Were Employees, Tribunal Rules
23 May 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has delved back to the time of great houses, family retainers and absentee aristocratic owners and ruled that the caretakers of a farming estate in Surrey were employees...

French Tax Changes Mean More Food for Thought
23 May 2013
The French Government passed measures last year which have increased the taxes payable by non-resident owners of properties in France and further rises are planned. Since 1 January 2012, the rate...

Shop Worker Had Continuity of Employment
21 May 2013
A shop worker whose employment was terminated due to the closure of the store in Sheffield where he worked, but who was redeployed shortly afterwards to another branch of the same chain, did have the...

Statutory Wills
20 May 2013
It is a source of concern to lawyers and families alike that the majority of people never make a will. Often, the intention to do so is there, but somehow the person never seems to ‘get around to it’ and dies or...

Equal Pension Rights for Civil Partners
17 May 2013
As the law currently stands, employers and pension funds are permitted to exclude civil partners from spousal benefits under a pension scheme the rights to which accrued prior to 5 December 2005, which is...

Court Approves ‘Religious Divorce’
15 May 2013
A Jewish couple who married in a Jewish ceremony in 2006 and subsequently separated have obtained the approval of the family court to have the marriage dissolved under an agreement mediated by a Rabbi...

Start of Year Tax Planning
14 May 2013
The early months of the tax year are a good time for savers to think about tax planning for the current year. In particular, now is a good time to think about investments that produce regular income – if you can...

Equal Pay Test Case Splits Court of Appeal
13 May 2013
In an important test case (Haq & Ors v The Audit Commission), the Court of Appeal has ruled by a majority that so called ‘grandfather clauses’ – which are commonly used by employers to protect the status and...

Formal Ownership Agreement Defeats Claim of Trust
13 May 2013
A trust exists where a person who has legal ownership of something (‘the object of the trust’) is obliged to act with respect to the object of the trust for the benefit of some other person or persons (‘the...

The Abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board
10 May 2013
In 2010, the Coalition Government announced its intention to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, as part of its shake-up of public bodies. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 abolishes the Agricultural Wages Board from 25 June 2013...

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings
10 May 2013
The Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) came in to force on the 1 April 2013 and will see companies owning residential properties (‘dwellings’) worth over £2 million incurring an annual tax liability of £15,000 rising to £140,000 for the most valuable properties...

Shared Parental Leave Reforms
09 May 2013
Reforms to the way parents can share maternity leave form part of the recently published Children and Families Bill 2013. The Government intends to introduce more flexible, more equal arrangements aimed at...

Professionally Drafted Will Thrown Out by Court of Appeal
08 May 2013
A legal battle which led to a six-day trial resulted in the Court of Appeal declaring that a will was invalid, even though it had been drafted by an experienced solicitor. The case concerned a will that was written in...

EHRC Publishes Guidance on Managing Religion or Belief in the Workplace
07 May 2013
Following the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Eweida and Others v United Kingdom, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published guidance for employers and...

Unfair Dismissal and the Range of Reasonable Responses Test
03 May 2013
In Bryant v Sage Care Homes Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has reiterated that when hearing a claim for unfair dismissal, the task of the Employment Tribunal (ET) is not to decide what was or...

IHT Changes For ‘Non-Doms’
02 May 2013
With one in six British marriages now involving a spouse not domiciled in the UK, problems involving the tax consequences of domicile are becoming increasingly common. Most of the press coverage involving...

ECHR Rules on Religious Discrimination Claims
01 May 2013
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has handed down its rulings in four domestic cases in which Christian employees claimed to have suffered discrimination at work on account of their religious beliefs...

Company Assets and Divorce
01 May 2013
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is often the negotiation of the financial settlement: this can be particularly thorny when there are substantial sums involved. Often, assets are held indirectly, in companies...

Attorney Control Absolute, Rules Judge
30 Apr 2013
When someone is appointed under a power of attorney, their obligations can be onerous enough without the person who appointed them (the donor) trying to impose restrictions on their ability to undertake certain...

Settlement Agreements
29 Apr 2013
The Government has published its response to the consultation on ‘Ending the Employment Relationship’, which sought views on facilitating the use of ‘settlement agreements’, a simplified form of compromise...

Furnished Holiday Lettings IHT Claim Fails
26 Apr 2013
The shock result of a recent tax case will send reverberations around the furnished holiday letting (FHL) industry, after the court reset the bar regarding the level of service provision that has to accompany a...

Agency Workers and the ‘Swedish Derogation’ Exception
25 Apr 2013
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR), which implement the EU Agency Workers Directive, came into force on 1 October 2011. Under Regulation 5 of the AWR, agency workers have the right to the same...

Volunteers Not Entitled to Discrimination Protection
23 Apr 2013
The Supreme Court has ruled that volunteers do not fall within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) – now superseded by the Equality Act 2010 – or the EU Equal Treatment Framework...

Estate Agent Abused Power of Attorney
22 Apr 2013
The dangers of giving a power of attorney to the wrong person have yet again come into focus following the conviction of a Birmingham estate agent who had stolen more than £250,000 from an elderly couple...

Collective Redundancy Consultation – Forthcoming Changes
19 Apr 2013
The Government has published the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 2013, which makes changes to the rules relating to collective redundancy consultation...

Forged Planning Certificates Mean Prison
19 Apr 2013
A man who sold a house after forging certificates for planning permission for works he had carried out but for which planning permission had not been obtained was recently sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment...

Religious Discrimination – The Right of Christians Not to Work on Sundays
17 Apr 2013
In dismissing a discrimination claim brought by a Christian care worker who resigned from her post after being required to work on Sundays – which she regarded as a violation of the fourth commandment – the...

Child Maintenance – What’s New
12 Apr 2013
Changes in the system for dealing with child maintenance claims will soon be fully implemented, with cases currently dealt with by the Child Support Agency being transferred to the Child Maintenance Service...

Unfair Dismissal – Contributory Fault
11 Apr 2013
An employee’s award of compensation for unfair dismissal normally consists of two elements – basic award and compensatory award. The basic award is not related to the loss suffered but is calculated...

Architects Fined for Asbestos Failure
09 Apr 2013
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012. These made some adjustments to the existing Regulations, in order to take account of the European Commission’s view that the UK had...

Race Discrimination Claims Ruled Out of Time
05 Apr 2013
The vital importance of timing in employment cases has been reiterated by the Court of Appeal after contract workers who were banned from a construction site had their race discrimination claims struck out...

Businesswoman’s £2.7 Million Divorce Award Upheld
01 Apr 2013
A businesswoman who was belittled as being ‘no more than a receptionist’ by her multi-millionaire husband has had her £2.7 million divorce settlement upheld after the Court of Appeal ruled that her...

Window Cleaners Triumph in TUPE Claim
31 Mar 2013
Under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), dismissal of an employee for a reason connected with the transfer of a business is automatically unfair dismissal unless it...

Land Case Will Stands, Rules Judge
29 Mar 2013
A judge has refused to rectify a land transfer between an elderly farmer and his son after rejecting the former’s plea that he had intended the latter only to receive 30 ‘bare acres’ and that part of the farmyard...

TUPE – Service Provision Changes and Single-Purpose Agencies
28 Mar 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has found that not all of the employees of a single-purpose operation offering services to vulnerable people needing support with housing matters formed part of an...

International Abduction – Children Now Protected
27 Mar 2013
November saw the introduction of a new child protection regime for children from the UK who live beyond the EU’s borders, following the adoption of the 1996 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International...

TUPE – Service Provision Changes
25 Mar 2013
The Court of Appeal has now upheld the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Hunter v McCarrick that for there to be a service provision change within the meaning of the Transfer of...

Tribunal Rules on ‘Mutuality of Obligation’ in Employment Contracts
22 Mar 2013
A market researcher who worked on an ‘assignment by assignment’ basis could be classified as an employee on the basis of a succession of oral contracts, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled...

Gay Couple Adoption Approved
21 Mar 2013
A mother who objected to her children being adopted by a gay couple has failed to convince the Court of Appeal to return them to her care. The Court ruled that there was no reason to doubt the prospective...

The National Minimum Wage Exemption for Au Pairs and Domestic Workers
19 Mar 2013
Although most workers of school-leaving age or older are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), there is an exception (under Regulation 2(2) of the NMW Regulations 1999) where a domestic...

Incorrect Drafting Leads to Court Appearance
19 Mar 2013
An elderly couple who, without taking legal advice, tied up almost half of their net assets in a discretionary trust which, due to a drafting error, did not reflect their true wishes or offer them the...

Supreme Court Rules in Equal Pay Case
16 Mar 2013
The Supreme Court has ruled, by a majority of three judges to two, that 174 former employees of Birmingham City Council who left their jobs between 2004 and 2008 do have the right to pursue their...

The Perfect Will
15 Mar 2013
If you die without a Will the law of intestacy dictates who will receive your assets, in what proportion and when. If your estate is valued at over £250,000 (and have children) or over £450,000 (and have no children), your spouse/civil partner will not receive the whole of your estate...

Sensible Employer Defeats Constructive Dismissal Claim
13 Mar 2013
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns and can demonstrate that he or she was entitled to do so because of the conduct of the employer. In such a case, the employer’s conduct is termed...

Fraud Leads to Divorce Settlement Loss
12 Mar 2013
When a divorcee applied to have the financial settlement from her ex-husband amended, she could have little anticipated the problems that would ensue. The woman had divorced her husband in 2005 and the...

Unexpected Debt Causes Shock for Executor
12 Mar 2013
When an executor becomes responsible for administering the estate of a person who has died, he or she is required to gather in the assets of the deceased and to discharge from them any amounts owed by the...

Redundancy Selection – A ‘Pool of One’
10 Mar 2013
In Wrexham Golf Club Co. Ltd. v Ingham, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that when deciding which employees are potentially at risk of redundancy, there will be cases where it is reasonable for the...

Pregnant EU Worker’s Benefits Rights
07 Mar 2013
The Supreme Court has referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) a thorny issue as to whether a Frenchwoman retained her right to reside in the UK as a ‘worker’ pursuant to Article 7 of Directive...

How to Take Care of Your Pets After Your Death
07 Mar 2013
Many people will have read the recent reports of a 67-year-old lady, Marlene Howes, who was prosecuted for allegedly fraudulently claiming pension tax credits and for allegedly concealing that she had received a...

Chancel Repair Liability
06 Mar 2013
The issue of chancel repair liability (CRL), whereby responsibility for repairing a nearby church is tied to the surrounding land leaving unsuspecting property owners out of pocket, received publicity in the recent...

Police Detective Whistleblowing Claim
04 Mar 2013
In Farrar v Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, a ‘diligent and popular’ police detective who claims that she was discriminated against on grounds of her sex and unfairly penalised for complaining about her working...

Judge Refuses to Prolong Catastrophic Litigation
03 Mar 2013
When compromise fails, waging a war of attrition by litigation can often prove to be a disaster, as a recent Court of Appeal decision has underlined. After engaging in lengthy litigation over the division of their...

Member of LLP ‘Not a Worker’
01 Mar 2013
A member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) could not be viewed as a ‘worker’ for the purpose of making a whistleblowing complaint because her relationship with the firm for which she worked lacked the essential...

Father Has Right to See Allegations Against Him
28 Feb 2013
When a mother was informed that an allegation of serious sexual abuse had been made regarding her former husband, she went to court to have his rights to contact with their children restricted...

Uncooperative Attorney Removed by Court
28 Feb 2013
It is important that when a person appoints someone to act as their attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) they can be confident that their wishes will be carried out and that the attorney will...

Losses Subsequent to Unfair Dismissal Are Recoverable, Tribunal Rules
26 Feb 2013
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has decided that an unfairly dismissed employee is entitled to be compensated for the loss of the use of a company car and mobile phone and of a fuel allowance during his...

In Brief - Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay Increases
23 Feb 2013
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the standard weekly rate of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay will increase from £135.45 to £136.78 for weeks commencing on or after 7...

Past Conviction Not to be Mentioned in Present Evidence
22 Feb 2013
The fact that a person has a past criminal conviction does not mean that this can be used as evidence of their character in proceedings. When a daughter accused her brother (called D1 in the report of the case...

In Brief Government to Repeal Third Party Harassment Provisions
20 Feb 2013
The Government has confirmed that it will repeal the third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010, although no date for this has yet been announced. The provisions make employers liable for harassment...

HSE Publishes Workplace Ill Health and Injury Statistics
18 Feb 2013
Provisional statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the number of people in Britain injured and made unwell at work fell in the year April 2011 to March 2012. Overall, 22,433 major...

Lies to Family Court Lead to Prison
17 Feb 2013
When a Lancashire man misled the court about his finances in order to reduce the financial settlement he would have to make in favour of his ex-wife, he probably imagined that the result would be rather different...

Government Announces Flexible Working Measures
15 Feb 2013
Following last year’s ‘Modern Workplaces’ consultation, the Government plans to introduce the following reforms: Shared Parental Leave after Birth or Adoption From 2015, parents will be given the right to share up...

French Inheritance Law Stymies Turkey King’s Wish
15 Feb 2013
The saga of the estate of the late Bernard Matthews, who made his fortune supplying turkey-based products, will serve as a salutary reminder of the complexities that can attach to the affairs of anyone...

Divorced Couple Share Assets and Debt
14 Feb 2013
A husband has been ordered to pay his ex-wife more than £4 million in a divorce settlement that treats the wife’s substantial debts as being shared between them. The settlement awards the wife the former...

Fixed-Term Employment Contracts Clarified
13 Feb 2013
In Hudson v Department for Work and Pensions, the Court of Appeal has emphasised that periods spent working under training schemes do not count towards the four years of continuous employment that...

Exclusive Jurisdiction of Employment Tribunals Upheld
11 Feb 2013
A former primary school secretary who claimed compensation for psychiatric injury after she was ordered to clear her desk and escorted from the premises has had her High Court case struck out after a judge...

Establishing Disability Under the Equality Act
08 Feb 2013
A person is disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 if he or she has an impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If an...

Family Feud Fails to Dislodge Bargain
06 Feb 2013
When an academic who had retired to Cornwall left a will leaving the bulk of his estate to charity, the will was opposed by his nephew. The man, a widower, had realised that he needed help and could no longer...

No Presumption of Equality in Property Ownership, Rules Court
06 Feb 2013
When a couple heeded the advice of their mortgage adviser and put the property they bought together into only one of their names, an eventual dispute over who owned what was always a possibility. The...

ECHR Rules on Protection of Political Beliefs
05 Feb 2013
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that United Kingdom legislation is deficient as it does not protect employees, including those with less than one year’s service, from dismissal on grounds of political...

Suspended Sentences for Non-Payment of Maintenance Quashed
04 Feb 2013
The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision of the lower court to hand out suspended prison sentences to two non-residents who failed to pay child maintenance as ordered by the Child Maintenance...

Drama Teachers Sacked Over ‘Child Abuse’ Play
02 Feb 2013
Two drama teachers who were dismissed after allowing GCSE students to perform in front of their parents and classmates a play involving depictions of rape, oral sex and child abuse have suffered a setback in their...

No Evidence Property Co-ownership Intended
01 Feb 2013
A London couple who ran a guest house together have had the ownership of their assets decided after an acrimonious court case. They had been together since the early 1990s and had a son. In 1996...

Administration of Estates
01 Feb 2013
The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time for all involved that can be further complicated by the need to deal with the deceased’s property and financial affairs, the process legally referred to as the administration of their estate...

Failure to Make Gift Absolute Leads to IHT Charge
31 Jan 2013
A woman who shared a bank account with her son, but who did not give the money in the account to him absolutely, has left him with an Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill as a result. The woman had opened a deposit...

Delay Defeats Unfair Dismissal Claim
30 Jan 2013
In a decision that underlines the vital importance of adhering to time limits in employment cases, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that ‘lost in the post’ is not a good enough excuse for the late...

Contractor Fined for Failing to Alert Workers to Presence of Asbestos
28 Jan 2013
Asbestos is present in many buildings and is usually safe if left undisturbed. However, if it is disturbed and asbestos particles are released into the air and inhaled or ingested, it can cause fatal diseases. A contractor...

Inherited Property ‘Invaded’ to Meet Financial Need on Divorce
27 Jan 2013
A couple’s assets on divorce can include matrimonial property – i.e. assets acquired during the course of the marriage – and non-matrimonial property, which is commonly defined as property acquired before the...

Collective Redundancy Consultation – Government Announces Changes
25 Jan 2013
EU Directive 98/59/EC, the Collective Redundancies Directive, was enacted into UK domestic law by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). Whilst the Directive requires a minimum...

Court Confirms Importance of Family Ties
24 Jan 2013
When the marriage of a Spanish couple who were both resident in the UK broke up, the wife returned to Spain, taking their son with her, whilst her husband remained in the UK. Both mother and father applied...

Councils Must Consider Needs of Disabled and Elderly in Care Provision
23 Jan 2013
When Devon County Council put forward its proposals for funding elderly care, a number of care homes considered that the amount of finance being provided per person was so inadequate that they mounted...

Collective Redundancy Consultation – Decision Outside Scope of Directive, Rules ECJ
22 Jan 2013
In United States of America v Nolan, the Court of Appeal sought guidance from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as to the point at which the obligation to consult arises under Directive 98/59/EC, the Collective...

Christian Demoted for Facebook Comment Wins Breach of Contract Claim
19 Jan 2013
A Christian who was demoted at work for posting a comment on the social networking site Facebook that gay weddings in churches were ‘an equality too far’ has won a breach of contract claim after the High Court ruled...

Avionics Engineer Wins Re-Hearing of Unfair Dismissal Claim
16 Jan 2013
Dismissal of an employee for lack of capability to carry out the work he or she was employed to do can be fair if the employer acted reasonably in treating it as a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee. Provided...

Gay Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support
15 Jan 2013
A gay man who agreed to father a child with a lesbian woman has been ordered by the Child Support Agency (CSA) to pay thousands of pounds in child maintenance. The man befriended a lesbian couple who...

Care Defeats Will Challenge
14 Jan 2013
When an elderly woman left a will that excluded one of her sons, who had been charged with (but not convicted of) several counts of fraud in relation to a business he ran with her other son, the disinherited...

Annual Inflation-Linked Changes in Tribunal Awards
13 Jan 2013
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2012, which details the annual inflation-linked changes in limits on the compensation amounts which can be awarded by employment tribunals, was laid before...

Bankruptcy Not Enough to Avoid Sums Due to Ex-Wife
11 Jan 2013
A man who was made bankrupt has failed in an attempt to persuade the court that, following his discharge from bankruptcy, he should be relieved of the duty to make payments due to his ex-wife. He...

‘More Missed Deadlines’ in Employment Cases Without Legal Advice
10 Jan 2013
The Court of Appeal has said that there will be more missed deadlines in employment cases unless litigants seek legal advice and representation (O’Cathail v Transport for London). After a delay of one day in submitting...

A Special Case for a Special Soldier – sentencing for unlawful possession of firearms
08 Jan 2013
Does the much-publicised Nightingale case set a precedent for other cases of unlawful possession? Not likely, says firearms licensing law specialist Tim Ryan

Beware IHT Pitfall as Commissioners Get Tough
08 Jan 2013
The Charity Commissioners are taking an increasingly tough stance on what constitutes ‘charitable activity’. In recent weeks, they have withdrawn the charitable status of the Plymouth Brethren and...

Band of Reasonable Responses’ Test is Human Rights Compliant
07 Jan 2013
Novel arguments that the ‘band of reasonable responses’ test used in the determination of unfair dismissal claims should be strengthened in order to comply with human rights legislation have been rejected by the...

Cutbacks reach the family courts
07 Jan 2013
In April 2013 new changes will come into effect resulting in the removal of public funding for many people who are currently eligible to receive help with payment of their legal fees. Those people who are no longer eligible but who need a divorce or help to resolve a financial dispute...

Judicial Support Given for Cohabitation Law in England and Wales
29 Dec 2012
In 2011, there were nearly three million unmarried cohabiting couples, with or without children, in the United Kingdom. Many of these may not be aware that if their relationship were to end, their legal position...

Wording Makes Entitlement Under Will Clear
24 Dec 2012
When a will stipulates clearly that an estate is to be divided among the children who survive the testator (the person who makes the will) and does not specifically give rights to the children of a child who predeceases...

Wills and Probate Guide
21 Dec 2012
It is easy to keep putting off making a will. However, having a valid will is the only way to guarantee that your estate goes to who you want it to when you die. If a person dies having made a will, the distribution...

Upset Not Sufficient Reason to Deny Contact
18 Dec 2012
When a mother recently sought to stop her estranged ex-partner (who had been granted parental responsibility over their children) from seeing their two daughters because she found it ‘too upsetting’, the...

Who Decides What Happens to My Body After My Death?
12 Dec 2012
Many people include in their will a clause stating how they wish their body to be dealt with on their death, with the most common choices being burial or cremation. Some people also express a wish as to the...

HMRC Lose Claim for Disclosure of £40 Million Divorce Papers
10 Dec 2012
John Charman, the husband in the biggest contested divorce settlement in the UK, has defeated an appeal by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) against a court order refusing disclosure of his court documents...

Court of Appeal Upholds Overturning of Unfair Will
08 Dec 2012
When a Yorkshire farmer disinherited his son and left the whole of his estate to his daughter, the son challenged the will in court. The son had worked with his father for many years and contended that his...

Christmas Presents
03 Dec 2012
‘tis the season of goodwill and the giving of gifts, and nobody wants to appear a Scrooge but it is worth being cautious if you are planning on handing over money to friends or family members to assist with a house purchase. In this age of economic downturn and rising redundancies...

Stolen Data Leads to First Conviction
02 Dec 2012
The theft of a disk from HSBC in Switzerland, data from which eventually found its way to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), has led to the conviction of a Berkshire man who admitted to evading tax of £430,000...

Inheritance Tax Planning
30 Nov 2012
Benjamin Franklin once said “the only things certain in life are death and taxes”, a statement which appears to ring true in relation to Inheritance Tax (IHT). IHT is one of the most controversial taxes that exists...

Family Law Guide
28 Nov 2012
Relationships can seem indestructible when they begin. The excitement and the feeling of being in love can make it seem pointless or disloyal to raise the question, ‘what do we do if it all goes wrong?' With high...

Warners Solicitors secures Law Society's new quality mark
27 Nov 2012
Warners Solicitors has secured membership to the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme - the mark of excellence for the home buying process. Warners Solicitors underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status...

Private Residence Election Requires Factual Basis
26 Nov 2012
When a couple inherited a house from the deceased parent of one of them, they decided that they did not wish to retain it in the long term and subsequently put it on the market. The week before the property...

Lasting Powers of Attorney to be Digital by Default
21 Nov 2012
As part of the digital transformation of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the Ministry of Justice is seeking views on the provision of a new secure online service for dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney...

Right to Light Does Not Pass on Conveyance
16 Nov 2012
Contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘right to light’ as such under English law, but where light has been enjoyed continuously and without interruption for 20 years, an ‘easement’ (a legal right attaching to land)...

Jackson Estate Dispute Highlights Importance of Guardian’s Role
16 Nov 2012
Michael Jackson’s life was carried on in the media spotlight and, from recent press reports, it would seem that the headlines and controversy which surrounded his life will continue for some years after his death...

Ex-Wife Responsible for Own Financial Arrangements
15 Nov 2012
The courts have recently been asked to rule in a case in which the ex-wife of a wealthy businessman sought an increase in the financial provision she received from her ex-husband following their divorce. She had...

Interest on Missing Son’s Life Assurance Taxable
13 Nov 2012
When a geologist went missing in Angola in 1998 and was never heard from again, he was presumed to have been killed. Eventually, four years after his disappearance, his life assurance provider agreed to pay...

Community Care
10 Nov 2012
With costs rising and government funding being cut, councils are increasingly seeking to make savings in their care budgets – and for elderly disabled people, this can mean substantial increases in the contributions...

Cohabitant Denied Fatal Accident Act Claim
05 Nov 2012
The weaker position of cohabitants, compared with surviving spouses and civil partners, in claims brought under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA), was highlighted in a recent High Court case. In July 2008,...

HMRC Gain From IHT Challenges
03 Nov 2012
In 2011, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) challenged more than 10,000 Inheritance Tax (IHT) returns, according to accountants UHY Hacker Young. Each challenge yielded an average increase in IHT payable of...

Beneficiaries Prevent Sale of Family Trust Shares
01 Nov 2012
The power of trust beneficiaries to direct in certain circumstances the actions of the trustees of the trust under which they benefit was clearly shown in a recent High Court case in which beneficiaries blocked the...

Government to Introduce Presumption of Death Legislation
26 Oct 2012
Each year approximately 250,000 people are reported missing in the UK and some of these people are never seen again. In England and Wales this can often leave the missing person’s family in a legal limbo...

Account Balances Pass By Survivorship, Rules Court
21 Oct 2012
When her husband died, an elderly widow changed her building society accounts, which contained more than £50,000, into joint accounts with one of her daughters. After a six-figure lottery win in 2007, the...

Back to School Blues
02 Oct 2012
Are you, like many other parents, breathing a sigh of relief as the new academic year commences and the dreaded school summer holidays are over as at last? The stress of entertaining children for weeks on end can...

Fatherhood and Child Contact
25 Sep 2012
The Court of Appeal recently ruled in a case which asked whether fatherhood is sufficient to warrant contact with a child and decided that the answer is ‘no’. The case was unusual. It involved a married couple...

Who Can You Leave Out of Your Will?
24 Sep 2012
The recent case in which Annemarie Allport brought a claim against the estate of her late husband, the racehorse trainer David Allport, has received much publicity. According to reports, Mr Allport had made a will...

Verbal Promise Insufficient to Change Will
18 Sep 2012
A farmer’s son who worked in the family farming business his whole life without receiving a proper wage was promised that he would inherit the farm when his father died. However, the relationship between the two...

House Sales – Replying to Enquiries
14 Sep 2012
When a house is bought or sold, the prospective purchaser makes what are called ‘pre-contract enquiries’ in order to establish the exact details of the property being bought. These are normally in the form of a standard set...

Unclear Wording of Will Leads to Failure
14 Sep 2012
A man who failed to make his intentions clear in his handwritten will left the court to decide the meaning of the trusts he had created. The man had written a will which ‘empowered’ the trustee of his estate to make...

Benefits of Preparing Your Will
14 Sep 2012
A Will is possibly one of the most important documents that anyone makes during their lifetime. It allows you to specify who you want to deal with the administration of your estate and who you want to benefit...

Religion and Broken Families
13 Sep 2012
Religion has been the cause of countless disputes over the centuries, but surprisingly few disputes regarding religion have reached the family courts. Recently, the High Court heard a case in which the father...

Misconceptions about Common-Law Spouses
13 Sep 2012
When a couple have been living together for a number of years and have children together, there is a common misconception that they acquire the same legal status as a married couple and become “common-law spouses”...

One Pound a Year Fee Dispute Headed for Court of Appeal?
12 Sep 2012
When family members who were appointed as administrators of the financial affairs of their late father’s estate made ‘informal’ arrangements, instead of putting things on a proper legal footing, they had little idea...

The Myth of the “Quickie Divorce”
07 Sep 2012
The press often report about various celebrities getting a "quickie divorce" when in fact, there is no such thing in the English legal system. The divorce process is the same whether you are Madonna or Mrs Smith from Sevenoaks.

Mortgage Lender’s Interest Superior to That of Occupier
07 Sep 2012
If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage, you may be tempted to consider a sale and rent back (SRB) agreement. Under an SRB, the property is bought by a new owner, typically at a discount. The new...

Will Writers to be Regulated
06 Sep 2012
Making a will is something everyone should do and it is important to have complete confidence in the person advising you. The Legal Services Board has announced proposals to provide greater protection for consumers...

Advance Directive Made By Eye Movements Upheld
04 Sep 2012
It is open to anyone to make what is popularly called a ‘living will’, a document more commonly known as an ‘advance directive’ or ‘advance decision’. Advance directives can include a direction that life-sustaining medical...

Double Tax on Share Sale Leads to Court Battle
31 Aug 2012
A recent case heard in the Court of Appeal illustrates the beneficial Inheritance Tax (IHT) treatment of certain classes of assets and the advisability of taking advice on IHT planning as early as possible. Christopher...

Defunct Charity Gift
29 Aug 2012
A bequest in a will can fail for a number of reasons, one of the commonest of which is that the beneficiary is uncertain. For example, a bequest to a ‘cancer charity’ would fail because the words do not make it clear...

Perceived Necessity Does Not Justify Abduction of Own Child
28 Aug 2012
A woman who removed her child from the UK unlawfully, after the court had rejected her allegations that her ex-husband had sexually abused the child, has lost her appeal against a criminal conviction. The woman’s...

Confused and Inebriated Not Grounds for Invalidating Will
22 Aug 2012
When an elderly woman decided to make a new will giving her entire estate to her neighbour, the attendance note prepared by the firm she had initially approached to do the work formed a large part of the...

When a Charitable Gift Backfires
20 Aug 2012
Making a bequest to a charity is relatively common. However, sometimes this can backfire spectacularly, as happened in the case of a Cheshire man who bequeathed a property to the RSPCA in his will and included the...

Local Authority, Not Client, Decides Care Delivery
16 Aug 2012
Thousands of families have elderly relatives who are incapacitated and whose care is normally shared between the local authority and the family. With local authority finances being hard-pressed, decisions are increasingly...

Financial Settlement in Civil Partnership Split
13 Aug 2012
The Court of Appeal has recently heard the first substantial appeal concerning a claim for ancillary financial relief (a financial settlement on the break-up of a marriage or civil partnership) following the breakdown of a...

No Undue Influence When Estate Passed to Cleaner
10 Aug 2012
A man had made a will in 2007 which left his entire estate to a friend. She predeceased him and some months later he made a new will. This time, his estate was bequeathed to his cleaner. The man’s two daughters...

Intention to Remain Seals Tax Residence Status
08 Aug 2012
When a non-resident of the UK visited the UK with a view to becoming resident here, little did he realise that the decision would cost him nearly £100,000 in tax. The man was a resident of Japan from September...

How to Protect Your Life Savings
06 Aug 2012
The newspapers recently reported the sad case of Geoffrey Hough, an elderly man from Salford, Manchester, whose life savings of £56,000 had been fraudulently spent by his son-in-law. Mr Hough suffered...

Daughter Gains Property in Litigation With Mother
27 Jul 2012
Failing to make formal arrangements over who should own property is a frequent cause of family disputes. One such case concerned an industrial unit, which was owned by a businessman who rented it out. He...

What is Reasonable Financial Provision?
26 Jul 2012
Second marriages are fruitful ground for disputes over estates and when the widow of a Sheffield multi-millionaire claimed against his £6 million estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act...

Raptors and the Persecution of Gamekeepers
26 Jul 2012
Tim Ryan advises on steps to take when gamekeepers find themselves accused of setting their sights on birds of prey.

Court Steps In to Prevent Battle Over Estate
25 Jul 2012
When a person no longer has the mental capacity to make a valid will (‘testamentary capacity’ in legal terms), an application can be made for a ‘statutory will’ to be created for them. When this is done, the court...

When ALF Pays a Visit
25 Jul 2012
The Animal Liberation Front has its roots in the Hunt Saboteur movement in England of the early 1970’s, but now operates as a leaderless, international underground resistance, engaging in illegal direct action to “further the cause of animal liberation”...

Disability Discrimination – Failure to Make Reasonable Adjustments
20 Jul 2012
When deciding a reasonable adjustments claim under Section 4A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now replaced by the Equality Act 2010), the Employment Tribunal (ET) must identify the relevant provision...

Boating Expenses Setback for Nautical Author
18 Jul 2012
For anyone who aspires to a life ‘messing about on the water’ and getting tax relief on the required expenditure, a recent tax case may prove something of a dampener. The case involved a British author who...

Maintenance Payments Should be Based on Need
17 Jul 2012
Helpful guidance on the calculation of periodical payments (popularly known as maintenance payments) in a divorce settlement has been provided by a High Court judge in a recent case. In deciding a contested claim...

Continuity of Service – Justification for Denying Workers Their Rest Breaks
16 Jul 2012
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), which implement the EC Working Time Directive into UK law, in certain circumstances an employer can deny workers their right to daily and weekly rest breaks...

Adopted Family Members Qualify as Statutory Next of Kin
12 Jul 2012
An argument over entitlement to a share in a trust fund has led to a case in the High Court. The argument came about because the trust deed, which was created in 1948, stated that entitlement was dependent on...

A Smell By Any Other Name
10 Jul 2012
A case brought by a group of residents who live near a tip was recently heard by the Court of Appeal. The residents complained that the smell of the tip was a nuisance that blighted the everyday enjoyment of their...

Give and Take is Often Better Than All or Nothing
10 Jul 2012
A recent Court of Appeal case shows that mediation can often be a more beneficial way of resolving disputes than what Lord Justice Jackson referred to as ‘full blooded adversarial litigation’. The dispute in question...

English Law Decides Settlement
06 Jul 2012
When a 43-year-old Spanish-born man and his wife divorced 15 years after their marriage in Spain, having lived in England since 2004 and raised two children (now 12 and 10) here, the question for the court...

Acceptance of Risk Stymies Injury Claim
03 Jul 2012
A pregnant woman who was injured when the horse she was riding veered through a hedge and threw her onto the road has lost her claim for damages for her injuries. The woman was an experienced rider...

Adopted Children in £3 Million Trust Victory
03 Jul 2012
Two adopted children stand to benefit from a £3 million trust fund despite the fact that the trust was set up when adoption did not automatically confer inheritance rights. The High Court so ruled, applying European...

Unfair Dismissal – Qualifying Period for Bringing a Claim
29 Jun 2012
Employers will be aware of the Government’s decision to increase the qualifying period for bringing a claim for unfair dismissal from one year to two years from 6 April 2012. The Department for Business, Innovation and...

TUPE and Administration – Dismissals Prior to Identification of Buyer
27 Jun 2012
In a case concerning the sale of a business in administration, which amounted to a ‘relevant transfer’ for the purposes of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the Court of...

Strange is Not Unbalanced
27 Jun 2012
Although ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’, the fact that a person is ‘odd’ or ‘eccentric’ does not make their will invalid. When a man who later died of a brain tumour made a will that disinherited his second wife in favour of his...

TUPE – Service Provision Change or Supply of Goods?
25 Jun 2012
On 6 April 2006, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) came into force. These made some changes to the existing legislation and were also designed to clarify certain...

Weak Evidence Stymies Asset Division Claim
22 Jun 2012
When a couple divorce, ‘pre-nuptial assets’ are not subject to the normal presumption that applies to ‘matrimonial assets’, which is that a 50:50 split is appropriate. Pre-nuptial assets are those which already...

Dismissal on Account of Long-Term Sickness
21 Jun 2012
When an employee is dismissed for a reason relating to their capability to perform the work for which they were employed, whether or not the dismissal is fair or unfair will depend on whether, in the circumstances...

Planning Cannot Authorise Nuisance
21 Jun 2012
Doing your research into the neighbourhood before you buy a new house is common sense, as a recent case shows. The case was heard in the Court of Appeal and involved an application for an injunction and a claim for damages against...

How to Avoid a Row Over the Family Photos
20 Jun 2012
Disputed wills and estates are far from rare and it is often the least valuable assets in an estate that give rise to the bitterest arguments. In particular, a deceased person’s personal effects, such as their jewellery, pictures or even clothing...

Territorial Jurisdiction in Unfair Dismissal Claims
19 Jun 2012
Under Section 94(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), an employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Whilst the legislation does not contain any geographical limitation, it is agreed that the scope of...

Disability Discrimination – Reasonable Adjustments
14 Jun 2012
Under Section 4A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), employers had a duty to make reasonable adjustments if a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) placed a disabled worker at a substantial...

Deathbed Will Invalid in Absence of ‘Positive Communication’
13 Jun 2012
A controversial ‘deathbed will’ decision has been overturned by the Court of Appeal. The case concerned a challenge to a will that had been made just hours before the testator died in hospital. The man’s will was written out in longhand...

In Brief Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay Increases
12 Jun 2012
The standard weekly rate of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay will increase from £128.73 to £135.45 from 1 April 2012...

Damages for Wrongful Dismissal
07 Jun 2012
The Supreme Court has ruled (Edwards v Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) that a consultant surgeon who suffered a loss as a result of findings of personal and professional misconduct made against...

Redundancy – Suitable Alternative Employment
05 Jun 2012
In a further case on whether or not it was reasonable for an employee at risk of redundancy to refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has reaffirmed that the...

Unfair Post-Nuptial Agreement Set Aside by Court
05 Jun 2012
A Russian ‘serial non-discloser’ of assets said to be worth millions of pounds had his attempt to bind his ex-wife to the terms of their post-nuptial agreement dashed recently in the family court. Mr Justice Mostyn...

Deathbed Marriage Creates Tax Advantage
04 Jun 2012
Marrying or forming a civil partnership in order to save tax may not be romantic, but a recent case showed the benefits of so doing when a man married his lifetime partner shortly before he died, thereby allowing his estate, on which...

Consultant Awarded £4.5 Million in Discrimination Case
31 May 2012
When an employee succeeds in a claim for discrimination, only in exceptional cases will the compensation award take account of that person’s loss of future earnings up until retirement age. In one such case, the Employment...

Pre-Hearing Reviews and Without Prejudice Material
29 May 2012
In Eversheds LLP v Gray, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has directed that a pre-hearing review (PHR) to determine whether or not certain communications between the parties involved in a disability discrimination case...

Will Rectified When Disapproval of Lifestyle Shown
29 May 2012
It is unusual for a will to be, in effect, redrafted by the court, but when there is compelling evidence that it does not reflect the wishes of the testator, the court may do so. A recent case dealt with the will of a woman who had...

In Brief - Compromise Agreements and the Equality Act
24 May 2012
Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010, which came into force on 1 October 2010, was drafted in such a way that a literal interpretation meant that an employee’s own solicitor would not qualify as a relevant independent adviser...

Court Takes Commonsense View in Will Case
23 May 2012
The courts are loath to ‘infer’ provisions into any sort of document, let alone one as final as a will, unless there is a compelling reason to do so, so a recent case in which a will made in Italy was challenged is instructive on when...

Partner or Employee?
22 May 2012
The concept of ‘partnership’ is, in theory, simple. A partnership is an undertaking carried on with a view to profit in which the partners share profits and losses. Regrettably, in reality, things are often not so straightforward...

The Internet and the Executor
21 May 2012
The days when secret passwords were the staple of children’s books and not a part of everyday life are long past. Increasingly, the issue of what to do about Internet passwords and, to a lesser extent, Internet property...

The Girl Who Lost the Rights – Lessons from Stieg Larsson’s Estate
21 May 2012
The Millennium series of crime thrillers by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson has sold millions of copies around the world and resulted in a movie which has been a huge box-office success. Stieg Larsson sadly did not live to...

Package Tour or Travel Booking?
21 May 2012
Whether a holiday is a ‘package’ or just a booking of travel arrangements can make a big difference when it comes to the legal position if something goes wrong...

When Must You Pay Income Tax on Money You Pay?
18 May 2012
It may seem ridiculous that a taxpayer can be liable to pay tax on money they themselves have paid out, but it can happen, as the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) decided recently. The circumstances were that a man was the settlor of an offshore trust...

Compromise Agreements – Changes Afoot
17 May 2012
As a general rule, ‘out-of-court settlements’ of employment disputes are not legally binding in that they cannot exclude an employee’s right to take the matter concerned to an Employment Tribunal (ET). A formal...

Obligation on Seller Sets Boundary
17 May 2012
When a plan is attached to a conveyance, it is often marked ‘for identification purposes only’ in order to ensure that the plan is not considered to be the definitive record of the property being conveyed. Recently, a dispute reached court...

The Changing Face of Divorce
16 May 2012
Statistics show that 33 per cent of the 244,710 marriages that took place in 1995 had ended in divorce 15 years later. This compares with 22 per cent of marriages that took place in 1970. The workload of the...

New Minimum Wage Rates
15 May 2012
The Government has announced that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on the rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) that will apply from 1 October 2012. The revised rates are as...

Court Agrees ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ Plea
14 May 2012
Having too much, too soon has been the cause of the ruin of many a life. Worried that this might be the fate awaiting her child, a mother recently went to court to delay the entitlement of her three-year-old son to an estate of nearly...

The Olympic Games – Are You Prepared?
11 May 2012
With only a couple of months to go before the London 2012 Olympic Games commence on 27 July 2012, employers are reminded of the importance of having a clear policy in place to handle last-minute requests for...

Collective Consultation and the Non-Renewal of Fixed-Term Contracts
09 May 2012
Fixed-term contracts are often used by academic establishments where research funding is available for a set period only or when hiring staff to cover for employees on maternity or sickness leave. In the case of University...

Composer’s Family Loses Will Challenge
08 May 2012
When Oscar-winning composer Sir Malcolm Arnold died in 2006, aged 84, he left a will bequeathing his house, his car, his valuable manuscripts and a half-share in the annual royalties from his compositions to Anthony Day, who had helped...

HSE Updates Guidance on Home Workers
07 May 2012
Following the Government’s review of health and safety legislation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued revised guidance for employers on their duties as regards staff who work from home. When the work...

Claim Over Entitlement to Rest Breaks Not Time Barred
03 May 2012
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), an adult worker is entitled to a rest period of not less than eleven consecutive hours in each 24-hour period during which he or she works or, in certain specific...

Holiday Letting Property a Business, Not an Investment, Says Tribunal
02 May 2012
A recent tax case shows the lengths HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will go to when they think there is tax to be gained by adopting an aggressive attitude with taxpayers. It involved a family, consisting of a mother and her three...

The National Minimum Wage Exemption for Domestic Workers
01 May 2012
Although most workers of school-leaving age or older are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), there is an exception (under Regulation 2(2) of the NMW Regulations 1999) where a domestic worker is...

Barrister Wins Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim
27 Apr 2012
In Bivonas LLP and others v Bennett, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET) that a gay barrister had been discriminated against on grounds of his sexual...

Circumstances Support Will Challenge
26 Apr 2012
Preventing a family member from benefiting from your estate can be fraught with difficulty, even if the family member in question cannot claim to be a dependant and so is not able to make a claim on your estate under...

HSE Fees Scheme Delayed
25 Apr 2012
The introduction of the scheme whereby the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will attempt to recover the costs of its intervention activity where employers are found to be in material breach of health and safety law has...

Shared Parental Responsibility and Divorce
24 Apr 2012
Having rejected the findings of a report it commissioned into the parenting of children after divorce, the Government has thrown into doubt the whole area of how this issue will be dealt with in future. The...

Annual Leave and Non-Working Periods
23 Apr 2012
The Supreme Court has upheld a decision of the Court of Session in Scotland that employers are entitled to require offshore workers in the oil and gas industry to take their annual leave during their ‘field breaks’...

‘Qualification Clause’ Challenge Goes to Appeal
20 Apr 2012
A family feud will now be decided by the Supreme Court following the announcement that the decision of the Court of Appeal is going to be appealed by the loser. The case arose because of a ‘qualification clause’ put in...

Government Consults on Simplifying the Dismissal Rules
19 Apr 2012
The Government has published a ‘Call for Evidence’ seeking the views of business organisations, employees and all other interested parties on the way in which the dismissal procedures currently operate. This includes views...

Annual Inflation-Linked Changes in Tribunal Awards
17 Apr 2012
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2011, which details the annual inflation-linked changes in limits on the compensation amounts which can be awarded by employment tribunals, was laid before Parliament on...

Former NHS Worker Wins Race Discrimination Claim
13 Apr 2012
A former divisional director at Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded compensation of almost £1 million after the Employment Tribunal (ET) upheld his claims of race discrimination...

Accident Reporting Changes
11 Apr 2012
From 6 April 2012, the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) will change, which should reduce substantially the number of reportable incidents...

Failure to Cut Ties Prevents Non-Residence Claim
11 Apr 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have won yet another victory in a tax case in circumstances in which the facts were such that it is very unlikely indeed that a challenge would have been made just a few years ago. It involved...

Employment Status – Weight Watchers UK Lose the Battle
09 Apr 2012
The recent case of Weight Watchers UK Ltd. (WW) v HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) serves as a reminder to employers of the dangers of having contractual arrangements in place that do not match the reality of the...

Marriage-Specific’ Less Favourable Treatment
05 Apr 2012
Section 3 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) protected a worker from less favourable treatment because they were married or in a civil partnership. Under Section 8 of the Equality Act 2010, which has superseded...

Dispute Follows Unclear Description in Will
05 Apr 2012
Lack of clarity in a will has led to a High Court battle over a vintage Bentley. The car was owned by a 90-year-old woman when she died. Her will left her ‘principal motor car’ to her partner of 40 years, Adolf Weidner, 67. He...

Late Registration of Title Means Battle
04 Apr 2012
A recent case dealt with the thankfully rare circumstance of someone buying a property without knowing that the vendor is a bankrupt. When the buyer bought the property, the search of the title at the Land Registry did...

Employment Rights – Ministers of Religion
03 Apr 2012
For many years, it was accepted law that ministers of religion did not normally come within the definition of ‘employee’ for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) because they were traditionally deemed...

Husband Who Failed to Disclose Assets Faces Further Payments
03 Apr 2012
When the marriage between a wealthy property developer and his wife ended acrimoniously, their battle over the financial settlement lasted more than a decade. As part of their divorce settlement following their separation...

Government Consults on Proposed Employment Tribunal Fees
29 Mar 2012
Early in 2011, as part of its proposals to reform the employment law system, the Government announced that it intended to introduce fees for those wishing to lodge a claim with an Employment Tribunal (ET) or an appeal...

Intention Sufficient Basis for Rectification of Will
29 Mar 2012
When a woman updated her will in 2003, she had no way of knowing that a simple change of precedent document could cause problems for her executors several years later. There was no intention to change...

HMRC Crack Down on Foreign Property Tax Avoidance
27 Mar 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have tasked a new team of 200 investigators and specialists, the ‘Affluent Team’, with identifying wealthy tax avoiders. One of the first targets of the team is wealthy...

Government Announces Reforms to the Employment Law System
26 Mar 2012
The Government has announced its proposals for reform of the employment law system following its consultation, ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’, and the Red Tape Challenge review of employment law. The aim...

Lost ET1 Claim by Fax Presented in Time
22 Mar 2012
An employee wishing to bring an unfair dismissal claim must do so within three months of their effective date of termination. Time limits for presenting claims to the Employment Tribunal (ET) are normally strictly enforced...

Mental Capacity Dispute Proves Costly
21 Mar 2012
When an elderly man who had suffered a stroke befriended a woman to whom he gave his entire life savings of more than £500,000, opposition from his family was inevitable. The man’s family claimed...

Equal Treatment for Agency Workers – Does Your Business Comply?
20 Mar 2012
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came into force on 1 October 2011. Employers who use agency temporary staff should ensure they have procedures in place to comply with the changes. All agency workers...

Prison for Man Who Took Child Abroad
20 Mar 2012
When a man decided to leave his partner and take their child (aged four) to his native Pakistan, he may not have known that he was committing a criminal offence, but he became well aware of the fact on his return to the UK...

Father’s Gifts to Daughter Challenged by Sister
19 Mar 2012
When a Jersey multi-millionaire gave most of his assets away to one of his daughters in the months prior to his death, leaving an estate of less than £100,000 to be shared by all three of his children...

Unfair Dismissal – Reasonableness of Decision to Dismiss
16 Mar 2012
In Perry v Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed Ms Perry’s claim that her dismissal on the ground of alleged gross misconduct was unfair. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)...

Government to Outlaw Squatting in Residential Premises
15 Mar 2012
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now published its response to the recent consultation on proposals to criminalise squatting. The consultation paper, entitled ‘Options for dealing with squatting’, received over...

Employer Not Employee Must Assess Risk
15 Mar 2012
It is easy for employers to fall into the trap of believing that because training has been given they have fulfilled their health and safety obligations. A recent case concerned a delivery driver who was reversing a mobile...

Failure to Comply With Procedure Invalidates Will
14 Mar 2012
One of the basic rules for creating a valid will is that it must be signed at the bottom and the signature must be witnessed by two people. Failure to follow this or a number of other simple rules can lead to...

Lotto Win Not Part of Family Assets
13 Mar 2012
A court ruling that a spouse’s lottery winnings were not ‘matrimonial property’ so were not subject to the usual rule of equal division between the spouses when the marriage broke up received much publicity recently...

Employer Held Partly Liable for Employee’s Toilet Fall
12 Mar 2012
A recent personal injury case serves as a reminder to employers to carry out thorough risk assessments with regard to all areas of the workplace. Marie Wallace, 64, worked as a clerical assistant at Kirkriggs School in...

Facts Critical in Residence Claim
09 Mar 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are quick to recognise easy pickings when transactions occur and the conditions for relief against the relevant taxes are not met. One of HMRC’s favourite targets – and this...

Payment for Sleeping on the Job
08 Mar 2012
As the law currently stands, when a person is provided with sleeping facilities at their place of work but remains ‘on call’ throughout their shift, the entire time spent at work will normally count as working time for the...

Executors Pay Price for Intransigence
06 Mar 2012
A battle over a relatively modest estate of less than £150,000 shows the sense of achieving a negotiated settlement where possible rather than resorting to protracted legal proceedings and...

Employee References – What is Fair?
02 Mar 2012
When giving a reference, an employer has a duty of care to an ex-employee to ensure that the information provided is true, accurate and fair. In Jackson v Liverpool City Council, the Court of Appeal has given useful...

Council Cut Attempt Stymied by Court
01 Mar 2012
A case brought against a local council to preserve the right of two elderly persons to appropriate social care, rather than just the provision of care that met their basic needs at a level necessary to keep...

Immigration and Work – Policy Changes Bite
29 Feb 2012
For businesspeople from outside the EU who do not have a commercial sponsor, coming to work in the UK is becoming more difficult as the Government’s policy to cut net immigration bites. The UK Border Agency has...

ECJ Rules on the Accrual of Holiday Leave Entitlement
27 Feb 2012
The Government is currently consulting on an amendment to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), which implement the EC Working Time Directive into national law. The change will enable workers to carry forward four...

Cases Show Need for Caution in Choosing Financial Advisers
24 Feb 2012
Recent reports showing an increase in fraud, and newspaper headlines regarding the conviction of a banker and financial adviser after more than £1.4 million was stolen from the investment accounts...

Voluntary Gender Equality Analysis and Reporting
23 Feb 2012
The Equal Pay Act 1970 (now superseded by the Equality Act 2010) established a legal framework requiring equal pay for equal work between men and women. Despite this, there is still a significant difference in pay between...

Settlement Does Not Prevent Will Challenge
22 Feb 2012
When a dependant of a deceased person is unexpectedly not provided for under the will, the normal course of action is to bring a claim against the deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and...

Unrecorded Marriage Can Still be Terminated
21 Feb 2012
How do you prove that you are married when a valid marriage certificate is not available? This question may not often arise, but it does sometimes happen that a marriage certificate cannot be produced, which can be...

HSE Publishes Workplace Ill Health and Injury Statistics
20 Feb 2012
Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the number of people in Britain injured and made unwell at work has continued to fall. The figures relate to the year April 2010 to March 2011. Overall...

Disabled Employees and Long-Term Sick Leave
16 Feb 2012
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent a person with a disability from being put at a substantial disadvantage compared with persons who are not disabled. This applies when a provision, criterion...

Conduct Determines Legal Ownership
16 Feb 2012
When a property is owned by two people as joint tenants (where the title to the property is owned by each of them, so that if one dies, the other inherits the property by survivorship), each of them is considered to be...

Businessman UK Resident Despite HMRC Guidance
15 Feb 2012
The Supreme Court recently handed down its judgment in the case of Gaines-Cooper v HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). In what will be a surprising decision to many, the Court has sided with HMRC, who argued...

TUPE – Post-Transfer Contract Variations
14 Feb 2012
When an employee’s contract of employment transfers to a new employer following a relevant transfer under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), any variation of the contract...

Disability Discrimination – Reasonable Adjustments and Their Prospect of Success
13 Feb 2012
When deciding whether or not an adjustment intended to remove a disadvantage faced by a disabled employee is reasonable, one of the factors that should be taken into account is how effective it will be. In Leeds Teaching...

A Practical Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney
10 Feb 2012
Since 2007, when the Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into force, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) have taken the place of Enduring Powers of Attorney. A power of attorney allows someone else to make decisions on...

Council Settles Equal Pay Claim
08 Feb 2012
A long-running equal pay claim, brought by a group of women dinner ladies and carers working for Sheffield City Council, has been settled for an undisclosed sum shortly before it was due to be heard by the Supreme...

Unreasonable Behaviour Leads to Access Limitation
07 Feb 2012
The normal presumption of the family court is that a child will benefit from contact with both of its parents. However, when a judge heard evidence of numerous examples of unreasonable behaviour by a girl’s father...

Rest Breaks – Appropriate Alternative Arrangements
06 Feb 2012
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), workers are entitled to an uninterrupted 20-minute rest break if their daily working time exceeds six hours. However, there are exceptions to this general rule to take account...

Claimant’s Duty to Mitigate Loss
03 Feb 2012
A claimant in the Employment Tribunal (ET) has a duty to take all reasonable steps to mitigate his or her loss. If the ET finds that the claimant has failed to do so, it has the power to reduce the amount of the compensation...

Sisters Lose Battle Over Father’s Estate
02 Feb 2012
Three sisters who challenged their late father’s will have lost their battle at the High Court. The will was made the day George Wharton, who was suffering from terminal cancer, was discharged from hospital, in anticipation of...

In Brief - Guidance on Intellectual Property Infringement
01 Feb 2012
If your business infringes the Intellectual Property (IP) rights of others, you could face civil and/or criminal proceedings against you and your business. Employers can be held vicariously liable for IP infringements...

Divorce and Family Location
01 Feb 2012
When a marriage breaks up, it is usual for the couple to separate physically as well as legally and in some cases the physical separation can be considerable. With the increase in international travel and residence abroad...

Causation and Vicarious Liability in Whistleblowing Cases
30 Jan 2012
Under Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), a worker has the right not to be subjected to unwanted treatment amounting to a detriment because he or she has made a protected disclosure. In NHS...

HMRC Attack on Discounted Gift Scheme Succeeds
27 Jan 2012
So-called ‘discounted gift schemes’ have been used in Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning for many years. The basic idea behind them is that a gift is made by a person whose estate is likely to be subject to IHT and the gift is...

Government to Consult on ‘Protected Conversations’
26 Jan 2012
The introduction of ‘protected conversations’ between employers and employees was first mooted in a speech given by the Prime Minister on promoting exports and growth. A protected conversation would be one in which...

Interest on Tax on Gift – Assessment Date Crucial
25 Jan 2012
Although most people know that gifts will normally not be subject to Inheritance Tax if the donor survives for seven years after they are made, it is less well known that there is another tax which can be triggered by a...

Anti-Hunting Stance Constitutes a Philosophical Belief
24 Jan 2012
When first introduced, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 prohibited direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment in the workplace by reason of any ‘religion...

DNA Sample Can be Taken from Mentally Incapable Adult
23 Jan 2012
When a person cannot manage their own affairs due to mental incapacity, the Court of Protection (COP) will appoint a deputy to do so on their behalf. The duty of the deputy is to manage the person’s affairs in their...

Reforms to the Employment Law System
19 Jan 2012
The Government has announced its proposals for reform of the employment law system following its consultation, ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’, and the Red Tape Challenge review of employment law. The aim...

C’est Bon, Le Pre-Nup
19 Jan 2012
Although pre-nuptial agreements are persuasive rather than binding in the British courts, a recent ruling of the High Court on a French ‘pre-nup’ illustrates clearly the current approach of the courts. It involved a very...

Best Interests Not Necessarily Own View
18 Jan 2012
What is in a person’s best interests is not necessarily the same thing as what that person would decide to do if he or she had the capacity to make the decision independently. This conclusion was reached by the Court of...

Redundancy – Suitable Alternative Employment
16 Jan 2012
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee who is dismissed by reason of redundancy will not be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if he or she unreasonably refuses the employer’s offer of suitable...

Are Benevolent Funds Charitable?
13 Jan 2012
A benevolent fund is a fund that exists to benefit people who are linked together in a specific way – normally through a relationship with a particular company or person. Recently, the Upper Tribunal (the senior court...

Notice of Dismissal – ‘Special Circumstances’ Exceptions
12 Jan 2012
When clear notice of resignation or dismissal is given, whether orally or in writing, the normal rule is that it should be taken at face value and cannot be withdrawn except by mutual consent. Exceptions to this rule are when...

Court Reversal for Vendor Who Didn’t Know What He Had Sold
31 Dec 2011
The recent case in which the court was asked to rule regarding a vacant flat that was part of a property sold at auction – the existence of which neither the vendor nor the purchaser was aware of until after the sale – has now been heard...

Will Stands Against Challenge
21 Dec 2011
A recent case illustrates how strong the evidence must be before the presumption that a person making a will has the mental capacity to do so will be overturned. It involved an elderly woman who died leaving an estate of a little under...

Will Signed by Beneficiary Valid
15 Dec 2011
Among the requirements for a will to be valid are that it must not be witnessed by a beneficiary and it must be signed at the bottom by the testator (the person making it) or, if they are unable to sign it, under their direction. You would...

Widow Claims Half Share in House After Will Excludes Her
10 Dec 2011
The widow of a man who died after having made a will that provided only that she should have a life interest in the home they shared has won her claim that she should be beneficially entitled to a half share in the property. The couple...

Widow Challenges Will After Brain Tumour Death
05 Dec 2011
A widow who was excluded from inheriting her husband’s £500,000 estate, under the terms of a will he made four years before he died in 2009, has contested the will, alleging that the brain tumour from which her husband was suffering...

Proposed Amendments to the Working Time Regulations
04 Dec 2011
As reported previously, the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) as they currently stand are not in accord with recent decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the interpretation of the Working Time Directive with...

Trust Wording Leaves Estate IHT Liability
30 Nov 2011
A will that tried to do too much has resulted in an estate being landed with an Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill of more than £150,000 after the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by the bank trust company that acted as trustees. The problem...

Trust Must Provide for Children from Bigamous Marriage
25 Nov 2011
Years ago, it was common for a deed creating a trust for children to specify the beneficiaries as being ‘the legitimate children’ of the person setting up the trust. Recently, the children of the 13th Duke of Manchester, by his bigamous...

Non-Payment of Wages of Employee on Remand
23 Nov 2011
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the decision of the Leeds Employment Tribunal (ET) that an employee was not entitled to be paid his contractual wages during a period when he was remanded in custody pending...

Tax Relief Depends on Facts
20 Nov 2011
It is often assumed that when a person owns only one house and does not let it out to others, then, provided that the house was not purchased for a trading purpose, any gain on the house is free from tax by virtue of ‘principal...

Long-Term Sickness and the Accrual of Annual Leave
16 Nov 2011
The Government is currently consulting on proposals to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), so that they comply with European judgments regarding the carrying forward of the annual leave entitlement of employees...

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Trustee Cases
15 Nov 2011
Two shock Court of Appeal decisions, which reversed the long-standing principle that the courts will normally allow trustees’ transactions that have unforeseen tax consequences to be made void, are to be appealed to the Supreme Court...

HSE Consults on Cost Recovery Scheme for Health and Safety Interventions
13 Nov 2011
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a consultation document on a new system for recovering costs from those who break health and safety laws. The policy itself is not at issue: the consultation seeks views on...

HMRC Issue Revised Guidance on Employer Supported Childcare
10 Nov 2011
Changes to employer supported childcare (ESC) were introduced in April this year, the effect of which is that the limit on the amount of exempt income associated with childcare vouchers and directly contracted childcare for employees..

Retrospective Taxation Lawful, Rules Court of Appeal
10 Nov 2011
The Court of Appeal has ruled that legislation which retrospectively imposed significant tax liabilities on people who used a popular tax-avoidance scheme is lawful. In July, the Court considered the position of two IT contractors who...

In Brief - Health and Safety Made Simple
07 Nov 2011
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new website, ‘Health and Safety Made Simple’, aimed at making it easier for businesses to comply with the law and manage health and safety in the workplace. The online resource...

Must HMRC Follow Their Own Guidance? Supreme Court to Rule
05 Nov 2011
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Gaines-Cooper case is eagerly awaited for more than one reason. Firstly, the outcome in this case will affect hundreds of people who may well find that their residence status for UK tax purposes...

Ex-Gratia Payment or Payment in Lieu of Notice?
04 Nov 2011
The recent case of Publicis Consultants UK Ltd. v O’Farrell is a reminder to employers to take care over the language used to describe termination payments. Ms O’Farrell worked for Publicis Consultants UK Ltd. in the...

Establishing a Statutory Defence for Harassment
01 Nov 2011
Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (now superseded by the Equality Act 2010), employers were liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees at work, unless they could show...

IHT Planning Exercise Fails Due to Covenants
31 Oct 2011
In order for an asset to be removed from an estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes, the donor of the asset must retain no benefit from it after the legal title to it passes. Complex ‘reservation of benefit’ legislation exists to...

Employment Tribunal Statistics for 2010/2011
29 Oct 2011
Statistics for the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, published by the Tribunals Service, show that there was an 8 per cent reduction in Employment Tribunal (ET) claims compared with 2009/2010, although the figure...

HMRC to Name and Shame ‘Dodgy’ Tax Advisers
26 Oct 2011
New measures put forward by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to deal with the problem of ‘tax agents who act dishonestly in tax matters’ include proposals that HMRC should ‘name and shame’ advisers who are found to have acted...

Employment Status – What is the Legal Reality of the Relationship?
25 Oct 2011
The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in a case concerning the employment status of 20 valeters who provided car-cleaning services to motor retailers and auctioneers (Autoclenz Ltd. v Belcher and others). The valeters...

Long-Term Gym Membership Contracts Unfair
23 Oct 2011
The High Court has upheld a challenge by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to various terms found in some gym membership contracts – most notably lengthy minimum membership periods – ruling that such terms are unfair and...

EHRC Proposes ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ for Religion or Belief
22 Oct 2011
In July, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it had applied to intervene in four cases due to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights, all of which were brought by Christian employees...

HMRC Tighten Property Ownership Disclosure
21 Oct 2011
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have had difficulties in the past in checking on property sales to ensure that the ‘principal private residence’ exemption for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is being used correctly. Notwithstanding the...

Dismissals for Refusing to Accept a Pay Cut
19 Oct 2011
In a recent case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) examined a claim of unfair dismissal brought by an employee who had refused to accept a reduction in pay proposed because the employer was undergoing trading...

Further Court Battles Likely for Forgers
16 Oct 2011
When a millionaire estate agent died intestate, the two women he had been involved with both tried to have his estate distributed according to their wishes. Chris John died leaving an estate worth £5 million. At the time of his death, he...

Disability Discrimination – Failure to Make Reasonable Adjustments
15 Oct 2011
A man who was dismissed on the ground of incapacity, after he was absent from work on sick leave for five months whilst recovering from a stroke, has been awarded £390,871 in compensation for disability discrimination...

Family Feud Breaks Out Over Deathbed Marriage and Will
11 Oct 2011
The combination of a deathbed marriage, a millionaire and a new will was always likely to end in a court battle, and so it proved recently when a family challenged their late father’s will, which left everything to his new wife, who had been...

Equitable Compensation to be Tax Free
06 Oct 2011
People who suffered losses as a result of the collapse of mutual insurer Equitable Life in 2000 will be pleased to know that the compensation payments they receive as a result of the passing of the Equitable Life (Payments) Act 2010...

Warners boost their Sevenoaks based Family Law Team
03 Oct 2011
Charles Tennant and Rebecca Massam are two experienced solicitors who have just joined the innovative family law team at Warners. The team pride themselves on finding the best way to help married and cohabiting couples make any changes positive, avoiding unnecessarily aggressive...

Disapproval of Son-in-Law Leads to Property Challenge
03 Oct 2011
A woman who paid more than 90 per cent of the cost of a £3 million property purchased for her daughter, in whose name the title is held, has failed in her attempt to have the ownership of the property changed to reflect her contribution...

Dealing With an Insolvent Estate
01 Oct 2011
One of the rules that applies to the administration of estates is that whilst a person appointed as executor under a will can refuse to accept the appointment, once an executor ‘intermeddles’ in the estate, in principle he or she cannot...

Women on Maternity Leave – What is ‘Special Treatment’?
30 Sep 2011
The Equality Act 2010 – as did the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) which preceded it – allows ‘special treatment’ to be afforded to women to prevent them being disadvantaged on account of pregnancy or childbirth. An employer who treats a woman unfavourably...

Working Abroad and Tax Residence
29 Sep 2011
If you move abroad to work, you pay your tax where you now live and that is the end of the matter. Or is it? Regrettably not. The UK tax system is a ‘world tax’ system, which seeks to tax the worldwide income of its residents. In order to avoid paying tax in the UK on...

When Does Contractual Notice Commence?
28 Sep 2011
An employee wishing to bring a claim of unfair dismissal must do so before the end of the three-month period commencing with the effective date of termination (EDT) of their employment. Where a period of notice is given, the EDT is the date on which this...

Unfair Dismissal – Conduct and Some Other Substantial Reason
23 Sep 2011
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), it can be fair to dismiss an employee if it is for one of the reasons set out in Section 98(2) of the Act, or if the dismissal is for ‘some other substantial reason’ (SOSR) of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee...

Wills Still a Potential Minefield for Many
23 Sep 2011
According to a recent poll, more than one in eight wills is ‘self-written’ and one in 10 of those people who have made a will fails to tell anyone where it is. Since nearly four out of every 10 adults have not made a will in the first place, the survey shows that approximately...

Inherited Wealth Not Split on Divorce
21 Sep 2011
A recent divorce case has confirmed the general position that when wealth is inherited, it is not normally subject to the ‘equal shares’ rule that applies to assets built up during a marriage. The case involved a couple who married in the UK in 1991 after an earlier...

TUPE and Administration – Dismissals Prior to Identification of Buyer
20 Sep 2011
In a case concerning the sale of a business in administration, which amounted to a ‘relevant transfer’ for the purposes of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that it is...

Will Conditions Lead to Court Appearance
19 Sep 2011
It may be tempting (but is probably just tempting fate) to put a ‘qualification’ clause in a will whereby a person inherits only if they do something or refrain from doing something. Where it is something definite which can be unequivocally demonstrated one way or the other...

The Agency Workers Regulations – Provision of Information to Employee Representatives
15 Sep 2011
When the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) come into force on 1 October 2011, where an employer has an existing statutory obligation to provide information on the employment situation of the business to employees and their representatives, this...

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme – What it Means for You
14 Sep 2011
Conveyancing is often thought to be a straightforward process, but the truth is very different. Problems with potential fraud, claims by lenders and title disputes are not infrequent. In order to protect consumers, the Law Society launched, in January 2011, the...

US Estate Tax Changes
13 Sep 2011
Readers who have substantial assets in the USA, are US citizens, or who expect to inherit assets situated in the USA or which are the property of US citizens, should take note of changes to US Estate Tax that were implemented recently. The legislation, in the...

Territorial Jurisdiction in Discrimination Claims
08 Sep 2011
The Court of Appeal has ruled that employees who were based abroad but who performed limited duties in the UK were protected under the discrimination legislation in force at that time (British Airways plc v Mak and others). By agreement, the ET had selected...

Taxing Times for Trusts
07 Sep 2011
Trustees of discretionary trusts who have found that recent tax changes have resulted in an unacceptably high level of taxation (especially as regards trust income from dividends) should give consideration to the possibility of amending the trust to give a beneficiary the...

Tax for Contractors – Is the Pendulum Swinging?
05 Sep 2011
The tax legislation that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) use to determine whether a contractor who uses a limited company to carry out contracts should be treated as an employee of the end-user client is outlined in HMRC leaflet IR35. The legislation is...

Importance of New Relationship Outweighed by Relationship With Mother
05 Sep 2011
A mother has had to go to the Court of Appeal in order to be allowed to return to her native Australia with her two children. The woman had lived in the UK for several years and had two children, although she never married nor lived with their father. When the two children...

Supreme Court Rejects Latvian Immigrant’s Pension Claim
01 Sep 2011
Are the conditions of entitlement to state pension credit under the State Pension Credit (SPC) Regulations 2002 compatible with European Union (EU) law? This was the question raised by a recent Supreme Court case in which a 72-year-old Latvian national attempted to...

Religion or Belief Discrimination – What Constitutes a Philosophical Belief?
31 Aug 2011
When the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were first introduced, employees were protected from discrimination by reason of any ‘religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief’. The wording was changed in 2007, with the...

Redundancies Following a TUPE Transfer
29 Aug 2011
When one business has acquired another similar business under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the need for redundancies often arises. In First Scottish Searching Services Ltd. v McDine and Middleton, the judgment of...

Social and Economic Integration Determine Pension Entitlement
26 Aug 2011
The Supreme Court has ruled that a person of retirement age who does not have the right to reside in the UK (and so is not ‘habitually resident’ in the UK) does not have a sufficiently close link with the UK to be eligible for pension credit. The Court was hearing an...

Polkey Reductions – Some Speculation Inevitable
24 Aug 2011
In Eversheds Legal Services Ltd. v de Belin, whilst upholding Mr de Belin’s claims of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that the Employment Tribunal (ET) had failed to address Eversheds’ argument that the amount...

Helping Out in Court – The McKenzie Friend
24 Aug 2011
A ‘McKenzie Friend’, named after the case which established the legal principles in 1970, is a person who assists another person in legal proceedings in open court when the person who is party to the proceedings requires support – for example, on account of a physical...

Prior Arrangement Prevents Claim
22 Aug 2011
If a person dies without making financial provision for family members who are dependent on them, it may be possible for them to claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However, for a claim to succeed, it has to be...

No Homophobic Harassment Where Claimant Engaged in Similar Conduct
19 Aug 2011
A man who succeeded in his argument that homophobic workplace banter directed at a heterosexual worker could constitute harassment, under Regulation 5 of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, has lost his claim because the...

Family Restored When Court Accepts Expert’s View
18 Aug 2011
A family judge who effectively ignored the expert evidence of risk assessors and a forensic psychologist that the risk posed by a father to his child could be controlled adequately once he was allowed to return to the family home has had her decision overturned by the...

Pensions – Discretionary Means Discretionary
16 Aug 2011
Pensioners in the Prudential Assurance pension scheme were disappointed recently when the court ruled that they were not entitled to discretionary pension increases to which they had become accustomed and which they expected would be given. The Prudential’s...

New Minimum Wage Rates
16 Aug 2011
The Government has announced that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on new rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) that will come into force on 1 October 2011...

Modern Workplaces Consultation
11 Aug 2011
The Government has launched a further consultation as part of its comprehensive review of employment law. This encompasses the following areas: Flexible Parental Leave - Under the proposals, from 2015 mothers would be entitled to 18 weeks’ maternity leave...

Buyer Loses Flat When Vendor’s Error Not Rectified
11 Aug 2011
Mistakes do happen and, when they do, rectifying them can prove more difficult than one might think. In a recent case, a buyer and seller exchanged contracts on a flat, which was being sold by way of a long lease. This seems straightforward enough, but when...

Past Behaviour Indicates Intent
10 Aug 2011
A recent case illustrates the importance for cohabiting couples of giving careful consideration to property ownership and inheritance issues. Ms Cattle had a relationship with her partner, Mr Evans, for many years and when he died she made a claim against his estate...

England’s Largest Divorce Settlement Agreed Amicably
10 Aug 2011
The largest divorce settlement the UK has ever seen, was reported to have been approved by the High Court last month. The case saw Ms Besharova receive a £220 million settlement from the families’ estimate £550 million wealth, following the breakdown...

Separation without Legal Advice – The Pitfalls
10 Aug 2011
It is human nature to avoid disputes, whether those difficulties are in the home or in the work place. When those issues are between spouses, it is often impossible to contemplate that such issues could be irreconcilable. For those reasons we humans often choose to ignore the problems instead opting to sweep under the carpet issues to avoid confrontation...

Life After the Abolition of the Default Retirement Age
09 Aug 2011
As a result of recent changes in the law, the last date on which an employer could lawfully notify an employee of a retirement dismissal using the statutory Default Retirement Age (DRA) provisions laid down by the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 was 5 April...

Divorced Man Can Keep £1 Million in Pre-marital Assets
09 Aug 2011
A divorced man has won the right to retain £1 million of his pre-marital assets before a 50/50 division of the remainder of the couple’s joint assets is made. The assets were valued at around £9.5 million, after provision had been made for the children’s future...

Internal Mechanism for Dispute Resolution Does Not Override Tribunal Right
04 Aug 2011
Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are a ‘halfway house’ between traditional partnerships and limited companies and are a relatively new form of business organisation. Accordingly, we are now beginning to see the first cases coming before the courts dealing...

New Guidance on Transferable Nil-Rate Bands
04 Aug 2011
Of all Inheritance Tax (IHT) legislation, little has been so poorly understood as the transfer of the ‘nil-rate band’ from one spouse or civil partner to another. The legislation operates to transfer any proportion of the IHT nil-rate band unused on the first death for use on...

Court Overturns Over-Hasty Child Contact Decision
02 Aug 2011
When allegations of domestic violence are made, it is essential that child contact arrangements are made with care. Recently, a father, against whom allegations of violence towards the mother of his child had been made, applied to vary the terms of...

Guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations
01 Aug 2011
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) for employers and those in the recruitment sector. The AWR, which implement the EU Agency Workers Directive, will come into force on 1...

Lease Terms Determine Tax Treatment
29 Jul 2011
Not all tax treatments are statutory. Some depend on accepted tax practice but, as a recent case shows, when a particular treatment has been accepted, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will sometimes move the goalposts. For several years, HMRC accepted...

Further Steps in the Government’s Review of Employment Law
27 Jul 2011
The Government has announced that as part of its ongoing review of employment law, aimed at eliminating unnecessary ‘red tape’, it will consider in detail the case for reforming:...

Firms Fined After Worker Crushed by Concrete Beam
26 Jul 2011
Two companies have been fined a total of £130,000 after a worker was killed when he was crushed by a concrete beam on a building site in Essex. Micor Ltd. and Crane and Transport Services Ltd. were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the...

HMRC Denied Penalties From Homeless Woman
25 Jul 2011
Even though she had been robbed and had all her savings stolen, a woman was pursued by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for penalties and surcharges for late payment of tax and it wasn’t until her accountant made representations before the Upper Tribunal that...

Court of Appeal Backs Prospective Adopters
22 Jul 2011
A recent case shows how unwilling the court will be to change an adoption order once it has been made. The case concerned a child who was removed from his mother’s care because she was unable to look after him due to drug dependency. This was followed by an...

Employment Rights – Ministers of Religion
21 Jul 2011
For many years, it was accepted law that ministers of religion did not normally come within the definition of ‘employee’ for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) because they were traditionally deemed to be ‘office holders’ working for God...

HMRC Checks on IHT Valuations
19 Jul 2011
In the year to December 2010, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raised in the region of £70 million in additional tax as a result of challenging property valuations included in the estates of people who had died. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable if the value of the estate...

Employment Contracts and Illegality
18 Jul 2011
The courts will not allow a party to an employment contract to enforce their rights under it where the contract is deemed unlawful. In the 2001 case of Hall v Woolston Hall Leisure Ltd., the Court of Appeal held that contracts of employment are unenforceable...

Employer Liable for Second Injury
14 Jul 2011
The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision of the lower court that the employer of a man who suffered a serious head injury in a workplace accident was also liable for a later injury when the man fell over after having had too much to drink (Dalling v R J Heale & Co Ltd.)...

Child Support and Insolvency
14 Jul 2011
When a person goes bust, what is the position regarding a debt they owe to the Child Support Agency (CSA) with regard to arrears of maintenance payments? This question arose recently when a man applied for a creditors’ voluntary arrangement (CVA). At the...

Dispute Prevents Distribution of Estate
13 Jul 2011
When a beneficiary loses out because the terms of the will of a wealthy person are changed shortly before that person’s death, a dispute is always likely. When a Scottish woman with an estate valued at £4 million died shortly after changing her will in order to transfer...

Dismissal for Sending Offensive Email from Home PC Was Fair
11 Jul 2011
A recent case (Gosden v Lifeline Project Ltd.) demonstrates that it is important for employers to have in place an Internet usage policy and to ensure employees are aware that disciplinary action may be taken over any conduct capable of harming the...

Insolvency and TUPE – EAT Provides Clarification
08 Jul 2011
Whilst the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) operate to protect the employment law rights of employees when there is a relevant transfer of a business or part of a business, Regulation 8(7) provides that where insolvency...

Lost Will Confirmed by the Court
07 Jul 2011
A very unusual case illustrates the lengths to which the courts may go in order to sort out disputes involving lost wills. It involved a couple who had both been married before and who, it was claimed, had made mutual wills. On the husband’s death, his will was not...

Daughter Wins Right to Share of £480,000 Inheritance
07 Jul 2011
A woman whose mother left her entire estate to charity has won her appeal for a payment from the estate, sufficient to meet her need for reasonable maintenance. Melita Jackson died in July 2004 at the age of 70. She left a net estate of some £480,000, most of...

Disability Discrimination – Failure to Make Reasonable Adjustments
06 Jul 2011
Under Section 4A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), employers had a duty to make reasonable adjustments to working practices in order to ensure that a disabled employee was not disadvantaged. Under the Equality Act 2010, which has now...

Adverse Statements Concerning Former Employees – Claims in Negligence
04 Jul 2011
Whilst employers are no doubt aware of the duty of care owed to employees when providing them with a reference, a recent decision of the High Court makes it clear that an ex-employer who provides false information regarding a former employee, who suffers foreseeable...

Catholic Challenge on Adoption Fails
04 Jul 2011
The Charity Tribunal has rejected an application by the charity Catholic Care, which is the social care organisation of the Diocese of Leeds, to amend its objects regarding its adoption services in order to permit the charity to restrict its services to exclude...

Credit Card Agreement Enforceable
01 Jul 2011
Debtor Patrick Brophy must pay his credit card bill, following the failure of his bid to overturn a High Court decision dismissing his appeal against a 2009 judgment in the Willesden County Court. Mr Brophy took his case to the Court of Appeal, alleging that a credit card...

Court of Appeal Rewrites Will
01 Jul 2011
The Court of Appeal has taken the extraordinary step of effectively re-writing a will which disinherited the only daughter of a woman. The decision is likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court. The woman’s will left her entire estate, worth nearly £500,000, to...

Agency Workers and the ‘Necessity’ Test
28 Jun 2011
A recent case in the Court of Appeal (Tilson v Alstom Transport) dealt with the application of the ‘necessity’ test for implying a contract of employment between an agency worker and the end-user business where the worker is fully integrated into the organisation...

Discretionary Trusts – Possible Ways Forward
28 Jun 2011
Clients who have discretionary trusts in place are reminded that the advent of higher rates of tax since April 2010 may warrant a review of the trust structure. Since April 2010, trustees of discretionary trusts have been subject to a 50 per cent tax rate on trust income which...

Statutory Will Ordered When Existing Will in Doubt
22 Jun 2011
An unusual instance of the creation of a statutory will was reported recently, when an application for a statutory will was granted to the daughter of a woman who had suffered a stroke. The applicant’s two half-siblings were found to have forged an enduring...

Inaccuracy, Not Haste, Defeats Planning Decision
20 Jun 2011
An attempt by campaigners to prevent the demolition of a neo-Georgian building by creating a conservation area was recently defeated, following a challenge by the property company that wished to develop the site. The council failed to prevent the demolition order...

HSE Develops Risk Assessment Tool for Shops
10 Jun 2011
The Government’s review of the operation of health and safety legislation in the UK, Common Sense – Common Safety, recommended that the risk assessment procedures for low hazard workplaces, such as many offices and shops, should be simplified to free such...

Covenants for Short-Term Protection – How Long Do They Last?
06 Jun 2011
One difficulty with the law is that it is not always easy to predict the outcome of a case. The court’s decision will depend on the individual facts. In a recent dispute involving a covenant on land, the court reached a decision based on facts that were similar to those in...

IHT Changes of Importance to Executors
02 Jun 2011
Changes by HM Revenue and Customs to the disclosure requirements for executors have come into effect. These apply to deaths occurring from 1 March 2011. The first change is that where the deceased gave gifts which exceed the annual ‘Inheritance Tax (IHT)...

Landlord Loses £270,000 Repair Bill Appeal
02 Jun 2011
Property company Daejan Investments Ltd. has failed in its bid to overturn Tribunal decisions concerning repair works carried out at the company’s Queens Mansions property in Muswell Hill, London. The recent Court of Appeal ruling will cost Daejan almost £270,000...

Gagging Orders – A Matter of Balance
31 May 2011
A balancing act is always necessary when a case heard by the courts is of interest to the public but where revealing the facts and identifying the parties involved would infringe their right to privacy. Normally, the balance is achieved by revealing either the facts of the case...

Long Distance Commuters on the road to Divorce?
31 May 2011
40 minute+ commute increases risk of divorce. A Swedish study indicates that long distance commuting increases the likelihood of divorce.

‘Naming and Shaming’ Employers Who Flout NMW Law
30 May 2011
The scheme whereby the names of employers who breach National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation are published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) came into effect on 1 January 2011. The aims of the scheme are to deter employers who...

Care Orders – Court of Appeal Backs Council
25 May 2011
The decision of a local authority to place a baby born in prison in care, after her mother’s behaviour was believed to have put the child’s life in danger, was recently backed by the Court of Appeal. After the local authority had obtained a separation order, which...

Attorney Faces Prison for Theft
23 May 2011
A man who was appointed under a power of attorney to look after a woman’s affairs, when she could no longer manage to do so herself, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after he abused his position of trust to steal more than £100,000 from her...

Special Dividend Not Special Enough
20 May 2011
In certain circumstances, the trustees of a trust can treat the receipt of a dividend as a receipt of capital, rather than income – a treatment that may have beneficial tax implications for the trust. The treatment is available when receipt of the dividend reduces...

Bribery and Rights Under Civil Law
19 May 2011
Bribery is coming under increasing attention following the passing of the Bribery Act 2010, under which bribery is a criminal act. Whilst implementation of the Act, which was passed under the previous administration, has been delayed so that the Government has...

House Builder Not Liable for £35,000 Defects
17 May 2011
When the terms of a house building contract exclude any liability for losses incurred by the client on account of defective works, the client has no redress under a general duty of care. This was the decision of the Court of Appeal in a recent case concerning the construction...

Discrimination – Religion or Belief
16 May 2011
A committed Spiritualist has failed in his attempt to persuade the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that his dismissal from the post of Special Constabulary Trainer was unlawful discrimination under the Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003...

Settling Tax by Credit Card – A Good Idea or Not?
11 May 2011
The recession has brought many changes to the way HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deal with taxpayers. A generally more aggressive approach on the part of HMRC has coincided with the much-touted ‘time to pay’ agreements for businesses experiencing...

Pre-nuptial agreements truly enforceable?
05 May 2011
A landmark decision by The Supreme Court has changed the way that Pre-Nuptial Agreements are enforced in Britain. This could mean that marrying couples can set out the terms of their divorce before they even tie the knot...

If I Can’t Use It, You’ll Have to Buy It!
04 May 2011
A recent case brought a property owner into conflict with his local council after he had been refused planning permission for a change of use of amenity land beside his house to use as a garden...

Shared Ownership – The legal process
04 May 2011
We all know that property prices in our area are amongst the highest in the country and many first time buyers find it difficult to find enough money for the deposit to put down on their first home. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is Shared Ownership...

Greater range of childcare options now available to families
04 May 2011
The Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010 came into force on 6 April 2010. The Regulations enable fathers, or the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the child’s mother or the partner of a primary adopter, to take up to 26 weeks...

Equality Act – Codes of Practice
08 Apr 2011
Following the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced statutory Codes of Practice on employment; services, public functions and associations; and equal pay. The Codes set out what the legislation means and draw on...

Victory for Taxpayer in IHT Claim
07 Apr 2011
A tax case recently decided in Scotland has implications for businesses in which a trade that qualifies for Business Property Relief (BPR) for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is carried on alongside one which does not. BPR operates to reduce the value of a business asset to...

Where There Are Assets, There Can Be Trouble
01 Apr 2011
An argument over an estate worth more than £4 million has caused a family rift which looks set to run and run. The case concerned the assets of a Greek Cypriot woman, who died leaving her and her late husband’s estate largely to their daughter. The High Court heard evidence...

Pensions and Divorce
28 Mar 2011
Divorces among the over-60s are by no means infrequent and, whilst the potential for acrimony arising from issues concerning young children is absent, they often do produce a great deal of dispute regarding the division of the family assets. There are two assets which are typically...

Court Rejects Will Challenge
22 Mar 2011
Where there is an international element, wills and probate matters can get very complex. A recent case illustrates the sort of problems that can arise. It involved an Indian man who lived in England and owned several properties here as well as land in India. When visiting India...

Private Residence Must Be Genuine, Rules Court
17 Mar 2011
When seeking to claim the ‘principal private residence’ (PPR) exemption – which exempts from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) gains made on the sale of the PPR of the taxpayer – the criteria for exemption are strictly interpreted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)...

Court Refuses to Reopen French Maintenance Agreement
16 Mar 2011
It is sometimes tempting to try to have an agreement reconsidered and the UK sees more than its fair share of family law cases with an international element, where one party to an agreement made abroad seeks to revisit the issues because of the comparatively...

Failure to Give a Warning Not Actionable
14 Mar 2011
‘They didn’t warn me what could happen’ is a common complaint, but a recent case shows that a failure to give a warning about a potential issue does not necessarily mean that there are grounds for bringing legal action. The case involved a manufacturer of fire extinguishers...

Statutory Wills
11 Mar 2011
It is a source of concern to lawyers and families alike that the majority of people never make a will. Often, the intention to do so is there, but somehow the person never seems to ‘get around to it’ and dies or becomes incapable before a will can be made. It is possible...

Court of Appeal Guidance on Inherited Wealth and Divorce
09 Mar 2011
A recent decision of the Court of Appeal, involving the financial settlement in a ‘big money’ divorce, elucidates the criteria which the courts should apply in deciding financial settlements on divorce where there are considerable inherited assets, even when the sums involved...

Gross Misconduct and Breach of Contract
08 Mar 2011
When an employee is sacked for gross misconduct, has the employer breached his contract of employment? This was the question before the courts in Dunn and another v AAH Ltd. Stephen Dunn was the Managing Director of AAH Ltd., one of a group of companies of which...

Principal Private Residence Relief – Prove it or Lose it
07 Mar 2011
The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) reliefs for property owners are surprisingly generous in the UK and provide a variety of tax planning opportunities. The rather beneficial tax regime is probably why many people think that the ability to make an election that a property is your...

Prison Not Available to Enforce Tenant Debt Hearing
04 Mar 2011
Threat of committal to prison for contempt of court should never be used simply to speed up a debt collection process, however long it has gone on. This was the ruling of the Court of Appeal in a case concerning Emeka Okonkwo, a tenant of Broomleigh Housing Association...

Court Upholds Flawed Judgment When No Practical Alternative
01 Mar 2011
Judges are not perfect and when a judge recently considered a child placement order, there were inadequacies in the judgment. The judge had not stated correctly the test for the criteria to be considered when making a placement order. On the basis of the inadequacies...

Building Owner Must Indemnify Neighbour Against Damage
25 Feb 2011
When the owner of a building intends to carry out work covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, the owner of an adjoining building has the right to request security from the owner planning the work where this involves a risk to their property. This is so even if carrying...

Court Backs ‘Valuation of the Whole’ Approach to IHT
23 Feb 2011
When a wife died in 1999, her will transferred her half share in the matrimonial home to her four children. Little could the family have suspected that eleven years later they would still be arguing with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over the Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability...

Divorce Settlement Overturned by Insolvency
22 Feb 2011
Financial problems are one of the most common factors in family relationship breakdown, so divorce cases are not uncommonly carried on against a background of insolvency. A recent case shows the sort of problems that can arise. It involved a couple who had recently divorced...

Carer Jailed for £10,000 Theft
17 Feb 2011
The newspapers have recently reported several incidences of the exploitation of vulnerable elderly people. In one such case, Stevenage care worker Jo-ann Tharle has been jailed for the theft of savings of more than £10,000 from an elderly man in her care...

Rest Breaks and On-Call Time
17 Feb 2011
The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland has ruled (Martin v Southern Health and Social Care Trust) that a nurse was not ‘on call’, for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), during unpaid rest breaks that were at risk of being interrupted due to the nature...

Disability-Related Discrimination – New Act Restores Position
11 Feb 2011
The core provisions of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October. The Act largely consolidates existing discrimination law, which had previously been found in a number of different pieces of legislation. One of the changes made by the Act is to make it easier for...

Half-Sister Given Access to Siblings
09 Feb 2011
The half-sister of two children in the sole care of their father has been allowed indirect contact with them, following a ruling of the Court of Appeal. Previously, a family court hearing was told of the father’s concern that allowing his daughter to have contact with her half-sister and...

Family Pay Price for Executor Appointment
07 Feb 2011
When appointing an executor, it is vital that you make sure you choose someone who is trustworthy. Where co-executors are appointed, it is important that they will all oversee the estate administration. The wisdom of an assiduous approach when deciding who to appoint...

Dispute Between Neighbours to Go to Supreme Court
04 Feb 2011
A long-running boundary dispute is on course for a hearing in the highest court in the land, despite the legal costs of the case having already greatly exceeded the value of the land under dispute. Ian and Diane Pennock had built a stone wall with steps leading down to the water...

In Brief - Gay Couples Are a Family, Rules European Court
01 Feb 2011
In a recent judgment dealing with child maintenance payments for a mother who left her husband and formed a stable monogamous relationship with another woman, the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that the mother’s obligations towards her children were...

Former Partner Not Entitled to Share of Property
27 Jan 2011
A woman has failed in a £680,000 High Court bid for half the proceeds of the sale of a business she helped to run, following the breakdown of a partnership. The claimant valued the business at £1.36 million and claimed 50 per cent of that valuation. Her former partner, Trevor Miller...

Age Discrimination – Compulsory Retirement
26 Jan 2011
The Government has announced its intention to abolish, by 1 October 2011, the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 contained in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 and is currently carrying out a consultation process on how best to achieve its aim...

RSPCA Takes Will Dispute to Court of Appeal
24 Jan 2011
An appeal over a loosely-worded will, which will be heard shortly, pits a family against the RSPCA as the charity has decided to contest a controversial High Court judgment made earlier this year. The RSPCA not only lost the case but was also criticised by the judge and ordered...

Divorced Husband Ordered to Pay Up After Hidden Share Deal
19 Jan 2011
The Court of Appeal has ordered a divorced husband to pay an additional £481,000 in ancillary relief to his former wife, five years after the original divorce was settled, because he hid information about a profitable share deal. In April 2005, the couple reached an agreed...

Government Gives Go Ahead for Additional Paternity Leave for New Fathers
18 Jan 2011
The Coalition Government has announced that the Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010 will be introduced according to the timetable proposed by the previous Government. The Regulations will allow new parents greater flexibility as to how they make use of the...

Family Friendly Working – The Next Steps
13 Jan 2011
The Coalition Government has announced its intention to bring forward proposals to create more flexible, family friendly workplaces. As a first step, from April 2011 the right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children under the age of 18...

Where there’s a Will there’s peace of mind
12 Jan 2011
Chris Eriksson-Lee discusses the benefits of having a Will drawn up by a professionally qualified Solicitor and the potential pitfalls of not having a Will at all.

Changes to HMRC Penalties
12 Jan 2011
As the deadline for filing on-line tax returns is approaching (31/01/11) Nicola Cubbon looks at little known change that means the late filing penalty will no longer be capped, so even if there is no tax due the penalty for late filing will be £100...

Pensions and Divorce
12 Jan 2011
Divorces among the over-60s are by no means infrequent and, whilst the potential for acrimony arising from issues concerning young children is absent, they often do produce a great deal of dispute regarding the division of the family assets...

School Fees and Child Support
07 Jan 2011
When an agreement is made on separation or divorce for school fees to be paid by a parent, should the payment of the fees be taken into account by the Child Support Agency (CSA) when calculating that person’s child support liability? It might seem that where such an...

Resignation or Dismissal? – Findings of Fact
06 Jan 2011
When a claim is made to the Employment Tribunal (ET), the ET reaches a decision based on an examination of the facts before it. An appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) can only be on a point of law. The EAT’s job is to identify any flaws in the legal reasoning of the...

In Brief - Mistakes in Probate Applications
05 Jan 2011
The Court Service has revised its guidance on making an application for probate, in order to take into account the most common errors made. The guidance has been published by HM Revenue and Customs on page 6 of the June 2010 Inheritance Tax and Trusts Newsletter...

Full-Time Employees Abroad and UK Tax Residence
04 Jan 2011
Although it is possible that working abroad full-time may mean that you are non-UK resident for Income Tax (IT) purposes, the position is still uncertain as to exactly when this will apply. In a recent case, the Court of Appeal ruled that being in full-time employment abroad for the...

Joint Account Does Not Mean Joint Ownership
30 Dec 2010
Having money in an account held in two or more names does not mean that the account is held jointly by all those named and that entitlement to the total balance automatically passes to the last survivor. A recent case dealt with a bank account that was held in two names...

Same-Sex Couples and Parenthood
29 Dec 2010
When the relationship of a same-sex couple who have children breaks up, there can be a problem regarding the meaning of the word ‘parent’, because at least one of the couple will not be the biological parent of the children. In a recent case, a lesbian couple, who were...

Effective Date of Termination – Early Release
28 Dec 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that absolving an employee from working his or her full notice period does not of itself alter the effective date of termination (EDT) for the purposes of deciding whether or not a claim of unfair dismissal was presented within the...

Beneficiaries and Special Circumstances
23 Dec 2010
A beneficiary of an estate is only permitted to bring an action on behalf of the estate (a derivative action) where special circumstances exist. In a long-running case, Mark Roberts, one of the beneficiaries under an estate, brought proceedings against two firms of solicitors that...

IHT Nil Rate Band Transfers
21 Dec 2010
Inheritance Tax (IHT) allowances and reliefs are available individually to each taxpayer. Because transfers of assets between spouses or civil partners normally have no tax consequences for IHT purposes, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there...

Travel and Subsistence – Minimum Wage Loophole to Close
21 Dec 2010
From 1 January 2011, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations will be changed in order to close a loophole whereby some Employment Businesses and umbrella companies operate travel and subsistence schemes for temporary workers in order to save on tax and National...

Children and Contact Arrangements
20 Dec 2010
Two recent decisions in child contact cases illustrate that the courts recognise the importance, where possible, of children having a relationship with both of their parents. The Children and Adoption Act 2006, which came into force in December 2008, gives the...

Who Bears the Loss?
17 Dec 2010
A recent case illustrates the wisdom, when purchasing a car, of always checking the background of the vehicle to identify the rightful owner and the terms under which it is owned. Dr Kulkarni purchased a Mercedes for £39,000. The ‘seller’, however, could not lawfully sell...

‘Without Prejudice’ Communications
17 Dec 2010
The ‘without prejudice’ rule is a rule of evidence which (subject to limited exceptions) renders inadmissible in any subsequent litigation evidence of communications between parties to a dispute during negotiations aimed at achieving a settlement. The rule exists so that parties...

Have You Made a Will?
15 Dec 2010
Research carried out earlier this year by YouGov, on behalf of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, indicates that 58 per cent of adults in the UK and 74 per cent of those who are cohabiting do not have a will. According to the poll, whilst most people understand the importance...

Mortgage a Risk Ex-Wife Should be Allowed to Take
13 Dec 2010
When a marriage breaks up, the matrimonial home is often the subject of considerable dispute and it is common for an order to be made for it to be sold and the proceeds divided between the divorcing couple. Recently, a case was heard in which a wife wanted to retain...

Employer Pays Price for Super Salesperson
10 Dec 2010
An employer whose bonus scheme for sales staff was not tightly worded enough was recently left to count the cost after an appearance in the Court of Appeal. The employer hired a salesperson on a contract which included bonuses for meeting sales targets...

Obligations Under TUPE
02 Dec 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has reaffirmed (Todd v Strain and others) that when there is a ‘relevant transfer’ under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the obligation under Regulation 13.2 to inform affected...

Recruitment Policies and the Equality Act
23 Nov 2010
In order to protect job applicants with a disability from discrimination during the recruitment process, Section 60 of the Equality Act 2010 prohibits the use of questionnaires on an applicant’s general health and related issues prior to a job offer being made...

Effective Date of Termination – Early Release
15 Nov 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that absolving an employee from working his or her full notice period does not of itself alter the effective date of termination (EDT) for the purposes of deciding whether or not a claim of unfair dismissal was presented within...

Nightmare Cruise Award Cut by Court of Appeal
09 Nov 2010
A couple who were awarded £22,000 in damages after they cut short their £60,000 dream cruise, when it turned into a nightmare due to sickness and physical discomfort, have had their damages slashed by the Court of Appeal. The couple abandoned the three-month cruise...

Right to Request Training Under Review
08 Nov 2010
As part of its review of legislation, in order to reduce any unnecessary burden of regulation on businesses, the Government has carried out a consultation on the right of employees to request time to undergo training. The right was introduced by the Employee Study...

The Great PAYE Fiasco
08 Nov 2010
Underpayment of tax is a hot topic at the moment, with the press enthusiastically reporting that nearly 6 million people will be notified before Christmas that they have been under or over paying tax due to incorrect PAYE codes during the 2008/2009 tax year...

HSE Fatality Statistics
02 Nov 2010
Provisional figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that the number of people killed at work in Britain fell to a record low in the year 2009/2010. Between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010, 151 workers were killed, compared with 178 deaths in...

Sickness and Holiday Leave – ET Rejects Backdated Claim
25 Oct 2010
The ruling of the House of Lords in Stringer and Others v HM Revenue and Customs – that employees who are off work due to sickness for more than a year who have been denied their entitlement to statutory holiday pay can bring a claim under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) for an unlawful deduction from wages – has opened the way for backdated...

1,000 Breaches of Data Protection
20 Oct 2010
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has urged organisations to be extra vigilant in the way they handle personal data, after the number of reported data protection breaches reached 1,000. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with...

Default Retirement Age to be Scrapped
15 Oct 2010
The Government intends to abolish, by 1 October 2011, the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 contained in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 and has published a consultation document on how it proposes to achieve its aim. Under the proposals, there will...

New Employment Tribunal Fast Track Scheme
08 Oct 2010
Since April 2009, the names of employers and individuals who fail to pay Employment Tribunal (ET) awards have been added to the public Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, once enforcement proceedings have been brought against them in the County Court...

Attorneys Note – Amendments to EPA Regulations
08 Oct 2010
The regulations governing Lasting Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney have recently been changed. The amendments require that the original Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) must be produced, if available, when an application is made to register the power...

No Appeal for Unsupported Claim by Cohabitee
06 Oct 2010
A man’s attempt to obtain a half-share of his ex-partner’s property after they split up failed recently when he could not persuade the Court of Appeal that his decision to have his name removed from the deeds, taken more than 20 years earlier, should be ignored when...

The Recession May Be Bad, But It Isn’t Frustrating
05 Oct 2010
One of the reasons a contract can be abandoned is that the performance of the contract is ‘frustrated’ – something happens which makes it impossible to complete. In August 2007, the builders Barratt contracted with site owner Gold Group Properties Ltd. to build a large...

Will Forgery Case Highlights Need for Caution
01 Oct 2010
A recent case shows yet again that there are those who will prey on the elderly and the bereaved for their own benefit. An NHS bereavement services adviser from Leicestershire was jailed after being found guilty of stealing £3/4 million from the estates of deceased hospital...

Time Off Work for Public Duties
30 Sep 2010
Employers have a statutory duty to allow their employees reasonable time off work to carry out public duties. Such duties include acting as a justice of the peace, as a prison visitor, as a member of a local authority or relevant health or education body, as a member of a...

Check the Builder’s Insurance
30 Sep 2010
The wisdom of checking that those doing work for you are properly insured is illustrated by a recent case. It involved a man who was hired to do casual labour for a builder working on a house. The builder was uninsured. The man needed to access a flat roof and asked the...

Wedding Video Stops Divorce
27 Sep 2010
For an application to be made for ancillary relief (a financial settlement on divorce), there has to have been a valid marriage in the first place. On that simple point a woman’s application to file for divorce and claim ancillary relief was recently refused by the court. The judge had...

Care Home Residence Does Not Terminate Occupation
27 Sep 2010
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are well known for applying the letter of the law when it suits them and, with the Government seeking to reduce the massive fiscal deficit, are pursuing some cases that seem to stretch the limits of reason. In a recent case, HMRC argued that...

Time Limits for Lodging Appeals in the EAT
23 Sep 2010
The time limits for lodging appeals in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) are usually strictly enforced. Where an appeal is from a judgment of an Employment Tribunal (ET), the Notice of Appeal and supporting documentation must be lodged within 42 days of the date on which...

Law of Covenants Set to Change
23 Sep 2010
If you are considering buying a property, the existence of a covenant or easement relating to it is an important consideration. Nearly two thirds of freehold titles are subject to an easement (which gives someone other than the owner a right over the land) and nearly four fifths...

Ex-Wife Benefits from Family Trust
21 Sep 2010
When a couple divorce and financial arrangements have to be sorted out, there are occasions when the court may decide that assets not owned by the divorcing couple should be taken into account. In a recent case, a couple with three children divorced after 20 years of marriage...

Religious Discrimination – Conflicting Rights
17 Sep 2010
Two recent cases examined employees’ claims of discrimination contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (the Regulations) where the employees concerned were disciplined for refusing to provide services to same-sex couples...

Statute Dictates that Common Sense and Fairness Do Not Apply
16 Sep 2010
A taxpayer who submitted his tax return too promptly found this to be to his disadvantage recently when the Tribunal supported the rejection by HM Revenue and Customs of his right to carry back a charitable contribution of nearly £1 million against a chargeable gain arising in...

House Buyer Almost Escapes Mortgage Liability
15 Sep 2010
A Sheffield house buyer has failed in his recent attempt to have a £48,000 debt wiped out. He was hoping that the 12-year limitation rule on recovery of mortgage loans would enable him to benefit from lax debt recovery on the part of his mortgage lender. John Ashcroft had...

Codicil Spells Court Appearance
13 Sep 2010
Making even a small change to your will without professional advice can be fraught with problems. A woman and her second husband made mirror wills with the effect that their own interest in their house passed to their own children and the rest of their estate was...

Business Losses Mean Divorce Settlement to be Reconsidered
10 Sep 2010
A property tycoon whose fortunes have plummeted since he and his wife divorced has been granted permission by the court to have the amount of the lump sum ordered to be paid to his ex-wife reconsidered...

Days in Court the Result of Failure to Create Documents
09 Sep 2010
‘A verbal agreement is seldom worth the paper it is written on’ is a common jest, and with good reason. Many a family dispute has arisen because the appropriate documentation was not created when an agreement was made...

Time Off Work for Public Duties
08 Sep 2010
Employers have a statutory duty to allow their employees reasonable time off work to carry out public duties. Such duties include acting as a justice of the peace, as a prison visitor, as a member of a local authority or relevant health or education body, as a member...

French Law – No Trust Means No Benefits
03 Sep 2010
A recent case illustrates the sort of unanticipated problem that can arise as a result of owning property abroad. The case involved an English man who owned a property in Brittany. He was in receipt of social security benefits – in particular, income support. He argued that the value of the property should not be taken into account when assessing his capital...

Pension Waiver Proves to be IHT Trap
30 Aug 2010
The executors of a woman who decided not to take her pension from her pension scheme when she was terminally ill have been ruled to be liable for Inheritance Tax (IHT) on the value of her pension fund. he woman was diagnosed with cancer five months before...

Assessment of Repetitive Tasks Tool
30 Aug 2010
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common occupational illness in Britain. They include problems such as low back pain, joint injuries and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts, and affect more than 500,000 people every year. They are often linked...

Foreign Divorces – Better Protection for Spouses
30 Aug 2010
The principle that British persons divorced abroad can look to the courts in England and Wales to ensure that their ‘reasonable needs’ are met in the divorce settlement has been firmly established following a recent case involving a divorced couple who both hold joint British...

Driving: Mobile Phone, No – Dictaphone, Yes
27 Aug 2010
A loophole in the law allowed comedian Jimmy Carr to escape a fine when the acerbic funny man appeared before Harrow Magistrates’ Court after police spotted him using a mobile phone whilst driving. The successful argument was based on the fact that he was not using...

Fines for Breaches of Environmental Law
26 Aug 2010
The Court of Appeal has ruled in a case which establishes an important precedent for the setting of fines for breaches of environmental law. Thames Water had appealed against a fine of £125,000 for a mistake which had led to pollution of the river Wandle. It claimed that...

Boundary Dispute Over Strip of Driveway Ends Up in Court
25 Aug 2010
An argument over a narrow strip of land has left a mother and son facing massive costs after their case was heard in the Court of Appeal recently. The dispute arose because their neighbour wanted to put up a fence on what he considered to be the dividing line...

ET1 Claim Forms and Illegibility
24 Aug 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled (May v Greenwich Council) that the Employment Tribunal (ET) had no jurisdiction to refuse to accept a claimant’s ET1 claim form, on the ground that it found some of the handwriting illegible, because the form did contain the required information...

Farming Family in Intestacy Challenge
23 Aug 2010
The problems which can arise when there is an intestate estate that involves business assets were made clear recently when the High Court had to rule on a complex claim relating back to a death that occurred many years ago. At stake was a share in a farm, claimed by the children of a woman who died in 1993 without leaving a will. Her estate...

It’s Good to Talk
19 Aug 2010
Litigation can be expensive and there are good reasons in many cases for achieving a resolution by mediation when possible. The best course of action will depend on the individual circumstances of the case...

Undocumented ‘Rights’ Given Short Shrift by Court
19 Aug 2010
It is often thought that there is little practical difference between being married or in a civil partnership and living together. Regrettably, this is very far from the case, as a lady barrister found out in the High Court recently. The barrister, who had lived with a wealthy dentist...

Council That Refused Meeting With Homeless Man Failed to Meet Obligations
18 Aug 2010
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a man who knew that he and his daughter were about to become homeless, and who wrote to the council seeking its assistance in obtaining accommodation, had done enough to trigger the council’s obligation to provide him with...

In Brief - Ash Cloud Relief for Non-Residents
16 Aug 2010
HM Revenue and Customs have announced that non-UK resident persons who remained in the UK due to disruption of their travel plans because of the volcanic ash cloud and who, as a result, spent more than 90 days in the UK at one time, will not be treated as becoming UK resident for income tax purposes as a result...

Tax and Foreign Travel
16 Aug 2010
Recently, two issues relating to foreign travel have arisen which are relevant for taxpayers. Firstly, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have advised that taxpayers who expect to have problems paying tax on time as a result of the volcanic ash cloud should contact...

Race Discrimination – Employer Not Liable for Agency Worker’s Remarks
13 Aug 2010
A recent case (May and Baker Ltd. t/a Sanofi-Aventis Pharma v Okerago) serves as a reminder to employers of the sort of problems that can arise during a major sporting event when members of their workforce support different national teams. Mrs Okerago claimed that...

Widow Wins Right to Evict Daughter
12 Aug 2010
A 92-year-old widow has won the right to evict her daughter and son-in-law, following a bitter family dispute that has lasted, on and off, for 20 years. The Court of Appeal judges dismissed claims by the couple that they had been promised the house would be theirs and had acquired rights over it because they also made repairs to the property at their own expense...

In Brief - HMRC to Name and Shame Tax Dodgers
10 Aug 2010
Taxpayers who evade more than £25,000 of tax will now be ‘named and shamed’ by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) where the evasion affects a period after 1 April 2010. It is expected to be 2011 before the first tax evaders will be publicly exposed on the HMRC website...

‘Toxic Sofa’ Victims Win Compensation
06 Aug 2010
In what is thought to be the largest consumer class action in English legal history, more than 1,500 customers who suffered chemical burns and allergic reactions after buying ‘toxic sofas’ are to share in a £20 million compensation settlement...

HSE – ‘Do Your Bit’ Campaign
05 Aug 2010
In the light of research carried out by the Health and Safety Laboratory, which shows that worker participation in implementing occupational health and safety measures has a positive effect on health and safety performance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched....

HMRC – A Case for a Disaster Recovery Plan?
04 Aug 2010
The powers of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are considerable, as a recent case makes clear. It involved a company that HMRC suspected of Excise Duty evasion. A raid on its premises was undertaken and HMRC officers found quantities of alcohol for which there....

Husband’s Covert Affair Means Wife Keeps House
04 Aug 2010
When a wife agrees to allow the family home to be used as security for her husband’s debts, the legal situation is normally clear and the creditor can rely on her consent in order to take possession. However, a recent case, in which a wife successfully resisted the bank’s claim...

Corporate Manslaughter Case Adjourned
02 Aug 2010
The first prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has been pending for some time and is eagerly awaited as it will provide guidance in practical terms on the likely level of fines in such cases, following the issue of sentencing guidelines in February 2010...

Emigrating and Tax
30 Jul 2010
With tax rates on the rise and the coldest winter in years still a vivid memory, it may be a tempting prospect to leave Britain behind and settle somewhere in the sun. One of the drawbacks with this approach is that it is, in practice, difficult to sever one’s connection...

Accountant Ordered to Repay £150,000
29 Jul 2010
An accountant who defrauded his employer of nearly £900,000 over a decade was ordered to repay £150,000 (the maximum amount of assets available for seizure) and was sent to prison for three years....

Executor Who Stole From Estate Faces Prison
29 Jul 2010
An executor who stole more than £80,000 from the estate of a client faces a jail sentence for his crime. The man, who operated as a ‘will writer’, also faces a confiscation order against his assets. Much of the money was used to finance a luxury cruise for him and his wife and for gambling...

‘It’s Been in the Family For Years’ is No Argument
21 Jul 2010
The argument put forward by a farmer that he should retain the family farm after his divorce, because it had been in his family for generations and his wife was aware that it was the family tradition for it to be handed down from generation to generation, was given short shrift in the family court recently...

Out-of-Court Settlement in Disability Discrimination by Association Case
20 Jul 2010
An out-of-court settlement has now been reached in the long-running case of Coleman v Attridge Law, which confirmed that employees are protected from ‘associative discrimination’ under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)....

Previous Valuation Not Relevant for IHT
19 Jul 2010
When there is Inheritance Tax (IHT) at stake, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will often fight tooth and nail to overturn asset valuations they consider to be too low. Recently, HMRC disputed the probate value of a property, which had been valued by two different valuers at £250,000 at the date of death of the owner in 2005...

Canoe Fraudsters Must Repay Nearly £600,000
15 Jul 2010
Following her conviction for fraud and money laundering, after faking her husband’s death in 2002, Anne Darwin has agreed to pay more than £591,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Mrs Darwin’s husband, John, was thought to have drowned whilst canoeing near the couple’s Teesside home...

In Brief - Ash Cloud Relief for Non-Residents
14 Jul 2010
HM Revenue and Customs have announced that non-UK resident persons who remained in the UK due to disruption of their travel plans because of the volcanic ash cloud and who, as a result....

New Rights for House Buyers
13 Jul 2010
The new Consumer Code for Home Builders came into force on 1 April 2010 and provides significant new protection for those who buy homes ‘off plan’. The Code requires builders of houses to keep buyers informed of the progress of the construction work...

Time Doesn’t Run Out for Maintenance Penalty
12 Jul 2010
Failure to pay maintenance for children can have severe consequences. Recently, a father who had failed to pay maintenance for several years found himself subject to a liability order requiring payment. When this was unsuccessful...

Charities Act 2006 – Implications for Trustees
07 Jul 2010
The Charities Act 2006 was introduced to make life simpler for trustees, to provide more safeguards for them and to bring the definition of ‘charity’ up to date. The Act defines a charity as a ‘body or trust which is for a charitable purpose that provides....

Husband’s Covert Affair Means Wife Keeps House
06 Jul 2010
When a wife agrees to allow the family home to be used as security for her husband’s debts, the legal situation is normally clear and the creditor can rely on her consent in order to take possession. However, a recent case, in which...

HMRC to Name and Shame Tax Dodgers
06 Jul 2010
Taxpayers who evade more than £25,000 of tax will now be ‘named and shamed’ by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) where the evasion affects a period after 1 April 2010. It is expected to be 2011 before the first tax evaders will be publicly...

Prenuptial Agreement – A Story without an Ending (as yet)
06 Jul 2010
Historically, as a basic principle prenuptial agreements were said not to be binding on English Courts. Until relatively recently the best that could be hoped for on the signing of such an agreement was that upon divorce a Court would find it “persuasive”...

Talk is cheap; Litigation can be Costly!
06 Jul 2010
Litigation can often be expensive and there are often good reasons for achieving a resolution prior to a final hearing. The best course of action will always depend on the individual circumstances of the case...

Donating Your Body to Medical Science
05 Jul 2010
Possessions and money are not the only issues which can be considered when making a will. Some people choose to donate their body to medical science after death in the hope that it will be of some practical use. Donated remains are used by medical students for...

Employment Contracts and Illegality
01 Jul 2010
The courts will not allow a party to an employment contract to enforce their rights under it where the contract is deemed unlawful. In Hall v Woolston Hall Leisure Ltd., the Court of Appeal held that contracts of employment are unenforceable where....

Should You Give Your House to Your Children?
01 Jul 2010
If you are facing the possibility of having to fund care home fees or are concerned about there being an Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability when you die, it may be tempting to think about gifting your house to your children....

TUPE and the Meaning of ‘Affected Employees’
25 Jun 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that, for the purposes of Regulation 13 of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the ‘affected employees’ whose representatives....

Divorce and the Company Director
24 Jun 2010
Divorce is almost never easy and the financial negotiations can be protracted and difficult, particularly when there are business interests involved. In this article we consider some of the issues surrounding divorce for company directors....

Budget Summary 2010 - Changes Affecting Private Individuals
23 Jun 2010
They promised we wouldn’t like it and they were right. Other than freezing Council Tax, there was precious little to cheer in the Budget other than the hope that it may have the desired effect of reducing the yawning deficit in the public finances: time will tell regarding that...

Smoker Loses Out in Asbestos Settlement
21 Jun 2010
The risks associated with smoking have been known for half a century and smokers are assumed to accept those risks willingly. However, smokers may not be aware that their habit could reduce the level of damages....

Informal Arrangement Argument Rejected by Court
21 Jun 2010
One of the more contentious issues in the administration of estates arises when the deceased had remarried, leaving ‘old’ and ‘new’ families, which often take different views about how the estate should be divided....

Misrepresentation Leaves Burgled Company Uninsured
20 Jun 2010
Theft of goods by burglars from a secured cage in a warehouse may seem to be a straightforward matter as far as making an insurance claim goes, but a recent case shows otherwise....

Expats Targeted in Investment Scam
17 Jun 2010
A sophisticated scam which preyed on expatriates has led to five men being jailed and the Serious Fraud Office seeking to confiscate assets of the fraudsters in order to recoup as much as possible of the £1.93 million taken from the hapless investors....

Compromise Agreements – Claims of Misrepresentation
16 Jun 2010
As a general rule, out of court settlements of employment disputes are not legally binding in that they cannot exclude an employee’s right to take the matter concerned to an Employment Tribunal (ET). A formal compromise agreement is one of the few exceptions to this rule....

Unclear Drafting Blamed for Dispute Over Right of Way
15 Jun 2010
A recent case in the Court of Appeal illustrates how disputes can arise between neighbours as a result of ambiguous drafting of legal documents. In this case, the dispute concerned the owners of neighbouring properties that had originally been one parcel of land....

Cohabitation Reduces Maintenance Payment
11 Jun 2010
A man who was ordered to pay his wife £125,000 in maintenance has been successful in obtaining the agreement of the court to recalculate the payment after a private detective produced evidence that his ex-wife had set up house with another man....

Sickness and Holiday Leave – Update
10 Jun 2010
The EC Working Time Directive lays down minimum health and safety requirements for the organisation of working time. The purpose of the entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable a worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure...

iPod Deafness is User’s Fault
09 Jun 2010
A US case has recently been decided which could have interesting implications for suppliers of MP3 players and similar equipment....

Court Agrees to Reverse Settlement Error
04 Jun 2010
Although a trustee is personally responsible for the actions they take, the law is not so harsh as to prevent a trustee who makes an innocent mistake from rectifying it....

Buyers Who Won’t Buy – What to Do?
03 Jun 2010
Many developers have been faced with the problem of having to persuade buyers who bought ‘off plan’ before the credit crunch struck to complete their purchases in the light of the subsequent decline in property prices...

Small Company Shares – Investors Take Care
01 Jun 2010
Investors who put their money into small companies by buying their shares can normally console themselves with the thought that should the shares become valueless, they can at least claim a loss for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes that is available...

National Minimum Wage Cheats – Watch Out!
01 Jun 2010
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are intent on cracking down on employers who fail to pay workers the National Minimum Wage, particularly those who use migrant labour to undercut competitors...

VAT on Business Assets With Private Use
28 May 2010
HM Revenue and Customs have issued a new brief covering the common situation in which assets are bought which are used for both business and private use. Traditionally, this could be dealt with either by claiming only the percentage of the input VAT....

Car Turning Area Creates Right Over Property
27 May 2010
A landowner who allows another person or persons to make use of their land may lose the right to prevent the use if it persists over a long period. Where such use continues for more than 20 years, an ‘easement’ (the right of use over someone else’s property) is created....

Blacklists Banned
25 May 2010
Last year, a man who sold information from a database to construction companies wishing to vet potential staff was found guilty of a serious breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. The database held details of workers’ trade union activities and past employment conduct....

The Demise of Home Information Packs
24 May 2010
Sellers should be aware that whilst the obligation to pay for and supply a full HIP is suspended, they are still required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or in the case of a new property sold ‘off-plan’ a Predicted Energy Assessment, which must be...

Massive Litigation Shake-Up Proposed
23 May 2010
Lord Justice Jackson’s eagerly awaited final report outlining proposed changes to the British system of civil litigation has been published and promises a massive shake-up of the current system, which is considered to impose excessive costs on losers in litigation...

Donating Your Body to Medical Science
20 May 2010
Possessions and money are not the only issues which can be considered when making a will. Some people choose to donate their body to medical science after death in the hope that it will be of some practical use...

Landlord’s Intention Must Be Long Term
20 May 2010
When a tenant’s lease is governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, the landlord has limited grounds for refusing to renew the lease. One possible ground is that the landlord wishes to make use of the premises for its own business purposes....

It is for the Courts to Decide on Child Protection
19 May 2010
A recent case concerning a baby boy who had suffered abuse has led the Supreme Court to clarify the role of the courts in child protection cases. The judge in the lower court had concluded that there was a 60 per cent chance...

Immigration, Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals – Tier 2
17 May 2010
In November 2008, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) introduced a new system making it compulsory for migrants from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland to obtain an identity card for foreign nationals (ICFN)....

Privacy Cases Will Be Dealt With On Their Facts
17 May 2010
John Terry, the Chelsea FC football captain, was recently the focus of press attention following an affair with the ex-partner of his England team mate, Wayne Bridge. Mr Terry sought an injunction preventing the details of the affair being made public...

Charity Loses in Attempt to Increase Share of Estate
14 May 2010
The RSPCA was unsuccessful recently in its bid to contest a will, pressing ahead to court proceedings with what was described as an ‘extremely weak’ case. The charity, which inherited two thirds of a millionaire’s estate...

Tax Dispensations – Good News for One-Person Companies
14 May 2010
Paying expenses for employees is often a problem area and employee expenses are routinely one of the first items looked at by PAYE inspectors, since it is so easy to get the paperwork wrong....

Ex-Partner Bound by Partnership Accounts
12 May 2010
In a partnership, the investment capital on which the business is founded is normally supplied (at least in part) by the partners. Their earnings are credited to their individual accounts in the business and the money withdrawn by each is deducted from their individual account....

Tax Take Leaps Following Investigations of Wealthy
11 May 2010
The decision of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to target the wealthy for scrutiny has led to a massive increase in the tax yield from their investigations – said to have increased from £81 million in 2007/8 to £373 million in 2008/9...

General Boundaries Rule Foils Ransom Strip Registration
05 May 2010
When someone must cross a piece of someone else’s land to access their own, the land crossed is known as a ‘ransom strip’, because the price which must be paid for the right to cross the land is often heavy.

What Will the Tax on My Company Car Be Next Year?
05 May 2010
HM Revenue and Customs have updated their car benefit calculator, so you can see what your benefit in kind for having a company car will cost you....

Changes to Trust Law
04 May 2010
Because of numerous problems with trust law (which is based both on common law and the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 1964), the Government has, after a long consultation process, introduced new legislation in the form of the Perpetuities...

Right to Request Training – Guidance Published
04 May 2010
The Government has published guidance for employers on the new right of employees to request time off work for training, which is set to be introduced on 6 April. The right to request time to train was included in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act....

Late Night Booze Bans Proposed
29 Apr 2010
The Government has introduced an amendment to the Crime and Security Bill, currently before Parliament, which is intended to permit local authorities to apply a blanket ban on premises opening for the sale of alcohol between 3am and 6am, by specifying streets or areas, rather than...

Wife Keeps Files in Super-Rich Divorce Case
28 Apr 2010
A ‘super-rich’ husband will be regretting that he shared a computer system with his wife’s brothers after she was able to access the system and extract data from it. The husband challenged her right to the data but the court agreed that she

Hair Length and Dress Codes
23 Apr 2010
If you are formulating a dress code for employees, it is important not to treat one sex less favourably, if you are to avoid leaving yourself open to claims under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975....

Creditor Must Show Undervalue to Prove Claim
22 Apr 2010
When people are burdened with debt, they will sometimes resort to underhand tactics to relieve themselves of the consequences. One of the most common strategies is for the debtor to dispose of an asset, which would otherwise be used to pay his or her debts

Sons Overturn Father's Will Where Mental State in Doubt
19 Apr 2010
In a bitter contest involving members of a Norfolk farming family, two brothers have persuaded the court to overturn their late father’s will on the ground that he was mentally incapable when he created it...

Banker Age 42 Wins Age Discrimination Claim
15 Apr 2010
Achim Beck, a 42-year-old German banker based in London, has had his claim of age discrimination against his former employer, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), upheld by the London South Employment Tribunal (ET)....

European Inheritance Law Overhaul Proposal Opt-Out
08 Apr 2010
Owners of properties and other assets abroad will be relieved to hear that the European Union (EU) has brought forward proposals to simplify the administration of estates with a ‘cross-border’ dimension. The EU estimates that there are some...

You Need Protection (But Don't Ask the Council)
06 Apr 2010
It might reasonably be assumed that if you are a council tenant with neighbours who are likely to use violence against you and you inform your landlord of this fact, the council has some degree of responsibility for making sure you are protected...

Credit Ratings at Risk from Ex-Partners
02 Apr 2010
Millions of Britons could see their credit ratings compromised without knowing it, simply because of the actions of an ex-spouse, says online credit report service Credit Expert. According to the recent report, more than half of those...

Will Valid if Testator Had Capacity When it Was Drafted
31 Mar 2010
Challenges to wills based on the argument that the testator (the person who makes a will) lacked mental capacity are becoming more and more frequent and, with an ageing population, this trend looks set to continue. Most such challenges...

Event Does Not Have to be Likely to Justify Claim
26 Mar 2010
A recent case has confirmed that where an injury is sustained which may lead to a later health problem, provisional damages can be awarded even when the likelihood of the future problem is only a possibility, not a probable event. In other words, there...

Budget review – More than a sausage for first time buyers
26 Mar 2010
2009 was a good year for many home buyers. VAT was lowered to 15% and the Government increased the Stamp Duty Land Tax thresholds so that if you purchased a property for under £175,000, you did not have to pay any duty...

(FIRST) BUDGET 2010 – A Personal Reaction
26 Mar 2010
On Wednesday evening, 24 March, I sat down to watch a recording of the Budget speech. I doubt that many people spent their evening in that way. What I saw, however, was more of an extended party political broadcast, with one or two interesting announcements.

I love you darling, not your bank balance – Pre Nuptial Agreement?”
26 Mar 2010
One of the common misconceptions I often hear when discussing pre nuptial agreements is that they are “not worth the paper they are written on!” ...

Who will benefit from your estate?
26 Mar 2010
If you die without a Will in place then everything you leave will be divided according to the fixed rules of intestacy. This can have some unexpected consequences. For example, without a Will your surviving spouse (which definition includes...

Face the facts - Your online persona could be legally recognised
26 Mar 2010
Social networking sites have continued to grow in popularity. Facebook now boasts more than 100 million users who can keep in touch with friends and family by simply logging onto the web. However, few would consider that their Facebook account...

Verbal Will Directs £500,000 to Aunt
19 Mar 2010
A will must normally be made in writing to have legal effect, but there are exceptions to this rule. One is that a sailor can make a valid will orally when at sea. Recently, this rule was held by the court to apply in the case of a sailor who made an oral...

You're an Heir - Now Sign This
11 Mar 2010
Until the recent publicity afforded by television shows on the subject, many people might not have realised that ‘heir tracing’ companies exist, let alone that they research ‘promising’ estates by looking at public records and then...

Family Court Must Limit Itself to Matters at Hand
09 Mar 2010
It is a cardinal rule in court proceedings in the UK that both parties to a disagreement must have a fair chance to state their side of the argument. This is particularly important in family cases, which are often complex and invariably emotionally charged...

When is an Agreement Not an Agreement? - When it is With The Tax Man
04 Mar 2010
Getting your tax right can sometimes be complex and it is often the case that when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigate a taxpayer, they find that there are irregularities. When these result in an underpayment of tax, HMRC will normally levy interest...

Care Orders - The Correct Test
03 Mar 2010
Under the Children Act 1989, a court may only make a care order or a supervision order if it is satisfied that the child concerned is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. In a recent case, the Court of Appeal overturned...

Decision to Expel Pupil Upheld by Courts
26 Feb 2010
The parents of an independent school pupil have lost their appeal against a judge’s decision to dismiss their claim that their son’s expulsion from the school amounted to a breach of contract and warranted injunctive relief and the payment of...

Who Gets the Family Home?
24 Feb 2010
Family break-up is always complicated and when there is a property involved, things can get very complex indeed. In principle, when a couple are cohabiting (not married or in a civil partnership) the property belongs as of right to...

Furnished Holiday Lettings - Time is Running Out
23 Feb 2010
Owners of properties used for furnished holiday lettings (FHLs) are reminded that the tax regime relating to these is set to change significantly (for the worse) next April. Under the current tax regime, such businesses have advantages for both Income Tax...

Crime is With You for Life
17 Feb 2010
It is widely thought that once a conviction is ‘spent’, it is erased from ‘the system’ and simply ceases to exist. Regrettably for those who may have a youthful indiscretion or two on their record, this is not so, as is illustrated by...

Will Writer in the Dock
15 Feb 2010
The trial of an unqualified will writer took place in Bristol recently when a 45- year-old man was charged with the theft of £800,000 from a succession of elderly clients. The man had duped childless elderly people into inserting...

Divorce Arrangements Overturned When Judge in Error
12 Feb 2010
When dividing family assets on separation or divorce, judges sometimes make some surprising decisions. Where these are erroneous or unfair, they can be overturned. In a recent case, a judge ruled that in order to achieve a ‘clean...

Property - Slow Improvement in Market Conditions
09 Feb 2010
Lending for residential property purchases has increased significantly in recent months – the July figure of £16 billion showing a 26 per cent rise over June. August and September have both shown gross mortgage lending of about £12.5...

Better LPA Forms
02 Feb 2010
The Office of the Public Guardian has responded to criticisms of its overly complex forms for creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) by issuing new and simplified forms. An LPA allows a person to give a friend, relative or trusted...

Warners Private Clients – Investment does not need to be taxing
29 Jan 2010
In this article Mike Wiggins from Orchard Wealth Cultivation looks at the potential forthcoming tax increases and outlines some of the simple, advanced and high risk strategies that may help to lessen the impact of those tax increases...

Charity Fails to Win Farm in Court - But Seeks Appeal
21 Jan 2010
After a bruising legal battle, which has cost more than £1.3 million in fees, a Yorkshire doctor has won the right to inherit her late parents’ farm, which is valued at £2.3 million. In 1993, Dr Christine Gill’s...

Support for All: the Families and Relationships Green Paper
20 Jan 2010
The Government's new Green Paper sets out a wide range of measures to support all families as they bring up their children and to help families cope with times of stress and difficulty. The proposals recognise that while all families need some help, there are families in our society with...

Snow chaos and your rights
15 Jan 2010
Looking after your children may well cost you annual leave. Heavy snow and ice are causing problems on the roads, railways and at airports, as hundreds of schools close. So what are your rights if you couldn't get into work or if you are an employer and your staff couldn't make it in?

Forced Marriage - One Year On
14 Jan 2010
Since the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act came into force on 25 November 2008, a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) has been issued in 86 cases. This compares with a predicted total for the first year of 50. FMPOs were...

ASBI Permitted As Behaviour Was 'Housing Related'
13 Jan 2010
In a recent case, a man who was banned from entering the village in which he had previously lived, after successive acts of anti-social behaviour, has lost his appeal against the imposition of an anti-social behaviour injunction (ASBI)...

‘Senior Moment’ Delays Will Distribution
06 Jan 2010
The division of the estate of a man who had a ‘senior moment’ when providing information for his will had to be sorted out in court recently. When Leslie Fawdon drafted his will, he left half of his estate to his nephew...

Saving IHT the Easy Way
28 Dec 2009
No one likes to pay tax unnecessarily and Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be especially problematic, as it must often be paid ‘up front’ when administering an estate. It is quite common for people to decide to mitigate the effects...

Failed Property ‘Try On’ May Be a Crime
24 Dec 2009
An appearance in the criminal court may await a property owner who tried to be too clever with his local planning department. The property owner submitted a planning application to build a barn to store hay. This was granted on the...

Family Court Protects Children From Media Intrusion
18 Dec 2009
The children of celebrities have the same right to anonymity in court proceedings as any other children, following a ruling of the High Court. The press have only been allowed into the family courts since April 2009 and can be excluded...

IHT Nil Rate Band – Keep Your Hands On the Old Will
16 Dec 2009
You may think that after an estate has been probated and the assets have passed to the surviving spouse or civil partner, that is the end of the matter and the paperwork (including the will) can be consigned to the shredder after a suitable period of time...

Court Finds Hole in Polo Argument
14 Dec 2009
Ownership of land is often fettered with obligations and, in some circumstances, the obligation can be to permit someone else to extract something from the land. In legal terminology, this is called a profit-à-prendre and one of the most common of...

Family Overturns Will That Benefits Carer
11 Dec 2009
Elderly people can become suggestible and it is, regrettably, not uncommon for avaricious people to attempt to influence them for personal gain. In a recent case in point, an elderly and wheelchair-bound lady altered her will a few...

IHT and the Recession
08 Dec 2009
The recession hasn’t brought much favourable comment, but falling asset values do present opportunities for savings on Inheritance Tax (IHT). Here are some ways that you can save IHT when asset prices are depressed...

ENGLAND – The Divorce Capital of the World!
04 Dec 2009
Family lawyers and the public alike agree the approach of English divorce Courts is vastly out of step with other European Countries. This has somewhat embarrassingly led to the UK Courts being branded “The Divorce Capital of the World”...

Funding the First Step on the Ladder
04 Dec 2009
Even though property prices have fallen considerably recently, getting ‘on the property ladder’ has never been harder as lending criteria have been tightened considerably since the ‘boom’ days of 125 per cent mortgages...

Inheritance - The Court is adapting its approach to modern living
04 Dec 2009
In a recent case a woman was allowed to bring a claim for financial provision from her late partners’ estate despite not officially living with him. The deceased’s family contested the claim but the outcome showed that the Court is finally adapting its approach to modern living.

Did you know that your Will could be Re-written after death?
04 Dec 2009
Most people would be forgiven for thinking that once they had completed a Will this could only be changed by them during their lifetime, and certainly not after their death. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
04 Dec 2009
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to specify in advance of any loss of capacity who you wish to make decisions for you (your attorney or attorneys) if an accident or illness means that you lose the capacity to make those important decisions yourself. An LPA lets you choose attorneys that you trust to make those decisions for you.

Wives Dispute Home Ownership
30 Nov 2009
It is not uncommon on divorce for one ex-spouse to remain in the family home and the other to retain an interest in it after moving out. The importance of having documentation in place relating to the arrangements agreed upon in this situation is obvious, as...

Meeting the Cost of Long-Term Care
26 Nov 2009
One of the often forgotten issues in retirement planning is the possibility of having to fund long-term care at some future time. Such care is means-tested and most care home residents of means will pay in full for their care. With an ageing population and...

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the banks
25 Nov 2009
One of the first decisions of the new Supreme Court has been handed down. Unfortunately, the decision will come as a disappointment to many bank customers who have suffered high levels of charges after they exceeded agreed overdraft limits. The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the banks.

Don’t Get Angry With the Council!
24 Nov 2009
A woman who became so incensed by the response of an anti-social behaviour coordinator working for Slough Council that she slammed her own phone down so hard that she broke it found herself on the Council’s ‘violent persons register’. Jane Clift had seen a toddler, who was with a...

Non-Disclosure Does Affect Settlement
18 Nov 2009
The Court of Appeal has taken the unusual step of considering an appeal in a matrimonial case which was settled by agreement before the appeal was heard. In the High Court, the ex-wife of a wealthy man had failed to obtain an...

Supervision Failure Costs Council
12 Nov 2009
A county council was found negligent when a pupil was injured during a break at school when he was hit by a rock thrown by another pupil. The case turned on a simple point – was it sufficient (as was the case in this instance) to have only one supervisor overseeing 150 children?..

Court Must Hear Evidence Before Deciding
10 Nov 2009
Cases involving the custody of children are often very contentious and need to be approached with sensitivity and care. Recently, the Court of Appeal was called upon to rule in just such a case, the critical issue being whether the judge...

Too Good to be True is Too Good to be True
06 Nov 2009
Yet again, we hear a report of the Financial Services Authority and the police investigating a firm that was promising investors returns of between 6 and 13 per cent per month. It is said that £80 million may be involved. Assets...

Incarceration Does Not Bring Compensation
04 Nov 2009
In an unusual case, the House of Lords has confirmed that a person cannot benefit from their own wrongdoing. The case concerned a man who had been a passenger involved in the Southall train disaster, in which 31 people were killed and...

Dealing With Your Affairs If You Are No Longer Able
02 Nov 2009
A property and affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a power of attorney which allows you to authorise one or more named persons to make decisions on your behalf in order to manage your property and financial affairs if you are no longer able or willing...

Pre-Nups – Not Quite There Yet
29 Oct 2009
The recent case in which the Court of Appeal ruled that a German heiress was able to rely on a pre-nuptial agreement made with her husband was widely reported as meaning that the traditional view of the courts, that ‘pre-nups’ are little more...

New Guidance on Residence
23 Oct 2009
Following changes in the tax legislation governing the income tax payable by non-domiciliaries, and some relevant tax cases, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have issued a new guidance booklet (HMRC 6). This replaces the old guidance...

Divorce – Future Pension Not Taken Into Account
21 Oct 2009
A recent, bitterly contested ‘big money’ divorce case shows how reluctant the courts are to upset financial settlements on the basis of contingencies and reinforces the point that bad behaviour is not a basis for changing the division of the assets...

Executor With Hand in Till Jailed
19 Oct 2009
The UK has some of the strictest laws in the world to protect beneficiaries from rapacious executors and trustees. Recently, a woman who was the co-executor of a man’s will and trustee for his minor child was jailed for three years after making...

Family hearings go public
24 Aug 2009
There has been a fair amount of press coverage of recent Rule changes which mean that as from 27 April 2009, representatives of the media can attend many family hearings that were previously held in private and not accessible to the public or press...

First Pre-Nup Victory
05 Jul 2009
Less than a year after the Privy Council commented that Parliament would have to provide the authority for pre-nuptial agreements to have legal effect in the UK, a Court of Appeal decision has seemingly turned the law on its head...

Furnished holiday lettings – A window of opportunity
21 May 2009
Creaseys, a chartered accountancy firm based in Tunbridge Wells have outlined how forthcoming tax changes will impact owners of UK property used in a furnished holiday letting business...

Who will benefit from your estate?
13 Apr 2009
If you die without a Will in place then everything you leave will be divided according to the fixed rules of intestacy. This can have some unexpected consequences. For example, without a Will your surviving spouse...

Inheritance tax and agricultural assets
13 Apr 2009
Changes in the law regarding inheritance tax (IHT) that came into effect recently have been welcomed by professionals as a much needed simplification of the rules for moderately wealthy married couples or civil partners...

Property fraud
13 Apr 2009
Whilst this has long been of concern to property practioners, property fraud has now become something of a hot topic and indeed has been featured in The Times and also on BBC Radio 4. Since the passing of the Land Registration Act 2002 it is...

Making a request for flexible working arrangements
13 Apr 2009
As from 6th April the right to request flexible working arrangements has been extended to parents of children aged 16 and under. Previously, the right existed only for those with caring responsibilities for children aged 6 and under...

Know your consumer rights
13 Apr 2009
Autumn is on its way and this year, with retailers slashing their prices, there are plenty of bargains up for grabs. For most (or at least most females), shopping is an enjoyable experience although sometimes choosing...