Latest News

Financial Advice to Become More Common?

We have often written about the dangers of taking advice from unqualified and/or unregulated advisers. A recent change in the regulations surrounding financial advice will cause some concern for those with friends or relatives who may be influenced by...

Making Tax Digital Delay

The one-year deferral in the adoption of the new 'Making Tax Digital' system for small businesses and landlords is to be welcomed, but businesses are strongly advised to make themselves aware of their pending obligations under the system at an early stage. ...

Workplace Bans on Religious Symbols and Dress

In ruling on a question concerning the interpretation of EU Directive 2000/78/EC, which establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that an employer's ban on...

Giving Up Your Career to Get Married? Think Twice!

A person who voluntarily prioritises their marriage over their working life may not be entitled to compensation for the earnings foregone if their relationship ends in divorce. The Court of Appeal made that point in ruling on the case of a former headteacher...

Cartel Whistleblower Avoids Massive Fine

Being in a cartel is unlawful and is a risky business – especially when one of the cartel members blows the whistle on the others. In such circumstances, the whistleblower can receive immunity from punishment, leaving the other members to carry the...

Assets of Elderly Are Target of Wrongdoers

Where there is money, there is opportunity for wrongdoing and a steady stream of cases show that vigilance is needed to prevent the assets of the deceased or elderly being misappropriated. In one case, three cleaners of a deceased South Wales man claimed to...

Court Urges Simplification of 'Right to Manage' Rules

As a recent case shows , whilst there is legislation which, in certain circumstances, allows leaseholders to obtain the right to manage the buildings they occupy, the process is replete with traps and it makes sense to proceed in such cases only with the...

Penal Landlord and Tenant Agreement Struck Down by High Court

Penal contractual terms that seek to impose exorbitant or unconscionable obligations are generally not worth the paper they are written on. The High Court found one such term unenforceable in the context of a side letter to a retail lease. A tenant had...

Bank Mistake - HMRC Still Levy Penalty

When a taxpayer named Mr Coomber sent his cheque by post to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to settle his tax demand, he thought that would be the end of the matter. He paid the tax bill on 2 February 2016 and, as late as 1 March 2016, HMRC mistakenly told...

Unfair Dismissal - 'Lifetime Loss' Cases

When an employee succeeds in a claim for unfair dismissal, the compensation awarded by the Employment Tribunal (ET) will take into account any future loss of earnings. In the majority of cases, this will cover the period up until the time when the employee...

Divorce: Asset Division Not Always Equal

In general, there is a presumption that on divorce the assets will be split more or less equally, but that is based on case law interpretation of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 , not statute. Currently, a Bill in the House of Lords (the Divorce (Financial...

Can't Agree a Commercial Rent? Court Steps In

Calculation of commercial rents is more of an art than a science and disputes are sadly common. However, as one case involving a Polish-themed bar in Central London showed, judges are always there to promote peace if negotiations fail. Following the grant...

Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will

Will disputes can be extremely bitter and the kind of skulduggery depicted in fiction sadly sometimes reflects reality. In one case, the High Court found that a well-respected accountant had forged his mother's will in order to gain control of business...

Directors Guilty of Misfeasance in Insolvency Proceedings

Some directors will always sadly be tempted to denude troubled businesses of their assets before they formally become insolvent. However, companies are not personal piggy-banks and, as one High Court case showed , the consequences of such conduct can be...

Developing Others' Ideas Can Itself Be Novel and Inventive

Patents that merely repeat pre-existing ideas are invalid – there has to be something novel about an invention to secure patent protection. However, that does not mean that developments based on the work of others cannot themselves be novel and...

Probate Charges Increase Likely to Be Delayed

The Government has acknowledged that the upcoming general election makes it unlikely that probate fees will increase significantly in May as planned, as there will not be time for Parliament to pass the legislation. The planned changes to the fees payable...

Charity Report Highlights Need for Trustee Vigilance

The need for charities to exercise strict controls over the disbursement of significant sums was made clear in a recent report by the Charity Commissioners into a small charity. The charity, which operated to promote active sports among the disabled,...

Claiming VAT on Cars - New Cases Give Hope

Anyone who has tried to recover the VAT on the purchase of a car, particularly an expensive one, will know that few things are as likely to prompt a VAT query. The conditions under which such a claim can be made are strict (see the Value Added Tax (Input...

Definitive Plan Decides Boundary Dispute

Boundary disputes are commonplace and, unless skilfully mediated, can often spiral out of control, ending up in legal action the cost of which far exceeds the value of the land under dispute. One of the more important principles in such disputes is often a...

Landlord Repairs Must Be Reasonable, Not Most Economical

A long leasehold tenant has had mixed fortunes in opposing a charge for more than £55,000 after her council landlord undertook a major programme of repairs to the block in which she lives. Under the terms of her lease, the council was required to keep...

Tax Penalties Avoided for Those Affected by IT Glitch

With HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pressing ahead with plans to make 'customers' deal with them only digitally, it is good to see that when a system issue with the EE network meant that some of the company's customers were unable to access the HMRC website...

Court of Appeal Rejects Pimlico Plumbers' Appeal in Employment Status Case

There have been a number of recent cases looking at the precise nature of the employment status of those working for employers who like their operatives to appear to clients as their representatives but who operate a model of self-employment. In Aslam and...

Court Enforces Pre-Nuptial Agreement

When the marriage of a wealthy couple broke up, the English court had the opportunity to consider the impact of two pre-nuptial agreements the couple had made before they wed. The couple, both Swedes, married in 2000 and had had two children by the time...

Knife-Edge Timing Solves £2.4 Million Construction Contract Dispute

In a striking piece of knife-edge timing, a property developer has convinced the High Court that it was reassigned rights under a construction contract just before a multi-million-pound dispute was placed before an adjudicator. The decision means that the...

Problems for Family Unaddressed as People Still Shun Wills

The latest research from National Savings and Investments shows that a staggering 64 per cent of adults in the UK have not made a will, and that 38 million adults have made no arrangements for their retirement or provision for long-term care, although half...
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