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Trading in the Winter Period - A Cautionary Note for Landlords

Weak economic growth and increasing competition is still wreaking havoc in the High Street and the quarter that starts in January is often make or break for retailers as it is traditionally the worst trading quarter of their year. Many commercial properties...

Disinheriting Relatives Can Be a Recipe for Discord

You may have good reasons for writing close relatives out of your will but, as any lawyer will tell you, the consequence of doing so can be family discord after you are gone. That was certainly so in one case concerning a father who disinherited his...

Tribunal Paves the Way for Suburban Garden Development

Restrictions on land use appear in the title deeds of many properties – but the law permits their deletion or modification if they become obsolete over time or stand in the way of reasonable development. Exactly that happened in one case in which the...

Commercial Surrogacies Abroad Are Not Illegal - Court of Appeal Ruling

Although commercial surrogacy businesses have long been banned in the UK, the Court of Appeal recently ruled that a clinical negligence victim would not be breaking the law were she to enter into such an arrangement in California, where a more liberal...

Social Media - Be Careful!

The legal dispute between Elon Musk and Vernon Unsworth, the man who helped to rescue boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, may have dropped out of the press over the last few weeks, but a recent case shows the lack of accuracy of Mr Musk's assertion that...

Landlord's Redevelopment Plans Must Not Be Conditional

A recent case in which a landlord sought repossession of a property from its tenant on the ground that it intended to redevelop the property has gained a great deal of attention, but may not be as important as it first seems. The facts of the case were that...

Son Who Did Not Do Enough Excluded From Farm Inheritance

When parents changed their wills to exclude their son from inheriting their £1 million farm after a family falling-out in 2016, he took the unusual step of challenging their right to do so. Normally, such challenges are made against the estates of...

Thinking of Dispensing With Legal Advice on a House Sale? Think Again!

Home-made contracts, particularly for the sale of land, are a singularly bad idea and can lead to costs that dwarf the modest sums needed to secure proper professional advice. Exactly that happened in one case in which a house purchase contract was so...

Procedural Unfairness Stops Council Care Action

When the mother of a teenage daughter who had been taken into care in 2016 with her agreement had another child, the local council's social services department became involved. The woman's daughter had been removed from home as a result of her mother's...

Bank Fined for Failure to Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries

Recently, Santander was fined more than £30 million for failing to distribute more than £180 million held in deceased customers' accounts to their personal representatives or entitled beneficiaries. More than 40,000 account holders were involved...

Court of Appeal Guidance on Use of Pay Less Notices

When a construction dispute arises and a pay less notice is issued, the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 requires that the notice should specify the sum considered to be due and the basis on which that sum is calculated. In a recent...

Court Visit Required to Give Clarity to Will

Many wills contain clauses which alter the distribution of assets in the event of changing circumstances, such as the death of one of the beneficiaries under the will before the person making it. When drafting such clauses, it is essential that they are...

Fraud Victim Sacrificed His Home by Delay in Seeking Legal Advice

If you have a legitimate legal complaint, any delay in consulting a solicitor is highly likely to benefit the wrongdoer. A man whose home was taken from him by fraud, but who delayed over 20 years before taking legal action, found that out to his cost. The...

UK Fairness Test Mitigates Italian Pre-Nuptial Agreement

The law relating to the division of family assets on divorce varies widely across the world and the UK is generally regarded as one of the fairer jurisdictions for such financial arrangements in that the assets tend to be divided more equally than in many...

What is a 'New Building' in Planning Terms? Court of Appeal Guidance

Can a building which incorporates parts of structures previously on the same site be described as 'new'? In upholding an enforcement notice that required total demolition of three residential buildings, constructed in breach of planning control, the Court...

Transfer of Pension Fund Does Not Escape IHT Charge

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is not only payable on the value of the estate of a deceased person, but can also be levied on 'transfers of value' from the deceased's estate in the seven (exceptionally 14) years prior to their death. But what counts as a transfer of...

Hedge Cutting Proves Costly

You might think that where the boundaries of property lie should be clear, but boundary disputes are a fruitful source of argument in the courts. A recent case arose when, between contracts being exchanged on a property and the completion of its purchase, a...

Wronged by a State Authority?

It is a mark of a civilised society that anyone who suffers a wrong at the hands of state authorities is entitled to compensation. In a case on point, a prisoner whose release was considerably delayed when the Parole Board was stricken by staff shortages ...

Tenancy or Licence? Security Company Wins Possession Order

The distinction between tenancies and licences to occupy premises is crucial but not always easy to draw. A High Court case where this proved central concerned an agreement by which a security company allowed a man to occupy a vacant office block in order...

Misled Mother to Lose Home

It may sound overcautious to say so, but it is always worth taking legal advice before entering into any significant arrangement, even when it is with a trusted member of the family. Failing to do so has proved to be an expensive lesson for a woman who has...

Probate Charges to be Increased for Larger Estates

Proposals to link the cost of being granted probate over an estate valued at more than £5,000 (currently fixed at £215 for those applying individually or £155 if applying through a solicitor) to the value of the estate were announced in...

Leasehold Reform Consultation Ends

The leasehold system in the UK has been crying out for reform for years, and the Government has decided to tackle the issues through the medium of a new consultation paper called 'Fixing our broken housing market'. The chief target for the Government has...

International Litigation Poses Challenges That Make Legal Advice Essential

Modern litigation spans the globe and issues concerning cross-border service of documents and jurisdiction often raise difficulties that make specialist legal advice essential. That was certainly so in a High Court privacy case with a strong international...

Late Appeal is Void Appeal for Property Owner

When the owner of a property that had been designated as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) by his local council in 2001 chose to challenge that ruling some 15 years later, the council refused to review the decision. The property owner claimed to have had...

Recalcitrant Husband Banned From Paying His Lawyers Until Arrears Cleared

It is commonplace for one spouse to control the family finances and, while relations are amicable, this usually causes few issues. However, if the relationship falls apart and separation or divorce is in train, this is often no longer the case. When a...
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