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Latest News

Vulnerable Witnesses Could Be Given Greater Protection in Civil Courts

Responses to a report from the Civil Justice Council (CJC) setting out proposed measures to better support and protect vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil proceedings are due to be considered following public consultation. The CJC wants to ensure 'a...

Vegetarianism is Not a Protected Characteristic, ET Rules

People have all sorts of reasons for choosing not to eat meat, and that prompted an Employment Tribunal (ET) to rule that vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice, rather than a philosophical belief protected under the Equality Act 2010 . The case concerned a...

High Court Relieves Family of Consequences of Badly Drafted Trust Deed

Trust deeds can be an effective means of managing family wealth and minimising tax liabilities but, as a High Court decision strikingly showed , any mistakes in their drafting can have serious repercussions for generations to come. The case concerned a...

Can Wild Animals Ever Be Owned By Anyone? Novel High Court Ruling

It may seem obvious that no one can own a wild animal. However, in a novel case of interest to property professionals – and anglers – the High Court has ruled that there are nevertheless property rights in wild fish held in captivity in a...

Facing a Tax Investigation? Don't Bury Your Head in the Sand!

If you are facing an investigation by the tax authorities, your very first step should be to seek professional advice. One taxpayer who sadly chose not to take that course, instead burying his head in the sand, narrowly escaped a six-figure back-tax bill. ...

Legal Landscape is Complex When Tenants Seek to Buy Freehold of Flats

Flat tenants in certain circumstances have the right to band together and acquire the freehold of the blocks in which they live. However, as a High Court decision showed , the process of doing so is replete with legal pitfalls and those who fail to take...

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed

Public confidence in the civil justice system would collapse if court orders were not rigorously enforced – however agonising complying with them may be. The point was made by a case in which a divorcee who refused to move out of her home of 25 years...

HMRC Threaten Investigation Over Disguised Remuneration Schemes

Sometimes, it is difficult to understand why many people don't seem to put as much effort into making profits as they do into trying to avoid paying tax. Tax avoidance is a red rag to a bull as far as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are concerned. They have...

Planning Building Work? Get Legal Advice

When a property development involving a building that is listed or in a conservation area is undertaken, it is reasonable for the contractor employed to do the work to assume that the employer has used due diligence to obtain the necessary planning consents....

Court of Appeal Acts to Save Entrenched Litigants From Themselves

The whole purpose of the civil justice system is to achieve just and final resolution of frequently intractable disputes – and, as a guideline Court of Appeal decision in an inheritance case made plain, that includes saving litigants from themselves...

Employers Cannot Be Forced to Re-Engage Unfairly Dismissed Workers

Can Employment Tribunals (ETs) or the courts force employers to re-engage employees who have been unfairly dismissed? In a ground-breaking decision, the Court of Appeal has answered that question in the negative ( Mackenzie v The Chancellor, Masters and...

HMRC Miss Tax Avoidance Target By Raising Assessments Too Late

When HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) find out that tax has been under-declared, the response is normally to raise a 'discovery assessment' to collect the tax due. This is usually the result of a period of investigation, and penalties and interest are also...

A Contract Is What it Says

When you enter into a contract, you are agreeing to be bound by what it says, not by what you think it means. Only rarely, such as when the meaning would make no commercial sense, will the court substitute its own view of the meaning of the contract if the...

High Court Overturns Planning Decision for Bungalows Development

It may come as a surprise to many that local authorities are under no statutory obligation to give reasons for their planning decisions. However, as a High Court case concerning a residential development showed , a lack of explanation can render such...

Missing Persons - Steps to Take

Surprisingly, nearly 250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. Leaving aside the heartache and worry this causes, until recent changes in the law it also created an appalling position for family members trying to deal with the affairs of the person who...

Copycat Design Proves Expensive for Retailer

There is almost nothing more frustrating for businesses than to see their successful products imitated by rivals. However, as a High Court case showed, expert lawyers are more than capable of putting a stop to such conduct if it amounts to a breach of...

Growing Number of Cohabiting Couples Leaves More Families Open to Risk

Cohabiting couples are the fastest-growing family type in the UK, according to newly released figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The ONS reports that the number of cohabiting couple families continues to grow faster than the number of...

Employer Not Liable for Worker's Offensive Facebook Post

Under Section 109(1) of the Equality Act 2010 , anything done by a person in the course of their employment must be treated as also done by the employer. That is to say employers generally bear legal liability for misdeeds committed by their employees in...

Inveterate Trespasser Rightly Jailed for Contempt, Court of Appeal Rules

It is in the nature of litigation that the losing party frequently feels that the judge was wrong and the outcome unjust. However, a case in which a householder repeatedly lost his liberty , and ultimately his home, due to his defiance of court orders shows...

Company Pays Crushing Price for Failing to File its Accounts On Time

The consequences of a company being struck off the Companies House register – even temporarily for nothing more than an administrative failure – can be catastrophic. In a case on point, a company that suffered that fate sacrificed the profits it...
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