Latest News

Ignorance of the Law Is No Defence - Or Is It? Child Benefit Tax Ruling

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) must publicise changes in the tax regime and taxpayers are not obliged to go rooting around its website in an attempt to keep up to date. The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) made that point in finding that a father had a reasonable...

COVID-19 and Parental Contact With Children in Care - Guideline Ruling

How, if at all, is the duty of local authorities to allow children in their care reasonable contact with their parents affected by social distancing rules arising from the COVID-19 pandemic? The Court of Appeal confronted that issue in a guideline case . ...

Homelessness and the Need to Make Use of Vacant Investment Properties

Amidst widespread homelessness, owners of investment properties who allow them to stand empty for extended periods can find themselves on the receiving end of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). Exactly that happened in a case concerning a desirable...

Ambiguity in Widower's Poorly Drafted Will Results in Family Stalemate

The whole point of engaging a professional to draft your will is to make your wishes clear in precise and unambiguous terms. If your will falls below that high standard the result, as a High Court ruling showed , can be family stalemate after you are gone. ...

Judge Breaks Deadlock Between Unmarried Ex-Couple With Children

When long-term relationships between unmarried couples break down, disentangling their property and financial affairs can be challenging, particularly where children are involved. As one case showed, however, a clean break is often the best option for all...

Object to a Planning Decision? A Lawyer Will Ensure Your Voice Is Heard

If you object to a planning decision, an expert lawyer will ensure that your voice is heard loud and clear. In one case, a woman succeeded in overturning planning permission for the construction of 18 holiday lodges close to her rural home. The local...

High Court Exercises Wisdom of Solomon in Ordering Sale of Family Home

Amidst ever-rising property prices, it can make good sense for friends or relatives to club together to buy a home where they can all live together. As a High Court ruling showed , however, the continuing harmony in human relationships upon which such...

COVID-19 - High Court Waives Strict Time Limit in Data Protection Case

The severe disruption to the legal process wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted judges to take a practical approach and, in some cases, to waive strict compliance with procedural rules. The High Court did just that in enabling a local authority to...

Court of Appeal Sanctions 'Informal' Tax Investigations in Landmark Case

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) operate within the constraints of their statutory powers, but their ability to conduct 'informal' enquiries into taxpayers' affairs, without limit of time, has been upheld by the Court of Appeal in a landmark ruling . The case...

Don't Even Consider a Foreign Adoption Without Specialist Legal Advice

Adopting children from abroad can complete families and be of great benefit to all concerned. However, as a High Court case showed, it is fraught with legal pitfalls and should not be attempted without first taking specialist legal advice. The case...

Property Investors - Make Sure Your Money is Secured From the Outset

Investing in property is very far from being risk free but usually has the advantage that monies advanced are secured against real 'bricks and mortar' assets. The crucial importance of ensuring that enforceable security is in place before parting with your...

Family Dispute Underlines Wisdom of Making a Professionally Drafted Will

Family disputes frequently focus on inheritance and can inflict immense anxiety and pain on all concerned. A case concerning a young man who died tragically when he stepped in front of a train, however, showed that the best way to avoid such conflict is to...

Giving With Warm Hands to Minimise Inheritance Tax - High Court Ruling

The most straightforward means of minimising Inheritance Tax (IHT) payable on your estate is to give away your assets with warm hands when you are still hale and hearty. However, such gifts will bring no tax advantages at all unless they are absolute and...

Want to Adopt a Child From Overseas? Beware the Legal Pitfalls

Adopting children from overseas is fraught with legal pitfalls and those who attempt to do so without first taking expert advice expose themselves to heartbreak. In one case, however, the High Court came to the aid of a British woman who adopted a little...

Let Down By Your Builder? Consult a Solicitor Without Delay

Home renovations are a notoriously frequent source of dispute and, if you feel that you have been let down by a builder, you should consult a solicitor straight away. In a case on point, a householder won a £200,000 asset freezing order against a...

Home-Made Wills May Save a Few Pounds But Store Up Trouble for the Future

Home-made wills may save you a few pounds in the short term, but dispensing with legal advice greatly increases the risk of painful disputes arising after you are gone. That was certainly so in the case of a desperately ill man who left the whole of his...

Tempted to Fire Off a Social Media Post in Anger? Don't Do It

Social media posts fired off in anger can have grave legal consequences even if they are swiftly taken down. In an extreme case on point, a man who revealed his niece's history of mental illness and self-harm to the world online was ordered to pay her...

Tribunal Comes to Aid of Dutiful Son Penalised for Late Payment of Tax

Prioritising prompt payment of your tax bills can be tough, particularly when there are other compelling and unforeseen demands on your limited resources. In a case on point, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) came to the aid of a man who dipped into his tax...

Secret Marriage Leads to Legal Complications - High Court Ruling

It is not only in the realms of fiction that lovers choose to marry in secret, away from the gaze of their disapproving families. A highly unusual High Court case , however, showed the legal difficulties that can arise from such arrangements. The case...

Renting Out Your Home on Airbnb? Are You Sure You're Entitled to Do So?

Tenants should take professional advice before renting out their homes to short-term paying guests via Airbnb, Booking.com or other internet booking sites. In a case on point, a couple who failed to take that sensible step placed themselves in jeopardy by...
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