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Latest Legal News

Government Makes Tendering Process Easier

The complexity and length of the tendering process for government contracts has for many years operated as a significant deterrent for small businesses that might otherwise wish to compete for lucrative public sector contracts. Recognising this issue, the...

Do You Know Who Actually Owns the Patents You Depend On?

A great many companies depend on patents for their profitability, and doubts over ownership of intellectual property (IP) rights can put their very survival in jeopardy. This point was illustrated in a case that concerned a number of patents in respect of...

Denied Divorce Case Heading to Supreme Court

It has been revealed that the widely reported case last March in which a wife was not granted a divorce from her husband because she could not demonstrate that his behaviour had been unreasonable will be decided by the Supreme Court. Under English law,...

Furnished Holiday Lettings Face Tax Attack

The United Kingdom has very favourable Inheritance Tax (IHT) treatment for the owners of business assets used in a trade and, in general, the value of these will be outside the charge to IHT on death provided certain criteria are met. The IHT relief...

Breach of Contract - Court Takes Commercial Approach

Making the right decisions in the immediate aftermath of a breach of contract is of critical importance and, at such knife-edge moments, legal advice is essential. That point could hardly have been more clearly made than by a High Court case concerning an...

Landlord's Motivation for Work Not in Point, Rules Court

A recent case decided by the High Court will (if not overturned on appeal) have potential implications for some commercial tenants seeking renewals of their tenancies. It involved a dealer in textiles that occupies areas in the ground and basement floors...

Parenthood is Not a Trump Card to Avoid Imprisonment

Imprisoning parents is inevitably traumatic for their children, and striking a balance between child welfare and appropriate punishment of criminals is a dilemma confronted by judges every day. However, a Court of Appeal ruling has emphasised that parenthood...

Recovery of Cross-Border Debts

Firms and people who fail to pay their bills are a significant nuisance for any business, but when the debtor is abroad, there may be a temptation to give up. Although recovery of debts from those who live overseas requires determination, English judges are...

GDPR - ICO Consults on Written Contracts

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply to all EU member states from 25 May 2018, data processors have new responsibilities and liabilities in their own right, and both controllers and processors may be liable to pay damages or...

Court Robust in Protection of Motor Giant Trade Mark

Motor giant BMW, challenging a decision over the use of its trade mark with which it disagreed, has won its appeal in the Court of Appeal . The dispute was over the use of BMW trade marks by a small London garage business, Technosport, which repairs and...

Student Bedsits Are Not 'Separate Dwellings'

In a decision of great importance to landlords of student accommodation , a tribunal has found that bedsits with communal facilities are not separate dwellings. The ruling meant that the tribunal had no power to consider an attempt by a group of students to...

Equality of Division of Assets on Divorce Abolished? Hardly

The popular press has made a great deal of a recent Court of Appeal case , reporting that there had been a significant departure from the general principle that the assets built up by a couple during their marriage are to be split more or less equally on...

GDPR Guide and Steps to Take

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection regime which will start to be enforced in the UK in May 2018. The penalties for non-compliance can be very substantial – for serious breaches, up to 4 per cent of global...

Court of Appeal Applies Commercial Clarity to Contract Terms

Large construction or maintenance projects rarely proceed without at least a few surprises and the contracts for such projects are generally drafted with such eventualities in mind. One often-used technique is to use minimum performance level agreements,...

Failing to Plan Ahead Creates Problems for Family Companies

Although no one likes to think about their own death, failing to be prepared for all eventualities can cause chaos in family companies, which are often dependent for their success on the skills of a small number of people. The point could hardly have been...

Place Name Trade Mark Prevents Confusion

Newspapers periodically contain stories about the restrictions on use of terms that are geographically well known, for example the restriction on the use of the word 'Champagne' to describe sparkling wine. In addition to geographical restrictions, proper...

Court Unsympathetic When Mum Takes Law Into Own Hands

No matter how much you may be tempted, taking the law into your own hands is not a good idea. When a mother who was divorcing her husband in Hawaii obtained the agreement of the US court to take the couple's children, aged 9 and 11, back to the UK for a...

SIPPs and Your Business Property

The Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) was introduced in order to give people far more control over how their pension pots are invested and have proven to be very popular with pension savers. One common use of the SIPP in a business context is to sell...

Small Data Protection Glitch Produces Big Financial Loss

When a local council published information in connection with a family's planning application for building works, it failed to think through the consequences of its actions. The result was that it placed sensitive personal data in the public domain. The...

Intention the Key in Claiming Loss Relief

Tax law allows trading losses to be relieved against other income in a variety of ways, and although there is complexity in that law, the principle that 'losses can be offset against other income' is often considered to be axiomatic. However, as a recent...

Landlord Faces Six-Figure Bill for Notice to Quit Error

Correct service of legal documents may seem like a technicality to non-lawyers, but it is of crucial importance and should only be entrusted to professionals. In one case that resoundingly proves the point , a landlord who served a notice to quit on the...

Skulduggery in Divorce Proceedings Will Do You No Good

Resorting to skulduggery in divorce proceedings is sadly common but almost never does either side any good. That was certainly so in one case in which a man surreptitiously took documents from his ex-wife's home and sought – unsuccessfully – to...

Free Advice Given and No Contract? You May Be Liable

Any professional will know that there are many people who like to have free advice, and whilst this is seldom proffered in a social setting such as the pub, it is normal for friends to give one another advice. It was therefore unremarkable when a couple who...

It Was Wrong, But Whose Fault Was It?

When a person takes professional advice and a loss follows, it is normal to look for compensation through the professional's indemnity insurance policy. In order for the professional to be liable, they have to have owed the claimant a duty of care and their...

No Money a Reasonable Excuse for Not Paying Tax

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are not known for being lenient when it comes to taxpayers who fail to pay taxes, and mere inability to pay tax when due is only regarded as a 'reasonable excuse' (and therefore ground for avoiding penalties) when the inability...
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