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Latest Legal News

High Court Keeps Commercially Sensitive Product Information Secret

Litigation often requires disclosure of highly sensitive commercial details. However, as one intellectual property case concerning a mapping database showed , the courts do have sophisticated means of keeping such information under wraps. A company had...

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. ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Customer Details Email Leads to Fine for Ex-Employee

When an employee left her recruitment agency employer, she took the dubious step of emailing to her private email address the personal data of about 100 of her clients and contacts. She subsequently used the data to contact them in connection with her new...

English Jurisdiction Clauses - Court of Appeal Cracks Down

English law is well-developed, written in the universal business language and the English judicial system has a deserved reputation for fairness. It is not surprising, therefore, that vast numbers of international contracts incorporate English jurisdiction...

Court Corrects Bureaucratic Nightmare for Family

One of the most important roles played by judges is to protect individuals against unlawful treatment by the state. In one unique example, the High Court came to the aid of a couple who found themselves caught in a legal nightmare after their twins were...

Ignore the Planners and See What Happens

A landlord who decided to go ahead with a property development after the planners had turned it down ended up significantly worse off after he was successfully prosecuted. Having had his application to turn his existing property into nine flats rejected,...

Business Sales and Domain Rights

Buying and selling a business can be a complex matter and engaging a professional to make sure that deals are watertight and all the necessary actions are taken is a sound investment. In one case where that did not happen , a costly dispute developed...

Sending Employees to the USA - Some Tax Pitfalls

With Brexit looming and the likelihood that firms will look more seriously at doing business in what appears to be a broadly favourable business environment under the Trump regime, it is worth pointing out that sending employees to the USA to work with...

Corner Shops Under Residential Development Pressure

Convenience stores are a common sight on urban street corners and provide a much valued service, but they are vulnerable given the ever increasing demand for more new homes. In one case, a shopkeeper failed in a High Court bid to overturn prior approval to...

New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective

The problem of making family financial settlements or court rulings in divorce 'stick' is well known. Following an extensive consultation process, the Law Commission has made proposals designed to improve the situation for those affected when payments are...

New Rules to Prevent Corporate E-Signatures

The law has tried to play 'catch up' with the increasing sophistication of cyber-crime since the advent of the Internet, and new EU regulations implemented in the UK as the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations...

Branded Goods Sold Without Authority Can Lead to Prosecution

It is well known that the sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal offence and prosecutions are by no means unusual. A recent case looked at the position in which goods protected by a registered trade mark are offered for sale with the brand owner's...

Doing a Deal? Professional Drafting Avoids Costly Ambiguity!

There is little point in agreeing to settle a legal dispute if the wording of the deal is so ambiguous that it simply creates further scope for disagreement. In one High Court case that illustrated the need for clear professional drafting , both sides in a...

Company Articles Triumph in Share Valuation Dispute

People tend to think of the articles of association of companies – and often shareholders' agreements – as matters of detail not warranting close attention. However, a recent case shows the importance of having up-to-date knowledge of such...
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