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Latest Legal News

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...

Shape Change Not Inventive

For a patent to be valid, it is not sufficient that it is simply something new. There has to be an inventive step over the 'prior art', so that the item or process for which the patent is sought is not an obvious development. This test is at the heart of...

Mothers Denied Child Residence Orders

When a couple split up, it is very common for one of them to wish to move away, often to the area where they grew up or have family. This can create significant issues as far as the children are concerned and disputes in such cases are common. In a recent...

Average British person commits 32 crimes a year

Although 98% of British people consider themselves law-abiding citizens, on average we each commit 32 crimes a year. This is according to new research carried out by BT TV. This “crime wave” includes such offences as failing to pay for 5p...

Failure to Comply With Regulation Brings Jail for Moneylenders

Commercial moneylending is, with good reason, heavily regulated to ensure that unfair advantage is not taken of vulnerable borrowers. In one case that made that clear, two men who provided over £750,000 in finance to taxi drivers without any legal...

Procedural Failure Means Court of Appeal Hearing for RTM Company

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 gives tenants of qualifying premises the right to have the landlord's management functions transferred to a right to manage (RTM) company so that they can take responsibility for managing their premises. The...

Court Unwilling to Force Family Home Sale

Taking legal advice when borrowing for any purpose is important, as a recent case in which a wife faced the possibility of the sale of her home when her husband was made bankrupt shows. When he faced financial difficulties in 2005, the husband raised a...

Payment for Removal of Personal Obligation Not a Deduction

When a sale of shares in a company is in progress, there are often a large number of threads that have to be tied up and sometimes this leads to unintended consequences. In a recent case, a shareholder had entered into a contractual obligation to a third...

Government Bank Sale Tendering Dispute - High Court Ruling

Public tendering exercises almost inevitably leave unsuccessful bidders dissatisfied but the courts will only intervene if there is a legal flaw in the process. A consortium behind a failed bid to acquire a government-owned bank found that out when the High...

Annoyed With a Tenant? Don't Take the Law Into Your Own Hands!

The law protects tenants against mistreatment and landlords who ignore their tenants' rights are courting disaster. In one case that strikingly proved the point , a landlord who unlawfully entered his tenant's bedsit and threw out his possessions ended up...

Internet Search Confusion Not Enough for Trade Mark Infringement

Argos is a well-known retailer in the UK and owns its trade name. However, the argos.com web domain is owned by a US company which specialises in computer-aided design and that company uses 'Argos' on its website as well as in its domain name. Argos took...

Failure to Take Advice Proves Costly in Family Arrangement

No matter how much you may trust relatives or close friends, you should never sign important documents without independent legal advice. In one case that proves the point, a man put his name to a deed that was put before him by his brother but which...

Get it Right or Else

A recent case illustrates the sort of consequences that can arise from failing to take sufficient care over details when completing a claim for overpaid tax. The claim was made by a group of companies for repayment of VAT wrongly paid. It failed, however,...

High Court Rules on Fall-Out From Wine Company Insolvency

Insolvency proceedings that arise in the midst of an ongoing trading relationship can sometimes result in large sums of money remaining in limbo for a significant period. In one such case, the High Court ruled on the correct destination of more than 870,000...

Restrictive Covenant Modification Enables Home Development

Restrictive covenants often date back many years and a delicate balance sometimes has to be struck between their enforcement and the public interest in efficient use of the increasingly scarce supply of suitable land. In a recent case, the Upper Tribunal...

Pioneering Psychologist Blocks Abusive Use of His Name Online

A recent case in which web searches for a pioneering psychologist led to a website selling shoes and clothes shows the extent to which Nominet, the Internet watchdog, will act to protect the rights that people have in their own names. The psychologist had a...

High Court Encourages Social Workers to Make Use of Facebook

In the Internet era, it is wholly acceptable to use Facebook or other social media to make contact with those who have to be notified of family proceedings. The High Court made that point after being forced to abandon an adoption hearing due to a failure...

Engineers Must Pay for Defective Design of Seaside Storm Culvert

Contract arbitrators' decisions are meant to be final and challenging them is always an uphill struggle. This point was illustrated by one case in which the High Court upheld a six-figure award to a local authority in respect of a defectively designed...

Council Obliged to Give Reasons for Approving Stadium Development

There is no statutory requirement for local authorities to give reasons for granting planning consent. However, an important Court of Appeal case concerning a football club's controversial plans to build a new stadium in the Green Belt showed that there is...

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...
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