Latest Legal News

When Is a New Home Complete? DIY Housebuilders Win £14,000 VAT Rebate

One of the benefits of building your own home is that you can claim back VAT paid on materials used in the project – but rebate applications have to be made within three months of the property's completion. That time limit came under analysis in a case...

Eminent Retired Judge's Intellect Weighs in Favour of His Will's Validity

Even people of the greatest intellect can be affected by diminished mental ability in old age and that is one good reason why it makes sense to execute a professionally drafted will sooner rather than later. A case on point concerned an eminent former judge...

Always Take Independent Professional Advice Before Investing Your Money

Fraudulent investment schemes are perennially tempting to the unwary and it really does make sense to take independent professional advice before parting with your money. In one case, the High Court found compelling evidence that hundreds of small investors...

Do Your Medical Records Stay Confidential Forever?

Your privacy rights will die with you, but that does not mean that just anyone will be permitted access to your medical records after you are gone. The extent to which such records should remain under wraps post mortem was analysed in a High Court test case...

Lordship of the Manor Almost Scuppers Residential Development

Lordships of the manor, whilst sounding grand, are often viewed as arcane titles with little real significance in terms of property rights. However, that is not always so and, in one High Court case, a lordship which was bought for just £100 almost...

Children Born Out of Wedlock Receive Shares of £1.29 Million Trust Fund

Few people nowadays care whether a child is born within wedlock, but the law is in some respects behind the times. In a ground-breaking ruling, however, the High Court has opened the way for illegitimate members of an extended family to receive shares of a...

Professional Gambler Fends Off £290,000 Income Tax Demand

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are always on the lookout for unexplained cash earnings which have not been declared for tax. However, in one case, a former professional gambler was relieved of a six-figure Income Tax bill after convincing the First-tier...

In Dispute With a Neighbour? Legal Advice Can Help Draw the Sting

Disputes with neighbours have a way of getting horribly out of hand, but legal advice taken at an early stage can help to draw the venom and save incalculable heartache and money in the long run. A case on point concerned flat dwellers who for years engaged...

Couple Pay for Pursuing 'Speculative' Professional Negligence Claim

Those who engage in speculative litigation on the basis of weak evidence can expect to be hit hard in the pocket. In a case on point, a couple who sued a friendly architect after she provided them with free assistance in re-landscaping their garden found...

It Always Makes Good Sense to Appoint a Professional Executor

Most people would consider it an honour to be chosen as executor of a friend's or relative's will. However, as a High Court ruling showed , the legal responsibilities that go with such a role can be extremely onerous and it usually makes better sense to...

Inheritance Tax Mitigation Scheme Ends in Abject Failure

If offered the opportunity to shelter their homes against future Inheritance Tax (IHT) liabilities whilst retaining the right to live in them rent free, most people would jump at the chance. However, as one case strikingly showed, that holy grail of tax...

Overlooking is Not a Private Nuisance - Landmark Court of Appeal Ruling

If you are a property occupier and have noise, dust, noxious smells, vibrations or other forms of nuisance inflicted upon you by a neighbour, the law will provide you with a remedy. However, the Court of Appeal has ruled in a landmark case that that...

Making a Will? Don't Forget Your Moral Obligations

You are in principle entitled to bequeath your worldly wealth to whoever you choose. However, as a High Court decision made clear, the law will intervene if you ignore your moral obligations when making your will. A successful motor dealer and property...

When Is a Property 'Completed'? DIY House Builder Wins VAT Rebate

DIY house builders are entitled to refunds of VAT they pay on materials used in their projects. However, as a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) showed , seeking such rebates is far from straightforward and a strict time limit applies. A man applied...

New Statutory Instrument Boosts Intestate Entitlement

A change to intestacy law recently announced by the government has increased the sum of money that spouses and civil partners of people who die without having made a will are entitled to receive. The change has been introduced via a statutory instrument...

Dispute With Builder Leads to Costly Outcome for Homeowner

If you are involved in a dispute with your builder, taking sound legal advice is by far the best means of ensuring that matters do not get out of hand. One householder who failed to take that sensible course found himself embroiled in costly legal...

Court Breaks Impasse Between Warring Brothers in Farmland Dispute

Co-ownership of land by family members can be intensely problematic if they do not see eye to eye as to the use to which it should be put. A High Court case on point focused on a naturalist's ambition to 'rewild' farmland he and his brother had jointly...

Still Time to Stay Ahead of CGT Changes

New rules surrounding the payment of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on profits made on the sale of a residential property are now just weeks away. Taking effect on 6 April 2020, the changes will reduce the amount of time individuals have to pay their CGT bill and...

Letting Your Land Go to Rack and Ruin is an Invitation to Squatters

Letting your land stand vacant, going to rack and ruin, inevitably carries the risk that a squatter will obtain title to it. A woman who inherited a small but strategic strip of land from her builder father came within an ace of suffering that fate. The...

Court of Appeal Allows Will Dispute to Proceed

There is a general principle that a person may leave their estate to anyone they wish, but legislation exists – the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – to allow people dependent on a deceased person to claim against the...

Government Issues Bailiff and Enforcement Officer Scam Warning

The Government is warning people to be on alert for fraudsters posing as court bailiffs and enforcement officers on the telephone. After claiming to be County Court bailiffs, High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) or Certificated Enforcement Agents (CEAs),...

Lack of Legal Advice Leads to Dispute Over Property

Couples can sometimes be tempted to enter into property transactions together without taking legal advice, on the basis that the love and trust between them will last forever. However, a High Court ruling strikingly showed how misguided such assumptions can...

Couple's Claim for CGT Loss on Holiday Home Succeeds

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may appear a very big battalion indeed but, with the right legal advice, individuals can succeed in overturning their decisions. Exactly that happened in a case concerning a couple who lost over £6 million in a disastrous...

High Court Resolves Family Row Over Funeral Arrangements

What exactly is a will? The High Court addressed that fundamental issue in resolving a bitter family dispute in respect of where a much-loved son and husband should be buried. Following the man's death from cancer, his mother insisted that he should be...

Family's Informal Occupation of Farmhouse Triggers High Court Dispute

Allowing people to occupy your property on the basis of a handshake is an invitation to misunderstandings and costly dispute. The point was proved by a case in which the trustee of an agricultural estate found himself in court after he informally permitted a...