Latest Legal News

Emergency COVID-19 Legislation - Judges Crack the Democratic Whip

Wide-ranging legislative changes that would normally require months, even years, of consultation were rushed through in a matter of days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Court of Appeal ruling in a landmark case concerning emergency changes to the...

Clubbing Together with a Friend to Buy a Home? See a Lawyer First

It makes sense for friends to club together so that they can buy properties they would be unable to afford by themselves. However, a cautionary High Court ruling showed that such arrangements are only wise if lawyers are consulted so that all concerned...

Legacies and Entitlement to Means-Tested Benefits - High Court Ruling

When making a will, most people would wish to provide for loved ones in need. As a High Court case showed , however, means testing of many state benefits creates a very real risk of such good intentions coming to nought and that is one very good reason why...

High Court Acts to Free Mentally Ill Woman from Corrosive Relationship

Family lawyers work hand in hand with local authorities and medical professionals to protect vulnerable people from the controlling and coercive behaviour of others. In a striking case on point, the High Court authorised effective steps to be taken to free...

Couple Overturn Capital Gains Tax Demands Raised on Sale of Their Home

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are big battalions by anyone's standards, but their word is not law and, with expert legal assistance, they can sometimes be proved wrong. In one case, a couple succeeded in overturning six-figure Capital Gains Tax (CGT)...

Thwarted by Planners? Persistence and Legal Advice Can Still Win the Day

Obtaining authorisation for construction projects can be extremely demanding, but a combination of persistence and the right legal advice will often win the day. In a case on point, a householder whose hopes of building a garden room were time and again...

Trust and Estate Numbers Dip for Fifth Consecutive Year

HM Revenue and Customs have reported a decline in the number of trusts and estates in the UK for the fifth year in a row. Between 2018 and 2019, the total number of trusts and estates in the UK fell by 2 per cent to 151,000. The wealth management vehicles...

Has Your Privacy Been Violated? You Don't Have to Put Up With It

For many people there is almost nothing more painful than having their private affairs aired on the internet or in publicly available print. As a High Court decision showed , however, specialist lawyers know exactly how to deal with such intrusions. The...

Saturation Diver Can Deduct Physical Fitness Expenses from Income Tax

Self-employed people are only permitted to deduct from their Income Tax bills those expenses that are incurred 'wholly and exclusively' for the purposes of their trade or occupation. That is a very demanding test but, in a guideline case, it was passed by a...

Licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation - Ignorance of the Law is No Defence

Landlords who fail to license houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) commit a serious criminal offence and can expect to be hit hard in the pocket. In making that point, the Upper Tribunal (UT) emphasised that stiff financial penalties are generally required...

Inheritance - Lifetime Promises Can Be Legally As Well As Morally Binding

When it comes to inheritance, the obligation to keep your promises may well be legal as well as moral. In a case on point, a judge followed the demands of conscience in ruling that a hard-working man should inherit the farmland of a close friend who for...

Risks of Child Vaccination Outweighed By Health Benefits

In the best traditions of a free society, vaccination is not compulsory in the UK and anyone is entitled to withhold consent to being inoculated. In an important ruling, however, the High Court overruled a mother's moral and safety objections to her...

Tax Return Blunder Has Dire Consequences for Public-Spirited Charity Donor

Making a mistake on your tax return can have extremely serious consequences and that is why it is always wise to take professional advice. In a striking case on point, the High Court declined to come to the aid of a public-spirited businessman who donated...

Upset By Your Neighbours' Building Plans? You Are Far From Powerless

If your neighbours have obtained planning permission for building works to which you object, you may think that is the end of the matter. However, as one case strikingly showed , with the right legal advice you can still win the day. A company obtained...

Don't Leave It Too Late to Put Your Affairs in Order

People often talk about putting their affairs in order but then sit on their hands until it is too late. The serious consequences of delay in seeking legal advice were underlined by a case in which a woman waited until she was resident in a hospice,...

If You Believe You've Been Sold a Pup, Consult a Solicitor Today

If you have paid good money for goods or services and feel that you have not got what you bargained for, you should see a solicitor without delay. A case on point concerned a man who paid about £4,000 for what he believed would be a surgical hair...

Disappointed Homebuyers Secure Six-Figure Damages From Negligent Surveyor

One good reason why sensible homebuyers engage the services of a surveyor prior to purchase is that, if things go wrong, they at least have someone to sue. In a case on point, a couple who paid £1.2 million for a seaside home which turned out to be...

Independent Legal Advice Proves Decisive in Family Inheritance Dispute

Just because someone is old, frail and vulnerable does not mean that they are incapable of understanding the contents of their will. However, as a High Court ruling in the context of a bitter inheritance dispute showed, the benefits of professional advice...

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...

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. ...

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...