Latest Legal News

Ambiguous Wills - Court of Appeal Gives Effect to Deceased's Intentions

Where words used in a will are ambiguous, judges will strive to interpret them in a way that gives effect to the deceased's intentions. An instructive Court of Appeal decision on point hinged on the little-known fact that the Channel Islands are not...

Determined DIY Builders Score Important Victory Over HMRC

You may understandably feel overawed by the might of the tax authorities but, with the law on your side, the balance of power is far more even than you might think. In a case on point, a couple struck an important blow for the cohort of determined people who...

High Court Aids Widow Left in Precarious Position by Husband's Death

If someone on whom you depended for support has died without making reasonable financial provision for you, you should consult a solicitor without delay. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a widow who was left largely reliant on benefits...

Parking Obstruction of Rights of Way - The Legal Principles Explained

The parking of cars along shared access routes is all too often a source of acrimony between neighbours. A High Court ruling provided a clear explanation of the legal principles commonly applied when resolving such disputes. The case concerned a lane that...

Cowboy Builders Can Expect Stern Punishment - Court of Appeal Ruling

Cowboy builders who rip off householders are a well-known blight on society. As a Court of Appeal ruling showed , however, judges are well abreast of their activities and culprits can expect severe punishment, up to and including imprisonment. The case...

Deduction of Accommodation Costs from Income Tax - Guideline Ruling

You are only able to deduct accommodation and other expenses from your Income Tax liabilities if they have been wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of your employment. That is a very high hurdle but, as a tax...

Inheritance and the Impact of Intestacy on Stepchildren

In an era of increasingly fluid family relationships, many children are brought up by step-parents – but what is the consequence of that social change in terms of inheritance? The High Court addressed that issue in a guideline ruling . The case...

Are You a Pandemic Home Worker? Do You Need Planning Permission?

Vast numbers of people have been prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic to take up working or running businesses from home – but do they need planning permission for a change of use? The High Court addressed that burning issue in the case of a personal...

Inheritance Tax Property Valuations - Don't Dispense With Professional Advice

Residential property often represents the majority of a person's wealth and valuing it for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is, par excellence, a matter for professionals. In a case on point, a son who dispensed with expert tax and valuation advice following...

Father Who Disinherited Daughter Lacked Capacity to Make a Valid Will

You are perfectly entitled to write your children or other close family members out of your will, but such a course can be an invitation to dispute after you are gone. That was certainly so in a High Court case concerning a man who left everything he owned...

Lending Money to Friends? Don't Act Without Professional Advice

The emotional element involved in lending money to friends and loved ones makes it all the more necessary to first seek independent professional advice. A case on point concerned a businessman who lent a small fortune to a close friend but had to launch...

Property Dispute Looming? Now is the Moment to Seek Professional Advice

A word out of place can lead to the sacrifice of valuable legal rights and that is why it is vital to seek professional advice the moment a potential dispute looms on the horizon. The point was made by the case of a couple who faced a challenge to their...

What Does 'Survivor' Mean? High Court Resolves Inheritance Doubts

Words are not numbers and even the most careful draftsperson cannot guarantee that the meaning of a will is always clear beyond doubt. As a High Court case showed , however, judges are adept at resolving ambiguities so that the true intentions of testators...

Building Your Own Home? You Need Professional Tax Advice

So-called DIY builders who 'construct' their own homes can reclaim VAT incurred in doing so. As one case showed, however, there is a very great difference between the ordinary English usage of that word and its meaning in VAT legislation. The case concerned...

Dying With Your Affairs in Disarray is a Poisoned Legacy for Your Loved Ones

Not every life is profitable, at least in financial terms, and it is important to remember that your debts do not die with you. A High Court ruling showed the serious problems that dying insolvent, without putting your affairs in order, can create for your...

Seeking Investment Advice? Only Authorised Practitioners Can Be Trusted

When seeking investment advice, it is vital to only use the services of authorised practitioners who are highly qualified and regulated by law. As a High Court case showed , it is otherwise all too easy to fall into a fraudster's clutches. A woman was...

Homeowner Mis-Sold Solar Panels Awarded Thousands in Compensation

If you buy goods that fail to live up to a salesman's hyperbole, you may be entitled to compensation and should consult a solicitor immediately. In one case, a homeowner who had solar panels installed in the forlorn hope that they would pay for themselves...

Judge Unravels Agatha Christie-Style Plot to Detect Will Forgery

Agatha Christie would struggle to imagine the plots of some inheritance disputes that come before the courts. That was certainly so in one case in which a judge found that a son resorted to forgery in concocting a bogus will after his mother died. Prior...

Neighbours Encroaching on Your Right of Way? Consult a Lawyer Today

Many homes or businesses are only accessible via neighbours' land and that can prove fertile ground for dispute. However, as a High Court case showed , expert lawyers are adept at ensuring their clients' unhindered use of rights of way. A couple's home and...

Record Amounts of Inheritance Tax Being Paid in UK

A record amount of Inheritance Tax (IHT) is being recouped from UK taxpayers by the Treasury, according to recent data published by HM Revenue and Customs. The statistics, released in late August, show that £2.1 billion was collected by the government...

Father's Failure to Make a Will Plunges His Widow Into Legal Difficulties

One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to sign a professionally drafted will. As a High Court case showed , failing to take that easy and cost-effective step is to risk plunging those closest to you into legal difficulties after you are...

Negligent Education - Boy Let Down by Private School Wins Compensation

Parents who send their children to private school are entitled to expect that they will receive a reasonable standard of education – and, at the very least, that the school concerned has lawful authority to teach them. In a rare case on point , a...

Promoted to Partner in an LLP? Do You Understand the Tax Implications?

Stepping up from the ranks to become a full partner in a limited liability partnership (LLP) involves a fundamental change in status from employment to self-employment. The tax consequences of that shift came under analysis in an important Upper Tribunal...

Homeowner Pays Price for Unauthorised Subterranean Leisure Development

Judges play a crucial enforcement role in the planning process and those who fail to comply with their orders can expect stern punishment. In one case, a homeowner who breached planning control when he built a huge subterranean leisure facility under his...

Court Honours Woman's Intentions by Correcting Clerical Error in Her Will

Even the most carefully drafted will can contain inadvertent clerical errors that leave room for doubt as to the document's true meaning. As a High Court ruling showed , however, judges happily have the power to correct such mistakes so as to ensure that...