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COVID-19 Crisis - Judge Rules Derogation From Human Rights 'Essential'

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a public emergency which is threatening the life of the nation. A High Court judge wrote those words in reaching the momentous conclusion that, whilst the crisis persists, derogation from certain fundamental human rights is...

Continued Controversy Over Delayed IR35 Tax Reforms

The House of Lords has produced a damning report into the intended changes to the IR35 off-payroll working rules. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the reforms have been delayed by the government, which says the move is a 'deferral and not a...

Are Parents Obliged to Control Unruly Children? High Court Test Case

To say that parents bear a moral responsibility to ensure that their children behave themselves in public is uncontroversial – but are they also under a legal duty to do so? The High Court addressed that issue in ruling that the sins of an allegedly...

Infrastructure Projects and Access to Private Land - High Court Test Case

Public authorities engaged in nationally significant infrastructure projects have the power to enter private land to carry out necessary surveys. An important High Court ruling in the context of the proposed construction of a road tunnel near Stonehenge...

Neighbours Succeed in Blocking Controversial Garage Extension

If a neighbour obtains planning permission for a building project to which you object, that does not always mean you just have to grin and bear it. In a case on point, objectors to a householder's plans to extend his garage succeeded in blocking his proposal...

Pet Food Company Triumphs in Trade Mark Infringement Claim

Trade marks that achieve widespread public recognition are the lifeblood of a great many businesses, forming the foundation of their brands. A High Court ruling in the context of the UK's £2.54-billion-a-year pet food market showed exactly why such...

Time Invested in Making a Will Is Time Invested Wisely

If you die without making a will, there is a real risk that your loved ones may be left high and dry. In one case, a man who said that he was grieving over his partner's death found himself bereft of legal rights and locked out of the flat they once shared. ...

Are You Contracting With a Principal or an Agent? The Distinction Matters

When entering into a contract with a limited company, it is vital to know whether it is acting as principal, in its own right, or as an agent for someone else. Exactly that issue arose in a High Court case concerning a ship renovation agreement . A...

COVID-19 - Court of Appeal Rules on Status of Furloughed Employees

Many companies have entered administration in response to the COVID-19 crisis but have retained furloughed employees in the hope that they will emerge from lockdown to a brighter future. In a case which will have major consequences for vast numbers of such...

COVID-19 Crisis Forces Change to UK IHT Payments and Returns Processes

HMRC are scrapping cheques for the payment and repayment of Inheritance Tax (IHT) and temporarily accepting printed signatures on IHT returns, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The introduction of new ways of processing IHT and returns is to reduce...

Tenants Win Right to Acquire Subsoil and Airspace in Guideline Case

Qualifying apartment dwellers have a right to acquire the freehold of the buildings where they live, but does that extend to the subsoil beneath the premises and the airspace above? The Court of Appeal addressed that critical issue in a guideline decision....

Channel Islands Are Not 'Overseas Countries' - Guideline Divorce Ruling

The Channel Islands may be separated from the UK mainland by miles of water, but they are not overseas countries. In an unusual case, that simple fact was enough to defeat a woman's claim for a pension-sharing order following her divorce in Jersey. After...

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...

Education Provider Left High and Dry in 'No Oral Variation' Contract Row

Many commercial contracts contain clauses which state that they can only be varied in writing. Such provisions offer the advantage of certainty and, as a company that provided educational services to a government agency discovered to its cost, they mean what...

Not Every Workplace Complaint Qualifies for Whistleblowing Protection

Workplace whistleblowers who, in the public interest, disclose what they believe to be wrongdoing are protected by the full force of the law. As an instructive tribunal ruling underlined, however, not every complaint of flawed working practices or procedures...

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...

Twelve-Month Delay for IR35 Tax Reforms

Controversial changes to the IR35 off-payroll working rules have been shelved until April 2021, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The government is delaying the reforms for a year to help businesses and individuals, but says the move is 'a deferral...

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...

Digital Comms Company Fined £100,000 Over Unsolicited Marketing Texts

Direct marketing messages that appear uninvited on mobile phones are viewed as a plague by many and those responsible for sending them can expect to be hit hard in the pocket. In one case, a digital communications company received a six-figure fine after...

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...
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