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Under English law, a person is able (within limits) to decide absolutely to whom their estate should pass. However, many countries have 'forced heirship' laws, under which a deceased person's estate must pass in specified proportions to a particular person...
The police and other public authorities have recruitment vetting policies in place that are designed to ensure that staff taken on are people of integrity. However, as one High Court case showed, such policies must be reasonable and take account of job...
Aircraft passengers ultimately put their safety in the hands of pilots, but if things go wrong, it is only fair that they are compensated for any injuries suffered. In one case, a man who was lucky to survive when a friend's microlight nose-dived to the...
We have written on numerous occasions of the danger of either failing to leave a will or of not taking professional advice when making your will. Among the difficulties that can arise with DIY wills are challenges by family members who have been excluded...
An argument over a planning permission for a small rural development has necessitated the intervention of the Court of Appeal , which confirmed that a council that failed to follow its own planning guidelines could not grant permission for a development...
In an ideal world, public authorities would protect everyone against all foreseeable risks of injury. That, however, is an obviously unobtainable panacea and, as one Court of Appeal ruling showed, limits on public resources have to be taken into account when...
One of the advantages of placing your trust in solicitors is that they owe a lifelong duty to maintain the confidentiality of any information you give them. That point was underlined by a High Court case in which a solicitor was banned from taking...
It is not unusual for the cost of litigation – especially where a group of companies is involved – to be paid for in whole or in part by a person or organisation that is not directly involved in the dispute. It should be remembered, however,...
Under Inheritance Tax (IHT) law, certain types of trust have a ten-yearly charge to IHT on the value of the trust assets. The legislation, which imposes IHT of 6 per cent on the 'relevant property' in the trust settlement, was introduced in 2006 and applied...
The few moments it takes for a baby to be born can resonate for a lifetime if the delivery is blighted by negligence. In one case, a teenager who suffered permanent damage to the nerves that control his right arm and shoulder due to excessive force being...
Mobility of labour is vital to any modern economy and many employment contracts require staff to relocate from one workplace to another if their employer's business demands it. One such clause came under consideration in a case in which a charity worker who...
People who seek advantage by going beyond the bounds of planning permission they are given can expect to be taught a very expensive lesson by the courts. However, the law does guarantee the right of a person to have a planning application considered, as was...
Even if injuries suffered in road accidents are relatively slight, the consequences of trauma can be devastating. That was certainly so in one case concerning a senior IT manager who won a six-figure compensation award for the psychiatric consequences of a...
When a couple divorced in 2014, the ex-husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife periodical payments of £120,000 per year after he was found to have used a variety of stratagems to make himself appear worse off than he really was. A mere three months...
No amount of careful drafting can be guaranteed to iron out disagreements as to the true meaning of contract terms and when a dispute occurs it may require the intervention of a judge to bring clarity. One case exactly on point concerned a contract for the...
Slipping accidents can happen anywhere – even in the 'Mother of Parliaments'. That point was made by a case in which a cleaner won thousands of pounds in damages after coming to grief on a greasy spillage in a House of Commons kitchen. Roast lunches...
In an interesting VAT case, the well-known tennis club Queen's Club has been successful in a claim for recovery of the VAT it incurred on revamping its restaurant and bar facilities. The club gives access to tennis, squash, real tennis and rackets for its...
A solicitor's primary duty when drafting a will is to follow faithfully their client's instructions after giving accurate and level-headed advice. In a professional negligence case triggered by the early death of a business tycoon's wife, the High Court...
On 1 October, changes came into effect across the European Union which broaden the range of things for which trade mark protection can be given. It is no longer necessary for a trade mark to be in visible form. Trade marks can now include sounds, smells or...
Many people think that for a libel to occur, the statement made has to be both false and made in public, but in fact that is not so, as a recent libel case confirms . The libellous comments were made by a care worker at a hospital about a colleague in an...
Despite the legal profession's attempts to publicise the services they can provide, some negligence victims still suffer in silence, often for years, in the false belief that they cannot afford to sue. That point was powerfully made by one case in which a...
On the basis that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, it is common for liquidators of insolvent companies to assign (transfer the rights to) any claims that they might wish to pursue on behalf of creditors to specialists in the field. One such...
Anyone tempted to participate in a tax avoidance scheme would be wise to take note of one case in which a businessman complained in vain that he had been subject to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) inquiries for almost seven years, with no end in sight. The...
Compensation is for accident victims who deserve it and judges come down hard on those who dishonestly embellish their claims. In one case, a man who deliberately and cynically lied in an attempt to win more than £1 million in damages after a road...
Restrictive covenants in employment contracts are worthless if they are so broad as to amount to an unlawful restraint of trade. The Court of Appeal reiterated that point in enabling a senior recruitment consultant to take up a position with a competitor of...