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Latest Posts

Electronic signatures can be used to sign formal legal contracts under English law, the Law Commission confirms

James Munn
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The way business is conducted constantly changes. Technological developments provide more efficient, convenient and immediate methods for entering into binding transactions. However, issues surrounding the electronic execution of documents, including...

Changing circumstances - the importance of updating your Will

Paul Branch
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Nothing ever stays the same. Your personal circumstances can change from year to year and, when these changes are significant – e.g. marriage, divorce, the purchase of a property – updating your details in legal records is very important. Wills...

The Residence Nil Rate Band - assumptions could cost £140,000 in tax

Stephen Duffy
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Not considering the finer detail of the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) rules could cost £140,000 in Inheritance Tax (IHT)! Under the RNRB rules, introduced in 2017, individuals can claim an additional allowance of £125,000 to reduce IHT due on...

Estate planning - Business Relief keeps you in control

Stephen Duffy
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Estate planning – that is, putting in place measures to ensure that our assets pass to the right people, and with the payment of as little tax as possible – is often put off. Sometimes this is due to the misconception that estate planning is too...

Testamentary capacity and mental health

Paul Branch
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The testamentary capacity of a person at the time of making their Will is often questioned when a claim is made against its provision. The Courts will always consider each case on the specific facts involved, applying the test established by Banks v...

Surfing the waves of disruption

Robin Johnston
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Think of the word ‘disruption’ and it will likely conjure up negative connotations – something that holds you back or creates a barrier. However, disruption can often be a force for good. Through the ages, innovators have improved or...

Landlords must check they hit the spot with deposits

Gail Sykes
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Claims for incorrectly handled property rental deposits are soaring and landlords should be alert to the danger and ensure they or their agents are complying with the legal requirements to avoid high penalties.   According to figures from insurers DAC...

NPPF2 - Changes made to the draft consultation...and a few surprises sprung

Brendon Lee
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Having digested the contents of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF2), issued by the government in late July, it’s evident that some significant changes have been made to the original NPPF. Among the new policies outlined, the...

Getting your house in order on property ownership rights

Alex Burch
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Despite our best efforts, we can never predict the future with absolute certainty. However, we can make provision when our personal circumstances change to protect our interests in future years. For co-owners of property, this can be done by making of formal...

Supreme Court ruling upholds agreed withdrawal of end-of-life treatment

Karl Dembicki
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The Supreme Court has upheld that clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) can be withdrawn from patients in a long-term permanent vegetative state without the approval of the Court of Protection when  both   family and doctors agree...

Local taxes relating to your French property

Romain Candela
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As the saying goes, timing is everything. In terms of property transactions, it can have financial implications. If you own a French property, completing its sale at the right time can save you money. The main reason for this is the French tax system. There...

Supreme Court ruling stirs lifetime maintenance payment debate

Roger Gurney
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The debate over the fairness of granting lifetime maintenance payments following divorce is not new. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant an appeal against the increasing of such provision, in the case of Mills v Mills 2018, sends the message...

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill published

Omar Choudhary
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A new piece of draft legislation promises to establish legal safeguards to protect the human rights of those who lack the capacity to consent to care, treatment and support. On 3 July 2018, the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill 2017-19, designed to amend the...

Challenging times: what happens when family members are cut out of a Will?

Lauren Godfrey
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High profile inheritance disputes follow celebrities and the super-rich as surely as night follows day. Salvador Dali’s body was exhumed last year for a DNA test after a woman claimed to be his daughter and entitled to a share of his $1bn...

Evicting squatters from your Spanish property

Dennis Phillips
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Squatting is when someone deliberately enters property without permission and lives there or intends to live there. Under any circumstances, this is an extremely difficult situation for the owner but, when the property in question is fifteen hundred miles...

Civil partnerships: where do we stand?

Paula Piquer Ruz
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Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004, allowing same sex couples to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. This seemed to be an intermediate compromise, providing legal protection for same sex couples whilst avoiding...

Knowledge and approval claim fails in contested Will case

Paul Branch
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In a recent High Court case, Rakesh Gupta claimed that his late mother’s Will, which favoured his younger brother, Naresh, was invalid due to lack of knowledge and approval. The Court found in favour of Naresh on the basis that, when considering the...

Heathrow Third Runway: Could you be entitled to serve a blight notice?

Brendon Lee
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Whether you support or oppose a third runway for Heathrow Airport, the Government appears committed to continuing with the legal processes for its final approval and implementation. An important recent step for landowners is the Government’s adoption...

Proprietary estoppel - Is your word your bond?

Paul Branch
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The recent High Court judgement in Gee v Gee dealt with proprietary estoppel. This is a legal principle whereby a person will acquire the rights over property if they have been given assurance to this effect on which they can reasonably rely and that their...

Assets of Community Value: the new village green for protection of informal open spaces? - Part 3

Brendon Lee
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In this final part of my mini-series of articles on ACVs, I will assess their potential role in resisting development projects. Earlier in the series, I first looked at whether an informal open space can be classed as an ACV and then in Part 2 compared ...

French pensions and probate: entitlements for widow(er)s and ex-spouses

Lea Maynard
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When dealing with the estate of a deceased who spent some time working in France, it is possible that they might have received French pensions during their lifetime. Just as in the UK, there are two types of pension: the mandatory French State pension,...

Assets of Community Value: the new village green for protection of informal open spaces? - Part 2

Brendon Lee
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In this second part of my mini-series of articles reflecting on ACVs, I compare the legal tests required for village greens and ACV. Previously, I looked at whether an informal open space can be classed as an ACV. Finally, I will be looking ahead to the...

World Cup 2018 - Employers must keep their eye on the ball

Alison Banerjee
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So, England has qualified into the knockout round of the 2018 Fifa World Cup and fans are buoyant. With several games taking place during working hours, some have planned their holidays to be in Russia to support their team whilst most are following on...

Assets of Community Value: the new village green for protection of informal open spaces?

Brendon Lee
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Historically, village greens were the white knight for local community groups seeking to protect beloved open spaces. However, in recent years, the prospects of successful village green registrations have been eroded by evolving case law and new statutory...

5 top tips to make sure your planning application is granted permission

Brendon Lee
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Understanding exactly what is expected of you and what requirements you need to meet is vital when seeking planning permission to develop your property. Such criteria will differ from council to council, so it is important to maintain communication with your...

Supreme Court dismisses appeal in Pimlico Plumbers case

Giles Betts
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The Supreme Court, which is of course the UK’s highest court, has dismissed an appeal against an original ruling that a plumber who operated as an independent contractor was entitled to workers’ rights. In Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and anor v Smith...

Immigration and Employment law - the rock and the hard place for employers

Alison Banerjee
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In the wake of the Windrush immigration scandal, employers find themselves between a rock and a hard place when implementing checks on the rights of individuals to work in the UK.  Many who believed they were legitimately living and working in the UK...

Divorce goes virtual, but complex cases will keep their day in court

Lyn Brisley
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A new online service to apply for a divorce has been announced. The Ministry of Justice confirmed plans for the nationwide scheme for online divorce applications follows a successful pilot earlier this year and is confident that the system will cut the...

Software supplied as a download is not a sale of goods

Stephen Oliver
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A recent judgment in the Court of Appeal has finally clarified the legal status of software provided in the form of a download. The decision in Computer Associates UK Limited v The Software Incubator Limited held that software provided in the form of a...

The right to work and dismissal

Alison Banerjee
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The terms of the Immigration Act 2016 require that every employee’s right to work in the UK must be checked before employment commences and repeat checks undertaken where the right to work is time limited.  It is only by carrying out these...

The Owens case and the case for no-fault divorce

Lyn Brisley
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The ongoing divorce case of Owens-v-Owens is highly significant. Tini Owens wants a divorce. Her husband, Hugh Owens, does not. This situation is contrary to most petitions for divorce which are usually uncontested. So far, the courts have found in Mr...

Seven good reasons to use Buckles Solicitors to prepare your Will

Matthew Porter
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A Will is one of the most important legal documents that you will prepare during your lifetime. An incorrectly prepared Will can cause severe and long-lasting difficulties on death. After all, it is not possible to have a second attempt at getting it right! ...

This is not a rubbish dump - the fly tipping blight

Brendon Lee
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At a time when correctly disposing of waste (especially industrial waste) is becoming more expensive, many unscrupulous traders and private individuals are choosing to fly tip rather than take their rubbish to a designated disposal site. That means the...

Carer stripped of inheritance

Alex Burch
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A recent case involving a carer who ended up in court after “guiding the hand” of a man as he lay dying centred on the validity of his Will and whether he was of sound mind when he signed it. The court found against the carer and...

Service of proceedings by email

Nick Porter
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The digital revolution has changed the legal profession in many fundamental ways. I rarely send a letter by post now when I can email it instead; I can work from a laptop or tablet anywhere in the world; and I can even commence proceedings by uploading them...

Capacity to marry and the Court of Protection

Paul Branch
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A most unusual case came before the Court of Protection in July 2017, although the case has only recently become public.  A wealthy, retired insurance broker in his mid-80s had cohabited with his partner, a woman in her 70s, for some 20 years or more,...

What is a notaire?

Hubert Watin-Augouard
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In France, notaires are not only qualified lawyers, such as English Solicitors, but also public officers. Appointed by the Minister of Justice to act on behalf of the State, their duty is to the ‘transaction’ involved and to ensure everything is...

How to make contentious child arrangements less painful for the children involved

Lyn Brisley
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A marriage or partnership breakdown can feel even worse if there are children involved. Whilst the scenario involved will depend on the unique circumstances of the family unit, it is imperative that the children are protected from any animosity between the...

Five things we know about Inheritance Tax... but is it all set to change?

Karl Dembicki
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Here’s some current facts regarding Inheritance Tax: 1. Each individual can leave £325,000 (the “Nil Rate Band”) to their chosen beneficiaries on death without paying any Inheritance Tax, but above that figure assets may be taxed at...

The validity of Copy Wills

Alex Burch
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Does the use of a copy Will and original codicil, in the absence of the original Will, presume that the testator intended to revoke the original Will? In Whitton v Herman 2016, the argument was considered that any revocation would be conditional on the...

Arranging Spanish NIEs quickly and easily from anywhere in the UK

Dennis Phillips
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As a non-Spanish national with any formal dealings with Spain you are going to need an NIE. That may sound like a tongue-twister. To add to the confusion, you will hear NIEs phonetically referred to by Brits as ‘En-eye-ees’, ‘Knees’...

Shareholder decisions and the Duomatic principle

Stephen Oliver
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The frequently informal nature of small private limited companies often means that major decisions are agreed about the company’s business or its constitution without being recorded in minutes or writing. This, in turn, can lead to validity issues...

Wills and unlawful killing

Paul Branch
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The facts of Macmillan Cancer Support -v- Christopher Hayes and Charles Long (2017) are tragic. Peter, aged 84, was found hanging in the hallway of his home and, in the sitting room, his wife, Sheila, aged 88, was found fully clothed lying peacefully in a...

The value of confidential information

Stephen Oliver
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Every business holds and develops a body of confidential information which is viewed as a key asset in establishing a commercial edge in its market.  Many will take care to identify and label information as confidential and contractually restrict...

The risks involved in homemade Wills

Alex Burch
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The case of Richard Guest v. the Executors of Tracey Leaning has highlighted the importance of making a Will with a lawyer’s assistance and keeping it up-to-date. In an appearance on ITV’s This Morning and an interview with the Daily Mail in...

Funeral wishes and arrangements

Paul Branch
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Many people have a clear picture of how they want their funeral to be conducted. Technically, the executors of a Will are responsible for implementing funeral arrangements but are not obliged to follow any wishes related to this that are expressed in the...

How to delist a listed cottage or building

Brendon Lee
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Listed buildings, whilst often attractive and brimming with character, may not always be seen as desirable purchases. They cause potential headaches for the new owners given the statutory limitations, and resultant additional costs, in carrying out...

Judge awards part of £1.5m estate to deceased's partner

Alex Burch
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In the latest of a string of similar rulings since the outcome of the Illot v Blue Cross case , the High Court has granted reasonable provision to a cohabitee who was left out of her late partner’s Will. Wynford Hodge had left the entirety of his...

Tree Hugging: What is the law surrounding protected trees and conservation areas?

Brendon Lee
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Barely a month goes by without a local newspaper recording the infringement of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). These are often accompanied by protestations from the accused claiming they had no idea that a TPO was in place and, more frequently, detailing...

Fraudulent calumny used to successfully challenge a Will

Alex Burch
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Fraudulent calumny relates to situations where a person dishonestly poisons the mind of a testator against a potential beneficiary, thereby depriving them of a legacy. In the case of Christodoulides v Marcou, the High Court held that the daughter of the...