About UsWelcome to our Blog

Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs

Welcome to our Blog

Are you looking for high quality legal advice? You have come to the right place.

We regularly write about different legal topics and welcome your comments on our posts. If you would like more information on our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Latest Posts

Ex-husband set to make a claim against Amy Winehouse estate

Alex Burch
  • Posted
  • Author

Eight years after the death of singer Amy Winehouse, her former husband is set to make a claim against her estate under the Inheritance Act 1975. Blake Fielder-Civil is seeking a lump sum and a monthly allowance. Amy died, aged 27, of alcohol poisoning in...

The forced heirship regime in Italy

Jessica Zama
  • Posted
  • Author

In Italy, unlike the UK, a person cannot freely dispose of all their assets by Will or lifetime gifts.  Instead, certain family members including the spouse, children and, in some situations, the parents, have an absolute right to a portion of the...

Court of Appeal ruling supports the use of standstill agreements in inheritance claims

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

Further to my blog in March 2019, the claim in Cowan v Foreman has now been decided by the Court of Appeal so that Mrs Cowan, a widow, will be able to proceed out of time in a claim against her late husband’s estate. The original rejected claim was...

High Court rules that elder parent died first in inheritance dispute

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

In June, we highlighted the case of a contested estate arising from the tragic deaths of a couple, John and Ann Scarle , following an apparent burglary at their home. The Judge has now decided who, for legal purposes, died first. The couple each had a...

Handwriting expert called in over Aretha Franklin's contested Will

Alex Burch
  • Posted
  • Author

Back in October 2018, I wrote about the brewing claim against the estate of Aretha Franklin by members of her family. As the legal battle between her sons continues, the judge, who placed the administration of her estate at the Court’s discretion,...

The reliability of witness statements in dispute resolution cases

Nick Porter
  • Posted
  • Author

Back in February 2019, we covered the story of two former directors of Northampton Town Football Club who were found to be in breach of their fiduciary duties following a claim brought by Northampton Borough Council. The case raises another interesting...

Claim for conditional gift in Will is denied by the clock and the Court

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

The terms of a Will can often be a bone of contention, particularly when unexpected circumstances intervene and where reference to long-standing legislation is needed to resolve the dispute. The recent High Court case of Naylor & Another v Barlow &...

Agreed a time extension on a refused prior approval?

Brendon Lee
  • Posted
  • Author

Have you been refused prior approval for permitted development following an agreed extension of time in the last three years? If so, you may have an implementable planning permission. The recent decision of the High Court in Warren Farm (Wokingham) Ltd, R...

Resealing a foreign grant of probate to secure assets in England or Wales

Sallyann Short
  • Posted
  • Author

It is not always the case that a grant of probate (or letters of administration) obtained outside the UK will be recognised in the UK following the death of a person with assets in England or Wales.   In such situations, the English Probate Registry...

Inward investment into the UK

Nigel Moore
  • Posted
  • Author

If your business is seeking to explore opportunities within the UK as an inward investor, a vital first step is to plan ahead so that you can hit the ground running. In doing so, it’s important to be aware of UK commercial and employment law whilst...

New report on non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases

Nicola Cockerill
  • Posted
  • Author

A recent report entitled ‘The Use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in Discrimination Cases’ has been published been published by a House of Commons committee. It finds that pursuing claims through the employment tribunals system can be challenging,...

Allegations of misconduct in the workplace and unfair dismissal

Ewan Carr
  • Posted
  • Author

Most employers will have faced a situation where they have to investigate and potentially take disciplinary action in relation to allegations of misconduct against an employee. If the nature of the misconduct may warrant a dismissal, what questions should...

Court of Appeal dismisses discrimination claims concerning shared parental leave

Nicola Cockerill
  • Posted
  • Author

Two recent Court of Appeal cases have held that the respective employers of two male claimants had not discriminated against them by failing to pay enhanced shared parental leave pay. Such a payment would have been equivalent to that received by a woman on...

ECJ ruling requires employers to record daily working time

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

A recent ruling made by the European Court of Justice has confirmed that employers must record the daily working time of individual workers to meet the terms of the EU Working Time Directive. The Directive lays down maximum limits on weekly working time and...

Carer neighbour retains inheritance following claim by estranged nephews

Alex Burch
  • Posted
  • Author

A man who became a carer for his elderly neighbour, has been told by Central London County Court that he is entitled to keep the inheritance that she left him in her Will, the Evening Standard has reported. The £1.8 million estate was contested by...

Mystery surrounding time of death leads to inheritance claim

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

A tragic and highly unusual case, reported by the Daily Mirror on 25 June, has again highlighted the importance of having a Will. It involves the death of a couple caused by hypothermia following an apparent burglary at their home. John and Ann Scarle...

Further delays to probate applications

Beverley Diamond
  • Posted
  • Author

The roll-out of new software across UK probate registries continues to be beset by difficulty and delay. In some cases, solicitors have experienced a hold up of 13 weeks from the point of making a probate application on behalf of clients before the matter...

Interest, Royalties and Dividends: what a "no-deal" Brexit could mean for your business

Ben Hills
  • Posted
  • Author

As you may be aware, current European law allows EU companies to make certain interest, royalty and dividend payments to associated companies within the EU without requiring a tax deduction. The only requirements are that your company must be: subject to...

Bloodline Trusts and protecting your children's inheritance

Sara-Rose Welch
  • Posted
  • Author

Protecting future generations of your family is a natural priority when drafting a Will. However, a false assumption often made is that a standard Will alone guarantees that your blood relatives will be the sole beneficiaries of your estate. This is not the...

Widow wins legal battle to access family photos taken by late husband

Sara-Rose Welch
  • Posted
  • Author

A widow has fought a lengthy, expensive but ultimately successful legal battle with Apple to access family photos taken by her late husband on his iPhone. Under UK law, friends and relatives of a person who has died have no automatic legal right to access...

Son awarded lump sum in proprietary estoppel claim over family farm

Alex Burch
  • Posted
  • Author

A man who brought a claim against his parents relating to the family farm has had his case upheld by the High Court. In Guest v Guest and another [2019] EWHC 869 (Ch) (16 April 2019) , the claim involved the principle of proprietary estoppel which...

Change of use of commercial property - what's the process?

Brendon Lee
  • Posted
  • Author

In an ideal world, it would be possible to convert a commercial property from one type of business to another with minimal fuss and procedure. However, change of use often requires a surprising amount of paperwork and a firm grasp of the legal factors...

Keeping in contact with an employee who is absent from work due to illness

Nicola Cockerill
  • Posted
  • Author

I recently read an article about a worker who had sadly committed suicide after repeatedly being contacted by his employer whilst he was signed off work with work-related stress. This reminded me of conversations that I’ve had with employer clients...

New RICS Professional Statement for Commercial Service Charges

Michael Blank
  • Posted
  • Author

Service charges in commercial property , a new Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) professional statement which applies to the whole UK, has come into effect for all service charge periods. Compared with its predecessor, the Service Charge Code,...

Brexit: maddening but not frustrating when it comes to contracts

Michael Blank
  • Posted
  • Author

Brexit may be maddening for businesses, amid all the uncertainty that surrounds it, but the High Court has ruled that it does not constitute grounds for frustration of contract.   In passing judgement in Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency ...

Post termination restrictive covenants - what are they and how far can they go?

Ewan Carr
  • Posted
  • Author

When an employment relationship ends, employers can sometimes have legitimate concerns that the departing employee will attempt to take clients and other employees with them, especially if they are moving to a competitor.  To mitigate this risk as far...

Directors held personally liable for breach of contract in relation to exploited workers

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

A group of former employees of DJ Houghton Catching Services, a ‘chicken-catching’ business, has brought a successful claim in the High Court following serious contractual and statutory breaches committed by the company. The breaches included the...

Caution urged over directors declaring dividends following Court of Appeal decision

Nick Porter
  • Posted
  • Author

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision which has practical implications for directors declaring dividends in companies. In BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana, the Court of Appeal confirmed that a dividend payment, which strips money out of a company and...

'Change of Heart' for the Petty family in dispute over rock star's estate?

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

Another day, another late famous person’s disputed Will… The singer-songwriter Tom Petty died in October 2017 moving onto ‘A Higher Place’, following an accidental overdose. A recent news story suggests all is not well in the Petty...

Housing Committee publishes proposals on changes to long leases

Michael Blank
  • Posted
  • Author

Following the release of the latest Committee report into the housing industry and developers’ use of leasehold sale transactions, many landlords are concerned that the government’s response could impact their businesses. The Committee are...

What do Articles 11 and 13 of the EU Copyright Directive mean for your business?

Ben Hills
  • Posted
  • Author

On the 26 March 2019, the European Parliament voted for the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, otherwise known as the EU Copyright Directive, a new law that makes sweeping changes to how copyright-protected content is dealt with on the...

Dirty John - he's not the first and he won't be the last

  • Posted

A current hot topic of water cooler discussion is the Netflix hit series – ‘Dirty John’ – a true story about the life of John Meehan, a con artist and sociopath. The series tells the story of how he met unsuspecting women on the...

What responsibilities do absent parents have after several years without contact with their children?

Sellina Kauser
  • Posted
  • Author

The concept of a traditional family unit has changed over time and, in some situations, this can create problems. According to the Relationships Foundation’s report ‘The Cost of Family Failure Index’, the economic impact of family breakdown...

Do I need a disaster clause in my Will?

Sara-Rose Welch
  • Posted
  • Author

When drafting or amending a Will, it’s important to consider all eventualities. However, one unlikely scenario which is often, and perhaps understandably, overlooked is the inclusion of a disaster clause . A disaster or ‘common tragedy’...

'No fault' reforms set to mark new era for divorce law in England and Wales

Helen Saggers
  • Posted
  • Author

Following years of campaigning by members of the public and the legal profession, the government has taken a major step to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales. In a move that has received widespread support, legislation has been...

Mind the gap - gender pay inequality continues

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

Fewer than half of the UK's biggest employers have reduced their pay gap between male and female employees. In fact, according to the latest figures, the disparity increased in favour of men across 45% of firms, and there was no change to the pay gap in...

Pilot Disclosure Scheme set to revolutionise commercial litigation?

Nick Porter
  • Posted
  • Author

Disclosure, the process used by parties involved in commercial litigation to identify and disclose documents relevant to their dispute, often requires the exchange of thousands of documents for scrutiny. This often proves to be a complex procedure which can...

Planning Applications - what happens if you're refused permission and how can you challenge such decision?

Brendon Lee
  • Posted
  • Author

If you think a council planning department has made an incorrect decision regarding your application, or if you haven’t received a decision on your application within the prescribed period, you can request that the Planning Inspectorate examines the...

Government consultation launched on misuse of workplace confidentiality clauses

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

In a bid to remove barriers to the reporting of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, the government is considering measures to prevent the misuse of confidentiality agreements and has published a consultation document on the matter. At the...

Informal grievances - dealing with workplace problems before they escalate

Ewan Carr
  • Posted
  • Author

Naturally, nobody is happy when a grievance is submitted - the employer would rather not have unhappy employees and the employees would rather not be in a position where they feel aggrieved. And, after all, it generally follows that a harmonious workforce is...

Contested deputyship applications

Lauren Godfrey
  • Posted
  • Author

Our Contentious Probate and Court of Protection teams have had recent success in relation to contested deputyship applications in the Court of Protection. A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks...

Landowner carries the can on illegal waste

Brendon Lee
  • Posted
  • Author

The accumulation of an illegal waste wood stockpile in Devon has resulted in the landowner facing prosecution and the clean-up bill, after he was held responsible for knowingly permitting the activities of his tenants. The facts of the case The land was...

What next for retail? Three keys to a successful turnaround

Robin Johnston
  • Posted
  • Author

If you believe the media, retail is doomed. Exorbitant business rates payable by retailers, high rents, difficult landlords, the cost of goods, Brexit, consumer debt, consumer behaviour, online retailers, the list of apparent threats to retailers is endless....

Prime Minister offers workers' rights vote pledge in exchange for Brexit deal support

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

As we wait to see if there will be a third attempt to get the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament, the government has suggested that MPs would be allowed a vote on whether to adopt future EU legislation on employment rights after Brexit. The proposals...

Expired warnings - how should they be handled?

Ewan Carr
  • Posted
  • Author

Many employers will have faced a scenario whereby an employee was issued a time-limited warning following a disciplinary hearing, perhaps for an act of misconduct, which subsequently expired. But what should happen, in light of the initial warning, if the...

French Inheritance Tax - towards major reforms of the system?

Lea Maynard
  • Posted
  • Author

The Conseil des prélèvements obligatoires , an advisory body to the governmental authority that oversees French public finances, published a report in 2017 which looks into the state of the French Inheritance Tax regime. It identifies current...

Lasting Powers of Attorney - the importance of not leaving it too late

Jennifer Valentine
  • Posted
  • Author

We’re all aware that where there’s a Will, there’s a way to ensure our final wishes are followed. However, what happens if we are unable to make decisions for ourselves about our health and finances, possibly as a result of dementia or a...

Standstill agreement and Letter of Wishes feature in controversial Inheritance claim decision

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

A recent decision, in Cowan v Cowan, has caused consternation in the contentious probate world. It’s common practice for parties to agree a standstill agreement whilst attempting to negotiate settlements in Inheritance Act claims rather than issuing a...

The mutual benefits of a sabbatical for employees and employers

Giles Betts
  • Posted
  • Author

For many, the thought of giving up the day job on a temporary basis to pursue other interests – be they personal or professional – can be tempting but often not followed up because of concerns over job security. However, the opportunity to take...

Siblings dispute Will dividend, arguing that richer brother should inherit less

Paul Branch
  • Posted
  • Author

Two sisters are disputing the division of their mother’s £1.5m estate which, according to a Will made in 2013, split the estate equally with their brother. Jennifer Penny and Catherine Kennard contend that the 2013 Will is not valid as their...