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What is a 'House' for Leasehold Enfranchisement Purposes? High Court Rules

Published on: 13 December 2015 | in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

What is a house? Most people would think there is a simple answer to that question but it is an issue that has taxed lawyers ever since the introduction of leaseholder rights to acquire the freehold of the properties which they occupy.

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Let Down By An Untrustworthy Employee? You Are Not Powerless!

Published on: 10 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

It is a sad truth that employees cannot always be trusted not to give in to temptation – however, if the worst happens, the law is there to help. In one case which illustrated the point, the High Court came to the aid of a company which suspected a senior staff member of receiving bribes, commissions and secret profits totalling about £1 million.

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The Annual Christmas Party

Published on: 07 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

The firm's annual Christmas party gives employers the opportunity to thank members of staff for their contribution over the past year and is a chance for everyone to relax and enjoy the holiday season.

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Supreme Court Overturns Lease Payment Decision

Published on: 01 December 2015 | in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Supreme Court Overturns Lease Payment Decision

In a surprising reversal of a 2013 Court of Appeal decision, the Supreme Court has today ruled that a landlord who received rent in advance for an entire quarter when the break notice was effective half way through the quarter does not have to repay the overpayment.

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Lack of Professional Advice Makes £1 Million Property Transfer Void

Published on: 30 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Lack of Professional Advice Makes £1 Million Property Transfer Void

Professional advice is always necessary when entering into important transactions and one case clearly revealed the serious consequences of failing to seek it. An elderly couple’s transfer of their home to their son was undone by a judge because they had not obtained an independent valuation before going through with the deal.

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Mock Tudor Castle Farmer Receives Jail Warning

Published on: 26 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Defiance of planning laws does not go unpunished and the courts will not relent until compliance is achieved. In one case, a farmer who built a mock Tudor castle in the green belt without planning consent was handed a three-month suspended jail term for his repeated failure to demolish it.

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Cross-Border Commercial Disputes – The Risk of Conflicting Decisions

Published on: 25 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Cross-Border Commercial Disputes – The Risk of Conflicting Decisions

Cross-border commercial disputes can often give rise to a risk that conflicting judicial decisions will be reached in different countries under different laws. However, a High Court ruling has underlined that, at least within the European Union (EU), rules are in place to prevent that happening.

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Crumbling Victorian Pier Triggers Bankruptcy Test Case

Published on: 22 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Crumbling Victorian Pier Triggers Bankruptcy Test Case

In an unusual case upon which the future of a crumbling Victorian pier depended, the High Court has given important guidance on the extent to which the homes of those who are declared bankrupt are protected from their creditors.

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Property Conversion Rights to Stay

Published on: 17 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Property Conversion Rights to Stay

The Government has confirmed that the right to change buildings from office use to residential use without the need to obtain planning permission, which was due to expire in May 2016, is to be continued.

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High Court Backs Contract Adjudicator in Building Dispute

Published on: 16 November 2015 | in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

High Court Backs Contract Adjudicator in Building Dispute

The courts are generally keen to support contract adjudicators whose task it is to resolve disputes speedily and at much lower cost than litigation. In one case which proved the point, a company was criticised for ‘scrabbling around’ in search of technical reasons why it should not have to abide by an adjudicator’s awards.

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Employment Judge Fell into Substitution Trap

Published on: 15 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Decisions about what action to take in response to workplace misconduct are a matter for employers, and employment judges are not entitled to substitute their own views on factual matters for those of the primary decision-maker.

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Employed by a Sprawling Multinational? Are You As Secure as You Think?

Published on: 12 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Those who work for large multinational companies often enjoy security, benefits and a breadth of opportunity envied by others. However, as a High Court case illustrated, complex corporate structures which span the world can lead to real difficulties in obtaining compensation in the event of a dispute.

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Property Developers Can’t Prove Bank Skulduggery

Published on: 08 November 2015 | in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Suspicions are rife that certain banks may have deliberately engineered clients into defaulting on loans so that they can step in to pick up the pieces and make a profit from turning around viable businesses.

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Be Sure You’re Right before Accusing Competitors of Plagiarism

Published on: 04 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Copyright infringement actions are a highly effective means of protecting original ideas from exploitation by copycats. However, one High Court case concerning floral designs on bed linen underlined that you need to be very sure of your ground before accusing others of plagiarism.

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Need for New Homes Trumps Village School Objections

Published on: 01 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Need for New Homes Trumps Village School Objections

The image of country dwellers up in arms at the prospect of housing developments is a powerful one. However, in one case, landowners intent on building 79 new homes on the edge of a West Sussex village have overcome objectors’ complaints that the site might be needed for the expansion of a local school.

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Contract Adjudicators Can’t Always Be Right!

Published on: 10 December 2015 | in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Contract adjudicators do valuable work in promoting the swift resolution of disputes at relatively low cost – however, they do not always reach the right conclusions and the courts are there to put right any injustice caused.

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Oops! ‘UK Law’ and ‘UK Courts’ Do Not Exist!

Published on: 08 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Oops! ‘UK Law’ and ‘UK Courts’ Do Not Exist!

Contract drafting is an art which should only be undertaken by specialists. The truth of that statement was underlined by a case in which an arbitration clause in a major commercial contract contained references to non-existent ‘UK law’ and ‘UK courts’ as if Britain’s three separate legal systems were one and the same.

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Involved in a Contract Dispute? Doing Nothing Is Not an Option!

Published on: 03 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Involved in a Contract Dispute? Doing Nothing Is Not an Option!

It is sadly true that not every building project runs smoothly but, if the worst happens, it is no good sitting on your hands and hoping that the problem will go away.

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Victimisation Claim Survives Absence of ACAS Certificate

Published on: 01 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

The law is always focused on encouraging voluntary dispute resolution and that is certainly so in employment cases where workers must consult with the Advisory,Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) before lodging complaints with Employment Tribunals.

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Guidance on Recruiting and Retaining Transgender Employees

Published on: 26 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

The Government has published guidance, produced in partnership with Inclusive Employers, a membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces, designed to provide employers with practical advice, suggestions and ideas on the recruitment and retention of transgender employees and potential employees. It is also a useful guide for the managers of trans staff and for trans staff themselves.

The guidance also provides clarification as to how the law applies in England, Scotland and Wales.

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Misbehaviour at Office Parties Can Lead to the Sack

Published on: 25 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Some misbehaviour at office social events is usually tolerated, but workplace rules continue to apply and those who go over the top can be lawfully dismissed. Exactly that happened in one case where a bank worker punched a colleague in the face during an office day out to Chester Racecourse.

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Thinking of Whistleblowing? Get Legal Advice Before You Speak Out!

Published on: 24 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Workplace whistleblowers play an essential role in society and are protected by law. However, one striking case has underlined that confidentiality rules still apply and that you would be wise to take legal advice before expressing your concerns.

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National Security Prevails in Recruitment Discrimination Dispute

Published on: 19 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Those employed in sensitive government jobs should take note of an unusual case in which a chess master and computer security expert was refused employment at top secret intelligence base GCHQ after stating that, if forced to choose, his devotion to God would outweigh his loyalty to his country.

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Plans for 400 New Homes Receive High Court Boost

Published on: 16 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Planning decisions are not statutes and judges will usually make allowances for less than perfect wording. However, in one case a developer’s hopes of building 400 new homes on the outskirts of a northern city were boosted when the High Court spotted a potentially crucial flaw in a decision to refuse planning consent.

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‘Zero Hours’ Contract Workers Do Have Employment Rights!

Published on: 16 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

The idea that so-called ‘zero hours’ contract workers have no employment rights is a misconception, as is illustrated by a case in which a security officer who worked under such a regime was awarded arrears of holiday pay and compensation for her unfair dismissal.

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The Rule Against Penal Contracts – Supreme Court Modernises the Law

Published on: 15 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

The Rule Against Penal Contracts – Supreme Court Modernises the Law

Whether in the commercial sphere or when dealing with consumers, the ancient and haphazard rule that contract terms must not be penal in nature has not weathered well and is often a source of confusion.

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What Is A House? Landmark Court of Appeal Ruling

Published on: 10 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

What Is A House? Landmark Court of Appeal Ruling

What is a house? That would appear to be a simple question, but it has taxed judges for decades. However, in a decision which will assist thousands of tenants to acquire the freehold of their premises, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a shop with a flat above is, indeed, a house.

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No Unlawful Discrimination without Detriment, Tribunal Rules

Published on: 08 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

In a ground-breaking decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a finding of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 can only be made where a worker has suffered an actual detriment by reason of less favourable treatment on the grounds of a protected characteristic.

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Sole Agency Agreements and Restraint of Trade – Judicial Guidance

Published on: 03 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Employment Updates | News and Updates

Sole agency agreements, just like employment contracts, must be reasonable to be enforceable and the courts will strike down provisions that seek to restrict personal freedom or fair competition. In one case, however, the Court of Appeal gave its seal of approval to a contract by which a salesman agreed to represent one company and none other.

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Businessman Wrongly Jailed for Breaching Freezing Order

Published on: 29 October 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

The power of English courts to freeze assets is global in scope and breach of such orders can result in heavy fines and even loss of liberty. However, in one case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a businessman was wrongly handed a prison sentence on the basis of inadequate evidence.

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