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Estate Agency Fined £80,000 for Exposing 18,000 Tenants' Data to Hackers

Businesses that store their clients' personal data are under a strict legal duty to keep it secure and any failure to do so is likely to have serious financial and reputational consequences. An estate agency whose negligence and technical ineptitude left the...

Court Steps In to Protect Security of 370,000 Pension Annuity Holders

Millions of people who invest their pension pots in annuities can ultimately rely on the law to guarantee their financial security. In a case on point, the High Court overruled financial regulators and refused to sanction the transfer of about 370,000...

Twelve Month Reprieve on Construction Industry VAT Changes

The introduction of the new VAT domestic reverse charge for construction services , originally due this October, has been postponed until October 2020. The extended timeframe comes after businesses in the construction sector raised concerns that they would...

Failing to Disclose Assets Can Bite Back in Divorce

In a case illustrating the importance of candour regarding financial circumstances in divorce proceedings, a husband who failed to disclose the true extent of his wealth to family judges was subsequently ordered to pay his ex-wife a seven-figure lump sum,...

Loyalty Bonuses Taxable, Rules Upper Tribunal

Investors using the popular online financial investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) may not have heard that the 'loyalty bonuses' they receive from HL have been deemed by the Upper Tribunal (UT) to be taxable income in the hands of the recipients and...

Email Footer Counts as Signature, High Court Rules

In a recent property case that will have a bearing on all contractual matters, the High Court ruled that a footer automatically appended to an email amounted to a legal signature and led to a contract for the sale of land being formed. A couple who owned...

Couple Overcome 'One House' Restriction to Build New Home in Their Garden

New homes built in the grounds of existing residences make a valuable contribution to meeting burgeoning housing demand. However, as a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) showed , restrictions lurking in antique title deeds can stand in the way of...

Employee Shareholder Status Impacts Unfair Dismissal Claim

Few employees would say no if offered shares in the companies for which they work. However, as an important decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) showed, accepting such offers can in some circumstances involve the sacrifice of employment rights. ...

High Court Umpires Fierce Row Over Pharmaceuticals Company's Future

Shareholder disagreements as to the direction a company should take are generally fought out behind closed doors. However, as a High Court case concerning the future of a troubled pharmaceuticals company showed, judges are always there to act as umpires...

If a Loved One's Will Does Not Meet Your Needs, Don't Delay in Seeking Advice

If a loved one upon whom you depend financially fails to make reasonable provision for you in his or her will, judges have the power to put that right. However, there are time limits that apply to such proceedings and that is why it is vital to consult a...

Packaging Patents Not Inventive Enough to be Valid

Patent protection is a valuable privilege that is only afforded to ideas and products that are genuinely novel and inventive. In a case on point, the High Court declared invalid two patents in respect of plastic food packaging on the basis that the central...

Family Judge Grasps Nettle in Sending Baby Boy to Live With His Father

Family judges are always absolutely focused on the welfare of children and will not shrink from grasping nettles to give them the best chance of leading fulfilled and happy lives. That was certainly so in one case in which a judge ordered that a baby boy be...

Upper Tribunal Paves Way for Former Corporate HQ's Conversion Into 114 Flats

Record employment levels mean strong demand for office space, but the need for more new homes is perhaps even more pressing. A case concerning proposals to convert an office block into 114 flats highlighted the difficulty of balancing those requirements. ...

Vulnerable Witnesses Could Be Given Greater Protection in Civil Courts

Responses to a report from the Civil Justice Council (CJC) setting out proposed measures to better support and protect vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil proceedings are due to be considered following public consultation. The CJC wants to ensure 'a...

Vegetarianism is Not a Protected Characteristic, ET Rules

People have all sorts of reasons for choosing not to eat meat, and that prompted an Employment Tribunal (ET) to rule that vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice, rather than a philosophical belief protected under the Equality Act 2010 . The case concerned a...

High Court Relieves Family of Consequences of Badly Drafted Trust Deed

Trust deeds can be an effective means of managing family wealth and minimising tax liabilities but, as a High Court decision strikingly showed , any mistakes in their drafting can have serious repercussions for generations to come. The case concerned a...

Can Wild Animals Ever Be Owned By Anyone? Novel High Court Ruling

It may seem obvious that no one can own a wild animal. However, in a novel case of interest to property professionals – and anglers – the High Court has ruled that there are nevertheless property rights in wild fish held in captivity in a...

Facing a Tax Investigation? Don't Bury Your Head in the Sand!

If you are facing an investigation by the tax authorities, your very first step should be to seek professional advice. One taxpayer who sadly chose not to take that course, instead burying his head in the sand, narrowly escaped a six-figure back-tax bill. ...

Legal Landscape is Complex When Tenants Seek to Buy Freehold of Flats

Flat tenants in certain circumstances have the right to band together and acquire the freehold of the blocks in which they live. However, as a High Court decision showed , the process of doing so is replete with legal pitfalls and those who fail to take...

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed

Public confidence in the civil justice system would collapse if court orders were not rigorously enforced – however agonising complying with them may be. The point was made by a case in which a divorcee who refused to move out of her home of 25 years...
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