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Ambiguous Wills - Court of Appeal Gives Effect to Deceased's Intentions

Where words used in a will are ambiguous, judges will strive to interpret them in a way that gives effect to the deceased's intentions. An instructive Court of Appeal decision on point hinged on the little-known fact that the Channel Islands are not...

Drain Cleaner Incident - High Court Takes Hard Line on Evidence Disclosure

Experienced litigators will tell you that much of their most important work goes on in the background, long before a case comes before a judge for trial. That was certainly so in a case concerning death and catastrophic injury alleged to have been caused by...

Can the COVID-19 Crisis Justify Reopening Financial Orders in Divorce?

Can the economic havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic justify the re-drawing of final financial orders made following a divorce? The High Court has ruled in a guideline case that the answer to that question is 'probably not'. The case concerned a couple...

Determined DIY Builders Score Important Victory Over HMRC

You may understandably feel overawed by the might of the tax authorities but, with the law on your side, the balance of power is far more even than you might think. In a case on point, a couple struck an important blow for the cohort of determined people who...

High Court Aids Widow Left in Precarious Position by Husband's Death

If someone on whom you depended for support has died without making reasonable financial provision for you, you should consult a solicitor without delay. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a widow who was left largely reliant on benefits...

Victim of Polish Road Accident Can Pursue His Damages Claim in England

The concept of 'domicile' is notoriously difficult to pin down, but there is no doubting its central importance to many aspects of the law. A case on point concerned a personal injury claim brought by a young man who was attending a wedding in Poland when he...

Parking Obstruction of Rights of Way - The Legal Principles Explained

The parking of cars along shared access routes is all too often a source of acrimony between neighbours. A High Court ruling provided a clear explanation of the legal principles commonly applied when resolving such disputes. The case concerned a lane that...

High Court Clamps Down on Standardised Online Divorce Petitions

The advent of so-called 'no fault' divorce is on the horizon but, until then, a great many divorce petitions will continue to be issued on the basis of unreasonable behaviour by one party or the other. As a High Court ruling underlined , the requirement to...

Cowboy Builders Can Expect Stern Punishment - Court of Appeal Ruling

Cowboy builders who rip off householders are a well-known blight on society. As a Court of Appeal ruling showed , however, judges are well abreast of their activities and culprits can expect severe punishment, up to and including imprisonment. The case...

Seven-Figure Damages for Man Injured in Balcony Fall

A case concerning a man who suffered life-changing injuries in a fall from a balcony served as a reminder of the duty owed by property owners to keep their tenants and visitors reasonably safe. The middle-aged man was on the balcony of a flat when a...

Deduction of Accommodation Costs from Income Tax - Guideline Ruling

You are only able to deduct accommodation and other expenses from your Income Tax liabilities if they have been wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of your employment. That is a very high hurdle but, as a tax...

Lawyers Praised for Achieving Excellent Settlement of Road Accident Claim

Lawyers are not detectives, but the roles they play in discerning the causes of road traffic accidents are often surprisingly similar. That was certainly so in a case concerning a young man who was seen staggering around in the road moments before he was...

Inheritance and the Impact of Intestacy on Stepchildren

In an era of increasingly fluid family relationships, many children are brought up by step-parents – but what is the consequence of that social change in terms of inheritance? The High Court addressed that issue in a guideline ruling . The case...

Are You a Pandemic Home Worker? Do You Need Planning Permission?

Vast numbers of people have been prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic to take up working or running businesses from home – but do they need planning permission for a change of use? The High Court addressed that burning issue in the case of a personal...

Read This If Your Child Has Been Taken Abroad Without Your Consent

If your right to play a full part in your child's life has been undermined by his or her wrongful removal from England, a specialist family lawyer can help you achieve a reunion. A case on point concerned a baby girl who, without her father's consent, was...

Inheritance Tax Property Valuations - Don't Dispense With Professional Advice

Residential property often represents the majority of a person's wealth and valuing it for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is, par excellence, a matter for professionals. In a case on point, a son who dispensed with expert tax and valuation advice following...

Not Every Accident Can be Explained - Workplace Head Injuries Ruling

Judges are experts at uncovering the truth but, in rare cases, it is simply not possible to decisively establish the cause of an accident. That was so in the case of an HGV driver who had no memory of an incident that left him with life-changing head...

Determined Road Accident Victim Awarded £12.5 Million

Many road accident victims show enormous courage in coming to terms with their disabilities, but some are truly exceptional. That was certainly true of a young man whose great good humour never wavered in the face of catastrophic injuries that merited an...

Father Who Disinherited Daughter Lacked Capacity to Make a Valid Will

You are perfectly entitled to write your children or other close family members out of your will, but such a course can be an invitation to dispute after you are gone. That was certainly so in a High Court case concerning a man who left everything he owned...

Lending Money to Friends? Don't Act Without Professional Advice

The emotional element involved in lending money to friends and loved ones makes it all the more necessary to first seek independent professional advice. A case on point concerned a businessman who lent a small fortune to a close friend but had to launch...

Property Dispute Looming? Now is the Moment to Seek Professional Advice

A word out of place can lead to the sacrifice of valuable legal rights and that is why it is vital to seek professional advice the moment a potential dispute looms on the horizon. The point was made by the case of a couple who faced a challenge to their...

TV Presenter Who Played Crash Test Dummy Receives Recompense

Daredevil antics can make good television but, when things go wrong, broadcasters can expect to carry the legal can. The BBC found that out when it was ordered to pay over £1.6 million in compensation to a presenter who was badly injured whilst playing...

Family of Jogger Killed by Skidding Car Receive £930,000 Award

No amount of money can make up for the death of a parent in a road accident, but it can at least help to soften the blow for their loved ones. The High Court made that point in the case of a Cambridge University graduate who was out jogging when she was...

Divorced Abroad? You Can Still Get a Fair Financial Deal in England

It may come as a surprise but, even if you have been divorced abroad, there is a great deal that an English family lawyer can do to ensure you receive a fair financial deal. In one case, the High Court came to the aid of a woman whose marriage to an...

What Does 'Survivor' Mean? High Court Resolves Inheritance Doubts

Words are not numbers and even the most careful draftsperson cannot guarantee that the meaning of a will is always clear beyond doubt. As a High Court case showed , however, judges are adept at resolving ambiguities so that the true intentions of testators...

Building Site Accident Victim Receives £300,000 Interim Damages

Judges have the power to order advance or interim payments of damages to accident victims who are in need of immediate financial support. In the context of a catastrophic building site accident, the High Court gave important guidance on the precise...

Building Your Own Home? You Need Professional Tax Advice

So-called DIY builders who 'construct' their own homes can reclaim VAT incurred in doing so. As one case showed, however, there is a very great difference between the ordinary English usage of that word and its meaning in VAT legislation. The case concerned...

Indoor Ski Slope Operator Not to Blame for Woman's Agonising Fall

Some sports are inherently risky and unfortunate accidents inevitably occur for which no one is to blame. The High Court resoundingly made that point in the case of a woman who was grievously injured when she fell on an indoor ski slope. The middle-aged...

International Child Abduction - Children's Welfare is Always Paramount

Where one parent moves abroad with his or her children, leaving the other behind, the result can be an international tug of war. As a High Court ruling showed , when called upon to play the part of referee in such contests, the paramount focus of family...

Dying With Your Affairs in Disarray is a Poisoned Legacy for Your Loved Ones

Not every life is profitable, at least in financial terms, and it is important to remember that your debts do not die with you. A High Court ruling showed the serious problems that dying insolvent, without putting your affairs in order, can create for your...

Trainee Stuntman Injured in Gym Accident Receives Six-Figure Damages

Personal injury cases are often hard-fought and it is an uncomfortable fact that genuine accident victims sometimes have their honesty challenged in court. A case on point concerned an athlete whose hopes of becoming a film stuntman were dashed by serious...

Seeking Investment Advice? Only Authorised Practitioners Can Be Trusted

When seeking investment advice, it is vital to only use the services of authorised practitioners who are highly qualified and regulated by law. As a High Court case showed , it is otherwise all too easy to fall into a fraudster's clutches. A woman was...

Catastrophically Injured Cyclist Receives Seven-Figure Award

Cyclists are amongst the most vulnerable of road users and, if an accident happens, personal injury lawyers play a vital role in ensuring that just compensation is paid. In one case, a cyclist who was catastrophically injured when a parked motorist opened...

Homeowner Mis-Sold Solar Panels Awarded Thousands in Compensation

If you buy goods that fail to live up to a salesman's hyperbole, you may be entitled to compensation and should consult a solicitor immediately. In one case, a homeowner who had solar panels installed in the forlorn hope that they would pay for themselves...

Family Judge Gives Girl in Foster Care a New Double-Barrelled Surname

Surnames reflect family heritage and most people view them as an essential part of their identities as human beings. A family judge made that point in choosing a new double-barrelled surname for a little girl so that she would no longer bear a nominal...

Judge Unravels Agatha Christie-Style Plot to Detect Will Forgery

Agatha Christie would struggle to imagine the plots of some inheritance disputes that come before the courts. That was certainly so in one case in which a judge found that a son resorted to forgery in concocting a bogus will after his mother died. Prior...

Neighbours Encroaching on Your Right of Way? Consult a Lawyer Today

Many homes or businesses are only accessible via neighbours' land and that can prove fertile ground for dispute. However, as a High Court case showed , expert lawyers are adept at ensuring their clients' unhindered use of rights of way. A couple's home and...

Wedding Reception Slipping Accident Victim Receives Substantial Damages

Accidents do happen, but if they are someone else's fault you should not delay in consulting a solicitor with a view to seeking justice. A woman who did just that after suffering an agonising fall on a pub dancefloor was awarded more than £30,000 in...

Record Amounts of Inheritance Tax Being Paid in UK

A record amount of Inheritance Tax (IHT) is being recouped from UK taxpayers by the Treasury, according to recent data published by HM Revenue and Customs. The statistics, released in late August, show that £2.1 billion was collected by the government...

The Law is Not in the Business of Discouraging High-Risk Adventure Sports

Adventure sports enthusiasts have a perfect right voluntarily to place themselves in danger and, as a High Court ruling showed, the law is not in the business of discouraging organisers of challenging and high-risk events. The case concerned a very fit...

Confidentiality of the Adoption Process Prevails in Parenthood Dispute

The confidentiality of the process by which an adopted child becomes part of a new, permanent and inviolable family unit is, for very good reasons, sacrosanct. A judge made that point in refusing a man's application for his biological parenthood of an...

Father's Failure to Make a Will Plunges His Widow Into Legal Difficulties

One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to sign a professionally drafted will. As a High Court case showed , failing to take that easy and cost-effective step is to risk plunging those closest to you into legal difficulties after you are...

Abused Violin Student Awarded £45,000

Sexual abuse of pupils by their teachers is thankfully much less common than it used to be, in large part thanks to perpetrators being publicly brought to book in both the criminal and civil courts. In a case on point, a talented teenager who was preyed upon...

Negligent Education - Boy Let Down by Private School Wins Compensation

Parents who send their children to private school are entitled to expect that they will receive a reasonable standard of education – and, at the very least, that the school concerned has lawful authority to teach them. In a rare case on point , a...

Motorist's U-Turn Was Sole Cause of Catastrophic Accident, Court Rules

Discerning where blame attaches for road accidents that occur in seconds can be a demanding task. In one case, however, a judge had little hesitation in finding that a motorist who attempted to make a U-turn on a trunk road bore sole responsibility for a...

Promoted to Partner in an LLP? Do You Understand the Tax Implications?

Stepping up from the ranks to become a full partner in a limited liability partnership (LLP) involves a fundamental change in status from employment to self-employment. The tax consequences of that shift came under analysis in an important Upper Tribunal...

Homeowner Pays Price for Unauthorised Subterranean Leisure Development

Judges play a crucial enforcement role in the planning process and those who fail to comply with their orders can expect stern punishment. In one case, a homeowner who breached planning control when he built a huge subterranean leisure facility under his...

Childhood Blighted by Local Authority Failings? Consult a Solicitor

If you feel that your life has been blighted by a local authority's failure to protect you during your childhood, you should consult a lawyer straight away. In a case on point, a young man who should have been removed from his mother's care and placed for...

Don't Expect Your Personal Injury Evidence to Go Unchallenged

Those who claim compensation following an accident must be prepared to have their evidence robustly challenged in court. A case on point concerned a man who was struck on the back by a heavy scaffolding pole at work. The welder and fabricator was bent over...

Court Honours Woman's Intentions by Correcting Clerical Error in Her Will

Even the most carefully drafted will can contain inadvertent clerical errors that leave room for doubt as to the document's true meaning. As a High Court ruling showed , however, judges happily have the power to correct such mistakes so as to ensure that...
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