Mother who was ‘more like a friend than a parent’ loses sons

A court has ordered that two boys should live with their father because their mother was too permissive and acted “more like a friend than a parent”.

The couple divorced in 2002 and the boys went to live with their mother. The father was entitled to contact at weekends, but was regularly denied this by his ex-wife.

He grew concerned about his sons’ welfare. He claimed the mother repeatedly denied him access because she had remained bitter about their divorce and was convinced that he had been unfaithful.

Police officers win age discrimination claim

Several police officers have won age discrimination claims after being forced to retire early.

The five police forces responsible could now have to pay out millions of pounds in compensation.

Test cases were brought on behalf of 250 officers. They lost their jobs under regulation A19, which allows forces to forcibly retire any officer under the rank of Chief Officer who has been with the force for 30 years or more.

Levy exemption for self-build homes comes into effect

The government has made it easier for people to build their own homes by cutting the Community Infrastructure Levy on self-built accommodation.

Property developers have to pay a levy to local councils to help with the cost of the infrastructure needed to support the development.

Some local councils charge £100 per square metre for residential property. This means that a four bedroom house, which would likely cover 150 square metres, would cost the developer £15,000.

However, as of 24 February, the levy no longer applies to self-build developers.

Pre-nups could become legally binding under new law

Marital agreements including pre-nups and post-nups could become legally binding without the need for court approval under a proposed new law.

At present, such agreements are not legally binding although there has been a growing trend for courts to uphold them unless they are unfair to one side or the other.

Now the Law Commission, which advises the government on legal matters, wants to introduce “qualifying nuptial agreements” which would be enforceable contracts in their own right, not subject to the scrutiny of the courts.

Trust protects family home from the taxman

Setting up a simple trust relating to his mother‘s home has saved a man and his wife several thousand pounds in capital gains tax.

The case involved a woman who sold her house in 1996 to her son and his wife on condition that she was allowed to continue living there for the rest of her life or until she remarried.

She remained there until 2005 when she went to live with her son and his family following an injury. Her home was eventually sold in 2007.

Engineers must pay damages for breaching contract

An engineering firm has lost its appeal against having to pay damages to an airline company.

The case involved a breach of contract by the engineers. They had an agreement with the airline that they would service aircrafts at a specified hourly rate. However, the airline was not obliged to use the service.

Over time, the agreed hourly rate became less favourable to the engineers and more favourable to the airline.

Government to consider tougher action against late payers

The government is looking at ways to ensure that large businesses pay their suppliers on time.

The Prompt Payment Code (PPC) was set up in 2008 to encourage companies to pay invoices within the agreed timescale.

However, the PPC has been widely criticised for being ineffective. Recent research by YouGov revealed that 85% of small businesses were still experiencing late payment. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) say that many larger firms are still taking double the agreed amount of time despite having signed up to the PPC.

Landlord wins appeal over money owed by insolvent tenant

A landlord company has won its appeal to be paid money owed by a commercial tenant which had gone into administration before completing the surrender of its lease.

The case involved a retail group that leased several properties.  It got into financial difficulty and began proceedings to surrender the leases.

Are you ready to hand over your business in the right way?

After many years building up a business, directors often worry about how to bow out successfully while ensuring that the firm continues to thrive. 

The key to ensuring a smooth succession is to start planning as early as possible ahead of your target retirement date. The first step is to hold meetings with those who will run the business when you leave so you can agree an exit strategy.

Updates to TUPE regulations come into force

Changes to the TUPE regulations, which protect the interests of employees when a business is transferred to a new owner, have now come into effect.

The changes mean that employers can now renegotiate terms and conditions with their staff one year after they have taken control of a company, provided that the overall offer is no less favourable than the existing one.