Could your Will be overturned by a Court?

In a recent case generating widespread publicity, the Court of Appeal decided to award a daughter who had been left out of her deceased mother’s Will one third of her estate.


Much of the commentary on the case has referred to the fact that on the face of it this decision undermines a party’s ability to make decisions about who should benefit.   


Study finds no evidence of discrimination in Family Courts

A recent study by the Universities of Reading and Warwick has found that there is no evidence of family courts in England and Wales discriminating against Fathers.


Dr Maebh Harding, from the Warwick School of Law, commented that:


"Whilst it's true that mothers were usually the primary care giver in contact applications, this was simply a reflection of the social reality that women are more likely to take on the role after a relationship breakdown.

Former benefit claimants set up 70,000 new businesses

Former benefit claimants have set up 70,000 new businesses under the government’s New Enterprise Allowance scheme.


The scheme provides seed funding and a mentor for jobseekers, lone parents and people on sickness benefits who come up with a solid business idea. If the business plan is approved, they are eligible for financial support payable through a weekly allowance over 26 weeks up to a total of £1,274.


The new start-ups are spread across England and Wales, with the majority being in central England, London and the South East, and the North West.

Contractor wins right to challenge £658,000 award

A contractor has won the right to challenge a £658,000 award made against it by an adjudicator more than six years ago.


The court heard that the contractor had been engaged by a developer to carry out an asbestos survey on a block of maisonettes. The developer later claimed that the contractor had failed to identify all the asbestos on the site, which led to delays and added costs. It referred the dispute to adjudication, claiming £822,482.


Landlord wins dispute over ‘£500,000 a year’ service charges

A landlord has won a legal dispute that could see 21 tenants eventually having to pay more than £500,000 a year each in service charges.


The case illustrates the danger of entering into agreements that seem a good idea at the time but may have unforeseen consequences long into the future.


To buy or to lease as the economy continues to recover?

During the recession, many firms shelved plans to move to better and larger premises. Indeed, some businesses looked to downsize rather than expand.


However, as the economy gradually recovers and confidence slowly returns, some firms may be considering whether the time has now come to make a long-delayed move.


The demand for property has recovered over the last few years and although the rock bottom prices being offered during the recession may no longer be available, there are still good deals to be had.


Directors fail to make company liable for their wrongdoing

The Supreme Court has rejected the idea that directors can avoid responsibility for offences like fraud by trying to make their company responsible for their wrongdoing.


The case, involving Bilta UK Ltd and Swiss company Jetivia SA, helps to clear up some uncertainty over the extent to which directors, as opposed to the company itself, should be held accountable when something goes wrong.


The court heard that two directors at Bilta took part in a VAT fraud which they knew would be damaging to the company. They were helped by Jetivia.


Battling sisters lose control of elderly mother’s finances

Two sisters who were said to ‘detest each other’ and no longer speak have lost the right to look after their elderly mother’s finances.


Their 97-year-old mother drew up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) eight years ago appointing them as her deputies so they could make decisions on her behalf if she became unable to manage her finances herself.


The mother is now frail and in need of support but a judge has ruled that the sisters - a retired GP aged 61 and a radiographer aged 58 - are not fit people to carry out the task.


Cohabitant fails to benefit from properties she shared with partner

The need for cohabiting partners to draw up agreements stating how their property and assets should be shared in the event of a break-up was highlighted in a recent case before the Court of Appeal.


It involved a couple who had been in a relationship for many years and had lived together since 2002.


When they separated in 2010, the woman claimed a share in three properties which were owned in her partner’s name, and a kennels business that was also in his name.