Civil partnership or cohabit – which is better?

Not everyone wants to get married in a church or registry office. For many cohabiting couples, a civil partnership is far more attractive – it moves away from the idea of women being the ‘property’ of their husbands and is infinitely more acceptable to those who do not follow any particular faith. Civil partnerships have been available for same-sex couples since 2004, yet they are still not available for heterosexual couples who cohabit. In June the legality of denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership was challenged…

Debt collection: How can you protect your business when customers call in the bailiffs?

Disputes between businesses and customers are common. If you can’t agree a settlement, your business may be called to the Small Claims Court or a higher court. If the judge rules against you, and your ex-customer wins either their money back, damages, or both, you’ll need to pay up. If you can’t pay, or won’t pay, it’s likely that the bailiffs will come knocking. So what can you do to help protect your business when this happens? Stopping bailiffs at the door Bailiffs cannot attempt to take control of goods…

Businesses face bigger penalties on data leaks

Businesses are on final countdown to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, bringing with it a tighter rule and greater penalties for data processing, and the outcome of a landmark High Court case has made the preparation even more pressing. The case involved an online leak of payroll data by Andrew Skelton, a disgruntled ex-employee of supermarket chain Morrisons. Skelton received an eight year conviction for offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). However, over 5,000 current and…

Disputing a Will can be a very costly exercise

Record numbers of inheritance disputes are going through the courts as modern family structures and rising house prices push more families to contest unfavourable outcomes.  One recent case has seen a family lose out after legal action involved two brothers who have run up fees of more than their entire inheritance by disputing a stepmother's share of their father’s estate. The trend towards increased inheritance disputes has been attributed to a number of factors.  Increasing numbers of so-called ‘blended’ families where divorced parents re-marry is one such factor, with original family members…

When is Vacant Possession, vacant possession?

Two recent cases have highlighted the need to be (as ever) very careful when exercising a break clause. A break clause may only be exercised if any conditions attached to it have been satisfied. A break clause will often contain a condition that the tenant must give vacant possession. In the cases of (1) Riverside Park Limited –v- NHS Property Services Limited [2016] and (2) Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government –v- South Essex College of Further and Higher Education [2016] the two tenants had left partitions in…

Mistakes that mean Landlords lose the right to break up

Landlords looking to terminate a lease have received a blunt reminder of what it takes to serve a valid break notice after a legal battle reached the High Court. The ruling in Vanquish Properties (UK) Limited Partnership –v- Brook Street (UK) Limited centred around premises ear-marked for development on Fenchurch Street in London. The premises were let to Brook Street by the City Corporation as freeholder, with a break clause in September 2016 on six months’ notice. When developer Vanquish came along, they were granted an overriding lease, so they…

Terms and conditions must be clearly stated to apply

Battle of forms highlights a hard truth for company contracts Two companies who went to court in an argument over whose terms and conditions applied to a contract between them, have both lost out. The ruling from the High Court has said that neither company made enough efforts to deliver up their terms and conditions to the other side, leaving both without a leg to stand on in a dispute over a supply of rubber gaskets. The dispute arose between Transformers & Rectifiers Ltd and Needs Ltd. Needs argued that…

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