Animal charities win battle in fight over inheritance case

A woman, who was cut out of her mother’s £500,000 will, has lost out to three animal charities at the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment this month. In 2004, Melita Jackson died and left most of her estate to three animal charities and completely cut her only child, daughter Helen Ilott, out of her will. Mrs Ilott was originally awarded £50,000 by a judge, which was almost tripled on appeal. The three charities challenged that increase, stating that people should be free to choose their beneficiaries, and the court…

Unmarried couples need to protect themselves

A landmark victory in the Supreme Court has seen a Northern Ireland woman win a share of her former partner’s pension, with commentators saying it’s likely to add impetus to the drive for greater rights for unmarried couples.  But, in the meantime, cohabitees should face up and formalise arrangements, rather than keeping their fingers crossed.   The victory of Denise Brewster involved her claim for a survivor’s pension after her long-term, live-in partner Lenny McMullan died suddenly, shortly after they had become engaged.  He had paid into Northern Ireland’s local…

Safeguarding design is a priority for small business

Cheaper registration fees are an opportunity for small businesses and designers to secure greater protection for their intellectual property in future, as well as being a route to protection in the UK post-Brexit. A registered design is one of the options available from the Intellectual Property Office, alongside trade marking, patenting and copyright. It protects the visual appearance of a product including the shape, texture, materials, colour and pattern and gives the right to prevent others from using the design for up to 25 years through a renewal process every five years. …

Worker status for Uber Drivers

The Employment Tribunal has today ruled that two Uber drives are ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Two drivers have argued that Uber was unlawfully failing to provide drivers with basic employment rights. The drivers claim that they are not self employed and argue they are in fact workers which entitles them to certain employment rights. Uber argued that its drivers are self employed and that they can chose where and when they drive and are therefore independent contractors or self employed. The decision of the…

When to unravel the web of deceit in divorce

Unhappy ex-spouses hoping to get their divorce settlements reviewed following a landmark judgment are being urged to check their facts first. It was predicted that the Supreme Court rulings in the cases of Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil would open the floodgates to thousands of couples wanting to revisit agreements made under a financial consent order, where one party had deliberately concealed their true financial worth during divorce proceedings. In both cases - Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil - the Supreme Court gave the former wives the right…

Rental payments after break dates

The Supreme Court handed down its Judgment in the case of Marks and Spencer Plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company & Ors on 2 December 2015. This is important news for landlords and tenants alike when negotiating the terms of leases and exercising break clauses. The facts The brief facts of the case are that a lease had been granted for a term expiring on 2 February 2018, with rent being payable in advance on the usual quarter days. The tenant gave a break notice to end the…

Disinherited daughter receives £164,000 inheritance

In the recent, and heavily publicised case of Ilott v Mitson a woman's disinherited daughter has received £164,000 from her estate. The case involved the estate of the late Melita Jackson and her daughter Heather. Heather had left home at 17 and had not been in contact with her mother for some 26 years and had been excluded from her late mother's will. Ms Jackson had left her entire £486,000 estate to various charities, however, her daughter applied under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 stating that the will failed to…

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