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News

07 November 2016

Divorce Procedure Thum –v- Thum (2016) EWHC 2634 (Fam)

On 21st October Mr Justice Mostyn, at the Family Division of the High Court, considered whether a wife had unreasonably delayed serving her divorce petition on her husband. The husband claimed that his wife had done so with the aim of achieving a tactical advantage. Why so?  The European Union regulations dictate the jurisdiction in which a family case is to be heard.&

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07 November 2016

A commentary on Willow Court Management Company (1985) Limited v Alexander [2016] UKUT 0290 (LC) and the recovery of costs in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

The power of a Tribunal to award costs is governed by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (‘the Act’), which provides at section 29 that the costs of proceedings are at the discretion of the Tribunal and that the Tribunal has the power to make an award of costs.

The power for each distinct Tribunal is governed by its own rules.

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07 November 2016

Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Limited [2016] UKUT 303 (LC)

Given the rise of short-term lets, particularly as a result of the growing popularity of platforms such as AirBnB, the judgment of HHJ Stuart Brigg in Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Limited [2016] UKUT 303 (LC) is one of some interest.
 
The facts of this dispute were fairly straightforward. The tenant had admitted to letting her flat to various business visitors on a short-term basis for about 90 days a year.

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08 June 2015

Another unmarried couple in the Court of Appeal

O’Kelly v Davies (2014) EVCA Civ 1606

This case concerned a property in Sketty Swansea owned in the sole name of Ms O’Kelly. Her former partner, Mr Davies, applied to the court for a declaration that he had an equal share in the property. He did not ask for the sale of the property because it was his daughter’s home.

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08 June 2015

Tenancy Deposit Scheme: what are the penalties for the landlord if things go wrong?

Okadigbo –v- Chan (2014) EWHC 4729 (QB)

It is common for the landlord to take a dilapidations deposit at the start of a tenancy as a safeguard in case the tenant causes any damage to the property.  The Housing Act 2004 introduced regulations which have, since April 2007, required deposits to be placed in approved schemes.  The landlord also has to give the tenant a notice, which is called prescribed information.&

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08 April 2015

The Right to Manage - can an RTM Company manage more than one building?

By Ranjeet Johal

The right to manage was introduced by the Commonhold and leaseholder Reform Act 2002, which created the ability for a “right to manage” company (‘RTM company’) to be formed and exercise the management functions contained in the leases, such as insuring the block and collecting service charges. This right is exercisable in respect of a self-contained building or self-contained part of a building.

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08 April 2015

The Bats of Law: Unmarried couples and property ownership

By Ray Brownson

Unmarried couples who own their own home and split up face real difficulty in determining their shares in their property where they do not agree. The couple do not have the same legal statutory rights as a divorcing couple. It is important to remember that there is no legal concept of common law wife or, indeed, common law husband.  The concept of the common law wife was abolished long ago in the mid 1750’s.

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08 April 2015

Leave thy lascivious wassails

Anthony and Cleopatra Act I, sc4

Add-backs and the case of MAP –v- MFP (2015) EWHC 627 (Fam)

In February 2015 the High Court heard the wife’s financial remedy claim, the wife having the initials MAP.  She was aged 60.  Her husband, MFP, was 62.  It was a long marriage of forty years until separation in 2012.

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19 March 2015

New Wind in Old Sails Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC 14

By Ray Brownson and Navdip Dhariwal

On 11 March 2015, the Supreme Court published its decision in the case of Wyatt – v – Vince, which has received very wide publicity. This interest was sparked partly because this couple divorced more than 22 years ago - the final divorce decree was granted on 26.10.9

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19 March 2015

Employment Settlement Agreements

By Ray Brownson

Settlement Agreements are written agreements entered into by employers and employees at the end of an employment relationship.  Until recently they were known as compromise agreements.  They are governed by employment legislation, which has established certain safeguards that must be met for these agreements to be binding.&

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19 March 2015

Stamp Duty change - who benefits?

On 3 December 2014, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced changes to stamp duty land tax (SDLT). Unlike the previous system, SDLT will only apply to the part of the property price that falls with a specific band. The Chancellor has estimated that the reforms will result in a cut to SDLT for 98 percent of homebuyers.&

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19 March 2015

New Home Warranties

By David Ford

When a new home is sold by the builder, the buyer needs a warranty that it has been built in a good and workmanlike manner and that he has recourse in the event of any defect.

The builder provides the initial warranty under the contract for sale.

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19 March 2015

More good news for landlords?

In the recent case of R (Tummond) v Reading County Court [2014] EWHC 1039, an application for judicial review was refused by the High Court. The tenant of a property initially defended possession proceedings brought under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and his defence had been dismissed. The tenant appealed but was not granted permission to do so. Accordingly, he applied to the High Court for a judicial review.&

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19 March 2015

Francis v Phillips - common sense prevails

A comment on the decision in Francis v Phillips [2014] EWCA Civ 1395

You may recall that in December 2012, in the High Court, a judgment was handed down by the Chancellor in Phillips v Francis [2012] EWHC 3650 (Ch), determining that all of the qualifying works carried out in a given year were to be aggregated, and that the cost of all those works were to be combined before the cap of £250 per tenant was applied.&

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19 March 2015

Matrimonial assets and ownership issues with third parties

By Kalpana Shah

At the point of divorce or separation a division of assets takes place, often involving an intricate task of assessing entitlement based on past contributions and an understanding of each party’s future needs.

This task is made that much more complicated when some or all of the assets are held not just by the husband and wife or cohabiting partners, but also by other family members.

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29 May 2014

Pension Sharing on Divorce

By Ray Brownson

Property prices are a national obsession. Pensions are not regarded by the public in the same way, but it can often be the case that one spouse has a pension that has a significant value. The value of a pension fund can equal, and sometimes exceed, the net value of the matrimonial home. Of course pensions are not ready cash or an asset that can be sold for ready cash.

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14 May 2014

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery

Historically, a landlord had the common law right of distrain available when a tenant fell into arrears of rent. This was essentially the landlord’s ability to enter leased premises, without notice, to seize the tenant’s possessions and sell them to set off against rent arrears.

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14 May 2014

Lessons to be learned from PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Limited

It is a well-established principle that an unreasonable refusal to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a form of unreasonable conduct of litigation and, to which the court is likely to respond by imposing costs sanctions on the winning party. This principle was established in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] 1 WLR 3002 (Read the full article »

03 April 2014

How Much Should My Divorce Cost?

By Kalpana Shah

In the recent decision in Chai v Peng [2014] EWHC 750 (Fam) the Court made a ruling with regards to whether the English Courts had jurisdiction. Mr Justice Holman spoke in his judgment of “eye-watering” legal fees of £1.6 million, especially given that preliminary issues were still not yet decided.

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05 December 2013

Seek help before you help yourself

By Navdip Dhariwal

It has been a long been established in what came to be known as the ‘Hildebrand Rules’ (Hildebrand v Hildebrand [1992] 1 FLR 244) that the family courts will not penalise either spouse for secretly obtaining, taking and copying each other’s documents in financial remedy proceedings - provided they not been taken by force - and that these documents, even if wrongfully taken, will be admitted in evidence.

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05 December 2013

A comment on the decision in Mitchell v NGN

Definitive guidance from the Court of Appeal on the post-Jackson era of litigation – a comment on the decision in Mitchell v NGN

The Court Appeal has sent out a very clear message in the decision in Mitchell v News Group News Papers [2013] EWCA Civ 1537 that the courts will take a strict approach to non-compliance with rules and court orders.

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18 September 2013

Important ruling on tenancy deposits in the Court of Appeal

On 14 June 2013, the Court of Appeal handed down an important decision in Superstrike Limited v Marino Rodrigues [2013] clarifying the position in respect of deposits held on tenancy agreements pre-dating 6 April 2007, but which have subsequently become periodic tenancies.

This case concerned a tenancy agreement granted by the landlord for a period of 1 year less one day from 8 January 2007.

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18 September 2013

Don’t be coerced into paying service charges…

Being a residential leaseholder, you are likely to be asked to pay service charges by your landlord on your regular basis.  You may consider the service charges to be too high and you should be aware that when you receive a service charge bill from your landlord, you do not necessarily have to accept the charges levied. Service charges are charged so that you repay the landlord for their reasonable costs that they have properly incurred to provide services to your property.

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18 September 2013

Supreme Court Decision in Daejan v Benson [2013] UKSC 14

The recent decision in Daejan v Benson in the Supreme Court has established the scope of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal’s (LVT) jurisdiction to dispense with the consultation requirements under section 20(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act) and set the principles on how that jurisdiction should be exercised.

Under the Act, a landlord is required to consult with tenants in accordance with section 20 if he intends to carry out qualifying works.

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10 February 2013

The Intestacy Rules

The Intestacy Rules – a brief guide

What is Intestacy?

When someone dies, and has left a Will governing the distribution of their estate, its provisions will be implemented, so far as they are effective.

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