Family Judge Grasps Nettle in Sending Baby Boy to Live With His Father

Family judges are always absolutely focused on the welfare of children and will not shrink from grasping nettles to give them the best chance of leading fulfilled and happy lives. That was certainly so in one case in which a judge ordered that a baby boy be taken from his troubled mother’s care and sent […]

Vulnerable Witnesses Could Be Given Greater Protection in Civil Courts

Responses to a report from the Civil Justice Council (CJC) setting out proposed measures to better support and protect vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil proceedings are due to be considered following public consultation. The CJC wants to ensure ‘a sufficiently proactive and consistent approach to enabling the proper participation in civil litigation of those […]

High Court Relieves Family of Consequences of Badly Drafted Trust Deed

Trust deeds can be an effective means of managing family wealth and minimising tax liabilities but, as a High Court decision strikingly showed, any mistakes in their drafting can have serious repercussions for generations to come. The case concerned a family trust with substantial assets that was created in the 1930s by a woman in […]

Facing a Tax Investigation? Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand!

If you are facing an investigation by the tax authorities, your very first step should be to seek professional advice. One taxpayer who sadly chose not to take that course, instead burying his head in the sand, narrowly escaped a six-figure back-tax bill. Following an enquiry, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) formed the view that […]

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed

Public confidence in the civil justice system would collapse if court orders were not rigorously enforced – however agonising complying with them may be. The point was made by a case in which a divorcee who refused to move out of her home of 25 years came within an ace of being sent to prison […]

Planning Building Work? Get Legal Advice

When a property development involving a building that is listed or in a conservation area is undertaken, it is reasonable for the contractor employed to do the work to assume that the employer has used due diligence to obtain the necessary planning consents. In a recent case, a contractor was retained to undertake extensive works […]

Court of Appeal Acts to Save Entrenched Litigants From Themselves

The whole purpose of the civil justice system is to achieve just and final resolution of frequently intractable disputes – and, as a guideline Court of Appeal decision in an inheritance case made plain, that includes saving litigants from themselves by encouraging them to settle their differences. The case concerned a widow’s claim under the […]

HMRC Miss Tax Avoidance Target By Raising Assessments Too Late

When HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) find out that tax has been under-declared, the response is normally to raise a ‘discovery assessment’ to collect the tax due. This is usually the result of a period of investigation, and penalties and interest are also levied. When HMRC discovered that a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) mitigation […]

Missing Persons – Steps to Take

Surprisingly, nearly 250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. Leaving aside the heartache and worry this causes, until recent changes in the law it also created an appalling position for family members trying to deal with the affairs of the person who had disappeared, as they had to be declared legally dead before […]

Growing Number of Cohabiting Couples Leaves More Families Open to Risk

Cohabiting couples are the fastest-growing family type in the UK, according to newly released figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The ONS reports that the number of cohabiting couple families continues to grow faster than the number of married couple and lone parent families, with an increase of 25.8 per cent over the […]