201801.31

Landlord Pays £700,000 Price after Unauthorised Flats Conversion

In a case that stands as a warning to residential landlords that planning laws must be complied with, a man who subdivided a single family home into 10 self-contained flats without permission was prosecuted and hit with a fine, a confiscation order and a legal costs bill totalling more than £700,000. The local authority had…

201801.30

Duties of Care Imposed on Public Service Providers Must Be Reasonable

Companies that provide services to the public have a duty to look out for the safety of their customers. However, in an important decision concerning a railway accident, the Court of Appeal has emphasised that standards must not be set so high as to render their task unreasonably difficult. A man who had had a…

201801.29

Estimating Long-Term Housing Need – Court of Appeal Guidance

Estimates of how many new homes will be needed in particular areas over years to come are inevitably inexact and are a constant bone of contention between local authorities and housing developers. That was certainly so in one case concerning a proposal to build 73 new homes just outside a market town. A company had…

201801.26

Art Dealer Wins $10 Million Commission on Sale of Impressionist Masterpiece

An art dealer has won a $10 million commission following the sale of a Paul Gaugain masterpiece – but had he taken legal advice at the outset and signed a written contract, he might well have saved himself the trouble of a costly High Court trial. The painting, one of the impressionist master’s celebrated depictions…

201801.24

Default on House Sale Contract Costs Buyer Seven-Figure Sum

Judges do not flinch from enforcing contracts for the sale of land and that is a good reason why you should never sign on the dotted line before taking legal advice. In a cautionary tale that underlined the point, a man who reneged on a deal to buy a family home for £5 million was…

201801.23

Taxation of Crowdfunding Pledges – Moon Mission Company Suffers Blow

In what will be viewed as a serious blow to the crowdfunding community, a tribunal has ruled that a company that obtained venture capital to finance a pioneering trip to the moon was liable to pay VAT immediately on receipt of the six-figure sum raised. The company’s objective was to send an unmanned robotic landing…

201801.23

Make Sure You Appoint an Independent Solicitor to Execute Your Will

It may be tempting to save a little money by appointing a loved one – rather than an expert solicitor – as executor of your will. However, as one case concerning a dispute between three brothers showed, that is rarely a wise course to take. A woman’s will was simplicity itself, in that it left…

201801.22

Cypriot Alleged Victims of Colonial Abuse – English Law Applies

Lawyers representing alleged victims of violent abuse and torture by British colonial forces in Cyprus during the 1950s have scored a landmark success in their fight for compensation. In a decision that broke new legal ground, the High Court ruled that the claims should be decided under English, not Cypriot, law. Thirty-four Cypriot nationals claimed…

201801.19

Neighbourhood Development Plans Receive Crucial High Court Boost

Neighbourhood development plans (NDPs) – hundreds of which have been created countrywide since the Localism Act 2011 became law – give local communities a powerful say in the future development of their areas. As one High Court case showed, however, they are not universally popular with house builders. The case concerned the inter-relationship between NDPs and…

201801.19

Sex Worker Target of Internet Harassment Wins High Court Injunction

Online harassment is an unfortunate by-product of the Internet age, but victims who obtain specialist legal advice are far from powerless. In one case, a transgender escort obtained a High Court injunction tailored to bring her persecution to an end. The escort, who provided sexual and companionship services to her clients, had endured deep distress…