Supreme Court Supports Mother Who Changed Mind Over Return to Australia

Divorces where there is an international dimension often present specific issues, and a recent case involving a couple who had been living in Australia before they separated is no exception, leading ultimately to a hearing in the Supreme Court.

The British mother of two was living with her husband in Australia. The marriage was in difficulties and in May 2015, while on maternity leave,…

Harassment Order Given Against Unknown Abuser

Harassment is very unpleasant and, when a person is subject to a campaign of abuse, it can prove extremely upsetting. Furthermore, it is often quite possible for the abuser to preserve their anonymity.

In such circumstances, it might seem that there is little that can be done, but that is not so, as a recent case shows. A woman sex worker received a series of increasingly abusive phone…

Fail to Comply with Court Orders and Prison May Await

When a couple divorced in early 2017, the financial agreement made included the provision that the wife should be allowed to remain in the first-floor flat she occupied until completion of the sale of the ground-floor flat of the same property, which she and her husband owned jointly, or until 24 October 2017 at the latest. The plan was that the sale of the ground-floor flat would realise a very…

Email Address Not Enough for Serving Claim

You may think that because a firm has an email address, you can serve a writ or other legal document on them by sending it via email…and so you can, but not unless the firm has agreed to that.

It took a visit to the Supreme Court to resolve the issue in a recent case. The circumstances were simple. A man wished to serve a legal claim on a firm of solicitors. As is standard practice in such cases,…

Changing Circumstances Lead to Divorce Settlement Dispute

When a wealthy construction business owner and his wife divorced in 2011, a 'clean break' agreement was made to include the sale of the two properties they owned – the family home in the UK and one in Spain. In the event that neither had been sold, the husband would purchase a property for the wife, the costs of which (including interest on the mortgage which he would pay) would be met from the…

Small Family Company Overturns Pregnancy Discrimination Finding

Quite apart from any breach of sex discrimination law which might occur, it is automatically unfair dismissal if an employer dismisses a female employee for reasons connected with her pregnancy or the birth of her child.

In determining whether or not a dismissal is pregnancy related, an Employment Tribunal (ET), as with all judicial bodies, has to act with an open mind and give equal consideration…

Race Discrimination in the Workplace and How to Detect It

Race discrimination in the workplace can take many forms and is not always easy to detect. That was certainly so in one case concerning an Afro-Caribbean worker who claimed to have been criticised by an Asian colleague for 'behaving like a white person' (Walters v Avanta Enterprise Limited).

The woman, who worked as a job coach for a nationwide training provider, claimed that her colleague…

New "Vento" Bands

There are three bands that are used by Employment Tribunals when assessing the amount of compensation payable for injury to feelings in discrimination cases (often called the 'Vento' bands after the 2002 case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, in which the Court of Appeal gave guidance on this issue).

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland…

Is Stand-By Time Working Time?

In Ville de Nivelles v Matzak, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was called upon to answer questions referred to it by the Higher Labour Court in Brussels regarding the remuneration of firefighters working in the Belgian town of Nivelles when on stand-by. The case is of importance for employers who require workers to be available to attend work at short notice.

Mr Matzak…

Government Consults on Aspects of the Parental Bereavement Bill

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill began life as a Private Members' Bill in July 2017. The Bill is being supported by the Government and is now wending its way through Parliament.

The aim of the Bill is to give parents who are employed and have suffered the death of a child under the age of 18 the right to two weeks' Bereavement Leave in order to give them time to grieve. Employees…