Only Gifts Without Reservation Are Effective in Minimising IHT

Giving away your assets to the next generation before your death can be an effective means of minimising Inheritance Tax (IHT) liabilities. However, as one tribunal case showed, such gifts have to be absolute and bring you no personal benefit in order to achieve the tax savings desired. Where a gift is made and the person making it (the donor) retains any benefit from whatever is given away,…

High Court Dementia Ruling - Judge Acts to Protect Widow

Amidst an ageing population, the role of judges in protecting the weak, vulnerable and infirm is of ever increasing importance. In one case that proves the point, the High Court stepped in to set aside land transfers made by an elderly farmer with dementia in the years before his death.

The farmer was well into his 80s when he gave his land holdings to two of his sons. The gifts, which…

Failure to Plan Ahead Leads to Court Battle

Marital breakdowns are usually stressful and often confrontational and when the time comes to deal with the estate of a person with a second family, the possibility of dispute can often arise again.

In just such an instance, the failure of a man with a second family to create a new will led to litigation between his wife – from whom he was separated – and his partner of many years.

He…

Estranged Daughter Gains Share of Late Father's Estate

The dangers of concluding that estranged children who have been disinherited will have no claim against a deceased person's estate were made very clear after a widely reported case decided last year. They have again been highlighted in a recent case in Leeds County Court, in which the daughter of a man who had been estranged from her for many years successfully brought a claim for a share of…

"Good Work" - The Taylor Review of Employment Practices

In October 2016, the Prime Minister commissioned Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and a former policy chief to Tony Blair, to look at how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business needs.

The Review, entitled 'Good Work', has now been published and makes many recommendations.…

Workplace Disciplinary Action - Does the Penalty Fit the Offence

When it comes to workplace disciplinary action, it is vital for employers to ensure that the penalty fits the offence. In one striking case where that certainly did not happen, a bus driver who was unfairly dismissed for shooting a red light after 37 years' unblemished service won the right to substantial compensation (Jabbar v West Midlands Travel Limited).

Mr Jabbar, who is Pakistani,…

Whistleblowing and the Meaning of "In the Public Interest"

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 – often referred to as the 'Whistleblowing' Act – inserted provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) in order to protect employees from unfair treatment for reasonably raising, in a responsible way, genuine concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 made certain changes to those provisions,…

When Does Workplace Banter Cross the Line? Tribunal Gives Guidance

Joking and banter between colleagues is one thing, but bringing offensive material to work is another. In one case that proves the point, an Employment Tribunal (ET) ruled that a factory worker was justifiably dismissed after overstepping the line between humour and gross misconduct (Reed v CF Fertilisers UK Limited).

The situation arose after Mr Reed, who had worked for the same employer…

Unfairly Sacked Engineer Awarded Substantial Compensation

Damage to career prospects, hurt feelings and psychiatric injury are all factors that can increase compensation awards made to mistreated employees. They all had a part to play in one case in which a Chinese electronic engineer who suffered unfair dismissal, victimisation and discrimination has been awarded substantial damages (Qu v Landis & Gyr Limited).

Mr Qu's former employer, Landis…

Supreme Court Rules on the Pension Rights of Gay Partners

The Supreme Court has handed down a ruling which means that all married gay couples and civil partners should receive equal pension rights.

Paragraph 18 of Schedule 9 of the Equality Act 2010 states that employers and pension funds are permitted to exclude civil partners from spousal benefits under a pension scheme the rights to which accrued prior to 5 December 2005, which is when Section…