Teacher Who Helped Himself to Frail Mother's Savings Fined

Elderly people sometimes have little choice but to rely on their loved ones to manage their finances but, where such trust turns out to be misplaced, the law takes a very dim view. In one case, a retired teacher was heavily fined for making unauthorised withdrawals from the joint building society account he held with his frail mother.

Just over a year before his mother's death, the teacher,…

​High Court Assists Husband in Drawing a Line Under His Divorce

Litigation can be long and bitter, but it is the prime objective of the justice system to eventually bring it to a satisfactory end. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a husband in drawing a line under his divorce.

The case concerned a middle-aged couple who were self-employed in the IT world, each of them earning enough to support themselves. The wife had a child…

Field Owner Sees Off Neighbour's Squatters' Rights Claim

Landowners who neglect or fail to make use of their properties put themselves at risk of losing them to squatters. In a recent case on this subject, a woman faced a neighbour's claim that he was entitled to her field, having cut the grass for years.

The neighbour alleged that he first entered the field in 2002 in order to pick fruit, and swiftly formed the intention of taking possession…

​Don't Wait Until You're Old and Frail to Make a Will

The older you are when you make or change your will, the greater the risk that your loved ones will become embroiled in dispute after you are gone. The point was proved by a case in which the onset of dementia very nearly thwarted a retired nurse's wish to divide her estate equally between her four children.

The woman was in her 80s and in frail health when she signed her final will,…

Divorce is Often Bitter, But Maintaining a Sense of Proportion is Crucial

Amidst the emotional and financial destruction that can arise from divorce, keeping a sense of proportion is crucial. The Court of Appeal made that point in lamenting a former couple's expenditure of more than £500,000 in legal costs fighting over an asset worth less than £300,000.

At the start of the couple's 12-year marriage, during which they had two children, they both had highly paid…

Court Steps In to Protect Security of 370,000 Pension Annuity Holders

Millions of people who invest their pension pots in annuities can ultimately rely on the law to guarantee their financial security. In a case on point, the High Court overruled financial regulators and refused to sanction the transfer of about 370,000 annuity policies from one insurance company to another.

The policies had all been taken out with a long-established insurer (insurer 1)…

​Whistleblowing Judge is a 'Worker', Supreme Court Rules in Landmark Case

Should judges be viewed as 'workers' entitled to whistleblowing protection under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA)? In a ground-breaking ruling, the Supreme Court has answered that question decisively in the affirmative (Gilham v Ministry of Justice).

The case concerned a district judge who lodged a formal grievance in response to government cost-cutting measures in 2010. She argued…

Underpaid Live-in Porter Wins More Than £100,000 in Guideline Case

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) on the face of it imposes a straightforward duty to pay a minimum sum for every hour worked. However, as an important Court of Appeal ruling showed, it is not always as simple as that and a failure to understand the complexities can have severe financial consequences (Bath Hill Court (Bournemouth) Management Company Ltd v Coletta).

The case concerned a live-in…

​Job Interviews and the Importance of Not Asking Discriminatory Questions

Modern job interviews are often casual affairs, conducted over a cup of coffee – but unscripted questions, formulated without legal advice, can very easily come back to bite employers. That was certainly so in one case concerning a prospective employee who was asked if she planned to become pregnant (Salvador v T&A Textiles & Hosiery Ltd).

The question was the first in a lengthy list…

Facing a Business Crisis? Don't Forget Your Employees' Rights!

It is only too easy for businesses dealing with office politics, poor trading or cashflow difficulties to take their eye off the ball when it comes to their employees' rights. As an Employment Tribunal (ET) decision strikingly showed, however, it is precisely at such moments of crisis that professional advice is most needed (Charalambous v Venturespring Ltd).

The case concerned the former…