​When Is a Property 'Completed'? DIY House Builder Wins VAT Rebate

DIY house builders are entitled to refunds of VAT they pay on materials used in their projects. However, as a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) showed, seeking such rebates is far from straightforward and a strict time limit applies.

A man applied for a VAT refund after self-building a house for himself in the grounds of his father's home. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), however,…

​Still Time to Stay Ahead of CGT Changes

New rules surrounding the payment of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on profits made on the sale of a residential property are now just weeks away.

Taking effect on 6 April 2020, the changes will reduce the amount of time individuals have to pay their CGT bill and could significantly increase the CGT due on the disposal of a residential property.

Current legislation will change in regard…

New Statutory Instrument Boosts Intestate Entitlement

A change to intestacy law recently announced by the government has increased the sum of money that spouses and civil partners of people who die without having made a will are entitled to receive.

The change has been introduced via a statutory instrument – the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (Fixed Net Sum) Order 2020 – which came into force on 6 February. It means that the statutory legacy…

Making a Will? Don't Forget Your Moral Obligations

You are in principle entitled to bequeath your worldly wealth to whomever you choose. However, as a High Court decision made clear, the law will intervene if you ignore your moral obligations when making your will.

A successful motor dealer and property investor, who died at the age of 95, left the whole of his seven-figure estate to his granddaughter. His son and sole surviving child received…

​Court Breaks Impasse Between Warring Brothers in Farmland Dispute

Co-ownership of land by family members can be intensely problematic if they do not see eye to eye as to the use to which it should be put. A High Court case on point focused on a naturalist's ambition to 'rewild' farmland he and his brother had jointly inherited from their father.

The naturalist said that the seven plots of land had been in his family for over 600 years and objected…

Worker Replaced Whilst On Sick Leave Wins Substantial Compensation

Managing a sick employee's return to work can be tricky and employers who fail to act fairly risk serious financial and reputational consequences. In a case on point, a company which replaced a driver while he was on sick leave and refused to allow him back to work was ordered to pay him substantial damages (Douthwaite v DW Marshall Ltd).

The driver, who worked for a small to medium-sized…

Sikh Catering Worker Refused Job Because of His Beard Wins Compensation

Discrimination in the workplace takes many and varied forms and, if you feel that you are a victim, you should seek legal advice without delay. In a case on point, a Sikh catering worker who was turned down for an agency job because of his beard won more than £7,000 in compensation (Sethi v Elements Personnel Services Ltd).

The man practised Kesh, the requirement of the Sikh religion…

ICO Consults On Draft Right of Access Guidance

A consultation on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) draft right of access guidance has been launched by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The right of access (known as 'subject access') allows individuals to find out what personal data is held about them and obtain a copy of it.

The new draft guidance provides a greater level of detail than previously published guidance,…

Ethical Veganism Constitutes a Philosophical Belief – ET Ruling

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief – one of the nine protected characteristics listed in Section 4 of the Act. However, a belief must meet the definition of a philosophical belief in order to qualify for protection. An Employment Tribunal (ET) has ruled that ethical veganism passes the test used in such cases.

After he was…

Disciplinary Investigations – Well-Resourced Employers Have to Do More

Workplace disciplinary investigations may not have to attain the high standards of a judge and jury, but the scale of resources available to a big employer is relevant to the question of fairness. An Employment Tribunal (ET) made that point in upholding an unfair dismissal claim brought by a supermarket cashier who was accused of being rude to a customer (Dunn v WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC).