​Probate Delays

The installation of new software designed to speed up the granting of probate has had the opposite effect because of teething problems. The average time needed for probate to be granted by the Probate Registry has increased from about ten days to currently up to three months.

​Widow Pays for Delay in Seeking Provision From Her Husband's Estate

If you feel that you have suffered a wrong of any kind, a delay in taking legal action can put paid to your chances of obtaining justice. A widow who was left nothing in her deceased husband's will found that out to her cost when her hopes of obtaining reasonable financial provision from his estate were dashed.

The couple had been married for 13 years but had separated about a year before…

​Time of Death Uncertainty Means Court Dispute Over Inheritance

There is a general presumption in law that when the order in which people died is not known, they will be regarded as having died in the same order in which they were born, so the eldest is deemed to have died first and the youngest last.

This is seldom in point, but there are times when determining the exact time of death does become important. There is a legal dispute ongoing between…

​Stamp Duty Land Tax Dodge Backfires

When a couple wished to avoid paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of a property, they hit on what looked to them like a great idea. Instead of buying the property outright, they paid for it in two stages…a deposit, plus the purchase of an annuity to be assigned to the seller. The annuity paid annually was very small, but the seller had the right to redeem it for a lump sum (£726,750),…

No Going Back on Gift Freely Made

A recent case decided by the Scottish Courts shows the wisdom of not making irrevocable decisions that you may later come to regret.

It involved a woman who gifted her house to her daughter and son-in-law, retaining a tenancy for life over the property. The couple had lived with her, selling their own house when the son-in-law lost his job. The gift of the title to the property was made…

​Restrictive Covenants and Unlawful Restraint of Trade

It is not uncommon for employment contracts to contain restrictive covenants intended to protect the employer's business in the event that an employee leaves. However, a restrictive covenant will only be valid if the employer can show that it does no more than protect the legitimate interests of the business and is reasonable with regard to time and the area it covers. Such covenants are worthless…

​Respirable Crystalline Silica – Company Fails to Control Exposure Hazards

Employers who fail to comply with health and safety laws designed to prevent workers' exposure to harmful substances lay themselves open to enforcement action by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as well as possible personal injury claims from anyone who suffers illness or injury as a result of the exposure.

In a recent case, a playground installation and landscaping contractor,…

​Police Holiday Pay Claims – Northern Ireland

In 2014, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled (Bear Scotland Limited and Others v Fulton and Others that Article 7 of the Working Time Directive should be interpreted so that payments for overtime that employees are required to work but their employer is not obliged to offer them count as 'normal remuneration' for the purposes of calculating holiday pay taken under Regulation 13 of the Working…

​Phase Two of the 'Good Work Plan' – Further Consultations

In July 2017, Matthew Taylor published his independent review on modern working practices, entitled 'Good Work'.

In February 2018, the Government responded with its 'Good…

Perceived Disability Discrimination Case – Police Officer Wins Damages

Under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs when the reason for a person being treated less favourably than another is one of the protected characteristics covered by the Act. This means that someone who does not have a protected characteristic but has suffered less favourable treatment because they were wrongly thought to do so is protected under the Act.

In…