Insights: Legal Updates - April 2016

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Mind the ‘gender pay’ gap

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Mandatory gender pay reporting has been on the agenda for employment lawyers for some time. Originally foreshadowed in the Equality Act 2010, finally draft regulations are now entering the consultation phase and UK employers are gearing up for their introduction later this year. In general employers are bound to be concerned. 2015 statistical information released […]


Empty rates – no longer charitable?

Adam Baker |

The relief from business rates available to charities has long made the letting of otherwise unused premises to them an attractive proposition for both landlords and charities alike.  Where the landlord would otherwise be liable to pay empty rates on premises that are producing no income for them, they can instead let them to a […]


Another CITES case

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Further to my last post about importing ivory ‘Challenging customs’, a recent judgment on a similar case caught my eye. In Juliet Forster-Copperi v Director of Border Revenue [2016] UKFTT 0157 (TC), UK Border Force had seized a whalebone sculpture at Felixstowe Docks in September 2014, and that was challenged by an appeal to the First Tier […]


SDLT on commercial and mixed property transactions

John Forde |

Significant changes to the SDLT treatment of non-residential property (commercial and mixed property) were announced in the Budget on 16 March 2016. Freehold transactions, lease premiums and assigned leases On or after 17 March 2016, the SDLT rate for non-residential freehold transactions, lease premiums and assigned leases will be based on the portion of the […]


Pursuing fraud claims – the correct approach

Leigh Callaway |

A party claiming fraud in proceedings brought under English law must adopt an exacting standard when setting out their allegations. Claims of fraud need to be unambiguous and specific, and the relevant causes of action and relief claimed clearly identified. The party alleging fraud must also be prepared to back up their claims in evidence, […]


To keep or not to keep Wills with Nil Rate Band trusts?

Helena Luckhurst |

Chances are, if you’re British, married and have a professionally drawn Will which predates 2008, you may have a discretionary trust of the Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band (NRB) in it. It is often called something like the ‘Legacy Fund’ and, while the exact words may differ, the Will usually provides for a gift of […]


The dangers of not accepting a Part 36 offer

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The timing and content of a Part 36 offer will often form a crucial step in settlement discussions. A Part 36 offer will, even if not accepted, protect to some extent the offeror’s position on costs.  It will also force the recipient of the offer to focus their mind on settlement. The recent decision of […]


Higher rate SDLT for second homes and additional residential properties – an explanation of the Autumn Statement 2015

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Are you buying a residential property?  On the day you complete the purchase, will you or your spouse own another residential property anywhere else in the world which is not being replaced with this purchase?  If the answers to these questions are yes then you need to start paying attention. In the 2015 Autumn Statement […]


Is it time for an international JCT contract?

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English language standard form contracts are an appropriate choice for use on international construction projects. This was the conclusion of The Hon. Sir Vivian Ramsey at the 2015 JCT Povey Lecture which considered the international applicability of the cultural and legal concepts of using such contracts abroad. The principal theme of the lecture was that […]


Interpreting the Electronic Communications Code

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April last year witnessed a very rare event in the world of the Electronic Communications Code (Code): a court decision on the interpretation of a part of the Code.  Thekla Fellas, our head of real estate litigation, acted on behalf of Chris Nicholson (Operations) Limited seeking the removal of Arqiva’s telecommunications apparatus from its residential […]


What is a “construction contract” and how does that term vary?

Michelle Waknine |

What is and what is not a construction contract and how does that term vary? One could easily assume that there would be consistent definitions of “construction contract” and “construction operations” in UK statutes.  However, that is not the case. The Construction Act1 The Construction Act is the principal statute applying to construction works in […]


Higher SDLT rates for additional residential purchases: planning points

Helena Luckhurst |

Here we are in the brave new world of higher Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates for certain residential property purchases.  As from 1 April 2016, anyone buying an additional UK residential property, such as a second home or buy-to-let, faces paying a surcharge of 3% above the standard SDLT rates (see my blog of […]