Author Archive

Pimlico Plumbers Case

The Supreme Court recently reached a decision in the long-running saga of the Pimlico Plumbers case. The judgment, which dismissed an appeal from Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and held that the Respondent Gary Smith was indeed a “worker”, has been held up as a significant blow to “gig economy” companies (such as Uber and Deliveroo) who purport to be a platform for self-employed contractors rather than employers.

Legal update: Supreme Court upholds clause invalidating oral variation

The recent decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd [2018] UKSC 24 marks a significant development in contract law. The court held that a written “No Oral Modification” (“NOM”) clause invalidated a subsequent oral agreement to vary the contract. The case had raised a second point about valid consideration for variation, but due to the decision on the first issue the court declined to comment on the second.

GDPR: A Brief Guide for Businesses…

As of May 25 2018, the EU’s new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. This new framework for data protection laws has been implemented to replace the 1995 data protection directive, which the UK Data Protection Act 1998 was based upon. The new Data Protection Act 2018 includes all the GDPR changes with only minor deviations (meaning that, as yet, Brexit is unlikely to trigger any material change).

What happens now?

Vague Wording Voids Wishes

A recent estate dispute has rendered vague wording in a letter of wishes legally unenforceable.

The complex case of Taulbut v Davey [2018] EWHC 730 Ch concerned the estate of the deceased Pauline Wippell whose will had left several bequests and set up charitable trusts. At issue was whether a homemade manuscript letter of wishes had been incorporated into a homemade manuscript will and how to interpret these documents. The parties also pursued rival claims attempting to remove one another as executors.

Trustees and Disclosure

The recent decision of HJJ Matthews in the case of Lewis & Ors v Tamplin & Ors (2018) EWHC 777 Ch has clarified the rules surrounding the rights of beneficiaries to demand disclosure of documents and information from trustees.

The case concerned land held on trust by the Defendants for nine extended family members, including themselves and the Claimants. A number of requests were made to the trustees for information about the trust. This had been denied. For a period of time the trustees had denied that the claimants and others were beneficiaries, although by the time the case was heard beneficial status had been established. The Claimants sought disclosure through an Application under CPR r 31.16 and a subsequent Claim on trust grounds. The remaining beneficiaries came to support the Claimants during proceedings.

Transparency and Overseas Beneficiaries

In April 2017 the UK government began a Consultation calling for evidence regarding the planned new register of beneficial ownership information for overseas legal entities. This is part of a broader push on transparency of ownership and follows the 2016 establishment of a central register of people that have significant control of UK companies (PSC Register). The planned new register is intended to be broader than the PSC Register and will require the registration of (a) new purchases of, or acquisitions of long leasehold interests in, UK property; or (b) any sale, long lease or mortgage of UK property already owned by an overseas entity. As with the PSC the intent is to make the job of enforcement agencies easier and to discourage criminals and the corrupt from choosing to hide or launder their money in the UK.

Proprietary Estoppel: Reliance and detriment revisited

As an interesting contrast to our previous blogpost, the recent High Court case of Habberfield v Habberfield [2018] EWHC 317 (Ch) has seen a successful “proprietary estoppel” claim. The facts are in many respects classic proprietary estoppel material. Proprietary estoppel prevents the “unconscionable” denial of an interest in property. Such an interest arises where a claimant (this being the rare case of an estoppel that can be used as a claim and not just a defence) proves that they have acted to their detriment in reliance on a promise by the owner that they would receive a share of the property.

The Duties and Responsibilities of the Owners of Animals

If you own pets, livestock, or other animals you may be liable for any damage they commit. If you keep any animal, you have a duty of care to prevent them from causing harm. If you fail to do so, you can be exposed to civil liability with anyone who has been harmed being able to take action against you for any loss or injury. This is consistent with wider tort law with you as the owner being liable reflecting the fact that making an animal a defendant is not exactly a viable option.

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