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Same Sex Couples - the end of pension inequality

Melanie Loxley
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In Walker v Innospec Limited and others [2017] the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that legislation which allows employers to exclude same sex partners from spousal benefits paid into pension funds prior to December 2005 is discriminatory.  This...

The Law Commission considering lowering the age to make a will

Emma Harper
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The Law Commission is starting to look at wills and how they can be brought up to date to suit a modern lifestyle.  Currently there is a degree of formality when making a will. You must be over 18, have the necessary capacity and understanding, and...

The Law Commission - possible reforms to making a will

Claire Read
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The Law Commission has released a 300 page consultation about possible reforms to making a will. Wow! Does it mean that change is upon us? And will this change be for the better?  Over the next few weeks we will do a series of blogs on the Law...

The law around wills needs updating!

Jennie Skingsley
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The Law Commission for England and Wales has today called for updates to the law around wills, claiming it should be brought into the ‘modern world’. One of our wills and probate experts, Claire Read, spoke to BBC Essex on Thursday morning,...

Today's attitude towards protecting intellectual property

Thomas Emmett
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The British legal system has historically protected the rights of British authors and British inventors, all the way back to the 1800’s. This is because the UK was, and still is, a powerful force in innovation. In 1842, Charles Dickens understood the...

Singhsbury's vs Sainsbury's - the battle of the burys

Thomas Emmett
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It seems that a day doesn’t go by without another report relating to the subject appearing in the news and this week is no different, with major newspapers and other media outlets reporting that a large superstore threatened legal action against a...

Work experience - Lucie Wilkinson

Liz O'Mahony
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My time at Birkett Long LLP, was the best week of my summer 2017. On my first day, I was sat in reception shaking.  My mentor for the week, Daniel Sturman from the Commercial Real Estate team, came and met me. Instantly I was put at ease. Daniel showed...

work experience Haseeb Malik

Liz O'Mahony
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During my time at Birkett Long I undertook a range of activities in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team, which gave me a great overall legal experience. On my first day I was asked to conduct some research on how beneficial a Disabled Person’s Trust...

The Genius that is Giggsy

Lisa Collins
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Ryan Giggs will be arguing within his divorce proceedings that he should be awarded more than half of their £40 million fortune because he has made a “special contribution”. Giggs is hoping to convince the Judge that his contribution to...

Work experience - Kate Goodfellow

Liz O'Mahony
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After struggling to find a law firm that would allow me to complete a week of work experience, due to only being half way through my A-Levels, I was excited to find out that Birkett Long allowed me to carry out my week with them.  I began my work...

Why the Child Maintenance Service does not work

Philip Hoddell
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In the last month the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published statistics from the Child Support Agency (CSA) showing that outstanding arrears of child maintenance currently stand at £3.2 billion. Meanwhile, the Commons Works and Pensions...

Where there's a will, there's a way

David Feakins
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A recent YouGov survey revealed that almost a third of over-55’s still don’t have a will in place. It is one of those things in life that people put off doing, assuming that their worldly goods will automatically pass to their spouse or to their...

PHE commissioned the ONS to analyse suicide statistics

Reggie Lloyd
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Public Health England (PHE) is an agency of the Department of Health, with a brief to advise and support government, local authorities and the NHS in a professionally independent manner. PHE is  responsible for making the public healthier and reducing...

Do divorce petitions now need to be acrimonious?

Samantha Ellis
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Family solicitors have, for a long time, been encouraged to keep particulars mild when preparing divorce petitions; drafting inflammatory petitions is unnecessary and only going to increase tensions between the parties from the start. In March, the Court of...

Promises, promises: why deathbed gifts are hard to prove

Jenny Bruce
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Did you know that it is possible for a valid gift to be made on someone’s deathbed without the proper formalities for that gift having been followed? This special exception means that, for example, it is possible to effectively give away a property...

Ensure you are protected

Claire Read
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I was watching the news at lunch time and there was an item on a care home being investigated for neglect of its residents. It really was quite distressing, and it got me thinking about ways in which those who are vulnerable can be protected. Most...

Oxford Dictionary's new word for 2016 - "Post-truth"

Martin King
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Oxford Dictionary’s new word for 2016 stirred up a great deal of discussion regarding the meaning of “post-truth politics”, in particular in the light of the UK’s EU Referendum and the United States Presidential Election. Oxford...

Becoming Dementia Friends

Rachel Leech
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As part of Dementia Awareness Week, and in supporting our charity of the year, Alzheimer’s Society, Caroline Woodham and I undertook training to become Dementia Friends to enable us to better support those living with dementia.  The Dementia...

Financial Remedy

Melanie Loxley
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Roxar v Jaledoust (2017) is a financial remedy case where the husband sought to vary or bring an end to a maintenance order made back in 2010. The order provided for him to pay global maintenance (i.e. maintenance for his wife and children) at a rate of...

Not even a billionaire is a genius

Philip Hoddell
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This continues my line of blogs about spouses who have claimed they should have a greater than equal share of the marital assets because of “special contributions” they have made to the creation of wealth. You can read previous...

Italian court rules against lifetime maintenance awards

Philip Hoddell
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Italy is notorious in legal circles for ordering parents to continue to pay for the upkeep of their adult children. Last year, a middle aged father was ordered to keep supporting his 28 year old son through university, in one of about 8000 similar disputes...

How can I protect my property against fraud?

Jess Elwell
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Property is an attractive target for fraudsters. There are many sophisticated schemes including scammers trying to sell your property from under your nose using false documents, intercepting funds during a purchase or a sale and even impersonating the owner...

'What was the most extraordinary thing about this advert?'

Jennie Skingsley
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Yesterday I watched an advert on YouTube that gave me goosebumps. Without giving too much away, the advert revolved around pairs of people who had never met before and had polar opposite views about some very specific things. They were then set a number of...

More change to come from the family courts

Samantha Ellis
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In 2015 we saw the centralisation of divorce and dissolution proceedings with the closure of many county courts across the country as a result, and divorce cases being dealt with by the eleven specialist divorce centres.  HM Courts and Tribunal...

Relocating a child - in or out?

Melanie Loxley
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In the recent case of Re R (a child) it was argued that if a parent relocated with their child within the UK, without the consent of the other parent, the law should provide for that child’s summary return to their usual home, just as it does in...

Liability of a Parent Company for a Subsidiary

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Here at Birkett Long, we know when going down the business road, issues may arise where the company has to take the (often financial) responsibility, but who is ultimately liable?  The parent company or the subsidiary? A fundamental principle of...

Victoria Beckham trademarks her daughter's name

Thomas Emmett
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In a previous blog, I told readers that I could only imagine what it would be like to be so famous that I could register my own name as intellectual property. You can read that blog here. Harper Beckham, the daughter of David and Victoria Beckham, has had...

The story of the Sex Pistols and The Supreme Court

Martin King
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On 4 April we saw the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ legendary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This album was not only revolutionary in itself, but changed the face of popular music. So why, you might ask, is this piece entitled...

Probate fee update

Claire Read
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Only a couple of weeks ago, the Law Society Select Committee reported that it was their view that the Lord Chancellor had gone beyond her powers in proposing to increasing the fees by such a great amount.  The reason for this is that the probate fees...

If a banker is not a genius, can a footballer be?

Philip Hoddell
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In December I commented here about the case of Mandy Gray and Randy Work. He had failed to persuade the court that his banking “genius” should entitle him to a greater share of the family’s £180m fortune and so decided to take his...

Farmer's Brexcuse plea fails to impress Judges

Philip Hoddell
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In one of the first known cases of its kind, Paul Mansfield, a fruit farmer from Kent, is seeking to persuade the Court of Appeal that the effect of the Brexit vote should be taken into account in his divorce.  After a very lengthy marriage, and nearly...

Parents on the run

Muntech Kaur
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There has been a considerable amount of media coverage concerning the matter of Dylan and Louis Madge. The brothers, aged 6 and 9, were abducted by their mother, Samantha Baldwin in March 2017. It has been a long judicial process for this family which...

Ed Sheeran's IP dispute settles

Stephen Avila
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Last September a work experience student at Birkett Long, Katrina Russell, wrote a blog on Ed Sheeran’s defence of a $20 million lawsuit in the United States. You can read the article, posted by Liz O'Mahony  here . The lawsuit was...

Preferred route for new Lower Thames Crossing announced.

David Rayner
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On 12 April the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced the long-awaited decision on the preferred route for the new Lower Thames Crossing, saying that it could create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8 billion. The new...

Gordon Ramsay and his inheritance

Lisa Cox
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Anyone who has watched one of Gordon Ramsay’s popular television shows knows that the famous chef does not shy away from speaking his mind. The tabloids buzzed yesterday when he confirmed in an interview with the Telegraph that his four children will...

UK law continues to lag behind on cohabitation rights

Muntech Kaur
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Further to my earlier blogs on cohabitation agreements and the misconceptions around common law spouses , including the common misunderstanding that they are entitled to the same legal rights as married couples, there are other countries who are...

Lee Valley Youth Cycling - Sam Allen Cycling blog

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I am 16 years old and I ride for a cycling team called Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club Junior Team, who are lucky enough to have Birkett Long as one of our sponsors. This weekend (2nd of April) was the first round of the national junior series, the Cadence...

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

Muntech Kaur
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At a time when there are 3.3 million couples living together, recorded in 2016 by the Office of National Statistics, only a small proportion of these cohabiting couples has given consideration to what each of them expects from the other during the course of...

Common law spouses and cohabitation rights

Muntech Kaur
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With a shift in lifestyle choices and family types, the modern day couple is more likely to opt for cohabitation than marriage. The Office of National Statistics shows that in 2016 there were some 3.3 million couples cohabiting, representing some 17.5% of...

Be aware - bogus law firms

Muntech Kaur
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It is now commonplace for us all to have been touched by fraud, either by way of personal experience or we know of someone who has been a victim . We are less likely to have a knock at the door from someone trying to con us out of our money and sensitive...

The rule on penalty clauses applied in the High Court

Thomas Emmett
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In a previous blog (which you can read here) , I discussed the change to the rule on penalty clauses resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi and ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67. In that...

Flout Orders made by the Family Court at your own peril

Melanie Loxley
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…as Mr Assoun in the case of Assoun v Assoun [2017] EWCA Civ 21 discovered.  In 2013 the English Court made a maintenance order against Mr Assoun in favour of his wife.  Mr Assoun failed to make the payments ordered of him and in 2015, he...

Owens v Owens - No fault divorce

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Much has been written in the press about this case where the Judge refused to grant the wife’s divorce petition based on unreasonable behaviour.  The background is that on considering her application for Decree Nisi, the Judge in the County...

Brexit - UK divorcing European Union

Muntech Kaur
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With the Prime Minister having officially triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017 to commence the process of the United Kingdom divorcing the European Union, there has been some speculation as to the length of time which it shall take for there to be finality...

Barclays Charity Quiz Night

Jess Elwell
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On Tuesday evening a team of Kurt Goddard, Bradley Powell, Lisa Collins, Jess Elwell, Cara O’Donoghue and Alex Aspinwall-Livesey (who is currently undertaking work experience with Kurt), attended the Barclays Charity Quiz. The Quiz was in aid of PHAB...

Free advice - think again!

Muntech Kaur
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Like many professionals, solicitors often find themselves giving free legal advice to potential clients, generally at initial contact with individuals both during their working hours and at times away from the workplace. In a case already decided by the...

Dishonesty is not always relevant

Philip Hoddell
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In a previous blog, (which you can read here)  I discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow 2 wives to reopen their divorce settlements because their husbands had lied. In each case, assets had been concealed and it was felt that had their...

Offering an apprenticeship? - Be careful!

Reggie Lloyd
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From 1 April 2017 it will be a criminal offence for a business, when providing or offering a course or training, to describe  it as an apprenticeship when it is not a statutory apprenticeship. The Government wishes to protect the term...

The Controversy of Being Neutral

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The recent judgment of Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV C-157-15 on Tuesday 14 March 2017, saw the conclusion of the controversial case regarding prohibiting the wearing of headscarves for religious reasons in the workplace. Ms Samira Achbita was a...

The Ministry of Justice, carries on regardless

Martin King
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Notwithstanding the outcry and criticism that has been levelled at the Ministry of Justice with regard to their announcement that they will be imposing significant increases in the cost of applying for a Grant of Representation which will range from between...