News Solicitors in Henley, Oxfordshire

Employers must gear up for April living wage deadline 10th March 2016

The National Living Wage has been catching headlines since Chancellor George Osborne announced it last summer, but the Government's target of GBP 9 per hour by 2020 has overshadowed the detail, and many businesses remain unaware of the transitional deadlines and new penalties now in place. The compulsory National Living Wage (NLW) arrives on 1st April 2016 for eligible workers aged 25 and over, and it's been set at GBP 7.20 per hour. But the NLW does not replace the current Nation... more...

Sugar tax hits drinks but there's a sweetener for investors and companies in Osborne's budget 1st March 2016

Sugar tax hits drinks but there's a sweetener for investors and companies in Osborne's budget The unexpected introduction of a 'sugar tax' on soft drinks in George Osborne's spring 2016 Budget drew headlines, but investors and companies have found a range of sweeteners in the Chancellor's statement. In the run-up to the Budget, debate focussed on tax threats such as pensions, but in the event the Chancellor side-stepped the most contentious topics and offered... more...

Employers face stricter controls on private internet monitoring 18th February 2016

Recent news headlines have warned employees that social media chat and email conversations at work are open to being read by the boss, following a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, however experts say that the headline writers have missed the point, as the ruling in Barbelescu, Romania puts greater pressure on employers to justify any monitoring of private messages, rather than any relaxation. The ruling did allow that companies have a right to monitor internet usage by e... more...

Landlords lose and whiplash gets cracked in Osborne's autumn budget 25th November 2015

Backtracking on the contentious cuts to working tax credits caught the headlines when Chancellor George Osborne delivered his autumn budget statement, alongside a boost to building and good news for first time buyers. The Chancellor announced the allocation of £4 trillion of public spending over the next four years, with an £8 billion reduction in borrowing now being forecast and a predicted surplus of £10 billion by 2019-20. In a package of measures designed to help ... more...

Property prices help fuel family inheritance court battles 30th September 2015

Rising property prices are fuelling increased numbers of inheritance disputes reaching the courts, with second marriages being another major contributory factor. Such challenges are no longer the preserve of the wealthy, although they continue to feature highly. Recent cases hitting the headlines have included the family fall-out following the death of the billionaire owner of Sotheby's, Alfred Tauber, through to a court case over a £600,000 estate destined for goo... more...

Property owners win and lose in Osborne's first fully Tory budget 9th July 2015

Action towards a new living wage caught the headlines as Chancellor George Osborne delivered his first Budget statement under a Tory majority, alongside good news for families who want to pass on their property wealth to future generations. The Chancellor announced that economic growth forecasts would be held for 2015 and 2016, but gave a prediction of increased GDP in 2017 to 2020, up from 2.3pc per year to 2.4pc per year. Growth is also expected to accelerate, from 2.2pc this year t... more...

Social Media Feed Risks 7th June 2015

Accusation that a drinks group encouraged irresponsible alcohol consumption in a tweet highlights social media challenge for business. Businesses must make sure they are not breaching advertising regulations when they update their social media feeds. The reminder follows the news that Diageo's Guinness UK brand has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of implying that alcohol could improve a person's week, after a tweet on the brand's social media account ... more...

Time to take stock of UK and overseas property 30th April 2015

British expats and people with holiday homes overseas should take stock in view of recent changes to Capital Gains Tax legislation. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has been extended to non-UK residents selling UK residential property. As the tax will be calculated on the gain made after 5th April 2015, owners need to record the value of the property and its general condition now, in order to deal with the tax when they eventually sell. HMRC are likely to challenge any valuation considered unreal... more...

Inheritance Tax 9th April 2015

Inheritance tax under the spotlight in countdown to the general election The matter of inheritance is top of the agenda for Chancellor George Osborne in the countdown to the general election. In the Spring budget, the hoped-for announcement of an increase in the inheritance tax threshold nil rate band from its long standing level of £325,000 was not forthcoming. Instead, the Chancellor announced a review into the avoidance of inheritance tax through the use of "deeds of variation". ... more...

Declaring Lifetime Gifts 26th February 2015

Secrets in Switzerland lead to big penalty bill Failure to report a cash gift from his late father has landed a carpenter with an £87,000 penalty from HM Revenue and Customs. The case, the first to test the position in court, is a warning to anyone who fails to come up with the facts when asked questions by those handling the estate of someone who has died. When Clayton Hutching's father died, he left an estate of farm property worth aroun... more...

European Court weighs in with obesity verdict 22nd January 2015

Employers will need to review circumstances for obese employees whose weight is causing them problems in the workplace, following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice. The Court has ruled that if the obesity of a worker "hinders the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers", then obesity can fall within the concept of "disability". The decision is binding across the European Union although the EAT's decis... more...

Osborne headlines on stamp duty but disappoints on inheritance tax 4th December 2014

The property market was top headline for Chancellor George Osborne in this year's Autumn statement, with a radical change to stamp duty which should see 98% of buyers better off. Highlighting that the UK is currently the fastest growing economy in the G7, the Chancellor announced an improved economic growth forecast for 2014, increased to 3% from the 2.7% predicted in March, and against a backdrop of 500,000 new jobs created this year, of which 85% were full time. ... more...

Property buyers play it safe with no-nups 3rd August 2014

Savvy property owners who club together to buy a home are turning to "no-nups" to safeguard their investment. Whether as a cohabiting couple, or two or more friends clubbing together, a cohabitation agreement, or "no-nup", as they now becoming known, can help fix the outcome if things go wrong. And that is particularly important when contributions to buying a property are unequal. Nowadays, many young people are buying with the help of parents, and there is often a diff... more...

New rules for those without a will 30th June 2014

From October, different rules come into force on how assets should be distributed when someone dies without making a will, but it is still likely to cause a shock to families, particularly where couples were not married or in a civil partnership. New rules on what happens when someone dies without making a will should make it easier for families in future, but the changes don’t go far enough according to experts. The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 received the Roya... more...

Lifelong campaigner leads the way for dementia sufferers 21st May 2014

Dementia sufferers wanting to remain in their own home have been given hope thanks to a lifelong political campaigner. In a case that has emphasised the importance of making one's wishes known before illness strikes, a challenge to Westminster Council over residential care has successfully been fought on behalf of dementia campaigner and former politician Manuela Sykes. A Labour councillor for Westminster from 1974, Manuela Sykes was a long standing campaigner for better treatment fo... more...

#MindYourMouth warning as secretly taped evidence is admitted in tribunal hearing. 21st May 2014

There's a warning to mind p's and q's as the sexist revelations of football Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore go public, following hard on the heels of racist comments by Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling, and an employment tribunal says that secretly taped evidence is admissible in an employment tribunal hearing US billionaire Donald Sterling looks set to lose his Los Angeles Clippers basketball team over racist remarks recorded by his ex-mistress ... more...

2014 Budget Summary 29th March 2014

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Business and pensioners come out on top in Osborne's Spring budget 27th March 2014

UK business has been offered a hand-up in the latest statement from Chancellor George Osborne, with a package of measures designed to further stimulate the economy. This year's Spring budget was made against a radically different background to 12 months ago, when the Office for Budget Responsibility had downgraded the 2013 growth prediction to just 0.6%. This year, however, the Chancellor was able to announce a growth target of 2.7%, and 2.3% next year, higher than previously forecast... more...

Avoiding family feuds when you die 6th February 2014

Avoiding family feuds when you die Inheritance issues are in the headlines, following the reading of Nelson Mandela’s will, highlighting problems that are becoming increasingly common with the rising number of ‘blended’ families following remarriage. Commentators have pointed to the international leader’s decision to exclude his second wife Winnie from the will and the restrictions he placed on legacies to some of his surviving children. Closer to home, the dilemma of gettin... more...

Countdown to Christmas comes with a warning for consumers 3rd December 2013

As the retail sector revs up for the all-important Christmas selling season, online sales continue to grow. The first Monday in December has become known in the retail trade as Cyber Monday because of an annual spike in online sales, which is said to happen following the last pay cheque before Christmas. For many, online shopping seems so much easier than stomping round the high street, but with the growing number of web-based retailers, many of whom cannot be identified offline, consumers... more...

Young globe-trotters set to be winners with inheritance tax changes 27th August 2013

Globalisation is leading more young professionals into international work and they look set to be the winners in changes in inheritance tax rules in the UK, designed to reflect the lifestyle changes of the rising tide of overseas workers who are increasingly likely to marry someone from a different country. The 2013 Budget introduced two important changes to the inheritance tax (IHT) rules that will benefit couples where one partner is domiciled abroad. From 6th April the IHT exemption o... more...

Making it fair and square for all your families 28th July 2013

Inheritance claims are on the rise, as family structures get more complicated with the increasing number of remarriages. Currently 40% of marriages are second time round, and spouses and children of both first and second marriages are increasingly making claims where they feel they have been unfairly treated in the will of a former partner or parent. And around 1000 new cases have been formally commenced in a three-year period according to recent figures by the Law Commission, which has... more...

Lifelong campaigner leads the way for dementia sufferers 11th May 2013

Dementia sufferers wanting to remain in their own home have been given hope thanks to a lifelong political campaigner. In a case that has emphasised the importance of making one's wishes known before illness strikes, a challenge to Westminster Council over residential care has successfully been fought on behalf of dementia campaigner and former politician Manuela Sykes. A Labour councillor for Westminster from 1974, Manuela Sykes was a long standing campaigner for better treatment for d... more...

Employers using unpaid interns fall foul of minimum wage 23rd April 2013

Employers who use unpaid interns are being warned they could be breaking the law and flouting national minimum wage legislation. The warning comes as 100 employers have been referred to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by the employment minister Jo Swinson following a campaign by Intern Aware, to raise awareness of the practice. The employers will be investigated by HMRC under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, which requires workers to be paid the national minimum wage, currently £6.... more...

Why baring all may be best for the kids 15th April 2013

The recent case of Kloosman v Aylen highlights the need to obtain proper legal advice and to openly discuss intentions before making large lifetime gifts. Elderly parents wanting to benefit children or friends before they die need to consider the consequences, and be clear and open about their intentions if they want to avoid family fights and court battles. A recent case highlighting this problem revolved around the will made by Richard Frost in September 2007, when he set out that he wan... more...

Business gets a boost in Osborne's Spring budget 20th March 2013

Business can breathe a sigh of relief following the latest statement from the Chancellor, with a package of measures designed to stimulate UK plc. The Spring budget was delivered against the gloomy backdrop provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which downgraded the 2013 growth prediction it had issued last December, down from 1.2% to 0.6%. The headline-grabbing measures of the Budget included bringing forward the raising of the personal tax threshold to £10,000 from Apr... more...

Business gets a boost on bringing in debts 18th March 2013

Changes in the statutory protection for late payment of commercial debts sees a tightening up on how quickly commercial debts should be settled and the opportunity to recover costs, but businesses wanting to use the legislation need to make sure their contract terms do not over-ride the terms of the Act. The changes came into force on 16 March 2013 for contracts entered into after that date. One key change is that commercial businesses will be expected to pay their supplier invoices within 3... more...

Homeowners warned over new care home fees rules 13th February 2013

From 2017, the total amount that the elderly will have to pay in care home fees will be capped at £75,000 for personal care, but not accommodation and food, after which the Government will step in and pick up the bill. The amount is equivalent to a stay of about two and a half years in residential care, which is longer than most people need. Anyone with a home or assets worth less than £123,000 will get some help towards the costs - up from the current £23,250 means-testing ... more...

Parents should read the small print when it comes to mobile phones for children 30th January 2013

As the debate continues over network-level filtering to block internet access to adult content, smart phones are causing increasing problems for parents of the young or those with learning difficulties. In a recent case, the father of a young man with learning difficulties turned to a newspaper to highlight the problems he faced in challenging a £5,500 mobile phone bill, run up by his autistic son making calls and texts to sex lines. The son is 21 but has a mental age of 12 and wh... more...

Divorce down, but family business in lockdown when it comes to settlements 10th January 2013

Official figures released in December 2012 show that the number of divorces dropped by 1.7%* in the previous year, but divorce statistics continue to peak in the period following Christmas, with the second week in January notoriously the busiest month for couples taking the decision to part. And following a recent landmark judgement in the Court of Appeal, lawyers are warning that divorcing couples will find it tougher to separate any family assets held in companies and are predicting an inc... more...

Are your terms of business fair?

Are your terms of business fair? 30th June 2012

28th June 2012 Companies whose Terms load the dice against the consumer stand to lose if challenged. So easy, a child could do it.... This was the nasty truth for one punter when he found himself £50,000 in the red after a five year old got into his online spread betting account. But as well as striking fear into the hearts of parents everywhere, the resulting court case has delivered a wake-up call for companies who rely on contract terms that are buried in the small print. No... more...

Beware of falling foul of conditions on effective exercise of lease termination rights

Beware of falling foul of conditions on effective exercise of lease termination rights 22nd April 2012

Hard hit businesses are being dealt a double blow as landlords refuse to accept break clauses when rents have been late, and experts are now warning companies to check the small print before signing new leases. The alert follows a court ruling where tenants were left unable to end a lease because they had not complied with the small print on interest payments for late rent. Commercial leases are normally granted for a specified period, such as seven years or fifteen years. A long lease give... more...

What the new employment changes mean to business

What the new employment changes mean to business 1st February 2012

As we enter a new year employers are being reminded to prepare themselves for changes set for introduction over the coming 12 months. The Government is to put forward a raft of measures aimed at reforming employment law and whilst we wait to hear the detail, one change that is known for certain is the change in pension age. The Pension Act received the Royal Assent and became law last year. It means that the pension age for women will rise to 65 in 2018; the age for both men and women will... more...

More marriages are breaking up, but couples should jaw jaw

More marriages are breaking up, but couples should jaw jaw 31st January 2012

As Spring is traditional for weddings, so January has earned a reputation for the time to kick off a divorce. And this year has been no exception, if celebrity announcements are anything to go by. Hard on the heels of Katy Perry and Russell Brand, super-couple Seal and Heidi Klum have said they will be going their separate ways, as will reality star Kim Kardashian. For the fortunate few, a court battle may bring a secure future and London has become the divorce capital of the world, with... more...

Homeowners warned to watch out for squatters

Homeowners warned to watch out for squatters 29th January 2012

The housing market is sluggish, prices static, and more people are staying put and renovating or extending. But homeowners wanting to protect their property value should also invest time in checking out their boundaries and making sure they don't have squatters. If you mention the word "squatters”, most people think of someone who has made themselves at home in an empty property. But squatters' rights, or adverse possession as it is known in law, can happen in all sorts of prop... more...

Flower power wins the day in Interflora trademark battle

Flower power wins the day in Interflora trademark battle 15th December 2011

Internet advertisers who use competitor names to draw traffic have been dealt a rap on the knuckles following a high profile battle between Marks & Spencer and Interflora. In the fast growing world of internet advertising, new online techniques are demanding new rules and the latest ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) says that a trademark owner can stop a competitor from using their trademark as a keyword in a search engine such as Google. But the judgement stopp... more...

Common sense comes out on top in contract dispute

Common sense comes out on top in contract dispute 17th November 2011

Victory for common-sense as judgment is given in long running battle over bank payout Courts should apply business common sense when interpreting commercial contracts according to a judgment delivered this week (2nd November). The Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Rainy Sky SA and Others v Kookmin Bank, [2011] UKSC 50 that when the wording of a contract could be read in either of two ways, the court should opt for the interpretation that makes business common sense and reject the o... more...