Legal News

Contract Adjudications - One Dispute or More? High Court Gives Guidance

It is established law that contract adjudicators do not have authority to consider more than one dispute at a time. However, as a High Court ruling made plain, there is a potential conflict between that rule and the public policy imperative to encourage...

Ambiguous Wills - Court of Appeal Gives Effect to Deceased's Intentions

Where words used in a will are ambiguous, judges will strive to interpret them in a way that gives effect to the deceased's intentions. An instructive Court of Appeal decision on point hinged on the little-known fact that the Channel Islands are not...

High Court Aids Widow Left in Precarious Position by Husband's Death

If someone on whom you depended for support has died without making reasonable financial provision for you, you should consult a solicitor without delay. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a widow who was left largely reliant on benefits...

Penal Clause 'Cunningly Concealed' in Telecommunications Contract

Onerous terms and conditions cunningly hidden amidst the small print of a contract are likely to be viewed as entirely worthless by a judge. The High Court made that point in trenchantly criticising a contract presented by a mobile phone and...

Inheritance and the Impact of Intestacy on Stepchildren

In an era of increasingly fluid family relationships, many children are brought up by step-parents – but what is the consequence of that social change in terms of inheritance? The High Court addressed that issue in a guideline ruling . The case...

Company Accounts Cannot Be Retrospectively Adjusted for Convenience

A company's accounts cannot be retrospectively adjusted to meet the convenience of its directors. The High Court made that point in ruling that the reclassification of a director's loan account just before a company entered liquidation was of no legal...

Father Who Disinherited Daughter Lacked Capacity to Make a Valid Will

You are perfectly entitled to write your children or other close family members out of your will, but such a course can be an invitation to dispute after you are gone. That was certainly so in a High Court case concerning a man who left everything he owned...

Business Relationship Fallen Apart? The Law Can Help Pick Up the Pieces

No matter how long and successful a business relationship may be, there is always a risk that it may end acrimoniously. Such disputes can be intractable and, as a High Court ruling showed , there are times when only the law can provide closure. The case...

What Does 'Survivor' Mean? High Court Resolves Inheritance Doubts

Words are not numbers and even the most careful draftsperson cannot guarantee that the meaning of a will is always clear beyond doubt. As a High Court case showed , however, judges are adept at resolving ambiguities so that the true intentions of testators...

Commercial Negotiations - Talk is Cheap But Writing is Binding

Commercial negotiations often involve many meetings and any amount of talk, but the question of whether anything has actually been agreed is a common source of dispute. As a High Court case showed, the only real way to avoid such discord is to engage a...

Dying With Your Affairs in Disarray is a Poisoned Legacy for Your Loved Ones

Not every life is profitable, at least in financial terms, and it is important to remember that your debts do not die with you. A High Court ruling showed the serious problems that dying insolvent, without putting your affairs in order, can create for your...

Bidding at an Auction? Do You Understand Your Legal Obligations?

There are few things more thrilling than bidding at an auction, but raising your paddle has very real legal consequences. A case on point concerned a businessman who mistakenly believed that he was acting solely on behalf of a company when he bought two...

Judge Unravels Agatha Christie-Style Plot to Detect Will Forgery

Agatha Christie would struggle to imagine the plots of some inheritance disputes that come before the courts. That was certainly so in one case in which a judge found that a son resorted to forgery in concocting a bogus will after his mother died. Prior...

Suspension on Award of Fire Brigade Safety Equipment Contract Maintained

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly in a public contract tendering exercise, you are anything but powerless and should take legal advice straight away. A High Court case on point concerned the award of a contract for the supply of protective...

Father's Failure to Make a Will Plunges His Widow Into Legal Difficulties

One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to sign a professionally drafted will. As a High Court case showed , failing to take that easy and cost-effective step is to risk plunging those closest to you into legal difficulties after you are...

COVID-19 - Procurement Dispute Focuses on Award of Face Masks Contract

The means by which the government procured urgent supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic have been the subject of fevered debate. However, as one case underlined , it is a feature of a free society that...

Court Honours Woman's Intentions by Correcting Clerical Error in Her Will

Even the most carefully drafted will can contain inadvertent clerical errors that leave room for doubt as to the document's true meaning. As a High Court ruling showed , however, judges happily have the power to correct such mistakes so as to ensure that...

Negotiating is One Thing, But Completing a Binding Contract is Quite Another

Commercial negotiations may proceed for many months and involve any number of meetings, messages and phone calls. However, as a High Court ruling showed , the question of whether a binding contract has been completed very often hinges on whether a signature...

Making a Will? This is Why You Should Appoint a Professional Executor

Family relationships can be red in tooth and claw and appointing relatives, rather than a professional, as executors of your will can prove a costly mistake. That was certainly so in one case, where bitter litigation between siblings resulted in legal costs...

High Court Acts to Protect Rights of Minority Shareholder in Family Business

Family-run enterprises represent an enduring and highly effective business model – but only for so long as trust and affection between board members persists. In one case, discord between a father and son required High Court intervention to restore...

Don't Delay Making a Will Until You Feel the Hand of Mortality Upon You

Far too many people put off making a will until ill health strikes and reminds them of their mortality. In a striking case on point, the High Court ruled that a will signed by a prosperous farmer when he was in his 80s and suffering from dementia was not...

Wealthy Father Under No Obligation to Maintain His Healthy Adult Daughters

Parents generally owe no legal duty financially to maintain their adult children. That principle proved decisive in the case of a businessman who was worth almost £2.2 million when he died, but who left not a penny to his daughters. Having enjoyed a...

Director Oblivious to Record-Keeping Duties Receives Seven-Year Ban

One of the most important duties required of a company director is to keep, maintain, preserve and, if necessary, deliver up adequate accounting records. The High Court resoundingly made that point in imposing a seven-year directorship disqualification on...

'Both' or 'Each'? - One Mistranscribed Word Triggers £6.4 Million Will Dispute

Will drafting is an exact science, requiring years of professional training, and a single mischosen or out-of-place word can have very serious consequences. Exactly that happened in a High Court case concerning the mistaken use of the word 'both' –...

Anti-Competitive Practices - Musical Instrument Supplier Receives £5 Million Fine

There will always be some who view anti-competitive business practices as an easy route to profits, but those who engage in them can expect deterrent punishments. In one case, a supplier of musical instruments was fined over £5 million for fostering a...
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