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Children's Activity Lake Planning Permission Survives Noise Objections

The noise of playing children screaming and shouting is purgatory to some but, in a High Court case, such concerns were not enough to convince a judge that planning permission for an adventure activity lake in the grounds of a historic manor house should...

Low-Paid Workers' Union Triumphs in COVID-19 Health and Safety Test Case

Many low-paid workers who have an essential role in keeping the nation moving are at particularly high risk from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a ground-breaking decision, the High Court came to their aid in ruling that the Government is obliged under European...

High Court Ruling Underlines the Benefits of English Arbitration Clauses

As a guideline High Court decision emphasised , the greatest advantage of including English arbitration clauses in commercial contracts is that they prevent litigation from proliferating around the world and focus dispute resolution on a single,...

Commercial Tenants - How Well Do You Understand Your Obligations?

Before signing up to a commercial lease, tenants should always take expert legal advice to ensure they truly understand the obligations they are taking on. The point was powerfully made by a case in which the insurance provisions of a lease became the focus...

Succession Planning Good, Age Discrimination Bad - EAT Ruling

Any organisation that does not have an effective system of succession planning in place must face an uncertain future. As a ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) underlined, however, it is all too easy for such arrangements to be infected...

Advent of Artificial Intelligence Poses Fundamental Questions in Patents Case

Is the capacity to invent an exclusively human quality? Or has the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) rendered that proposition obsolete? Those fundamental issues took centre stage in a unique High Court patents case . A pioneer in the field of AI...

Court Enforces Exclusive English Jurisdiction Clause in Insurance Dispute

The high reputation of the Commercial Court in London for efficiency and impartiality is such that English jurisdiction clauses are a ubiquitous feature of contracts signed around the world. They can be of crucial significance if disputes arise and, as one...

Commercial Pregnancy Ultrasound Scanning Granted Medical VAT Exemption

The question of whether particular services are exempt from VAT is a perennial bone of contention which can have major financial and business consequences. That was certainly so in a case concerning the commercial provision of ultrasound scanning services ...

The Law Has Sharp Teeth When Tackling Breaches of Planning Control

Those who treat planning rules as a mere inconvenience in the belief that they can breach them with impunity are operating under an illusion . The Court of Appeal made that point in upholding heavy fines imposed on a property company and its sole active...

ET Recognises Stoicism as a Protected Philosophical Belief

Stoicism is a 2,300-year-old system of ethics which guided the steps of such giants of classical history as Seneca and the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Its adherents may nowadays be few and far between, but an Employment Tribunal (ET) has ruled that it...

Mormon Church Wrests Control of 'Confusing' Domain Name

If attracting internet traffic is important to you, obtaining professional advice is crucial to maintaining the distinctive character of your website. In an unusual case on point, the Mormon Church took effective action to wrest control of a domain name ...

The Business Rates Regime is Complex - Seek Legal Advice For Certainty

The law relating to business rates is intricate to say the least, and without expert legal advice commercial property occupiers can fall victim to its complexity. The High Court made that point in rejecting a tenant's determined challenge to a non-domestic...

Buying a Business? Always Engage a Professional to Carry Out Due Diligence

Dispensing with professional advice and buying a business on nothing more secure than a handshake is a recipe for disaster. That was certainly so in the case of an entrepreneur who found himself in a sea of trouble after purchasing the assets of a company...

Doctor's Race Discrimination Claims Prematurely Struck Out

Discriminatory acts or omissions may be seen as one-off incidents or as a sequence giving rise to a continuing discriminatory state of affairs. As an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling showed, that distinction can be critical to determining whether...

Parliament Entitled to Close Perceived Tax Loophole Retrospectively

There is nothing inherently wrong with Parliament legislating retrospectively in order to plug perceived tax loopholes. The High Court resoundingly made that point in rejecting claims that a back-dated change in the law violated the human rights of...

New National Minimum Wage Rates from April 2021

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission as regards the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates that will apply with effect from 1 April 2021: The NLW will increase from £8.72 to...

'Average Consumer' Takes Centre Stage in Beverages Trade Mark Dispute

The 'average consumer' may not exist in the real world but, as a legal construct, is an all-pervading presence in many trade mark disputes. That was certainly so in an infringement case concerning two manufacturers of alcoholic beverages which each named...

Facing Forfeiture of Your Commercial Lease? Consult a Lawyer Without Delay

If you are a commercial tenant and your landlord is for any reason threatening to forfeit your lease, it is crucial that you take legal advice without delay. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a tenant whose shop premises were...

Businessman Fends Off 'Shadow Director' Claim Following Immigration Raid

It is a simple matter to identify registered directors of any English company – the information is readily available from Companies House or online – but putting a name to de facto or shadow directors is more of a challenge. The High Court...

Sacked Marketing Director's Re-Engagement 'Impracticable', EAT Rules

An award of compensation is the most common remedy granted in cases of unfair dismissal, but Employment Tribunals (ETs) also have the power to order reinstatement or re-engagement of wronged employees. The Employment Appeal Tribunal's (EAT's) ruling in a...

Judge Breaks Up Environmental Protest Camp to Enable Tree to Be Felled

The powerful voice of environmental campaigners would be a mere whimper were it not for their human rights to congregate and peacefully protest. However, as a case concerning a campaign to save an ancient tree from the axe showed , judges are also obliged...

Directors Who Invest in Other Businesses - Watch Out for Conflicts of Interest

Directors are generally required to devote their time and effort to the companies they serve and to avoid making investments which might conflict with their best interests. The High Court analysed the extent of those duties in resolving a dispute between...

What Is the Difference Between a Car and a Van? Income Tax Test Case

What is the difference between a car and a van? The Court of Appeal's definitive answer to that question has very significant tax implications for employers who provide vehicles for their employees' combined business and private use. The case concerned a...

Can Dismissal Without Any Disciplinary Process Ever Be Fair?

Can a dismissal ever be fair if formal disciplinary procedures are dispensed with? A tribunal addressed that issue in the case of a senior railway company employee who was sacked on the spot following a breakdown in relations with her line manager ( ...

Architect Who Left the Door Open Not Liable for Catastrophic Cinema Blaze

The first step in proving negligence is to establish the existence of a duty of care. A High Court case in which a firm of architects was cleared of liability in respect of a catastrophic fire provided a prime example of that principle in operation. An...