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Andrew Leakey
    • Andrew Leakey

    • Head of Dispute Resolution and Probate
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Will you show someone how much you love them this Valentine's Day?

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Do you really love someone? Make a Will - It doesn't sound very romantic does it? But approximately 70% of people don’t have a Will. I see so many situations where loved ones don’t make a Will and leave people...

Key to the door: How to avoid invalidating your home insurance

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It’s a risky business, insurance. For example, did you know that if you give your house keys out to someone else, it could invalidate your insurance policy? The Association of British Insurers (ABI) are on record as saying that if items are...

Cavity wall insulation - Social landlords must be vigilant

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Cavity wall insulation (CWI) has been hailed as a quick, simple and relatively inexpensive adaptation that can not only save the occupier money on heating bills, but, potentially, add value to the property itself. So much so, in fact, that government...

Wrongly installed cavity wall insulation

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There have been huge campaigns to make houses energy efficient. It makes sense to pay less for your heating where you can. But not every house should have cavity wall insulation (CWI) installed. If cavity wall insulation is wrongly installed it...

Leaseholders facing huge repair bills

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Our consumer law expert, Andrew Leakey, was interviewed by BBC Radio Sussex in relation to a story about residents in Brighton and Hove. Some residents, who have bought the leasehold of their former council-owned properties, are facing bills for tens...

Ilott v Mitson Update - Inheritance Act appeal dismissed over award to adult child

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I did a blog a couple of years ago following a very interesting development in Inheritance Act claims by adult children. In the case of Ilott v Mitson [2011] EWCA Civ 346 , the Court of Appeal upheld the original County Court decision of a District Judge,...

Family forced to demolish new home

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A story in the news recently has caught my eye, after a family in Scotland has been ordered to demolish their £500,000 dream home. The Murray family had bought a plot of land and engaged architects and builders to build their luxury home on it, to...

Accountants breathe a huge sigh of relief

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The recent decision from the Court of Appeal in Mehjoo v Harben Barker has given accountants something to be happy about following the worrying decision previously given in the High Court. In June 2013 Mr Mehjoo was awarded £1.4 million in damages...

Supreme Court reviews the law of nuisance

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The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Coventry v Lawrence [2014] is an important case in the development of the law of private nuisance. The case was brought by the claimants who sought an injunction to restrain the defendant racing track...

Will a rise in mortgage borrowing open banks up to more claims?

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It has been reported that mortgage borrowing in the UK is on the rise and will continue to do so during 2014 as the UK property market continues to grow. A by-product of the increase in the property market is the demand for valuation reports from surveyors. ...

Landmark laptop case may pave the way for other consumers

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A landmark case may assist consumers seeking to challenge their credit reference. It seems to be the first case the Supreme Court has heard in relation to disputed credit references. Our consumer credit experts can advise you on this issue from ...

Solicitors negligence claims on the up?

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It is being reported that there is an increase of high-value speculative claims being made against solicitors by their former clients. This could be the effect of the post-recession economy taking hold with many businesses trying to maximise their efforts...

How to make a claim against your solicitor - top ten tips

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If you feel your solicitor has been negligent, here are some simple tips to bear in mind before deciding to make a claim. Have you kept all documents including letters and correspondence which details your instructions and the terms...

What are private nuisance claims?

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This week, as I went about my Sunday chores with the radio turned up, I was fascinated to hear that nuisance claims were being discussed on Radio 5. As a young lawyer specialising in this area of law, it was surprising to hear disputes between adjoining land...

A guide to resolving benefit disputes

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The social security system is currently undergoing one of the biggest upheavals in its history. Gone are the days of Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance. We have now entered the era of Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence...

Justin's neighbour is not a belieber

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Justin Bieber has recently made the news for all the wrong reasons, with allegations of eggs being thrown at his neighbour’s property. His neighbour, obviously upset by the situation, called the local Police. Whilst this alleged incident occurred in...

Mirror mirror on the wall, will a mix up mean that I lose it all?

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Following on from my blog in February 2012 about the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Marley v Rawlings case, the Supreme Court last week handed down their judgment in the appeal of that decision, overturning the Court of Appeal. The judgment can be...

Neighbour disputes - Is it 'wheelie' worth it?

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In December 2013, a neighbour dispute escalated to the Royal Courts of Justice in relation to a wheelie bin and whether it should be allowed to be positioned on a shared driveway. This somewhat bizarre case arose when Mr Ali (the Defendant) was taken to...

A right to park?

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Is it a problem if a neighbour regularly parks on a part of your land? You may not use that particular section of land and have never objected to it. You may think that because it is your land you can ask them to move and reclaim your space when you need it....

Loophole means that some housing benefit claimants may not have to pay bedroom tax

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Housing benefit claimants who have been continuously living in their property since 1 January 1996 may still be entitled to the spare room subsidy, and therefore would not have to pay the controversial ‘bedroom tax’. The Department for...

Why flooding might not be a total washout

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Another dreadful period of winter weather has once again raised the spectre of flooding for thousands of households across the country. Flooding is devastating. Destroying homes and belongings and sending family life into chaos. Often homes that sit on...

Berger v Berger - Do not delay if you think you have an inheritance claim

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A recent decision in the Court of Appeal, in the case of Berger v Berger [2013] EWCA Civ 1305, has highlighted that the Courts are becoming much stricter with deadlines for starting inheritance claims in Court. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family...

'Mandatory reconsideration' process to make welfare benefit appeals more difficult for claimants

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From the 28th October 2013, reforms to Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and other welfare benefit appeals will see claimants having to lodge appeals directly with the Tribunal and will leave some appellants with no income. The...

Neighbour disputes

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I’ve just read of a terrible case in London. It is reported on London24.com that a man was found guilty on 9th October of a murder arising out of a neighbour dispute . The issue apparently arose from a female neighbour washing some carpets. Dirty...

Bike ride raised vital funds for Joining Jack charity

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Many people have been bitten by the cycling bug. After the Beijing Olympics the number of organised bike events has rocketed. None more so than the annual Manchester 100. I, with the support of Stephensons, recently took on this challenge in aid of Joining...

Not everyone's a winner

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Former lovers and the PA of the late Michael Winner are in dispute with each other, and with his widow Geraldine, over the distribution of his estate following his death. Dinah May, who was Michael’s PA for 35 years, together with two former lovers,...

Housing officer and bailiff shot during eviction

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On July 3rd 2013, Police officers and an armed response unit were sent to an address in Brixton in response to a shooting. Whilst enforcing a Warrant of Eviction, A Housing Officer working for Metropolitan Housing and a Court Bailiff were shot at. Luckily...

The bedroom tax three months on, is it working?

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It is now three months since the introduction of the so-called ‘bedroom tax’. The ‘tax’ has thrown many social tenants into rent arrears and those that were struggling before 1st April 2013 are now finding themselves in real...

Thin Lizzy star's estate passes under intestacy rules

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It has been reported this week that Gary Moore, guitarist with the legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, who died in February 2011, ended up leaving nothing to his long term partner Petra Nioduschewski, as he did not make a Will. His estate is thought to be...

Resolving issues without the need for an appeal?

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Responding to written questions in parliament, Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey stated “Mandatory reconsideration will improve the disputes process and effectively shorten the journey for all DWP administered benefits, not just those referred...

Lifetime gifts declared invalid by High Court due to undue influence

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The High Court in London has this week given their ruling in the case of Hart v Burbidge [2013] EWHC 1628 (Ch), which saw a family in dispute over their late mother’s estate. Rather than challenging any Will, or the estate itself, the children were in...

Far from a holiday...

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For most people spending a few nights in a Bed & Breakfast is a welcome break from everyday life. However, according to statistics released last week, there are currently around 4,500 families living in B&Bs. For these families this is far from...

High Court upholds that dying patient did have sufficient capacity to execute a codicil to his Will

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The High Court has recently handed down judgment in the case of Greaves V Stolkin and H Montlake & Co [2013] EWCH 1140 (CH), where they had been asked to determine whether a dying testator has sufficient mental capacity to make alterations to his Will...

Bedroom tax has devastating effect on single people and families

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The new bedroom tax which came into force on 1st April 2013 is having a devastating effect on single people and families. The new rules mean that for those living in social housing who have 1 spare bedroom, their Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14%. A 25%...

A man's home is his castle... but terms and conditions apply

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I read with interest this week a story regarding a patriotic tenant of a national social housing landlord who painted his front door in the colours of the St George’s Flag. Steven Rolfe, a former solider, originally painted his front door in St...

Personal Independence Payment: The North West guinea pigs

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Since 8th April 2013 the North West has begun trialling the new benefit known as Personal Independence Payment (PIP). But what is PIP and how will it affect people? Firstly, we need to cast our minds back to 5th December 2012, when George Osborne delivered...

Court of Appeal rejects notion that rent in advance can be classed as a deposit

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Johnson & Ors v Old [2013] EWCA Civ 415 The Court of Appeal has ruled that a tenancy that a payment of 6 months rent in advance at the start of a tenancy does not constitute a deposit and as such does not need to be protected under a Deposit Protection...

Can I still get Legal Aid?

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Publicity about the end of Legal Aid for certain types of cases seems to be being misunderstood by clients in need of help. There is no problem with ongoing funding for cases which have Legal Aid Certificates at present. Neither is there any problem with...

Shortlisted for IMA Awards 2013

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We are delighted to be shortlisted in the Debt Team of the Year category at the Institute of Money Advisors (IMA) Awards. These awards celebrate excellence and reward good performance by individuals and...

Does your credit card always provide you with protection?

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When paying for an expensive item many people like to have added protection if something goes wrong. Due to this people often use a credit card when purchasing high priced goods. The reason for this is because s....

Claimants launch legal action over new disability test

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Three disabled claimants have launched a legal challenge to the Government against the new personal independence payment (PIP) regulations. The High Court must decide whether the stringent mobility tests, which replace...

Family successfully challenge homemade Will in the High Court

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Iris Jolly died in October 2010, leaving her whole estate, worth around £500,000, to her two friends Richard and Pamela Phythian. She was said to have done this because her relatives were not taking enough notice of her in her final...

High Court upholds a Will challenge on the grounds of undue influence

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The High Court last week handed down their judgment in the case of Schrader v Schrader [2013] EWHC 466 (Ch), which was a Will dispute over the estate of Jessica Schrader, who had died in January 2008, at the age of 98. ...

The Council Tax Benefit debate...

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Council Tax Benefit currently provides 5.9 million low-income families (more than any other means-tested benefit or tax credit) with support towards their Council Tax liability. From April this year however, the full refund of council tax...

Voulez vous coucher avec moi? Not from April 2013: the bedroom tax debate

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Tewkesbury Council in Gloucestershire has defended plans to provide a specially adapted six-bedroom home to a resident with 11 children. The controversial announcement has been labelled a ‘scandalous’ use of...

Court of Appeal rule Will to be invalid

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The Court of Appeal ruled last week in a case that I have been following involving a challenge against the validity of a Will. In Julia Hawes V Elizabeth Burgess & Anor [2013] Ewca Civ 74, the Court of Appeal handed...

How to win a boundary dispute

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You may find it surprising that a solicitor wants to talk about this openly. But I see so many cases that come to us where basic steps haven't been taken. Here's a few things you should do: 1. Try to...

Contesting a Will on lack of capacity and undue influence

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One of the most common disputes I come across as a solicitor specialising in inheritance disputes and contested Wills, are when a disappointed family member wants to challenge a Will on the basis that the deceased did not have sufficient...

An inheritance dispute can end up destroying more than just family ties!

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Many people end up in dispute over an estate with other members of the family after someone passes away. Some go a step too far. A story reported in the news this week caught my eye, when electrician Tony McGuire...

Potential u-turn in care funding cap?

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Today, a report from The Guardian states that a senior Whitehall source has effectively announced a potential u-turn on the recommendations of the Dilnot report into care funding for the elderly. Last year Andrew...

Relaunch of Right to Buy Scheme

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David Cameron’s latest policy will allow approximately two million social tenants to buy their properties with a discount of up to £75,000. The £75,000 discount will be a quadrupled figure discount in London and a trebling in the...

Never a nation to complain

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We all know that money is tight, and the Government is not immune to these feelings. Cuts are being made to what seems like every integral part of our community. Does it seem fair though that these cuts once again hit those who are most vulnerable ...No, so...

An Olympic sized headache

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If you don’t know by now that the 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London then surely you have been living under a rock for the last few years. This much publicised event will be taking place 27th July to 12th August under a global spotlight and...

Which? report highlights home care problems

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A report from Which?, the consumer organisation, highlights enormous difficulties and problems facing the estimated 500,000 or more older and disabled people, many of whom are faced with...

Homeless hotspots

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News from the USA this week provides a worrying insight into the ethics of companies looking to make a quick buck. A New York advertising agency is currently using 13 street homeless people in Austin, Texas as Wi-Fi antennas and has termed the project...

The cold hard truth about homelessness

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More than 600 people have died throughout Europe recently as a result of the cold snap we have been experiencing. Clearly this is having an effect on the 3 million people currently sleeping rough in Europe. According to statistics, the number of...

'Mixed-up Wills' ruled invalid by Court of Appeal

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The Court of Appeal handed down their ruling in the case of Marley v Rawlings [2012] EWCA Civ 61 last week confirming that where couples sign the wrong Wills by mistake, those Wills are not valid and...

Welfare Reform Bill highlights bedroom tax

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The Welfare Reform Bill has returned to the House of Commons this week for MPs to vote on the various proposals. The Government’s aim by introducing these proposals was to cut the annual housing benefit bill by £500 million a year. The...

Homelessness - 'No second night out' scheme to hit St Helens

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A scheme which has helped rough sleepers in London is to be launched in Liverpool and the surrounding area on 2nd February 2012. ‘No second night out’ is a government backed scheme which tries to ensure that...

Proposed change to inheritance laws could see end to cohabitee claims

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Last week, the Government revealed proposed plans to change the inheritance rules, so that cohabiting couples may have the right to inherit from each other’s estates, if they die without making a Will. The current...

Changing face of the UK's relationships revealed

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According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics this week, less than half the adult population in England and Wales are now married. Cohabitation amongst couples appears to have become the norm, and I must say, also...

Acquiring a right of way through long use

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A Court of Appeal decision in LONDON TARA HOTEL LTD v KENSINGTON CLOSE HOTEL LTD [2011] EWCA Civ 1356 confirmed that a right of way could be obtained through reliance on third parties use of the land. Clients often...

New EU Consumer Rights Directive

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The new EU Consumer Rights Directive was adopted by Member States in the Council on 10/10/11 having been approved in the EU Parliament on 23/6/11. It is required to be translated into national law by the end of 2013. With current...

The rise of the neighbour dispute

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A survey by Which? has discovered that over 3 million people suffer with problem neighbours. As a solicitor specialising in neighbour disputes this comes as no big surprise to me. There are an astonishing number of...

Jones v Kernott - Time to reflect

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The legal world has now had time to reflect on the Judgment in Jones v Kernott which was handed down by the Supreme Court on 9 November 2011. I found the 30 page judgment a little repetitive in that a large portion of...

Logbook Loans appeal against the decision to revoke their licence is struck out

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Last Friday, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) welcomed a Tribunal's decision to strike out appeals submitted by the UK's biggest logbook loan business, Nine Regions Limited and Log Book Loans Limited, who trade under the name Log Book...

Consumers denied legal rights by high street stores

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According to a study by consumer champions Which? this week, high street stores are dismissing customers who have legitimate complaints and denying them their legal statutory rights’ to have faulty goods fixed. ...

British consumers conned out of £7 billion per year

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After reading a parliamentary report released today, I was astonished at figures that show that British consumers are being conned out of nearly £7 billion a year. The report claimed that consumer law is being...

Adopted son loses his inheritance due to the Wills being wrongly signed

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This case has caught my eye this week as the Court of Appeal has been asked to reconsider the decision of the High Court earlier this year, which resulted in Terry Marley losing any inheritance from his parent’s estate. Terry Marley was...

Will you spend Christmas on a credit card?

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It’s only two months until Christmas and already some people have thought in advance: they’ve purchased all their gifts and planned how they’ll spend the festive occasion. But for others, they may be worrying about how they...

Ex-England cricketer loses High Court case against solicitors

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The High Court at the end of yesterday confirmed that Geoffrey Boycott’s case against his solicitors for professional negligence could not continue and was struck out. According to the Daily Mail, he was...

Court of Appeal confirms life interest for spouse of deceased is not reasonable financial provision

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In a very interesting benchmark decision, the Court of Appeal last month confirmed that if a spouse is only left a life interest in their husband or wife’s property on their death, this is not reasonable financial provision, and they...

Do rioters deserve to be evicted?

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The rioting and looting which swept across many of our major cities last week has now ended but the debate about how to deal with the perpetrators is likely to be ongoing for some time. People are calling for the rioter’s benefits to be scrapped and...

Three sisters sue stepmother who was left father's entire £4m fortune

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This case that has just started in the High Court in London this week has caught my eye. Wealthy businessman George Wharton proposed to Maureen, his former mistress, as soon as he was diagnosed as terminally ill....

High Court upholds that illegitimate children of aristocrat can inherit from his estate

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This very unusual case has caught my eye this week. The High Court has this week confirmed that the children of a bigamous aristocrat, and cousin to Princess Diana, can inherit his huge estate and fortune. Alexander Montagu,...

How do they get away with it?

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A friend of mine has just had an awful experience. Her Mum is very ill, and sensibly went to make a Will . Unfortunately she went to a high street bank. Without explaining the situation, the bank put themselves as executors...

Neighbour dispute in the Court of Appeal

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A dispute between two neighbours over the boundary line separating their properties went up to the Court of Appeal last year and the dispute only ended when one of the parties were refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in November 2010. ...

Benefits cap could make 40,000 homeless

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A leaked letter, allegedly sent by Eric Pickles private secretary to the Prime Minister, has expressed concerns about the effects of the Government’s policy to cap benefit payments to any one household at £500 per week. ...

Hidden card surcharges for travel tickets to be banned

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Last month, my friends and I decided to book a last minute trip to Switzerland. We managed to find what appeared to be bargain flights through a particular budget airline. We spent over 10 minutes completing all of the various screens, and then got to the...

Grandmother cuts family out of her Will, leaving £150k fortune to workman

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Last week, the High Court in London made a decision following a lengthy seven day trial, to uphold the Will of Mrs Helen Blofield, who died in October 2008. Mr Blofield had made her Will in November 2006, leaving everything to...

Justice for All day

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Today is Justice for All day, intended to highlight the impact of the cuts to legal aid. The following is an attempt to dispel some of the myths surrounding the circumstances of the proposed cuts. One of the justifications for the cuts is that an...

A novel way to resolve a high hedge dispute...

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I have read news today of a new way of resolving disputes with neighbours , by buying the house next door. On first reading it appeared that American billionaire Larry Ellison had simply bought the neighbours house with whom...

Providing care to vulnerable people

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The news has been flooded today with two powerful stories related to the provision of care to vulnerable people. On the one hand, the ongoing saga of Southern Cross, one of the larger providers of residential and nursing care...

Southern Cross Healthcare in financial difficulty

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Ok, I admit it, I'm 38, turning 39 in October. The big 4 zero is looming, and I'm already getting grief from younger colleagues both at work and in the hockey team. Our midfield is so bald it looks like a box of eggs in plain...

Elderly lady being evicted from her home after a boundary dispute which she won!

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An 80-year-old widow is facing eviction after a boundary dispute spanning more than a decade over 3 inches of land. Milica Markos of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, took her former neighbour, Alan Goodfellow, to court in 1999 because...

Dispute over Elizabeth Taylor's inheritance

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A dispute has arisen over a share of the multi-million pound estate left by the deceased actress Elizabeth Taylor. The actress left £50,000 of her estate to her former husband in order to provide for his...

100 families per day losing their homes as repossession rates soar

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It has emerged this week that the rate of mortgage repossessions in the first quarter of 2011 has risen 15% from the last quarter of 2010. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed a sharp rise in repossessions, the first...

Could the Court be about to drastically alter unmarried couples rights?

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In May last year I blogged about the case of Kernott v Jones after the Court of Appeal overturned an earlier High Court decision and awarded Mr Kernott half of the property in which he has previously resided with Ms Jones. Now the case is before the...

High Court victory for consumers in mis-sold PPI claims

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UK banks have today lost a judicial review that could have a major impact on whether more compensation has to be paid by them in relation to mis-sold loan insurance . The High Court handed down their judgment today, which means that banks will now have to...

Consumer watchdog calls for overhaul of legal expenses insurance

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I was very interested to note that this week, watchdog Consumer Focus, has openly called for an overhaul of legal expenses insurance (LEI), highlighting that many people are unaware of what it covers, or have difficulty using it. ...

FSA fine building society £1.4m for mis-selling investments

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The Norwich and Peterborough Building Society has this week been fined £1.4m, after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) found the society had failed to give their customers suitable advice. On top of this fine, the society has also agreed to make...

Court of Appeal opens floodgates for adult children challenging their parent's estates?

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The Court of Appeal has today handed down a very interesting decision, which may open the gates for many people to contest their parents’ Wills and estates. Heather Ilott, aged 50, of Great Munden,...

How comprehensive is your boiler insurance?

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Many people pay for boiler insurance to cover the costs of fixing broken boilers. However, such policies do not always provide the coverage expected by the consumer. It is important to read all the small print in the policy to...

Guidance issued by the Office of Fair Trading on the fairness of consumer contracts

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has stated that it intends to investigate more businesses whose terms and conditions alter the position from what consumers would otherwise understand it to be. So, if the small...

High Court writes off MBNA credit card debt

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Last week, in the High Court in Mold, North Wales, Keith Harrison had his debt of £20,270 written off by the judge, Nicholas Chambers QC. The lender, MBNA bank, was criticised by a High Court judge for, as he put it,...

Claiming the benefits you're entitled to

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In the current economic climate it is only the lucky few who can feel truly secure in their employment. With the economic recovery by no means assured, and a wave of redundancies beginning across the public sector, more and more people are going to find...

Family home main issue in Wills disputes

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The BBC2 series ‘Can’t take it with you’ has raised significant awareness of the need to plan properly for the future by making a Will. The series as a whole deals with the dilemmas...

BBC2 series 'Can't take it with you' highlights avoiding contested Wills

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The BBC series ‘Can’t take it with you’ concluded on Friday with its 6th episode, showing on BBC2. The series as a whole has dealt with some of the emotional dilemmas people face when writing a Will and...

Late marine's ex-girlfriend wins Will dispute

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The ex-girlfriend of a Royal Marine has successfully challenged her late boyfriend’s family in a bitter Will dispute . This week, a judge found in favour of the ex-girlfriend over the £290,000 Will, after his...

£1.5 million property inheritance dispute resolved

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Judgment was delivered last week in the High Court in an inheritance dispute between a father and son over ownership of the family castle. Philip Howard took his father, sixth baronet Sir John Howard-Lawson,...