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Legal Updates

Ground Rent – A New Leasehold Scandal Brewing?

This month we are considering a form of land ownership, leasehold, that has been described as a “murky corner of residential property”, and perhaps more worryingly if you own one, “a national scandal which dwarfs PPI”. With recent stories about homeowners having ground rents that double every 10 years and an all-party Parliamentary Group reporting on reforms in April 2017, even stronger language has been used by MPs describing leasehold houses as a “national con”. 

How The General Election Will Affect Proposed Laws

With the general election coming up in a few short days, many questions have arisen regarding how it will affect already proposed laws. While a good majority of those that were in question have since been passed (all of which will be discussed briefly below), there are still a few that have not been as successful. But what does that all mean in terms of the nearing election on June 8? 

Successful bills

Changes to Inheritance Tax

If you are currently studying the Legal Secretaries Diploma course and have studied the Wills, Probate and Administration module, you will be familiar with the fact that inheritance tax is not currently payable on estates below the “nil rate band”. The nil rate band (NRB) is currently set at £325,000, meaning that for any estate over this figure, tax is payable on the difference at the rate of 40%. 

Family Practice: Time for a change? – No fault divorce

This month we are examining the impact of a recent Court of Appeal decision on the divorce petition of Mrs Tini Owens. The Court of Appeal have, in refusing Mrs Owens’ divorce petition, buried the possibility of a couple divorcing on a no fault basis.

Land Law – Rent Charges

Rent charges have existed since the 13th century and have traditionally provided an income for landowners who allowed their land to be developed. It would be fair to say that in recent years, rent charges have not been a major feature of any conveyancing transaction, but that may be set to change. There have been a number of cases recently where private investment companies have been imposing heavy financial penalties on homeowners for non-payment.

The Future of Digital Conveyancing

Modern technology has simplified many aspects of our lives, both personally and commercially. It has been possible to shop or take out contracts and arrange finance electronically for some years now. However, the conveyancing industry has been slow to adapt to, or to adopt, the new technologies available. 

A Summary of the Civil Law Courts of England and Wales

It is important to note that there have been a few changes to the structure of the civil courts system in England and Wales over the past 10 years or so, the most important of which occurred at the very top of this hierarchical chain with a change in name from the House of Lords to the Supreme Court. Also, there have been a few changes to the Family Court that primarily derived from Part II of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

Should Cohabitors Have Equal Rights?

In days of yore it was so much simpler – you were either married or you weren’t. The sanctity of marriage was the norm. You reached, say, your late teens or early twenties, you got engaged, and then you were married; whether you lived happily ever after was another matter. In those days, in both a sociological and a legal way, marriage was to be supported, and it was.

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