Legal Updates

Can a Contract be Created by Email?

The law of contract has slowly been developing in line with changes in the way people enter into contracts and use technology to communicate. One recent example of these changes is how the law treats a contract made by email. Some have argued that an exchange of informal emails would not be enough to create a formal legal relationship, but they are sadly mistaken based on recent case law developments.

Whose File is it Anyway? Releasing a Client's Papers

On occasion, a solicitor’s firm may find itself in dispute with its own client. This can happen, say, in a case where there is a disagreement over the legal bill or when a client wishes to change advisors. In these types of situations, a firm may find a client demanding that “their” file be released but the firm is reluctant to do so immediately (particularly where a legal bill is in dispute).

Wills and Probate - Disputed Estates Back in the Limelight

The law in England and Wales dealing with wills dates back to Victorian times. The current rules are based on the Wills Act 1837, while the tests to see if someone has the capacity to make a will were set out in a case from 1870.

The Law Commission has been consulting on several proposals to reform the law on wills. It is expected to report soon on proposals to modernise the law, which include:

 

No-Fault Divorce Update

We last reported on the topic of no-fault divorce in October of last year following the sad case of Tini Owens. The case highlighted a longstanding problem with divorce law which forces parties to find blame if they want to guarantee that the court can give permission for a divorce.

Cohabitation Agreements

Last autumn we considered the impact of a 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court about the state of relationships in Britain. Specifically we reviewed how the law on civil partnerships was to be changed to allow couples of the opposite sex who did not wish to get married to have some legal recognition. In the case, the Supreme Court made a declaration that the current law was not compatible with Human Rights legislation.

Changes to Rules for Solicitors

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was established in 2007 as an independent body responsible for regulating the 180,000 Solicitors in England and Wales. The SRA’s purpose is to protect the public by ensuring that Solicitors and those working for them meet very high standards. The key way that the SRA does this is by publishing and enforcing Principles for the profession and a Code of Conduct contained in the SRA Handbook.

Civil Litigation – Proportionality

Ever since the concept of proportionality was introduced to legal costs as part of the Woolf reforms in 1999, the courts and legal practitioners have wrestled with what this actually means. As part of Lord Justice Jackson’s package of reforms in 2007 the test was set out in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 44. This part of the CPR provided that only costs which were considered proportionate to a case would be allowed.