Tuesday, 7 July 2020

COVID-19: TAX PAYMENT DELAY OK: UK

Are you due to make a second self-assessment payment on account of income tax for the 2019/20 tax year by 31 July 2020? Are you finding it difficult or impossible to make that payment due to the impact of coronavirus? Worry not. HMRC has announced that you may defer payment and show 'em your money by 31 January 2021. If you do, there will be no interest charged or penalties imposed as a result of the delayed payment. You do not need to ask HMRC for permission to defer or even tell them that you are deferring. Just don't pay!

Sunday, 5 July 2020

COVID-19: A BREATHER FOR COMPANIES & DIRECTORS: GB

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 is alive. Here's what it does for Great Britain.
  • A creditor's ability to ask the court to wind up a company which owes them money is likely to be paralysed up to 30 September 2020 - and that date can be extended. Winding up can now only be sought and will only be ordered by the court if the creditor can show that coronavirus has not had a financial effect on the company or the company's indebtedness to the creditor would have arisen even if coronavirus had not had a financial effect on the company. 
  • The potential liability of a company director for wrongful trading (for example, continuing to trade and take customers' money when it was known or should have been known that the company was insolvent) is suspended for what the director did or omitted to do during the period O1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 and, again, this period is extendable.






Friday, 19 June 2020

COVID-19: LATEST BUSINESS TENANCY REPRIEVE

A landlord of business premises has a legal right to forfeit the lease of those premises and go into them where the tenant is behind with the payment of rent. That right was effectively paralysed in England by section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 until 30 June 2020. The paralysis is being extended until 30 September 2020 by the Business Tenancies (Protection from Forfeiture: Relevant period) (Coronavirus) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/602 made today 19 June 2020. This protection for tenants generally applies only to tenancies to which Part 2 of the Landlord and tenant Act 1954 applies.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Divorce Law Reforms: VERY LATEST

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday. It now awaits Royal Assent any time now before it becomes law. But hold on tightly, please. Before you can take advantage of it, regulations about how it will work in practice have to be drawn up and that will be a massive task. My best current bet is that we will have to wait until around this time next year before these regulations have been made and the new law is fully in operation. For the meantime, it's the Blame Game.

For what the Bill is about feast you eyes on https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/divorce

Friday, 12 June 2020

COVID-19:EASING OF RESTRICTIONS: LINKED HOUSEHOLDS: NEW LAW

For a digestible (just about) explanation of the new COVID-19 relaxations in England, see
The relevant regulations are in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/588 which were made today and laid before Parliament at 2.20pm this afternoon. Most of the regulations come into force tomorrow 13 June 2020.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

COVID-19: POSSESSION MORATORIUM EXTENDED

The freeze in England and Wales on property possession proceedings being progressed in the courts and possession orders being enforced by county court bailiffs or High Court enforcement agents is being extended until 23 August 2020. Proceedings and orders against trespassers are excluded. The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 SI 2010/582 are responsible and cover the same ground as the amended CPR PD 51Z.

Monday, 25 May 2020

PPI Claims - Not finished!

You took out a PPI (payment protection insurance) policy and you have since been kicking yourself so hard that one of your legs is covered in bruises and you cannot exercise. But your pain might just evaporate if it transpires that, unbeknown to you at the time, the bank or other lender who granted you credit and got you into the policy received a massive commission from the company which issued the policy. You just might be able to secure a cut of the commission or refund of some of the premiums paid to the PPI company. You would be making a so-called Plevin claim named after a Supreme Court case which gave the green light to claims of this kind. The Financial Ombudsman Service was taking up Plevin claims on behalf of borrowers but the time is now up for obtaining any redress through the Ombudsman in high commission cases which leaves court proceedings -they could probably be dealt with as  a county court 'small claim'- as the only option.

The proceedings would be on the basis that the relationship between you and the lender was unfair, under section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Trouble is that such proceedings must be started within six years of the policy coming to an end - UNLESS! Yes, like lots of situations in the law, there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is this. The six years may be extended where your lender has deliberately concealed some fact which is relevant to your right to take action. The concealment can concern the lender's receipt of that commission and, if it does, the time for starting proceedings might not start to run until you discovered that the commission had been received or could have discovered its recipe with reasonable diligence. 
In a case just before the High Court called  Canada Square Operations Ltd (formerly Egg Banking plc) v Potter [2020] EWHC 672 (QB) the borrower only discovered a commission on a PPI policy linked to a loan agreement  which amounted to a cool 95.24% of the premium, eight and a half years after the loan agreement ended. Canada Square accepted that its relationship with the borrower had been s140A unfair. It argued on appeal against an adverse judgment that there had been no duty to disclose the commission and so there was an absence of deliberate concealment. 

Canada Square, said the High Court judge, had not taken any positive action to conceal. However, it had made a deliberate decision not to do something in circumstances where it was obvious that the existence of the commission would not be discovered for some time and that was good enough to have earned the borrower an extension of time for bringing the proceedings!

Canada Square is seeking permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. I'll keep you posted on that. Certainly, there currently exists a judgment which can be used to support an 'unfair relationship' claim. On the strength of that judgment, you may wish to write to your lender and ask them -
1 Did you receive a commission on the PPI policy and was it paid in one lump sum?
2 How much was that commission and what percentage of the PPI premiums did it represent?
3 Why did you not disclose the commission to me?
4 Do you accept that, because of non-disclosure, our relationship was unfair within section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and, if so, what do you propose to do about it?

Mention the Canada Square case.

You'll find loads of info on consumer rights - and much more - in my book Breaking Law.