About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Friday, 24 June 2022

RESIDENTIAL GROUND RENT BAN START: RETIREMENT HOMES TO BE INCLUDED

If you have watched my latest video (see post below and click away, if you haven't, and shame on you) you will be an expert in peppercorns. This post is to confirm that the Leasehold Reform (Ground) Rent Act 2022 WILL come into force on 30 June 2022 as indicated by me would happen. This is as a result of regulations just made (see SI 2022/694) which also provide that the Act will be extended to leases of retirement homes on 01 April 2022.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

MASTERCARD CLAIM: LATEST

Sorry, you won't get your cheque quite yet. For the  last instalment in the Walter Merricks claim against Mastercard on behalf of us all (well, most of us) see - https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/MasterCard%20claim    

Mastercard did not like the ruling that, when someone had had the potential to collect compensation as at 06 September 2016 but had since died, the personal representatives of their estate could step into their shoes. So Mastercard decided to challenge that ruling through an appeal. But they needed permission to appeal. The Competition Appeal Tribunal has just refused permission. If they have the will and the energy, Mastercard could now ask the Court of Appeal to grant permission. However, this should not slow down the preparation for a final hearing. Bigger than Depp and Vardy!

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

NEW DIVORCE LAWS

There have been monumental changes in the divorce laws for England and Wales and they are now all in force. For a full explanation on how they work - with both primary and subordinate legislation covered - treat yourself to my book The Return of Breaking Law. And if you want a free ride or a big taster, take a view of my video (episode 12 - see below) on the subject and enjoy the wallpaper behind me.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

NEW DIVORCE LAWS: COSTS GUIDANCE ISSUED

As I predicted in my video on the new divorce laws coming into force next week, the President of the High Court's Family Division has issued (just yesterday) guidance on how the courts should approach an application by one party for an order that the other party should pay their costs of proceedings. In fact, the guidance covers not only proceedings for divorce but proceedings for a dissolution of a civil partnership or for separation in marriage and civil partnership where mirror reforms will also come into force on 06 April 2022.

The guidance has a special eye on proceedings that are uncontested and where, because of the legal reforms, the court will no longer be considering the conduct of either party towards the other during their relationship. It makes clear, however, that the conduct of the party being asked to pay the costs of the other party in connection with the actual proceedings, rather than the relationship, may be relevant. This will be particularly so if, for example, the other party has attempted to evade service of court documentation and increased the costs as a result. Raising spurious or unreasonable arguments in proceedings will also be taken into account and could lead to a costs order.

This guidance in no way affects current proceedings or those which are started between now and 06 April 2022. This means, as I have been suggesting, that bringing proceedings under the current laws may well make it more likely that the blameless party will score on costs than under the new laws.

All is explained in my video which you can access by clicking on the video image in one of the posts below. 






Wednesday, 16 March 2022

NEW DIVORCE LAWS START ON 6 APRIL 2022: VIEW FREE VIDEO

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2022 WILL be fully in force on 06 April 2022. It's official. Thank the commencement regulations which have now been made - SI 2022/283.

Bring proceedings now or wait until 06 April 2022. How will the new laws work? For painless answers to these and other questions, click on my free video and settle down for twenty minutes......with a drink. 

Friday, 11 March 2022

NEW DIVORCE LAWS EXPLAINED FOR LAWYERS & NON-LAWYERS ON FREE VIDEO

It is all due to be happening on 06 April 2022. That's when the new divorce laws will come into force. In my free to view video, I explain how they will work and whether anyone after divorce or civil partnership dissolution should bring proceedings under the current law before 06 April or wait for the new laws to arrive. Account is taken of all the relevant legislation as well as the amended practice directions.



Thursday, 10 March 2022

MASTERCARD CLAIM: LATEST

If you are after collecting a few bob without having to strain yourself, you will know all about the Mastercard claim brought by Walter Merricks in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. If you don't, take a look at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/MasterCard%20claim

Where are we with this claim? Yesterday 09 March 2022 on the latest preliminary skirmish, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled that where someone who had the potential to collect compensation as at 06 September 2016 has since died, their claim will live on through the representative of their estate. This will add in an estimated three million extra claims. The Tribunal also gave permission for interest on compensation to be sought at the higher rate of 5% above base rate which raises the £14 billion being sought on behalf of UK consumers by up to £2.7 billion.

The case will move to a further hearing at the end of July 2022 when it is expected that a timetable for a trial will be set. A bit early to apply for tickets for the front row stalls.

FLEXIBLE TENANCY CHALLENGE: THE SUPREME COURT RULES.

The Supreme Court has now spoken in the matter of flexible tenancies (see my previous post here at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/flexible%20tenancies) and I warn you - it's a bit technical!  It has disagreed with the decisions reached by the lower courts.

The ruling is that a flexible tenancy landlord can take steps to terminate the tenancy early (before its fixed period has come to an end) on the basis of some default by the tenant provided that the tenancy agreement contains a forfeiture clause. In deciding whether there was a forfeiture clause, regard would be had to the substance of the words used rather than their form. The standard flexible tenancy agreement used by Croydon Council which was the landlord in the case did contain provisions which amounted to forfeiture clauses and the same standard agreement has been used by most -if not all - of the local authorities who between 2014 and 2018 granted an estimated 30,000 flexible tenancies. 

The Supreme Court also ruled that where a flexible tenancy agreement contained a break clause and no fault was being alleged against the tenant, then, provided the conditions for its exercise were satisfied, the landlord could take steps to exercise it and obtain possession before the end of the fixed term  This would be appropriate, for example, where possession was required so that the let property could be redeveloped.

Without a break clause (where no tenant fault) or forfeiture clause (tenant fault), the landlord looking to oust their flexible tenant will be stymied.  


Monday, 7 March 2022

EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL AWARD LIMITS RISE

Try and stay in your job until 06 April 2022. If you fired on or after that date, the ceiling for the compensation an employment tribunal can award you for an unfair dismissal is increased by a handsome 4.9%. This is in line with the rise in the retail prices index between September 2020 and September 2021. 

The same level of increase is applied across the board for the various types of employment complaints that can be made but  none of the increases are retrospective. They apply to the employer's misdeeds which are taken to have arisen after 5 April 2022.

For these hikes, you can kiss (or kick, if you are an employer) the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2022 (SI 2022/182) which, for example, also sees what is deemed to be one week's pay - and this limit is used for the calculation of redundancy payments and the basic and additional award for unfair dismissal - rises from £544 to £571. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal goes up by £4,385 to £93,878.

All this applies to England, Wales and Scotland.    

Monday, 28 February 2022

NEW DIVORCE LAWS: STAND BY: FREE VIDEO

COMING SOON HERE - MY VIDEO FOR LAWYERS AND LITIGANTS IN PERSON. AND NO CHARGE TO VIEW.

A DIGESTIBLE EXPLANATION OF THE NEW DIVORCE LAWS DUE TO APPLY FROM 6 APRIL 2022 PLUS  THE NEW PROCEDURES AND THE NEW FORMS. WAIT UNTIL 6 APRIL OR USE CURRENT LAW NOW? FIND OUT SHORTLY.


Thursday, 3 February 2022

NEW FORM NEEDED FOR FINANCIAL REMEDY CONSENT ORDER

We have previously had a look at how to go about getting the court to make an agreed order for finances on divorce, civil partnership dissolution, nullity or separation without a court hearing. A draft of the proposed order  has to be accompanied by a statement of financial information. That statement is called a form D81. You know it makes sense.

The form is changing into a 23 page job which is designed to extract more detail so that the judge who considers it in the comfort  - sometimes discomfort -of his work room can decide whether it is fair to both sides. You won't get that agreed order simply because it is agreed. The judge must be satisfied that it is reasonable to make it. The more information the judge has, the less likely they will have to ask questions. Doing that can cause delay of some weeks.

The new form or the current form can be used as from now. But the new form must be used if the old form has not been signed up by both sides no later than Friday 18 February 2022. The moral. If you don't fancy the new form, pull your finger out with the current one. You will find the new form at - \https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1051993/D81_0122_save.pdf





Monday, 31 January 2022

INCONSIDERATE CYCLISTS BEWARE: THE ACTUAL NEW HIGHWAY CODE

You will have heard. There's a new highway code and there are some reports of cyclists behaving as though they now have total command over our highways. Let's get the legal record straight. What the code now says is this. 

Rule 72

Road positioning. When riding on the roads, there are two basic road positions you should adopt, depending on the situation.

1) Ride in the centre of your lane, to make yourself as clearly visible as possible, in the following situations

  • on quiet roads or streets – if a faster vehicle comes up behind you, move to the left to enable them to overtake, if you can do so safely
  • in slower-moving traffic - when the traffic around you starts to flow more freely, move over to the left if you can do so safely so that faster vehicles behind you can overtake
  • at the approach to junctions or road narrowings where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake you

2) When riding on busy roads, with vehicles moving faster than you, allow them to overtake where it is safe to do so whilst keeping at least 0.5 metres away, and further where it is safer, from the kerb edge. Remember that traffic on most dual carriageways moves quickly. Take extra care crossing slip roads.

The message is clear. Do not make a nuisance of yourself.

And the code also says this.

Rule 66

You should

  • avoid any actions that could reduce your control of your cycle
  • be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups. You can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders. Be aware of drivers behind you and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when you feel it is safe to let them do so
  • not ride close behind another vehicle in case it stops suddenly
  • not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain
  • be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians, and horse riders (see Rule H1). Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by calling out or ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted.
Failure to observe the Highway Code is not of itself an offence. But if there is a prosecution for a motoring offence or a civil claim for compensation after a road accident, the court will take into account that the Code was flouted in deciding whether the offence has been committed or the road user sued has been negligent. 

Let's take the example of a cyclist who stubbornly insists on riding in the centre of their lane on a long quiet and narrow road and so prevents a motorist behind - whether or not an emergency vehicle on call- from overtaking. The cyclist could not be prosecuted 'for failing to move over in contravention of the Highway Code'. But they could be prosecuted under section 29 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for 'cycling on a road without reasonable consideration for other road users' which is an offence. And if an accident ensued and there was a civil claim, the failure to move over could be reckoned by the court in deciding whether that contributed to the accident so as to render the cyclist liable to pay out compensation to the victim. 

I have previously looked at how the civil courts deal with allegations of negligence against cyclists. See

And yes, cyclists are required by law to comply with some speed limits and stop at red at traffic lights!

Happy motoring - and cycling.

Monday, 24 January 2022

BECOME A BEAK: 'TAKE HIM DOWN'

'Take him down.' May be downtrodden at home but you could be ruling the roost as a magistrate dealing with criminal cases and, if you wished, family cases as well. They want you. There is a national shortage of some 4,000 beaks and the Ministry of Justice has today launched a campaign to try and recruit them.

Aged between 18 and 70, able to tell the difference between 'guilty and not-guilty' and not fresh out of prison and you could be selected. If employed, the boss is under a legal duty to give you a reasonable amount of time off to make a contribution to the administration of justice in England and Wales but it's up to them to decide how much time and whether it is to be paid or unpaid leave. You will get lost earnings and  expenses but there are limits. You will find them at  https://www.magistrates-association.org.uk/magistrates-allowances


You can apply online at https://magistrates.judiciary.uk/

Friday, 21 January 2022

CHILD DISPUTE MEDIATION: FREE £500 TOKENS FOR COST

Involved in a child dispute? Reckon there is a reasonable chance that the intervention of a trained and independent mediator may result in a settlement with the other parent and avoid a contested court hearing? The government has been dishing out tokens worth £500 a go to couples to pay the cost of this form of mediation or at least to go towards the cost where the arguments are about how much contact, whether your son should wear short or long trousers, whether he should be kept to a vegan diet, which school he should attend, whether he is watching too many box sets......   There is no means test:millionaires qualify. I wrote about the scheme at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2021/08/child-dispute-scheme-bolstered-500-on.html   

The hot news is that the government has just committed to make available tokens for another 2,440 couples and that should keep the scheme going to the end of March 2022 although my money is on  the scheme being extended, with more tokens being issued beyond then. It is claimed that since the scheme started, there has been a success rate of 77% which is commendably high although this percentage includes disputes where there has only been partial agreement. But don't worry. The courts won't be out of work.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

WILLS: VIDEO WITNESSING TO BE EXTENDED

The law was temporarily changed to allow wills to be witnessed remotely as I reported here on 07 September 2021  (see https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/wills). This change was aimed at assisting would-be will makers who could not organise the two required witnesses to breath down their necks in the same room as they were signing up, on account of Covid-19. But the temporary law was due to run out at the end of this month.

Today, legislation has been laid before Parliament which will extend the temporary provisions until 31 January 2024.

Monday, 10 January 2022

LATEST LAW ON VIDEO - AND IT'S FREE!



It shouldn't be painful. Pour a cup of coffee and take a look at my January video on the latest law. If you don't like it, you can always throw the cup contents at the screen. Clean afterwards with non-chemical liquid.