Disclosure of Shareholder Registers – Court of Appeal Test Case

Disclosure of Shareholder Registers – Court of Appeal Test Case Companies are, on pain of criminal sanction, required by to keep their shareholder registers open for public inspection. However, as a Court of Appeal test case made clear, shareholders are entitled to expect that their personal data will only be used for proper purposes. Pursuant to Section 116 of the Companies Act 2006, a businessman who specialises in tracing missing shareholders who are unaware of their assets requested a public company to disclose the entirety of its register of members. The company refused to comply and was granted a declaration that it was not obliged to do so by a…

Sick Pensioner Lacked Mental Capacity to Make a Valid Will

Sick Pensioner Lacked Mental Capacity to Make a Valid Will Those who delay making a professionally drafted will until they reach advanced old age are making a mistake for which their loved ones are likely to pay in the long run. In one case, a woman’s three children were left at loggerheads after she signed a new will bequeathing all that she had to just one of them. Under an earlier will, the woman had divided her estate equally between her children. However, just over a year before she died, she made a new one, cutting two of them out. By then she was in poor health and aged 82.…

Solicitors are Often Friends as Well as Advisers in Times of Trouble

Solicitors are Often Friends as Well as Advisers in Times of Trouble Solicitors are often friends as well as advisers to their clients and are well placed to offer protection at moments of vulnerability. Exactly that happened in one case, in which a terminally ill financier proposed giving £5 million to a girlfriend before his lawyer counselled him to exercise restraint. The financier, the bulk of whose fortune was held in an offshore family trust with assets of about £230 million, had become very close to the woman, who was almost 30 years his junior. He was aware that he was dying from an incurable disease when he proposed making…

Prescriptive Rights of Way – The Absence of Permission Is Vital

Prescriptive Rights of Way – The Absence of Permission Is Vital Rights of way across the land of others can become established if they have been used openly and without force for at least 20 years. However, such use must also be without permission and, as one case showed, that can often prove a sticking point. The owners of land on which a workshop stood claimed a vehicular right of way over an adjoining yard. The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that the yard had been used as a means of vehicular access to the workshop for the required 20-year period. However, in refusing to recognise a right of way, the…

Facing Homelessness? A Solicitor’s Office Should be Your First Port of Call

Facing Homelessness? A Solicitor’s Office Should be Your First Port of Call Local authorities are under a legal duty to provide suitable accommodation for the homeless, but the rules are complex and – as one case showed – a solicitor’s office should be your first port of call if you risk losing the roof over your head. A mother of three was, through no fault of her own, facing eviction from her family home. The local authority accepted that she was in priority need of re-housing and offered her a new home in a block of flats. She rejected the offer on the basis that the flat was too far…

Smoking and Asbestos Exposure – Judges Strike Common Sense Balance

Smoking and Asbestos Exposure – Judges Strike Common Sense Balance Everyone is nowadays well aware that smoking is bad for you, but that was not the case in the 1950s and earlier at a time when thousands of people were exposed to asbestos. That point was made in an important test case in which the Court of Appeal analysed the level of blameworthiness to be attached to those who fail to kick their tobacco habit. The case concerned a dockworker who was aged 74 when he died from lung cancer. He had started smoking when he was aged 14 in 1950. He had managed to cut down from 20 to…

Penalised by Officialdom? A Good Lawyer Can Help!

Penalised by Officialdom? A Good Lawyer Can Help! Official decisions can have a dramatic impact on your life – but one of the benefits of living in a country where the rule of law prevails is that they can be challenged. The point was proved by one case in which a single mother took on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in a dispute over tax credits and won hands down. The woman’s tax credits had been stopped on the basis that she was not a lone parent, but rather was living with the father of her children. She explained that they were separated and, in lieu of child maintenance, he…

Making a Will? Don’t Forget Your Moral Responsibilities to Your Family!

Making a Will? Don’t Forget Your Moral Responsibilities to Your Family! When making your will, the law expects that you will not forget your responsibilities to those who have a legitimate call on your bounty. The point was made by one case in which a father left his entire £265,000 estate to a friend, cutting out his three children. The man had severed links with his family following the end of his second marriage and had for many years had little or no contact with his children. His daughter’s efforts in adulthood to rekindle her relationship with him had borne fruit for about three years before they fell out and…

Adoption Is a Last Resort but the Welfare of Children Is Paramount

Adoption Is a Last Resort but the Welfare of Children Is Paramount Family judges are well aware that it is preferable for youngsters to be brought up by their natural families and that adoption is a last resort. However, as one case clearly showed, they will not shrink from taking that step if a child’s welfare demands it. The case concerned a little boy, aged two and a half, whose mother suffered from a personality disorder and whose father’s habitual use of cannabis had interfered with his parenting skills. The boy was two months old when he was removed from his parents’ care by the local authority and placed with…

Nature of Confidentiality Defined in Court of Appeal Test Case

Nature of Confidentiality Defined in Court of Appeal Test Case The nature of confidentiality has been pondered by the Court of Appeal in a guideline decision concerning a parent who posted information about eleven-plus examination papers online before all the candidates had sat them. The exam was taken by over 1,800 pupils vying for entry to six grammar schools in one local authority area. The majority of them sat it on the same day, but over 300 candidates took it later. In the interim, the parent published details of the questions on a website, giving rise to concerns that those pupils who took the exam later may have gained an…