Blog Archives

ILN Today Post

1 April 2018: an important day for more than just April Fools

April Fool’s Day 2018 will not just see the arrival of exceptionally crazy headlines in the tabloid press, but also the introduction of new rules governing the provision of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).  EPCs are already a feature of the residential market, and will from 1 April 2018 also begin having a substantial impact upon the commercial property market. While arguably well intentioned by the Government, with the aim of helping to improve the energy efficiency of buildings generally, the requirements will be onerous for landlords and developers of commercial property.

The regulations are lengthy and far reaching. Our handy Q&A below should help you to get a grip on the changes.

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Newsflash: 20% increase in planning application fees from 17 January

Long expected regulations to increase the fees for planning applications were made by the Government just before the Christmas break. The regulations increase the fees by approximately 20% for applications submitted from 17 January, so if you are about to submit an application it would sensible to do so by 16 January if possible. The regulations also introduce new fees for certain other applications, including those made necessary because the local authority has withdrawn a permitted development right by an article 4 direction or a planning condition.

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How to save tax like a duke

Using family trusts to save IHT is not just for the super-rich, but it does help to have had some well-advised ancestors…

No doubt you’ve read the press reports about the sixth Duke of Westminster who has arranged his financial affairs so that the bulk of his £9bn property portfolio passes to his son, Hugh, without having to pay much in the way of death duties.

So have you ever wondered how the very wealthy seem to pay little or no Inheritance Tax (IHT)?

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Suspension following disciplinary allegations: neutral act or breach of trust and confidence?

A number of Employment Tribunal and court decisions over recent years have examined the effect of suspending an employee in order to investigate disciplinary allegations.  The result is that suspension, which might once have been considered a neutral act necessary to allow an unimpeded investigation and/or to prevent a recurrence of acts of misconduct, has now become a hornet’s nest for litigation and a legal minefield for employers.

In this briefing Mike Tremeer will look at the most recent High Court case in this area, Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, in which the suspension of a primary school teacher following disciplinary allegations made against her was sufficient in itself to give rise to her constructive dismissal and to form the basis for a breach of contract claim against the Borough.

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Funding the Belt and Road: The challenges of attracting private investment

After the ambition of the Beijing summit, back in May 2017, comes the reality of financing the Belt and Road initiative (BRI).  How might the risks of building and operating BRI schemes be spread and what will be the role for private investment?

Notwithstanding China’s substantial foreign currency reserves which are being made available for investment, the BRI is so vast in its ambition that China simply does not have the money to publicly fund all BRI schemes.  Furthermore, unless BRI risks are carefully spread, there could be real concerns about China’s return on investment and the ability of some countries with poor credit ratings to repay any BRI loans.

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Coty scents competition law victory for brand owners

In a much anticipated judgment, the European Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has determined that EU competition law does not prevent luxury brands imposing restrictions on the use by distributors of third party e-commerce platforms. The judgment confirms the opinion expressed by the Advocate General to the court (see https://www.fladgate.com/2017/08/eu-general-court-opinion-delivers-boost-brands-selling-online/) that such restrictions can be permitted where they are necessary to preserve brand image.

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One Belt, One Road – addressing legal challenges to harness global opportunity in the rail sector

The “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative – or the “new Silk Road” as it is often referred to – is China’s grand vision for the creation of co-ordinated trade routes on both land and sea.  Spanning 65 countries, when completed it would give industry freight access to over 60% of the world’s population and create significant new opportunities for trade integration.

The “Road” part of the project is to connect shipping routes via major ports from China to Africa and Europe. The “Belt”, more ambitiously, involves the creation of a transnational railway connecting Asia, Russia and Europe, with journeys potentially taking as little as eight days from end to end.

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Top tips for tenants: Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Value Added Tax (VAT)

Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, wrote the now infamous words “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Whilst the former (thankfully) is outside of the scope of this article, the latter (sadly) is not and should be at the forefront of a tenant’s mind when taking a lease of new premises or re-gearing an existing lease.

In this article we will be looking at some typical transactions involving tenants, the SDLT and VAT implications of each of them and some practical tips/considerations.  Before we begin, it is worth setting out a brief overview of SDLT and VAT.

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Starting as you mean to go on…pre-emption rights and applications to assign

This case involved a dispute between the tenant (in administration) (TCG) and the defendant (Girdlers) in relation to the proposed assignment of a lease of pub premises in London. The lease contained a provision prohibiting assignment without the consent of the landlord, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld, but prior to seeking consent the tenant was obliged to grant an option to the landlord at its market price.

The tenant went into administration and its administrators entered into a business purchase agreement with a purchaser. The tenant claimed to have made the offer to take back the lease and that the landlord failed to accept it. The tenant also claimed that it sought consent to assign. The landlord disputed that such an appropriate offer was made and also whether the tenant (as opposed to the assignee) had made a valid application for consent. There was also a dispute as to whether the landlord was unreasonably withholding consent in insisting upon a rent deposit or guarantee.

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Car parking: display or pay!

Summary

The owner of a shop claimed rights to park on an adjoining car park on the basis that it had acquired rights to do so over a period of 20 years’ use. As the car park owner had maintained clearly visible private car park signs, these were indicative of its continuing objection to unauthorised parking and were enough to stop the shop owner acquiring rights.

Facts of the case

The issue arose in a Court of Appeal case[1] relating to a dispute between the owners of a fish and chip shop and an adjoining social club.

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