Sentencing remarks made by Senior Judges will be filmed in a pilot scheme expected to start within weeks. It is hoped this will lead to openness and transparency as to what happens in our Courts.
An increase in the Petition issue fee is expected to come into effect shortly, with increases also in various court fees for civil proceedings. The current fee is £410. The proposed new fee will be £550. Clients may be eligible for a reduction to this fee and we can advise on this.
Government regulations for obtaining Legal Aid in cases of domestic abuse have been declared legally flawed by the Court of Appeal. This relates to the time limit of evidence being within 24 months. The Ministry of Justice will now consider the findings to ensure victims of domestic violence can get Legal Aid where needed.
Miss Steinfeld and Mr Keidan intend to appeal against Judge's dismissal of case claiming law discriminates against heterosexual couples who want to enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage. They maintain that the government's position on civil partnerships is "incompatible with equality law".
Caswell Jones have recently been accepted as a panel firm for the Help to Buy: ISA Scheme and if you or any member of your family are intending to save money towards a future house purchase in this scheme and you require any future information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact either of our offices.
A new law has been introduced under Serious Crime Act 2015 for further protection for victims of domestic abuse. The new law makes it a criminal offence to repeatedly or continuously engage in behaviour that is controlling or coercive towards another person with whom they are in an intimate or family relationship. Please contact us if you need any further advice in relation to protection from domestic violence or abuse.
The new Lasting Power of Attorney forms issued by the Office of the Public Guardian will come into force on 1st January 2016. The re-design will make the forms easier to follow and faster to complete. If you need any further information please contact us.
If you are looking to buy a second home, or if you are in the market for a buy-to-let property, then you should consider the new rules that have been announced which will apply from April 2016. This provides for a substantial increase in duty. If you think you will be affected, please contact us. There are also tighter rules on the way for payment of Capital Gains Tax - which will need to be paid within 30 days of completion and tax relief against profits have been restricted. You may need to check your position with your accountants.
If you own a property abroad then you should consider reviewing your Will following new EU laws which came into force last summer. The new rules mean that on death, the starting position is that the laws of succession of the "habitual residence" of the deceased at the time of their death apply. Although the UK has opted out of the new regime (known as "Brussels IV" the rules are complex and those with properties in other parts of Europe could still, in practice, be affected -especially of course if they are habitually resident in one of the relevant EU states.
The Family Court is taking a much tougher practical approach to enforce its orders, punishing those who wilfully commit non-disclosure and refuse to engage in the court process. In the case of Sarah Kimura Al-Baker and Abdul Amir Al-Baker, the husband refused to engage with any of the disclosure orders issued against him. The Judge said he was not only satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt that the husband had failed to comply with the disclosure orders but that the husband was defiant in his refusal to do so. The husband has been sentenced to a 9 month custodial sentence.