Yearly Archive December 31, 2014


UK Court Annuls 180 Italian Divorces

UK court annuls 180 Italian divorces signed up to Maidenhead mail box

Italian Divorces In Maidenhead anulled

Italian Divorces In Maidenhead annulled

A Female has been charged around EUR4,000 to arrange for couples to circumvent slow-moving Italian judicial system.

Maidenhead might, up until this week, have claimed to be the divorce capital of Italy. One hundred and eighty Italian couples whose marriages were dissolved through fictitious home in the Berkshire town have now had their divorces annulled by a British judge.

The conspiracy theory to circumvent the slow-moving Italian judicial system was officially ended on Tuesday by the president of the family division of the high court, Sir James Munby.
In a lengthy judgment (pdf) that detailed the strange scams, the judge explained how English and Welsh courts were swamped with divorce petitions from Italian couples asserting that a minimum of one partner was staying in the UK.

For the rate of around EUR4,000, a woman calling herself Dr Frederica Russo arranged to supply divorce documents for couples who wished to separate. Great deals of county courts were utilized in order to prevent and spread out the work any individual observing the duplicated use of the same address.
“The issue wased initially recognized in late February 2012 by an eagle-eyed member of the court staff at Burnley county court, Julie Farrah, who spotted that in two files, both involving Italian parties, the address was the same and that it was in Maidenhead,” Munby said.
“She brought it to the attention of district judge Conway, who contacted an associate in the Slough county court.
County courts were alerted and eventually 179 petitions using the same address were found; one Italian couple, making use of the very same technique, had actually liked to end their relationship through an address in Epsom.

“It is specific that none of them can ever have actually lived at Flat 201,” Munby included. “On 28 August 2012, policeman of the Thames Valley police carried out a search warrant. DS Steven Witts of Thames Valley cops confirms that Flat 201 was not a house or, undoubtedly, a property efficient in occupation.

“It was in fact a mailbox, mail box 201, one of a number of mailboxes found in industrial facilities. As the investigating officer in charge of the authorities investigation, DS Jonathan Groenen, mordantly commented in his witness statement: ‘It is not possible for 179 candidates or respondents to reside at this address.’ Provided the measurements of the mail box it is clear that not even a single person, however little, could possibly reside in it.”.

The divorces were prohibited, Munby stated, because the English courts were being deceived about their jurisdiction. The divorces therefore needed to be stated gap through scams even “if one or other or both of the celebrations have remarried or perhaps had a kid”.

The case will inevitably enhance nationwide stereotypes: while Hollywood film stars commemorate their nuptials in Venice, Italians choose Britain as a passion-killer.

Original Source 

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ByMichael Morrison

Stamp Duty

You have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property in the UK over a certain price. This is charged on all purchases of houses, flats and other land and buildings.

Different rates apply in Scotland from 1 April 2015 when Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaces SDLT.

The SDLT rate depends on:

  • the purchase price of the property
  • whether the property is residential

SDLT may also be due if you lease a property.

SDLT rates from 4 December 2014

SDLT is charged at different rates depending on the portion of the purchase price that falls into each rate band.

Before 4 December 2014, SDLT was charged as a single percentage of the property price.

Where contracts have been exchanged on or before 3 December 2014, and the transaction is completed on 4 December or later, you can choose whether you follow the new or the old rules.

Residential properties

Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT (percentage of portion of purchase price)
£0 – £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £925,000 5%
£925,001 – £1.5 million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%

Corporate bodies

SDLT is charged at 15% on residential dwellings costing more than £500,000 bought by bodies like:

  • companies
  • collective investment schemes

There are some exceptions. For example, you pay SDLT based on the new rates and bands where the property is used for:

  • a property rental business
  • a property development or resale trade
  • providing admission to visitors on a commercial basis

Residential leases

If your residential lease is for more than £125,000, you’ll pay 1% SDLTon the amount above the £125,000 threshold.

Conveyancing solicitors in London have reported that since the new rules were introduced there has been a fall in asking prices throughout London e.g. from 7% in Hammersmith and its environs to 0.5% in Hounslow.

Non-residential and mixed-use properties

Purchase price/lease premium or transfer value Rate of SDLT (percentage of portion of purchase price)
Up to £150,000 – annual rent is less than £1,000 Zero
Up to £150,000 – annual rent is £1,000 or more 1%
Over £150,000 to £250,000 1%
Over £250,000 to £500,000 3%
Over £500,000 4%


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Modification to the rules on wills

Modify the rules on wills, the government has actually been advised.

The policy of wills must be reformed to prevent people being ripped off, the Legal Ombudsman has actually cautioned.
Around 180,000 wills are written by non-lawyers every year, and are exempt from the complaints handling body. But a report by the Legal Ombudsman has actually gotten in touch with the government to open up their services to those utilizing non-regulated providers.
A Ministry of Justice representative said more could be done however more policy was not always the response.

‘Room for improvement’.
A spokesperson stated: that when people write a will it is very crucial for them to have peace of mind that their affairs will certainly be dealt with how they desire them to be. That is why we have actually agreed with the Legal Services Board that there is space for improvement in this area.
However we are not persuaded that regulation is the best way forward – we believe other options should be explored initially, including much better guidance for professionals and making better use of existing consumer info and security.

The Legal Ombudsman’s report declared that wills and probate were the 3rd greatest source of received problems, which the marketplace was “dealing with a variety of quality concerns.
It concluded that all customers of wills and probate provider need to have access to redress.


Wills and Probate

The Ombudsman assisted resolve more than a thousand wills and probate related complaints last year.

‘Ripped off’.
Excessive costs, hold-ups and a failure to follow instructions were a few of the usual issues dealt with. However the independent body is only enabled to take on wills prepared by regulated service providers.

It stated that a lack of regulatory oversight implied that customers could be entrusted no alternatives if they were “swindled by the provider.

Chief Legal Ombudsman Adam Sampson said: that wills can be prepared by anybody in concept. For people on a spending plan, this develops headaches about the standard of service one might reasonably anticipate. It likewise implies some individuals will certainly have access to help if things fail, while others will not. We want the government to at least consider a voluntary ombudsman plan into which company can opt themselves. Provision currently exists for the Lord Chancellor to make this happen.

Claims for mishandling a deceased estate rose three-fold in 2013, with 368 claims lodged in 2013 compared to 107 in the previous 12 months, according to figures from the Chancery Division.
Last year, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling declined the advice of the Legal Services Board to make will certainly composing a reserved legal activity.

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ByMichael Morrison

Delayed Diagnosis £120,000 High Court Award

Chloe McCarthy a 12-year old born with a dislocated hip was awarded £120,000 by the High Court recently for her future care due to a hospital blunder which led to a delay in her diagnosis and treatment.

Due to the error caused by an East London hospital she had endured restricted leg movement, great pain and undertaken several bouts of surgery.

From birth she had suffered from developmental dysplasia of the hip which was only diagnosed in August 2002 after several administrative mistakes and therefore three months late. As a result she was unable to undergo a manipulation of the joint to realign it with the socket, a procedure known as an immediate closed reduction.

Her medical experts attest that she could have avoided any operations and a suspected hip replacement by the age of 40 and in fact made a complete recovery just by wearing a cast for a few months.

She was represented by solicitors in London.

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ByMichael Morrison

Banks Fined – Litigation Tsunami Expected

A tidal wave of civil litigation is in expected after City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fined five banks a total of £1.1bn for rigging the £3.4trn-a-day foreign exchange market (forex) on the 12th November.

The five – Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS – can all expect to be hit by claims from clients including pension funds, foreign property owners and other foreign exchange houses, according to solicitors in London who have been quietly lining up litigants for the last two years.

A vital component of any successful action will be proving that a bank behaved in such a way that it profited at the expense of its customers.

The FCA statement said: ‘It is completely unacceptable for firms to engage in attempts at manipulation for their own benefit and to the potential detriment of certain clients and other market participants. Our final notices include examples where each bank’s trading made a significant profit.’

The final notices also all contain references to collusion between traders at different banks using online messaging and chatrooms. The FCA cites one example of such chatroom manipulation which netted Citibank a profit of £62,581 and another in which HSBC banked £102,425.

The notices could prove a boon for those bringing cases because they also contain examples of traders congratulating themselves after successfully manipulating forex rates. This, from one UBS trader, is typical: ‘The best fix of my UBS career’ – after he used a chatroom to move rates to produce a profit for £328,100 for UBS.

Chancellor George Osborne has said a share of the fines will be taken by the Treasury and ’used for the wider public good’.

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, said: ‘Firms could have been in no doubt, especially after Libor, that failing to take steps to tackle the consequences of a free for all culture on their trading floors was unacceptable. This is not about having armies of compliance staff ticking boxes. It is about firms understanding, and managing, the risks their conduct might pose to markets.

‘Where problems are identified we expect firms to deal with those quickly, decisively and effectively and to make sure they apply the lessons across their business. If they fail to do so they will continue to face significant regulatory and reputational costs.’

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ByMichael Morrison

London’s Hot £1bn Office Buying Frenzy

There’s a red hot property market prevailing in London at the moment according to commercial conveyancing solicitors with pressure on for completions before Christmas.

The Gherkin was speedily bought recently by Joseph Safra for £726 million according to industry insiders.

The strength of the capital’s economy and the reasonably high returns on investment are proving to be a sweet temptation for purchasers of London’s commercial buildings.  Such transactions include the purchase of Bow Bells House near St Paul’s for £300 million by Fubon Life the insurance megalith from Taiwan; it also has recently added neighbouring One Carter Lane to its portfolio for £139 million.

Other hot purchases are Milton Gate, Vintners Place, Thames Court and Cannon Bridge House which are expected to achieve in excess of £800 million.

The Abu Dhabi-backed flats developer Northacre is the suspected purchaser of Victoria’s New Scotland Yard, home of the Metropolitan Police, for £300 million and a takeover bid for the Canary Wharf developer by Qatari and Canadian Investors has been tabled.

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ByMichael Morrison

Immigration Law changes on 6/11/14

On the 16th October 2014 the Home Office published its latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules. This update outlines the key changes made.

Business visitors

A new category has been added for overseas lawyers who are employees of international law firms with offices in the United Kingdom. The change will allow the business visitor to provide direct advice to clients in the United Kingdom on litigation or international transactions, provided that they remain paid and employed overseas.

Tier 2

The Home Office will now make an assessment as to whether a genuine vacancy exists for Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) and Tier 2 (General) applications. This change empowers entry clearance officers and in-country caseworkers to refuse applications where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job described by the sponsor does not genuinely exist, has been exaggerated to meet the Tier 2 skills threshold, or – in respect of Tier 2 (General) – has been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited, or where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not qualified to do the job. As the Sponsor Licence Unit already performs this function when assessing restricted certificate of sponsorship applications, it will be a duplication of effort if entry clearance officers also perform this genuine vacancy assessment. For those migrants earning in excess of £153,500, the resident labour market test requirements do not apply.

An existing requirement in the published guidance for sponsors is that Tier 2 migrants cannot be sponsored to fill a position, undertake an on going routine role or provide an on going routine service for a third party which is not the sponsor. This requirement is being replicated in the Immigration Rules. This enables applications by individuals for entry clearance or leave to remain and applications by sponsors for restricted certificates of sponsorship to be refused in line with any wider compliance action relating to the sponsor in question. This applies to so-called ‘contract cases’ where migrants are based at a client site and is of particular significance for the IT sector. These cases will now incur greater scrutiny to ensure there is a genuine provision of services by the sponsor and no disguised employment by the third party.

A change is being made to the Tier 2 (General) provisions for extension applications where the applicant is continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor. Such applicants are exempt from the resident labour market test; at present, the exemption applies only if the applicant still has current leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant when they make their extension application. The change will enable the applicant to benefit from the extension if his or her previous leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant expires no more than 28 days before the extension application is made.

A temporary provision dating back to 2009, which waives the £20,500 minimum salary threshold where companies are reducing their employees’ hours to avoid redundancies, is being removed.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

The annual allocations for participating countries on the scheme are being set for 2015. The allocations for New Zealand have been increased (16%).

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 5 (Temporary worker – creative and sporting)

A change is being made to the table of governing bodies to include information on the tier(s) in which each body may endorse applicants. Updates are also being made to the list of sports governing bodies.

These changes came into effect on the 6th November 2014.

Original reporting by the International Law Office 14/11/14

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Immigration law proposals

Ed Miliband has promised to generate an immigration costs creating “clear, reliable and concrete changes” within months, if Labour wins next year’s basic election.

The party leader likewise said there would be an end to “false promises” on the subject if he ended up being head of state.

Mr Miliband pledged action on border checks, exploitation and opportunities available to UK employees.

David Cameron has actually promised “more action” to suppress migration.

Official figures published in August revealed UK net migration – the difference in between those entering and leaving – enhanced by more than 38 % to 243,000 in 2013-14. EU residents accounted for two-thirds of the growth.

Mr Cameron has said his aim of lowering the figure to below 100,000 is still attainable.

In current days, it has actually been reported that the coalition could look for an “emergency brake” to stop EU migration after it reached a specific level or to restrict the variety of National Insurance numbers provided to new arrivals from the EU. Mr Cameron is attending an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Mr Miliband was speaking on a check out to Rochester and Strood, Kent, where a by-election is taking place next month following the defection of MP Mark Reckless from the Conservatives to UKIP.

Its predecessor seat, Medway, was held by Labour from 1997 to 2010, when the brand-new constituency was developed.

However a survey by ComRes recommends Mr Reckless is on course to win in Rochester and Strood, putting him on 43 %. It positions the Conservatives on 30 %, Labour on 21 % and the Liberal Democrats and Green Party both on 3 %.

In his speech Mr Miliband repeated Labour’s guarantee to count everyones going in and from the UK and make it a criminal offence when employment recruiter recruit exclusively from abroad.

He added that he would improve and expand apprenticeships and make sure that “public sector workers in public-facing roles have minimum requirements of English”.

These measures would be consisted of in an Immigration Reform Bill, to be detailed in more information in the first Queen’s Speech after a Labour triumph next May, he stated.

Mr Miliband also guaranteed to “seek change in Europe”, including:.

Longer transitional controls on migration when new countries sign up with the EU.
Stopping youngster advantage and youngster tax credits being paid to children living abroad.
Doubling the period of home before people would be entitled to advantages.

However he added: “False promises on immigration just make people more negative about politics. I won’t belong to that. I will not make guarantees I cannot keep.”.

Mr Miliband also stated: “I will certainly never suggest a policy or a course of action which would damage our nation. (UKIP leader) Nigel Farage wants to leave the European Union on which 3 million British jobs and countless companies in our country depend.

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Matrimonial Funds – Women Claims

A leading household law specialist has said a Court of Appeal fight brought by the former spouse of a millionaire accountant, could lead to even more females fighting over the money of their ex-husbands.

It as been stated that the case of Julia Hammans, who is battling her ex Nicholas Hammans is being viewed with great interest by household legal representatives throughout the nation.

When the couple married in the early 1980s Mrs Hammans, then a financial director of a department store made a comparable wage to her then partner.

Nevertheless, in the years whilst she gave up work to raise a family, her other half’s profession took control of and he now earns almost £1m a year, whilst her income is less than a tenth of his and now she says she is being required to offer the household home, which she has actually resided in since they split around 10 years ago.

In her legal challenge, she declares the settlement was an unfair divide of the family wealth.

Earlier this year a judge purchased she offer her £1.75 m six-bedroom the home of assist part fund her future after she had actually defended another £2.6 m from her ex-husband and was granted simply £400,000.

“There does seem a concern in this case regarding whether the award need to consist of a total up to “compensate” the wife for lost career chances as the lowered award will plainly impact her future standard of living. The concern for the Court of Appeal is whether this is fair, Simon Leach commented.

“It’s typically the way that the female suffers financially, but regardless of how the judges requirement, this topic is a complicated one, as each individual circumstance is various. However, it raises a debate about mums whose careers have suffered in order to bring up a family,” he included.

“The department of financial resources following divorce is an irritable issue, and I’m sure we will be hearing even more about this.

The judges will offer their ruling at a future date not yet decided.

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Protecting step-family members

Exactly what the law can do to help to protect step-family members.

With increasing numbers of increasingly complex household structures, attorney Ian Taylor has guidance on how the law can assist secure children and parents who find themselves in step families

In the United States, they hold a yearly National Step Family Day. It intends to celebrate step-families, identify that combined families are an ever enhancing part of our society, as well as flag up that newly-formed step-families often need support.

In the UK, this may all feel a bit cheesy– however possibly our buddies in America have a point. One in 3 people in the UK are now part of a step-family in some form, be that as a step-parent, step-child, step-sibling or step-grandparent. Nevertheless, research has actually found that it can take a minimum of 4 years for a step-parent to construct a relationship with their step-child.

With increasing varieties of increasingly complicated household structures, how can the law assistance to keep parents and children protected?

Step-parents frequently play an integral parenting duty, providing psychological and physical care to their step- kids– but they regularly have no legal rights or duties.

According to household charity One Plus One, step-families are among the fastest growing types of household in the UK. In 2009, nearly 20 % of marriages involved the remarriage of one partners and 16 % involved the remarriage of both partners.

However this is simply the tip of the iceberg. The real number of step-families in the UK is much higher because couples are more likely to cohabit than be married. In 2001, 28 % of all cohabiting couples with children were step-families, compared to 8 % of married couples with children. We can just assume these figures continue to grow.

Whilst society has actually accepted couples co-habiting, the law sees things rather in a different way in regard of step-families. Where relationships break down in between a parent and step-parent, the step-parent has very little rights of access to the step-child, even if that step-parent has actually played a lead role in raising that youngster.

Step-parents wanting to adopt their step-children appears to be ending up being a trend, with high profile cases such as TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson’s little girl Bo being adopted by her step-father, Brian Monet.

Nevertheless, family courts do not generally favour this because adoption ends all parental responsibility by the natural parent. It’s only when a kid is able to make reasoned choices by themselves, aged 12 or older, and wishes to be embraced.

Step Family Day

A Step Family

In Ulrika’s words, Bo’s step-father had actually “really earned the right to be her dad”, but this procedure still involved the basic adoption procedures including check outs from social services, witness statements and authorization from Bo’s biological father.

It’s reasonable that some families wish to seal their relationships through law, to provide security for all include. Natural parents can enter into adult duty contracts with their partner, however this is only if they are wed. This does not get rid of natural parents from the equation, but indicates the step-parent can be involved with raising that youngster and all the linked choices.

Where couples are co-habiting. but not wed, achieving adult responsibility for the step-parent is harder.

Relationship charity Relate explains that these complex family structures suggest that step-parents, in whatever guise, need to get brand-new skills. They advise agreeing standards on the best ways to treat the kids, in particular it’s crucial to settle on discipline, privacy (for everybody) and arrangements with other moms and dads.

It’s possible to create step-parenting strategies, just like parenting plans. These are files, frequently made use of by separating moms and dads, to concur practical problems of parenting. They could be helpful for households where natural parents are separated, and where step-parents play an active duty in raising the children.

These documents put the very best interests of the kids first, and state a shared dedication by all parents to their children and their future. They can cover communication, living arrangements, cash, education and health care and emotional well-being– each one of which can become sticky subjects when natural parents are not together.

This might seem rather official, naturally. Nevertheless, I have actually seen first hand, as a deputy district judge in family courts, how uncomfortable and difficult communication can be among apart moms and dads. Parenting plans and step-parenting strategies can help everybody get on the exact same page and do their finest by the kids impacted by changing household patterns.

Whilst the scenarios that cause a step-family forming are typically agonizing, the family unit it produces amongst parent, step-parent and children can be extremely strong and nurturing for the kids involved. My advice is to always seek the very best legal advice to safeguard both parents and youngsters in any family structure.

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