A pre-nup is often a subject of much mirth in the UK; a dinner party debate about the merits of pragmatism versus idealism. Considering what you might do in the event of a divorce with regards to your estate is of course very pragmatic, but the partner calling for the agreement has often been depicted as a tad mercenary.
The demand for prenuptial practicalities is on the rise, with one London company reporting a 50% rise in people inquiring about pre-nups. Evidence from CAFCASS supports these claims, with a 2% increase in Private Law demand between 2013 and 2014. This followed a 9% increase on the 2012/13 figure.
This upsurge could have been partly prompted by the Law Commission’s suggestion that a pre-marriage agreement should form part of the marriage reform, and that pre-nups should be given the kind of legal weight which they’re afforded in Scotland.
The question was thrust into the news in 2010 when renowned German heiress Katrin Radmacher’s pre-nup was upheld by the Supreme Court. Radmacher’s partner, Nicolas Granatino, had been part of a pre-nup which agreed that no claim would be made on each other’s assets. After changing his mind on this agreement and asking for a sizeable chunk of his former wife’s estate, the court substantially reduced his claim in accordance with the pre-nup.
The rising prominence of the prenuptial agreement probably reflects the times we live in. Divorce is much more commonplace, and whereas marriage probably still carries as much weight in terms of devotion, people recognise that they can drift apart and this doesn’t tend to carry the same social stigma as it did in the past. Add to this the fact that family life can now be very complicated with marriages then remarriages, and the complicated family ties which emerge as a by-product of these separations.
Family solicitors in London have said “We strongly recommend that couples consider a pre-nuptial agreement – especially if property is involved. Also with social media being an increasing presence in most of our lives it may not be that surprising that couples are now not only taking steps to protect their estate in an event of a divorce but also their online reputation by including a social media clause in their pre-nup.”
There’s also the fact that the way we earn money as couples has changed dramatically. Modern couples are often equal partners in terms of income, so why should one person have claim over any assets that were acquired before marriage.
The question will always be a great topic of debate with its conflicting moral and practical dimensions. Many couples who neglected to sign a pre-nup will rue their lack of forward planning, but when everything is rosy, why spoil the party by introducing a potential bone of contention.
Perhaps the pre-nup is not that far removed from making a Will; divorce and death are both pretty grim prospects, but few people would question the practicality of making a Will.
A benefits fraudster has been jailed after fleecing the taxpayer out of nearly £74,000 while running a £2.6million property empire.
Seema Bassi, 49, claimed she was a jobless single mother to pocket handouts for more than a decade.
But she was secretly amassing a property portfolio across Kent raking in a fortune from tenants, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Bassi owned 26 homes worth a total of £2.6million, providing her with about £150,000 in rent a year.
She bought her first property in 1994 and started claiming benefits three years later.
Her portfolio included 14 flats and four houses in Gravesend, a house in Canterbury, three flats in Herne Bay, a two-bedroom terrace in Greenhithe, and a house in Richmond Street, Hartlepool, Cleveland.
Some of the properties were leased to Gravesham Council in Kent as sheltered housing for asylum seekers, the court heard.
Her fraud was uncovered after Gravesham Council started investigating her brother for failing to pay council tax in 2012.
The paper trail led investigators to contact Redbridge Council for more details about Bassi when they learned she had purchased 18 houses from her brother.
Stacks of documents were seized from Bassi’s home in Ilford, including bank statements and tenancy agreements.
For criminal defence solicitors in London please contact us.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723558/Benefits-fraudster-claimed-74-000-handouts-owning-2-6million-property-empire-raked-150-000-rent-year-jailed-12-months.html#ixzz3AIC6ioZO
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In a recent judgment(1) the Court of Appeal found compelling reasons to require the defendant company – which had unsuccessfully defended a claim by the claimant bank relating to foreign exchange and equities trading – to pay the judgment sum and other amounts into court as a condition of its pursuit of an application for permission to appeal and, if successful, an appeal. The case serves as a reminder of the issues that the court will consider when determining whether to impose conditions on a party before considering an application for permission to appeal a first-instance decision.
A party always needs permission to appeal the decision of a county court or High Court judge, (except in limited circumstances set out in Civil Procedure Rule 52.3(1)(a)).
Civil Procedure Rule 52.9(1) provides that the appeal court may:
Civil Procedure Rule 52.9(2) provides that the court will exercise its powers under Paragraph (1) only where there is a “compelling reason” to do so.
In respect of the imposition of conditions, the courts have imposed the following specific conditions (among others) on applications for permission to appeal:
By way of example of the imposition of conditions on permission to appeal, in Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings v Unitech Limited(2) the Court of Appeal made prosecution of the appellants’ appeal conditional on the payment into court, within 28 days, of sums owing in respect of two arbitration awards. The appellants owed the respondent in excess of $300 million (together with interest and costs). They had sufficient funds to pay the awards, but had evidenced no intention of doing so and were making every effort to avoid enforcement of the judgment against their assets.
Similarly, in Day’s Medical Aids Limited v Pihsiang Machinery Manufacturing Co Limited,(3)notwithstanding that there was no stay of execution pending the defendant’s appeal, the defendant (a Taiwanese company) had failed to comply with the judgment. The Court of Appeal made it a condition of permission to appeal that the defendant pay to the claimant the judgment sum (together with interest and costs). The claimant relied on the facts that:
Further, there was evidence of potential difficulties facing the claimant in enforcement of the judgment in Taiwan. In the circumstances, the court imposed conditions.
Over the course of a 45-day trial, in an action commenced by Deutsche Bank to recover $243 million, Sebastian Holdings sought to argue in the High Court by way of counterclaim that Deutsche Bank had breached various oral agreements and implied terms relating to Sebastian Holdings’ foreign exchange and equities trading conducted through Deutsche Bank pursuant to a series of prime brokerage agreements. Sebastian Holdings alleged, among other matters, that wrongful margin calls made by Deutsche Bank at the time of the financial crisis in October 2008 had forced it to close out positions at significant losses and incur significant lost profits. Sebastian Holdings’ counterclaim was put at $8 billion. Its trading was conducted by Alexander Vik, its sole shareholder and director, and its agent, Klaus Said. The court found Vik to be “a man of considerable means (a multi-billionaire) with recognised business acumen and money-making skills”.
Notwithstanding Sebastian Holdings’ claims, the trial judge found that on and after October 13 2008, when Vik had a clear indication that Sebastian Holdings’ trading liabilities stood at many hundreds of millions of dollars, he had caused $896 million of funds and assets to be transferred from Sebastian Holdings to either himself or companies closely associated with him or his family. The judge found that Vik procured those transfers for no genuine commercial reason and that he did so with a view to depleting Sebastian Holdings’ assets and making it more difficult for Deutsche Bank to recover the amounts owed to it.
Accordingly, the court ruled in favour of Deutsche Bank and dismissed Sebastian Holdings’ counterclaim. Sebastian Holdings was ultimately ordered to pay $243 million to Deutsche Bank, together with indemnity costs amounting to 85% of the £60 million legal bill incurred by Deutsche Bank, in the course of the battle between the parties.
The application before the Court of Appeal was Deutsche Bank’s application for an order imposing conditions on the ability of Sebastian Holdings to pursue its application for permission to appeal and, if successful, its appeal. Three conditions were sought:
In Hammond Suddards v Agrichem(4) the Court of Appeal listed a number of features of that case, which it considered justified making an order that a condition be imposed on the application for permission to appeal. These factors were as follows:
While this list is not exhaustive, and each category need not be satisfied before an order will be made, it gave the Court of Appeal in Sebastian Holdings an indication of the kind of matters which it should take into account in such cases. The Court of Appeal noted that if the criteria were met, it would still need to consider whether it should exercise its discretion to make the order.
In submissions made to the court on behalf of Sebastian Holdings, it was suggested that there were two material differences between the present case and Hammond Suddards. First, it was submitted that there was no evidence to suggest that the position of Deutsche Bank would materially deteriorate between the Court of Appeal’s consideration of this application and the hearing of the application for permission to appeal and, if appropriate, the appeal. The emphasis should be on what Sebastian Holdings might do in the interim to frustrate enforcement. Second, it was submitted that the court could be satisfied by Vik’s evidence that, if a condition were imposed, the application for permission to appeal and, if appropriate, the appeal would be stifled because Sebastian Holdings had no funds and it was clear that Vik would not provide funds to satisfy any condition imposed by the court.
Sebastian Holdings drew to the court’s attention the fact that all of the case law on the subject indicated that it was inappropriate to use the power to impose conditions on an appeal simply as a means of securing enforcement of the judgment debt.
Further, Sebastian Holdings pointed out that Vik gave no guarantee for the liabilities of Sebastian Holdings to Deutsche Bank. However, the Court of Appeal was shown no evidence to suggest that Vik was not still the sole owner and director of Sebastian Holdings, as he was in 2008. Given the trial judge’s findings as to the manner in which Vik treated Sebastian Holdings and its assets as his own, the court found it difficult to think that there could be a more appropriate case in which to take into account that Vik could, if minded to do so, pay the judgment debt himself. However, the court did not consider it necessary to apply that reasoning, as it had already reached the conclusion that Sebastian Holdings could itself pay the judgment debt into court if Vik chose to procure it to do so.
Sebastian Holdings submitted that on an application such as this, the emphasis should be on what may happen in the future, rather than on what happened in the past. However, the court rejected this as unsupported by authority.
The court also rejected Sebastian Holdings’ submission that the evidence demonstrated that the imposition of a condition would stifle the appeal. That argument was found to be “totally without merit”. Sebastian Holdings was held to have rendered itself judgment-proof by transferring its assets into hands and places where enforcement may be difficult or even impossible. Therefore, It could not rely on its own conduct as stifling the appeal. Further, the court took the view that the owner of Sebastian Holdings had a choice: if it were in the interests of Sebastian Holdings for the application for permission to appeal and, if appropriate, the appeal, to continue, he had to procure the payment into court of the judgment debt. If he did, the application (and, if appropriate, the appeal) would proceed. If he did not, the application for permission to appeal would be struck out.
Accordingly, having considered the issues set out in Hammond Suddard and the submissions made on behalf of Sebastian Holdings as to why the present case differed materially from Hammond Suddard, the court ruled that conditions should be imposed on the application for permission to appeal. Sebastian Holdings was therefore ordered to pay into court, within 28 days, the judgment sum of $243 million and interest, failing which the application for permission to appeal would be struck out.
In addition, the court found that this was in principle a case in which it was appropriate to require Sebastian Holdings to give security for Deutsche Bank’s costs of the application and appeal. Accordingly, Sebastian Holdings was ordered to pay £1.7 million as security for costs.
The case demonstrates that parties which are not prepared to comply with court orders, unwilling to be transparent about the movement of their assets and intent on putting obstacles in the path of enforcement are likely to find conditions being imposed if they wish to proceed through the appeals process.
We are able to recommend strategic commercial litigators par excellence who can guide you through this minefield.
On July 10 2014 the Home Office published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules, with some provisions coming into effect on July 11 2014.
These changes impose restrictions on the ability of those already in the United Kingdom as Tier 4 (Student) or Tier 1 (Post-study Work) migrants to make an in-country application for an extension of stay under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. The immigration minister has claimed that the majority of those applying from within the country for leave in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category have come to the United Kingdom to study and are making speculative or fraudulent applications in order to extend their stay. The Home Office investigation has extended to checking tax records which suggest that few have gone on to engage in genuine entrepreneurial activity and a significant proportion have taken employment in breach of their conditions, typically at low skill levels.
Applicants who submitted an application for leave to remain before July 11 2014 will not be affected by the new provisions and will have their application decided under the rules in force on July 10 2014.
The new provisions will not affect those applying to switch from Tier 1 (Post-study Work) who have already established a business in the United Kingdom and can provide sufficient evidence of their entrepreneurial activity; nor will they affect those qualifying on the basis of seed funding or funding provided by another government department, as these applicants will already have demonstrated the necessary credentials as an entrepreneur in order to secure this funding.
The Immigration Rules also now clarify that entrepreneurs are prohibited from working for another business under a contract of service as an employee or apprentice.
For professional immigration advice with integrity contact us.
Divorce of Malaysian owners of Laura Ashley stake to be heard in Britain
Pauline Chai and Khoo Kay Peng’s £ 400m conflict most likely to be settled in London where other halves can expect higher awards. The conflict between Pauline Chai, 67, and Khoo Kay Peng, 74, is now more likely to be settled in London.
A £400m divorce battle between a Malaysian former beauty queen and her separated spouse, who possess much of the Laura Ashley fashion industry, is most likely to be heard in Britain following a ruling by the Asian nation’s highest court. London Solicitors and barristers are most likely to be included.
The disagreement between Pauline Chai, 67, and Khoo Kay Peng, 74, is now more probable to be settled in London where partners can anticipate far greater awards and a more equal department of household properties.
The case, which has actually been running in parallel in the UK and Malaysian courts, has already been condemned by a British judge for its “eye-watering costs” of almost £2m.
Justice Holman questioned earlier this year “just just how much time of an English court these celebrations must be able to take up on preliminary skirmishes, whilst squeezing out the many needy litigants who need precious court time to recuperate their youngsters from abduction or seek their return from care, and other such issues”.
But the federal court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday rejected the partner’s attempt to have actually the case heard in Malaysia, clearing the way for a 10-day hearing at the high court in London in late September to evaluate whether it has territory in the case.
Khoo, who is stated to be worth approximately £400m, resides in the £30m Rossway Park estate near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. He and his partner own 40 % of the Laura Ashley fashion business. The couple, who have 5 youngsters, are not British citizens.
Chai’s divorce solicitor in London, said: “I am unbelievably happy that the two highest courts in Malaysia have actually recognized the essential oppressions associated with binding a better half to the residence of her husband.
“This is a case where the wife has actually not resided in Malaysia for over 30 years. A law that therefore rejects her the independence of a domicile of choice, and ties her to a country that she has long since left behind, is rather remarkable.
“We are delighted that the Malaysian courts have recognized the importance of the problems of equality invoked by this case and the need for the concern of our customer’s independent residence to be relatively heard.”.
Khoo’s attorneys have actually said that the marital relationship took place in Malaysia and that Malaysian laws provide that the jurisdiction for any divorce proceeding is figured out by the spouse’s residence.
The British husband and Brazilian wife looked for declarations under the intrinsic jurisdiction that adoption orders made in their favor in Brazil in regard of the two children, aged 10 and 8, would be acknowledged under the law of England and Wales. The younger sibling of the children had previously been embraced under the Hague Convention which permitted for automatic acknowledgment. Recognition of these 2 children would allow them the complete status of an embraced person being dealt with in law as if they had been born to the adopters. It would also aid their immigration position.
The three children were the niece and nephews of the wife and she had actually looked after several of the children for the previous 6 years. Their birth mother suffered from depression and the adult relationship had been violent at times. Their emotional and physical requirements had not been fulfilled, they were neglected and typically starving, under-nourished and under-stimulated. By the time of the youngest child’s birth, the papa was in jail and the mom, in acknowledgment of the reality that she was struggling to parent her children, put the infant in the care of the couple quickly after birth and the adoption procedure was started.
The husband and wife had actually resided in a number of different nations due to the husband’s employment but they had actually spent 3 extended time periods residing in England, where they wished to settle with the children. Nevertheless, the wife and children had actually been declined discretionary leave to remain.
In the adoption process connecting to all three children the husband and wife were completely examined and accepted as potential adopters by the pertinent social services department in Brazil. The assessment processes, in which their care of the children, their health, monetary circumstances and characters were all examined and assessed, completely complied with the Hague Adoption Convention and UK adoption practice. The adoption order in relation to the two older children was made in 2013 and completely snuffed out the adult rights and obligations of the birth parents.
Ten weeks after the adoption order was made Brazil was contributed to the list of nations whose overseas adoptions would be instantly acknowledged in English law under the Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013.
The requirements of the appropriate authorities had been met in this case and the adoption orders would be acknowledged according to the law of England and Wales. Such a course was manifestly in the very best interests of the two children.
Having found that the English court would recognize the adoption, the children had standing to make an application for recognition of the overseas adoption pursuant to s 57 of the Family Law Act 1986. In addition they had the requisite domicile status obtained from their adoptive dad. Further, there were no public policy reasons for not making the declaration.
Under FPR 8.21(1) 2010 the candidate for a declaration under Part II of the Family Law Act 1986 was required to send out a copy of the application and all accompanying documents to the Attorney General at least one month prior to the application being made in order for the Attorney General to choose whether to intervene. However, s 59 of the 1986 Act provided that the court may direct the documents to be sent to the Attorney General. These 2 obligatory and discretionary regimes did not appear to fit well together. In this case the documents had not been submitted to the Attorney General. However, on the particular truths of the case the judge discovered it to be just and proportionate to continue to hear the case. The application and the judgment would be sent forthwith to the Attorney General and time would be offered for him to think about whether to intervene before a final order making the declaration would be made.
The finding made about recognition of the adoption order would not mean that the children automatically qualified for entry clearance however it would help them to legally go into the nation and remain right here. On the proof available it seemed that the children satisfied the requirements of Para 314 of the immigration guidelines. Nevertheless, they would not automatically obtain British Citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981 but once more it may help an application for citizenship registration.