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Wetherby 01937 583210
Malton 01653 692247
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15 October 2021 Litigation

As a child, I was oblivious to Uncle Len’s misfortune. During a lifetime working on the land and loyal service to the landowner, he was promised, by his employer,  the land and house in which he lived, would be left to him in his employer’s Will.  Uncle Len never doubted this promise and in reliance, failed to make provision, should he be let down. The trust he placed in that assurance of future inheritance, also took away his motivation to pursue other opportunities for better employment, training, or further education. When his employer died, his Will left nothing to my uncle. He and my aunt had to leave the house which had been their home for decades, promised would be theirs one day. They did nothing further about the matter. How radically different my uncle and…
22 September 2021 Litigation

New Regulations which come into force on 30 September 2021 (The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021) mean that from 1 October 2021 the notice periods for Notices Seeking Possession of residential properties let on assured tenancies and assured shorthold tenancies will revert to pre pandemic periods. This means that landlords serving Section 21 notices will from 1 October 2021 only need to give 2 months’ notice that they require possession. Landlords serving Section 8 notices where they are relying on unpaid rent grounds (Grounds 8, 10 and 11); deterioration of the property (Ground 13); damage to furniture (Ground 15); other breach of a tenancy obligation (Ground 12) or a false statement that induced the landlord to grant the tenancy (Ground 17) will be able to return to giving…
21 September 2021 Litigation

Court fees are set to increase as the government seeks more to fund the Court and Tribunal service.  The Government launched a consultation in March 2021 on increasing selected Court fees and help with fees income threshold in line with inflation, and to backdate increases to feed by inflation to 2016 (the last year that fees were increased). It is estimated the change will raised up to £17m extra every year for HM Courts & Tribunals Service and reduce the burden on the Treasury for funding the system. There were 89 responses to the consultation period. Respondents were split on whether they agreed with the proposal that fees should be increased periodically in line with inflation. 61% of respondents disagreed with the proposal to apply inflation (backdated to 2016 or the year the fee was last…
13 May 2021 Litigation

Tussles over a deceased loved one’s belongings are sadly not uncommon. Unpleasant in all situations, such disputes can be particularly problematic for farming families as it may mean the farm having to be sold or split up. Johanne Spittle, Director of Litigation and agricultural law specialist at Ware & Kay Solicitors in York and Wetherby outlines some common causes of probate disputes and provides guidance on how best to avoid them.  Probate is the process by which an estate is distributed under the terms of a Will after someone has died. Disputes can emerge for a variety of reasons during this process, but some common reasons in a farming context, include: the lack of a Will; an invalid Will; an outdated Will; a Will that was prepared close to death; lack of clarity on farm…
10 March 2021 Litigation

The Government has recently published guidance on a breathing space for debtors that will come into effect on 4 May 2021: The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. As a creditor, if you are told that a debt owed to you is in a breathing space, you must stop all action related to that debt and apply the protections. These protections must stay in place until the breathing space ends. There are two types of breathing space: a standard breathing space and a mental health crisis breathing space. Both have the same effect to prevent creditors from taking action to recover qualifying debts while the Regulations are in force. A standard breathing space is available to anyone with a problem debt and will give them legal…
18 January 2021 Litigation

The court provided useful examples of the sort of conduct that might allow a landlord to refuse a new lease, even though the tenant has security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“the Act”). The judgment can be found here. Background When granting most leases to be used as commercial premises, the landlord and tenant need to agree to follow a special procedure, known as ‘contracting out’, otherwise the tenant’s lease will not end at the end of the period stated in the lease. The lease is continued by law and the tenant has a right to apply to the court for a new lease, if terms cannot be agreed. The landlord can only end the lease under certain circumstances set out in the Act. The most common are that the landlord wishes…
08 December 2020 Litigation

A farm is an eternal hive of activity. There is always something going on, work to be done, developments to be made, and improvements to be completed. With such activities, some noise and disruption is inevitable. However, if your actions impact your neighbours to such an extent that it amounts to a nuisance, this could lead to untold legal headaches. Nuisance is unreasonable interference with another person’s use or enjoyment of land. Nuisance can be public, statutory, or private.  Public nuisance Public nuisance can be a criminal offence and arises where a group of people are affected by your actions, for example if you obstruct the highway or pollute water supplies. Statutory nuisance Statutory nuisances are defined by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as something which is ‘prejudicial to health or a nuisance’. This can include excessive noise…
20 November 2020 Litigation

Will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to an increase in the elderly population, a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, changes in family structures and the increasing value of estates.  What are the grounds for contesting a Will or estate? Claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 If you have been left out of a family member or a friend's Will, or if you do not think you have been left enough under a Will, then you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the above Act. There are a number of criteria which any potential claimant will need to satisfy, one of the most important ones of which is being able to demonstrate a "financial need".  There is a time limit of six months from the…
11 November 2020 Litigation

Building a granny annex can seem a perfect solution to many families; not only is it a way of consolidating family assets and passing on wealth but it also provides an immediate solution to childcare and a longer term plan for caring for elderly parents. However, before embarking on this project it is important that you consider and avoid the potential pitfalls! Disputes about ownership further down the line are unfortunately common and so it is essential that the arrangements are properly documented and legal advice is obtained. If you are combining finances with other family members then it is important that this is properly documented. If, for example, it is intended that the property will be owned jointly, as tenants in common, consideration needs to be given to what happens after your parent dies and…
20 February 2020 Litigation

When relationships between business owners break down the impact on the business can be far reaching. In a family business, commercial problems can become complicated by unresolved resentments and issues that lie under the surface and once families fall, those problems can be difficult and expensive to resolve. Anecdotal evidence suggests that only 1 in 6 farming family businesses have a written partnership or shareholders’ agreement in place. It is no coincidence that we have seen an explosion of cases before the courts involving farming families who have failed to document how the business is to be run in terms of management, retirement and succession. One of the simplest ways of avoiding conflict in family owned businesses is to reach an agreement at the earliest possible stage about how the family will deal with matters…
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