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Even the most carefully drafted will can contain inadvertent clerical errors that leave room for doubt as to the document's true meaning. As a High Court ruling showed , however, judges happily have the power to correct such mistakes so as to ensure that...
An intransigent and dogmatic approach to divorce is an infallible way of making the process far more painful and costly. A man who insisted that his ex-wife's financial entitlements should be reduced to reflect the poor quality of their short, childless...
It often falls to judges to address the most dreadful consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. That was certainly so in a case where the Court of Protection found that keeping a much-loved husband and father on life support would merely serve to prolong his...
Family relationships can be red in tooth and claw and appointing relatives, rather than a professional, as executors of your will can prove a costly mistake. That was certainly so in one case, where bitter litigation between siblings resulted in legal costs...
When children suffer unexplained injuries, few would quarrel with social workers and medical professionals taking a precautionary approach. However, as a family judge's ruling showed , the cloud of suspicion that often hangs over parents in such cases is...
UK Border Force officers wield a battery of powers designed to combat smuggling – but they must not be exercised unreasonably. The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) made that point in coming to the aid of a woman whose family car was loaded with over 300...
Before embarking on any form of property development it is absolutely vital to seek a lawyer's confirmation that you are entitled to proceed. The point was underlined by the case of a couple who knocked down their home and replaced it with a block of flats...
Far too many people put off making a will until ill health strikes and reminds them of their mortality. In a striking case on point, the High Court ruled that a will signed by a prosperous farmer when he was in his 80s and suffering from dementia was not...
A 'couple' is defined in law as two people living as partners in an enduring family relationship – but what exactly does that mean in a world that has witnessed a metamorphosis in human relationships during the last few decades? The High Court...
Concerns that children may be used as pawns amidst the cut and thrust of divorce proceedings are often expressed by one side or the other. However, a High Court ruling in the context of a big money case showed that family judges are aware of such risks and...
Parents generally owe no legal duty financially to maintain their adult children. That principle proved decisive in the case of a businessman who was worth almost £2.2 million when he died, but who left not a penny to his daughters. Having enjoyed a...
Failing to accurately respond to insurers' questions when taking out a policy is highly likely to render your cover worthless. A businessman found that out to his cost after losing a £190,000 Rolex watch whilst on a skiing trip. The man launched...
Restrictions on the use to which properties can be put often lurk in old title deeds. As one case showed , however, some of them only endure as long as a human lifetime whilst others have no such shelf life and continue to have effect indefinitely. The...
The value of many assets has been devastated by COVID-19 – but is that a good enough reason for setting aside divorce settlements agreed before the pandemic struck? A family judge considered that issue in a guideline case . The case concerned a...
Will drafting is an exact science, requiring years of professional training, and a single mischosen or out-of-place word can have very serious consequences. Exactly that happened in a High Court case concerning the mistaken use of the word 'both' –...
Whether or not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is a matter of personal choice. A family judge robustly made that point in declining to authorise vaccination of a care home resident suffering from acute dementia who had fiercely objected to the procedure....
Judges often plead with divorcing couples to bury the hatchet rather than subject themselves to the financial and emotional self-harm of litigation. As a High Court case showed , however, such good advice is sadly not always heeded. The case concerned a...
Making a will when you are close to death and without professional assistance is an effective means of fostering dispute between your loved ones after you are gone. As a High Court case strikingly showed , that is particularly so if you intend to leave your...
Domestic gardens, which many people view as the glory of British suburbia, present a tempting prospect to builders amidst burgeoning housing demand. As one case showed, however, objectors to such developments are by no means powerless. The owners of a...
Many of the most vulnerable members of society lack the mental capacity required to consent to being vaccinated against COVID-19. As a Court of Protection case showed , that fact can give rise to formidable legal difficulties. The case concerned a care...