The government is to consult on proposals to crack down on leaseholds on new-build homes and a dramatic reduction in ground rents. The trend for new-build houses being sold as leasehold has accelerated in recent years, especially in the north-west of England, with leaseholders often finding themselves caught out by clauses allowing for dramatic increases in ground rent. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said its proposals aimed to make future leases fairer by reducing ground rents so they “relate to real costs incurred”.

BBC News   The Times, Page: 1, 8    Financial Times, Page: 2

Posted 25/07/2017

Over 60 prominent figures in Scotland including Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, the author of Article 50, have signed a joint letter saying that Brexit has seriously damaged the UK’s international reputation and that a UK-wide debate should be held on halting the process. “We ask our fellow citizens, and our politicians, to think again. It is time to call a halt to Brexit,” the letter states.

The Independent   The Herald

Posted 19/07/2017


The Guardian’s Owen Bowcott interviews John Walker, who last week won an 11-year legal fight to ensure his male partner will be entitled to a spouse’s pension. In a unanimous decision, five Supreme Court justices declared that EU equal employment rights trumped English exceptionalism. However, Brexit has cast doubt over the outcome of any future cases. Emma Norton of Liberty warns: “John’s victory came under EU law and we still have no formal commitment from the government that this and the many other equalities we’ve gained from our membership will be protected in UK law after withdrawal”.

The Guardian

Posted 18/07/2017


The High Court will this week hear the first substantial legal challenge to the UK’s ban on assisted dying. Former lecturer Noel Conway, 67, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in November 2014. His condition is incurable and he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months. Mr Conway’s lawyers claim the blanket ban on assisted dying under the Suicide Act is contrary to the Human Rights Act. They will argue that his right to a private life – including the right to make decisions on the end of his life – is unnecessarily restricted by current laws.

The Guardian, Page: 6   Daily Mirror, Page: 6   The Times

Posted 17/07/2017

A family lied about being ill on holiday to extort £52,000 from Thomas Cook, a court has heard. Deborah Briton, 53, and her partner Paul Roberts, 43, are accused of submitting bogus compensation claims for themselves and their two children for two all-inclusive holidays in Majorca. Another daughter of Mrs Briton, Charlene Briton, 30, submitted a further false claim for herself and her young daughter, Liverpool magistrates’ court was told. The case is thought to be the first time someone has appeared in a criminal court in the UK accused of making a fake compensation claim for holiday sickness.

The Mail on Sunday, Page: 22

Posted 16/07/2017


Women’s rights groups have expressed concerns that Brexit could roll back decades of meaningful advances for working women. The Fawcett Society and more than a dozen other women’s groups and political parties are calling for an amendment to the Repeal Bill that would officially adopt the current EU-levels of employment rights and protections. Although Theresa May has promised to maintain women’s rights, including the length of paid maternity leave, exiting the EU opens the door for “a change of heart once the bulwark that EU law provides is gone”, said Michael Newman, a partner at Leigh Day. EU negotiators are also applying pressure, warning the UK that cutting worker protections would amount to “regulatory dumping”.

The Independent, Page: 36

Posted 15/07/2017

Employers who search out the social media profiles of jobseekers and employees have been warned that they are breaking data protection laws. The Information Commissioner’s Office and other national data watchdogs have declared that excessive monitoring of job applicants and employees on Facebook and Twitter could fall foul of privacy rules that limit how companies may process personal information. Regulators say any data collected must also be “relevant to the performance of the job”. According to the recruitment website CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to check candidates, up from just 11% in 2006.

Financial Times, Page: 4   Independent I, Page: 49   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9

Posted 14/07/2017


More than 380,000 Volkswagen-made cars in the UK may have developed faults after being “fixed” following the diesel emissions scandal, according to Harcus Sinclair. Around 41,000 owners have now joined the firm’s class action against the carmaker.

The Guardian, Page: 26   Fleet World   The Sun

Posted 13/07/2017


Controversial plans to raise the cost of probate from a £255 administration fee to up to £20,000 could be reintroduced without notice, experts have warned. Chris Millward, Institute of Legacy Management chief executive, says the “stealth tax” could be brought back at any time and with very little warning. George Hodgson, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners chief executive, said ‘suspicion was growing’ that the probate fee hike would return.

Daily Mail, Page: 33

Posted 12/07/2017


Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire who bought their flats under the Right to Buy scheme have told how they now feel abandoned by the authorities. They say they fear for their future, as the council are unlikely to see the re-housing of leaseholders as their responsibility, with some describing how they have still been paying their mortgage since the inferno. Flats in Grenfell Tower have recently been sold for between £185,000 and £270,000, according to Rightmove. Sebastian O’Kelly, a trustee of Leaseholder Knowledge Partnership, said Grenfell homeowners will be unlikely to afford a new property in the same area.

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 11/07/2017