The Mail reports that residents have bombarded their local MPs with letters and threatened to stop voting Conservative unless there is a U-turn on a plans to increase the cost of applying for probate. Currently, there is a set fee of £215 for a personal application – or £155 if you apply through a solicitor. However, from May, fees will be linked to the value of the estate. The fee will be £300 for estates worth £50,000 to £300,000. Then it will be £1,000 for estates worth up to £500,000; and £4,000 for estates worth between £500,000 and £1m. The fee eventually reaches £20,000 for estates above £2m.

Daily Mail, Page: 45

Posted 29/03/2017



The Homeowners Alliance is calling on the Government to ban estate agents from offering potential buyers in-house financial services, saying there is “a clear conflict of interest” in estate agents offering such services for buyers because of a risk the agent will encourage the seller to accept an offer from someone who has agreed to use their services to maximise profits. Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Homeowners Alliance, says the situation is a “huge problem” and adds: “Buyers who speak to in-house brokers also end up giving detailed financial information to the estate agent that can totally undermine their own negotiating position.”

Daily Mail

Posted 28/03/2017



The final stage of Unison’s campaign against the fees needed to take a case to an employment tribunal goes to the Supreme Court today. The union has been taking legal action since the introduction of charges, ranging from £390 to £1,200, in 2013. The Union’s case will assert that the fees have stopped many thousands of badly treated employees, especially those on low incomes, from getting justice.

Independent i, Page: 41   Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

Posted 27/03/2017


The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed has called for a statutory definition to end confusion about what constitutes self-employment. In its evidence to a review of employment practices by Matthew Taylor, head of the RSA, the trade body said the definition should be based on four key criteria: having autonomy in work, having control over working arrangements, taking on business risk and the level of independence from clients.

The Mail on Sunday, Page: 88

Posted 26/03/2017


A woman who says she is “desperately unhappy” in her marriage has lost a bid to overturn a family court ruling which said she could not divorce her husband. Court of Appeal judges led by Sir James Munby upheld the original ruling, but Sir James also stressed dissatisfaction with the current law and asked whether the time had come for “no fault” divorce. The decision means Tini Owens will have to remain married to her husband Hugh although after five years of separation she will be eligible for a divorce even if her husband still objects. The Court of Appeal heard that Mrs Owens’ case was that the marriage had broken down, although Mr Owens disagreed, saying that the couple still had a “few years” to enjoy.   The overwhelming majority of family lawyers will be dismayed by the Court of Appeal’s judgment which reinforces the highly unsatisfactory state of divorce law in this country. Media commentators also condemned the decision, with the Times’ leader calling for the law to be reformed, while Janet Street-Porter in the Independent says modernising marriage and divorce “would be the single most beneficial change we could make for future generations.”

The Guardian, Page: 18   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9    Financial Times, Page: 2   The Times, Page: 7   The Times, Page: 29   Independent i, Page: 17   The Independent, Page: 33   Daily Express, Page: 22-23   The Sun, Page: 26   Daily Mirror, Page: 26   Daily Mail, Page: 11

Posted 25/03/2017


The National Landlords Association has revealed research showing that the proportion of existing landlords who intend to sell property in the next year has more than doubled since July 2015 – rising from 7% to 16%. Additionally, 84% – the highest ever level – say they have also stopped looking to buy new properties in the coming year. It comes after a 3% surcharge on stamp duty on B2L properties and drop in tax relief on B2L mortgage interest.

Daily Mail

Posted 24/03/2017



Supreme Court justice Lord Wilson has said divorcees should sometimes be granted a “meal ticket for life”. His comments come amid growing pressure for maintenance awards to be limited to three years, as is most often the case in Scotland. Lord Wilson said: “It is usually unrealistic to tell a wife, left on her own perhaps at age 60 after a long marriage, that, following payments for, say, three years, she must fend for herself.” He also criticised suggestions that judges were motivated by antique notions of chivalry when deciding payments, saying that such remarks “betrayed a lack of insight”. Lord Wilson added that there should be flexibility for judges to disregard prenuptial contracts if honouring them would lead to an unfair divorce. Although couples should be bound by such contracts in most circumstances, courts should be able to overturn them, he said.

The Times, Page: 19   Financial Times, Page: 2   Daily Mail, Page: 19

Posted 22/03/2017



Laws to limit the availability of hardcore pornography on the internet are to be watered down in the Digital Economy Bill. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said extreme material, including violent pornography and cartoons depicting child sex abuse, will be allowed to stay online as long as distributors put in place checks to ensure it cannot be viewed by children. Campaigners warned the changes risked giving some extreme pornography, illegal offline, a “veneer of respectability”, and urged the House of Lords to reject the amendments.

Daily Mail, Page: 8, 16

Posted 20/03/2017



New evidence found in Berlin could reveal that a link between the pregnancy-testing drug Primodos and birth defects had been covered up. The documents show Dr William Inman, a principal medical officer for the British government, found in 1975 that women who took a hormone pregnancy test “had a five-to-one risk of giving birth to a child with malformations”. The papers also show he destroyed the materials on which his findings were based and wrote to Primodos’s German manufacturer, Schering, so the firm could “take measures to avoid medico-legal problems”, rather than recall the drug. Schering is now owned by Bayer, which insists that sales of Primodos in were “in compliance with prevailing laws” and “rejects any suggestion” that anything has been concealed by Schering, other than privileged documents. Concerns were first raised about the drug in 1967, but it was eight years before warnings were placed on packaging, and 10 years before the medication was withdrawn.

The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 1, 2   The Mail on Sunday, Page: 71

Posted 19/03/2017


Two brothers have been criticised by a judge after attempting to block their stepmother getting an extra £25,000 in their father’s will. Richard and Jonathan Powell have been ordered to pay £200,000 in legal fees after claiming that their disabled father, David, was unfit to make his final will that gave his second wife £125,000. They claimed that an earlier document, under which Ailsa Williamson Powell, would get £100,000, was his true will. Judge Marc Dight criticised the brothers as “unreasonable” for not accepting that their father and stepmother were a devoted couple and condemned the sons for forcing her to go to court.

The Times, Page: 28   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 12   Evening Standard, Page: 25   Daily Express, Page: 7   Daily Mail, Page: 33

Posted 18/03/2017