Gifting errors costly for heirs


Taxpayers have been caught out to the tune of £372m over the past three years having miscalculated complex inheritance tax rules, reports the Telegraph’s Harry Brennan. Hundreds of families have fallen foul of “gift with reservation rules”, meaning they have lost tax relief because they have benefitted in some way from the gift, such as elderly parents gifting their home only to continue living in the property. Rupert Wilkinson of Wilsons said: “In many cases, it is better for parents simply to downsize their home and give children a cash sum, rather than giving a property incorrectly that can give rise to the estate paying a considerable tax bill. To avoid making costly mistakes, parents may want to consider putting sentiment aside and selling the family home.”

The Daily Telegraph

London can hold off Paris as top dispute resolution destination


With Brexit prompting the launch of English language common law commercial courts in Paris and Amsterdam, British judges forced to retire at 70 could soon be launching new careers in commercial dispute resolution across the Channel, says the Times’ Jonathan Ames. But Jonathan Wood, a partner at the City firm RPC, says London’s position as a litigation centre is unlikely to be under immediate threat. Eleni Polycarpou, co-head of arbitration at Withers, agrees, stating that “the decades-long experience and the quality of international cases currently still coming here will take a long time to match.” Elsewhere in the paper, Mr Ames reports on the record number of commercial litigants from the former Soviet Union heading for London to settle disputes. But Shantanu Majumdar at Radcliffe Chambers says litigation from the former Soviet countries is in “its own bubble” and ” the real test will be how many contracts made since [Brexit] have chosen courts in other countries to resolve future disputes because of concerns about difficulties of enforcement in the EU”.

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Rape victims violated twice with phone demands


Plans to require rape victims to hand over their phones to police if they want their claims investigated have been met with a far from positive response. Campaigners branded the demand “a public relations disaster in the criminal justice system” and said victims would be discouraged from reporting allegations. The new policy, which is also the subject of an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office, has seen consent forms allowing officers to access messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts being rolled out across the country in a bid to make it easier to identify and handle crucial evidence. Victims will be given the opportunity to decline but will be warned their case may not be pursued if they do not hand their phone over. One rape victim said the policy is invasive, puts victims on trial and is almost like being raped again, but Liam Allan, whose trial for rape collapsed when it emerged texts had not bee n disclosed, said yesterday that alleged attackers “deserve the same rights until the point of conviction”.