News

Recent Articles

Habitable Homes

April 02, 2019 | Residential Property

New legislation aiming to improve the standard of domestic rented accommodation came into force on 20 March 2019. The snappily titled Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (the Act) applies to social and private rented accommodation in England. The Act requires landlords to ensure that at the beginning of and throughout a tenancy, the(Read more)

Court of Appeal holds Landlord liable for injury caused by defective inspection cover

March 12, 2019 | Residential Property

So; you rent a property and the terms of the lease dictate that the landlord is obliged to repair the structure and exterior of the premises. While mowing the lawn you fall through a badly corroded inspection cover injuring yourself. Is the landlord liable for your injury and associated losses? Equally as a landlord are(Read more)

2018 Budget: Property Essentials

November 02, 2018 | Commercial Property

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the 2018 Autumn Budget on 29 October 2018. Here we look at some of the points likely to be of interest to our property clients: Taxation First time buyers SDLT relief, introduced in the 2017 Budget and applicable where a first-time buyer purchases a property costing £300,000 or(Read more)

Owens v Owens: Divorce Reform on the Horizon?

September 10, 2018 | Family Services

The Supreme Court has rejected a petitioner wife’s appeal against a decision dismissing her divorce petition sparking calls for reform to the divorce system. In England and wales divorce can only be granted on the basis that the marriage has broken down irretrievably (s.1(1) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA)). The court will only hold that(Read more)

A Knotty Topic

July 10, 2018 | Residential Property

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in favour of two homeowners in a legal battle relating to Japanese Knotweed. The homeowners owned adjoining semi-detached bungalows in South Wales. Japanese Knotweed, notorious for its fast ferocious growth and ability to grow between slabs of concrete, was present on nearby land owned by Network Rail.(Read more)

UK House Price Growth Slows

April 19, 2018 | Residential Property

According to Britain’s largest lender, Halifax, house prices in the UK grew by 0.4% in February 2018 after two consecutive monthly falls. This marginal growth brings the average house price in the UK to £224,353, slightly down from November 2017 high of £226,408. Measured on an annual basis prices in the three months to February(Read more)

Divorce Costs £3,800 Per Year in Retirement Income

March 26, 2018 | Family Services

  Highlighting the impact that divorce can have on pension saving, research from pension provider the Prudential indicates that divorcees planning to retire in 2018 can expect their yearly income to drop by £3,800 compared to people who have never divorced. The results of Prudential’s 11-year study indicate that for those retiring in 2018 the(Read more)

2017 Budget

December 01, 2017 | Commercial Property

  Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the 2017 Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017. Here we look at some of the points likely to be of particular interest to our clients: Property and Housing As of 22 November 2017, Stamp Duty on homes worth up to £300,000 will be abolished for first time(Read more)

Divorced Women Missing Out on £5billion in Pension Payments Every Year

November 20, 2017 | Family Services

According to research carried out by Scottish Widows, seven in ten couples do not consider pensions during divorce proceedings, leaving women short-changed by an estimated £5billion per year. The Scottish Widows research shows that while 56% of married people would fight for a fair share of jointly owned property and 36% would want to split(Read more)

Government Reveal Energy Improvement Strategy

October 20, 2017 | Residential Property

    On 12 October 2017 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The Clean Growth Strategy aims to achieve a 57% reduction in CO2 from 1990 levels. With 13% of UK emissions coming from homes, this is clearly a focal area for the Government.    (Read more)

Power of Attorney System in England and Wales: Attacked by Retired Senior Judge

September 18, 2017 | Wills and Probate

Retired Senior Judge at the Court of Protection Denzil Lush has warned of the lack of safeguards in the Power of Attorney system in England and Wales. In comments made to the BBC Mr Lush warned that lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) may leave elderly people open to financial abuse and can have a ‘devastating(Read more)

Non-Domestic Private Rented Property: New Energy Efficiency Minimum Standards

August 11, 2017 | Commercial Property

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (‘BEIS’) has issued guidance to landlords ahead of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations 2015 (‘the Regulations’) coming into force. The Regulations introduced a minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented property and covers all non-domestic property unless the property is not required to have(Read more)

Insurers Predict Increased Losses Due to More Frequent Wind Storms

July 12, 2017 | Residential Property

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned that an increase in global temperature, widely believed to cause more wind storms, may lead to an increase of insurance losses of up to 25% in certain parts of the country. While flooding is another factor widely linked with global warming, the ABI says that wind damage(Read more)

UK House Prices Fell in June

July 10, 2017 | Residential Property

According to Britain’s largest lender, Halifax, house prices across the UK fell by 1% in June, the largest monthly fall since January 2017. The reduction brings the average house price in the UK down to £128,930. Measured on an annual basis, the growth in house prices eased from 3.3% in May 2017 (compared with 4.1%(Read more)

March 2017 Sees Slight Increase in UK House Prices

May 26, 2017 | Residential Property

The latest UK House Price Index shows an annual price increase of 4.1% which takes the average property value to £215,847. However, when viewed on a monthly basis, house prices have fallen by 0.6% since February 2017 when the average price of a UK property was £217,502 (an annual price change of 5.8%). March data(Read more)

Beware the Leasehold

May 09, 2017 | Residential Property

According to recent government estimates, up to four million people do not own the freehold to their own properties. Instead, many homeowners, particularly of new build homes, own their homes on a leasehold basis. This means that these homeowners own their home for a fixed period during which it is rented from the freeholder (often(Read more)

RICS Reports Lack of Impetus in Residential Sales Market

May 02, 2017 | Residential Property

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports a lack of impetus in residential sales market According to a recent RICS press release, the UK housing market continues to lack impetus, with data suggesting the numbers of new buyer enquiries and agreed sales in March was stagnant. Although the picture varies in different parts of(Read more)

Renting Out Your Driveway: What You Need to Know

April 25, 2017 | Residential Property

I’m thinking of renting out my driveway- what should I bear in mind? With parking space at a premium in many towns and cities and parking permits costing often in excess of £100 per week, homeowners are renting out their driveways and parking spaces to earn extra income. What should you be aware of if(Read more)

Family Law: Resolution Update Code of Practice

January 05, 2017 | Family Services

Resolution is the nationwide organisation comprising 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales.  Resolution and its members believe in a constructive and non-confrontational approach to family law matters including children matters, divorce and finances. How is the approach set out? All members of Resolution agree to adhere to a Code of Practice(Read more)

Radical Eye: ‘The Best Collection of Modernist Photography in the World’

December 05, 2016 | The Arts

Modern Art Oxford, of which HMG is a long-term sponsor, extended an invitation to a private viewing of the Tate Modern’s exhibition of modernist photography, Radical Eye, the first exhibition to take place in the newly opened wing of the Tate Modern. On Wednesday 23 November 2016, Christina and I hopped on the train to(Read more)

Is The Archers’ Abuse Storyline Uncomfortably Close to Reality?

October 07, 2016 | Family Services

For months now millions of listeners across the nation have been gripped by BBC Radio 4’s long-running radio soap, the Archers. The storyline attracting much attention and debate by listeners and lawyers alike is that of Rob Titchener and Helen Archer. For almost two years Helen has been suffering emotional, physical and sexual abuse at(Read more)

Government Response to Employment Aspects of the Impact of the Equality Act 2010 on Disabled People

September 02, 2016 | Employment

On 24 March 2016 the House of Lords Select Committee (the Committee) published a report on the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) and its impact on disabled people. The Committee had been tasked with examining the Act to see whether it adequately tackles disability discrimination. In its report the Committee made many recommendations relating to(Read more)

Court of Appeal Allows Creditor of Beneficiary of an Estate to Bring Probate Claim

August 31, 2016 | Dispute Resolution, Wills and Probate

In Randall v Randall [2016] EWCA Civ 494 (Randall) the Court of Appeal overturned a 2014 High Court decision and ruled that a creditor of a beneficiary had an interest in the estate that gave him sufficient standing to challenge the validity of a will. Part 57 of the Civil Procedure Rules deals with contentious(Read more)

Are You Carrying Out the Correct Employee Checks?

August 18, 2016 | Employment

From 12 July 2016, new regulations (The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2016), which were made on 23 May 2016, brought in provisions relating to illegal working and earnings of illegal workers. A new post was created, the Director of Labour Market Enforcement. The holder of this post will be tasked with overseeing(Read more)

Post ‘BREXIT’: The Only Certainty is…Uncertainty?

July 12, 2016 | Residential Property, Commercial Property, Employment, Dispute Resolution, Business Services, Wills and Probate, Family Services, Motoring and Road Transport, The Arts

Although there has been huge political fallout in the last fortnight as a result of the BREXIT vote, the long-term effect on British jobs, business and individuals is unclear. From an economic perspective, after an initial plummet from 6338 to under 6000, the stock market appears to have recovered to near pre-vote levels (FTSE 100(Read more)

Caveat With Caution

July 12, 2016 | Dispute Resolution, Wills and Probate

In certain circumstances a person may wish to challenge the validity of a Will. In such cases, a party may enter a caveat which, while in place, will prevent the issue of a grant of probate. In Elliott v Simmonds and others [2016] EWHC 92 (Civ) (Elliott) the claimant entered a caveat and issued proceedings(Read more)

Championship Rowing Success

June 28, 2016 | Out and About

Over the weekend of 11 & 12 June, Kate Hall competed for Wallingford Rowing Club at the British Rowing Masters Championships which were held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. Run by British Rowing, the sports’ governing body, Masters (rowers over the age of 27) compete over two days in both sculling (two oars(Read more)

To Wear or Not to Wear: The Workplace Dress Code Debate

June 07, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

It was recently reported that a 27-year-old from London was sent home from her role as an agency worker at a top accountancy firm without pay as she refused to wear heels at work. This comes days after a Canadian woman posted pictures of her friend’s bloodied and bruised feet after wearing heels at work(Read more)

Data Subject Access Requests: Are You Prepared?

June 07, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

A major part of data protection legislation since 1984, Data Subject Access Requests (or DSARs) as implemented in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998), enable individuals to find out what information an employer holds about them and whether this data is being processed unlawfully in a way which infringes their privacy. There has been(Read more)

New Corporate Money Laundering Offence

June 07, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

The Anti-Corruption Summit which took place on 12 May in London was, according to David Cameron, ‘the first of its kind and the biggest demonstration of the political will to address corruption that we have seen for many years’. David Cameron has announced plans to launch a consultation on a new corporate offence of failing(Read more)

Changes to Debtor Bankruptcy Procedure

May 10, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

From 6 April 2016 there are key changes to the debtor bankruptcy process. Under the old regime, a debtor had to present a petition at court for his own bankruptcy, even where there was no dispute that the debtor was unable to pay his or her debts. There would often be problems with this process(Read more)

Supreme Court Holds Employer Liable for Employee’s Violent Assault on Customer

March 29, 2016 | Employment

In Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc [2016] UKSC 11 (“Mohamud”) the Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal decision in finding that an employer was liable for a vicious and unprovoked attack carried out by its employee. There is a general principle that employers may be liable for torts committed by an employee provided(Read more)

Avoiding Discrimination in Adverts

March 29, 2016 | Employment

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) has issued guidance on avoiding unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) in advertisements for jobs, goods, services, facilities and accommodation. The Commission has stated that many people risk being denied access to jobs and services due to discriminatory and unlawful advertising. In the last(Read more)

Employers - Beware of Providing Verbal References!

February 17, 2016 | Employment

In Pnaiser v NHS England and Coventry City Council (UKEAT/0137/15) the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered the effect of a negative verbal reference. In Pnaiser the Claimant, who was disabled for the purpose of the Equality Act 2010, was made redundant from Coventry City Council and was provided with an agreed written reference as part(Read more)