November 2010 Archive

Bankruptcy and a trustee's interest in the matrimonial home

One of the criticisms of the old insolvency regime was that a trustee in bankruptcy, who had failed to immediately realise their interest in a bankrupt’s family home, was able to recover this interest several years after the date of discharge of the bankruptcy order. In most cases, this interest would have increased substantially in value due to recent spiralling property prices. Amendments introduced by the Enterprise Act 2002 seemed to address the balance more in favour of the bankrupt.

What to do if your relative dies with assets abroad

A second home in the UK presents administrative and logistical challenges but at least within a familiar tax and legal regime. These challenges escalate with a foreign property, particularly in relation to succession law and tax issues. In both France and Spain there are fixed succession rules whereby local law provides for an automatic entitlement of a certain proportion of your estate to your children, unlike English law which allows you to leave your property as you wish.

Obtaining Interim Payment in Litigation - the use of settlement offers

Court action to obtain payment can sometimes be a lengthy process and adjudication is not always available or appropriate. However the court rules (known as the Civil Procedure Rules, or “CPR”) lay down specific grounds for allowing a claimant to apply for an interim payment in respect of his claim, before trial. This can be an attractive option for a claimant, particularly if there are cash flow problems.

The Defective Premises Act 1972

The Defective Premises Act 1972 (“the Act”) imposes important obligations on both contractors and consultants involved in the design and construction of a dwelling. A dwelling can include a house or flat, and the Act applies both to new build dwellings as well as conversions or enlargements of dwellings, but does not apply to repairs. The Act imposes some onerous obligations.

Court rectifies a sub-contractor’s tender mistake

In Traditional Structures Limited v HW Construction Limited [2010] EWHC 1530 (TCC) the Claimant submitted a tender in early 2008 for the supply and installation of structural steel work and roof cladding at a development in Sutton Coldfield. By failing to make honest enquiries regarding the price, HW Construction was found to have acted in an unconscionable way - even though the parties were involved in a commercial transaction at arms length. This decision emphasises the importance of certainty when entering into commercial agreements.
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