January 2012 Archive

Secured lenders need to detect and prevent mortgage fraud

There are currently a number of good reasons why secured lenders ought now to be reviewing their books to unearth any mortgage fraud lurking. Limitation is the eternal enemy of claimants and although the Nykredit case of 1997 set out with apparent certainty how it operates for lenders, there have been developments in other arenas that may give rise to concerns about how time bar might operate in practice. Also the advantageous funding regime for claimants is under very serious threat, so acting fast is essential if you want to use it.

Is this the "decade for employee share ownership"?

Nick Clegg’s keynote speech to the City of London earlier this year extolled the virtues of employee share ownership. His view that “too few people…have a real stake in their firms” and his announcement that he wants this current decade to be known as the “decade for employee share ownership” raised both the profile of employees acquiring shares in their employers and also a number of key questions.

Bespoke articles and shareholder agreements for companies

In the absence of a written shareholders’ agreement, the relationship between the shareholders of a company is governed by the company’s articles of association, the Companies Act 2006, case law and certain other relevant pieces of legislation. The default provisions under the articles of association and company law may not always be suitable for all companies and very often a formal written shareholders’ agreement is desirable, or necessary, to vary certain of the shareholders’ rights and obligations.

FSA promotes commonsense approach to mortgage lending

In an effort to avoid the type of risky lending that characterised much of the noughties, the FSA has launched a consultation that aims to seek views on its proposed reforms to mortgage lending. The purpose of the reforms is to ensure that mortgage lending is driven by a commonsense approach so that the financial catastrophe suffered by some people who over-borrowed against the assumption that house prices could only rise, could be avoided in future.

JCT launches sustainability life cycle consultation

The JCT launched a consultation on 6 December 2011 to canvas the views of the property and construction industries about sustainability in the context of building contracts and the building life cycle. By doing this, the JCT hopes to send out the message that sustainability needs to be integral to every stage of a building’s development and that everyone involved has a duty to ensure that it tops the agenda.

GMAC v Countrywide - securitisation defence roundly rejected but a 60% contribution applied to lender

In this case the valuation was found not to be negligent but the judge then went on to make a couple of interesting observations. These findings weren’t strictly necessary given the finding on liability, but a defence to the effect that the loan was securitised and therefore the lender could not claim was roundly rejected. That could have been helpful to the lender, as was his finding that a 90% LTV self-certified loan was not in itself imprudent, but then by way of extra embellishment he applied 60% contributory negligence to the lender’s own actions.

The Financial Ombudsman and high value claims

News that the Financial Ombudsman Service’s (FOS) award limit is increasing from £100,000 to £150,000 from January 2012 is largely irrelevant for the majority of claims, most of which are under £1000. However, those claimants with high value claims would do well to heed the experience of Mr Andrews, the value of whose claim exceeded the FOS award limit by a considerable sum.

Forthcoming changes to UK employment law

2012 is set to be a year of significant change in UK employment law and employers will need to be alert to the various proposals due to be implemented throughout the course of the year. We set out the key changes and highlight important areas of ongoing consultation. These include changes to the maximum award of compensation in the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal claims, changes to the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims and changes to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay.
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