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High Court Scotches Affordable Homes Development in Green Belt

Allocation of land for housebuilding always greatly boosts its value and is a crucial step towards development. However, as one High Court case involving a plot of rural land that had been earmarked for new homes for almost 70 years showed, such allocations are not always decisive. The land, on the outskirts of a village, had been purchased by a local authority...

Royal Mint Tastes Defeat in ‘Sovereign’ Trade Mark Dispute

In a case of interest to brand managers and intellectual property specialists – and coin collectors – the Royal Mint has failed to convince the High Court that it should be granted a UK monopoly on the use of the word ‘sovereign’. Sovereigns, which have a face value of £1 but sell for a great deal more than that, were first struck in 1489, during the...

Mother Suffered Discrimination after Part-Time Return From Maternity Leave

Many mothers resume work on a part-time basis after having children and employers must be very cautious to ensure that they are not subjected to any unfair detriment. In one case, a woman won the right to substantial compensation after her return to the office was blighted by less favourable treatment. On returning from maternity leave, the software engineer had...

Tribunal Tackles Import Duty Status of Smart Watch Straps

The advance of modern technology creates product classes that could never have been envisaged by past legislators. In one case that illustrated the difficulties in keeping pace with change, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) was called upon to consider the import duty status of straps that are employed to attach smart watches to users’ wrists. HMRC took the view...

Racing Stable Owner Wins Rateable Value Dispute by a Nose

Putting a price on houses is all in a day’s work for any surveyor, but valuing land that is put to a more unusual use can present a particular challenge. In one important test case, a tribunal was tasked with assessing the rateable value of gallops used by a leading racing stable. The stable was equipped with two gallops, one made of woodchips and the other...