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Supermarket Cash Voucher Machines Win VAT Exemption

Thousands of machines have in recent years appeared on supermarket premises which shoppers can use to change the contents of their piggy banks into redeemable vouchers. In an interesting case for the financial services industry, the company that operates them has convinced a tribunal that the service it provides is exempt from VAT. Almost 2,000 of the machines...

British Gas Smart Meters Roll-Out Survives Patent Infringement Claim

Patent infringement claims can come out of the blue and it is vital before embarking on a business venture to make sure that your plans do not conflict with others’ rights. In a case that illustrated this point, British Gas (BG) saw off one such claim that had the potential to derail proposals to install 16 million smart meters across the country. BG had...

Rules of Natural Justice Breached in £30 Million Contract Adjudication

It is essential that contract adjudicators must not only act, but be seen to act, fairly. In one case involving a contract to install a £30 million airport baggage handling system, the High Court ruled that that requirement had not been met. The main contractor, company A, had employed a subcontractor, company B, to perform the works. A number of disputes arose...

Property Owners – Watch Out for Restrictive Covenants!

Restrictive covenants that can place serious constraints on property owners’ use of their land lurk in many old title deeds and it often needs a professional eye to detect them. In one case, however, a woman succeeded in modifying one such covenant which stood in the way of her residential development plans. The woman, who lived on a housing estate, had...

New Mother Given Fresh Hope in Sex Discrimination Claim

It is a fundamental tenet of the English legal system that those on the losing side in litigation are entitled to know the reasons for their defeat. In a case which underlined that principle, a teacher who was refused permission to work part time after returning from maternity leave had her compensation hopes boosted by a tribunal. The woman, who taught children...