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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...

Ex-Supermarket Used as Place of Worship Compulsory Purchase

When Parliament conferred on trustees of religious bodies the right to buy places of worship almost 100 years ago, it may not have envisaged that it would extend to such utilitarian premises as a former supermarket. However, following a tribunal ruling, an ex-shop will become a permanent home for an evangelical church. The little-known Places of Worship...

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...

High Court Pierces Corporate Veil in Big Money Divorce Case

Legal and beneficial ownership of company shares are two very different concepts and, as one case strikingly showed, family judges have the power to look behind the corporate veil in ensuring a fair division of assets between divorcing couples. The case concerned a group of companies that had been established by a highly successful businessman. A restructuring...

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...

Byzantine Environmental Protection Rules ‘A Nightmare’ Say Judges

The pressure is on the government to simplify Byzantine environmental protection rules after the Court of Appeal described their interpretation as ‘a nightmare’. The Court made its comments as it overturned a recycling company’s convictions for failing to comply with a condition attached to an environmental permit. The company operated a site at which...