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Minority Shareholders and Unfair Prejudice – High Court Ruling

Hope springs eternal, but business aspirations sadly are not always crowned by success. That was certainly so in one case in which minority shareholders in an ill-fated advertising company sought more than £450,000 in compensation on the basis that their interests had been unfairly prejudiced. The three minority shareholders together owned a 13 per cent stake...

A Line on a Map Can Never Define a Boundary with Pinpoint Accuracy

A line on a map, however finely drawn, can never be narrow or precise enough to identify a boundary with absolute accuracy. As one case concerning a footpath showed, that inescapable fact lies at the heart of innumerable disputes. The footpath ran between steep banks and appeared as a black line on maps dating back to the early 19th century and on the modern...

High Court Confronts Linguistic Tangle in International Mining Dispute

The phrase ‘lost in translation’ was certainly apposite to a High Court case in which a commercial dispute hinged on the disputed meaning of a foreign statute, which was written in two foreign languages and had been translated into English six times, each version throwing up slight, but potentially critical, differences. Two companies had obtained licences...

Territorial Limits to HMRC’s Investigatory Powers – High Court Test Case

The tax authorities have wide-ranging investigatory powers – backed up by penal sanctions – to require businesses and individuals to provide information that is reasonably required. However, in an important decision, the High Court has ruled that such powers are not extra-territorial and are confined to the UK. The case concerned a businessman who had been...

Land Sale Overage Agreements – Guideline Court of Appeal Ruling

When land is sold, it is common to enter into overage agreements so that vendors can share in the profits of any future development. In one case, the Court of Appeal ruled that a developer breached such an agreement when it sold five housing units to a social housing provider at cost price. When the developer acquired the relevant land for housing development...