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Properties Held by Overseas Companies – Who Really Owns Them?

Legal title to many valuable UK properties is held by overseas companies and it can be a tricky task to identify their beneficial owners. However, as one case concerning an alleged $5 million fraud revealed, English judges are well up to the challenge. A company based in Cyprus claimed that a former shareholder and senior manager had misappropriated large...

Judicial Assessments of Witness Credibility Can Rarely Be Challenged

Judges can and do make mistakes, but their evaluation of factual evidence and the credibility of witnesses is usually final and is very rarely successfully challenged. The point could hardly have been more clearly made than by one case in which a man claimed that his signature on a property transfer had been forged. The dispute concerned a plot of development...

Playing Recorded Music in Public? Do You Have a Copyright Licence?

Owners of bars, restaurants and clubs are required to obtain copyright licences from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) before they can play recorded music to punters and a failure to do so can have extremely serious consequences. The point was underlined when the proprietors of two such venues were hit with High Court injunctions and swingeing legal...

Special Rules Apply to Air Carriage Contracts – High Court Guidance

The country where a contract is agreed is generally also the country where disputes arising will be tried. However, special rules apply to contracts relating to carriage by air and, in one High Court case, a cruise operator was consigned to fighting its case against an airline in the courts of Papua New Guinea. The operator launched proceedings in London,...

Staff Pregnancies – Don’t Let Frustration Lead You into Discrimination!

Staff pregnancies can be disruptive, particularly for small businesses, but it is vital that employers do not allow their decision-making to become infected by discrimination. In one case, a hair stylist who was dismissed after she took time off, suffering from morning sickness, won the right to substantial compensation. The stylist was a trusted and senior...

Pub Must Close After Restrictive Covenant Declared Pointless

Covenants that restrict the use of land can be discharged or modified if they have ceased to serve a useful purpose and are of no real benefit to local people. In one case that proved this point, the Upper Tribunal (UT) opened the way for the conversion of a hotel and pub into a convenience store. The pub’s title deeds contained a restrictive covenant, dated...