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Divorce Settlements Must Respect Personal Freedom

Judges are generally averse to contracts, and particularly divorce settlements, that seek to place restrictions on individual liberty. In one case, the High Court effectively re-wrote heads of agreement that would have prevented a divorcee from relocating outside the UK with her young daughter. The wife was in relatively low-paid employment whereas the husband...

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...

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...

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...