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HMRC – reasonable excuse

HMRC cannot impose a ‘penalty’ if the taxpayer took ‘reasonable care’ to avoid an inaccuracy. The general rule is that if the taxpayer takes professional advice then that will be a reasonable excuse.

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Grey goods – criminal

Selling ‘grey goods’ can be a criminal offence (under Trade Marks Act 1994).

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Financial advice – negligence?

In the medical/clinical negligence world the most important decision of recent years was Montgomery [2016], which overruled the long-standing principles established in Bolam [1957]. Under Bolam a medical professional’s actions were judged by asking whether that professional ‘was acting in accordance with a practice of competent respected professional opinion’. In other words, if a reasonably competent practitioner would have taken the same approach, then there would not have been negligence.

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Contract – or counter-offer?

When do negotiations turn into a binding contract? If the other side responds with a counter-offer, does that form the basis of the contract?

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HMRC – offshore accounts

HMRC has offered (another) last chance to come clean about offshore money (it is called a ‘requirement to correct’). The scheme calls for voluntary disclosure by September 2018, but there are severe penalties – 200% of the tax, plus the tax due and interest. In addition, there is currently a proposal for an additional 10% asset-based penalty, plus there will almost certainly be publication on the list of deliberate tax defaulters. Note that there is no undertaking by HMRC that they will not prosecute.

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Companies Act 2006 – no limited liability?

CA 2006 came into force in October 2009 but there is a danger that its provisions have inadvertently resulted in some limited companies becoming unlimited.

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Variation – anti-oral clauses

This year has seen a series of cases in which the courts have held that a ‘no variation’ clause in a contract is not binding. What we see is a clear intent on the part of the courts that contractual agreement should be eroded in favour of ‘party autonomy’ and a greater flexibility:

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Freedom of information – vexatious

There is a general right of access to information held by a public body (FoI 2000). But, this does not apply if a request is ‘vexatious’ (s14). However, the Act does not define ‘vexatious’ although it is made clear that the burden is very high to show that the request is indeed vexatious.

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Airline flights – delay

The Denied Boarding Regs give compensation to passengers whose flights are delayed if the flight departs from an EU airport. But, there has been much argument about the situation concerning missed connections.

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Freedom of information – commercial prejudice

The Freedom of Information Act 2003 exempts from disclosure information which ‘would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person’ (s43(2)). But, this is merely a ‘qualified exemption’ because even if it applies there must still be disclosure unless ‘in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information’ (s2(2)B).

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Most-read articles

Court of Protection – trust deputies
Friday, 13 April 2018
How does the CoP approach an application to appoint a trust corporation as a deputy? HHJ Hilder has, in a recent CoP ruling involving 36 applicants and 11 trust corporations, analysed the law on the... Read more...
Professional – update
Friday, 13 April 2018
 A reminder that internal e-mails can result in SRA action; for a case involving sexist, racist and homophobic e-mails sent to a work colleague see [2018] LSG 12 February 2. Read more...
CFA – assignment
Friday, 13 April 2018
The introduction of LASPO in April 2013 caused problems for clients who already had CFAs, but then wanted to move to another firm. Read more...
Agent of change – new builds?
Friday, 13 April 2018
The ‘agent of change’ principle has been hotly debated in planning circles for some time. Indeed, the concept is likely to feature in the revised National Planning Policy Framework and the draft... Read more...
Withdrawing admissions – increase in value?
Friday, 13 April 2018
Suppose a defendant is faced with a low-value claim and decides to admit liability; later, it turns out that there is a significant increase in the value of the claim. At that stage, can the... Read more...
Service charges – estoppel?
Friday, 13 April 2018
Suppose service charges have been raised for many years in a way that does not properly accord with the wording of the lease; if T subsequently questions those service charges, can L argue that... Read more...
Service charges – code of practice
Friday, 13 April 2018
The RICS has published the proposed changes to its Code of Practice on service charges. The important change is that RICS members must act in accordance with eight core principles; the Code is no... Read more...
Japanese knotweed – nuisance
Friday, 13 April 2018
One of the (potentially) most important decisions last year was a humble county court case in which it was held Network Rail was liable after Japanese knotweed grew close to neighbouring terraced... Read more...
Adoption – new regulations
Friday, 13 April 2018
 A number of new provisions in relation to adoption are in force (as of 5 January 2018) under the Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018. Read more...
Sickness – on holiday
Friday, 13 April 2018
 A worker who falls ill during annual leave is entitled to take that holiday leave at a later date. This is so whether the sickness commenced before, or during, the holiday. Read more...

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