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Ward Gethin Archer
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The new IHT residence nil rate band comes into force from April, and this is a reminder of the implications of those changes, a prompt on making use of exempt gift allowances and planning around potentially exempt transfers, reinforcing the ongoing need for estate planning.

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Hard hitting fines reflect the new tariffs introduced one year ago, with sums linked to an organisation’s turnover. Latest is the £2.2m fine imposed on Wilko, and Merlin Entertainment’s £5m fine relating to the major incident at its Alton Towers site.

New statistics show the rate of divorce continues to fall, but when it happens, many are losing out by cost-cutting on expert advice. For others, cuts in legal aid, increased court fees and rising housing costs may be preventing couples from moving on.

As employers countdown towards Christmas, with the usual rush of work before the holiday, there’s a reminder of the need to ensure employees are able to take their rest breaks, following a recent employment tribunal decision.

The first steps towards preparing the UK for a post-Brexit future were announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Autumn Budget statement, with a focus on lower income households and business tax avoidance.  Key aspects of the Autumn budget for individuals and business are covered here:

Discrimination issues continue to hit headlines, from Airbnb introducing an anti-discrimination code for hosts on the home-sharing website, to the barriers to breast-feeding experienced by EasyJet flight crew, or the storm raised by a model agency that specified bra size in its recruiting material.  Businesses need to continually review their recruitment and working practices to keep in step as this area of the law continues to develop.

Virtual reality games such as Pokémon Go are giving rise to new challenges to property law. While such virtual property rights are debated, companies and organisations should make sure they are dealing with their duty of care under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 in case of physical trespass.

Reminder to employers that the status of a worker or contractor is determined by what they do, not by their title. Examples include the legal action faced by Uber from drivers claiming they are workers, not self-employed ‘partners’, and graduates being offered internships.

The ruling by the High Court in the case of developer Vanquish Properties has highlighted the need to carefully check the detail in all lease documentation, after the company failed to deliver a valid notice to break a lease on tenant Brook Street.
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