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Digital comparison tools: the CMA decides against a market investigation reference

Published on 30 March 2017. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

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Six months after the CMA launched its market study into digital comparison tools, it has decided not to make a market investigation reference, but will focus on four areas of possible concern in a second phase of its market study.

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VAT update, March 2017

Published on 30 March 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this month’s update we report on the Chancellor’s announcement in the Spring Budget that he intends to “crack down” on VAT “missing trader” fraud within the construction industry, the Offce of Tax Simplification’s Interim Report on its review of VAT, and the EU’s consultation on proposals to tackle VAT fraud.

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Engaging with Development – do we always know what we need?

29 March 2017

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Comment on the need for public engagement in the planning and development process, following a ULI presentation on The Well-Tempered City (author Jonathan Rose)

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Rent reductions in Side Letters: do they work?

Published on 29 March 2017. By Catherine Young, Associate

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Rent Reductions, rent reviews, side letters and retail.

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New legislation will allow taxpayers to seek partial closure notices

Published on 29 March 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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Proposed legislation contained in Finance Bill 2017, will enable partial closure notices to be issued in respect of a discreet issue while other issues remain under enquiry by HMRC.

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What chance is there for developers railing against Stamp Duty Land Tax

28 March 2017

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After nearly three years of the increased residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates and almost a year of the SDLT surcharge for additional properties, developers are mounting a call for reform. How successful can this be opposite a government under economic pressure?

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Whose file is it anyway: What should a solicitor provide to a client when met with a request for "the file"?

Published on 28 March 2017. By Claire Revell, Senior Associate

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The Law Society has published new guidance on what a solicitor should do when a client requests a copy of its file.

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The role of executive pay in promoting responsible business

Published on 24 March 2017.

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Executive pay is a thorny issue. Well-structured remuneration packages can help to ensure that companies are run responsibly for the benefit of shareholders, employees, customers, and wider society. However, when improperly designed, executive pay packages can encourage short-term and risky behaviour which dents public confidence in business.

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Altogether now – aggregation in solicitors' professional negligence claims

Published on 23 March 2017. By Jonathan Wyles, Legal Director and Anna Greco, Associate

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The Supreme Court in AIG Europe Limited v Woodman and others [2017] UKSC 18 provides welcome clarification of how you can aggregate claims against solicitors under the SRA's Minimum Terms and Conditions.

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Blockchain technology for contracts: Above the law?

Published on 23 March 2017. By Sarah Hill, Legal Director

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A recent report by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) explores how blockchain technology could continue to develop and impact on a number of key areas of everyday business and life in general. One area explored by the EPRS report relates to the use of blockchain for so-called 'smart contracts'.

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Supreme Court judgment on SAAMCo

Published on 22 March 2017. By Nick Bird, Partner

On 22 March 2017 the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the application of SAAMCo to claims against professionals.

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Tribunal concludes that capital gains tax legislation is compliant with Human Rights and EU law

Published on 20 March 2017. By Constantine Christofi, Associate

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In William Reeves v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 192 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that section 167 Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 (TCGA) is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EU law.

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Secret 'wealth-screening' by charities breaks data laws

Published on 20 March 2017. By Victoria Noto, Associate

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An ICO investigation into charity fundraising practices has led to two charities being fined and eleven being issued with Notices of Intent to fine.

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Tribunal allows taxpayers' appeal in foreign exchange losses case

Published on 16 March 2017. By Alexis Armitage, Associate

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In Smith and Nephew Overseas Limited and others v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 151, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed appeals against HMRC's disallowance of foreign exchange losses incurred as a result of a change in functional currency following a company reorganisation.

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Italian data protection authority issues fines totalling more than €11m for illegal data processing

Published on 14 March 2017. By Eliot Henderson, Associate

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The fines are thought to be the highest ever issued by a European data protection authority.

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The Insurance Block Exemption: The End of an Era

Published on 13 March 2017. By Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate and Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner

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31 March 2017 sees the expiry of the Insurance Block Exemption

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Between a rock and a hard place

Published on 13 March 2017. By Alexandra Anderson, Partner

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Difficulties for lenders arising out of limitation

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“Gagging orders”: an office holder’s secret weapon

13 March 2017

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Practitioners are fully aware of the extensive powers available under ss 235 and 236 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986) allowing administrators and liquidators as office holders (OHs) to require individuals and organisations to disgorge information.

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Planning to Protect Pubs

09 March 2017

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A review of recent article 4 directions removing permitted development rights from pubs and proposed legislation to protect them from development and demolition.

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Ridgecrest – Tribunal allows appeal against Regulation 80 determinations

Published on 08 March 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In Ridgecrest Cleaning Services Pendergate Ltd v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 778 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed an appeal against determinations of underpaid tax made under Regulation 80 of the Income Tax (PAYE) Regulations 2003 (the PAYE Regulations), as HMRC had not obtained the necessary statutory consent from the Appellant to notify it of changes to employee PAYE codes electronically.

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Licensees beware - SAP wins victory against Diageo for breach of software licence agreement

Published on 08 March 2017. By Eliot Henderson, Associate

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In a significant ruling for software customers and providers, the High Court found that Diageo breached the "Named User" pricing mechanism of its software licence agreement with SAP.

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In-specie pension contributions - what's the fuss all about?

Published on 08 March 2017. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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SIPP and SSAS providers and members continue to be left in limbo over potential tax charges arising from in-specie contributions. HMRC has suspended tax relief on contributions whilst it investigates the position, leaving providers and members without tax relief and the risk of tax assessments back to 2009.

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FOS backs down and agrees: award limit applies in avoidance cases

Published on 08 March 2017. By Robert Morris, Partner

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In R (on the application of Aviva Life & Pensions (UK) Limited) v Financial Ombudsman Service [2017]1 Aviva judicially reviewed a Financial Ombudsman Service decision that required them to reinstate a life insurance policy they had avoided for non-disclosure.

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What next for the Energy Performance of Retail Buildings?

06 March 2017

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After the initial success of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the widespread introduction of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) into property transactions, what can we expect from the proposed revisions of the EPBD?

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Financial litigation roundup

Published on 06 March 2017. By Tom Hibbert, Partner

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Welcome to the latest edition of our financial litigation roundup, which considers recent judgments, ongoing cases and legal developments from the banking and financial world in the UK and Asia.

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Finally, a victory in the on-going battle against business rates

03 March 2017

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The Supreme Court ruling in Newbigin v Monks represents a welcome and important victory for UK property developers.

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HMRC's failure to exercise its discretion unreasonable

Published on 03 March 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Senior Associate

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In G B Housley Limited v HMRC [2016] EWCA Civ 1299, the Court of Appeal allowed the Appellant's appeal and restored the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) which had discharged HMRC's VAT assessment on the basis HMRC had failed to correctly exercise its discretion.

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Has the FCA made settling more appealing?

02 March 2017

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Changes to the Regulatory Enforcement Process

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Solicitors duty to warn - when does it arise?

01 March 2017

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The Court of Appeal has recently dismissed an appeal against the decision of Michael Bowes QC sitting as a deputy judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in Balogun v Boyes Sutton & Perry [2017] EWCA Civ 75.

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BDO report finds fraud at a 5-year high

Published on 01 March 2017. By Tom Lloyd, Senior Associate and Esme Watson, Associate

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There has been a cascade of negative headlines in recent months about increased incidences of fraud in the UK. Stretched police resources, combined with an array of opportunities for online exploitation of businesses and consumers, are perceived to have made it a good time to be a fraudster.

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Tax update, March 2017

Published on 01 March 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this month’s update we report on HMRC’s Spotlight 36 which has been issued in respect of planning designed to circumvent the loan taxation rules in Part 7A ITEPA; new draft legislation in relation to the taxation of non-domiciled individuals and a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee on the taxation of high net worth individuals.

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The new statutory obligation to report on payment practices

28 February 2017

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Key points (and links) for businesses to note about the draft Reporting Payment Practices and Performance Regulations 2017 which comes into effect in April 2017.

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Court of Appeal rejects claim for misuse of confidential information in TV format

Published on 27 February 2017. By Rebecca Rose, Associate and Paul Joseph, Partner

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The Court of Appeal has confirmed a decision that confidential information was not misused by a large telecommunications organisation when it developed a television programme format with multiple similarities to one pitched to (and rejected by) it by individuals from the music industry a year previously.

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Guide to Real Estate Funds

22 February 2017

Welcome to the BVCA Guide to Real Estate Funds, the latest in our series of guides into business sectors, investment strategies and international markets.

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VAT update, February 2017

Published on 22 February 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this month’s update we report on HMRC’s withdrawal of three VAT extra-statutory concessions, the National Audit Offce’s investigation into VAT evasion by overseas online retailers and HMRC’s responses to the various “Making Tax Digital” consultations.

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Couple awarded £17,000 damages for distress caused by neighbour's CCTV surveillance

22 February 2017

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The compensation is an example of the rise of "distress" claims as a result of breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

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A punishment to fit the crime – CJEU allows punitive damages in IP infringement cases

Published on 22 February 2017. By Ben Mark, Partner and Jani Ihalainen, Paralegal

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In a recent decision, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that the EU Enforcement Directive does not preclude the legal provision of punitive damages in infringement cases in EU Member States.

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Timing and detail critical in misfeasance claims against HMRC

Published on 22 February 2017. By Robert Waterson, Partner

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The claimant taxpayer, who had been wrongly convicted for cheating the public revenue, had his claim of misfeasance in public office against HMRC struck out by the High Court because it was brought too late and he had failed adequately to plead his case.

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Demand guarantees not subject to doctrine of strict compliance

Published on 21 February 2017. By Parham Kouchikali, Partner

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High Court holds that the doctrine of strict compliance does not automatically apply to demand guarantees (or performance bonds) in the way that it applies to letters of credit.

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CIL review: A note of caution to charities

20 February 2017

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An overview of the CIL review team's recommendations for reform of CIL and consideration of the effect the loss of charitable exemptions could have on charities

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"Fraud unravels all" – or does it?

20 February 2017

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The English Commercial Court has upheld the enforcement of a foreign arbitration award against a buyer of goods even though the seller submitted forged bills of lading under the letter of credit

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Wealth and trusts quarterly digest, February 2017

Published on 16 February 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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The digest provides up to date commentary and analysis on key sector developments. Our tax, wealth and trusts teams are able to provide a wide ranging service to assist you and your clients in responding to market trends and legal developments. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have and always welcome feedback on the content of our publications.

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Customs and excise quarterly update, February 2017

Published on 16 February 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this quarterly update we report on new customs examination powers which allow HMRC to examine goods away from ports, airports and other approved places under customs control after clearance, the Government’s response to its consultation on a new due diligence scheme for UK fulfilment houses handling goods imported from outside the EU and HMRC’s new raw tobacco approval scheme.

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Robo-Advice: not so black and white?

Published on 15 February 2017. By Matthew Watson, Associate

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The Chairman of the FCA, John Griffith-Jones has provided an insight into the Regulator's concerns that the advent of technological developments has blurred the distinction between when customers are receiving advice or guidance.

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The importance of retainer letters

Published on 15 February 2017. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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Court strikes out claim that an adviser owed a duty to point out a claim against a former adviser

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Upper Tribunal confirms transfer of pension fund is not a transfer of value for IHT purposes

Published on 15 February 2017. By Constantine Christofi, Associate

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In HMRC v Parry & Others [2017] UKUT 4 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) held that a transfer of funds from a registered pension scheme to a personal pension plan made by the deceased shortly before her death was not a 'transfer of value' for the purposes of section 3, Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (IHTA). Similarly, the deceased's omission to exercise her right to take lifetime benefits from the personal pension plan was not a transfer of value.

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The Housing White Paper: 5 ways to boost delivery

15 February 2017

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A round-up of five key themes in the Housing White Paper which aim to increase land available for housing and boost build-out rates.

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Computer says...sell, sell, sell!

Published on 14 February 2017. By Alex Farrow, Associate

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False news stories and the stock market - a toxic combination or a risk-taker's dream?

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The long arm of the law: chasing the proceeds of (alleged) crime

Published on 13 February 2017. By Davina Given, Partner

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The English Court has recently upheld a freezing order over the sale proceeds from shares alleged to be a Canadian company's bribes to a Chadian diplomat's wife in the US.

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Green belt development - don't forget the law!

13 February 2017

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A review of the housing white paper in relation to green belt development noting that the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938 is a further hurdle.

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