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Warning: Enhanced Penalties for Financial Sanctions

05 May 2017

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Penalties for breaching financial sanctions have increased this week (since 2 May 2017) as HM Treasury brings The European Union Financial Sanctions (Enhanced Penalties) Regulation 2017 (the Regulation) into force.

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Tax update, May 2017

Published on 03 May 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this update we report on HMRC’s recently amended guidance on the General Anti-Abuse Rule, HMRC’s draft guidance on the new disguised remuneration provisions in the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, and on the recent modifications to the Finance Bill 2017.

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Licensors beware – BlackBerry wins refund of royalties from Qualcomm

Published on 02 May 2017. By Joseph Byrne, Associate

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Smartphone chip supplier Qualcomm has been ordered to pay back $814.9 million to BlackBerry as part of a binding interim arbitration settlement.

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Reining back from last orders - The Protection of Pubs: an update

02 May 2017

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Provisions in the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 for the protection of pubs, including restrictions on changes of use and demolition, updated from the draft Bill.

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Upper Tribunal confirms First-tier Tribunal has jurisdiction to amend tax return

Published on 02 May 2017. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Eric Walker [2016] UKUT 32, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has confirmed that the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has the power, under section 50, Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA), to amend a return if it decides the taxpayer is entitled to a smaller repayment than the one claimed.

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The rise and rise of e-sports

28 April 2017

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With the announcement that e-sports will be included in the official programme for the 2022 Asian Games, competitive gaming is now a globally significant brand, and the once-derided pastime of playing video games is now a viable, and lucrative, career opportunity.

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Top Tips for Commercial Tenants – Lease Expiry

27 April 2017

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Commercial advice for business tenants approaching lease expiry

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VAT update April 2017

Published on 26 April 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this month’s update we report on HMRC’s call for evidence on alternative methods for collecting VAT for online sales, HMRC’s policy on historical VAT bad debt relief claims following the BT and GMAC decisions and the enactment of the insolvency VAT clawback concession. We also comment on three recent cases involving mistake-based claims for unjust enrichment, the VAT treatment of temporary workers and the apportionment of residual input tax for finance houses.

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The age of the lawyer

Published on 25 April 2017. By James Miller, Managing Partner

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Earlier this month Legal Business published its fifth GC Powerlist UK. The intervening 12 months since the last edition have been some of the most seismic in living memory. This is my take – first published in the Powerlist – on some of the implications for General Counsel and in-house lawyers.

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Euro Packaging UK Limited – classification of long-life shopping bags

Published on 25 April 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In HMRC v Euro Packaging UK Limited [2017] UKFTT 0160, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed the Appellant's appeal against decisions of HMRC relating to the customs duty to be paid on the importation from countries outside the EU of shopping bags and its refusal to remit the customs duty.

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UK Court grants first 'live' blocking order against streaming servers

Published on 25 April 2017. By Ciara Cullen, Partner

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The Football Association Premier League (FAPL) recently won its application for a court order that the six main retail internet service providers block access to streaming servers until the end of the 2016/2017 Premier League Season. The application covered live streaming only – i.e. it only applies when those servers are streaming infringing content.

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Lessons learned from Property Alliance Group v RBS

Published on 25 April 2017. By Daniel Hemming, Partner and Davina Given, Partner

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This article assesses the key aspects of the High Court's judgment and considers their implications for similar claims.

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Guidance on the "cardinal rule" for implying terms

Published on 21 April 2017. By Davina Given, Partner

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In Irish Bank Resolution Corp Ltd (In Special Liquidation) v Camden Market Holdings Corp the Court of Appeal held that a term could not be implied into an agreement because, although it was linguistically consistent, it was substantively inconsistent with the express terms. In doing so, the court shed further light on the application of the "cardinal rule" that an implied term must not contradict any of the express terms of the contract.

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FCA publish consultation paper on the Insurance Distribution Directive

Published on 19 April 2017. By Jonathan Charwat, Senior Associate

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The FCA has published the first of two consultation papers setting out its proposals for transposing the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) into English law.

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Let there be light

19 April 2017

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The importance of light in WELL Building Standards and how it sits within the context of planning law and rights of light

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Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017: what do collectors and dealers need to know?

Published on 19 April 2017. By Davina Given, Partner

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The UK Parliament has recently passed the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017. Although the provisions of the Act have not yet come into force, how will this impact collectors and dealers?

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No more payouts for ticket touts?

19 April 2017

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Ticket touts are exploiting sports and entertainment fans by artificially inflating ticket prices. Will the recent amendments to the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) be effective at preventing this unfair practice?

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Tribunal cancels penalty imposed against doctor and criticises unreasonable HMRC behaviour

18 April 2017

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In Dr Ragini Pandey v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 0216 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) cancelled a penalty which had been issued by HMRC under paragraph 1, Schedule 24, Finance Act 2007 and in so doing criticised HMRC's 'unreasonable' behaviour.

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Easter and the Cocoa Calamity

Published on 13 April 2017. By Samantha Thompson, Associate

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With the world in the midst of a cocoa crisis, this could be the last Easter as you know it.

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The law of unintended consequences

Published on 12 April 2017. By Victoria Sugden, Senior Associate and Davina Given, Partner

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Why professional indemnity insurers should closely examine losses in professional negligence claims

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A case of unintended consequences

Published on 12 April 2017. By Victoria Sugden, Senior Associate and Tim Bull, Partner

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Supreme Court Judgment of Lowick Rose LLP (formerly known as Hurst Morrison Thomson LLP) (in liquidation) v Swynson Ltd and another [2017] UKSC 32

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Complaints against insolvency practitioners hold steady

Published on 11 April 2017. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The insolvency service has published the latest figures for complaints against insolvency practitioners made to the Complaints Gateway during 2016. The statistics indicate that the Gateway has received a reasonably steady level of complaints since it was established in 2013 but promisingly for practitioners the Gateway does appear to be weeding out more complaints with the Gateway having rejected 29% of complaints in 2016, compared to 18% in the Gateway's first year.

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CFAs and ATE premiums out of the running in freedom of expression cases

11 April 2017

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Supreme Court tips media organisations' Article 10 rights over obligation to pay claimants' additional liabilities in freedom of expression cases

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Closure Notices defective but JR dismissed as taxpayer should have appealed to the Tribunal

Published on 10 April 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In R (on the application of Archer) v HMRC [2017] EWHC 296 (Admin), the High Court agreed with the claimant that a Closure Notice issued by HMRC must state the tax due, but dismissed his application for judicial review on the ground that he should have appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT).

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Cinema Wars: The Courts Awaken

10 April 2017

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A review of two recent planning law cases relating to cinema schemes, looking at s73 applications and the role of development plan policies in managing competition.

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Product liability update

Published on 10 April 2017. By Gavin Reese, Partner

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In this Update we take a look at some of the recent stories making the news, from driverless cars to advertising for high fat, salt or sugar food or drink products.

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China’s consumer credit rating culture is evolving fast - probably too fast?

10 April 2017

Ratings are a big deal; school ratings, restaurant ratings and movie ratings to name but a few. There is now at least one more rating that matters to people in mainland China - online credit ratings.

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Hacked – IAAF victim of cyber-attack compromising athlete data

Published on 10 April 2017. By Stuart Harris, Associate

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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been subject to a data breach – allegedly by Russian hacking group Fancy Bears - potentially compromising the sensitive data of a number of athletes.

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Supreme Court decides on assignment and variation of CFAs

Published on 07 April 2017. By Nick Bird, Partner

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In Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Limited the Supreme Court determined that a CFA had been validly assigned to a new firm and that variations to it after 1 April 2013 were not new agreements.

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Eleven more charities fined by ICO in 'wealth screening' probe

07 April 2017

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The ICO has fined a further eleven charities following an investigation that revealed widespread misuse of donors' personal data.

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Permissions in Principle: a brave new planning world?

06 April 2017

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An overview of regulations relating to brownfield land registers and permission in principle including criteria for including land in a register and allocating it for housing development

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Tax update, April 2017

Published on 05 April 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner

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In this update we report on recent HMRC guidance on partnership follower notices and penalties, the new employment status checker for the intermediaries legislation (IR35) and details of tax avoidance scheme for income and national insurance contributions which HMRC has highlighted in its Spotlight 37.

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SIPP scheme administrator avoids 'pension liberation' tax charge

Published on 04 April 2017. By Robert Waterson, Partner

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In HMRC v Sippchoice Ltd [2017] UKUT 87 (TCC) the Upper Tribunal (UT) has upheld the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) that Sippchoice should not be subject to scheme sanction charges but said that the FTT's reference to MTIC case law in assessing the evidential burden was incorrect.

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Sleeve sponsorship – a new trick up the sleeve for Premier League teams

Published on 03 April 2017. By Joseph Byrne, Associate

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The blog provides an insight into the consequences arising from the introduction of sleeve sponsors to the Premier League, with a particular focus on club's existing commercial arrangements and deals that are being negotiated/will be negotiated.

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Court of Appeal provides a timely reminder of the principles relating to clear and unambiguous contractual negotiations

Published on 03 April 2017. By Emma Griffiths, Senior Associate and Geraldine Elliott, Partner

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In Global Asset Capital, Inc and another v Aabar Block SARL and others the Court of Appeal found that the High Court had erred in its finding that in assessing whether a contract had been concluded, it need not take account of inconsistent subsequent communications between the parties following the arguable conclusion of a contract during a telephone call that had followed a "subject to contract" offer letter.

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Fund management litigation

Published on 03 April 2017. By Alan Williams, Partner

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Recourse for LP investors when an investment goes wrong

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Choppy waters ahead: the decline of North Sea oil

03 April 2017

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On 8 February 2017, Royal Dutch Shell unveiled its plans for decommissioning the Brent oilfield. Many other producers of North Sea oil are considering ceasing operation, or have already done so. However, the decline of this industry may herald the emergence of another: what opportunities does decommissioning present?

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MIPIM: 10 things we learnt about you

Published on 31 March 2017. By Johanna Hall, Senior Associate

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A round up of things we learnt during our first experience of MIPIM week, from what to wear to how to plan your diary and make the most of your new connections

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Prior arbitral award – abuse of process?

Published on 30 March 2017. By Davina Given, Partner

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Michael Wilson & Partners Limited v Sinclair and others [2017] EWCA Civ 3 demonstrates the interplay between arbitration and litigation, considering whether legal proceedings commenced by A against C are an abuse of the court's process where arbitration proceedings between A and B have decided the issue in question. The Court of Appeal held that a prior arbitration award can found an argument that subsequent litigation against a third party is an abuse of process, but will rarely do so. On the facts of this case, the claim was not considered to be an abuse of process.

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Letters of Credit: Fraud conquers all – if it is fraud

Published on 30 March 2017. By Alan Williams, Partner and Andy McGregor, Head of Civil Fraud

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The High Court decision in Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v. Novo Banco S.A. and Others [2016] EWHC 2456 provided a useful reminder that the principle of autonomy, which provides for payments to be made under letters of credit, regardless of disputes under the underlying contract, will not be upheld if the fraud exception applies. In its decision at first instance the High Court had found that the fraud exception had applied. However, the High Court judgment was appealed. This update discusses the Court of Appeal's decision.

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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, Partner

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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

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, Of Counsel 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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