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Entries for June 2013:

Quicker justice for motoring offences

27 Jun 2013, 11:25 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: appeal, barrister, careless-driving-offences, fines, lawyer, penalty-points

From July, police will have powers to issue on the spot fines and fixed
penalty points
for careless driving offences that would currently have to go to court. 

Police will have powers to issue a fine of £100 and 3 penalty points on licences to middle lane hoggers on the motorway. Motorway tailgaters will also face the same fine and penalty points. 

Other changes include the fine for driving whilst using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt increasing from £40 to £100.

However drivers will still be afforded the opportunity to appeal any decision and go through the court system. 

The more serious offences will continue to go through the courts and fixed points and fines will not be issued on the spot. This is because, if found guilty, the courts have the power to issue heftier fines and penalties.     

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Lifting the Corporate Veil in Matrimonial Law

25 Jun 2013, 09:25 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: barrister, commercial, commercial-law, court, divorce, family-law, fraud, lawyer, legal-proceedings, matrimonial-law

In commercial cases the key principle is that a company is independent of its shareholders and so one cannot get at the company's assets in legal proceedings unless there has been fraudulent or dishonest use of the company, 

On 12 June 2013 the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the corporate veil to be lifted in financial divorce proceedings in the case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited and others [2013] UKSC 34. The question in this appeal brought by Mrs Prest was whether the court had power to order the transfer of properties to her given that they legally belonged not to Mr Prest but to his companies. 

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 section 24(1), it states that the court may order that "a party to the marriage shall transfer to the other party...such property as may be so specified, being property to which the first-mentioned party is entitled, either in possession or reversion."

On the facts of this case, Mr Prest, and not his companies, originally provided the funds for the acquisition of the properties. He had control of the company assets as if they were his own during the marriage. Mr Prest concealing these facts coupled with the continuous failure to cooperate with disclosure and transparency, the Court inferred that both he and the companies were attempting to conceal the true beneficial ownership of the properties. 

Mrs Prest won in her appeal and the Court held that the properties invested in Mr Prest's companies were on trust for him. It was ordered that these assets be handed over to his wife. Therefore, in these exceptional circumstances, the Court disregarded the corporate veil in order to give effective relief. 

This landmark ruling has provided some clarity as to when the courts can lift the corporate veil, and that business people cannot deliberately hide assets in companies to protect them in the event of a divorce.

 

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A stricter approach under the new CPR rules

07 Jun 2013, 16:17 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: barrister, barristers, high-court, judge, judgment, lawyer, particulars-of-claim

The impact of the Jackson reforms on the CPR rules is
showing, with a tougher approach displayed by the courts on missed deadlines. 

The case of Venulum Property Investments Ltd v Space Architecture & Others[2013] EWHC 1242 (TCC) was heard before the High Court. The Claimant applied for permission to extend time for service of the Particulars of Claim as the solicitors incorrectly calculated the deadline for service.

The courts' discretionary power to extend time in such circumstances is
governed by CPR 3.9. Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart recognised that this rule had been significantly amended from 1 April 2013. The old rule allowed the court to have a more general consideration with a list of nine factors to consider.  Under the new rule:

"The court will consider all the circumstances of the case, so as to
enable it to deal justly with the application, including the need-

(a) for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate
cost; and (b) to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and orders."

Accordingly, the court refused to allow an extension for serving the
Particulars of Claim. In reaching this outcome the court considered the five year delay in bringing the claim, the claim
against the defendant not being strong and the fact that the claim for bad
faith was pleaded in vague terms. 

Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart concluded in his judgment, "when the circumstances are considered as a whole, particularly in the light of the stricter approach that must now be taken by the courts towards those who fail to comply with rules following the new changes to the CPR, this is a case where the court should refuse permission to extend time. The Claimant has taken quite long enough to bring these proceedings and enough is now enough."

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Displaying entries 1-3 of 3.



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