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Author Archive: Alice Beck

Islamic marriage ruled valid under English law

Posted by on August 22nd 2018 in Blog Posts, Family

Islamic marriage ruled valid under English law

In a ruling which could have far reaching implications a High Court Judge has ruled that an Islamic faith Marriage constituted a valid marriage ceremony under English Law

Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan had an Islamic marriage ceremony known as a Nikah in 1998.

Akhter and Khan became estranged and Akhter decided to make an application for a divorce after 20 years of marriage. Akhter argued that the Nikah ceremony constituted a valid marriage and she was therefore entitled to a divorce. Khan opposed the divorce stating that the Nikah did not constitute a legal marriage under English Law and was...

Deathbed Marriages

Posted by on August 22nd 2018 in Blog Posts, Family, Private Client

A coalition of legal organisations call on the Government to increase protections for cohabiting couples following a rise in deathbed marriages

In a letter to the Guardian a coalition of legal organisations and charities including Resolution, the Bar Council, the Law Society, Relate, Rights of Women, OnlyMums and OnlyDads have urged ministers to tackle the myth of common law marriage and update legislation.

Cohabiting couples

Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. Two thirds of cohabiting couples do not know that there is no such thing as common law marriage. Cohabiting couples often mistakenly believe that they...

Owens v Owens [2018]: Wife's appeal to divorce husband fails

Posted by on July 27th 2018 in Blog Posts, Family

Owens v Owens [2018]: Wife's appeal to divorce husband fails

The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman seeking to divorce her husband must remain married to him until 2020.

Mr and Mrs Owens were married in 1978 and have two adult children. In May 2015 Mrs Owens filed a divorce petition which is the subject of the current proceedings. The petition was based on s.1 (2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and alleged that the marriage has broken down irretrievably as Mr Owens had behaved in such a way that Mrs Owens could not reasonably be expected to live with him.  Mr Owens refused to consent to a...

Litigants in Person Must Comply with the Civil Procedure Rules

Posted by on June 5th 2018 in Blog Posts, Litigation

Litigants in Person Must Comply with the Civil Procedure Rules

Barton v Wright Hassall LLP [2018], Reynard v Fox [2018] and Green v Mears [2018]

Three recent cases highlight that litigants in person are unlikely to be given any special allowances in litigation if they fail to comply with a rule or court order.

Baron v Wright Hassall LLP

Mr Barton brought a negligence claim against his former legal representatives as a litigant in person. He attempted to serve his claim form via email on the last day of a four month deadline. The defendant’s solicitors had not indicated that they would accept service via email and therefore service was invalid. The court...

Cohabitation: Property Ownership Rights Following a Break Up

Posted by on January 8th 2018 in Blog Posts, Family

Cohabitation: Property Ownership Rights Following a Break Up

It is a common myth that couples who live together for a long period of time have the same rights as married couples, this is often referred to as a ‘common law marriage’. In fact the concept of ‘common law marriage’ has no legal validity in the UK, you are either married or you are not. So where do cohabiting couples property rights stand following the breakdown of a relationship?

Unmarried couples have no guaranteed rights to ownership of each other’s property. Where a relationship breaks down and the couple are unmarried the court has to resolve questions of property ownership...

Bereavement Damages - Battle Won for Unmarried Couples

Posted by on January 8th 2018 in Blog Posts, Family

Jakki Smith has won a legal battle against the Government and established better rights for unmarried couples.

Jakki Smith took the Government to court for breaching her human rights and denying her bereavement damages. Jakki had been in a long term relationship with her partner John Bulloch for 16 years. John fell ill whilst on holiday in Turkey after having a benign tumour removed from his foot; a post operative infection had been missed by medical staff.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 a fixed sum of £12,980 can be claimed in statutory damages if a person dies as a result of...

The Law of Wills is Outdated and in Need of an Overhaul

Posted by on July 20th 2017 in Private Client

The Law Commission have recommended an overhaul in the legal system of Wills, stating that the current system is outdated and out of step with the modern world. The independent body are currently consulting on proposals to soften the strict formality rules, introduce a new mental capacity test, lower the age for testators from 18 to 16 and introduce electronic Wills.

Formality rules

It is estimated that 40% of adults are dying each year without a Will; the Law Commission has suggested that the current law may be putting people off making a Will they therefore want to make the process...

Government Legal Service v Brookes

Posted by on May 16th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Multiple Choice Assessment taken by Applicant with Aspergers Subjected Her to Indirect Disability Discrimination

In the recent ruling, Government Legal Services v Brookes UKEAT/0302/16, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) upheld the decision of an Employment Tribunal that requiring a job applicant with Aspergers to take a multiple choice test as part of the recruitment process amounted to indirect discrimination.

The Facts

Ms Brookes applied for a position with the Government Legal Service (GLS) whose jobs are highly sought after and whose recruitment is notoriously competitive. Applicants are required to complete and pass a multiple choice situational judgement test in order to...

The New Probate Fees

Posted by on April 13th 2017 in Blog Posts, Private Client

Probate fees are payable by executors when they apply for a Grant of Probate which is a formal document required in order to administer a deceased person’s estate. Currently a flat fee is payable of either £155 for an application made by a solicitor or £215 for an application made by an individual regardless of the value of the estate. Probate fees are separate to inheritance tax and are payable on an application irrespective of whether inheritance tax is due. 

New provisions intended to be introduced from May will replace these flat fees with...

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