Hylton-Potts Law Blog

Legal Issues and Opinions affecting people from across the UK

Sorting out finances by agreement

Unless there is violence you will have to attend a Mediation and Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before filing a financial claim.  Mediation is not for anybody and many couples succeed in settling matters literally across the kitchen table, with a pot of coffee or a bottle of wine.   Because it is a family matter the Judge has to “rubber stamp” the settlement even though you are both adults, but if the settlement is halfway reasonable to either side that should be a formality and the whole thing can be achieved within three months for under £1,000.   It is

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Buy a Dog – is the advice from American lawyers

Your lawyer is not your friend.  The American lawyers say, ‘If you want a friend buy a dog’ which is slightly harsh, but the point should be taken. It may be “Dear Rodney” and “Dear Peter or Jane”, but he is your lawyer not your friend. He can do more than your friends can to help you in tricky legal situations. A good lawyer will always give support, not by hand holding.  It is done by clearly explaining the problems and the process and the proposed solutions in clear English.  A good lawyer will explain costs, strategies and risks. That

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Heads of agreement excluded by entire agreement clause

Contract disputes are relatively common and, when a case comes to court, one of the first things the court has to do is to try to work out what the parties to the contract presumed they were agreeing given the background to it (the ‘factual matrix’). In a recently reported dispute, the High Court was called upon to rule on the meaning of a contract between two IT companies which were developing products for the gambling industry. They had agreed heads of agreement and those were followed by a contract which contained an ‘entire agreement’ clause. This stipulated that nothing

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Electronic signature binding, rules Court

A High Court case which dealt with a longstanding uncertainty on the validity of ‘e-signatures’ in certain types of agreements was decided recently. The case involved a professional musician who used a very valuable viola as collateral for loans and also for an advance made by a pawnbroker. The viola was eventually sold for £230,000 and the dispute arose because the proceeds of sale were claimed in part by two different claimants, both of whom had advanced sums of money based on the viola being the security for the loan. One key issue was the validity of an electronic signature

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Businesswomen must pay for breach of non-compete covenant

A businesswoman who made more than £3 million from the sale of her shares in a social care company – and then promptly set up in rivalry with it in breach of a non-compete covenant – is facing a substantial damages bill. On the sale of her shares, the woman had agreed not to compete with the company or solicit its clients for three years. However, even before her departure, she and her civil partner, who had also worked for the company and agreed to the covenant, had set up a business which operated in a similar field. They commenced

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Dating before the divorce.

An excellent article in the Solicitors Journal “the real fly in the ointment” 18 November 2014 (www.solicitorsjournal.com) expands on the ruling of Mostyn J about dating before divorce. He called it the “fly in the ointment”.  What he meant was that Judges cannot not in practice disregard a new relationship before divorce.  If for example the wife had moved in with a wealthy man, and the husband was ordered to pay a high degree of maintenance, he would have a justifiable grievance if he thought that “another man should look after her”. Equally she might be aggrieved if she got

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Child Contact Centres

An article in the 11 November 2014 Solicitors Journal (www.solicitorsjournal.com) called “Child contact centres perform a valuable function” is well worth a look. They are closed centres with each parent entering from separate secure entrances to keep them apart. These facilities are applicable where there is a drug or alcohol problem, typically with the male absent parent. Fathers and the children often hate them because they are not a good place to have quality contact.  Nevertheless the advice to the absent parent, typically the father, is to accept any humiliation and condition to maintain contact with the child. Things will

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Electronic Signatures

On 8 September 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a guide to the use of electronic signatures, which is essential reading for anyone seeking to use them for business purposes.   This can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electronic-signatures.     We would be interested in your comments, please leave them by clicking on the title to this blog above.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

If you are thinking of entering into a same sex marriage, or when effect converting your existing civil partnership click on the link below for guidance Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act Preparation for the occasion, such as having a prenuptial agreement, and advice in relation to break down  of the same as heterosexual situations Expert legal advice were taken at an early stage

Blue Pencil Rule

Where a contract makes no sense a Judge has discretion to delete and change the void or illegal clause and put in wording that the parties should have actually used. This is called the “blue pencil rule”.  A case worth looking at is Phrophet plc v Huggett (2014) EWCA CIV1013, where the Judge decided that the lawyer who drafted the contract had not written down the parties’ intentions, and so instead the Judge substituted wording that should have been used. These cases can be go way and can be very uncertain and therefore expert legal advice should be taken in

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