A summary of key legal updates for the Private Client sector over the past week is as follows.
Autumn Budget may be postponed
It has been reported that the Chancellor may postpone the Autumn 2021 Budget until Spring 2022 to allow more time for the economic impact of the pandemic and the end of the furlough scheme to become clear. Data on the latter will not be available until November/ December 2021 and the Office for Budget Responsibility requires twelve weeks' notice to provide Budget forecasts. If the Autumn Budget is delayed, it will be for the third successive year. Rishi Sunak weighs up moving budget to 2022 on back of Covid crisis | Budget | The Guardian
Cross-border estate dispute
Pescatore v Valentino & Ors  EWHC 1953 (Ch) is a complex cross-border probate dispute involving "forum-shopping". The deceased's widow applied for (and was granted) probate in England on the basis that the deceased was domiciled in England and Wales. The deceased's children (from his first marriage) commenced proceedings in Italy seeking to apply Italian law to the succession. The widow sought an interim anti-suit injunction to restrain the children continuing Italian proceedings until the English court had determined issues such as the applicable law and the domicile of the deceased. The application required consideration of the personal jurisdiction of the children and the natural forum for the dispute (inter alia). The anti-suit injunction was granted with the judge commenting that it was "forum-shopping" for the children (as British citizens and living in England) to resort to the courts of Italy and was an example of the children using Italian law as "a (metaphorical) stick to beat their stepmother with". Pescatore v Valentino & Ors  EWHC 1953 (Ch) (15 July 2021) (bailii.org)
Co-ownership of land
Ralph v Ralph  EWCA Civ 1106 is a case about a mistaken declaration of a tenancy in common on the TR1 property transfer form. The declaration was a tenancy in common in equal shares even though one of the parties had not contributed any funds to the purchase. The Court of Appeal held that the declaration could not be rectified as there was no evidence at the time of completion as to how the parties wanted the beneficial interest to be held: the parties "simply gave no thought to the matter at all." The case is a reminder for practitioners of the importance of discussions about how the property is to be held in equity. No rectification for common mistake where purchasers never considered how beneficial interest should be held (Court of Appeal) | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)
Remote court hearings
In June 2021, the President of the Family Division launched a rapid consultation on the use of remote hearings so as to inform the post-pandemic recovery plans of the family court and the Court of Protection. The findings have just been published and two-thirds of respondents believe that remote hearings are not yet adequately fair and efficient. There was support for remote "administrative" hearings (subject to certain caveats) but much less support for remote fact-finding hearings and final hearings. Many hearings are being conducted by telephone, instead of by video-conference, and in respect of the latter, there are concerns about the quality of connection and access to appropriate hardware. Remote hearings in the family court post pandemic (kinstacdn.com)
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.