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20 March 2020

The global fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues and is being felt in every possible sector and section of society.

As the mediating point for every regulated aspect of our lives, the legal services sector is now in a unique position, but, like so many other sectors, such as hospitals and supermarkets, it runs the risks becoming overwhelmed at a time when businesses, individuals, employers and employees face not only their usual raft of day-to-day disputes and challenges but must also grapple with the legal and financial fallouts of COVID-19.

In some ways it is fortunate that COVID-19 has occurred at a time when many law firms have finally begun to embrace a certain amount of technological disruption within the sector, thereby increasing their flexibility and ability to respond to the challenges ahead.

17 March 2020

Cross-border probate disputes are inherently complex and also have a tendency to be high-value, although as the world becomes increasingly connected, such disputes are becoming a more common feature for families across all kinds of economic groups.

The recent case of Rehman v Hamid [2019] EWHC 3692 (Ch) serves as a useful reminder of the need to ensure the correct jurisdiction for a dispute arising in relation to cross-border probate issues.

10 March 2020

In some jurisdictions in the world – including in certain states in the US – a verbal Will may be considered valid. However, in the United Kingdom, for a Will to be considered legally enforceable it must be written down, preferably by an experienced solicitor for Wills using the appropriate language, and correctly signed and witnessed.

Once a Will is in place, any amendments should also be made formally through a signed and witnessed codicil, as any change to the original document could invalidate it.

So, what happens if, on your deathbed, you tell someone that you want to cut one of your children out of your Will or you decide to leave your entire estate to a donkey sanctuary? And what happens, if you have made a verbal promise to someone about an inheritance, but your Will does not reflect this?

02 March 2020

It was as odd as it was anomalous that for some time heterosexual couples did not have the same legal right to civil partnerships as their same-sex counterparts did under the Civil Partnerships Act 2004. In fact, alongside numerous campaigners, the oddity was recognised by leading gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who went so far as to call it discriminatory.

However, the law has now changed, meaning that heterosexual couples who do not wish to enter into a marriage are now able to undertake a civil partnership which affords them near legal equality with married couples without any of the religious or patriarchal connotations.

21 February 2020

So, 31 January has come and gone, and the EU Withdrawal Bill has now passed into law. If you thought this would put an end to all talks of messy divorce, think again.

Yes, the UK's decision to end our relationship with Europe and to instead embark on the separation process of Brexit has many implications for family law, not least – although most ironically – within the pertinent area of cross-border divorce.

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