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19 November 2018

The UK has had more than its fair share of unusual laws throughout its history. It's hard to believe some of the laws that were enforced in the past, and it's even harder to believe that a number of them are still in effect today. Below we take a look a few of the strangest laws that are still around.

It is an offence to be drunk and in charge of a cow

The Licensing Act 1872 forbids people from being drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle, or steam engine. Sensibly, the act also prohibits people from being drunk when in possession of any loaded fire-arms.

Offenders face a hefty fine or imprisonment for a maximum of one month. If a fine was issued and not paid, then the court may order him to be imprisoned with hard labour. Probably best to leave your cow or steam engine at home if you are going for a night out.

12 November 2018

Christmas is just a few weeks away, and for many divorced or separated families this can mean extra stress and emotional anxiety.

If this is your first Christmas after separation

Be prepared that you may well find the festive season difficult. Take some time to think about how you may feel and whether there are likely to be any specific triggers that may be upsetting for you. Think about ways of coping not just with the festive season in general but with any potential flashpoints. Let go of any traditions that no longer work for you or that you inherited from your ex’s family. Instead, try creating some new traditions to replace any old ones you'd rather forget – you can get your children involved in creating new arrangements to help them feel fully involved in the festive season.

Get organised early on

Don’t leave making the arrangements for the children until the last minute. Sorting out the arrangements early on will ensure that things go smoothly and is especially important when you are also trying to factor in extended family. The earlier everyone knows what is happening and when, the better. Sometimes trying to make arrangements that suit everyone can be a logistical nightmare so, to save yourself a lot of stress, it may be better to let family know when the children will be with you and invite everyone round on just one day – this leaves you and your children free to enjoy the rest of your time together.  

06 November 2018

The Government has announced this morning that they plan to introduce legislation to increase probate court fees for estates valued at over £50,000. Currently, there is a flat fee across the board of £155 if using a solicitor, or £215 if applying in person.

 

The proposal is to increase the court fee on a sliding scale, determined by the estimated value of the estate:

Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing, meaning estates worth between £5,000 and £50,000 will save £215 compared to the current system.

Estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £250, a rise of £35.

Estates worth between £300,000 and £500,000 will pay £750, a rise of £535.

Estates worth between £500,000 and £1 million will pay £2,500, a rise of £2,285.

Estates worth between £1 million and £1.6 million will pay £4,000, a rise of £3,785.

Estates worth between £1.6 million and £2 million will pay £5,000, a rise of £4,785.

Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000, a rise of £5,785.

26 October 2018

Clive Shaw has taken his ageing parents to court, bringing a propriety estoppel claim against them after discovering they had written him out of their Wills.

He claims that he worked on his parent's dairy farm for most of his life, from the age of seven, and that his parents promised him that one day the farm would be his. However, his mother took issue with his partner, Lesley Hollis, calling her a “gold-digger” after a family argument during Christmas in 2016.  His parents also claimed that he had not worked hard enough on the farm and would keep away from the farm when the father was working with the herd as Clive Shaw didn’t like cows – referring to them as “stinking, horrible, rotten creatures”. 

09 October 2018

The announcement that civil partnerships are to be extended to mixed-sex couples has been met with mixed reactions. There are those who are wholly in favour, and there are those who think there is no need as mixed-sex couples have, for centuries, been able to get married, and that now that there is marriage equality in England, Wales and Scotland, civil partnerships should be withdrawn.

Two sisters are now calling on the government to extend mixed-sex civil partnerships to siblings.  Catherine and Virginia Utley have lived together for over 30 years, bought a house together and have jointly raised Catherine’s daughter. When one of them dies, the other faces a large Inheritance Tax bill, which will probably mean she will have to sell the home they have lived in and shared for over 23 years. They want to be able to enter into a civil partnership with each other to be able to benefit from the Inheritance Tax advantages that are available to couples in either a civil partnership or marriage. The sisters have said that they feel excluding siblings from civil partnerships is “pure discrimination”.

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