Archive for February, 2014

Plucky Dementia Sufferer Allowed to Go Home

An 89-year-old ex-politician, whose extraordinary life embraced many of the moral and ideological battles of the 20th Century before she was stricken by dementia, has triumphed in her landmark legal fight to return to her home of 60 years from the nursing home where she was being detained against her will. Lifelong feminist and campaigner for women’s rights Manuela Sykes, whom the Court of Protection unusually allowed to be named in reports of the case, was described as ‘ever a fighter’ who had served as a Wren in the Fleet Air Arm before standing for Parliament and editing a trade union newspaper for 40 years. Always in the public eye, she had devoted much of her life to helping the needy, including dementia sufferers. Because of her declining mental condition, however, she had been ‘deprived of her liberty’ at the behest ... Read more

Patient Confidentiality Trumps Tax Inquiry

A general practitioner has scored an important victory over the tax authorities after the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) ruled that demands that she disclose her appointments diary as part of an inquiry into her Income Tax affairs were unreasonable. Dr Kathleen Long expressed serious concerns about patient confidentiality when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) required sight of the diary, which contained names and addresses of hundreds of patients and details of their treatment. In allowing her appeal, the FTT described Dr Long as a ‘wholly credible and reliable’ witness who had in no way sought to be difficult or obstructive but had co-operated fully with HMRC throughout. The diaries contained no financial information and the idea that they would in some way aid the inquiry was ‘remote and speculative’. Dr Long acts as locum GP on the Isles of Cumbrae, Islay and Braemar, ... Read more

Reasonable Pre-Nuptial Agreement Enforceable

In dividing the £5 million assets of an 18-year marriage between a top lawyer and the mother of his four teenage children, the High Court has reiterated that pre-nuptial agreements have legal effect in England and Wales – if they are reasonable. The husband, a Dutch national and a solicitor in a ‘magic circle’ firm, and his English wife had each made proposals as to how their wealth should be divided which the Court found were unreasonable. He placed heavy reliance on a ‘pre-nup’ signed on the eve of their marriage and she argued that she should be compensated for having given up her own high-flying legal career to take on a full-time mother’s role. The pre-nup, amongst other things, preserved the parties’ individual ownership of assets that they brought into the marriage and provided for equal division of wealth acquired ... Read more

Freemasons’ Grand Lodge Suffers Stinging Tax Defeat

Britain’s Freemasons will be deeply disappointed by a tax tribunal’s ruling that their governing Grand Lodge is not sufficiently ‘philosophical’ or ‘philanthropic’ to qualify for a VAT exemption potentially worth millions. The United Grand Lodge of England represents about 250,000 Masons, belonging to around 8,000 lodges, and in 2010 alone donated more than £80 million to various charitable causes. The body says that Freemasonry’s ‘peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols’ is driven by fundamental principles of ‘brotherly love’, high moral standards, charitable relief and a quest for the truth. It sought a substantial rebate from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in respect of more than 20 years in which VAT was accounted for on members’ annual subscriptions. That was on the basis that its ‘aims of a philosophical, philanthropic and civic nature’ benefited the public in ... Read more
Next Page »