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Weekly news review: judge criticises Young case, Michael Prest pleads poverty, assisted suicide hearing set

22 November 2013

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LITIGATION

Couple criticised: The "extraordinary" case of Scot and Michelle Young was "about as bad an example of how not to litigate as any I have ever encountered", said Mr Justice Moor as he ordered the businessman to pay his estranged wife £20m. The High Court judge criticised the fact it cost millions in litigation fees, took six and a half years to come to trial and required 65 separate hearings, and said there was no question of him awarding Michelle anything other than half of Scot's assets. See The Times.

 

DIVORCE

Tycoon troubles: Michael Prest, the former oil tycoon embroiled in an acrimonious divorce which went to the Supreme Court earlier this year, has "very little money" and "no source of income", the High Court was told this week in the latest round of proceedings, according to The Times.

 

RIGHT TO DIE

Hearing confirmed: Jane Nicklinson, the widow of locked-in syndrome sufferer Paul Nicklinson, and Paul Lamb's case for the right to die with dignity will be heard by nine judges in the Supreme Court on 16 and 17 December. A statement from Bindmans, the law firm representing Lamb, said: "The fact that it is a nine-judge panel rather than five judges symbolises the importance of the legal issues in the case."

 

ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS STRUCTURES

Lancashire firm: Six-partner full-service firm Wright and Lord has been licensed as an alternative business structure from today. Alongside legal services such as private client, property and business law, the firm also offers financial services under its Wright & Lord Financial Services brand, ranging from tax planning to mortgage brokering. See SRA and Wright & Lord.

 

WILL WRITING

Expansion bid: The Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW) has appointed a solicitor as its first chief executive in a move seeking to allow members to provide regulated services such as conveyancing and contentious probate, Legal Futures reports.

 

CONTENTIOUS PROBATE

Splitting heirs: A High Court judge has advised the children of Antony Lambton, the 6th Earl of Durham, that prolonging the legal dispute over their father's estate will only benefit lawyers, reports The Times. Lambton's son wants to divide the £180 million fortune according to British law, while three of his sisters are arguing for Italian jurisdiction, which would give them a greater share.

 

HIGH NET WORTH

Expat concerns: Tax experts have warned that plans to charge capital gains tax on British property sold by overseas nationals and expats could have a significant impact on Britons who go abroad to work while holding onto UK property that they may want to sell. Nick Clegg, the UK's deputy prime minister, said the new measures would ensure that wealthy foreigners who buy and sell British property "pay their fair share", reports The Telegraph.

 

MALTA

Passport scheme: High net worth individuals from outside the EU can pay a set fee to become Maltese in a new scheme being promoted by the island's government, reports International Adviser. Investors who make a minimum contribution of €650,000 (£545,500) and pass background checks can obtain citizenship.

 

INVESTMENT BANKING

Shake-up urged: A new report from consultants McKinsey has warned that the biggest investment banks must address business practice and cull their workforce to become profitable again, reports City AM. "With compensation accounting for over 40 per cent of total costs this is a critical line item, in terms of both headcount and pay levels," the report said.

 

PENSIONS

Fees query: The National Association of Pension Funds is recommending a cap on the amount of non-audit fees that a firm of accountants can earn, reports The Times. The proposals should help to improve the independence of company auditors, who can earn considerable fees for providing additional advice.

 

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Vulnerable Clients Family Wills, Trusts & Probate