Extraordinary Diaries of Field Marshal Lord Ironside Acquired by the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King’s College London

These diaries cover the entire life and career of one of the most prominent figures in the British Army in the twentieth century and have been eagerly awaited by historians and enthusiasts alike. The extraordinary diaries of Lord Ironside were first targeted by Professor Sir Michael Howard when he created the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives back in 1964: after a remarkable 60 years, they are finally in the ownership of King’s College and the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives.

Arthur Byng Nelson, Head of the Art & Heritage Department at Sherrards, advised the Ironside family regarding these special papers and facilitated the transfer to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax for the benefit and study of the general public.

To commemorate this event King’s College London Archives and the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War are hosting a talk on Tuesday 12th March from 5:30 pm in the Archives Reading Room, at the Strand Building. At this gathering, esteemed speakers Professor Jonathan Fennell and Professor Andrew Stewart of King’s College London will delve into the significance of this collection for the study of the history of the world wars and beyond.

To sign up, click here and secure your place to celebrate the legacy of Field Marshal Lord Ironside and the invaluable contribution of his diaries to the understanding of military history.

To find out more about how we can help with your Art & Heritage matters, click here. 

Recruitment Agency Fee Disputes: Recovering Third Party Introduction Fees

In this case, Sherrards were engaged to act on behalf of a recruitment agency that specialised in supplying finance professionals into various types of finance companies. The recruiter was engaged by a global private equity investment firm (“Company A”) to source a finance operations professional for them. The recruiter fulfilled the brief and sent several CVs to Company A, some of which resulted in interviews.

As sometimes happens, the recruiter did not hear further and received no indication from Company A as to whether any of the candidates had been successful. After following up with each of the candidates, it transpired in conversation with one of them that they had been hired into another company that appeared to be related to Company A. After some further investigation, it further transpired that the candidate had been hired into another company within Company A’s corporate group (“Company B”). Upon discovering this, the recruiter sought to recover its introduction fee from Company A. However, Company A maintained, for various reasons, that there had been no introduction within the meaning of the recruiter’s terms of business and that it was not liable for a fee (separately Company B was also asserting that there was no contract in place between it and the recruiter).

Following Sherrards’ instruction, we reviewed the terms of business and the chain of events, and it was unequivocal that there was a contract in place between Company A and the recruiter. However, what required further analysis was whether Company A was still liable for the introduction fee in circumstances where it had effected a Third Party Introduction?

In the event, fortunately the recruiter’s terms of business had appropriate wording to cover off this situation and we were able to confidently assert that Company A would be liable for the fee in full where they have effectively made an onward introduction and the prospective candidate had subsequently been hired.

Furthermore, in this case, as Company B was a holding company of Company A, this meant it was part of its corporate group structure. This provided a second line of attack to recover the fee, as Company B was defined as an “Associated Company” within the recruiter’s terms, meaning it was as if the introduction had been made directly to Company A. The recruiter was able to recover its fee in full, swiftly, and avoided court proceedings.

Action Point

The case serves as a useful for reminder to all recruiters that terms of business are organic documents that should be regularly reviewed and refreshed to ensure that they offer as much protection as possible, particularly in circumstances where a backdoor hire has taken place. Poorly drafted terms of business could be the difference between recovering a fee or not.

If you would like to know more, please contact Aaron Heslop for a no obligation discussion.

Love, Taxes, and Tying the Knot: Navigating the Intersection of Marriage and Inheritance Tax

For some, this involves considering the legal and financial implications of marriage. Beyond the emotional and romantic aspects, individuals may question whether tying the knot is a strategic move to save inheritance tax.

Marriage has long been considered a union founded on love, trust, and commitment. Choosing a life partner based on shared values, emotional connection, and mutual support is a timeless concept that transcends financial considerations. Whilst love is invaluable, couples may also find themselves facing practical questions about shared finances, joint assets, and planning for the future.

One financial consideration that arises in the context of marriage is inheritance tax (IHT). In many jurisdictions, married couples enjoy certain tax benefits, including exemptions and deductions related to inheritance. However, it is crucial to approach this aspect of marriage with a clear understanding of the laws and regulations governing IHT in your specific location as these can vary from country to country.

It is a widespread misconception that cohabiting couples enjoy the same legal rights as their married counterparts. In reality, cohabiting couples possess minimal rights, even if they share children. In the unfortunate event of a partner passing away without a will, the surviving partner inherits nothing.

Living in a deceased partner’s property or jointly owned property does not guarantee security- the surviving partner could face eviction or the forced sale of their home. They may be forced to bring a claim on the estate which could prove difficult if the beneficiaries of the estate are the unmarried couple’s children. Additionally, complications may arise if a person dies while cohabiting with a new partner amid an ongoing, yet unfinished, divorce, potentially leading to disputes with the family.

Having a Will in place does not exempt one from IHT if the deceased’s estate surpasses the IHT threshold. However, for married or civil partnership couples, the spouse exemption allows the transfer of assets upon death without incurring inheritance tax. While standard IHT applies to the estate exceeding £325,000 in value, married couples benefit from an exception that disregards this threshold, eliminating the need to pay IHT for the surviving spouse or civil partner.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and couples contemplate taking their relationship to the next level, the intersection of love and finances becomes more apparent. Whilst the allure of potential tax benefits may be enticing, it is crucial to approach marriage with a holistic perspective.

Should love not be the driving force behind such a significant decision, with legal and financial considerations serving as complementary elements?

To find out more, email Nicole here. 

Ministry of Justice set to re-introduce fees in Employment Tribunals

As part of The Sherrards Training Academy, we have asked our Legal Assistants and Trainee Solicitors to write articles to support their learning, and also to ensure they start to build on their own personal brand. This article has been fact-checked and proofread by Head of the Employment department, Mark Fellows.

On Monday the government issued a consultation paper which proposes re-introducing fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeals Tribunal, with the main aim ‘to contribute to the continuous improvement of His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and reduce the cost to the taxpayer to fund these services’. The new proposal comes nearly 7 years after the Supreme Court ruled the previous charging regime as unlawful when trade union Unison successfully argued that it prevented thousands of employees from securing justice.

The proposed fee is £55 to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal, which is considerably modest in comparison to the previous fee regime This is a one-off fee which is £55 irrespective of the type of claim (but some limited claims will be exempted) or whether the claim is brought by a single claimant or multiple claimants. Unlike the 2013-2017 Tribunal fee regime, no hearing fee will be applied under the government’s most recent proposals.

To start an appeal in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the same fee of £55 would also apply.

A system for remission from fees would be available for those who genuinely cannot afford to pay the fee (as defined by the government).

It is thought that the proposal may act as an incentive for parties to apply their mind to settlement and engage in negotiations early in the process through ACAS, without the need to proceed to issuing actual claims in the Tribunals, thereby helping to alleviate the huge pressures currently faced by the Tribunal service. It is questionable whether such a modest fee will actually have this impact, but at the same time, it was recognised that if the fee was too high, it might be open to further challenge from the Unions.

The consultation runs for 8 weeks and closes on 25 March 2024 – please stay tuned for further updates from the Employment Team.

UK/USA relations in a post-brexit world!

Paul Marmor, Head of Litigation and International Services, recently visited the offices of our Alliott Global Alliance (“AGA”) correspondent law firms in Dallas and New York – Platt Richmond and Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe – and gave a presentation to each on the topic of UK/USA relations post-Brexit, where Paul explained how the trading relationship has been affected in a post-Brexit world.

Paul set out the good, the bad and the ugly from all perspectives.  Paul also gave the same presentation to AGA’s North American annual meeting in Palm Springs, California, attended by over 70 members from the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Paul is pictured presenting a ceremonial gift to each law firm, with the Managing Partner of Platt Richmond, Bob Daniels, and a number of his colleague, and with Jeff Berger, the Managing Partner of Golenbocks.  Paul is presenting David Gauke’s book entitled The Case for the Centre Right, which is a collection of essays on politics in the UK at this time, with special emphasis on Brexit, including contributions from Rory Stewart, Daniel Finklestein  and Dominic Grieve and others.

Paul Marmor visits Dallas, New York and California to discuss UK and USA relations post-brexit.

For more information about our connectivity, clients and friends across the Americas, through our involvement in the AGA, the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association, and for our legal perspectives relating to Brexit, then please reach out to Paul Marmor on +44 20 7478 9010 or pdm@sherrards.com, or visit www.sherrards.com.

Navigating the New Holiday Pay Calculation Rules

Legal Entitlement and Calculation

All full-year workers, with the exception of the genuinely self-employed, are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid statutory holiday per year. Four weeks of this entitlement must be paid at the worker’s ‘normal’ rate of pay, including regular payments like overtime, bonuses, and commissions, as specified by Regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations. The remaining 1.6 weeks can be paid at the ‘basic’ rate of pay, that is, the worker’s basic remuneration (as specified by Regulation 13A).

Holiday pay is designed to ensure that workers do not suffer financially when taking time off. For those with regular hours and fixed pay, the holiday pay should mirror what they would have earned if they were at work. From 1st January 2024, the regulations now specify that certain payments, such as commission payments and those related to professional or personal status, must be included in the calculation of the 4 weeks of normal holiday pay.

Irregular Hours and Part-Year Workers

For leave years starting on or after 1st April 2024, part-year and irregular hours workers must have their statutory holiday entitlement calculated based on actual hours worked, using the 12.07% accrual method. Alternatively, employers can opt for rolled-up holiday pay, a method applicable exclusively to irregular hour and part-year workers.

Rolled-up Holiday Pay

Rolled-up holiday pay allows employers to include an additional amount with every payslip to cover a worker’s holiday pay, instead of paying it when the worker takes annual leave. The calculation involves 12.07% of the worker’s total pay, representing the proportion of statutory annual leave in relation to the working weeks of each year. If employers choose this method, the entire amount of leave for irregular hours and part-year workers is paid at the ‘normal’ rate of pay.

Considerations for Employers

Employers intending to implement rolled-up holiday pay should review workers’ contracts to ensure compliance and avoid unintentional variations. For those opting not to use rolled-up holiday pay, the existing 52-week reference period method can be employed to calculate holiday pay, considering the worker’s previous 52 paid weeks.

Payment in Lieu

If irregular hour or part-year workers do not utilise their accrued holiday entitlement upon leaving employment, they are entitled to a ‘payment in lieu.’ Employers should calculate this by determining the remaining holiday entitlement and computing the holiday pay for the period. Deductions should be made for any holiday taken during the employment period.

Conclusion

As the new Holiday Pay Calculation rules come into effect, employers must stay informed and adapt their practices accordingly. Compliance with these regulations not only safeguards against legal issues but also fosters a fair and transparent work environment. By understanding the nuances of holiday pay entitlement and calculation, employers can ensure that their workforce is compensated appropriately for their time away from work.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss holiday pay for your business, please contact the Employment Department.

 

Global Mobility and Employment

In the circumstances, piecing together the chain of events and detailed history was essential before any further action could be taken or his case put forward to the Home Office which involved detailed instructions, and a forensic examination of the employment/funding and history of the matter.

Having extracted the evidence, Emma was able to write a compelling and cogent letter in support of a review of his application for the Global Talent visa, using the Immigration rules and caseworker guidance alongside the Dr’s own evidence and documentation evidence. Whilst pulling this together was necessary and speed essential, so too was clarity and ensuring a balanced response.

We are very pleased to report that the client’s application has been successful. Whilst good sense may prevail and one can see the sense in approving the Global Talent visa at a high level, that approval and good sense does not necessarily follow.

In addition, successful application does not always mean that the client’s position becomes regularised, i.e the application may be allowed, but they remain an ‘overstayer’ within the regulations, and experience issues further down the line on any application for further or indefinite leave to remain (FLR/ILR). Relevant experience in this area was essential to understanding that.

The case was successful and the client’s position thankfully regularised. Knowledge of both immigration and employment law was essential to the success of this. The end result is that the client is able to continue his good work in research and Emma is presently speaking to Imperial College London, about referrals, both assisting its future doctors in immigration applications and research scientists in Immigration and visa applications.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss further, please contact the Employment Department or Emma Peacock.

Property Pursuit: Mastering the Art of Smart Buying in 2024

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, navigating the real estate market requires careful consideration and strategic planning.

Here are our top five property tips to help you on your pursuit for the perfect property:

1 – Financial Arrangements

Whether or not finance is needed, speak to a broker early on in a transaction and preferably before your agent agrees on the main elements of the purchase.

Raising finance once the exchange has taken place, makes for a fraught completion experience for both you and your lawyer.

 

2 – Planning the Completion Date

If you are selling a property to raise money for your purchase, ensure that the completion date of the sale is on or before the completion purchase. This may sound obvious, but it will avoid surcharged rates of SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) being paid at 3% above the standard rates. These rates are paid even where your main residence is being replaced with the Revenue requiring you to claim a rebate once the additional main residence is sold.

You can also avoid the need to use your cash reserves for a deposit, as a deposit held on your sale can be used for your purchase where the property is in England and Wales.

 

3 – Surveyor’s appointment

Appoint a surveyor. They will flag items that you may not necessarily have spotted on your brief viewing, such as issues like dampness, faulty wiring, etc.

By having the Surveyor identify these issues they can help you identify the necessary costs of repair, which can ultimately be used in negotiating the asking price from the seller.

 

4 – Your Lawyer

Make and keep a relationship with a lawyer and update them on your transaction. This is particularly important where you are marketing a property sale, to ensure that deadlines, that you or your agent impose, can be met by buyers. A full sales pack with all title deeds, up-to-date searches, planning and building information can be pulled together.

Plan for exchange well in advance. Weeks of delay can be avoided if all the fact-finding has been completed in advance. Attended exchanges do still occur so be prepared. If there are any title difficulties, these can be addressed in advance.

 

5 – Your Accountant

Take tax advice. You may not be a resident in the UK, you may own other properties worldwide or hold a portfolio of investment property. Early tax advice will be required to work out CGT (Capital Gains Tax) liability on sale and IHT (Inheritance Tax) liability on death.

SDLT matters will be more complicated, where other property is held and often a detailed assessment is required to determine the SDLT rates payable by you. Where your company owns the title to the property, ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) charges will be made annually and your accountant will need to claim any exemptions in your annual tax return.

Final thoughts:

You may have very specific requirements which must be conveyed to all parties. You may want to access the property you are buying between exchange and completion with architects and builders to obtain quotes or for interior designers to start planning works. The seller may even agree to you commencing limited works to help you move forward with quickly with your plans.

Where you are buying a bolt hole which is a leasehold property, a landed estate owner may own the freehold, for example the Grosvenor or Portman Estate. Do not be surprised when you are asked for onerous references to obtain the landlord’s consent, in lieu of rent or service charge deposit.

If you are buying a turnkey, consider if there are any service charges for the shared estate roads and whether building warranties for any building works are available.

Where you are buying expensive items of furniture, artwork, electrical items, to be left at the property, a full inventory of those items with costings will need to be included. Such items do not attract SDLT but they must be justifiable in their costings.

To find our more about buying or selling your property, contact us here.

Will and succession considerations for same-sex couples

Understanding the Basics:

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets should be distributed following their death. Having a clear and comprehensive will is essential to ensure that your partner is properly taken care of and that your wishes are respected.

In many jurisdictions, if there is no will in place, the law dictates how assets are distributed. In the UK, this falls under the Intestacy Rules. This default arrangement may not align with your intentions, particularly when it comes to non-traditional family structures. Therefore, a will allows you to have control over who inherits your assets, including your partner.

Choosing the Right Executor:

An executor is the person responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in your will. When selecting an executor, consider someone you trust implicitly, as this role involves handling financial matters and ensuring the proper distribution of assets. It is crucial to discuss this decision openly with your partner and ensure they are comfortable with your choice.

Guardianship for Children:

For couples with children, clearly stating your preferences for guardianship in your will is vital. This becomes especially important for same-sex couples, as legal recognition and protection for non-biological parents may vary. Clearly defining your wishes can prevent potential disputes and ensure the well-being of your children.

Protecting Your Partner:

In many countries such as the UK, marriage equality has granted same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, it is essential to stay informed about local laws and regulations, as they can vary. With global mobility on the increase and many people moving abroad for work or other considerations, this may potentially affect one’s place of relocation. If marriage is not an option or does not provide sufficient protection, legal documents such as a will or power of attorney become even more critical.

Regularly Review and Update:

Life is dynamic, and circumstances change. It is advisable to review and update your will periodically, especially after significant life events like marriage, the birth of children, or the acquisition of new assets. Ensuring that your will reflects your current situation will help avoid complications going forward.

Conclusion:

In the pursuit of love and happiness, legal matters should not be overlooked. Same-sex couples, like any other, can benefit greatly from thoughtful will and succession planning. By taking the time to understand and navigate these essential legal steps, you not only safeguard your partner’s future but also ensure that your wishes are respected and your legacy is preserved.

Sherrards is part of an international alliance of legal and accountancy firms, Alliott Global Alliance, represented in 96 countries and we can connect you with advisers if you are looking to move abroad.

To find out more, contact Nicole Marmor. 

Property: What’s in store for 2024

All of this may prompt a pick-me-up for deal activity in both the commercial and residential sectors. There will also be a number of regulatory changes to keep up with in 2024, but with a general election on the cards, making accurate predictions of what will happen in the sector and what the legislation will end up looking like is probably best avoided.  What we can safely do is provide a rundown of some of the more significant developments in property law expected in 2024, with the finer details to be fought over in Parliament.

Leasehold and freehold reform

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will enable leaseholders to extend leases to up to 990 years, abolish marriage value and also limit ground rent. These changes will make it cheaper and easier for leaseholders to extend leases or buy the freehold or share of the freehold.

Renters reform

The Renters Reform Bill is likely to come into law this year, and it will make significant changes to the way in which landlords let properties to tenants.  This is the one promising the abolition of so called “no fault” evictions, but the reforms have been delayed due to the lack of a framework for the courts to deal with the proposed new eviction process.

Ending of lower residential stamp duty

The increase of the residential nil-rate tax threshold from £125,000 to £250,000 will end on 31 March 2025.  This means that buyers will go back to paying the full amount of stamp duty next year.  This may result in an increase in transactions towards the end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025, before the lower rate ends.

Building safety

The Building Safety Act 2022 brought in several measures intended to make buildings and residents safer, in light of the Grenfell tragedy.  In October, a number of measures were brought into law, which now relate to all projects, not just high-risk buildings.  The regime is complex and specialist advice should be sought when building or re-developing property.

Biodiversity net gain

Intended to ensure that development has a measurably positive impact, or “net gain” on biodiversity, developers must deliver a BNG of 10%. This means a development will result in a better quality natural habitat than there was before development. New BNG rules came into force for most new developments from January 2024. Draft regulations and government guidance were published at the beginning of December.          

To find out more, contact Chris Piggott of get in touch with law@sherrards.com.