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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Ten Old Square

Ten Old Square

David Schmitz considers how to approach nuisance cases where the character of an area has changed

In Coventry v Lawrence [2014], the Supreme Court addressed a number of fundamental questions relating to the law of nuisance. One of these questions was the following:

Paul Stafford examines the consequences of the Act for landowners, including the significant loss of common law rights

The Infrastructure Act 2015 (the Act) came into force in the closing weeks of the coalition government. The scope of the Act was broad and included transport, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects. Towards the end of the long title appeared the words:

Georgia Bedworth analyses a case which considers whether the English court can vary a foreign trust under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958

Private client lawyers have considerable experience in dealing with matters which have a substantial international aspect. With increasing globalisation and migration, a client’s wealth may be held in a number of settlements, some of which are governed by English law and are English resident, some of which may be offshore holding foreign property but governed by English law, some of which started life as English settlements but have migrated offshore, and some which are governed by foreign law. Even though these settlements may be governed by different laws, there is often some interconnection, be that by reason of the property held in the settlement or the beneficiaries.

Re Portman Estate [2015] provides useful pointers on modernising a trust. Georgia Bedworth reports

Most settlements are designed to be long-term structures with a long duration. Trusts which were made many years ago are still in operation. It is convenient for administrative reasons, as well as for tax considerations, for property to remain in settlement as long as possible, particularly where large estates are concerned. Given the current trend to extend trust periods under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 (VTA 1958), taking advantage of the 125-year perpetuity period under the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009, property is likely to continue to be settled for a long period. Inevitably, over the course of a lengthy trust period, practices as to the administration of trusts will change. For example, over the years investment powers of trustees have gradually become more flexible, as has the willingness to allow the trustees to trade, to give trustees increased flexibility in the administration of the trust assets. As trustees are limited to powers given to them by the trust instrument supplemented by those implied by law, trustee powers can become outmoded, even if the settlement was drafted in accordance with best practice at the date of its creation. This can leave trustees unable to adapt to changing circumstances and therefore unable to obtain the best return on the settled funds for the benefit of the beneficiaries. As a settlement gets older, those administrative difficulties are likely only to increase. The need to adapt to modern circumstances is what prompted the application in the recent case of Re Portman Estate [2015].

In the first of two articles David Schmitz examines whether gagging clauses are enforceable against charities

The recent and growing trend of governments to hire voluntary organisations such as charities to carry out work previously done by governments has led to concerns that this could lead to a loss of the independence of charities or, at least, to a stilling of their independent voices.

David Schmitz considers whether the will must be present when a testator acknowledges their signature to witnesses

The principles governing the making and the attestation of wills were set out in 1837 and were brought up to date in 1982 by the Adminstration of Justice Act, when the Wills Act 1837 was amended. Notwithstanding that a somewhat basic point is still open to argument, namely whether when a testator acknowledges their signature to the witnesses (as opposed to signing it in front of them), does the will have to be visible to the witnesses at the moment of the acknowledgment even if each of the witnesses has previously seen the signature?

looks at the registration requirements introduced by the Land Registration Act 2002 Paul Stafford

The Land Registration Act 2002 made the preservation of manorial rights after midnight on 12 October 2013 dependent on registration. For lords of the manor who are owners of landed estates with lordship titles, or are owners of lordship titles without landed estates, the consequence has been that they cannot protect their interests unless they can show that the source of their rights is valid, their content identified and that the land said to be affected really is subject to them (see ‘Title challenge’ by Paul Stafford, PLJ 262, 24 January 2011, p18). Details of how the registration process will operate were explained by the Land Registry in a Practice Guide of November 2008 (no 66), and it is clear from that explanation that the process may intensify conflict between lords of the manor and those whose land may be subject to their rights.

Paul Stafford explains why those who hold a manorial title, or those who challenge it, must examine the foundations on which the particular title stands

Manorial law continues to be a distinct and significant branch of the English law of property.