Monthly Archives: December 2017

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency in Divorce Proceedings

This interesting article looks at some of the implications of Bitcoin and blockchain technology on divorce law.Bitcoin has burst into public consciousness in the past few weeks as values have shot past £10,000 per Bitcoin. There are now in excess of 3m Bitcoin owners and many long-term investors may find themselves unexpectedly well off.Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies generally, can cause huge problems in divorce proceedings. The decentralised and anonymised nature of blockchain records makes it very difficult to identify whether and how much of a digital currency a spouse might own unless you can track the original purchase through an exchange. The issue is further complicated by the fact that few lawyers, and fewer judges, really have any handle on what cryptocurrencies even are.On that front we are delighted that Nigel Brahams, one of the country’s leading blockchain lawyers, joined Collyer Bristow last week as a partner in our our Corporate and Commercial team. Not only is this obviously great news for our existing Fintech and commercial clients, but on the family law front it ensures we are able to remain at the forefront of dealing with complex and high-value divorce work, whatever assets those might involve.

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Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson left her fortune to children she never had

In a Will signed some 13 years before her death, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson left her £2.3m fortune to children she never had.Miss Palmer-Tomkinson died childless at the age of 45 in February 2016.It is a case which again highlights the importance of continually keeping your Will under review. 

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Worker entitled to backdated holiday pay

Two of the hottest topics in employment law recently have been worker status and holiday pay. There have been cases on whether Uber drivers, and others working in the “gig economy”, should be treated as workers rather than self-employed contractors, and therefore be entitled to benefits including holiday pay.  And there has also been a series of cases about how holiday pay should be calculated, and that it should include elements such as commission as well as basic salary.  These two topics have come together in an important decision from the European Court of Justice.  Mr King worked for The Sash Window Workshop and was engaged (by his own choice) as a self-employed contractor.  As such he did not get paid holiday.  However, after he left the company, he brought a claim in respect of holiday pay that he says he should have received.  The UK Employment Tribunal held that Mr King was in fact a worker rather than self-employed.  Therefore he should have been entitled to paid holiday.  Normally, employees have to take holiday in the relevant holiday year, or lose it, so a claim would be limited.  But in this case, the ECJ held that Mr King should be entitled to claim backdated holiday pay not just for the previous holiday year, but stretching right back to when he started working for the company.  This meant that the liability added up to a very considerable sum. The case will now be sent back to the UK Court of Appeal, but it is likely that it will follow this decision from the ECJ.  Companies that use a lot of self-employed contractors need to be aware that this status is being subject to scrutiny more and more often.  The potential bill for making the wrong decision on worker status is set to become a lot more expensive.  

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