Monthly Archives: November 2018

Why you will no longer need to swear when visiting your solicitor

The Government has announced that, from the end of November, executors will no longer need to formally swear an oath before receiving the grant of probate – instead they will be able to make a ‘digital’ statement of truth. This …

Posted in Shorter Reads | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Employment Update: The Real Living Wage

A rise in the real Living Wage was announced this week, with around 180,000 workers set to receive a pay boost as a result. The real Living Wage is a voluntary scheme that pays employees by reference to the real …

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

Why you will no longer need to swear when visiting your solicitor

The Government has announced that, from the end of November, executors will no longer need to formally swear an oath before receiving the grant of probate – instead they will be able to make a ‘digital’ statement of truth. This move by the Government will be a welcome relief for executors nationwide, as the requirement that all executors must have their oath sworn in front of an independent solicitor is one of the more arduous aspects of the probate administration process.Coupled with this is the added benefit of being able to apply for probate online, rather than in paper form. This is all part of the Government’s move to make the probate process more modern and simpler.This is likely to be a welcome change for probate administration firms up and down the country. However the authorities are yet to release any guidance on how the new process will work and from when it will go live. It remains to be seen whether such a dramatic change will be plagued by the same technological problems which occurred with the introduction of the Trust Registration Service in 2017.

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

How to make friends and influence people … and not get fined!

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), in collaboration with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have recently published a new guide to outline the advertising rules which apply to social media ‘influencers’. This came following their investigation into social media advertising …

Posted in Longer Reads | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to make friends and influence people … and not get fined!

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), in collaboration with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have recently published a new guide to outline the advertising rules which apply to social media ‘influencers’. This came following their investigation into social media advertising in August 2018, after concerns that celebrities and social media ‘influencers’ do not properly declare when they have been paid or rewarded to promote services or products. Shahriar Coupal, Director of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said: “Responsible influencer marketing involves being upfront and clear with the audience, so people are not confused or misled and know when they’re being advertised to. The relationship between influencers and their followers relies on trust and authenticity, so transparency is in the interests of all parties. This guide on the standards will help influencers and brands stick to the rules by being upfront with their followers.”Social media is quickly becoming the most important platform for advertising. A recent survey showed that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for advertising, with 87% of marketers citing Instagram as the most important platform for their influencer marketing programs and this summer it reached a billion active monthly users. It can be a lucrative platform for those with a high volume of followers: celebrities such as Beyonce and Selena Gomez have been recorded as receiving $1 million and $550,000 per post respectively. Others have made a name for themselves through social media influencing alone, with the likes of Jen Selter and Zoella making $15,000 and $14,000 per post.Instagram is also one of the places where influencers have been seen to fall foul of advertising regulations. Over the last few years posts from Louise Thompson, Millie Macintosh, and Marnie Simpson have been subject to ASA action.  There are lots of rules that could apply, but the ASA pays particular attention to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code) and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs). What counts as an ad? Affiliate marketing – if the content you post promotes a product or service, especially if it contains a hyperlink to the product or service or a discount code with commission, that counts as advertising.Advertorial – if you work with a brand to create content and are paid in some way for doing so, this is an ad. There needs to be both payment and control for this to apply. Control is considered to be asserted if the influencer does not have complete freedom to do and or say whatever they want. This includes the brand having final editorial say over the content.  What counts as being paid? Being ‘paid’ for this purpose can include receiving goods for free, it is not only a monetary reward. Similarly, any sort of profitable relationship with a brand, such as a being a paid ambassador, receiving gifts, products, trips etc. for free or in return for your services, constitutes a payment. What counts as prohibited content under the CPRs?  using ‘editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial);falsely claiming or giving the impression that an individual is acting outside of their business purposes or falsely representing themselves as a consumer;failing to identify a commercial intent behind a social media post;and omitting or hiding ‘material’ information.What does not count as an ad under the CAP code?Posting content for a brand for no gain ie they control the content but you receive nothing in return;Receiving freebies and posting about them but the brand having no control over the content;Discount codes with no commission; orRecommending products or services which you have bought yourself and with no influence from the brand.Key things for influencers to remember:Ads should be recognisable as ads (section 2 CAP code) the code requires it to be ‘obvious’ and the ASA recommends using labels such as ‘ad’ ‘advertisement’ ‘advert’ etc. and notes that just ‘@’ mentioning the brand will not be sufficient;Advertisers must avoid misleading people (section 3 CAP code);Promotion marketing (eg competitions, and giveaways etc) are subject to additional regulations (section 8 CAP code); andPromoting some products may be subject to other rules e.g. food or supplements or age restrictions (for products like gambling or alcohol).The ASA and the CMA are by no means discouraging advertising by influencers or on social media. It is simply important to ensure that any advertising complies with the regulations already in force in the UK. The key is transparency. Consumers should be able to recognise that what they are viewing is advertising and it is the duty of both the poster and the brand to make sure this is clear.

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

(B)R you allowed Council Tax relief on a Holiday Let?

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have opened a consultation into the ability for holiday lets to register for business rates, rather than Council Tax which has allowed over 45,000 properties to qualify for small business rate relief and therefore escape a charge completely.Properties are valued for business rates when owners declare their property is available to let as ‘holiday accommodation’ for 140 days or more in a year. There is currently no requirement for any evidence to be adduced as to the property actually being let by third parties, which, some argue, leaves the system open to abuse.A property registered for business rates, rather than Council Tax, may qualify for small business rate relief which means that no tax is due at all. Areas with significant numbers of holiday properties could therefore be missing out on significant income, despite the property owners using the local facilities.Since many councils removed Council Tax discounts for second properties it may be that people looked to business rates to reduce the expenditure on their holiday home. Anyone with a view on this should ensure they respond to the consultation before the January deadline. 

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

English High Court refuses to block enforcement of U.S. discovery order

In the recent decision of Dreymoor v Eurochem [2018] EWHC 2267, the English High Court refused to grant an injunction to restrain the enforcement of a U.S. discovery order under Section 1782 of the United States Code against a former …

Posted in Longer Reads | Leave a comment

Can my half-sister challenge our father’s will?

Samara Dutton advices on when a will is challengable and what needs to be considered in accordance to the Inheritance Act 1975. Click here to read the article, first featured in Financial Times on 7 Nov 2018.

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

40% of young adults cannot afford to buy homes, even with a 10% deposit

Research produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that house prices in England have risen by over 173% in the last two decades. With that comes the frightening statistic that 40% of young adults (those aged between 25 – 34) cannot afford to buy the cheapest homes in their area.The research, cited in an article by the BBC, offers other worrying statistics – such as only 35% of 25-34 year olds own a house. This statistic is only made worse when you consider that this figure is down from 55% in 1998.These new statistics make it ever clearer that more needs to be done to make homes affordable for young people. The question is how do you do so? The research suggests that the key is for the government to increase the number of homes available for young people and to allow construction in green belt areas. I would suggest that these are steps in addressing an ever increasing issue but that more much more will need to be done to make the properties affordable for young people. Sadly this is something which is more easily said than done.

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment

Government to push ahead with 3,770% increase in probate fees for the wealthiest estates

Although the increase in probate fees to £6,000 for those estates worth more than £2,000,000 will understandably grab the headlines, the underlying policy contains more detail which should not be ignored.Firstly it is worth remembering that this highest band is a significant reduction on the £20,000 band proposed in 2017. Secondly the government has confirmed that the threshold under which no fees are paid at all is being raised from £5,000 to £50,000. Although the government projects that about 80% of applicants will pay £750 or less, this is still a significant increase on the previous fee of £215 (or £155 for those applying through a solicitor).However, many of the issues which were raised last year still remain. The greatest concern for a number of executors will be how to gain access to sufficient assets to pay the fee without a grant of probate. For those wealthy estates which pass entirely under the spouse exemption, liquidity has historically been less of an issue because no inheritance tax is due. Once the new rules are introduced however this will add an additional layer of complexity for executors to wrangle with.

Posted in Shorter Reads | Leave a comment