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April 2020

  • 02

    Extraordinary Times Call For Extraordinary Measures.

    The offices of High Sheriff and Under Sheriff are ancient, dating back to Saxon times. Each year, the Queen appoints a new High Sheriff for each of the nation’s bailiwicks (essentially, the historic counties), but before they can take office, the High Sheriff and appointed Under Sheriff have to make a series of promises to Her Majesty by way of Declarations.

March 2020

  • 31

    Planning And Environmental Law - The Relevance Of The Government’s Coronavirus Restrictions On Legal Tests Requiring Continuous Uninterrupted Use

    The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting every part of our daily working and personal lives. This includes the temporary closure of business premises, and the social distancing and self-isolation requirements, under the various Health Protection Regulations 2020.
  • 31

    In A Crisis A Pragmatic Approach Is Key

    As is now all too obvious, the Coronavirus related lockdown measures have sent shockwaves through the commercial landlord and tenant industry.
  • 31

    Covid-19: An Update On Residential Property Transactions

    The response to the Coronavirus epidemic, and the impact on residential property transactions, continues to evolve. Further guidance to the legal profession was issued this weekend, following talks between various departments of Government, the Law Society, the Land Registry and others.
  • 30

    Commercial Tenants – Moratorium On Lease Forfeiture Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place…

    As COVID-19 sweeps the country and the Government forces closure of retail, hospitality and leisure premises these businesses (and businesses in many other sectors) are now experiencing a significant drop in turnover.
  • 30

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Further Guidance Published By The Government

    The government has finally issued official guidance for employers on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The scheme is designed to support employers affected by the COVID-19 crisis by paying a proportion of the salary of those employees who would otherwise have been made redundant. Below we answer some of the key questions being raised by employers.
  • 30

    Coronavirus: Government Grant And Loan Schemes

    The Government has unveiled a package of measures to support businesses, particularly those in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. The budget of 11 March now seems a long time ago and delivered in a different age. The measures introduced then to help businesses were further augmented on 17 March and have been refined and updated further since then.
  • 27

    Covid-19, Electronic Signatures And Property Deeds

    For those property deals that have been agreed and are still progressing there are logistical challenge for clients and lawyers. As remote working increases enforced isolation means it is no longer straightforward to execute a deed. Statute requires leases (over 3 years), land transfers and some other property agreements to be made by ‘deed’ (as opposed to a mere contract). The problem is two-fold.
  • 26

    Mineral Ownership

    Ownership of land generally includes ownership of the airspace above the land and of the ground below it. However, it’s not uncommon to find a situation where the underlying minerals are not owned by the surface landowner. This must be addressed before any land development is planned.
  • 26

    Coronavirus Act 2020 Receives Royal Assent

    You will have seen and heard in the media that Parliament has been dealing with the Coronavirus Bill 2020. This received Royal Assent on the 25th March and so is now on the statute books.
  • 26

    Hiring Workers From Overseas – How Will It Look Post-brexit?

    Following the UK’s official exit from the EU on 31st January 2020, we are currently in a transition period which will come to an end on 31st December 2020. Until then EU workers are free to live and work in the UK and it is “business as usual” for UK businesses.
  • 25

    Are Construction Project Activities Still Permitted?

    Media coverage about construction workers still travelling to project sites, despite the further COVID-19 measures introduced by the Government on 23 March 2020, raises the question of whether construction project activity is still permitted?
  • 24

    Globally Respected Lawyer Lewis Isaacs To Formally Retire After 50 Years

    Highly-respected lawyer Lewis Isaacs is to formally retire after 50 years with Cambridge law firm Hewitsons, where his notable achievements include playing a fundamental role in establishing LawExchange International (LEI), a global network of independent law firms which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary.
  • 23

    The Coronavirus: The Implications For Landlords- A Question Of Who Is In Control

    With the outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, and the ripple effect of travel and border restrictions, government policies to encourage social distancing and the threat of a global recession as financial markets struggle to combat the economic impact of what is being described as one of the worst outbreaks of an infectious disease in the last century, the message of doom and gloom is clear.
  • 22

    Hewitsons Llp Response To Coronavirus/covid 19

    UPDATED RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19. 

    As the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation developed around the globe, here at Hewitsons we notified clients and contacts on 12 March of the immediate measures we had taken to ensure business continuity and the well-being of our clients and members of the firm. This note is by way of an update.
    • 21

    • 20

      Covid-19 And Commercial Landlords

      The period of uncertainty and significant financial hardship will have a huge impact for landlords of commercial premises and the commercial property market generally.
    • 19

      Hewitsons Assist Family Firm In Buyer's Biggest Uk Acquisition To Date

      Legal firm Hewitsons has played a key role in the sale of vehicle services provider C Walton Ltd (CWL) by the Walton family to Cox Automotive UK Limited (Cox) in what is its biggest UK takeover to date.
    • 19

      Covid-19 – Respite For Private Housing Tenants

      Boris Johnson announced on 18 March that the government would be bringing in emergency legislation to prevent landlords starting possession proceedings for at least a three month period. The measures will protect tenants in private and social housing.
    • 19

      Covid-19: Next Steps For Businesses

      As businesses struggle to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and the shifting sands of governmental advice and warnings it is hard to know where to turn and what actions should be a priority. Below we outline key considerations for any business to take at this stage in the outbreak.
    • 18

      Covid-19 Business Support Measures

      The UK’s new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, made coronavirus planning the chief focus of his first Budget which was presented to Parliament on 11 March. In a coordinated response with the Bank of England, the Budget included a £12billion emergency fiscal stimulus while interest rates were dropped from 0.75% to 0.25%.
    • 18

      Covid-19: Non-performance Or Delayed Performance Of Contractual Obligations – What’s In The Legal Toolbox?

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and as it sweeps across the world nearly all businesses will find themselves and their employees directly and seriously impacted.
    • 18

      Budget 2020: The Highlights From A Real Estate Perspective

      On 11 March, the Chancellor delivered the Spring Budget for 2020. The budget details a commitment to building more homes and improving infrastructure. A summary of the changes which will likely impact the Real Estate sector are:
    • 18

      Hiring Overseas Workers – How Will It Look Post-brexit?

      Following the UK’s official exit from the EU on 31st January 2020, we are currently in a transition period which will come to an end on 31st December 2020. Until then EU workers are free to live and work in the UK and it is “business as usual” for UK businesses.
    • 17

      Covid-19 And Residential Property Transactions

      In these exceptional times the Coronavirus (CV) is impacting on every part of all of our lives and the world of residential property is not immune. As the potential for disruption is becoming clearer we have prepared the following guide to help our clients make some difficult decisions when it comes to their own transactions.
    • 17

      Covid-19 And Empty Premises

      We are facing unprecedented circumstances at present with the spread of COVID-19 affecting the way we work and go about our business. Business leaders and owners are having to adapt their working practices to ensure that as much as possible it is “business as usual”.
    • 16

      Covid-19: A Guide For Employers

      As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the UK at a rapid rate businesses are having to deal with the unique challenges it presents in relation to their staff. We provide some guidance to businesses in managing the employment implications and address some frequently asked questions which are arising.
    • 16

      Hewitsons Llp Contribute To The Gambling Commission Consultation On Society Lottery Reforms

      Whilst the terms “gambling” and “lottery” may make many feel uneasy as they picture groups of men in casino with stacks of coins surrounding them, the reality could not be any more different.
    • 13

      Postponement Of Agms

      We have had a number of enquiries concerning postponement of AGMs amidst the current health climate and not wanting to expose your trustees and members to undue risk. The Charity Commission are advising that charities ‘may postpone’ AGMs notwithstanding the provisions of your constitution. Please get in touch with our charities team if you would like further advice.


    • 13

      The March 2020 Budget Through An Agricultural Lens

      On 11th March the Chancellor carried the famous red briefcase from 11 Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament and delivered the UK’s first budget since October 2018. The budget contains a number of notable items from an agricultural perspective.
    • 12

      Business As Usual

      As COVID-19 continues to impact the global community, Hewitsons would like to update our clients on the steps we have taken to ensure business continuity and the well-being of our clients and members of the firm.
    • 10

      Hewitsons Promotes Legal Director In Planning Team

      Widely-respected solicitor Gemma Dudley has been promoted to legal director by law firm Hewitsons.  Gemma heads the planning & environment team and is based in Cambridge, although her role spans across the firm’s four site, also including London, Milton Keynes and Northampton.
    • 09

      Building Projects And Coronavirus

      Hewitsons is founder member of an international group of law firms, LawExchange International  and discussions with members of the Construction Law teams of those firms have resulted in a number of thoughts about what needs to be considered in regard to how the coronavirus (COVID-19) could impact the construction industry.
    • 09

      From Rocks To Real Estate - Hewitsons Promotes Former Geologist

      A former geologist who has represented Great Britain in cycling has been promoted to legal director in the real estate team at Hewitsons.
    • 06

      Can I Stop Probate Being Granted Pending My Own Investigations Into The Validity Of The Will?

      As a leading firm with a specialist contentious trusts and probate team, one of the most common enquiries we receive, are from disappointed family members wishing to challenge a relative’s last Will. Specifically, many of our clients want to know if it is possible for them to stop probate being granted, whilst they investigate the validity of the Will in question.
    • 04

      Community Infrastructure Levy (cil) – Is Your Development Phased Or Will Full Liability Arise On First Commencement?

      The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is payable on commencement of a chargeable development. Importantly where planning permission authorises development in phases then each phase may be a separate chargeable development.
    • 03

      Brexit – The Riskier And Costlier Business Of International Trade

      We are in the Brexit departure lounge waiting for the call – the call to a bright new global trading future we are told. Trading with our former European partners might end up being a bit more complicated, a bit slower and a bit more expensive, but goods and services will still flow to-and-fro; they are our neighbours after all.
    • 02

      Hewitsons Hr Clubs Welcoming New Members

      Law firm Hewitsons is offering an opportunity for new members to join its popular and free HR Clubs run by each of its offices in Cambridge, London, Milton Keynes and Northampton.

    February 2020

    • 28

      Can A Deed Be Virtually Witnessed?

      The law in England states that when an individual is executing a deed, they must do so in the presence of a witness who then confirms the authenticity of the signature (section 1(3) Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989) by signing the deed. A recent case looked at what “in the presence of” means in the contemporary working world.
    • 26

      We Were On A Break! - Breaks In Use Jeopardise Immunity From Planning Enforcement

      Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 property owners gain immunity from planning enforcement if an unauthorised change of use has continued for more than the relevant time period. When this breach is a change of use without planning permission to use as a single dwelling house no enforcement action can be taken after four years.
    • 25

      It's Getting Personal - The Changing Face Of Customer Experience

      The quality of the customer experience in the UK energy sector is a topic that attracts increasing attention, manifesting itself in a range of consumer surveys and press commentary.
    • 21

      Interested In Acquiring The Unused Highway Land Next To Your Property?

      You have some overgrown grass or shrub highway land next to your property. The council never maintains it. Maybe even you maintain it. The public never use it and there is no obvious current or future public need for this highway land. Is it possible to acquire private control and ownership of this highway land? Maybe even fence it into your property? The short answer is yes.
    • 21

      New Rics Code Introduces Mandatory Requirements For Members In Business Lease Negotiations

      The current RICS Code for Leasing Business Premises was published in 2007. It is now to be replaced by the new Code for Leasing Business Premises (“the new Code”) which was published by the RICS on 12th February 2020 and is to take effect from 1st September 2020.
    • 18

      Compulsory Purchase - The Compensation Rights For Minor Tenancies And Long Tenancies About To Expire

      The Court of Appeal in Anixter Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport [2020] EWCA Civ 43 has recently given helpful guidance on the compensation rights of those with minor tenancies and long tenancies about to expire who have been served with a general vesting declaration and/or notice to treat by an acquiring authority pursuant to a compulsory purchase order (CPO).
    • 17

      Government Consults On First Homes Policy

      The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published a consultation paper on the design and delivery of First Homes. The aim of the initiative is to ensure that more new homes are available at a discount to local people, especially young first-time buyers, who would otherwise struggle to buy a home on the open market.
    • 14

      When Do You Need Planning Permission To Keep Horses In A Field?

      You are thinking of purchasing a field from a local farmer to keep some horses on it for private leisure purposes. However, the field is currently used by the farmer for grazing livestock, growing crops or some other agricultural purpose. If you use the field to house, graze and exercise the horses will you need to seek planning permission? The short answer is yes.
    • 12

      Full Steam Ahead On Hs2 - Boris Johnson Backs The Proposal In Full

      The Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, has today confirmed the Government’s backing of the HS2 scheme in full. The announcement comes following his consideration of the government-commissioned Oakervee report into the future of the HS2 scheme.
    • 07

      Preserving The Openness Of The Green Belt? The Supreme Court Clarifies

      Fundamental to the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) protection of the Green Belt against inappropriate development is the concept of preserving its openness.
    • 06

      Why Are Will Disputes On The Rise?

      There has been a marked increase in the number of Will disputes over the past ten years. Each year, more and more contentious probate matters have been heard by the High Court and this does not include the many disputes which are settled before reaching Court.
    • 04

      Is A Landlord Required To Provide A Tenant With An Invoice In Respect Of The Rent Deposit Monies?

      On the grant of a lease, the landlord may require a tenant to pay a rent deposit. If the landlord has opted to tax the property, requiring the tenant to pay VAT on rents due to the landlord, then the rent deposit monies payable will include a sum equivalent to VAT.
    • 04

      Environment Bill Update

      The Government this week re-introduced its Environment Bill to Parliament following the recent general election. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) also published its Policy Statement on the bill which sets out the Government’s plans, through the Environment Bill, to protect and improve the natural environment in the UK.
    • 04

      The Year Ahead In Employment Law

      2020 looks set to be an interesting year in the world of employment law with a raft of legislative changes coming into force. Below is a summary of some of the key changes employers can expect to see in the coming months:

    January 2020

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