NEW FAMILY COURT CREATED
On 22nd April, a new Court dealing with family cases came into operation in England and Wales.
Created by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, the single Family Court replaces the old system which involved family cases being dealt with by three separate Courts.
There are over 250,000 new family cases each year which deal with issues such as divorce, domestic violence and adoption. In 2011, a review found that care and supervision cases were taking an average of one year to be dealt with, causing the futures of vulnerable children to be undermined.
Under the new system, care cases will normally be dealt with within six months.
In addition, there are changes to the way in which children are dealt with in family cases, with terms such as “residence” and “contact” being abolished, as such...
COUNCIL TAX BAND INCREASES FOLLOWING HOME IMPROVEMENTS
When a property is improved (e.g. an extension is built), legislation prevents the Valuation Office Agency (“VOA”) from increasing the existing Council Tax band of that property until there is a “relevant transaction”.
The term “relevant transaction” usually means that the property in question has been sold as a freehold, or a lease for a period of seven years or more has been granted or transferred (i.e. sold to another party). A freehold sale also covers the situation where a leasehold owner/occupier pays a ground rent to a landlord who owns the freehold of the property, and the freehold only is subsequently sold on or bought by the leasehold owner/occupier. A ‘right to buy’ purchase is also a “relevant transaction” which could lead to a Council...