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Private Clients Update 10

Divorce settlements may have to be recalculated due to error

Thousands of divorce settlements may have to be recalculated due to an error on a form on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) website.

The error involves Form E, which is shown on the website and is used to record the financial details of divorcing couples including their assets and liabilities. It’s been discovered that the software running the form has not been taking all liabilities into account and so may produce misleading results in some circumstances.

Not all couples use the form but those that do may have reached settlements that were based on an inaccurate assessment of their finances. The form has been on the website since April 2014 but the fault was only discovered in December last year.

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New measures to help more people buy their first home 

The government has introduced a series of new measures to help more people buy their first home.

One of the main changes will reduce the restrictions on who can buy a home through shared ownership.

Shared ownership is a scheme that allows people to move into a home by simply buying a share of it and paying rent on the part that they don’t own. They can then buy a greater share over time as their finances improve.

At the moment, these homes are allocated in several different ways depending on criteria set by local authorities. For example, potential buyers may have to work in the local area or already be living in council housing.

From April this year, Help to Buy Shared Ownership will remove these limits so that anyone who has a household income of less than £80,000 outside London, and £90,000 inside London, can buy a home through shared ownership.

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83-year-old wins unfair dismissal claim against superstore 

An 83-year-old shop assistant who was sacked for leaving his till open while he dealt with a customer has won his claim of unfair dismissal.

Ivor Smith had worked for B&Q in Glasgow for 12 years. In August 2014, a customer asked him for change of £200 in coins. He left his till open for 3½ minutes while he counted out the coins. This was against company policy.

He said he was told that he had caused a "serious breach of security" and was marched out of the shop “like a criminal”. He was dismissed for gross misconduct and later brought a claim of unfair dismissal.

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Salesman injured in road accident awarded nearly £800,000

A highly motivated and successful salesman who enjoyed marital arts training has been awarded nearly £800,000 compensation after sustaining debilitating injuries in a road accident.

The court heard that the 45-year-old was driving his car when another vehicle pulled out from a side street and collided with him. He suffered whiplash injuries that caused pain in his neck and shoulder. He later suffered severe headaches, which triggered anxiety and depression.

Before being injured in the accident, he had been highly-motivated and had coped with a very demanding job. He successfully combined this with his family responsibilities, which included maintaining the garden and decorating the home. He was also involved in the running of the house because his wife had rheumatoid arthritis. He was also actively involved in martial arts training.

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