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Private Clients Update 9

Woman wins sex discrimination and unequal pay claim against school

A woman who said she earned less than male colleagues at a boarding school and was verbally abused by pupils has won her claim of sex discrimination.

Hannah Miller worked as a science technician at TonbridgeSchool in Kent.  She claimed that a man doing the same job as her was paid more yet she was "shouldering 90% of the workload".

She also said she was regularly subjected to sexist abuse by pupils and the school did little to protect her.  She said: "On walking into a classroom taught by one of the physics masters, I overheard the comment that 'women shouldn't be in science, they should stay at home in the kitchen'."

At first she thought the comment was from a member of staff but it was actually from a pupil.  However, she said the teacher simply tried to laugh it off and did not seem disappointed at the behaviour of the pupils.  She said: "I felt absolutely humiliated and isolated."    Read the full article...


New £26m fund to boost provision of homes for first-time buyers

The government is setting up a £26m fund to help developers speed up the process of providing starter homes for first-time buyers.

The homes will be offered exclusively to buyers aged under 40 with a discount of 20% on market values.

The £26m will be used to identify and purchase sites and prepare them over the next 18 months.  This will enable more of the properties to be started between 2016 and 2018.  The majority of the sites will be under-used brownfield land, currently not allocated for housing.

A further £10m will be made available to local authorities to enable them to prepare more brownfield land for the development of starter homes.     Read the full article...


Rising number of cohabiting couples still lack legal protection

The number of unmarried couples in the UK has more than doubled in the last 20 years, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Many cohabitants believe that they have the same legal protection as married couples but, unfortunately for them, this is not the case.  They have few automatic legal rights, which can leave them vulnerable if their relationship with their partner breaks down.

Jo Edwards, chair of the family lawyers group, Resolution, said: "The law doesn't give people in this type of relationship any meaningful legal protection if they separate or if one of them dies.

"Even if one partner has given up work to care for children, or has contributed by supporting their partner in their career by running the home, often their contributions will not be recognised in law, especially if the children have already grown up and left home."

Family lawyers regularly come across distressing cases where a cohabiting partner suffers a clear injustice.    Read the full article...


Home owners liable as blind guest falls through open window

A couple have been told they're liable to pay compensation to a blind guest who fell through a window at their home and suffered brain and spinal injuries.

The guest was visiting the couple and was given a bedroom on the second floor.  During the night, he got up to go to the bathroom but got disorientated and fell through the window, which had been left wide open.  He suffered catastrophic injuries and was left paralysed from the waist down.  He took legal action against the couple, claiming they had breached their duty of care.

The home owners argued that there were three possible explanations of how their guest fell from the window: it was a complete accident; he had overbalanced after deliberately leaning out; or he had been sleep-walking and climbed out.

The last two of those explanations did not involve any breach of duty on their part.     Read the full article...