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Insights

By Anya Duncan, Partner

Background

In 2011, Theresa May (the then Minister for Women and Equalities) noted in the House of Commons that the coalition government was “committed to working with business to develop a voluntary approach to gender pay reporting in the private and voluntary sector”. Following this, later that year, the Government launched a voluntary gender equality reporting initiative called “Think, Act, Report” which sought to encourage voluntary pay reporting in the private and voluntary sector. Although more than 200 businesses signed up to the initiative by August 2014 only four had published any gender pay gap information.

By David Chalmers, Partner

The “Living Wage” is a measure of income considered necessary for an acceptable standard of living. As at 31 October 2015, the campaign group the Living Wage Foundation, calculated the UK living wage at £8.25 per hour and the London living wage at £9.40 per hour. The concept of a living wage has received a great deal of publicity in recent years, with many employers choosing to go beyond legal minimums and remunerating low paid staff by reference to these rates.

Section 154 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (“IHTA”) provides an important but often forgotten Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) exemption for members of the armed services. Following the enactment of the Finance Act 2015, the exemption has been extended to cover other individuals who work in emergency situations. This note explains the key changes so that you can keep this valuable exemption in mind when discussing sensitive matters with your clients.

By Eric Gilligan, Partner and head of Stronachs’ employment team

This week was supposed to see what has become known as the “Gay cake case” reach the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland but following an intervention by the Northern Irish Attorney General the case has now been postponed to March.

Many will recall the controversy over the Ashers bakery refusal to bake a cake for a homosexual customer, Mr Lee which was to bear the caption “Support Gay Marriage”. The County Court in Northern Ireland decided (in a case backed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) that the treatment of the customer amounted to direct discrimination on grounds of his sexual orientation.

On 7th August 2015 I wrote a blog on changes to Judicial Review that have been introduced as part of the extensive Court Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

By Euan Smith, Associate

Mr Farnan, former International and National Marketing Director, is behind at half-time in his claims against Sunderland Association Football Club. The High Court (England and Wales) have recently dismissed his claim for wrongful dismissal finding that his breaches of confidentiality were serious enough to justify dismissal without notice.

As is the case in Scotland, wrongful dismissal claims can be brought in the ordinary civil courts, as well as in the Employment Tribunal. This has the advantage of escaping the cap on any award (£25,000) which would otherwise exist and the nature of the claims in both jurisdictions are the same. The courts are simply concerned with whether the terms of the contract have been breached and, unlike in unfair dismissal claims, they are not concerned with questions of reasonableness/fairness.

I am occasionally asked whether or not giving a lease to someone for equestrian purposes creates an agricultural tenancy and I thought that it would be worthwhile explaining the legal position. Many landlords are concerned about granting a lease for these purposes thinking that it will give the tenant security of tenure and some equestrian tenants believe that they have an agricultural lease with all of the rights which that carries with it.

Most farmers are aware that in recent years the price of agricultural land has been far higher than one would expect if the value was directly related to the economic return which can be made from it. There have been many reasons for this of course, not least of all a shortage in the supply of land coming to the market as compared to previous years. However, other factors which have driven high values include the significant tax benefits which investing in agricultural land brings, including the potential to obtain relief on the value of the land at 100% for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Chambers UK 2018

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