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Oonagh Murdock
New Inheritance Tax legislation may potentially benefit you and your children. But beware of the pitfalls! As of 6th April 2017, a revised policy on Inheritance Tax will benefit some individuals with estates worth over £325,000 and their direct descendants. Prior to the introduction of this policy, an individual’s estate was subject to 40% tax on anything above the threshold of £325,000 upon their death. The introduction of the transferable nil rate band in 2007 effectively doubled this to £650,000 for a married couple leaving everything to the surviving spouse. In line with a previous manifesto promise, the government has now introduced new measures that ...
Lester Doake
Brendan Mooney’s key themes for his term as IINI President, Involve, Invest, Network and Inspire, were strongly reflected by the line-up of speakers and topics in the 2016-2017 Insurance Institute of Northern Ireland’s (IINI) Premium Masterclass Series, which ended earlier this month. Stand out speakers included Caitriona Somers on Technology in Insurance, Rene Carayol MBE discussing Culture & Transformation and Branko Bjelobaba providing An FCA Update. Roisin Harper from McKinty and Wright was also honoured to speak at this year’s Masterclass Newry, on the topic of vicarious liability and providing a brief litigation update. The level of engagement from delegates made the event a big success and is testament to the professionalism fostered by the IINI.
Louise Butler
Just this morning the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss announced that the Discount Rate applied to Personal Injury cases will be reduced from 2.5% to minus 0.75% but what does this mean for Northern Ireland? What you need to know? The amendment to the Discount Rate in England and Wales comes into effect on 20th March 2017. It does not automatically apply to Northern Ireland; it is for the Department of Justice to implement a Statutory Rule to bring any amendment into effect. Given the current political situation in Northern Ireland and with the next election due to take place on Thursday 2nd March 2017, it is likely to be some time before the Discount Rate is top of the agenda and so the current rate will remain for now but watch this space.
Gary Patterson
Surprisingly, it remains the case that the majority of people in Northern Ireland do not have a Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney in place. Given the economic uncertainty of the past few years, it is now more important than ever to review your personal affairs and take steps to protect your family and dependents in the event of your death or mental incapacity. Reasons to make a Will You decide how your assets are shared out on your death.  If you do not have a will, the law with determine how your assets are distributed. This may not be consistent with your wishes.  It is particularly important to have a Will if you have a ...
Carol Scobbie
05/12/2016: P Walsh and H Lester v C Lester [2016] NICA 50 McBride J delivered the judgment of the Court of Appeal in this matter. The Court was asked to consider whether the appellants had unreasonably withheld consent to the respondent’s request to build a dwelling house, on the basis that it would obstruct the sea view from the appellant’s property, in breach of the lease under which the respondents held the land. The lease was created in the 1980s for a term of 9,000 years with a nominal rent. It related to a building site with outline planning permission, which was renewed on a number of occasions. Full planning permission was obtained in 2013 for a dwelling house different in design to that in the outline planning permission. One of the terms of the lease stated that the ...
Lester Doake
Following on from the last update on activity sent out at the end of May, this is a good time to catch up again. Just like us, the people who connect with the firm are always on the move, so thanks to everyone in the team for working on finalising the more mobile-friendly version of our website. Thanks also for continuing to support the efforts of the Charity Team and for engaging with our internal service improvement projects - we are set to build on everyone’s good work next year. Engagement with the Insurance Institute and MLN continues into 2017, with great feedback from the events in 2016 - kicked off ...
McKinty and Wright
Gillen LJ opens the Preface to Review of Civil and Family Justice: The Review Group’s Draft Report On Civil Justice (the Draft Report) with a particularly apt quote: – “As the usages of society alter, the law must adapt itself to the various situations of mankind.”[1] Launched in September 2015, the Review of Civil and Family Justice in Northern Ireland is wide-reaching. Its remit includes looking at the scale costs system and opportunities to streamline court procedures and improve case management. Its methodology includes the examination of best practice and experience in other comparable jurisdictions. ...
McKinty and Wright
As a contributor to the latest Expert Guide published by Corporate Live Wire, Lester joins fellow subject matter experts from the UK and across the globe in discussing issues relating to Litigation & Dispute Resolution.  As noted in the Editor in Chief’s introduction: –  “Lester Doake from McKinty & Wright presents a comprehensive insight into professional negligence claims brought by litigants in person, offering words of advice to those who work with such scenarios and a reminder to be vigilant with recording enquiries and giving out casual advice.”  Other contributors include Jonathan Brogden and John ...
Aisling Mellon
Thanks to DAC Beachcroft for the invitation to speak at this year’s conference. It was great to receive such positive feedback and to be part of such an informative event.  To give a flavour of my talk and to recap for those who attended, I began with a brief history lesson to illustrate why the Northern Ireland claims process is so different to that in England and Wales. Key differences between both systems and in particular the Pre-Action Protocols were then highlighted, serving to demystify the process and offering reassurance on what is considered by many to be “the unknown”.  Having contextualised the Northern Ireland claims process, during the rest of the talk, I concentrated on examining ...
McKinty and Wright
The Team thoroughly enjoyed this week’s induction tour with Northern Ireland Water. It puts the work we do and more importantly, the work that NIW do, clearly into perspective. The Team have a renewed appreciation for the water we use! Good luck to the NIW Teams taking part in the upcoming sponsored walk/treasure hunt over mixed terrain around Silent Valley, one of NI’s major and most picturesque reservoir sites (see below), in support NIW’s nominated charity Wateraid You can show your support for this NIW event and great charity (Wateraid seeks to provide clean water to underprivileged communities in the Third World) using ...
Orla McElroy
  There has been a level of media interest in the Supreme Court ruling on Versloot Dredging BV and anr (Appellants) v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG and ors (Respondents)[i] delivered yesterday, 20th July 2016. This is a decision to note for insurers, particularly counter-fraud specialists. The case involved a €3,241,310.60 insurance claim for damage to a cargo ship, the DC Merwestone, ultimately found to have been caused by ‘perils of the sea.’ The insured had lied about bad weather preventing crew from investigating an alarm. The lie had no bearing on the claim, but ...
Louise Butler
  Focusing in on decisions from the last 12 months, the following cases have been chosen to provide a brief snap shot of recent NI High Court Judgments for the points they raise in three areas relevant to personal injury defence litigation – quantum, employers’ liability and occupiers’ liability. Quantum Recent Judgments setting out how our Judges are assessing quantum pave the way for easier resolution of claims as both parties have parameters to work within.  Plaintiffs’ solicitors learn what type of evidence they need in order to maximise awards and as Defence Solicitors we can learn what challenges work.  Last year we ...
Joyce McKane
To answer the question ‘to what extent is an employer liable for the actions of an employee?’ I am looking at the well-established legal principle of vicarious liability:- what it means; what is included in the principle; how the standard formulation has been extended in the past 10 to 15 years including liability for violent acts and finally the recent Supreme Court case of Mohamud v WM Morrisons Supermarket plc[1].  What it means Vicarious liability is a long established principle – it ...
Catherine Martin
Volenti Non Fit Injuria (Volenti) translates from Latin as “to a willing person injury is not done.” What follows is an introduction to the defence of Volenti – what it is; when it applies; how it is made out and why it is relevant. What is Volenti? The maxim of Volenti Non Fit Injuria provides that, where a person takes part in an activity, knowing and accepting the risks involved in that activity and electing to proceed, they cannot obtain compensation for any loss or injury that occurs when those risks materialise.  It operates as a complete defence; where successful, the Plaintiff will not recover.   That said, the success of Volenti ...
Catriona McCorry
The Litigation Team recently secured another successful outcome for a retail client. ALLEGATIONS: The Plaintiff alleged that she had injured herself when she was exiting the premises.  She alleged that she had completed her shopping and had to duck under the roller shutter, which had been lowered halfway to deter other customers from entering at closing time. She alleged that she sustained injuries to her left knee and left hip and stated that no member of staff offered to raise the shutter or to provide assistance when exiting the premises. INVESTIGATIONS: Thorough investigations with the staff who were in the store at the time of the incident, suggested erratic behaviour on the part of the ...
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