Limitation periods – the crucial question of when tax liability arises

Limitation periods – the crucial question of when tax liability arises

For negligence cases initiated near the tail end of a limitation period, determining the ‘date of loss’ is often crucial. In this recent case concerning negligent tax advice, the Supreme Court considered whether a vendor’s income tax liability arose the moment they entered into an unconditional agreement to sell land, or only once settlement occurred.

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Supreme Court Introduces Uncertainty to Litigation Funding

The Supreme Court has issued its judgment on a challenge, based on champerty principles, to the arrangements put in place by a litigation funder to fund an action against auditors and directors. In so doing it has introduced uncertainty to the law surrounding litigation funding, and potentially opened up new avenues by which such arrangements may be challenged in future.

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Defective Product: Holding Company’s duty to warn consumers

Defective Product: Holding Company’s duty to warn consumers

Several hundred leaky building owners are claiming that companies in the James Hardie group have breached their duty to warn, inform and/or to take reasonable steps to withdraw defective cladding products. Two holding companies, not involved in the manufacturing process, applied for summary judgment to strike out the claim, but the Court has found the building owners have an arguable case.

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Assigning the Right to an Insurance Claim

Assigning the Right to an Insurance Claim

In post-earthquake Christchurch, it is not uncommon for a vendor of an earthquake-damaged property to sell the property without carrying out repairs and purport to assign to the purchaser the right to claim under the property’s material damage insurance policy.  A recent High Court decision has provided welcome clarification as to whether such an assignment operates to assign a right to full replacement of the house, or just the indemnity value. 

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First Prosecution Under New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 Brings Increased Fines

First Prosecution Under New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 Brings Increased Fines

This case is the first successful prosecution under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2016.  The decision had been eagerly awaited by many to see how the courts were going to approach prosecutions under the new Act.  However the decision is disappointing as the judge declined to make any sentencing guidelines.  What this case did make clear is that fines under the new Act have increased hugely, although the ability of small businesses to pay these large fines is another matter altogether.

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Egregious Breach of Safety Standards leads to €875,000 Increase in Fine

Egregious Breach of Safety Standards leads to €875,000 Increase in Fine

Director of Public Prosecutions v Kilsaran Concrete Limited [2017] IECA 112

A company which put the safety of its employees in jeopardy in the pursuit of increased efficiency and maximised profit has had an initial fine of 125,000 increased to €1,000,000 in the Irish Court of Appeal.  This case demonstrates the increasing seriousness placed on health and safety offences in the workplace and a renewed focus on deterrence, both of which are reflective of New Zealand’s new health and safety legislation.

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Auckland Women Lawyers' Association Quiz Night

Auckland Women Lawyers' Association Quiz Night

Fee Langstone’s quiz team ‘Beyoncé Knowledge’ enjoyed another quiz night this month supporting the Auckland chapter of Dress for Success – an organisation that aims to provide women with the support and tools they need to gain employment and financial independence.  The teams faced six rounds including famous women, food and drink and a dress-up round.  Thank you to Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association and Chapman Tripp for putting on a great event.

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Earthquake Claim Fails due to Pre-existing Damage

Earthquake Claim Fails due to Pre-existing Damage

Sadat v Tower Insurance & EQC [2017] NZHC 1150

This case is an unsuccessful claim by a family against Tower Insurance and the EQC for the rebuild of their family home following the September 2010 earthquake.  Expert evidence proved the house had been structurally unsound before the earthquake and, as the family was unable to prove the earthquake caused any material damage to their house, their claim for a rebuild and EQC costs failed.

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Failure to Cut Grass Leads to Almost One Million Dollar Damages Award

Failure to Cut Grass Leads to Almost One Million Dollar Damages Award

Double J Smallwoods Ltd v Gisborne District Council [2017] NZHC 1284

This case considers the law of strict liability, nuisance and negligence in the context of an unknown third party starting a fire in uncut vegetation on Council land, which spread and caused extensive damage to a timber yard.   It also shows the significant impact a finding of contributory negligence can have on the amount of damages awarded

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Broad Reading of Exclusion Clause Overturns Award of Damages

Broad Reading of Exclusion Clause Overturns Award of Damages

Impact Funding Solutions Ltd v AIG Europe Insurance Ltd [2016] UKSC 57

This case considers the interpretation of the trading debt exclusion in a solicitor’s professional indemnity policy.  The UKSC made two useful findings.  First, the majority held that the Trading Debt exclusion defined the cover provided by the policy and therefore should not be construed narrowly.  Secondly, the majority held that the Trading Debt exclusion would apply to a claim arising out of a breach of contract to provide services to the solicitors, even if the claim arose from a breach of the solicitor’s duty to their clients.

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