EG 28-09-19

P.51 Reviews the Law Commission’s proposals on electronic signatures, published on 4-9-19. Notably this does NOT include registered land dispositions which is a separate issue. There are 3 types of electronic signatures proposed, and there are different effects on contracts, s.2 contracts (land) and deeds. This is all years off, but worth being aware of. 

P.53 SDLT reforms in the winds?? An article calling for reform on resi SDLT, and also the proposed Non-Dom surcharge of 1%, made even more complex with the effect on UK controlled non-dom companies, trusts. [IMHO when are property lawyers going to accept that this isn’t just good old ‘Stamp Duty’ with a silly long form, and is in fact one of the most complex and difficult taxes on the statute book that should be dealt with by specialists, same as VAT, Capital Allowances, Corporation Tax, and that we have to stand up to clients as a profession and say, no, you have to get advice and you are going to have to pay significant fees to someone else for this advice! Rant over..]

P.54 First post ‘Franses’ case - London Kendall v Daejan is out…Appeal is pending though…Although this first instance County Court decision applied Frances, and the new ‘conditional intention’ test created by that case, the decision does not give clarity of the reasoning and is only a county court decision. The landlord succeeded in proving intention, even though their case changed following the Franses decision so as to strengthen the ‘commercial purpose’ part of their argument, and their decision to accelerate the proposed works (despite no planning permission or new occupier in prospect) made this circumspect - though the judge accepted their case. Hopefully an appeal will give clarity but there will be lots more cases on the Franses point.

P.56 Explains what the US Opportunity Zone means for UK developers. Relevant if you have clients who invest in the US

P.57 SDLT rules and MDR, I repeat my rant above. Looks at the complex application of MDR to resi, which pre-supposes you have correctly self-assessed it as resi in the first place (often mistakes are made here) and then the refund rules, the interaction with 6 or more rule, and annexe issues. Why are we even dealing with this? Its the problem of the Rumsfeld’s ‘Unknown Unknowns’ IMHO - the things you don’t know you don’t know…Part 2 next week
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