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The former wife of an oil and gas trader has been awarded £453 million in financial remedy proceedings against her former husband. It is thought to be one of the largest divorce awards in the UK.

The husband is 61 and the wife is 44. They married in Moscow in July 1993 and moved to London in the same year. In 2012, the husband sold shares in a Russian company for US$1.375 billion. The wife had been a 'hands on' mother and housewife throughout the marriage.

In addition to a lump sum payment of £350 million (and the assets she already had of £10,165,162), the wife also sought a further £93,060,990 comprising the following:
 
(1) The chattels valued at £2,479,125;

(2) An Aston Martin valued at £350,000;

(3) A modern art collection valued on a sale basis at US$112m.
 
The Judge found the total value of the wife’s claim to be £453,576,152, and considered an award of that sum to be justified in all the circumstances.
Better protection for whistleblowers?

Appeal upheld in Dr Day -v- Health Education England
The highly anticipated Court of Appeal Judgment in Dr Day -v- Health Education England has today been handed down. 

The judgment has upheld an appeal by Dr Chris Day (a junior doctor who was employed by an NHS Trust) regarding the decision that he could not bring a whistleblowing claim against his national training body, Health Education England (“HEE”).

The judgment has helped to clarify the positon for junior doctors across the country (there are approximately 54,000 junior doctors in England) and workers who are supplied to work for other organisations, who blow the whistle.

Prior to joining Curzon Green Solicitors our Lauren McLaughlin was part of the legal team representing the Appellant, Dr Day.

Background
In January 2014, Dr Day blew the whistle to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, his employer at the time, regarding patient safety concerns. He made disclosures about the Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital being understaffed. He repeated his disclosures to HEE, the training body with whom he had entered into a training agreement.

After blowing the whistle, Dr Day alleges that he was unfairly dismissed by the Trust and that HEE subjected him to detriments, refusing to place him at a new NHS Trust unless he accepted certain conditions. HEE then removed Dr Day’s National Training Number which is essentially the trainee doctor’s passport allowing him or her to complete the training programme and become a consultant doctor. Dr Day claims that he lost his career path to consultancy.

Dr Day brought whistleblowing claims in the Employment Tribunal against both the Trust and HEE.

The issues
“Workers” are protected by law from unfair treatment. The law extends the definition of “worker” to cover those who are supplied by one organisation to work for another.

At a Preliminary Hearing in 2015, it was decided that Dr Day was not HEE’s worker and as such, he did not have whistleblowing rights as against HEE. The Tribunal found that HEE did not substantially determine the terms under which Dr Day worked. This was despite that HEE places junior doctors at particular trusts and contributes to their salaries, among other things.

Court of Appeal decision
The first issue for the Court of Appeal was whether Dr Day can be a worker of HEE, even though he had an employment contract with the Trust. The Court of Appeal decided he could, overturning the EAT’s decision. This has helpfully clarified the position for agency workers and other workers in triangular relationships.

The second issue is whether HEE “substantially determined” the junior doctor’s terms. The Court of Appeal upheld Dr Day’s appeal on this point and remitted it back to the Tribunal to decide. The Tribunal’s decision could prove to be a landmark victory for junior doctors who blow the whistle to their training bodies. We will therefore be following the case, and the Tribunal’s decision, closely.

If you have been dismissed, suspended or treated unfairly after having blown the whistle or if you wish to discuss how to implement effective and fair whistleblowing policies and investigations at your organisation, please get in touch with our Employment Team.

The full judgment can be found here: www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/329.html

Please contact us today for a free no obligation consultation by calling either our London or High Wycombe offices on the telephones numbers referred to at the top of this page, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
National housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has apologised to home buyers this week after growing criticism of its policy, between 2007 and 2011, of selling new build houses as leasehold properties. This meant that the builder owns, or may have sold on, the land the houses stand on, and charges annual ground rent at a rate that frequently doubles every ten years. The first of these hikes in ground rent is therefore kicking in this year.

Read more: Taylor Wimpey Leasehold Dispute

Steven Organ looks at a recent judgment of the Supreme Court and its effect on the law of indirect discrimination.

Read more: Clarity for Indirect Discrimination

Jessica Bass looks at recent cases in respect of discriminatory dress codes, and the potential implications for UK employers.

Read more: Dress Code and Uniform Policies: Avoiding Discrimination for Employers

In December 2015, Nicola Thorp arrived for work at PwC’s office in London, to begin work as a receptionist. Responsibility for the front desk and reception area was outsourced to a provider called Portico, who had a contentious policy in place regarding appearance. The policy contained a number of detailed provisions in relation to make-up, hair and clothing.

Read more: High Heels and Employer Dress Policy Discrimination

This month, the European Court of Justice (“CJEU”) have handed down their long-awaited decisions in two recent cases concerning religious dress codes in the workplace. The judgments came as a bit of a surprise.

Read more: CJEU Rules on Employer Dress Policy Discrimination

The Supreme Court last week brought to an end 12 years of litigation in the case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and others which involved important principles of English law. One of these is the respect for testamentary freedom: ie. an individual is free to decide who will (and will not) benefit from their estate when they die. This approach differs to other countries where the inheritance of spouses, partners and children may be fixed by law (to varying degrees).

Read more: A victory for discretion? Testamentary freedom and the Inheritance (Provision for Family and...

The Court of Appeal have today handed down judgment refusing judicial review of the government’s policy on civil partnerships.

Since 2005 same-sex couples have been able to formalise their relationship with a civil partnership, which gives them broadly same rights and legal protection as marriage.

Since 2014, same-sex couples have had the choice between marriage or civil partnership. This has led to a sharp drop in the number of civil partnerships registered, as the majority of same-sex couples opt for marriage instead. These changes have come at an interesting time for this area of social policy, as there are now over 3 million opposite-sex couples living together in the UK, without any of the legal protections or rights conferred by marriage or civil partnership.
 

Read more: Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education 2017

In two months’ time, the government has promised to serve notice of withdrawal under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union which will result in EU Treaties ceasing to apply to the UK after two years (or earlier, by agreement with the European Council).  The government has also announced the "Great Repeal Bill" which will be put before Parliament in May this year and will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 that currently gives EU law direct effect in the UK and primacy over UK law.   
 

Read more: Brexit will not affect our UK Employment Law

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