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May
2024
Solar Farm Developments

Solar farms are playing an increasing role in the broader renewable landscape as we move to ‘net zero by 2050’. This article attempts to share a little insight into a few areas that Landowners’ might wish to consider when negotiating a solar farm lease agreement. Typically 5% of the UK’s electricity is now generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. At the time of writing, sitting in Colchester on an overcast May day, the real-time dashboard on the National Grid ESO App (free to all) shows that solar is currently contributing 16% of the total GB electricity generation. In the East of England region alone, the live data shows solar at 23%, behind wind at 28% and above nuclear (Sizewell B) at 22%.  One further interesting fact that caught my imagination recently, quoted at a breakfast meeting of agricultural valuers, is that the total land under the UK’s solar arrays aggregates to an area equivalent to one fifth of the land currently used for golf courses! If you have been researching the opportunities of solar, you may recognise that, in the main, existing solar farms are curiously rated at 49.9MW. This is not a coincidence. Any energy project at 50MW or
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May
2024
Trainee Talks: Looking Beyond the Job Description

In our latest ‘Trainee Talks’ Kurtis Symons-Peck discusses the importance of being supported in your workplace; don’t forget to look beyond the work!

Apr
2024
Partnerships: Retiring Partners and Avoiding the Pitfalls

A recent decision by the Court of Appeal in relation to a long-running family farming dispute has shone a spotlight on the importance for partnerships to have clear and appropriate rules governing a partner’s retirement from its business. The dispute (Proctor v Proctor) The case centred on the voluntary retirement by notice, in 2010, of a partner in a family farming and property partnership business, which was accepted by the remaining partners, who then continued to carry on the partnership business themselves. However, the outgoing partner and the continuing partners did not agree any terms in respect of the outgoing partner’s interest in the partnership, and neither the partnership agreement between the partners, nor the Partnership Act 1890 (PA), made any allowance for this. The outgoing partner subsequently made claim to a proportionate share of the partnership’s assets and income. The continuing partners resisted, arguing that, as there was no express provision in the partnership agreement or the PA, nor had any other agreement been reached between them relating to the outgoing partner’s entitlement to any share in the partnership business on retirement, the outgoing partner had no right to any share in the partnership’s assets. The Court’s decision The
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Apr
2024
Incorporating and Restructuring Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Many of us have some sort of affiliation with an amateur sports club, whether as a member, player, parent, helper or supporter. Some may even be even further committed and be directly involved in the management of the club itself as committee member. If you fall into the latter category, there are some key considerations you need to be alive to. For example, you may not be aware that depending on the structure of your amateur sports club, you may be putting your personal assets at risk. This is because many community amateur sports clubs are structured as unincorporated associations whereby those in the management committee, are potentially exposed to personal liability if the club is unable to meet its financial obligations. There are various options available to mitigate against this, for example through extensive risk management and expensive insurance policies. Whilst this would of course, minimise exposure to the risk, it would not eliminate all contractual and third party risk. It is also important to consider that a club which is highly geared towards minimising risk, may not benefit its long term interests, for example with regards to expanding the club or building new clubhouses and other facilities. The
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Apr
2024
Keeping Legacies in the Family and Out of Court

Inheritance challenges and disputed wills are soaring, but it’s not just the high profile, mega wealthy that are fuelling the action. Figures from the Ministry of Justice come against a backdrop of headline-catching disputes such as the case of Russian tycoon Vladimir Alekseyevich Scherbakov, who died in 2017, leaving his entire estate to his Swiss-born partner Brigita Morina and the children they had together.  A challenge by children from his previous marriage saw Morina pitched into battle over his £100 million estate, before winning the case in the High Court. Rising Numbers of Inheritance Disputes And it seems everyone is fighting for a greater cut of the inheritance pie.  The number of disputes reaching the court has more than doubled in the past decade, according to data released by the Ministry of Justice.  In the latest figures, 195 disputes went in front of judges in 2021/22, up from 145 in 2017, and from just 80 in 2012.  According to specialists, this is only the tip of the iceberg with most disputes settled out of court.  “The soaring number of disputes is being driven by a combination of factors,” explained trusts expert Katie Latham of Thompson Smith and Puxon Legal in Colchester:
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