• Research Briefing

    Inheritance tax and probate

    In 2003 the Government introduced a new Direct Payment scheme, to deal with a problem created by the interaction between the conditions placed on an estate before a grant of probate is issued, and the requirements to pay inheritance tax on that estate. This note describes the introduction of the new scheme.

  • Research Briefing

    Children, Schools and Families Bill: Committee Stage ReportBill No 8 of 2009-10

    This is an account of the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Children, Schools and Families Bill. The Bill contained a clause on the charitable status of academies, but the Government decided it could achieve its objectives by non-legislative means, and at the end of the Committee Stage the clause was removed. No other changes were made to the Bill in Committee. There were many amendments proposed by the opposition parties but none was successful.

  • Research Briefing

    Bailiffs and distress for rent

    This note considers the remedy of Distress for Rent and what goods can be seized by the bailiff. It also considers a tenant's possible redress if the remedy has been used inappropriately.

  • Research Briefing

    Children, Schools and Families Bill. Bill 8 2009-10.

    This Bill provides ‘guarantees’ for pupils and parents in the school system, underpinned by new Home School Agreements, and makes provision for parental satisfaction surveys. It also makes changes to the powers of governing bodies of maintained schools; extends the remit of School Improvement Partners; provides greater powers for local authorities and the Secretary of State in relation to failing schools; paves the way for the introduction of School Report Cards; and makes provision to introduce a licence to practise for teachers. The Bill also seeks to implement the recommendations of several major reports. These changes affect the school curriculum; provide a registration system for home educators; and provide an additional right of appeal for parents of children with special educational needs. The Bill would also make changes to the reporting of information relating to family proceedings. Other provisions relate to Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Youth Offending Teams, the charitable status of academies, and the fees system for the inspection of independent schools.

  • Research Briefing

    Perpetuities and Accumulations Bill [HL]: Committee stage report

    Report on the House of Commons second reading and Bill committee stages of the Perpetuities and Accumulations Bill (HL) 2008-09. It complements Research Paper 09/78 prepared for Commons second reading. The Bill received cross-party support in Second Reading Committee and there was no debate in Public Bill Committee.

  • Research Briefing

    Perpetuities and Accumulations Bill [HL]. Bill 145 2008-09.

    The Bill is the first to be considered under a new House of Lords procedure for Law Commission bills and would implement, with minor modifications, the recommendations of a 1998 Law Commission report on the rule against perpetuities and the rule against excessive accumulations. The rule against perpetuities sets a time limit, known as the perpetuity period, within which dealings with property which are to take effect in the future (such as a gift to a child who is not yet born) must occur. The Law Commission report considered that the application of the rule is now too wide: it applies, for example, to many commercial dealings which have nothing to do with the family settlements that the rule was designed to control. Moreover, it found that the existence of multiple methods for calculating the perpetuity period is complex and confusing. The Bill defines the circumstances in which the rule would apply. In general terms, it would only apply to rights under trusts. Other property rights would no longer be subject to the rule. Where the rule does apply, the perpetuity period would be 125 years. This period would generally apply prospectively only. The rule against excessive accumulations applies where a disposition carries a duty or a power to accumulate income. The rule places restrictions on the period of time during which income may be accumulated. The Law Commission found that there was no longer a sound policy basis for restricting settlors’ ability to direct or allow for the accumulation of income, except in the case of charitable trusts. The Bill would therefore abolish the current rule for all non-charitable trusts. Charitable trusts would, however, be subject to a limit of either a 21 year period or the life of the settlor.

  • Research Briefing

    The Law Commission Bill

    The Bill is a Private Members Bill. It was introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Lloyd of Berwick, a former Law Lord. The Bill had all party support and completed all its stages in the House of Lords. It is expected to have its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 12 June 2009. This note briefly looks at the Bill so far.

  • Research Briefing

    Welfare Reform Bill: disabled people, child maintenance and birth registration

    This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Welfare Reform Bill 2008-09. It deals with Parts 2-4 of the Bill, which include provisions for a new right for disabled people to control how public resources are used to meet their needs, new powers to enforce child maintenance, and for the joint registration of births. See also Research Paper 09/08.