Brexit – New Freedoms / New Dangers / Off-Road Diversions.

Brexit – New Freedoms / New Dangers / Off-Road Diversions.

No-one likes being told they have to spend more on Vehicle Insurance. So in 2017 or so there was a general Boo-Hooing particularly among those keen on leaving the EU, about the case of Mr. Vnuk in Slovenia.

Mr. V was working in a farmyard up a ladder, or at least he was until he was knocked off it. He was knocked off his ladder by a colleague who was reversing a tractor and trailer and who presumably either misjudged the turn or didn’t see the ladder. In any event there is no suggestion this was a deliberate assault.

Now the tractor was insured so Mr. Vnuk issued proceedings for damages against the insurance company.

And he lost.

The Insurers successfully told the Court – We insure the tractor on the public road when it is used on the public road for example moving from one field to another. But not when it is pottering around a private farmyard – off the public road.

And fair’s fair, That is indeed what the insurance policy said.

But on the other hand Slovenia is within the EU where Article 3(1) of the First Directive on Motor Insurance (72/166/EEC).says that the owner of any vehicle has to insure it when it is “in use”.

So next, the Slovenian judge sent the case off to the Court of Justice of the European Union, to find out whether the actual insurance policy was legal.

And the CJEU said no, insurance companies must not seek to evade the European law. If you own a vehicle you must buy insurance and the insurance must cover the “use” of the vehicle. Use for every purpose and in every place.

So because UK was in the EU, it has therefore followed that ruling and at present all vehicles require compulsory third party insurance for all use including upon private land.

Bad news for drivers. Because insurance premiums went up.  And drivers were a bit miffed. “I never drive off-road, so why should I be forced to get this cover?” “Do I need cover for my mobility scooter in case I run over some-one’s foot in the supermarket?” “Or cover for my ride-on lawnmower, with its vorpal blades which snicker-snack?”

And even more, what about grass roots motor sport?

Typically, a local farmer allows the use of his fields and woods for Trials Bike competition. A traditional Yorkshire field event but inherently dangerous. The fears were that no-one could afford the additional insurance premiums and the sport would wither.

It does seems a reasonable stance, to view all this as just more Bad News from the EU.

Roll on Brexit eh?

But what’s this – this “Bad News”, was the only Good News for one recreational hiker Mr Lewis.

Because in 2013 Mr Lewis had been walking across private fields when the Farmer, Tindale, driving his uninsured 4×4, chased him and eventually collided with him. Which nearly killed him. Certainly it was not Tindale’s fault that he didn’t kill him, whether or not the actual collision was intended.

He certainly did ruin Mr Lewis’s life. With an injured spinal cord he is now tetraplegic and suffers irreversible brain damage.

So the issue then for Mr Lewis’s family and carers was to find compensation adequate to provide round-the-clock care and some quality of life so far as possible. Tindale is a waste of time for that. Nowhere near enough money to fund all that.

The State has provided a safety net where folk are injured by vehicles which ought to have been insured. The Motor Insurers Bureau. And whilst the MIB tried to wriggle, the High Court has now spoken, – The MIB must provide Mr Lewis with compensation.

Here is the case report *Link Here*

The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court which said very quickly “Permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law. In relation to the point of European Law said to be raised by or in response to the application it is not necessary to request the Court of Justice to give any ruling the Court’s existing jurisprudence already provides a sufficient answer.”

But remember, the MIB are liable only where the vehicle “ought to have been insured”.

And now here we are in Brexit land. Which means that these pesky EU rulings can be left behind and once again the use of vehicles on private land need not be insured. Which, according to the Government representative Grant Shapps will mean that every British driver will pay £50.00 less for annual car insurance. 

And by the way, He didn’t mention Mr Lewis.

What will you spend your £50.00 on when your Insurance Company gives it back? Building a runway for your flying pigs? *Link Here*

Louise and I are back at work, so please do contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

Property in Spain. Life, History and Spanish Bureaucracy.

(c) freedigitalphotos by artzsamui

Property in Spain. Life, History and Spanish Bureaucracy. They are all just one thing after another.

In 2017 Dr. Liam Fox said that sorting things out for UK life after Brexit should be “one of the easiest things to achieve in human history”. And more presciently, that the only reason it might not be, would be if “politics got in the way of economics”.

I can’t list all the ways that politics has in fact done exactly that. But one of them is enough for a Blog, and others can be the subject of plenty more this year no doubt.

That one example is, buying in Spain.

It was always understood that post-Brexit there would be possible new Spanish visa or residency requirements, and new different tax levels for rental income, and perhaps different inheritance tax levels for EU citizens and for Brits.

But who expected that the Spanish Royal Decree 689 pf 1978 regulations of areas and facilities of National Defence would cause a whammy? –Link here – Here it is

Since 1975 there have been Spanish areas with restricted access by foreigners. No doubt that is the case in all countries, and we English know we are not going to get planning permission to build in the middle of Salisbury Plain. Nor would we want to, what with all the tanks and guns and soldiers.

But there aren’t any nice seaside houses in the MOD tank and war training areas of Salisbury Plain.

In Spain, the relevant areas include residential areas of the Costas and of Majorca and Minorca. It affects thousands of towns and cities. And I see now, Tenerife and the Canaries. –Link Here – to a Tenerife newspaper article. And until Brexit, EU citizens were exempt from requiring “Military Certification” before being allowed to purchase homes there.

Don’t ask me to explain why EU citizens can be relied upon not to be foreign spies, or why British citizens could last year but not this. Or what can be seen through the wires surrounding a military zone which cannot be viewed from home on the satellite images of Google Earth, It’s politics remember.

So what has happened this year is that a significant number of UK citizens are having their Spanish property purchases delayed (and therefore all of the transactions in a linked chain of sales and purchases are delayed too) until a Military certificate can be obtained.

And not only delay, typically six months or so, but also expense. Purchasers are having to obtain Police record certificates, as if they were applying to teach vulnerable children rather than buy a holiday home, and the Notarisation requirements are more onerous and expensive.

And it could get worse. Because most Spanish purchase contracts are made with a stated completion date. And if you sign your contract in ignorance that the land is with a “military defence zone” you may commit yourself to something which is impossible, but which has steep financial penalties for defaulting.

There are several losers in this, obviously, all of the individuals who are having to cope with all this and everyone else in any linked chain, but perhaps the overall loser is the Spanish State. It wants British property owners. It wants their money. And if it makes it all just too much hassle to buy Spanish, we may just buy Portuguese instead.

On the other hand, if nothing here has put you off, here are two songs for the price of one, the –Steve Bent- and –The Fall- versions of “I’m going to Spain” Let’s hope it turns out fine.

And do please remember :- Louise and I are back at work, ready for you to contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

Human Sacrifice and Financial Support For Family Members. [Children Are Not Just For Christmas?]

Human Sacrifice and Financial Support For Family Members. [Children Are Not Just For Christmas?]

An interesting case in September this year. Sometimes the Court is asked to give its help in cases where the initial response of most of us might be – “that’s just ridiculous.”

As the Judge put it – This is a most unusual case. Indeed, so far as I am aware, and the very experienced counsel who appear before me do not dispute this, the case is unprecedented.

“Certainly, the researches of counsel have identified no decision directly in point. The applicant’s own description is that his applications are “novel.”

“I suspect that the initial reaction of most experienced family lawyers would be a robust disbelief that there is even arguable substance to any of it.”

Again, another judge is quoted as saying that sometimes – “the absence of authority only illustrates the tendency for propositions of universal acceptance to be difficult to support by reference to authority.”

He means that some things are not stated in the laws of the Country because, – why would anyone need to write down what is already obvious and right?.

Of course, a “proposition of universal acceptance” will vary from community to community, and over the years.

None of us in Yorkshire believe that in order to keep the Sun moving across the sky and preserve our very lives, it is necessary to feed Huitzilopochtli with blood and torn-out human hearts still beating. (Well – except perhaps in Sheffield – but I never go there).

And again, perhaps that’s why it rains here all the time.

The need for human sacrifice is no longer a “proposition of universal acceptance”. And yet, in Aztec society it was.

Wikipedia tells me that up to 1% of the population per year were killed for the sun god. And whilst this is all over now, it only stopped in 1512. The same century that William Shakespeare was born.

In geological terms, it’s practically yesterday. In 1487, over 80 thousand people were sacrificed.

Another proposition of “universal acceptance” for hundreds of years in Christian Countries was that two persons of the same sex could not marry.

Not because it was against the law specifically – There wasn’t a law against it in England. The 1949 Marriage Act [link here] had a whole list of persons whom a Man could not marry. For example, his Mother or Daughter. But the entire list had one characteristic – they were all female.

Which would seem to mean, that in 1950 in England a man could marry a man. Or perhaps even his own father?

But though there wasn’t a law against it, in a country where sex between males would result in social rejection and indeed imprisonment until the 1960s there hardly needed to be, it was just – universally accepted.

And yet what is “universally accepted” now? In the space of a few hundred years we have gone from believing universally that human sacrifice is clearly necessary, and that criminalisation of homosexuality is clearly necessary, to believing the exact opposite.

So sometimes when we live in the forest, we can’t see any trees.

What’s this case then?

It is the snappily named – for reasons of anonymity- FS v JS and RS [2020] EWFC 63.

In it, a 41 year-old man (called “F”) brought an application to the Courts for an order that his wealthy parents should be required to pay him money for his food accommodation and lifestyle.

His parents are both alive and live together happily. It seems that they have got fed up with their son, or at least with his lifestyle choices.

The evidence given is that F is a “vulnerable person”. He has mental health difficulties but not of the kind often referred to as “learning disabilities”. Indeed he is very bright. He is a qualified solicitor and has a master’s degree in Taxation and is now studying for Chartered Tax Advisor qualification.

It may be that he is perhaps preferring to live a life of learning and studying: – at any rate he is unemployed and has been for years. He lives in his parents’ London Flat whilst they live in Dubai. The parents pay for the utilities.

They seem to have got fed up with him in his “feathered nest” and they think he is old enough at 41 to stop living on their charity.

He says that his parents have been nurturing his dependency on them for the last 20 years or soso that they should not be allowed to throw him to the wolves of his own resources.

One can see that it must come as a shock, but most of us would perhaps say to him – in the words of Battery Sergeant Major Williams – “Oh Dear. BOO HOO. Never Mind”.

At any rate, in this society, here and now, the tenet “universally accepted” is that parents are allowed to require that their children fend for themselves. I can’t say exactly at what age, except that it is probably a good few years earlier than 41.

At first glance as “nonsensical” as the proposition that, there being no law against it, a Man might marry his Father, at second glance, well, maybe there is something here.

We are not told the nature of F’s vulnerability. There may be very good reasons, physical or mental, why he does not feel able to get a job. The court case didn’t get that far. The question stalled at whether an adult offspring can compel his parents to give him money.

The law is, NO, he can’t. His parents can both be rich as Croesus and he can be homeless on the street and it’s not their problem. And that is where we are today with our “universal acceptance”. And maybe in years to come we won’t think that way, I don’t know.

After all, even today if the parents were paying for his accommodation and support whilst he is studying, but were themselves divorcing, then the law recognises that divorce would impact on a child of the family even at age 41 and give that person rights in relation to maintenance claims. At least the right to be heard in court even if the attempt was turned down

So his argument to the Court was:- why should the fact that his parents are happily married impact to remove or nullify rights which the adult “child” would have if they were not?

Well, the Courts have considered, and they have rejected the claimed concept that parents are “locked in“ by law to maintaining their adult children, even if they have done so for several years. Or, as pleaded, specifically BECAUSE they have done so and thereby led him to believe that the support would never stop.

And if that decision was previously based upon only upon “universal assumption”, no longer.

As the Judge said – quoting the “grim humour” of another Judge in an early judgment in a similarly novel claim,

“It may be that there is no direct authority on this point; certainly none has been cited. If so, it is high time that there was such authority; and NOW THERE IS!”.

Here is the judgment [link here]

Of course, the reality is that nobody has won. By the time a family is fighting itself in the courts, it’s too late for winners.

And will we always think that parents need not maintain their vulnerable adult children? Give it five hundred years, we may think it’s as barbarous as those sacrifices.

A song about irreversible changes [Crossing the Rubicon Link]

As ever – our message to you is, for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email or via the website

Authenticating Documents for Overseas. It’s what Notaries Do.

Authenticating Documents for Overseas. It’s what Notaries Do.

Louise explains:-
Many of our clients approach us seeking assistance in authenticating their documents in order that they can be relied upon and used overseas.

Here are some fairly random examples:

Greece – It is a requirement of Greece that all men between the age of 19 and 45 with Greek citizenship or those designated by Greek authorities as “being of Greek origin, ancestry or descent” — regardless of country of birth, current citizenship, passport or domicile — must serve mandatory military service of: 9 months regular duty in the army.

However what if you are currently studying abroad, say in sunny England? – well then you will need to produce to the Greek authorities proof of this – usually clients come to see us with a letter issued by the University confirming that the individual is a currently studying with them.

Our function is to verify that the letter issued by the University is genuine and thereafter warrant to the Greeks that it is authentic and the information upon it can be relied upon.

Another example;

To verify to a foreign jurisdiction that a company registered in England and Wales is active and of good standing. If you are a business in England and Wales and wish to trade abroad or carry out business overseas etc… then it will usually be a requirement that the foreign jurisdiction will need to know that the company registered in England and Wales is of good standing and possibly who the names Directors are of that company.

More often what is required is to produce a document issued by Companies House called a “Certificate of Good Standing”.

What the certificate confirms is the full company name, address, company number, Directors, company secretaries and of course whether it is of good standing (all filings presently up to date).

However the foreign jurisdiction will usually require that the certificate of good standing be notarised as well by a Notary to warrant that that is genuine and the information contained in it can be relied upon.

Europe – we often get asked to Apostille British Birth Certificates, Death Certificates or Marriage Certificates. Again this is to warrant the fact of a birth, death or marriage to another country. Such certificates are issued by the General Records Office where the event took place. The certificate will bear the signature of a Registrar – if you are required to produce such a document abroad then again we can obtain this for you if required, notarise it as genuine and obtain any further legalisation stamps which that country may require.

Personal Identity checks – again we can prepare certified notarised copies of identification documents to be submitted overseas. In relation to a passport we can prepare a notarised copy of it and confirm that it is a true copy and we can even add, (only if we meet you face to face of course), that the photograph is a true likeness. The same goes for Driving Licences and so on..

Our function as Notaries is that we can independently verify documents for use overseas, whether that be a personal document or a company document.

As Notaries we carry the necessary insurance to cover by third parties relying on certifications we give. Since authentication of such matters abroad is not within the remit of Solicitors, any Solicitor doing this would not carry such professional insurance.

This is the international process, this is why a Notary is required.

As Notaries we state facts and warrant information to the foreign jurisdiction. What we say will be accepted and relied upon abroad. A Notary is an international legal officer whose signature and seal is recognised in any country of the world.
Set out below are some of the documents, we have been asked to independently verify and notarise as genuine:

Degree/Diploma Certificates

Letters from Schools/Universities

Doctors Letters

Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates

Degree of Divorce Absolute

Criminal Record Checks

Corporate Agreements

ISO standard documents

Employment reference letters

Translations – (We can only deal with warranting translations if we obtain the translation ourselves.)

Identity checks

Tax Letters/Certificates of Residence

Company House documents

The list goes on…

Chris and I are back at work, so please do contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)