COVID-19 - Latest update

Court of Appeal considers arbitrability of claims under the Companies Act 2006

30 June, 2020

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in Bridgehouse (Bradford No. 2) Ltd v BAE Systems Plc [2020] EWCA Civ 759, the latest case to consider the approach to be adopted to the construction of arbitration clauses and the concept of non-arbitrability.

David Lord QC and Sebastian Kokelaar acted for the Appellant, Bridgehouse (Bradford No. 2) Ltd. A detailed note considering the decision may be found here.


Up to date guidance on remote hearings

23 June, 2020

Please click here for the latest comprehensive guidance from the Commercial Bar Association on Remote Hearings. The Guidance includes suggestions as to best practice at such hearings and a specimen PTR checklist for use where a remote hearing of the trial might be required in the Commercial Court. 

Three Stone Zoominar: Shining a Light on Remoteness

2 June, 2020

Three Stone Chambers will be presenting a 1 hour ‘zoominar’ on ‘SHINING A LIGHT ON REMOTENESS Remote hearings: our experiences and insights’ on 4th June 2020, 5pm – 6pm.

Speakers include:

  1. David Lord QC
  2. Francis Collaço Moraes
  3. Emma Knight
  4. Sebastian Kokelaar
  5. Mark Watson-Gandy
  6. Stephen Ryan


  • Introduction
  • Tips and Traps
  • Our Experiences
    • The Apps Court
    • Trial
    • Arbitration
    • View from the Bench
    • The Winders
    • CofA
    • BVI
  • Adjournment
    • Covid 19 v Adjournment/Extension
  • Update
    • Covid 19 developments
  • Questions



The programme is available to download here.

Guidance on PDF bundles

Please see below the general guidance on PDF bundles issued on 20 May 2020 by Mr Justice Mann (Judge in charge of Live Services), Lady Justice Thirlwall (Senior Presiding Judge) and Sir Andrew McFarlane (President of the Family Division).

The guidance states that it is not immutable and should give way to any specific directions given by particular courts or the requirements of particular judges in particular cases. The guidance is intended to be a living document and will be updated from time to time.

Click here for the general guidance.


Francis Moraes


For a list of our members please click here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss other arrangements please contact:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 4937

Royal Courts of Justice – Notice to all court users

29 May, 2020

Fees Office – Notice to all court users

From Monday 1 June 2020 the Royal Courts of Justice Fees Office will reopen to the public during the hours of 10am to 2.00pm each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Access to the Fees Office will be on an appointment only basis.  

An appointment can be booked from the 1 June 2020 by calling the telephone number 0207 947 6527 each Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 10am to 2:00pm or by emailing the following address If you are unable to attend in person please contact the Fees Office by telephone or email and a member of the team will assist you.

Once an appointment has been booked, Court users are advised to enter the Royal Courts of Justice via the main Strand entrance and make their way directly to the Fees Office. Upon arrival you will be directed by staff to pay a fee or submit a remission application and then your documents will be placed in a drop box for the appropriate Court department. Once this has been done you should leave the Royal Courts of Justice via the designated exit. Please follow the social distancing measures that will be in-place around the court building. Court users will need to bring their own hand sanitiser and bottled water.

If you have any queries specific to your case please contact the relevant department via the emails listed below:

  1. Queen’s Bench Masters –
  2. Queen’s Bench General –
  3. Administrative Court –
  4. County Court at Central London – Bankruptcy and Companies Team –
  5. Family Division –
  6. Senior Courts Costs Office using –
  7. Civil Court of Appeal –

Click here for pdf.

Source: Royal Courts of Justice

Government guidance on responsible contractual behaviour when faced with the Covid-19 as a frustrating event

28 May, 2020

Non-statutory guidance for parties to contracts impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.

The guidance in this note is that parties to contracts impacted by the COVID-19 emergency should act responsibly and fairly, support the response to COVID-19 and protect jobs and the economy.

Source: Cabinet Office and Infrastructure and Projects Authority

365 Business Finance Limited v Bellagio Hospitality WB Ltd; Court Enforcement Services Limited v Marston Legal Services Limited (formerly Burlington Credit Limited)

15 May, 2020

[2020] EWCA Civ 588
A number of questions were raised in this appeal about the operation of the current legislative framework governing execution against goods under writs of control (formerly writs of fieri facias) where two or more writs to recover different judgment debts in respect of the same debtor are directed to different enforcement officers (formerly sheriffs). Lord Leggatt described the main question as being what, if any, rule of priority applies in such circumstances:

“In particular, is the enforcement officer who receives the second (or subsequent) writ obliged to wait until the amount outstanding under each earlier writ of control has been paid before taking steps to enforce the later writ; and if the enforcement officer does not wait and enforces the later writ, what consequences follow? (para. 3)

In this case two writs of control were issued in respect of the goods of a Mr Handa. Marston’s writ was received before the writ issued to Court Enforcement Services (CES). Marston’s enforcement agent attended at Mr Handa’s premises to enforce Marston’s writ, and entered into a controlled goods agreement (formerly ‘walking possession’), agreeing that £10,000 would be paid within a month’s time, with payments of £1,000 to be paid thereafter. However, on the day before the £10,000 payment was due to be made, a different enforcement agent, acting under a writ issued to CES, attended at Mr Handa’s premises and, despite being made aware of the controlled goods agreement and of Marston’s earlier writ, demanded payment of the amount outstanding under CES’s writ. In order to prevent removal of his goods, Mr Handa paid £12,050 to CES.

Marston contended that these funds were the fruits of execution, which should be allocated first to Marston’s writ, since it had priority over CES’s writ. When CES refused, Marston obtained an order from Master Eastman compelling CES to pay over the funds to Marston. CES applied to set aside that order, and the application was heard by Mr Justice Turner, who dismissed the application and held that Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE Act) preserves the long established principle that a debtor’s goods become bound by the writ from a particular point in time, and that although the same goods can be bound by multiple writs, it is only once the first writ is satisfied out of proceeds that the surplus can be applied to the second writ, and so on, in accordance with writ priority.  Since Marston’s writ was first in time, the funds taken by CES should first be used to satisfy Marston’s writ.

The Court of Appeal upheld Mr Justice Turner’s decision, dismissing CES’s appeal. Lord Leggatt, with whom Lord Justices Lewison and Lindblom agreed, found that the concept, used in para. 4 of Schedule 12 of the TCE Act, of the debtor’s goods becoming ‘bound’ by the writ, could be traced back, through a number of enactments, to the Statute of Frauds 1677, and that courts had consistently held that the binding of the debtor’s goods by the writ created a rule of priority whereby writs must be satisfied in the order in which they are received by the officer. That rule continued to apply under the TCE Act.

The appeal raised a number of other questions about the interpretation of Schedule 12 of the TCE Act, including whether money paid, by cash and by credit card, constituted proceeds of enforcement (the court held that it did constitute proceeds, even if no goods had actually been taken into control). It also raised the question whether enforcement officers and enforcement agents are officers of the court and subject to the court’s jurisdiction over its officers, discussed in the recent case of Lehman Brothers Australia Ltd v MacNamara [2020] EWCA Civ 321. The court held that enforcement officers and agents were indeed officers of the court, but having found that there was a statutory obligation on CES to pay over the funds to Marston, the court found it unnecessary to decide whether the court’s jurisdiction over its officers could have been invoked to achieve a similar result. The court did, however, find that by acting as they did, CES’s officer and agent had engaged in conduct deliberately calculated to disrupt the orderly process of enforcement of writs of control, and had thus misconducted themselves.

Stephen Ryan of Three Stone appeared for Marston, in the High Court and subsequently in the Court of Appeal.

Stephen Ryan

Webinar: Tax Planning for Private Client Professionals – An Advanced Guide

14 May, 2020

Stephen Woodward will be presenting a 1 hour webinar entitled “Tax Planning for Private Client Professionals – An Advanced Guide”. (1.25 CPD) on Wednesday 2nd September 2020.
This webinar will address advanced tax planning issues for private client solicitors and accountants whose clients have both historic complex structures/problems.

The webinar will cover the following:

  • GAAR
    • Overview
    • ‘Safe Havens’
  • Home Loan Schemes
    • John Leonard McNeill Shelford as Trustee of the Herbert Life Interest Trust Settlement & Ors v HMRC
    • Unwinding
  • Residence Nil Rate Band
    • Downsizing
    • UK residence held by deceased non-domiciliary
    • Joint beneficial ownership of residences and gifts with reservation of benefit
  • UK Residential Property Interests and Inheritance Tax Planning for Non-Doms
    • Planning with shareholdings, partnership interests and ‘relevant loans’
  • Normal Expenditure out of Income (‘NEOOI’) and Relevant Property Trusts
    • Use now before NEOOI is abolished
  • Non-qualifying Insurance Policies
    • Disposing of listed investments at a loss and wrapping them into an insurance policy
  • Business Property Relief & Agricultural Property Relief
    • Diversification without tears
    • First death planning
  • EBTs and EFRBs
    • Remaining planning opportunities
  • Long Term Asset Holding Entities
    • Family Limited Partnerships (‘FLPs’)
    • Family Investment Companies (‘FICs’)
    • Combining FLPs and FICs with Relevant Property Trusts
  • Excluded Property Trust Planning post Finance Act

This pre-recorded webinar will be streamed at 12:30pm on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 and will remain available to view by delegates who have registered by then for 90 days.

Click here to make a booking.

Stephen Woodward

Webinar: Tax Issues in Family Cases

23 April, 2020

Stephen Woodward gave a one hour webinar on “Tax issues in Family Cases” with Ben Parry-Smith from Payne Hicks Beach for Simon Gore’s company SG Legal Conferences & Online Learning to examine the main tax problems which crop up in family cases.


Income tax
• Maintenance payments;
• Interest on late payment of court debts.


  • The year of separation and the importance of Form E;
  • PPR, the matrimonial home and disposals in connection with divorce;
  • CGT reporting obligations to HMRC from 6 April 2020;
  • Transfer of business assets.

Remittance basis users, or divorces with an offshore background

  • Relevant persons; spouses, ex-spouses and minor children;
  • Income tax and CGT issues for remittance basis users on divorce.

Inheritance tax

  • Transfers between spouses pre Decree Absolute v transfers between ex-spouses post Decree Absolute;
  • Beware the non-UK domiciled spouse;
  • S.10 IHTA and dispositions not intended to confer gratuitous benefit;
  • Schedule 1 Trusts for minors;
  • Mesher and Martin Orders.


  • Transfers in connection with divorce

Misc. but important

  • Pension sharing orders;
  • The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Stephen Woodward

Three Stone Commercial Seminar – 2020

7 April, 2020

Our Commercial Update Seminar held on 4 March 2020 was a great success and we have had excellent feedback.

In this new ‘remote communication age’ we attach our useful seminar handouts here for you to read at your leisure at your current workstation.

As you are aware Three Stone have taken effective measures to maintain our impressive chancery commercial services and our clerking team will provide their usual high standard of service whilst ensuring the safety of our clients, staff and members during this dynamic period. For details of how we have adapted our practices please click here.

For a list of our members please click here.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss other arrangements please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 4937