Children of Murderers – Inheritance Simplified

In England and Wales, the law prevents a person who has unlawfully killed another person (or a person who ‘aids, abets, counsels or procures the death of another’) from benefiting from their crime – so a person convicted of murdering their spouse, for example, cannot inherit their estate or the proceeds of a life assurance policy in their name.

However, the practical impact of the legislation can create some undesirable effects, especially relating to the entitlement of the children of the victim, so the Government is amending the law so that the person who has committed the offence is treated for inheritance purposes as if they died immediately before the person they have killed.

In addition, the children of the perpetrator will normally be able to inherit their parent’s interest in an intestate estate.

The new law will come into force on 1 February 2012.

Plain English Campaign petitions Government for a plain language Act

Chrissie Maher, the founder of the fantastic Plain English Campaign, has launched an online petition to Government to introduce a plain language Act for all public documents.

Here are the details of the petition, which can be found and signed here.

After campaigning since the early 1970’s, Chrissie Maher officially launched Plain English Campaign to fight for clear public information. In the US, President Obama signed the US Plain Writing Act of 2010 on October 13, 2010. The law requires that federal agencies use "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."  Clear communication is at the heart of our society, and is an essential tool for both our personal development, and the future of all our nations. We call on the UK Government for a UK Plain Language Act that follows similar guidelines to the US Act (details can be found on this link  Unnecessary jargon creates a fog of confusion, apathy, and inactivity.  Plain English brings clarity and the power to take action. Clear information is not a luxury to be dependent upon our changing fortunes.  It is a human right - it will help our economy recover, and needs to be law.

Independent Schools fail in attempt to keep charitable status

An attempt by the Independent Schools Council to persuade the court that independent schools are charities on the ground that they provide education to some people who cannot afford to pay full fees has failed.  In giving its long awaited ruling, the Upper Tribunal emphasised that in each case it was the policy followed by the trustees of the independent school that would determine whether it delivered a service which was of benefit to the public or not.


The ruling says that trustees of independent schools must make "more than de minimis or token provision" for the poor, but they should do this by deciding what is appropriate in their individual circumstances.  The tribunal expressly avoids being prescriptive about how trustees should act. "We decline to give any sort of ruling which is intended to be definitive," it says. "Each real case will depend on its own factual circumstances."  They say a school providing bursaries or scholarships to 10 per cent or more of its students probably passes the public benefit test, but a school where the only public benefit provision was a scholarship to one person each year would be unlikely to be doing enough.  On the level of bursaries, it says, "we consider that 1 per cent remains too low".