Gunnercooke LLP shortlisted for UK Law firm of the year

 

Gunnercooke Manchester

 

Picture of Manchester where Gunnercooke LLP has one of its offices (together with London and Leeds).

An extract from LegalWeek

Allen & Overy (A&O), Kirkland & Ellis, CMS and Fieldfisher are among eight firms set to battle it out for Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards next month.

The quartet will go head to head with Clyde & Co, Latham & Watkins, Gateley and Osborne Clarke for the coveted award, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony hosted by Legal Week on Thursday 30 November.

A host of law firms and in-house legal departments will compete across team and individual categories including M&A Team of the Year, General Counsel of the Year, London Office of the Year and UK Law Firm of the Year, with the event to be held in Finsbury Square in the heart of the City.

Some of The British Legal Awards 2017 firms shortlisted are :

UK Law Firm of the Year

gunnercooke
Harbottle & Lewis
Kennedys
Mishcon de Reya
Shoosmiths
Stevens & Bolton

European Law Firm of the Year

A&L Goodbody
Asters
Cuatrecasas
Garrigues
Kinstellar
Magnusson
Noerr
Perez-Llorca

Slaughter and May and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom will run against a strong line-up of firms including Linklaters and Herbert Smith Freehills for M&A Team of the Year (large deal), while A&O, Clifford Chance (CC) and Sullivan & Cromwell are among those chasing the banking and finance prize.

On the disputes front, Clyde & Co, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Signature Litigation are among those in contention for Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year

Meanwhile, the London Office of the Year award will see the likes of White & Case, Morrison & Foerster and Cooley compete with names including Ireland’s Mason Hayes & Curran and Portugal’s Gomez-Acebo & Pombo.

Other private practice prizes will recognise teams including property, restructuring, and private equity, as well as rewarding firms’ efforts in areas such as technology and diversity.

The in-house legal community is also well represented at the awards, with a number of new prizes open to legal teams within corporates. Virgin Media, Avaya, Nokia and Trainline are all in contention for Legal Department of the Year (TMT), while Barclays, TSB and LV are among those running for the equivalent financial services award.

Winners will be selected by an independent judging panel later this month. The panel includes senior business lawyers from major banks and corporates, as well as former private practice leaders.

Best of luck to all the law firms shortlisted.

Antonio Guillen

Spanish desk

Gunnercooke LLP

BUYING PROPERTY IN SPAIN UNDER-VALUE

 

Spain is still recovering from the brutal economic recession that has affected its economy for the last 10 years. One of the main consequences of the recession was the collapse of the property market where properties went down in value consistently, reaching lower values that left many property owners in negative equity as their properties were worth less than their mortgages.

In certain areas of Spain, like the coast and seaside resorts, the value of properties went down 30% to 40%. These properties are now being purchased by savvy foreign purchasers who have identified the chance to buy a property in a sunny place for very affordable prices. What many purchasers do not know is that we are facing some cases where the property is purchased below its tax value. As this may sound gibberish to those who are not familiar with Spanish law, let me explain what this means in layman terms and with an example.

Imagine that Joe Bloggs wants to buy a property in Fuengirola and the property is for sale for 100.000 Euro. Joe then makes an offer of 90.000 Euro and the seller, another British, let´s call him John Smith, accepts the offer because he wants to move back to the UK to be closer to his parents who are getting old and need some care. Joe Bloggs is delighted to have found a bargain and decides to buy the property for 90.000 Euro. However, Joe may not know that properties in Spain have a minimum tax value. This is the minimum value assigned by the Tax office to each property and the minimum value which the Tax expects the property to be sold. Joe did not instruct a lawyer to advise him in the purchase and decided to buy with the help of an estate agent. The latter did not check the tax value of the property and did not advise Joe that, actually, the property had a minimum value of 125.000 Euro.

The transfer tax or stamp duty in Fuengirola, Andalucia, for a property of that value is 8%. Joe, after completion, pays 8% of the purchase price (7,200 Euro) to the Tax Man in Spain and then forgets about this matter.

6 months letter he receives a letter from the Tax Office saying that he has bought under value and that the tax paid should have been 10,000 Euro (8% on 125,000 Euro). The letter states that Joe needs to pay the shortfall of 2,800 Euro plus another 25% penalty charge. Joe can choose between a) paying the shortfall and the fine or b) appealing the decision. However, option b will probably involve legal fees in the region of 1000 Euro and a valuation fee of around 500 Euro. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Joe will succeed with the appeal. In a case like this one, Joe might be better paying the shortfall and the fine.

All the above could have been avoided if Joe, his lawyer or his estate agent had checked the minimum tax value of the property before committing to purchase the property. It could well be the case that Joe, after getting this information, would have still bought the property as it was a bargain but this fact is an important fact that Joe and any potential purchaser should know and consider before buying property in Spain. The minimum tax value should be considered to avoid surprises. Unfortunately, the only way someone like Joe would have learnt about this would have been if he had used a diligent independent lawyer. Food for thought.

I am British. Can I still get a Spanish passport?

I have connections with Spain. Can I apply for a Spanish Passport so I can keep my European status in the event of a potential hard-brexit?

Claudia Font
Claudia Font
Antonio Guillen
Antonio Guillen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that Brexit has been implemented, some British citizens with connections with other European countries are considering applying for dual citizenship (nationality) in those countries to which they have a close connection (whether is by blood or marriage), so they can keep a European passport.

We will briefly explain in this article how British citizens with connections with Spain can apply for a Spanish passport. You will note that not everyone with links in Spain qualifies automatically for a Spanish passport. However, there are numerous cases where a Spanish passport can be obtained.

See below a summary of the most common questions that our clients have been asking to us after Brexit in this regard:

I have a property in Spain, and I spend my holidays there with my family. Can I apply for Spanish Passport?

NO. Owning property and spending holidays in Spain, even if you have been doing so for a long time, will not allow you to apply for Spanish citizenship.

My partner is Spanish. Can I apply for a Spanish Passport?

NO/YES. Being married to a Spanish citizen, even if you have children together, does not entitle you to become a Spanish national. However, if you are resident in Spain, have been living in Spain, legally and continually, for the last twelve months, and you are married to a Spanish citizen, then you are entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship.

I am currently living in Spain. I am retired and moved to Spain some years ago.

NO/YES. The residence is one way to be able to apply for Spanish passport. However, there is a limitation period of 10 years. If you have been living in Spain, legally and continually, for the last ten years, then you are entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship.

There are some exceptions that may allow you to apply before the end of the 10 years period. A Spanish lawyer, or ourselves if you do not have one, should be able to advise whether some of the exceptions to the rule will apply to your case.

My parents are/were Spanish but I am British and I don’t have Spanish Passport. Can I apply for it?

YES. If your father or mother are/were Spanish but you do not have a Spanish passport because you were born in the UK and they did not register your birth in Spain, you can still apply for a Spanish passport.

You will be considered a Spanish national “by origin” as you are already considered Spanish by Spain. However, there are some formalities that you should follow to obtain a Spanish passport.

First of all, you will need to register your birth at the Spanish Civil Registry and once you have your Spanish Birth certificate, you will be able to apply for Spanish passport. Once again, a Spanish lawyer should be able to help with the paperwork if you prefer to get some assistance.

Can I be I sure that I will not lose my British nationality?

Although the United Kingdom and Spain have not signed any dual citizenship agreement, at present there is no reason to think that you cannot hold both passports.

At present, current laws in the UK allow British citizens to be British and to have a passport of certain countries. Dual citizenship is therefore allowed in the UK in certain cases, such as with Spain. You can therefore apply for a Spanish passport and keep your British citizenship. Â

Spanish law only accepts dual citizenship or nationality with some countries (the UK is not one of them). However, as the UK accepts dual citizenship, to avoid losing the Spanish citizenship, a formal statement needs to be made if you want to keep your Spanish citizenship, within three years from having obtained the Spanish citizenship. With that statement before the Spanish Authorities, you will not lose your Spanish citizenship.

How should I proceed if I am entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship?

You can see the legal requirements to apply for Spanish nationality on the Spanish Government website (www.mjusticia.gob.es) or contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulates in the UK (www.exteriores.gob.es). Doing the process yourself is free so you only will need to pay some taxes and stamp duty.

You can also contact a Spanish lawyer to assist you with the procedure. The Spanish desk of Gunnercooke www.gunnercooke.com provides a tailored service for this type of matters.

Claudia Font & Antonio Guillen

Spanish Desk

Gunnercooke LLP