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New System of Shared Parental Leave – 2015
06 Oct 2014
Employers need to be alive to a new system of statutory parental rights which will be applicable to employees and agency workers from January 2015...

Court gives guidance on when expert's valuation is binding
06 Oct 2014
A company that asked an expert to value shares it was buying back from an outgoing director could not automatically set the valuation aside because the expert made mistakes in law, the Court of Appeal has ruled...

Commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR)
03 Oct 2014
Despite coming into force in April this year, there are still some commercial landlords that aren’t aware of the changes relating to the recovery of rent arrears from their tenants...

ICO Issues New 'Must Do' Data Protection Guide
29 Sep 2014
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a new guide to protecting personal data, 'Protecting personal data in online services: learning from the mistakes of others', which it describes as outlining the procedures organisations...

Landmark Rights of Way Victory for Private Landowners
29 Sep 2014
In a decision which represents a landmark victory for private landowners – and a serious blow to open countryside campaigners – the High Court has ruled that 19th Century officials who purported to create public rights of way under an 1801 Act...

In Brief - New Guide to the Technology and Construction Court
25 Sep 2014
The Technology and Construction Court (TCC) has issued updated guidance to assist those engaged in litigation bound for the TCC. This takes into account developments in case law and regulatory changes introduced in recent years designed to...

Court of Appeal Invalidates Club Elections
23 Sep 2014
When an organisation fails to follow its own rules, the result can be the nullification of decisions taken and, in appropriate circumstances, those who have transgressed the rules can be liable for their mistakes. Recently, the Court of Appeal was called upon...

Commercial Contract Survives Businessman's Death
22 Sep 2014
The death of one of the parties to a contract does not necessarily render it unenforceable, as was illustrated by a case in which the executor of a deceased businessman's estate succeeded in a £200,000 breach of contract claim against the...

Overstayer Not Obliged to Observe Notice Period
21 Sep 2014
In tackling the often thorny problem of distinguishing between tenancies at will and protected periodic tenancies, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a tenant who stayed on after the expiry of his lease was not obliged to give six months' notice before ceasing...

Electronic Services – Get Ready for New VAT Rules
18 Sep 2014
If you supply electronic products (telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services) to non-business customers through online sales, you should start thinking about how you will comply with the new VAT 'place of supply' rules that will come into force on...

Supreme Court Guidance on Town or Village Greens
17 Sep 2014
In an important victory for developers, which also represents a serious blow to those committed to preserving open spaces for public recreation, a campaigner has failed to convince the Supreme Court that a playing field which had been used by local...

Whose Data is it Anyway?
15 Sep 2014
When a publisher and the firm managing its subscription database fell out over the database manager's quality of service, the publisher gave the database manager a month's notice to terminate the contract. In response, the database manager refused to...

New Competition Law Has Real Teeth
11 Sep 2014
Under the old law relating to cartels, it was necessary to prove dishonest intent in order to obtain a criminal conviction when companies engaged in price fixing, market manipulation, bid rigging and so on. The civil law provides that breaches of competition...

Woman's Right to Refuse Blood Transfusion Upheld
10 Sep 2014
A case recently heard by the Court of Protection has illustrated that the courts are willing to uphold the right of patients to refuse medical treatment, even where treatment would reduce the likelihood of the patient dying. A woman who had been a Jehovah's...

Unreasonable Rejection of Mediation Leaves Tenant to Carry Costs
10 Sep 2014
The Court of Appeal has handed down a judgment which should warn those engaged in legal disputes that the 'loser pays costs' rule in litigation is not a hard and fast one and that if the winner unreasonably refuses to mediate, they may end up carrying their own costs...

Engineers Liable Although Risk Not Well Known
08 Sep 2014
When large buildings are constructed, it is common for additional hydraulic pressure to be needed in order to ensure satisfactory water flow throughout the building. The application of high pressure carries a risk of internal flooding, particularly when the water system...

Mediation Not Always a Panacea
07 Sep 2014
In a case which revealed that alternative dispute resolution is not always a panacea, the Court of Appeal has lamented the 'melancholy fact' that the parties to an apparently commonplace commercial dispute were still engaged in costly litigation more than six...

Consequential Loss Compensation Claim for Riot Losses Succeeds
04 Sep 2014
Businesses that suffered consequential losses in the London riots in 2011 (and their insurers) will welcome the Court of Appeal's decision that where loss is due to riot, the amount of compensation that can be claimed under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 includes...

Disclosure Ordered When Litigation Not Dominant Purpose of Report
01 Sep 2014
When an expert report or advice is commissioned from external advisers, it is important to be aware that the report may be disclosable if its subject matter becomes relevant to litigation. In a recent case, the buyer of a business resold it some time later, which had the effect...

Twelve Months' Good Behaviour Holds Tenant in Good Stead
31 Aug 2014
Sometimes, the fact that legal issues can take a long time to reach court means that the circumstances which gave rise to the proceedings have changed significantly by the time the dispute is heard. That was the case when a city council sought repossession...

End of Legal War Over £50,000 Personalised Car Registration
29 Aug 2014
A businessman has triumphed in a marathon legal dispute over a car registration mark worth £50,000 after the Court of Appeal ruled that it was not included in the sale price when the supercar to which it had been attached was sold at auction...

HMRC to be Given Powers to Enforce Payment
28 Aug 2014
Under proposals outlined in the recent Budget, from 2015 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are to be given new powers to access the bank accounts of 'tax debtors' in order to remove sums needed to satisfy tax debts due. The right will only be exercised when the tax due...

New Consumer Protection Regulations – Traders Take Note
25 Aug 2014
Suppliers of goods to the public should be aware that the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014. The Regulations implement into UK law the EU Consumer Rights...

PR Agency Pays Breach of Privacy Damages
22 Aug 2014
In an unusual case, which revealed that it is not just the press that is affected by the developing law of privacy, a PR agency that inadvertently disclosed details relating to a property agent's departure from his job has been hit with a substantial damages...

Contract Protects Architects From Full Impact of Claim
21 Aug 2014
When a couple engaged a firm of architects to manage the refurbishment of their house, the architects inserted a 'net contribution clause' into the contract. The intention of the clause was to limit the liability of the architects to the extent to...

Unclear Wording on Property Access Rights Leads to Court of Appeal
21 Aug 2014
Many court battles arise because of a lack of clarity in documentation which leaves an agreement capable of being interpreted in more than one way. A recent case, which involved a landowner's access to his property, illustrates this point. The conveyance...

Court Cures 'Clerical Error' in £6.9 Million Will
19 Aug 2014
The High Court has come to the aid of a family whose grief at the death of a gifted entrepreneur in a motorbike crash was compounded by the discovery of a 'clerical error' in his £6.9 million will. Before the businessman's death at the young...

Shadow Director Owed Company a Fiduciary Duty, Rules Court
18 Aug 2014
Shareholders are not necessarily directors of a company, which may lead them to believe that they cannot be held responsible for the actions of the company in which they have a stake. However, when a shareholder (or anyone else) exerts...

Court Rules on Basement Extension Dispute
15 Aug 2014
In a case which raised novel issues of interest to landlords and tenants, as well as to charities, a homeowner has suffered a costly defeat in a marathon legal campaign to block his neighbours' plans for an underground swimming pool...

English Law Proves Decisive in Dispute Over Mexican Lease Guarantee
12 Aug 2014
London is the world's number one venue for international litigation and many cases are heard in England which relate to foreign contracts. In one such, the landlord of factory premises in Mexico has won permission to enforce in England and Wales...

Massive Fine and Disqualification for Director Following Corporate Manslaughter Conviction
08 Aug 2014
The fact that the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has real teeth has been illustrated by the announcement of a sixth prosecution under the Act. Mobile Sweepers Limited entered a plea of guilty to a charge of corporate...

Illegal Occupation No Bar to Transfer of Title
08 Aug 2014
In a decision that will surprise many landowners, the High Court has ruled that a squatter can take legal title to a property despite squatting having been a criminal offence since 2012. The way the legislation is worded, squatting became a criminal...

Data Protection Fine is Warning for Charity Trustees
08 Aug 2014
Trustees of charities may give scant consideration to 'technical' aspects of the law – such as the Data Protection Act 1998 – but failing to be alert to their obligations can lead to considerable penalties. Recently, the British Pregnancy Advisory...

Homeowner Wins Garage Extension VAT Dispute
08 Aug 2014
The owner of a listed home has avoided a hefty VAT bill in respect of the construction of a garage to house his classic car collection after the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) accepted that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had erred and that the project...

Building Firms Fined After Workers Injured in Floor Collapse
04 Aug 2014
According to the latest statistics compiled by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), workers in the construction industry are four times as likely to be killed at work compared with the average rate for other workers. In a recent case, two building firms...

Landlords Keep Rent Paid in Advance, Rules Court of Appeal
31 Jul 2014
The overturning of a High Court decision concerning rent paid for a period after the end of a lease has restored the status quo in such cases – to the relief of landlords. The case concerned a tenant which exercised the break clause in its lease...

Landlord Fined for HMO Failures
29 Jul 2014
The importance for owners of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) of keeping them in good condition is highlighted by a recent case in which the owners of a house that had 24 residents were fined for a number of failures. The house was found to have...

'Greek' is a Geographical Term, Not a Style
28 Jul 2014
The Court of Appeal has concluded that a product description which contains a geographical term can constitute 'passing off' if the product does not in fact come from the place named. The description of a product as 'Greek' (in this case Greek yoghurt)...

Bank Owes Duty to Borrower to Investigate Reasons for Payment Default
27 Jul 2014
A recent decision of the Supreme Court will come as a relief to anyone concerned that they may be left with an adverse credit rating if they terminate a credit agreement because of a breach of contract by the supplier of goods. The case appeared straightforward...

Failure to Recommend Offshore Tax Avoidance Scheme Not Negligent
26 Jul 2014
The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the High Court that a firm of accountants had acted negligently when it failed to point out tax saving opportunities to a client when he sold his company. The accountants had failed to bring to the attention...

Court Ruling Helps to Define Insolvency
21 Jul 2014
For what seems to be a relatively easy concept, the meaning of 'insolvency' has proven to be a surprisingly contentious issue for the courts over the years. This is important because when insolvency occurs, the courts can seek to overturn...

Binding Contract or 'Agreement to Agree'?
20 Jul 2014
In a case which helps to distinguish between an 'agreement to agree' (which would be unenforceable in law) and a binding contract, the High Court has ruled that a joint venture to develop a multi-million-pound hotel probably never got beyond the...

In Brief - Acas Issues Revised TUPE Guidance
17 Jul 2014
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has issued revised guidance for employers on how to handle transfers to which the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) apply...

Banks Score £100 Million Tax Saving on Employee Bonuses
17 Jul 2014
Two leading investment banks have achieved tax savings of almost £100 million after the Court of Appeal accepted that schemes designed to avoid payment of Income Tax (IT) and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on employee...

Who Carries the Cost of Mental Illness?
16 Jul 2014
When the state becomes involved in paying for care, there are often complications, as a recent case illustrates. It involved a mentally ill man who had spent almost half his life detained in psychiatric hospitals. He subsequently...

Bitter Family Dispute When Promises Not Kept
16 Jul 2014
When a person relies on a promise made by another person to their detriment, the law provides a mechanism by which the promise made can, when the circumstances permit, be legally enforceable. Such cases are particularly common...

Dismissal for Gross Misconduct – What is Reasonable?
15 Jul 2014
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), whether or not dismissal for a reason connected with an employee's conduct is fair or unfair depends on whether, in the circumstances, the employer acted reasonably...

Goodwill Not Necessarily a Company Asset
14 Jul 2014
The way in which a business is structured has many ramifications and can be especially important on sale, as a recent case shows. It involved a bakery company specialising in the sale of Turkish style products. When...

New Act Spells Trouble for Social Landlords
13 Jul 2014
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (which recently received the Royal Assent) is being introduced in stages during 2014. One aspect of importance to social landlords is that the right to obtain a 'statutory...

Non-Directors Did Not Owe Fiduciary Duty Over Patents
10 Jul 2014
When intellectual property rights are not the subject of proper agreements, the likelihood of a dispute arising is increased. When the responsibilities and rights of employees are not precisely stipulated, there is also...

Nuisance Law Clarified By Concrete Spill Case
09 Jul 2014
In a test case that entailed a lengthy analysis of the law of nuisance, a water company whose sewer was blocked by concrete in a freak accident has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that it is entitled to compensation...

Offer to Help Leads to Duty of Care
09 Jul 2014
In general, a landowner does not owe a duty of care to people who voluntarily take risks while on the landowner's property. However, a recent case in the Court of Appeal has illustrated that this may not be the...

HMRC Can Require Disclosure at Request of Foreign Tax Authorities
07 Jul 2014
When the Australian Tax Office (ATO) made a request to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for information about a number of UK companies, HMRC was happy to comply with the request, despite the fact that the companies...

Court of Appeal Rules on Air Passenger Compensation
07 Jul 2014
The Court of Appeal has handed down judgments in two cases which clarify the rights of passengers whose flights are delayed. The first case concerned a Jet2.com flight from Malaga to Manchester which was...

Changes to Directors' Disqualification and Company Ownership Disclosure Rules On the Way
04 Jul 2014
The Government has announced proposals to make sweeping revisions to the regulations concerning the disqualification of directors. The changes will generally operate to make the regime more punitive towards directors whose behaviour is deemed to warrant a penalty.

Contract Between Equals Enforceable, Rules Court
04 Jul 2014
When a financial adviser quit his job and set up his own business with another adviser, the company he left sought damages for breach of contract. He had previously sold the goodwill in his client base to his employer and that agreement contained a 'non-compete' clause which lasted for 12 months from the date he left the firm.

Dishonesty or Gross Negligence? Employment Tribunal Must Decide
04 Jul 2014
Some employee acts are so serious or have such serious consequences that they constitute gross misconduct and call for dismissal without notice for a first offence. However, a fair disciplinary process must always be followed before dismissing an employee for gross misconduct...

Extension of the Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements
04 Jul 2014
As of 30 June 2014, all employees now have the right to ask their employer for a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment in order to have flexible working arrangements, irrespective of whether or not they have dependants...

Lease Termination Notice Must Be in Specified Form, Rules Court
04 Jul 2014
When a tenant failed to include precisely the right wording for exercising its right to break its lease, the court ruled that use of the exact words specified was not necessary and therefore disallowed the landlord's claim that the break notice was invalid...

Disability Discrimination – Reasonable Adjustments
30 Jun 2014
Under Section 4A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), employers had a duty to make reasonable adjustments if a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) placed a disabled worker at a substantial disadvantage...

Office Sexual Encounter Dismissal Was Fair
28 Jun 2014
In a case which trod the line between acceptable and unacceptable workplace behaviour, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that the dismissal of a manager after he was caught engaging in sexual activity...

Director Counts Cost of Preferential Payments
27 Jun 2014
Company directors should know that as well as their duties to shareholders, they also have a duty under both common and statute law to protect the interests of creditors. When this duty is not adhered to, the consequences...

Identification Blunder Stymies Leaseholders' Hopes
25 Jun 2014
Leaseholders who wanted to take over management of their own flats had their hopes dashed after the Upper Tribunal (UT) ruled that misidentification of the landlord on a crucial document was an error which could not be...

Shadow Director Owed Company a Fiduciary Duty, Rules Court
25 Jun 2014
Shareholders are not necessarily directors of a company, which may lead them to believe that they cannot be held responsible for the actions of the company in which they have a stake. However, when a shareholder (or anyone else) exerts sufficient sway over a director to influence the company's business, the court may consider them to be a 'shadow director'.

Unison Loses Legal Challenge to Tribunal Fees
24 Jun 2014
Following the introduction of Employment Tribunal (ET) fees in July 2013, the UK's largest public service trade union, Unison, supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, brought judicial review proceedings...

Court Fight Increases Cost of Copyright Violation
22 Jun 2014
A photographer who had taken a picture of pop stars Ke$Ha and LMFAO has received a settlement of £20,000 after the Patents Court ruled that his copyright had been infringed. When he discovered that the picture was..

Changes to the TUPE Regulations
21 Jun 2014
The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 came into force on 31 January 2014. They amend the provisions relating to collective redundancies...

Power Lines Lead to £5.8 Million Settlement
20 Jun 2014
A company whose hopes of selling a narrow strip of development land for more than £5.8 million were stymied by the overhead power lines running across it will be fully compensated for its contractual loss following a...

'Bag of Bolts' Gardener Dismissal Unfair
19 Jun 2014
In a case which underlines that minor or inadvertent breaches of an employment contract will rarely justify dismissal, a gardener who was summarily sacked after absent-mindedly driving off with a 'bag of bolts' from a high-security...

Court Pierces Corporate Veil to Uncover Beneficial Ownership
18 Jun 2014
In pursuit of substantial judgment debts against a Russian businessman, a bank has persuaded the High Court to 'lift the corporate veil' and to rule that he is the beneficial owner of a Virgin Islands registered company that...

In Brief - Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay Increases
16 Jun 2014
Employers are reminded that the standard weekly rate of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) and Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) increases from £136.78 to £138.18 for weeks commencing on...

Agency Workers Regulations Do Not Apply to Workers Hired Indefinitely
14 Jun 2014
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came into force on 1 October 2011 and implement EU Council Directive 2008/104/EC – the Temporary Agency Work Directive – into domestic legislation. The AWR apply...

Ex-Couple's Trade Mark War Ends in Stalemate
13 Jun 2014
Mixing business and personal relationships can produce additional complications if a break-up occurs, as evidenced by the stalemate reached by a warring former couple who are at loggerheads over the future of their...

Social Housing Fraud Changes
11 Jun 2014
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 makes the unauthorised subletting of a council property a criminal offence. The prosecution can be brought by the council concerned. Where subletting or parting with possession...

EAT Gives Guidance on Burden of Proof in Discrimination Cases
10 Jun 2014
Over the years, case law regarding the burden of proof in race discrimination claims has led to much confusion. Under the Equality Act 2010, which superseded the Race Discrimination Act 1976, if there are facts from...

Potential Insolvency Brings Stay of Payment
08 Jun 2014
Normally, when a building dispute arises that leads to an adjudicator making an award in favour of one party, the award is simply paid to the other party and that is that. However, sometimes things are more complicated. Recently...

Council's Neglect of Trees Costs It Dear
07 Jun 2014
The Court of Appeal recently ruled that when a council neglected to reduce the crowns of trees in a park for several years, thus allowing the roots to grow, it was foreseeable that this might result in damage to adjacent properties...

Delay Alone Not Enough to Prevent Rectification
06 Jun 2014
In general, when there is a legal 'time limit' for doing something, the courts are strict about enforcing it and 'out of time' applications are usually rejected. When there are no specific time limits, each case will be decided on its...

Vicarious Liability for Extreme Acts
03 Jun 2014
In a further case dealing with the vicarious liability of employers (Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc), an innocent customer who was savagely attacked by a petrol kiosk attendant on a supermarket forecourt received...

Care Home Workers Win Employment Tribunal Claims
02 Jun 2014
Two women who were employed by a care home have succeeded in their Employment Tribunal (ET) claims and been awarded compensation (Tipple and Another v Gainford Care Homes Limited). Ms Tipple, who is a lesbian, had...

Police Dog Handler Wins Sex Discrimination Case
01 Jun 2014
A police dog handler who had one of her canine charges removed when she told her bosses she was pregnant has won her discrimination claim after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) accepted that she was subjected...

Horse Rider Receives £12,000 After Road Accident
31 May 2014
A horse rider who was hit by a car whilst out hacking has received compensation for her injuries in an out-of-court settlement. Sarah Nash was riding her horse, Scooby, along a road near the yard where he was stabled...

Contract Wording Excludes Adjudication Over Misrepresentation
30 May 2014
When a property developer entered into a JCT Design and Build contract with a builder for the construction of a residential property, the contract between them stipulated that the structural engineers used by the...

Whistleblower Claims Colleague Spiked Her Drink
28 May 2014
Under Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996, a worker has the right not to be subjected to unwanted treatment amounting to a detriment by their employer because he or she has made a protected...

Economic Loss Essential in Trade Mark Dispute, Rules CJEU
27 May 2014
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has issued an important judgment relating to trade marks, overturning an earlier decision. The dispute related to the use of a wolf's head as a trade mark. A community trade...

Court of Appeal Decides Property Ownership
26 May 2014
Disputes between the owners of a business are normally much more difficult to resolve when the business is a family business. Not only are the arrangements often less well documented (or not documented at...

TUPE and Insolvency
24 May 2014
Regulation 8(7) of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) disapplies the normal rules that apply when there is a relevant transfer of a business if 'the transferor is the subject...

Repackaging Setback for Pharmaceutical Vendor
23 May 2014
The law on 'grey' or 'parallel' importing, especially of products that are sold under different names (such as many pharmaceuticals) has a balancing act to perform. On the one hand, it must protect the interests of the consumer...

Tenant Fails to Limit Repair Costs
22 May 2014
When a tenant left the premises it had occupied but did not comply with its obligations under the lease to put the property back into a good state of repair, the landlord sued the tenant to recover the cost of the repairs it was...

In Brief - The Latest Health and Safety Law Poster
22 May 2014
Employers have a legal duty either to display the Health and Safety Executive-approved poster containing essential health and safety information in a prominent position in all business premises or to provide each of their workers...

Non-Disclosure in Business Sale Leads to High Court
19 May 2014
In a case which underlines the need for both full and accurate disclosure of potential liabilities when selling a business, a lawyer who failed to reveal the existence of a potentially substantial negligence claim against his...

Controversial Tenancy Decision to Go to Court of Appeal
18 May 2014
A recent decision of the High Court, which held that a tenant's failure to comply strictly with its requirement under the lease to give notice of intention to terminate it was inconsequential, is to be appealed to...

New Minimum Wage Rates
17 May 2014
The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates for 2014/2015. The following changes will come into effect on 1 October 2014...

Landlord's Service Provision Does Not Justify Tax Relief Claim
15 May 2014
Another tax case has shown how difficult it can be for landlords to justify a claim that their income is trading income for the purposes of claiming Business Property Relief (BPR) from Inheritance Tax (IHT). Where such a...

Rival Shopping Centres Fight It Out in Court
15 May 2014
In a decision of importance to retailers and developers of retail space, the owner of a town centre shopping mall has failed to overturn a planning decision which it feared would draw trade away to an out-of-town...

Equal Pension Rights for Civil Partners – Update
13 May 2014
As the law currently stands, employers and pension funds are permitted to exclude civil partners from spousal benefits under a pension scheme the rights to which accrued prior to 5 December 2005, which is when Section...

Exaggerated Claim and Dubious Litigation Strategy Create Cost Catastrophe
12 May 2014
When an offer to settle a legal dispute is made, important consequences follow from the offer (called a 'Part 36' offer in the legal profession) as regards legal costs. If the offer is accepted by the offeree, they will have...

Planning Decisions Must Be in the Public Interest, Rules Court
11 May 2014
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advises local authorities to increase the supply of housing in their areas, to ensure local housing need is met, by identifying 'key sites' which can be used for housing development...

The Reimbursement of Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees
10 May 2014
Following the introduction in July 2013 of fees for claims made to the Employment Tribunal (ET) and appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), where the EAT allows an appeal, in full or in part, it has the discretion...

Court Boosts Planning Objectors' Rights
09 May 2014
A local authority has been dragged over the coals by a High Court judge for its 'perverse' failure to heed furious neighbours' complaints about a poorly constructed home that overlooks their back gardens. The house in Brighton...

Estate Agents Win Website Dispute
07 May 2014
It is as well to remember that the Internet can be a threat, as well as a boon, to businesses, as is shown by a dispute involving a woman who registered a confusingly titled domain name and then used it to air her criticisms...

Government Overhaul of Guidance on Working at Height
06 May 2014
More than a million British businesses and ten million workers are estimated to carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year and falls remain one of the biggest causes of serious workplace injury – with...

Developer Must Contribute to Lighting Costs
05 May 2014
When a new building development is constructed, it is normal for the highway authority to agree with the developer a technical specification for the roads. When the roads have been built to the required specification...

Disgruntled Former Employee Turned to Internet Stalking
04 May 2014
A disgruntled web designer who became a Facebook 'troll' and conducted an obsessive 'cyber-stalking' campaign against former work colleagues has been ordered by the High Court to desist – or go to prison for three...

Wrongful Termination Argument to Go to Court of Appeal
03 May 2014
In a case with potentially wide implications for businesses whose activities depend on licensing agreements, a company that faced destruction of its Internet-based business, due to the termination of the licensing...

Principle, Not Technicalities, Crucial in Landlord's Notice
01 May 2014
Professional landlords are well aware of the complexities they can face when giving notice to tenants that they require possession of the let premises. Because of the rather tortuous provisions of the Housing Act 1988 with...

Changes to Employment Law – 2014
30 Apr 2014
Changes to employment law and practice are normally implemented in either April or October in order to make life easier for employers, who must ensure that their policies and procedures comply by the implementation...

Company Tax Decisions Proved Unwise By Subsequent Events
29 Apr 2014
All forms of tax planning need to be carried out with great care. However, even when care is taken, unforeseen results can sometimes occur, as a recent tax case shows. The outcome was that a company's successful...

No Second Bite of the Cherry After Ombudsman's Decision
28 Apr 2014
When a couple received negligent advice from a firm of financial advisers, they complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The ombudsman ruled in their favour and ordered that compensation should be paid to...

Casual Occupation Proves Costly for Tenant
27 Apr 2014
When a housing association stayed on in its offices for nearly three years after the lease had run out, trouble loomed when it decided to vacate them. The tenant had no legal right to remain in the building, but had...

Islamic Prison Chaplain Loses Discrimination Claim
26 Apr 2014
In Naeem v The Secretary of State for Justice, an Islamic prison chaplain who complained that Christian colleagues were generally paid more than he was owing to their greater length of service has had his claim of indirect...

Social Networking at Work
25 Apr 2014
With increasing use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook for both business and pleasure, it is advisable for all firms to have social networking policies that are clear and unequivocal and protect the...

Council Must Balance Needs of Ratepayers and Residents
24 Apr 2014
Local councils have a legal responsibility to provide support for people with a disability to assist them to live independently in the community. However, they also have a responsibility to manage their budgets and keep...

Dismissal for Long-Term Sickness Absence – The Correct Approach
22 Apr 2014
In BS v Dundee City Council, the Scottish Court of Session considered the factors to be taken into account when deciding whether or not an employee's dismissal on the ground of ill health is fair. The 55-year-old appellant was...

Discount Offers Should Be Treated With Caution
22 Apr 2014
Discounted prices seem to be everywhere these days, but recent decisions of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) show that sales promotions need to be treated with caution. A series of decisions recently saw shirt seller TM Lewin & Sons Limited and Virgin Media...

Refusal to Pay Arbitrator Did Not Repudiate Contract
21 Apr 2014
Not every breach of contract will be treated as 'repudiatory' – the legal term for a breach in which one side has refused to perform its side of the contract. Recently, the High Court ruled that one party's refusal to pay an...

Deadlock Forces Sale When Family Inherits Business
21 Apr 2014
When a family business is handed down and ownership is split between two or more members of the next generation, the result can all too often be discord. Normally, this can be resolved by one party buying out the other, but when this does not occur, the result can be a disaster, as a recent case shows.

Tenant's Fixtures Must Remain Until Lease Ends
19 Apr 2014
Often, it takes a dispute over something that is worth a lot of money to produce a judgment that clarifies the law. A recent case, involving a disagreement over a lease that required the tenant to build and maintain...

Construction Company Fined After Worker's Lift Shaft Fall
18 Apr 2014
A Belfast-based construction company has been fined after a lift engineer was severely injured when he fell down a lift shaft that was under construction. Terry Moore, 51, was working on the uppermost floor of a new...

Court Underlines Duty of Candour in Contract Negotiations
17 Apr 2014
A lack of candour in contractual negotiations can lead to grave financial consequences, as was shown when an event management company that lost its only customer four months after signing a new five-year...

Changes to Pensions Auto-enrolment
15 Apr 2014
In response to feedback from employers already subject to the requirement to automatically enrol certain workers into a pension scheme, in May 2013 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) carried out a consultation...

Relief as Landlords Can Again Look to Administrators for Rent
13 Apr 2014
When a company enters administration, the expenses it has incurred prior to the administration have a different status from the expenses incurred by the administrators. These latter expenses are in effect preferential...

Annual Inflation-Linked Changes in Tribunal Awards
11 Apr 2014
Traditionally, annual inflation-linked increases or decreases in limits on the compensation amounts which can be awarded by employment tribunals came into effect on 1 February each year. However, Section 22 of the...

Moor is Less Than Possession
10 Apr 2014
Boats moored on rivers have been at the centre of more than their fair share of disputes over the years. In a recent case, the High Court was asked to rule on whether 'mooring roots' used to moor barges on the riverbed...

Large Damages Claims – Tax Exemption Withdrawn
09 Apr 2014
Damages paid for loss of income are taxable but, by concession, most damages paid as a capital sum for not taking court action have been exempt from taxation to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). If the damages paid can be linked...

Shared Parental Leave Reforms – Update
08 Apr 2014
Changes to the way parents can share maternity leave form part of the Children and Families Act 2014. Details as to how the proposed new system will work in practice are set out in draft legislation on which the Government...

Caravan 'Not a Dwelling'
07 Apr 2014
In a recent case, the High Court ruled that a touring caravan which had been brought onto land and affixed permanently was not a 'dwelling-house'. The decision came after the owner of the caravan, who had resided...

When is Ideal Not Ideal?
05 Apr 2014
When the publisher of Ideal Home (IH) magazine brought a legal action for infringement of its trade mark against the Ideal Home Show (IHS), the response was a counterclaim by IHS that IH's trade mark was invalid. Both...

Holiday Pay and Unearned Commission
04 Apr 2014
In the latest of a series of cases on the correct calculation of holiday pay (Lock v British Gas Trading Limited and Others), the Advocate General (AG) has handed down his opinion that a correct interpretation of the EU...

Adjudication Award Subject to Set-Off in Corporate Insolvency
02 Apr 2014
A recent case involving a builder who became insolvent whilst working on a couple's property led to an appearance in the High Court. The building company entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The terms...

Company Strictly Liable for Environmental Crime
01 Apr 2014
In law, some offences are called 'strict liability' offences. Where an offence is a strict liability offence, its commission alone, regardless of intent, is sufficient for a conviction to occur. In a case of importance to landowners...

Who Needs Insurance?
24 Mar 2014
No one wants to pay good money for something they never intend to use, right? And for anyone on a budget it may be tempting to shy away from the expense of insurance. After all, you’re a safe shot and only go out a few times a year so what are the chances of ever having to make a claim?

Guide on Firearms Licensing Law
24 Mar 2014
In October 2013, the Home Office published a “Guide on Firearms Licensing Law”. It is a substantial document, over 250 pages, containing comprehensive guidance on the complex law and procedures that apply. It replaces, “Firearms Law: Guidance to the Police”...

Innocent Hotelier Trapped by Corporate Failure
28 Feb 2014
In a bitter example of how an innocent party can be left to carry the financial can following a corporate failure, the owner of a hotel who paid £110,000 for diesel powered generating equipment has received judicial...

Age-Related Differences in Voluntary Redundancy Scheme Justifiable
27 Feb 2014
In a ruling which underlines that direct discrimination on the ground of age, unlike any other form of direct discrimination, is capable of being objectively justified, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a voluntary redundancy...

Failure to Consider Mediation Request Costs Tenant
27 Feb 2014
When a legal dispute arises, failure to consider a serious invitation to resolve the dispute through mediation, such as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), instead of litigation can have adverse costs consequences...

Retailer Wins Childrenswear Contract Dispute
26 Feb 2014
In a dispute over the supply of children’s clothing to a major high street retailer, the High Court has ruled that a breakdown in effective communication between the parties justified early termination of the agreement...

Property Use Restriction is Reasonable, Rules Tribunal
26 Feb 2014
It is normal for any building divided into flats to have rules relating to the use to which the flats can be put as well as other internal regulations. The potential scope of such regulations was tested in a recent case...

HMRC Announce Tax Purge on Landlords
25 Feb 2014
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are to launch a nationwide campaign to recover an estimated £2.5 billion in tax being evaded by private sector landlords. Although the average tax per rented property is not...

Timing Issue Leads to Tax Argument
24 Feb 2014
When a consultant commenced work for a company, her intention was to carry out the work through the medium of a limited company. She delayed forming the company, however, and this led to her first consultancy...

New Guidance on VAT on Storage Facilities
24 Feb 2014
The increase in the number of self-storage businesses providing facilities aimed at the general public has led to an increase in problems regarding the VAT treatment of storage generally. A licence to occupy land is an...

Allowing Use of Land May Create Irrevocable Rights
24 Feb 2014
When land has been used by someone who has no legal entitlement to use it for 20 years without interruption, an ‘easement’ can arise under the Prescription Act 1832. In principle, an easement gives the legal...

Excess of Assets Prevents Aid to Bring Disabled Son Home
23 Feb 2014
When a person wishes to apply for legal aid (assuming it is available) to take a case to court, the application is subject to means testing. A recent case concerning a disabled man shows how strictly the criteria...

Consumer Credit Changes
23 Feb 2014
The transfer of consumer credit regulation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from 1 April 2014 has been poorly publicised, but even less well promoted have been the changes...

Application to Appeal IHT Relief Claim on Holiday Lettings Rejected
22 Feb 2014
The door appears to have finally slammed shut on a family’s attempt to obtain Business Property Relief (BPR) from Inheritance Tax (IHT) in respect of a property which had been operated as a furnished holiday letting...

The New TUPE Regulations
21 Feb 2014
The Government has published the draft Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which amend the provisions relating to collective...

Corporate Minnow Breaks Monte Carlo Casino
20 Feb 2014
In a case which proves that even corporate minnows can successfully fight off trade mark infringement actions brought by much larger operators, a small party gaming company has inflicted a stinging defeat on the...

Local Authority Triumphs in Land Sale Dispute
19 Feb 2014
In circumstances where a contract for the sale of land stated unambiguously that the findings of an independent surveyor would be ‘final and binding’ upon the parties if a dispute arose, the High Court has reaffirmed...

Liquidation Means Tax Warranty Risk for Buyer
18 Feb 2014
Warranties are a common feature of purchases and sales of businesses, especially with regard to undisclosed (and in many cases unknown) tax liabilities which rest in the company bought out. In a recent case...

Non-Domestic Rate Relief Changes
17 Feb 2014
The new rules for rate relief for non-domestic newly built buildings came into effect on 1 October and allow relief from non-domestic rates to be given for unoccupied new buildings for the first 18 months after construction...

TUPE Service Provision Changes
16 Feb 2014
In Lorne Stewart plc v Hyde and Others, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has clarified the application of the ‘service provision change’ rules in the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)...

Ignoring Duty to Neighbours Costs Homeowner
16 Feb 2014
Homeowners have a responsibility to ensure that they do not damage their neighbours’ properties and this includes a legal duty to keep their garden trees and shrubs under control. When a North London woman...

In Brief - Rent Refund Case to Go to Appeal
14 Feb 2014
A recent decision in which the court ruled that a landlord was obliged to repay to its tenant rent paid in advance for a period after the break date on the lease will go to appeal. The case arose because the break...

Net Value Means Current Value Not Book Value, Rules Court
12 Feb 2014
When a family partnership broke up, the lack of precision in clauses of the partnership agreement led to an appearance in the Court of Appeal. Two farmers took their 19-year-old son into partnership in 1997. In 2009...

Employment Law Update
12 Feb 2014
The field of employment law is constantly evolving and each year brings new changes. As 2014 is now underway, it is important to be aware of what rights are afforded to employees and workers. In the hope of providing an economic boost, the Government...

Duty of Care Could Not Be Delegated, Rules Court
10 Feb 2014
A widely reported recent case has potential implications for those entrusted with the care or safety of others who delegate that responsibility – for example by the use of subcontractors. The tragic case concerned...

When is a Public Need Not a Public Need?
10 Feb 2014
The High Court recently had to deal with the question ‘What constitutes a public need?’ when it faced a planning appeal against an application for the creation of a very ‘upscale’ golf club and spa resort, which was...

Knowledge of Wrong Necessary for Personal Liability
08 Feb 2014
Cases involving employees who take data from their employer and then use the information in a competitor business are quite common. In a recent case, the court had to consider to what extent the employee’s...

Registering Land as a Village Green
07 Feb 2014
Protecting land used as a local amenity – particularly when it is threatened with development – is a way of ensuring that it can be maintained now and enjoyed for generations to come. Where land has been used...

Courts Show Value of Registration of Trade Marks
06 Feb 2014
The economic value of a well-known brand having a registered trade mark is illustrated by two recent court cases involving British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), US IT giant Microsoft and free Internet phone service Skype...

No Compensation for Consequential Losses
06 Feb 2014
Cases arising from the damage done by rioters during the 2011 riots are now beginning to come to court. Recently, one such case was decided concerning the extent of the losses covered by the Riot (Damages) Act 1886...

New Guidance on Preventing Illegal Working
05 Feb 2014
The Home Office has updated its guidance for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK, which contains important information and advice on...

Corporate Insolvency and TUPE – Court of Appeal Gives Guidance
04 Feb 2014
In a case which raised new issues on the inter-relationship between insolvency rules and the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), the Court of Appeal has dismissed the unfair...

Rush to Court Proves Costly for Restaurateurs
02 Feb 2014
Rushing into litigation with insufficient preparation and without taking advice can have unfortunate consequences. This simple fact was demonstrated when the owners of a restaurant, who claimed that their...

Unforeseeable Risk Means No Liability
31 Jan 2014
When a go-kart driver suffered catastrophic injuries after using a go-kart lent to her by a friend, the court ruled that she was not entitled to compensation. The owner had warned her not to wear her long coat, as there...

Group of Companies May Be Single Economic Entity
31 Jan 2014
When a subsidiary in a group does something, what is the legal position of the holding company that owns it? In some circumstances, the courts might hold the parent company responsible for the actions of the...

Landlord Who Allowed Lease to Run On Loses Claim for Possession
30 Jan 2014
When an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) reaches the end of its term and the tenant continues to occupy the premises, a new tenancy is created. This has implications for landlords who have ASTs expiring which were entered...

New Fair Deal on Employee Pensions Transferred From Government to Private Sector
29 Jan 2014
For businesses seeking to tender for contracts in the public sector that involve taking on staff in what is a relevant transfer for the purposes of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006...

Failed Patent Infringement Threats Cost Accuser
27 Jan 2014
When a threat is made to bring a patent infringement action against another company, the result of the mere threat may be to cause damage to the threatened company. It may, for example, cease selling or making...

‘Pet Ponies Must Go’, Planners Rule
27 Jan 2014
Animal lovers should be aware that planning laws can put a block on their activities, as was illustrated by a case in which a woman who was ordered to remove a stable – and her children’s three pet ponies – from...

Unregistered Obligation Binding, Rules Court
26 Jan 2014
Property law in the UK is complex, and no part of it is more complex than the law relating to rights over land. When the owner of an access road used by a number of units on an industrial estate sought contributions...

Guarantee Voided by Forged Signature
25 Jan 2014
The pitfalls of not getting documentation exactly right have become all too clear for a lender following a recent Court of Appeal hearing. The case arose because the lender wished to rely on the guarantees given...

SDLT Avoidance Scheme Fails
24 Jan 2014
Although some law is ‘common law’ and some effectively the result of decisions of the courts, when law is in written form, the exact meaning of the words used is of prime importance in interpreting what the law means...

Contract Means What It Says, Rules Court of Appeal
23 Jan 2014
A decision of the Court of Appeal has confirmed that legal agreements mean what they say, so when a pair of composers entered into an agreement to assign to the Performing Right Society (PRS) all the rights which...

Data Protection Policies and Personal Devices
22 Jan 2014
Earlier this year, a YouGov survey showed that 47 per cent of all UK employees now use their smartphone, tablet PC or other portable device for work purposes and the Information Commissioner’s Office...

Janitor Wins £30,000 in School Fall Claim
21 Jan 2014
A school janitor from Inverclyde who lost his job after he suffered leg and back injuries when he slipped on a frozen surface at work has been awarded £30,000 in damages. Stephen McKeown, 61, was covering for a...

Employee Accommodation a Business Asset
19 Jan 2014
A Chinese restaurant which provided a residential property for use as accommodation for employees as part of their contracts of employment has persuaded the First-tier Tribunal that the house was a business asset...

Case Highlights Importance of Researching Property Use
18 Jan 2014
When land has been used by someone who has no legal entitlement to use it for 20 years without interruption, an ‘easement’ can arise under the Prescription Act 1832. In principle, an easement gives the legal...

Single Emailed Word Created Binding Contract
17 Jan 2014
The Commercial Court has ruled that a single word in an email was enough to conclude a binding contract for a multi-million pound international oil trade. In response to the seller’s ‘firm offer’, the buyer had emailed...

Court Hearing Required to Resolve Bequest Dispute
17 Jan 2014
When an estate is being administered, the administrator must meet any specific bequests in the will before distributing the remainder (the ‘residue’ in legal parlance) of the estate. However, it is by no means...

Duty of Care Can Extend to Acts of Others
15 Jan 2014
The occupier of a property has a duty to users of the property to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the use can be carried out safely. In some circumstances, the occupier’s duty of care is capable...

Rent Refund Case to Go to Appeal
13 Jan 2014
A recent decision in which the court ruled that a landlord was obliged to repay to its tenant rent paid in advance for a period after the break date on the lease will go to appeal. The case arose because the break...

Judge Fines Company ‘Every Penny It Has’ After Speedboat Death
11 Jan 2014
Following the death of an 11-year-old child who was hit by a speedboat whilst attending a friend’s birthday party that took place at a lake, the company that operated the site pleaded guilty to charges brought...

Small Error Nearly Has Big Consequence
10 Jan 2014
In a clear illustration of the grave legal consequences that can arise from apparently trivial mistakes, flat dwellers’ hopes of acquiring the right to manage (RTM) their building were almost stymied by their failure to include...

Couple Pay Price of Fishing Rights Debacle
08 Jan 2014
An unwise decision taken in the heat of the moment which led to a land dispute is set to have permanent and costly consequences for a couple. They face a substantial legal costs bill after unsuccessfully resisting a...

Adjudicator’s Decision Binding, Rules Court
07 Jan 2014
When an adjudicator makes a decision on a matter referred to him and based on the information put to him, the courts are very unlikely to interfere, even if the court would have reached a different conclusion faced...

Having work done to your property? - Some tips
06 Jan 2014
When purchasing a property we usually inspect it, obtain a detailed survey, and hire a lawyer to ensure the appropriate contractual safeguards are in place. After spending all that time and money ensuring the property.

Failure to Bring Claim in Time Costs Claimant
20 Dec 2013
Adjudication of a construction dispute seems like a great idea – until you get an adjudicator’s report which is not to your liking. In such circumstances, it may be possible to litigate or arbitrate the dispute and, hopefully...

Retail Customer Confusion the Key in ‘Passing Off’ Dispute
18 Dec 2013
When a business adopts a trading style which is similar enough to the existing trading style of another business to lead a consumer into thinking that they are one and the same, a claim for damages for ‘passing off'...

Tenancies Can Be Worthless If Mortgage Lender Not Informed
18 Dec 2013
A lease may not be worth the paper it is written on if the landlord’s mortgage lender does not consent to the tenancy. A recent ruling by the Court of Appeal opened the way for the eviction of a mother and her two children...

Incorrect VAT Costs Barrister Landlord a Bundle
16 Dec 2013
VAT is a simple tax in principle, but it has many complexities. One that is frequently encountered by landlords is what the correct VAT treatment should be when services are provided to tenants under their leases. Rent...

Sport Sponsorship Not Tax-Deductible, Rules Tribunal
13 Dec 2013
When a rugby fan sponsored his local rugby club to the tune of more than £1 million over a decade and promoted his business by a variety of means through his connection with the club, he sought Corporation Tax relief...

Sympathy for Litigant Does Not Sway Court
13 Dec 2013
As Lysander observes in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – so in any relationship it pays to be careful what you sign. Recently, a mother of five children who executed...

Landlords’ Rights to Distress to be Limited
11 Dec 2013
The ancient, but highly effective, right of ‘distress’ – the process by which a landlord can enter a tenant’s premises and seize goods in order to recover arrears of rent – is to be limited under the new Commercial Rent Arrears...

Religious Belief Does Not Justify Discrimination
10 Dec 2013
The Christian beliefs of the owner of a bed and breakfast have led to her fighting and losing her case in the Court of Appeal. The woman refused to allow a gay couple to stay overnight in a double-bedded room after initially...

Procedural Error Does Not Prevent Village Green Application
10 Dec 2013
The procedure for applying for land to be designated a ‘village green’ – usually used to prevent development taking place on land which has a history of being used by the public at large – is relatively well known, but mistakes...

Last Minute Change of Mind Costs Company Dear
06 Dec 2013
When negotiations in a professional negligence claim collapsed when the matter was very close to being settled, because the ‘losers’ changed their minds on the settlement, the ‘winner’ sought its pound of flesh in court...

Tax Saving Advice Compulsory, Rules Court
03 Dec 2013
A firm of accountants which failed to point out tax saving opportunities to a client when he sold his company was found to be negligent by the High Court recently. The accountants had failed to bring to the attention...

Property Owner Who Ignored Planning Law Faces Jail
02 Dec 2013
A landowner who ignored a ruling of the court to remove ‘inappropriate development’ from his agricultural land, in spite of having already been fined £250,000 for his repeated breaches of planning control, has been...

Repetition of Allegations Does Not Make Them True
29 Nov 2013
Local authorities are not always as thorough as they should be when obtaining and evaluating information on which their decisions on child welfare are based, as a recent case shows. It involved a couple who went to court after...

Place Names Must Be Available to All
28 Nov 2013
The UK Intellectual Property Office has refused an application by Chanel to register the word ‘Jersey’ as a trade mark on the ground that, as a geographical term, it would not be appropriate to deny its availability to other...

Lack of Contract Clarity Leads to Court of Appeal Appearance
26 Nov 2013
The wisdom of making contractual arrangements precise was again clearly illustrated in a recent case before the Court of Appeal. It involved a construction dispute over the quality of work done in building retaining walls...

Pensions Auto-Enrolment
22 Nov 2013
The Pensions Act 2008 introduced a requirement for employers to automatically enrol certain workers into a pension scheme, unless they are already members of a qualifying scheme. Auto-enrolment is being introduced...

Human Rights Possession Defence Fails
21 Nov 2013
When squatters faced a possession order after they had trespassed onto private land and established a home there, they claimed that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for one’s...

Documentation Error Means Landlord’s Notice Invalid
20 Nov 2013
Yet another case should serve as a reminder to landlords of the need to ensure that all documentation is precisely worded. When a notice was issued to a tenant, the landlord mistakenly used the wrong name (the name...

Short Clause Leads to Long Trial
18 Nov 2013
When a Spanish company entered into a lending agreement with another company, the ultimate purpose of which was to facilitate a property development in the Strand in London, the downturn in the economy and other...

NEDs Carry Can for Lack of Diligence
15 Nov 2013
When a company proposed new contracts for two of its senior directors, the non-executive directors (NEDs) on the board were sent drafts of the new contracts for review. The company’s solicitors were then instructed...

Machine Operator Wins £6,000 Hearing Loss Compensation
15 Nov 2013
A man who worked as a machine operator for many years has won compensation after suffering damage to his hearing. Oswald Grant, from Pudsey in West Yorkshire, began working at Yorkshire Imperial Metals (YIM) in 1963...

Delay Costs Developer
13 Nov 2013
When a property development company which had purchased land with planning permission for a residential development sought to bring a legal claim relating to the property after the time limit for commencing...

Homeowners’ Fingers Burnt in Court Dispute with Builders
12 Nov 2013
Homeowners who were directed by an adjudicator to pay almost £90,000 to builders who carried out an ambitious refurbishment of their property have failed to convince the High Court that they are entitled to a £40,000...

LinkedIn Tug of War Resolved
11 Nov 2013
When key staff left a publisher and set up in competition, the High Court was called upon to consider the question of who should have control over the LinkedIn groups they had created – the former employees or their...

Crane Base Not a Product, Rules Court
07 Nov 2013
You might think that a product is like an elephant – hard to define, but you know one when you see one. However, the meanings of words in law are often important, as a case which dealt with the meaning of the word...

Lack of Evidence Limits Claim
06 Nov 2013
When a GP referred a female patient to the local hospital for an urgent investigation, it should have led to her prompt diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer. However, the referral letter was lost and, furthermore...

Court of Appeal Serves Warning Over Handling of Tenants’ Deposits
05 Nov 2013
The Court of Appeal has served a warning to residential landlords over how they deal with tenants’ deposits by its decision that a landlord who unwittingly failed to comply with deposit protection rules was not...

Owners of Motorway Service Area Triumph in Valuation Dispute
04 Nov 2013
The oil company owner of a motorway service area has achieved a very significant reduction in its non-domestic rates after the Upper Tribunal (UT) accepted that the petrol filling station that forms an integral...

Chalet Owners Face Compound Interest Catastrophe
04 Nov 2013
In a case which starkly underlines the dramatic and often unforeseen impact that compound interest can have on apparently modest service charges, holiday chalet tenants who could end up paying their landlord more...

Inadvertence Defence Defeats Trade Secrets Claim
31 Oct 2013
During the course of an employment, it is common for employees to become aware of the ‘trade secrets’ of their employer’s business. If they subsequently use this knowledge for their own gain, they can find themselves...

Court Aids Developer Who Exceeded Planning Permission
29 Oct 2013
The High Court has come to the aid of a developer who exceeded his planning consent by building an extra storey on a block of flats. The Court ruled that a planning inspector had erred in law in failing to consider...

Adverse weather and employee rights
28 Oct 2013
With last night’s stormy weather and the traffic chaos that ensued being all over the news this morning, Karen Cole takes a look at how unexpected disruptions may impact on the workplace...

Credit Cards – How Well Protected Are You?
28 Oct 2013
When you order something and pay using a credit card, you are protected against loss...or are you? Although many people think that the protection that applies is absolute, it is not. Unless your credit card contract specifies...

Five-Year Ban for Director of Insolvent Company
25 Oct 2013
The Insolvency Service takes a tough line when a director of an insolvent company is found to have behaved in a way that was seriously prejudicial to the interests of creditors. Recently, the director of an online...

Clear Intention Overrides Non-Compliance
24 Oct 2013
When a tenant wished to break its 25-year lease at an appropriate break point, it served a notice on the landlord and probably considered that to be the end of the matter. The landlord thought otherwise. The lease...

Director’s Payments Recoverable by Liquidator
22 Oct 2013
In a ruling that helps to define the concept of balance sheet insolvency, the High Court has upheld a liquidator’s plea that payments made to a property company director were made at a time when the company...

Data Protection and Old Computers
18 Oct 2013
A recent case serves as a reminder to organisations that handle personal data of the importance of following appropriate procedures when the need arises to destroy information held on computers that are no longer...

Buying a Home ‘Off Plan’? Beware the Pitfalls
18 Oct 2013
With the new-build property market picking up, sales of ‘off-plan’ properties will be expected to rise. However, a recent case shows that buying a property in this way has potential pitfalls. It involved a couple who failed...

Alterations Invalidate Surety
16 Oct 2013
When a landlord gave a tenant a licence to make substantial alterations, little did it think that it was undermining its future financial position. The reason was that another party had ‘stood surety’, acting as guarantor...

Bus Cleaner Compensated for Consequences of Accident at Work
15 Oct 2013
When a woman who worked as a cleaner for a bus company in Maidstone, Kent, impaled her foot on a metal splinter at work, she could not have expected that the incident would leave her near to death and her leg needing...

Court Clears Way for Insolvency Proceedings
14 Oct 2013
When there is an overseas element in business structures, issues of jurisdiction can sometimes cause problems. When a Jersey company was unable to repay a £6 million loan from its bank, advanced in respect...

Adjudication Decisions are Binding, Right or Wrong
09 Oct 2013
In the context of a bitter building dispute that was characterised by confusion over the identity of one of the contracting parties, the High Court has emphasised that an adjudicator’s decision, if made with jurisdiction...

Contractual Imprecision Leads to Court Hearing
07 Oct 2013
A dispute over software being developed for use by a group of hedge fund investment managers was never likely to be easy to resolve once a change of direction in the software development strategy took place...

Architect Liable for Contractor’s Errors
07 Oct 2013
A couple who engaged a contractor to carry out work on their house have succeeded in their claim against the architect in respect of the cost of putting right defects in the contractor’s work. The couple bought a five-storey...

Absentee Tenants – Don’t Forget to Pick Up the Post!
04 Oct 2013
In a stark warning to absentee tenants that neglecting to pick up the post can have dire consequences, a woman who paid £100,000 for the lease of a seaside flat was caught entirely unawares when a possession...

‘Bedroom Tax’ Legal, Rules High Court
03 Oct 2013
National charities have warned that thousands of the most vulnerable members of society will be threatened with homelessness, or having to go without food or heating, after the High Court upheld the lawfulness of a government...

Chatty Emails Do Not Make Contract
02 Oct 2013
In a warning to the business community that it can sometimes be hazardous to mix business with pleasure, a judge has emphasised that ‘chatty’ emails, partly devoted to discussion of the provenance and...

Planning Relaxations to Help Struggling Traders
30 Sep 2013
The Department for Communities and Local Government has made amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 that will allow smaller High Street business premises...

‘Secondary Victim’ Claim Fails
26 Sep 2013
When a woman who was injured in an accident at work and who seemed to be making a good recovery collapsed and died three weeks later, as a result of a deep-vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism which...

Enjoying Rights Depends on Them Being Right
25 Sep 2013
Whether we hold land on which to live, to work or to develop, we all seek to “enjoy” our land. In many cases enjoyment of our land is dependent on rights held over land owned by a third party...

What is Voluntary? – The $17 Million Question
23 Sep 2013
Renegotiation of commercial lending is a commonplace business activity, but even seemingly routine agreements can sometimes lead to unexpected problems, as a recent case illustrates. A company that had a finance...

EHRC Launches Guidance on Preventing Discrimination
20 Sep 2013
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published two guides for businesses on how to prevent discrimination and avoid costly legal challenges. ‘The Equality Act: Guidance for Small Business’ explains...

Form and Suitability
19 Sep 2013
On 2 June 2010, Derrick Bird murdered twelve people and injured eleven others in Cumbria with legally held firearms. One month later, following the usual cries for tighter gun controls that follow such horrific events...

Unlawful Eviction Ruling a Blow to Rights of Secure Tenants
19 Sep 2013
In a ruling which significantly waters down the rights of secure tenants, the Court of Appeal has adopted a narrow interpretation of Section 28 of the Housing Act 1988 and overturned a £90,500 award of compensation...

Judge Imposes Limit on ‘Attritional’ Litigation Costs
19 Sep 2013
When a divorcing husband and wife ran up legal costs of more than £150,000 disputing the division of family assets amounting to little more than £200,000, the judge hearing the case described himself as ‘appalled’...

Hazards of Signing Personal Guarantees Underlined
18 Sep 2013
In a ruling which underlines the potential hazards of signing personal guarantees in respect of corporate debts, a businessman has been hit with a bill for more than £330,000 almost seven years after he resigned...

What Does Insolvency Mean?
18 Sep 2013
The Supreme Court has issued a significant ruling which may have ramifications for companies that are technically insolvent and those that are seeking to rely on ‘insolvency clauses’ in agreements. The case concerned...

Court Steps In to Remedy Land Registry Blunder
16 Sep 2013
A Land Registry error which resulted in two individuals being concurrently registered as freehold owners of the same plot of land has been put right by the Court of Appeal in a test case which raised an important...

VAT on Your Tax Return?
13 Sep 2013
Although expenditure which has a ‘mixed’ private and business element is not strictly an allowable deduction against profits for Income Tax (IT) purposes, in practice HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) allow such...

£8,500 for Holidaymaker Who Slipped on Marble Floor
13 Sep 2013
A holidaymaker who slipped on a wet marble floor has won £8,500 in compensation for the injuries she suffered. The woman, who is in her 50s, was on a package holiday at a hotel in Tenerife when the accident...

Environmental Challenge to Recommencement of Legal Use Fails
11 Sep 2013
Environmental law is an area that demands increasingly close attention by developers. Stemming largely from European law, there are aspects of environmental law that fit rather uneasily with domestic legislation. For example...

Valid Community Trade Mark Not Full Protection Against Action
10 Sep 2013
You have a registered trade mark – so you think there’s no risk of having an action brought against you for trade mark infringement. But would you be right? A recent case heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union...

Two Office Block Floors Form a Single Hereditament
06 Sep 2013
In a decision of wide importance to property professionals, the Court of Appeal has ruled that two non-contiguous floors of a modern office block can be viewed as a single ‘hereditament’ (i.e. one property as...

Jockey Wins Compensation After Falling at First Hurdle
06 Sep 2013
A former jockey has won £58,000 in compensation for injuries he suffered at Cheltenham racecourse when his horse fell at the first hurdle. Philip Hide’s horse skidded and fell at the outer end of the hurdle, causing...

Tissue Manufacturer Fined Over Worker’s Fall
05 Sep 2013
A Lancaster manufacturing company has been fined for health and safety failures following an incident in which one of the factory workers was injured when a metal floor gave way under his feet. Lancaster Magistrates’...

Workplace Stress – An Employer’s Duties
03 Sep 2013
The 13th edition of the Absence Management survey report, which is produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in conjunction with healthcare provider Simplyhealth, found that in 2012...

Unresolved Issues Cannot Justify Refusal to Pay
03 Sep 2013
A barrister who took exception to the quality of building work he had commissioned found that the Court of Appeal did not agree with his contention that he should not pay a £35,000 retention. The barrister and his wife...

Sole Director Cannot Sue Own Company
02 Sep 2013
When a director sustained an injury at work, he sought compensation from his company. He claimed that it had not fulfilled its duty to comply with health and safety law. The claim, however, had a twist. The company...

In Brief - So Your Website Complies, But Do Your Apps?
28 Aug 2013
A working party set up by the EU has concluded that many mobile ‘apps’ are failing to obtain the necessary consents from users to make sure they comply with EU data protection law. Among information being...

Lack of Precision Opens Path for Change of Use of Garden Centre
26 Aug 2013
When a business owner applied for planning permission for a garden centre, the local authority put a condition on the planning permission that details of the goods to be sold had to be approved by it before trade commenced...

Purchase of Own Shares – Simplification Proposed
23 Aug 2013
It is a sad fact that the UK tax code is the longest in the world, creating complexity for all and the opportunity for a few to engage in substantial tax avoidance. A feature of the system is the presence of many...

Court Backs Visa Status Change Rule Challenge
22 Aug 2013
If a family member of a foreign national resident in the UK wishes to change their immigration category, there has been a long-standing requirement that they must make the application from abroad. Accordingly...

When is a Flat Not a Flat?
21 Aug 2013
The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 gives occupiers of long leasehold flats which have been ‘constructed or adapted for use as a dwelling’ the right to buy their freeholds and sets up a...

Property Letting a Business for Rollover Relief, Rules Tribunal
20 Aug 2013
Capital Gains Tax ‘rollover relief’ allows a capital gain made on the realisation of a business asset to be postponed if the proceeds of sale of the asset on which the gain was made are reinvested in qualifying assets...

Promises, Promises
15 Aug 2013
It is quite common when a subsidiary of a group of companies wishes to undertake a substantial contract for the other side to seek assurances of support from the subsidiary’s holding company, or occasionally from another...

High Court Upholds Deathbed Will Change
15 Aug 2013
When a terminally ill man changed his will by codicil shortly before he died, in order to provide for the woman he had been living with for the 12 years prior to his death, his family sought to dislodge it. The codicil...

Charitable Assignment of Leases
13 Aug 2013
When can the lease of a leasehold property be assigned without the landlord’s consent, even if consent is required under the lease? When the tenant is a charity and the assignment is ordered by the Charity Commission...

Nonsensical Contract Term Will Not Apply, Rules Court
12 Aug 2013
When a convention centre breached a five-year contract with a catering company by terminating it after only two years, it relied on a clause in the contract to indemnify it from having to pay compensation to the catering company...

Lost Profits, Not Sales, Are Correct Measure of Loss
07 Aug 2013
When copyright is infringed, the owner of the copyright material which has been infringed has the right to claim damages. Often, the bulk of the argument in such cases is over the appropriate amount of the claim...

Sincere Belief Does Not Justify Harassment
06 Aug 2013
When a person gets a ‘bee in their bonnet’ about something, all sense of moderation can go out of the window. When this occurred recently, the result was a court appearance for a ‘whistleblower’. The case was...

Holding Company Shareholders Can Bring Derivative Action, Rules Court
05 Aug 2013
In certain circumstances, a company can take action against a third party which causes it to suffer a loss and, if it is in the interests of the company, a competent director will seek to recover the loss for the company...

Land Bank Boss Receives 12-Year Ban
02 Aug 2013
The ‘controlling mind’ behind a property investment company that went into liquidation with an estimated deficiency of more than £70 million has been banned from being a company director for 12 years. In making...

Architect Liable for Negligent Certification
31 Jul 2013
When a building contract for a block of flats went wrong, leaving the new building with many defects, an architect who had no contract with the owners of the flats found himself in the firing line. When the block of flats...

ICO Hands Out Fines for Breaches of Data Protection Law
30 Jul 2013
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served a monetary penalty of £90,000 on a company that has made thousands of unwanted marketing calls, the first the ICO has issued for a serious breach of the Privacy...

Incautious Blog Costs £25,000
29 Jul 2013
Blogging is becoming increasingly common and there is a widespread belief that ‘anything goes’ on the Internet. However, this is not the case – as a woman who criticised a council chief executive found out to her cost...

Under-Occupancy of Premises Means Charity Rates Scheme Fails
26 Jul 2013
When a charity’s claim for relief from non-domestic rates was examined by the High Court, the failure to use more than a small part of the buildings concerned proved fatal to its claim for a reduction in its rates charge...

Tenants Face Massive Repair Bill for Breach of Repairing Covenants
23 Jul 2013
The former tenants of a prime location office block that was left in a state of severe dilapidation on the expiry of a full-repairing lease have been ordered to pay more than £1.3 million to cover the costs incurred...

Government to Review ‘Pre-Pack’ Administration
22 Jul 2013
A pre-packaged administration (pre-pack) is one where the sale of an insolvent business and its assets is arranged prior to the onset of formal insolvency and takes place immediately, or very soon, after the administrator’s...

Procedural Errors Do Not Mean Landlord Must Carry Whole Cost
18 Jul 2013
After a lengthy legal battle, a letting company has triumphed in the Supreme Court in a decision that will cost five of its tenants more than £40,000 each. The landlord undertook substantial works at the premises...

Government Launches Consultation on ‘Superfast’ Patent Service
17 Jul 2013
The Government has recently carried out a consultation on how the proposed new ‘superfast’ patent service should work. Currently, it can take a number of years to gain patent protection. Whilst such a timescale...

Judge Ends Litigation War
15 Jul 2013
When a divorced wealthy couple sought to wage ‘litigation war’ against one another, running up legal bills of more than £2.7 million in the process, the family judge was unsympathetic. Accusing the pair of trying to engage...

Court Rejects Evidence Delivered Too Late
12 Jul 2013
A recent case illustrates the importance of making sure that all the evidence which it is intended to rely on in legal proceedings is put before the court and made available to the other side in good time for them to evaluate...

Minor Change Does Not Require New Environmental Impact Assessment
10 Jul 2013
When a revised planning application was submitted for a biomass power plant, which involved moving an associated heat and power plant to a new location, permission was granted by the planning authority without...

Copyright and IP Changes Imminent
09 Jul 2013

Inexperienced Property Developer Lost £450,000
05 Jul 2013
A businessman who hoped to make a multi-million pound profit from a residential development – but instead lost his £450,000 investment – has won what may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory over his corporate...

Court Applies Strict Letter of Consumer Protection Law
05 Jul 2013
A case concerning a contract between a man who ran a removal business and a house owner, which was made at the home of the latter and followed up by an email confirming the contractual terms, has provided...

Coffee Capsule Patent Claim Fails
04 Jul 2013
Coffee-making machines using disposable ‘capsules’ of raw ingredients are becoming increasingly popular, so a row between two manufacturers of such systems was always on the cards. In the dispute, Nestec (a subsidiary of Nestlé)...

Organising examination out of the jurisdiction
03 Jul 2013
The amount of cross-border litigation continues to increase and so are the numbers of cases which are proceeding in one jurisdiction where one or more witnesses reside in another jurisdiction. This is particularly...

Court Orders Enforcement of Construction Dispute Adjudications
02 Jul 2013
The High Court has ordered the enforcement of two adjudication decisions in respect of a construction dispute between a social housing trust and a building contractor after rejecting the former’s arguments that...

'Sleeping’ and Inactive Limited Partners Must Pay NICs
01 Jul 2013
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a change in treatment regarding the law covering National Insurance Contributions (NICs) as it applies to ‘sleeping’ and inactive limited partners. HMRC now consider...

TUPE – Proposed Changes
28 Jun 2013
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations 2006 extended the scope of the protection available to employees when a business or undertaking changes hands. In particular, they...

Dodgy Builder Ordered to Pay Damages
26 Jun 2013
A house owner has been awarded almost £380,000 in damages and interest against a partner in a building firm who fraudulently induced him into entering into a contract for the renovation and extension of...

Tenants Benefit When Repair Costs Rise
25 Jun 2013
When a landlord wishes to carry out works and the cost of completing them will be charged to the tenants via the service charge they pay, the law requires the landlord to carry out a consultation exercise...

What Has Fair Got to Do With It?
24 Jun 2013
There is a common belief that fairness is a concept that pervades the law, including tax law. However, a recent tax case shows that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) do not necessarily agree. The case involved...

On your marks, get sett – the pilot culls and badger setts
24 Jun 2013
After a number of false starts, the long-awaited badger cull is finally ready for the off. From 1 June 2013 pilots can begin under licences issued by Natural England to two specially formed companies representing farming interests in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire...

Property Price Fall Was Foreseeable
19 Jun 2013
When a firm of consulting engineers created an ‘egregious delay’ in the commencement of a building project, they found themselves liable for the losses suffered by the landowner as a result. The firm had...

Woman Scarred in Boat Accident Wins £55,000
19 Jun 2013
A woman who injured her face when she crashed into a stanchion on a boat during a river trip has been awarded £55,000 in damages. In April 2008, Sinead McGlinchey, 23, was attending a surprise barbeque...

Should I Take On a Franchise?
18 Jun 2013
There are many potential benefits of buying a franchise, such as having access to well-established business and accounting systems, centralised marketing and a proven business model. Being part of a...

Pre-emption Rights Not Perpetual, Rules Court
17 Jun 2013
When two plots of land changed hands in 1989, the vendor would not have expected that more than 20 years later an argument would arise over its right to convey the land in question. When the vendor, an...

Homeowner’s Fine for Breaching Planning Laws Justified
17 Jun 2013
A homeowner who was fined £960 after he failed to comply with a local authority enforcement notice requiring him to demolish an unauthorised extension to his property has lost an appeal against his conviction...

Ship is Goods, Rules Court
12 Jun 2013
We tend to think that consumer protection legislation applies only to normal retail transactions, but a recent case illustrates that it can also bite when sales of very large items (in this case a defective ship)...

Notice by Tenant Makes Human Rights Challenge Unarguable
07 Jun 2013
When a tenancy is shared jointly between two tenants, it can be terminated by either tenant if appropriate notice is given to the landlord. When notice is given, the landlord becomes entitled to take...

Restraint of Trade Clauses Valid When Experience and Advice Present
06 Jun 2013
When a business is sold, it is common for the purchaser to include a ‘restraint of trade’ clause in the purchase agreement under which the vendor agrees not to compete with the purchaser. The problem with...

Negligent Survey Brings Loss Claim
05 Jun 2013
A firm of surveyors which carried out valuations that overstated the value of three properties found itself defending an action for negligence recently. The surveyors had issued valuations on which a mortgage...

Postman Receives Damages for Faulty Footwear
04 Jun 2013
A postman who slipped on a manhole cover shortly after being issued with new boots by his employer has won more than £2,000 in compensation for his injuries. Clive Davey, 47, had refused to wear the boots...

Negligent Surveyors Count Costs
03 Jun 2013
A firm of surveyors which negligently valued two residential properties at the height of the economic boom has been ordered to pay substantial damages to the assignee of a mortgage lender who relied upon their...

Price Info Swap Anti-Competitive
31 May 2013
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) can take a very strong line when it discovers that price information is passing between competitors with the result that the competition between them is diminished. This can...

Acas Guidance on Handling Redundancies
30 May 2013
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides useful advice and guidance on various stages of the redundancy process. Hitherto overlooked, however, has been the role of those who have the...

Negligent Inspection Leads to Liability
28 May 2013
When the fascia of a patisserie fell and injured a passer-by, a claim against the proprietor of the shop for damages was almost inevitable. The building had been refurbished in 2007 and the accident happened six...

Who Owns a Social Media Contact?
28 May 2013
The rise in the use of social media has presented challenges as well as opportunities for employers. From the business perspective, it has proved to be a good marketing tool and in doing so employers are encouraging employees to make use of popular sites such as LinkedIn...

Pre-Pack Owner Fails to Secure Lease
27 May 2013
Insolvent tenants can be a major headache for landlords. For example, when a corporate tenant goes into administration, the landlord needs to obtain the consent of the administrator, or of the court, to...

Employment Tribunal Fees
23 May 2013
The HM Courts & Tribunal Service has announced that the date for the implementation of fees into the Employment Tribunals (ET) and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) will be Monday 29th July 2013.

Mediation Failure Leads to Court Date
22 May 2013
When work carried out by a building contractor during a redevelopment project caused damage to the facade of the building being redeveloped, the owner sued the building contractor for the cost of the...

PAYE Changes for Domestics
21 May 2013
If you employ a nanny, gardener or other household staff, from April 2013 you are required to join the ‘real time information’ (RTI) scheme set up by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). At the same time, the...

Unclear Drafting Leads to Court Appearance to Allocate Repair Bills
20 May 2013
When a landlord granted a lease over a maisonette to a tenant then subsequently alleged that the lease was drafted incorrectly, it took the intervention of the court to decide who was to pay how much for repairs...

Increase in the Entitlement to Parental Leave
20 May 2013
Employers are reminded that the right to unpaid parental leave has been extended in order to comply with EU Directive 2010/18. The Parental Leave (EU Directive) Regulations 2013 implement changes to the...

Occasional Use Sufficient to Preserve Access Right
20 May 2013
When a road or pathway is regularly used by people and the owner takes no active steps to prevent this or assert control over the land concerned, an ‘easement by prescription’ can be created under which the...

Lease Break Error Proves Costly for Tenant
16 May 2013
When a tenant’s lease has a break clause, normally all rent due must be paid in full before the break clause can be activated – even if the rent paid runs beyond the break date. If a tenant decides to pay...

Lack of Causation Stymies Claim for Loss Due to Negligence
16 May 2013
It is a fundamental principle that for a claim for damages for professional negligence to succeed, it is essential for the claimant to show that they would have acted otherwise had they been properly advised...

Patent Infringement Claim Denied on Multiple Grounds
15 May 2013
A patent can only be granted when there is novelty in the thing for which the patent is sought. This is why it is critical that one’s novel designs do not become public knowledge: once they do, a patent...

Guarantor Liable for Insolvent Tenant’s Lease, Rules Court
10 May 2013
A firm that guaranteed the lease of its tenant has been left to count the cost, following a recent decision by the High Court. The tenant became insolvent and went into liquidation. The liquidator disclaimed the...

Owner Not the Same as Member, Rules Court
09 May 2013
Who can challenge a company’s decision that has been improperly made? This question was the subject of a court hearing recently, when the owners of the ‘ultimate economic interest’ in shares in a company...

Vendors Not Liable for Dangerous House
07 May 2013
An entrepreneur who claimed that he bought a ‘luxury’ £1.1 million home that turned out to be in such a defective condition that it had to be demolished has failed to convince the High Court that he was a victim...

Eviction Disproportionate When Current Behaviour Acceptable
06 May 2013
When a council tenant is a significant nuisance to their neighbours, it is common for the council to seek possession of the tenant’s property. Where the tenant’s behaviour is sufficiently objectionable, a possession...

Natural Meaning of Contract Term Prevails
03 May 2013
In the context of an agreement for the sale of an estate agency business, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a contractual clause should be interpreted in line with its ‘natural meaning’. Notwithstanding the...

Borrowed Time - When firearms may be used without holding a certificate
01 May 2013
Generally it is an offence to have possession of a firearm or shotgun without holding the appropriate certificate. There are, however, a limited number of well-known exceptions to the usual rules that allow...

Covenant Prevents School Development
30 Apr 2013
When a covenant applying to land is in existence, it applies for the benefit of the land and requires the owners of other land (called the ‘burdened land’) to provide the covenanted benefit. The law relating to...

HMRC Can See Accountants’ Tax Advice to Client
29 Apr 2013
A major principle on which the legal system in England and Wales relies is that the communication between a client and his or her lawyer is private. The courts cannot force the disclosure of the...

Fair Comment Still Comes at a Cost
26 Apr 2013
When a businessman voiced his opinion on planning matters by joining a planning action group which opposed the construction of two biomass power plants, he did not expect his past business record to...

In-Brief Conditional Contract Produces Covenant Enforcement Impasse
24 Apr 2013
If a person owns a property, either outright or by lease, which is bound by a positive obligation to observe a covenant and the property is then sold on, the obligation on the original owner will normally...

Old Wooden Gate Proves Decisive in Boundary War
24 Apr 2013
A 15-year-long boundary dispute between neighbours on an island in the middle of the River Thames, concerning a strip of land measuring just 10 feet in width, has been resolved by a judge who treated the...

Data Processing Law to be Strengthened
23 Apr 2013
Under proposals put to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, data protection law looks set to be reformed such that the use of ‘pre-ticked’ boxes will no longer be permitted...

Complete Exclusion Necessary to Justify Claim of Possession
18 Apr 2013
When a tenant takes a lease, one of the things that they are almost invariably required to agree not to do is part with possession of the let premises without the written agreement of the landlord. However...

Copyright Law Defeats Cloth Copiers
17 Apr 2013
When a cloth pattern was copied and used by another business for its own fabrics, the woollen mill which owns the pattern took action to stop it. The pattern was not a registered trade mark so the action was...

Changes in Tribunal Awards
15 Apr 2013
Employers are reminded that the limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal has increased from £72,300 to £74,200 where the event which triggered the claim fell on or after 1 February 2013. However...

Severable Decision Enforceable, Rules Court
15 Apr 2013
When an adjudicator in a construction dispute exceeds his jurisdiction, his decision will normally be unenforceable. However, when the decision is in parts, these may be able to be ‘severed’ from one another...

Administration Charge for Sub-Letting Consent is Reasonable
12 Apr 2013
In an important decision for residential landlords, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has ruled that it is legitimate to levy reasonable administration charges (£165 in this case) on tenants to cover the costs entailed in...

Copyright Law Changes in the Pipeline
11 Apr 2013
Following the publication of the Hargreaves review on copyright law, the Government has published proposals to modernise copyright law in order to bring it up to date in the light of modern technology. It...

Benefit Limitation Did Not Discriminate Against Gypsies
10 Apr 2013
When a group of gypsies found that the housing benefit they received did not cover the full cost of their caravan pitches on a private caravan site, they claimed that it should and that the failure of the council to...

Adjudicator Cannot Change Mind, Rules Court
08 Apr 2013
In the context of a dispute between parties to a building demolition contract, the High Court has ruled that an adjudicator was not entitled to change his mind after reaching a final decision and that, subject to...

Cookies – Implied Consent OK
05 Apr 2013
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a statement re-emphasising that awareness of Internet ‘cookies’ has increased to such an extent that it is now ‘appropriate...to rely on a responsible...

Wrongfully Evicted Tenant Wins Her Money Back
04 Apr 2013
A tenant who was wrongfully evicted from shop premises can recover from her landlords the premium that she paid in respect of the acquisition of business goodwill on execution of the lease, the Court of Appeal...

Court Provides Resolution to Potential Problem
04 Apr 2013
Facing the possibility of a development on neighbouring land that will reduce your light is never welcome and the threat of such a development is not something you might care to have hanging over you. A recent...

‘We Can’t Afford It’ No Excuse for Council
02 Apr 2013
A local authority has a legal obligation to provide accommodation for the unintentionally homeless. When Cornwall Council claimed that its power to acquire property for the homeless was a power to acquire property...

Accounting Error Leads to Damages for Buyers
01 Apr 2013
A case has been decided which arose because accounting errors were made by a company which was bought by another company. Some of the management of the company which was sold invested in the buying...

Court Must Apply Current Standards
31 Mar 2013
A separated Jewish couple who have divergent views on the best kind of education for their children have had the issue decided by the Court of Appeal. The father, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, wished the children to...

Use Not Appearance Determines Whether Property Qualifies as a House
30 Mar 2013
The meaning of the word ‘house’ has been the subject of legal debate on many occasions. Many of the debates have had their origin in the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, which gives leaseholders the right to buy...

Improper Amendment Void, Rules Court
29 Mar 2013

Changes to the Delivery Method of Workplace Health and Safety Advice
26 Mar 2013
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has made changes to the way small businesses access official advice and resources regarding health and safety matters. A new Health and Safety Toolbox is the latest in a package...

Rent Surplus Not to be Ring Fenced
24 Mar 2013
The circumstances under which a landlord can recover a property let under a commercial lease when the lease is up for renewal are limited when the lease is governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. In...

Squatters – What to Do Now
24 Mar 2013
Although it has been widely reported that recent changes to the law make squatting in residential premises a criminal offence for the first time, this is not strictly true. Refusing to leave a property when...

Council Charge for Use of Private Road Outlawed
23 Mar 2013
A local authority has suffered defeat in a dispute with a property developer after it tried to charge him £5,000 a year to use a private road which provides access to the rear of his property. The Court of Appeal...

Fraudulent Trading Knows No Boundaries
20 Mar 2013
Trading with the intent to defraud creditors is an offence under the Insolvency Act 1986 (Section 213). Proceedings can be brought against the directors (including ‘shadow directors’ – people who run the company...

Relaxation of Planning Law for Ancillary Space
18 Mar 2013
Owners of commercial premises are reminded that, as from 1 October, ancillary space which is categorised as retail or financial and professional no longer requires express planning permission to be converted for...

Corrupt Charity Officials Jailed
17 Mar 2013
Six men who between them stole millions of pounds from a charity set up to assist asylum seekers were recently jailed for terms of up to four and a half years at Birmingham Crown Court. The six were found...

Protection for Developers Proposed
15 Mar 2013
Property developers often spend very considerable sums in advance of seeking and obtaining planning permissions, let alone before any work on the development site commences. Recently, several residents’...

Who Owns the Email?
14 Mar 2013
If a member of staff uses your computer system to exchange emails, does the content of the email become the property of your business? This question was addressed recently in a court case concerning a dispute...

Whistleblowing Partner Not Protected, Rules Court of Appeal
11 Mar 2013
A ‘worker’ who acts as a ‘whistleblower’ – disclosing breaches of the law – receives statutory protection under the law if he or she suffers detrimental treatment as a result of having made the disclosure to the...

Tyre Fire Case May Reflect Liability Law Change
10 Mar 2013
A tyre trader has been cleared of liability for a fire that caused £250,000 of damage after the Court of Appeal considered legal issues arising from as far back as the Great Fire of London in 1666 in a bid to determine the...

Payment Cannot Be Demanded for Unenforceable Decision
09 Mar 2013
A recent ruling of the Court of Appeal confirmed a decision of the lower court that an adjudicator who made a decision that turned out to be unenforceable could not seek payment for his work. The case stemmed from...

Unfair Dismissal – Redundancy Selection Criteria
08 Mar 2013
In a case concerning redundancy dismissal (Mitchells of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd. v Tattersall), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dismissed the employer’s appeal against a finding of unfair dismissal, but...

Off Roaders Denied by Map Flaw
06 Mar 2013
When off roaders belonging to the Trail Riders Association sought to obtain rights of way over five countryside byways, so that they could be used by 4X4 vehicles, Dorset County Council opposed the move...

In Brief - Ban on Cowboy Wheel Clampers
04 Mar 2013
Police have been given a new power to protect the public from unscrupulous wheel clampers. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, it is now a criminal offence to clamp or tow away a vehicle on private land...

Multiple Rent Clauses – What About the VAT?
02 Mar 2013
Tenants of commercial premises know that rent is not a taxable supply for VAT purposes. However, there are other sorts of supply (such as cleaning) that are, in principle, taxable supplies and thus subject to VAT.

The Whole is More Than the Sum of the Parts
27 Feb 2013
When considering a trade mark, it is the mark as a whole which needs to be looked at. The obviousness of this point was illustrated by a recent case in the General Court of the European Union. The Court had to...

Tax Return Not Definitive for Assessing Income for Child Support
27 Feb 2013
When a child maintenance assessment is made, the court is entitled to rely on all the information available to it to set the appropriate liability to pay maintenance. This may or may not mean relying on...

Loss of Easement Claim Reduced
25 Feb 2013
A shop owner has failed to convince the Upper Tribunal that he is entitled to local authority compensation on a ‘ransom value’ basis after a right of way benefiting his property was closed off by a new development...

Termination Payments Taxable if Not Damages
24 Feb 2013
When a new executive fell out with the chief executive officer of the company he worked for, his employment was terminated without notice. In such circumstances, a breach of contract occurs. The executive’s contract...

Charity Treasurer Jailed for Theft
22 Feb 2013
The treasurer of a Christian charity has been jailed after he stole more than £500,000 from two charities. Accountant Steven Methuen was responsible for the finances of Amblecote Christian Centre in Stourbridge...

Supply of Goods and Services Act Does Not Cover Professional Negligence
21 Feb 2013
When chocolate giant Cadbury sought to use the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (SOGA) to make the firm that designed, built and installed a fire detection and control system that failed to prevent a major...

Lease Surrender Relieves Obligation to Reinstate
19 Feb 2013
The post-Christmas period is traditionally a tough one for retailers, and commercial landlords are well aware of the likelihood that tenants will have difficulty in the winter months. Where these problems result in the...

Non-Compliance With Court Order Leads to Fine
18 Feb 2013
A dispute between two landowners that lasted several years seems to have finally ended, with one of them being fined for failing to comply with a court order. The two neighbours had been in a long-term...

Scrapyard Wins Noise Claim
16 Feb 2013
The operators of a metal waste disposal and reclamation yard have triumphed in their High Court fight to overturn an Environment Agency notice suspending its activities on noise pollution grounds. Numerous...

Landlord Counts Cost of Failure to Observe Covenants
12 Feb 2013
When a landlord failed to comply strictly with its obligations under a lease, it was left to count the cost of the failure. The landlord was required to insure the building it let out to four tenants and to hold the insurance...

Landlord Liability Limited by Act
10 Feb 2013
A landlord normally has a responsibility to a tenant for certain aspects of the safety of the let premises. Commonly, the terms of the lease specify that the landlord is responsible for the external and common areas...

Market Turmoil Does Not Mean Negligence Claim Avoidable
10 Feb 2013
Investment advice that turns out to be bad has always been a fruitful area for argument in the courts and numerous cases have arisen over the years. In a recent case, an investor whose bank gave him advice, a...

Patent Protection Basics
09 Feb 2013
Some people may think that once you have obtained patent protection for your product, you need do nothing further to protect your rights against infringement or to claim damages from an infringer...

Forwarding Renewal Notice is Sufficient Demand, Rules Court
07 Feb 2013
When a tenant sought to dispute the validity of a demand for payment of the insurance due on his premises, on the basis that the landlord had not sent him a formal demand but had instead forwarded the renewal...

Non-Competition Clause Reasonable
06 Feb 2013
A company director who lured customers away from his former employer after he had resigned from his post has been ordered to pay £50,000 in damages for breach of a non-solicitation clause in his employment...

Name Confusion Puts Trade Mark at Risk
03 Feb 2013
When a business profits because it gives the appearance of being (or its products appear to be those of) another business, it is effectively taking the goodwill of the other company. This is called ‘passing off’ in legal...

Uninsured Drivers and ‘Proportionate Damages’
02 Feb 2013
Most people know that when someone is injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, compensation is still available. However, when an insured person has given an uninsured person permission...

Insurers Fail in Attempt to Limit Theft Claim
31 Jan 2013
Employee theft is often an exclusion in commercial insurance policies. When fashion retailer Ted Baker found that it had suffered a major loss due to employee theft of stock, AXA, the company’s insurer, declined...

Developer Who Tried to Turn Nine into Eleven Hit With Demolition Demand
30 Jan 2013
When a developer built a block of 11 flats when he had only been granted planning permission to build nine, he was unable to convince the High Court that he should escape having to demolish the top floor of the...

Inaccurate Sale Particulars Lead to Repayment Order
29 Jan 2013
In a ruling which illustrates the pitfalls of inaccurate land sale particulars, members of a family who sold their vegetable patch to a developer for more than £150,000 have been ordered to repay the money by a...

In Brief - Changes to the Money Laundering Regulations
26 Jan 2013
Readers are reminded that on 1 October 2012, changes to the Money Laundering Regulations came into force that will affect many businesses, particularly those that engage in high-value transactions or that...

Court Guidance on Valuing Leasehold Purchase Prices
23 Jan 2013
When valuing a reversionary interest in land, the concept of ‘deferment rate’ is often used. The deferment rate is the annual discount that should be applied, on a compound basis, to the anticipated future receipt in...

‘Facilitation’ of Abuse Means Liability Shared
21 Jan 2013
The Supreme Court has ruled that when an unincorporated association supplied teachers to a Catholic school, the association was ‘vicariously liable’ for the actions of the teachers supplied, despite the fact...

Ignoring Contract Implications Spells Trouble
20 Jan 2013
A recent case involving supermarket chain Somerfield (now part of the Co-Op) shows the wisdom of thinking through the implications of a contract before undertaking it. The supermarket chain made an...

£5.60 a Year for Claimant Whose Behaviour ‘Did His Case No Good’
18 Jan 2013
The son of a baronet who has fought his father through the courts for years over the sale of the family’s estate and his alleged right to support from family trusts has at last won a court decision in his favour. In...

Careless Talk Costs Land
18 Jan 2013
A recent High Court case shows the dangers of negotiating in a dispute without legal representation. It also illustrates that an agreement which disposes of an interest in land does not have to be in writing if...

Fresh Hearing for Dismissed Care Home Managers
17 Jan 2013
Two care home managers are to have their cases reheard by the Employment Tribunal (ET) after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that not every piece of information held by an employer is confidential...

Contract Cancellation Fails
14 Jan 2013
Just because a term in a contract is breached does not necessarily mean that the contract can be rescinded, as was demonstrated by a dispute between a company that owned land and a wind farm...

Cost to Taxpayer is Legitimate Planning Consideration
12 Jan 2013
When a council proposes to revoke or modify a planning permission already given, it faces a difficult situation. The developer that has been granted the permission may well have committed to considerable expenditure as...

The Perils of Incautious Auction Purchase
12 Jan 2013
A High Court ruling has underlined the dangers inherent in purchasing property at auction without taking proper legal advice. A disabled woman is facing a financial catastrophe after she made a successful...

Building Not Divisible for Business Rates Purposes
09 Jan 2013
About the only plus point of empty commercial premises is that they attract relief from rates for a minimum of three months (six months in the case of industrial premises). Following a recent case in which minimal use of...

‘Family of Trade Marks’ Argument Prevents New Trade Mark Registration
08 Jan 2013
There have been many cases over the years which deal with ‘family names’ in trade marks – ‘easyJet’ having brought some of the more memorable ones. Recently, US banking giant Citibank opposed a registration

Court Backs Spanish Property Negligence Claim
07 Jan 2013
Many people have suffered losses because of the collapse of property values in Spain. In a recent case, a woman who found herself with a mortgage she could not afford to repay sought redress on the basis...

Worker Who Misused Employer’s Taxi Account Loses Unfair Dismissal Claim
30 Dec 2012
A postman who was dismissed by Royal Mail Group Ltd. after running up bills for almost £2,500 on the company’s taxi account has failed in an unfair dismissal claim (McCafferty v Royal Mail Group Ltd.). Thomas...

Temporary Occupation Justifies Multiple Rate Relief Claim
30 Dec 2012
A vacant commercial property qualifies for 100 per cent rate relief for the first three months after it becomes empty (six months if it is an industrial property). Once it has been occupied for six weeks, the...

Undeliverable Goods Claim Succeeds Despite Insurer’s Arguments
29 Dec 2012
When the owners of a Moroccan factory disappeared, leaving their workers unpaid, production ground to a halt. This left a UK-based customer facing a business emergency. The company got in contact with the...

Wrongly Accused Grandparents Foot Bill for Clearing Names
28 Dec 2012
When grandparents were wrongly accused during care proceedings of colluding in the sexual abuse of their grandchildren, they denied the claims and were subsequently exonerated by the judge after an...

Rights of Way and Their Extent
28 Dec 2012
It is common for rights of way over property to be reserved if the seller retains other land in the vicinity of the sold land to which he wishes to gain access. A recent Court of Appeal case clarifies and restates the...

Unfair Dismissal – Redundancy Selection
27 Dec 2012
In a case concerning redundancy dismissal (Mitchells of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd. v Tattersall), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dismissed the employer’s appeal against a finding of unfair dismissal...

TUPE – What Constitutes an ‘Organised Grouping of Employees’?
23 Dec 2012
A service provision change under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) takes place when, immediately before the transfer, there is an ‘organised grouping of...

Trade Mark Challenges to Become Easier?
22 Dec 2012
A recent decision of the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) has seemingly altered the previously understood position as regards the use of similar trade marks. The case involved an attempt to block the...

Student Accommodation Development Receives Green Light
22 Dec 2012
A judge has underlined the importance of local employment opportunities as a factor to be taken into account when considering the grant of planning permission, in this instance for a multi-storey development...

TUPE – Service Provision Changes
20 Dec 2012
In Taurus Group Ltd. v Crofts and Another, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) was obliged to follow its earlier decision in the case of Hunter v McCarrick, in which it was held that for there to be a service...

Judge Stands For No Bull in Trade Mark Case
19 Dec 2012
Energy drinks company Red Bull GmbH has triumphed in a High Court trade mark dispute after taking exception to the strap line ‘NO BULL IN THIS CAN’ being used on cans of a rival brew. The company had...

The ACAS Annual Report and Pre-Claim Conciliation
18 Dec 2012
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has published its annual report and accounts for the year 2011/2012. This shows that demand for its Pre-Claim Conciliation (PCC) service rose by 34 per...

Supreme Court Rules That Daughter Cannot Claim Tenancy
17 Dec 2012
The Supreme Court has ruled that a daughter cannot succeed to a tenancy after the death of her mother because the right of succession belongs to her estranged father. The woman’s parents became tenants...

Storage Company Convicted of Corporate Manslaughter
16 Dec 2012
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, an organisation is guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter (corporate culpable homicide in Scotland) if the way in which it...

Separate Issues Severable When Dispute Not Crystallised
16 Dec 2012
Construction disputes are common and the use of arbitration proceedings represents an attempt to make resolution of such disagreements easier. However, arguments about the legal right of the arbitrator to...

In Brief - Revenue Blitz Increases CGT Recovery
15 Dec 2012
A blitz on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) evasion in 2011 has led to a huge increase in the amount of unpaid CGT identified. More than £105 million of unpaid CGT was uncovered – an increase of more than £30 million...

Reasonable Decision Confirmed by Court of Appeal in House Defects Case
14 Dec 2012
When the owners of houses that were built on piles discovered that the walls of their properties were cracking, they established that the reason for the problem was that the piles underpinning their houses had...

Sex Discrimination Claim Goes to Appeal
13 Dec 2012
A sales consultant who was accused by her manager of lying about having had a miscarriage has been granted leave to appeal against the finding that she was not the victim of sex discrimination...

In Brief - Read Before You Prune
12 Dec 2012
If you are considering felling or cropping a tree on your property that is covered by a tree protection order (TPO), you should take care to familiarise yourself with the changes to the Town and Country Planning...

Redundancy – Fair Selection Procedures
11 Dec 2012
In Nicholls v Rockwell Automation Ltd., the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that the Employment Tribunal (ET) had erred in law when it embarked on a ‘detailed critique of certain individual items of...

How Much Better Are Best Endeavours Than Reasonable Endeavours?
10 Dec 2012
Clauses requiring a party to a contract to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ or ‘best endeavours’ in its performance are common, and while ‘best’ clearly implies something beyond ‘reasonable’, the lack of...

Ownership of Joint Account on Death Determined by Court
09 Dec 2012
The need for clear thinking about the ownership of bank and other accounts held in joint names was illustrated recently by a case concerning a dispute over an account following the death of one of the joint...

Property Company Claims £3 Million in Compensation for Sewage Pipes
09 Dec 2012
A property company which claims that a major housing scheme was thwarted by Welsh Water laying sewage pipes across its land has won a key ruling in its battle for £3.37 million in compensation. Eaden...

Paid Holiday for Workers on Long-Term Sick Leave
08 Dec 2012
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that the entitlement to paid annual leave of a worker who is absent for a whole year owing to sickness does not depend on that person submitting a request for the leave before...

In Brief - Directors’ Remuneration – Announcement
07 Dec 2012
The Government has published its draft rules on directors’ remuneration, which are scheduled to apply from October 2013 to stock-exchange listed (not AIM) companies and companies listed on specified...

Acquiring the Freehold
07 Dec 2012
In October 2012, the Supreme Court finally handed down its decision in the joint cases of Day and another v Hosebay Ltd and Howard de Walden Estates Ltd v LexGorge Ltd; collectively known as “Hosebay”. The cases related to leasehold enfranchisement and...

Keeping The Law in Your Sights
07 Dec 2012
“If I break wind in Wittenberg they smell it in Rome,” complained Martin Luther. He had cause to worry. He was challenging the authority of the all-powerful Catholic Church at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. For those who enjoy shooting, a certain amount of paranoia...

No Compensation for Woman Who Volunteered for Dangerous Activity
06 Dec 2012
The Court of Appeal has rejected a claim for damages by a woman climber who was injured when a stunt being filmed for a television production went wrong. The woman was on a climbing expedition in Ecuador...

Unreasonable Delay Breaks Contract
06 Dec 2012
In troubled times, a purchase ‘off plan’ can be risky, as a recent case that arose after a contractor went into administration illustrates. In 2007, a developer contracted with a number of people to sell flats that...

In Brief - New Minimum Wage Rates
05 Dec 2012
Employers are reminded that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, the adult hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage increases from £6.08 to £6.19 on 1 October 2012...

Rent Free Staff Occupancy – VAT Recovery Confirmed
04 Dec 2012
Owners of business properties occupied rent free by employees will breathe a sigh of relief following a recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In an action brought by the state of...

New Employment Law Reforms
03 Dec 2012
As part of its ongoing Employment Law Review programme, the Government has announced a package of reforms for consultation entitled ‘Ending the Employment Relationship’...

No Claim If No Loss Demonstrated
03 Dec 2012
Mistakes are mistakes, but in law, when a legal claim is made, the fact that a mistake was made is only the first step to obtaining damages. The second step is to prove that a loss has been suffered. This point...

Ignore Environmental Law At Your Peril Ignore Environmental Law At Your Peril
01 Dec 2012
With times being tough, complying with environmental law relating to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme may be near the bottom of the ‘to do’ list for many businesses, but the...

Park Regeneration Goes Ahead Despite Bat Colony
01 Dec 2012
A group of residents in South London have failed to block two housing developments planned for the park at Crystal Palace, which Bromley Borough Council hopes will help fund the site’s £68 million regeneration...

Mental Health Charity Defeats Disability Discrimination Claim
30 Nov 2012
A disabled charity worker has had his disability discrimination claim struck out after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that there were no reasonable adjustments that his employer could have...

Judge Rules on Recession-Hit Developers’ Contract Dispute
29 Nov 2012
Property developers who fell out when a large-scale residential and commercial project was hit by the credit crunch have had their contract dispute resolved by a High Court judge. The claimant and the defendant...

Injunction Success Brings Legal Costs Bill
29 Nov 2012
Injunctions are often difficult and expensive to obtain, and a recent decision on the payment of legal costs relating to the granting of an interim injunction in a property dispute may cause anyone considering...

Maths Teacher’s Unfair Dismissal Claim Must Be Reheard
28 Nov 2012
A maths teacher who brought claims for wrongful and unfair dismissal after she was dismissed for allegedly assaulting a pupil has won the right to have her case reheard after the Employment Appeal...

Construction Firms Fined After Worker’s Death Construction Firms Fined After Worker’s Death
27 Nov 2012
A recent case, in which two companies were fined after a construction worker was killed when a lorry overturned onto his vehicle, illustrates the importance of managing transport activities during construction...

In Brief - Low Pay Commission Focuses on the Accommodation Offset
25 Nov 2012
As part of the Low Pay Commission’s remit for its 2013 report on National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates and other related issues, the Government requested a review of the regulations that apply where...

Failure to Observe Costs Rules Means Winner Loses Out
24 Nov 2012
The general rule that in litigation the loser pays the winner’s legal costs does not always apply, as a successful claimant found recently. The claim was made in the wake of defamatory articles, found in a...

No Environmental Assessment Required for Bowls Club Development
24 Nov 2012
The Court of Appeal has given guidance on the circumstances in which an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required before a planning permission is granted. The campaigner who brought the...

HSE Publishes Latest Fatal Injury Statistics
23 Nov 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published provisional statistics for fatal workplace injuries in Britain for the year April 2011 to March 2012. The total number of deaths remains largely unchanged...

Confidential Document Leak Lands Executive in Court
22 Nov 2012
An executive has been found in breach of his contract of employment with his former employer after he leaked a confidential report during a luncheon appointment with a business contact. Shortly after leaving...

HSE Cost Recovery Scheme
20 Nov 2012
On 1 October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduces its ‘Fee for Intervention’ (FFI) scheme, whereby it will attempt to recover the costs of its intervention activity when employers are found...

Gambler Who Couldn’t Lose Stripped of Winnings
20 Nov 2012
An Italian man who thought he had won £650,000 playing an online game that turned out to be affected by a software bug will get none of his winnings after a judge ruled that Surrey-based Eurobet UK Ltd...

Good Faith Clauses – Ignore Them At Your Peril
19 Nov 2012
In 2008, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust awarded Medirest a contract to supply catering services for seven years. Payment for the catering services was by way of monthly payments, which could be...

Human Rights Do Not Justify Possession of Property by Trespasser
19 Nov 2012
When a council tenant who suffers from depression moved into his late brother’s council flat after he had died, the council was none the wiser for a considerable period of time. When it did discover the circumstances...

In Brief - HSE Consults on Simplifying RIDDOR Requirements
18 Nov 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on proposals to simplify and clarify how businesses comply with the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences...

Licensee Counts Cost of Wording of Agreement
18 Nov 2012
When a tenant assigned its lease by way of a licence to another tenant, with the permission of the landlord, all was well until the new tenant wished to give notice to quit the premises. The new tenant...

Exaggeration of Claim Not Sufficient for Case to be Struck Out
17 Nov 2012
Where a claim has no serious chance of success, the court may order it to be ‘struck out’. When this occurs, the claim fails absolutely. The court has the right to strike out a claim at any stage in the proceedings...

Guidance for Employers on Maternity Rights and Redundancy
15 Nov 2012
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has published new guidance to help employers understand the rights of women who...

Company Collapse – HBOS Must Share Blame
14 Nov 2012
The collapse of Farepak in 2006 received widespread press coverage, with thousands of families facing the loss of their ‘Christmas Club’ savings. In all, more than 100,000 investors lost a total of more than...

Fresh Hearing for Dismissed Care Home Managers
12 Nov 2012
Two care home managers are to have their cases reheard by the Employment Tribunal (ET) after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that not every piece of information held by an employer is...

Director Liable to Charity for Company’s Failings
11 Nov 2012
A company director whose company provided services to a charity of which he was a trustee found himself faced with a claim from the charity that he was liable to it when the company failed to fulfil its obligations...

Court of Appeal Says Yes to Successive Freehold Applications
11 Nov 2012
Tenants wanting to acquire the freehold of their properties under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 may now be permitted to make more than one application, following a...

Employment Tribunal Statistics for 2011/2012
09 Nov 2012
Statistics published by the Tribunals Service show that for the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 there was a 15 per cent reduction in the number of Employment Tribunal (ET) claims received compared...

Changes in Capital Allowances and Property
08 Nov 2012
As the law stood before April 2012, it was possible for the purchaser of a commercial building to claim capital allowances in respect of plant etc. even if the previous owner had not made a claim. Rather...

Employment Tribunal Fees
07 Nov 2012
Currently, bringing an employment tribunal (ET) claim is free of charge. However, the cost of running the ET service is £84 million per annum. Earlier this year, as part of the Government’s Employment Law...

Bankrupt Cannot Secure Pension Benefits
06 Nov 2012
A bankrupt who is entitled to obtain a pension simply by asking for it cannot seek to have it protected from his creditors, the High Court ruled recently. The bankrupt had a pension policy which he was entitled...

How to Establish Adverse Possession of Land
06 Nov 2012
Many people are aware that it is possible for an unauthorised occupier of unregistered land owned by another person to gain ownership of it if the occupier is able to show ‘adverse possession’ of the land for...

Employees Who Fall Sick Whilst on Annual Leave
05 Nov 2012
On more than one occasion, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said that the purpose of the entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable a worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure...

Breach of Trade Mark – Improper Behaviour by Trade Mark Owner Not a Defence
04 Nov 2012
When a supplier sought to protect its trade mark against a company that was breaching its right to control the first sale of its products in Europe, the claim was disputed on the ground that the trade mark...

Councillors Entitled to Take an Overall View of Planning Obligations
04 Nov 2012
Campaigners determined to block construction of a motorway service station on the edge of the Cotswolds have failed to convince the Court of Appeal that planning permission granted for the project...

Court of Appeal Rules on Definition of ‘Worker’
02 Nov 2012
The level of protection afforded to those who carry out work for someone else is not provided on a uniform basis. Some employment rights are conferred only on employees, whereas other rights are available...

Court of Appeal Marks Sea Change in Law Relating to Vicarious Liability
31 Oct 2012
The Court of Appeal has concluded that the time has come ‘emphatically to announce’ a sea change in the law relating to vicarious liability (JGE v The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust). The...

Developer Stymied in Attempt to Move Allocated Parking
30 Oct 2012
When the developer of a block of flats (who owned the freehold) decided to relocate the parking spaces allocated to the tenants so that it could build another block of flats on the car park, the tenants took a...

Agreement Set Aside When Only One Side Meets Obligations
29 Oct 2012
When two young men who were friends and sometime business associates decided to buy a flat together in 1997, they arranged it so that the property was registered in the name of the one who had paid the...

Contractual PILON and Gross Misconduct Discovered Post Termination
28 Oct 2012
When a company has exercised its contractual power to terminate an employee’s contract of employment with pay in lieu of notice (PILON) then subsequently discovers gross misconduct on the part of the employee...

‘Right to Buy’ Application Reinstated by Court of Appeal
27 Oct 2012
The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision of the High Court that the tenants of a property in London could not apply to buy the freehold under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act...

Council Planning Procedures Slated as Court Overturns Planning Application
27 Oct 2012
‘Misleading’ reasons for granting planning permission and legal flaws in the way Waverley Council took the decision to approve a planning application to allow the former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to be...

Changes to the EDT
25 Oct 2012
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a decision reached at an internal appeal is part of what happened between the parties for the purposes of establishing an employee’s effective date of termination...

Negligent Advice Highlights Need for Care
24 Oct 2012
When a leather testing company negligently made incorrect representations that a chemical used to prevent mould forming on leather furniture was safe, it became liable to the retailers who then sold the...

Assignment of Lease Alone Not a TUPE Transfer
23 Oct 2012
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled (Lom Management Ltd. v Sweeney) that although the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) may apply when the lease of a...

Council Not Liable for Tree Roots Subsidence
23 Oct 2012
A property owner whose Victorian townhouse was severely affected by subsidence has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that the local authority and a housing association (the respondents) should be held...

Adjudication Can Be Settled Issue by Issue
22 Oct 2012
A contractor which claimed that a dispute could not be adjudicated before the payment which was in dispute became due found its argument rejected by the High Court recently. The contractor had placed a...

‘Passing Off’ Tests
21 Oct 2012
When another firm uses a trading style that you think is a copy of yours, you might consider that an action for ‘passing off’ is appropriate. Passing off occurs when a business represents itself in a way that...

Apprenticeship Agreements
20 Oct 2012
Traditionally, contracts of apprenticeship placed a heavier burden on an employer than an ordinary contract of employment as the primary purpose of the apprenticeship was seen as the provision of training...

Buyer Not Bound by Uncorroborated Verbal Agreement
20 Oct 2012
Yet another case involving a dispute over a verbal agreement was decided recently. It involved a company that was the owner of three properties, which it intended to sell at auction. It had made an agreement...

A Well-Earned Retirement?
18 Oct 2012
On 25 April, the Supreme Court gave judgment in Seldon -v- Clarkson Wright & Jakes (a partnership) [2012 UKSC 16]. The case concerned the circumstances in which a partnership could force retirement on a partner. So has the case given us clear guidance...

Law Commission Game for a Wildlife Review
17 Oct 2012
The Law Commission is recommending root and branch reform of wildlife legislation in England and Wales. Responses are invited by 30 November 2012, to a Consultation Paper setting out their proposals.

Sanctioning an employee for wrongful use of social media
15 Oct 2012
As a result of constantly evolving technology and the growing mainstream use of social media, it is not surprising that it has become a recurring topic when it comes to disciplinary action against employees...

Refusal to Allow Rectification Means Claim Too Late
28 Sep 2012
A recent case shows how important it can be to make sure that limitation clauses in a contract are given sufficient attention. The case was brought against a roofing contractor that had done work for another firm...

Consumer Insurance Reform on the Way
27 Sep 2012
Insurers do not always pay claims promptly and without question. Indeed, the courts deal on a regular basis with disputes between claimants who have made a claim under their insurance policies and insurers that...

Trustees Who Failed to Manage Conflict of Interest Banned
26 Sep 2012
Three pension trustees who undertook property transactions in breach of their obligations as trustees of a pension fund have been banned from acting as pension trustees by the Pensions Regulator. The trustees...

Pre-Administration Rents Not Expenses of Administration
25 Sep 2012
When a tenant becomes insolvent and the administrator intends to carry on trading from the rented premises, the administrator takes over responsibility for the payment of rent to the landlord from the commencement...

Reverse Takeover Agreement Upheld in Part
21 Sep 2012
Failure of a single term does not necessarily cause the whole agreement to fall down, as a recent High Court judgment shows. ParOS plc and Worldlink Group plc entered into an outline agreement for a type of merger...

Social networking media in employment – who owns what?
21 Sep 2012
An issue that is becoming more and more prevalent for employers and employees, both during employment and on the termination of employment, is the issue of information on professional networking...

A Tooth for a Tooth
20 Sep 2012
New, tougher penalties for owners of dangerous dogs are to be welcomed, says Tim Ryan but he warns that the new guidelines do not mean courts will be lenient when robust action is taken to defend livestock

Government Consults on Repeal of Third Party Harassment Provisions
20 Sep 2012
The Government is seeking views on the removal of the third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010, as proposed in the ‘Plan for Growth’ published in March 2011. The provisions make employers liable...

Time to Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?
20 Sep 2012
In early Autumn 2011, DEFRA announced that in the New Year it would be launching a consultation over possible reform of Section 2(2) of the Animals Act 1971. To those who practise in the area of liability for animals, this news had more than a sense of deja vu about it...

Planning Laws and New Developments
19 Sep 2012
Whether you are planning to refurbish and sell a house or to construct a whole new apartment block, almost all your plans will be governed by planning laws and any local restrictions. Planning restrictions are more...

VAT Refunds Taxable, Tribunal Rules
19 Sep 2012
If you discover that you have overpaid VAT, you may be entitled to a refund. However, this raises the question of the tax status of the additional profit generated by the refund. Is it taxable or not? This point was...

Registration Error Plus Day-to-Day Use Hands Land to Neighbour
18 Sep 2012
Sometimes, the reasons why a decision was taken are a lot less important than the decision itself, and a recent case fits that description perfectly. It involved the owners of two adjacent properties. An area of land...

Policy Term Adherence Important!
17 Sep 2012
When a serious fire damaged an aggregate processing plant near London, the owner brought a claim against a company that had been carrying out ‘hot works’ just prior to the fire. The company denied liability...

Landlord’s Failure to Extend Its Lease Leaves Subtenant in Place
13 Sep 2012
When a lease on commercial premises comes under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA), the grounds on which the landlord may oppose the tenant’s application for a new lease when the lease expires are...

A Happy Retirement?
13 Sep 2012
In April, the Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes. The case concerned the circumstances in which a partnership could force retirement on a partner. So has the case given us clear guidance?...

How to buy a horse
13 Sep 2012
There are very few transactions where you spend thousands of pounds simply on the basis of a verbal agreement. Nonetheless, this is still how the purchase of most horses is carried out. This is fine – until something...

Pension Deficit Dooms Museum
11 Sep 2012
When a museum came up short in its ability to fund a pension scheme deficit, the question of the status of the museum’s exhibits became of interest: if they belonged to the museum trust, they could be sold to fund...

Evidence the Key in Establishing Liability
10 Sep 2012
When a road traffic accident results from the road being in a dangerous condition due to being in poor repair, the court is required to consider the extent of the danger and whether it results from a failure by the...

Informal Agreement on Lease Leads to Court Appearance
07 Sep 2012
When a tenant fails to adhere to its obligations (usually when it fails to pay the rent due), it is usual for the landlord to be able to have the lease forfeited and to re-enter and take possession of the premises. Forfeiture...

Parent Company Carries Can for Subsidiary
05 Sep 2012
When a man who was diagnosed with asbestosis sought compensation from his former employer, he discovered that the company was no longer in existence and its insurance policy had included an exception...

Hire Purchase Waivers
03 Sep 2012
If you are a commercial tenant and are considering entering into a hire purchase (HP) agreement for fittings or other assets that will be kept at your premises, you should not be surprised if the HP company contacts...

No Right to Use IP Created for Another
30 Aug 2012
When a Formula One (F1) team failed to pay its debts to a design company, which then used computer aided design (CAD) files that were the property of the F1 team to do design work for a competitor team, both...

Forfeited Leases – Practical Issues
28 Aug 2012
When a landlord wishes to re-let a property that it has repossessed by ‘forfeiture’ because the tenant is in arrears with its rent payments, there is a potential problem in the form of the right a tenant has to apply...

Court Acts to Prevent Trust Delay
27 Aug 2012
A recent case shows how a person who is intent on being difficult can obstruct matters for a long period. In the case in point, the court (after a legal battle lasting eight years and involving 25 court hearings) eventually...

No Damages When Contract Breach Follows Allegation
24 Aug 2012
When a sporting goods distributor terminated its distribution/licensing agreement with a manufacturer, the distributor claimed that the termination was because the contract had been repudiated by the manufacturer...

Failure to Pay Deposit is Breach of Contract
23 Aug 2012
When a property purchase does not proceed to completion, a dispute over the deposit is not uncommon. Recently, a case reached court over whether a purchaser’s failure to pay the deposit by the agreed date constituted...

Supreme Court Clarifies Liability for Injury
22 Aug 2012
A Supreme Court ruling has brought clarity to the long-running debate over the liability of employers for damages payable to employees who contract mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal cancer...

New Minimum Wage Rates
21 Aug 2012
The Government has announced that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission on the rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) that will apply from 1 October 2012. The rates are as follows...

Failure to Observe Agreement Terms Invalidates Break Notice
17 Aug 2012
A tenant wished to break its lease and served the appropriate notice on its landlord. However, the tenant had taken a supplemental lease on the adjacent premises after entering into the first lease, and the initial...

Reasonable Access Depends on Usage
15 Aug 2012
When a landowner erected a fence and a wall that impinged on a right of way and made it impossible for a farmer to get his hay baler into a field, trouble was inevitable. After the wall and fence were put in place...

New Cookie Law – A Reminder
15 Aug 2012
The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 require consent to be obtained for the use of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information...

Non-Compliance With Court Orders is a Dangerous Game
14 Aug 2012
When a company accused of selling counterfeit goods failed to comply with repeated court orders to produce information, only an optimist could have expected anything other than a rough ride in the Court of...

Decision Based on Evidence Means Planning Application Fails
13 Aug 2012
When a local authority refused to approve a plan to build a 19-turbine wind farm on a peat bog near Swansea, the applicant – energy giant Npower – appealed. The planning appeal was dealt with by way of an...

More PAYE Code Changes Loom
09 Aug 2012
The very same day that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales was inviting comment from its members on PAYE coding notice problems because ‘We know from your feedback that there...

Covenant Limited to Land, Not Personal
07 Aug 2012
When a developer obtained planning permission to demolish the existing house on a site overlooking the sea and to build three new detached houses, he had to apply for a variation to a 1955 restrictive covenant...

iPhone is Not a Computer
03 Aug 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have accepted that smartphones supplied by employers are not computers and thus a 2006 statement of practice that these would be subject to the benefits in kind regime...

Employers’ Liability Database – Employer Reference Number Required
02 Aug 2012
When someone develops an industrial disease such as mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs that has an unusually long gestation period, it is often difficult to trace the company that...

Court Insists Status Quo Maintained as Tenant Aims for Deeper and Down
01 Aug 2012
When a ground-floor tenant needs more space, it will often seek to expand sideways by obtaining space in an adjacent property. However, when a tenant wished instead to gain more space by ‘going underground...

Court Backs Lord of Manor Over Land But Not Title
31 Jul 2012
A recent High Court case provided a lesson in medieval land law for those involved, and featured a reputed Lord of the Manor in dispute with his villagers. In 2000, Peter Burton, a retired banker, and his...

HMRC Draw on Powers to Seize Assets When VAT is Unpaid
30 Jul 2012
Figures obtained by independent IT finance provider Syscap indicate that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are increasingly using their powers of distraint to seize the assets of businesses with unpaid VAT bills...

How to Keep on the Right Side of the Law when Operating a Shoot
30 Jul 2012
Legislation has encroached further into all of our lives in recent years and here Tim Ryan offers advice to shoot managers on how to avoid prosecution...

Council Forces Developer to Pay for Remedial Works
26 Jul 2012
Failing to keep buildings in a safe condition can turn out to be expensive, as a recent case demonstrates. A property developer that owns a historic building in Swindon has been ordered by the High Court to pay...

Appeal against Conviction - Regina v Ivan Peter Crane
26 Jul 2012
On 12 July 2012, Ivan Crane appeared before His Honour Judge Tony Mitchell and two magistrates at Nottingham Crown Court, to appeal against his conviction on 30 January 2012 of 3 offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981...

First to File Gains Trade Mark
24 Jul 2012
When an agricultural equipment manufacturer found that another company had registered a Community Trade Mark (CTM) that was similar to one of its own brand names, it opposed the registration, arguing that...

Changes to Tenancy Deposit Rules
23 Jul 2012
Landlords and tenants should be aware of changes to the law relating to tenancy deposits paid under shorthold tenancies. These came into effect on 6 April 2012. Previously, measures introduced in April 2007...

Firms Urged to Pull the Plug on Unnecessary Electrical Safety Tests
19 Jul 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued revised guidance on portable appliance testing in an attempt to dispel the myth that every portable electrical appliance in the workplace needs to be tested...

Argument Over Who Pays for Repairs Proves Costly
17 Jul 2012
Failing to settle a dispute out of court has cost a group of tenants in Sussex dear in a case decided recently. The dispute arose when a block of flats suffered water penetration. The tenants were obliged to...

Failure to Create Clear Terms Means Copyright Shared
13 Jul 2012
How many times has the adage ‘get it in writing’ been ignored to the cost of one or more of the parties to a contract? Recently, a failure to make clear contractual terms over who owned the copyright in a film, which...

Agreement in Principle Insufficient to Create Binding Agreement
11 Jul 2012
A recent case, which turned on the exact wording of an agreement between a prospective tenant and its landlord, shows the importance not only of complying with the precise terms of an agreement but also of...

Bank Cleared of Liability for Losses Due to Reasonable Suspicion
09 Jul 2012
Money laundering legislation requires banks to freeze transactions pending clearance if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the funds concerned in the transaction may be the proceeds of...

Address of Landlord’s Agent Insufficient for Valid Notice
06 Jul 2012
Landlords and their agents should take note of a recent decision in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) concerning the technicalities involved in serving notices on a tenant. Beitov Properties Ltd. was the owner...

Court Has Right to Protect Vulnerable Adults Not Covered by Mental Capacity Act
05 Jul 2012
When a local authority could see that an elderly woman had been browbeaten into going into a care home against her will, it considered that she had not given a valid consent and challenged the move. The woman’s...

Are You Self-Employed? Revised Guidance for Service Companies
04 Jul 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have published new guidance intended to help personal service companies determine their correct employment status. HMRC will take a risk-based approach to consider...

Weasel Words’ Can Make Planning Consent Fail
02 Jul 2012
If you are a trader with a planning consent that says you cannot trade outside specified hours, ‘unless agreed by’ or ‘without the prior written consent of’ your local planning authority, a recent case should be...

Unpaid Invoice Does Not Prevent Break Notice
29 Jun 2012
The exercise of a break clause in a lease is an action that can have many pitfalls and should always be undertaken with timely professional advice. When a tenant wishes to exercise its right to break a lease, it is important to...

Property Manager Fined for Failing to Manage Asbestos
28 Jun 2012
A property manager from Cardiff has been fined for failing to comply with the duty to manage the risks from asbestos at premises on the Penygraig Industrial Estate, Rhondda. Richard Hayward, trading as Richard...

Pensions Deadline for Small Businesses Delayed
26 Jun 2012
The Government has announced that businesses are to be given more time to comply with the requirement to enrol employees into a pension scheme. Amid concerns about whether people are making adequate provision...

Unforeseen Consequences Lead to Court Appearance
22 Jun 2012
The careful drafting of documents is a necessity if disputes are to be avoided, as a recent dispute between a landlord and tenant shows. The tenant had an existing agricultural tenancy and agreed with the landlord to...

Lump Sum Option for Small Pension Plans
20 Jun 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced changes to pensions rules to allow those aged 60 or over to take a lump sum from personal pensions with a value of £2,000 or less. Although pension plans are designed...

Insolvency and TUPE
18 Jun 2012
Whilst the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) operate to protect the employment law rights of employees when there is a relevant transfer of a business or part of a business...

Covenant Not Overridden by Planning Permission
18 Jun 2012
When homeowners wished to build a first-floor extension over their garage, they obtained planning permission to do so. They were not best pleased, therefore, when the estate management trust for their estate refused to allow the alteration...

Undemanded Liability Scuppers Break
15 Jun 2012
A recent dispute involving the validity of a break notice given by a tenant should sound warning bells for both landlords and tenants. The tenant had a history of occasional late payment of rent. The landlord had not made...

HMRC In Line for £160 Million Windfall After Salary Sacrifice Scheme Rejected
11 Jun 2012
When a member of staff is on a temporary assignment, they are allowed to receive travel and subsistence payments (within certain limits) free of Income Tax (IT) and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for up to...

Technicality Insufficient to Deregister Village Green
08 Jun 2012
A recent ruling in which ‘village green’ status was withdrawn from an area of land in Dorset highlights the fact that the granting of village green status does not necessarily mean that the land will remain free from...

Hospital Must Detain Suicidal Patient
08 Jun 2012
When a severely depressed woman attended hospital as a voluntary patient but then discharged herself and subsequently committed suicide, did the hospital breach her human rights by permitting her to leave? The Supreme Court...

Further Clarity on Optical Trade Mark Case
06 Jun 2012
A recent case dealt with the vexed question of how similar one’s advertising can be to the trade marks of another company before this constitutes an infringement of its intellectual property rights. When supermarket giant...

Social Housing Company Loses Part of £3 Million Benefits Appeal
01 Jun 2012
Can a landlord exercise an independent right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) against a local authority housing benefit decision? This was the question raised in the Court of Appeal in a case involving voluntary...

Fraud and the Director
29 May 2012
With the economy still struggling, dubious business practices can be expected to be more common than normal, as is evidenced by the expulsion from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales of two...

Tenant Fails in Claim for Three Times His Deposit
29 May 2012
A former tenant has failed in a claim for damages over and above the return of his deposit, in a ruling that has demonstrated the limitations placed on tenants’ rights under Section 214 of the Housing Act 2004. This legislation gives...

Time Runs Out for Claim
28 May 2012
A recent case shows how important it is to make sure that when a time limit for taking action is specified, it is not inadvertently breached. When a company was sold, the purchase agreement specified that some of the...

Services – Should the Landlord Charge VAT?
25 May 2012
In general, rents on property are exempt supplies for VAT purposes. However, a landlord often supplies other services to tenants, such as cleaning and maintenance. These services are usually subject to VAT. When...

FSA Fines Three Over Share Dealing
24 May 2012
When a transaction occurred that should have aroused suspicion, the subsequent investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) led to fines for three of the people involved. The transaction involved...

EU Proposals for Data Protection Reform
21 May 2012
The European Commission has published its framework for modernising data protection legislation across the EU. The General Data Protection Regulation will replace the EC Data Protection Directive, which is implemented in...

Ownership Not Necessary for APR Claim
18 May 2012
Agricultural Property Relief (APR) is a relief that applies for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes. It is similar to Business Property Relief (BPR). Both operate to reduce the value of the property for the purposes of...

Estate Agent Fined After Contractor Killed in Fall
16 May 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined a firm of estate agents after a contractor who was working for them was killed when he fell from a roof. Roger Jary, 79, was a contractor for Morris, Marshall & Poole (MMP)...

Housing Law Changes
11 May 2012
The Localism Act 2011 is expected to come fully into force in April 2012 and will usher in some significant changes to social housing law. The Act will give local authorities greater freedom to manage their waiting lists for social...

Discrimination Law Trumps Religious Convictions
10 May 2012
The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the High Court that a Christian couple who refused to allow a homosexual couple to share a bed at their hotel had unlawfully discriminated against them. The hotel owners...

Family of Girl Injured in Crash Wins Multi-Million Pound Award
09 May 2012
The family of a girl who sustained horrific injuries in a car crash as a baby has been awarded a multi-million pound settlement in compensation. Cerys Edwards was just 11 months old when she was injured in an...

Gas Bill Victory a Warning for Property Managers
07 May 2012
A mix-up over the gas bill relating to the swimming pool of a residential estate led to a case reaching the Upper Tribunal. The swimming pool was heated by gas. The property management company paid the gas bills, which...

Undisclosed Arrangement Between Friends Scuppers IVA
04 May 2012
When a man was worried that his creditors would not approve his proposals for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), he took innovative steps to ensure that when the meeting of creditors was held a majority...

Village Greens – Latest Decisions
03 May 2012
A recent ruling in which ‘village green’ status was withdrawn from an area of land in Dorset highlights the fact that the granting of village green status does not necessarily mean that the land will be free from the risk of development in perpetuity...

Companies Take Note – Dividends Can Be Proceeds of Crime
02 May 2012
Problems with doing ‘clean’ business in some jurisdictions are almost insurmountable, yet the Bribery Act 2010 is clear that offering inducements can easily amount to unlawful activity. It may be thought that where such...

Failure to Register Renders Property Inaccessible
30 Apr 2012
When the owner of a property failed to register a right of access, trouble was in store. The claimant owned a property (number 37) which was separated from the property next door (number 35) by an alleyway. This...

Contract With Mortgage Broker Does Not Guarantee Funds
27 Apr 2012
When a mortgage brokerage agrees to arrange finance for a customer, does that mean that it has provided a guarantee that the required funding will be found? This question was the subject of a recent case in the Court...

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
25 Apr 2012
Since the Civic Amenities Act of 1967, over 9,000 conservation areas have been designated as areas of special architectural or historic interest in England alone. Planning law and local requirements apply wherever you live...

Client Poaching Claim Fails
24 Apr 2012
A £6 million claim against former employees accused of ‘poaching’ clients for the firm they joined after their former employer was taken over has been lost in the High Court. Seven insurance brokers were sued for...

Failure to Follow Agreed Schedule Not Ground for Damages
23 Apr 2012
Many people have experienced the frustration of having builders who turn up, partially complete the work they have been contracted to do and then seemingly lose interest, with the result that the original expectations as...

Charity Undertakes to Comply with Data Protection Obligations
18 Apr 2012
A Scottish charity, Enable Scotland, has given an undertaking to take specific action to improve its compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) after two unencrypted memory sticks and papers containing the...

Benefit to Parents Not Sufficient Benefit to Their Son, Rules Court
17 Apr 2012
The Court of Protection has refused a request to make financial arrangements for a young man lacking mental capacity because there was no clear benefit to him of the proposed arrangements. The young man, now 21...

Evidence Neglected Not Good Reason for New Hearing
16 Apr 2012
When Bristol City Council wished to redevelop parts of the city centre, it was necessary to compulsorily purchase many properties, one of which was an 18-storey office block. This was taken into possession by the Council...

Argument Over Strip of Land Settled by Court of Appeal
13 Apr 2012
A recent case in the Court of Appeal illustrates the extent to which property owners will go to protect what they perceive to be the boundaries of their property, which in this instance led Lord Justice Mummery to refer to...

When it is Time for the Young Ones to Take Over
12 Apr 2012
In any family business, when the owners wish to retire and pass the business on to the next generation, as opposed to selling it, there are many aspects to consider. In general, planning for this eventuality cannot...

ACAS Guidance for Employers on the Olympic Games
10 Apr 2012
With only a few months to go before the London 2012 Olympic Games commence on 27 July 2012, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has issued guidance for employers on some of the issues that...

Animal Welfare Act: five successful years?
10 Apr 2012
The Act was hailed as a revolutionary step forward in animal welfare law and, for once, parliament appears to have got it right, says Tim Ryan.

Breaches of Rights of Access
09 Apr 2012
When a landowner has land with an easement over it (i.e. others have the right to pass over the land) and the easement is abused by one of the people with that right, what can the landowner do? This question was...

Take Care on Business Disposals
06 Apr 2012
Business owners will be aware that entrepreneur’s relief operates to reduce the Capital Gains Tax on qualifying business assets and that the availability of the relief can be crucial in obtaining a low-tax exit when a family...

Acceptance of Risk is Absolute
06 Apr 2012
The Court of Appeal has issued a judgment in a personal injury case which has particular relevance for owners of horses. The case involved a woman who was injured while out riding. Her horse became scared and reared...

‘I Didn’t Know What I Was Signing’ is a Valid Defence
04 Apr 2012
A company director who was misled into signing a guarantee over a lease, when he thought he was merely witnessing his fellow director’s signature, has escaped liability under the guarantee. Joshua Yardley signed...

Breach of Planning Permission Negates Commencement of Development
02 Apr 2012
When a developer sought to make use of a 37-year-old planning permission because it had ‘commenced building work’ within five years of the permission being granted, the Court of Appeal was unimpressed. In 1974, the...

Who Gives You Advice is Important
30 Mar 2012
When a financial services company went into administration and came under investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the emails of one of its directors were copied by the FSA, which wished to use...

Human Rights Not Breached by ‘Unfair’ Decision
30 Mar 2012
The High Court recently ruled that a local authority that removed a child from a couple with whom he had been placed for adoption and took him back into care did not breach the family’s human rights, even though the...

Unenforceable Decision Still Has to be Paid For
28 Mar 2012
An adjudicator in a property dispute who made an error that meant that his decision was unenforceable might be thought to have showed a degree of boldness in seeking to charge for the work. However, a recent case in the...

Unauthorised Database Use to Cost Companies
27 Mar 2012
Creating a commercial database and keeping it up to date is an expensive business and owners of such databases often take precautions to make sure they are not used without permission. One method of...

Tribunal Confirms No Compensation for Rock Shareholders
26 Mar 2012
The scheme set up by the Government to assess the value of Northern Rock shares, for the purposes of deciding whether or not compensation was due to shareholders, concluded that without government support...

Tribunal Can Decide Only on Issues Referred To It
23 Mar 2012
When the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) had to decide on a complaint over the charges for insurance levied on tenants by a landlord, decide it did…but it also proceeded to reach a conclusion about other charges that...

FSA Stamps Down on Manipulative Trades
23 Mar 2012
When a securities trader exploited a defect in automated trading software to make a considerable profit on a series of small trades made over a year, he probably thought he was doing nothing wrong…and...

Careless Talk Costs Cash
22 Mar 2012
The renovation of a listed building presents particular issues and can be fraught with difficulties. A recent case illustrates the additional problems that can be caused when legal agreements are created orally. When a...

Swiss Bank Accounts – 6,000 Letters on the Way
21 Mar 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be targeting 6,000 Swiss bank accounts for further enquiry following the completion of the preliminary review resulting from the co-operation agreement in the area of taxation...

Tenant Pays Price for Incomplete Paperwork
19 Mar 2012
The wisdom of making sure that agreements are finalised in good time and not left hanging in abeyance is illustrated by a recent case. It involved a local authority and a shopkeeper tenant who ran a convenience store...

Storage Company Charged With Corporate Manslaughter
16 Mar 2012
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, an organisation is guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter (corporate culpable homicide in Scotland) if the way in which it manages or organises...

Employer Health and Safety Obligations Clarified by Court of Appeal
14 Mar 2012
When an accident at work leads to a court case, the burden of proof that it is not responsible (on the balance of probabilities) for the injury lies with the employer, but only after the claimant has shown that the employer...

Squatter Law Proposals Announced
14 Mar 2012
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now published its response to the recent consultation on proposals to criminalise squatting. The consultation paper, entitled ‘Options for dealing with squatting’, received over...

Stress the Most Common Cause of Long-Term Sickness Absence
14 Mar 2012
The 12th edition of the Absence Survey management report has been produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), in conjunction with healthcare provider Simplyhealth. As one might expect...

Restaurants Now in HMRC’s Sights
13 Mar 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have recently set up a taskforce to investigate under-declarations of tax in the restaurant trade. The taskforce is one of a number of specialist teams set up to tackle tax evasion in specific...

Dismissal for Comments on Facebook Unfair
12 Mar 2012
A recent case (Whitham v Club 24 Ltd. t/a Ventura) sheds further light on how an employer should respond if an employee makes derogatory remarks concerning the workplace on a social networking site. Mrs Whitham...

School’s Delegation of Responsibility Reasonable, Rules Court
12 Mar 2012
Employers are normally responsible for the actions of their employees when at work…this is called ‘vicarious liability’. However, the concept does not necessarily extend to people who assume positions of responsibility...

Meaning of Words Crucial in Enfranchisement Claim
09 Mar 2012
The legislation which gives tenants the right to acquire the freeholds of their properties (‘leasehold enfranchisement’) has led to many legal disputes. There have also been numerous legal cases over the years...

Patents Made Simple
08 Mar 2012
In response to representations regarding the cost of obtaining intellectual property protection in the UK, the Intellectual Property Office has introduced a new online patent system called Ipsum. Ipsum will allow...

FSA Proposes Tighter Rules on Packaged Account Insurance
07 Mar 2012
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced that it is proposing to introduce new rules governing the sale of insurance as part of ‘packaged’ accounts. Packaged accounts are current accounts which include a...

Mandatory Eviction Powers for Local Authorities?
06 Mar 2012
A consultation on ways of making it easier for social housing providers to evict problem tenants has recently closed. It is proposed that landlords be given the right, in appropriate circumstances, to evict tenants who...

Partnership Challenge Fails When Evidence Insufficient
05 Mar 2012
It may seem self-evident that the partners in a partnership own all the assets and thus own the goodwill. However, problems can arise when there are partners of different types and a dispute arises, as happened...

Exaggeration of Symptoms Does Not Prevent Costs Claim
05 Mar 2012
When a man claimed more than £250,000 from his employer in respect of injuries to his back as a result of an accident at work, the employer’s insurance company took a keen interest in the claim. Firstly, it opposed the...

Local Authority Successful in Multi-Million Pound Claim
01 Mar 2012
When a landlord wishes to undertake major works on a tenanted property, there is a complex set of consultation procedures that must be negotiated if the cost of the works is to be passed on to the tenants. Failure to...

Overall Impression Crucial in Design Right
28 Feb 2012
Design rights are not the same as copyright, but are valuable intellectual property assets nonetheless. Consider the traditional Coca-Cola bottle, which instantly conveys the brand image to the consumer. Accordingly...

Creditors Benefit When Paperwork Incomplete
28 Feb 2012
When changes in the ownership of a property are contemplated, it is essential that the appropriate documentation is produced to substantiate the new ownership. In a recent case involving an insolvent estate...

Owner Must Take Concrete Steps to Preserve Title to Land
27 Feb 2012
Even if the Government does take action to end the ancient law of adverse possession (‘squatters’ rights’), cases based on the law before any change will continue to come before the courts for several years. The common...

Open Dealing Means No Breach of Duty
23 Feb 2012
Following a recent case in which a director was found to be in breach of his obligations to his company for accepting the loan of a digger comes another in which the actions of a director have been challenged – but...

Holiday Lettings – Get Ready for New Rules
21 Feb 2012
Owners of furnished holiday letting (FHL) properties are reminded that new rules come into effect in April 2012 for which preparations should now be being made. The important changes relate to the actual letting of the...

If You Do Not Understand It, Take Advice
20 Feb 2012
The wave of litigation which has followed the turmoil in the financial markets as a result of the credit crunch has led to many decisions that have resulted in those suing financial institutions being left to lick their wounds...

Online Payment of VAT – A Reminder
17 Feb 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have issued a reminder that from 1 April 2012 all VAT-registered businesses must file their VAT returns online and pay their VAT electronically. At present, only newly-registered...

Claim Successful Despite Cause Not Being Proved
17 Feb 2012
When a claim is made for a personal injury, you would normally think it necessary to prove that the injury was caused by the action of the person or business claimed against for the claim to succeed. However, a recent...

HMRC and ICAEW Announcements – Landlords Take Note
15 Feb 2012
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced that the Mortgage Verification Scheme (MVS), which was developed in co-operation with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association and run...

OFT Rejects Predatory Pricing Claim
14 Feb 2012
When a company engages in below-cost pricing or other ‘predatory’ practices, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is often called upon to investigate. Where anti-competitive practice is confirmed, the fines can be substantial...

Failure to Provide Deposit Protection Details Costs Landlord
10 Feb 2012
A landlord who receives a deposit from a tenant in respect of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is obliged to protect the tenant’s deposit using one of three government-approved deposit protection schemes. A...

In Brief - New Business Tax Breaks
09 Feb 2012
People starting new businesses are reminded that the Regional Employer National Insurance Holiday Scheme provides a 12-month National Insurance holiday for each of the first ten employees taken on in the first year...

Buyer Beware Principle Still Applies
09 Feb 2012
A recent case in the Court of Appeal shows that ‘buyer beware’ is still a valid principle. Just because someone is paid for introducing you to someone else does not necessarily impose on them a duty to inform you of the...

Failure to Establish Right Prevents Enfranchisement Claim
07 Feb 2012
The law relating to the enfranchisement of leaseholds (the name for the process by which tenants exercise the right to buy) is complex. One of the rules is that a tenant who participates in an enfranchisement application...

First Conviction Under the Bribery Act
06 Feb 2012
A former Magistrates’ Court clerk has become the first person to be convicted under the Bribery Act 2010. Munir Yakub Patel pleaded guilty to bribery and misconduct in public office. He admitted taking a £500 bribe from a...

Information Withheld Allows Contract to be Rescinded
03 Feb 2012
It is surprising indeed when a standard and widely used contract term is held to be unreasonable, but that is precisely what happened recently when the particular facts of a case meant that the contract for a property...

Costs Spiral When Fight Prolonged
03 Feb 2012
When legal fees of £105 million were claimed in respect of a claim for injury to more than 30,000 people resulting from the dumping of toxic materials that was settled for £30 million, the dispute was inevitably going to drag...

Facts Determine if Adjudicator’s Decision Must be Revisited
02 Feb 2012
When the construction of a village hall did not proceed as planned, the commissioning town council and the builders fell into dispute over a number of issues. As a result, the builders issued a notice of adjudication to...

Expertise Critical to Avoid Negligence
31 Jan 2012
A recent case shows the lack of wisdom of undertaking expert work unless you have the necessary expertise. It is generally accepted that property valuation is an imprecise science. Accordingly, when the accuracy of...

Amateur Footballer’s Compensation Award – Council Appeals
31 Jan 2012
An amateur footballer who was seriously injured while playing on a poorly maintained pitch was recently awarded £22,700 in compensation at Dewsbury County Court. Paul Zoledziejewski, a 33-year-old mechanic, was playing...

Here Comes the Sun (and Electricity)
30 Jan 2012
Many leases contain stipulations that tenants may make alterations to their let property with the consent of the landlord and that such consent ‘will not be unreasonably withheld’. With the economic benefits attaching to...

Contract Terms Decide Commission Entitlement
27 Jan 2012
When an agent finds a buyer for a property, the vendor must pay the estate agent’s fee. That would seem to be a straightforward enough proposition, but a recent case shows how important it is to make sure that the...

Acceptance of Risk Negates Claim
26 Jan 2012
Injuries by animals present a particular problem when assessing liability in personal injury cases and the lack of clarity of the Animals Act 1971 is unfortunate in that respect. A recent decision, however, affirms the position...

Directors Who Misled Creditor Personally Liable
25 Jan 2012
When a supplier to a marquee company was not paid for goods it had supplied, the directors told the supplier that the company was waiting for an insurance claim to be settled, after which payments would be made as...

Construction Dispute Confirms Adjudication Allows Broad Brush Approach
23 Jan 2012
When a construction dispute over three separate contracts arose, both sides to the dispute (a contractor and a sub-contractor) agreed to the appointment of an adjudicator. The adjudicator was appointed by the firm...

Court Refuses HMRC Right of Appeal in Tax Avoidance Case
20 Jan 2012
The Supreme Court has denied HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the right of appeal in a tax case involving a series of transactions that were carried out for no commercial purpose but which led to a tax saving by the...

Beware What You Say on the Web!
20 Jan 2012
The laws relating to defamation apply just as much to material posted on the Internet as they do to articles in newspapers and magazines. It is therefore risky to post comments that can be construed as defamatory on the...

Landlords Lazy Over Cost Control
18 Jan 2012
According to a recent ‘Which?’ report, landlords are lazy when it comes to making sure that costs such as insurance premiums and the like, that are passed on to their tenants, represent good value for money...

Court Acts to Protect Majority Shareholder
17 Jan 2012
When the directors of a small company fall out, things can get difficult: when they are also the sole shareholders, the result is usually an impasse. In a recent case, this happened and the director who was the majority...

Former Gambling Worker Pleads Guilty to Data Protection Breach
17 Jan 2012
According to the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, the unlawful trade in personal information is ‘unfortunately still a thriving and lucrative activity’. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the theft of...

Tenant Must Prove Improvement Claim
16 Jan 2012
When a tenant wishes to undertake works to the property they rent, the consent of the landlord is normally required. A lease will normally contain a clause outlining how a tenant’s improvements are to be treated for...

Information Failure Costs Landlord
13 Jan 2012
If you are the owner of a ‘buy to let’ property, a recent case highlights the dangers that may result from offering shorthold tenancies that fail to comply with the regulations relating to tenants’ deposits. Most landlords...

Commerciality the Key in Contract Interpretation
12 Jan 2012
When a dispute arises concerning the meaning of a contract term that is capable of being interpreted in more than one way, the resolution is normally to be found in the interpretation which is most consistent with common...

Unclear Lease Terms Cost Subtenant
31 Dec 2011
When rental values fall, a variety of approaches can be adopted if a tenant, locked into a lease at a rental which is above the current market rental, wishes to sublet all or part of the let premises. One method is to pay a...

The Agency Workers Regulations – Calculating the 12-Week Qualifying Period
30 Dec 2011
Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR), which are scheduled to come into force on 1 October 2011, agency workers will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been employed...

In Brief - Your Email May Create a Contract
29 Dec 2011
Emails are often not thought of as having ‘weight’, in the sense of creating contractual relations, but a recent case shows how unwise it is to be less than careful about what you put in your email correspondence. Two...

The Transfer of Undertakings and Service Provision Changes
28 Dec 2011
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) apply to any size of business and protect the employment rights of employees when their employer changes as a result of a relevant transfer. This...

Builder Secures Additional Payment Despite Poorly Worded Contract
27 Dec 2011
When entering into a contract for building or other trade services, it is advisable to seek professional advice at the outset to avoid finding oneself involved in costly, complex and lengthy litigation over a poorly drafted contract later...

The Truth, the Whole Truth
25 Dec 2011
The importance of making full disclosure of relevant facts when negotiating is hard to over-emphasise, as a recent case shows. The case arose when a company made an agreement to sell a subsidiary to another company...

Court Rejects Flawed Planning Decision
24 Dec 2011
When a planning committee fails to hear all the evidence put before it, the potential for a challenge to its decision on procedural grounds is obvious. Recently, a council found itself in court after an application to build an...

Statutory Obligations Must be Carried Out in Good Faith
23 Dec 2011
A case concerning an employer’s duty to consider a request from an employee who wished to work beyond the statutory retirement age of 65 that was in force at the time (Ayodele v Compass Group plc) illustrates that employers...

Tenants Warned Over Compliance with Lease Terms
22 Dec 2011
When you are required to transfer a property once it is sold or at the end of the lease, you are required to give the new occupant vacant possession. This is a strict requirement, meaning that the property must be capable of...

Human Rights Claim for Compensation Succeeds for House Owners
21 Dec 2011
It is unusual indeed to see a claim under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) brought as a result of a development, but recently a group of homeowners was successful in a claim based on the provision in Article 1 that...

Sexual Orientation Discrimination
20 Dec 2011
If an individual chooses to make certain aspects of his or her private life generally known in the workplace, if that information is then discussed, even in idle gossip, provided there was no hostile intent, that would not make disclosure...

Salary Sacrifice – VAT Changes
19 Dec 2011
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced that, from 1 January 2012, supplies made by employers under salary sacrifice schemes (schemes whereby an employee accepts a lower salary in return for receiving...

Tenant Must Prove Improvement Claim
18 Dec 2011
When a tenant wishes to undertake works to the property they rent, the consent of the landlord is normally required. A lease will normally contain a clause outlining how a tenant’s improvements are to be treated for...

Selection for Redundancy
17 Dec 2011
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that where all members of a ‘pool’ are redundant, the employer does not have to undertake a formal redundancy selection process (Zeff v Lewis Day Transport plc). Mr Zeff worked...

Offer Must Stand, Rules Court of Appeal
16 Dec 2011
When making an offer to settle a legal claim before it reaches court, a formal offer is made which is called, in legal circles, a ‘Part 36 offer’, after the section of the Civil Procedure Rules that governs the making of offers to settle...

The Winner Takes It All (or Not)
15 Dec 2011
It is well known that in the UK, the loser in a court case pays the legal costs of the winner. It is often assumed that if, say, your legal costs are £5,000 and you win your case, you will get the £5,000 reimbursed. However, this is...

Religious Discrimination – Refusal to Allow Time Off Work to Attend Mosque
14 Dec 2011
Under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, now superseded by the Equality Act 2010, indirect discrimination occurs when an employer applies a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ (PCP) which puts or would...

In Brief - Not New, Not Individual Means Not Protected
13 Dec 2011
Patents and registered designs give their owners protection from infringement of their intellectual property. However, one essential for both is that in order to be registered they must be new, not something which is...

Court Decides Limits of Expert’s Responsibilities in Claim
12 Dec 2011
When an elderly woman passed away, her daughter, who was her personal representative, realised that some of her late mother’s land was occupied unlawfully by three people. She brought an action against them, seeking...

Redundancy – Suitable Alternative Employment
11 Dec 2011
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee who is dismissed by reason of redundancy will not be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if he or she unreasonably refuses the employer’s offer of suitable alternative employment...

Money Saving Expert Wins Trade Mark Battle
10 Dec 2011
MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) founder Martin Lewis has won summary judgment in the High Court – against a cold calling company – for infringement of his trade marks. This means that Mr Lewis does not have to run to the...

Unfair Dismissal – Reasonableness of Decision to Dismiss
09 Dec 2011
In Wincanton plc v Atkinson and another, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether it was reasonable or unreasonable for the haulage company to dismiss two of its drivers who continued to perform their duties...

Vacant Possession Means What It Says
08 Dec 2011
When does a commercial property become vacant under a lease agreement? This was the question considered in a recent hearing in the Court of Appeal. The appeal was brought by haulage and storage firm NYK...

Reasonable Adjustments – Employer’s Knowledge of Disability
07 Dec 2011
Employers will be aware that, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), now superseded by the Equality Act 2010, where the working practices or physical features of the workplace put a disabled employee at a substantial...

Licensing Appeal – New Evidence Allowed
06 Dec 2011
Supermarket owner Noor Mohammed Khan has lost his appeal against a decision by Coventry Magistrates’ Court, which upheld a decision by the local licensing committee to withdraw his licence to sell alcohol. He claimed that the..

Late Legal Representation Proves Expensive
03 Dec 2011
The director of a company who decided to defend his company himself against a copyright infringement claim has found that failing to take legal advice early on in the proceedings has cost his company dear. The company had...

Tenant Insolvency Does Not Stymie Repossession Proceedings
02 Dec 2011
When a person is made bankrupt, or has been granted a debt relief order (DRO), their creditors must all receive equal treatment. Bankruptcy is a well- known procedure and, in effect, allows a debtor’s slate to be wiped...

Paid Holiday for Workers on Long-Term Sick Leave – The Timing of Requests
30 Nov 2011
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the entitlement to paid annual leave of a worker who is absent for a whole year owing to sickness does not depend on that person submitting a request for the leave before...

Jockey’s Attempt to Breach Covenant Falls at Second Fence
29 Nov 2011
A covenant can either represent a commitment to do something or a commitment not to do something. In either case, the party faced with a breach of the covenant has a range of options available to them for obtaining a legal...

Solid Obstruction in Road Is Authority’s Responsibility
28 Nov 2011
Most people probably do not realise that a highway authority’s responsibility for keeping the roads safe to use is very limited. In practical terms, so many things can happen to a road that it would be unreasonable for the authority...

Overseas Workers and Unfair Dismissal
27 Nov 2011
In March this year, the Supreme Court overturned a decision of the Court of Appeal and ruled that the use of successive fixed-term contracts in the case of teachers seconded to work in one of the European Schools – official...

Investment Partners Entitled to View Documents
26 Nov 2011
Is an investor in a co-investment venture that is owned and managed by connected companies entitled to find out what has happened to its money beyond what is reported to it? This question was raised in a recent case in...

Temporary Nuisance Defeats Application to Vary ‘No Build’ Covenant
24 Nov 2011
When a developer carries out a development under a building scheme, it is normal for restrictive covenants to be created which affect the properties in the scheme. Under a building scheme, each property derives its title from a single...

In Brief - Integrating the Operation of Income Tax and NICs
22 Nov 2011
The Government is proposing to integrate the operation of the Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions systems, as announced in the 2011 Budget. Following an initial consultation with businesses and other interested...

Reasonably Safe Does Not Mean Free from Risk
21 Nov 2011
A landowner’s duty of care with regard to land used by members of the public was the subject of a recent case in the High Court. The limits of legal responsibility in such circumstances are established generally by the law of tort (civil injury...

New Minimum Wage Rates
20 Nov 2011
Employers are reminded that new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates come into force on 1 October 2011. The revised rates are as follows:...

HM Revenue and Customs Seek Loss Relief Restrictions
19 Nov 2011
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are consulting on the uses to which trading losses can be put for tax purposes. The consultation arose because of concern about the extent to which losses are being used as a tax...

Procedural Flaw Opens Up Village Green for Potential Development
17 Nov 2011
Hard on the heels of several cases in which developers’ plans have been stymied by local residents making use of the law that allows an area to be designated as a village green has come another case which shows that...

Guarantee Follows Contract, Says High Court
15 Nov 2011
Much trade is multinational and it is normal for contracts to specify the legal jurisdiction under which any dispute will be resolved. EU legislation has ‘tie breakers’ to ascertain the applicable law when the contract fails to specify...

Possession Order Remains in Force Despite Debt Consolidation
14 Nov 2011
Law student Justin Zinda has lost his appeal against enforcement of a suspended possession order after he fell into arrears for a second time on his £133,000 mortgage. The case arose from a mortgage deed executed by Mr Zinda...

Service Charge Accounts – What Can You Do?
12 Nov 2011
It is common for service charges to be paid ‘on account’ of the annual cost, based on estimates, and a final account to be made up some time after the year end, based on the actual costs incurred...

Get it in Writing!
12 Nov 2011
A recent case concerning a lease over a property in Manchester illustrates yet again the importance of making sure that any matters under negotiation which are crucial are agreed in writing and unequivocal. The problem...

Pyrrhic Victory in Boundary Dispute
11 Nov 2011
When applying to register land for the first time, a man who knew that a small piece of the land had been the subject of an ownership dispute failed to inform the Land Registry of this fact. There had been extensive correspondence...r

Failing to Prevent Bribery – Are You at Risk?
09 Nov 2011
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. It created a new offence which can be committed by a commercial organisation if it fails to prevent persons associated with it from committing bribery on its behalf. A...

European Court Takes Steps Against Counterfeiters
06 Nov 2011
In a case brought in order to reduce the quantity of counterfeit branded goods sold on online auction sites, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has indicated that the companies running the sites may be found guilty of trade...

Compulsory Purchase – Appropriate Compensation
05 Nov 2011
When a compulsory purchase order is made, the acquirer must make a fair valuation of the property being acquired so that appropriate compensation can be paid. In making the valuation, all relevant circumstances...

Domicile and Residence Checklist
03 Nov 2011
The Government intends to simplify the legislation relating to the taxation of people who are not domiciled in the UK and to make decisions on tax residence statutory. The proposed changes are seen as necessary in view of an...

NS&I Withdraws Savings Certificates
02 Nov 2011
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has withdrawn its Savings Certificates from sale. The move was necessary in order to ensure that it meets its Net Financing target for 2011-2012 of £2 billion. NS&I’s Savings Certificates come...

Distance Selling Tax Complications
31 Oct 2011
Although it is strictly a breach of copyright, copying material from one medium to another for private use (for example, copying a CD to an MP3 player) is commonplace. This clearly costs the performers a great deal in lost...

Director Pays Price for Private Arrangement with Customer
28 Oct 2011
The law relating to the fiduciary duties of directors is stricter than many company directors might think, as a recent case illustrates. The director of a company was given the loan of ‘a second-hand excavator and dumper’...

Permanence Key Feature of Assured Tenancy
27 Oct 2011
Assured tenants have significant rights as regards the properties they live in, the most important of which is the right to remain in occupation unless the landlord has sufficient grounds for repossession. The landlord of an assured tenant does not have an automatic right to recover the property...

Plans Not Definitive in Property Rights
26 Oct 2011
A dispute between neighbours illustrates the significance of two important facts about property. Firstly, to prevent another person from obtaining a legal ‘easement’ (the right to use) or legal title to land that belongs to you...

Contract Terms Defeat Farmers When Rocket Fails to Fire
24 Oct 2011
Although strong consumer protection law exists with regard to retail sales and sales which have long-term implications (mainly insurance contracts and ‘doorstep’ sales), in business, when a product doesn’t come up to...

Company Must Follow Rules
21 Oct 2011
When a company is in financial difficulties, the details of its internal regulations tend to be near the bottom of the list of considerations when directors are making decisions. Regrettably, company law does not make allowances...

Building Contract Damages Flow from Unsuitable Valve Supply
20 Oct 2011
When supplying goods, there is a general assumption that the goods supplied must be fit for the purpose for which they have been bought. Where a purchaser makes it clear to a seller that the goods are to be used...

Companies Fined After Death From Fall at Work
18 Oct 2011
Two companies have been fined a total of £450,000 and ordered to pay costs after health and safety failures led to a maintenance worker falling to his death. Christopher Booker, 49, was working at Aberthaw Power Station...

Clippings Service Breached Copyright, Rules Court of Appeal
14 Oct 2011
Do you use a ‘clippings’ service and then republish the clippings, or make use of material created by others on your website? If so, make sure you have the appropriate permission to use the material. A recent case dealt with...

Government Announces Ban on Referral Fees
13 Oct 2011
As part of the Government’s bid to tackle the growth of a ‘compensation culture’, the Ministry of Justice has announced that the payment of referral fees in personal injury cases is to be banned. At present, referral fees are commonly...

Companies Fined for Fish Farm Deaths
12 Oct 2011
Two companies have been fined a total of £640,000 after an accident during work to repair a hydraulic crane on a barge moored at a salmon farm on Loch Creran, Argyll and Bute. Two fish farm workers died after going to the...

Case Shows Difficulty of Removing an Administrator
11 Oct 2011
If a creditor of an insolvent business believes that their position could be improved by the administrator of the business taking legal action, but the administrator refuses to do so, relations between the administrator and...

How Things Appear Is Important
10 Oct 2011
An adjudicator in a construction dispute who issued a statement of ‘preliminary view and findings of fact’ without having received the evidence of the respondent was found by the court to have offended...

ACAS Issues Guidance on Social Networking
09 Oct 2011
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has issued several factsheets offering practical tips for employers on how to manage the impact of the use of social networking tools at work...

Collective Redundancy – The Election of Employee Representatives
09 Oct 2011
If an employer is ‘proposing to dismiss as redundant’ 20 or more employees at one establishment, within a period of 90 days, the collective consultation provisions of Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations...

AWP Refunds Not Safe Yet!
08 Oct 2011
Operators of Amusement With Prizes (AWP) machines who receive VAT refunds as a result of a review carried out by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the wake of a court reverse in 2009 are advised to ensure that they...

Undertaking Enforceable When Given Voluntarily
07 Oct 2011
In order to obtain planning permission for a development, a developer will often agree to carry out other works or development wanted by the local council. Recently, an agreement of this type led to court...

I Hear You Knocking (and Drilling and Sawing…)
06 Oct 2011
Noisy neighbours can be the bane of one’s existence, so it is no real surprise that a lesbian couple finally lost patience with their adjoining next-door neighbours after they had workmen carrying out extensive building work on their...

Arbitrators Not Employees
05 Oct 2011
The Supreme Court has overturned the controversial decision of the Court of Appeal in Jivraj v Hashwani and ruled that arbitrators are not employees for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief)...

The Bribery Act 2010
04 Oct 2011
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011 to replace various common law principles and creates various offences of bribery, with penalties in place for those found guilty under the Act. It can have far-reaching implications for your business and you should be aware of how to protect against these...

Varying Employees’ Contracts of Employment
04 Oct 2011
With economic prospects still looking gloomy, many employers are seeking ways to reduce staff costs and an alternative to making redundancies is to reorganise employees’ patterns of working. It is important to remember, however, that where this would necessitate adverse changes to employees’ existing...

Coming out from the shadows
04 Oct 2011

Are Your Website Images Legal?
04 Oct 2011
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has reported a noticeable increase in calls to its helpline from businesses that inadvertently included on their websites images that are protected by copyright and subsequently...

Amenity Value of Land Stops Development
03 Oct 2011
A recent case serves as a warning to developers who regard covenants as inconveniences rather than serious impediments. Builder Wimpey had secured land in Gloucestershire and proposed to...

Acceptable Risk Does Not Remove Need for Risk Assessment
01 Oct 2011
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a decision of a lower court that a small risk of serious injury was ‘acceptable’, and thus the failure to carry out a risk assessment was not a contributory factor to a serious injury, was...

Village Green Status Fails to Prevent Development
30 Sep 2011
When an unpopular development is planned in the countryside, it is often opposed by an attempt to get the land in question designated as a village green. If successful, this will prevent the granting of planning permission, because it prevents the owner of the...

Take Care Using Keywords
29 Sep 2011
Those who use ‘keywords’ for the purposes of improving the results of searches on the Internet should take note of the recent opinion of the Advocate General on this issue. The case involved Interflora and Marks and Spencer (M&S). The latter had used...

Supreme Court Backs HMRC in Tax Avoidance Case
27 Sep 2011
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have won a major battle in the Supreme Court which may have severe implications for tax planning exercises. HMRC have persuaded the Court that a tax avoidance scheme, which was based on the wide definitions that apply to the...

Unfair Trading Legislation Stops Bogus Prize Draws
27 Sep 2011
Not many prosecutions are brought under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which are designed to protect consumers from the activities of unscrupulous traders. Recently, however, several companies were taken to court by...

Tenant Faces Costs Order
26 Sep 2011
A tenant who claimed a beneficial interest in the property in which he lived faced an order to pay his landlord’s costs when the court rejected his claim recently. The landlord had applied for an eviction order on the ground of non-payment of rent. The order was...

Statistically Invalid Estimate Still Enforceable, Rules Tribunal
22 Sep 2011
When it comes to contesting tax assessments, the playing field is far from level, as a recent VAT case shows. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) made assessments on a trader based on discrepancies between recorded sales and cash in the tills on two visits. The...

Supreme Court Rejects House Disguised as a Barn
22 Sep 2011
The man who disguised his house as a barn and then claimed that the local council was ‘out of time’ to take action with regard to the breach of the planning permission has lost his case in the Supreme Court. Having obtained planning permission to build a barn, the man...

Superior Clause in Contract Absolves Subcontractor
21 Sep 2011
Building contracts often involve a multiplicity of documents, which sometimes have conflicting terms. In such cases, the liabilities under the contracts will depend on which of the various contractual terms has primacy over the others. In a recent contractual dispute...

Small Company Not Required to be ‘Up to the Minute’ on Safety Regulations
19 Sep 2011
Ever since the passing of the Factories Act 1961, employers have had a particular duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. However, a large employer could reasonably be expected to be more ‘on the ball’ as regards developments in health...

Reasonable Excuse for Non-Attendance Foils Possession Claim
16 Sep 2011
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a tenant who had a reasonable excuse for failing to attend a hearing at which a possession order was made for the flat in which he lived, and who had a ‘reasonable prospect of success’ in his opposition to it, was able to...

The Detention of Vulnerable People – Father Wins Landmark Case
16 Sep 2011
A father recently won his battle against Hillingdon Council to be allowed to care for his son at home, and received a public apology from the director of social care for the Council’s errors of judgment. In December 2009, 21-year-old Steven Neary, who is autistic, was booked...

Site Death Leads to Three Prosecutions
14 Sep 2011
A plant hire company has been fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 following an accident on a building site in which an excavator bucket filled with concrete fell off the arm of the machine supplied by the company and crushed the site foreman to death...

Protection of a Caravan’s ‘Pitch’ Limited, Says Court of Appeal
12 Sep 2011
A woman found recently that the protection offered to mobile home occupiers under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 is limited to the pitch of the mobile home. The site in question was let in 1975 to a Mr Barrett on an oral weekly tenancy. It consisted of 1.7 acres of...

In Brief - Signatures of Directors Mean Document Executed
09 Sep 2011
A purchaser that had second thoughts about buying a property from a company and sought to avoid the contract for sale, because the document was neither sealed with the company seal nor signed ‘by or on behalf of’ the company, was given short shrift by the...

Nuisance Claims Failure Shows Need for Care
09 Sep 2011
When residents of a Hertfordshire estate found their lives blighted by the smell emanating from a landfill site, they went to court to force the company operating the site to cease making the nuisance, bringing more than 30 claims in all. In a ruling which...

Problems with Insolvent Landlords
07 Sep 2011
It is not only tenants that go broke: increasingly, overstretched landlords are in danger of becoming insolvent. If you are a commercial tenant and have a rent review coming up, it makes sense to do some research into your landlord’s finances and to make sure...

Scottish Court Upholds Law on Asbestos-Related Conditions
06 Sep 2011
Insurance companies have failed in their attempt to overturn a law in Scotland that allows those diagnosed with pleural plaques and other benign asbestos-related conditions to bring claims for compensation. Pleural plaques are a form of scarring of the lungs...

Page Three Settlement Costs News Group
02 Sep 2011
When the Sun newspaper agreed with a board game company to base a game on its well-known ‘Page Three’ and then abruptly decided to cancel the contract, a dispute was inevitable. The board game’s creators estimated that sales of the game would...

Landlords Face Costs in Disputes
01 Sep 2011
The general principle that ‘the loser pays the costs of the winner’ does not apply to disputes brought before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). The maximum amount the LVT can require the loser to pay is £500, and only then in exceptional circumstances...

Injured Driver Wins Right to Compensation Claim Rehearing
31 Aug 2011
A driver who was seriously injured in a road accident caused by a suicide on a six-lane dual carriageway has won the right to have his claim for criminal compensation reconsidered. In January 2005, Gareth Jones was driving a gritter lorry along the carriageway of...

Oversight Prevents EIS Relief
30 Aug 2011
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) look carefully at the documentation supporting all investment schemes that have a tax advantage, such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). One of the rules for an investment to qualify for EIS relief is that the...

Indemnity Ineffective if Actual Liability Not Ascertained
26 Aug 2011
If a claim is not defended, is a person indemnifying the defendant required to meet the claim in full? This question was at the core of a recent legal case involving a property development. The developer contracted with a subcontractor to carry out geophysical work...

No-Shows – ECJ Rules No VAT Due
25 Aug 2011
A recent decision of the European Court of Justice will come as good news for hard-pressed hoteliers and has led to HM Revenue and Customs issuing new guidance on deposits. The decision confirms that there is no relationship between a deposit taken for a...

Property Must be Different for Defective Premises Law to Apply
25 Aug 2011
Under the Defective Premises Act 1972, a builder owes a duty of care to a person for whom they have built a dwelling (and to every person who acquires an interest in the dwelling) that it will be fit for habitation when completed. The Act applies with regard to new...

New Rules on Privacy and Electronic Communications
22 Aug 2011
The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011, which came into force on 26 May 2011, make certain changes to the laws that cover direct marketing by electronic means. Serious breaches of the rules surrounding the...

Developer Cannot Avoid Liability by Failing to Market Development
18 Aug 2011
When development contracts are entered into, there is often an element of ‘profit sharing’ between the different parties involved in the development. Commonly, a vendor of land will negotiate an ‘overage’ agreement with a developer, which gives the vendor...

London Boroughs Win Right to Collective Procurement
17 Aug 2011
The Supreme Court has ruled that local authorities that awarded insurance contracts to a mutual insurance company they had set up for the purpose were entitled to do so without being obliged to put the contracts out to private tender. In October 2006, the...

LLP Case Shows Need for Members’ Agreement
15 Aug 2011
Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are becoming increasingly common. For example, all of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms have been LLPs for several years now. Recently, the acrimonious bust-up of an LLP led to one of the ex-members suing the others for unfair...

Claim Procedure Reforms Will Affect Smaller Claims
15 Aug 2011
With all the recent publicity surrounding the proposed changes to the ‘no win, no fee’ regime, another set of proposals, which may well be of greater importance to many people, has slipped under the radar of the popular press. A new consultation paper proposes...

Demolition Requires Planning Permission
12 Aug 2011
New developments require planning permission, as is well known: so do projects that affect the environment. But can demolition of an existing building be considered to be a project affecting the environment, thus meaning planning permission is required? The...

Landmark Decision Ends Expert Witness Immunity
10 Aug 2011
In a landmark decision (Jones v Kaney), the Supreme Court has overturned the long-established principle that an expert witness is immune from being sued for negligence over evidence given in court. The decision was reached in relation to a personal...

Negligence – The Duty of Care
10 Aug 2011
In an increasingly litigious society, many claimants try to find a culpable defendant to recompense them for injuries sustained. An extreme example of such an attempt occurred when the claimant, who was well-known to the police...

Defective Wording Does Not Remove Liability
08 Aug 2011
When a document contains errors, the court will often act to ensure that commercial common sense dictates its interpretation. In a recent case, a farmer sought to avoid an estate rentcharge for roads and sewers on the farm estate when the covenants in the...

Charity Trustees – Watch Out for Scams
08 Aug 2011
Charity trustees have been reminded of the need to be aware of the possibility that their charity may be used for financial crime. The National Fraud Authority has estimated that annual losses due to financial crime involving charities amount to more than 2 per...

Internet Hosting Case Referred to European Court of Justice
05 Aug 2011
The recent case in which the High Court held that the place at which material on the Internet is ‘made available’ is where the server containing the data is situated has been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a ruling on this point. The argument...

Court of Protection Comes to Rescue of Problem Tenant
03 Aug 2011
Dealing with tenants who cause serious nuisance to other tenants is a common problem for social landlords. One of the most difficult situations to deal with is when a tenant develops a ‘hoarding habit’ and becomes obsessed with amassing refuse...

How Do I Enforce My Copyright?
02 Aug 2011
Copyright is a right that exists as soon as you create the copyright material. You do not have to apply for it. There are some exceptions to copyright, but unless one of these applies, anyone else using your material without your permission is infringing your...

Council Possession Orders Vindicated
29 Jul 2011
Where a person commences a social tenancy, it is common for the landlord to use an introductory tenancy agreement. An introductory tenancy is a 12-month probationary tenancy. Provided the tenant meets the conditions of their tenancy agreement, a secure tenancy...

In Brief - Foreign Lawbreaking Prevents Claim
28 Jul 2011
English law does not permit a person to benefit from their own illegality. This well-established principle prevents, for example, the recovery of damages if the contract under which damages are sought is illegal. The principle applies equally when the business itself is unlawful...

Banks Receive PPI Compensation Setback
28 Jul 2011
The long-running battle between banks and their customers over alleged mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) plans took another step forward recently when the High Court dismissed a challenge brought by the banks on the basis that guidance...

Misplaced Fence Leads to £20,000 Legal Bill
26 Jul 2011
A fence put up by a Devon couple will cost them more than £20,000 in legal fees and re-erection costs after the court decided that it was built a few inches the wrong side of their boundary with their next-door neighbours. The court case was necessary because...

Email Terms Apply Despite Lack of Written Contract
25 Jul 2011
A recent case in the Court of Appeal has demonstrated that terms agreed by email can amount to a contract despite a formal contract referred to in the emails remaining unsigned. The case concerned a commodities trader and a fuel storage company that had...

Council Has Right to Adjourn if Information Insufficient
22 Jul 2011
When a licensing application cannot be heard because insufficient information has been supplied relating to the primary use of the premises, the licensing authority must decide whether to grant the licence and deal with any issues through enforcement action...

Animal Owners and the Law
21 Jul 2011
Damage by animals is not common, despite the lurid headlines one sees in the popular press. However, if your animal does cause damage or injury to someone else, what is the extent of your liability? As well as a remedy in tort (the general law of damages), there is...

Economic Upswing No Reason to Abandon Good Credit Control
20 Jul 2011
The faltering steps the economy is taking towards recovery seem to be breeding a degree of overconfidence on the part of some businesses, but there is no reason to abandon good credit control practice. According to a recent report from Creditsafe, more than half...

Competition Law Challenge on Landlord Fails
19 Jul 2011
The law seeks to prevent a dominant position in contractual negotiations from being used abusively. However, just because the negotiating positions of two parties are not equal does not mean that redress will be available to the ‘weaker’ party. In a landlord and...

Directors Safe from Competition Law Challenge
15 Jul 2011
Competition law provides stiff penalties for those who transgress. Where the transgressor is a company, the question was recently asked as to whether the company could recover the cost of legal sanctions applied by the court from the directors who made the...

Court Condemns Unfair Product Comparison
13 Jul 2011
When an insulation manufacturer created a road show to demonstrate its products in comparison with those of a competitor, there was always likely to be trouble. The comparison consisted of a series of fire tests, which were intended to demonstrate the...

Competition Act Extended to Land
12 Jul 2011
From 6 April 2011, the Competition Act 1998 has been extended to cover agreements made with regard to land. Such agreements were previously excluded from the scope of the Act. The Act seeks to prohibit agreements etc. that prevent, restrict or distort...

An End for the Hired Gun?
12 Jul 2011
In a groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that an expert witness who is negligent in respect of their work can be sued. Until the decision, the rule was that experts were immune from being sued for negligence in relation to evidence given in civil...

In Brief - Community Trade Mark Rulings Apply Throughout EU
08 Jul 2011
The European Court of Justice has confirmed that a decision regarding a Community Trade Mark (CTM) reached by a trade mark court in one member state of the EU should normally be binding throughout the rest of the EU...

‘Enjoyment’ Has Limited Meaning for Tenant
07 Jul 2011
A tenancy agreement will grant the tenant the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the let premises and will normally require the tenant to keep them in a reasonably good state. When the tenant is unable to keep the premises in good decorative order, a social landlord will...

Tenant’s Improvements Did Not Increase Ground Rent
06 Jul 2011
A landlord’s attempt to obtain a rent based on the uplifted value of a property was rebuffed by the court because a term in the lease, which was worded in such a way that the rent set by the rent reviews would not take into account improvements made by a tenant...

Bribery Act Guidance Published
05 Jul 2011
The Government has now published final guidance for businesses on complying with the Bribery Act 2010. The implementation of the Act, originally scheduled for April this year, was delayed to allow time for the guidance to be finalised. The Act comes into force...

‘Set Up’ Accident Claimant Ordered to Pay Court Costs
05 Jul 2011
Insurance giant AXA has sent out a message to accident cheats that it will resist claims which it believes to be fraudulent. In a recent case, the insurer took court action over a relatively small claim of £1,500. Alleging that the claim had been contrived by the claimant...

£5 Million for Loss of Profits of Business Still on the Drawing Board
01 Jul 2011
When a claim for damages is made on the basis of ‘loss of a chance’, having good quality expert evidence is essential. Most people know that it is possible to claim damages, where appropriate, for the loss of future earnings. Normally, such claims are calculated using...

In Brief - Where is a Website?
30 Jun 2011
When considering legal action regarding material which is on the Internet, often one of the most difficult questions one has to face is that of where the material is ‘made available’. Since a website can be physically situated anywhere, where ‘is’ the website...

International Network of Business Lawyers Continues to Expand
28 Jun 2011
Readers may be aware that Warners is one of the founder members of ABL, which is an international network of business lawyers. One of the main purposes of the organisation is for members to be able to refer clients who want to do business...

Winding Up Your Company – Warning
27 Jun 2011
There are hundreds – possibly thousands – of companies listed as ‘dormant’ at Companies House and often these are retained rather than wound up because although they do not trade, they do contain assets. For more than a quarter of a century it has been...

OFT Guidance on Director Disqualification and Competition Law
23 Jun 2011
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has the power to apply for an order banning a person from being a director in cases in which competition law is breached. Orders are granted under the Directors Disqualification Act 1986 and are issued when the conduct of a director...

Manufacturing Company Fined After Drilling Machine Accident
22 Jun 2011
A manufacturing company based in Wigan has been fined £12,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,703 after a worker lost part of his index finger whilst operating a drilling machine. The 46-year-old employee was drilling holes through an iron bar when his right hand...

Your Right to E-Privacy
21 Jun 2011
Many websites only allow full access to features if ‘cookies’ are enabled on your web browser. A cookie is a small text file placed on your computer which allows the site visited to identify you (strictly, the computer user) on future visits to the site...

Badly Drafted Documents Foil Guarantee Claim
21 Jun 2011
A recent case confirms the doctrine that for a guarantee to be valid, it must be in writing and clear. It involved an extremely badly drafted document in which a man purported to guarantee the performance of a management agreement relating to a number of flats...

Preventing Competition in Land Deals
21 Jun 2011
As from the 6 April 2011, the Competition Act 1998 now also applies to land transactions. Until then, land agreements were excluded, so that land owners were free to impose restrictive covenants and other restrictions in leases, transfers and development agreements...

Agent’s Acceptance Binds Landlord
20 Jun 2011
A tenant that served a break notice on its lease to the wrong person had a lucky escape recently when the court ruled that the notice was valid because the landlord’s agent had accepted it and this had the effect of waiving the defects in serving it. The tenant...

Removal Firms Pay for Misuse of Trade Association Marks
16 Jun 2011
In a recent case, firms which used trade marks to which they were not entitled felt the wrath of the court. The case concerned the National Guild of Removers & Storers (NGRS), a trade association for businesses in the removal and storage industry. NGRS owns various...

Tax for Contractors – Is the Pendulum Swinging?
14 Jun 2011
The guidance relating to the tax legislation that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) use to determine whether a contractor who uses a limited company to carry out contracts should be treated as employed by the end-user client is contained in HMRC leaflet IR35...

In Brief - Graphical User Interface Copyright Decision
24 May 2011
Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are the pictorial means by which computer users can interact with their machines and, as such, they are often designed with great care and at great expense. It is no surprise, therefore, that the creators of GUIs wish to...

Airspace – Is It a Right?
13 May 2011
Who has the right to the airspace above a flat? This question was at the centre of a recent legal dispute involving a block of flats. The block of flats was wider at the bottom than on the upper floors, narrowing at the 6th. The 6th floor tenant obtained permission for...

Charity Trustees – Balancing Financial Return and Social Return on Investment
12 May 2011
One of the more frequent problems faced by charity trustees is that of balancing the need for charity investments to produce financial benefits with the desire for them to also produce social benefits. Fortunately, the Charity Commission has now updated its guidance...

OFT Cold-Calling Crackdown
05 Apr 2011
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently warned the debt management industry to cease from using unsolicited and misleading cold-calling practices to generate client leads. As part of its crackdown on illegal cold-calling in the sector, the OFT has recently revoked the consumer...

In Brief Two Tenants, One Notice
30 Mar 2011
The High Court has confirmed the principle that where a lease for a dwelling is held by two tenants, either tenant can give a valid notice to terminate the tenancy. The effect of such a notice is that both tenants will be required to vacate the premises at the expiry of the...

In Brief Ombudsman or Court, Not Both
25 Mar 2011
A recent case has confirmed the position that if a complainant accepts recompense ordered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), further recompense will not be available by way of court proceedings. Although the FOS is free, the Ombudsman can only award...

Alliance of Business Lawyers continues to grow
14 Mar 2011
As many of you may be aware Warners is one of the founding firms of the Alliance of Business Lawyers (ABL) which is a network of law firms with international reach. One of the main purposes of the network is to enable member firms to be able...

Assured Tenancy Changes – Information for Landlords
14 Mar 2011
On 1 October 2010, the threshold rent for the ‘assured tenancy’ regulations to apply to a property rose to £100,000 per year. The change affects both new and existing tenancies. The previous limit, which had remained unchanged for more than two decades, was £25,000...

Business Owners – Read on...
14 Mar 2011
Being part of a successful business means overcoming constant challenges. When things go well thanks to the skills and efforts of the owners and employees it can be very rewarding. However if something goes wrong, perhaps if a business owner dies or is diagnosed with a critical illness, the financial security of the business, co-owners and the families involved could be at stake more...

Compromise Agreements – Tax Rule Changes
14 Mar 2011
Employers making employees redundant and intending to use compromise agreements should note that from 6 April 2011 the operation of PAYE changes in relation to payments made after an employee has been issued with their P45...

Exclusion Clauses Fail to Protect IT Consultants
14 Mar 2011
Clauses limiting liability under contracts have always been contentious, so a recent decision is to be welcomed because it sets out clearly the limitations which apply to exclusion clauses...

Government Review of Employment Law – The Next Steps
14 Mar 2011
As part of its comprehensive review of employment legislation, the Government has published a consultation document, ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’. This seeks views on measures designed to improve the Employment Tribunal...

Property Owners Must Pay Council Tax Despite Six Year Delay
07 Mar 2011
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that when a local authority has obtained a liability order to claim unpaid council tax and wishes to enforce it using insolvency proceedings, the authority does not have to do so within six years of the granting of the order. This is because...

Council Obliged to Oppose Unauthorised Development
23 Feb 2011
When a development plan is passed which should have been subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) but was not, does the granting of a retrospective consent for EIA development have force or is the planning authority obliged to take action against...

OFT Consultation on Competition Compliance Guidance
22 Feb 2011
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published for consultation two guidance documents that aim to help businesses and company directors comply with competition law. The first document, How Your Business Can Achieve Compliance, has been developed for businesses and...

Communications Needed to Understand the ‘Factual Matrix’ Are Admissible
10 Feb 2011
‘Without prejudice’ communications, made when negotiating legal disputes in order to aid agreement, are not normally admissible in court. The idea behind them is to allow the parties to explore possible areas of agreement and make suggestions and admissions which they would...

In Brief - Guidance on the VAT Rate Change
03 Feb 2011
As heralded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the June 2010 Budget, the standard rate of VAT rose to 20 per cent on 4 January 2011. HM Revenue and Customs have published guidance on the change, which is available...

OFT Consultation on Competition Compliance Guidance
02 Feb 2011
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published for consultation two guidance documents that aim to help businesses and company directors comply with competition law. The first document, How Your Business Can Achieve Compliance, has been developed for businesses...

First Monetary Penalties for Serious Data Protection Breaches
20 Jan 2011
The Information Commissioner has served the first monetary penalties for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). In the first case, Hertfordshire County Council was issued with a penalty of £100,000 for two serious incidents where Council employees faxed...

Loss of Light – Demolition Ordered
17 Jan 2011
Loss of light can be a major irritation and the law provides two remedies where it occurs. The usual remedy is for the developer of the structure responsible for the loss of light to make a payment to the person whose property’s light is impaired. The other, less commonly...

Default retirement age of 65 will be abolished
13 Jan 2011
As anticipated, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has today confirmed that the default retirement age of 65 will be abolished from 1st October 2011. The coalition government's Response to Consultation Paper responds...

Income Splitting – Another HMRC Attack
12 Jan 2011
A case involving a ‘multiple shares’ company, in which different classes of shares were created, with different rights and varying dividends paid to the shareholders over time, illustrates the baleful look that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) give to such schemes. A husband and...

Undervalue Leaves Valuers in Firing Line
11 Jan 2011
A builder who entered the ‘buy to let’ market after acting on a negligent valuation has been awarded more than £70,000 by the court. He intended to buy a property to let it out and engaged a firm of surveyors to value the property and to advise on the expected...

Unknown Liability Not Actionable
10 Jan 2011
One of the prime objectives of the due diligence process carried out by the prospective buyer of a business is to ensure that there are no skeletons in the cupboard of the business being bought. Warranties and indemnities are important safeguards, of course, but it is far better...

No Break if Wrong Party Served
07 Jan 2011
A recent case highlights the importance of making sure that procedural issues are dealt with correctly in the giving of formal notices. When a tenant wished to terminate its lease, it served the relevant notice on the landlord. At least, that is what it thought it had done...

When is a Breach Not a Breach?
29 Dec 2010
Virtually all contracts contain provisions which allow the parties concerned to cancel the contract in the event that the other party breaches it. However, with many contracts being complex and imposing a variety of obligations of varying importance on the parties to...

Clear Drag-Along Clause is Binding
23 Dec 2010
Getting into business is easy. Getting out of business is often where the real problems start. That is why it makes sense to have a partnership agreement (or a shareholders’ agreement if the business is a company) in place from day one. A shareholders’ agreement will normally...

In Brief - New Standard Terms for Architects
20 Dec 2010
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) standard agreement forms have recently been updated. The new forms replace the 2007 versions and are available from the RIBA bookshop at...

Valuer Not Liable for Valuation Inaccuracy
13 Dec 2010
Valuation, as any valuer will tell you, is an imprecise art. Claims against valuers for negligent valuations are therefore notoriously difficult to sustain. Recently, the court heard a claim brought by investors in hotels that a valuer had neglected to take into account a ‘turnover...

OFCOM Proposals to Get Tough Over Copyright Violations
06 Dec 2010
OFCOM has consulted on a draft initial obligations code of practice designed to prevent online copyright infringement. The code, entitled ‘Online Infringement of Copyright and the Digital Economy Act 2010’ will:...

Competition Law – OFT Gets Tough with Directors
26 Nov 2010
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published revised guidance on Competition Disqualification Orders (CDOs), which are orders under which company directors are disqualified from acting as directors where the company of which they are a director is in breach of UK...

When You Agree Terms and Conditions
17 Nov 2010
When you do business with someone else, it is important to agree the applicable terms and conditions – merely exchanging terms can be a recipe for dispute, as a recent case shows. The case involved a US company, which ordered goods from a British company...

Second Notice Served Late Means Lease Not Ended
12 Nov 2010
A tenant wishing to vacate premises by terminating its lease should read the break clauses in the lease carefully and comply fully with them: failing to do so can prove to be an expensive mistake. A recent case dealt with a dispute over a notice to terminate a lease...

Brother Succeeds to Tolerated Trespass Property Right
05 Nov 2010
A tolerated trespasser is a person who has had an eviction order made against them but who remains in occupation of the property with the landlord’s acquiescence because they continue to pay rent. Since the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008...

Member of Kent Corporate Finance Alliance
28 Oct 2010
Warners Solicitors is dedicated to enabling client companies and management teams achieve strong growth in profitability and shareholder value in the wake of the economic downturn. As such, we are pleased to announce our membership...

Without Prejudice Challenge Fails
06 Oct 2010
A company that sought to give as evidence in court ‘without prejudice’ comments made by the company with which it was in dispute met with a firm rebuff from the Court of Appeal recently. Without prejudice material is material which is used in negotiation on the understanding...

VAT and Excise Penalties – The New Regime
30 Sep 2010
A new regime for VAT and Excise penalties commenced on 1 April 2010. It provides that the penalties levied for underpayments of VAT and Excise Duty will depend on both the reason for the wrongdoing and whether the disclosure was unprompted or prompted...

Public Procurement – Act Promptly When Loss Suspected
28 Sep 2010
A recent case shows the importance of acting promptly when a loss due to a breach of the public procurement rules is suspected. It involved a company which had bid for a public procurement contract awarded by the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority...

Businesses Fear Effects of a Double Dip Recession
22 Sep 2010
Although the UK economy is slowly emerging from recession, the effects of the economic downturn have left many businesses weakened. With cuts in government spending, fears of a ‘double dip’ recession are widespread. Recent research carried out by R3, the trade body...

Insurance – Age to Remain a Factor
22 Sep 2010
The hope that inequality of treatment on the part of insurers, based on the age of the insured, would be prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, which brings together all the main legislation governing equality issues, was dashed when Parliament announced that it had accepted...

UK Intellectual Property Office Patent Opinion Service
20 Sep 2010
If you are considering bringing an action on a patent infringement matter, you might like to start by obtaining an independent opinion. For £200, the UK Intellectual Property Office offers a service of reviewing the issues under dispute and...

Are Your Fire-Risk Assessments Up to Date?
16 Sep 2010
Local Fire Authorities no longer issue fire certificates. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced a risk-based approach to fire safety, making it a legal requirement for the person responsible to carry out a fire-risk assessment for all non-domestic premises in...

In Brief - New Company Name Check Facility
14 Sep 2010
On 28 April, Companies House introduced a new ‘Company Name Availability Search’ as part of its WebCHeck service, which will return the ‘same as’ matches as defined in the Companies Act 2006. This will allow anyone wanting to set up a company to ascertain straight away...

Contract Clinches Fee for Ex-Advisers
07 Sep 2010
It is not uncommon for a company to switch financial advisers when it is seeking to do a deal, but doing so without a full appreciation of the implications of the contract with the financial advisers who have been shown the door can be an expensive mistake...

An Arrangement Among Friends or a Business?
07 Sep 2010
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) imposes a strict regulatory regime on persons operating in the financial services area by way of business and this includes the licensing of ‘deposit takers’. Recently, three men were charged with taking money from clients to provide loans for businesses that were unable to secure funding from banks...

Are you Caught by the Carbon Reduction Commitment?
06 Sep 2010
Companies who are concerned whether they may have to register under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme may need to have advice on the scheme, and how to reduce their carbon footprint...

New Minimum Wage Rates
06 Sep 2010
New rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will come into force on 1 October 2010. As announced last year, the adult rate of the NMW is to be extended to 21-year-olds when the new rates come into effect...

Failure to Enforce Right Leads to its Loss
02 Sep 2010
An easement (such as a right of way) is a right over someone else’s land. A right of easement, once granted, is quite often forgotten about. However, a recent case shows how important it can be to make sure that an easement does not lapse through disuse...

Copyright Case Highlights Need for Care
25 Aug 2010
Breach of copyright on the Internet is relatively common, but it is still a breach of the law and one for which there is no defence based on ignorance. Copyright is an absolute right, which arises automatically. Nothing has to be done to obtain it: it arises as soon as the...

Businessmen Denied Profit for ‘Borrowed’ Business Plan
17 Aug 2010
When someone breaches a confidence and uses confidential information to make a profit, one of the legal remedies which may be sought is to require the person committing the breach to account for the profit made as a result...

Correct Procedure Means No Human Rights Act Claim
11 Aug 2010
Social Housing providers will greet a recent decision of the Supreme Court with relief. The Court upheld a local council’s decision that it had discharged its duty to secure accommodation for persons who were homeless by sending each of them a letter offering accommodation...

Bribery Act Becomes Law
09 Aug 2010
Bribery and corruption are rife in many countries. For example, IKEA recently ceased its expansion in Russia because of difficulties in obtaining permissions to build stores without being willing to engage in corrupt practices. In some countries, ‘sweeteners’ for deals are a necessity or near-necessity...

New Equality Act 2010
04 Aug 2010
The new equality act 2010 will come into effect in October, businesses must make sure their policies are up to date...

Where to Go for Information on Domestic Gas Safety
02 Aug 2010
In the year 2008/2009, 15 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with domestic gas appliances. The deaths were mainly due to gas appliances being fitted badly or not being serviced properly...

Planning Change Affects Private Landlords
29 Jul 2010
Little publicised, but nonetheless important for many private landlords, are changes implemented by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010, which mean that, in certain circumstances, a landlord wishing to let out a property....

In Brief - Digital Economy Act 2010
23 Jul 2010
As part of the pre-election ‘wash-up’, the Digital Economy Bill was passed into law, bringing with it the right for the Secretary of State to create secondary legislation to require Internet Service Providers to take ‘technical measures’ against subscribers...

Failure to Enforce Right Leads to its Loss
23 Jul 2010
An easement (such as a right of way) is a right over someone else’s land. A right of easement, once granted, is quite often forgotten about. However, a recent case shows how important it can be to make sure that an easement does not lapse through disuse...

Village Green Decision Supplies Blueprint for Stymieing Development
15 Jul 2010
Most people – and certainly those who have been involved in an opposed planning application – know what a NIMBY is but, following a case heard in the Supreme Court, we may now see the rise of NOOViGs (not on our village greens)....

Court Supports Ex-Director’s Right to Start New Business
12 Jul 2010
When senior employees leave a company, the commercial risks presented can be considerable. A recent case on this subject concerned a director who left the company he worked for and then set up in competition with it....

Borrowing Tips
08 Jul 2010
With the economy seeming to be slowly improving, businesses will be thinking about financing the expected expansion of trade. Borrowing cost often dominates the thinking, but it isn’t all about the cost of the loan....

Whole Agreement Clause Determines Payment Schedule
06 Jul 2010
Construction projects inevitably lead to a large number of contracts being created between the various contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and developers involved. This in turn can produce problems in the event of a dispute....

In Brief - 24/7 WebCHeck Service
29 Jun 2010
Companies House has announced that from now on its ‘WebCHeck’ company search service will be available all day every day…so, if a company owing you money....

Budget Summary 2010 - Changes Affecting Businesses
23 Jun 2010
During the election campaign, George Osborne nailed his colours firmly to the mast of a deficit reduction strategy. He has not disappointed in that, but questions remain over whether the effect of the expenditure cuts and the mixture of tax increases and decreases in the Budget will be to depress growth and to stymie the desired effect in the medium term. Time will tell...

Use of Premises Makes Rent an Administration Expense
22 Jun 2010
Insolvencies have been running at a high rate for some time now, presenting problems for landlords and tenants alike. It should be remembered that the expenses of the administration of an insolvent company rank for payment before debts due to unsecured creditors....

Taking Time to Pay Taxes – Warning
07 Jun 2010
During the recession, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been willing to make ‘time to pay’ agreements with businesses struggling to meet their tax liabilities as they fall due. However, this should not be taken to mean that HMRC....

Employers Guide - 5 ways to tackle the World Cup
02 Jun 2010
Business Link has produced an excellent factsheet that gives employers practical advice and tips on how to survive the World Cup...

Tower Crane Registration in Effect From 6 Apri
31 May 2010
Construction and plant hire companies should be aware that the Health and Safety Executive will require registration of all tower cranes from 6 April....

Similar Names Likely to Confuse
24 May 2010
An attempt to register a Community Trade Mark (CTM) failed recently when the EU General Court agreed that the proposed mark (which was not a real word in Spanish) was too similar to an existing Spanish trade mark for a similar product....

Share Manoeuvres Cause Lease Breach
07 May 2010
A company that was part of a group recently found that it had breached its lease when a corporate reorganisation was carried out. The problem arose because the lease on the company’s premises contained a clause....

Workplace bullying – Employers beware!
06 May 2010
Karen Cole looks at work place bullying and how employers can take steps to prevent bullying and harassment in their workplace...

Leaseholders: Take care when using the breaks!
06 May 2010
Barbara Winnnett looks at break clauses and the importance of checking the details in the terms of their lease...

False Claims Cost IT Supplier Dear
30 Apr 2010
British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. was less than pleased when problems with the integration of its customer relationship management system led it to cancel its contract with IT firm Electronic Data Systems Ltd. (EDS)....

Monthly Rental Payments – BRC Keeps Campaigning
14 Apr 2010
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has been campaigning for the past few years to try to encourage more commercial landlords to accept monthly rental payment arrangements instead of the quarterly payments commonly used....

Revenue Target Medics and Minimum Wage Cheats
12 Apr 2010
Although we all know that it is sensible to take any newly-announced Government initiatives with a pinch of salt, when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) make it known that they are giving certain areas special attention, it is worth taking notice....

Damages for Wrongful Dismissal
07 Apr 2010
When an employee brings a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal (ET), there is a statutory cap on the amount of compensation payable. However, there is no upper limit to the level of damages that can be awarded when an employee pursues a ...

Job Applicants and Criminal Records
02 Apr 2010
A recent ruling of the Court of Appeal means that employers will be able to access information on old minor convictions when carrying out criminal record checks on potential employees. Following complaints from five people, the...

Whistleblowing - What Constitutes a Qualifying Disclosure?
01 Apr 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled (Cavendish Munro Professional Risks Management Ltd. v Geduld) that in order to fall within the statutory definition of a protected disclosure under Section 43 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), a...

Companies Act Model Articles - Think Before You Leap
26 Mar 2010
The Companies Act 2006 came into effect fully on 1 October 2009. One of the advantages of the Act is that it has made the incorporation of a company easier by creating a new and simplified set of model articles of incorporation...

What Profits Are Distributable
22 Mar 2010
One of the things which many company directors find confusing is the difference between distributable reserves (those from which dividends can be paid) and those which are non-distributable. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in...

Moving Premises? Don't Forget The Tax Man!
18 Mar 2010
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have now updated their instructions on how companies which move premises should inform them of a change of company address. The essential point is that HMRC will not accept a notification of change of...

Can You Justify Your Service-Related Pay Scheme?
12 Mar 2010
The Court of Appeal has ruled (Wilson v Health and Safety Executive) on the correct approach to objective justification in equal pay claims that arise from service-related pay schemes which have a disparate impact on women compared with men...

Will Your Premises Be Shown The Yellow Card
10 Mar 2010
Following an evaluation of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced earlier this year that it would be introducing a card alert scheme designed to give licensing authorities which choose to adopt it a new...

Safe Working at Height
09 Mar 2010
A recent prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) serves as a warning to company directors and business owners of the importance of implementing comprehensive, safe systems for working at height. David Boulton worked for...

Disability Discrimination by Association - Complying with EU Law
05 Mar 2010
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has handed down a far-reaching judgment in the long-running case of Coleman v Attridge Law, which concerns the interpretation of the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive and its impact on disability legislation in the...

Good Faith and Errors in Documents
04 Mar 2010
If you enter into a business contract in good faith and it subsequently transpires that the contract was incorrectly authorised or otherwise invalid from the perspective of the other party’s internal regulations, where do you stand?...

Selling Your Business - Tax Considerations
02 Mar 2010
With many companies suffering from the effects of the recession, business owners looking for an exit are thick on the ground. One problem those in this situation face is that if their business is in a fairly weak financial position, it is difficult to take a...

Landlord Pays Price for Failing to Inform Tenant
24 Feb 2010
If a landlord has concealed or misrepresented facts, it can be ordered to pay a departing commercial tenant compensation for any damages or loss sustained by the tenant that arise as a result of having to quit the premises. The...

Sickness and Holiday Leave
19 Feb 2010
The EU Working Time Directive lays down minimum health and safety requirements for the organisation of working time. The purpose of the entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable a worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The...

Companies Act Changes - Purchase of Own Shares
16 Feb 2010
There has been confusion about some of the changes in company law brought in by the Companies Act 2006, which was fully implemented on 1 October 2009. One of the more beneficial changes for companies wishing to reorganise their share capital (perhaps...

Moving Target Causes Headache for Contractors
12 Feb 2010
A recent case illustrates how complex building disputes can become when there are changes ‘on the fly’ to the work being carried out and the related paperwork does not keep pace. In the case in point, a contractor’s...

Guidance on Preventing Workplace Harassment and Violence
10 Feb 2010
New guidance giving practical advice to businesses and employees on preventing workplace harassment and violence has been published following European level agreement between employer and trade union organisations on the necessity of raising awareness of...

Japanese Knotweed - The Legal Implications
01 Feb 2010
Japanese Knotweed - The Legal Implications

Employment Law - What to expect in 2010
01 Feb 2010
The government is introducing some changes to employment law this year, they include changes to sick notes and paternity leave...

International network aids Warners clients
01 Feb 2010
As readers may be aware Warners was one of the founding members of our international legal network the Alliance of Business Lawyers (ABL) some ten years ago when three firms got together in Dublin at the instigation of our sister network...

Company Directors – Use of Prohibited Names
01 Feb 2010
Given the number of Phoenix type businesses that have emerged in the recession from companies that have got into financial difficulties, it is perhaps pertinent to look at what protection the law gives to others who come into contact with such companies...

Advice for Tenants of Commercial Leasehold Premises
01 Feb 2010
Despite the current climate, all businesses need premises from which to trade or operate whether those businesses need offices, industrial units, shops or restaurants. Often premises will be taken by lease rather than purchase...

Developers in for a Shock
01 Feb 2010
Noel Barratt looks at this interesting case and considers how the issue could have been avoided...

Preventing Illegal Working - Keep a Copy
28 Jan 2010
The publicity surrounding the imposition of a fine of £5,000 on Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, for a breach of immigration law is a reminder to employers of the need to have systems in place to demonstrate compliance with the laws preventing...

Insolvent Landlord - Tenant's Lease Renewal Application Must Be Considered
27 Jan 2010
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA), a tenant normally has the right to renewal of a lease on commercial premises unless the landlord requires occupation of the premises for its own purposes, which may include the purpose of redeveloping the site...

Key Words Do Not Breach Trade Mark
25 Jan 2010
The Advocate General has recently given his opinion that the use of a competitor’s trade mark as a ‘key word’, in order to trigger the appearance of one’s own advertisement when an Internet search is carried out, is not an...

The 'Final Straw' and Constructive Dismissal
22 Jan 2010
A serious breach of an implied contractual term or the ‘final straw’ in a series of less serious actions which cumulatively undermine an employee’s trust and confidence in his or her employer will amount to a repudiatory breach of the...

Planners Quash Subsidiary Activity
18 Jan 2010
A recent case shows how important the wording of a planning consent is. It concerned a quarrying company which was engaged in the extraction of limestone from a quarry in the Peak District. There was opposition to the quarrying which led...

Annual Increase in Tribunal Awards
11 Jan 2010
The Employment Rights (Revision of Limits) Order 2009, which details the annual inflation-linked changes in limits on the compensation amounts which can be awarded by employment tribunals, was made on 10 December 2009 and applies where the appropriate date...

Discovering a Cover-Up – Tips for Directors
09 Jan 2010
Dubious business practice will always exist but normally becomes more prevalent and is more often uncovered in times when business is tough. A director who discovers dubious business practices within his company can find himself in a difficult situation...

TUPE and Service Provision Changes – The Correct Approach
07 Jan 2010
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) 2006 introduced the concept of a transfer of undertakings by way of a service provision change. This was intended to deal with practical difficulties created, in a wide variety...

Guarantee Clause Not Linked to Assignee
05 Jan 2010
With times being tough, unexpected traps in agreements are coming to light with greater regularity. A recent landlord and tenant case shows the sort of thing that can happen if insufficient attention is paid in negotiation to clauses that might...

What Makes a Director?
02 Jan 2010
A tax case involving a husband and wife who paid themselves millions of pounds in dividends from 42 insolvent companies without making the necessary provisions for corporation tax has recently been heard by the Court of Appeal...

Disability Discrimination – ‘Likely’ Means ‘Could Well Happen’
29 Dec 2009
Employment disputes often arise because an employer does not consider that an employee’s condition is one that qualifies them for protection under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). It is therefore important that the definition of disability contained in the DDA...

Incorrect Service Defeats Service Charge Claim
21 Dec 2009
Landlords seeking to recover service charges in circumstances which require that a notice be served on the tenants should make sure they serve the relevant notice correctly! In a recent case, a landlord had to do works on a building and sought to recover...

Get Ready for Compulsory Pensions
17 Dec 2009
The Pensions Act 2008 contains provisions which will make it compulsory (from 2012) for an employer to enrol qualifying workers aged between 22 and the state pension age who earn more than a de minimus amount (currently set at £5,035 per annum)...

Tis the season to be jolly
15 Dec 2009
As the Christmas office party season gets into full swing, for many this is a time to eat drink and be merry. However for employers it is a sobering thought that recent research puts the cost to British firms of over indulgence in the festive season at around £100 million...

Minority Shareholder Gains £400,000 Payoff
15 Dec 2009
It is rare to see a petition under the Companies Act regarding the payment of excessive remuneration to a director, but the Scottish Outer House of the Court of Session had to deal with just such a case earlier this year...

Waivers of Salary – Pitfalls
14 Dec 2009
When company cash flow is tight, a director may decide to waive salary in order to help ease the cash position. However, care needs to be exercised as unless the waiver is done correctly, the PAYE on the salary waived (which, together with the related National...

Unfair Dismissal and Unofficial Industrial Action
09 Dec 2009
Under Section 237(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, an employee has no right to complain of unfair dismissal if he or she was taking part in an unofficial strike or other unofficial industrial action at the time...

Want to Sack Your Auditor? Pause for Thought
07 Dec 2009
If you are not seeing eye to eye with your auditor because their view of your financial statements is at variance with yours, and you are thinking of making a change of auditors, you should be aware that Sections 522 to 525 of the Companies Act 2006 set...

Guidance on Employing Children
04 Dec 2009
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has produced guidance which sets out the key provisions of the law governing the employment of children under the school leaving age. This covers age limits and permitted hours of work...

Reliance on Pre-Contract Negotiations Revisited
01 Dec 2009
The 2007 case involving Persimmon Homes and landowner Chartbrook Ltd. has now been decided in the House of Lords. The case turned on the meaning of an agreement which contained a ‘grammatical ambiguity’, which applied to a formula used to...

Whistleblowing – Keeping Regulators Informed
26 Nov 2009
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) – often referred to as the ‘Whistleblowing’ Act – gives workers legal protection when disclosing information relating to crimes, breaches of a legal obligation, miscarriages of justice,..

Insider Dealing – New Regime
23 Nov 2009
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced that it is cracking down on insider dealing. The FSA, which levied fines of more than £28 million in the year to 31 March 2009, is appointing 30 new inspectors and tripling the level of fines it can...

Varying a Contract of Employment
19 Nov 2009
In the current economic climate, many employers are seeking ways to reduce staff costs. For example, both British Airways and British Telecom are reported to have offered staff increased time off work in return for a deduction in pay. However, when...

Court Takes Commonsense View of Delivery of Notice Clause
17 Nov 2009
When a dispute arises under a contract and notices or other documents have to be delivered to the other side in the dispute, in order to avoid problems it is essential that these are delivered in accordance with the contract terms. This may seem obvious, but...

NICs on Dividends
13 Nov 2009
It is often assumed that the mere payment of a sum by way of a dividend, rather than as salary or bonus, will avoid PAYE and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). In the case of PAYE, the tax treatment as payment of a dividend will override that...

The Gender Pay Gap – Be Prepared
11 Nov 2009
The gender pay gap is the term used to describe the difference between the hourly earnings of men and women. It is determined by calculating the overall pay of women as a percentage of that of men. The pay gap is the difference between this and 100%...

Unsigned Distribution Agreement Leads to Dispute
03 Nov 2009
A recent case, in which a dispute arose over the right to terminate a distribution agreement, has illustrated the risks of not having formal written contracts in place governing business transactions. Jackson Distribution Ltd. entered...

Guarantee Wording Benefits Director Guarantor
30 Oct 2009
It is common that where a lease is sublet or where the lease is to a company, a guarantee arrangement will be put in place whereby the former tenant or a director of the lessee company guarantees performance of the lease. In the event...

Government Plans National Minimum Wage for Apprentices
22 Oct 2009
The Government has announced that it has asked the Low Pay Commission to set a National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices. Currently, apprentices under age 19 do not qualify for the NMW. Neither do those over age 19 who are in the first...

Daddy Day Care
21 Oct 2009
The government has recently announced an intention to move forward with the consultation on permitting new mothers to transfer the second six months of their maternity leave entitlement to the baby’s father...

Re-structuring your business? Don't forget your properties!
21 Oct 2009
Many clients take advice from their accountants as to how to structure their business, but then are not advised to consider the implications of any change in their business set up on the property they own. This can have unexpected and expensive...

Pension Reforms – Employers must contribute 3%
19 Oct 2009
The Government is currently undertaking a landmark reform of the UK pension scheme which is aimed at providing greater financial security for the ageing population. The Pensions Act 2008 is expected to come into force in April 2012...

How will the Companies Act changes affect your business?
19 Oct 2009
The Companies Act 2006 is the most detailed piece of legislation ever to pass through the legislature, running to over 1300 Sections and 16 Schedules. Its provisions have been implemented gradually over the last three years with the final changes...

The Duty to Manage Asbestos – HSE Guidance
16 Oct 2009
According to statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Every year 1,000 people who have been involved in carrying out building maintenance and repair work die as a...

Who is Responsible? Look at the Contract
14 Oct 2009
In a contract, who is responsible for what is determined by the wording – which is why it is crucial to get the wording right from the outset. In a recent case, a company bought oil on a standard FOB (free on board) contract. The oil was...

HMRC Interpretation of Ordinary Residence Rejected by Tax Commissioners
12 Oct 2009
The concept of ordinary residence is an important one in tax law, especially the law relating to Income Tax as it applies to people coming to live in the UK. The general principles were originally set out in booklet IR20, published by...

Treasury Proposes New Construction Tax Regime
01 Oct 2009
Hard on the heels of several cases dealing with whether builders on construction sites are employed or self-employed for employment law purposes, the Treasury has announced yet another review of the employment status of construction workers for...

Employers can force workers to retire at 65
30 Sep 2009
The High Court has announced its decision in the Heyday appeal, ruling that it is legal for UK employers to force employees to retire at age 65...

Swine Flu – Guidance for Employers
03 Aug 2009
Although the rate of increase in new swine flu (influenza A H1N1) cases is reported to be abating, there are still more than 100,000 new cases a week and a surge in infections is expected as the winter approaches...

Redundancy package for employers
05 Jul 2009
Stand up if your company is being forced to reduce its wage bill as a result of the economic climate or indeed is entering a period of reorganisation. If so, sit down with one of our employment lawyers who will be able to offer comprehensive information...

What energy costs could mean for your business
30 Jun 2009
Ann-Marie Lock and Angela Rowe consider the Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme and its impact on commercial property transactions...

A legal guide to making acquisitions
30 Jun 2009
The right acquisition can dramatically improve the performance of the acquiring business, but an inappropriate acquisition, or one progressed without proper care and attention, can have a serious and long term adverse impact...

Presumption – a developer’s enemy
30 Jun 2009
I have a profound personal interest in words and their many and varied meanings. I take as an example the word “consumption”: an horrendous word for a stricken individual but a glorious word for a booming consumer-based economy...

Forfeiture – peaceable re-entry
30 Jun 2009
In the event of a tenant of commercial premises being in arrears of rent, one remedy a landlord may wish to pursue is to forfeit the lease. Often the quickest and most inexpensive way of forfeiting the lease would be for the landlord to peacefully...

Pre pack sales – creditors beware!
03 Mar 2009
We are increasingly seeing the use of “pre-pack” administrations to rescue a struggling business. Indeed, there have been a number of high profile pre pack sales of house hold names over the last 12 months such as MFI...

Shareholders’ agreement – do you really need one?
03 Mar 2009
It is not a legal requirement for a company to have a Shareholders’ Agreement. A lot of companies function quite happily without having one. So what is the benefit of having an Agreement?..

Making your site safe - requirements you must comply with
26 Feb 2009
There are complex rules dealing with health and safety on building sites or areas where work is undertaken. The purpose of this article is to give a brief overview of the rules. Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007...

Plan to save you time and money with new leases
26 Feb 2009
We were able to save a landlord client time and money recently by ensuring they had a proper lease plan at an early stage in the matter. In another case we did the same for a tenant client who was selling their business and assigning the lease to the buyer...

Employment law changes
24 Feb 2009
April 2009 sees a number of significant changes to employment law, and if you are in business and don’t want to be caught out you should read on to see how these will affect you. The changes are...

Recent transactions – purchase development and sale
24 Feb 2009
In this case, The Counting House was a listed building owned and occupied by Lloyds TSB Bank plc. It comprised the bank on the ground floor and disused and dilapidated residential units on the upper floors...

Options for landlords when tenants can't pay
24 Feb 2009
In the difficult current economic climate, many businesses are experiencing financial constraints. That can mean that in turn, commercial landlords suffer when tenants are unable to pay rents. What options are available to landlords depends on...

Legal advice worldwide through ABL
24 Feb 2009
Increasingly, we find Warners clients are looking to invest in businesses and property abroad, often to take advantage of tax friendly regimes and incentives offered by other countries. As a result, clients need reliable, proactive advice from lawyers...