Public procurement: Revised thresholds
The European Commission has announced - Regulation 1336/2013 - that it will be changing the advertising thresholds under the public procurement rules with effect from 1 January 2014.
Pharmaceutical group agrees to pay over £380k in care home medicine cartel
On 12 December 2013, the OFT announced a £380k settlement had been agreed in relation to a market sharing cartel involving two pharmaceutical suppliers.
Warning to employers relying on occupational health reports
Employers managing employees on sickness absence often turn to occupational health ('OH') for guidance on whether an employee comes within the legal definition of a disabled person, but now need to be careful of unquestioningly relying on OH assessments.
Saving defective notices: when a non-specific letter can be a termination notice
In Vivergo Fuels Limited v Redhall Engineering Solutions Limited, the Technology and Construction Court found that a letter could constitute a valid notice notifying a breach even if it did not expressly refer to the relevant contractual provisions.
Acquisition Finance - Trends in 2013 and a look at the year ahead...
The last few years in the mid-market acquisition finance market have been tough for all parties. Opportunities have been fewer and the market more cautious and therefore slower to move when they do arise.
Failing to proceed with due diligence: Can this constitute a repudiatory breach of a building contract?
The Technology and Construction Court examined this issue in Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited v Punj Lloyd Ltd and Vivergo Fuels Ltd v Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd, and found in each case that it was not a repudiatory breach on the facts of the case.
A new dawn for defamation?
The Defamation Act 2013 comes into force on 1 January 2014. We provide details of the new regulations that will govern website operators when on notice of a complaint about online material.
Site Waste Management Plans revoked in England
The Government has acted on its plan to revoke Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) in England, with effect from the 1 December 2013.
Remedies for breach of contract : Scottish courts will enforce payment and performance, not just damages
If one party to a contract threatens not to perform their obligations (i.e. repudiates the contract) the innocent party has significantly different options depending on whether they are able to raise court proceedings north or south of the border.
The 12 cases of 2013
As Christmas approaches and another year draws to a close, we look back at some of the most notable cases of 2013.
Holiday pay to include commission according to the Advocate-General
The rules surrounding the calculation of holiday pay are notoriously complex and have resulted in a number of claims before the Employment Tribunal. Given the Advocate-General's recent opinion, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Living wage increased - costs and benefits to employers
The UK's Living Wage recently increased by 20p to £7.65 an hour outside of London and by 25p to £8.80 per hour in London. This equates to a pay rise of over £450 for Londoners working full time.
Who now has the right to succession?
It is important to know what changes have been made to the statutory regime for succession to a tenancy when a tenant dies
Shared parental leave confirmed from April 2015
The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a new system of shared parental leave by April 2015.
Tenancy of Shops Act in Scotland
Unlike the position in England, in Scotland there is virtually no statutory protection for a commercial tenant at the expiry of their lease.
Partnerships under pressure: Part 2
This is the second of two looks at new measures being introduced by the Revenue to crack down on what it perceives as the use of partnerships for tax avoidance purposes.
High Court considers new bonus in Part 36 regime
The recent case Feltham v Bouskell  EWHC 3086 (Ch) is one of the first to consider the additional sanction under CPR 36.14(3)(d), introduced on 1 April 2013 as part of the Jackson Reforms.
Partnerships under pressure: Part 1
The Revenue has announced a number of measures - and, for the arrangements covered by this article has already implemented the measure - to crack down on what it perceives as the use of partnerships for tax avoidance purposes.
No age discrimination by C4 in John McCririck claim
Following an employment tribunal's recent decision that John McCririck did not suffer age discrimination when he was replaced as a TV racing pundit, what steps can employers take to guard against similar claims?
Garden leave: 12 month restriction upheld by High Court
The High Court has granted an injunction to keep an employee on garden leave for the whole of his 12 month notice period.
Dominant Purpose test proves difficult to pass
We consider litigation privilege and the dominant purpose test. Litigation privilege stems from a principle that those engaged in/contemplating litigation should be free to gather evidence without a requirement to disclose that evidence to opponents.
Occupational Pension Schemes and Money Purchase Benefits: Government Consultation
The DWP has issued draft regulations for consultation. This follows the change in the statutory definition of money purchase benefits, due to come into force next year.
New WEEE Regulations
BIS has published a response to its consultation on implementation of the Recast WEEE Directive 2012, along with draft Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013.
Initial Phase of CRC: Have you registered?
The registration period for the Initial Phase of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme opened on 4 November 2013, and those affected have until 31 January 2014 to register with the Environment Agency.
Pension Schemes: Disclosure of Information Regulations
Earlier this year, the DWP consulted on proposals to 'consolidate, harmonise and simplify' the existing disclosure regime.
Employers - are you making the most of occupational health?
Employee health can be a significant source of risk for any business and employers increasingly seek help from medical professionals in managing such risk.
Pensions liberation: The latest instalment
In the recent case, Pi Consulting (Trustee Services) Ltd v The Pensions Regulator (and Others), the High Court ruled that the suspected pension liberation schemes were 'occupational pension schemes' within the statutory definition.
The Pensions Regulator's Code of Practice on defined contribution pension schemes
The Pensions Regulator's Code of Practice: Governance and Administration of Occupational Defined Contribution (DC) trust-based pension schemes was laid before Parliament in July 2013.
Are double derivative actions preserved?
In UPMS v Fort Gilkicker the High Court had to decide whether common law recognises the concept of double derivative actions and if so, whether they survived the coming into force of the Companies Act 2006.
Woolworths update: Case to go to Court of Appeal
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration); USDAW and anor etc - the Woolworths case - sent shockwaves through the legal and HR professions.
Assignment and novation in construction and engineering projects
It is important to understand the difference between assignment and novation when engaging in construction and engineering projects.
Does 'all monies' mean all monies?
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal, in National Merchant Buying Society Limited v Bellamy and Another, held that an all monies, continuing guarantee, given when there was an existing specific obligation, was not discharged by a subsequent variation.
Electronic signatures: not yet a substitute for the 'wet' signature in corporate transactions
Signing a document is a simple method of confirming the agreement of contracting parties.
Contracted out tenants: Take note
We tend to focus on the risks to a landlord of a tenant remaining in occupation beyond the expiry of a contracted out lease.
New guidance for employers on preventing illegal working published
The UK Border Agency has updated its guidance for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK.
TUPE: changes to be implemented in January 2014
Draft legislation amending TUPE and the law relating to collective redundancies has now been published and is expected to come into force in January 2014.
Clamping down on Unlawful Subletting
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 (The Act) came into force on 15 October 2013. The Act aims to address the overwhelming statistics relating to the unlawful subletting and housing fraud.
You will comply : The Jackson Reforms - Six months on
Many expected a revolutionary new take on the conduct of litigation, with costs budgeting taking centre stage. Six months on, and it is time to analyse the impact so far; have the Jackson Reforms been revolutionary, and what has been their effect?
There are dozens of deaths and more than 40,000 injuries each year related to the use of machines.
HSE legislation changes: First Aid and RIDDOR
From 1 October 2013, changes have been made to two pieces of Health and Safety legislation in an attempt to help businesses comply with the law.
Business immigration changes
Immigration into the UK continues to be a hot topic, with the Government wanting to reduce net immigration and ensure immigration that does happen is 'good immigration, not mass immigration'.
Judicial Review: Planning permission
In September 2013, the Ministry of Justice issued its consultation paper Judicial Review - Proposals for Further Reform, which sets out proposals to further speed up the judicial review (JR) process following the grant of planning permission.
National Crime Agency - Requests for Information
The National Crime Agency (NCA) replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on 7 October 2013 as the UK's main body for tackling organised crime.
Ministry of Justice fined £140k for 'sensitive personal data' breach
The Ministry of Justice has been fined £140,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a serious breach of the Seventh Data Protection Principle.
Break options and surrenders: Effect on subletting
Where a property has been sublet, the parties to the headlease must be cautious about any determination of it.
Red Tape Challenge focuses on filings
In the latest round of the Government's Red Tape Challenge company filing requirements have been put under the spotlight.
Who is pulling the strings?
Ownership and control of UK companies is under review following the Government's commitment to enhance transparency and increase trust in UK business.
Directors' pay: Full disclosure
The final pieces of the Government's jigsaw of reforms on directors' pay have been slotted into place.
Penalties for losing employers to be introduced in tribunals from April 2014
It has been announced that from April 2014 employment tribunals will have the power to order losing employers to pay a financial penalty on top of any financial award made to the claimant.
Working time cases round-up
The vexed issues of holiday entitlement and holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations 1998 continue to keep tribunals busy. We round-up some recent cases with potentially far reaching consequences for employers.
'Proceed with due diligence': What does it mean in construction contracts and development agreements?
The Technology and Construction Court examined this issue in a recent case - Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited v Punj Lloyd Limited - and found that the contractor was in breach of the obligation.
Repairs and implied terms
In a recent case, the High Court implied under a lease a term that rent be refunded to a tenant following the successful exercise of a break option .
Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery: Causing distress for landlords
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 was passed on 26 July 2013, bringing major changes to commercial landlords' ability to recover rent from defaulting tenants when the regulations come into force on 6 April 2014
Regaining possession of commercial property
When trespassers occupy commercial property, landlords often face an uphill struggle to regain possession and can be faced with a host of associated costs.
Age discrimination and age-related pension scheme contributions
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled on the validity of age-related contributions in a money purchase pension scheme, confirming they are permissible provided they can be objectively justified.
Recruitment: avoiding age discrimination pitfalls
Age discrimination is in the news again as high profile claimants bring cases in the employment tribunal. Employers who discriminate on the basis of age face awards of unlimited compensation.
Authorised Guarantee Agreements: Not clearly understood or properly used
Authorised Guarantee Agreements have been the subject of much commentary in the last few years - principally because of decisions in Good Harvest Partnership LLP and K/S Victoria Street v House of Fraser (Stores Management) Ltd.
Employment tribunal costs: difficulties of recovery against a losing party
Lord Sugar's recent win in employment tribunal proved bitter sweet when he was unable to recover any of his costs, but his experience is far from unusual.
Part 36 v Calderbank : Rise of the Reforms
There has been a lot of buzz about the Jackson reforms. We highlight afew considerations which demonstrate that when trying to settle a dispute, the battle still rages about which settlement mechanism (Part 36 or Calderbank) is more advantageous.
Commercial Court rules 'no riot' for insurers or business
The Commercial Court has ruled that consequential losses arising from riots cannot be recovered from the public purse.
Takeover Panel extends scope of jurisdiction to non UK-based AIM companies
More AIM companies are set to become subject to the provisions of the UK Takeover Code at the end of September 2013 as a result of changes published earlier this year.
The Big Bang: Where are we now?
For many, the Big Bang was not quite the explosion everyone was expecting.
Lack of impartial grievance appeal was breach of employment contract
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that an employer's failure to provide an impartial grievance appeal could amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.
Terminating senior executives: how to avoid paying more than you have to
The BBC has recently hit the headlines itself for making over-generous termination payments to departing senior employees.
Religious discrimination: can a ban on full face veil be lawful?
A judge recently ruled that a Muslim woman on trial for allegedly intimidating a witness could not give evidence unless she removed her face veil.
Data protection reform: A softening of approach?
Proposed data protection reforms have been the subject of much discussion, debate and lobbying since the draft regulation was first issued in January 2012.
Stamp Duty Land Tax and group relief
HMRC recently clarified how it applies the anti-avoidance rule in the context of intra-group asset transfers following corporate acquisitions.
New Green Lease Toolkit
The Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) has issued a new version of its Green Lease Toolkit, including new model green lease clauses and a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Prematurity and emerging planning policies
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear that while decision takers may give weight to emerging planning policies, the amount of such weight will depend upon the stage of preparation of the emerging plan.
Office to residential conversions and permitted development rights
Permitted development rights introduced in May 2013 are creating quite a stir. These allow the change of use of buildings from B1(a) (offices) to C3 (dwelling houses), subject to a prior approval process by the local planning authority (LPA).
TUPE changes u-turn: evolution not revolution
The Government has confirmed that amendments will be made to the TUPE Regulations early next year. However, the service change provisions will not be repealed as had previously been expected.
TUPE consultation: Good news for outsourcing service providers
In April this year, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills launched a consultation seeking views on the Government's proposed reforms to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE Regulations).
New SDLT sub-sale relief rules
In an earlier article we outlined the introduction of the new sub-sale relief rules. These have now been enacted in the Finance Act 2013.
Supply agreement for combined heat and power systems
It is a common feature with new developments that combined heat and power systems may be included.
Data protection: Time to take action
On 25 January 2012, the European Commission decided that a substantial overhaul of data protection regulation is required and issued its proposals for change.
Further developments in SDLT
We have previously reported on earlier court decisions considering certain aspects of the SDLT legislation.
Bonus bonanza for male managers at women's expense?
Data published recently by the Chartered Management Institute ('CMI') has revealed that on average last year men in management positions received bonuses which were twice as high as those paid out to female managers.
Employee shareholders from 1 September 2013
From 1 September it will be possible for companies to engage staff as employee shareholders, a new type of employment status with tax benefits.
What's it worth?
We consider the principle of unjust enrichment in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Benedetti v Sawiris and others  UKSC 50.
Exclusion clauses: Do exactly what they say on the tin
Whilst many lawyers pride themselves on their level of precision, it is important to be accurate when drafting exclusion clauses to avoid potential contamination of the clause.
Court rules employers must provide footwear
A Scottish Court has recently considered when employers should provide protective footwear to any staff who work outdoors.
What adjustments does an employer need to make to its absence policy for a disabled employee?
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently considered how an employer might make allowances for disabled employees when applying its sickness absence policy.
Termination of employment: settlement negotiations must be 'subject to contract'
A recent case has highlighted the pitfalls of failing to make any settlement offer 'subject to contract'.
High Court rules on badger cull protestor injunction
In a ruling yesterday on application of the National Farmers Union, the High Court granted an interim injunction to restrain the activities of animal rights campaigners planning protests at next week's government-sanctioned badger cull.
Is Luis Suarez right: Does an oral agreement between parties vary the terms of their written agreement?
Last weekend heralded the return of the Premier League football season, and the spotlight for the foreseeable future for clubs, players and fans is firmly fixed on potential transfer business before the transfer window closes.
New guidance leaves crucial data protection compliance questions unanswered
One of the best known rights enshrined in the Data Protection Act 1998 is the right of individuals to make data subject access requests (DSARs) of any organisation they believe is holding - described by the Act as processing - their personal data.
When does custom and practice create a legal entitlement to employment benefits?
Employees sometimes argue that what the employer considered a discretionary benefit has become a binding term of their employment contract through custom and practice.
Government launches consultation on new tax-free childcare scheme
On 5 August the Government launched a consultation on a new type of tax-free childcare scheme which is expected to be introduced from Autumn 2015. The consultation closes on 14 October 2013.
UK Supreme Court adopts pragmatic approach to alternative methods of service for service outside the jurisdiction
The Supreme Court upheld a High Court decision granting the appeallant permission to serve a claim form outside of the jurisdiction, despite the alternative method of service not originally being permitted by the order.
First charges by SFO under Bribery Act
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has brought proceedings against three individuals under the Bribery Act 2010.
A new 'Highway Code' for health and safety
'Managing for Health and Safety' is a new internet micro site published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at the end of July.
Discretionary bonuses: when can employers not pay?
The Co-Operative Insurance Society is reportedly in dispute with ten former employees for withholding their bonus payments due to difficult market conditions.
Material Adverse Change - What does it mean?
Material adverse change (MAC) provisions appear in the majority of loan agreements. The recent Grupo Hotelero case included interpretation of MAC in the context of a representation that there had been no MAC in a borrower's financial condition.
Zero hours contracts: is time up?
Growing public concern over zero hours contracts has led the Government to review their use. What does this mean for companies which employ staff on such contracts?
Late delivery of development: Repudiatory Breach?
The recent case of Telford Homes (Creekside) Ltd v Ampurius Nu Homes Holdings considered how serious a breach of contract needs to be before it can be accepted as a repudiatory breach of contract.
Housing Management Update: August 2013
'Bedroom tax' beginning to bite: On 1 April 2013, the cap on the amount of benefits people can receive took effect across England, Scotland and Wales.
Should a landlord shadow its tenant's premises licence?
Loss of a premises licence can have a significant impact on the value of a property.
Rihanna image infringed by Topshop
The High Court has ruled in favour of pop star Rihanna against high street clothes retailer Topshop, which used an unauthorised image of her (almost identical to one used on her CD) on some of its T-shirts.
Bribery and Economic Crime - Deferred Prosecution Agreements a new tool for prosecutors
The Government has long protested that the present legal system had inadequate powers to effectively deal with criminal enforcement against commercial organisations in the field of complex and serious economic crime.
Nortel and Lehman Brothers Case on FSDs Decided - A workable way forward
The case involved two groups (the Nortel group and the Lehman group) each of which contained occupational pension schemes with substantial funding deficits.
Discrimination: is the next big thing 'lookism'?
Not for the first time the fashion industry is under fire for its recruitment policies. Could requiring staff to have a certain 'look' be the next form of discrimination?
Energy savings opportunity for larger companies
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is currently consulting on proposals for a new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).
Public hearing maintained despite fear of reputational damage
When disputes escalate to court proceedings, it is not uncommon for the Statements of Case to contain pointed allegations of misconduct or impropriety.
Significant employment law and practice changes from 29 July 2013
Monday 29 July 2013 will see some very significant changes to employment law and practice and employers and individuals need to make sure they are ready!
Chattels and Fixtures: Remove or Not?
Peel Land and Property (Ports No.3) Limited v Sheerness Steel Limited, decided in June, considers the classification of chattels and fixtures and the tricky distinction between those fixtures a tenant may and may not remove at the end of its lease.
Court of Appeal success for holiday park owner
A Court of Appeal judgment has confirmed an important exception to the general rule that positive covenants do not bind subsequent purchasers of the freehold title.
Litigation: A bit like the Tour de France
Many of us have been avid watchers of this year's Tour de France, and it got us to thinking that this epic race is a little bit like litigation.
UPDATE: Employee ownership
Employee ownership is a topic that remains high on the Government's agenda.
Royal baby: common maternity pitfalls for employers
The Duchess of Cambridge is the newest member of The Firm but, as the world celebrates the arrival of her baby, it is unlikely that Kate will have to deal with the difficulties encountered by many women on maternity leave.
ECJ makes employer friendly TUPE decision: relief for transferees
The ECJ has ruled that UK courts must adopt a 'static' rather than 'dynamic' approach to collectively agreed terms on a TUPE transfer. This is good news for transferees on a public sector outsourcing.
Please release me: Lease guarantors and licences for alterations
The recent decision in Topland Portfolio No.1 Limited v Smiths New Trading Limited is a useful reminder to landlords to join any existing guarantor into supplemental lease documents.
Workers have free choice of companions at disciplinary and grievance meetings
A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal demonstrates the latitude which employers must give workers in choosing companions to accompany them at disciplinary and grievance meetings.
Bringing an administration to an end: Considerations for administrators
A recent opinion by Lord Hodge in the Court of Session has clarified an administrator's powers and duties in cases where they wish to bring an administration to an end.
Managing absence in the heatwave: throwing 'sickies' in the sunshine
With the current heatwave, employers need to consider their strategy for keeping control of employee absences during the hot weather as employees make the most of the sun.
A lucky break?
In Siemens Hearing Instruments Limited v Friends Life Limited, the High Court has held that a break notice which failed to comply with the express provisions of the break clause was nonetheless valid.
The Draft Consumer Rights Bill - enhanced rights for consumers
The Government has published its Draft Consumer Rights Bill, through which it proposes a significant overhaul of UK consumer protection legislation.
Royal baby: paternity leave entitlements for Prince William
As the world waits for the arrival of Royal baby Cambridge we consider the current statutory paternity leave entitlements of expectant fathers and how these are expected to change in the future.
Wal-Mart fined for dumping hazardous waste in US
In May 2013, US store Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri over a number of years. It has agreed to pay almost $82m (£54m) in civil and criminal charges.
Code of practice for well-maintained highways held to be non-mandatory guidance
Some local authorities may have been concerned by the decision of Mrs Justice Slade in AC v Devon CC  EWHC 796 (QB,) which held that the recommended inspection interval of roads in a non-statutory code of practice was a mandatory standard.
Reasonable adjustments: disabled employee could be subject to competitive interview
The EAT has ruled that an employer was not required to waive a competitive interview process for a disabled employee in a redundancy situation.
Disciplining employees in their absence: employers beware!
There may be occasions when employers have to take disciplinary action against employees in their absence but this carries legal risks.
Capacity and identity: Who do you think you are?
The recent Court of Appeal case of Hamid v Francis Bradshaw Partnership has highlighted the importance of ensuring that the identity of the parties to - and the capacity of a signatory of - a contract are clear.
Major change to collective redundancy consultation: Counting to 20
The eagerly awaited Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment in the case of USDAW and others v WW Realisation 1 Ltd (in Liquidation) and others has been published.
Divorce and debt: Protecting spouses rights in Scotland
A recent judgment in the Scottish Court of Session has underlined the need for couples who are divorced or separated to ensure that their interests are adequately protected against any financial difficulties their former partner may experience.
Content at a cost: OFT probes in-app purchases
A string of news stories highlighting the ease with which children can spend hundreds of pounds in a free-to-download application - 'app' - has prompted the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to launch an investigation.
Tuesday 25 June was an historic day for the Scottish Parliament. A bill allowing the Scottish Government to set and collect stamp duty from the sale of properties was approved by MSPs.
Draft Consumer Rights Bill Published
The Draft Bill was published on 12 June 2013 and will represent the biggest overhaul of consumer law for decades.
One in five construction sites fails safety checks
A recent month-long HSE initiative found that almost one-in-five construction sites visited failed safety checks.
Safety warnings after the Lakanal House fire
At 4:20pm on 3 July 2009, a fire broke out at Lakanal House, London. Six people lost their lives in the fire, and an extensive investigation followed by the Metropolitan Police and Southwark Council.
Health surveillance: What is it?
The HSE has launched new online guidance on 'health surveillance' to make it easier for employers to understand their obligations and how they can check and protect their workers' health.
Effective risk management
Effective risk management is an integral part of ensuring compliance across many aspects of regulatory law.
Using restrictive covenants to secure overage payments
In the recent case of Cosmichome Ltd v Southampton City Council, the High Court considered the suitability of using a restrictive covenant to secure an overage payment.
Counting the Cost of Time
If your business has been disrupted by a problem that later leads to litigation, you may be able to recover the cost of time spent by management and staff in remedying the problem.
Collective consultation and the meaning of establishment: Hints of a surprising decision from the EAT
There have been a number of stories circulating in the legal press during the past week that suggest we face a significant change in the law concerning collective redundancy consultation.
EU venture capital fund regulation gets green light
The European Parliament and Council has approved a new proposed Regulation for managers of European Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA).
New Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure: the essentials
Users of the Employment Tribunals will have to get to grips with a new set of procedural rules. The new rules are introduced from 29 July 2013.
Commercial rent arrears recovery: Practical steps for commercial landlords to consider
Commercial landlords will be familiar with the common law remedy of levying distress for rent.
Trade union membership increasing in the UK
The office of National Statistics has recently released its annual review of Trade Union membership in the UK.
Google auto complete function: Time to clean up its act?
Have you ever been impressed with the ability of Google to read your mind when you type a phrase into the search box and it finishes off your sentence?
Warranties: How far do they extend?
In the recent case of Belfairs Management Limited v Sutherland the Court of Appeal examined how far the scope of a warranty may extend.
Directors' pay - shareholders to have the final say!
During the past year we outlined some of the changes proposed by the Government in relation to directors' remuneration.
Has your company done its research into R&D tax relief?
Many companies may be unaware that they are eligible to claim research and development (R&D) tax relief, and will be surprised by how much relief they could claim.
Consent payments: Are they lawful?
Are 'payments' offered to loan note holders to encourage their consent to documentation changes allowed?
Invoice financing: Are you 'on trend'?
In these challenging times, with change around every corner, invoice financing offers a way for businesses to manage cash flow and free up working capital - it is fast evolving into the latest way to fund.
European Commission consults on new technology licensing rules
The EC has conducted a consultation on proposed changes to the technology transfer block exemption (TTBE) and accompanying Guidelines, which exempt certain technology licensing agreements from the EU/UK competition law ban on anti-competitive agreements.
General Medical Council: Changes to GMC Fitness to Practise Rules
On 11 June 2012, the Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service (MPTS) was launched to provide an impartial adjudication function for doctors as part of the GMC's fitness to practise reforms.
When disaster strikes ...
... businesses need to ensure that they are able to continue 'business as usual.'
Pension trustee decision-making: Fishing for a solution?
On 9 May, the Supreme Court gave judgment in the cases of Futter and another v HMRC and Pitt and another v HMRC. These cases are very similar and deal with decision-making by pension trustees.
All change, please: Defamation Act 2013
After considerable Parliamentary ping-pong and various political manoeuvrings in light of the Leveson inquiry recommendations, Royal Assent has finally been given to the Act that purports to balance protection of reputation and freedom of speech ...
References for ex-employees: an employers' guide to avoiding liability
Drafting references can be a legal minefield for employers. This has not been helped by recent confusion over whether ex-employees are protected against victimisation if they receive a negative assessment.
Retail travel: An opportunity for growth
Travel locations, such as airports and train stations, are one part of the retail sector which has held up relatively well during the economic downturn.
Further twists to service charge consultation
In the recent case of Daejan Investments Ltd v Benson , the Supreme Court granted a landlord dispensation from service charge consultation requirements, overturning the decisions of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) and the Court of Appeal.
Sir Alex Ferguson's departure shows employers need game plan for succession
When a key employee leaves, even on friendly terms, employers can find themselves facing difficult practical and legal issues over who to replace them with. How can employers manage succession in an orderly way?
Bring your own device: ICO publishes new guidance
A survey by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has revealed that 47% of all UK adults now use their personal smart phone, laptop or tablet computer for work purposes - known as 'bring your own device' (BYOD).
Judicial review: It's about time
At present, an application for a judicial review of a decision made by a public body must be made 'promptly' and within three months of that decision being taken in any event.
Life cycle of a services contract: what goes around comes around
When negotiating a contract for the provision of services the legal implications of TUPE should inform the commercial position of the parties.
New redundancy consultation requirements: some things stay the same
Although changes to the collective redundancy consultation regime introduced last month have been well publicised, some important things are not changing.
Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill finally received Royal Assent on 25 April. Amending existing legislation, it introduces a number of reforms that will affect the planning application process.
Promises, promises: employers must be careful what they say to employees in difficult times
The Court of Appeal recently upheld the EAT's decision in a case concerning bonuses promised to bankers prior to the sale of their employer.
TUPE: duty to inform and consult does not apply if transfer never takes place
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has handed down a helpful decision on identifying the affected employees with whom information and consultation must take place on a TUPE transfer.
Corporate governance: trade union voting and engagement guidelines
The TUC, Unison and UNITE recently announced they had formed the Trade Union Share Owners group and published the Trade Union Voting and Engagement Guidelines.
Empty property rates relief: High Court decision
We have commented in the past about actions local authorities are taking to challenge the availability of charitable rates relief in connection with various arrangements that charities have been involved with.
Purpose clauses: Can Lenders claim breach of trust?
In most facility agreements, lenders include a clause that the loan can only be used for a specific purpose (for example to assist with the costs of development of a property).
Pensions: Is this the end for RPI?
On 19 March 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published two new price indices (RPIJ and CPIH) and de-designated RPI as a National Statistic.
Property owners are at risk if Land Registry addresses are out-of-date
The Land Registry requires an address for service for owners of certain interests in land. Most significantly, it requires an address for service for any owner of registered land or of a charge over it.
Disabled employees should have been offered part-time working
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently clarified the scope of
Reasonable adjustments for employees: a reminder for employers
The legal duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments is a regular source of litigation. In this article we remind employers of some of the main points to remember in this area.
Women on boards: progress made but more to do
The drive to increase female participation on the Boards of the UK's largest companies is still under the spotlight as a further report is published.
IT security is often virtually forgotten
The IT industry have seen a rapid move towards 'virtualisation' for example, the 2012 InformationWeek State of the Data Centre survey highlighted that half of the 256 respondents would have at least 50% of their production servers virtualised by 2013.
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act: Changes to heritage planning
Significant changes to the law concerning Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas are set to be made under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which received Royal Assent on 25 April.
Good faith: High Court decides to swim with the tide
In the recent case of Yam Seng Pte Limited v International Trade Corporation Limited, the High Court decided to swim with the tide and recognise an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.
Interim Rent Guide
Interim rent is a source of confusion for landlords, tenants and practitioners alike. Our team deals with hundreds of lease renewals each year, and this short guide deals with some of the more frequently asked questions.
CPR Reform: How Jackson will impact lease renewal proceedings
The 'Jackson Reforms' herald a new era in the management of and procedure for civil litigation.
Redevelopment Break Clauses
If a landlord is considering redeveloping premises but cannot yet make out the redevelopment statutory ground of opposition set out in section 30(1)(f) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, all is not lost - a redevelopment break clause could be an option
Commercial leases: the pitfalls of forfeiture
Forfeiture is a common and cost-effective method of terminating commercial leases, but is not always the best course of action.
Seed investment scheme begins to take root - SEIS extended
The Budget 2013 contained a number of measures to extend the capital gains tax relief for re-investing gains in Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) shares.
Will Supreme Court ruling impact on businesses offering 'repair and replace' warranties?
The Financial Services Authority (FSA - now replaced by the FCA) took action against Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Limited (Digital) to wind it up 'in the public interest'.
Crack down on National Minimum Wage payments as rates rise again
The National Minimum Wage will rise again in October 2013 when both the adult and apprenticeship rates will increase.
Mental health and best practice: Appropriately processing data from individuals with mental health problems under the Data Protection Act (1998)
The joint Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) and Royal Collage of Psychiatrists (RCP) brefing note on appropriately processing data from individuals with mental health problems was released on 4 April 2013.
Fees for Intervention - Six months on
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced the Fees for Intervention (FFI) scheme on 1 October 2012. Six months on, what has been the experience of clients?
UPDATE: Government action on share buy-backs
The BIS consultation on the recommendations in the Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership closed in November 2012.
Revised fit note guidance issued by DWP
From 6 April 2010 sick notes issued by GPs were replaced by fit notes. The Government hoped this would help encourage employees to return to work and reduce the culture of absenteeism.
EAT says obesity is not a disability
In a recent decision the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that obesity itself is not a disability for the purposes of discrimination law. However, it held that conditions caused by obesity are likely to render someone disabled.
Factors to consider before dismissing at the request of a third party
Employers may need to dismiss an employee in various circumstances because a third party has requested it. The EAT has recently considered what would render such a dismissal fair.
Transgender patients: Doctors and the General Medical Council
The Francis Report, published on 6 February 2013 as a result of the public enquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, places the onus on healthcare providers and healthcare professionals to put patients first.
Good character evidence: Wisson v Health Professions Council (2013)
The appellant was a podiatrist - Raymond Wisson - registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC)∗.
Minority shareholders: How far do your rights extend?
In the recent case of Eckerle and others v Wickeder Westfalenstahl GmbH and another, the High Court examined whether minority shareholder protection afforded by the Companies Act 2006 extends to a holder of beneficial interest in shares.
The concept of proportionality is not new to litigation
In addition to the overriding objective, a new test of proportionality has been introduced when assessing costs.
The concept of proportionality is not new to litigation
On 1 April 2013 there will be a cultural shift in the civil litigation landscape, mostly arising out of recommendations made by Lord Justice Jackson.
Civil Procedure Rules - The Big Bang: But what does it mean for you?
Lord Justice Jackson completed his year long review of costs in civil litigation in January 2010, when his final report was published.
High Growth Segment: New market now open
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has announced that its new market segment aimed at fast-growing companies is now open for applications for admission to trading.
Importance of legal representation before regulatory bodies
The appellant was a midwife employed at an NHS hospital, who faced 13 allegations at a Conduct and Competence Committee of the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). McDaid v Nursing & Midwifery Council  EWHC 586 (Admin).
Redundancy selection criteria - keeping it fair
When employers have to select employees for redundancy they risk claims for unfair dismissal, as a recent case shows.
The Health and Safety Executive and the GMC: A Memorandum of Understanding
In December 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the General Medical Council (GMC) released a Memorandum of Understanding to improve communication between the two organisations in areas where they share a mutual interest.
Snow and storms: survival guide for employers
As snow and storms cause severe disruption across the UK, many organisations will be forced to close but what are employers' rights and obligations in such circumstances?
Cooperation is what you need: Part 2 - Outsourcing: Customer breach of duty of good faith decision reversed
The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal to be brought by Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust against Compass Group UK and Ireland Limited T/A Medirest (Medirest) on the grounds that the High Court judgment made in 2012 should be overturned.
Budget 2013: Government looks again at housing supply
In his March 2013 Budget statement, the Chancellor has announced various measures targeted at promoting growth and addressing some of the structural issues with housing supply and accessibility.
Budget 2013: Tax Summary
The Chancellor presented the 2013 Budget to Parliament yesterday (20 March). The following is a summary of the main tax points of interest with the draft Finance Bill to be published on 28 March
Relaxing the regime on company names
Have you ever chosen the perfect name for a company, only to be told you cannot have it?
Hiring employees: maximising your returns
Recruitment company, Manpower, has reported that the UK's employment situation is the best since the recession began, and that recruitment is set to increase.
Loss of disciplinary data leads to large fine
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has been fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office for losing three DVDs which contained evidence relating to a disciplinary investigation.
Simplification of outline planning applications
The Government has continued its measures to streamline the planning process with the publication of the Town and Country (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment No 3) Order 2012 (DMPO), which came into effect on 31 January 2013.
Stamp Duty Land Tax: Finance Bill 2013 - Recent Developments
This article summarises the main changes proposed in the draft clauses of the Finance Bill 2013, with particular reference to the transfer of rights (sub-sale) rules.
A customer's guide to agile software development: part 2 - what should a customer do?
This article looks at what a customer entering an agile development project should do to ensure it is geared up to implement such a project and that the documents governing the same adequately protect its position.
Exclusion of mines and minerals: the considerations
Reservations of mines and minerals have come into sharp focus over the last year, and pose a new challenge for developers.
Misconceptions in relation to Chancel Repair
There are some common misconceptions about chancel repair liability. Here, we seek to clarify two of them.
Late payment of commercial debts: New developments of interest
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 come into force on 16 March 2013, affecting commercial contracts for the supply of goods or services entered into after that date.
How to miss penalties: A guide to avoiding penalty clauses
Being English, you might think it is our nature to miss penalties, but what you might not realise is that as lawyers we can be just as anxious about penalties as the Premier League's finest.
A customer's guide to agile software development: part 1 - what is agile?
Agile software development is fast becoming a mainstream development methodology and has seen a steep increase in use over the last decade.
Yahoo, Marissa Mayer and remote working: the employment law angle
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer caused an outcry when she banned 'remote working' at the company: organisations thinking about a similar move could fall foul of employment laws.
Agency workers and collective consultation: don't get caught out
A recent employment tribunal decision is a timely warning to employers who may not be aware that the law relating to collective consultation on a TUPE transfer and where more than 20 redundancies are proposed has changed.
Fixed term contracts and redundancy consultation: changes from April 2013
Draft legislation to implement the Government's previously announced intention to make changes to the consultation regime for collective redundancies has now been published.
New UK Timber Regulations
New UK regulations come into force on 3 March 2013 to enforce the EU Timber Regulations.
Unfair dismissal for political views: no need for qualifying service
The requirement for employees to have two years' service before bringing a claim for unfair dismissal where the reason for dismissal was the employee's political opinion or affiliation is to be removed.
Temperature at work: Employer obligations
With more snow forecast in the coming weeks, it seems an appropriate time to consider temperature in the workplace and the responsibilities of employers to provide a comfortable work environment for their employees.
Employee shareholders: the basics
A new employment status intended to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to take on staff was proposed by the Government last year. Following a short consultation the legislation incorporating the changes is now making its way through Parliament.
Speeding towards trouble: Foreign employees in company cars
Employers of foreign nationals who visit the UK for extended periods and who need to drive for work, should be aware of UK requirements for international drivers and their responsibility for employees' health and safety.
Swansea mine deaths: charges confirmed
Malcolm Fyfield, a manager at the mine where four men lost their lives in 2011, has been charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter.
HSE to bring local authorities into line?
Local authorities have jurisdiction for enforcing health and safety legislation for a significant number of types of businesses and premises, including shops, hotels, warehouses, pubs and clubs.
Penalty clauses and liquidated damages: Traps for the unwary
Liquidated damages (LDs) clauses stipulate that a certain specified sum of money will be payable by one ('guilty') party to the other ('innocent') party, where there has been a particular breach of contract.
What is good faith?
Whilst there is no implied duty of good faith in English contracts, this is not the case in many European civil law jurisdictions; such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
Exclusion clauses: Top drafting tips and recent developments
The parties to a commercial agreement often try to manage their risk by inserting clauses into the contract stating that one or both of the parties' liability - for example, where there is a breach of contract - is limited or restricted in certain ways.
Competition law compliance: OFT fines Mercedes-Benz and three of its dealers
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today announced fines of £2.6m for Mercedes-Benz and three of its commercial vehicle dealers.
IT contracts: Dealing with the risk of supplier insolvency
The collapse of systems integrator and reseller 2e2 in January has highlighted the danger for clients of companies such as 2e2, and focuses attention on how to deal with this type of situation.
Love in the workplace: heartache for employers?
As the nation has just participated in the annual lovefest that is Valentine's Day, spare a thought for employers having to deal with the fall out from the increasingly common office romance.
State aid: Green light for UK's Green Deal
The European Commission has given the green light to a £600m funding package to support the UK's Green Deal - a new way for consumers to pay for energy saving improvements to their property.
High and dry? Flooding and uninsured risks
The Statement of Principles on the Provision of Flood Insurance was last renewed by the Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in July 2008.
PILON: Employer pays the price for termination confusion
The Supreme Court recently handed down an important decision affecting the operation of pay in lieu of notice clauses.
Checking criminal records: Court rules current regime must change
In the recent case of T v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and ors, the Court of Appeal considered whether the current criminal records checking system breaches article 8 of the ECHR.
Break conditions in a lease: no Court of Appeal ruling on strict compliance
It has been reported in the legal press that the parties in <em>Avocet Industrial Estates LLP v Merol Ltd and another  </em> have reached an agreement in court.
Going viral: misuse of work emails
In this article we consider the legal issues regarding misuse of email in the workplace and what employers can do to protect their businesses.
Litigation in Scotland
The addition of the ACH Shoosmiths full service office in Edinburgh means that Shoosmiths can advise clients on litigation matters throughout the UK. In this article we highlight some of the key litigation considerations north of the border.
Restrictive covenants in sale agreements: Enforceable or restraint of trade?
A recent High Court case has considered whether restrictive covenants placed on a seller amounted to an unlawful restraint of trade.
Pension Schemes: Pension Protection Fund and Contingent assets 2013-2014
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has published its Levy Estimate for the 2013/14 levy year.
Victory for franchisors
In the recent High Court case of PSG Franchising v Lydia Darby, a year-long restrictive covenant in a franchise agreement to protect the franchisor's goodwill post-termination, was held to be valid and enforceable - despite being drafted in broad terms.
BIS launches new code of practice for age restricted products
The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a new Age Restricted Products Code of Practice.
Permitted development rights - office to residential conversion
The Government is introducing a new permitted development right to allow offices to be converted into flats without the need for planning permission.
On your NED be it: A reminder of the expectations of the role of non-executive directors
On 18 January, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) published a guidance note on the liability of non-executive directors (NEDs).
Changes to Energy Performance Regulations
The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 came into force on 9 January 2013, replacing all previous energy performance regulations.
FOS award no longer end of the road for claimants
In late December 2012, the High Court heard the appeal in Clark v In Focus Asset Management and Tax Solutions Limited.
The Green Deal: Should you take advantage?
Funding under the Green Deal will be available for domestic and non-domestic properties from 28 January 2013.
Online behavioural advertising: The new rules
From 4 February 2013, organisations using targeting advertising online - known as 'online behavioural advertising' (OBA) - will be required to tell web users about their use of OBA and allow them to opt-out of having their data collected and used for OBA.
Supreme Court decision on legal advice privilege
The Supreme Court today handed down its decision in the case of R (on the application of Prudential plc and another) (Appellants) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and another (Respondents)  UKSC 1.
Construction blacklisting: ICO under scrutiny
The Information Commissioner's handling of the blacklisting of construction workers scandal is under scrutiny in Parliament.
TUPE changes: end of the line for service change provisions?
A consultation on removing the service change provisions from TUPE has been launched.
Tenants' right of first refusal: Transfer to a management company
It is well known that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 - legislation relating to tenants' right of first refusal - is badly drafted, but developers need to be aware of a lesser known defect affecting flats schemes.
Job applicants' health: Can employers ask about it?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued guidance for employers and job applicants on pre employment health questions.
Equity markets: Taking the long-term view
The Government has published its response to Professor John Kay's review of UK equity markets and long-term decision making, which focused on changing the perceived culture of short-termism in the equity markets (the Kay Review).
Christine Tacon appointed first Groceries Code Adjudicator
Christine Tacon has been appointed to the newly-created role of independent Groceries Code Adjudicator - already dubbed 'supermarket ombudsman'.
Action by ROT suppliers: Effective enforcement of your claim
A supplier wishing to assert a claim to reservation or retention of title (ROT) of stock it has supplied may be faced with a real predicament on learning that a customer has gone into administration.
Warranties and representations? Why it matters
In Sycamore Bidco Ltd v Breslin, the High Court considered whether express warranties in a share sale agreement could also found an action for misrepresentation.
Competition law compliance: OFT investigates construction training services sector
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched an investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct concerning provision of training services to the construction industry.
Religion at work: new ECHR ruling
The European Court of Human Rights has handed down a judgment considering the right of individuals to manifest their religion in the workplace.
Are you breaching your ongoing duty of care under the Data Protection Act?
£325,000 - the largest Civil Monetary Penalty issued to date by the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) for breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA).
Budget changes: Entrepreneurs' relief and EMI options
The Finance Bill 2013 makes changes to the rules applying entrepreneurs' relief (ER) to the disposal by an employee or officer of a company, on or after 6 April 2013, of shares meeting the requirements of the enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme.
High Court rules on competition law damages and conspiracy claims
The High Court has confirmed that so-called 'follow on' damages actions brought under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 may be based on the tort of conspiracy to use unlawful means.
CRC - Government confirms CRC will continue in a simplified form
The Government's Autumn Statement confirmed that the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (
Pension auto-enrolment: Fewer workers will now be caught
Changes announced at the end of 2012 will result in fewer lower paid workers being subject to the new auto-enrolment pension regime.
New 2013 rates and limits for employment claims and payments
The new limits on employment tribunal awards and on statutory payments for 2013 have been announced.
Volunteer was not protected against discrimination
The Supreme Court recently ruled that a volunteer was not protected against disability discrimination.
Consensual Disposal: Osteopaths
All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and fit to practise. This means they must have the requisite skills, knowledge, good character and health to carry out their professional responsibilities safely and competently
Finance Bill 2013: Caps on income tax reliefs
The draft Finance Bill 2013, published on 11 December, includes a cap on the amount of income tax relief that tax payers can receive, where the relief itself is not already capped.
Last orders for Machine Games Duty Registration
Owners and tenants of premises operating gaming machines only have a few days left to register for the new Machine Games Duty (MGD) or they could face penalties imposed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).