2019 will be a year of change for employers and it is vital that companies are prepared in order to avoid potential tribunal claims against them. Chris Greep, Employment Solicitor, reviews the key updates we can expect to see in the next 12 months. ...
As this is my last edition as editor of the Commercial Brief I thought it would be appropriate to become slightly philosophical on a legal subject that is very close to my heart—commercial contracts. I have, over the years, seen and indeed drafted,...
Landlords will be familiar with the protection afforded to business tenants when it comes to lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. At the end of WWII, commercial property was at a premium. Business tenants found that when they...
An option available to a tenant under a commercial lease is the ability to assign (or transfer) the lease to a third party. This will usually require the landlord’s consent. One of the conditions of a landlord giving their consent will inevitably be...
The Trade Marks Regulation 2018 (SI 2018/825), implementing the Trade Marks Directive (EU) 2015/2436 and amending the Trade Marks Act and the Trade Mark Rules 2008 came into force on 14 January 2019. We list below some of the most important changes: Marks...
In the case of Christian Fülla v Toolport GmbH (Case C-52/18) EU:C:2019:22 (15 January 2019) Advocate General Wahl has issued an opinion concerning the return of defective goods for repair, under the Sales and Guarantees Directive (1999/44/EC )...
Guidance has been issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) concerning the use of personal data after Brexit. The BEIS guidance explains how Brexit will affect UK businesses both in the event of a deal and if there is no...
In the case of Wells (Respondent) v Devani (Appellant)  UKSC 4 (13 February 2019) ), the Supreme Court unanimously found that an estate agency agreement with the seller was complete and enforceable despite not expressly stating the trigger events when...
Magnacrest Ltd, a housing developer, pleaded guilty at the Westminster Magistrates' Court to a charge brought under section 47(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued by the Information...
Companies House has published guidance concerning changes to the registration of companies in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The guidance includes information concerning: European entities formed under EU law (i.e. Societas Europaea...
New pay slip requirements are set to come into force requiring itemised calculations for variable rates of pay and hours worked. This requirement will also be extended to include workers, not just employees. Gina McCadden, Employment Solicitor,...
GDPR has been effective for almost six months now and the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has prosecuted or taken other enforcement action (and imposed monetary penalties, enforcement notices, or demanded undertakings)...
Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc was unsuccessful in its appeal against the High Court ruling that it was vicariously liable for an employee's deliberate disclosure online of co-workers' personal data.
In the case of WH Holding Ltd and others v E20 Stadium LLP  EWHC 2971 (Ch) (5 November 2018) the High Court had cause to consider the application of Civil Procedure Rule 31.17 and the principles relevant when the Court decided whether to order a non party to litigation to give disclosure.
The case of Phones 4U Ltd (in Administration) v EE Ltd  EWHC 49 provides a useful reminder that the content of a notice served to terminate a contract will be critical when considering whether a party can sue for damages arising from a party’s repudiatory breach of a contract.
In recent months, there has been a growing trend in the way commercial tenants are using a particular type of insolvency prevention procedure, known as a Company Voluntary Agreement, to reduce the amount they are paying to their landlords. Here Helen Porter,...
It is nearly five months since the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force but whether any business could achieve full compliance is still uncertain. Is it possible that efforts to comply are being drowned in a sea of Data...
The requirement for companies with over 250 employees to annually produce a Gender Pay Gap Report came into force this year, with much publicity around its implementation and subsequent results. The same attention has not been given yet however to the...
If you have bought, sold or rented commercial property, then you may have heard your legal adviser refer to Commercial Property Standard Enquiries, or more commonly known CPSE. While the name may refer to them as ‘standard’, if you...
Landlords and tenants alike are being warned of the importance of clear drafting in relation to their commercial property leases following the recent ruling in Hipwell v Szurek . In this case, Ms Szurek rented premises from Mr Hipwell to be a...
In the European case of Conseils et mise en relations (CMR) SARL v Demeures terre et tradition SARL (Case C-645/16) EU:C:2018:262 (19 April 2018) the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) was required to consider whether a commercial agent was entitled to indemnity or compensation when termination occurred during a contractual trial period.
In the case of Health & Care Management Ltd v The Physiotherapy Network Ltd  EWHC 869 (QB) (19 April 2018), the High Court has underlined the benefit of a well drafted “good faith” clause and the ability for such a clause to make up for any drafting deficiencies within the body of the contract.
This article is directed particularly to those “fortunate” individuals responsible for GDPR compliance in their organisations. It is anticipated that in answer to the question are you ready for GDPR, many would answer no—in common with most UK businesses.
Mental Health Awareness Week begins today, Monday 14th May, and serves as an opportunity for employers to revisit current practices and confirm if their policy and culture match up to best practice. The taboo of talking about mental health has started to shift, following several high-profile campaigns, but many employers are keeping quiet and avoiding conversations with staff, even though they have legal responsibilities and it’s been shown to improve the bottom line.
According to a poll commissioned by office-furniture supplier Kit Out My Office, more than two-thirds of UK office workers have admitted to stealing from their employers and colleagues at some time during their careers. With the cost of stolen items averaging at £12.50 and an estimated 15 million workers having confessed to employee theft, the cost to UK employers adds up to a staggering £190 million each year. For employers, dealing with employee theft can be a difficult process; Employment Lawyer, Emma Kemp, explains what steps you should take if you suspect one of your workers is stealing from your business.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) which came into force on 1 October 2015 has been billed as the biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation.
There are some organisations that depend on volunteer workers to survive, such as charities and fundraising bodies. Employers need to be aware that recruiting volunteer workers comes with certain regulations that must be met. Sarah Whitemore, Employment Partner, here explains the legal obligations for employers to stay on the right side of the law, and how they can support charitable organisations in doing so.
It is now only three months until the General Data Protection Regulation goes live and local law firm, Warner Goodman are seeing an increasing number of requests for assistance in making businesses compliant.
As from 13th January 2018 businesses are no longer able to charge a consumer for payments made by credit card or debit card.
Against a background of government reforms in Courts and Tribunals, the Ministry of Justice aims to ensure that the process of debt recovery strikes a balance, between the legitimate right of an individual or business to pursue a money claim, and the right of a debtor, to know of any claim against them and have the opportunity to defend that claim.
As we move into a New Year, we look ahead to the upcoming changes in employment law legislation. It is important employers familiarise themselves with the upcoming changes in adequate time to enable the necessary steps to be taken to avoid potential fines or claims being brought against them.
A landmark decision was reached recently by the Supreme Court, who found that employment tribunal fees are unlawful as they “effectively prevent access to justice”. Unison has been in a legal battle with the Government since the fees were introduced, stating that the fees made it “virtually impossible or excessively difficult” for some individuals to exercise their employment rights, and that the fees regime indirectly discriminates against some groups.
On 7th August the Digital Minister of the UK Government announced the imminent publication of a “Data Protection Bill” and released a “Statement of Intent” in which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport sets out its plans for the future regulation of personal data usage by business and its enforcement.
A recently published report has been met with mixed reactions on how it will reform our current working practices. The Matthew Taylor report, Employment Practices in the Modern Economy, reviews areas such as the ‘gig economy’ and makes recommendations on proposals such as stronger incentives for firms to treat workers fairly and a more pro-active approach to workplace health. Natalie Rawson, Employment Lawyer, here reviews the key areas of the report and explains what it means for employers and employees in the future.
Following the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations on 26 June 2017, businesses need to be aware of important new deadlines under the People with Significant Control (PSC) Regime.
The phrase ‘Gig Economy’ was coined during the financial crisis in 2009 which saw record levels of unemployment in the UK. A proportion of those affected made a living by ‘gigging’ on a flexible, ad hoc basis. Instead of receiving a regular wage they were paid per ‘gig’.
Outside specialist lawyer/IP practitioner circles the risks or benefits of legal action against unjustified threats are little known. This cause of action is only applicable to intellectual property infringements and even specialists have had difficulty analysing what is, or is not, a threat.
Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR) are becoming more prevalent, and while there is currently a maximum fee of £10 to make a request, under new data protection rules, namely GDPR, they will be free of charge in the future.
Civil restraint orders (CROs) prevent individuals from bringing claims or applications which are without merit. CROs normally require their subject to obtain court permission before further claims or applications relating to a particular cause of action can be issued (e.g. a claim for patent infringement). They should not be confused with “Restraining Orders” being court orders that help protect people from violence; stalking, serious harassment or threats of violence.
Small businesses are due to benefit from new regulations introduced this month that require larger companies to publish information about how long they take to pay their suppliers. Brian Kirby, Head of Debt Recovery, reviews the regulations here and further explains how small businesses can help reclaim debts if there are payments outstanding.
If you are a commercial property investor or a business tenant, you will inevitably have come across an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) over the last few years. They are required to be provided by a landlord upon the new letting of any commercial property on the open market and are the scale upon which the energy efficiency of a property is assessed.
Most employers this year will be considering how employment law will change as we start our negotiations to leave the EU, and while we cannot predict how this decision will impact employment law at this stage, there are certain areas that we can foresee.
GDPR was adopted by the European Parliament on 25th May 2016 and comes into effect on 25th May 2018. Geoffrey Sturgess explains what this means for businesses and what action you need to be taking.
The use of personal data in the United Kingdom (UK) is currently governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) which was implemented in order to comply with the European Union’s (EU) Data Protection Directive (DPD). The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces this current legislation and is in force with effect from the 25th May 2018, in a bid to harmonise practices across all member states.
Experts across the world are focusing on property laws and how they will stand up to the growing popularity of reality gaming, following on from the global success of Pokémon Go. Helen Porter, Commercial Lawyer, advises business and property owners of their rights when trespassing is becoming an increasing concern.
There is a great deal of uncertainty following the outcome of the ‘Brexit’ referendum. However, it is important to remember that nothing has actually changed, yet.
Where parties enter into a contract and there remain provisions to be agreed in the future then the contract may lack certainty and be considered a mere agreement to agree. It has long been held that if such a contract lacks sufficient certainty then it may be unenforceable.
From 1st July 2016 the Company Annual Return that needs to be made to Companies House has been replaced by the Confirmation Statement. The change was made by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The Confirmation Statement will be due on the date that the Annual Return would have been due.
It is very likely that a significant number of UK unlisted companies and their directors, have since 6th April 2006 unwittingly been committing a number of new criminal offences for which the humans amongst them could be imprisoned.
On 23rd June the UK voted to leave the European Union, a decision that will have substantial effect on a number of legal issues which are very relevant to UK businesses even if they do not trade with other EU states. At present it is not easy to predict those effects as they all depend, in large part, on decisions which are yet to be made by UK and EU politicians and bureaucrats as part of the two year disconnection process.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 made significant changes to the rights and obligations of parties in business to consumer contracts.
Disputes commonly arise out of building contracts. These could include arguments as to quality or price, being kicked off site or being asked to do more than what was initially agreed.
As reported in our Autumn 2015 Commercial Brief, the (“the Act”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.
One of the aims of the Act is to enhance the transparency of UK private companies and from 6th April 2016 most companies have to start maintaining a register of people with significant control (“PSC register”), although the obligation to file this information at Companies House will not come into effect until three months later.
The General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, will replace the Data Protection Act in 2018 following its adoption by the European Parliament on 14th April. It is much tougher on businesses.
In late 2015 the Supreme Court gave its judgment on the joint cases of Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi (“El Makdessi”) and ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis (“ParkingEye”)  UKSC 67. In these cases the Court considered the long standing rules and principles in relation to penalty clauses contained in commercial contracts.
In the recent case of Bartholomews Agri Food Ltd v Thornton the High Court rejected an employer’s application to enforce the terms of a restrictive covenant contained within a contract of employment.
George Osborne delivered his 8th Budget on 16th March 2016, and has introduced a change to commercial stamp duty land tax (SDLT).
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (“the Regulations”) gave effect to the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The Regulations prohibit misleading commercial practices that may cause the average consumer to take a different commercial decision to that which they intended.
After substantial discussions in the corridors of Brussels a nearly final form of the General Data Processing Regulation “GDPR” has been published. Announced by Brussels as creating a “single market for data processing across the EU” it will in fact create substantial new compliance obligations for most businesses in the UK when, as anticipated, it comes into effect in 2017.
The Housing and Planning Bill has now had its second reading in the House of Lords on 26 January 2016, after passing through the House of Commons. The next stage for the bill is scrutiny by a House of Lords committee who will look at the bill line by line. The committee will produce a report on the Bill and it will then go for a final third reading in the House of Lords before both Houses consider any amendments and the Bill receives Royal Assent.
After building up a successful business and reaping the rewards, it may be time to think about how else your brand can work for you. Apart from the typical route of employing more staff in new locations, and taking on new premises, an alternative and often overlooked option is franchising.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“the Act”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. The aim of the Act is to enhance the transparency of UK companies. The Act introduces new filing requirements for companies, and will impact upon most businesses of all sizes.
It may be ‘Drive Time’ on the radio; but it may also be working time…and paid too. A recent Spanish Court case will impact on businesses employing mobile workers. A Spanish Court case has concluded that employees who travel from home straight to a client’s business address were doing so within ‘working time’ under the EU’s Working Time Directive. The decision may impact on both working time limits and wages.
If a client of yours is refusing to pay an outstanding bill, the financial implications to your business are obvious, but there’s also the cost of spending time attempting to recover the debt, as well as disruption to any future engagement or projects....
Alice Samuel, Legal Secretary in the Company Commercial team reviews The Modern Slavery Act which was passed in March 2015 and is intended to tackle modern slavery by consolidating and defining various offences that relate to human trafficking and slavery. It provides for two main offences that relate to holding another person in slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with the intention of exploiting them.
A worker who was dismissed after failing to follow new health and safety guidelines has won his claim for unfair dismissal in the Court of Appeal. Emma Wyatt, Employment Law Solicitor, reviews the case and warns businesses that it is not enough to issue new procedures and risk assessment requirements, without making sure that employees are fully aware of the changes and are properly trained.
The summer holiday season may be a thing of the recent past, but employers should be taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting burnt over holiday pay in the future. Howard Robson, Employment Partner, here explains how the outcome of a recent case means employers are now required to permit holiday entitlement to be carried over for up to 18 months if it has been unused due to sickness.
The release of the hacked data from an extramarital dating site will have given its customers more than the usual worry that accompanies news of cyber-crime. Geoffrey Sturgess, Company Commercial Consultant Solicitor, explains the different ways in which cyber-crime can occur and advises businesses to carefully review their information risk management regime, assessing their processes with the same rigour as legal, regulatory, financial or operational risk.
New Energy Efficiency Regulations have been passed this year in an attempt to meet parliamentary targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and here Colin Winyard, Commercial Property Solicitor, advises landlords of privately rented commercial properties to familiarise themselves with these rules as they are likely to have a significant impact on their properties as well as the tenants who occupy them.
Chris Greep from our Employment Team here reviews a recent case considering obesity as a disability and whether employees have the right to bring a claim for weight related disability discrimination.
Torion Bowles of our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team takes a look at the recent Court of Appeal decision where it was found that Mattel’s Community Trademark for SCRABBLE was not infringed or passed off by Zynga Inc’s online words game Scramble With Friends (“SWF”).
The recent case of USDAW and another v WW Realisation 1 Ltd, Ethel Austin Ltd and another provides clarification of the meaning of the word ‘establishment’ for the purposes of determining when collective redundancy requirements apply. Howard Robson, Employment Partner, reviews the cases and what they might mean for employers.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEE Act) will abolish corporate directors from 1st October 2015. Steven Grant, Company Commercial Partner, explains here that companies will no longer be allowed to be a director of another company and advises that those using corporate directors would be well placed to start considering how the SBEE Act will affect them, and whether they will need to restructure their boards.
Three individuals set out to bring a claim in England against US based company, Google Inc., for misuse of their private information. Torion Bowles, Litigation Solicitor, reviews the case (Google Inc. v. Judith Vidal-Hall and others  EWCA Civ 311), which has not reached trial yet, but has resulted in a number of ground-breaking changes to the law already being decided upon.
Does your holiday entitlement year run from 1 April – 31 March? If so, does your employment contract state that your employees’ paid annual leave entitlement is “20 day’s holiday plus bank holidays”? If the answer is another “yes” you need to ensure your business is prepared for the upcoming shift in Easter holiday dates. Sarah Whitemore, Employment Partner, explains how the dates will impact your holiday year and what steps you should consider to avoid your employees losing part of their holiday entitlement, and you being at risk of breach on contract claims.
Two companies who went to court in an argument over whose terms and conditions applied to a contract between them, have both lost out. Steven Grant, Head of the Commercial Team at Warner Goodman Commercial, explains more about the case here, and why the High Court decided that neither company had a leg to stand on in their dispute over the supply of rubber gaskets.
2013 is looking to be another successful year for the Employment Team in terms of their Seminars and Masterclass diary. Employment Partner, Sarah Whitemore, tells us what delegates can look forward to this year, and why attendee numbers grow year on year.
2014 saw ground breaking changes in terms of Employment Law; Equal Pay Audits, ACAS Early Conciliation and Shared Parental Leave were all introduced, and two of the biggest tribunal cases took place involving commission and calculating holiday pay. Emma Wyatt, Assistant Solicitor in our Employment Team, here explains how 2015 is set to be yet another year of developments as these implementations continue to take effect over the next 12 months, and how the result of the upcoming General Election could take us down a very different path.
Holiday pay calculations under the Working Time Regulations have been subject to many changes over the years, and it looks like this is set to continue. 2014 saw several tribunal claims challenge the proposition that overtime and commission payments should not be included within weekly pay, and consequently holiday pay.
Most businesses need standard terms to operate, and it’s important these are kept up-to-date. Steven Grant, Partner in the Company Commercial team, here answers 10 of the most common questions asked by clients.
The recent case of Schroder Exempt Property Unit Trust and another v Birmingham City Council provides a significant clarification of the law on liability for business rates on empty commercial property when a lease has been disclaimed. Colin Winyard, Commercial Property Solicitor, reviews the case and what this means for commercial property owners.
A new Pre Action Protocol for Debt Claims (The Debt Protocol) is likely to be introduced by Spring 2015, following on from Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendation that a new specific pre action protocol should be introduced. Brian Kirby, Head of Debt Recovery, explains what these changes mean if your business is claiming payment of a debt from an individual.
The usual contractual methods for terminating a lease, or strictly, the ending of the tenant’s obligations under a lease, whether by the fixed term coming to an end, the operation of a break clause, by agreed surrender or assignment are relatively clear and well understood. However, the courts can, under the doctrine of “equity”, interfere in cases where the assertion of strict legal rights is found to be unconscionable.
The team, which predominantly works with high net worth investors, entrepreneurs, clients acquiring premises for their business, and land security work for institutional and private lenders, was once run by just one partner and two support staff. As a consequence of an overwhelming increase in demand during the last 12 months, the team has more than doubled and now comprises of Claire Battye, Jane Futrille, Alexandra Savage, Carolyn Connelly, Emma Lee, Joanna Thompson and Georgina Savage.
When a company decides to expand internationally, not only must it take with it resources such as materials, capital and personnel, but also the trade secrets which it hopes will give it a competitive advantage in its new market. Protecting those trade secrets from disclosure to and use by competitors is an important challenge made more complicated by the lack of uniform laws in the international realm.
The Festive Season this year starts for some when on 1 December much anticipated legislation comes into force that will give effect to the new ‘shared parental leave’ regime. The new law will apply to employees whose babies are due (or who will adopt a child) on or after 5 April 2015.
Warner Goodman Commercial recently presented a seminar under the banner “Doing Business Abroad” at the Chilworth Manor Hotel. With over 40 guests in attendance from a variety of business sectors, the evening was a great success. The audience, mainly comprised of SME business people, came to learn how to trade, expand and operate overseas and how to avoid pitfalls.
Doing business overseas (unless on the Isle of Wight) will always involve issues of international law – even in Northern Ireland. It doesn’t need to be overseas either, consider Scotland which has Scottish law, not English. Doing business always involves contracts, even if they are unwritten and so here Geoffrey Sturgess, Consultant Solicitor, highlights the potential pitfalls you must be aware of when doing business overseas.
Employees who use their company account for personal email exchanges have received a wake-up call after an employment tribunal ruling that the privacy of such messages is not protected. Sarah Whitemore, Employment Partner, reviews the recent case, Atkinson v Community Gateway Association, in which Mr Atkinson failed in an attempt to have the content of personal messages he sent from his work email account excluded from a disciplinary investigation.
In April 2010 The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 came into force under the Planning Act 2008. They are hoped to revitalise the planning process and regenerate communities – partly by using monies to be obtained from property developers. Alexandra Savage here reviews the regulations and what this means for commercial property developers now that more Authorities are beginning to implement the levy.
A recent opinion given by the Advocate General (AG) regarding commission in holiday pay calculations could have far-reaching consequences for many businesses and their workers if accepted by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Howard Robson, Employment Partner, reviews the case in which the opinion was delivered, Lock v British Gas Trading Limited, and advises how employers can prepare for the future.
Torion Bowles, solicitor within the Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team at Warner Goodman Commercial, examines the impact of the new Consumer Contract Regulations on traders and their businesses.
At Warner Goodman Commercial we are often asked what address the landlord must supply to its tenant of rented residential property. Landlords might not want their tenants to contact them direct, particularly when they are using agents to manage their property. Helen Porter, Warner Goodman’s residential landlord and tenant property litigation solicitor provides clarity on this legal issue.
Unless you use our commercial department for your international commercial legal work, you may be unaware that it is a major part of our commercial practice, with no sign of slowing down. It is for this reason that Jonathan Strassberg, a US, Scottish and UK joint qualified lawyer, has joined the team to help continue this expansion of our international caseload.
Barry Spencer, a private investigator and director of ICU Investigations Ltd has been found guilty of conspiring to unlawfully obtain personal data under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Geoffrey Sturgess, Company Commercial Consultant, here reviews the case and the possible ramifications that lie ahead for those who use private investigators to retrieve personal data.
When a creditor successfully obtains a court judgment, they will undoubtedly want to enforce that judgment if the debtor continues to avoid making payment. Torion Bowles, Litigation Solicitor, suggests that one might be forgiven for thinking that a surprise visit from a bailiff might encourage the debtor to immediately make arrangements to pay rather than risk having any valuable goods seized from their premises in lieu of the debt.
Commercial landlords will have been following the case of Games Station Ltd, which reached the Court of Appeal recently (February 2014), but it is of interest to all who supply goods and/or services to companies that then go into administration.
The globalisation of data processing and the increasing value of that information are key factors behind the planned changes to data protection legislation in European countries. In offering greater safeguards for the rights of individuals in how their data is handled by companies, this is set to create new challenges for business.
A recent case involving a white goods supplier demonstrates the risks for franchisors and others who attempt to avoid the responsibilities of employers by offering contracts of self employment. Howard Robson, Employment Partner, here reviews the case and advises on how employers can be prepared.