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Defendant's failure to assign domain name results is finding of contempt of Court

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd (formerly Quick Xuul Ltd and Quick Juul Ltd) [2019] EWHC 1281 (Ch) (21 May 2019) the High Court has found an individual to be in contempt of Court having intentionally breached the terms of a court order by failing to sign two documents to transfer a domain name to the claimants in passing off proceedings. The sentence handed down was two months' imprisonment.

Putting back the pieces differently - The case for restructuring your organisation

Naushad Rahman
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During their lifetime all companies, businesses, partnerships and sole traders will have to react to personal, economic or financial change as certain factors become more salient at any given point in time. Organisations that refuse to change with the times face the risk of becoming obsolete, or at the very least, miss opportunities.

"Relational" contract benefits from implied duty of good faith

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Bates v Post Office Ltd (No.3) [2019] EWHC 606 (QB) (15 March 2019),  sub-postmasters' contracts with the Post Office have been held to be "relational contracts" and in turn benefited from an implied obligation of good faith. As a result of the implied obligation neither party could exercise its express contractual rights in a way that reasonable and honest people would consider commercially unacceptable.

How to hire and fire an apprentice

Natalie Rawson
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Many employers have enjoyed the benefits of hiring apprentices, particularly since the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017.  Ensuring your apprentice is employed under the right documentation is essential to protect your business against possible claims in the Employment Tribunal. 

The scope of lawful act duress clarified by Court of Appeal

Torion Bowles
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Where a party enters in to a contract because of duress, the contract is voidable by the party who suffered the duress. Economic duress is one aspect of the duress doctrine with the party seeking to prove economic duress having to show the existence of an illegitimate pressure applied by the defendant without which it would not have entered into the contract. Common examples of the illegitimate pressure involve a crime or tort or breach of contract. On occasion, however, unethical but lawful acts have also been held to constitute economic duress.

Intellectual Property: everything you need to know

Helen Porter
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It was recently World International Property Day (26 April), a day on which the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) seeks to raise awareness about how various intellectual property (IP) rights impact on our daily lives. This year’s event celebrated the positive role that IP plays in encouraging sports amongst the masses, centring around how developments in technology and IP have seen sporting events grow to a global scale over the years.      

Bank's relationship manager had no authority to write off borrower debts

Torion Bowles
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The High Court has held in the case of Stavrinides and others v Bank of Cyprus Plc [2019] EWHC 1328 (Ch) (24 May 2019) that a bank's local relationship manager (the agent) had no actual or ostensible authority to write off its borrowers' substantial debts. As a consequence, the bank (the principal) was not bound by the letter purporting to do so, which had been initialled by the agent. In turn, the borrower was not entitled to rely on the terms of the letter.

Tenant Fees Act now in force

Helen Porter
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The Tenant Fees Act sets out the Government's approach to banning letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and capping tenancy deposits in England.  The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that some tenants have to pay, and...

Will Brexit frustrate a commercial property lease?

Molly Siggs
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The High Court has recently announced their decision in a pinnacle case regarding whether Brexit could frustrate a commercial property lease.  Molly Siggs, Commercial Property Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, reviews the outcome of the case. ...

GDPR turns one; the impact, the lessons and the future

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented a year ago, requiring businesses to adapt to the most revolutionary change in data protection seen in years. Even though 12 months have now passed, businesses are still working towards compliance with the regulations.  

Employment Law changes in 2019

Howard Robson
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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. Howard Robson, Partner in our Employment department, reviews the key updates we can expect to see in the...

Business Contracts - An Overview

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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,...

Redevelopment Repercussions - how to terminate a business lease due to redevelopment

Helen Porter
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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...

GAGA about AGAs

Jenny Colvin
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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...

Changes in Trademark law

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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.

Advocate General's opinion issued on consumers' obligations to return defective goods for repair or replacement

Torion Bowles
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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 issued on the use of personal data post Brexit

Torion Bowles
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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...

Estate agents secure payment despite the agency agreement lacking any express term as to the timing of when the commission would become payable

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Wells (Respondent) v Devani (Appellant) [2019] 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...

Fine for failing to respond to Information Commissioner's Office enforcement notice

Torion Bowles
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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 issues guidance on changes to company registrations in the event of a No-deal Brexit

Torion Bowles
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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 slips requirements from April 2019

Gina McCadden
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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 - Much Ado About Nothing?

Natalie Rawson
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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)...

Morrisons supermarket liable for rogue employee's disclosure of co-workers' personal data online

Torion Bowles
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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.

The need to be specific when making an application for non-party disclosure

Torion Bowles
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In the case of WH Holding Ltd and others v E20 Stadium LLP [2018] 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.

GDPR - A Double Edged Sword

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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...

What is the Executive Pay Ratio Report?

Howard Robson
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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...

Commercial Property Standard Enquiries - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Jenny Colvin
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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...

Counter claim for loss of bargain dismissed on grounds of not terminating the Contract on the correct grounds

Torion Bowles
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The case of Phones 4U Ltd (in Administration) v EE Ltd  [2018] 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.

Company Voluntary Agreements in commercial property

Helen Porter
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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,...

Implied terms in commercial property leases

Justin Sturdy
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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...

Commercial agents agents entitled to indemnity or compensation even where termination occurs during a contractual trial period

Torion Bowles
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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.

Setting up a rival business whilst misusing another party's data constitutes breach of express good faith clause

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Health & Care Management Ltd v The Physiotherapy Network Ltd [2018] 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.

GDPR is here - are you compliant yet?

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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; what employers need to know

Howard Robson
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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.

Employee theft; when to investigate

Emma Kemp
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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 customer is always right..?

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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.

Employer responsibilities for volunteer workers

Sarah Whitemore
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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.  

Your GDPR checklist

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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.  

Government Reform - County Court Judgements

Brian Kirby
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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.  

What will the key employment law changes in 2018 be?

Emma Kemp
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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. 

What does the Supreme Court decision on Tribunal fees really mean?

Emma Kemp
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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.  

Not another Data Protection Act!

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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.

Taylor report focusses on gig economy and cash in hand workers

Natalie Rawson
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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.  

New deadlines for the People with Significant Control regime

Howard Robson
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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. 

Change of rules on unjustified threats

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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. 

How to manage employment related Data Subject Access Requests

Sarah Whitemore
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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.  

Gig Economy; the end or a beginning?

Natalie Rawson
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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’. 

What are Civil Restraint Orders?

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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. 

New regulations introduced to reduce late payment of invoices

Brian Kirby
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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.