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Category: Legal Updates

Insurance Cover for Commercial Premises

Posted on 11/19/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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A recent Court of Appeal decision reinforces the importance for businesses of having insurance cover for losses occasioned by fire on their premises. We provide a brief reminder of the rule in Rylands v Fletcher.

Bribery Act 2010 – Updated

Posted on 10/09/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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This checklist provides an outline of the offences introduced by the Bribery Act 2010 and the penalties for committing them.

It also highlights practical steps that your business can take to help avoid breaching the legislation.

Easements and the Right to Park

Posted on 09/29/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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Landlords should be aware of a recent High Court decision that considered a right to park.

The court granted 8 tenants in a block of flats an injunction against their landlord, where their leases included a provision that:

  • each tenant had a right to use a designated car parking space.
  • reserved to the landlord a right to redevelop neighbouring property as it saw fit despite such redevelopment affecting or diminishing light or air enjoyed by the tenants.

The landlord wanted to develop a new building on land which included the car parking spaces that had been granted to the tenants.

Corporate Manslaughter

Posted on 09/09/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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This Business Briefing sets out the factors which can lead to a business being prosecuted for corporate manslaughter and the penalties for breaching the legislation.

Automatic Pension Enrolment

Posted on 09/09/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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The staging timetable for when employers in the UK must automatically enrol eligible jobholders in a pension scheme has been finalised. The new regulations, which comes into force on 1 October 2012, revise the current implementation timetable so that small employers will not be subject to auto-enrolment until June 2015 at the earliest. The revised timetable will benefit approximately 1.3 million small employers (covering around 4.75 million eligible individuals) whose staging dates will be delayed by at least 14 months.

Your business will be required to automatically enrol eligible “jobholders” in a pension scheme. A “jobholder” will include permanent, fixed-term and temporary employees, as well as agency workers.

This checklist highlights key issues for businesses.

Contract Negotiations – Key Issues

Posted on 08/01/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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A recent Court of Appeal decision illustrates the dangers for businesses of relying on conversations and unsigned draft agreements.

The case underlines the importance of ensuring that key contractual provisions are always documented, especially those as fundamental as a termination right.

You should always take legal advice if you are negotiating a large or unusual contract, but this checklist highlights the key issues to consider when negotiating contracts on behalf of your business.

London Olympics 2012

Posted on 06/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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The London 2012 Olympic Games will be held between 27 July and 12 August 2012.

This checklist highlights some of the issues businesses may need to consider before the Olympics start.

Employee vs. Self-Employed: How to Check?

Posted on 05/10/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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It is not uncommon for a business to sponsor students to advance their training, particularly where there is an expectation (or commitment) that the student will work for the company at the end of the course. An Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision has confirmed that these type of arrangements are unlikely to be considered to be contracts of employment if the primary purpose of the arrangement is training and education.

In this case, the EAT had to consider whether a contract to sponsor a former apprentice during a university degree was a contract of employment entitling him to claim unfair dismissal, or a contract which would not give him statutory employment rights. The EAT held that there was no dismissal when the sponsor refused him full-time employment following his withdrawal from the degree.

This checklist explains the significance of the distinction between an employee, a worker and a self-employed contractor. It also sets out the factors that will be considered by an employment tribunal when deciding whether an individual is an employee or self-employed.

Discrimination in the work place

Posted on 04/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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An NHS Trust and three senior employees have been ordered to pay £4.5 million in compensation to a female obstetrician.

The obstetrician was subjected to harassment, criticism, false allegations and “a lengthy and wholly unauthorised period of suspension” before disciplinary proceedings began, culminating in her dismissal.

The award was made up of £1.1 million for loss of past and future earnings, £600,000 for loss of pension, damages for injury to feelings and exemplary damages against the Trust. It is thought to be the largest award in a UK discrimination case.

This checklist sets out the different types of discrimination that can occur within the workplace and highlights practical steps businesses can take to help avoid breaching discrimination and harassment law.

Discrimination in provision of goods & services

Posted on 03/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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A Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that, if a business if offering services to the public, it must offer those services in a non-discriminatory way.

The court held that a hotel had discriminated against gay civil partners on the grounds of their sexual orientation. The court said that only heterosexual married couples could comply with the hotel’s precondition for letting double rooms only, because gay couples could not marry. Therefore, the hotel directly discriminated against homosexual couples.

This checklist sets out the duties a business owes to members of the public when they are provided with goods, services or facilities. It is aimed at non-lawyers and is designed for practice development purposes only. 

Break Clauses in Commercial Leases

Posted on 03/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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A recent High Court decision will have implications for tenants who are considering exercising a break clause in an existing lease. The court held that a tenant owed default interest on late payments under a lease, even though the landlord had not issued any demand for default interest.

This checklist highlights the practical issues a tenant should consider before exercising a break clause.

Employment: Working Time Regulations

Posted on 03/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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Employers with employees who regularly work overtime, should be aware of a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision on the 48-hour working week opt-out. The EAT held that a requirement by an employer for an employee to sign an opt-out agreement to work overtime was reasonable and necessary to ensure the employer complied with its duty under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the 48-hour week.

This checklist summarises your business’ obligations under the Working Time Regulations.

VAT Returns Online

Posted on 03/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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The government has confirmed that, subject to two exceptions, mandatory online filing of VAT returns will be extended from 1 April 2012. Currently, only businesses with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more must file VAT returns online. All VAT registered businesses will now need to file VAT returns online for VAT accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2012.

Data Protection Issues for Business

Posted on 02/15/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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This checklist highlights the key legal obligations your business should consider when dealing with personal data about:

Customers, Suppliers, Employees and any other individuals who you may encounter in the course of your business. 

Settling Commercial Disputes

Posted on 01/09/12 by Conybeare Solicitors
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A company had appointed a contractor to carry out works to a listed Victorian manor house. The parties could not agree the sum due to the contractor and the parties each commenced proceedings. Following an exchange of written settlement offers between the parties’ solicitors, the parties’ managing directors spoke by telephone to try to settle the dispute. After the conversation, the contractor asserted that the parties had reached a binding settlement, but the company denied this. The court ruled that, as a result of the conversation, the parties had orally agreed that the company would pay the contractor £275,000 in full and final settlement.

This checklist highlights the factors a business should consider when it is thinking of settling a commercial dispute.