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Friday, 19 December 2014

New Changes To EU Food Industry Legislation Expected In 2015

The EU is proposing changes to Regulation 882/2004, which is the EU legislation that governs food and agriculture industries, to strengthen enforcement of health and safety standards for the food industry through Europe. The proposed changes are still being negotiated and a final text is not expected until 2015. The proposed changes will affect how food standards are monitored in the UK and impact most businesses within the food industry.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Land Registry Changes Now Implemented For Restrictions On Leasehold Titles

Leasehold landlords and management companies should note the recent changes to the Land Registry’s approach to restrictions on leasehold titles. Leaseholders looking to cancel restrictions placed on the title by dissolved landlords or former managements companies can also benefit from the simplifications brought in with these changes.

In Practice Guide 19A, that came into effect in October of 2014, the Land Registry made a number of changes in regards to its practice for restrictions on leasehold properties. The guide introduced changes that will have the notable implication of simplifying and streamlining the process at the Land Registry for placing restrictions on registered leasehold titles.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Audacious Data Protection Breach Highlights Risks For Businesses

One of the UK’s largest mobile phone networks was left embarrassed after an individual managed to gain access to its confidential information. The individual, a company director, was fined for illegally assessing one of Everything Everywhere's (EE) customer databases.

Matthew Devlin, a director of three marketing and telecoms companies, gained access to the details of when EE's customers were due a mobile phone upgrade by impersonating a member of the operators’ security team during calls and emails to legitimate mobile phone distributors. He succeeded in obtaining the log-in details and password to EE's database and targeted customers with services offered by his own telecoms companies. He was fined £500, plus £438.63 costs and an £50 victim surcharge.

The case was embarrassing for EE but it also demonstrates that even large organisations with significant resources are vulnerable to breaches of data security. SMEs need to be particularly cautious as to how they protect data regulated under the Data Protection Act as significant fines exist if failings become evident.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Changes To Insolvency Litigation Funding In April 2015

The 1st of April 2013 saw the coming into force of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which introduced changes to the civil justice system, recommended by Lord Justice Jackson. The reforms to the funding of litigation included the abolition of the recoverability of conditional fee agreement (CFA) success fees and after the event (ATE) insurance premiums.

The application of these reforms was delayed in relation to insolvency proceedings but it is now clear that this exception is due to expire in April 2015. Currently, insolvency practitioners undertake litigation on behalf of creditors with the costs funded from CFAs or ATE insurance policies.

Monday, 15 December 2014

A New Twist In Trade Mark Case Of Interflora v M&S

The long-running trade mark dispute between Interflora and Marks and Spencer (M&S) has captivated brand owners and intellectual property lawyers since its early beginnings in 2008. The battle ensued after M&S’ used Interflora’s name as keywords to prompt Google adverts which did not actually contain the Interflora name or branding but took users to M&S’ own flower delivery service. The outcome has important implications for all brand owners and their competitors.

In May 2013 Arnold J, High Court judge, found in favour of Interflora by declaring that M&S was guilty of trade mark infringement for using Interfloras’s trade mark as a keyword. In the latest twist the Court of Appeal declared in November 2014 that, due to a number of errors of law apparent in the proceedings, the case must be allowed to go to appeal and remitted it for a retrial to the High Court.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Construction Businesses Must Do More To Improve Site Safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently announced that 40 per cent of working sites failed to properly protect workers. This was found as a result of a month long inspection initiative at almost 2,000 building sites. Nearly half of these were undergoing dangerous practices, yet the HSE claims that many of these issues could easily have been prevented.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Forex Fines May Encourage Litigation Against Banks

The massive forex fines recently levied against a number of major UK and US banks are projected to have new ramifications for banking regulation and for litigation related to the fallout. Big European banking names like HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS as well as American banks like JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America, have been fined by the regulators, thereby adding a huge further blemish upon to public image of the banking sector.

The latest fine of £2.6 billion was collectively issued by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) along with two regulators of USA namely, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Further financial damage may be incurred if third parties that suffered losses due to rigged trades seek to make civil litigation claims against the banks involved.