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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Court of Appeal Decision to Impact Limitation Periods in Industrial Disease Claims

The issue of limitation periods – the period of time within which a party to a legal action must bring a claim – has been recently addressed in the case of Collins v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills [2014].

Mr Collins, the claimant, worked as a dock-worker between 1947 and 1967 during which time he was exposed to asbestos. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 but only got in touch with solicitors in 2009.

At first instance the claim was held to be time barred under the Limitation Act 1980. The Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether the lower court had correctly concluded the issue of the timing of the Claimant’s constructive knowledge and whether the court had erred in exercising its discretion by not extending the limitation period.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Credit Controls Not to Copy: Banks Chasing Debtors Through Defunct Solicitors Firms

It seems almost impossible for banks to avoid any opportunity to attract public opprobrium at the moment.

In the latest controversy, British banks, including RBS, Natwest, Lloyds and HSBC, have been caught out issuing legal demands to customers from what at first glance appear to be independent solicitors firms. However, on further investigation, these firms have been revealed to be mere names for the banks’ respective in-house lawyers and legal departments.

The revelation follows on from Wonga recently being ordered to pay over £2.6m in compensation to its customers as a result of its sending certain letters to its customers in the name of fictional legal entities.

All businesses should have effective credit control policies in place but those policies must be appropriate and legal.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Facebook Encounters Data Protection and Privacy Issues in UK Probe

Businesses that interact with customers in real time by using data collected via online channels should pay attention to the issues tech giants such as Facebook are currently encountering.

The UK data regulator has begun investigating whether Facebook had broken data protection and privacy laws when it conducted a psychological emotion study on unwitting users.

The experiment consisted in manipulating the content of users’ news feeds, the result being that users which had viewed more negative posts in their news feeds tended to post more negative statuses, and vice versa.

Facebook’s size and public profile draw considerable attention to its every move regarding the treatment of people’s information. That does not mean it is the only organisation that will attract the attention of regulators over data protection and privacy issues though.

All businesses acting as data controllers should keep abreast of their obligations and any new legal developments that occur.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

UK –US Extradition Case Highlights Parental Kidnapping Risks

The extradition of 57 year old mother Eileen Clark to the US should serve as a warning for parents considering removing their children from a jurisdiction without parental consent.

Parental kidnapping is recognised both in the UK and many other countries but parents are often unaware of the potential consequences.

Anyone unsure about their right to take children abroad or anyone concerned about the risk of a parental kidnapping should seek immediate legal advice.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Burnt Luxury House Adds Heat to Contract Formalities

On April 2012, fire destroyed a large house which was in its course of construction on Green Island in Poole Harbour.

Consequently, the claimants filed an action against the defendant builders, Feltham Construction Limited, claiming damages in excess of £3,500,000.

The court found in favour of the claimant and against the defendant despite the fact that the defendant had not actually carried out the work that led to the fire.

One of the key issues in the case was the fact that contractual formalities had not been completed by the time construction had begun.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Claims Against Agents in Insolvency

Businesses looking to work with an agency under an agency and distribution agreement should take note of a case considered by the Court of Appeal early in 2014.

The case of Bailey v Angove’s Pty Limited [2014] raises an interesting issue for businesses regarding their right to terminate an agency agreement. Generally a principal can revoke an agent’s authority to act on their behalf but in this case an attempt to terminate the contract and the agent’s authority due to an insolvency event was deemed ineffective.

The case has since been appealed to the Supreme Court but it is a useful reminder of the need for careful drafting in agency and distribution contracts and the potential risks if something goes wrong.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Are Britain’s Roads Really Too Dangerous for Cycling?

Enthusiasts have dared to hope that the Tour de France passing through the UK would encourage more people to incorporate biking into their daily commute for their personal and environmental health.

However, a recent survey indicates that over half British adults believe their local roads are too dangerous to commute by bike.

Younger British cyclists feel less endangered than older ones, with 45% of 18 to 24 year olds feeling endangered and 61% of those aged 65 and over.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign cites conditions such as "badly maintained roads" and "narrow cycle lanes" as examples of hazards that endanger cyclists.

But is it all bad news for Britain’s cyclists?