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Friday, 9 December 2011

Bribery Act 2010

Compliance and Defence Services for Businesses

The Bribery Act 2010, which is known as one of the toughest anti-corruption laws in the world, came into force in the UK on 1 July 2011. The Act has the potential to affect not only UK-based companies, but any company in the world that does business here. Essentially, the Act potentially criminalises as "bribery" a number of activities that businesses have historically engaged in with no penalties.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Relocating Children - Not as easy as it used to be

If, as a separated parent, you wish to move abroad with your children, then you will need the consent of the other parent with parental responsibility.  If the other parent does not consent, then an application must be made to the Court for permission to permanently remove the children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Judgment in Leading Case of Jones v Kernott on Property Held Jointly by Unmarried Couples

Yesterday, The Supreme Court unanimously allowed Mrs Jones appeal in the case of Jones v Kernott [2011]. The case concerns the correct approach the court should adopt calculating unmarried couples interests in property, where the legal title to the property is held in their joint names and the couple do not have an express statement of how it is to be shared (known as a "declaration of trust"). In legal terms, the case concerns the correct approach in calculating couples beneficial interests in jointly held properties (that is the share in the equity in the property).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Third Party Harassment in the Workplace

Employers and Employees alike need to be aware that there are currently rules in place that protect employees from harassment by third parties. These rules originate from case law, including the decision in Burton and another v De Vere Hotels Ltd [1997]. In that case, the comedian, Bernard Manning had subjected two of the Hotel's employees to racist and sexist jokes during his performance. The Hotel was found to be liable for the harassment of the two employees, despite the fact that Bernard Manning was not their employee. They were held liable for failing to prevent the harassment from taking place.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Trade Mark Infringement - Google Adwords

In an important and much anticipated decision on trade mark infringement in the context of internet advertising, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled on major retailer Marks & Spencer's ability to use Interflora's trade mark as part of its keyword advertising campaign on major internet search engines. The ECJ did not finally decide the case, but said that the key issue was the ability of the 'well informed' internet user to distinguish between Marks & Spencer and Interflora. The High Court will now determine the case finally in the coming months.

Shareholders' Rights: Right of Pre-emption

The Companies Act 2006 contains a general rule giving existing shareholders in a company the right of pre-emption. The relevant section of the Companies Act is section 561.

Right of Members to Require Audited Company Accounts

Minority shareholders should be aware that there are means available to them under the Companies Act 2006 to require their company to produce audited accounts.

Excluding Liability for Misrepresentation

An "entire agreement" or "whole agreement" clause can be found in many types of commercial agreements. What is the purpose of such a clause?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Directors' Duties under the Companies Act 2006

The role of company director carries with it very serious responsibilities, in the form of the duties which a director owes to the company and its members as a whole. The scope and nature of these duties have historically been defined by decisions of the courts. Now, the Companies Act 2006 has brought together these historical legal principles and with a view to making law more accessible, the Act sets out at sections 171 to 177 the general duties a company director must observe.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Future of Referral Fees Under Consideration

An outright ban on referral fees is being discussed by government as David Cameron is reported as being sympathetic to harassed consumers.

An evolving compensation culture has meant that customer details have been sold by insurance companies or even by the Police to personal injury firms without the permission of the customer themselves. As well as being an intrusive practice, it has also caused the cost of car insurance to rise sharply despite the number of accidents having fallen in recent years for example.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Overseas Retirees Transferring UK Pensions Offshore with QROPS

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) offer a raft of benefits to those planning to retire abroad. The schemes have potential to reduce taxes when pensions are paid out, remove currency risk and avoid tax on any remaining lump sum available to pass to heirs. Risks do exist though so professional advice is a must.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Offshore Income Bonds - An Antidote to Higher UK Taxes

Offshore bonds are still a highly appropriate investment vehicle for a wide variety of circumstances, and this article explains the attractions of offshore bonds for four specific types of investor.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Thousands "Ripped Off" by Unregulated Will-Writers

The first Chief Legal Ombudsman, appointed in 2010, has reported that thousands of people are being ripped off by companies providing unregulated services including will writing.

Tax Benefits of Marriage

Marriage can bring various financial benefits, including flexibility with regards to tax. Below, three key areas of taxation are considered in brief:

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Claiming for Reasonable Financial Provision Under a Will

Melita Jackson, died in 2004 aged 70, leaving the bulk of her estate to The Blue Cross, the RSPB and the RSPCA, charities that she had shown no interest in during her life and that she gave no reasons for choosing. In a letter attached to her will, the deceased did however explain to her executors why she had left nothing to her only daughter, and her grandchildren.

Tax Residence in the UK now re-defined

The Treasury has launched its consultation on a new statutory test of tax residency in the UK. Tax residence is an essential prerequisite for determining an individual's tax liability however the Government has agreed that the current system lacks certainty and efficiency, that also deters investment in the UK. Some however consider that the current system has a degree of permissiveness that could be lost in the changes.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Importance of Risk Assessments

The claimant was participating in a 'fun day' organised by his employer, the MOD. He watched colleagues enter an inflatable pool owned by Corporate Leisure, head first. On taking his turn however, the Claimant hit his head and broke his neck. Among the allegations were breaches of regulations 3 and 10 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, that there was a failure to carry out suitable risk assessment.

Entire Agreement Clauses are not necessarily a 'Catch All'

Entire agreement clauses are standard to many contracts and intend to provide that the contract that they are contained in is the whole agreement between the parties, replacing any prior agreements or representations.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Sharon Shoesmith Wins Appeal Against Her Dismissal

Sharon Shoesmith has successfully argued that her dismissal from Haringey Children's Services was procedurally unfair following the Baby P case. The opposing argument that the situation had been 'too urgent' for any other course of action was rejected.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Super-Injunctions have recently come under intense Media and Legal Scrutiny as Celebrity Affairs and Reported Blackmail hit the headlines

Only since 2000, when the Human Rights Act incorporated in the European Convention on Human Rights into English law, have the courts been able to firmly enforce the right to privacy (Article 8) in balance with the freedom of expression (Article 10).

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Employee Wins Age Discrimination Claim Against the BBC

Miriam O'Reilly recently won an Employment Tribunal claim against the BBC on the grounds of age discrimination.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Future of Pre-nups Lies in the Balance

The Law Commission, the body which advises the Government on changes to the law, begins public consultation yesterday on full recognition for pre-nuptial agreements in British law.