Contact us on

020 7611 4848

email us


Arrange a Callback

Ask a Question


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tips For What To Consider Before Embarking On Divorce

No one gets married thinking they will ever get divorced. It’s a difficult time in anyone’s life and involves complex personal and practical issues. If you have reached the unfortunate conclusion that your marriage has come to an end, here are my top 4 tips to consider before you take steps towards divorce:

Dependency Claims for Fatal Accidents

Fatal accidents are traumatic for anyone related to a victim. Where that victim has dependents, the period following a fatal accident can be particularly trying as the surviving spouse or children are left to cope with both the emotional pain and the financial fallout of their loss.
Although there is statutory compensation for families known as bereavement damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, pay-outs are fixed at £11,800 and dependents may be able to claim for much greater sums depending on the circumstances.

Exposure to Asbestos Triggers Employer’s Liability Insurance

In 2012 the United Kingdom Supreme Court confirmed that employer’s insurance liability is triggered when an employee is exposed to asbestos, not when mesothelioma manifests itself. The case BAI (Run off) and Ors v Durham and Ors [2012] known as the employer’s liability ‘trigger’ case was yet another test case in an area of law which has fostered much protracted legal wrangling over many years. The long-awaited outcome of this decision has delayed the resolution of thousands of claims.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Parental Child Abductions Rising Fast

The number of parental child abductions is rising fast with the rate nearly doubling in the last decade. Recent figures released by the government have shown an increase of just under 88 per cent in the Foreign Office (FCO) data on parental child abductions since 2003. This is believed to underestimate the actual number however, as many cases go unreported.

It is thought that the rise reflects a lack of understanding of the law by members of the public rather than a deliberate attempt by estranged parents to flout it. The Foreign Office is launching a campaign to combat the issue.

How to Make the Most of Christmas Following a Divorce

At Rollingsons our family lawyers have dealt with many cases of divorce. As well as offering legal advice, we try to ensure that our service is sensitive to the emotional upheaval faced by our clients and their families.

Christmas time can be particularly difficult following divorce as individuals deal with the festive period on their own for the first time or children spend the holiday without the presence of both parents together. As the winter holiday season reaches its crescendo, feelings of isolation can be overwhelming for those faced with absences left by divorce.

To try and help keep this Christmas season bright, our family team has put together some tips based on their experiences of helping clients overcome the negative emotions associated with divorce.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Referral Fee Ban and Legal Cost Reforms Due in April 2013

The implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) in April will have a profound effect on access to justice. The Act which was passed in May 2012 and implemented on 3 December 2012 will bring an end to referral fees and contains cost reforms that will change the way many civil claims are funded.

Potential claimants should be aware of the changes, particularly if they may be eligible for Legal Aid or are considering the use of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to fund a claim.

Case Note: Hussain v Hussain and Aviva UK Insurance Limited

The Court of Appeal made an important judgement on 23 October in relation to the case of Hussain v Hussain and Another [2012]. The importance of the case rested on the weight given to the defendant’s previously fraudulent behaviour where there was suspicion that he had deliberately ‘staged’ a road traffic accident and the ‘very powerful inferences’ that this implied on the claimant.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Flexible Parental Leave Due in 2015

In November 2012 Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced plans to reform parental leave. The plans will mean that both parents could get to share up to one year of leave after their child is born.

The legislation is expected to be introduced to Parliament next year to take effect some time in 2015. This is great news for fathers who want to spend time with their new born baby but for smaller businesses it could represent difficulties.

Case Note: FW Farnsworth v Lacey

Employers often include restrictive covenants in employment contacts to protect confidential information that relates to their business. The case of FW Farnsworth and another v Lacey and others [2012] concerned the operation of restrictive covenants in an employment contract that had not been signed by the employee.

In FW Farnsworth v Lacey the court had to decide whether or not the restrictive covenants were in fact enforceable by virtue of the employee’s actions in the absence of a signed contract.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Unreasonable Behaviour in the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Divorce’

There have been many types of normally private interaction that have been cited as unreasonable behaviour for the purposes of divorce. It is perhaps not surprising then that elements of the biggest phenomenon in recent pop culture have made their way into the divorce courts with the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Divorce’.

Although there are plenty of people who might not have read the book itself, it will have been hard to have avoided entirely the nature of its contents – sadomasochistic eroticism. So, what exactly has constituted unreasonable behaviour in the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Divorce’?

Big Payouts Not Appropriate for Pure Needs in Big Money Divorces

Recent tabloid headlines and divorce court history are littered with staggering payouts being handed to wives who have divorced their wealthy husbands. However, the ‘rules’ in these cases are far from clear and the attitude of the courts do appear to be shifting. The Law Commission is also in the process of carrying out a consultation on the matter of divorce settlements but a report will not be published until 2013.

Highlighting the evolution of judicial attitudes in this area are the recent comments by Lord Justice Thorpe in the Court of Appeal who suggested that big payouts in big money divorces unrelated to pure needs should be consigned to history.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Employment Law and Social Media

The use of social media by employees can bring both tremendous benefits and great difficulties to businesses. In the early days of social media, companies’ greatest concerns were focused on the loss of valuable work time to social networks during office hours. This focus has rapidly shifted as businesses have become more Internet savvy and have sought to use the power of social networks to generate new business.

Social media including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is now being used for sales, marketing, advertising, PR and recruitment as well as peoples’ social lives. Ensuring that company’s employment contracts and HR practices keep up is important to protect both employers and employees from falling foul of expectations.

Social Media and Non-solicitation Clauses

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in business relationships. Although social networks like Facebook and Twitter were treated with initial trepidation by employers wary of losing precious work time to the ether of the Internet, many businesses now embrace them as powerful marketing tools. Meanwhile, networking through LinkedIn has become a virtual must in industries such as recruitment.

There are many facets of social media that bring both benefits and pitfalls to the business environment. Business development practices are not excepted from this double-edged sword. Enabling employees to foster relationships with customers online as well as offline can make it very difficult to restrict those relationships if employees decide to move on to a competitor. Can non-solicitation causes keep up?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts

All companies have information about their business that they would like to prevent from falling into the hands of competitors. That information may include client contact details, internal systems and processes, strategic plans for the future or trade secrets.

There is no real way to guarantee that confidential information will never end up in the wrong hands. Even where breaching confidentiality might be illegal, information can still be leaked – think of the Swiss bank account details that have been leaked to tax authorities in various European countries. However, employers can use restrictive covenants in employment contracts to reduce the risks. If you are an employer this is certainly something you should consider.

2012 Race Discrimination Tribunal Awards Average £102,259

The publication of the Employment Tribunal annual statistics for the year ending 21 March 2012 has revealed some interesting compensation trends. The most eye-catching awards were made in relation to race discrimination with the average award coming in at £102,259. Although hefty on its own, it was dwarfed by the highest overall award for race discrimination which saw the maximum pay-out come in at a massive £4.5 million.

2012 Employment Tribunal – Claims and Complaint Trends

The Ministry of Justice has published the Employment Tribunal annual statistics for the year ending 21 March 2012 revealing some interesting trends. Most notably the number of claims making their way to employment tribunals has fallen by 15 per cent this year to 186,300.

Although the long term (10 year) trend has seen overall tribunal cases generally increasing, 2011/12 marks the second year in a row that the number of claims has fallen year on year since their peak in 2009/10.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Case Note: NHS Leeds v Larner [2012] – Payment in Lieu of Untaken Holidays

The Court of Appeal has determined that employees on long-term sick leave are entitled to carry over their statutory minimum leave to a later period. Additionally, for the purpose of terminating an individual’s employment, the untaken leave will entitle the employee to payment in lieu of that leave.
This has clarified an area of employment law where inconsistencies have existed for some time.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Employment Law – Termination of Employment

Termination of employment can happen in one of two ways - the employee can resign or the employee may be dismissed. In either case it can be a difficult decision for the employee, the employer or both and this area of law is heavily regulated to prevent abuses.

If an employee resigns he effectively gives up his rights as an employee so there are also safeguards in place to protect employees that feel pressurised into doing so or obliged to do so. These generally fall into a category of termination known as constructive dismissal.

Relaxation of Liquidity Requirements Adds to Competitive Pressures

  •  Fixed Rate Mortgages Keep Getting Cheaper

Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on Thursday’s standstill announcement from the MPC.

“Today’s no change decisions on both Bank Rate and Quantitative Easing were both wholly expected. The comment from HBOS’s former Chairman, Lord Stevenson, in a letter of 18 March 2008 to the Chairman of the FSA, published this week following his appearance at the Commission on Banking Standards, claiming just 6 months before HBOS had to be rescued was that its business was “boringly boring,” was clearly somewhat misleading, but these two words could very aptly be used to describe today’s announcement from the MPC.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Personal Injury Claims – Basic Principles

Personal injury claims often arise in complex circumstances. Although most claims will be founded in an area of law known as tort, they may also be borne out of a breach of contract. There are important differences in the way compensation for damages are assessed under each heading.

Aside from the differences between claims in tort and claims in contract there are also some general principles of law that apply to all claims, including personal injury.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Defamation – Libel and Slander

A defamatory statement is one that lowers a person’s character in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally or exposes them to hatred, ridicule or contempt.

If a defamatory statement is communicated or published it can lead to an action being brought for either libel or slander depending upon the means of communication. The remedies are slightly different in each case but the defences to both are similar.

Defamation - The Basics

The laws of defamation tend to receive most attention in relation to the media-celebrity relationship that dominates today’s news flow. There is no shortage of litigation passing through the English courts each year detailing lurid stories published in newspapers and allegations of defamation that follow in their wake.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Use of Trademarks For Online Marketing – Interflora v Marks & Spencer

Businesses using online advertising to attract new customers should ensure they are familiar with the law relating to trademarks. Tools such as Google AdWords can be a great way to market online while managing costs but care must be taken to avoid abusing trademarks belonging to others and to protect trademarks that belong to you.

Trade Mark Registration

Registering your trade mark at the Intellectual Property Office can bring significant benefits to your business. It gives you exclusive rights to use your mark for the business, goods and services that it covers in the UK. Registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely.

The use of the registered symbol discourages others from using your trade mark without permission and registration makes it easier to take legal action against anyone that does. Charges may also be brought against counterfeiters by the Trading Standards authorities or the Police.

Ownership of Intellectual Property

Many disputes arise out of ownership issues relating to intellectual property. Ownership issues affect all parties, large and small; from self-employed individuals, to small businesses to multinationals. Although the media focus tends to be on large disputes worth billions of dollars, such as Apple’s recent battle with Samsung, small businesses can be a fertile breeding ground for litigation.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Understanding Consumer Rights Online

Any business that sells to consumers should ensure that is fully aware of the rules protecting its customers. This is particularly important for the swathe of new online businesses that have started trading recently. Given the nature of online transactions, consumers have been given considerable rights to ensure that they get a fair deal from businesses that they may never come into physical contact with.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Making Interest Rate Swap Claims

The latest scandal to engulf the banks is the mis-selling of Interest Rate Swaps or Base Rate Swaps to small businesses. Affected businesses may be entitled to a refund of premiums, a refund of exit fees and substantial damages.

Massive Mis-selling of Financial Products to Small Businesses

Banking scandals never seem to be far from the front pages of newspapers these days. The mis-selling of financial products to consumers by banks has been widely reported. The payment protection insurance scandal has engulfed banks for months now with millions of pounds being paid out in compensation.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Personal Injury Claims – Pre-Action Protocols

Any party who has been involved in litigation of any sort will know that it can be an expensive and time-consuming business. The introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) aimed to reduce systematic inefficiencies in order to increase access to justice.

As the CPR have developed, certain areas of law that attract high volumes of claims have been reviewed in detail and procedures designed to help improve the way claims are managed from the outset. Litigants should aim to follow these additional guidelines which are known as pre-action protocols.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Should Cycling Helmets be Compulsory?

Cycling in the UK is a hot topic following recent British cycling success stories. After the British team won a host of medals in Beijing four years ago, team Sky kept up the pace on the road, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France and the British Olympic team romped home with another stash of medals at the 2012 Olympics.
Away from the professional scene, London has seen the introduction of the ‘Boris bike’ and cycling is currently enjoying increased popularity throughout the country for leisure and commuting. There are plenty of positives - higher levels of exercise and reduced traffic pollution being the most obvious.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Can More be Done to Protect Cyclists?

Cycling is having a minor renaissance in the UK thanks to environmental awareness, changing attitudes towards health and ever increasing fuel prices. The number of people commuting and using bicycles for city transport has shown an upward trend in recent years with the introduction of London’s ‘Boris bikes’ being the most visible incarnation of this phenomenon. The overwhelming success of British cycling professionals in events such as the Tour de France and the Olympics has also given the sport a huge boost.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

London’s Cycling Dangers

Sadly the number of cycling deaths on the roads of London reached double figures in August. The latest death took place during the Olympics at the height of Olympic cycle fever.

Britain’s recent sporting success in track and road racing have been inspirational for all types of cyclists but there are fears that the safety of cyclists is not being adequately prioritised in the nation’s capital. The death toll has so far reached ten in London in 2012 and campaigners are determined to limit further tragedies from happening.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cycling Accidents – The Facts In Perspective

Cycling has received tremendous publicity in recent years. Olympic success in Beijing and London, the introduction of ‘Boris bikes’ and Bradley Wiggins win in the Tour de France have all served to encourage the leisurely and the sporting to get on their bikes.
However, the news has not always been positive. Bunches of flowers tied to junction railings and media stories about those killed or injured are frequent reminders of the vulnerability of cyclists using Britain’s roads to commute to work or keep fit.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cycling Accident Personal Injury Claims

There is increasing recognition of the benefits that cycling can bring for health, enjoyment and convenience. With today’s high levels of congestion, rocketing fuel prices and greater awareness of health issues many people are getting on their bikes for work and leisure.

However, cyclists are particularly vulnerable as a class of road users and are frequently injured in road traffic accidents. Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to multiple injuries and serious head trauma.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Injury Solicitors Urge Safety First for Cyclists

At Rollingsons our personal injury solicitors are used to dealing with many forms of harm caused to people involved in road accidents. Each case reveals different forms of pain, suffering and loss and our aim is always to help clients reduce the negative effects of victims’ experience as much as possible.

Although many of our clients are involved in accidents through no fault of their own there is always scope for trying to improve measures to prevent injury in the first place. This is particularly relevant to cyclists who are among the most vulnerable groups of road users.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cycling and the Law

When it comes to cycling there seems to be much confusion about what is legal and what is illegal. Whether it relates to the use of helmets, pedalling back from the pub or ignoring traffic lights; different riders appear to behave in different ways.

Generally the rules of the road are aimed at creating an environment that is as safe as possible for different types of road users while enabling the easy and efficient passage of those users to their destination. While drivers of cars, motorcycles and HGVs are required to pass a test before venturing out onto Britain’s highways, there is no such test for cyclists.

Coronial Inquests

A coroner is a doctor or lawyer who is responsible for investigating deaths that occur in certain circumstances. He must be qualified in either the legal or medical field and has authority to determine who has died and how, when and where they died. The coroner can arrange for a post-mortem to be carried out in order for a body to be examined and the cause of death determined.
If a coroner carries out a legal investigation into the circumstances and causes of death this is known as an inquest.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Wheel Clamping on Private Land Banned

One ray of sunshine has finally burst through the clouds for motorists as wheel clamping on private land is banned. Rising fuel prices, worsening congestion and tax increases are just some of the miseries that motorists have faced while the economy has squeezed their household budgets. The fear of returning from a shopping trip to find you car wheel clamped and patrolled by a surly attendant should now be a thing of the past with the introduction of new laws at the beginning of October.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Beware of Negotiation by Email

There can be few circumstances in today’s world where contractual negotiations are not carried out in some part by email. The ease and efficiency with which details can be hammered out and sent back and forth at the click of a mouse make email a common sense tool at all levels of negotiation.
However, care must be taken to ensure that a contract is not accidentally entered into before both parties are sure that they have reached a final agreement. It is surprising how easily this can happen in practice.

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was set up specifically to benefit small start-up companies and their investors. Although similar to the original EIS, it is directly focused on start-ups rather than small companies generally. Tight lending conditions by banks and a reluctance to invest in small, high-risk ventures by other providers of funding led the Chancellor to set up a scheme to directly target equity financing at the start-up sector of the economy. 

How to Qualify as an Enterprise Investment Scheme

Enterprise Investment Schemes can be a great way for small businesses to raise finance if mainstream channels fail to deliver. However, the tax incentives that make them attractive for investors will only apply if the relevant criteria are met. 

If you think your company qualifies for an EIS then it is advisable follow the advanced assurance procedure set out by the Small Company Enterprise Centre which administers EIS. This will give your company the best chance of starting on the right foot with EIS investors and reduce the risk of them losing their tax advantages. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Enterprise Investment Schemes - Individual Considerations

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) was introduced in 1994 to encourage investment in entrepreneurial business ventures. The aim was to foster economic growth and innovation by supporting new businesses using tax reliefs to attract investment. On 6 April 2012 a number of changes to EIS were introduced by the Finance Act 2012 in respect of the both the incentives and the qualifying criteria. 

Enterprise Investment Schemes – Company Considerations

Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) were introduced in 1994 to encourage investment in small businesses. The aim was to foster economic growth and innovation by supporting entrepreneurial business ventures. Tax reliefs were applied to compensate for some of the risks and attract investment. On 6 April 2012 a number of changes to EIS were introduced in respect of the qualifying criteria. 

An Introduction to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

The Enterprise Investment Scheme was introduced in 1994 to encourage investment in entrepreneurial business ventures. The aim was to encourage growth and innovation in an important part of the economy by incentivising investment in new businesses using tax reliefs. On 6 April 2012 a number of changes to EIS were introduced by the Finance Act 2012. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Intellectual Property – Selling Second Hand Software

A recent case in the European Court of Justice has made it easier for buyers of software to sell it second hand much like they might sell on other assets. It is perhaps not something that many buyers of software have considered in the way they might consider selling on more tangible products such as their used car for example. However, there are numerous businesses that have been set up specifically to service the market in second-hand downloadable software. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Employee Owner Contracts Consultation Launched

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced proposals for a new kind of employment contract at the beginning of October. The so called ‘employee-owner’ contracts will seek to give shares to employees in exchange for them giving up some of their employment rights.

Friday, 9 November 2012

No Piercing the Corporate Veil for Matrimonial Settlements

The recent high profile divorce case of Petrodel v Prest [2012] has put a limit on the means with which courts can apply the fairness principle. The Court of Appeal ruled that the High Court cannot simply dismiss the established principles of company law in family law cases.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fixed Rate War Hots Up As Bank Rate Remains Becalmed

  • Popularity of Fixed Rate Mortgages Increased Further in October
  • Recent Hints From MPC Members Foreshadowed a No Change Month

Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on today’s as expected no change announcement from the MPC.

“The proportion of John Charcol clients choosing a fixed rate increased further in October to 69%, with 5% choosing a 3 year fix and the other 64% split almost equally between 2 and 5 year fixes. The steady steam of rate cuts gathered pace over the month, mostly on fixed rate mortgages. In the last week only one major lender, Woolwich, has moved rates in the opposite direction, as well as reducing its product range; this was no doubt to reduce demand in order to address service issues.

Casual Sperm Donors at Risk of Child Support Obligations

A recent media story has highlighted the dangers for sperm donors who enter into casual arrangements with recipients. The law is clear for anyone wishing to donate sperm; only anonymous donors at licensed clinics are treated as exempt from being viewed as the legal father of children born from their sperm donation. Unless a child is legally adopted or the consenting couple are in a civil partnership, both biological parents remain financially responsible for that child.

Co-habiting Couples Double Since 1996

The number of couples who live with their partner but are unmarried has doubled since 1996 according to the latest statistics from the ONS Labour Force Survey. The total increase in co-habiting couple families includes both opposite sex couples and same sex couples who are not in a marriage or a civil partnership. That means the co-habiting couple is the fastest growing family type in the UK.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Hague Convention on Protection of Children Now in Force

The 1996 Hague Convention on Protection of Children has existed for a considerable time but finally came into force in the UK on 1 November 2012. The full title gives a flavour of the intended purpose of the Convention - The Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. Although it has been in force elsewhere since 1 January 2002, it has only been ratified by the UK in 2012.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Cycling Deaths Reach 11 in London this Year

Another cycling fatality on London’s roads brings the death toll to 11 so far this year. The number of cycling deaths on the Capital’s roads broke through double figures in August. The circumstances of an accident earlier this year gained widespread attention, having taken place at the height of Olympic bicycle fever, right outside the Olympic park.

Cycling Guide – Protect Yourself Before You Ride

Our personal injury solicitors have helped many people deal with the after-effects of cycling accidents. Although we are always happy to help those involved, we would much prefer to see fewer accidents occur in the first place and the terrible consequences reduced.

Monday, 15 October 2012

MPC Announces the Least Shocking News of the Day

  • No change as expected on either Bank Rate or the size of QE
  • Popularity of 5 year fixed rates surges as rates plumb all time lows

    Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on the widely expected news that the MPC again left Bank Rate and the size of the Quantitative Easing programme unchanged today.

    Friday, 5 October 2012

    Civil Litigation Disclosure Before Proceedings Start

    A fundamental element of civil litigation is the disclosure and inspection of documents. This is managed under Part 31 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The rules set out what constitutes a document for the purposes of the rules, the types of documents that must be disclosed and the parameters of the disclosure process.

    Injurious Falsehood

    Injurious falsehood is also known as malicious falsehood which aptly describes what this area of law attempts to redress. An injurious falsehood is a false statement that causes intentional damage to a person's commercial or economic interests.

    Injurious falsehood shares similarities with defamation but represents a different form of action to defamation. In certain circumstances claimants may find that both legal routes are open to them so it helps to understand how they differ and what the practical implications are from the perspective of both parties.

    Are You Cookie Safe?

    If you use a website for your business then you must ensure that it complies with the relevant regulations. There is legislation covering most aspects of online business such as the information a company must provide about itself, rules on distance selling and regulations concerning the storage of customer information. Some of the rules for conducting business over the Internet will depend upon the type of business you are in but others have universal application.

    Since May 2012 every website must comply with the rules governing the use of cookies.

    Making the Most of Intellectual Property

    Intellectual property is in constant use by businesses. Every time an employee uses an office computer, there are licences that operate to determine the terms of that usage. When employees produce drawings or work on presentations, copyright laws operate to protect that work from being used unlawfully by others.

    Most business owners are aware of the existence of the basic intellectual property rights such as copyright, patents and trade mark. There is also wide recognition of problems such as piracy. However an issue that often exists, particularly in small businesses, is a lack of knowledge which prevents them from exploiting intellectual property to its fullest extent.

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    Inducing Breach of Contract

    If one party intentionally induces or procures another to breach a contract and damage is caused then that can form the basis of a legal claim. If the action of the inducing party cannot be justified, they may be liable for a claim under the tort of inducing or procuring a breach of contract.

    Default Judgment

    A default judgment is a binding judgement made for or against a party when one party to a dispute has failed to take some form of action. The most common type of default judgment occurs when the claimant issues a claim form and serves this on the defendant. If the defendant fails to respond to the particulars of claim within 14 days then the claimant may enter a judgement in default.

    Economic Duress

    Economic duress is a notoriously difficult allegation to bring against a defendant. Closely related to the tort of intimidation, it is necessary for a claimant to show that they were pressured into a contract through illegitimate means. If the relevant tests can be met, a contract is voidable.

    Information Technology Law for the 21st Century

    The rapid evolution of information technology IT in the latter part of the 20th Century brought great opportunities and huge challenges in equal part. The most significant impact for individuals, businesses and society generally was felt with the arrival of the Internet and the way it transformed how information was communicated, stored and used.

    Twitter ‘Bomb Threat’ Trial Tests Communication Act

    The trial of Paul Chambers has drawn plenty of attention from politicians, the media and celebrity observers. Although much of the focus has been on the widely perceived absurdity of the case, it does raise some interesting questions about the law under which it was brought. Chambers was prosecuted under section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003; legislation which predates the Twitter service launched in 2006.

    Understanding Patent Law

    Patents are a form of intellectual property that offer an inventor exclusive rights in their invention for a fixed period of time. Rights are granted by the state to the inventor enabling them to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing the patented invention during that period in exchange for the inventor publicly disclosing their invention.

    Non-regular Companies House Filings

    A company must file its annual return and company accounts at Companies House on an annual basis. In addition, it must also file information relating to non-regular events as they occur; for example changes to the appointed officers of the company, changes to the registered office or change of company name.

    Friday, 21 September 2012

    E-Commerce and the Law

    On-line shopping continues to find favour among consumers despite high streets suffering through the recession. The ease of shopping from the comfort of a chair means that even die-hard shoppers increasingly treat themselves to online retail therapy. Consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the types of offerings available. High fashion is just clicks away from online supermarkets and second-hand e-Bay sellers.

    Friday, 27 July 2012

    International Relocation of Children

    International relocation of children is a complex area of family law which requires careful consideration before any decision is made. The primary legislation governing this issue is the Children Act 1989 and the most prominent precedent is Payne v Payne [2001].

    Friday, 13 July 2012

    Privacy Prevails in Divorce Case

    A District Judge has ordered that the parties to a recent divorce case remain anonymous. Reporters were also banned from reporting the financial details of the case to avoid causing embarrassment to the husband and his family.

    International Surrogacy - Parental Orders

    Many childless couples now look to international surrogacy as a means to become parents. In the UK the rise in the numbers of infertile or gay couples seeking surrogate mothers has not been matched by the numbers of women willing to act as surrogates. This, along with high medical costs, has led to a huge increase in international surrogacy.

    Tuesday, 10 July 2012

    PIP Implants update

    PIP implants were banned in 2010 after they were found to contain industrial rather than medical grade silicone gel. The implants were also reputed to have an increased risk of rupturing and a possible link to a rare form of cancer, a link now firmly discounted by medical experts in Europe. The eruption of the scandal in the media caused a great deal of distress for many women.

    Issue Estoppel

    Estoppel is a long-established doctrine of English law that literally means to stop. Generally estoppel prevents a person who causes another to rely upon acts or words from later denying those acts or words.

    Individual Bankruptcy Proceedings

    The ongoing financial crisis continues to claim thousands of victims who are unable to manage their debts. Individual insolvency, governed by the Insolvency Act 1986, has been particularly prevalent peaking in 2011 at over 135,000.

    Estoppel by Record

    Estoppel is a long-established doctrine of English law that literally means to stop. It can be applied in a number of ways to litigation claims but it basically prevents a person who causes another to rely upon acts or words from later denying those acts or words.

    Estoppel by Judgment

    Estoppel is a long-established doctrine of English law that literally means to stop. It has a wide range of uses but can broadly be described as a rule that prevents a person who causes another to rely upon acts or words from later denying those acts or words. The operation of the doctrine changes according to particular circumstances and there is a rich vein of case law underlying the distinct areas in which it applies.

    Employment Contracts – The Basics

    Every employee has an employment contract with their employer whether it is written or not. Although there is considerable statutory protection for employees beyond the terms of their employment contract, the legal basis of the relationship remains contractual. Fundamentally therefore the common law principles of contract remain important to the agreement between the parties and any breach of that agreement.

    Requirements for Company Accounting

    According to the Companies Act 2006 there is a general duty on companies to maintain adequate accounting records. In broad terms this means that companies must submit accounts to the registrar for filing at Companies House on an annual basis.

    Striking Companies Off the Register

    There are various reasons why a company might be struck off the register such as liquidation or dissolution. Often a company will be struck off voluntarily when the company has ceased trading or the intention is to dissolve the company. However, there are also circumstances in which a company may be struck off by the Registrar of its own accord.

    Shareholder Disputes: Pre-emption Clauses

    Pre-emption clauses place an obligation on sellers of shares to offer them to existing shareholders first. The clauses are often found in the articles of association of private companies and have been the cause of significant numbers of shareholder disputes.

    Preference Shares

    Preference Shares are a special type of stock that have features of both debt and equity securities. They are considered hybrid securities which generally rank above equities but are subordinate to debt instruments.

    Filing Annual Returns

    Every company is obliged to submit an annual return to the Registrar at Companies House each year made up to a date not later than the company’s return date. The annual return is a summary of the company which gives information about the company’s directors, the company secretary, the registered office, the shareholders and its share capital.

    Company Filing Procedures

    There are various administrative tasks that managers of companies must take responsibility for once a company has been incorporated. These generally relate to ensuring that the Registrar of Companies at Companies House is kept up to date with the information held about a company and that sufficient records are kept in relation to the company’s affairs.

    Company Formation

    It is essential for those starting a new company to understand the basic requirements and implications of setting up a company. Whether you choose to create your company on-line using a company formation agent or through the more traditional route of a lawyer or accountant, there are various issues that you should be aware of.

    Company Accounts

    Under the Companies Act 2006 a company must submit accounts in each financial year. The accounting provisions relevant to individual companies vary depending upon a number of attributes including the size of the company, whether the company is a private or public and whether it is listed or unlisted.

    Exclusion of Liability

    Contracts for the supply of goods and services are subject to the general principles of contract law. Other legislative and common law provisions also apply but they are generally less stringent when a contract is made between two businesses rather than a business and a consumer.

    Exclusion Clauses in Commercial Contracts

    When two businesses agree to enter into a commercial contract, they are generally free to choose and negotiate the terms of that contract between themselves. In doing so, businesses will often attempt to reduce their potential liabilities under the contract; if insurance is not available or is particularly expensive, for example.

    Formation of a Contract

    A common misconception is that a contract is simply a written agreement between two parties. This is not the case; a contract may be made orally or even implied - lack of written terms can make a contract harder to enforce but do not necessarily deny its existence. There are also a number of factors that must be satisfied before an agreement is actually deemed a contract.

    Hedley Byrne v Heller

    Hedley Byrne v Heller is a well known case in English common law that had significant implications in tort for losses flowing from negligent statements. Prior to this case a duty of care was not thought to be recognised outside of a fiduciary or contractual relationship.

    Consumer Protection

    Consumer protection laws find their origins in the laws of contract and tort. One of the most famous early tort cases was Donoghue v Stephenson in which Mrs Donoghue drank a bottle of ginger beer containing a decomposed snail. Mrs Donoghue did not have a contractual relationship with the drink manufacturer Mr Stephenson and the snail was not visible through the opaque bottle she drank from but the court held that Mr Stephenson had breached his duty of care towards Mrs Stephenson.

    Duty of Confidence

    Ensuring sensitive commercial information is adequately protected is essential to businesses, particularly in the information age. Practical measures and pre-emptive contractual provisions may not always be enough so there is always potential recourse through the law of confidential information.

    Arbitration - When to Arbitrate

    Arbitration is arguably the most important form of alternative dispute resolution and it has made its way into a wide variety of commercial spheres. Parties from all over the world have their contract disputes referred to arbitration in England and Wales in relation to intellectual property disputes, maritime disputes, competition and many other issues.

    Arbitration - An Introduction

    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has grown hugely in significance over the last decade as a means for parties to settle disputes without resorting to litigation. Popular forms of ADR include mediation, conciliation, expert determination and arbitration. Arbitration is perhaps the most important of these, reflected by the fact that it is the only one enshrined in statute.

    Thursday, 24 May 2012

    Case Note: the Strictness Directors Duties

    Premier Waste Management Ltd v Towers [2011]

    This case presents a timely reminder to directors regarding the extent of their duties to a company. In particular, directors need to be aware of just how far their fiduciary duties and their duties of loyalty extend when conflicts of interest arise.

    Case Note: Commercial Agents Right to Compensation

    Rosetti Marketing Ltd v Diamond Sofa Company Ltd and another [2011]

    This case concerns The Commercial Agent's (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 which were introduced to regulate the relationships between commercial agents and their principals.

    Case Note: The Recovery of Economic Loss for Negligence

    Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Conarken Group Ltd Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Farrell Transport Ltd [2011]

    Pure economic loss, ie. loss which is not consequential upon some direct physical damage or injury, is not generally considered recoverable in claims for compensation relating to negligence. The basis of such claims is the law of tort in which courts seek to restore parties to a position had negligence not occurred.

    What is Fraud?

    Most people understand fraud in the criminal sense whereby an individual makes an intentional deception for personal gain or to damage another person. However, fraud plays an equally important role in civil law, primarily where it is used to induce parties into contract. In this context it is generally dealt with by the Misrepresentation Act 1967 but its earliest legal definition arose at common law.

    Agency Law: Ratification by the Principal can lead to Agency (Part 1 of 2)

    Part I

    Ratification is a process whereby a principal approves the actions of an agent who has acted to bind that principal without preceding legal authority. The concept applies to a variety of circumstances such as international treaties and constitutional changes but its most pertinent day-to-day application relates to contract law.

    Agency Law: Ratification by the Principal can lead to Agency (Part 2 of 2)

    Following on from Part I, in which we set out the definition of ratification and the conditions required for it to be applied, we now examine what actions are capable of being ratified, how ratification is applied and its legal effect.

    Misrepresentation (Part 1 of 2)

    Part I - The Foundations of Misrepresentation

    Misrepresentation is generally understood to be a false statement of fact made by one party to another. It is most relevant in the context of contract law whereby one party attempts to induce another into a contract on the basis of words or conduct that amount to false statement. Where a claimant proves misrepresentation the remedies available may include rescission or damages.

    Misrepresentation (Part 2 of 2)

    Part II - Requirements for Actionable Misrepresentation


    After the basic principles were established for actions in misrepresentation, there were various elements that became refined through judicial interpretation. These requirements shaped the concept into its modern form and may be summarised as follows:

    Friday, 18 May 2012

    Litigation Case Note: Parties Seeking Stays of Proceedings to Conduct Negotiations

    The litigation process can be exceedingly costly for both parties in a dispute. The civil procedure rules (CPR) which have applied to all civil cases in England and Wales since 1999 were designed to improve access to justice by making legal proceedings cheaper, quicker and easier to understand.

    Employment Law: TUPE Service Provision Change

    The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, known as TUPE, protect employment contracts when a business, part of a business or service provider changes ownership. Two types of changes invite protection:

    Company Law: The Roles of Shareholders and Directors Distinguished

    There are important distinctions between the roles of shareholders and directors even when an individual or a number of individuals occupy both roles. The separation between the two positions should be borne in mind when a company is established because ownership of a company and management of a company entail different rights and responsibilities. The interaction of the two roles plays an important part in the smooth functioning of a company.

    Company Law: Where a Party is Excluded from Management by the Majority

    The legal remedy of unfair prejudice seeks to protect the rights of minority shareholders from detrimental actions by majority shareholders. Provisions contained in s994 Companies Act 2006 enable aggrieved shareholders to bring an action against the company.

    Thursday, 3 May 2012

    Contract and Commercial Law: Duty to Disclose Material Facts to the Other Party

    Contractual negotiations can provide parties with plenty of contentious material for subsequent litigation if relationships sour. One of two litigious approaches is usually taken when commercial relationships become strained: claims for breach of contract or claims for misrepresentation.

    Contract Law: Negligent Misrepresentation

    Misrepresentation is a false statement of fact made by one party to another, which can induce a party to enter into a contract. A negligent misrepresentation is a statement that is made carelessly or without reasonable grounds for believing it to be true.

    Remedies for Loss of Opportunity

    Loss of opportunity is something that individuals and businesses encounter every day. Normally it is just part and parcel of the decision-making process but where it is the result of a breach of contract or fraudulent misrepresentation, loss of opportunity is capable of justifying legal action. It should be noted though that a claim for loss of opportunity based on misrepresentation presents significant challenges.

    Company Law: Options for Companies in Financial Difficulty

    The ongoing economic malaise continues to see businesses succumb to the pressures of financial hardship each day. When companies are on a downward spiral it can be very difficult for managers to know what their best options are; inaction can mean that that decision-making is abruptly taken out of their hands.

    Tuesday, 24 April 2012

    Insolvency: Disputing Debts Underlying a Winding-Up Petition

    Winding-Up Petitions can be a very effective method when pursuing companies for an outstanding debt. Generally a last resort, they are a drastic strategy for recovering money. Faced with being wound up, even the most unresponsive companies can react promptly. If a debt is due, the simplest response is for a company to pay. Often though, companies on the receiving end of a Winding-Up Petition will resort disputing the debt that forms the basis of the petition.

    Setting Aside a Guarantee Based on Fraud, Misrepresentation or Undue Influence

    Guarantees are now more common than ever for individuals and business trying to finding credit or rent property. In the event primary debtors default, creditors are usually quick to claim against guarantors but guarantees will not always be considered binding when challenged in the courts. The idea that a guarantee might be set aside on the basis of fraud or misrepresentation may be clear enough. Where undue influence is at issue, more challenging questions can arise.

    Shareholder Remedies: Minority Shareholders Forced to Arbitration

    Arbitration has become a major form of dispute resolution in England and Wales since the introduction of the Arbitration Act in 1996. The 2011 High Court decision in Fulham Football Club (1987) Ltd v Richards and Another has reinforced the enthusiasm of the English courts for the arbitration process. The extent of that enthusiasm is something shareholders and other contracting parties should ensure they are fully aware of when they enter into agreements containing arbitration clauses.

    Company Law: Charges as Security

    The use of charges as security for the repayment of debt is a common feature of agreements between businesses and their lenders. The current economic environment will have seriously tested the strength of existing charges while ensuring that they are increasingly common.

    Banking Law: Husband and Wife Guarantee Disputes

    The current credit environment has become increasingly challenging for individuals and businesses seeking to borrow money. It is more and more common for lenders to seek various forms of security such as guarantees or charges over property.

    Wednesday, 4 April 2012

    Trade Mark Infringement: Use of UK Trade Marks on Overseas Websites

    When selecting a domain name in the UK, it is primarily registered trademark rights that dictate whether or not the domain name is available for use in trade and commerce, regardless of whether the domain name is available for registration. Whether or not the use of the domain name infringes a UK trade mark trade mark is another matter.

    Striking Off A Company - Tax Costs Increase

    Striking Off A Company -Tax Costs Increase

    Since 1 March 2012 many companies will have lost out on a valuable tax concession. Until recently, small companies that were solvent but had ceased trading could distribute funds to shareholders in a tax efficient manner. Payments were made subject to capital gains tax at 28% rather than income tax at rates up to 50%.

    Company Law: Altering a Company's Articles of Association

    Companies are legally required to have Articles of Association under the Companies Act 2006. For companies formed before 1 October 2009, the Articles along with a Memorandum of Association formed the constitution of a company. Since 1 October 2009, a Memorandum of Association is no longer part of the constitution (although it is still a requirement on incorporation).

    Preference Shares Explained

    Generally a company may divide its shares into a variety of different categories unless it is restricted from doing so by its Articles of Association. Most people are familiar with ordinary common shares that are issued by companies which give their owners a claim on the equity of that company. A less familiar category of shares is preference shares. Preference shares are a special type of stock that has the properties of both equity and debt instruments such as bonds.

    Monday, 2 April 2012

    Budget 2012: Key Points

    According to the Budget report, “The Government is committed to creating a more sustainable tax system that is fair and supports growth. It will: reward work and support families; reduce tax rates to increase the competitiveness of the UK tax system; restrict tax reliefs and ensure everyone pays the tax they owe; and make the tax system simpler and more sustainable overall.

    The Parol Evidence Rule

    The basic premise of any contract is that it is binding on the parties once they have entered into it. The parol evidence rule is a common law rule that aims to uphold this premise and preserve the integrity of written contracts by excluding extrinsic evidence. Where parties have agreed contractual terms in a written document, it is rational that matters which have not been explicitly included should not be interpreted as varying the terms of that contract. To understand the scope of this rule it is necessary to be aware of those matters that are excluded by it. It is worth noting that there are also exceptions to it.

    Contract Law: Exercising an Option to Terminate a Contract

    Economic uncertainty or changes in circumstances will often lead businesses and individuals to reconsider their contractual arrangements. Without specific termination provisions, exiting a position or renegotiating an agreement may be very difficult if one party is intent on holding the other to the original terms.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2012

    Unjust Enrichment in English Law

    The legal principle of unjust enrichment allows a claimant to seek redress for any unjust enrichment another party may have gained at the claimant's expense. Unjust enrichment can occur by chance, by mistake or unfairly but there is no requirement of wrongdoing. Where unjust enrichment has occurred the usual legal remedy is restitution. Restitution of unjust enrichment is a developing area of law which has generated much academic commentary due to its awkward fit in the English legal system.

    What is Goodwill in the Context of a Trade Mark?

    Goodwill is a concept familiar to professionals and business people alike. When a trade mark is bought and sold the transfer normally includes the transfer of goodwill at the same time, so it is important for buyers and sellers to understand what this entails.

    Case Note for Software Companies: SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Limited (SAS v WPL)

    The extent of copyright protection offered to software companies is being tested in the case of SAS v WPL with a full judgement due from the ECJ later this year. It is well understood that English Law offers protection to the expression of ideas but not to the idea itself. The recent opinion of Advocate General Bot in SAS v WPL has considered this principle in relation to software development.

    Tuesday, 20 March 2012

    Cerys Edwards receives lifelong payout

    Five years after being paralysed and brain damaged in a car crash, 6 year-old Cerys Edwards has received a multi-million pound payout. The settlement, agreed just days before trial was due to commence, includes a £5 million lump sum and £450,000 annually for the rest of her life. It is one of the largest of its kind in English legal history.

    Case Note: Adrian Simcoe v Jacuzzi UK Group plc

    Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) have been criticised once again in the Court of Appeal ruling of Simcoe v Jacuzzi. The court ruled that interest should run on an award of costs in favour of a successful claimant represented under a CFA from the date of the costs order (the incipitur rule) and not the date costs are assessed (the allocator rule). While this clarification may be gladly received by practitioners, Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger seized the opportunity to condemn the legal bill of £74,000 in a claim worth around £12,750.

    Copyright Law: The Rights of the Copyright Owner and How They Might be Infringed

    In the age of the internet and the digitization of all forms of media from music to books, copyright is an increasingly complex topic. Despite this there is still a great deal to be gained from understanding the basics. Copyright gives the creator of an original piece of work exclusive rights for a limited period of time. However, owners are often unaware of what rights copyright ownership actually confers on them. Having created a piece of work that is able to be protected by copyright law, it is essential that owners are made aware of those rights and their ability to enforce them.

    Copyright Infringement by an Internet Service Provider?

    In November 2011 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered a landmark ruling regarding potential obligations imposed on Internet Service Providers (ISP) to prevent copyright infringement. The court ruled that national courts could not impose obligations on ISPs to install, at their own cost, pre-emptive filtering systems that screen all user content in an attempt to identify copyright infringing material.

    Non-solicitation Clauses: Update

    Employees in client-facing roles will often find that they are bound by restrictions on their freedom to contact former clients when they move on from their current employer. These restrictions usually take the form of non-solicitation clauses and non-dealing clauses. The provisions aim to prevent the poaching of former colleagues and clients. The recent case of Towrey EJ Limited V Barry Bennett has shed light on what “solicitation” actually means and how it applies in practice.

    When is an employee a fiduciary?

    A recent High Court decision has highlighted when a fiduciary duty might be owed by employees to their employers. In Computer Systems plc v Ranson & Others, the claimant sued former employees for £1 million in damages for setting up a rival company while under its employment. The court examined alleged breaches of contractual duty of fidelity, fiduciary duty and a restrictive covenant.

    Injunctions against ex-employees based on confidential information

    How far can employers go in preventing perceived disloyalty by former employees? A recent Court of Appeal case might put off employers who are considering somewhat aggressive forms of litigation. In Caterpillar Logistics Services (UK) Ltd v Huesca de Crean the High Court’s decision to refuse an interim injunction based on a confidentiality clause was upheld on appeal.

    Selling Shares and Businesses: Intellectual Property Rights Warranties

    If a purchaser is buying a target company that derives significant commercial value from intellectual property rights then it is important to accommodate this in the sale and purchase contract by including specific intellectual property rights warranties in the buyer’s favour. These not only aim to protect the commercial benefits of the intellectual property but also reduce the potential for unexpected negative surprises after the transaction has taken place.

    Distribution Agreements: General Contractual Framework

    A distribution agreement governs the commercial and legal relationship between a supplier or manufacturer and a distributor of its products. Generally a supplier will appoint a distributor who will buy products at its own risk and distribute them in a particular territory to its own customers. Agreements may be in the form of a letter or a more detailed contract; either way there are numerous matters for the parties to consider.

    Interpreting a Contract: General Principles

    Non-lawyers will appreciate that there can be a considerable difference between their own interpretations of a set of facts or words and a court’s interpretation of the same thing. While it is important to recognise that such a difference will often mean expert legal advice should be sought, gaining a basic understanding of how a contract is interpreted can be useful. Below are some general principles that courts apply in the interpretation of contracts.

    Company Law - Intellectual Property Due Diligence

    Some businesses, particularly software and other technology related businesses, have unique features that require particular attention when potential buyers investigate their assets and liabilities. Unlike a manufacturing or retail business with significant real estate or plant and equipment, a technology business’ main assets are intellectual property and people. The intangible nature of intellectual property means that a due diligence exercise will require a special focus.

    Friday, 24 February 2012

    Breach of Non-Solicitation Clauses

    Employment Law and Restrictive Covenants: Breach of Non-Solicitation Clauses

    On the sale of a business, a buyer will usually require restrictive covenants to limit the ability of the seller to compete with it post-sale. These normally take the form of non-dealing clauses and non-solicitation clauses. Following a recent High Court judgement, Baldwins (Ashby) Limited v Andrew Maidstone, sellers need to ensure that they are fully aware of the risks of breaching non-solicitation clauses even when former clients initiate the contact.

    Thursday, 23 February 2012

    The Remedy of Specific Performance

    Specific performance is a discretionary remedy that may be ordered by a court in the context of a contractual dispute. The remedy is used to compel a party to a contract to carry out its obligations under the contract where damages would not be adequate.

    Assignment of Trade Marks

    Trade mark owners may assign their trade marks to another person in much the same way as they might assign other property.

    When May a Company Purchase Its Own Shares

    Share Buy-Backs: how may a company purchase its own shares?

    The Companies Act 2006 contains detailed provisions setting out the procedure for a company to purchase its own shares. It is important for directors and shareholders to know that the procedure is available. There can be tax reasons that justify a company buying shares back from a shareholder, although tax advice from an accountant or appropriately qualified tax adviser should first be taken before initiating a share buy-back.

    Monday, 20 February 2012

    Removing Company Directors under the Companies Act 2006

    It is common for a company director to have an executive service contract in place with the company. Such a contract will deal with the director's terms of service, including remuneration and benefits. The contract may also give the term of the director's appointment. However, a director may be removed from office before the end of his term of appointment by an ordinary resolution of the shareholders. The procedure is dealt with by sections 168 and 169 of the Companies Act 2006 and can be used notwithstanding any agreement made between that director and the company.

    Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999: The Basics

    Contract law is based upon the fundamental common law doctrine of privity of contract. Privity of contract provides that a contract cannot confer rights or impose obligations upon any person except the parties to that contract. The Contract (Rights of Third Parties) act 1999 provides an important exception to this rule. The Act may give rights to a third party where the purpose of a contract was to grant them such rights. As such, a third party who is not party to a contract may then enforce the contract on his own terms. There are two situations where this applies.

    Contract Law: What is Novation?

    In simple terms Novation means replacing a party to a contract with a new party. It is a concept that originated in Roman Law and refers to the process by which two contracting parties agree, by consent, to replace one of them with a third party. It provides a means by which parties can work around the doctrine of privity of contract whereby only the original parties to a contract are bound by and are able to exercise the rights created by that contract. The process of Novation actually changes the parties to a contract such that there is effectively a new contract between those parties on the same terms.

    Affirmation of a Contract

    When one party to a contract commits a breach that is serious enough for the other party to bring a contract to an end, the contract becomes voidable. The contract is still valid but, at that point; the party suffering the breach may elect to rescinded or affirm the contract. In practice, it can be difficult for innocent parties to spot when a contract might be voidable and their right to rescind can easily be lost unitentionally if care is not taken.

    Contract Implied Terms: An Overview

    Although commercial agreements are usually expressed in writing, it remains the case in English law that a physical contractual document is not required. Where a physical document does exist, the contract may contain terms that are not explicitly included - implied terms. However, such terms cannot simply be implied at will to rearrange a written contract after it has commenced; implied terms must meet certain criteria.

    Wednesday, 15 February 2012

    Minority Shareholder Remedies - Share Purchase Orders

    When minority shareholders in a private company are unfairly prejudiced, the remedy granted most often is a share purchase order. Common grievances leading to this type of order include a minority shareholder being excluded from management of the business, disputes over the sharing of profits and exclusions from meetings.

    Alternative Payment Structures in Business Sales

    Buyers and sellers of businesses have a number of alternatives to consider when deciding how to structure payment of the purchase price. The simplest payment alternative may often be a straightforward cash payment. But there are reasons, including tax reasons, for the parties to a business sale transaction to consider other payment structures.

    Partnership Law - The duty of good faith between Partners

    The duty of good faith is often considered the most fundamental principle underlying a partnership. If you are a member of a partnership or considering joining a firm of partners, it would be a prudent step to familiarise yourself with the basic principle.

    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Changes Proposed to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS)

    CICS, administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, exists to compensate blameless victims of violent crime. The scheme originally set up in 1964 is free and can currently make awards from £1,000 to £500,000. However, budget cuts mean savings have to be made and reform has been proposed. The government estimates that approximately 20,000 awards valued at nearly £75m have been made to criminals over the last ten years; one major source of cost that has been targeted.

    Sales of Shares and Businesses: Disclosure Letters and Warranties

    When a buyer agrees to purchase a company from a seller the terms of that deal are captured in a contract often prepared by the buyer's solicitor. Within that contract two things operate to help define the allocation of risk of claims between buyer and seller after the purchase is completed. The first of these is warranties, which we have talked about in more detail elsewhere. The second is the Disclosure Letter.

    Limited Liability Partnerships: An Overview

    Since its introduction under the Limited Liability Partnership Act 2000, the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) has become an increasingly popular legal structure. Its ability to combine limited liability with the tax status and flexibility of a partnership has contributed to its rising prominence as a corporate vehicle. Although originally devised to provide professional partnerships with greater liability protection, it is not limited to this and is often used elsewhere, equity joint ventures for example.

    Sunday, 5 February 2012

    Purpose of Warranties in the context of Acquisitions

    The law offers little protection to the buyers of a private business in the absence of fraud or misrepresentation. Most business people are familiar with the concept of caveat emptor, or 'buyer beware' in more modern parlance. However, difficulties arise in the purchase of businesses as going concerns where it may not be possible to identify all problems or potential issues impacting upon the value of the business. It is up to the buyer of a business to ensure that he has taken steps to protect himself as far as possible through contractual negotiation with the seller and in particular obtaining contractual warranties. Contractual warranties are central to the buyer's risk-management process in the sale and purchase of a business.

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Dangerous Dog Bites Double Over Decade

    A recent case in which a six-year-old girl had part of her ear bitten off by a dog in Essex has once again highlighted this growing problem. Police have charged the man with allowing the dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Although the victim suffered additional damage to her neck and shoulder she survived the attack. Following such a horrific attack, what sort of recourse might the injured party have against a dog owner to compensate them for their injuries?

    Recession Increases Cyclist Deaths

    The rise of austerity, environmental concerns and healthy living has seeing increased numbers of people resorting to their bicycles for daily transport. The immediate implications appear positive but accident statistics should make cyclists heed a note of caution.

    Speed Cameras Reduce Accidents

    Despite their unpopularity with many motorists, evidence shows that speed cameras have been effective in reducing accidents. Although cameras are often highlighted more for the revenues they produce than the accidents they prevent, figures show that the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads where they have been installed has fallen by up to two thirds in some places. Anyone who has worked with crash victims can only welcome such a trend.

    Surveillance and Your Claim

    Social networking, an increase in CCTV presence on the street and the ease of mobile phone video recording should be kept in mind by Claimants while they pursue their claim for personal injury compensation.

    Costs and Part 36 Offers

    Early settlement and negotiation is encouraged under the Civil Procedure Rules by providing mechanisms for offers to be made and properly considered.

    Friday, 27 January 2012

    Advantages of a Joint Venture

    Most business people are familiar with basic legal structures such as partnerships and limited companies. They are usually also aware of the pros and cons of a choosing a particular corporate vehicle whether it is for tax or liability reasons. A lesser understood concept is the joint venture. Although more complex in terms of legal and business relationships; in the right circumstances, joint ventures can present a number of advantages.

    Due Diligence in Commercial Transactions

    Whenever businesses look to acquire another business or to pursue a joint venture with another business, detailed due diligence is vital. With 'buyer beware' the starting premise, it is critical that acquirers or joint venture partners carry out sufficient investigation into the other party to know what they are getting before they complete a transaction. Thorough due diligence before-hand can help avoid unpleasant surprises and, more importantly, avoid the cost and damage of subsequent disputes or claims - particularly important if there will be an ongoing relationship.

    Thursday, 19 January 2012

    Navigating Pothole Claims

    The latest cold snap is a reminder of just how harsh our recent winters have been and how much havoc they cause road users. The pothole menace that ice and snow leaves behind on roads and pavements can cause considerable harm to pedestrians, vehicles and their occupants.

    Minority Shareholders: The Unfair Prejudice Remedy

    Sections 994 to 996 of the Companies Act 2006 provide a mechanism for aggrieved shareholders to bring a court action against their company. Such claims are often brought against smaller, non-public companies by minority shareholders who feel that the company's affairs are being conducted in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial to them. The basic process requires the aggrieved shareholder to petition the court for relief. The courts have wide and flexible powers to grant relief according to the circumstances of the particular case.

    Loans to Directors

    Directors' Loans: when are they permissible?

    If directors wish to take loans from their company or use their company for other types of credit transactions, certain procedures must be followed. As a general rule, approval of the company's shareholders is normally required but there are exceptions. If a necessary resolution of shareholders is not passed then the transaction is voidable at the instance of the company and directors may be liable for any gains made. However, a transaction may be affirmed after the loan occurs if done within a reasonable time.

    Monday, 16 January 2012

    Rises in Motor Insurance Costs Attributed to a Growth in Personal Injury Claims

    Motorists in the U.K. are likely to face a 40% increase in their insurance premiums this year, as the number of people claiming personal injury compensation continues to soar. This is despite recent Department for Transport figures which show that the number of people killed or injured on Britain's roads over the past decade has dropped by almost a third.

    Friday, 13 January 2012

    Whiplash Claims Sparks Political Reaction

    Personal injury lawyers play an important role in ensuring that people are properly compensated when injured in accidents. Making sure that people have access to the right medical treatment and financial support following a car crash, for example, is a matter of public interest.

    Strong Case for Assisted Suicide Law Reform

    The Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by the former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, has suggested that there is a strong case for a change in the law.

    Litigation: Offers to settle under Part 36

    What is a Part 36 Offer?

    In the context of litigation, for example, a civil dispute or a commercial dispute which is before the Courts, a Part 36 offer is an offer by one of the parties to settle the litigation prior to a hearing and decision by a Judge or decision-maker.

    Intellectual Property Solicitors: Rollingsons Wins a Domain Name Transfer under the WIPO Dispute Resolution Policy

    Rollingsons' client was recently awarded a successful decision in a domain name dispute. The dispute was decided under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The UDRP has been created by WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organisation) to set out a legal framework for the resolution of disputes between a domain name registrant and a third party over the abusive registration and use of a domain name.

    Debt Recovery: Statutory Demands and Bankruptcy

    It's a business reality that invoices and debts are not usually paid immediately. One reason is that businesses have monthly account payment cycles and a few weeks' delay is normal. However, there may be occasions where you are dealing with a business debtor and you have serious doubts about their intention to pay. You can spark the debtor into action with a statutory demand. This is a very effective debt recovery tool because debtors can be made bankrupt if they ignore a statutory demand.

    Calling Company General Meetings under the Companies Act 2006

    There is often confusion about who can call general meetings of a company and in what circumstances. Both directors and shareholders have the right to call a company general meeting but the requirements and procedure are different in each case.