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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Are You Thinking of Using a Consultancy Agreement?

Although there are tentative signs of improvements in the economy and the employment market, flexibility remains a priority for many businesses. Consultancy agreements can provide just that.

Consultancy agreements are contracts between a consultant and a business outlining the terms and conditions related to the types of services the consultant will provide. The contracts usually contain provisions for start and finish, consultant liability, payment, roles and responsibilities, confidentiality and specifying the aims and the services.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Protecting Registered Property From Adverse Possession

Owners of registered property have seen the rules on adverse possession tightened in their favour in recent years but they should still remain aware of what it is and how it occurs.

Having a property registered at the Land Registry does not prevent third parties from trying to claim it for themselves where they believe they have occupied it long enough to make a claim for adverse possession. However, the rules have changed in the last 10 years and are not as straightforward as they used to be.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Property Owners Benefiting from Squatting Ban

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 created a new offence of squatting in a residential property under Section 144, with punishments of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000. It came into force on 1 September 2012, and is “to protect owners and lawful occupiers of any type of residential building” as well as landlords, second homeowners and local authorities.

Prior to the ban, if a property owner could not persuade squatters to leave they faced lengthy and expensive legal proceedings in order to repossess their property. Now the victims of squatting can phone the police and have squatters arrested immediately.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Clampdown on Copyright Infringement Proposed

In 2012, Ofcom was tasked to review legislation pertaining to copyright infringement, which included a wide ranging research operation. Its study showed that 47% of online users were unable to be certain whether what they were accessing was legal or illegal. Furthermore, it was established from a nationally representative sample that one in six people had illegally accessed or downloaded internet content.

Unsurprisingly in June 2012 Ofcom produced a draft Code that suggested changes to the law on copyright infringement. Initially, the new Code was due to take effect in 2014, though that has now been pushed back until 2015.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Warning to NEDs: Regulatory Actions Likely to be Publicised

Angela Burns’ failure to prevent publication of a Decision Notice by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a clear warning to all non-executive directors (NED).

It signals that issues relating to corporate governance and NED integrity are likely to be actively pursued by the FCA. That entails serious publicity implications for individuals unless the presumption of public interest in publication is outweighed by a significant likelihood of potential damage to their livelihood.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Are You Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks?

Advancements in technology enabling businesses to store and access data more easily have brought an increased risk of information being subjected to a cyber attack.

This is a cause for concern but a recent ICSA Boardroom Bellwether survey revealed that 80 per cent of company boards are failing to take the threat of cyber attack seriously.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Mortgage Defaults and Possession Proceedings

Mortgage possession claims must be carried out correctly to avoid legal difficulties.

As might be expected the procedures for a lender to gain possession of a borrower’s house are highly regulated and can be complex.

Friday, 19 July 2013

EU Data Protection Laws to be Harmonised

Impending changes to EU data protection laws will see the implementation of a framework designed to harmonise laws across the EU. A new draft EU Regulation contemplates that rules will be directly applicable in all EU member states without the need for implementation at national level.

Evidently a response to the increasing use of digital material, the draft Regulation places a greater burden on businesses to be more open and transparent about the way they store and transfer data while strengthening individuals’ rights regarding protection of their personal data.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

What Happens to Instalment Payments if a Contract is Terminated?

The courts have often been asked what should happen to money already paid in instalments if a contract is terminated. They have usually found that the payment of instalments is not intended as a forfeitable deposit.

However, in Cadogan Petroleum Holdings Ltd v Global Process Systems LLC [2013], the termination of a sale contract resulted in the seller (Cadogan) keeping the instalments paid by the buyer (Global Process Systems). Furthermore, adding insult to injury, the seller was also entitled to the remaining unpaid instalments.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Good Faith Implied into Long Term Contracts: Yam Seng PTE Ltd v International Trade Corporation Ltd [2013]

Despite a general reluctance on the part of judges to do so, many businesses have tried to persuade courts to imply good faith clauses into commercial contracts. Generally though, businesses are reminded that they can only expect to rely on the clauses that are actually contained in their contracts.

There are exceptions to every general rule however and the decision in Yam Seng PTE Ltd v International Trade Corporation Ltd [2013] (Yam Seng) suggests that English courts may be more willing to imply a duty of good faith into commercial contracts where they are long term.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Do You Have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy?

A recent YouGov survey revealed that around 47% of British employees use their personal devices for work. At the same time, it found that less than a quarter of businesses have formal Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in place.

Formal BYOD schemes appear to offer excellent opportunities for businesses to reduce costs on company laptops or mobile phones but it also exposes them to a number of risks.

Whether your business has a formal BYOD scheme in place or not, the proliferation of cloud computing, virtual private networks and smart technology means employees are increasingly likely to access corporate systems on personal devices. Managers should understand the risks.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Owner-Managers and the Shareholder-Director Relationship

Owner-managers must have clear agreements governing the terms of their relationship with other shareholders to avoid potential difficulties if relationships break down.

Following the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Dear and Anor v Jackson [2013], it is also crucial for owner-managers to consider the interaction of shareholders’ contractual agreements and directors’ powers where an there may be a potential conflict between the two.

On a general note, the case once again highlights the reluctance of the courts to imply terms into commercial contracts.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Why Non-Executive Directors Should Do Their Due Diligence

A non-executive director’s role is to bring independent judgment to the board of a company. In doing so, they can bring experience, impartiality, specialist expertise and personal qualities to assist executive members of the board.

The position can require individuals to take a view on matters of strategy, performance, resources and standards of conduct of the company.

Before taking a position, it is therefore important that prospective directors do their homework on the company.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Directors: Are You Liable for the Acts of Your Company?

You might be if you wilfully fail to comply with an injunction made against your company.

The recent case concerning The Lord Mayor and the Citizens of the City of Westminster v Addbins Limited and Others [2012] reaffirmed the potential for directors’ to incur individual personal liability for the unlawful acts of their companies.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Are Your Social Media Policies Properly Protecting You?

Social media has become an inescapable feature of everyday life but there is a lack of awareness about the risks waiting just a mouse click away.

Civil and criminal law are constantly evolving to try and meet the demands of modern society and new social mediums so it is imperative that employers implement a social media policy that protects both their employees and their business.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Do Individuals Have a ‘Right to be Forgotten’ by Search Engines?

The short answer is probably not.

According to an Opinion delivered by Advocate General Jääskinen at the European Court of Justice, internet search engine service providers such as Google are not to be regarded as controllers of information on third-party source web pages.

The opinion, which relates to a long-running complaint against Google, implies that Google and other search firms should not be responsible for removing information that appears in their searches.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Quick Guide to Nuisance Claims

The tort of nuisance is designed to protect the occupier of land from unreasonable interference with enjoyment of their land.

There are two types of nuisance claims: ‘private nuisance’ and ‘public nuisance’.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Gilt Yields Fall As MPC Quells Bank Rate Fears


  • MPC Statement should stem the increase in fixed rate mortgage pricing

Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on the mortgage and housing markets and the first MPC meeting under Mark Carney’s stewardship, which resulted in, as widely expected, no change in either Bank Rate or the amount of Quantitative Easing (QE).

Holding Companies: Benefiting from the UK Tax Regime

The UK provides an ideal environment for holding companies to seek residence for a number of reasons. A strong rule of law, highly educated and able professionals and London’s reputation as one of the major financial centres are all important factors. A 20% rate of corporation tax rate by 2015 should also help.

In considering the best jurisdiction to establish a holding company for efficiency and effectiveness, the tax regime will often play a decisive role. This is an area that is receiving ever greater focus from policymakers keen to attract more companies to the UK.

Holding companies considering locating their headquarters in the UK should seek expert advice to fully understand the benefits and how to take advantage of them.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Copyright Quotation Exception to be Extended

The Government’s proposed changes to current copyright law will give greater scope for organisations to use quotations for purposes such as criticism and review.

Furthermore, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) suggests that quotations may also be used for purposes other than, but similar to criticism and review.

It is a move that seeks to better align UK law with EU and international law and harmonise the approach to copyright infringement.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

No ‘Jersey’ Trademark for Chanel

Chanel has failed in its application to trademark the word ‘Jersey’ for its lavender scented perfume of the same name.

The Channel Island of Jersey argued that the name would incorrectly imply a certain geographical origin to the product which could mislead consumers.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Warning for Social Media Advertisers

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter give businesses a great opportunity to communicate directly with their target market. It can be very efficient, focused and save costs - the Internet Advertising Bureau suggests that 32% of advertising expenditure is now spent on internet marketing.

Tempting as it is to forge right ahead with a social media advertising strategy, it is important to remember that this form of marketing is still subject to regulation; specifically the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) advertising codes.