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Can Dismissal Without Any Disciplinary Process Ever Be Fair?

Can a dismissal ever be fair if formal disciplinary procedures are dispensed with? A tribunal addressed that issue in the case of a senior railway company employee who was sacked on the spot following a breakdown in relations with her line manager ( ...

Architect Who Left the Door Open Not Liable for Catastrophic Cinema Blaze

The first step in proving negligence is to establish the existence of a duty of care. A High Court case in which a firm of architects was cleared of liability in respect of a catastrophic fire provided a prime example of that principle in operation. An...

British Gymnastics Scores 10 Out of 10 in Trade Mark Infringement Dispute

Not everyone is particularly observant or attentive and the names of businesses and other organisations do not have to be identical in order to sow confusion in the public mind. The High Court made that point in upholding a trade mark infringement claim ...

Which Nation's Laws Apply to International Flights - High Court Guidance

As international airline passengers lounge comfortably in their seats, the last thing on their minds may be the legal system that applies to the aircraft at any one time as it passes through the airspace of one nation after another. That question was,...

Privacy v Public Justice - Transgender Claimant Wins Anonymity Order

It is a fundamental feature of any free society that justice must be done in public, but how does that principle sit with the right of individuals not to have sensitive details of their private lives exposed to the public glare? The Employment Appeal...

High Court Overturns Planning Consent for Demolition of Pub Skittle Alley

Where local authorities choose not to follow the advice of their professional planning officers, the resulting decisions are likely to come under particularly close judicial scrutiny. That was certainly so in one case concerning a proposed development which...

Estate Agency Boss Handed Directorship Ban Over Price-Fixing Cartel

Where free markets fail to operate, individual consumers are bound to suffer. The lengths to which regulators will go in stamping out anti-competitive conduct, even at a local level, was underlined by a High Court case concerning a cartel between estate...

Boss's Ignorant Response to Employee's Progressive Condition Proves Costly

Employers who fail to provide support and understanding to sick workers can expect to pay a high price, both in financial and reputational terms. An Employment Tribunal (ET) made that point in awarding substantial compensation to a coffee bar employee whose...

Cakes v Confectionery - Tribunal Laments Confused State of VAT Rules

In ruling that vegan sweet treats targeted at health food shops should be subject to VAT at the standard rate, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) lamented the long-standing confusion in the law when it comes to distinguishing between confectionery and cakes. The...

Liquidators Act to Recover £7 Million Invested in Abortive Flats Development

Investing in property development projects is definitely not for the faint-hearted but, if things go wrong, professionals will help you to recoup as much of your money as possible. A case on point concerned about £7 million invested in a student flats...

Revolutionary Garden Hose Design Too 'Obvious' for Patent Protection

Patents reward originality, and inventions that are obvious developments on pre-existing designs do not qualify for protection, however successful they may be. In a ground-breaking case on point , patent protection was denied in respect of a one-man...

Elite Cyclist Jess Varnish 'Neither a Worker Nor an Employee', Tribunal Rules

What is an employee? What is a worker? The answer to those perennially tricky questions has been illuminated by a ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that elite cyclist Jess Varnish fell into neither category when she parted company with the...

High Court Rules on COVID-19 Insurance Test Case

In a welcome development for thousands of small businesses, the High Court has ruled that losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are covered by certain business interruption insurance policies. Many businesses have claimed on their business...

Can Contract Adjudications Be Fairly Held During COVID-19 Lockdown?

Speedy and cost-effective dispute resolution is the primary aspiration of the contract adjudication regime – but to what extent can that be fairly achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic? The High Court confronted that issue in a guideline case . A...

Council Awarded Seven-Figure Damages for Flaws in Tram Depot Design

Disputes concerning major construction projects can simmer on for years after they are completed and one of the great advantages of litigation is that it offers finality. In one case, the High Court achieved that end by awarding more than £1 million...

Dishonestly Misled Company Overturns £115,000 VAT Late Payment Penalties

Delaying payment of your quarterly VAT bills is no way to relieve pressure on your cash flow and usually results in heavy financial penalties. However, as a First-tier Tribunal (FTT) ruling showed, there is such a thing as a reasonable excuse for late...

Gender Diversity Bias Claim Fails to Convince Court

Many employers are taking laudable steps to increase diversity in their workforces by recruiting more women. However, as a case involving an unsuccessful candidate for a BBC radio broadcasting position showed, such considerations do not detract from the...

Spotlight on Corporate Democracy as Small Shareholders Take Crushing Loss

Concerns that small shareholders are the victims of a deficit in corporate democracy, having little influence over the direction taken by the companies in which they invest, were highlighted by a High Court case concerning a troubled mining company. Tens of...

Fairness Demands Transparent Decision-Making - High Court Planning Case

Planning decisions can radically affect people's lives and livelihoods and that is why they have to be taken openly and transparently. The High Court made that point in overturning planning permission granted for a major redevelopment in a creative...

Prosecco Producers Successfully Oppose 'Nosecco' Trade Mark Registration

The names and trade marks of certain well-known regional food and drink products are tightly protected under European law. The extent of that protection was analysed in a High Court case concerning a non-alcoholic sparkling wine bearing the name 'Nosecco'....

Selecting Staff for Redundancy? It Pays to Take Professional Advice First

The process of selecting staff for redundancy is fraught with legal pitfalls and seeking professional advice at the outset can in the long run save you from serious financial and reputational damage. In a case on point, a local authority reaped a whirlwind...

When Does a Contract Dispute Crystallise? Guideline High Court Ruling

Contract adjudicators only have jurisdiction to resolve disputes after the points in issue have crystallised. The difficulty of discerning exactly when that point has been reached was underlined by a High Court case concerning a delayed laboratory...

Advance Contractual Payments and the Benefits of Bank Guarantees

Contracts often require payments for services to be made in advance in order to get the ball rolling and provide liquidity, but this gives rise to obvious risks. An instructive High Court ruling, however, showed how effective bank guarantees are in ensuring...

Unfair Advantage Being Taken of Your Trade Mark? Don't Put Up With It

If you have spent time and money building up public recognition of your trade mark, you do not have to just stand by and watch others taking unfair advantage of your investment. In a case on point, a tea supplier saw off an attempt to use its brand name in...

Worker or Independent Contractor? European Court of Justice Guidance

The vexed distinction between 'workers' and 'independent contractors' could hardly be more important for many businesses but remains perennially controversial. An important ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is likely, however, to...