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Gay Headteacher a Victim of Unconscious Discrimination, EAT Rules

Whether discrimination is subliminal or deliberate often makes little difference to the pain and distress it causes. The point was strikingly made by a case in which an openly gay primary school headteacher suffered the consequences of unconscious bias ( ...

Sale of Insolvent Company to Creditor Not Improper

Insolvencies are seldom happy periods for any of those involved and great care must be taken by those who deal with the insolvency proceedings to ensure they do their work in a way that correctly balances the interests of the creditors and the insolvent...

Three Quarters of Firms Not Aware of Anti-Tax Evasion Law

A recent survey by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows that only one in four UK businesses are aware of the penalties they could face under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 if they fail to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion by any person or...

What Exactly Is the 'Curtilage' of a Building?

Whether land is or is not within the curtilage of a building can be a decisive factor in many planning cases. The High Court considered the meaning of the word in ruling that a large hardstanding used for storing fencing materials did not fall within the...

Profoundly Flawed Disciplinary Process Costs Engineering Company Dear

Workplace disciplinary proceedings must be thorough, fair and impartial and a failure to meet those standards can be costly, both in reputational and financial terms. In a case on point, an engineer won almost £70,000 in compensation after the...

Data Protection Fees

On 25 May 2018, the Data Protection Act 2018 came into force, incorporating the EU General Data Protection Regulation, ushering in a new era of personal data regulation in the UK. At the same time, the Data Protection (Charges and Information)...

Company Can Reclaim VAT on Director's Legal Bills

Companies understandably may wish to provide financial as well as moral support to their directors if they are facing litigation. However, the issue of whether such contributions are tax deductible is far from straightforward and exercised the minds of...

Trade Marks Infringed By Disassembling and Selling Charm Bracelet Links

Is the purchaser of a product sold under a trade mark entitled to take it apart and sell its component parts under the trade mark? The High Court considered that issue in resolving a dispute between rival manufacturers of bracelet charms. An Italian...

Defective Premises and Landlords' Duties - Guideline Court of Appeal Ruling

Landlords have a legal duty to keep the premises they let to tenants in a safe condition and if they fail to do so can be held liable for any injury or loss that results. Recently, a local authority was ordered to pay compensation to a council tenant who...

Accountant Who Worked Exclusively for One Client Became an Employee

The distinction between employment and self-employment is a continuing source of controversy and a ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that an accountant who worked exclusively for one client fell into the former category has added a new wrinkle...

Debtors' Rights - High Court Takes to Task Bailiffs Who Overstepped the Mark

Judgments for debt would hardly be worth having if there were no bailiffs to enforce them. However, as a High Court ruling made clear , they have to abide by stringent rules and do not have carte blanche to trample on debtors' rights. The case concerned a...

Company Director Banned for Ignoring Obligation to Pay Tax

Directors of struggling companies all too often place payment of tax at the bottom of their priority lists, with the result that it is the public purse that frequently suffers most in the event of insolvency. However, as a High Court decision showed , such...

Patent Invalid if No Novelty

One of the key requirements for a patent for a technical process innovation to be successfully defended is that there must be something genuinely innovative about the subject matter of the patent. There has to be 'novelty' and an inventive step. On...

Adjudication Payments Must Be Made First

Payments under building contracts can be a touchy issue and have led to numerous disputes. Adjudication proceedings are intended to make the process of resolving building disputes simpler, but they themselves are replete with legal challenges on a whole...

Discrimination and the Burden of Proof - Court of Appeal Gives Guidance

Once an employee succeeds in establishing facts that arguably support a finding of discrimination, the burden of proving that there was no such discrimination falls upon the employer. The Court of Appeal has confirmed that approach in a guideline decision ( ...

Exchanging Secret Information? Always Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement!

Businesses that deal or hope to deal with one another often have to put security concerns to one side and share their confidential information. As a High Court case underlined, however, such exchanges should always be subject to a professionally drafted...

Court Ruling Boosts HMRC's Cross-Border Powers

National boundaries pose little or no obstacle to tax evasion. The Court of Appeal made that point in an important ruling which has greatly boosted the ability of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to pursue inquiries beyond the borders of the UK. HMRC were...

Air Quality Targets and the Planning Regime - Court of Appeal Test Case

The Government is duty-bound by European law to ensure that specified air quality standards are met as quickly as possible. However, the Court of Appeal has ruled in an important test case that that duty does not extend to a general obligation to refuse...

Data Storage Dispute Leads to Emergency High Court Injunction

Large companies frequently engage outside contractors to assist with storage of the vast quantities of data they produce. However, as a High Court case showed , a breakdown of such commercial relationships can give rise to urgent privacy and data protection...

Equal Pay Comparability - Supermarket Workers Win Important Victory

In Asda Stores Limited v Brierley , the question before the Court of Appeal was whether or not thousands of women who worked at Asda's retail stores could compare themselves with male members of staff who worked at the company's distribution depots for...

Company or Unincorporated Firm? The Distinction Can Be Vitally Important!

A limited company has a legal personality all of its own, but an unincorporated firm does not. As a High Court ruling in respect of a domestic building dispute showed , that distinction can in some cases be a crucial one. A couple who were to move into a...

Balancing Noise Nuisance Against the Needs of Industry - High Court Ruling

Industrial processes can be noisy and those responsible for them frequently worry that complaints from neighbouring residents will affect their businesses. However, as a High Court case showed , such concerns and the needs of commerce in general do carry...

Even Highly Offensive Workplace Banter May Not Amount to Harassment

Irreverent and foul-mouthed banter is commonplace in some working environments and does not necessarily amount to harassment or victimisation. An Employment Tribunal (ET) made that point in rejecting a compensation claim brought by a salesman who gave as...

Online Selling - What About the VAT?

It is often optimistically considered that trading on eBay and similar online sales platforms is effectively outside the tax system. That, of course, is not true and anyone undertaking economic transactions for profit needs to comply with the tax laws to...

Doing an Important Business Deal? Make Sure You Get it in Writing!

The existence of oral agreements is easily asserted but very hard to prove, and that is one good reason why important deals should be in writing and professionally drafted with the benefit of legal advice. In a case on point, a businessman received nothing...