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COVID-19 - Carer Sacked After Visiting Pub Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim

The pressure put on many employment relationships by COVID-19 was illustrated by the case of a care worker who was sacked by her vulnerable charge's mother after she went to the pub in the very early stages of the pandemic ( Meynell v Stephenson ). The...

Negotiating is One Thing, But Completing a Binding Contract is Quite Another

Commercial negotiations may proceed for many months and involve any number of meetings, messages and phone calls. However, as a High Court ruling showed , the question of whether a binding contract has been completed very often hinges on whether a signature...

Deemed Commercial Tenancy Inferred from Possession and Payment of Rent

Even in the absence of a formal lease, the existence of a tenancy can in some cases be inferred from an occupier's exclusive possession of premises and the payment of rent. The Upper Tribunal (UT) did just that in opening the way for a company to seek...

'Seriously Incompetent' Company Director Receives Four-Year Disqualification

Many companies admirably soldier on through cash flow difficulties, but it is the mark of a competent director to know when to pull the plug. A businessman who left that decision far too late was banned for four years from being a director or otherwise...

Pandemic or No Pandemic, Redundancy Exercises Must Be Open and Fair

Thousands of businesses left struggling by the COVID-19 pandemic have had little choice but to shed staff. However, as an Employment Tribunal (ET) ruling showed, the legal requirement that redundancy exercises must be transparent and fair has remained in...

High Court Acts to Protect Rights of Minority Shareholder in Family Business

Family-run enterprises represent an enduring and highly effective business model – but only for so long as trust and affection between board members persists. In one case, discord between a father and son required High Court intervention to restore...

Naming a New Business? Watch Out for Others' Intellectual Property Rights

When christening a new business, it is vitally important to get a professional to check that the name you have chosen does not tread on anyone else's intellectual property rights. In one case, a bitter harvest was reaped by a jewellery designer who failed...

Tower Block Owners Granted Pre-Emptive Anti-Urban Exploring Injunction

Commercial property owners are increasingly plagued by so-called 'urban explorers' who risk life and limb by scaling high-rise buildings for the entertainment of an online audience. As a High Court ruling showed , however, judges can take effective –...

Detriment for Engaging in Industrial Action - Landmark Human Rights Ruling

The law protects workers against detrimental treatment for taking part in the activities of independent trade unions – but such activities have long been interpreted as not including strikes or other forms of industrial action. That legal position has,...

Mutual Obligation, Substitution and Control - Guideline IR35 Ruling

When deciding whether a worker is employed or self-employed for tax purposes, the principal factors taken into account are mutuality of obligation, the level of control in the relationship and a person's ability to substitute someone else to perform their...

Has Your Property Been Compulsorily Purchased? Don't Sit on Your Hands

If your property has been compulsorily purchased by a public authority to make way for an infrastructure project, you should be entitled to compensation. As one case showed , however, such claims are subject to a strict time limit and lodging them at the...

Health and Safety Supervisor Sacked for Diligently Doing His Job Vindicated

Employees who are tasked with enforcing health and safety rules often encounter stiff resistance from colleagues who are reluctant to embrace change. As a case concerning a sacked railway maintenance supervisor showed, however, such employees enjoy special...

Cautionary Tale Illustrates the Necessity of Professional Tax Advice

A Court of Appeal case concerning a businessman who was on the receiving end of an unexpected six-figure tax demand served as a cautionary tale that graphically illustrated the importance of seeking specialist advice before entering into commercial deals...

Director Oblivious to Record-Keeping Duties Receives Seven-Year Ban

One of the most important duties required of a company director is to keep, maintain, preserve and, if necessary, deliver up adequate accounting records. The High Court resoundingly made that point in imposing a seven-year directorship disqualification on...

Commercial Leases and Opting Out of Security of Tenure - Test Case Ruling

Commercial landlords and tenants may contract out of the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 , but only if certain conditions are met. One of those conditions came under close analysis by the Court of Appeal in a ruling that...

Father Excluded from Babysitting Role Wins Sex Discrimination Damages

When recruiting staff, you may have a particular type of candidate in mind, but that is precisely the mindset that can give rise to discrimination. A company that advertised on social media for 'mothers' to work as babysitters fell into exactly that trap and...

Supreme Court Takes a 'Real-World' Approach to Rates Avoidance Schemes

When assessing whether tax mitigation schemes are effective, judges must interpret legislation in the real world and with regard to the likely intentions of Parliament. The Supreme Court made those points in a test case concerning schemes designed to avoid...

Anti-Competitive Practices - Musical Instrument Supplier Receives £5 Million Fine

There will always be some who view anti-competitive business practices as an easy route to profits, but those who engage in them can expect deterrent punishments. In one case, a supplier of musical instruments was fined over £5 million for fostering a...

Carers, Home Working and Discrimination - Guideline Ruling

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively increased the prevalence of home working but, for some, working away from the office is far more than just a preference. In a guideline case on point, an Employment Tribunal (ET) emphasised the rights of carers who work...

Is It Acceptable to Poke Fun at a Competitor? High Court Tackles the Issue

Bad blood often exists between trade rivals, but is it an acceptable business practice for them to poke fun at one another? The High Court tackled that issue in the context of a trade mark dispute between tech giant Apple and Swiss watch manufacturer...

Judge Awards Substantial Damages in Scaffolding Trespass Case

Building works to extend or improve your property may involve temporary incursions onto your neighbour's land, for which permission is required. In a case that showed the serious consequences of pressing ahead without such consent , partners in a medical...

Charity-Run Restaurant Exempted from VAT - Guideline Tax Tribunal Ruling

Should potentially competitive business activities engaged in by charities be exempt from VAT? The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) confronted that issue in extending VAT exemption to supplies made by a restaurant where students with learning disabilities gain...

Website Terms and Conditions Ruled Worthless in Online Gambling Test Case

Every internet user has had the experience of mechanically scrolling through densely typed terms and conditions before being granted access to a website – but are they worth anything in law? The High Court tackled that issue in confirming an online...

Waiver of Contractual Rights by Conduct - Instructive High Court Ruling

Strict contractual rights, no matter how clearly defined, may be impliedly waived by conduct. That principle came under High Court analysis in a dispute concerning stalled plans for the construction of a space age engine testing centre. Trustees of a unit...

Has COVID-19 Cost You Your Job? Consult a Solicitor Without Delay

Numerous businesses have sadly gone bust during the COVID-19 pandemic and, if you are amongst the many thousands of employees left high and dry, you should consult a solicitor without delay. A retail worker who did just that was awarded 90 days' pay by an...