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CPSEs and Failure to Communicate

CPSEs and Failure to Communicate
Many landlords view Commercial Property Standard Enquiries with a sense of dread. However, they are integral and failure to keep them updated can cause issues.It can appear unreasonable for the landlord to have to complete lengthy replies to enquiries for a simple lease transaction. Many solicitors, including ourselves, regularly assist landlords w...
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Promotions strengthen teams at Pinney Talfourd

Promotions Strengthen Teams at Pinney Talfourd
We are delighted to announce three internal promotions within our Family, Private Client and Residential Property departments.Jennifer Herbert (Family) has been promoted to Senior Associate status and Chris Dickinson (Private Client) and Rebecca March (Residential Property) have been promoted to Associate status.Jennifer was recently recognised by ...
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When did you last check your Company's T&Cs?

When Did You Last Check Your Company's T&Cs?
By now, many of you will have received numerous emails regarding GDPR. But do you have your own set of terms and conditions in place?We have all been recently bombarded with emails from companies confirming that they currently have your details on their mailing list, and are updating their terms and conditions to comply with the General Data Protec...
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Choosing your Executor - choose wisely!

Choosing Your Executor - Choose Wisely!
An Executor is responsible for fulfilling a person's wishes as per their Will after they pass away. But what can happen if you make an unwise choice? Senior Associate Kerry Hull explains.When providing instructions for a Will, a person making the Will (known as the testator) shall choose an individual or individuals to administer the Estate. The Ex...
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Leases and Licences - Make Sure You Get Them Right!

Leases and Licences - Make Sure You Get Them Right!
Most commercial landlords appreciate the importance of a well-drafted commercial lease as a way to protect their interests. Commercial Property Solicitor Ben Hersom explains.Though it may seem like an unimportant additional expense, a well-drafted lease is the best way to ensure that cost implications, both during and after the term of occupation a...
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No-Fault Divorce Court Appeal in Spotlight

No-Fault Divorce Court Appeal in Spotlight
A hugely anticipated divorce hearing kicked off in the UK's highest court this week, no doubt prompting further questions to the government around reforming 'outdated' family law.The case of Owens v Owens will be heard by the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal ruled that it could not interfere with a previous decision to refuse to grant Mrs Ow...
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Over £11,000 raised by Pinney Talfourd for SNAP!

SNAP-Cheque
We are delighted to announce that we have raised over £11,200 in total for our Charity of the Year 2017, SNAP (Special Needs and Parents).

In 2017, we chose local charity SNAP, who work tirelessly in the community to help 0-25 years olds with special needs and their parents in a variety of ways, providing a respite lifeline for many of these families.

Our fundraising efforts

The firm’s fundraising plans for the year were a mixture of internal events, running challenges and slightly more out of the box activities. Our monthly dress down days in the office managed to raise £600, and this figure was matched by our client satisfaction questionnaires, which sees the firm donate £1 for every completed form we receive back from our clients.

Pinney Pacers Alex Pearce, Stephen Eccles, Lexie Jacobs, Keeley Miller and Suzanne Figgins took on the challenge of various running events throughout the year, including the Brighton Marathon. Their spirited efforts managed to raise an incredible £1,100 for SNAP.

October saw our most challenging task to date, when solicitors Sue Nash, Catherine Loadman and Lucy Birch undertook a 24-hour Danceathon in our Upminster office, which was also streamed live on Facebook. The entire local community and our corporate sponsors rallied around them and their endeavours managed to raise over £5,000.

Christmas is always a charitable time of year and our annual ‘Christmas at the Queens’ event raised over £2,700, with 50% going to SNAP (the remaining 50% is donated to Queens Theatre Hornchurch).

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'Moving Your Business To The Next Level' Seminar

HCC-Pro-Actions
Pro-Actions invite you to their latest free business seminar on 9 May at Pinney Talfourd's Upminster office, geared towards offering advice to business owners and managers. 

In association with Havering Chamber of Commerce, we are delighted to welcome Pro-Actions for their latest free seminar for business owners and managers.

HOW TO MOVE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

To drive your business forward successfully and profitably it is vital that you understand the key areas that contribute to business success. 

This Business Seminar will explore the vital elements of effective business management that all businesses should have in place to move to the next level. What works and what doesn't, and the increased control you can gain over your business - simply by focusing on doing things right.

Most importantly, the seminar will show that by focusing on key business elements you will be able to make better informed strategic decisions, resulting in improved profits and more cash in the bank. Packed full of sensible ideas and solutions, this is a must-attend event for anyone who is serious about their business having the best chance to succeed. 

Highlights of this Pro-actions Business Seminar will include:

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Motorcycle Awareness Month - be conspicuous!

Motorcyclist-2
Let’s face it - motorcycle riders are extremely vulnerable when out on the road. As part of Motorcycle Awareness Month, we run through some of the ways to ensure that you are seen.

Unlike car drivers (otherwise known as ‘cagers’), motorcyclists do not have the benefit of being surrounded by a reinforced steel shell with all manner of passive safety features.

In fact, one-third of drivers involved in a daylight collision with a motorcyclist, claim not to have seen the rider before the crash.  At night, this figure rises to over half of all drivers.

So - why are motorcyclists so often “invisible” to other road users?

 

Light and bright is key

The traditional view, contained in Rule 86 of the Highway Code, is that during daylight riding you should make yourself as visible as possible from the side as well as the front and rear.

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When the Usual Housing Choice is Not an Option…

Home-Sweet-Home
The Resolution Foundation think tank recently found that up to a third of millennials are facing living in rented accommodation all their lives. So what other options are there?

You could try and co-own with a friend or two (or three). Between you, you may be able to raise a sufficient deposit and borrow enough under a mortgage to purchase a property between you. Property can be legally held in the names of up to four people - if a group of four friends or colleagues pooled their savings together they may find that they could obtain a mortgage and afford a reasonable start on the housing ladder. Based on the premise that property prices generally will go up over time, after a few years, everyone has built up more equity in the property and has a larger deposit with which to go off and fund a purchase in their own name if they want to. 

However, what happens if we fall out or someone wants to move on but others don’t want to sell the property? All the property owners can enter into an agreement known as a Declaration of Trust. This agreement sits alongside the ownership and sets out who put how much in, how any sale proceeds are to be divided in the event of a sale and you can set down how matters are to be dealt with if one party wants out of the arrangement but others want to retain ownership of the property. This agreement should be set up as part of the house buying process and terms can be agreed before the exchange.

Can’t stand the thought of living with others? Then consider the humble houseboat, not the most spacious - but an imaginative alternative.  This is a seemingly more affordable option. In the five years to 2015 official figures suggest London waterways alone have seen a 50% increase in boat numbers. There are static or roving houseboats. Static houseboats having a permanent mooring site and roving houseboats which move from site to site but can remain in almost any location for up to two weeks.

Running a houseboat is not without costs or disadvantages. You would need to consider mooring fees, insurance, boating waterway licences, safety certificates and fuel & maintenance costs. This is in addition to the cost of either purchasing the boat outright or monthly renting. Don’t forget the day to day jobs also such as emptying the lavatory. It is not a lifestyle for everyone.

Another alternative is flat pack housing, for the flat pack generation. This can be a relatively cheap alternative. Renato Vidal, from Italy, has created an affordable flat pack folding home which could be yours for just £24,800 and takes less than a day to install once on site. Providers will often offer a delivery only service where you construct the property yourself, a bare-bones option where they will deliver and make weather-proof but it is up to you to finish off or a full build where the property is built, fitted and connected by the provider. You can then build according to your budget. The main issue here for most will be locating and acquiring the site on which to build along with the associated costs of connecting the property to services and utilities. That alone may put the price of a flat pack property out of reach. Mortgages are also harder to come by on such properties.

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Injury to Feelings and the Working Time Regulations

Working-Time-Regulations
The Court of Appeal has held that compensation for injury to feelings is not available for failing to provide rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (‘WTR’).

Pursuant to Regulation 12 (1) of the WTR, workers are entitled to unpaid rest breaks of 20 minutes when working for more than 6 hours per day.

Whilst workers may be required to remain at work or in close proximity to their workplace while taking a rest break, they should not be required to perform any duties.

Where an employer has infringed a worker’s entitlements under the WTR, a worker is able to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal.  An Employment Tribunal must make a declaration that the worker’s entitlements have been infringed and may make an award of compensation where the complaint is well-founded.

The amount of compensation is such as the Tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances.

Injury to feelings awards have historically been made under discrimination legislation and have also been available in whistleblowing detriment claims. Conversely, compensation for unfair dismissal and breach of contract does not include compensation for injury to feelings.

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Employment Law Round-Up - New Rates and Limits

National-Living-Wage
It’s that time of year again in which employers have to familiarise themselves with the increases in compensation limits, statutory payments and the National Minimum Wage.

The new rates for 2018/2019 are as follows:

 

Statutory payments for time off work:

Maternity/Adoption pay prescribed rate (max)                                                                                        

£145.18

Paternity pay (max)

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World IP Day 2018 - Powering Change

World IP Day 2018 - Powering Change
Each year the World Intellectual Property Organisation celebrates creativity and ingenuity which is demonstrated by registering new trademarks and patents around the world.
 
This year’s theme focuses on the celebration of innovative and creative women who have developed many life-changing inventions.

Some examples include Mary Anderson, who designed and registered her patent in 1903 for windscreen wipers on cars, or Stephanie Kwolek who invented Kevlar in 1965 (the material used in bullet-proof vests and body armour which is said to be five times stronger than steel). Another interesting invention which many families around the country know and love is the board game Monopoly. The rules for Monopoly, which was originally called The Landlord’s Game, were registered as a patent in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie who then sold the patent to the Parker Brothers in 1935 who published the game under the name Monopoly.     

Many other historic inventions by women include the fire escape on buildings, life rafts, the medical syringe which can be used with one hand, CCTV, the electric refrigerator and the dishwasher. Even central heating was first registered as a patent by Alice Parker in 1919 and, although her design was never built, it was the first time that anyone had designed a system whereby natural gas would supply heat to an entire home.

In the month running up to World IP Day, there will be many interesting discussions taking place as to ways in which women have made significant contributions to many industries. To get involved you can follow the event on Facebook or on Twitter by following #WorldIPDay.

 

MORE INFORMATION 

If you have any questions in relation to your own intellectual property rights, please contact our Corporate Law Department - call us or email by using the form to the right.

 
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of April 2018.

New Joiners Strengthen Commercial Team

New Joiners Strengthen Commercial Team
Pinney Talfourd is delighted to announce the recent arrival of two specialist solicitors to strengthen its widely recognised commercial offering in Essex and London.

Chloe Pannu will be concentrating on Company and Commercial matters, and Ben Hersom joins our Commercial Property team.

Chloe introduces a wealth of former experience gained from setting up corporate tax and trust structures in London. She will be primarily overseeing business and commercial contracts and assisting with the larger corporate transactions which the department handles on a regular basis. In fact, many of our existing clients will already know Chloe from her previous role within our leading property department. 

Ben Hersom joins us to specialise in all aspect of Commercial Property, including lease assignments and negotiations, commercial landlord and tenant issues, and freehold acquisitions. Ben joins us from Harlow-based firm Whiskers. He qualified as a solicitor in 2016.

Commenting on his new colleagues, commercial property partner Julien Pritchard observed:

“The addition of Chloe and Ben underlines our commitment to offer excellent client service and the full range of dedicated commercial services.  I wish them both well, and look forward to working with them in the future”.

Motorcyclists Targeted in Personal Injury Reforms

Motorcyclist-1
The government plans to introduce reforms regarding personal injury claims, but with a key caveat in place that will potentially unfairly target cyclists and motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists make up only 1% of total traffic in the UK. Yet they account for 20-25% of UK road casualties killed or seriously injured.

The government plans to reform road traffic accident personal injury compensation by the introduction of an increase to the Small Claims limit, from the current figure of £1,000 to a new limit of £5,000.

Generally speaking, the costs of legal advice are not recoverable in the Small Claims Court, even if you win, so legal advice or representation by a lawyer is not financially viable.

This increase, likely to be introduced in April 2019, is largely aimed at clamping down on drivers and passengers in cars who suffer so-called ‘whiplash’ injuries. The government takes the view that they are being overcompensated and are driving up car insurance premiums.

However, motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists and even horse riders, will be unfairly caught by these changes.

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Life is getting harder for offshore property owners

Business-Man-1
The latest Companies House business plan makes tough reading for offshore corporate owners of UK property, with the annual update championing plans for a register of their beneficial owners.
 
The company registrar has confirmed that it will be assisting the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and plans to work in conjunction with HM Land Registry in developing a register extending to beneficial owners of overseas companies holding UK residential and commercial property.

This will implement the Government’s ideological attempt to crack down on money laundering and financial crime in the UK, and stands to be the first of its kind in the world.  It is no secret that the use of offshore companies to launder money via the UK property market is an increasing problem. The scale of the issue is in fact much larger than many might assume. Companies House recently reported that over 75% of properties currently under investigation use off-shore corporate secrecy.

That said, for the many legitimate offshore entities that choose to invest in the UK, this register will mean more administration, more fees, and more ‘red tape’, aside from a perceived loss of privacy given that information will be placed on a public register for all to see in a similar way to the PSC (People with Significant Control) Register.

Arguably, reporting requirements in some overseas territories are lax in comparison to the UK.  This allows criminals to cover their tracks behind such companies by taking advantage of their comparative secrecy. By introducing the requirement, the UK Government hopes to clearly send a message that if you own property in the UK, then you will be held accountable in the UK.

It has yet to be decided how the register will work and be enforced. However, there have been suggestions that if an overseas company fails to comply with the requirements then they could face criminal sanctions as well as the ability to lose the power to sell the property.

Companies House will be releasing updates as plans develop over the next few years but have confirmed that the register is unlikely to be introduced until around 2021.

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Family Court Orders – A Joke To Some?

Family-Finances
A breach of a Family Court Order in matrimonial finances is not always sanctioned at the first opportunity; in fact, it usually takes several breaches for the court to be willing to step in.

However, as the recent case of Hart V Hart [2018] EWHC 549 (Fam) demonstrates, the Family Court will punish those persistent offenders, eventually. In this case, an 83-year-old man reneged on his undertaking, which was originally given in 2015 and contained within a Family Court Order at the time. The Undertaking, which is a promise to the court, required the husband to provide to the wife documents and information to assist her in running a company, which had been transferred to her upon the divorce. The husband did not do so willingly despite his promise to the court. The wife, therefore, had to bring the matter back before the court on several occasions throughout 2016 and 2017. During those years, further orders were made requiring the information to be provided, and yet the husband still did not comply with the Family Court Order.

The case came before HHJ Wildblood in February 2018 and, in his judgement of March 2018, the Judge determined that the husband had breached both his Undertaking and various Court Orders and that his actions were deliberate; his evidence untruthful; and that he had shown no remorse. His punishment was an immediate prison sentence of a total of 14 months.

HHJ Wildblood has shown in this case just how serious breaches of Family Court Orders are, and his readiness to punish this persistent offender by committing him to prison should serve as a warning to all parties in matrimonial financial proceedings.

This judge is not the first to impose a custodial sentence due to breaches of Family Court Orders. In the 2016 case of Trott V Trott, the husband and his new wife were sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and 14 days (which was suspended), respectively. The breaches, in this case, occurred when the husband sold matrimonial assets which were subject to a Family Court Order and did not pay to the wife’s solicitors the sale proceeds. His new wife was sanctioned by the court for not complying with an Order requiring her to produce bank statements and evidence of the purchase of a property.

Earlier cases such as Young V Young 2013; where the husband was imprisoned for failing to provide full financial disclosure and Zuk V Zuk 2012; where the Husband was imprisoned for 9 months failing to pay a lump sum of £15,000, support the lack of sympathy the Family Court Judges have for continued breaches of their Orders.

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You may not be the lucky one - limit your liability!

Commercial-Agreements-1
Fundamental to most well-drafted commercial agreements is a clause limiting the liability of the contracting parties if any claims are brought.
 
Not only does this offer both parties a degree of certainty if things fail to proceed as planned, but it allows those parties to consider whether, on a risk-based approach, they want to participate in the contract in the first place.  Failure to include a well-drafted limitation clause could, in extreme cases, expose a commercial party to a never-ending stream of expensive claims, so it is important that it is well-drafted at the outset to avoid issues arising later on.

The recent decision by the Court of Appeal overturning a High Court decision on limitation clauses makes for essential reading for every business which enters into contractual arrangements, including a limitation clause.  In deciding the case, the Court interpreted a limitation clause in line with what made “commercial sense” as a reflection of the intention of the parties (Royal Devon)[1].

Limitation clauses tend to consist of a number of separate liability “caps”.  Each of these must be drafted carefully to ensure that they are interpreted as the parties intended at the outset of the arrangement.

Caps on liability typically include some or all of:

  • A limit on the maximum amount payable in any single claim that can be made under the agreement; and
  • A limit on the minimum amount payable in any one claim to prevent you being dragged to court over what you may consider a minor issue; and
  • A requirement to bring the claim within a certain period; and
  • A limit on the total aggregate amount payable in all claims which can be made.

The way in which the clause is drafted depends entirely on the individual arrangement being struck.  Although the Court of Appeal interpreted the clause in the Royal Devon case in line with what made commercial sense, another court may have reached a different outcome. Indeed, in considering the circumstances of the claim, the High Court considered that the clause imposed a single aggregate claim cap whereas the Court of Appeal read the same clause differently, favouring an interpretation based on separate caps as being more in line with what made commercial sense.

 

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The Importance of Lease Registration

Commercial-Lease-1
Another recent high court decision regarding effective service of a break notice highlights the importance of registration following the lawful assignment of a commercial lease.

In Sackville UK Property v Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers Limited and Integro Insurance Brokers Limited [2018] EWHC 122 (Ch), the landlord rejected service of a break notice by the new tenant on the ground that the notice was invalid, as it had been served by a party who was merely a beneficial owner and not the tenant at the time the notice was served. 

On an assignment of a commercial lease, the existing tenant is generally required to obtain the consent of the landlord to assign (‘transfer’) the remainder of the term of the lease to a new party, known as the assignee. When a registered leasehold title is assigned, a transfer deed is executed by the parties and sent to land registry to enable the assignee to be registered as proprietor of the leasehold title following assignment.

On the facts of this case, the landlord had granted consent to the assignment of the lease. However, the assignee failed to register a change in the ownership of the leasehold title at Land Registry on the mistaken belief that the assignment was sufficient to transfer the remainder of the lease. By failing to register the transfer of the registered legal title, the assignment took effect in equity only and the legal estate did not vest in the assignee. 

The new tenant purported to serve a break notice in accordance with the terms of the lease.  It is always advisable to obtain legal advice when serving a break notice, as this is one of the most litigated clauses in commercial leases. 

In this case, the landlord rejected the notice as invalid because the tenant had failed to register themselves as legal proprietor, and the high court agreed with the landlord; a disposition of a registered estate does not operate at law until the disposition is completed by registration.

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The Unspoken Cause of Workplace Absences

Mental-Health-1
There are many reasons why an employee may be required to take time off work, but did you know that mental health conditions are now the most common work-related illness?

Workplace absences can range from childcare responsibilities to work-related illness, however, according to a recent announcement by the Health and Safety Executive, the number of UK workers that suffered from mental health conditions which included work-related stress, depression and anxiety have risen by nearly 10% to 526,000 in the year 2016/2017.

What does this mean for businesses and the UK economy as a whole?

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that mental health conditions account for an annual average of 12.5 million working days lost; a cost to the UK economy of between £33-£42 billion.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, meaning that, in a workforce of 40 people, 10 individuals may experience a mental health condition.

In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health condition such as anxiety and depression in any given week.

According to the statistics gathered by Mind, 7.8 people in 100 will suffer mixed anxiety and depression, whilst 5.9 in 100 people will suffer from a generalised anxiety disorder, and 3.3 in every 100 people will have to deal with an overall depressed state of being and mind.

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