Free Business Legal Review Service

commercialreview
We are offering a free business legal review service to all Essex businesses to ensure your company is legally sound and resolve issues effectively.

We are delighted to announce that our Commercial Department has been recommended yet again by Legal 500 UK 2016. The Legal 500 rankings are carefully selected after rigorous assessment and provide a guide to the top legal providers across the UK. 

We would now like to give you the opportunity to find out why we have been recommended and how your company could benefit from our high quality legal support and advice.

  • Employment contracts and policies up to date?
  • Terms and conditions up to date?
  • Problems with unpaid bills?
  • Potential business disputes?
  • Considering expanding or moving premises?

Act now and take advantage of our free business legal review service. Simply call 01277 211 755 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange a review.

We can visit your premises or you can visit one of our offices to undertake a strings free review of your legal needs and requirements.

Our knowledgeable and efficient lawyers are always looking out for clients best interests and our large team of specialists work together to advise on all commercial matters including:

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Legal 500 UK recommends our commercial work

Legal 500 UK recommends our commercial work
Pinney Talfourd has been ranked by Legal 500 UK as a leading firm in the Corporate Commercial and Commercial Property categories.

We are delighted to announce that our Commercial Department has been recommended yet again by Legal 500 UK 2016 in the following rankings:

Legal 500 UK praised Partner and Head of Department Julien Pritchard, saying his team “gets the job done efficiently, no matter how complicated.’”

 

They highlighted a number of notable cases including:

  • Dismantling of a RITA scheme with complex SDLT issues, application of reliefs and multiple transfers with a value in excess of £30million.
  • Private equity purchase of £11 million commercial property and related landlord and tenant advice.
  • Corporate restructure of a significant and established local business including partnership to company transfer, sale of a commercial property and refinancing.
  • Advising in relation to the acquisition of a service provider including advice in relation to warranties, indemnities and employment related issues. Consideration payable for shares was circa £3million.
  • Advising in relation to the acquisition of an underwriting agency including consultation with the Takeover Panel, deferred payments, earn-out and employment related issues.

The Legal 500 rankings are carefully selected after rigorous assessment and provide a guide to the top legal providers in the UK.

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Legal 500 UK recommends dispute resolution team

Legal 500 UK recommends dispute resolution team
Pinney Talfourd's property litigation, commercial litigation and debt recovery teams are recommended by Legal 500 UK. 

Legal 500 UK announced their 2016 rankings in September and we are delighted to announce that our Dispute Resolution Department has been recommended in the following rankings:

Stephen Eccles heads up the Department and is recommended as a “leading individual” and ‘knowledgeable and efficient’. Legal 500 said the debt recovery team was “responsive and commercial”.

Legal 500 highlighted a number of notable cases including:

  • Court of Appeal case involving a procurement contract and in particular breach of contract and the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
  • Advising a well known retailer in relation to planning, development and break clauses relating to their warehouse facility. Value circa £10million.
  • Advising in relation to the development of premises as a hotel including advice upon rescission, breach of an agreement to lease, damages and specific performance.

The Legal 500 rankings are carefully selected after rigorous assessment and provide a guide to the top legal providers across the UK.

More information

If you would like a member of our team to advise you on any business or personal dispute please contact our Dispute Resolution Department on 01708 229444 (Upminster or Hornchurch), 01277 211755 (Brentwood office) or 01702 418433 (Leigh-on-Sea). 

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Legal 500 UK 2015 Results

Pinney Talfourd have been recommended in an outstanding eight categories by the Legal 500 UK 2015.
Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors have been recommended yet again when the Legal 500 UK results were published this week. These lists are carefully selected after rigorous assessment and provide a guide to the top providers in each region.



Pinney Talfourd is now recommended for excellence in the South East/ Essex area for:
Partner Stephen Eccles is praised for his ‘ability to grasp the key issues in complex cases’. His team is adept at handling shareholder, partnership, banking and director disqualification cases. The firm is also described as ‘streets ahead in terms of customer service’.

The firm is also described as ‘a reliable and proactive outfit’ that acts for small private owner-managed businesses through to large plc companies. Julien Pritchard is described as ‘an asset to have on side’.

Managing Partner, Philip Cockram said: "We are delighted that our hard work has been recognised yet again in such a prestigious listing. I am very proud of the team here and the fact that individuals have been singled out for their excellent work just goes to show that we are meeting our objectives of a first class service with first class results.”

If you would like to find out more about Legal 500 UK please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click on any of the listed categories to find out more about the teams.
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New legislation for mobile workers

workvan
When does your working day start? The European Court recently ruled that mobile workers start the moment they get in their car.
As you may be aware from the recent national press attention, there has been a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice in the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL relating to the working time of mobile workers.

The European Court made a ruling which means that for any mobile worker who has no set base of employment his or her working starts the moment he or she gets into their car or van at the beginning of the day and finishes when he or she pulls onto the driveway at home at the end of the day.

Previously it was considered that such an employee’s working day started as soon as he or she reached the destination of the first appointment and ended as soon as he or she had left the last appointment of the day. The reason why the European Court reached its decision was that it considered that those employees were at the disposal of the employer during the period of travel at the beginning and end of the day and the employee could not pursue his or her own interests in that time.

How does it affect your business?

The ruling will affect those businesses employing mobile workers with no fixed base of employment. This could include a number of roles such as sales people, mobile service technicians, and carers who carry out home visits. Those businesses who employ workers of this type should consider taking one of the following steps to reduce the impact of the ruling:

  • assigning a home base to the employee which he or she needs to attend prior to setting out to the first appointment
  • ensuring that the first and last appointments are scheduled to be close to the worker’s home
  • or requiring the employees to opt out of the 48 hour working time week.

It is important for employers to note that the ruling only effects working time and not pay. You will not need to pay your employees for the travel time to and from the first and last appointments of the day, but of course if you pay your mobile workers an hourly rate then the travel time will now need to be included in that calculation and it may affect pay for any mobile workers paid the national living wage.

If you feel that your business could be affected by this ruling then please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced solicitors in our Employment Law Department.

Contact us on 01708 229 444 or click here to visit our Employment Law contact page.


This article was written by Damian Pitts, an Associate Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at September 2015. 
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New Franchise Service Launched

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We are pleased to report that following the recent arrival of Amy Leite at the firm we are now able to advise franchisees on all franchise related matters.
 
Amy has specialised in franchise matters for several years and gives the low-down on franchises below.


The basics

A franchise is generally described as a “business in a box.” A franchisee pays a franchisor an initial fee to be granted the rights to use the franchisor’s tried and tested system, know-how, methods, trade name and trade marks to operate a business within an allocated territory.

For an ongoing weekly or monthly fee during the term of the agreement the franchisor will provide ongoing support, guidance, updates/modifications to the system and training.
Examples of well known franchises include Costa, McDonalds, Chem-Ex, Green Thumb and Dyno Rod.

The agreement

A franchisee will be expected to enter into an extensive franchise agreement which sets out all of the obligations and liabilities of both parties. A typical franchise agreement is 40 to 70 pages long and the terms will be heavily weighted in favour of the franchisor.


Particular points prospective franchisees need to be aware of

Typically, but not always:

  • the initial term of a franchise agreement will be for a fixed term of 5 years but sometimes it is as much as 10 years
  • the franchisee does not have a right to terminate the franchise agreement within the fixed term because the franchise is not working out for them or they have changed their mind. Therefore, franchisees can find they are stuck in a franchise that is not what they expected
  • the franchisee will often have performance standards or criteria to meet and failure to do so can result in termination
  • the franchisee often has to devote their full time and attention to the business meaning they cannot have another business interest without the franchisor’s express approval
  • there will be restrictions upon the franchisee post termination which prevent the franchisee from carrying on a similar or competing business for certain periods of time in certain areas
  • the customers of the franchisee’s business ultimately belong to the franchisor
  • the franchisee’s business does not belong to the franchisee indefinitely, a franchise agreement and any rights to renew come to an end at some stage whether by expiry, termination or sale
  • If the franchisee is a company, rather than an individual, an individual will be required to guarantee each and every obligation upon the franchisee company in the franchise agreement including any indemnities. No such guarantee will be given by the franchisor
  • The franchise agreement will contain an indemnity, requiring the franchisee to indemnify (agree to make good) any losses and costs the franchisor may suffer as a result of the franchisee’s failure to properly perform the terms or breach of the agreement
  • Franchisors have access to franchisees financial information and accounting through stringent reporting requirements in the franchise agreement
The agreement will contain an entire agreements clause and multiple non-reliance provisions which are designed to prevent any statements, representations, warranties or documents which are not set out in the franchise agreement from being relied upon. This is particularly relevant where franchisors provide cash flow and profit forecasts before franchisees decide to enter into a franchise agreement but which are then not referred to in the agreement at all.

 

Franchise Agreement Reviews

The key thing to do when considering buying a franchise is to take advice on the terms from a solicitor who is experienced in franchising. It is very important a franchisee is able to go into the agreement with a clear idea of their obligations and the risks.

We provide an extensive and thorough agreement review service on a fixed fee basis. Our service is praised by clients as exceeding expectations, being extensive, clear and thorough. We believe that this is because our service goes further than the norm of simply providing franchisees with a written report on the terms and stating which are standard.

If you would like to discuss the review service or obtain a fixed fee quote for the service please visit our Fixed Fee Franchise Agreement Review page.
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Law firm triumphs at HCCI Golf Day

HCCIgolfday
Pinney Talfourd Solicitors sponsored HCCI's Golf Day in May and also won a cluster of trophies.

The Executive Committee of Havering Chamber of Commerce arranged a golf day for it's members on 14 May at Upminster Golf Club and Pinney Talfourd were proud to sponsor the event. Stephen Eccles and Damian Pitts, both of our Commercial Litigation Department were joined by two clients to play a round of golf followed by a dinner reception in the clubhouse.

Typically, after a glorious Wednesday (13th) the weather was not so kind the next morning and the rain did not stop all day. So after nine very wet holes the teams retired back to the clubhouse for dinner and the winners presentation.

Pinney Talfourd's team were delighted to win two trophies:

  • nearest tee
  • longest drive

Stephen Eccles is also the proud owner of a set of exploding golf balls for the highest score!

A great day and delicious meal was had by all and the event helped to reinforce connections with the local business community, something which Pinney Talfourd work hard to maintain. 

If you are a local business and would like to discuss how we can help you please contact your closest office on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01708 22944 for more information.





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How energised do you feel?

renewableenergy
One of the Conservative Party’s Manifesto pledges includes guaranteeing us all cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy supplies.
 

In 2007, the European Council agreed a new Energy Policy for the EU. One of the policies was to ensure that 20% of the EU's overall energy needs are met by renewable sources by 2020.

In 2009, the EU agreed a package of legislation to implement the new energy policy. This package of legislation is known as the Climate Change and Energy Package or the "20-20-20 package", and includes the Renewable Energy Directive 2009.


The Pledge

The Conservatives say that they are aware that British families and businesses are ‘at the mercy of fluctuating energy prices’ and so the government seeks to secure for itself what for decades energy company’s had for themselves – control over how energy is sourced and  priced, how information about energy is supplied to consumers and, importantly,  it has the right to define, through the law, how energy companies and consumers  interact.

A Conservative government seems to intimate a progression towards harmonising the UK better with the requirements of the Directive.  However, affordable energy, generated by renewable energy sources, such as Solar, Hydro-Power and Bio-Fuel has been in vogue for some time already.  With electricity being produced from sources like Solar Panels, Wind Turbines and Bio Sources, consumers already have various alternatives to power station supply available to them.

Such energy sources have been available to consumers for a number of years but relationships between, in particular, green energy companies and consumers and  competition between ‘green’ companies in the renewable energy sector has only relatively recently brought the sector into the spotlight.  The sophistications of marketing and selling the technology associated with producing renewable energy and the challenges of the industry’s regulation has brought to the surface problems for both consumers and renewable energy companies alike. 

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Commercial Leases - To Renew or Not?

Commercial lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 continue to be a frequent source of litigation for the Courts.
 

As the commercial property market continues to come out of recession, there have been an increasing number of cases where landlords are refusing to renew commercial leases. 

Under the LTA 54, a commercial tenant within the Act has the right to renew the lease on basically the same terms as previous subject to agreement as to rent and modern updating. 

There are however specific grounds on which a Landlord can refuse to renew. 

An example of this was in the case of Mussellwhite v Yoseffi. The landlord opposed the renewal of a lease where the tenant had persistently refused the landlord access to inspect the property, had made rent payments late, and had failed to open the premises as a shop in contravention of the lease. 

The Court agreed that the landlord was entitled not to renew and terminated the tenant’s interest.  The tenant appealed and in July 2014 the Appeal Court ruled in favour of the landlord holding that lack of access and failure to use the premises as agreed were substantial breaches of the lease.

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Resolving disputes in 2015

JacksonReport
"The Jackson Reforms" look set to continue to change the litigation landscape in 2015. Head of Dispute Resolution, Stephen Eccles, looks at what to expect.
 
There have been key changes in the rules of litigation over the last couple of years and new rules and procedures are currently working through the civil justice system. These have become known as “The Jackson Reforms”

It is the development of these new rules and procedures that represent change anticipated through 2015.

THE MOST RELEVANT CHANGES TO COMMERCIAL DISPUTES ARE:

  • the expansion of permitted contingency fee arrangements
  • increases to damages where a Defendant fails to beat a Claimant’s settlement offer
  • cost budgeting
The rules of procedure (CPR) have been amended to promote the avoidance of delay and a saving of legal costs. There will be a much stricter approach to 'parties to litigation' complying with each and every part of Court Orders made in the management of cases with stricter deadlines and timetables.

COURT COSTS 

The reforms have resulted in a vast increase in applications to the Court, an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the reforms. This comes at a time when the County Court system is suffering considerable difficulties in dealing with existing workloads and no additional resources for the County Court system, indeed rather the reverse.

We do not expect to see any increase in the funding of the Court system save through the increase in Court fees. We expect to see Court fees increase significantly both for issue of proceedings, and all applications, including Trial fees. The government’s aim is to make the Court system self-funding through the Court fee structure.  It is a particular worry that the Court system will not be able to cope and we are seeing considerable delays in the Court system in obtaining dates for hearing of applications and Trials. 

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

There continues to be considerable emphasis by the Judiciary on attempting to settle disputes without recourse to the Courts via alternative dispute resolution (ADR) which includes both arbitration and mediation. 

The Judiciary have made it clear that parties unreasonably refusing to mediate may well face cost sanctions. Cost sanctions are the primary method by which the Judiciary will seek to limit litigation and encourage parties to use ADR.

CONCLUSION

It is more important than ever to obtain legal advice at a very early stage in dispute resolution. If litigation is commenced, the combination of cost sanctions and the Jackson Reforms mean that a case must be ready to proceed to Trial on issue. Therefore we expect to see much more pre-action correspondence and fewer issued cases as prudent litigators will not wish to issue proceedings prematurely.

Where proceedings are issued, we expect to see much more detailed timetabling by the Courts which, combined with the much greater sanctions available for non-compliance with Orders, will substantially discourage the issue of speculative or under prepared litigation cases.

I will keep you up to date on developments with these reforms in the monthly Pinney Talfourd newsletter. If you are not already on our mailing list you can subscribe here.

In the meantime, if you need to discuss what these reforms will mean for any of your current disputes please contact me.

 
This article was written by Stephen Eccles, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at February 2015.
 
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