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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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How far would you go to catch a Pokemon monster?

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Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and players are breaking the law and even risking their lives to get ahead.

Pokemon Go has had over 6 million downloads since it was launched in the UK in mid-July. Pokemon Go is a new mobile augmented reality game where players, called trainers, catch virtual monsters situated in the real world. Its co-developers, Nintendo and Niantic, have earned millions from the time of its launch and it has been credited for getting the generation of computer game teenagers more active. However, just as it has some advantages, the game poses numerous disadvantages and legal impediments.

The game interacts with an actual map of your surroundings to help you to find and catch the virtual monsters. As such, it has the element of augmented reality and is thus covered by this law in UK. This therefore raises concerns about privacy and security especially since it is grounded on GPS and geolocation. The game provides a database of the individual’s daily routines and movement. This then raises the question of who has access to such valuable data and who is legally liable if something untoward happens to the player.

Another legal problem that may arise from Pokemon Go relates to virtual location rights. Given that the game is quite new, it is currently not covered by any legislation. However since many of the virtual locations designated as ‘gyms’ or PokeStops are private properties, private businesses, schools and churches the game may well lead to illegal trespassing and potential nuisance claims.

The first legal case against Pokemon developers was filed in the US early this month. The case is the first class action lawsuit that seeks damages for flagrant disregard on the game’s effect on real world locations. The class suit amounts to over £3.7 million and is filed before the California Northern District Court under Marder v. Niantic, Inc. et al (4:16-cv-04300).

It may not be long before cases will also be filed against UK Pokemon Go players. The UK police have already issued warnings against players on trespassing. They have also warned against going to unlit or busy areas where players can be targets of thieves. Other risks that come with playing the game have been identified already from focusing on the mobile device while crossing streets, driving, and even entering police sites with non-police business.

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Are you owed money in Europe?

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Following the Brexit vote, Stephen Eccles, debt recovery expert outlines why you need to act quickly if you are owed money by an individual or business in Europe.

Following the United Kingdom’s historic decision to leave the European Union, anyone owed money by an individual or business in the European Union is advised to act quickly and take advantage of current European debt recovery procedures.

You could be forgiven for thinking that it might be complicated or prohibitively expensive to recover your debt, especially if the amount outstanding is small. However, there are several procedures available to allow money claims to be recovered both quickly and easily.

It is unclear for how long these procedures will remain available in the courts of England and Wales. Debt recovery expert Stephen Eccles at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors in Essex outlines the current options.

European small claims procedure

The European small claims procedure enables businesses and consumers to issue small claims in all member states of the European Union (EU). The process is an alternative to using the national law of the particular member state and is suitable for cases where you consider that the claim may be contested. In this country European small claims are treated in the same way as domestic small claims matters. The procedure uses standard forms that can be used by all parties across the whole of the EU and there are standard time limits to ensure effectiveness. Once a judgment has been officially recognised, it is automatically enforceable in other member states. Most European small claims are conducted on paper only, although it is possible to have an oral hearing, which may be conducted via video link if necessary.

This procedure is suitable for monetary and non-monetary claims up to a value of €2,000 (excluding interest and costs). European small claims are not suitable for claims over marital property, property that is the subject of a will, employment, tenancy, bankruptcy or other claims, so it is always worth seeking advice on whether your claim is likely to be suitable for the European small claims procedure before making an application.

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Ten Common Debt Recovery Mistakes

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Stephen Eccles reveals the ten most common mistakes business owners make when it comes to tackling debtors, and what to do instead.
 
Stephen Eccles heads up the award winning Dispute Resolution department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. He is a seasoned expert and also a recommended lawyer by Legal 500 UK 2015 on debt recovery issues. Below he reveals the ten most common mistakes business owners make when it comes to tackling debtors and advises on the best course of action.

1. Failing to have a credit policy

When a company provides goods or services before receiving payment, it is essentially the same as handing over cash. For this reason it is vital for cash flow and ultimately the survival of your businesses to be able to predict when you are likely to get paid and the cost of ensuring that this happens. This begins with having a credit policy.
By gathering the same types of information from each customer, it is possible to attribute different risk levels to each and adjust your payment terms accordingly. Your credit policy provides uniformity of terms for each type of customer you have and ensures compliance with regulations. Without a credit policy you are at risk not only of losing money, but also of breaching consumer protection regulations. If you treat some consumers more favourably than others without proper rationale, you could even fall foul of discrimination legislation.

2. Not having enough information about your debtor

Before you enter into any new business relationship, it is highly advisable to undertake ‘due diligence’ at the outset. This means you should try to gain as much knowledge as possible about your new customer’s ability to pay as is reasonable, depending on the size of the transaction. If dealing with consumers, it is also advisable to gather information relating to their employment status, their home ownership status, other financial commitments and whether they have had county court judgments or issues with debt repayments in the past. This can be done by carrying out a credit check. If dealing with businesses Stephen advises that you know what type of business organisation you are dealing with. It could be a limited company, partnership, limited liability partnership or an individual. Surprisingly many clients do not know this when they come to us.

3. Being inflexible and failing to review terms

While it is of course vital to the survival of the business to have a credit policy, which you send out with your terms of business at the start of your relationship with your customers, it is also very important to learn from experience. With time, you will begin to identify and profile the types of customers you have who are high risk and those who are low risk. You can then tailor the availability of credit to each type of customer accordingly. Some of your debtors may have genuine cashflow issues but otherwise be prompt payers, so it is important that this is taken into consideration.

Businesses should review their credit policies to ensure that they remain relevant and effective for their business. Businesses change, economies strengthen and weaken, and there can be differing demands on cash flow. If you do not adapt your policy having learned from mistakes you have made in the past, or tailor to the changing needs of your business, you could end up in serious financial difficulty.

4. Ignoring the costs of debt recovery

Before you embark on a campaign to recover a debt from a customer, it is vital to evaluate the costs that you will incur in doing so. Obtaining a judgment in the county court may only be the start of the process. Enforcing a debt can also be costly so it is worth weighing up the likely expenditure against the size of the debts or you may end up losing even more money.

5. Not complying with regulations

There are numerous regulations that businesses must adhere to when seeking to recover debts from consumers. Overly aggressive or persistent demands may also constitute criminal activity contrary to the Prevention of Harassment Act. As such, in order to avoid penalties, you must ensure that your policy does not break the law.

6. Failing to follow up

A robust credit policy must also be structured; your debt recovery staff should be able to follow a procedure to ensure that your debtors are contacted consistently. If you demonstrate persistence, late payers will soon learn that they cannot just ignore the debt. Decide how long you will continue to contact them until they pay, and when you will pursue formal recovery proceedings.

7. Only using one means of communication

Letters and emails can often be enough to get some debtors to pay, but some of your debtors may require a more personal approach. Telephone calls are an effective way of getting your debtor to provide information to you, and it is much harder to ignore someone when you are speaking directly to them. In other cases, reminders via text messages can also be effective but again this will depend on the profile of the debtor you are dealing with.

8. Having out-of-date customer records

Out-of-date information about your customers can lead you to assess them as a lower risk than they may be, so it is worth making sure that you keep a record of their ability and willingness to pay on each occasion so that you are not caught out later on. If you do have to take court action, you will need their correct address and contact details for service of court documents.

9. Failing to undertake due diligence with companies

In much the same way that consumer customers’ details need to be up to date, it is important to ensure that you are contracting with the right business. Companies can often have group subsidiaries, so it is vital that you have a binding contract with the right company, that this company has the means to pay, and that it is the correct company to pursue should payment not be forthcoming.

10. Not understanding your customers’ payment processes

Each of your customers will have a different procedure for paying invoices. It may not be entirely straightforward, and may require the authorisation of several individuals before payment can be made. Therefore, it is important to know the names of the people responsible for this process so that you are not unnecessarily sending reminders or increasingly forceful demands at a time when payment is winding its way to your account, albeit slowly.

Find Out More

For more information on credit policies or any other debt recovery matter, contact Stephen Eccles in our Dispute Resolution Department who will be happy to discuss your options.

Contact us on 01708 229 444 or click here to visit our Dispute Resolution page.

This article was written by Stephen Eccles, Partner and Head of our Dispute Resolution Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. 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 at November 2015.

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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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