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Discrimination Appeal fails for Christian bakers

Alex Pearce, employment law specialist explains how far the Equality Act can protect against direct discrimination.

How far does The Equality Act protect against discrimination? In the recent ‘gay cake’ dispute in Northern Ireland, an Appeal Court upheld the decision that religious belief does not override the law against discrimination.

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has handed down its decision deciding on the question of whether religious beliefs overrides the law against discrimination in the supply of goods and services on grounds of sexual orientation.

The appeal was issued following the Court’s decision that Ashers Bakery, owned by Mr & Mrs McArthur cancelled an order to decorate a cake with a picture of Bert & Ernie and the caption 'Support Gay Marriage'. The McArthurs are devout Christians who believe that gay marriage is sinful. They had accepted they cancelled the order because of that belief.

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal upheld the county court's decision. It held that the benefit from the slogan could only accrue to gay or bisexual people, and that the McArthurs would not have objected to decorating a cake saying 'Support Heterosexual Marriage'. The 'reason why' they cancelled the order was that the message related to gay marriage, and there was an exact correspondence between those of the particular sexual orientation and those whom the message supported the right to marry. This was a case of 'associative discrimination' with the gay and bisexual community, and amounted to direct discrimination.

The Court of Appeal held that the McArthurs' own right to free speech (i.e. objecting to gay marriage) was not being infringed.

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Disability claims can cost employers dearly

Employment tribunal claims for disability discrimination can lead to huge financial penalties for employers. Read how to reduce the risk of claims.

It pays to be aware of your responsibilities to disabled persons under the Equality Act 2010. 

From determining whether it is discriminatory to ask a job applicant about their health and abilities, through to justifying a refusal to allow a disabled worker to opt out of shift working, to dismissing a disabled employee for high rates of disability related absence – consideration of the law relating to disability discrimination is needed at all stages of the employee life-cycle.

Alex Pearce, our employment law specialist outlines the key principles and ways to reduce the risk of disability claims.

What is a disability?

For the purposes of the Equality Act, a disability is a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse impact on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities. When assessing the adverse impact of any impairment, the effects of medication or physical aids should be disregarded.

There is no need for a person to be registered as disabled in order for them to be classed as having a disability. This is clear from case law, in which severe eczema, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and even obesity have all been found capable of amounting to a disability.

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1064 Hits

Are 16 year olds too young to Marry?

In England you can currently marry at the age of 16, with your parent’s consent. Jennifer Herbert asks is it too young to marry? 

Currently in England both men and women, or shall we say girls and boys, can marry at the age of 16, with their parent’s consent. Many will say this is far too young to marry with or without the consent of a parent. Quite often, young people who marry at the age of 16 miss out on educational opportunities, particularly where they reach the age of 16 before finishing secondary education, in those cases some do not even finish the school year and take their GCSE’s.

There is a private members Bill currently going through parliament to raise the age of consent to marry or enter into a civil partnership, for both men and women, to 18 years old.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday 21st October 2016. At this stage there will have been a general debate on all aspects of the Bill. The date for the next stage, the committee stage, at which there will be a line by line reading and examination of the Bill, is yet to be announced.

This Bill was introduced to parliament by Baroness Tonge and concentrates on the problems in marriages of young persons between the ages of 16-18. The Bill also seeks to create an offence of causing a person under the age of 18 to enter into a marriage or civil partnership, which is in line with The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which made forced marriage a criminal offence.

It is hoped that the Bill will assist in preventing forced marriages, particularly in circumstances where young people marry between the ages of 16-18 with their parent’s encouragement and, so as to not disappoint their family, these young people go along with the marriage consensually regardless of their own wishes/feelings. If this Bill is passed, these marriages will be no more.

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Kim is swimming for charity

'22 mile swim in 22 days' was the challenge Kim Huggins set for herself, all in the name of charity.

Kim Huggins created her own charity event to raise money for Pinney Talfourd's Charity of the Year MNDA (South Essex Branch) along with Bloodwise (a blood cancer charity – formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research).

The challenge commenced mid August at her local Nuffield Health Gym. Her son, Ciaran, agreed to join her in the challenge. He already swims competitively for Chelmsford City Swimming Club, so she already knew he would have the stamina to complete the challenge – it was Kim that we were concerned about!

The first few days of 117 lengths per day were tiring and a few toe cramps resulted in a few unplanned interludes, however they persevered and it became a little easier day by day.

Due to illness and injury the swim did not go as smoothly as anticipated. A change of tactic meant that the swim was spaced over a longer period rather than the initial plan to swim on 22 consecutive days.

The lifeguards and staff were very accommodating and supportive and there was even interest and sponsorship from some of the members, which was wonderful.

Two weeks in and to add a bit of variety to the swim they headed for the Olympic Pool, Stratford. Swimming in the shadows of greatness, Ciaran tuned into his inner Phelps and Kim into her inner Addlington. Hours were spent pounding up and down, and despite being a lengthy 50 metre pool, it was actually quite comfortable.

Returning to the normal (much smaller) pool after this seemed like a luxury but a few sessions of 300 lengths at a time soon shocked their bodies back in to reality. Being spurred on by the encroaching car parking time expiry, they pushed through and got the job done, with legs like jelly as their prize.

Finishing the last of the lengths in early October was a significant moment and one which Kim is exceptionally proud of. The constant waft of chlorine and straw like hair, the wrinkled skin and toe cramps and ravenous hunger that swimming creates, was completely worth it.
Would she have managed on my own? "I doubt it. Having my son by my side, lapping me with ease, kept me going. 'come on mum, its for a good cause' was all I needed to hear to keep focused and get the job done." Kim said.

Funds raised so far

Kim has raised funds both online and by personal collection, with the £100 target for each charity being met. Kim & Ciaran would like to thank everyone who has sponsored her to help raise vital funds for MNDA (South Essex Branch) to help them continue with the amazing work that they do to support sufferers of this terrible disease and to help Bloodwise, a charity that is very personal to her and her family.


There is still time to donate;
Support MNDA at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kim-Huggins2


Support Bloodwise at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kim-Huggins3

If you would like to find out more about Kim Huggins and her charity work please call 01277 246836 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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836 Hits

Autumn 2016 employment law update

Alex Pearce, employment law specialist outlines the main changes for October and the action you need to take as a result.

This is a round-up of the main employment law changes that have recently come into effect, including those taking place from Autumn 2016. 

National minimum wage rises

The national minimum wage is reviewed every year and traditionally any increases come into force in the autumn. The new hourly rates from 1 October 2016 are:

  • adult rate (21 to 24): £6.95;
  • youth development rate (18 to 20): £5.55;
  • young workers’ rate (16 and 17): £4.00; and
  • apprentice rate: £3.40.

It is understood that these rate changes will only apply for six months because the government has decided to align all further changes with the national living wage changes, which will take effect on 1 April each year.

This also means that the national living wage, payable to workers aged 25 and over, will not go up on 1 October 2016 as expected but will change on 1 April 2017. The national living wage is currently £7.20. The Low Pay Commission is set to recommend to the government later in the month the level of rates to apply from April 2017.

The accommodation offset limit has risen to £6.00 per day.

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Your responsibilities as a company director

Aside from the obvious duties, such as filing reports at Companies House, there are numerous other duties and liabilities all directors should know about.

If you fail to comply with your duties your position on the board may be under threat, as you can be held liable by the company and in some circumstances by minority shareholders. In the most serious of cases directors may be disqualified or face criminal sanctions. 

The duty to avoid conflicts of interest

A director must avoid a situation in which they have a direct or indirect interest that may conflict with the interests of the company. This duty is extremely broad, extending to situations where any information or opportunity available to the director is exploited for their own benefit. The liability of the director who breaches this duty is severe: they will be personally liable to account to the company for any profits or benefit they have received as a result of the breach. The conflict of duty may be breached even in situations where there has been no actual loss caused to the company, it continues after a director has resigned.

The easiest way to avoid liability for a conflict of interest is to obtain advance authorisation from the company for any proposed activity, unless the articles of association prohibit them. Directors who have a personal interest in a proposed transaction can avoid liability by declaring their interest in advance.

There is a defence relating to unforeseeable conflicts, where ‘the situation cannot reasonably be regarded as being likely to give rise to a conflict of interest’.

The duty not to accept benefits from third parties

A director must not accept a benefit from a third party that arises as a result of being, or doing anything as, a director. Such benefits commonly occur as a ‘commission’ paid to the director personally whilst the director is in the process of negotiating a business transaction on the company’s behalf.

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Airbnb – Brainwave or Breach of Covenant

With the rise of short term room lets on sites such as Airbnb we look at the pitfalls of 'hosts' not doing their homework on covenants.
The success of companies like Airbnb rely heavily on the availability of local ‘hosts’ willing to allow short term lets of their properties, whether these are commercial or residential. Their website boasts over 2 million listings worldwide including 1400 castles!

Often the host will be staying in their property when their guests arrive.  Fundamentally the host makes money by letting spare room(s) and the occupation by guests is temporary and without exclusive possession so there is no question of a traditional landlord and tenant relationship being created.  Prior to the Deregulation Act 2015 the use of a property in any of the 32 London Boroughs as temporary sleeping accommodation required the owner to make an application for change of use planning permission.  The relaxation of this planning requirement enabled homeowners to advertise their properties for let on the internet or holiday home swap sites.  

When does it become a business?

But what of those hosts who let their whole properties for perhaps days or weeks at a time in return for payment from their guests who book through a sophisticated online booking system. Could this be considered a business?

It would appear so considering the usual meaning of the word – to carry out a commercial activity with a view to making a profit. 

Brainwave - If of course you have somewhere else to stay when a guest wants to pay to stay in your property. But have those hosts reviewed their title deeds?  A number of freehold titles contain restrictions on carrying on a business at the property and in commercial leases there is usually an absolute prohibition on the use of the premises to provide sleeping accommodation.  Restrictive Covenants attach to the land and not the owner so even a freehold owner of land could be stopped from using their property in this way if there is a beneficiary of the restrictive covenant who wants to enforce it. 

A recent case

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) recently heard an appeal from the tenant of a residential leasehold property held on a 99 year lease when the First Tier Tribunal allowed the Landlords application for determination of the lease on the basis of a breach of lease covenants because the owner had been advertising her property for short term letting on the internet.  The covenant to be observed by the tenant in the lease read “Not to use the Demised Premises or permit them to be used for any illegal or immoral purpose or for any purpose whatsoever other than as a private residence.” 

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Sebastian Burrows cycles London - Paris for MNDA

Sebastian Burrows will be taking part in the famous London to Paris bike ride, in aid of our charity of the year MNDA (South Essex Branch)

Sebastian is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the firm's Family Law Department. Although Sebastian is a keen cyclist already, this event will see him training like never before for the 4 day, 300 mile ride, that leaves Crystal Palace on 19 April 2017 and arrives at the Arc de Triomphe on 22 April.

Sebastian will be focusing on day one in particular which will take the Peloton from Crystal Palace to Calais, a distance of 100 miles. In competitive style he will be trying to ensure he arrives at Dover first to board the ferry. The ultimate aim of the event is to raise at least £1,500 for MNDA. Sebastian and the firm hope very much that the target can be smashed in support of this worthy cause.

Sir Bradley Wiggins has kicked off his fundraising and if you would like to contribute too please visit Sebastian’s Just Giving page. All donations no matter how small WILL make a difference. 

Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sebastian-Burrows-L2P

What is MND?

Motor Neurone Disease is terminal and there is currently no treatment or cure. Average length from diagnosis to death is 18 months. In that 18 months the person with MND will lose their ability to speak. Then the muscles die – all of them. This leaves the sufferer unable to walk, talk, move, blink, go to the toilet or swallow. They have to be fed through a peg fitted into their stomach.

What it doesn’t affect is the brain – that still functions normally so you end up with a person trapped inside a body that in effect has already died.

MNDA South Essex Branch

The South Essex branch comprises of five people, all volunteers. They work extremely hard to raise funds and awareness for the disease.

They spend money on lots of different things such as;
  • Converting a bathroom to a wet room
  • Conversions and adaptations to house so people can remain at home
  • Small disability devices and ramps for wheelchairs
  • Stair lifts
  • Communication aids
  • Respite care
  • Travel to hospital appointments

They also arrange social events for those with MND and their carers to meet up and provide support to eachother.

The local website is www.mndsouthessex.org/

Contact sebastian

If you would like to find out more about this event or speak to Sebastian about his challenge please contact 01708 463211.
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Winners at Havering Business Awards 2016

Winners at Havering Business Awards 2016
Pinney Talfourd were delighted to win the Highly Commended Business of the Year Award at Havering Business Awards for our contribution to the local business community.

On Friday 7 October Philip Cockram and Catherine Polli attended the Awards Ceremony at CEME Conference Centre for the Havering Business Awards 2016. This event celebrates success throughout the borough and was attended by over 300 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politcians and media representatives.

Pinney Talfourd were delighted to receive one of the main awards of the evening as winners of the Highly Commended Business of the Year Award.

The award celebrates the Firm's overall success including;

- growth over the last twelve months
- culture and client service
- contribution to the local community and economy
- role as an ambassador for London Borough of Havering on the wider stage.


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Our solicitors attend careers fair in Brentwood

Our solicitors attend careers fair in Brentwood
Solicitors from Pinney Talfourd attended Brentwood County High School's careers fair to advise students on career options in law.
On Thursday 6 October Kayleigh O'Donnell and Chloe Pannu attended Brentwood County High School's careers fair.

Kayleigh is a member of our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Department and advised students on the various career choices in the industry. 

Chloe recently qualified as a solicitor and is now a member of our Residential Property Department. She used her recent experiences at university and as a trainee to give students some valuable insights into the commitment needed to succeed in the legal industry.

Brentwood County HIgh School said of the event "A career choice is one of the most important decisions in your child’s life. The aim of Brentwood County High School’s Careers Education, Information, Advice & Guidance programme is to ensure that the choice will be an informed one."

Pinney Talfourd were delighted to be invited to this event and hope that we helped the students with their  future career and further study decisions.


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Adult Children Inheritance Claims - Reasonable Provision refused in Court Case

If you are not a beneficiary in your parents’ Will, why would a court automatically grant you any of their estate? A recent case suggests they may not...

When 41-year-old Danielle Ames' father passed away having cut her out of his £1 million Will, she brought a claim against his Estate. The Estate included the £650,000 family home in Hertfordshire and a number of other assets.

Ms Ames argued that no reasonable financial provision had been made for her. She claimed she was dependent upon her father and entitled to a share of his Estate which had been left entirely to her stepmother, Elaine Ames.

Miss Ames expressed surprise at having been cut out of her father’s Will but Judge Halpern QC determined she had exaggerated the strength of her relationship with her father and she had no moral claim on his money. The Judge told Miss Ames at Central London County Court that her lack of employment was a lifestyle choice and when claiming that her father had assured her that “it will be all yours one day” she was “gilding the lily”. Judge Halpern decided that Mr Ames’ widow with whom he had lived with for over 30 years required the entirety of the Estate to lead a comfortable retirement. The Judge commented that Mrs Ames was not living the highlife and needed the whole of the husband’s Estate to meet her reasonable needs.

Statutory claims

A court will generally try to uphold the terms of a valid Will, but there is a recognised statutory claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 for a child to make a claim on a parents Estate whether by having been excluded from the Will or under intestacy provisions. Such claims do not prohibit adult children, and in a case where reasonable financial provision has not been made, the Inheritance Act enables the court to vary the distribution of assets between potential dependants.

There appears to be no good reason why Miss Ames was unable to secure employment, suffering from no disability. The Judge was of the view Miss Ames had failed to discharge the burden proving that she was unable to obtain work.

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1096 Hits

Partner advises on strategic best practice

Alembic Strategy was delighted to be joined by Catherine Polli for a webinar on strategic planning at the Law Society.

Alembic Strategy was delighted to be joined by Catherine Polli, a Partner at Pinney Talfourd for the second webinar in a series of three at the Law Society. These were aimed at helping Lexcel firms respond effectively to the strategic planning component on the Lexcel Standard (v6).

Catherine explained how the use of strategic planning has been crucial in driving growth and performance over that past few years at Pinney Talfourd. The strategic planning process is driven by the 2020 Business Plan which covers all aspects of the firm’s growth up to 2020, from the number of partners and fee earners, the culture of the firm and fee income growth, with an emphasis on staff focused objectives to allow everyone to play a role in achieving goals set. Good communication of this plan is vital in achieving it.

This strategic planning was proven very effective and Pinney Talfourd has just been recommended in an outstanding ten categories by Legal 500 UK 2016. We are also shortlisted for the Private Client Practice Award at the Law Society’s Legal Excellence Awards.

More Information

If you would like more information please contact us on 01708 229444  (Upminster or Hornchurch), 01277 211755 (Brentwood office) or 01702 418433 (Leigh-on-Sea). 


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Implications of filing a late Defence

File a Defence late and the chances are you will face judgment being entered against you.

The case of Billington –v- Davies and another [2016] EWHC 1919 [CH] heard in the High Court, considered an application by a Claimant for default judgment where the Defendants Defence was filed at Court after the deadline set for filing.

In considering whether to give default judgment, the key question for the Court is whether or not the Defence has been filed, rather than the mertis of the defence. There are strict time limits for acknowledging service and filing a Defence which are calculated by reference to service of the Claimant’s Particulars of Claim on the Defendant. Within 14 days after service of Particulars of Claim, a Defendant must have filed either an Acknowledgment of Service or a Defence. If neither is filed after 14 days, default judgment can be entered. If an Acknowledgment of Service is filed, a Defendant must file a Defence within 28 days after service on him of the Particulars of Claim. If no Defence is filed within that deadline default judgment can be entered.

In Billington the First Defendant did not file a Defence until the day before the Hearing of the Claimant’s application for judgment in default. It was argued that it was a pre-condition for obtaining default judgment that a Defence must not have been filed; the implication being that even a late Defence would be enough to scupper a successful application for default judgment. Deputy Master Pickering rejected this argument. In his judgment, the reference to a Defence in the CPR “was to a Defence which had either been served within time, or in respect of which an extension had been granted”. In the absence of either in this case, the Court considered the significance of a note contained in the White Book (the rule book on civil procedures), which stated that filing a Defence late would prevent a Claimant obtaining default judgment. It was held by the Court that this note was essentially wrong.

It was found that neither the Defendant’s lack of funding, nor the existence of negotiations between the parties existing prior to the application for default judgment, were good reasons for delaying filing a Defence. The Deputy Master found that this was not an appropriate case where he should exercise his discretion to extend time.

A useful reminder

This case serves as a useful reminder for all those served with Claim Forms on the perils of ignoring the time limits for filing a Defence. Anyone served with a Claim Form and/or Particulars of Claim by a Claimant, should seek legal advice as quickly as they can to avoid filing and serving documents late and/or pleading facts which are unhelpful or not accurate or comprehensive enough for both the Court and the other side to understand the essential facts in the case.


If you have been served with Claim Forms and require advice on filing a Defence, please call on 01708 229444.
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 October 2016.

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4375 Hits

Why are inheritance disputes on the rise?

Pinney Talfourd's Contested Probate Solicitor, Kerry Hull explains that the rise in inheritance disputes is due to a number of factors. 

Inheritance disputes were once considered the preserve of the super-wealthy or famous but in recent years the number of children disputing their parent’s estate in the High Court has risen by 11% to 116 in 2015 from 104 the previous year according to The Times.

Kerry Hull, contested wills and probate solicitor at Pinney Talfourd in Essex explains that the rise in inheritance disputes is due to a number of factors.

The use of home-made wills is a major contributor, but the rise in these types of disputes also reflects the changing nature of our society’, says Kerry.

Higher rates of divorce, remarriage and cohabitation, combined with an increase in the value of estates, longer life expectancy and a greater awareness of rights, means that relatives are less willing to do nothing when their inheritance is taken from them.

An inheritance dispute can take any number of forms, from concerns that a will has been incorrectly made or forged, to a dependant believing that they have been unfairly left out or not received what they were entitled to.

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947 Hits

Changes to new minimum wage rates

Alex Pearce, employment law solicitor, reminds us that the new minimum wage rate comes into effect today.

From 1st October 2016 the new minimum wage rate increase comes into effect. The increases now mean that those aged over 21 years will benefit from a 4% pay rise:

21-24 year olds increases from £6.70 to £6.95
18-20 year olds increases from £5.30 to £5.55
16-17 year olds increases from £3.87 to £4.00
Apprentice rate increases from £3.30 to £3.40

(From 25 years you are entitled to the national living wage. This did not change on 1 October)

'New To work' guidance

ACAS has also published new guidance for young people who are starting work for the first time, setting out what their rights and obligations are. The guidance provides essential advice on legal issues that young people may face at work, including special employment rights for 16 and 17 year olds, information on apprenticeships and the national minimum wage.

Read more here 

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819 Hits

Monty Python's Terry Jones diagnosed with Dementia

Sad news was revealed this week that comedian, actor and director, Terry Jones, has been diagnosed with a progressive form of dementia.

Dementia can take a variety of forms and it is very difficult not only for the victim to cope with, but also for the family and friends to see a loved one suffering in this way.

Whilst it is not easy to think of the practical issues that arise from a loved one suffering from dementia, there are a number of important considerations such as who will manage their finances, their property and even make medical decisions on their behalf. Dealing with these issues can cause difficulties for the family and friends of a dementia sufferer, at what is already an extremely traumatic time for them.

No one likes to think about the possibility of them or a loved one suffering from any form of dementia, but sadly it does happen and it is important to be prepared in case. 

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint someone to legally manage your property and financial affairs, as well as make health and welfare decisions on your behalf in the event you become unable to make those decisions.

An LPA is best viewed as an insurance document - hopefully it will never be needed but by having it in place it gives both you and your loved ones peace of mind that they are able to make decisions for you should the need arise.

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Time FM promote finalists at Havering Business Awards

Time FM recently invited Pinney Talfourd into the recording studio to announce our shortlisting at the Havering Business Awards.

Pinney Talfourd has been recognised yet again for our hard work and achievements, this time being shortlisted in the Havering Business Awards.

Havering Business Awards recognise the success of businesses across the borough. Pinney Talfourd has been shortlisted for 'Growing Business of the Year' which recognises businesses that have developed and grown significantly in the last twelve months.

With a new offices in Brentwood, expansion into Leigh-on-Sea, new specialist services on offer and more staff to cater for demand, it is easy to see how we have been shortlisted. We will be joining more than 300 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and media representatives at the Gala Awards ceremony at the CEME Conference Centre on Friday 7 October to find out if we have won.

Time FM are the media sponsors for the event and invited us in to their studio in Romford to record a sound bite for the radio. Listen to it here.

To find out more about our new services and to book an appointment at any of our offices please call 01708 229444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Results will be published here soon.
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Free Business Legal Review Service

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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Tougher penalties for employing illegal immigrants

Alex Pearce, our employment law solicitor, advises on how employers can avoid illegal working traps.

On 12 July 2016 changes to illegal working offences in the Immigration Act 2016 came into force, introducing tougher penalties for employers found to be flouting the rules.

As the government is keen to crack down on employers who turn a blind eye to employing illegal migrants, with fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and possible disqualification for directors, it is more vital than ever for employers to make sure employees have the correct right to work documents. The Home Office also names and shames employers found employing an illegal worker, so your business reputation could be on the line too.

Alex Pearce, employment law specialist at Pinney Talfourd in Essex, advises on how employers can avoid illegal working traps.

Checking workers’ status

Under current law, employers can only legally employ an individual who has permission to live and work in the UK.

To stay on the right side of the law, you will need to ensure that your existing procedures for checking that all new workers have the legal right to work in the UK are being complied with before they start work. Also, you should ask to see the documentation of existing workers and diarise reminders to check the paperwork again when their documents are near to expiry. As long as you make these checks, and take action where necessary, there will be nothing to fear.

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764 Hits

Franchise contracts: what to look out for Part 2

Franchise law specialist Amy Leite's latest article on WorkingMums.co.uk looks at key terms to be aware of, regarding renewal and franchisor obligations, in a franchise agreement contract.
Franchise law specialist Amy Leite is currently writing a series of articles for WorkingMums.co.uk, a leading job and community website for professional working mothers and fathers.

Her last article focussed on the key franchise agreement terms of the franchise contract that franchisees should be aware of to help ensure they sign up with their eyes fully open. You can read this here. 
The article below continues to demystify some key terms, covering renewal and the franchisor’s initial and continuing obligations.

A foreword from amy

As I said previously, before you read any further, articles such as this should not be seen as a substitute for taking legal advice on the terms of your franchise agreement but more a tool to help you have a working knowledge of the terms of the franchise agreement before you have it reviewed and thereafter.

There are key franchise agreement terms you should look out for in your draft franchise agreement. We are often surprised to hear how many people do not take advice on the terms of their franchise agreement prior to signing it. Often we hear that this was because they were told it was non-negotiable or the fees for a review seemed high. In our experience, regardless of whether the franchise agreement is negotiable or not, being fully aware of what your franchise agreement means in order to take a considered commercial decision and enter the agreement with your eyes open is invaluable.

It is therefore very important that you have at least read the franchise agreement ahead of your solicitor carrying out a review for you. It is very rare that a franchise review (either by report or otherwise) would comment on every single clause of the agreement and, as you will be expected to abide by the terms, you need to be clear on what all the terms are however unimportant certain things may seem.


When considering whether a franchise will be suitable for your needs you need to consider what your long term business goals are. Are you looking to take a franchise as an income stream to carry you through to retirement in 5 years time? or are you looking at the franchise as a long term income stream and potentially with a view to building a business up which is capable of being re-sold?

It is important to consider your strategy in light of the renewal provisions in your franchise agreement. Your franchise agreement should contain a right of renewal i.e. the right to enter into a new franchise agreement for a further term after expiry of the first 5 (or 10) year term.

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1107 Hits

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