Commercial Client

  • Disputes in the EU - Rules on Applicable Law

    Where a dispute has a foreign element, one of the common problems is deciding under what jurisdiction legal action should be taken. This is avoided in many commercial contracts by specifying the applicable law in the contract, but in consumer contracts there...
  • A Guide to the Agency Workers Regulations

    The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came into force on 1 October 2011. All agency workers are entitled, from the first day of their assignment, to information on any job vacancies and to make use of collective facilities and amenities available to...
  • Advice on Acquisitions Deductible

    One common area of dispute between companies and the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is that of deductibility of expenses. One of the hottest areas of dispute is often whether an expense is a trading expense (deductible as part of the day-to-day running costs...
  • Age Discrimination - Life After the Abolition of the Default Retirement Age

    Since the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA), it is no longer permissible for an employer to dismiss an older worker on the ground of retirement unless this can be objectively justified under the Equality Act 2010 . This does not mean that...
  • Always check your terms and conditions

    Ed Boal , a trainee solicitor in our corporate and commercial team , recently wrote an article for .net magazine on the need for website owners to review their terms and conditions of use, following a recent case in the UK High Court. Ed has a keen...
  • Bank Deposit Protection Rules for Businesses : Guide

    In December 2010, new limits were announced for the levels of protection available for different investments underwritten by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS protects the deposits of small companies, which are those which meet...
  • Bribery Act Guidance

    The Government provides guidance for businesses on complying with the Bribery Act 2010 , which came into force on 1 July 2011. The Act was originally scheduled to take effect in April 2011, but its implementation was delayed to allow the final version of...
  • Brief Guide to the Administration of Troncs

    The long-running series of disputes between employers in the hospitality industry and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) concerning the taxation of employees’ tips and their National Insurance (NI) status seems to have been concluded by the issue of ...
  • Bring Your Own Device - Data Contollers' Obligations

    The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) requires data controllers to take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal...
  • Business Relief - Traps for the Unwary

    Most business people know that for family businesses there are generous Inheritance Tax (IHT) reliefs, which generally operate to make assets used in the business exempt or partially exempt from IHT. The reliefs take various forms but have been collectively...
  • Buying from an Administrator - Take Care

    With businesses becoming insolvent in large numbers, opportunities abound to acquire assets from their administrators. However, the low prices sought for the assets are due, at least in part, to the additional risk to the purchaser. Here are some of the...
  • Companies Act 2006 Overview

    The Companies Act 2006 became fully effective from October 1st 2009. It is the principal source of law relating to the conduct of companies incorporated in England and Wales. Companies House provides useful information on the Act on its website . The...
  • Companies Act Model Articles - Think First

    Since the Companies Act 2006 came into effect, the incorporation of a company has been straightforward as the Act provides an easy to use set of model articles of incorporation. However, before you rush off and buy an ‘off the shelf’...
  • Company Name Rules

    You cannot incorporate a company using any name you like. Some names are prohibited (for example, those which suggest a connection with the Government or the Crown) and names will not be allowed if they are too similar to the names of existing companies. In...
  • Company Disclosure Rules - The Basics

    The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 set out the the requirements as to where and when company trading names, names of directors etc. need to be shown. The Statutory Instrument implementing the changes is both short and straightforward. In...
  • Company Formation Checklist

    You may have come across advertisements which make forming a company sound very easy, but before you go ahead there are some serious issues to think through. If you have decided that a company is the best vehicle for your new venture then here is a...
  • Compensation for Loss of Light

    Following a recent case in which a dispute regarding a property owner’s right to light was unexpectedly dealt with by the granting of an injunction against a developer, a more recent case has offered guidance on how much compensation might be payable...
  • Construction Act Changes

    On 1 October 2011, changes to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (normally called the Construction Act) came into force. These apply to all relevant contracts entered into from that date. The changes include: The removal of...
  • Contractors Are Your Responsibility

    A handbook  produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outlines the responsibilities of both the contractor and the client in situations in which work is carried out by contractors rather then employees. It does not apply to circumstances in...
  • Cookie Law

    The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011  require consent to be obtained for the use of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information stored, on a user’s...
  • Damages for Wrongful Dismissal

    The Supreme Court has ruled ( Edwards v Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust ) that a consultant surgeon who suffered a loss as a result of findings of personal and professional misconduct made against him in disciplinary proceedings that were...
  • Data Protection Guidance for Landlords

    The Information Commissioner's best practice guide for landlords - written to to assist them in complying with the Data Protection Act can be downloaded from the Information Commissioner’s website . The guide includes a checklist which is intended to...
  • Data Protection Policies and Personal Devices

    A recent YouGov survey showed that 47 per cent of all UK employees now use their smartphone, tablet PC or other portable device for work purposes and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has now issued a warning that organisations are failing to...
  • Dealing With Breach of Patent

    When you discover that a business has breached your patent, what should you do? The answer to this question has two elements. The first is based on what you can do in law and the second is based on business strategy. Firstly, before picking a fight with...
  • Dealing With Subject Access Requests

    Many businesses regard the Data Protection Act 1998 as something that merely requires a lot of form filling and the payment of fees, but there is a lot more to it than that. The purpose of the Act is to protect a person's right to privacy with regard to...
  • Dealing with Employee Absence

    Employee absences can be both costly and disruptive. It is advisable to have systems in place to measure and analyse these costs so that you can identify problem areas. Are there patterns of absence? Does a particular department have a below average...
  • Direct Marketing Via E-mail - Regulations

    UK law relating to the sending of unsolicited direct marketing material by electronic means are based on the EC Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications . A major aim of the Directive was to cut down on the amount of ‘spam’ that...
  • Drug Policy - Recognising the Signs and What to Do

    Substance abuse amongst staff can affect all areas of employment, whether it be a decrease in productivity, increased absenteeism or the increased likelihood of accidents and injuries. The failure to identify and deal with a problem is an unnecessary risk...
  • E-Commerce Law - Compliance Guide

    The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations introduced specific legislation to underpin e-commerce. If your business has an Internet presence then you need to make sure that you are not falling foul of these new rules. The Regulations do not just...
  • Employed or Self-Employed?

    Whether you are employed or self-employed makes a substantial difference to how you are taxed and the income tax liabilities of an employed person can be very different from those of a self-employed person with similar levels of gross income. The National...
  • Employee Fraud - Fraud Act 2006

    Employee fraud continues to rise as the recession continues to bite - however,  the Fraud Act 2006 provisions make it easier to obtain convictions for fraud a than was possible under the predecessor legislation. Under the Act, fraud offences are: ...
  • Employee Fraud: Warning Signs

    Employee fraud was a boom area even before the recession started.  ‘Targeted’ frauds, often backed by organised criminals, are also becoming more common. In these cases, an employee (often using a stolen identity) is ‘planted’ in...
  • Enforcing Copyright - The Basics

    Copyright is a right that exists as soon as you create the copyright material. You do not have to apply for it. There are some exceptions to copyright, but unless one of these applies, anyone else using your material without your permission is infringing...
  • Entrepreneur's Relief - the Basics

    From 6 April 2008 disposals of qualifying businesses and business assets have been eligible for Entrepreneurs’ Relief. In simple terms, it allows business owners to reduce their Capital Gains Tax liability to the equivalent of 10 per cent of the...
  • Failing to Prevent Bribery - Are You at Risk?

    The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. It created a new offence which can be committed by a commercial organisation if it fails to prevent persons associated with it from committing bribery on its behalf. A business can provide a defence by...
  • False Claims on a CV - What to Do

    According to research by the Risk Advisory Group, more than half of CVs submitted by job applicants contain lies or inaccuracies. These range from gaps in employment history to false claims regarding qualifications and failure to mention fraud committed...
  • Financial Fraud - What Not to Do!

    With recent surveys showing that instances of employee fraud are still on the increase, and HMRC showing regrettable lack of ability to safeguard personal data, eliminating poor security practices which make fraud easier is becoming even more important....
  • Freedom of Information - What it Means in Practice

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 came fully into force on 1 January 2005 and it has serious implications for businesses doing business with the public sector. The reason for this is that because one of the aims of the Act is to engender greater...
  • GL Business Club - The danger that lies beneath! Health, safety and security - high tech solutions to aid compliance

    The GL Business Club event, “The dangers that lie beneath” event took place on Thursday 15 May 2014. The list of attendees continues to grow and we will be looking for a larger venue as we put together our schedule for next year.  Here is...
  • Get the Christmas Party Right

    It’s that time of year again. Love them or hate them, the invitations to office Christmas parties will be arriving soon if they haven’t already. For employers, parties pose a particular threat. Here are some tips on making sure your...
  • Goodbye "Withholding Notice", Hello "Pay Less Notice"

        Construction contracts and the way they are administered have undergone significant changes in recent months. The changes brought in by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 to the Housing Grants, Construction...
  • Gregg Latchams appoints Dr Hartley Booth as strategic advisor

    Gregg Latchams is delighted to announce that it has appointed Dr Hartley Booth as a strategic advisor to the firm.  Dr Booth was appointed Lawyer to Prime Minister Thatcher as Policy Advisor on Law and the Environment  and held Ministerial posts in...
  • Gregg Latchams recognised for the quality of its legal advice

    Gregg Latchams  and members of its legal team have again been recognised in the prestigious Chambers & Partners Legal Directory. The firm’s private client, employment and family departments have   been rated as some of the best...
  • Guide to IHT and Small Business

    Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable on a deceased person’s estate at 40 per cent above £325,000 (2013/4 and 2014/15) – the current nil rate band. However, business property is treated differently from personal property and may qualify...
  • HMRC - Overnight and Subsistence Expenses

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are well known for their dislike of claiming expenses without complete documentation but the reality, as every businessperson knows, is that maintaining complete and accurate documentation for all transactions is a...
  • Health and Safety - Working With Display Screen Equipment

    Many workers spend a large part of their day looking at a computer screen, laptop or touch screen. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 specifically deal with the health and safety issues associated with regularly working with...
  • How energy legislation could affect your business

    38% of businesses in the Bristol area are still unaware of the Energy Act 2011 — which has introduced a raft of energy saving measures including the government’s Green Deal policies. That’s the finding of a new poll by Gregg Latchams...
  • How to Reclaim Foreign VAT

    It is commonly thought that within the EU, recovering VAT on expenditure made whilst abroad is merely a matter of calculating the VAT at the applicable rate and claiming it via your VAT return. However, the right to recover VAT on a VAT return is limited to...
  • ICO Issues New 'Must Do' Data Protection Guide

      The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a new guide to protecting personal data, ' Protecting personal data in online services: learning from the mistakes of others ', which it describes as outlining the procedures organisations...
  • Informing and Consulting Employees

    The EU Information and Consultation Directive 2002 established minimum requirements for companies with more than 50 employees for consulting and informing them on a wide variety of subjects. The Directive does not apply to those businesses with fewer than 50...
  • Intellectual Property: Who Owns It?

    One of the biggest sources of disputes in industries based on innovation is a difference of opinion about who owns the intellectual property (IP) created in terms of designs, software, processes and systems. This is a general guide for businesses to the...
  • Is your business data friendly?

    Many businesses regard the Data Protection Act 1998 as something that merely requires a lot of form filling and the payment of fees, but there is a lot more to it than that. What’s a SAR? The purpose of the Act is to protect a person's right...
  • Is your contract with your consumer enforceable?

    Mr A wanted a new patio laid and contacted ABC Limited to obtain a quote.  ABC Limited visited Mr A’s house and, having looked at the work required, gave Mr A a quote for the works.  Mr A was so impressed with the quote that he immediately...
  • It Wasn't in the Contract

    A common problem in contract disputes is that matters that create disagreement are sometimes not referred to specifically in the contract. However, as well as the express terms of a contract, there are also terms that are implied that is, they apply without...
  • Landlords - Dealing With Pre-Pack Tenants

    Businesses in financial difficulties are increasingly seeking ways of ridding themselves of extra costs and, in many cases, premises let in more promising economic times are viewed as a substantial and avoidable liability, especially for businesses which...
  • Letters of Intent - Getting Them Right

    What Is a Letter of Intent? Letters of intent, commonly referred to as 'heads of agreement', are used to indicate the terms under which two or more people intend to enter into a contractual relationship when doing business together. The term 'letter of...
  • Limited Liability Partnerships: Procedures and Guide

    Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) were first introduced in April 2001 and are becoming an increasingly popular way of structuring a business, especially with professional practices. The big advantage of the LLP is that it allows the liability of...
  • Making Retention of Title Work

    Prior to the recession, Retention of Title (RoT) clauses probably received less attention than they should have from many businesses. However, RoT is now back in the spotlight. An effective RoT clause will normally allow you to recover the goods you have...
  • Making Training Costs Tax Deductible

    Most business owners and managers think that training costs aimed at improving skills or business profits automatically qualify for tax relief, but that is not necessarily the case. The complexities of the UK tax system mean that the availability of tax...
  • Making Waivers of Dividends Work

    When a company is set up, it is common to divide the shares in it in approximately equal proportions amongst the subscribers. Whether or not this proves to be the most effective way to split them in the long run depends on a variety of factors, of which the...
  • Mixed Premises - Legal Status

    Living ‘above the shop’ is quite common in the small business sector and where the premises are rented, the lease will cover both the business and residential parts of the property. However, the statutory basis for repossession is quite different...
  • Money Laundering Regulations

    Money laundering is the process by which criminals turn their 'dirty' income – which is usually earned in cash – into 'clean' money, by undertaking transactions which hide the original source of the cash and/or turn the cash into...
  • New Consumer Protection Regulations

    Suppliers of goods to the public should be aware that the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014. The Regulations implement into UK law the EU Consumer...
  • New Contract, New Danger

    Every business needs customers, but every customer, especially a new one, represents a risk to your business. It is a very serious issue but there are many things you can do to make sure that you increase your chances of getting paid. Clearly, the...
  • New Guide to the Technology and Construction Court

    The Technology and Construction Court (TCC) has issued updated guidance to assist those engaged in litigation bound for the TCC. This takes into account developments in case law and regulatory changes introduced in recent years designed to give more...
  • Nuisance - the case of the neighbouring tree

    One of the key tests in a nuisance claim is whether a particular nuisance was reasonably foreseeable. If it was, then a potential defendant is expected to have taken action to avoid it. If they haven’t, then they can be liable in damages. The...
  • Options and Pre-emption Rights

    Prospective purchasers and vendors of land frequently wish to ‘lock in’ the other party to the deal and the means by which this is done will normally involve the prospective vendor either giving the prospective purchaser an option to purchase the...
  • Outsourcing - Nine Steps to Success

    These days more and more processes are being outsourced (run by external contractors under a service agreement) by more and more businesses. It is particularly common to outsource IT functions and telephone call management. Outsourcing can offer many...
  • Outsourcing the Processing of Personal Information - Guidance

    The Information Commissioner’s Office offers guidance for small businesses on how to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) when you outsource the processing of personal information, such as your payroll function or customer mailing...
  • Patent Searches Improved

    Checking for existing patents in force is easy (and free) if you use the UK Intellectual Property Office's (UKIPO) patent databases which are accessible online. The new databases replace the Patents Journal and are designed to make obtaining information...
  • Patents - The Basics

    Some people may think that once you have obtained patent protection for your product, you need do nothing further to protect your rights against infringement or to claim damages from an infringer. However, in many jurisdictions, merely being the owner of a...
  • Patents Made Simple

    In response to representations regarding the cost of obtaining intellectual property protection in the UK, the Intellectual Property Office has introduced a new online patent system called Ipsum . Ipsum will allow businesses to: view patent status; ...
  • Pensions Auto-Enrolment - Basics

      The Pensions Act 2008 introduced a requirement for employers to automatically enrol certain workers into a pension scheme, unless they are already members of a qualifying scheme. Auto-enrolment is being introduced in gradual stages, with the date...
  • Protecting Your Design Rights

    Protecting intellectual property has always been a complex area of law, but in one specific area things may be getting clearer. The Registered Designs Regulations 2001 include several protections for inventors of designs. If you have a new design which is...
  • Registering a Trade Mark

    Your business has its own unique brand and reputation and it is vital in a competitive marketplace to ensure that these are protected from unscrupulous third parties. Some business owners do not believe there is any point in registering their trading or...
  • Remedies for Breach of Contract

    Having the right contract is always a good idea, but no matter how much protection it offers, no contract can prevent a breach of contract by the other party. If you enter into a contract and it is breached, there are several possible remedies available to...
  • Rent Arrears Protocol

    Since October 2006, a  revised protocol has applied where a social landlord wishes to gain possession of a property occupied by a tenant under a secure tenancy, where possession is sought on the grounds of arrears of rent. It does not apply to claims...
  • Retirement Planning and Your Business

    It is arguable that the whole point of any business should be to enable the owners to retire when they want and with the lifestyle they want on retirement. Of course, enjoying it as you go along is a good idea too, but retirement comes to most of us...
  • Settlement Agreements

    Following changes made by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 , compromise agreements have been renamed ‘settlement agreements’ and new provisions (Section 111A) have been inserted into the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) making...
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax: Beginner's Guide

    Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a self-assessed tax. The onus is on the taxpayer to make the necessary land transaction return, calculate the tax and pay it across. This is a fundamental change. The old Stamp Duty regime taxed documents, so it was...
  • Step by Step Plan for Health and Safety Compliance

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a ‘ step by step plan’ for businesses for protecting the health and safety of workers and others . The key recommended actions are: 1. Register a new business with the appropriate authority...
  • TUPE - Post-Transfer Obligations and Collective Agreements

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that Article 3 of the European Acquired Rights Directive, which is transposed into UK law by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), must be interpreted as...
  • Tax Avoidance Disclosure Rules

    UK tax law is almost unique in that it contains regulations which require professionals to advise HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of information regarding tax avoidance schemes (TAS). Failure to comply can lead to a penalty of up to £5,000 plus other...
  • Tax Free Perks

    The Government has continuously sought to limit the tax free perks that businesses can provide for their employees. However, there are some remaining. Here is an update on some of those still available. Childcare Childcare provision and childcare...
  • Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes - Rules

    If you are a landlord it is vital that you are aware of the requirement that all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. There are...
  • Termination of Leases - Tips for Landlords

    When tenants seek to vacate premises, reduce the size of their premises or renegotiate their leases, problems can be created for landlords. Here are some tips for landlords to help deal with tenants when a break clause in a lease is looming: Be ready....
  • Termination of Leases - Tips for Tenants

    Break clauses in commercial leases have probably received more attention from tenants in the last year or so than at any time since the early 1990s. For tenants seeking to break their leases, here are some pointers: Make sure any notice to break the...
  • The Corporate Manslaughter Act

    The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 established a new statutory offence of corporate manslaughter (corporate culpable homicide in Scotland). An organisation is guilty of the offence if the way in which it manages or organises its...
  • The Duty to Manage Asbestos - HSE Guidance

    According to statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Every year 1,000 people who have been involved in carrying out building maintenance and repair work die as a...
  • The Eight Data Protection Principles

    Anyone processing personal data must comply with the eight enforceable principles of good practice. Here is a checklist. Data must be: fairly and lawfully processed; processed for limited purposes; adequate, relevant and not excessive; ...
  • The Equality Act 2010 - A Guide for Employers

    The Equality Act 2010 replaced nine major pieces of discrimination legislation and other ancillary measures introduced over the last forty years. The core provisions of the Act came into force on 1 October 2010. As well as harmonising existing...
  • The New Insolvency Regime

    In September 2003, the insolvency provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 came into force, bringing in a new regime for dealing with insolvencies. The main features of the new rules are: a streamlined procedure for putting a company into...
  • The danger that lies beneath! Health and safety for business owners

    May’s GL Business Club focused on Health and Safety, and demonstrated some high tech solutions to aid compliance. Thanks to Sian Macgowan from Sureteam, and Alistair Slade from Chronologic for their very useful presentation. Here’s a brief...
  • Tips for Business Borrowers

    With the economy seeming to be slowly improving, businesses will be thinking about financing the expected expansion of trade. Borrowing cost often dominates the thinking, but it isn’t all about the cost of the loan. In order to negotiate the right...
  • Understanding Options

    People who want to buy a property but do not currently have the means to do so, or who simply want to be guaranteed the opportunity to buy it during a specified period or at some future date, will often undertake an option agreement with the owner. Under...
  • VAT - Place of Supply of Services

    With different rates of value-added tax (VAT) applying throughout Europe, the place that a supply is made (and hence the VAT rate which is applicable) can be a very important matter. The basic 'place of supply' rule is that in normal circumstances (and...
  • VAT and Electronic Goods - Take Care

    In order to combat ‘missing trader’ fraud, which is estimated to have cost the Exchequer hundreds of millions of pounds, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have introduced measures which can, in some circumstances, make a supplier (or customer)...
  • VAT on Business Assets With Private Use

    It is very commom for a smaller business to have assets which have been acquired which are used for both business and private use. Traditionally, this could be dealt with either by claiming only the percentage of the input VAT which corresponded to the...
  • VAT on Electronic Services: New Rules

      If you supply electronic products (telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services) to non-business customers through online sales, you should start thinking about how you will comply with the new VAT 'place of supply' rules that will come into...
  • What to do When Your IT Doesn't Work

    These days it is increasingly the case that when your IT doesn't work, neither does your business. Clearly, the best way to deal with IT problems is prevention, which means doing regular backups, proper systems maintenance, keeping anti-virus protection up...
  • When Green is Brown (and Vice Versa)

    Development in rural areas presents a number of challenges for planning teams and developers alike. Whilst planning policy is clear that previously developed (i.e. 'brown') land is to be used for new housing in preference to undeveloped ('green') land, even...
  • When is an Environmental Impact Assessment Necessary?

    The The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 apply to any development likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of its size, nature or location. If a Local Authority fails...
  • Who Pays the Rates?

    When a company that is the tenant of a property goes into liquidation, it is normal for the liquidator to disclaim the lease on the premises. Business rates must be paid by the 'person entitled to possession of the property' (Local Government Finance Act...
  • Workplace Stress - An Employer's Duties

    The 14th edition of the Absence Management survey report, which is produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in conjunction with healthcare provider Simplyhealth, found that in 2013 stress continued to be one of the most common...
  • Written Statement of Employment Particulars

    A contract of employment may be verbal but all employees, whether part-time or full-time, are entitled by law to be given a written statement setting out the main particulars of their employment, provided their employment lasts for one month or more. All the...
  • Your Home Office - The Legalities

    If you run your own business, working from home, there are legal ramifications which need to be considered. There are few regulations that apply to 'normal' businesses that do not apply to 'home' businesses: you are not exempt just because you operate...

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