Recent Articles

On Retirement: A Final Blog from Julian Freeland

January 02, 2018 | Practice News

As I leave the practice of the law, I am very aware that I must have forgotten at least 90% of whatever I knew.  But some things seem to stick for ever. One of the subjects in my first year of university (now over 50 years ago) was Roman law.  When complaints are raised today(Read more)

Employment Compensation Claims

October 27, 2017 | Employment

Where an Employment Tribunal makes a finding of unfair dismissal, it will assess the amount of the basic award payable by reference to a week’s wages.  The legislation caps the amount of a week’s wage at £489 (currently).  This means that, if an employee earns at the rate of £600 a week, their entitlement will(Read more)

The Use of the Sham Licence

September 15, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

Residential tenants under assured tenancies and assured shorthold tenancies (the normal type) have a degree of security of tenure and protection from eviction.  They also have the comfort of knowing that their deposits are protected under statutory schemes. Tenancies are one thing; licences are another.  There are relatively few situations nowadays where a   licence will(Read more)

Employment Clawbacks

September 08, 2017 | Employment

When an employer uses a recruitment agency for the purposes of finding new staff, a fee will be payable once a new employee has started work.   Almost always, that fee will be payable in full unless the employer brings the employment to an end within a short time period – possibly no more than 6(Read more)

Checking Up on Facebook

August 11, 2017 | Employment

An employer seeking to recruit a new member of staff may be sifting through a number of completed application forms.  Before choosing who to interview, the employer might want to take a short cut.  What if a candidate were active on social media?  Wouldn’t it make sense to see if he/she has a Facebook account(Read more)

Employment Restrictions Operating After the End of the Contract

August 03, 2017 | Employment

Egon Zehnder Ltd v Tillman [2017] EWCA Civ 1054 (21 July 2017) Many employment contracts for more senior people contain covenants which seek to prevent the employee from various activities following his or her departure.  Typically, such restraints will provide a period of time during which the ex-employee cannot poach staff, seek to gain business(Read more)

A Cautionary Tale

June 27, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

Vanden Recycling Ltd v Bevin Tumulty and others [2017] EWCA Civ 354 (17 May 2017) The claimants, a plastics recycling company, found out that one of their employees was involved in skulduggery.  In essence, she secretly conspired with two rival companies to divert business from her employers. The beneficiaries were to be two other companies,(Read more)

Minicab Matters

May 19, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

Michael and others v Phillips and others [2017] EWHC 1084 (QB) is a recently reported case involving skulduggery within the Romford Minicab community.  The parties were involved in a sale and purchase of a minicab business.  All went sour and the claimants brought several claims, largely based in breach of contract, against the defendants. One(Read more)

Part Time Workers and Sex Discrimination

March 10, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

It is not possible to explain the workings of sex discrimination legislation in a short note/blog.  But there is one aspect of a recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal that is worth noting. In this case there was a female engineer who was employed on a full time contract.  She then, at her request(Read more)

Consequences of Dishonesty

February 28, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

A dishonest solicitor (it happens) was convicted of appropriating client funds.  He was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 confiscation orders can be made to recoup financial losses.  In this case, the solicitor and his wife were married in 1988.  She had provided the substantial amount of the(Read more)

What about the workers? And who is a worker?

February 17, 2017 | Employment

When HH Judge Charles Harris QC retired from his position as senior judge at the Oxford Combined Courts in February of this year, he took the opportunity of lamenting the vast proliferation of laws introduced by successive governments such that it was impossible for those practising in the law, let alone the public at large,(Read more)

Data Protection Offence

February 03, 2017 | Employment

The facts are not unusual.  The outcome is salutary. One Rebecca Gray was working for a recruitment company in Widnes.  She decided to leave and join another recruitment agency.  Before leaving, she accessed her current employer’s database and emailed the details of about 100 potential workers to her home address with a view to using(Read more)

Implied Contractual Terms

February 02, 2017 | Dispute Resolution

An argument that is often raised in a dispute over a contract is that the contractual documentation does not fully represent the agreement between the parties.  The party who claims to be affected will then argue for the existence of an implied term.  If the claimant succeeds, the consequences may be substantial. Judges are slow(Read more)

Tom Coker: Farewell to a Former Partner and Friend

January 13, 2017 | Practice News

Tom Coker, for many years a partner of Herbert & Gowers and then of Herbert Mallam Gowers, died unexpectedly in France at New Year.  He was 68 years old and has left behind his wife, Sue, and their four children. After school, Tom started his articles (as they then were) at Herbert & Gowers in(Read more)

Tax and Payments in Lieu of Notice

November 16, 2016 | Employment

Many employment contracts contain provisions which enable the employer, without breaching the contract, to pay salary in lieu of notice when terminating an employee’s contract.  These clauses are generally known as PILONs (Payments in Lieu of Notice).  But for such provisions, an immediate termination of contract followed by a payment in lieu of what the(Read more)

Online Business and Consumer Sales

September 15, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

If you are involved in a business which sells online to either business or consumer customers (or, indeed, both) then you do need to make sure that you have relevant terms and conditions of trading to take into effect the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as well as the general statute law on sales of goods(Read more)

Health and Safety – The Fines That Employers Can Face

August 04, 2016 | Employment

A synopsis of several recent Crown Court cases has been published by the on-line resource, Practical Law.  The round-up below illustrates the potential consequences for businesses of breaching health and safety legislation: 1) An employee at a fish processing company suffered fatal injuries when a stack of boxes of frozen fish fell on him while(Read more)

Challenging a Will - Who Pays the Costs?

July 08, 2016 | Dispute Resolution, Wills and Probate

There are legions of disappointed relatives when it comes to the possibility of inheritance.  Should the expected legacy not materialise, suspicions that the deceased was “got at” or lacked mental capacity will often rise to the surface. The normal step, if a Will is to be challenged, is to enter a “caveat” at the Probate(Read more)

Sickness Absence and Holidays

July 08, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

There has been much legal argument on the interpretation of the Working Time Directive affecting Member States (we are still one) and the Working Time Regulations 1988 (our attempt to implement the Directive into UK law).  The WTD gives workers the right to 20 days statutory holiday entitlement each year. The WTR gives workers the(Read more)

Data Protection

June 17, 2016 | Dispute Resolution

The Information Commissioner’s Office (the people who deal with data protection) has recently reported a twist on confidentiality protection. Employees who intend to leave one job and get employment in a rival organisation have a nasty habit of stealing (for that is what it is) important data such as client lists from their current masters. (Read more)

Employment Law Changes – April 2016

May 04, 2016 | Employment

New National Living Wage The new National Living Wage was introduced on 1 April 2016, increasing to £7.20 an hour the minimum hourly rate of pay to which workers aged 25 and over are entitled. All employers are obliged to pay the National Living Wage, irrespective of their size. Employment Tribunal Compensation Limits Employment tribunal(Read more)

Telephone Numbers and Direct Marketing

April 29, 2016 | Dispute Resolution, Business Services

A useful change in the law comes from a new EU Directive aimed at the telemarketing industry.   The law applies to all UK registered companies even if their call centres are based overseas. As from 16th May 2016, all live and automated calls must either disclose the telephone number from which they are made(Read more)

Regulation 34 National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015

April 27, 2016 | Employment

There seems to be a curious anomaly.  In general, travelling time for a home based field worker from their home to the first appointment will count as working time for the purpose of the Working Time Regulations. However, the same rule does not apply to the National Minimum Wage.  If a field worker’s normal working(Read more)

Sex Discrimination at Work

April 08, 2016 | Employment

ACAS has recently published a new guide to avoiding sex discrimination in the workplace: The guide is there for employers and employees but, given the enormous potential financial and other costs incurred by employers when a claim is made, it should be essential reading for all managers.  (Read more)

Settlement Agreements (formerly known as Compromise Agreements)

April 01, 2016 | Employment

Where an employer has agreed to pay an employee a sum of money (possibly with other benefits) in settlement of an actual or prospective employment claim, the employer will usually require the employee to enter into a “Settlement Agreement”.  Normally this will be the case when employment comes to an end but there is nothing(Read more)

Stress Related Illness

March 29, 2016 | Employment

When an employee goes off sick through stress, there can be different perceptions as to the causes.  Very often the employee will say that the stress was caused by wrongful treatment by the employer.  But also very often the employer will say that the stress is self-inflicted; that the stress would not have arisen had(Read more)

Professional Services

February 16, 2016 | Business Services

If you are an expert in your field, you are likely to get asked for informal advice from time to time by friends and colleagues. A recent case has highlighted the risks that can be faced. Even where there is no question of any contract arising between the expert and the person seeking advice, it(Read more)

Termination Payments

January 29, 2016 | Employment

For many years now payments made to a former employee by way of compensation for loss of employment are treated as being not taxable provided they do not exceed £30,000 (Section 401 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003). If payment exceeds £30,000 in total, the excess will be taxed as income. But(Read more)