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Frequently asked questions

Can my spouse force me to sell the house after we separate?

No they cannot unless a Court should subsequently order the property to be sold. The law takes into account many factors when deciding what should happen to family assets and it is possible that a sale can be avoided.

Can I protect the assets that I have accumulated when I marry?

Yes you can. The law recognises Pre-Nuptial agreements, which are financial agreements entered into in contemplation of marriage, as long as certain legal aspects are complied with.

Can I claim a share in my partner’s property?

The law relating to cohabiting couples is very different from the law relating to married couples. There are limited circumstances in which you can gain an interest in a property that is not in your name.

Can I get a “quickie” divorce?

A quickie divorce is simply a divorce that is not defended by the other party. There is one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is established by proving one of five facts. As long as you can establish that fact, you have grounds…

Can I change my child’s surname?

You may only change your child's surname with the father’s written consent or an order of the Court.

What documents do I need to look for before the funeral?

It desirable to find the following documents before the funeral but the funeral can go ahead even if you do not find them: The most recent will of the person who has died, or a copy of it. Any note saying what kind of funeral the person wanted. Papers relating…

What documents do I need to find before registering the death?

The following papers contain information needed for registering the death: Birth certificate. Marriage or civil partnership certificate. Death certificate of former wife, husband or civil partner. State pension or allowance book. Passport. Even if you cannot find these papers, you can register the death if you have all the necessary…

What documents do I need to find after someone has died?

If the person who has died was living alone in a private home, someone should go to the home on the day of the death to look for papers relating to insurance of the person's home and its contents, preferably the home and contents policy itself. (See the section on…

How do I pay for the deceased’s bills?

Bank accounts and other assets in the sole name of the person who has died are usually "frozen" from the death until the personal representatives obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration. If the person who has died paid household bills, then the other members of the household…

What happens is I have a joint account with someone who has died?

If a person is a joint owner of a bank or building society account with the person who has died, then from the time of the death the joint holder automatically owns the money in the account. The account is not "frozen" after the death and they do not need…

How do I pay for the funeral?

You, or other family members, may be willing to pay the funeral expenses, on the basis that you will claim repayment from the estate later. However, there are other ways of paying for the funeral: Look through the papers of the person who has died for anything relating to a…

Do I have a right to see the will?

Only the executors appointed in a will are entitled to see the will before probate is granted. If you are not an executor, the solicitors of the person who has died or the person's bank, if it has the will, cannot allow you to see it or send you a…

How do I find out whether there is a will?

If you cannot find a will (or a copy) in the home of the person who has died, ask the person's bank and his or her solicitors if they know where it is. You can also: Conduct a Certainty Will Search which is used by a number of law firms…

What do I need to take to the register office?

Whoever registers the death should take to the register office: the medical certificate from the doctor; the persons full name at date of death; any names previously used, eg, maiden name; the person’s date and place of birth; their occupation; their last address; name, date of birth and occupation of…

How do I find the local register office?

If you do not know where this is, contact the local authority or visit its website or the government website at https://www.gov.uk/register-a-death Make sure you ring the register office first to find out if it has an appointment system. A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found…

Who can register a death?

If the death was in hospital or in a private home (including a nursing or residential home), the following people can register the death: A relative. Someone who was present at the death but who is not a relative. Someone representing the "occupier" of the building where the death occurred…

When do I have to register a death?

A death must be registered within five days after the date of the death. A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

What do I need to do when someone dies?

A comprehensive answer to this and related questions can be found in a recent article on our website.

What are the benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney can help you plan how your health, wellbeing and financial affairs will be looked after. It allows you to plan in advance: The decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose capacity to make them yourself. The people you want to…

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document allowing you to appoint someone that you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf. Attorneys can make decisions for you when you no longer wish to or when you lack the mental capacity to do so. Someone can…

How much Inheritance Tax is payable?

If you leave everything to your husband, wife or civil partner there usually won’t be any Inheritance Tax to pay because a husband, wife or civil partner counts as an ‘exempt beneficiary’. But bear in mind that their estate will be worth more when they die, so more Inheritance Tax…

Who inherits if I don’t have a will?

If you don’t have a will there are rules for deciding who inherits your assets, depending on your personal circumstances. If you’re married or in a civil partnership and there are no children, your spouse or civil partner won’t automatically get everything although they will receive: Personal items, such as household…

Why should I make a will?

There are lots of good financial reasons for making a will: You can decide how your assets are shared out – if you don’t make a will, the law says who gets what. If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership (whether or not it’s a same sex relationship) your partner will not…

Radon: is this anything to worry about?

Radon is a very slowly released radioactive gas and overexposure can have health implications.  It is naturally occurring.  It should not be necessary to withdraw your offer if radon is detected in small quantities. Some areas are more susceptible to it than others.  We would ask the Seller’s solicitor  if…

Do I need a survey?

If you are borrowing from a mortgage lender a survey is likely to be required, and a valuer will be sent to inspect the property. The valuer’s report will give your mortgage provider an indication as to whether the property is worth at least the amount that you are borrowing.…

What are searches all about?

Searches allow your solicitor to understand some important information about the property you are buying.  There are various types of search that can be carried out, the most common being: Local Authority Search This reveals details of the planning history for the property and whether the local authority is aware of…

How much deposit will I need?

A deposit is paid on exchange of contracts. Traditionally this is 10% of the purchase price. However, if you are buying a new home and at the same time you are selling your own home, your solicitor can often make use of your buyer’s deposit. In such circumstances, you will…

How long does it take to buy a house?

If the property you are buying is empty and you don’t not require a mortgage, the transaction can in theory be completed in a few days but this is highly unusual. The more likely scenario is that there will be a chain of transactions and a mortgage will have to…

What is a chain?

Unless you are a first time buyer the purchase of your next home will depend on the sale of your existing home.  This of course is the same for the person who owns the house you are buying and so on until you reach a seller who, for example, is…

What exactly is conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to the legal work involving the buying and selling, re-mortgaging and letting of properties.

What is ‘after the event’ insurance?

This business briefing explains what after the event (ATE) insurance is and highlights its main advantages and disadvantages for a business. What is ATE insurance? ATE insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance policy that provides cover for the legal costs incurred in the pursuit or defence of litigation…

What is a freezing injunction?

The courts have a wide range of powers at their disposal to assist in the enforcement of their judgments, including freezing injunctions. A freezing injunction prohibits a party from disposing of, or dealing with, their assets. All types of assets can be frozen, including bank accounts, shares, motor vehicles and…

What happens if I don’t comply with a court order?

Contempt of Court and Injunctions An injunction is an order of the court that: Requires a party to do something (known as a mandatory injunction). Requires a party to stop doing something (known as a prohibitory injunction). What is contempt of court? An individual will be in contempt of court…

Can I get legal aid if Social Services are planning to remove my child?

Child Protection procedures usually require Local Authorities to meet with parents to set out their concerns in case Court proceedings can be avoided.  Persons with parental responsibility are entitled to free legal help to attend such meetings.  There is no means test. If or when the case proceeds to Court…

How is harm defined in care cases?

It is defined as ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development (including impairment from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another). Health means physical or mental health.   Development means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. Ill-treatment includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical.

Can Social Services remove my child into care, and if so on what grounds?

If Social Services consider that a child is at risk of significant harm, or has suffered significant harm, they can apply to the Court for a care order.  If granted, this enables Social Services to share parental responsibility with the parent and decide where the child should live and how…

Can I change my child’s surname?

You may only change your child’s surname with your spouse’s written consent or a court order.

How much does a divorce cost?

For an uncontested divorce, legal fees will typically be less than £500 plus VAT and the court fees. Fees are usually shared by the parties. In a contested divorce, at each hearing the court may make an order regarding the costs of the applications that the court has just dealt…

What is an uncontested divorce and how long does it take?

A contested divorce is when one party doesn’t accept what is said about them in the divorce papers. An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree to the grounds for divorce.   An uncontested divorce is a relatively quick and cost-effective way of divorcing. From lodging the divorce petition…

What sort of orders can the divorce court make?

Maintenance orders These require that one spouse should make maintenance, or periodic payments (usually from the husband to the wife). Payments are normally ordered on a weekly or monthly basis. They can be limited to a set period. Lump sum orders These require that one spouse to make a payment…

What are the grounds for divorce?

If you can establish one of the following grounds, then providing you have been married for at least one year, you should be entitled to a divorce: your spouse has committed adultery your spouse’s behaviour has been such that you can no longer be reasonably expected to live with them…

Can I retract my resignation?

The general position is that a party who has properly given notice of termination has no right to withdraw it. Exceptionally, where notice is given in the heat of the moment, i.e. irrationally in anger, such situations can amount to special circumstances, which entitle the recipient of the notice not…

My employer is being taken over – What happens to me?

Where a business is transferred the TUPE Regulations are likely to apply and if so, you will be automatically entitled to transfer with the business on the same terms and conditions that you enjoyed with your original employer. In the event that the new employer is not prepared to offer…

Maternity leave: After a re-organisation my job is redundant – What are my rights?

My employer has re-organised my department and offered my job to someone else on a permanent basis and stated that my position is redundant. What are my rights? An employee returning to work after maternity leave is entitled to return to the job that she was doing before her absence…

I have an employee that cannot do the job competently – how do I terminate fairly?

When an employee appears to be incapable of performing during a probationary period or where the employee has less than two year’s service, the employer is able to dismiss relatively easily. Where the employee has more than two year’s service he has a statutory right not be unfairly dismissed. Capability…

I am contemplating dismissing an employee on long-term sickness. What is the procedure?

Checklist: sickness-related dismissals This checklist sets out the steps your business should take if you are contemplating dismissing an employee for a sickness absence-related reason. Although this can be a fair reason to dismiss an employee, it is important to follow the correct procedure. Review and retain the correct documentation…

Do I have to consider a redundancy selection pool?

Checklist: redundancy selection pools If your business is making redundancies, you must be very careful when drawing up the pool of employees from which you make your selection. Failure to consider the pool is likely to make a dismissal unfair. This checklist highlights the key issues that you need to…

Is there a checklist available to help me with redundancies?

Checklist: redundancy This checklist summarises the key issues that your business should be aware of when dealing with a redundancy situation. When can a redundancy situation arise? Redundancy encompasses three different types of situation:  Business closure.  Workplace closure.  Reduction of workforce. Collective consultation If your business is making 20 or…

Redundancy is a minefield – how do I ensure we get it right?

Making Staff Redundant Making staff redundant is never easy.  However, as the UK economy continues to struggle through the recession, more and more businesses are forced to make lay-offs. The process is potentially fraught with pitfalls.  We can help you to get it right first time and avoid costly mistakes. …

Age discrimination – can it ever be lawful?

Can Age Discrimination Ever be Lawful? Businesses are generally prohibited from discriminating against an employee on the basis of their age (for example, choosing not to interview a candidate because their application suggests they are nearing retirement age is discriminatory). However, unlike other forms of discrimination, in certain circumstances, your…

Social media – how do I minimise the risks associated with it?

This checklist highlights the risks that your business and your employees should be aware of when using the internet or sending e-mails and gives some practical suggestions of how to minimise those risks. Reputational risks Information that is written on the internet or in e-mails can seriously damage your business’…

I plan to hire more staff – how can I avoid the pitfalls associated with recruitment?

Best practice for hiring an employee This checklist highlights the key legal issues your business should consider when recruiting a new employee. Before advertising Make sure all staff involved in the recruitment process have had equal opportunities training (and they continue to receive it while working for your business). Draw-up…

I have terminated an employee. Can I change my mind?

Generally, an employer that uses clear words of dismissal will be taken to have dismissed the employee and the question of what a reasonable person might have understood does not arise.  Unless it can be shown that the termination represented anything other than conscious or rational decision by the employer,…

Health & safety: what are the key issues for an employer?

Checklist: health and safety According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2009/10, 1,033 offences were prosecuted by the HSE (and the Office of Rail Regulation), with a further 287 offences prosecuted by local authorities. 15,881 enforcement notices were issued by all enforcing authorities. In this context, businesses need…

Automatic pension enrolment. How does it affect my business?

Checklist: automatic pension enrolment This checklist explains the obligations that the automatic pension enrolment requirements place on your business. What is auto-enrolment? From October 2012, your business will be required to automatically enrol eligible “jobholders” in a pension scheme. A “jobholder” will include permanent, fixed-term and temporary employees, as well…

Restrictive covenants: How can I ensure they are enforceable?

Checklist: restrictive covenants in employment contracts This checklist explains what restrictive covenants are, when they are likely to be enforceable and how they can be used in employment contracts to protect your business’ interests. What is a restrictive covenant and when will it be enforceable? You can use restrictive covenants…

Checklist: online and e-mail risks

This checklist highlights the risks that your business and your employees should be aware of when using the internet or sending e-mails and gives some practical suggestions of how to minimise those risks. Reputational risks Information that is written on the internet or in e-mails can seriously damage your business’…

What is a compromise agreement and how does it work?

This business briefing sets out the key issues a business should consider before entering into a compromise agreement with an employee. What is a compromise agreement? A compromise agreement is a legally binding agreement between a business and an employee under which the employee agrees to settle their potential claims…

What steps should I follow when dismissing an employee?

Dismissing an employee: business briefing This business briefing sets out the steps a business should follow when it is considering dismissing an employee. Why is it important to follow the law when dismissing an employee? Dismissing an employee for a reason other than one allowed by law, without following the…

Can I take into account a potential employee’s criminal record?

Criminal record information: business briefing This business briefing sets out the issues a business should consider when dealing with information about a criminal record. Businesses are entitled to ask a job applicant, an employee or worker, or a volunteer about their criminal record. Rehabilitation of offenders Subject to certain exceptions,…

What are the rules concerning discrimination and harassment?

Discrimination and harassment: business briefing This business briefing sets out the different types of discrimination that can occur within the workplace and highlights practical steps a business can take to help avoid breaching discrimination law. Why is it important to know about discrimination laws? Discrimination law is designed to: Ensure…

What is the difference between an employee and a worker?

Employee or Worker? This checklist explains the significance of the distinction between an employee, a worker and a self-employed contractor and also highlights the legal status of volunteers. Employee status An employee is an individual who has entered into or works (or worked) under the terms of a contract of…

How do I go about dismissing an employee?

Dismissing an employee: business briefing This business briefing sets out the steps a business should follow when it is considering dismissing an employee. Why is it important to follow the law when dismissing an employee? Dismissing an employee for a reason other than one allowed by law, without following the…

Discrimination and harassment checklist

Discrimination and harassment: business briefing This business briefing sets out the different types of discrimination that can occur within the workplace and highlights practical steps a business can take to help avoid breaching discrimination law. Why is it important to know about discrimination laws? Discrimination law is designed to: Ensure…

Checklist: restrictive covenants in employment contracts

This checklist explains what restrictive covenants are, when they are likely to be enforceable and how they can be used in employment contracts to protect your business’ interests. What is a restrictive covenant and when will it be enforceable? You can use restrictive covenants to protect your business’ interests by restricting an…

Disability Discrimination: What adjustments must an employer make?

Disability discrimination: reasonable adjustments Posted on April 3, 2013 by John Keeble The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld an employment tribunal’s finding that the dismissal of a disabled employee on long-term sick leave was fair and that it would not have been a reasonable adjustment for the employer to exempt the employee…

What are the rules relating to Whilstleblowing?

Whistleblowing: business briefing This business briefing outlines the protection given to whistleblowers at work under UK law. What protection does the law give to whistleblowers? There is no financial cap on compensation in whistleblowing claims, and no requirement for a minimum period of service. Two levels of protection exist for…

What is discrimination and how can I avoid it?

Discrimination and harassment: business briefing This business briefing sets out the different types of discrimination that can occur within the workplace and highlights practical steps a business can take to help avoid breaching discrimination law. Why is it important to know about discrimination laws? Discrimination law is designed to: Ensure…

What should a business consider when conducting a disciplinary procedure connected with misconduct or poor performance?

Disciplinary procedure: business briefing This business briefing highlights the key issues a business should consider when conducting a disciplinary procedure connected with misconduct or poor performance. The Acas Code of Practice (Acas Code) was introduced in 2009 to replace the statutory disciplinary procedures. Employers are required to follow the code…

I may have to make some of my staff redundant. What are the key legal issues?

Redundancy: business briefing This business briefing summarises the key issues that a business should be aware of when dealing with a redundancy situation. When can a redundancy situation arise? Redundancy encompasses three different types of situation: Business closure. Workplace closure. Reduction of workforce. Collective consultation If a business is making…

I am an employer. How do criminal records affect recruitment?

Criminal record information: business briefing This business briefing sets out the issues a business should consider when dealing with information about a criminal record. Businesses are entitled to ask a job applicant, an employee, a worker or a volunteer about their criminal record. Rehabilitation of offenders Subject to certain exceptions,…

When can an employee make a claim for constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal: business briefing This business briefing sets out the key issues a business needs to understand when an employee makes a claim for constructive dismissal. What is constructive dismissal? Constructive dismissal is the term used where an employee resigns in response to their employer’s conduct in breach of an…

Parental Leave: what is it and how does it affect my business?

Parental leave: business briefing This business briefing outlines the key issues a business should think about when an employee requests parental leave. Eligibility for parental leave To take parental leave, an employee must, at the time the leave is to be taken: Have completed one year’s employment with the business.…

Can I avoid paying business rates on my empty property?

Checklist: business rates exemptions for empty non-domestic property This checklist sets out the exemptions from business rates for non-domestic properties. Retail property 100% relief for a continuous period of three months only. Changes of ownership during the three-month period do not trigger a fresh three-month exemption. The exemption applies to…

What is a Tenancy Deposit Scheme and how does it work?

Tenancy Deposit Schemes This checklist explains what a tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) is and what a landlord’s obligations are under a TDS. What is a TDS? A landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) must protect a tenant’s deposit by using an authorised tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) operated by an…

How do break clauses operate?

Break Clauses in Leases A break clause can be included in a fixed-term lease allowing either you or your landlord to terminate the lease early.  Exercising a break clause brings the lease to an end. However, where the landlord breaks the lease, there is legislation in place that may allow…

What is the desk top environmental search for?

Whilst it may appear that the commercial property you are purchasing is in good condition, what about the land it was built upon?  There may, for example, be hidden contamination in the soil due to previous land use.  Many people are not aware that in the event the original polluter…

What is the chancel search for?

This search is commissioned to reveal whether or not the commercial property you are proposing to purchase may be affected by a potential “Chancel Repair” obligation to the local Parish Church.  The obligations stem from the middle ages but can unfortunately have very modern ramifications. In the quite recent case…

What is the drainage water search for?

The drainage and water search will identify whether the commercial property is connected to mains drainage and water supplies.

What is the local authority search for?

It is extremely important a local authority search is carried out if you intend to purchase a commercial property.  Amongst other things the local authority search will reveal: planning permissions affecting the commercial property (and any breaches of planning); whether the commercial property is situated on or near to a…

Why do I need to do searches when I buy a commercial property?

Undertaking commercial property searches form part of your solicitors title investigation to a commercial property.  They will help to ensure that your title to the commercial property is good and marketable.  We have listed some of the more common commercial property searches below together with a further explanation of what…

Why should I use a specialised commercial property solicitor?

Buying a commercial property can raise a number of issues unique to a commercial rather than, for example, a residential property.  These issues might be in relation to tax, the condition of the property, planning or the title, for example there may be restrictive covenants restricting the use of the…

Why do I need a solicitor to help me buy a commercial property?

Buying a commercial property is often a large investment in your business. It is important that you instruct a commercial property solicitor to assist you with your purchase.  A commercial property solicitor will investigate the title to the commercial property to make sure you will be able to lawfully use…

Residential services charges: how do they work?

Residential service charges: business briefing This business briefing explains what a service charge is, when consultation is required, what the penalties are for failing to comply with the consultation requirements and what the time limits are for making service charge demands. What is a service charge? A service charge is an…

What are the tax consequences in running a property business through a company?

Relief from capital gains tax on incorporation of a business Taxpayers that actively manage their property lettings and wish to incorporate their business will welcome a recent decision in the Upper Tribunal (Tax Chamber). The Upper Tribunal determined that the term “business” in the capital gains tax (CGT) “incorporation relief”…

What are permitted development rights in relation to business premises?

Permitted development rights in relation to business premises This business briefing sets out the recent changes to the planning laws that have increased permitted development rights in relation to business premises and the re-use of existing buildings. What is permitted development? The government may specify types of development as “permitted…

What are the exemptions from business rates for non-domestic properties?

Business rates exemptions – empty non-domestic property This business briefing sets out the exemptions from business rates for non-domestic properties. Retail property 100% relief for a continuous period of three months only. Changes of ownership during the three-month period do not trigger a fresh three-month exemption. The exemption applies to…

Can I extend the term of the lease on my flat?

The negative stance of most mortgage companies regarding funding investment into properties with a short lease creates great difficulties for investors and apartment owners alike, who find their property declining in both value and saleability. If purchasers cannot secure the mortgage they need, they simply cannot buy and too many…

What are Undervalue Transactions?

Transactions at Undervalue Either an administrator or a liquidator can apply to the court to set aside any transaction at an undervalue. The court may set aside a transaction as a transaction at an undervalue if: The company made a gift or otherwise entered into a transaction on terms that…

What are Reviewable Transactions?

When a company has entered a formal insolvency process, certain types of antecedent transaction (entered into by the company before the start of the insolvency) may be challenged under provisions in the Insolvency Act. Collectively, these are known as reviewable transactions. The powers to challenge antecedent transactions exist to: Protect…

What is meant by “Misfeasance”?

If, in the course of a winding up, it appears that a director has misapplied or retained, or become accountable for, any money or other property of the company, or been guilty of any misfeasance or breach of any fiduciary or other duty, the court may order the director to…

What is Fraudulent Trading?

Under section 213 of the Insolvency Act if, in the course of the winding up of a company, it appears that any business of the company has been carried on with the intent to defraud creditors, or for any other fraudulent purpose, the liquidator can seek a court declaration that…

Could I be liable for Wrongful Trading?

Under section 214 of the Insolvency Act, on the application of a liquidator, the court may require a contribution to the assets of a company from a person who is or was a director of the company where the company has gone into insolvent liquidation and at some point before…

How does a Retention of Title Clause Work?

The object of a retention of title clause (sometimes referred to as a Romalpa clause) is to give the seller of goods priority over secured and unsecured creditors of the buyer if the buyer fails to pay for the goods because it is insolvent, or for some other reason which may be…

Checklist: discrimination in the provision of goods and services

This checklist sets out the duties your business owes to members of the public when you provide them with goods, services or facilities. Since 1 October 2010, these rules are set out in the Equality Act 2010. Who is a service provider? A service provider is any person who provides…

I am thinking about franchising. What is a franchise?

A franchise must have the following elements: The franchisor allows the franchisee to use a name which is associated with the franchisor. The franchisor exercises continuing control over the franchisee. The franchisor provides assistance to the franchisee. The franchisee periodically has to make payments to the franchisor.

I have been asked to consider a strategic alliance with a business partner. What is a Joint Venture?

The term joint venture has no specific meaning in English law. It describes a commercial arrangement between two or more economically independent entities which can effectively be slotted into one of four basic legal pigeonholes. In practice, the legal form of a joint venture is likely to be determined by:…

I hold personal data. What are my legal responsibilities?

Checklist: data protection This checklist highlights the key legal obligations your business should consider when dealing with personal data about: Customers. Suppliers. Employees. Any other individual who you may encounter in the course of business. Penalties for failing to deal with personal data appropriately There could be serious financial, commercial…

What are the rules relating to advertising?

Checklist: advertising This checklist highlights the main issues your business should consider when planning an advertising campaign. Always consider taking advice on your advertising copy. The Copy Advice service will help you avoid breaking the rules, which could lead to action by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). However, be aware…

I am confused on the rules relating to cookies. What is the latest guidance?

Use of Cookies This checklist, based on guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), sets out how your business should obtain consent from visitors to your website to store or retrieve information from users’ computers or mobile devices. New laws have come into force requiring your business to obtain consent…

I’ve heard about directors duties under the Companies Act. What are these?

What are Director’s Duties? The Companies Act 2006 codifies certain common law and equitable duties of directors. In summary, the seven general duties under the 2006 Act are: To act within powers. To promote the success of the company. To exercise independent judgment. To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence.…

What is a Shadow Director?

A shadow director was any person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of the company were accustomed to act, but a person was not deemed to be a shadow director by reason only that directors acted on advice given by him in a professional capacity.

I have been asked to become a Non-Executive Director. What does non-exec mean?

What is a Non-Executive Director? Executive directors work for a company on a full or part time basis and are remunerated for their services as an employee of the company. Non-executive directors have the same duties and attract the same liability as executive directors in company law and in the…

Should I appoint an agent or a distributor?

Agent or distributor? Why appoint an agent or distributor at all? In appointing a selling agent or a distributor, a manufacturer is effectively sub-contracting the selling function of his business. He may wish to do this for a number of reasons: to take advantage of an agent’s or distributor’s local…

Why use standard terms of sale?

Benefits Standard terms of business offer certain advantages over bespoke agreements: They avoid the time and expense of drawing up specific terms for each individual transaction. They enable a company to introduce terms favourable to itself in a format that does not encourage heavy negotiation, for example, terms limiting the…

I am a partnership. What is an LLP and should I convert?

What is an LLP The LLP is different from the form of limited partnership under the Limited Partnerships Act 1907. That form of limited partnership does not allow a partner to enjoy limited liability while also participating in the management of the firm. The LLP was developed in the UK…

I would like to incentivise my staff. How can I use simple, tax efficient share options?

Share Options The high cost of staff turnover Retaining and motivating key staff is more important that ever before.  A performance related cash bonus has only a short term effect; it is estimated that the motivational benefits of a pay increase, or a bonus, last as little as 5 weeks. …

What is private equity & and how does a buyout work?

Private Equity & Buyouts Private equity transaction, formerly more commonly known as venture capital transactions, cover a variety of arrangements that have one common feature: the source of the money that is funding the transaction. This source is usually a fund established to invest specifically in unquoted securities (private equity)…

I am planning to sell my business. Should I sell shares or assets?

Should you buy shares or assets? There are two methods of acquiring a business. One is to buy shares of the company that owns the assets, the other is to buy the assets which make up the business, in some cases together with certain liabilities of the business. The two…

Checklist: monetary penalty notices

This checklist explains what a monetary penalty notice (MPN) is and sets out when the Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) can issue an MPN against your business. What is an MPN? An MPN is a notice requiring a data controller to pay a fine set by the Commissioner. The amount of…

Checklist: Bribery Act 2010: what it means for your business

This checklist outlines the offences introduced by the Bribery Act 2010 and the penalties for committing them. It also highlights practical steps that your business can take to help avoid breaching the legislation. What is bribery? Transparency International (a non-governmental anti-corruption organisation) defines bribery as “the offering, promising, giving, accepting…

What is Copyright?

Copyright protects original artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works, including computer programs, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published works. It arises automatically on the creation of the work and lasts for 70 years after the death of the author for artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works. Sound…

What remedies does a consumer have for defective goods?

This checklist sets out the remedies available to consumers when buying faulty goods. It also highlights the additional obligations your business owes to consumers when selling goods online, by telephone or by mail order. Who is a consumer? Consumers are people who buy for purposes not related to their trade, business or profession. They have a greater…

What are my obligations relating to personal data?

Checklist: data protection This checklist highlights the key legal obligations your business should consider when dealing with personal data about: Customers. Suppliers. Employees. Any other individual who you may encounter in the course of business. Penalties for failing to deal with personal data appropriately There could be serious financial, commercial…

What is TUPE and how does it work?

Checklist: TUPE transfers What is TUPE? TUPE is an acronym for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. Where TUPE applies, employees automatically transfer from one employer to another with their terms of employment and continuity of service intact. When does TUPE apply? TUPE applies to a “relevant…

I am planning a sales promotion. What are the legal rules?

Checklist: sales promotions This checklist sets out the different types of sales promotions that your business may wish to use to promote its goods or services. What is a sales promotion? A sales promotion is a marketing device (for example, a competition or prize draw) designed to encourage the purchase…

How should I regulate the use of social media in my office?

Online and e-mail risks: business briefing This business briefing highlights the risks all employees should be aware of when using e-mail and the internet at work, sending work related e-mails or discussing the workplace on the internet. Reputational risks What you write in e-mails or on the internet could seriously…

What are the rules on use of cookies?

Changes to the rules on using cookies: business briefing This note is based on guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It sets out how a business should obtain consent from visitors to its website to store or retrieve information from users’ computers or mobile devices. New laws require businesses…

I am thinking of franchising my business. How does a franchise work?

Franchising: business briefing This business briefing explains what a franchise is and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of franchising a business from the franchisor’s perspective. What is a franchise? A franchise must include a franchisor and at least one franchisee. The franchisor is the business or individual that sells the…

What must I do to comply with the data protection legislation?

Data protection: business briefing This business briefing highlights the key legal obligations a business should consider when dealing with personal data about customers, suppliers, employees and any other individual who may be encountered during the course of business. Penalties for failing to deal with personal data appropriately There could be…

Contract negotiations: what are the key issues?

This note highlights the key issues a business should consider during contract negotiations.  Always take legal advice when negotiating a large or unusual contract. Who is the other party to the contract? What is the reputation of the other party? Has the company done business with the other party before?…

What is intellectual property and how does it affect my business?

Intellectual property rights: business briefing This business briefing highlights the different types of intellectual property (IP) rights that a business needs to be aware of to ensure that it: Protects what the business creates. Maximises the business’ competitive position. Avoids infringing the IP rights of other people and businesses. What…

How should I ensure I don’t get caught out by the unfair consumer contracts rules?

Consumer protection: business briefing This business briefing sets out how a business can comply with its obligations under consumer protection legislation. Unfair commercial practices Consumer protection legislation provides a general prohibition on unfair commercial practices. Misleading acts or omissions A business must not mislead consumers through acts or omissions. For…

What are the major pitfalls to avoid in contract negotiations?

Contract negotiations – pitfalls to avoid This business briefing highlights some of the major pitfalls that a business needs to avoid during contract negotiations. Who is negotiating for the other party? Does the person representing the other party have the authority to negotiate for that other party? Should negotiations be kept…

Is your personal injury service free?

We will deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis which means that, provided you have complied with the terms of our agreement, if your case is lost you will not be charged. However, since changes in the law in April 2013 we can no longer recover…

What is my claim worth?

We will not be able to establish this until we have a medical report. But as soon as we do we will give you our advice as to the minimum and maximum amounts we believe your claim to be worth.

Will my compensation have an effect on my benefits?

Possibly. If you are in receipt of benefits as a result of the accident, the Department for Work and Pensions can deduct a sum equivalent from certain parts of your compensation as “repayment”. If your compensation exceeds the capital limit allowance for receiving benefits, you risk having your benefits stopped…

Will I be kept up to date?

You should receive an update and progress report from us as and when you wish and whenever there are significant developments. You should not hesitate to ring us or email us if you would like an update.

Will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of cases settle without having to go to court. This can be expensive and no insurer wants to waste money defending a case which should be settled. If you do need to go to court, we will advise you on the trial process.

How long will it take?

That depends on how complicated your claim is. Some cases settle within a matter of weeks. More complicated cases, involving complex issues, might take quite a bit longer, especially if your injuries are serious and the medical evidence takes some time to resolve.

Will I have to do anything, now that I have instructed a solicitor?

Yes. Even if you are able to provide us with all of the information requested, there will still be times when we will need your assistance. One of the first things that we will do when we have been instructed is provide a formal notification to the other side setting…

What information will my solicitor need?

The more information you can give us about your claim, the better.  We will need the following information if you have it: Your name, address, date of birth and national insurance number. The location of the accident. The name and address of the person or organisation who you think is…

What can I claim for?

You will be entitled to damages for suffering the injury itself.  These are called ‘General Damages’ and are calculated by reference to a specific set of guidelines which the courts and other solicitors use. We also consider previous cases when assessing the value of your claim. You may also claim for…

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