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Important changes to trade mark law in the UK

Stephen Oliver
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Significant changes to the law relating to registered trade marks in the United Kingdom will take effect on 14 January 2019. Based on an EU Directive which comes into force through the Trade Mark Regulations 2018, they will apply irrespective of Brexit...

Brexit: Planning for after a 'Black Swan' event

Robin Johnston
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Some dreamed of it and others dreaded it, but nobody actually expected the Brexit referendum result. As such, politicians and business leaders seemed unprepared for the negotiations and practicalities of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Nassim...

Shares - varying class rights

Katy Poole
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Many of us practicing in company law are asked to vary share rights. Frequently, this is permitted subject to checking the articles of association for authority or prohibition, any existing shareholders’ agreement and obtaining the requisite...

Volunteer Directors of not for profit community company held personally liable for VAT losses

James Maxey
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The High Court ruling in Situl Devji Raithatha (as liquidator of Halal Monitoring Committee Limited) and Mira Nazeer Ahmed Baig and others 2017 underlines the duties incumbent upon Directors and their responsibility to grasp an understanding of them,...

Trade Secrets Regulations 2018 - what are the implications?

James Munn
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The Trade Secrets Regulations 2018 came into force in June. Their purpose is the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information from being unlawfully acquired, used and disclosed. It is also intended to standardise national laws and remedies...

Electronic signatures can be used to sign formal legal contracts under English law, the Law Commission confirms

James Munn
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The way business is conducted constantly changes. Technological developments provide more efficient, convenient and immediate methods for entering into binding transactions. However, issues surrounding the electronic execution of documents, including...

Surfing the waves of disruption

Robin Johnston
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Think of the word ‘disruption’ and it will likely conjure up negative connotations – something that holds you back or creates a barrier. However, disruption can often be a force for good. Through the ages, innovators have improved or...

Software supplied as a download is not a sale of goods

Stephen Oliver
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A recent judgment in the Court of Appeal has finally clarified the legal status of software provided in the form of a download. The decision in Computer Associates UK Limited v The Software Incubator Limited held that software provided in the form of a...

Shareholder decisions and the Duomatic principle

Stephen Oliver
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The frequently informal nature of small private limited companies often means that major decisions are agreed about the company’s business or its constitution without being recorded in minutes or writing. This, in turn, can lead to validity issues...

The value of confidential information

Stephen Oliver
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Every business holds and develops a body of confidential information which is viewed as a key asset in establishing a commercial edge in its market.  Many will take care to identify and label information as confidential and contractually restrict...

GDPR - the impact on businesses

Thomas Birkett
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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is scheduled to take effect in the UK from 25 May 2018. In line with this, businesses are advised to prepare for compliance with the GDPR, and to be aware of further potential changes to data protection law once...

Cyber-crime - managing the legal issues for victims

Nadine Duncan
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Government statistics show that nearly 70% of larger firms in the UK have been hit by a cyber attack or a breach in the last year and almost half of all UK businesses reporting at least one attack or breach. Over 4 million individuals found themselves the...

Corporate gifts and The Bribery Act

Nigel Moore
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Whilst the Bribery Act 2010 takes a tough stance on corruption, it is not intended to stop all forms of corporate hospitality or prevent businesses from giving gifts. So where is the line drawn between an innocent gift and a potential bribe? And how can you...

Debt collection: How can you protect your business?

James Maxey
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Disputes between businesses and customers are common. If you cannot agree a settlement, your business may be called to the Small Claims Court or a higher court. If the judge rules against you, and your ex-customer is awarded their money back or receives...

Businesses face bigger penalties on data leaks

Nadine Duncan
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The final countdown to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 has begun for businesses. It will tighten rules for data processing and impose greater penalties for non-compliance. The outcome of a landmark High Court...

Commercial Contracts - B2B

Nadine Duncan
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Robust commercial contracts are essential for all businesses. Contracts can take many forms – some are formal signed agreements, some are terms and conditions, some by way of a letter, and others by email. Contracts can even be made orally or as a...

Commercial acquisitions - share purchases

Thomas Birkett
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In the final instalment of our series of articles on mergers  and acquisitions , Buckles’ Company Commercial lawyer, Tom Birkett, examines issues around share purchases. Acquisitions involve an entity applying its resources to obtain ownership,...

Commercial acquisitions - asset purchases

Thomas Birkett
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Last week, Buckles’ Company Commercial lawyer, Tom Birkett, wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of growing a business through a merger . In the next two articles, Tom turns his attention to acquisitions as an alternative method of achieving...

Mergers - the benefits and risks involved

Thomas Birkett
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A big question for any business is ‘How can we grow?’ In this series of articles, Buckles’ Company Commercial lawyer, Tom Birkett, takes a look at how businesses can grow through a merger or acquisition. Here, Tom examines the issues...

Converting commercial property into residential housing

Michael Rabbett
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Converting commercial property into residential units is big business. An old factory bought for £250,000 and converted into 10 residential units, each valued at £150,000, could net a massive profit for the developer willing to make the...

Queen's Speech Wednesday 21 June 2017

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Wednesday’s Queen Speech was dominated by Brexit with more than one quarter of the 27 bills announced relating to its impact on immigration, business sectors and industries. The Great Repeal Bill, a key component, is central to the UK exiting the EU...

Data Protection overhaul for UK businesses

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A huge piece of EU legislation that will replace the UK’s 1998 Data Protection Act as from May 2018, was confirmed in May last year. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a long time coming with various drafts having been published...

Changes to rateable value and the impact on statutory compensation

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The rateable value of a property is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency based on the annual open market rent for the property. The last revaluation took place in 2010 which used 2008 valuations. As we are well aware, the property market has changed...

A lot of my business is conducted via email. What are the advantages and pitfalls?

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The business world is constantly changing and adapting to keep up with the fast moving technological advances. Probably one of the most influential technological developments in the last 20 years has been the development and use of email. Email has...

The importance of a Shareholders' Agreement

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For the purpose of this blog post I am concentrating on private companies limited by shares but other forms of businesses are vulnerable in the absence of adequate agreements to govern the interested parties. For companies with more than one shareholder, it...

Annual Returns replaced with Confirmation Statements - what you need to know?

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From 30 June 2016, UK Limited companies and LLPs will have to file a Confirmation Statement annually at Companies House instead of the current annual return. Information needed for the Confirmation Statement To complete the Confirmation Statement, each...

Are your Ts&Cs with consumers "fair"?

Nadine Duncan
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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a series of at-a-glance guides that provide an introduction on the types of terms and notices that may be unfair. What is a "term"? A term is often set out in Terms and Conditions of...

How does the area of Trusts and Trustees affect myself, and my business?

Deborah Lewsley
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In this fast changing business climate, more and more companies are coming into contact with Trusts and Trustees than ever before. This may be in the form of pensions and pension providers, investment companies or simply business models to enable assets to...

Companies countdown to new transparency regulations

Nigel Moore
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Companies are on a countdown to comply with new regulations around transparency of ownership. As part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, unlisted UK companies and LLPs will have to identify people with significant control over them,...

How will my business be affected by the new ruling regarding consumer disputes?

Nadine Duncan
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Having highlighted the issue of disputes between companies and consumers in the last column, there has been an important development which businesses should be aware of. Just as recently as 15 February 2016, the European Commission launched its new European...

SME Data Protection Self-Assessment - are you compliant?

Nadine Duncan
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Small and medium sized businesses should take a look at the Information Commissioner’s website where they can, to take part in a data protection self-assessment. The purpose of the toolkit is to help SMEs to evaluate and improve compliance with the...

Doing business abroad? UK bribery legislation claims its first scalp for overseas payments

James Maxey
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A printing company based in Eastbourne has had two employees sentenced to prison terms following an SFO investigation into bribes paid in return for the award of contracts to the company. The chairman and sale director were sentenced to 18 months' and...

What you need to know about ADR for businesses that deal with consumers

Nadine Duncan
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If your business deals with consumers, you should be aware of the obligations on you to provide consumers with certain information in the event of a dispute. Earlier this year, two new alternative dispute resolution regimes came into force - the Alternative...

Does an employee have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing?

Giles Betts
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There have been a few changes recently that seem to have 'muddied the waters' as far as an employee's rights to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings is concerned. Up until now, the advice from the employment team to businesses who had...

Are you entitled to a larger divorce settlement?

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A landmark Supreme Court ruling in favour of two women who say they were misled by their ex-husbands and should get more money in their divorce settlements has received a huge amount of media attention recently. Varsha Gohil and Alison Sharland - who had...

How can I protect any gifted money I give to my son/daughter in helping them set up their first home if a cohabiting relationship fails?

Beverley Harrison
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It's not uncommon for parents to do everything they can for their children when it comes to setting up their first home, with those owning their own business often in a more comfortable position to help. However, what used to be a case of starting a...

Consumer Rights Act 2015 - are you ready?

Nadine Duncan
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The Consumer Rights Act 2015 ("Act") comes into force on 1 October 2015. If you are a business or a trader who deals with consumers, you should be aware of its implications. The Act regulates contracts between businesses and consumers and is the...

As a company director, how can I protect myself and my business from cyber crime?

Nigel Moore
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Recent reports of high profile hacking cases show cyber-crime is a growing threat, so it is imperative that company directors put risk management strategies in place. Following on the heels of the extramarital dating site hacking, businesses are being...

Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for you and your business

Stephen Duffy
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When we plan for the future we must consider the possibility of becoming unable to look after our own affairs due to physical or mental incapacity. This can be even more significant if you own or run a business. A Property & Financial Affairs Lasting...

Did the BBC really have no choice but to let Clarkson go?

Giles Betts
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Jeremy Clarkson divides opinion like no one else. I for one must confess to being a big fan of Top Gear and the weird dynamic of Clarkson, May and Hammond on a Sunday evening is a national institution and probably the only television show that my kids seem...

More freedom for small businesses?

Nigel Moore
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Owner managers of private companies in the UK will need to watch out for a new Bill coming into effect later this year. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is currently going through the House of Lords, and it looks set to be passed by the...

Keeping it in the family

Nigel Moore
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Building and running a family business can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. However family businesses present ownership, management and succession challenges particularly when passing it on to your children or when unforeseen events happen...

Be savvy on planning law

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The Government is pressing ahead with introducing even further flexibility to make changes of use without the need for planning consent. The current consultation considers, amongst other changes, allowing changes from a wider variety of uses to residential...

Employment Tribunal fees - good news for businesses?

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From the outset of its time in Government, the Coalition has wanted to reduce costs and red tape for employers. One issue that it has sought to address is the number of spurious employment tribunal claims brought against businesses by disgruntled employees...

The economic sun is shining again - but tread carefully

James Maxey
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The time when an economy starts to pick up is often the time of greatest risk for many businesses. Increased trading places can put pressure on cash flow, coupled with the rise in interest rates that now seem inevitable sooner rather than later. Directors...

Commercial rent arrears recovery

Michael Rabbett
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Commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR) is a way of recovering rent arrears relating to commercial property. The new regulations came into force on 6 April 2014 where they replaced the previous method which landlords have traditionally used to recover rent...

Business and pensioners come out on top in Osborne's Spring budget

Nigel Moore
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UK businesses have been offered a hand-up in the latest statement from Chancellor George Osborne, with a package of measures designed to further stimulate the economy. This year’s Spring budget was made against a radically different background to 12...

FAQ: So what interest can I charge for late payment?

James Maxey
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We seem to live in an age of late payment. Perhaps it shouldn’t be this way, but it seems to be the norm and after all what can be done to encourage prompt payment from that valuable client whose business you want to retain? If I have to sue for the...

Best endeavours, dont be daft

James Maxey
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Many people will have come across the phrases “best endeavours” and “reasonable endeavours” in their business lives, and will have their own views as to what each means. If you have never heard of the phrases before, essentially...