Wednesday June 12, 2013 at 11:49am
If your business takes a deposit when a customer enters into a business contract for goods or services, but the customer later cancels the contract, can the deposit be kept? Regular readers of my blog will know that the answer to a legal question is often not clear-cut, so won’t be surprised if I say that the answer is ‘yes’, your business can keep a deposit, but don’t stop reading just yet. There are a number of reasons why your business might take a deposit from its cus.... (read more...)
Friday May 31, 2013 at 5:58pm
When is a penalty an own goal? The short answer is - if the clause you included in your business contract intended to provide compensation for your business if the other party fails to perform as agreed turns out not to be enforceable. Parties to a business contract often refer to such clauses as penalties, but that is the last thing you would really want it to be if your business is the one wanting to rely on it. The reason is that, as with so many legal issues, ‘penalty’ has a dist.... (read more...)
Wednesday April 17, 2013 at 11:01am
Is your business involved in creating charges or other security? If so, you need to be aware of changes which affect the registration at Companies House of charges created on or after 6th April 2013. As a result of amendments to the Companies Act 2006, almost all charges are now registrable with only limited exceptions. This changes the previous position where categories of registrable charges were specified. The limited exceptions to the requirement to register mentioned above include a rent de.... (read more...)
Wednesday April 10, 2013 at 10:58am
Since I last blogged on the subject in November 2012 (click here to see it), there have been some changes which came into effect on 16 March 2013. The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 only apply to contracts entered into on or after 16 March.
You may recall that if there is no contract credit period for payment, and no convention such as 30 or 60 days has been established, then the default period is 30 days. Because many contracts provide for longer periods for payment, and pu.... (read more...)
Tuesday April 2, 2013 at 9:23am
The first question to ask yourself when you are thinking about making a claim is who you are going to claim against. And sometimes the answer might not be as straightforward as you think, and particularly when dealing with company groups.Imagine the following common scenario. You are approached by a representative of a large and impressive business, say ‘XYZ Group Ltd’. They are established players in the industry and are known to have many assets. They give you a lot of work but, wh.... (read more...)
Thursday March 28, 2013 at 6:57pm
You might think that planning for the unexpected sounds a contradiction in terms, but let me explain what I’m getting at. We’ve experienced many events over the last few years which at the time were described as ‘unexpected’. I’ll give you some examples. 2012 was one of the wettest on record with damaging floods yet we started that year with a drought. Just a year ago the UK was basking in warm sunshine - quite a contrast to the snow on the ground this Easter with m.... (read more...)
Tuesday March 12, 2013 at 5:27pm
Many businesses struggle to keep cash flowing in and delays by customers in paying their bills is often a major factor. There is a range of strategies that you can use to get in the money owing to your business - from credit checking before you close the deal, up front payments and deposits where appropriate to incentives for prompt payment and effective credit control procedures. Despite all that, if payments are still owing you may have to examine your other options. Before you resort to recov.... (read more...)
Monday March 4, 2013 at 12:07pm
If you’re currently looking at a cloud solution for your IT needs, the chances are that cost will be high on your list of priorities. There is a wide variety of offerings out there and the range is constantly increasing, as are the number of cloud providers and packages available. When it comes to comparing the financial factors, you’ll find that cloud offerings are generally priced in one of two main ways: • Standard periodic fees – on this model, there is a standard fee .... (read more...)
Tuesday February 5, 2013 at 5:07pm
Who will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day with? If it’s your business partner, there’s a gift you could give each other that will last longer than a dozen roses. As a (some might say unromantic) business lawyer
I suggest you should forget a meal in a fancy restaurant, a few days away from it all or expensive jewellery and instead get a shareholders’ agreement. Why am I proposing something that, on the face of it, you might think is totally unnecessary? After all, you ha.... (read more...)
Monday February 4, 2013 at 6:54pm
It often happens in business: you signed a contract that you later regret. Sometimes it’s because the other party is not performing as expected but, at other times, it’s just because you’ve changed your mind. It’s usually not easy to get out of a contract but what follows are things to consider. Has there been a breach? The first point to consider is whether the other party has done anything wrong. They might, for example, be in breach of a term in the contract or maybe t.... (read more...)
Friday January 25, 2013 at 10:42am
Are you thinking of moving to the cloud for part, if not all, of your business needs? If so, you are not alone. Although cloud services have been around for a while, both the range of offerings and the uptake by business customers are on the increase. The cloud service will play a key part in the operation and success of your business. You will no doubt be looking at various factors in weighing up the pros and cons, so to help you in the process, here are some points that I’ve put together.... (read more...)
Wednesday January 23, 2013 at 10:24am
Recent months have seen disastrous flooding and severe disruption across the country caused by rain, snow and ice. In fact it’s hard to remember that 2012, which ended up as the wettest on record, started with a drought and water restrictions. The media has been reporting such events as extreme weather, but the predictions for global warming indicate that extreme weather could become much more usual. The main difficulty with such natural events is in knowing just when they will strike, but.... (read more...)
Monday January 14, 2013 at 12:55pm
The EU is the source or the instigator of many laws and regulations which affect us in the UK, so it’s interesting that they have recently recognised some guidance might also be helpful. The area they have chosen to try and help with is online rights in their ‘Code of EU online rights’. The Code - issued as part of the EU’s Digital Agenda for Europe - is aimed at consumers and summarises the rights which they have in the virtual world. Although the Code is written from th.... (read more...)
Friday January 4, 2013 at 4:24pm
Whilst most people were preparing for Christmas, on 18th December 2012 new rules on payment surcharges were issued in the form of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012. The Regulations prohibit a business from imposing payment surcharges on consumers where the surcharge exceeds the cost to the business of using the particular payment method. A payment surcharge is a charge made for the use of a particular method of payment in addition to the price. Businesses often&.... (read more...)
Wednesday January 2, 2013 at 10:20am
Step 1 - Identify your position • look at exactly what has happened and gather together all key documents such as any relevant contract, terms and conditions, correspondence and e-mails. • identify your key personnel who would be called upon to give evidence. Get written statements from them as soon as possible. • consider obtaining early expert evidence on any key points • get early legal advice as this could dictate how you handle the dispute to your best advantage. It will.... (read more...)
Friday December 28, 2012 at 5:09pm
It’s that time of year when many people take the opportunity of what for many businesses is the seasonal lull to review and plan for the year ahead, so I’ve put together some points which I think it would be useful for you to consider concerning your business contracts and contracting procedures. 1. Are your business contracts up to date? Were your business contract documents drawn up specifically for your company’s main business areas? If you haven’t reviewed them for so.... (read more...)
Friday December 7, 2012 at 6:48pm
Here are seven things to think about when you are dealing with a business contract before you commit your business to it. 1. Who are you doing business with? – is the person or company you’ve been negotiating with the one named in the agreement? Does it include anyone else such as a business partner or other companies in a group? Such additional people or companies could have a significant impact on the obligations or liabilities undertaken by your business. 2. What are you agreeing .... (read more...)
Monday December 3, 2012 at 2:09pm
Summary A partnership is a relatively simple way for two or more people to own and run a business together. However partners do not enjoy any protection if the business fails and you should definitely get a written Partnership Agreement drafted. How to make a business partnership legal This is a question we’re often asked to consider – but normally only when things have gone wrong in a business relationship. It comes up when business partners or directors want to go their separa.... (read more...)
Friday November 30, 2012 at 9:47am
I’ve long commented that businesses have too much existing legislation to cope with, let alone all the new laws that hit the statue book each year, so I got quite excited when I saw a recent press release from BIS - the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – claiming that a new initiative would cut the burden on business. Under the new initiative every new regulation that imposes a new financial burden on firms must be offset by reductions in red tape that will save double .... (read more...)
Thursday November 29, 2012 at 3:51pm
With cash flow problems in a difficult economic landscape, do not forget the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which could be a useful tool to persuade prompt payment. If the threat does not work the Act provides for the debtor to pay compensation, which can be substantial.
The Act only applies to commercial debt, and so will not help where the late payer is not a business or public sector organisation. For contracts entered into after 2002, all companies are subject to the .... (read more...)
Friday November 16, 2012 at 5:43pm
When you consult a lawyer to advise on your business contract, what sort of help might you reasonably expect to receive? There are likely to be two main scenarios that might lead you to seek advice. One is that, having negotiated a deal in principle, the other party has presented you with a written agreement. You will be wondering whether it accurately reflects the deal you discussed and if there is anything in the detail that might be of concern to you. The other scenario is that you want to ma.... (read more...)
Tuesday October 23, 2012 at 3:44pm
You’ve talked things through with your customer or supplier and agreed the deal in principle. Now they’ve presented you with a written agreement that they are asking you to sign. Before you commit your business to a legally binding contract, how do you know if the document in front of you accurately reflects the points you negotiated? The key is to check that all the points you agreed in principle have been carried over into the written agreement and that they are not watered down or.... (read more...)
Tuesday October 16, 2012 at 12:55pm
You’ve negotiated the deal. Now how do you make sure your business can rely on the contract? There are a few cases where a special form of document or wording is required to make the agreement enforceable such as transfers of property and other instances where the contract has to be made as a deed, but those are matters where you are likely to be using a lawyer to advise you. In other cases the contract can become legally binding much more easily. In my view the most reliable way is to set.... (read more...)
Wednesday October 10, 2012 at 9:08am
What would be your reply to the following questions? • Does your business use business contract documents and procedures that were specifically drawn up for you? • Does your business have professionally drawn up business contracts? • Have your business contracts been reviewed recently? • If you are planning to sell your business, or if you are looking for outside investment, are your business contracts and procedures robust enough to withstand scrutiny by a potential pur.... (read more...)
Wednesday September 26, 2012 at 9:57am
Does it sometimes seem to you as if the commercial contract that’s landed on your desk is written in a foreign language? Or you find that you can recognise many of the words, but they don’t seem to make much sense? That might well be because the law, just like many other industries and professions, has its own way of expressing things and there’s no shortage of legal jargon which has built up over a long period of our legal history. More recently there has been some move toward.... (read more...)
Tuesday September 25, 2012 at 4:23pm
I am often asked if a Personal Guarantee is unenforceable if independent legal advice was not taken before it was signed. The answer, as with many things, is “it depends”.
It is always worth looking to see if the bank or other person or organisation taking the guarantee has followed their own procedures. It is now rare for a bank or other financial institution to make a mistake, but they can happen. They must prove by their paper trail that they have complied with their own procedu.... (read more...)
Thursday September 20, 2012 at 10:00am
As a litigation lawyer dealing with disagreements between businesses, I frequently find I’m called upon to help business owners who have broken or ignored the terms of a legally binding contract. As with anything concerning the law, there’s a right way and a wrong way of going about this and the clients who end up spending a lot of money with me have often tried to do things the ‘wrong way’. You can’t get out of a contract just because you’ve changed your mind.... (read more...)
Wednesday September 19, 2012 at 2:41pm
During the course of your business career, you are likely to enter into a variety of commercial contracts to buy products and services that your business needs to operate and to supply whatever your business makes or does. The form of contract you enter into for each of these will be just as varied. There are nevertheless some common features which I’d like to outline which might help when you’re looking at your next commercial contract. Surprising as it may seem, the date - one of t.... (read more...)
Wednesday September 5, 2012 at 12:15pm
Most businesses plan and review their activities on a regular basis, but not all include a check on their contracts they use in their business. Pricing is perhaps the main exception from that rather broad generalisation, but even that is often prompted by an external event such as a rise in the cost of raw materials. Do your business contracts allow you to raise your prices in such circumstances? In longer term arrangements, do you have a price review mechanism or are you dependent on being able.... (read more...)
Friday August 24, 2012 at 5:59pm
An article I saw recently made me think about the way in which legal documents are written and whether it might be possible to do this differently. The author was advocating simple documents written in plain English and using legal documents such as terms and conditions as an opportunity to create a good impression of your business. I think most people would agree with his idea. Business matters can be complicated enough without being expressed in jargon or using too many of those sometimes colo.... (read more...)
Tuesday August 21, 2012 at 10:00am
Having read my colleague Sue Mann’s blog last week (New customer or supplier? How to manage your risks), I realised I might be missing an opportunity to advise clients who ought to be reviewing their standard contract terms or their terms of business. As someone who tends to work with businesses that either don’t have adequate written contracts in place, or are using the terms of a contract to try and obtain reparations from a third party, I am pretty familiar with some of the confus.... (read more...)
Thursday August 16, 2012 at 5:28pm
How often have you heard someone say that they wish they’d checked through a contract before they agreed it? Because if they had checked it first they certainly wouldn’t have signed it! The sad fact is that if a business signs up to a contract they will generally be bound by its terms whether they have read it or not. Trying to argue or negotiate your way out of an unfavourable deal is much more difficult, and the outcome is less certain, than making sure you are happy with it before.... (read more...)
Wednesday August 15, 2012 at 10:27am
There are many times that work is carried out where no price has been fixed. Does this leave the workman without a claim? Not a bit of it. It has long been a principle of English law that someone should not have the benefit of unjust enrichment.
There are 3 possible scenarios:
1. Work has been done under a contract that has subsequently been found to be invalid 2. Work has been done for someone who expressly or impliedly requested it but no price was agreed 3. A price was agreed but only par.... (read more...)
Wednesday August 8, 2012 at 1:59pm
If you’ve just won an important new customer or client for your business – congratulations! You’ll be pleased at this boost to your business’s future prospects. Similarly if you’ve just secured a new supplier for materials, parts or services which will improve your business’s offering to your customer base or provide an opportunity for expansion. When the initial euphoria has worn off and before you get down to work, I would like to offer you some advice on ma.... (read more...)
Monday July 30, 2012 at 9:26am
Having worked hard both to win a software development contract and to complete the development, as an IT developer you will be particularly keen to make sure that you are properly and promptly rewarded for your efforts. Making sure you have a clear fee structure and payment procedure in your software development agreement will go a long way towards achieving that aim. For developments where there is a defined piece of work you may be happy to agree a fixed fee. In cases where it is not be possib.... (read more...)
Friday July 13, 2012 at 10:05am
As a software developer, you will test the software you are developing as part of the development process, but you might wonder why I would be concerned about dealing with testing in relation to the software development agreement. Having completed a software development, you as the developer want to be sure that your client accepts it, so that you can move on to your next project and, most importantly, you can get paid for the completed work. With these objectives in mind, I would recommend that.... (read more...)
Monday July 2, 2012 at 11:33am
One thing that struck me about the recent news story when the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that comedian, Jimmy Carr, was “morally wrong” in trying to reduce his tax bill legally was the fact that he had to resort to a plea for morality. As a commercial dispute lawyer, I often come across parties who state that they have a “moral right” to redress. Like all lawyers, I know that a call to morals in a business dispute context is an admission of failure. The subtext I.... (read more...)
Thursday June 28, 2012 at 1:23pm
Software development projects are well known, if not infamous, for running over time and over budget. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Often a number of factors combine to cause a software development to go off course. If this situation is not carefully managed, you and your client can end up aggrieved. That will not make for the good working relationship needed to complete the development and could ultimately result in an even more costly dispute. So, as a software developer, how can y.... (read more...)
Thursday June 21, 2012 at 3:53pm
Software development is a complex business and no IT project should proceed without a proper software development agreement in place to protect the developer. An important part of that agreement will be the project plan, or implementation plan, setting out the various stages of the development with a timetable for achievement of the key stages. The project plan will set out how the software development detailed in the specification is to be achieved, so it needs to take account of what is contai.... (read more...)
Thursday June 21, 2012 at 10:14am
It is a mistake to assume that personal gurantees to banks are always enforceable. It is true to say that these days the high street banks usually have watertight paperwork and have covered off any potential loophole, but one recent case demonstrates how a lender can get it wrong with the result that the guarantee in unenforceable.
My client was a relative of the lender’s client. The lender was not a high street bank. My client guaranteed payment by the borrower to the lender. He obtaine.... (read more...)
Wednesday June 13, 2012 at 7:15pm
The primary aim of any contract - and software development agreements are certainly no exception - is basically to set out what each party expects from the arrangement. Where too many IT projects have run into difficulties is not putting in place a software development agreement which adequately deals with all the relevant issues before works starts. This is understandable given the time and budgetary pressures in everyday business life, but it can be a false economy. A key part of a software de.... (read more...)
Wednesday June 6, 2012 at 3:20pm
IT projects are well known as being prone to disputes developing. Why? Because they are technically complex and give rise to many legal issues. But often the root cause is that there is no proper software development agreement in place. By the time a prospective client approves your software development proposal, you as a software developer will already have put considerable time and effort into the project. There will no doubt already be various documents describing the project, but what you re.... (read more...)
Friday June 1, 2012 at 6:43pm
Software development is a complex technical project which also gives rise to many legal issues. We have all heard of examples of software development projects where things have gone wrong and the resulting dispute has ended up in court. IT projects have figured in a considerable number of cases in recent years– some involving large companies and public sector organisations. When a project has been agreed in principle, the temptation can be to get on with the work as soon as possible. But i.... (read more...)
Tuesday May 15, 2012 at 9:08am
The failure of Greece to form a government following elections has led to many believing that a Greek default and exit from the Eurozone is now more likely than not. If this happens, then it is probable that other countries in difficulty, such as Portugal, Italy and Spain, will soon follow, and possibly other countries too. If you trade with any of these countries, then you should now be putting plans into effect to protect your business and minimise your exposure. What a Euro default will look .... (read more...)
Friday April 20, 2012 at 9:56am
Working out time periods in legal documents can be tricky. We have seen this highlighted very publicly in the case of Abu Qatada where there is currently some doubt as to whether the Home Secretary acted a day too soon to avoid a legitimate appeal being lodged. It may be some time before a ruling is given, but the consequence if Theresa May got it wrong by just one day is a potential delay of several months – not to mention the adverse publicity for the government. It is just as important .... (read more...)
Wednesday April 4, 2012 at 9:25am
I saw an article recently which made interesting reading. It compared the length of the terms and conditions on a number of well-known websites with works of Shakespeare. PayPal came out top of the survey beating Hamlet with 36,275 words compared to 30,066. That was well ahead of the next contender, Apple iTunes with 19,972 words as against Macbeth with 18,110. That’s quite a bit of reading when all you want to do is to make a quick purchase. OK, I was exaggerating in the title by referrin.... (read more...)
Friday March 30, 2012 at 9:12am
As a solicitor who defends directors when they get into problems with liquidators, fellow directors and shareholders, suppliers and customers, as well as government bodies, I am constantly struck about how most of these problems could have been avoided if directors hadn’t made a few basic mistakes. So here’s my list of 6 mistakes that I’ve seen since the beginning of the year that have led to real problems, heartache and unforeseen expense for my director clients.
Going in.... (read more...)
Wednesday March 28, 2012 at 10:00am
When starting a new business the legal aspects are often the ones that get forgotten, or at best sorted out with reluctance. As your business grows and becomes more successful the risks involved can become greater. Still, worrying about the legal side of things may not take number one priority. I’ve put together these tips for small business owners, they cover the essentials you should consider from a legal perspective and will hopefully keep you out of the hands of my dispute manage.... (read more...)
Friday March 16, 2012 at 9:47am
If you use consultants in your business, by which I mean self-employed contractors, there are a number of points which you should consider in relation to the agreement between your business and those consultants. They include: 1. Consultant's status You will want to do what you can to ensure that the consultant will not be treated as an employee of the business, not only for tax and national insurance purposes, but also so that the business will not have the responsibilities and obligations as e.... (read more...)
Thursday March 8, 2012 at 9:26am
In the current economic climate it’s become increasingly attractive to many businesses to use self-employed contractors rather than take on more employees. There are a number of reasons a business may do this. These reasons can include a desire to offer a wider range of services than they are able with their existing in-house expertise, or as a way of testing out a new service without too much commitment before deciding whether to launch it as an integral part of the business or as a means.... (read more...)
Tuesday February 14, 2012 at 8:07pm
Many SME businesses like to offer a range of services to their clients, with the aim of remaining the preferred go-to provider. At the same time they usually want to avoid taking on a large staff in order to provide all those services. That would simply not be feasible for many business owners, especially at a time when costs need to be tightly controlled. I’m finding that a business model which seems to be increasingly favoured is for a business to work with a number of independent provid.... (read more...)
Friday December 23, 2011 at 4:23pm
You’ve got a great business idea - are you going to give it away for free? Have you just had a ‘light bulb’ moment when an idea for a great new business, product or service came to you? If so, your natural inclination is probably to go and share your brainwave with someone. Don’t do it! At least, not until you have a proper confidentiality agreement in place to protect it. The same warning applies if you’ve spent ages developing your idea and now want to reap your r.... (read more...)
Thursday December 15, 2011 at 12:16pm
Businesses are constantly juggling resources to survive and grow. One of the decisions they have to make is when to take legal advice when entering into contracts. The reason they may choose to do without advice is the perceived cost. But the consequences can in many cases be more costly than the initial saving. I even come across businesses that fail following a costly court case when they thought they were adequately covered by a simple contract that didn’t in fact do the job it was supp.... (read more...)
Friday November 25, 2011 at 5:22pm
The only people who needn’t read any further are those who are the sole shareholder in their company - unless you might be issuing shares to someone else at some stage, in which case carry on so that you will be prepared. Everyone else should have a shareholders’ agreement in place. Read on and I’ll explain why.
1. The earlier the better.
The number one reason to put an agreement in place now, rather than waiting is that it is much easier to get an agreement in place whilst.... (read more...)
Monday October 3, 2011 at 9:00am
One of the consequences we have seen as a result of the current recession is a rise in the number of people who have come out of employment and set up as independent consultants in their chosen field. You may be one of them. If so, then you will also have had a whole range of issues to deal with from setting up an office and your online and social networking presence, opening up a business account and possibly a company, to marketing your new business to bring in those much needed clients. Among.... (read more...)
Monday September 26, 2011 at 5:43pm
It is quite often the case that the most valuable assets of a business are its intellectual property such as trademarks and copyright, but do not overlook the important value of trade secrets.
Trademarks and copyright are out in the open, and any infringements can be protected by appropriate court action. But what about the trade secrets? These could be manufacturing processes, perhaps recipes in the food and drinks industry, and the very important research and development of products which ha.... (read more...)
Sunday September 25, 2011 at 5:05pm
Working with a lot of IT companies and web developers I’ve realised over recent years how many leave themselves open to potential legal difficulties.
It goes without saying that most modern businesses rely heavily on their IT systems to run their business and on their websites for showcasing their products and services, if not also directly for sales. So, if your business provides IT or website development services, you are responsible for a critical component in your clients’ busi.... (read more...)
Monday September 19, 2011 at 10:22am
There are certain things all businesses can do to right now to reduce the possibility of litigation arising (even years before you have a dispute). And they just happen to be the same things that will reduce your legal costs if litigation does occur, and also make it more likely that you will win. Getting the contract right A contract can be in writing but it doesn’t have to be. It can be oral (e.g. “I’ll pay you if you do this for me”), written in a formal contract, or s.... (read more...)
Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 7:48pm
Any business owner who’s been approached by a potential investor or partner is always initially pretty flattered. It’s great to have someone else show an interest and see the potential of your business.
But if you’re talking to a potential investor, partner, licensee, buyer or supplier you’ll want to make sure your interests are adequately protected. Providing free access to business and financial information is certainly NOT recommended unless you have a proper agreeme.... (read more...)
Tuesday August 23, 2011 at 6:54pm
More than you might think and yours might be one of them!
Wednesday August 17, 2011 at 9:00am
I have blogged previously about the pros and cons of doing business without properly drawn up contracts - Contracts – insurance for business and Beware contracting by email. From 1 October 2011 the issue of how you contract becomes even more important for companies in the construction and engineering sectors.Changes to the Construction Act mean that informal and verbal construction contracts will fall within the auspices of the Act and this has significant consequences for smaller constru.... (read more...)
Wednesday August 3, 2011 at 10:00am
It never fails to surprise me how many small businesses appear to have been misinformed when it comes to how they use their standard terms of business. I’ve seen them printed on the reverse of an invoice, included with a delivery note, even a payment reminder. If you have gone to the trouble of preparing standard terms and conditions for your business, it is usually because you want to cover yourself legally. Whether your business is the supply or purchase of goods or services, your terms .... (read more...)
Wednesday June 22, 2011 at 1:45pm
The Bribery Act comes into force on 1 July 2011. In February and April I blogged on the implications, but I would just like to recap on the main points and highlight 2 Case Studies.
The Act creates 2 general offences, one of offering, promising, or giving a bribe, and the second of requesting, agreeing to or receiving a bribe. These are offences committed by individuals. There is also an offence of bribing a foreign official, and perhaps the most important offence as far as all organisations a.... (read more...)
Wednesday June 15, 2011 at 12:55pm
It has been a shock to many to receive a demand for compensation for unlawful reproduction of images, such as photographs and other artistic and design work. Usually this comes in the form of a written demand from a stock image house such as one of the world’s biggest agencies Getty Images, who actively pursue such claims.
So what is the law? And how do you protect yourself from such demands?
With the explosion of social network sites on the web has come a corresponding explosion in th.... (read more...)
Tuesday May 31, 2011 at 11:51am
This is always a difficult one to call, because the circumstances can vary so much. But there is one rule of thumb. Can you afford to lose it? If you can’t, don’t do it. There must always be a significant risk in these cases that you will not be repaid.
The emotional pressure is always very great, and this clouds judgement on both sides. Of course, like a marriage, it always starts with optimism and good intentions. What can possibly go wrong? Invariably where lending money is conc.... (read more...)
Wednesday May 25, 2011 at 4:13pm
Wednesday May 18, 2011 at 11:25am
The age of emails has blurred the boundaries of what is a contract and what is not. It’s very easy to fire off an email quickly, but do you realise that such an email has the same status as a proper legal contract? Without expert legal input and advice on terms, businesses could be leaving themselves open to problems. A response to an email outlining details of an agreement, and agreeing to undertake the work, is effectively a binding contract, but it is unlikely to be a ‘watertight .... (read more...)
Tuesday May 3, 2011 at 4:00pm
Acts of war, extreme weather conditions or a terrorist attack might seem like good enough reasons not to be held to deadlines or the precise terms of a contract. But this is not always so. Volcanic ash clouds, prolonged severe winter weather and flooding, the terrible impact of the earthquake, resulting tsunami and nuclear problems in Japan, tornadoes in the USA and uprisings in various North African and Middle Eastern states, have peppered news reports for the last 12 months. But it may surpris.... (read more...)
Thursday April 21, 2011 at 3:21pm
If you run an e-commerce business and sell goods online new EU rules could have a significant impact. The rules in question would be under a planned EU Consumer Rights Directive which concerns contracts for the sale of goods by businesses to consumers (B2C). The draft Directive is not a new proposal – it was issued in 2008. Since then it has been going through various discussion and consultation processes, but recently it moved a step closer when endorsed by the European Parliament which a.... (read more...)
Monday March 28, 2011 at 12:23pm
Business owners often dismiss the need for formal contracts with their customers or suppliers, seeing them as a barrier to getting on with their day-to-day activities. But maybe if they viewed them as a form of insurance their opinion would be slightly different. Business people often say to me that they don’t have or even need contracts. What they usually mean is that they don’t have formal written contracts. Instead they proceed on the basis of verbal negotiations or perhaps exchan.... (read more...)
Thursday May 6, 2010 at 11:47am
The costs of the Icelandic volcano which bought UK airports to a standstill over the past weeks are still being counted. Not only were travellers affected but also all businesses engaged in importing and exporting goods by air. Ryanair tried and failed to renege on their contractual duties by claiming they would only refund the amount paid for a ticket instead of covering the costs for accommodation incurred by their stranded passengers. So what is the legal position when it becomes difficult or.... (read more...)
Thursday January 14, 2010 at 5:26pm
The surprise banks’ overdraft charges victory could leave landlords’ exposed to a new challenge by estate agents. The High Court originally ruled that millions of pounds of residential tenancy “renewal” fees charged by Foxtons to landlords were unfair resulting in expected refunds running to millions of pounds. The new interpretation of the law means that buy-to-let investors may now face delays in their claims for a rebate whilst any appeal is heard.
Please get in touc.... (read more...)
Monday October 12, 2009 at 9:00am
Unfortunately business owners are often so keen to secure a sale or start working on a big project that they fail to get all the paperwork in place.
Disputes in business can happen for many reasons, but so often they blow up because those involved have a different opinion on what was agreed. You know the situation – you’ve had some work done or purchased a piece of equipment and you’re not happy with what you’ve received. You scrabble around for the paperwork but there i.... (read more...)
Wednesday August 26, 2009 at 3:47pm
I am sure that all buyers (and most sellers) will want to make sure that goods sold are of satisfactory quality and do the job intended. But what is the remedy when things go wrong, for example the steel supplied is not up to the job, the cattle food makes the cattle ill, the computer does not live up to its billing, or the machinery keeps breaking down?
Sale of goods law provides remedies for buyers where the goods are not of "satisfactory quality". A recent High Court case conf.... (read more...)
Thursday August 6, 2009 at 2:58pm
The Credit Crunch is inevitably contributing to a delay in payment to businesses, particularly vulnerable SMEs. Money owed to small businesses shot up by 40% from £18.6 billion in 2007, to £25.9 billion in 2008, according to Bacs. And who knows where the figure is at this time, no doubt substantailly higher.
This attack on cash flow is probably the biggest single cause of company failure. For example Barclays state that more than 750 companies failed in the South East in 2008 due t.... (read more...)
Thursday July 9, 2009 at 4:45pm
In the past 2 weeks I have been the victim of large scale internet fraud on 2 credit cards, and so I have taken a keen interest in liability and in ways to protect against future fraud.
I have been very careful to use only on line stores who encrypt customer details, but fraudsters have still managed to obtain my credit card details including security number, as well as my address, telephone number, date of birth. This can only be a result of sophisticated hacking, or criminal activity by an e.... (read more...)
Tuesday September 30, 2008 at 6:48pm
The latest issue of the Cousins Business Law ezine with a feature article entitled 'Should you rely on a gentleman's agreement' is generating lots of interest. It is amazing how many business owners and managers fall foul of the fact they didn't have the details of a commercial deal in writing.
The example we talked about in the ezine (of a multi-million pound property deal that went ahead based on a verbal agreement) may seem extreme, but you'd be surprised how often this happ.... (read more...)