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...)
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...)
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...)
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...)
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 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...)
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...)
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...)
Tuesday March 20, 2012 at 9:57am
New research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) - The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity: The Internet Economy in the G-20 - highlights the importance of web based businesses to the UK economy and contains some surprising details. Their latest study showed that in 2010, the internet economy in the U.K. accounted for the highest percentage of national GDP of all the G20 economies. The internet contributed 8.3% of the UK economy and was worth £121bn in 2010, making it bigger than the heal.... (read more...)
Thursday October 20, 2011 at 10:20am
Despite initiatives such as the government’s Red Tape Challenge , all businesses seem to have increasing amounts of red tape that they have to comply with in order to keep on the right side of the law. Solicitors certainly aren’t immune – in fact we are affected by a whole new set of regulations that came into force only recently. One of the details was that we now all have to make it clear that we are not only ‘regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’ as b.... (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...)
Tuesday August 23, 2011 at 6:54pm
More than you might think and yours might be one of them!
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...)