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Applications for new shops drop 9% in one year

The number of applications to build new retail stores has fallen 9% in the past year to 6,700, from 7,360. Read more

EU-US Privacy Shield is agreed

Yesterday the EU Commission announced that it had formerly adopted the new Privacy Shield. Privacy Shield replaces Safe Harbour, a similar scheme for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice on 6 October 2015. US businesses will now be able to self-certify from 1 August 2016. Read more

Are you ready to say goodbye to the annual return?

A new confirmation statement will replace the old style annual return form with Companies House from 30 June 2016.  Unlike the annual return the confirmation statement is intended to confirm the information already held by Companies House is correct.  Read more

Home Counties see rapid rise in housebuilding as property prices push commuters out of London

The Home Counties have seen an 11.3% increase in residential planning application approvals over the last year as rising property prices drive Londoners to look for homes out of the capital, says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

Our Corporate Finance team have had a busy first half of the year

The Corporate Finance team have had a busy start to the year, having worked on a number of deals. Here's a summary of the year.  Read more

The Government’s Consultation on Tipping, Gratiuties, Cover and Service Charges

Following concerns over employers’ treatment of additional payments to workers in the form of tipping and the transparency of these practices to both consumers and workers alike, the Government has launched a consultation setting out its proposals with the aim of securing a better deal for workers.  Read more

UK food manufacturers suffering as added EU red tape drives product removals up 60%

The number of food and drink products being removed from shelves as a result of unreported allergens on packaging has grown 60% in the UK last year - highlighting a growing pressure on food manufacturers to conform to rigorous EU food reporting standards according to research from EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

The General Data Protection Regulation is here!

For many months (even years!) we have been talking about the new General Data Protection Regulation, which is to replace the Data Protection Act 1998. Finally, we can confirm that the General Data Protection Regulation has been ratified and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Read more

Register of people with significant control

The requirement to keep a register of people with significant control came into force on 6 April 2016.  Read more

Crackdown on food crime sees the number of raids jump 10% in 3 years

Local councils in Great Britain have been cracking down on food crime with the number of raids on outlets such as off licences and takeaway shops by trading standards teams up by 10% over the last three years, from 115 in 2012/13 to 127 in 2014/15 says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

The latest on the Employment Tribunal Fees

26 February 2016 - This morning, the Supreme Court has granted permission for Unison to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in the matter of R (on the application of UNISON) v The Lord Chancellor – the latest development in the Employment Tribunal fees saga.  Read more

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Lock v British Gas

24 February 2016 - In a recent case, Mr Lock, the Claimant, has successfully argued that he is entitled to holiday pay that includes the amount of commission he is entitled to whilst at work.  Read more

EU-US Data transfers: Privacy shield to replace Safe Harbour

In October last year, the framework that permitted EU businesses to legally transfer personal data to the US (known as Safe Harbour) was invalidated by the European Court of Justice. This invalidation made it unlawful for many businesses to make such transfers. The EU Commission and US administration have since been in negotiations to create a replacement framework, and on 3 February 2016, agreement was finally reached.  Read more

Selling to consumers online? Compulsory rules now apply

On 9 January 2016, another important change was implemented into UK law in relation to consumer disputes. This will mean that anyone selling to consumers online will need to make more changes to their terms and conditions.  Read more

EMW advises on the Management buyout of the Birmingham Optical Group

EMW has advised on the restructure of the Birmingham Optical Group by way of a secondary management buyout.  Read more

Criminal penalties for directors and LLP members for non-compliance

From 6 April 2016, companies and LLPs must maintain a register of people and/or entities with “controlling interests” and from June companies and LLPs must file the information about the controlling interests at Companies House. Companies and LLPs should be compiling information on persons who have controlling interests now.  Read more

Corporate Round Up - Another excellent year for our Corporate Finance team

The Corporate Finance team worked on a number of deals during 2015. Here's a summary of the year.  Read more

New Data Protection laws approved

12 January 2016 - Data protection law is about to undergo a seismic change that will affect every business in the UK.  Read more

New Protection for Zero Hour Contract Workers

11 January 2016 - The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts Regulations 2015 came into force today, offering some real protection for those working under zero hour contracts.  Read more

Supermarket price war hits SME food suppliers hardest as profit margins fall

The supermarket price war is hitting small food manufacturers hardest, with new research from EMW, the commercial law firm, showing that the gap between the profit margins of SME food suppliers and their bigger competitors is widening.  Read more

Modern Slavery Act 2015: Guidance published on disclosure statement content

The government has published guidance on how it expects organisations to develop a “credible and accurate slavery and human trafficking statement” (a “Disclosure Statement”) each year, which organisations are now (as of October 2015) required to do under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the “Act”).  Read more

40% rise in property conversions to meet demand for homes

Conversions of offices, retail shops, and agricultural properties into homes jumped 40% from 982 to 1,355 in England in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Read more

EMW advises on the Sale of Automated Technology Group Holdings Limited to Wood Group

EMW has advised the shareholders of Automated Technology Group Holdings Limited on the sale of the company to Wood Group.  Read more

Recruiters still facing two month wait for payment from customers

Recruitment firms have to wait an average of 56 days to be paid by their clients, more than twice as long as the average UK business, says commercial law firm EMW.  Read more

Sale of Northamptonshire pharma company DB Ashbourne to French multinational

Our team at EMW have advised serial pharmaceutical entrepreneur Dr Dallas Burston on the sale of Northamptonshire pharmaceutical group DB Ashbourne, to Ethypharm, the French pharmaceutical multinational.  Read more

Data Protection Update

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that US Safe Harbour provisions are invalid with immediate effect.  Read more

Hopeful signs for property investors as fall in bank lending slows

Lending to the property sector is showing signs of recovery as the long-term decline in bank finance begins to slow.  Read more

Corporate deals - What we've been doing

We have had a fantastic first financial quarter of 2015 maintaining our proven track record and successfully completing a number of transactions. Our continued investment in the Team ensures we are able to offer our clients an exceptional service and we look forward to it expanding further when two assistant solicitors join us in September.  Read more

Redundancy payments fall to lowest point since recession as cost-cutting slows

The amount paid out by businesses in redundancy payments has fallen to the lowest level since the recession, dropping to £3.5bn last year*, down 10% from £3.9bn in 2013/14, says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

Applications to build new retail space continue to fall despite recovery

The number of applications to build new retail space has fallen for a sixth year in a row, reveals research by EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

UK Commercial property deals at highest level since credit crunch as high yields attract investors

The number of UK commercial property transactions has reached its highest level since the credit crunch, with 115,400 transactions in the last year, a 6% jump from 108,500 in 2013/14, says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

Two recruitment deals completed in as many months

EMW’s recruitment sector team advises on the merger between Axon Resourcing and Watson Moore.  Read more

EMW advises on the sale of Smart Moves Recruitment to Antal International

EMW has advised the shareholders of Smart Moves Recruitment Limited on the sale of their recruitment business to Antal International Limited.  Read more

Retail to residential property conversions on the rise as rent on flats outstrips shops

303 retail properties were approved for conversion to residential use in the final three quarters of 2014 alone, as the trend for office to residential conversions spreads to retail units, reports EMW.  Read more

Number of renewable energy patents filed worldwide falls 42% in three years as “green” innovation stalls

The number of patents for renewable energy products and systems filed worldwide has fallen by 42% in the last three years, suggesting that global investment and innovation in “green” energy is stalling, says EMW.  Read more

Beware - Companies House targeted in an email scam

We are aware that fraudsters have been targeting companies with documents purporting to be from the “Central Register of Companies”. These documents ask clients to visit a website and pay money for the “publication” of their company and warn that lack of payment will result in the company being removed from the Register.  Read more

Three new Principals for EMW in 2015 promotions round

EMW is delighted to announce the promotions of three new Principals – Caroline Hayward and Robin Creek in the Real Estate team, and Gurpreet Sanghera in the Corporate team.  Read more

Changes to Company Legislation

New company law proposals aimed at improving and simplifying company filing requirements, increasing transparency around who controls companies and strengthening the directors’ disqualification regime are currently before Parliament. The Bill is expected to become law in spring 2015, but will come into force in various stages.  Read more

EMW advises Faccenda Foods on its acquisition of duck processing business, Cherry Valley Foods

Following the exchange of a deal at the end of 2014, Faccenda Foods has now successfully completed its acquisition of Cherry Valley Foods. An EMW team, led by Gurpreet Sanghera, has advised Faccenda Foods on its acquisition of Cherry Valley Foods from its parent company.  Read more

New parents taking shorter maternity & paternity leave as pressure on real wages mounts

  • Fathers received an average of just £215 in paternity pay last year 
  • New Shared Parental Leave law to bring new pressures for employers

The amount of time taken for parental leave by new mothers and fathers has fallen in the past year as pressure on wages makes some parents see time off after the birth of a child as a luxury, reveals research from EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

EMW complete the sale of a merchant supplies business, Rudridge Limited, to a household name, Travis Perkins Plc

A team at EMW, led by Chairman Ian Morris, has advised the shareholders on the sale of a specialist merchant supplies business, Rudridge Limited to Travis Perkins Plc.  Read more

A new regime – Company names and trading disclosures

In 2011 the government launched the Red Tape Challenge (an initiative intended to simplify the UK regulatory framework) and in 2012 focussed this challenge on company law, with the intention of reducing the administrative burden on businesses while also consolidating the existing rules relating to company and LLP names and trading disclosures into two new sets of regulations revoking the existing regulations.  Read more

Snow – can I take the day off to go sledging? Employment law

With areas of Britain forecast to be blanketed by up to 4 inches of snow from tomorrow, Louise Holder, Principal at commercial law firm EMW, has advice for both employers and employees who are unsure of their legal rights and responsibilities when hit by adverse weather conditions.  Read more

Healthcare providers facing CQC inspection ‘lottery’

UK healthcare providers are facing a lottery over inspections by their regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with huge variations in enforcement decisions by different inspectors, says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

EMW advises on sale of local business to NASDAQ listed group, Multi-Color Corporation

A team at EMW, led by Chairman Ian Morris, has advised the shareholders on the sale of Daventry based Multi Labels Limited to MCC Scotland Holdings Limited, a group company of Multi-Color Corporation.  Read more

EMW advises on disposal and roll-over in the UK logistics development sector

EMW has advised the shareholders of Barwood Developments on the sale of 60% of the company to Delancey, creating a UK industrial and logistics development joint venture to be called db symmetry.  Read more

EMW advises on international sale of locally headquartered software business, Kinetic Solutions.

EMW has advised the shareholders on the sale of Cranfield headquartered software business Kinetic Solutions to the Toronto Stock Exchange listed group, Constellation Software.  Read more

EMW advises Cosgrave Property on €600m refinancing deal

EMW has advised Irish property development group Cosgrave Property Group on its €600 million debt refinancing and corporate restructuring. Read more

EMW advises international sale of locally headquartered global business, Routeco

A team of 5 at EMW, led by Chairman Ian Morris and Principal Simon Arkell, has advised the management team shareholders of Milton Keynes headquartered Routeco Group Holdings Limited (Routeco), the largest distributor of industrial automation and control products in the UK, on the sale of the business to Sonepar SA of France. Read more

Number of OFT anti-competitive behaviour complaints falls more than 50% in a year

The number of allegations of anti-competitive behaviour made to the competition watchdog has plummeted to less than half the level seen just a year ago, falling from 2,165 in 2012 to 975 in 2013, says EMW, the commercial law firm. Read more

Councils forcing property developers to down tools as planning breaches rise

More councils are forcing property developers to down tools as the construction recovery sparks growth in the number of planning control breaches, according to EMW, the commercial law firm.   Read more

69% jump in number of businesses and individuals blowing the whistle on cartels in return for immunity in the last year

The number of businesses and individuals blowing the whistle on cartels in return for immunity from prosecution for their own involvement has jumped 69% in the last year, according to EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

2014 has been another busy year for EMW’s Corporate Finance Team

The team has completed a number of impressive deals building on the success of the past few years and contributing to the growth of the firm.  Read more

Total value of UK redundancy pay-outs start to fall as economy continues to recover

The value of redundancy pay-outs in the UK has reached its lowest level since before the credit crunch, after falling 10.4% from £4.8bn in 2012/13* to £4.3bn in 2013/14, according to EMW, the commercial law firm. Read more

EMW appoints James Geary to head its commercial contracts team

EMW, the commercial law firm, is delighted to announce the appointment of James Geary as Principal and head of its commercial contracts team. Read more

Businesses struggle with confidential data theft as cloud helps staff to steal

Businesses are struggling with record levels of data theft, with 166 cases involving the theft of confidential data reaching the High Court in the past year, says EMW, the commercial law firm. Read more

EMW Chairman takes on cycle challenge to help raise thousands for children’s charity

EMW Chairman Ian Morris recently took part in the Ride25 Cycle Challenge from Geneva to Milan to help raise money for street children in Uganda.

Every year Ride25 organises a number of cycle tours in support of the African children's charity, 1moreChild, which works with street children in Uganda to help them get an education.

Furthermore, for every person who takes part in the challenge, Ride25 also donates a bike to Africa through its corporate charity, Re-Cycle.

This year cyclists from across the UK, including Mr Morris, raised more than £100,000 just on the Geneva to Milan tour!

Ian added: "Whilst it was tough, we had a lot of fun. I am thrilled we have raised so much money in aid of a fantastic charity."

EMW is proud to be one of the official sponsors for the Ride25 Geneva to Milan Cycle Challenge.'

BIS Announces proposals to simplify company filing requirements

 At the end of last year the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) consulted on a package of deregulatory proposals aimed at improving and simplifying company filing requirements. In a separate but closely linked initiative BIS also sought views on measures designed to improve corporate transparency. Read more

EMW advises Xerxes Equity Limited on their 5th deal in 21 months

The EMW Corporate Finance team has advised Xerxes Equity Limited, the private investment vehicle which specialises in building products manufacturing, on its acquisition of Burgess Architectural Products Limited, based in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Read more

Housebuilding booms in the north as residential recovery spreads

Planning applications for housing have increased sharply in the north of England as the dramatic recovery in the residential property market spreads outside of London and the South East, says EMW, the commercial law firm.  Read more

EMW wins award for recruitment programme

EMW, the commercial law firm, has had the quality of its recruitment programme recognised, winning the ‘Best Recruiter - Medium Regional Firm’ award at the 2014 LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards.  Read more

LLP members can be ‘workers’ - Time for a review of your agreement?

Against a backdrop of conflicting decisions in the lower courts, the Supreme Court has now provided some much needed clarity on the status of members of a limited liability partnership (LLP) and has ruled that LLP members can be 'workers' under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and are accordingly entitled to the rights and protections afforded to workers. Read more

EMW appoints four new Principals in 2014 promotions round

• Firm promotes non-lawyer Principal to Revenue & Risk post
• Three promotions in Real Estate and Banking & Finance Teams

EMW, the commercial law firm, is delighted to announce the appointment of four new Principals, including non-lawyer Karen Voller, the firm’s Revenue & Risk Manager.  Read more

Another busy year for the EMW Corporate finance team

During the financial year 2013 - 2014 the EMW Corporate Finance team helped clients deliver on over 65 deals with an aggregate enterprise value of over £1.01bn. The team has also worked on a number of group refinancing transactions as well as group restructures and reorganisations. Read more

Bank lending to property sector down 29% since financial crisis and still falling

• Funding from non-bank lenders increasingly filling the gap

Bank lending to the property sector is still falling, having dropped 29% since the financial crisis took hold, says EMW, the commercial law firm.

Figures* show that net lending by UK banks to property investment companies and developers fell to £175billion in February this year (the latest data available), down from £247 four years earlier in February 2010. Read more

EMW hosts Metrobank founder Vernon Hill at business seminar

Commercial law firm EMW recently hosted Vernon W. Hill III, founder and Chairman of Metro Bank, the UK's first new high street bank for over 100 years, for a seminar entitled 'How to create growth companies in a no growth world'.

Held at EMW's new London office at 90 Chancery Lane on March 19, the seminar included a 45-minute keynote address from Mr Hill, which told the story of founding Metro Bank, based on his philosophy of creating 'fans, not customers.'

Mr Hill founded Metro Bank in 2010, following an enormously successful career in banking in the United States.  Read more

Energy Act - Are you ready?

Last night we hosted an emotive seminar in our new London office on the implications of the Energy Act 2011 on the property sector.

Delivering to a packed audience it was clear that the property sector has been slow to realise that they are potentially looking at unrecoverable costs, depressing effects on investment values and prohibitions on their ability to let or continuing to let their properties.

Our London Head of Real Estate, Nick Marshall, together with guest speakers from Hays Macintrye and Luis & Bell, educated the audience on the potential ramifications of not acting to mitigate against the effects of this legislation. If you would like to know more, please contact Nick.

EMW advises Borro on its $112 million refinancing with Victory Park Capital

EMW has advised Borro, the online asset lender and long-standing client of EMW, on its recent refinancing withChicago based Victory Park Capital.

The refinancing will provide Borro with the means to continue to grow its business in the UK and the US, which islikely to involve the establishment of offices outside of London and New York, where the business is currentlyco-headquartered.

The EMW team was co-ordinated by Jody Bingham and included Ian Mabbutt and Gurpreet Sanghera. Working alongside both setsof US counsel engaged by Borro, the EMW team ran the English law aspects of the refinancing and implemented thepre-transaction corporate restructure which was required by the incoming funder.

Only 2% of eligible fathers take additional paternity leave

  • Economic situation means men cannot take loss of pay
  • Job security placed over spending time with family

Only 2% of the 209,000 fathers eligible for additional statutory paternity leave took it in the last year* as fears over job security linger, says EMW, the commercial law firm.

EMW reveals that of the 209,000 fathers who took the two weeks of standard paternity leave only 4,000 took additional statutory paternity leave**. Men are entitled to up to 26 weeks of additional paternity leave but only if their partner returns to work before the end of their statutory maternity leave. Read more

EMW has advised Rcapital on its investment in instrumentation and monitoring specialist itmsoil

EMW has advised Rcapital, the London-based turnaround investor, on its investment in East Sussex based itmsoil, the instrumentation and monitoring specialist group.

The transaction will see Rcapital support the continued growth of itmsoil's business in the design, manufacture and installation of geotechnical and structural monitoring instruments for use around the world. Itmsoil has been involved in a number of major civil engineering, mining and railway projects including the New York City's $7.2bn tunnel link project and Crossrail, Europe's largest civil engineering project.

The EMW team was led by associate Jeremy Eden assisted by solicitor, Kim McKenzie and Associate, Jody Bingham. The team ran the investment and the acquisition process.


EMW advised on the purchase of a majority stake in the Jersey based Merchant Properties Unit Trust

EMW has advised Riverside Capital and Avignon Capital on the purchase of a majority stake in the Jersey based Merchant Properties Unit Trust.  The Trust owns 99% of the Merchant Properties Limited Partnership, which holds long leasehold interests in 35 properties occupied by Travis Perkins worth in excess of £33m.  Travis Perkins and Colliers have retained their stakes in the Jersey trust and the new owners look forward to developing this relationship over the coming months and years.  An EMW team led by Gurpreet Sanghera ran the sale and purchase process as well as the replacement and updating of advisory and operators' arrangements.  Read more

Planning application approvals reach highest level since 1999

The percentage of planning applications approved by local authorities is now at its highest point since 1999 says EMW, the commercial law firm.

The latest statistics*show an approval rate of 89% for all planning applications (commercial and residential) submitted to local authorities. This compares with an 83% approval rate for planning applications decided at the beginning of the financial crisis in Q2/Q3 2008. (See graph below)

EMW says that the Government's new National Planning Policy Framework which came into force in March 2012 may have helped push approvals even higher. The framework was designed to cut down on red tape and make it quicker and easier for developers to get a decision on their plans.  Read more

Logjam of employment tribunal cases reaches new record level as number of outstanding claims tops 625,000

  • Outstanding caseload almost 2.5 times higher than 5 years ago
  • Introduction of fees and conciliation unlikely to have much impact

The logjam of outstanding cases in the employment tribunal system is now at critical level, as the number of claims lodged but as yet unheard tops 625,000 - a new record high, says EMW, the commercial law firm.

EMW says that the caseload of outstanding claims is now 10% higher than last year and almost 2.5 times higher than it was six years ago* at the start of the credit crunch.  Read more

Status of members of LLPs

As readers of our "HMRC - Limited Liabilty Partnerships and Partnerships Review December 2013" article will be aware, HMRC is introducing new rules taking effect from 6 April 2014 which will change the presumption that all members of an LLP are treated as self - employed for tax purposes even if the terms upon which they are admitted as members of the LLP could be considered to be closer to an employment relationship.

The changes will ensure that any individual who works for an LLP on terms that are tantamount to employment will be treated as an employee for income and corporation tax purposes.  Read more

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