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
HMRC - Limited Liability Partnerships and Partnerships review December 2013
In our summer 2013 newsletter we reported that HMRC had started a consultation exercise on 2 aspects of the tax issues relating to limited liability partnerships and partnerships:
1. Removing the presumption of self employment for some members of LLPs; and
2. Countering the manipulation of profit and loss allocations to achieve a tax advantage.
On 10 December 2013 the Government released full details of the proposed changes in legislation that it intends to bring into force with effect from 6 April 2014. The changes are far reaching and will have a significant impact particularly upon professional services firms. Read more
Institutional investment in residential property reaches seven year low
- Investment only a quarter of spend in 2010 when £2.2bn was invested
Institutional investment in residential property fell by 31% to £495m last year from £719m, its lowest point in seven years*.
Institutional investors' allocation to residential property in 2012 was only a quarter of 2010's record levels, when £2.2bn was invested.
Low levels of institutional investment in residential property have been caused by the rapid recovery in house prices - especially in London - pushing yields down. Read more
Big Government outsourcers still paying late despite political pressure
Companies with major Government outsourcing contracts are continuing to pay their SME subcontractors late despite pressure from the Government for fairer payment terms.
The average wait for suppliers to be paid by major public sector outsourcing companies was 38 days in the past year, much longer than the five days in which Government departments pay those big outsourcing companies. Read more
Lending for residential property construction shrinks 10% since launch of Help to Buy
- Loans to sector fall 42% in less than 3 years
Lending to fund construction of residential property has shrunk by 10% in the last five months, despite the introduction of the first phase of the government's Help to Buy scheme to stimulate activity in the new build housing market.
Figures* show that since Help to Buy was launched on 1 April, net lending to construction companies for building domestic property fell from £4.64billion (month to end March 2013) to £4.19billion in August. Read more
EMW Wins Landmark Victory in Madoff Securities Lawsuit
This follows a lengthy lawsuit filed by the Liquidators of Madoff Securities International Ltd (Grant Thornton), alleging multiple breaches of directors' duties, which included claims of conscious dishonesty. The lawsuit was seeking more than £75 million from Mr. Raven and his co-defendants.
EMW has won a significant victory as all claims against its client Stephen Raven, former Chief Executive Officer of Madoff Securities International Ltd, have been dismissed by the High Court. Read more
Companies House targeted in an email scam
Please be extra vigilant with regard to opening emails you may receive from Companies House. We received a call from one of our CoSec clients querying an email put on hold from 'email@example.com' sent direct to the email address of a Director. The email was in respect of a filed Annual Return.
We spoke to Companies House and they confirmed they have been targeted and not to accept/open any of these emails. Companies House do not hold email addresses for directors/secretary/shareholders and therefore no emails to this effect would be sent. Read more
EMW opens larger London office in Chancery Lane
- Commercial law firm's growth prompts move to larger London premises
We are proud to announce the opening of our new London office at 90 Chancery Lane. The new office is double the size of its previous London premises, and is a reflection of the firm's commitment to the London market, and the increasing importance of its London office to its growth.
The new London office is a key component of its ambitious growth plans in the capital. The office currently employs 30 members of staff, with the capacity for more as the firm continues with its growth plans and takes on new hires.
EMW advises management on their re-investment into the leading food supplier Whitworths
- Deal values historic Northamptonshire business at £90 million
EMW, the commercial law firm, has advised Whitworths' senior management on their re-investment into the business.
Ian Morris, the EMW Principal who led the deal for management, comments: "We are delighted to have been involved in this deal, which will allow a historic Northamptonshire business to write the next chapter in its long and successful story."
Based in Irthlingborough, Northants, since its foundation in 1886 by brothers John, Herbert and Newton Whitworth, Whitworths is the UK's leading supplier of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and breakfast, baking and cooking products. Read more
Confidential information theft cases reach record high
- High Court disputes jump 58% in a year
- Cloud computing encouraging data theft
High Court disputes over the 'theft' of confidential information from businesses have jumped 58% to a record high in the last year.
There were 167 cases focusing on the 'theft' of confidential information in the High Court in 2012, up from 106 in 2011 and just 45 in 2010.
The majority of these cases were businesses launching civil claims against former employees to prevent them from using confidential data obtained from company databases. Read more
Redundancy pay-outs finally start to fall as economy sparks back to life
- Total paid out down by 11% to £4.1bn
The total cost of redundancy pay-outs made by UK employers has fallen 11% to £4.1bn in the last year* as the economy finally recovers, according to our research.
This is the first time the cost of redundancy pay-outs has fallen since the onset of the credit crunch.
The number of redundancy payments made has also fallen. 370,000 payments were registered in 2012/13, down 10% from 410,000 in 2011/12. Read more
Growth of paternity leave slows as men reject salary hit
Economic pressures mean households cannot afford paternity leave
As many as 425,000 men not taking paternity pay
The growth in the number of men taking paternity leave has ground to a halt as families decide they can't sacrifice the lost income from taking time off work. Read more
The Rolton Group - Management Buyout
We are delighted to have acted for The Rolton Group engineering consultancy in its recent management buyout. The Rolton Group now looks forward to building on its already impressive portfolio of globally respected brands and projects, and developing the relationships that have cemented its position as one of the most trusted names in the industry. Read more
Croatia joins the EU - how does it affect your business?
On 1 July 2013 Croatia become the 28th member state to join the European Union. Although the currency in Croatia will remain unaffected for the time being, the wider impact on your commercial agreements across the European Union may not be so trouble-free. Here are just a couple of things to start you thinking. Read more
New law will grant legal protection to political extremists
Follows andmark European Court of Human Rights ruling
Colleagues could face tricky situations
The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act will grant legal protection to employees that hold extreme political views.
Under the new law, holding extremist political views will no longer be eligible grounds for dismissal from a company, provided that those beliefs are only expressed outside of office hours.
This will leave employers with very little ability to tackle conflict arising when staff members are aware that a colleague believes, for example, that the children of immigrants have no right to live in the UK, or that Sharia law should be imposed in the UK. Read more
EMW wins award for training programme
LawCareers.Net award recognises law firm's excellent programme for trainee lawyers
EMW, the commercial law firm, has had the quality of its training programme recognised, winning the 'Best Trainer - Medium Regional Firm' award at the LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards (TARAs).
The LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards (TARAs) recognise the law firms that give their new recruits the best possible start to their careers in the legal profession, and are voted for by trainee lawyers and first-year qualified lawyers. Read more
Commercial development planning applications continue to fall
Down by a quarter in five years
Still no signs of recovery half a decade on from credit crunch
Planning applications for commercial property developments in the UK have fallen by another 4% in the last year as tenant demand continues to decline, says EMW, the commercial law firm.
The number of commercial property* planning applications fell to 38,600 in the last 12 months**, down from 40,000 the previous year. Applications for major commercial property developments*** fell even further, dropping 9% from 2,300 in 2011 to 2,100 in 2012****
Ian Morris participates in the 1MoreCycle charity bicycle ride
In a very weak moment in December Ian Morris, Chairman of EMW, agreed to take part in the 1MoreCycle charity bicycle ride from Paris to Geneva (345 miles in 4 days and yes, the last 70 miles are steep!).
1MoreCycle is a "bike ride" around the world with a new leg enjoyed over a long weekend every year. The ultimate goal is to reach Sydney by 2037 and raise over £1 million for charity along the way. Paris to Geneva is the second leg and, no, he doesn't think he will get to Sydney!
The event raises money for 1MoreChild - a brilliant small charity in Uganda that takes children out of the slums and gives them everything they need to go to school and prosper. Read more
EMW skydive for charity
A brave (slightly crazy) EMW bunch (Mark Rondel, Marcus Carter, Emma Naughton, Sajidah Norat, Aman Sahota, Amisa Patel, Sophie Clarke, Natalina Facchiano, Jodi Tierney and Michael Eyton-Jones) have decided to jump out of a plane from 13,000 feet on 25 May 2013. Just to clarify, this is a skydiving event and is fully supervised - please do not try this at home.
The proposed skydiving event is being staged to raise awareness of Organ Donation and to raise funds for an urgent appeal to pay for life saving proton treatment in America for a 7 year old named Alexander who is fighting against a brain tumour. Read more
EMW supports the London Legal Walk
We were delighted to support again the London Legal Walk on 20 May 2013. Our team of walkers raised funds for the London Legal Support Trust by taking part in the 10k walk around some of London's legal landmarks.
This event is one of the largest gatherings of the legal community with walkers including members of the judiciary, law firms, chambers, government departments, in-house legal teams and law schools who walked with their clients, friends, family, colleagues and even a few pets! Read more
Milton Keynes lawyer part of team nominated for national housing award
Caroline Hayward part of team nominated for work on Bletchley assisted living project
EMW associate Caroline Hayward is legal adviser to Ground Union Housing Group which has been nominated for the Chartered Institute of Housing's 2013 award for Large Development of the Year.
The nomination is for Grand Union Housing Group's work on the Flowers House assisted living project in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.
The £3.2m deal to develop the former brown-field site - which would normally have taken at least two months to complete - was put together by Caroline in just three weeks. Read more
44% Jump in unfair dismissal claims before new government measures kick in
Incoming Government restrictions to unfair dismissal claims have helped prompt a 44% spike in such claims in one quarter*, as sacked employees rush to bring a claim before restrictions come in.
15,300 claims for unfair dismissal were made in a three month period last year, up from 10,600 the quarter before.
From summer 2013, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is expected to introduce a fee for bringing a claim at an employment tribunal and cap the maximum pay-out for a successful unfair dismissal claim.
Jon Taylor, Principal at EMW, says: "The Government's proposals will significantly limit the advantages of pursuing an unfair dismissal claim against an employer. The Government hopes this will reduce dissuade 'spurious' claims in future, but the impending deadline has helped prompt a spike in claims." Read more
EMW appoints Simon Arkell as Principal in Corporate team
Four internal promotions
EMW is delighted to announce the appointment of Simon Arkell as a Principal in its Corporate team, as a result of internal promotion.
Simon Arkell qualified in 2002, and joined EMW from Shoosmiths in 2004. He has particular expertise in corporate transactions and private equity, and acts for clients on buy-outs, exits, re-organisations and investments.
Simon Arkell's recent work has included advising the vendors on the sale of leading photography retailer Snappy Snaps' to Timpson, the high street shoe repair group, and advising Community Waste Recycling on its sale to Viridor, part of the FTSE 250 waste management group Pennon. Read more
Swindon Town FC sold to Jed McCrory-led consortium
Takeover removes risk of administration
Consortium advised by EMW
The possibility of Swindon Town FC entering administration has been averted with today's confirmation of the takeover of the club by a consortium led by Jed McCrory, says commercial law firm EMW, which advised McCrory's consortium on the deal.
Gary O'Donoghue, Solicitor at EMW, says: "We're delighted to have played a role in bringing new backing to Swindon Town. This deal will bring stability to the club, pay-off a significant proportion of the club's debt, and should help the team push on up the Football League."
Employment law changes risk wave of litigation over outsourced staff
Changes to TUPE will lead to legal uncertainty
The Government risks inadvertently starting a wave of litigation by changing employment regulations governing outsourced staff, says EMW, the commercial law firm.
The Government has proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), which protect employees from unfair dismissal, cuts in pay or changes in terms and conditions of employment if the business in which they are employed changes hands. Read more
New EU law will force UK businesses to pay all invoices within 60 days
Suppliers empowered to charge steep interest on late payments
A new EU directive will force UK businesses to pay all invoices within 60 days, says EMW, the commercial law firm.
The new law*, which comes into force on March 16, limits payment times to 60 days for payments due from private sector businesses. It will also allow a supplier to levy hefty interest charges of 8% over the Bank of England base rate on late paying customers.
Meanwhile, public sector organisations will have to pay suppliers' invoices within 30 days. Read more
UK redundancy payments soar 9% to a record £4.9bn
£18.4bn paid out since 2008
Number of redundancies up 11% in last year
The cost of redundancy payments for UK employers jumped by an estimated 9%* to a record £4.9bn in the last year**, up from £4.5bn the year before, says EMW, the commercial law firm.
EMW says that since the beginning of the recession in September 2008, UK employers have paid out a massive £18.4bn in redundancy payments. 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 12 inches of snow today, Louise Holder, Prinicipal 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.
The bad news from Louise Holder of EMW is that employers are not obliged to pay for your day's tobogganing. Read more
EMW advises Instant Offices founder Rob Hamilton on sale of 40% stake
MML Capital pays £16 million for minority holding
We advised Rob Hamilton, the founder of Instant Offices Ltd, the serviced office specialist and all other shareholders on the £16 million sale of a 40% stake in the company to private equity firm MML Capital. Read more
EMW advises on management buy-out of leading food industry supply chain software provider Anglia Business Solutions
Deal values company at £6 million
We advised the vendors and the ongoing management team in the management buy-out of Anglia Business Solutions, the leading supply-chain software and IT consultancy company. Read more
Legal disputes over redundancies leap 40% as employers are forced to cut jobs without consulting
Companies tempted to circumvent consultation requirements
Three-month wait can be death blow to cash starved businesses
Employment tribunal claims over redundancies have jumped sharply as more businesses have been forced to slash workforces without consulting their staff.
Claims made to employment tribunals for failure to adequately inform and consult staff over redundancies rose 41% to 2,400 in the three months to 30 June 2012, compared to 1,700 in the previous three months. Read more
Care home inspections soar 225% following abuse scandals
Tough new regulations pose challenge for sector
Inspections of care homes by its regulator the Care Quality Commission have more than trebled from 4,391 in 2010-11 (year end 31 March) to 14,264 in 2011-12.
The huge rise in inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) follows the toughening of regulations in the wake of a slew of exposés about the mistreatment of care home patients by carers in 2010 and 2011. Read more
Sharp rise in employment disputes as public sector jobs are shifted to private sector
Disputes between employees and employers over the transfer of jobs from the public sector to the private sector is leading to a rise in employment tribunal cases says EMW, the commercial law firm.
Employment Tribunal cases relating to TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006))* jumped by 37% from 1,900 in 2010-11 to 2,600 in 2011-12, and were the only form of employment dispute to increase significantly over the last two years.
Confidential information theft cases more than double in a year
Rise in employees stealing databases as redundancies increase
Highest recorded level
The number of new High Court disputes over the theft of confidential information more than doubled from 45 to 106 in 2011, according to figures obtained by EMW, the commercial law firm.
Most of these cases involve businesses launching claims against former employees to stop them using confidential data such as lists of customers that they have stolen. Read more
Comments on planning reforms from Giles Ferin, Planning Principal at commercial law firm EMW
On planning announcements - Government ignoring lack of finance for small and medium sized projects
"On the surface this might be seen as a 'developer's charter', but access to finance on acceptable terms, not the planning system itself, remains the major obstacle in the way of development."
"Cutting through bureaucracy is all well and good, but confidence in the economy is the real barrier both for developers and their customers and that will not be restored over-night." Read more
Patent disputes rocket 182% in just one year
Businesses more keen to stay ahead of rivals during the recession by going to court to protect their patents
Highest number of new cases in over five years
The number of patent and registered design cases launched in the High Court has rocketed by 182% over the last year, according to data obtained by EMW, the commercial law firm.
Businesses are proactively using litigation to protect their patents and registered designs to help maintain market share over competitors in a worsening economic climate. Read more
Employment tribunal system backlog at record high, show latest data
But proposed reforms only move rather than fix problem, warns EMW
The employment tribunal system backlog is heading towards breaking point, according to the latest available data, warns EMW, the commercial law firm. EMW says that the tribunal's backlogs could hurt UK businesses.
The number of outstanding Employment Tribunals Service cases almost quadrupled from 144,900 cases in 2007 to 530,400 at the end of 2011, with new cases continuing to outstrip completed ones.
Louise Holder, Employment Principal at EMW says: "The tribunal system is completely over-stretched. Cases are continuing to pile up, leaving both employees and employers in limbo. Longer case lead times mean more resources and time are used up that a business could spend on something else. It can add to financial uncertainty too, as businesses may end up spending prolonged periods of time with the threat of a financial penalty hanging over them." Read more
EMW secures Law Society's new quality mark
We are delighted to have secured the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme status. It is recognition of the high standards we provide to our residential property clients and is a signal to future home buyers of the excellent service level we provide at what is often a stressful time for many people.
We underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process. Read more
Last minute changes by ICO represent a substantial watering down of previous rules
Just 48 hours before the new law was due to take effect, the ICO published new guidance which went back on its previous comments and has caused controversy amongst data protection and IT lawyers. Read more
Enforcement of "cookie law" requires action by all businesses with a website
No exemption for smaller businesses
Failure to comply could result in fines of up to £500,000
UK businesses could face fines of up to £500,000 if they fail to meet tough new website privacy laws which come into force this month.
There are no exceptions to the law for smaller businesses.
The regulation will come into effect on 25 May 2012 and will mean that visitors to the website will have to give permission for the website to download 'cookies'.* Read more
High Court cases between landlords and tenants skyrocket eighteen-fold since credit crunch
Falling property market leads to legal disputes
Litigation seen as a way to delay payments - could save a business
Legal disputes between landlords and tenants have skyrocketed since the credit crunch.
The number of disputes between landlords and tenants settled in the High Court (Chancery Division, London) has jumped by more than eighteen-fold from 4 in 2007 to 73 in 2010 (latest data available).
With only a fraction of claims being dealt with by the High Court (generally those with a high value or those involving complex arguments), the total number of landlord/tenant disputes across the UK is likely to be substantially higher. Read more
Imminent High Court judgement will determine if a bankrupt could be forced to draw his pension and hand it to his creditors
An imminent High Court judgement will determine if a person declared bankrupt could be forced to draw his pension and hand it to his creditors, says, Damon Watt, Principal of EMW.
So far a bankrupt's pension has not been considered as an income, and therefore susceptible to an income payment order*, as long as the pension hadn't been drawn. But what if the bankrupt is entitled to draw his pension but chooses not to?
The case of Raithatha -v- Williamson heard at the High Court in front of Mr B Livesey QC will establish whether a bankrupt, of pensionable age under his scheme, but not of "state" pensionable age and still employed and working, can be forced to draw down his pension. Once the pension is drawn down, the pension annuities (and any lump sum) received by the bankrupt are considered as an income and therefore susceptible to an income payment order. Read more
Creditors forced to call time on “Zombie” borrowers
Proportion of bankruptcy orders initiated by creditors has leapt 52%
The proportion of bankruptcy orders initiated by creditors against individuals has jumped by a half in the last two years.
The percentage of bankruptcy orders initiated by creditors reached 21% of all bankruptcy orders in Q3 2011, up from 13.8% in Q2 2009.
The increase in creditors’ petitions is less an indication of hardening attitudes towards debtors and more a recognition that a growing group of borrowers cannot keep up with the minimum payments needed to service their debts. Read more
Five Corporate Finance and EMW act on sale of British rail engineering firm to leading German transport company
British engineering attracting foreign investment despite slow economy
We and Five Corporate Finance have acted on the sale of Rail Door Solutions Ltd, a Milton Keynes-based rail engineering company, to Gebr. Bode GmbH & Co. KG.
Bode is a subsidiary of Frankfurt-listed Schaltbau Holding AG, a leading German transport company.
The purchase of Rail Door Solutions (RDS) will be undertaken in a number of stages with Bode progressively increasing its shareholding in RDS to 100%. The two parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price. Read more
EMW acts on £16 million sale of Community Waste Recycling to Viridor
We have acted on the £15.75 million sale of Community Waste Recycling Limited, a London-based specialist materials recycling and paper trading company, to Viridor, one of the UK’s leading recycling, renewable energy and waste management companies.
Viridor is part of the FTSE-250 Pennon Group.
Community Waste Recycling is the third fastest growing company within the recycling sector, according to the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management. The company processes 90,000 tonnes of materials per annum, and employs 163 staff. Read more
EMW advises Bearward Engineering on their sale to Wabtec
Bearward Engineering – turnover of £50million, 600 employees
We advised Bearward Engineering on its sale to Wabtec Corporation, a leading US engineering company.
Bearward Engineering is one of the largest producers of industrial radiators in the world with about 600 employees and annual turnover of around £50 million.
Based in Northampton, Bearward Engineering designs and manufactures cooling systems and related components, including radiators and charge air coolers. Read more
Retail law suits over restrictive leases surge
Disputes over “restrictive covenants” fuelled by increase in empty space
Landlords cite competition law changes
Growth in the amount of empty retail space has led to a huge increase in the number of law suits over commercial leases.
The number of cases in the High Court in London over restrictive covenants has more than doubled over the last year, jumping from 11 in 2009 to 25 in 2010. There was only one such case in 2007. Read more
Complaints made to employment tribunals by part time workers treble
Public sector cuts and new Agency Worker Regulations likely to mean further claims
Employment Tribunal claims relating to part time workers trebled in the last year alone.
Employment Tribunal cases brought under the Part Time Workers Regulations jumped from 530 cases in the year to March 2010 to 1,600 cases in the year to March 2011. Read more
Planning applications for home extensions rise for the first time in four years
Homeowners reluctant to move in uncertain economic conditions
Extending current homes a safer option than selling and buying bigger
Homeowners appear to be increasingly turning to building extensions to their current houses as the economic uncertainty makes it risky to move to a bigger place.
The number of planning applications for home extensions has jumped 5.4% from 191,000 to 201,000 over the last 12 months to June 2011 – the first rise for four years. Read more
Santander reappoints EMW to its UK legal panel with greatly expanded remit
EMW has been re-appointed as one of a small number of law firms to Santander UK plc’s national legal panel.
Santander has also expanded EMW’s remit substantially, doubling the number of service areas where EMW will be able to tender for work.
Following an extremely competitive tender process culminating in an e-auction, EMW has been re-appointed to advise on employment, corporate and regulatory/compliance related issues. The additional service areas for which it is eligible for this year are commercial contracts, asset lending and corporate lending. Read more
EMW advises on major energy from waste project
EMW has advised Enviroparks, a new energy from waste company, on £2.25m of fundraising and in securing planning approval for a major (£150m) waste recycling plant in Wales.
Enviroparks will develop and run new energy from waste plants using the latest thermal treatment processes to maximise the useful energy generated.
The financing was provided by Hotbed, the UK’s leading private investor syndicator. Read more
Public sector faces 37% of employment appeals despite employing just 22% of UK workforce
Burden of employment claims likely to increase substantially as public spending cuts take effect
37% of employment appeals are against public sector organisations despite public bodies employing just 22% of the UK workforce, reveals research by EMW, the commercial law firm.*
The percentage of employment appeals in the public sector is now 24% higher than five years ago. In 2006, the public sector accounted for 30% of employment appeals.
EMW says that public sector employers are bracing themselves for a jump in employment claims in the next 12 months as the job cuts announced by the Government take place.
EMW explains that redundancies, cuts in benefits and the introduction of active performance management are likely to heighten animosity between public sector workers and their employers. Read more
Major commercial property planning approvals jump 16% over last year
Green shoots for the construction sector, highest number of planning permissions for retail and food & drink developments
The number of major commercial property planning applications approved by planning authorities in England has shot up by 16% since last year. Read more
EMW wins major High Court ruling against fraudulent international plc, worth around £3 million
Hampson Industries PLC found guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation following dispute over M&A deal
EMW has won an important High Court victory for investors in Erlson Precision Holdings Ltd (Erlson). The ruling was against Hampson Industries plc. (Hampson), the global aerospace manufacturer and management provider, following a dispute over an M&A deal. Read more
Employers hit by law suits as laid-off workers dispute payouts
Employees disgruntled over smaller payouts
Employers are seeing their legal bills soar as laid-off workers take them to court to dispute the size of redundancy settlements.
The number of redundancy pay cases accepted by Employment Tribunals rocketed by 76% to 19,000 in the year to April 1 2010 and a further 8,600 cases were accepted in the six months to October 1 2010.
Employees might be taking action against their ex-employers because, having been part of a second or third wave of redundancies, they have received a less attractive compensation package than colleagues who lost their jobs first. Read more
EMW lectures at the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
On 30 March 2011 EMW's head of Intellectual Property, Mark Finn, was invited by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) to give a lecture to their members at their London HQ on the subject of recent developments in Designs Law. Mark's lecture covered recent UK and European case law, including the leading UK case on the subject (Dyson v Vax ) where Mark successfully defended EMW client Vax against Dyson, the UK Patents Court rejecting Dyson's claims that the Vax design infringed a Dyson registered design. Feedback on the lecture was excellent and Mark is being invited back next year to give a further update.
STOP PRESS Cala Homes (South) Limited –v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SoSCLG) & Winchester Council
The decision of Mr Justice Lindblom has today been handed down in respect of the second challenge launched on behalf of Cala Homes against the SoSCLG’s Statement and its associated Letter from the Chief Planner both of 10 November 2010.
That Statement and the Letter were issued immediately following the decision of Mr Justice Sales earlier that day to the effect Read more
Number of disputes over Government contracts soars by 84%
Competition for contracts becomes fiercer as fears over public sector cuts rise, number of complaints investigated by the Government also rises
New research by EMW has revealed that there has been a sharp increase in the number of complaints from businesses challenging the way in which the Government hands out public sector contracts.
The number of complaints made to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the Government body responsible for public sector procurement, jumped 84% to 57 in the twelve months to September 30 2010 up from 31 in 2009. The number of complaints investigated by the OGC also rose 29% from 21 to 27. Read more
Equality Act 2010 - new law means employers to be sued for bad behaviour from their customers
A new law means that employers could be sued by their staff if they suffer discrimination from customers, warns EMW.
The new Equality Act 2010, due to come into force on October 1 2010, will enable staff to seek damages from employers who fail to take reasonable steps to protect them from any form of discrimination by a third party such as a customer.
EMW explains that this is a dramatic extension of a law introduced in 2008 by Harriet Harman that meant employers could be liable if their staff encountered discrimination on the grounds of sex.
The new law will cover discrimination on the basis of race, age, religion, disability and sexual orientation as well. Read more
Santander appoints EMW to advise UK Corporate Asset Finance arm
EMW has been appointed as one of a small number of law firms to support Santander Asset Finance, the UK Corporate Asset Finance arm of Santander UK plc.
Santander's UK Corporate Asset Finance arm is part of Santander Corporate Banking which provides lending to SMEs and corporates through finance and operating leases and, hire purchase. Read more
Major victory for EMW in design infringement claim brought by Dyson against VAX
One of the first "streamlined" trials in the Patents Court
EMW has successfully defended Vax, the floorcare specialist, against a registered design infringement case brought by Dyson, the vacuum cleaner manufacturer. Read more