If you take appointments as a Receiver or make such appointments then this seminar will be of interest to you!

Speakers - Sydney Mitchell Receivers' Event

Our Senior Partner Div Singh will be opening the Event introducing our speakers:

  • Leanne Schneider-Rose, Partner, Restructuring & Recoveries department

  • Sundeep Bilkhu, Solicitor, Property Litigation

Key Objectives

The objectives of this seminar include -

  • How to appoint a Receiver and how to ensure that you have been properly appointed

  • Steps to be taken following an appointment

  • Powers of a Receiver

  • Duties of a Receiver

  • Dealing with moveable assets and animals on or at the property

  • Issues with tenants

You are invited to join us after the seminar for a light buffet and refreshments and the opportunity to speak to the team and ask any questions.

This is a FREE event. Please book now to avoid disappointment as places fill up quickly.

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

SYDNEY MITCHELL LLP

click here to book ...

 

Estate planning really is essential, particularly if you own a company, and a failure to take professional advice can store up unforeseen trouble for your loved ones. The point could hardly have been more powerfully made than by one High Court case concerning a company that was plunged into crisis following its founder’s death.

The businessman owned all the shares in the company and was its sole director. His death had left the company entirely directionless, without directors or a company secretary to guide it. Its bank account had been frozen, leaving it unable to pay its staff or tax liabilities. In the circumstances, the executors of his estate launched emergency proceedings in order to save the business.

In upholding the executors’ application under Section 125 of the Companies Act 2006, the Court directed amendment of the register of companies so as to substitute the executors for the deceased as the holder of the latter’s shares. That in turn would enable them to pass a written resolution, appointing a director of the company who would be empowered to put it back on an even keel.

Such relief would normally have been granted only after the businessman’s will had been admitted to probate, but the Court recognised that the case was wholly exceptional. Given the company’s pending liabilities in respect of staff wages and a VAT demand, any delay could irreparably damage the business.

For further advice please contact Nicholas Bennett on 0121 746 3300, email n.bennett@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

 

Family partnerships can be highly effective vehicles for running businesses, but that depends on good relations being maintained. In one High Court case in which ties of blood were sadly not enough to prevent discord, a father and son engaged in a bitter dispute over ownership of a hotel and campsite.

The father ran the business in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law. After a breakdown in relations, they agreed that the partnership had been dissolved, that its affairs should be wound up by a receiver and that its assets and liabilities should be divided between them.

The father and son were, on paper, equal joint tenants of the property which formed the main asset of the partnership. However, the father argued that this did not reflect the true position and that he was the beneficial owner of 80 per cent of the property. He launched proceedings seeking a declaration to that effect.

Ruling against him, however, the Court compared his thoroughly unreliable evidence with the convincing testimony of his son. Even if the father had contributed more to the property’s purchase price, it had been agreed between them at the outset that they would hold it in equal shares. The son had entered into the transaction on the faith of that agreement.

For any further advice, please contact Kamal Majevadia 0121 746 3300 email, k.majevadia@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

Before accepting an employee’s resignation, it is crucially important to be certain that resignation is their true intention. In one case, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that a letter in which an employee asked her manager to ‘please accept one month’s notice’ was ambiguous and did not amount to a resignation.

The employee, who was employed by an NHS Trust, was not happy in the department in which she worked and had received a conditional offer of a transfer to another department.  Following an upsetting incident she handed the brief letter to her manager. The transfer offer was subsequently withdrawn in view of her record of sickness absence and her employment with the Trust was terminated after the manager purported to accept her resignation.

In upholding her unfair dismissal claim, the ET found that, taken in context, the letter was not a clear and unambiguous expression of a wish to resign her employment with the Trust. The probability was that the manager had not understood it as such and that the employee had only intended to give notice of her wish to leave the department. The amount of her compensation remains to be assessed.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

Loving couples often contribute together to the cost of buying a home. However, if legal advice is unwisely dispensed with, such arrangements are often not recorded on title deeds and, as one tribunal case showed, that can store up serious trouble for the future.

The case concerned a couple who, despite having been through an Islamic wedding ceremony, were not legally married because the necessary formalities had not been complied with. They had children together and moved into a flat which was later compulsorily purchased by a local authority. The proceeds of the forced sale were put into buying a new home which they occupied until the end of the relationship.

Both the flat and the new home had been registered in the woman’s sole name. However, the man claimed that £10,000 of the flat’s £11,500 purchase price had been provided by his family and that he had paid for renovation works. On that basis, he argued that he was entitled to a beneficial interest in the new home. In resisting his claim, however, the woman insisted that the money used to buy the flat came from her own resources, a dowry provided by her mother and loans received from her family.

In ruling on the dispute, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) noted that it largely came down to one person’s word against another’s in the absence of any documentary evidence to support either of their accounts. After the man’s uncle testified that he had given him £10,000 in cash towards the purchase of the property, the FTT found that the man had an interest in the new home to the extent of his contribution.

Please contact Adam Oleskow on 0121 746 3300, email a.oleskow@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

Many people might think those who sleep on the job would not be entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) whilst their eyes are closed, but that is by no means always the case.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has given guidance on the issue in an important test case, particularly for the care sector.

The EAT was dealing with three appeals from Employment Tribunals concerning employees – two of them care workers – whose presence was required at night in order to respond to emergencies or otherwise perform their duties. The cases raised a common issue as to whether they were entitled to receive the NMW for the entirety of their shifts or only for those periods when they were awake.

In ruling on the matters, the EAT noted that a failure to pay the NMW when required can lead to penalties, and potentially criminal sanctions, against employers. The issue was of particular significance to the care sector, in which so-called ‘sleep-in’ shifts are common, and there was a pressing need for certainty in the law.

Recognising the difficulty of the issue, the EAT noted there is a clear dichotomy between those cases where an employee is working merely by being present at an employer’s premises, whether or not provided with sleeping accommodation, and those where an employee is provided with sleeping accommodation and is simply on-call.

There was no single key with which to unlock the issue as to whether the NMW was payable during hours spent asleep. The test was a multi-factorial one that required an assessment of relevant factors, including an employer’s purpose in engaging a particular worker, restrictions on a worker’s personal activities during hours spent on-call, the degree of responsibility undertaken and the immediacy of the requirement to provide services.

The EAT acknowledged that such an approach meant that no one factor could be treated as determinative and did not provide as much clarity as might be desired. However, there was no bright line test and each case was likely to turn on its own facts. One of the appeals, brought by a couple who worked as wardens of a caravan park, was allowed and that matter was remitted to a fresh Employment Tribunal for reconsideration. The other two appeals, each brought by an employer in the care sector, were dismissed.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

Planning decisions often involve a delicate balancing exercise between the benefit that a development will bring and the harm that it will cause. That was certainly so in one case in which the High Court gave its blessing to a football club’s plans for a state-of-the art training facility and academy.

Construction of the two-storey facility would involve major land-levelling works and the import of 180 cubic metres of infill. The 60-acre site chosen was classified as Metropolitan Open Land and the club’s proposals had encountered stiff opposition from local people who were concerned at the loss of public recreational space. The local authority granted planning consent on the basis of an officer’s report that cited the compelling need for the facility and a lack of alternative brownfield sites.

In dismissing a campaigner’s judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court rejected claims that the council’s planning committee had been materially misled by the officer’s report. The impact of floodlighting, noise and the reduction in public access to the land had all been properly taken into account.

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email sundeep.bilkhu@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

A recent change to the way in which compensation for seriously injured negligence victims is calculated has led to a dramatic increase in the size of awards – but they are still no more than is needed to ensure that their care needs are met for life.

One case concerned a young cerebral palsy sufferer who will never be able to live independently after he was starved of oxygen during his birth. The NHS trust that managed the hospital where he was delivered admitted full liability for his injuries and issued an apology to him and his family at the High Court.

Following negotiations with the boy’s legal team, the trust agreed to pay a lump sum of £6,874,283, plus index-linked and tax-free annual sums to cover the costs of his lifelong care. Those payments will start at £155,000, rising in steps to £215,000 when he reaches the age of 60. If he attains the age of 70, the total compensation package will be worth around £18 million.

The settlement was negotiated in the light of a change in the discount rate that is applied to compensation awards to take account of the claimant's returns when the lump sum is invested. The discount rate has recently been reduced to minus 0.75 per cent, having previously been unchanged at 2.5 per cent since 2001, to take account of historically low returns on investments.

For further information on this article, please contact Mike Sutton on 0121 698 2200, email m.sutton@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form.

The dividing line between ‘workers’ and ‘employees’ can be very difficult to discern, but is of the greatest significance. That was certainly so in the case of one man who worked for a charity for years without any form of written contract.

The man, who started out as a paid intern on a trial basis, received about £1,000 a month for performing a wide range of tasks, many of them concerned with assisting the charity’s founder in dealing with personal matters. Neither he nor the charity made any account for Income Tax or National Insurance Contributions.

Following his acrimonious departure, he lodged complaints with an Employment Tribunal (ET), which accepted that he was a worker but found that he was not an employee within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The ET found that the absence of a written contract or provision for holiday pay, and the fact that he was generally only remunerated when he worked, were inconsistent with employment status. As a result of that ruling, his whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claims were struck out.

In upholding his challenge to those aspects of the decision that were adverse to him, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the ET had erred in law. Those factors that were said to be inconsistent with employment status were in truth no more than pointers in that direction. The ET had also made an apparent factual mistake in respect of his receipt of holiday pay. The case was sent back to the same ET for fresh consideration.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk or fill in our online enquiry form

HR FORUM

Come along to our HR forum and discuss topical employment issues

In a round table discussion, join with your fellow HR professionals from across the region.

Managing Sickness Absence - An overview

In this month's Forum there will be an active discussion about 'Managing sickness absence.'
Key practical issues to consider when:

  • An employee is off sick
  • Return to work
  • Problem areas

Let Jade Linton, Sydney Mitchell Employment Law Specialist, give you the opportunity to review
some recent case studies and host an active discussion. 

You will also receive a copy of the latest Sydney Mitchell Employment Law Update.

We are sure you will find this forum of interest. Book now to attend this FREE forum!

Please confirm your attendance by emailing Jade.

We do hope you can join us.

When: 30 March 2017

Time: 1.00 pm

Where:
Sydney Mitchell LLP
336 Stratford Road,
Shirley,
Solihull, B90 3DN

RSVP: JADE LINTON
j.linton@sydneymitchell.co.uk

HR Forum - Sydney Mitchell

 

 

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