Published Articles

Jade Linton's picture

Culpability for misconduct not clear-cut where employee mentally ill (EAT)

The EAT overturned a tribunal's decision that an employee who was a paranoid schizophrenic was fairly dismissed for gross misconduct when he sexually assaulted female colleagues after stopping his medication without medical advice. (Burdett v Aviva Employment Services Ltd UKEAT/0439/13)

The Law

Section 98(2)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, provides that a dismissal is potentially fair if it relates to the employee's conduct.  

When considering whether conduct amounts to gross misconduct, an employer should bear in mind that:

Fahmida Ismail's picture

You and the law - legal advice from Fahmida Ismail

Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 4th November 2014

Q. My sister is in her 80’s and lives by herself with no family of her own. I’m concerned that her will leaves everything to my mother, who has been dead 17 years. What is the position where a will leaves everything to someone who is no longer alive?

Jade Linton's picture

Maternity Leave and Redundancy Dangers

At what point does the duty to offer a suitable alternative vacancy arise, in respect of a woman whose role becomes redundant while she is on maternity leave? 

In Sefton Borough Council v Wainwright UKEAT/0168/14, the EAT considered this point.

Amanda Holland's picture

Family Law - Dispute resolution week

Monday 24th November marks the start of alternative dispute resolution week. 

In the recent case of J v J - Mostyn J was extremely critical of the legal costs which the parties had incurred.  The parties spent £920,000 nearly 32% of their assets on legal costs. 

Public funding (legal aid) is only available in very few exceptional cases and families are looking at alternatives to the court making decisions about children and finances. It is not surprising that alternative dispute resolution methods are increasing in popularity.

Fahmida Ismail's picture

You and the law - legal advice from Fahmida Ismail

Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, October 2014.

Q. My mother has made a will leaving her house to be shared between me and my sister. I am married and have my own home, while my sister still lives with my mother. If my mother died and my sister moved her partner in, what right would I have to force a sale?

Leanne Schneider-Rose's picture

Travel company collapse to cost those who assisted dishonesty

When a company fails, who can be held accountable is not always restricted to those who directly caused the collapse. Sometimes, those who assisted them can also be ordered to compensate creditors.

Thousands of holidaymakers, who were left stranded abroad when a travel company went bust without warning, stand to be compensated after the High Court ordered the company's former boss and others who assisted him in his dishonest designs to pay millions of pounds in compensation.

Ravinder Sandhu's picture

Conversion of civil partnership

It is sensible for a couple to ensure that they have valid wills once they start to cohabit and share their assets.

However, it is regrettably not well known that marriage revokes an existing will (unless the will was specifically made in contemplation of the marriage), so if a couple decide to get married, their existing wills will lapse and they should write new ones. The same has been true for couples entering into a civil partnership since the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect.

Mauro Vinti's picture

Child Maintenance Service - new charges

On 30 June 2014, a one-off application fee of £20 was introduced for registering with the Child Maintenance Service.

This application fee will not apply to clients who:

Dean Parnell's picture

Business women must pay for breach of non-compete covenant

A businesswoman who made more than £3 million from the sale of her shares in a social care company – and then promptly set up in rivalry with it in breach of a non-compete covenant – is facing a substantial damages bill.

Kamal Majevadia's picture

Economic surge contains risk warning

With the Institute of Chartered Accountants having revised its business investment forecast for the next twelve months sharply upwards – a predicted growth rate in investment of 8.2 per cent in the spring has now been revised to 8.8 per cent – it is clear that there will be substantial contracts in the offing for many businesses.

Although this represents good news in principle, the 'recovery phase' of the economic cycle is always the most risky as companies seek to finance greater working capital requirements and cash flow is normally tight.

Nigel Mears's picture

Document disclosable when no dispute

When an informal conversation over dinner in a restaurant that included a proposed agreement between a divorcing couple did not lead to a settlement, the court was faced with a decision as to whether matters discussed during the conversation could subsequently be disclosed in evidence.

The circumstances arose when a couple who were divorcing had met for dinner to discuss the settlement of their financial affairs.

Jade Linton's picture

National Minimum Wage for apprentices to rise by more than £1

During his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference on 6 October 2014 Business secretary Vince Cable has said he plans to increase the current National Minimum Wage for 16-17 years by more than £1 an hour, from £2.73 to £3.79.

If his plans go through this will be the first rise in the National Minimum Wage since the recession began.

Fahmida Ismail's picture

You and the law - legal advice from Fahmida Ismail

Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, Sep 2014. 

Q. What are the rules on pension-sharing in divorce cases? Can I claim half of a pension my husband contributed to before we were married? He joined a new pension scheme when he got a new job. We have no children.

Amanda Holland's picture

A cautionary tale

When a relationship ends the temptation can be to leave the property without dealing with any financial claims which may arise.  If you are married, those financial claims remain open until a court order is made to bring those claims to an end.  This can mean that a spouse benefits from any increase in the value of assets including shares, pensions and property.

Div Singh's picture

Top Tier for Sydney Mitchell in the Legal 500

Leading Midlands Law firm Sydney Mitchell is Top Tier in the Legal 500 once again.  It has been a superb year for the firm which also won the Birmingham Law Society Law firm of the year for 2014.

The firm has obtained recommendations in Corporate and Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Debt Recovery, Insolvency and Corporate Recovery, Employment, Clinical Negligence both claimant and defendant, Personal Injury, Family, Personal tax, trusts and probate, Health, and Commercial Property.

Amanda Holland's picture

Complex divorces to be made simpler

All too often, the wrangling over the financial arrangements on divorce turns out to be lengthy, expensive and a cause of anxiety and anger.

In order to reduce these negative aspects, Mr Justice Mostyn has released a statement outlining procedures designed to enhance efficiency in the disposal of financial remedy cases to be heard by a High Court judge.

Fahmida Ismail's picture

You and the law - legal advice from Fahmida Ismail

Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, Sep 2014.

Q. I am overweight and work in a call centre. A year ago my manager disciplined me informally and said that “because of my size” I came over as rude and aggressive. I was shocked. Then six weeks ago she said the same thing. My union says it’s not discrimination because it’s not racial or sexual.

John Irving's picture

Goodwill not necessarily a company asset

The way in which a business is structured has many ramifications and can be especially important on sale, as a recent case shows.

It involved a bakery company specialising in the sale of Turkish style products. When the business was sold, the sale agreement showed the owner/director of the company as being the owner of the goodwill of the business. The goodwill was transferred to the buyer for nearly £500,000.

Div Singh's picture


Insol won the inaugural Sydney Mitchell Charity Golf Day Competition held at Robin Hood Golf Club Course in Solihull on 11 September.  They won with a remarkable 90 points, closely followed by Freedom Technical and Merito Financial Services in third place.  The longest drive was won by Tom Addyman, Santander and nearest to the pin by Ed Hodgson. 

Dean Parnell's picture

Massive fine and disqualification for Director following corporate manslaughter conviction

The fact that the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has real teeth has been illustrated by the announcement of a sixth prosecution under the Act.

Mobile Sweepers Limited entered a plea of guilty to a charge of corporate manslaughter following the death of a casual worker in an accident at its premises in Reading.

Julian Milan's picture

Website watch - is yours legal?

For today’s businesses, websites can be a vital asset, shop window and means of attracting, communicating with and selling to customers at home and abroad. 

The commercial, technological and cultural aspects involved give rise to numerous legal issues and ensuring that your business’s website is compliant and avoiding all the potential pitfalls can be something of a minefield. Here, in no particular order, is a summary of some of the key legal requirements and other risks related to websites:

Julian Milan's picture

Monkey business!

An unusual dispute has blown up between Wikimedia and a professional wildlife photographer over the ownership of copyright in a photograph of a macaque monkey which the photographer asked Wikimedia to take down from its website on copyright grounds. Wikimedia has refused.

Why? For Wikimedia, the photographer has no right to copyright protection because the photograph in question although an original and creative work taken with the photographer’s camera was not taken by his hand.

John Irving's picture

English Law proves decisive in dispute over Mexican lease guarantee

London is the world's number one venue for international litigation and many cases are heard in England which relate to foreign contracts. In one such, the landlord of factory premises in Mexico has won permission to enforce in England and Wales a $10.5 million judgment given by an Arizona court.

The landlord was left out of pocket after the factory's tenant abandoned the premises in 2003, leaving substantial rent arrears. A Bermuda-registered company which had its principal base of business in Hong Kong had guaranteed the tenant's obligations under the lease.

Nicholas Bennett's picture

Leaving digital assets in your will

As the pace of technological change increases new laws struggle to catch up. One point at which this is very obvious is death, or more specifically, what happens to your digital life when your real life comes to an end. (Digital Trend article refers)

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