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Case Studies

Disregard For Legalities Hits Developer In The Pocket

14th January 2019 by

Disregard for legal obligations in property development is unwise, as a recent case shows. It involved a developer that high-handedly decided to build affordable housing in the full knowledge that the charity which owns adjacent land benefits from restrictive covenants which would thereby be breached. The charity intended to use its land to build a hospice for sick children. Continue reading →

Beauty College Carbon Monoxide Victims Win Over £100,000 Damages

10th January 2019 by

Those who suffer injury as a result of their employer’s negligence or failure to comply with health and safety rules are entitled to compensation. In one striking case, nine hair and beauty college workers who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked boiler flue won over £100,000 in compensation between them. Continue reading →

Bank Fined For Failure To Distribute Assets To Beneficiaries

9th January 2019 by

Recently, Santander was fined more than £30 million for failing to distribute more than £180 million held in deceased customers’ accounts to their personal representatives or entitled beneficiaries. More than 40,000 account holders were involved in a problem that persisted for years, leading to an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Continue reading →

Court Of Appeal Rules Uber Drivers Are Workers

9th January 2019 by

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that drivers who use online taxi company Uber’s app are ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), rather than self-employed contractors, and thus have the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage and to receive holiday pay. However, the Court has given the company permission to appeal to the Supreme Court (Uber BV and Others v Aslam and Others). Continue reading →

Sleep-In Shifts And The National Minimum Wage

4th January 2019 by

In a guideline ruling, the Court of Appeal recently found that on a straightforward reading of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999, two care workers who were expected to sleep for all or most of their shifts and were provided with suitable facilities were entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for time when they were required to be awake for the purpose of performing some particular task, but not for time when they were asleep (Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Jaikishan and Another). Continue reading →

What Is Deliverable Housing?

3rd January 2019 by

With a growing population and relatively low levels of new house-building taking place, the UK property market has suffered a perennial shortage of housing. Under the National Planning Policy Framework, councils are obligated to confirm on an annual basis that they have a supply of deliverable sites which are capable of meeting their housing demand for the next five years. Continue reading →

Expatriate Workers And The Territorial Reach Of British Employment Law

3rd January 2019 by

The general rule is that employees who work outside Britain cannot bring complaints before domestic Employment Tribunals (ETs). However, as a guideline Court of Appeal decision showed, there are exceptions and the issue of where the territorial reach of UK employment law finds its limits is highly fact sensitive (The British Council v Jeffery). Continue reading →

Employee Copyright Agreement Achieved Legitimate Aim, EAT Rules

2nd January 2019 by

Many employers require their staff to sign copyright agreements by which they give up their intellectual property rights to designs or other works created in the course of their employment. In an important decision concerning a luxury leather goods manufacturer, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that one such agreement was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (Gray v Mulberry Company (Design) Limited). Continue reading →

Man Gravely Injured During Autumn Gale Awarded £10.4 Million

14th December 2018 by

Freak accidents do happen but, where an accident is someone else’s fault, it is all part of a specialist lawyer’s work to ensure that victims are fairly compensated. In one case, a young man who was catastrophically injured when felled by a heavy metal gate that was blown into him by a gust of wind secured £10.4 million in compensation. Continue reading →

Broker Who Failed To Advise Of Disclosure Obligations Faces Liability

13th December 2018 by

When a dispute broke out over an insurance claim, the value of line-by-line analysis of the policy terms and the obligations to make disclosures were made starkly evident. The dispute arose after the owner of a property rented it out to another firm for waste recycling. Insurance cover was placed with two insurers by a broker on behalf of the tenant and the property owner to cover various risks, including to the plant and machinery. Continue reading →

Failing To Settle Terms Leads To Court Of Appeal

11th December 2018 by

It is common for a formal contract to be preceded by a letter of intent which allows the parties to the contract to make progress whilst the formalities are being sorted out. Normally all goes well, but a recent case shows the dangers of proceeding too quickly under a letter of intent without having all the necessary contractual safeguards in place. Continue reading →

Statistics May Not Prove Discrimination, But Can Be Persuasive

11th December 2018 by

Statistical evidence, however striking, is rarely enough to prove discrimination in the workplace, a correlation not being the same as a causal link. However, in Brando-Calderon v Co-operative Group Limited, the fact that there was not a single non-white manager of a retail chain’s 81 stores in a particular region had a persuasive impact on an Employment Tribunal (ET) in determining that the claimant had suffered direct discrimination because of his race. Continue reading →

Abuse Causing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Brings Compensation For Victim

11th December 2018 by

Although it is normally necessary to ensure that personal injury claims are brought soon after an injury occurs, there are some injuries which may manifest themselves only years after they have been caused. Exposure to noxious substances is a common cause of delayed injury, with mesothelioma often taking decades to manifest itself after exposure to harmful asbestos fibres. Continue reading →

ER v Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Missed Appendicitis Diagnosis Leads To Complications And Five-Figure Settlement

4th December 2018 by

ER v Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Jonathan Austen-Jones represented the Claimant (“ER”), a 53 years old man who was taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 4 March 2017 after suffering with abdominal pain over the previous two days.   Continue reading →

RH v Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Six-Figure Settlement Secured For Patient Suffering From Cauda Equina Syndrome Following Surgery

4th December 2018 by

RH v Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

RH sought help and advice from Jonathan Austen-Jones to investigate a potential claim for clinical negligence against the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust following back surgery carried out by one of its orthopaedic and spinal specialists.
Continue reading →

Mother Of Disabled Child Ruled A ‘Primary Victim’ Of Hospital Negligence

28th November 2018 by

In order to succeed in a ‘secondary victim’ claim as a result of clinical negligence it is necessary to establish that the claimant suffered psychiatric illness or injury – as opposed to grief, sorrow, deprivation or the need to provide care for the loved one who has suffered the injury – as a result of witnessing a sudden, shocking event. Given the number of hurdles a claimant has to clear to show that the many tests have been met, there have been very few successful claims to date. Continue reading →

Brain Infection Boy Sent Home By A&E Department Wins £5.25 Million

26th November 2018 by

Hospital accident and emergency departments work under intense pressure but, if negligent mistakes are made, it is only right that compensation is paid. In a case in point, a boy who was sent home by medical staff despite suffering from a rare brain infection has won a seven-figure compensation pay out from the NHS. Continue reading →

Job Interviews And The Risks Of Asking Off-The-Cuff Discriminatory Questions

20th November 2018 by

Questions asked of job applicants at interview should be carefully considered in advance and formulated with the benefit of legal advice. In one case where that signally did not happen, a 67-year-old man who was turned down for a park attendant’s job succeeded in an age discrimination claim (James v Coedffranc Community Council). Continue reading →

Confidential Information Leak Stopped By Injunction

19th November 2018 by

One of the biggest dangers when a senior employee leaves an organisation is the ease with which they can spirit away confidential information of importance to the business. Data is a critical asset for many businesses, and along with the sanctions which may be available under the Data Protection Act 2018, there are other weapons that can be deployed to prevent it leaking. One of these is having in place the right terms and conditions of employment. Continue reading →

Shipper Of Sunflower Oil Wins $1.2 Million Damages From Deceitful Customer

19th November 2018 by

Those who dishonestly procure goods in the knowledge that they lack the funds to pay for them are guilty of deceit and at risk of being ordered to pay damages. The principle was underlined by a case involving a commodities trading company that went bust leaving a seven-figure bill for a consignment of sunflower oil unpaid. Continue reading →

Vicarious Liability – Impromptu Post Christmas Party Gathering

14th November 2018 by

Employers can be found vicariously liable for the actions of their staff when these occur in the course of their employment, which can include during an office function, but what is the position when one employee suffers injury at the hands of another at an impromptu get-together some hours after a planned works event has finished? The High Court had found that a recruitment company was not liable for serious injuries inflicted by one member of staff on another in such circumstances, but that decision has now been overturned by the Court of Appeal (Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Limited). Continue reading →

Morrisons Vicariously Liable for Rogue Employee’s Data Leak

14th November 2018 by

In a workplace context, an employer can be found liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment – i.e. where there is sufficient connection between the employee’s position and the wrongful conduct to make it right for the employer to be held responsible. Continue reading →

Modern Slavery Compliance Regime To Be Tightened Up

13th November 2018 by

There are estimated to be more than 40 million people who are victims of ‘modern slavery’ at any given time. A quarter of them are children, and the number of victims in the UK was estimated to be between 10,000 and 13,000 in 2013, although the National Crime Agency has found this to be only the ‘tip of the iceberg’, with the true figure being substantially higher. Continue reading →

Restrictive Covenants Are Not Necessarily Insurmountable

9th November 2018 by

Property title deeds often contain restrictions on future use of the land and one of the most common is a requirement that only one house can be built on a single plot. It may be thought that such a restriction must be adhered to forever, but if the circumstances are appropriate, restrictions can be lifted if they impede reasonable developments from reaching fruition. Continue reading →

Employers – Are You Treating Misconduct Cases Consistently

9th November 2018 by

Some forms of workplace misconduct may appear to be so serious as to obviously justify dismissal as a matter of common sense. However, as an instructive decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) showed, the need for even-handed fairness and consistency is a constant in every employment case, no matter how grave (Doy v Clays Limited). Continue reading →

Employer Pays Price For Hasty Action Taken As A Result Of Office Politics

7th November 2018 by

In the heat of office disputes, it is only too easy for employers to unwisely take hasty action and make accusations that do not stand up to proof. A High Court case in the context of the insurance industry showed just how costly a failure to take stock and seek legal advice can be (Brown and Another v Neon Management Services Limited and Another). Continue reading →

£5.25 Million In Compensation For Brain Infection Boy Sent Home By A&E

7th November 2018 by

Hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments work under intense pressure but, if negligent mistakes are made, it is only right that compensation is paid. In a case in point, a boy who was sent home from a hospital despite suffering from a rare brain infection secured a seven-figure compensation pay out from the NHS. Continue reading →

Sovereign Wealth Fund’s $3 Billion Worldwide Freezing Order Overturned

6th November 2018 by

Worldwide freezing orders are an essential means by which dissipation of wrongfully obtained money and assets can be effectively prevented. However, as an important High Court ruling showed, such orders are worth little more than the paper they are written on if they are obtained without full and fair disclosure of evidence. Continue reading →

Police Pay £300,000 Compensation Following Father’s Death In Custody

25th October 2018 by

Taking on the police in court can appear daunting, but specialist solicitors are more than capable of performing the task, as was shown by a recent case in which the family of a young man who suffocated in a police van following his traumatic arrest successfully negotiated a six-figure settlement of their damages claim. Continue reading →

Insolvencies On The Up

24th October 2018 by

The received wisdom is that whilst debtor days are rising only slightly for most businesses, problem debts are on the increase. It is no great surprise, therefore, that a recent survey revealed that in the second quarter of 2018 one in four businesses had significant financial pressure brought on by the insolvency of a customer. Continue reading →

24th October 2018 0 Comments Insolvency

De-branded Goods Still Protected By Trade Mark Law

24th October 2018 by

Products sell for widely differing prices in different national markets and that creates the opportunity for goods to be transferred from a low-price market to a higher-price one – a practice known as ‘grey importing’. This can undermine the profitability of the higher-priced market, especially where its marketing and distribution carry much higher costs. Continue reading →

Employment Status And Intellectual Property

23rd October 2018 by

In a case concerning ownership of intellectual property (Sprint Electric Limited v Buyer’s Dream Limited), although neither of the parties called into question the description of the employment relationship between them, the High Court found that ‘where…the Court has concerns that the labels that the parties have chosen to apply to their relationship are untrue or inaccurate, and have been applied as a device to avoid the payment of taxes that are properly due, the Court can and should consider the issue of its own motion’. Continue reading →

Insurer Cannot Dodge Liability Because Driver Fails To Cooperate

23rd October 2018 by

Insurance is a legal requirement for any driver in the UK and that is why insurance policies cover drivers, not the cars they drive. Since insurance companies will always seek to minimise the amount they pay out on claims, there are often lively arguments about who was responsible for an accident, and to what extent, especially where there is more than one driver involved. Continue reading →

Using A General Civil Restraint Order Against Vexatious Litigant

22nd October 2018 by

Healys acted for the Trustee in Bankruptcy of Ms H,  who was the subject of a bankruptcy order made in 2010 on the petition of the supervisor of her Individual Voluntary Arrangement (“IVA”). The IVA had been entered into by Ms H in 2003 as a means of annulling a previous bankruptcy order made in 2000. However, the supervisor petitioned for her bankruptcy on her failure to comply with the terms of her IVA.   Continue reading →

22nd October 2018 0 Comments Insolvency

Adjudication Proceedings in Liquidation? Court Says No

15th October 2018 by

When a company enters liquidation, one of the principles that has to be observed is that creditors of the same class have to be treated the same way. There is, however, an exception to the rule under the Insolvency Rules 2016. If a company in liquidation owes money to a person or organisation and is also owed money by them, then an automatic ‘set-off’ applies and only the net balance is taken into account in the liquidation. This applies by rule of law and cannot be legally overridden.  Continue reading →

15th October 2018 0 Comments Insolvency

Asbestos Exposure Widow Wins Six-Figure Compensation

11th October 2018 by

The dangers of asbestos were first identified in the 1930s but people are even now dying as a result of workplace exposure to the carcinogenic substance as asbestos-related diseases often take decades to manifest clinical symptoms. However, as a recent case in which a widow was awarded a six-figure sum showed, a compensation settlement is still possible many years after the exposure. Continue reading →

When Is Professional Advice Not Professional Advice?

11th October 2018 by

People take professional advice all the time, and rely on it. A professional who gives advice will normally not only have the appropriate qualifications but will also be covered by the firm’s professional indemnity policy, so that if their advice turns out to be negligent, the client can be compensated. Continue reading →

Voluntary Overtime And The Calculation Of Holiday Pay

28th September 2018 by

Following on from the decision in Bear Scotland Limited and Others v Fulton and Others that payments for overtime which employees are required to work but which their employer is not obliged to offer them do count as ‘normal remuneration’ for the purposes of calculating a worker’s statutory holiday pay entitlement for the four weeks’ annual leave required under the EU Working Time Directive (WTD), the focus has shifted to whether or not payments for voluntary overtime should also be included in the calculation. Continue reading →