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Shoosmiths LLP | January 2009

WARNING SIGNS AND EARLY ACTIONS Works are falling behind programme. If a Contractor is struggling financially then they may not be able to buy sufficient resources to complete the job within the time limits. If a Contractor starts asking for advance payments, this is another sign that it is not in good financial health ...

Shoosmiths LLP | December 2008

Given the current economic climate, it has been a busy year for all lenders, but coupled with the biggest overhaul of Consumer Credit Law since 1974, with the introduction of Consumer Credit Act 2006, the changes for this year are not over yet. On 1 December 2008 the OFT has released a new arrears and default information sheet. You can obtain a copy of the new statements the following link: http://www.oft.gov ...

Shoosmiths LLP | December 2008

Following consultation with national competition authorities and the public, the European Commission has published enforcement priorities guidelines, which it will follow when applying Article 82 to exclusionary conduct by dominant companies. Throughout the guidelines, the Commission reiterates that Article 82 should protect competition and consumers – rather than individual competitors (an approach previously advocated by Commissioner Kroes) ...

Shoosmiths LLP | November 2008

As the economic outlook continues to look gloomy we are noticing a considerable increase in employment litigation work - this doesn't just point towards more people being dismissed (although this is certainly a factor) but also that as money gets tighter individuals feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by bringing claims. For employers this is obviously a headache ...

Shoosmiths LLP | November 2008

As reported in our September WortHReading, if you want to employ workers from outside the Economic European Area or Switzerland ("migrants") after 27 November don't forget that the new points-based immigration system will be up and running and you will need to become a licensed sponsor to do so. An employer without a sponsorship licence, but which employs migrants, will be acting illegally ...

Shoosmiths LLP | November 2008

In Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police v Homer, Mr Homer argued that he could not obtain a degree in time to benefit from it financially before he retired aged 65, but younger employees would be able to and the policy was therefore indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of age ...

Shoosmiths LLP | November 2008

Solicitor and commercial specialist Ross Woodham takes a technical and commercial look at Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), as it grows in popularity. VoIP has existed since the early 1980’s, but was only given serious commercial attention in the late 1990’s, since when the use of VoIP-based technology has grown steadily ...

Shoosmiths LLP | October 2008

With the UK economy continuing to be buffeted by the storm of the global financial crisis the effects are starting to be felt nearer to home in the "real" economy. For many businesses slashing costs is now a priority and, sadly, that often includes making staff redundant ...

Shoosmiths LLP | October 2008

A new Act which comes into force on 16 January 2009 imposes serious new penalties for directors, employers and employees who are convicted of a health and safety offence. The Bill received Royal Assent on 16 October 2008 and unlike the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, this has had a relatively easy journey through the parliamentary stages ...

Shoosmiths LLP | October 2008

As national governments have taken increasingly drastic steps to shore up their banking systems so the Commission has been working overtime dealing with the State aid fallout. Many of the measures taken by Member States could distort competition - a serious worry in the current volatile climate. Against this backdrop, the Commission has been keen to stress that it wants to work with Member States to ensure financial stability ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

The proposed amendments to the Act have now been issued by DBERR. They are due to progress through parliament this session, but the key question is are they as anticipated and do they cover the recommendations made for change? The answer is largely yes. Although some in the industry will argue that they do not go far enough, they are representative of the latest 2007 Consultation ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

The JCT Constructing Excellence Contract 2006 is seen as a radical departure from the JCT's more "traditional" building contracts. However, will it be used used by developers in the private and public sectors? Many of the more "traditional" forms of contract (JCT and ICE in particular) were perceived to encourage an adversarial approach ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

Japanese knotweed is an extremely invasive plant which is capable of damaging property and can grow through concrete or even the floors of houses.    It is difficult to eradicate and its disposal is considered to be "controlled waste" for the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.   Knotweed will often be apparent on inspection but this will not necessarily always be the case. A fragment of root as small as 0 ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

From 1 October 2008, the Companies Act 2006 will repeal the prohibition on private companies providing financial assistance for the purchase of its own shares.  This change in law will not apply to public companies which will continue to be prohibited from giving financial assistance ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

The UK Green Building Council has announced a new industry wide consultation to explore what kind of Code for Sustainable Buildings the industry needs to help it achieve the zero carbon target of 2019 and other sustainability challenges ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

The Crossrail Act 2008 (the “Act”) received Royal Assent on 22 July 2008.   The Act authorises the works necessary to build Crossrail and the acquisition of land and interests in land necessary for those works.   In addition, the Act establishes a planning and heritage regime for the works ...

Shoosmiths LLP | September 2008

The Government has announced a new scheme to supplement the existing HomeBuy scheme. The new scheme, known as "Rent to HomeBuy", will allow potential buyers to rent a property for a specified period at a less than market rent, with the option to buy a share of the property at the end of that period.  The Government hopes that the new scheme will enable more tenants to buy their own home ...

Shoosmiths LLP | August 2008

Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people undertake.  An average 20 people are killed and 250 seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes. Up to a third of road accidents involve someone who was driving at work. Health and safety law applies equally to on-the-road work activities, and the risks should be managed within an effective health and safety system ...

Shoosmiths LLP | June 2008

As if employers and contractors needed reminding, two recent decisions emphasise the importance of having a contract in place as soon as possible, and the dangers of starting work on a letter of intent ...

Shoosmiths LLP | June 2008

Product liability insurance is often offered as an alternative to professional indemnity insurance by sub-contractors but is it really an alternative? The two forms of insurance have some fundamental differences. Professional indemnity insurance covers claims arising out of the professional activities of design consultants, sub-contractors or the contractor ...

Shoosmiths LLP | June 2008

Throughout the industry press, the topic of conversation at networking breakfasts, you can’t escape the doom and gloom of the global credit crunch. But what does this really mean for the industry? First and foremost, it means that risk will increase. There is more chance of a party experiencing cash flow difficulties, or even going bust. There will be less work around, resulting in keener prices and greater competition ...

Shoosmiths LLP | June 2008

Earlier this month the European Commission closed an investigation into a development in the German City of Flensburg.  On the facts which the Commission eventually established it decided to close its file and take no further action, but it is the background which is interesting and provides a pointer to what best practice should be – particularly now that the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 have been in force for a number of years ...

Shoosmiths LLP | June 2008

Several years ago the Municipal Council in Alexandroupolis invited tenders for a contract to carry out a project in respect of a town plan.  Using the appropriate procedure the Council issued a contract notice identifying the award criteria in order of priority (as was required by the relevant rules) ...

Shoosmiths LLP | May 2008

On 20 May the Government announced that it had agreed a deal between unions and employers that will see agency workers in the UK receive equal treatment after 12 weeks employment. Trade unions had been arguing strongly that agency workers should receive equal rights from day one. The CBI has calculated that because of the qualifying period up to half of all agency assignments will be unaffected ...

Shoosmiths LLP | May 2008

According to statistics, 76% of the leading 100 UK retailers have plans to replace at least one of their core IT systems in 2008. Ensuring that your IT system is up to date is vital. Using outdated software packages often results in poor service delivery and inefficient business management. Many old systems are not capable of meeting current legislation requirements or are not able to deliver reports to demonstrate compliance ...

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