2020

2 July 2020

The Supreme Court dismisses Charles Villiers’ appeal

Family Partner, Simon Blain's comments on the case were quoted in Eprivateclient's article: Supreme Court sides with wife in Villiers divorce battle meaning maintenance order will be granted in England instead of Scotland and Solicitor's Journal.

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1 July 2020

When is a listed building a 'building'?

The recent Supreme Court case of Dill v Secretary of State provides an important decision as to whether a Planning Inspector of a listed building enforcement case can decide whether an item which has been expressly included on the statutory list is in fact a 'building' and the criteria for determining whether an item listed in its own right does constitute a building for these purposes.

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29 June 2020

Logistics – the future is sustainable

The logistics sector could be forgiven for becoming complacent due to the seemingly never-ending demand for prime warehouse space (by way of an example and as reported in the property press, Amazon has already acquired more warehouse space in the UK in 2020 than it did in the entirety of 2019, and is on course to take more than the 5 million sq ft of space it did in 2018).

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24 June 2020

Distributions: At what price?

With the UK economy declining 20.4% in April (a number that is seared into everyone’s brain I fear), but with businesses and companies trying to return to normal economic life and activity, I consider in this piece some matters that companies may be overlooking when making distributions and in their intra-group transactions.

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22 June 2020

Covid-19: whistle-blowing and health and safety concerns

The pandemic has brought about numerous challenges for employers, which will continue as lock-down measures start to ease. As businesses re-open and staff start to return from furlough leave, employers will need to ensure that they have appropriate health and safety procedures in place having regard to the ever changing government guidance.

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19 June 2020

Government-Backed Loan Schemes

As we move into a period where restrictions are eased and businesses and workplaces are reopening, and furloughing will start coming down, many business owners and their employees will be navigating the challenges of returning to work and the business decisions and costs that go alongside that. We have set out, below, a summary of the government-backed loan schemes available to businesses to support industry as we collectively work towards a "new normal".

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17 June 2020

The Future of the Family Office and the Family Office Advisor

The traditional family office has been focussed on wealth management, family governance and philanthropy. The family office of the future will serve single or multiple families and, alongside exercising the traditional role of wealth preservation, will continue to expand its reach into ever broader areas.

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10 June 2020

A quick guide to the rent collection minefield

With substantial sums still outstanding for the March Quarter, landlords face an even tougher battle collecting rents for the coming June Quarter. This Guide looks at the options likely to be available in light of Government action to date and future likely restrictions.

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9 June 2020

Post COVID-19 Deal Landscape Changes: Starting an M&A Deal?

While the deal market may have slowed, business leaders, commentators, business owners and investors expect that deals will start again (albeit perhaps not in earnest until Q4 this year) and indeed need to start again as M&A is a powerful driver of the economy and innovation.

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9 June 2020

Off the Hook?

Banking and Finance Partner, Simon Collins, discusses the recent case of Borwick Development Solutions Ltd v Clear Water Fisheries Ltd [2020] EWCA Civ 578.

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9 June 2020

News Blast – Residential Possessions

We have already reported about the extension implemented by the Coronavirus Act 2020 to the length of notice that most possession notices and notices to quit must give before possession proceedings may be started.

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5 June 2020

HMRC nudge letters

The implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and other data exchange regimes means that HMRC have received, and will continue to receive, substantial information about the global tax affairs of persons with connections to the UK.

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3 June 2020

What next re commercial rent collection during COVID-19?

Following the publication of the proposed Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill ("the Bill") on 20 May 2020, the Government then issued a Press Release on 29 May 2020 announcing its intention to introduce a Code of Practice by 24 June 2020 to provide landlords and high street business tenants with clarity and reassurance over rent payments.

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3 June 2020

Governance, purpose and value for our times?

Even before lockdown, advisers were helping companies navigate the Wates Corporate Governance Principles and many companies had received B Corp certification worldwide as governance, purpose and values rose to the top of the business agenda and debate.

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27 May 2020

Looking to the Future - Business Continuity

Now, more than ever, companies need to consider and put in place a business continuity strategy. Leaving a business rudderless or having to deal with complex continuity issues will, at best, take up management time and cause distress at a time when emotions may be running high and at worst, could result in the failure of the business.

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18 May 2020

Update on the Trust Registration Service

The EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) has been enacted into UK law with effect from 10 January 2020, with the exception of proposed changes to the Trust Registration Service (TRS).

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18 May 2020

COVID-19: Employment Law Update

It’s hard to keep up: barely a day goes by without another change to government guidance or policy being made. This article summarises the recent key changes which employers should be aware of.

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7 May 2020

HR data during the pandemic

Given the unprecedented events of recent weeks, it is perhaps fair to say that data law compliance has not been at the forefront of most employers’ minds.

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7 May 2020

COVID-19 and the Hotel Industry

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the hotel industry, with some commentators suggesting that it could take upwards of five years for the sector to fully recover. What are the key legal issues hoteliers should consider during these uncertain times?

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7 May 2020

Making redundancies during the pandemic

It is a sad reality that some employers will need to make redundancies as a result of the pandemic. It is clear that the ‘lock-down’ will only be lifted gradually and that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not last indefinitely, and the combination of these is forcing some employers to take action to protect their balance sheets.

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5 May 2020

Lifting the lockdown: what employers should be thinking about

Whilst practices and procedures which will need to be adopted will be driven by government guidance (initial drafts of which have recently been circulated) and it is clear that restrictions will be lifted gradually and not anytime soon, it is still worthwhile for employers to start thinking about the practicalities of life after ‘lock-down’ and how they will bring staff back to work.

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29 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Employment considerations for the art market

The art industry, like most other industries, is not immune to the effects of the coronavirus. It is important for galleries, dealers, museums, auction houses, and other art businesses to consider the employment issues arising as a result of the pandemic. This is no easy task, especially when guidance and regulations are being introduced and changed at unprecedented speed.

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24 April 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The guidance for employers and employees relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the ‘Scheme’) has now had several iterations. The Chancellor has issued the Treasury Direction (the ‘Direction’), which sets out the Scheme’s formal legal framework, and announced an extension to the Scheme until the end of June 2020. The HMRC on-line portal for making claims is now open. With so many moving parts, we thought it would be useful to answer some frequently asked questions in relation to the Scheme.

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24 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Disputes in the Art World

With one third of the global population living under lockdown, we are witnessing the dawn of a new, and hopefully temporary, normal. We are all having to adapt to significant changes to our daily lives, social interaction and the operation of our businesses.

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21 April 2020

COVID-19: HMRC guidance on Company Residence, Permanent Establishment and related issues regarding the Economic Substance Test

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published guidance on 9 April on the implications of COVID-19-related travel restrictions on a company's residence status. Such travel restrictions may force directors or employees to be present in the UK when they would not be here under normal circumstances. This situation raises concerns as to whether a foreign company may become resident for tax purposes in the UK because the central management and control (CMC) of the company might be considered to have moved here.

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21 April 2020

Dispute resolution in the age of isolation – An Update

Since 26 March 2020 when we last surveyed how mediation, arbitration and litigation were being conducted in the current circumstances, matters have evolved at a rapid pace, particularly in the English court system. We have seen unprecedented use of technology as the courts focus on getting business done as usual so far as possible.

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17 April 2020

Buyer Beware: Counterparties and Covenant Strength

In times of growing economic uncertainty business owners will face numerous commercial and strategic challenges. Ultimately, this may result in corporate restructuring or asset and business sales in order to manage liquidity or in more serious cases, protect parties from insolvency.

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17 April 2020

Think carefully before putting pen to paper (or, in this case, fingers to keypad…)

In the recent case of Athena Brands Ltd v Superdrug Stores Plc [2019] EWHC 3503 (Comm) the courts held that a binding contract was made by a simple exchange of emails between parties. The case highlights the importance of businesses following internal policies when discussing and negotiating purchase agreements and being very careful when negotiating and discussing potential orders by email.

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17 April 2020

The transition to SONIA goes marching on

The discussions regarding the replacement of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) by the Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) have been overshadowed somewhat by the COVID-19 pandemic, but despite the current challenging environment the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has emphasised that it is still focused on the change.

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17 April 2020

Note for landlords of commercial properties- particular points re rent recovery from tenants in current market conditions

Many tenants (particular those in the retail and hospitality sectors- but also a considerable number of office and industrial tenants) are not paying their rent in full or, in many cases, at all. Some of these tenants are major companies (such as JD Sports and WH Smith) who one would think could afford to pay. According to press reports, only 48% of commercial rents had been paid for the March 2020 quarter by the start of April.

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14 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Support for Charitable Arts Organisations

Charitable arts organisations have been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. All of the large museums and galleries have had to cancel exhibitions and events, with enormous revenue consequences. Many charities delivering arts programmes (for example, in prisons, care homes, and for vulnerable children) have also had to cancel these because of social distancing rules.

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9 April 2020

Keep farm and soldier on

The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy and the first call on our time and energy is the welfare of friends and relatives. But we must confront the economic implications as well. For rural estates, the connection between the human and the economic is close given the central role they play in binding together communities and looking after the physical landscape.

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9 April 2020

Tenant Administrations and COVID-19: A Landlord's Guide

The restrictions on movement imposed by the Government, in its attempt to control the spread of coronavirus, have exacerbated the already difficult trading conditions in which many retailers find themselves. Recent days have seen the sad news that both Debenhams and Cath Kidston have filed notice to appoint administrators. It can be expected that others will follow.

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7 April 2020

Current issues for charitable grant makers

The coronavirus pandemic has increased pressures on the charitable sector in an unprecedented fashion. Many operational charities are facing a perfect storm because their usual sources of fundraising (whether through public donations or fundraising events) have been depleted in circumstances where beneficiary needs have grown exponentially.

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6 April 2020

Annual leave: a relaxation of the rules due to Coronavirus

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (the “WTR”) have been amended so that workers can carry over four weeks’ holiday entitlement for up to two years if they have been prevented from taking it due to the effects of the current coronavirus epidemic.

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3 April 2020

VAT - going beyond the headlines

The Government has recently announced a "VAT Holiday" for businesses, meaning that the VAT payment due for the periods ended 31 March 2020, 30 April 2020, 31 May 2020 and 30 June 2020 won't now be due until 31 March 2021.

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31 March 2020

The right to trade wrongfully

On Saturday evening, the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma MP, announced that, in order to support business, the government intends to suspend the wrongful trading provisions contained in insolvency legislation.

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27 March 2020

Remember your Section 17 notices

With so much focus on rent concessions for tenants and the new forfeiture moratorium, landlords should make sure they also protect their rights to recover rents and other fixed charges from former tenants and guarantors by serving notice under section 17 of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 within 6 months of the sums falling due.

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27 March 2020

Residential Possessions Update

You may have read about the Government’s intention to change the law to stop tenants being evicted as a result of Coronavirus. A Bill has been passed today which will impact on current possession claims and also on the service of notices.

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26 March 2020

Dispute Resolution in the Age of Isolation

Dispute Resolution Partner, Andrew Head, and Senior Solicitor, Bryan Shacklady, take a look at the implications of the coronavirus lockdown for dispute resolution, focusing on three key dispute resolution mechanisms: litigation, arbitration and mediation.

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24 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Retention Scheme”), which is designed to give employers support for paying salaries to those who would otherwise have been laid off due to the pandemic.

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13 March 2020

Will Coronavirus infiltrate your contracts too?

With the effects of Coronavirus sweeping across global markets, businesses are evaluating the practical impact on their trade. Many industries are already badly affected – whether by imposed travel bans or the quarantining of employees and customers – and business owners are concerned that disrupted trade may leave them with contractual liabilities.

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11 March 2020

Non-resident SDLT: BUDGET 2020 - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The seemingly good news is that this applies to contracts from 1 April 2021: as stated by the Chancellor. The bad news (apart from the fact that the charge is being introduced - at all) is that the rate will be 2% and not the 1% rate that appeared in the original consultation process. However, the ugly is the exact implementation date.

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6 March 2020

COVID-19: What will the impact on construction projects be?

The WHO has declared the COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern with the potential to become a pandemic, and the government has cautioned that cases of COVID-19 in the UK are likely to rise significantly over the coming days and weeks.

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26 February 2020

Estate Planning: Your Digital Footprint

This article looks at what happens to your digital assets after your death and considers any actions you can take to safeguard against any misdirection of assets, or loss of sentimentally or financially valuable materials.

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4 February 2020

Non-disclosure agreements in discrimination and harassment cases

Over the past few years, high profile news stories, such as those concerning Harvey Weinstein, and the Presidents Club dinner, have brought the issue of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, as well as the role that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can play in settling such matters, into the spotlight. As a result, the Government has come under increasing pressure to take positive steps to protect victims of sexual harassment.

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27 January 2020

Act now to avoid being 'named and shamed' – Fire Safety Update

Whilst it is understood that many applications were received before the 31 December 2019 cut off for applications to be made to the Government's fund for the removal and replacement of dangerous ACM cladding, latest statistics indicate that remedial works to 135 affected privately owned buildings are yet to begin.

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22 January 2020

Are your employment contract templates up to date?

Employers are required by law to provide their employees with certain information in writing relating to their terms of employment. This is technically known as a “section 1 statement”, and is normally contained within the employment contract. Following the Government’s Good Work Plan, which was published in 2018, the information that employers need to provide is changing with effect from 6 April 2020.

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20 January 2020

E by 2023 to B by 2030? BPF says yes

As the Forsters commercial real estate team learnt at a recent quiz, “climate strike” was the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2019. As we begin a new decade, the need to combat climate change will no doubt remain at the forefront of conversation, none more so than in the real estate industry.

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20 January 2020

Brexit and EU workers

With a Brexit date of 31 January 2020 looking likely, employers should consider the implications of Brexit on their EU workforce in the UK.

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8 January 2020

When Diversity and the Built Environment Collide

Diversity seems somewhat of a buzzword in many industries, not least in the Built Environment. So, let's set out some specific examples of how diversity has positively influenced the Built Environment and where a lack of consideration of diversity has negatively impacted the industry.

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3 January 2020

HMRC opines on situs of crypto-assets

For those of us operating in the UK tax world, HMRC have a marvellous ability to confound expectations. In recent years they have delivered surprises on topics such as specialty debts, offshore income gains (as non-protected income), and remittance basis users using non-UK income and gains as loan collateral.

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