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News & Events

Coronavirus - Employment and Regulatory Law Changes

With the advent of Coronavirus, the employment and regulatory law situation is changing constantly.

There have been so many announcements, but amongst the less-heralded yesterday was a statement that the changes to IR35 will be postponed for a year until April 2021. This will be a relief for many medium sized and larger businesses who engage self-employed contractors through the contractor’s service company as well as to contractors themselves. Medium and large sized businesses would have taken responsibility from this April for tax and National Insurance contributions which HMRC assessed as being due on the basis that the reality of the relationship was one of employment. The change will also remove one impediment for those working through service companies to gaining contracts with businesses – albeit that many larger businesses had already decided no longer to engage with personal service companies.

Wife awarded £400k for sacrificing her Solicitor career

 

A recent decision in RC v JC, a wife was awarded £400,000 in compensation for sacrificing her legal career to care for the children. This was awarded on top of an equal share of the family’s wealth after her divorce.

Mr. Justice Moor who delivered the judgment said that there have been ‘relationship-generated disadvantage’ to justify awarding the wife compensation as the husband was still able to enjoy a ‘stellar’ career.

Whilst there is some concern that this landmark case would open the floodgates to spouses seeking compensation in similar situations Mr Justice Moor stressed that his judgment should not be treated as a ‘green light’ for other spouses to make similar claims. The judgment affirms that in truly ‘exceptional circumstances’ the principle of compensation still exists in family law, and rightly so.

IR35 SEMINAR –What you need to know about the April changes

When: 26 February 2020 from 10.30am – 12.30pm followed by light buffet lunch

Where: Davies and Partners Solicitors, Rowan House, Barnett Way, Barnwood, Gloucester, GL4 3RT

Why: On 6th April 2020 significant changes are being made to IR35 in the private sector. For many years HMRC has been concerned that contractors have been able to use limited companies as a way of disguising what is, in reality, an employment relationship and thereby saving tax. From 6th April the user of the contractor’s services will often find itself liable for tax and National Insurance contributions on the payments.

BREXIT: 11pm on 31 January 2020- some thoughts


Here in the construction unit, we have been pondering how to mark Brexit day. As lawyers, we are encouraged to consider mediation as a way of resolving disputes cheaply (relatively) and quickly. We know though that despite the court liking for mediation, there are some disputes that are simply not suitable for mediation. Brexit differences seem to fall into that category; discussion of Brexit rarely results in a change of position or a meeting of minds, rather a retreat to the trenches.

2019 Gloucester 10k Success - Dates for 2020 Race Announced

Davies and Partners Solicitors would like to say a massive thank you to all those who helped make the original Gloucester 10k a massive success in 2019.

This was the 6th running of the race which was established by Davies and Partners as a community event after the catastrophic failure of a commercial event that preceded it and which caused traffic gridlock around Gloucester.

As a community event there have been massive contributions from the Gloucester community and also those further afield and we have been able to give all proceeds back to the community.

Equal pay


A lot of publicity has been given to the Employment Tribunal decision in the claim by Samira Ahmed against the BBC. For those who have somehow missed the detail, she used the equal pay legislation to claim that she was discriminated against on the grounds of her gender when paid £440 per episode of Newswatch when Jeremy Vine was paid £3,000 per episode in relation to presenting Points of View.

The decision in Samira’s favour has been made by an Employment Tribunal and not a Higher Tribunal. As such it is not binding on other Tribunals. As is usually the case the detail of the ruling is more complex than the headlines. In short, it appears that the BBC lost

A New Case on Novation

This is the last Construction Unit news before the Christmas break and we wish you all an enjoyable break, whether or not it is a time of celebration for you.

The legal principle of unjust enrichment relied on by the Claimants in the December 2019 case of Munkenbeck [2019] EWHC 3225 in the Technology and Construction Court is rather esoteric, but this case will be of interest to consultants and contractors with novated appointments and building contracts.

Unjust enrichment involves the unjustly enriched paying the enricher the value of the benefit received. It can be claimed without a contract.
The case is lengthy, so in a nutshell:

What action should a landlord take when a former tenants’ belongings are left at a Landlord's premises?

A common scenario facing many of our clients is where a tenant leaves a property but fails to remove all of their possessions. This puts landlords in a difficult situation particularly in regard to who owns these possessions, and what is the landlord to do with them?

As an important starting point, landlords should be aware that the default position is that possessions left behind at the end of a tenancy continue to belong to the tenant.

Davies and Partners Team Impress at E.G. Carter Annual Quiz

Davies and Partners are proud to have again fielded a team for the well-established annual quiz organised by E.G. Carter in Gloucester. This year the event was raising proceeds for three very worthy charities in the James Hopkins Trust, MIND UK and Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

Adverse possession – is fencing land necessary?

In order to be successful in an adverse possession claim it must be shown that:

1. There has been uninterrupted ‘factual’ possession of the land by the applicant for the ‘requisite period’ (this is usually between 10 and 12 years); and

2. The applicant must show that they intended to possess the land during this period.

One of the most effective ways of demonstrating an intention to possess land is through the erection of fencing. However, as the recent case of Thorpe v Frank and another [2019] EWCA Civ 150 demonstrates, this is not the only method…

The Help to Buy ISA Deadline – What you need to know

 The Help to Buy ISA was introduced in 2015 as a way of assisting first-time buyers with getting onto the property ladder. The Scheme has been hugely popular; assisting around 250,000 new buyers.

Any property purchased with the scheme, is limited in value to £450,000 within London or, £250,000 outside of London. Savings are tax-free with the government topping up any contributions made by 25%, up to a limit of £12,000. So, for every £200 you save, the government will contribute £50; resulting in a maximum potential government contribution of £3,000.

Head of Construction attends the Adjudication Society Annual Conference

Our Head of Construction, Jan Grimshaw, attended the Adjudication Society Annual Conference on 7 November for an update on all matters adjudication, particularly the interplay between enforcement of adjudication decisions and the tactical use of CPR Part 8.

The next day Jan attended the Chancery Lane Project, a climate change conference for lawyers, spending the day discussing and working up ideas for "greening" contracts and workplaces.

Thanks to the Chancery Lane Project for organising this stimulating event. The Chancery Lane Project is inviting lawyers to host their own collaborative environment problem solving event. If you would be interested in attending or co-hosting an event in the Bristol area, please get in touch on jan.grimshaw@daviesandpartners.com.

 

Future Homes Standards- consultation closing 10 January 2020

Of interest to all involved in constructing houses, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation ‘The Future Homes Standards’ is the first of two consultations on new standards for housing and is focused on changes to the Building Regulations, Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) for new dwellings.

Davies and Partners Sponsor Gloucester History Festival for 9th Year

For the ninth year in succession, Davies and Partners Solicitors is delighted to be supporting and sponsoring the Gloucester History Festival, which will run across various venues across the City from 7th – 22nd September.

Davies and Partners is one of the original sponsors of the event, which began as a small history concept, devised by Richard Graham, M.P. for Gloucester.  Since then, The History Festival has grown to become a nationally recognised event covering local, national and international history.

Apart from supporting the two-week event, Davies and Partners is also sponsoring a fascinating talk entitled,‘The Secret Life of Words’ presented by Susie Dent of Countdown. The talk will be held on Wednesday 18th September in the stunning 13th century medieval Blackfriars Priory site, in the heart of Gloucester.

Davies and Partners Continue Sponsorship of the Believe in Gloucester Awards

We are pleased to announce the continued sponsorship of the ‘Business of the Year’ category at the Believe in Gloucester Awards; a category we have sponsored since the Awards began. The Awards are now in their 7th year and represent a well-established event for businesses in Gloucester.

The Awards are free to enter and provide significant exposure for local businesses or individuals who are shortlisted as finalists or, even go on to win the category.

Davies and Partners Continue Sponsorship of Gloucester Rugby Player

Davies and Partners is delighted to announce the continued sponsorship of Gloucester Rugby Player Jason Woodward https://www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk/player?PlayGuid=JW564534 for another year.

Davies and Partners which has four offices around the UK has had an office in Gloucester for over 30 years. During this time the firm has been an active and highly supportive member of the region’s business and commercial community.  The firm has been a keen supporter of many Gloucestershire community initiatives over the years including Believe in Gloucester and the Gloucester 10K race. 

Increased Client Efficiency Through New Integrated Telecom Infrastructure

When a significant client win for Davies and Partners required the appointment of 25 new employees, increasing staff numbers to over 180, the firm decided it was time to replace their current communication infrastructure with a flexible, scalable solution that would support future growth and expansion and increase efficiency for clients.

Davies and Partners’ legacy telephone systems throughout its four offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Gloucester and West London, were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and support and each was working on a standalone basis, with a lack of integration and no failover.

“With new members of staff joining the team, our existing phone system in Birmingham was at capacity and due to its age, we couldn’t buy any expansion or upgrade,” explains  Dan Smith, Davies and Partners IT Manager. 

Davies and Partners worked with Bamboo to provide a unified communications solution to meet immediate needs and those for years to come. By integrating the systems in each office, calls could be routed across all sites, providing greater business continuity.

New Electric Car Flying the Flag for Davies and Partners 

Davies and Partners medical negligence specialist James Wickett, has taken the bold step to have his new electric BMW i3 car branded with the firm’s new corporate ID.

James who lives in North Devon, purchased the electric car as he wanted a more sustainable option for when he drives around North Devon and the South West to visit his clients.

 

Davies and Partners team attend Junior Lawyers Division Ball

 

A team of Davies and Partners’ young, up and coming lawyers from the Bristol and Gloucester offices attended the Junior Lawyers Division Ball on behalf of the firm recently.

The annual event raises funds for a different charity each year. This year the event raised funds for Off The Record, a mental health charity aimed at providing support for young people aged between 11 – 25 in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area.

The event was well received by all who attended and Davies and Partners look forward to supporting the event again next year!

 

Davies and Partners' Team Run in Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10K

A team from Davies and Partners Solicitor's Bristol office recently took part in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k.

A huge congratulations to (from left to right) Adam Kilgour, Chrissy Lewis, Ewan Kilgour, Leeanne Worsey, Isaac Cole, Simon Pressdee and also to Anita Marriott (not shown in photo).

Employers - Knowledge of Disability 

A standard refrain from accused employers is that ‘I didn’t know that the employee had a disability so how could I have made adjustments/otherwise discriminated?’.

In the recent case of Lamb v The Garard Academy the EAT has confirmed that a sceptical approach will be taken towards employers saying that.

Under the Equality Act 2010 Section 21(2) the employer has to have actual or constructive knowledge of an employee’s disability to have a liability. ‘Actual’ is not an issue, but what about ‘constructive knowledge’? This applies when the employer could reasonably be expected to know of the disability. It is clear that an employer cannot just close its eyes to a practice which might be suggested of a disability. In his particular case a school teacher was off sick as a result of reactive depression and alleged bullying. She had apparently been told by the deputy head that she was responsible for a pupil feeling suicidal – but which was apparently then deemed to be a case of ‘mistaken identity’ and also the school’s failure to take action in relation to her concerns about the use by a pupil of racist language.

Davies and Partners Advise on Major Bovis Homes and Riverside Joint Venture

Davies and Partners Solicitors’ specialist Land Acquisition and Disposal Team has advised Bovis Homes on a successful joint venture agreement with The Riverside Group, which will see the development of more than 1,800 new homes at Stanton Cross in Wellingborough.

The 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) will see Bovis Homes’ Northern Home Counties region deliver the homes on behalf of the JV with immediate effect, with delivery of the wider scheme to continue over the next 10 to 15 years. The properties delivered by the JV will be a mix of homes available on the open market and some that will be designated as affordable housing.

Davies and Partners has a long-held national reputation as a leading player in residential land acquisition and development. Bovis Homes has been a client of the Firm for many years and outsourced its entire legal requirements to Davies and Partners in 2017.

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