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Archive | Commercial Litigation Opinion
Can you recover costs in a small claims dispute?

The basic position is that for claims which have been allocated to the Small Claims Track, usually with a monetary value of less than £10,000, the Court will not order a party to pay fees or expenses to the other party, subject to certain exceptions.

One of those exceptions is if the Court thinks a party has behaved unreasonably.

Residential tenancy deposits – are you protected?

Landlords and Tenants should take heed of the importance of complying with the legal requirements centring around the protection of tenancy deposits.

As most Landlords will be aware, any deposit paid in connection with an Assured Short-hold Tenancy since 6th April 2007 must be registered with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The Tenant must be provided with prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. Landlords are required to register the deposit within 30 days of receipt.

Timeshares – not all ‘fun in the sun’

Each year, thousands of Brits are cold called or approached in the street to be hailed as “competition” winners or presented with offers of “free holidays”. The catch being you have to attend a presentation in order to claim your “prize”.

The presentation is a high pressure sales pitch which can last several hours with many people finding it difficult to leave without signing up for a Timeshare, a decision they often later live to regret.

‘Rentagob’ Katie Hopkins successfully sued for defamation

Jack Monroe, a food writer and blogger, has been awarded £24,000 in damages in a libel action brought against Katie Hopkins, Mail online columnist and former The Apprentice contestant.

In May 2015, Mrs Hopkins implied that Ms Monroe had defaced or vandalised war memorials during a series of public tweets. Ms Monroe alleged that she received death threats and abuse from others as a result of these very public tweets and that serious damage had been caused to her reputation.

Property fraudsters – who is to blame?

It is commonplace for a legal professional to request proof of identification from their client at the beginning of any legal transaction. For a conveyancer, verifying their client’s identity is a particularly heavy burden to bear. Not only does a conveyancer owe a duty of care to their client, but also to their client’s lender…

Will fixed costs soon apply to all civil litigation?

According to reports, the Civil Justice Council has invited a representative from the Ministry of Justice, along with some senior judges, lawyers, costs lawyers and academics to review broadening fixed costs across all civil litigation. Fixed costs currently only apply to personal injury claims valued up to £25,000. However, it is expected that every type…

Proposed increases in the cost of litigation to hit small businesses

Last year, the government dramatically increased the cost of civil litigation in England and Wales.

This controversial hike in court fees, designed to raise funds for the Treasury, was opposed by 90% of respondents during the initial consultation stage. But, despite this, the government went ahead with its proposals, stating that the increase was necessary to fund a cash-starved court system.

When is a company director personally liable?

Under UK law, a company has a separate ‘legal personality’ to its directors and shareholders. Essentially, this means that companies exercise rights and powers, and are subject to obligations and liabilities.

Usually, a company will be liable for its actions, as opposed to the persons controlling it. This is known as the ‘corporate veil’. However, in certain circumstances, the courts have the power to ‘pierce’ the corporate veil and fix liability on company directors. In these situations, directors are no longer afforded the protections of the corporate structure.

Can you make a specific performance claim before a contract has been breached?

Under UK law, specific performance orders require businesses or individuals to perform particular acts. Usually they are issued by the court following the breakdown of an established transaction, in particular, where one party has failed to live up to their commitments as set out in a commercial contract. A way to ensure such obligations are eventually met, specific performance orders can be a useful tool when it comes to protecting the interests of the injured party.

Statutory demand procedure – when to use correctly and when not to use

It has long been accepted that the statutory demand procedure – a preliminary step towards bringing a petition in bankruptcy – is a simple and effective way of recovering debt.

However, what constitutes a debt in the context of insolvency, is not always as straightforward as you might think; particularly in relation to debts contained in recital provisions in consent orders made during divorce proceedings.

New Regulations for Assured Shorthold Tenancies come into force

On 30 September 2015, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notice and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 came into force.

Designed to resolve some of the difficulties faced when seeking vacant possession of a residential property, the Regulations place a number of requirements on landlords before a section 21 notice can be validly served (otherwise known as a Notice to Quit).

Changes to ADR Regulations in Business to Consumer Contracts – Are you Compliant?

On 1 October 2015, new regulations came into force that that will affect all businesses in the UK which sell goods, services or digital content to consumers.

Under the regulations, any business trading with consumers will have to provide specific details on how to resolve disputes through the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Your business must provide details of the name and website address of an approved ADR provider which is capable of facilitating resolution in the event of a dispute and whether or not you intend to use that provider. This information should be provided at the outset of a transaction in your business’ standard terms and conditions, on your business’ website and whenever your business’ internal complaints procedures have been exhausted.

Rising bankruptcy threshold makes it harder for SME’s to recover debts

Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to increase the Statutory Demand threshold for individuals. From 1st October 2015, this change will be implemented, rising significantly from £750 to £5,000.

What this means is that, from next month, a creditor will only be able to start bankruptcy proceedings against an individual if the debtor in question owes at least £5,000.

Directors targeted by new disqualification rules

In October this year, a raft of new measures will come into force, giving the government new powers to disqualify company directors. The changes form part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.

In addition, from October 1st, disqualified directors may also be legally required to compensate creditors who have lost out financially due to their misconduct. In such cases, a judge will look at past misdemeanours, and the nature and extent of the harm caused when deciding whether or not to disqualify a director. The maximum period between a limited company being declared insolvent and the government seeking disqualification has also been increased from two to three years.

Advice to ‘buy to let’ landlords on how to avoid costly mistakes – four essential steps

A ‘buy to let’ property can be a sound investment producing a profitable return. However, when a tenant can no longer afford to pay the rent and refuses to vacate the property, matters can go horribly wrong.

At that point, it is too late to put protective measures in place. As a landlord, the protected deposit brings little solace in circumstances where you are not covered against the tenant having the benefit of legal aid to embroil you in protracted and costly litigation.

With the benefit of public funding, a tenant wishing to stay at a property may defend an eviction claim on technical grounds. What’s more, they could also issue a counterclaim for compensation for disrepair, all while continuing to default on rent payments.

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