Prevention is better than cure

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How many times have business owners thought in these times of recession it would not be prudent to spend on a full time in house lawyer or a law firm charged too much and that there were smart enough to get their own contracts done or settle their disputes? The mistake many make is to not realise when a helping hand and prevention can be better than cure.

Take for instance the client whose over enthusiastic sales person confirms via email or telephone the details of a sale and payment terms for a deal worth £10,000/- and begins delivery of the service before buyer checks are done or terms and conditions signed off by a lawyer . There then arises a dispute and misunderstanding on the terms and the buyer refuses to pay. The business finally decides to write off the debt thinking going to court may be too expensive and risky as there is no proper proof of the agreed deal and realises too late that the buyer (debtor) has actually not provided proper details of the business name and the phone number provided is dead . On later searching the debtor the business is informed it is a company with no assets and thus any legal action with the best of lawyers will be fruitless.

Just keeping a lawyer in the loop on what was going on or setting up routine protocol would have resulted in first checking the credibility and details of the client and ensuring the buyer business could afford the purchase as no sale is a sale until the cash is realised. Next going through the contract deliverables and ensuring clarity in timing, rate and terms and finally ensuring the authorised person had signed would have resulted in a £10,000 richer seller.

Another example can be of the disgruntled employee who may often not have a clear cut contract or may raise a grievance. The employer might ignore the issue hoping it will go away. The employee instead resigns and sues the company . Would it not have been more advisable to involve a lawyer who is familiar with your business and employment rights from the start so that employee contracts are checked to ensure they cover the business, the grievance is addressed and nipped in the bud and the company maintains policies ,resulting in happy employees and subsequent great performance for the company?

The third scenario could be a company hiring some staff who are on student visas and flouting the rules as they have been too busy to check them and want to save costs or have not maintained the required paperwork and this results in a large fine from the Home Office and bad publicity.

If you think your business needs a helping hand get in touch for a free initial consultation or audit on what your business needs are . You will be surprised how easy and cost effective it can be to retain a consultant inhouse legal service provider who forms an extension of your team , is available at quick notice, understands your business needs and provides proactive advice.

Auto Enrollment-Pensions:

Automatic enrolment duties for UK companies don’t apply when a company or individual are not considered an employer. You won’t have any duties if you meet one of the following criteria:

1) you’re a sole director company, with no other staff
2) your company has a number of directors, none of whom has an employment contract
3) your company has a number of directors, only one of whom has an employment contract
4) your company has ceased trading
5) your company has gone into liquidation
6) your company has been dissolved
Automatic enrolment will apply if more than one director has a contract of employment. You can find more information about your duties if you’re a director by contacting Reina D’costa via http://www.bizlawuk.co.uk/contact-us/

Website and email requirements for Companies

As of 1st January 2007 UK companies and LLPs require the following information on their website and in their e-mails:

  • • The company name (this might differ from the trading name)
  • • The company registered office (which must be a geographical address not a PO Box)
  • • The company’s registration number and country of registration
  • • An e-mail address where the company can be contacted (requirement not necessarily for e-mails)
  • • If the company is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number (requirement not necessarily for e-mails)
  • • It is also advisable but not essential for the business to place its VAT number on the website and e-mails as well.
    Note – the information must be clear and easily accessible. However, for a website, it does not need to appear on every page; for example, the information can be included on an “about us” or “legal” page. For e-mails, the information can be contained in a footer.

Use of the word “FREE” in marketing promotions

Use of the word “FREE” in marketing promotions

The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media, whose work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking TV, Radio, print and online media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing.

If they judge an ad to be in breach of the UK Advertising Codes, it must be withdrawn or amended and the advertiser must not use the approach again.
Today we shed some light on the CAP rules it follows for Sales Promotions:
In recent years, the ASA has published several adjudications on the use of “free” in marketing communications, a claim that marketers and consumers have often found confusing.
Some consumers expect “free” promotional goods to be entirely without cost and in some promotions consumers receive something for absolutely nothing, for example, a free product sample handed out to passers-by. But the Code allows a free item to be conditional on the purchase of other items (see below) and promoters may make a minimal charge for obtaining a so-called “free” item.
For example, promoters may charge the uninflated cost of postage (though front-page flashes offering “free” goods should indicate that it is extra, for example “plus postage”). Promoters wishing to offer ‘free’ goods cannot legitimately charge for anything other than postage, such as packaging, packing, administration, handling, insurance etc.
The question of whether a product or service should be referred to as “free” or “inclusive” has proved most troublesome in recent years. Broadly, if a product is offered “free” as part of a conditional-purchase promotion that is unlikely to breach the Code but marketers may not describe an individual element of a package offer as “free”: the proper term is “inclusive”.
The Code allows “free” to be used if customers are required to buy other items – a conditional-purchase promotion – provided their liability for all costs is made clear, the quality or composition of the paid-for items has not been reduced and the price of the paid-for items has not been inflated to recover the cost of supplying the free item. If the item that is being described as “free” is genuinely separate from and additional to the item that the customer is required to pay for, the offer qualifies as a conditional-purchase promotion and the item may legitimately be described as “free”. An offer can satisfy the criteria for being a conditional-purchase promotion in one of two ways: (i) the paid-for item is separable from the free item for example, a free lipstick with the purchase of a women’s magazine or (ii) the paid-for item has an established price and is usually sold alone without the free item, for example a chocolate bar with 50% extra free.

For the full article or any advice on how we can help minimize risk please email us on reina@bizlawuk.co.uk

Advertising laws

It is important to get your ad campaigns checked before they get published to prevent bad publicity should they get pulled up . The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) through its CAP and BCAP Codes regulates Adverts in the UK for print, online and broadcast media They expect all advertising online to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.  They also list traders who continue to make claims on their online sites that do not comply with the UK Advertising Code despite repeated requests for changes from their Compliance teams. Details of each non-conforming trader will remain in place until they have appropriately amended their marketing in line with the Advertising Code.
For more information on how we can help prevent risk for your business and marketing strategy contact Reina D’costa of BizlawUK a legal and allied services consultancy for to book a free risk audit email us at reina@bizlawuk.co.uk or contact us at http://www.bizlawuk.co.uk to find out how we can help.

Employment law updates

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The Government has announced an increase to the compensation awards that can be made by the Employment Tribunals and to the statutory rates used to calculate certain employee payments.

From 6 April 2014 the following increases will come into force:

  • week’s pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and certain tribunal awards) will increase from £450 to £464.
  • The maximum compensatory award for a successful claim of unfair dismissal will rise from £72,000 to £76,574 (although since 29 July 2013 these awards are the lower of 52 weeks’ pay and the maximum compensatory award).
  • The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal/statutory redundancy pay therefore increases from £13,500 to £13,920.The minimum basic award will increase from £5,000 to £5,676.

The above increases will only apply to events that give rise to compensation that occur on or after 6 April 2014.

The following statutory rates have also increased in line with inflation:

  • Guarantee pay (used during periods of layoff and short-time working) will increase from £24.20 to £25 per day.
  • Sick pay will rise from £86.70 to £87.55.
  • Maternity, ordinary and additional paternity and adoption leave will rise from £136.78 to £138.18.

For further information please contact Reina D’costa at reina@bizlawuk.co.uk

Legal Services Consultancy

Prevention is better than Cure!

www.bizlawuk.co.uk