What is a right of way?


Posted by Andrew Shipp

If you’ve discovered an easement running through your property, you may be wondering who has access and who can pass over your land. There are a number of different types of easement, each of which allows for different usage of the land. Here, we take a look at each of the different forms and explain who is provided access in each case. What is an easement? At its most basic, an easement is ‘the right to use another person’s land for a stated purpose.’ The easement could refer to an entire property, or just a part of it, and the ‘stated purpose’ could refer to as diverse a range of activities as laying water pipes, accessing an otherwise unaccessible property, or joining two separated properties. An easement is granted by one property owner to another, and typically means the original landowner can no longer build on or around the easement, or restrict access to it. What is right of way? A right of way is a type of easement. Normally a right of way easement is agreed upon by adjoining landowners. This may be because it’s necessary to cross one property in order to reach the other, the easement allows […]

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What is the effect of nationalisation of private sector industry on employment?


Posted by Julie Taylor

With the news that East Coast railway services have been nationalised again, there is a resurgence of interest in the nationalisation of the entire rail network. With the Labour Party pledging that they’ll re-nationalise the railways if they’re voted into power, and purportedly 70% of UK citizens supporting nationalisation, we thought we should get involved and consider the potential impact of re-nationalisation on jobs. Nationalisation as a last resort Traditionally, nationalisation has been used very much as a last resort. Faced by the prospect of a business or industry being forced to close due to unprofitability or other market forces, governments have often stepped in to prevent large scale jobs losses. For instance, in 2013, the Scottish government nationalised Prestwick Airport in an attempt to safeguard jobs. In this context, nationalisation has a strong, but localised, effect on jobs and employment. However, for job protection to be maintained, nationalisation does need to result in a reversal of fortunes for the business involved. In the modern economic climate, government is likely to protect a weak business indefinitely, particularly if it fails to demonstrate improved financial performance. Nationalisation as a response to unemployment There are also examples in history of using nationalisation […]

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Employers must tackle their game plan before kick-off


Posted by Michelle Morgan

With the 2018 World Cup about to kick-off in Moscow, football fans will have their eye on the ball, whether for England or their home country.  Following England’s 2-1 win in its warm-up friendly with Nigeria, the tactics for the team are likely to be the focus of much debate.  That said, it’s not just the players who need to warm up; UK businesses need to tackle the tournament challenge head-on, with the potential of lost working hours due to employees staying home to watch the games and disagreements in the workplace over competing team interests. Experts say the best approach is to revisit your policies now, before kick-off, and if there are any gaps in guidance, make sure to get them covered.  Then, it’s down to reminding everyone of the importance of staying within the boundaries for any workplace discussions, and a reinforcement of company attitudes towards absenteeism and any likely issues that may arise, such as alcohol consumption or watching games during working hours. Says Michelle Morgan, employment expert with Gardner Leader solicitors: “Major sporting events like the World Cup build a competitive atmosphere and when this spills over into the workplace it may inflame existing tensions, and […]

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Divorce goes virtual, but complex cases may still need their day in court


Posted by Suzy Hamshaw

A new online service should cut the stress of applying for a divorce according to the Ministry of Justice, but family law professionals say it’s likely to benefit only those with simple finances who are pursuing the DIY route. The Ministry of Justice announcement of the nationwide scheme for online divorce applications follows a successful pilot earlier this year. While rejections average around 40% for paper applications, because forms have not been completed correctly or documents are missing, only 0.6% were rejected in the online submission pilot. The move is one of the latest initiatives in a £1bn modernisation programme for the department, which will also see a reduction in the numbers employed in the courts.   Whilst professionals have welcomed any simplification to the process, they say the increasing complexity of finances, particularly in second marriages, is likely to keep many couples in court, in pursuit of a fair share of assets when the marriage ends. The ‘fair’ share may not be the ‘equal share’ that is generally expected, particularly after a long marriage, with recent cases highlighting the attitude of the Courts in achieving a fair outcome, with the focus on needs and away from long term maintenance orders. […]

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The unseen disability : when mental health affects employee wellbeing


Posted by Julie Taylor

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and an important reminder for employers to revisit their practices and ensure that their policy and culture match up to best practice Awareness of mental health issues has started to increase following several high-profile campaigns, but how many employers still avoid difficult conversations with their staff despite their legal responsibilities and the evidence that addressing these issues increases profitability? According to the Health & Safety Executive, over 11 million working days are lost each year because of stress in the workplace. Research by MIND, the mental health charity, found that an enduring culture of fear and silence around the issue was a big cost to employers, with over 20% of workers contacted reporting that they had called in sick to avoid workplace stress, and 30% saying they did not feel they could speak openly with their line manager about the issue if they needed to. These figures highlight the need for companies to have strategies focused on mental health as part of general employee wellbeing, to address stress-related absence and to avoid potential complaints or even legal action from staff. Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by undertaking […]

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Should Bad Deeds Bring Misfortune? The Forfeiture Rule


Posted by Helena Taylor

The recent case of Macmillan Cancer Support v Hayes & Another [2017] saw a tragic set of circumstances involving a loving husband and wife, Peter and Sheila. Peter and Sheila were in their 80’s and had been married for decades. They had no children together but were considered to be entirely devoted to each other. As they aged, their health deteriorated. Sheila was suffering from advanced dementia and Peter had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and heart problems; he could no longer look after Sheila and she was moved into residential care. Peter was devastated by the fact he could no longer care for his wife. On 18 April 2015, Peter collected Sheila from her nursing home and promised to return her there the following day. He took her to their favourite restaurant before taking her to the home they had shared. That evening, Peter heavily sedated Sheila before suffocating her. He then took his own life. Prior to these events, Peter wrote a note to the coroner providing the reasoning behind his actions. He explained that he and Sheila had discussed in the past that should they no longer be able to live their lives together, they should end […]

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The fight against discrimination for gender-fluid and transgender workers


Posted by Michelle Morgan

The law makes it perfectly clear that discrimination based on gender is not only unacceptable, but illegal. But what happens if you’re gender-fluid, or you are transgender? Since the 1990s there has been legislation in place to help protect those who are transgender, including protection against discrimination in the workplace. A series of recent cases (particularly in the US) have highlighted the fact that no matter how much legislation is passed and how vocally employers claim that they are aware of the needs of gender-fluid and trans people, there is still a great deal to be done to remove some of the prejudice and barriers that still remain in place. The law’s answer to protecting Transgender rights In 2004, the Gender Recognition Act was introduced to allow people to change their legal gender. This allows those with what is commonly referred to as gender dysphoria legal recognition that is appropriate to their acquired gender, as opposed to their gender at birth. This means transgender people can apply for a new birth certificate in their acquired sex, giving them legal standing. It effectively means that a transgender person born as a man could be legally regarded as a woman, and vice […]

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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – What you need to know


Posted by Tim Blackman

The potential impacts for landlords, tenants and buyers of commercial property The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (otherwise known as MEES) came into force on 1st April 2018. The new regulations prevent landlords from granting new (or renewing existing) tenancies of non-domestic properties which fail to meet the minimum rating of an E. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be provided whenever a property is sold, built or let to a tenant. It will specify the energy performance rating of the property on a scale from A, being the best, to G, being the worst. Commercial landlords should be aware of the follow two key dates:- 1st April 2018: the commencement of the regulations means landlords are not able to grant new (or renew existing) leases to tenants. 1st April 2023: landlords can no longer even accept rent from a tenant should the EPC rating be an F or G. Landlords of properties which will require energy efficiency improvement works ought to plan early in order to avoid a loss of rent. Scope of MEES The regulations apply to all new and renewal tenancies, including also subleases and assignments of existing leases. The regulations will not apply in the following circumstances:- […]

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A Landlord’s Obligations and the Prescribed Information for Tenants


Posted by Joanna Hemsley

Even though evicting a residential tenant is far from a landlord’s mind when the tenant signs an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, the landlord should be well aware of its obligations which will potentially affect a future eviction. Since 1 October 2015, at the beginning of a residential tenancy, a landlord must provide the tenant with specific documentation, namely:- Government’s “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” booklet A gas safety certificate (if applicable) An energy Performance Certificate In addition, landlords must also secure their tenant’s deposit in a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receipt and provide to the tenant the prescribed information regarding the deposit. Section 21 Notice Under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, landlords are entitled to seek possession of their property once the fixed term tenancy has ended, or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (a periodic tenancy) by giving 2 months’ notice in writing to the tenant. However, a landlord cannot validly serve a section 21 notice if it has not provided the above documentation to the tenant. Historically, it was accepted that the provisions under the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 […]

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An easyPeasy update on Trademarks and Passing Off


Posted by Jack Hobbs

The High Court of Justice has dismissed a claim of threats of trademark infringement against easyGroup Limited. The easyGroup empire is known far and wide for its range of orange themed companies which all use their ‘easy’ prefix, the most renowned of all being easyJet. The hearing of W3 Limited v easyGroup Limited and another [2018] EWC7 (Ch) concerned W3’s, long complained of, perceived trademark infringement of easyGroup’s ‘easy’ prefix. The Claimant in the action has offered its services as a roommate finder allowing people to find properties to share under the name EasyRoommate since the end of the 20th century. The use of this has been complained of by easyGroup since 2003 with numerous threats of action being made. The weight of this threat alone was enough to make it difficult in 2007, for W3 to find a buyer of its business. The purpose of the proceedings brought by W3 was to obtain a cessation of the groundless threats of infringement being brought by easyGroup and to satisfy its investors that this is not a potential liability. A counterclaim was entered claiming trademark infringement against the EASYROOMMATE word mark and logo as well as against its European equivalents such […]

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Provisional tribunals and gender recognition statistics


Posted by Michelle Morgan

On 8 March 2018 the Ministry of Justice published the provisional tribunals and gender recognition statistics for the previous quarter (October to December 2017). The main points and statistics of key importance include: Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) increase in receipts are up 21% and caseload outstanding up 31% in the quarter compared to the same quarter in 2016. Claims received at Employment tribunal are the highest since the introduction of fees leading to increased caseload outstanding. Single ET claims – receipts increased by 90%, disposals by 21% and caseload outstanding by 66%. Multiple ET claims – receipts increased by 467% and caseload outstanding by 27%. Disposals decreased by 55%. From the launch of the Employment Tribunal (ET) fee refund scheme in October 2017 to 31 December 2017, 3,400 ET fee refund payments have been made, with a total value of £2.8m. Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) receipts have decreased by 1% when compared to October to December 2016, whereas disposals increased by 13% and caseload outstanding increased by 47%. 82 GRP applications were received and 115 were disposed of; 84 applications were pending by the end of December 2017. Of the 115 applications disposed of, a […]

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