May 2012 Archive

FLA Conference: the tricky balance between customers’ and lenders’ interests

The Finance and Leasing Association’s Debt Recovery for Lenders Conference last week was a very informative session with a good array of speakers and turnout from lenders. The first speakers were from the Money Advice Trust and Money Advice Service: the clear message was that customers with financial difficulties need to speak to their lender early, but only 8% do that at the moment. Speaking to Joanna Elson, the Money Advice Trust Chief Executive, we identified a real problem in customers needing independent legal advice but, given the absence of Legal Aid, specialist legal advice is not so easy to come by at no charge.

Launch of the Green Deal

The Government has confirmed that the Green Deal will launch this autumn after they named the 22 companies (including British Gas, Carillion, Kingfisher and Wilmott Dixon Energy Services) on the list of providers that would deliver the scheme. The Green Deal is intended to deliver the energy efficiency products and services that will enable property owners to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

What are letters of intent?

Letters of intent are commonly used in the construction sector and are normally used where the employer wants to start work, but for whatever reason there has not been time to finalise a formal contract with the contractor/sub-contractor, such as one of the JCT standard forms.

What does best endeavours mean?

What does “best endeavours” mean? This was an issue in Jet2.com Ltd v Blackpool Airport Ltd who had entered into a 15 year contract with each other. The contract required both parties to "co-operate together and use their best endeavours to promote Jet2.com's low cost services” and for BAL to “use all reasonable endeavours to provide a cost base that will facilitate Jet2.com's low cost pricing”.

Crunch time for cookies - is your website compliant?

Most businesses have a website and all websites need to be legally compliant. The period of grace for websites to get cookie compliant has just ran out; so a crunch time for cookies indeed! A cookie is a small file which is sent to a user’s computer or mobile internet device when they visit a website so as to enable the website to recognise and enhance the user’s experience as a result.

Scottish contract law - there are differences in the detail

Do you have customers north of the border and if so are any of your contracts subject to Scottish law? If the answer is “yes” to both questions then read on Macduff as there’s one or two risks you might not be aware of. The broad principles of Scots and English contract law are similar. However, as ever, there are differences in the detail. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide a detailed analysis but here are two significant points to bear in mind when Scots law applies.

Confidentiality and copyright infringement

The case of Force India Formula One Team Ltd v 1 Malaysia Racing Team concerned the misuse of confidential information and copyright. In April 2008 Force India engaged Aerolab to design a half-size wind tunnel model for a Formula 1 racing car. The parties entered into a development agreement which contained a confidentiality clause and provided that all intellectual property created by Aerolab under the agreement would belong to Force India.

The difficulties in assessing the correct limitation period in professional negligence cases

A recent case in the Chancery division of the High Court again highlighted the difficulties in assessing the correct limitation period in professional negligence cases. In this case, Integral had a potential professional negligence claim against Haines Watts, a firm of accountants. The case arose out of tax advice Haines Watts had given in or around 1997/1998 in relation to a discretionary bonus scheme.

Transporting your horse: do you need an operator's licence?

Even our leisure activities do not escape the long arm of regulation. There are many horse owners who will be caught by various regulations when they transport their horses. People driving horseboxes with a gross plated weight (i.e. the maximum, permitted weight on the road) of over 3.5 tonnes – or an unladen weight of over 1525kg - for commercial purposes (which includes professional riders) fall within the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations and the Welfare of Animals during Transport Regulations and will need an operator's licence.

Releasing retention monies

The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 changes have meant that the release of retention monies can no longer be linked to certification or completion of works under the main contract or any other contract up the line.
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