Blog Archives

ILN Today Post

RETURNING TO COURT

On 18 March 2022 we received an interlocutor in our office which advised that a hearing had been converted to “in person”. Simultaneously, our colleagues in our licensing team had started on-site meetings. This we took to be a sure sign that lockdown was ending and, as our thoughts turned to returning to court and on-site meetings, they also turned to some more practical aspects of what might be involved.

Look out your “court shoes”. Rather than the traditional sense of the word, these are divided into 2 categories, being the “flatties” in which you rush to court and “the high heels” you wear once there. One of our partners really does have 40 pairs of shoes under her desk for going to court. For on-site visits, a stylish wedge looked great with a trouser suit but reportedly failed miserably for the dash to Haymarket Station. Read more…

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Changes to Taxation of Settlement Payments

The government has published draft legislation which will make changes to how settlement payments are taxed. These changes are not intended to come into force until April 2018 and will have an effect on what parties may be willing to offer or accept when entering into a settlement agreement.

At present, non-contractual payments received by way of compensation for loss of employment are subject to income tax, although the first £30,000 of such payments is tax free. There are some complications in the rules, such as exceptions for certain types of payment, and a distinction regarding payments which amount to earnings rather than compensation for termination of employment. The changes to be introduced are intended to simplify the taxation of settlement payments.

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Mother Awarded Compensation for Son’s Birth Injuries

A mother has been awarded compensation amounting to £11 million after medical failings at her son’s birth led to him sustaining serious brain injuries, reports the Guardian.

Her son, who is now nine-years-old, was born in the maternity unit at King George hospital in Ilford. During the delivery, his heart rate slowed down, but medical staff failed to notice or carry out an emergency caesarean section.

His mother claimed that if the doctors and nurses had acted promptly her son might have been born in a healthy condition, but their failure to act meant that he developed severe cerebral palsy and also has a limited life expectancy.

In 2013 Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust apparently admitted that mistakes had been made at the boy’s birth. A settlement of £11 million was subsequently agreed, which has now been ratified at the High Court. 2013 also saw the closure of the maternity unit at the hospital.

The boy’s mother has said that the money will help to provide her son with a much better quality of life than he had previously been able to enjoy.

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Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace

This week the TUC have published the results of a survey, carried out in conjunction with the Everyday Sexism Project, regarding women’s experience of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The results highlight that sexual harassment may be more prevalent than many would think, and it may go largely unreported. Some of the key findings were that, of the women surveyed:

  • 52% have experienced some form of sexual harassment, increasing to 63% for those aged 18-24.
  • 35% have heard comments of a sexual nature being made about other women in the workplace
  • 32% have been subject to unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature
  • 28% have been subject to comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes
  • Almost 25% have experienced unwanted touching
  • 20% have experienced unwanted sexual advances
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Coming Up: The ‘New’ Overprovision

Around the start of the 20th century, the approach of a licensing authority to the “overprovision” of licensed premises was, in current parlance, a “no brainer”. Magistrates enjoyed a more-or-less absolute discretion as to whether a district was “congested” and the granting of a licence was “meet and convenient”.

So, when Robert McGeehen, a wine and spirit merchant in Airdrie, found his 9 year-old business closed down with the refusal of his certificate’s renewal by a temperance bench seemingly committed to dismantling the licensing system in favour of prohibition, the Court found itself unable to interfere (McGeehen v Knox, (1912) 1 SLT 428).

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Change for Divorced Spouses

The new Succession (Scotland) Act 2016 brings some important changes not only to succession law, but also to the position of spouses following divorce.

At present, most people assume that the end of a marriage also results in the end of any entitlement under a Will. However, that is not the case. The terms of the Will remain valid upon divorce. The new Act will go a long way to align the law with people’s perception. Often divorced spouses did not consider amending their Wills following divorce, which has led to unexpected outcomes in many situations.

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Unusual Employment Tribunal Cases

Another holiday season draws to a close and brings with it a return to “normality”. Goodbye sunning; hello running (for trains). Adios long lies; welcome back bags under the eyes. We’ll miss you mountain top; back to the laptop!!

As the majority of us return to our desks, recent reports of a case from France reminded us that some employment law cases can be viewed with more of a sideways glance and we thought looking at some of the more “page turning” cases of recent years would act as a gentle welcome back to the world of HR and employment law.

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Issues in Ending a Relationship: Is Cohabiting any less Complicated than Marriage?

Litigation of any kind is never a pleasant experience: parties will only have decided to come before the courts in order to settle a dispute if there is no likelihood of them resolving their situation by other means.

Litigation involving a warring couple is equally no less pleasant an experience, and it was in a dispute of this kind that the Court of Session was recently asked to rule. In the case of Alexander Melvin v Fiona Christie (see here) the Inner House of the Court of Session – Scotland’s highest court – was asked to hear an appeal of the decision of the Sheriff Principal’ and the decision to award Mr Melvin a sum of money under the terms of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 following the termination of the couples living together as a couple.

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Employers and Modern Slavery

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year to ensure supply chains are free of slavery and to prevent exploitation and trafficking of workers. It created three new offences:

  • holding people in slavery or servitude or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour;
  • the arranging or facilitating of human trafficking, being arranging the travel of people with a view to exploiting them; and
  • committing an offence with the intention of human trafficking, including aiding and abetting.
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Distracted Drivers Risk Devastating Crashes

Too many younger drivers are putting their own lives, and those of other road users, at risk by texting, using apps or going online on their mobiles when they are behind the wheel, according to new research by Brake and Direct Line.

According to the road safety charity, more than half (55%) of 25-34-year-old drivers questioned admitted they had sent or read a text message on their mobile while behind the wheel of their car in the last year.

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