Latest News

Gifting land, is it that easy?

So, you’re fortunate enough to own some land, and you wish to gift parts to your children. Maybe you’ve been sitting on a piece of land for some years, and are now looking to transfer into your company name, for redevelopment.  Or, you find...

Demergers - an option to pass your business to your children

As a business owner, it can often be difficult to decide how best to hand over the running of the company to future generations.  Not only is timing critical, the perception amongst suppliers, customers and employees, has to be taken into account....

Managing conflict in family businesses

Directors are concerned with the running of a business day to day. Shareholders are owners of a business who make important decisions in relation to the company. How those decisions are made can all be outlined within a confidential document called a...

Health and safety law(s) in construction

Health and safety is an obvious concern across all industries. It’s of particular importance within the construction sector, given the scope of work and nature of activities undertaken, and, in particular, the associated risks that naturally...

Health and safety offence sentencing guidelines

In the event the HSE elects to proceed with enforcement action by way of prosecution against the company (and/or directors) for alleged breaches then the charge(s) are usually by virtue of:  failing to comply with the general overarching duties...

How to avoid common pitfalls in your construction project

The judgment Cartwright Pond Ltd v Wild [2021] EWHC 1600 (TCC)   highlights key issues that a building contractor and a homeowner should consider at the procurement stage, including: 1.   Appoint independent professionals You should appoint...

Disputes between homeowners and building contractors

As an Associate Solicitor specialising in dispute resolution and construction law, I am often instructed to advise on disputes between homeowners and building contractors.  The tension between the parties usually escalates, resulting in either the...

Does your contract cover prior works?

I was once asked to assist a client to draft the construction contracts for a number of projects they were undertaking. I asked them when they were intending to start the building works on the different projects, only to be informed that the building works...

Defending adjudication: How to avoid common pitfalls?

Adjudication has been successful in overcoming problems previously associated with resolving construction disputes, which largely focused on the holding up of cash flow and the time taken to resolve matters.  Adjudication has proven to be a popular,...

Planning an exit from your healthcare business

Whether you operate your healthcare business as a sole trader, partnership, LLP or company there will always come a point where you need to consider your exit strategy. The need for succession planning might arise due to circumstances forced upon you, such...

Buying a business - due diligence more important than ever

When buying a business, whether by way of an asset or share deal, the process of due diligence is used to assist the buyer. This also raises detailed questions about the business about to be acquired.  This process assists the buyer to be comfortable...

Sustainable growth - doesn't have to cost the Earth!

No matter which sector your business is in, or where it is located, we are all coming under pressure to carry on business in a more sustainable way. You may be finding pressure from your employees, your customers, those you contract with or, possibly, even...

Are you a first-time commercial tenant?

Here at Birkett Long, we act for many different types of landlords and tenants. But, if this is your first time taking on a commercial property as the tenant, it can be quite daunting. Especially when trying to negotiate the Heads of Terms with a seasoned...

Take care when declaring dividends

What is a dividend? A dividend is a distribution of a company’s post-tax profits to its shareholders. For a company to be able to pay this lawfully, it must have sufficient distributable profits that are justified by reference to “relevant...

Developers changing builds to facilitate home working

The majority of the population has had to adapt and change to working from home over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It seems as though many businesses will continue the working from home trend even after life returns to normal. Due to the...

Essex law firm advises on successful sale

Essex law firm, Birkett Long has advised the owners of GB Underwriting on their sale of the company to insurance intermediary Specialist Risk Group (SRG). GB Underwriting is a property and liability solutions provider operating in the UK broker market. A...

mastering business longevity beyond Brexit

Birkett Long can trace its roots back to 1821, celebrating its 200 th anniversary this year. Statistics suggest that only about 0.5% of all companies achieve 100 years in business, so we are definitely doing something right!  About 30% of businesses...

Brexit: thinking of entering into dispute proceedings?

The transition period ended on 31 December 2020, the transitional arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement have come to an end. What does this mean for the rules on jurisdiction and enforcing English judgments around the EU? On 31 January 2020, the UK...

Manufactured goods - product marking after 1 January 2021

A conformity mark (or certification mark) on a manufactured product indicates the manufacturer has verified compliance with accepted product standards or regulations.  Businesses need to use a conformity mark when placing certain goods in the UK...

Changes to how you use personal data from 1 January 2021

If your business or organisation transfers people’s personal data between the UK and the EU/EEA then you need to be aware of potential changes following the end of the Brexit transition period. During the transition period, personal data can flow...

Protecting directors in financial difficulties

Directors of limited companies enjoy the benefit of limited liability. However, directors can incur personal liability because of their acts or omissions carried out when the company enters, what is commonly known as, the ‘Twilight Zone’. This is...

Just for the shape of it: registering a trade mark shape

When clients come to Birkett Long’s IP department to register their trade marks, they often wish to protect a variation of a name – which might variously take the form of a word only mark or a stylised ‘logo’ – or they might...

Protecting your business from bad debts

What is a bad debt? A bad debt occurs when a client owes money for a service or product provided and the money cannot be recovered. This sum is essentially lost and must be written off as a bad debt.  A high level of bad debt indicates that the...

Health and Social Care update throughout Covid-19

Birkett Long has continued to support and assist a wide range of clients within the health and social care sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Whilst Covid-19 has caused an undoubted downturn in the economy, many continue to see opportunities and...

Are GP premises leases "off-putting"?

A GP Partnership Review was published in 2019. The review found that GPs had considered the personal financial risk of owning or leasing their GP surgery was a major reason why they were leaving or choosing not to join partnerships. The General Practice...

Business owners - why you need a will & LPA

In these very strange and difficult times, it is essential that we all think about making a will if we do not already have one in place. A will allows you to leave your estate to the people or charities you want to benefit after your death, rather than...

Is your charity suffering due to Covid-19?

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act (CIGA) came into force on 26 June 2020. CIGA is the latest piece of legislation enacted by the government to try and assist businesses suffering as a result of Covid-19. The good news for charities is that many of...

M&A Transaction- thinking of Warranty & Indemnity Insurance?

If there is a risk, there is insurance… If there is a risk, there is often insurance out there willing to take on that risk by providing a policy of insurance. It has now become quite noticeable that Warranty and Indemnity Insurance (W&I...

Growing your business: Is growth on your agenda?

Business leaders that have a plan for growth tend to be more optimistic about achieving their goals. Growth can take time and can come in many forms. It could involve: organic growth, expanding and developing your staff to help you grow expanding your...

Exiting a business

Decreasing profit, retirement, changes in life goals or increasing competition in the marketplace are all reasons for exiting a business. Some exit their business of their own volition; others have no choice. Some of the common ways of exiting a...

Adrian Collins: succession planning

“He wants to be a b****y artist?” …was the angry reaction of a self-made businessman who’d just discovered that his son had no intention of succeeding him in the family business. A first class education and a privileged upbringing...

Planning your business exit

We all know that it is better to plan things in order to avoid ending up somewhere we didn’t plan to be!  You need to get your business in the best possible shape for an exit – in whatever form that may take. Careful planning will: ...

What is the Corporate Governance Reform and who will be affected?

The Reform will affect both public and private limited companies, if they meet the certain thresholds explained below. What changes do companies need to be aware of? Engaging with employees: All companies with 250+ employees must include, within their...

Websites, cookies and data protection

Many online business owners ask me about the significance of “cookies”. They question the need for a Cookies Policy for their website. If you are one of them, the following might provide some assistance. Cookies are text files which contain...

Online platforms - promoting fairness and transparency

If you are running online intermediation services or if you are a user of online intermediation services, this article is for you. A new European Regulation, which will become enforceable in 2020, has been adopted by the Economic and Financial Affairs...

Protecting your interest in your Limited Company

It is often the case that I am asked to draft a shareholders’ agreement or provide advice concerning investment into a company limited by shares. Whilst there are a number of important considerations, key aspects are often exit strategies, along with...

'No-deal' Brexit Territory - Guidance

I appreciate that everyone is being bombarded and overloaded with anything and everything Brexit-related to the point that some prefer to just switch off and see what happens. Whilst this is a perfectly understandable option, those running a business clearly...

Funding in the health and care sector - ten years on

Recent anniversaries of events such as the closure of the US bank Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland ten years ago bring back unpleasant memories for some of us of the global financial crisis. In the aftermath, businesses of all...

Improving the running of UK companies

  Prompted by some high profile company failures, such as BHS and Carillion, earlier this year the government consulted on a range of measures to improve the running of UK companies. In August, it published its response and set out its...

Do you value your property?

  How does your business value its property assets in its balance sheet? Accounting guidelines allow a company to account for its freehold real estate assets at either fair value or at cost. Depending on which method you use, there could be a...

Landlords beware

  The Assured Shorthold Tenant Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 commenced on 1 October 2015 and, apart from being a mouthful to say, state what information landlord’s must provide to their tenants at the outset...

Are you burning your profits?

  Is your business losing thousands of pounds on energy or fuel costs every week? It is surprising how many are.    Expert help and support from Birkett Long’s Environment and Energy team, led by myself, recognised by legal...

Sale of a domestic and commercial security company

Birkett Long’s Commercial & Corporate Finance team has recently completed the sale of a domestic and commercial security company, for a total enterprise value of £400,000.   Aspects that made this deal particularly interesting was the...

a revised loan facility

Birkett Long’s Commercial & Corporate Finance team recently completed a revised loan facility for a client. The client borrowed an extra £17 million by way of an additional term loan, and added a further £8 million to its existing...

You're too noisy!

Are you concerned that your business is causing a nuisance which could lead to a complaint or action being taken against you? With considerable pressure for new housing in the region, several of our clients, and businesses in general, have raised...

When can an employer withhold wages?

Only in exceptional circumstances can an employer withhold wages . The fundamental terms of an employment contract are that the employee provides the services and the employer pays for those services.  What should you do before seeking...

New 'Goods Mortgages' Bill

Fairer for borrowers and purchasers of used goods, and more straightforward for lenders? The Law Commission, the non-political independent body set up by Parliament to keep all the law of England and Wales under review, has published a draft Goods Mortgages...

Motive seems irrelevant when it comes to landlords and the courts

Business tenants can be refused a new lease if their landlord wants to redevelop the property.  Keith Songhurst examines a recent case that appears to strengthen the hand of the landlord. Business tenants are usually entitled to renew their leases...

Crowdfunding - Could it save the village pub?

Crowdfunding typically involves a large volume of small donations in exchange for something, such as a prototype product (known as donation or reward crowdfunding).  But can crowdfunding be used to fund property purchases and, if so, what are the...

An end to tribunal fees - The repercussions for employers

Between 2013 and July 2017, employees had to pay a fee if they wanted to take a case to tribunal.  Now that this fee has been abolished, Reggie Lloyd looks at the implications for employers and asks whether the number of claims will rise.   ...

Bar talk, watch what you say

When talking business in a pub, over a drink or two, could you inadvertently create a legally binding contract? For a contract to be binding there must be an offer, acceptance, an intention to be legally binding, consideration and certainty.  Contrary...

GDPR for charities

Will changes to Data Protection rules affect your charity’s ability to fund raise? In all likelihood Yes! On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) comes into effect in the UK and it is expected to have significant consequences for...

The biggest change to data privacy in 20 years

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May 2018.  Some of the changes, in particular the requirement for accountability, will leave many businesses with a lot to do if they are to be sure of compliance.  The UK...

Protecting the value in your business

Wealth in many families comes from family businesses.  Tracey Dickens, a specialist in ownership and exit arrangements of a business, outlines how Birkett Long can help family business owners to protect the wealth they have worked so hard for, and,...

Breach of Data Protection Act can be costly

A recent case where Basildon Borough Council was fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for a breach of the Data Protection Act acts as a reminder to organisations that data breaches can be costly! Personal data can be contained...

JCT 2016 building contract changes

The 2016 JCT building contracts have been released over the past few months and the updated Standard Building Contract suite was released on 22 September 2016. This suite has now replaced the 2011 Standard Building Contracts and all subsequent amendments....

Law Update - Rent review provisions in NHS funded leases

NHS practitioners should bear in mind that when they lease a GP surgery any rent review has to be subject to the approval of the District Valuer.  There is little point, therefore, in seeking approval of the terms of your lease with the NHS unless it...

Brexit - be prepared

With Brexit fast approaching and the Government about to start negotiating the exit strategy, should business owners also be thinking about negotiating their own terms and conditions? Since 24 June 2016, the day after the British public went to the polls,...

Partnership agreements - take the time to review yours!

A partnership agreement is an important document for all individuals conducting business together as a partnership. Without one, the relationship between the partners and the partnership itself is governed by legislation written in the 1890s! Once you have...

Data protection shield

The EU Data Protection Directive only permits transfers of personal data from the EU to territories outside the European Economic Area if adequate protection for that data is ensured in the receiving territory. Previously, the Safe Harbor framework was an...

Guarantees and consumer law

Can individuals claim consumer rights protection when acting as guarantor? It is not uncommon for an individual to be asked to act as guarantor when a bank or other financial institution is offering some form of credit to a commercial third party. Perhaps a...

Charity trustee's duties

If an Earl’s charity can get it wrong, are you sure you are doing it right? Overview The Charity Commission (the Commission) has recently investigated the way in which the trustees of the Earl of Chester’s Fund (the Charity) have been managing...

Not reporting is not Sporting

The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) are pretty clear about data breaches having to be reported to those affected, so they can “take steps to protect themselves”.  It is in their current guidelines and will soon...

Shareholder disputes - reducing the impact

A key fact that is often overlooked in relation to ownership of shares in a limited company is that without a shareholders’ agreement no shareholder can be forced to sell their shares, other than as a consequence of a court order (and do you really...

A new way to protect that sensitive information

When employees, directors, partners or shareholders leave a business there is often a worry that they will try to take their clients with them.  Often restrictive covenants will be in place to try to prevent this. However, they are not always...

Disqualifications on the rise

Following a couple of years where numbers have remained static, the latest figures from the Insolvency Service (published mid-August 2016) suggest a small rise in the total number of disqualifications. Unsurprisingly, the economic downturn in 2008 caused a...

What's New with EU? - Data Protection

The EU have new Data Protection legislation, which will apply automatically throughout the EU due to its direct effect and which despite Brexit, the Government have now confirmed will be implemented in the UK.  The General Data Protection Regulation...

Brexit's affect on UK laws - business as usual!

Whilst the government has suffered the recent set back of loosing a court case requiring parliament to vote on the triggering of Article 50 it remains committed to starting the process of leaving the EU by no later than the 31 March 2017. But what does this...

Modern Slavery Act - why will it impact on small and medium size businesses?

There has been a 5 times rise in slavery victims in England and Wales since 2012, according to the Salvation Army. It is estimated by the Global Slavery Index report that there are 11,700 people living as slaves in the UK. Slavery has many forms but...

The new rules on penalty clauses - what do they mean for your business?

A business entering into a commercial contract will sometimes wish to include a clause that provides a form of compensation, payable to that business if the other party breaches the contract. For example, such a clause can require the breaching party to pay...

Restraint of Trade clauses - are they really enforceable?

Restraint of trade clauses appear in numerous contracts and are designed to protect a business by limiting competition with that business; this is usually achieved by restricting another business or individual from activity that would assist them to compete....

Your terms and conditions have never been at such a risk!

In the past, judges in the UK would only consider the points put before them. It was not their habit to consider points independently of the litigating parties’ representations. However, that has now changed. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) says...

Payment practices: New reporting duty will highlight late payers

Late payment of invoices is considered to be a widespread problem because it can cause cash flow issues that can seriously impact the ability of the business to trade, especially in the short term. The Government has recognised this and legislated to help...

Specialist legal team targets 'red tape' issues

A new specialist legal team has been created at respected Essex law firm Birkett Long to help businesses comply with regulatory legislation to ensure they don’t fall foul of the law. Associate Solicitor Reggie Lloyd, says the new Regulatory Team has...

Legal expert's seal of approval to resolve disputes

A legal expert with a leading Essex law firm Birkett Long, has recently qualified as a mediator to help parties resolve their disputes Peter Allen, partner and head of the firm’s commercial department has years of experience in dealing with commercial...