When things are running smoothly owner-managed and family-run companies can make for particularly fulfilling working environments. But close-knit workplaces, where the relationships extend beyond pure commercial ties, are also particularly vulnerable to disputes between shareholders quickly escalating and entrenching. However, by being aware of some of the most common issues that can arise and seeking resolution as soon as possible, it can be possible to nip any problems in the bud.
In 2016 the Court of Appeal ruled that written contracts could be varied orally notwithstanding a clause that expressly prevents or restricts it (an ‘anti-oral variation clause’). However, earlier this year the issue came before the Supreme Court and the decision was overturned.
The recent insolvencies and announcements are a cautionary tale and should prompt business owners to give their businesses of whatever size a health check to ensure they are not the next insolvency story and/or avoid the knock-on effect from other business’ financial woes.
At Loney Stewart Holland our specialism in bringing and defending solicitor professional negligence cases has given us substantial first-hand experience of the practical issues arising from a breakdown in the solicitor client relationship.
If you are involved in litigation, you may well have been advised to consider attempting to resolve the dispute by mediation. The Court rules require parties to consider alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, and indeed solicitors have a duty to advise their clients about it.
There have been shifting sands over many years regarding the appropriate test for dishonesty, a concept that crosses both criminal and civil law.
The High Court recently considered a claim by an investment management company against two former employees for copying and retaining the company’s confidential information. The Claimant sought £15m in damages, representing what it considered to be the value of the confidential information, but was awarded a mere £2, as it had not based its case on actual use of the information.
In the recent case of DB UK Bank Limited (t/a DB Mortgages) -v- Jacobs Solicitors  EWHC 1614 (Ch) the High Court confirmed that making an offer under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules has the effect of rejecting an earlier common law offer, meaning it is no longer capable of acceptance.
The long delayed Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 came into force from the beginning of August 2016 with the intention of making it quicker, easier and more certain for Claimants seeking recovery from the liability insurers of insolvent policyholders who have caused them loss.
In two recent cases, the Court of Appeal has considered the law regarding the enforceability of contractual clauses that purport to restrict the way in which the contract can be varied. These types of clauses are common, and often require any variation to be made in writing. There had previously been mixed decisions from the Court on the issue and we now have a useful analysis and clarity on previously inconsistent judicial approaches.