Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Employment experts on the road

Employment law experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors have been on the road with their latest Top 10 blunders seminar.

They visited the home of Leicester Tigers to share their knowledge with a wide range of businesses including care homes, manufacturers, insurance brokers and retailers.

The feedback from the event was excellent with extremely positive and interactive discussions on the top ten employment law mistakes that employers make - and the best way to avoid them.

To find out more about our seminars and how to get involved, contact June Noto on 01952 525951 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk 

Friday, 1 November 2019

Simple mistakes have consequences

Company directors have been warned they could face disqualification for even the simplest of mistakes.

Andrew Oranjuik, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, said it would be easy to assume that directors would only be disqualified for major failings like corporate fraud.

“But in fact, you could face disqualification in circumstances that are far less dramatic – even down to mishandling the paperwork you’re required to keep.”

Mr Oranjuik said there was a wide range of issues that could lead to a director being disqualified, from failing to keep proper accounting records to employing illegal workers and being involved in banking scams.

“Often the possibility of disqualification comes to light if a company is being investigated in an insolvency case, but it can also come from other investigations and court proceedings, including a breach of directors’ duties enquiry or competition law.”

Mr Oranjuik said surprisingly the most common reason for disqualification was failing to keep accounting records, with the situation often discovered when insolvency experts investigate why a company had gone bust.

“If a director’s actions are deemed to have been inappropriate leading up to their company’s insolvency, they can be disqualified – this covers a whole host of actions including allowing the company to trade while insolvent, using its money or assets for your own benefit, and failing to keep proper records.

“You can also be disqualified if you cause your company to break the law whether the company is insolvent or not, for occasions like data breaches and consumer scams.”

Mr Oranjuik said if disqualified, a director is banned from being a company director and from taking part in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

“This means you could be employed by a company, but you must be careful not to get involved in management – so no hiring of staff or making financial decisions.

“In some cases, the court can grant a director permission to act despite being disqualified, but this will be tightly controlled and usually only to allow a director to stay on just to wind their company up.

“It’s easy to think that small issues will not lead to serious consequences, but that’s just not the case – as a director you have responsibilities on all levels and it’s important to realise how seriously you need to take them.”

Monday, 28 October 2019

Mediation isn't always the answer

A Shropshire solicitor says mediation is not always the right way for businesses to resolve commercial disputes.

Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said currently anyone involved in a dispute was expected to consider mediation to try to resolve the issue.

“For a long time, it has rightly been recognised that mediation was usually preferable to taking a case through the courts.

“The process has a high success rate as both sides are brought together to reach a settlement with the aid of a skilled and neutral third party – and if a settlement is reached, it will certainly be less expensive than a court case. But mediation is not right in every case and sometimes it can cynically be used as a tactic by one of the parties involved.”

Mr Oranjuik’s advice follows a case where he and his team acted for a defendant in a commercial dispute over the ownership of industrial equipment.

“The other side’s case appeared to be weak, and despite offers and counter-offers being made, it was clear they were not interested in anything other than total victory, and they were pressing for us to take it to mediation.

“But we advised our client not to agree to mediation as it’s not an inexpensive process and we believed the chances of achieving a settlement were very slim given the other party’s approach.”

The case resulted in a two-day trial in the county court where the claim against Mr Oranjuik’s client was dismissed.

“There was then an argument over costs – the claimant said our client should not recover costs because we had refused to mediate. But after reviewing the offers that had been made, the court ruled our client had acted reasonably and so costs were awarded.

“Refusing to mediate will often be unreasonable, and if that’s the case, the refusing party can expect to be criticised by the court and face the consequences. But it’s not a universal rule and clients involved in a dispute should be wary of the other side trying to bounce them into mediation to get a settlement.

“Each proposal for mediation should be considered on its own merits, and depending on the case, allowing the courts to decide may turn out to be a better approach.”

Monday, 14 October 2019

Personal injury experts in the county town

A Shropshire law firm is extending the reach of its personal injury team by offering support from its newly-opened Shrewsbury office.

Experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, which also has offices in Telford and Wolverhampton, will now be available at the office in the county town to deal with clients and their claims.

Partner and Head of the Personal Injury Department, Alison Carter, said the move would make it more convenient for clients from the Shrewsbury area with advice available in the heart of the town in Bellstone Court.

“There are three of us who handle personal injury claims and we work with clients who have suffered personal injury as a result of a road traffic incident, an accident at work or in a public place, or other accidental injuries that may be eligible for compensation – we don’t however handle medical negligence claims.”

Mrs Carter specialises in claimant personal injury work and has managed Martin-Kaye’s team of specialist lawyers since for over 20 years. She is a member of APIL – the organisation that promotes full and fair compensation for all types of personal injury claimants – and she is a member of the specialist Law Society Personal Injury Panel.

The other members of the personal injury team at Martin-Kaye are Chartered Legal Executive Sarah Mears and Associate Solicitor Alison Thornton.

Mrs Mears has worked for Martin-Kaye for 20 years and she vets new claims within the department. She is also a member of the Shropshire and Mid-Wales CILEX branch.

Mrs Thornton, who is an Associate Solicitor, worked for a number of large regional and national firms before joining Martin-Kaye in 2003, and she has successfully negotiated many different types of claims including fast-track and multi-track cases featuring road traffic injuries, industrial injuries and public liability.

“Our team has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims and we have won millions of pounds in compensation for thousands of clients,” said Mrs Carter.

“We’re looking forward to working more closely with clients in the Shrewsbury area and to delivering similarly impressive results to those we’ve achieved for our Telford-based claimants.”

Pictured: From left, Alison Carter, Alison Thornton and Sarah Mears at the Martin-Kaye office in Shrewsbury

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Lawyers take their advice on the road

Employment law experts from a Shropshire legal firm are set to share their knowledge far and wide with businesses across the UK.

The lawyers from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, Shrewsbury, and Wolverhampton, already host regular interactive employment advice seminars in the local area.

And now they’re expanding their reach and organising their first ever event in Leicester as a direct result of client interest and business enquiries.

The Top 10 Blunders seminar will take place at Leicester Tigers on Thursday, October 10, at 12noon, and will be hosted by the firm’s employment law specialist, John Mehtam.

He said the aim of the event was to share invaluable information to help employers protect their business from escalating employment tribunal claims.

“We’ve been pro-actively working with businesses all over the UK to help them navigate the minefield of the constantly changing world of employment law. This seminar has been organised following a flurry of interest from companies in the Leicester area after our targeted and structured marketing campaign, and we’re all looking forward to meeting new business connections and potential clients.”

Mr Mehtam said statistically the number of employment tribunals was increasing at an unprecedented rate – there has been a 500% rise since the Government abolished the fees that employees needed to pay to bring a claim.

“In many cases, employees are bringing claims that stand little chance of succeeding, but employers have to take them all seriously and they need to be sure they’re complying with all the relevant legislation.”

Mr Mehtam said he would be sharing his advice to help businesses avoid the most common pitfalls and so they could learn from other employers’ experiences.

“We will include suggestions on how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance, and how to avoid the issues in the first place. With employers short on time, it’s almost impossible to keep up-to-date with ever-changing legislation, so our seminars offer clear, concise information in a time frame that suits our busy delegates.”

Businesses who would like to attend the seminar should contact June Noto on 01952 525951 or email junenoto@martinkaye.co.uk 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Check the copyright rules on design

Employers should be wary of agreeing to allow staff to create company promotional material if it’s not in their actual job description - that's the warning from Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford.

“It may be tempting to accept an offer from one of your employees who enjoys design in their spare time – after all, wouldn’t that be much more cost effective than taking on an external creative firm to create a new logo for your business?

“But in fact, copyright law says the designer of any kind of promotional logo is the legal owner, unless it was created by an employee in the course of their employment. So if the person is employed as a designer in your firm and they create the logo during their normal working hours, the logo itself would be owned by the employer.

“If they don’t work in a design or creative role for your company though, you could find yourself in an extremely tricky situation.”

Mr Oranjuik said if the employee owned the logo and at some point they then left the firm on bad terms, it could lead to serious difficulties.

“You could find your firm held to ransom over the logo, with the employee demanding a large fee to transfer the logo, or they could refuse permission for it to be used at all. This in turn could lead to an expensive rebranding exercise with all the associated work involved and the cost of making changes to your company’s website, stationery, and promotional literature.”

Mr Oranjuik said employers should check the employee’s contract to see if it contained an intellectual property clause – this would prescribe the ownership of any copyright that’s created during their employment.

“If there isn’t an intellectual property clause, or the contact doesn’t cover the current situation, you should agree ownership of the logo in writing – and don’t just rely on a verbal agreement, as that risks becoming your word against theirs.

“You’ll need to agree a form of payment for signing over their legal rights to the ownership of the copyright too, but don’t ask them what amount they’d like. Just include a nominal amount of perhaps £1 – and if they query the figure, you can always negotiate or decide not to go ahead with the design process.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Chris joins the Shrewsbury team

A Shropshire law firm has welcomed a new residential conveyancer to the team in its Shrewsbury office.

Chris Lloyd has joined Martin-Kaye Solicitors and will be based in the county town at the company’s most recently opened branch.

“I’m very pleased to have joined such a progressive and forward-thinking practice, and everyone has been extremely welcoming,” said Chris. “It’s been great to have the support of such experienced and knowledgeable colleagues while I’ve been settling in, and I’m really enjoying getting to know the ever-increasing number of clients.”

Chris graduated in 2011 and completed the vocational part of his training at Aberystwyth University.
He completed a training contract at a high street firm in North Wales, and has also worked for another Shrewsbury legal firm before he joined Martin-Kaye.

His role will include residential conveyancing – buying and selling freehold and leasehold properties, new builds, transfers of equity, and remortgages.

Martin-Kaye Partner Simon Wagner, who leads the Shrewsbury team, said Chris had already made a strong start to his career with the firm.

“Chris has fitted seamlessly into the team and his commitment and enthusiasm for his new job has been impressive to see. We’re looking forward to introducing him to existing and new clients, and to the contribution he will make to the smooth running of our newest office.”

Pictured: Chris Lloyd – the new residential conveyancer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Shrewsbury