Thursday, 24 November 2016

What's in a name?

We’re often asked where the name Martin-Kaye Solicitors comes from – here our Senior Partner Graham Davies explains more…

"We’ve been in business now for over 30 years, and as we approach the end of another year, we’re looking ahead to the coming 12 months and the challenges they will bring.

"The end of another year can also be a time of reflection, and after three decades of Martin-Kaye Solicitors, I’d like to share the story behind our name.

"The simple answer is that it is the name of the most senior of the three founding partners of the firm – Andrew Green, me, and Niel Martin-Kaye.

"We started the practice from scratch in 1985 and quickly realised that Niel was ahead of his time with his positive approach and forward-thinking style.

"His vision put us ahead of many of our competitors both in terms of the way we use systems and technology, and in our management style.

"And we still continue to benefit from this innovative approach to business today – I’d very much like to think that the culture created in those early days has now been adopted by the younger Partners of the firm.

"Apart from being an original thinker and a man with passion and energy, Niel had the most outrageous and mischievous sense of humour, often providing much-needed inspiration in times of stress and difficulty.

"Sadly Niel died in September 2001 – within around a year of his retirement from the firm – there were few like him, and the name and spirit he gave us all those years ago is the legacy that continues to this very day."

Monday, 21 November 2016

What's your business really worth?

Entrepreneurs considering selling their business need to be realistic about its true value before they put it on the market.

Eliot Hibbert from the Martin-Kaye Corporate Commercial Team said in reality, a business was only worth what someone was willing to pay for it.

“Many small business owners grow attached to their business as they’ve put in so much hard work to develop it – but this can lead to them valuing their companies at a higher level than is sensible. Anyone seriously considering selling their business will need to have realistic expectations about its value before they even think about selling.”

Eliot said there was no single formula that could be used to precisely value every private business – sellers would want to drive the price up and potential buyers would want the opposite.

“Although there are relatively easy ways to value certain parts of the business – such as stock; assets like land, machinery and equipment – there will also be elements of the business that are much more difficult to put a price on.

“These intangible elements include goodwill such as trademarks, branding, key people, the size and quality of the customer base, and the reputation of the company, which are notoriously difficult to value. In many cases, it will come down to how keen a potential buyer is to acquire your business.”

When looking at the overall value of a business, there are a number of different valuation methods that are commonly used from using earnings multiples, to calculating how much it would cost to create a similar business.

“There are outside factors to consider too such as the economic climate as clearly a buyer may be more cautious when buying a business during an economic downturn.

“And on the other hand, when times are good, more companies tend to want to grow by buying other firms and finance is more freely available to help them achieve their aims.

“With more potential buyers in the market, you’re more likely to get a higher price when the economy is booming. So entrepreneurs who are serious about selling their business need to think carefully about the timing and the honesty of the value they’ve put on their company before they take the plunge.”

Friday, 18 November 2016

Honesty is the best policy

Partners must be completely honest about their finances when a relationship ends as the courts will not tolerate anything less.

That’s the warning from Nadia Davis who leads the Martin-Kaye family law team, who welcomed the outcome of a court case involving two women who disagreed over a financial settlement.

One of the women accepted £200,000 when the couple split up, but the case will now be reanalysed by the High Court after she claimed her ex-partner had ‘misrepresented’ the size of her fortune.

“The case confirms that same sex couples have the same rights under family law as heterosexual couples, and the woman will now have the opportunity to open discussions on a fair settlement based on her ex-partner’s true assets,” said Nadia.

“This has got to be the right outcome of a case like this – both parties need to give full and transparent financial information during the proceedings in order to achieve a fair result.

“Honesty about the financial situation of a couple is the bedrock of matrimonial cases and if one partner flouts that, they should expect that the court will punish them by overturning any original payout decision to get to the truth.

“For the court to do otherwise would encourage dishonesty and could create a cheat’s charter that would enable partners to hide their true wealth.

“This ruling clearly sets out the way the courts feel about such a dishonest approach and the steps they’re prepared to take to ensure the truth comes out.”

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Landmark ruling opens flood gates

A landmark tribunal verdict that ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not self-employed has opened the flood gates, according to a Telford solicitor.

The employment tribunal found in favour of two drivers who argued that they were in reality “employed as workers and should benefit from the minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay”.

And now Gemma Workman, who is an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, said the result could bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of similar claims for companies all over the UK.

“This case is one of the biggest in the land of employment law given its implications – it’s as high profile as the British Gas case that ruled commission payments should be included in holiday pay calculations.

“And, just like the British Gas case, the fallout from this ruling is expected to run on for some time.”

Gemma said the ruling meant that Uber drivers would now be classed as workers and would be entitled to paid holiday, a maximum 48-hour working week – subject to an opt out agreement – and the national minimum wage.

“The two drivers were test cases selected by the GMB Union and law firm Leigh Day to represent the claims of 19 Uber drivers – and now, following their success, hundreds more claims are expected to follow.

“The case is important for all kinds of companies across the UK who claim to link freelancers or small businesses with customers and yet say they are not employers themselves.

“Uber has said it will appeal the ruling, but it’s obvious this isn’t over – watch this space,” she said.