A party to a legally binding agreement, however informal the circumstances, should ensure they know exactly who they are contracting with, otherwise they may be unable to recover compensation or pursue any other remedy if things go wrong, as a recent case shows.
Legal Alert - October 2018
A monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.
Case law: Independent contractor found to be an employee, so intellectual property rights in his work belonged to his client
Contractors required to carry out work personally for a business client should ensure they are genuinely working for the business as an independent contractor, not as an employee, or risk the intellectual property rights (IPR) in their work automatically belonging to their client.
Case law: Employer's unreasonable behaviour can affect ability to enforce post-termination restrictions
Employers seeking to enforce post-termination restrictions in employees' contracts of employment should act proportionately, reasonably and fairly - or they will not be successful, a ruling makes clear.
New law: Employers can no longer automatically carry out criminal conviction checks on prospective employees
Employers should check if they may still automatically carry out blanket criminal conviction checks lawfully on prospective new employees, now that the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 are in force.
Case law: Unauthorised copying of another website's content infringes copyright, says European Court
Webmasters should ensure that no images or other content on their websites have been taken from other sites without permission, as this amounts to copyright infringement.
Case law: Trade mark objection less likely to be successful if consumer likely to pay 'heightened attention' when buying the relevant goods or services
Trade mark owners planning to object to another trader's application to register an identical or similar trade mark should take into account whether the relevant goods or services are such that a consumer would pay 'heightened attention' when buying them, as this can reduce the likelihood of a successful objection.
Case law: Court gives guidance on which employee to dismiss when working relationships between employees break down
Employers will welcome a Court of Appeal decision which will help them decide which employee to dismiss in cases of major breakdown in working relationships between employees, where the behaviour of neither amounts to gross misconduct justifying summary dismissal - but the employees cannot work together.
Parties to commercial agreements, including leases, should ensure the contract documents and any amendments are drafted by a specialist professional, even in what may seem relatively low-value transactions, otherwise they risk potentially disastrous consequences, as a recent case makes clear.
Case law: Employer rejects charity 'bank worker' claim that she is an employee and cannot be unfairly dismissed
Businesses and other organisations using 'bank workers' should ensure it is clear from the contracts entered into with them whether or not such workers are employees, to avoid the risk of unexpected claims - such as unfair dismissal.
Case law: Court clarifies when will-maker has treated someone as a 'child of the family', and can claim against their estate
Neighbours, friends and others claiming they should have been remembered in someone's will, because the will-maker considered them a 'child of the family', must show the will-maker had assumed the position of a parent to succeed in a claim. Merely using words such as 'honorary daughter' is not enough.
Disclaimer: These publications from Atom Content Marketing are for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.