Family Court Hearings and the Coronavirus – what you need to know

On 19 March 2020 the most senior Family Court Judge in England and Wales issued new urgent Guidance in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic and how the Family Court will function during this unprecedented and challenging time. If you have a Court hearing in the Family Court then this Guidance will affect you and your case. If you are at all unsure about your position, please contact your representative and we will be happy to help. With immediate effect, most Court hearings will now take place ‘remotely’, i.e. over telephone, video or Skype without any personal attendance at a Court building. The vast majority of cases will be suitable…

Civil Contingencies Act 2004 – What is it, why do we need it and when will it be used?

What is it? The Civil Contingencies Act came into force in 2004 and allows the UK government to make last minute, short term and drastic legislative changes on an unprecedented scale. It requires for organisation in the health system; including local authorities and NHS bodies, to prepare for potentially life changing events and incidents. Section 1 of the act defines an ‘emergency’ as an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom, an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of a place in the United Kingdom or war, or terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security…

The future of legal services – University of Lincoln Students launch project with Sills & Betteridge to understand the experience of individuals and businesses when purchasing legal services and gain insights on attitudes to online services.

A team of students participating in the University’s Graduate Skills Builder programme have been tasked with undertaking research by Sills & Betteridge Solicitors. The team of students are launching an online survey today which is aimed at both individuals and business to gain a better understanding of experiences of and attitudes towards the legal services market. The survey also addresses online legal services to understand what, if any, online services people and businesses use and what online services they may wish to see made more widely available. You can complete the survey by clicking on this link (The survey is anonymous): https://unioflincoln.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bazPTwC90BRMdcp Andy Kerrigan a partner at Sills & Betteridge…

Raising Business Finance – Debt versus Equity

In order to expand, it’s necessary for business owners to tap financial resources which typically fall into two categories – Debt or Equity. In this article, Neil Large, Corporate Partner, explores the pros and cons of each. Debt financing: Involves borrowing money to be repaid plus interest, while Equity involves raising money by selling an interest in your company. Debt also has a set time when the finance must be paid back, a set interest rate, and typically fixed or variable payments (capital and interest) that that need to be met each month. Many entrepreneurs prefer to use debt funding to facilitate business growth as there are no hidden costs…

UBER DRIVERS HELD TO BE EMPLOYEES: The landmark French ruling

The French Court ruled on 05 March 2020 that Uber drivers are ‘employees’, not self-employed independent contractors, as referred to in Uber’s terms and conditions. Although technically this powerful ruling is limited to French law, the Court conducted a thorough analysis of Uber’s business model, which applies internationally. It is highly likely to be considered by the UK Supreme Court during Uber’s appeal regarding the legal employment status of UK drivers this summer. The ruling emphasises that when looking at the question of employment status, courts are eager to look beyond contractual and regulatory assertions and look to what actually happens in practice between the parties. The ruling can be…

Where can electric scooters be used?

With the increased popularity of electric scooters (e-scooters), there have been many questions about where you can ride them? Here is a quick guide. Firstly, e-scooters are not to be confused with electric bikes. Electric bikes can be used anywhere that you would use a normal pedal bike, provided you are over 14 years of age and that the maximum power output of the bikes motor is 250 watts and the maximum speed is 15.5 mph. E-scooters however are subject to all sorts of restrictions, which I shall now explain; Firstly, the law (section 34 Road Traffic Act 1988) prohibits any mechanically propelled vehicles from using footpaths, bridleways or restricted…

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes for East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service

Yesterday I participated, along with some other staff members, in the ‘walk a mile in their shoes’. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and everyone was in good spirits. The walk is to remember those who have been victims of domestic abuse and who have lost their lives as a result. When we reached our end point, we all gathered in a restaurant. The ladies who work for East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service (ELDAS) worked tirelessly to put on a display to remember those who have passed. I know from working with victims of domestic abuse for 15 years that it is very dark. I have heard…

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Key Points for Employers by Stephen Britton, Employment Law Solicitor [Part 3 of 3]

What if an employer needs to close the workplace? It has been reported that some employers have taken steps to close the workplace as a result of the coronavirus. Whilst this may work for some employers, for the large majority of employers, this is not possible. If an employee with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close. Indeed, Public Health England (‘PHE’) advises even if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus, they do not recommend closing the workplace. However, the local (PHE) health protection team (which can be located on GOV.UK) should be notified and will liaise with the employer to advise them on…

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Key Points for Employers by Stephen Britton, Employment Law Solicitor [Part 2 of 3]

What measures should employers implement? Employers should take steps to ensure that managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case an employee develops the virus. Employers should find out if employees have any plans to travel to affected areas, whether for business or pleasure, and consider whether such travel is necessary. If it transpires that employees are travelling to such areas, employers are encouraged to keep note of this to ensure they are prepared should any issues arise on their return to work. The guidance produced by ACAS sets out what employers…

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Key Points for Employers by Stephen Britton, Employment Law Solicitor [Part 1 of 3]

The pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Heath Organisation and is estimated to have affected over 87,000 people globally. With new cases of coronavirus being announced almost daily, reports of offices being closed due to the risk to employees and the UK risk level currently identified as moderate, employers should be considering what steps they can take in order to protect the health and safety of employees in the workplace. ACAS has issued workplace specific guidance for both employers and employees, which can be found in full at https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus, but we have summarised the key features in this…