Employment Law: What’s to come in 2020?

2020 looks to be a big year for employment law. Brexit is due to go ahead on 31 January 2020. There will be a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which EEA Nationals will still be able to come to work in the UK. Employers should ensure that EEA Nationals obtain settled or pre-settled status, to enable them to stay at the end of the transition period. EEA Nationals resident in the UK have until 30th June 2021 to make an application. From April 2020… The National Living Wage rate, for workers aged 25 and over, will increase from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour. All new employees and workers…

Family Mediation: Conversations worth having

Press Release 17.01.2020 When relationships break down, families face a lot of challenges. Among these are practical considerations such as “What arrangements will be best for any children?” and “What will happen with finances?” Professional family mediators act as neutral third parties to help ex-partners have conversations about these issues. Survey results just published show that this is a highly successful way of helping couples resolve disputes, with mediation successful in over 70% of cases. The survey also shows that where both of the people separating go and see a mediator for an initial meeting, three quarters choose to go on to mediate. This is despite the fact that many…

Child Maintenance Service – What you need to know

Both parents have a responsibility to meet the costs of raising their child and this does not end when the relationship ends. Even if a parent is not spending time with their child, they have a legal obligation to provide financial assistance in the form of child maintenance. Child maintenance can either be agreed privately between you and the other parent or alternatively it can be set through the Child Maintenance Service which is a government scheme. Additionally, some parents may have entered into an agreement about child maintenance through a court document known as a ‘consent order’. This short article will focus on the Child Maintenance Service. The estimated…

Can you be convicted of an offence without your knowledge?

Sadly, the answer to the above question is yes and this article explains why it is becoming more common. In a move by the government to speed up high volume cases, such as minor motoring and TV licence offences, the Single Justice Procedure (SJP) was brought into effect in 2015. The SJP consists of a single magistrate who will typically impose a fine, and in motoring offences they can in addition impose penalty points on your driving licence and periods of disqualification from driving. If you receive a SJP Notice, you must respond with your guilty or not guilty plea within the 21 days of the notice. If you do…

The end of “no fault” evictions – Part 2 by Robert Pearson

In a previous article, Is this the end of no-fault eviction notices?, I considered the possible impact of the Government’s proposed abolition of so-called “no fault” evictions under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. In July 2017 , the Government has published further details of its proposals in a consultation boldly headed “A New Deal for Renting”. By way of a reminder, Section 21 of the 1988 Act currently allows landlords to serve notice on a tenant without giving a formal reason for evicting them (hence the reference to Section 21 Notices as “no fault” evictions). In the Government’s consultation paper “Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies in the…

The relationship is over, can I be forced to leave the family home?

Well this all depends on whether you are married or not. For the purposes of this article, any reference to marriage also includes civil partnerships. Upon separation from any relationship, one of you will inevitably have to leave the family home which can lead to stress and uncertainty. So what can you do? If the family home is owned in joint names between you and your partner, both of you have the right to occupy the property and to come and go as you please. An individual’s right to occupy their property can only be overridden by a Court Order (sometimes called an ‘Occupation Order’) and/or bail conditions imposed by…

Late payments – what you need to know

Anyone involved in a business providing goods or services on a credit basis is likely to deal with late payment from time-to-time. This has a number of effects, including:     Annoyance and irritation; Cash-flow – unless you are in the happy position of having substantial “spare” cash, most businesses rely on payments coming in to meet their outgoings, at least in part; Commercial pressure – particularly if your customer is much larger than you, they may try to leverage other concessions by delaying payment; Cost and/or inconvenience in pursuing the payment; and Ultimately, if the sum is big and/or late enough, a risk of insolvency. I have seen several…

Commercial Agents – what you need to know

Commercial agents are generally used by businesses as an alternative to traditionally employed salespeople. In this case, the business is known as the “principal”. Commercial agents are independent people who do one of two things, usually in exchange for commission: sign customers up to a contract between the customer and the principal; or introduce the customer to the principal, for the principal to then decide whether to sign up to a contract with the customer. There are certainly some advantages to using commercial agents. They allow a business greater flexibility in some circumstances than employing salespeople, and can allow businesses to expand into regions or countries that would not be…

Shareholders’ Agreements – what you need to know

Most companies are formed between people who, at the time of formation, are on good terms – otherwise they probably wouldn’t be going into business together! Accordingly, there is often an optimistic view taken that there is no need to document the relationship and agreement between the parties – on the basis that “We won’t fall out”. It is however a sad fact of life that, no matter how close people are at the start of a business venture, friends/family/associates do not always maintain such a rosy relationship forever. This is particularly the case where a business gets into challenging or otherwise critical situations, with the stress that naturally follows.…

Family Mediation: Everything you need to know

If you’ve made the decision to separate, divorce or are facing divorce proceedings because your spouse has stated their intention to end the marriage, you might be wondering what first steps you could take to get through this difficult process as quickly and amicably as you can. Family mediation is where an independent, trained professional helps provides a couple with the assistance they need to reach their own solutions regarding children, property and finance without having to involve the Court. What is the process? Financial matters When there are money and property matters to be tackled mediators can help couples, in a neutral way, work out the terms of a…