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The latest articles and events from Mills & Reeve LLP.

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Unwinding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor has now outlined the tapering of Government support for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the three months prior to its closure at the end of October.

David Mills

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 15:08:39 GMT+00:00

Real Estate - Landlords and tenants – practical tips for the pandemic and beyond

With properties left unoccupied and the June rent quarter-day around the corner, what are the options available to occupiers and landlords? We hope you can join us for this hour long webinar as three of our real estate experts explore the options available during lockdown and provide you with practical insights and advice.

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 15:08:13 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: frequently asked questions

Following a huge take-up following its launch in April, changes to the Scheme to make it more flexible have been recently announced, taking effect in July. From August, employers will have to start contributing to the cost of the Scheme.

Charles Pigott

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 08:57:06 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: charity fund accounting for difficult times

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing charities to take a long, hard look at their finances, as well as requiring some charities to launch emergency fundraising appeals in response to rising demand for their services. This article looks at what funds might be available to charities and what they need to consider.

Neil Burton

Wed, 27 May 2020 14:17:58 GMT+00:00

NHSX Coronavirus Tracing App – “Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself!”

Jagvinder Singh Kang, as part of the debate on contact tracing apps, takes a more positive look at the technology and privacy issues surrounding the Government’s proposed approach - this article by Jagvinder has also been published in the leading technology journal by SCL, Computers & Law

Jagvinder Singh Kang

Wed, 27 May 2020 13:26:50 GMT+00:00

The 2019 LCIA Casework Report

The LCIA reports a record number of new cases being referred to LCIA arbitration in 2019. Its report also highlights the LCIA’s continued progress in the gender and nationality diversity of tribunals being appointed in LCIA arbitrations.

Mark Davison

Wed, 27 May 2020 11:59:59 GMT+00:00

COVID-19 Secure - what are the immediate common interest implications for landlords and tenants of multi-occupancy offices?

The government has set out guidance for employers to ensure the safety of employees returning to work. Whilst it applies where employees cannot work from home, it also acts as a guide for when there is a wider return to office working. Landlords and tenants of multi-occupancy offices will need to carry out full risk assessments addressing the workplace risks of COVID-19.

Patrick Phipps

Tue, 26 May 2020 13:53:08 GMT+00:00

New planning partner joins Mills & Reeve as part of its Manchester real estate team

Mills & Reeve appoint Melanie Grimshaw as planning partner to support the firm’s national planning practice and its burgeoning Manchester real estate team.

Mike Edge

Tue, 26 May 2020 09:26:26 GMT+00:00

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill – Government severely limits ability of creditors to collect debts

As the pandemic gathered pace in March, the government proposed a series of radical reforms to the corporate insolvency regime which have largely remained unaltered for 20 years. We now have details of what those are and they will have a significant impact on creditor and supplier rights.

Lino Di Lorenzo

Fri, 22 May 2020 10:22:29 GMT+00:00

Remote planning committees – temporary solution or a glimpse to the future of decision making?

At the start of April the government introduced new regulations allowing local authorities to hold meetings remotely. We consider whether the new regulations could herald a new era in determination of planning applications during the post-coronavirus recovery period and beyond.

Hannah Edwards

Thu, 21 May 2020 14:47:07 GMT+00:00

Death of sole shareholder-director: business continuity

A recent case highlights the practical difficulties on the death of a sole shareholder-director where a company has the default articles of association known as “Table A” articles.

Tom Amarnani

Wed, 20 May 2020 13:29:22 GMT+00:00

A fishy tale: Property rights in animals

In Borwick Development Solutions Ltd v Clear Water Fisheries Ltd [2020] EWCA Civ 578, the Court of Appeal was tasked with determining the nature and extent of property rights in relation to fish populating a commercial fishery.

Chris Brand

Wed, 20 May 2020 10:15:19 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: our business continuity plan

Mills & Reeve is doing everything it can to ensure it is business as usual.

Justin Ripman

Wed, 20 May 2020 08:34:56 GMT+00:00

Innovate UK Coronavirus scheme details published

Part of the UK Government’s package to support innovative businesses, the targeted support scheme for small and medium sized R&D-intensive companies being offered through Innovate UK has now been set out in detail.

Stephanie Caird

Tue, 19 May 2020 12:54:22 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: appealing a tax bill during the outbreak

HMRC and the tax tribunals are having to make changes to their practices in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read on for our briefing of how to make appeals despite the obstacles posed by social distancing.

Kevin Lowe

Tue, 19 May 2020 09:05:04 GMT+00:00

Government's coronavirus Future Fund opens for business

Hot on the heels of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s, announcement on 20th April, more details of the Government’s coronavirus Future Fund have been announced.

Nina Latham

Tue, 19 May 2020 07:41:36 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: explaining our business continuity plan

Mills & Reeve continues to operate as normal while putting into effect the recommendations outlined in the UK Government’s action plan. We have a stringent business continuity plan in place to ensure this remains the case. Our plan covers continuity of client service, remote working and ensuring that we continue to safeguard and protect our staff and visitors to our offices.

Kirsty Shenton

Mon, 18 May 2020 15:28:32 GMT+00:00

Mills & Reeve complete transaction which sees FairJourney Biologics join forces with Iontas

The collaboration creates a leading global antibody discovery Clinical Research Organisation (‘CRO’) with an international footprint.

Anthony McGurk

Mon, 18 May 2020 11:47:20 GMT+00:00

Insurance - Webinar - Fair Presentation of the Risk

Mon, 18 May 2020 09:30:00 GMT+00:00

Unfurling the lockdown: employer’s health and safety duties

With the Government’s new messaging primarily directed at businesses and their workforce who closed in response to the pandemic, we look at the latest published health and safety guidance on workplaces and travel to work that employers will need to consider.

Duncan Astill

Fri, 15 May 2020 13:11:16 GMT+00:00

Mills & Reeve commits to Mindful Business Charter to foster better working practices for mental health and wellbeing

Mills & Reeve has signed the Mindful Business Charter, joining a wide range of businesses and law firms in a collective commitment to address the avoidable stresses in our working practices to promote healthier and more effective ways of working.

Claire Clarke

Thu, 14 May 2020 15:22:40 GMT+00:00

Mills & Reeve gets a flavour for lockdown deal completion

Mills & Reeve, despite the challenges faced in lockdown, has advised on the acquisition of Create Flavours Limited by Nactarome, an international flavours business backed by Italian private equity house, Ambienta.

Peter McLintock

Thu, 14 May 2020 15:09:20 GMT+00:00

Covid-19 Secure: common interests for landlords and tenants of shopping centres and retail parks

The government has set out a loose timetable for the reopening of currently closed retailers from 1 June. Retailers will need to carry out risk assessments and be “COVID-19 Secure”. Whilst a lot of the focus will be on businesses as employers the retail sector also has to take into account customers. There will be a common interest between landlords and tenants of shopping centres and retail parks. This raises some immediate questions that both landlords and tenants need to be considering.

Dominic Hordern

Thu, 14 May 2020 14:36:30 GMT+00:00

‘Covid-secure’: working safely during coronavirus

The Government published its roadmap on 11 May, outlining a plan for a three stage phased reopening of the country.

Samuel Lindsay

Thu, 14 May 2020 12:28:38 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: Companies House updates

Companies House has issued a number of service updates around filing, late penalties and documentation. Our company secretarial team have summarised the most important updates.

Fiona Bradford

Wed, 13 May 2020 12:34:37 GMT+00:00

Political risk and trade credit insurance – rescheduling and material change in risk

The coronavirus crisis is causing counterparty default on innumerable transactions, some of which is insured by credit insurers. It is vital for insureds to obtain the consent of their insurers to the rescheduling of obligations, or risk losing the protection of their credit policy.

Andrew Tobin

Wed, 13 May 2020 10:12:05 GMT+00:00

What law governs my arbitration agreement? Court of Appeal provides welcome clarification in Enka v Chubb [2020] EWCA Civ 574

On 29 April 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Enka v Chubb which provides welcome clarification on what test should be applied to determine what law governs an arbitration agreement where it is silent (ie the arbitration agreement does not specify which law governs it).

Andrew Tobin

Wed, 13 May 2020 09:38:57 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus lockdown: the end of the beginning

The slight relaxation of social restrictions announced by the Prime Minister in England has not been accompanied by any immediate widening of the range of permitted business activities. That is set to change, but not until June at the earliest.

David Mills

Tue, 12 May 2020 14:56:08 GMT+00:00

The future of retail - what changes will employers in the retail sector have to make in a post-pandemic world

In this article senior associate, Jack Fletcher, looks at what the future might hold for HR professionals in the retail sector.

Jack Fletcher

Tue, 12 May 2020 09:37:37 GMT+00:00

Relief for Multiple Dwelling Relief claims

“Multiple Dwelling Relief” claims have become a significant issue for a number of law firms with conveyancing practices. We look at a recent decision of the First Tier Tribunal which adds to the potential arguments in response to these claims.

Clare Howard

Mon, 11 May 2020 16:11:20 GMT+00:00

Court provides guidance in relation to applications for search and seizure orders

During a bankrupt’s application for orders in relation to a search and seizure order made under section 365 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (“s.365”) the Court firstly clarified the legal principles of s.365 and also provided guidance on how to draft s.365 orders.

Jack Gale

Mon, 11 May 2020 13:42:00 GMT+00:00

Ex parte James jurisdiction broader than unconscionable conduct

Court of Appeal (Civil Division) A creditor of Lehman Brothers entered into a claims determination deed (“CDD”) with Lehman Brothers’ administrators. The deed was in full and final settlement of all claims between the two parties. The amount of the proof was understated as a result of a clerical error made by the administrators and not picked up by the creditor. The creditor applied for directions to the effect that the error should be reversed either under the court's inherent jurisdiction to control its officers (the administrators being officers of the court) as established in Ex parte James or under the court's jurisdiction to prevent unfair harm contained in para 74 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986. The court at first instance refused to make the directions sought and the creditor appealed.

Morgan Bowen

Mon, 11 May 2020 13:23:52 GMT+00:00

A haircut for broad trade mark specifications – Sky v SkyKick

The protection offered by a registered trade mark is defined by the particular goods and services for which it is registered. But how broad can a trade mark specification be? Too narrow and you risk having no control over the use of your brand in closely linked goods or services, and with little wriggle room for protection as you expand your offering. Too broad and you run the risk of having the trade mark registration challenged. A recent court ruling sheds light on how to navigate this difficult area.

Richard Plaistowe

Mon, 11 May 2020 13:15:20 GMT+00:00

The clean hands of an assignee?

The directors of a company were in breach of their fiduciary duties by diverting business to their own company. Further, the misapplication of company assets was dishonest, denying the defendants of the defences of limitation and delay, acquiesce or laches. Whilst it was queried whether the claimant came to court with clean hands, as an assignee of the claims, no equities could be asserted against the claimant such as to deny relief.

Catherine Noble

Mon, 11 May 2020 12:24:19 GMT+00:00

Webinar: Looking beyond the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

At a recent webinar employment partners James Kidd and Richard Santy gave answers to some of the common questions around furloughing and discussed what employers should consider as the scheme comes to an end.

James Kidd

Mon, 11 May 2020 11:06:40 GMT+00:00

Furloughing employees in administration

The Court of Appeal has handed down an important judgment in the Debenhams administration concerning the interaction between the Government’s Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) and the pre-existing insolvency legislation on the adoption of employment contracts.

Neil Smyth

Mon, 11 May 2020 09:23:31 GMT+00:00

A disappointed bidder for an asset in a liquidation will only have standing to complain in the insolvency if they are a creditor or contributory

In Re Stay In Style, the trustees of a family trust sought to set aside a sale of a cottage by the liquidator of the partnership. He had sold the cottage to the trustee in bankruptcy of the partners who had then sold it on to an unconnected party. The cottage was lived in by the trustees’ son and it was occasionally used as an overflow home.

Lino Di Lorenzo

Mon, 11 May 2020 09:02:06 GMT+00:00

Challenging the decision of a trustee in bankruptcy?

An application was made to strike out parts of the Brakes’ (the “Bs’”) application in bankruptcy proceedings.

Jamie Wheatley

Mon, 11 May 2020 08:54:38 GMT+00:00

Fraud proven against bank

The liquidators of the Bilta group of companies brought proceedings against two RBS entities alleging that they had dishonestly assisted and knowingly participated in carbon credit VAT fraud perpetrated by the group’s directors.

Neil Smyth

Mon, 11 May 2020 08:48:22 GMT+00:00

Get it in writing! Lessons to be learned from Freeborn & Goldie v Marcal Architects

The Technology and Construction Court decision in Freeborn & Goldie v Marcal Architects (2019) is a strong reminder of the importance for an architect to agree a clearly defined brief in writing with their client and to keep accurate contemporaneous records of instructions and alterations in the agreed design brief throughout the project.

Jonathan Herne

Thu, 7 May 2020 15:13:06 GMT+00:00

Managing contract disputes during a pandemic

In the current environment many businesses are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to perform their obligations under contracts. This is our checklist for managing potential contract disputes:

Eric France

Thu, 7 May 2020 13:26:56 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus: legal and regulatory issues for the life sciences sector

In the current COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world are turning to businesses and research organisations in the life sciences sector to assist in meeting the challenge. We are seeing new levels of innovation and collaboration around the development, at real pace, of vaccines, diagnostic kits and medical devices, as well as the repurposing of medicines for treatment of COVID-19 and the repurposing of businesses to address current needs based on existing biotech platforms. At the same time, the industry faces numerous difficulties. Supply chains are being disrupted, transport is curtailed and members of staff are unwell or in isolation. We review some of the issues being encountered, and steps that can be taken to reduce risk and exposure to loss. We also consider what steps governments and regulators are taking in response to the crisis.

James Fry

Wed, 6 May 2020 12:35:30 GMT+00:00

Withdrawal of “representative occupier” tax exemption from April 2021

HMRC has announced that its longstanding concession, allowing living accommodation to be provided free of tax to employees who qualify as “representative occupiers”, will be withdrawn from 6 April 2021.

Carrie Ferris

Wed, 6 May 2020 11:48:27 GMT+00:00

The absence of proper PPE. Thinking ahead to potential trouble for those employing frontline workers fighting COVID-19

Stuart Knowles looks at the issues raised by the new guidance from the Chief Coroner: guidance No. 37.

Stuart Knowles

Tue, 5 May 2020 09:50:43 GMT+00:00

Coronavirus bounce back loans

Small businesses in the UK can now apply for so-called “bounce back” loans of up to £50,000. The bounce back loans scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Parliament and the details have been fleshed out over the course of the the beginning of May 2020.

Neil Smyth

Tue, 5 May 2020 09:49:59 GMT+00:00

Mills & Reeve shakes up technology law market with hire of top UK partner to spearhead its national and international services

Mills & Reeve has recruited high-profile, pioneering technology lawyer and founder of Technology Law Alliance, Jagvinder Singh Kang, as its new International Head of IT.

Jagvinder Singh Kang

Mon, 4 May 2020 08:30:00 GMT+00:00

The mid-point of the government’s job retention scheme: what's next?

Businesses have reacted quickly to constantly changing circumstances to adapt to the unprecedented pressures that coronavirus has caused. Many became ‘virtual’ businesses overnight, grappling with the practicality of mass home working and workplace closures.

Andrew Secker

Fri, 1 May 2020 15:08:39 GMT+00:00