Commercial know how

Tesco’s Booker buyout is bad news for shoppers

The watchdog is failing to consider the role of potential competition in Britain’s narrowing grocery sector, writes Stephen Hornsby This article originally appeared in the The Brief, the legal supplement by The Times. It cannot be right for eight companies in the UK to account for 80 per cent of retail grocery sales — and yet, […]


Alcohol and Late Night Refreshment Figures

The latest Government figures for alcohol and late night refreshment licences are out. Two points stand out for me. First, the ongoing climb in the number of premises licences suggests a general resilience in the sector, which is encouraging.  Challenges obviously remain, broad figures should be approached with caution, and there are still pockets of […]

Brexit report on “justice for families, individuals and businesses”

The House of Lords EU Committee has published a report about the effect of Brexit on three EU Regulations which together ‘play an important role in facilitating the daily operation of the European legal system’. Jonathan Haydn-Williams looks at the Committee’s conclusions as to the Brussels I Regulation ‘recast’, relating to jurisdiction and judgments in civil […]


Dispute resolution in a future EU / UK trade “deal”: what are the likely costs of avoiding indefinite European Court of Justice jurisdiction?

In most commercial negotiations, discussions about dispute resolution procedures are usually left until last. The parties don’t like to poison negotiations by talking about how they resolve disputes before they even reach agreement. But the future resolution of disputes in any eventual EU/UK agreement has exercised both sides already in the embryonic negotiations. This is […]

Lessons for the food and restaurant trade from the Fabric case

The high profile closure of Fabric, and recent resolution to enable it to re-open, may seem a far cry from the average retail food offering. Much of it was! However, there are some important points to take on board, which are applicable more widely. First of all, know your permitted hours and conditions. All those […]


The Confirmation Statement

On the 30 June 2016, the annual return was replaced by the new Confirmation Statement (form CS01). This reform was intended to reduce the administrative burden involved with submitting the annual return, but has also resulted in some confusion over the practicalities of the new rules. In this article we unpack the requirements of the […]

High Court rules software = goods in commercial agency relationship

The question of whether software constitutes goods or services has always been problematic.  The answer can determine if and when certain terms are implied into a commercial contract, which in turn may have significant financial consequences for the losing party in a dispute. This was illustrated most recently in the High Court case of The […]


Why Britain’s current semi-detachment from EU Competition principles could become complete post Brexit

Much of the speculative commentary on Brexit and its implications for competition law has adopted “a business as usual” analysis.  It is said that we are bound to follow EU law while we are members and that it is likely that competition law based on the EU/EEA model will kick in once we leave – […]

Ownership of ‘Old Flo’: Tower Hamlets LBC v Bromley LBC

In Tower Hamlets LBC v Bromley LBC [2015] EWHC 1954 (Ch) the court was called on to determine the legal owner of a 1957 Henry Moore sculpture known as ‘Draped Seated Woman’ or, more affectionately, ‘Old Flo’. Inspired by Moore’s experience as an official war artist in London during the second world war, Old Flo […]


Significant changes to company law in the UK, Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

The government’s aim in introducing the Act is to enable small businesses to innovate, grow and compete. The hope is also that internationally it will endorse the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business. The Act received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and is set to have a significant impact on […]

Legal Update: Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc

Last month, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Vidal-Hall and Others v Google. The appeal was only on preliminary issues and it looks like there will be a subsequent appeal before the substantive matter reaches trial. However, this decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on UK data protection and privacy law. […]


Intellectual Property Act 2014: A Summary of the Key Provisions

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 (IPA 2014) came into force on 1 October 2014. It aims to modernise copyright law and help designers and patent-holders protect their IP. It is hoped that the changes will support business innovation and bring clarity to the scope of protection afforded by design rights. Many of the changes will […]

Liquidators, Trustees in Bankruptcy and Administrators BEWARE: ATE Premiums & CFA Success Fees will Soon be Non-Recoverable in Insolvency Proceedings

This note is relevant to liquidators, trustees in bankruptcy and administrators (“office holders”) who have, or may have, claims which, prior to April 2015, they ought – or wish – to bring against any third party on behalf of the company or bankrupt individual to recover money or property for the benefit of creditors. A […]


US Supreme Court rules in Aereo TV Copyright Case

US broadcasters have won an important battle in their efforts to prevent an unlicensed service from providing online real-time streaming of their broadcasts. The Facts On 25 June 2014, the US Supreme Court delivered a pivotal judgment in American Broadcasting Companies v Aereo, tackling the question as to whether or not Aereo, a technology company […]

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill – Corporate Governance: Proposals that all UK companies should be aware of

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was introduced to Parliament by the government in June 2014. Drafted in response to the 2013 BIS discussion paper ‘Transparency & Trust: Enhancing the transparency of UK company ownership and increasing trust in UK business’, the Bill sets out a number of proposals which, once implemented, will have […]


New changes in consumer protection law now in force

If you supply goods or services to consumers, you should be aware of the significant changes brought about by the new consumer laws made on 13 June 2014 as you may need to act now. On 13 June 2014, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (the “Regulations”) came into force. The […]

FCA Imposes New Regulation on Crowdfunding

The Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) published a Consultation Paper in October 2013 regarding its proposed regulatory approach to crowdfunding over the internet and the promotion of what the FCA calls “non-readily realisable securities” (i.e. an unlisted share or debt security with no, or a very limited, secondary market). The comments to the Consultation Paper have […]


CRAR: A New System For The Recovery of Commercial Property Rent Arrears Is Now In Force

Background As of 6 April 2014 and as part of wider reforms introduced by the Government the ancient common law right of distress for rent has now been abolished and replaced by a new statutory procedure known as Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery or CRAR. The common law regime of distress was a self-help remedy previously […]

A New Competition And Markets Authority: But No New Dawn For Public Competition Law Enforcement In The UK

With a certain amount of trumpeting, the new Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) came into existence on 1 April – thus merging the OFT and the Competition Commission. The CMA has the largest annual budget (£52m) of any competition law enforcement agency in Europe – so much will be expected of it. Unfortunately, any reform […]


The Corporate Veil And Its Piercing As Clear As…?

Introduction The issue of piercing the corporate veil has recently come under the spotlight. However, the recent cases have sometimes been decided in a way that is not entirely consistent and this has caused uncertainty. They can have important application both for individuals in the way that they structure their affairs and companies, particularly international […]

Copyright: Hyperlinking And The Right Of Communication To The Public

Svensson and others v Retriever Sverige AB Overview Linking is the practice of posting clickable links on the internet which lead to content posted elsewhere. Under s20 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”), it is prohibited to communicate to the public by electronic transmission the whole or a substantial part of a […]


Penalty Clauses in Commercial Agreements Following El Makdessi v Cavendish Square Holdings

It is common for parties to commercial agreements to agree mechanisms for resolving breaches of their agreement without having to resort to legal proceedings. Typically this is done by incorporating provisions, such as forfeiture or compulsory buy-back clauses, into a contract which are activated upon one party’s breach of its terms. In such a situation, […]

Should Merger Control Be Repatriated To The UK (And All Other Member States)?

Since 2012, the Government has been conducting an audit of EU powers (or “competences” to use the jargon) with a view to seeking whether their repatriation to the UK in appropriate cases.  In a recent consultation, it has got round to asking interested parties on about the current division of regulatory responsibilities between Brussels and […]


Nestlé v Cadbury: registering a colour as a trademark

Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Cadbury UK Limited [2013] EWCA Civ On 4 October 2013 the Court of Appeal decision in Nestlé’s challenge to Cadbury’s registration of a shade of purple as a trademark for their chocolate products gave careful consideration to the application of Article 2 of the Trade Marks Directive 2008/95/EC. Registration […]

Consumer Protection Strengthened Against Misleading or Aggressive Trading Practices

On 06 August 2013 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the Draft Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (the “Draft Regulations”) for scrutiny. According to BIS, unfair consumer practices incur a cost to the economy of around £3.3 billion a year and 60% of the population has fallen victim to […]


Negotiating Contracts: Why “Subject To Contract” Matters

The importance of creating clarity of intentions during the negotiation process of any contract has been reiterated in a recent decision by the High Court. The regulation of negotiating contracts has long centred on the concept of the parties’ intentions and whether one or both are intent on creating a legal relationship. It is important […]

…By Any Other Name – Mistaken Identity in Contract Law

In the case of Derek Hodd Limited v Climate Change Capital Limited the High Court has delivered a significant judgment which may assist those who fall victim to the consequences of mistaken identity. It is common for businesses to use trading names which bear little or no resemblance to the names of the legal entities […]


domain-name.revolution?

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, the professional body for domain name registration) launched the new generic top level domain (gTLD) programme to permit the introduction of new top level domains on the internet. The move, which has attracted much publicity, will allow web addresses to end in a whole range of new domains (such as .app, .sport, .accountant) beyond the likes of .com, .co.uk and .net.

Financial Promotion – Key Considerations for Private Companies Seeking Investment

A summary of the key considerations for private companies seeking investment.


Ofcom will Lose Competition Enforcement Powers

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently going through Parliament will merge the OFT with the Competition Commission creating the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) and in so doing will broadly align the UK enforcement of competition law with systems in continental Europe such as DG Comp and the German cartel office. In the little noticed clause 45, the new CMA will have the power to insist that Ofcom hands over responsibility of a given competition matter to it.

ECHR – its Growing Influence on Substantive Competition Law

To date, the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR) on competition law has mostly been confined to procedural matters. For example, Article 6 provisions in ECHR that recite a number of fundamental rights of defence, have often been invoked by companies that have been found guilty of competition law infringements on the grounds that these rights were ignored by the EC Commission. Although these challenges have generally been unsuccessful, it is now accepted that Article 6 rights apply not only to criminal proceedings in the classic sense, but can be used by companies subjected to regulatory fines.


The Art of Crowdfunding

With the arts’ increased use of pledge/reward crowdfunding to help fund public projects, what pitfalls must artists, dealers and investors avoid if they wish to monetise their investment?

Design Copyright Reform: The Hargreaves Process Bears Further Fruit?

In all the excitement about the (not very significant) changes to digital copyright law brought about by the Hargreaves process, commercially significant changes to UK Design Law have been overlooked