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Self-Employed IFAs Sued for Alleged Breaches of Restrictive Covenants

Companies are entitled to protect their trading position by insisting that their former workers desist from joining competitors for a reasonable period after their departure. However, balancing such contractual rights against the liberty of workers to earn a living and plan their careers can be a tricky legal exercise. The issue arose in the case of a group of...

Ethereal Internet Businesses as Hard to Pin Down as the Cheshire Cat

Internet businesses operate in the ether and many of them call no country home. In one case involving an alleged online gambling fraud, a High Court judge observed that tracking down their centre of operations can have something of the grin of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat about it. A betting agency had launched proceedings in England against 12 individuals who...

New Enquiry Into Corporate Governance

The focus on corporate governance, always a matter of considerable public interest, has been amplified by events leading up to the recent collapse of retailer BHS and what many see as excessive executive pay. The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee of the House of Commons has commenced an enquiry into corporate governance in the UK which seeks views on on...

The Public Has a Right to Expect Officials to Answer the Phone Promptly

Officials work under pressure but members of the public who they serve have the right to expect that they will answer the phone promptly. A tribunal made that point as it upheld a company’s challenge to a surcharge levied for late payment of VAT. The company had experienced unexpected cash flow problems and its agent had made several attempts to contact HM...

British Gas Smart Meters Roll-Out Survives Patent Infringement Claim

Patent infringement claims can come out of the blue and it is vital before embarking on a business venture to make sure that your plans do not conflict with others’ rights. In a case that illustrated this point, British Gas (BG) saw off one such claim that had the potential to derail proposals to install 16 million smart meters across the country. BG had...

Supermarket Cash Voucher Machines Win VAT Exemption

Thousands of machines have in recent years appeared on supermarket premises which shoppers can use to change the contents of their piggy banks into redeemable vouchers. In an interesting case for the financial services industry, the company that operates them has convinced a tribunal that the service it provides is exempt from VAT. Almost 2,000 of the machines...