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Employment Tribunal Fees

The Ministry of Justice has published its long-awaited review of the impact of Employment Tribunal (ET) fees, which were introduced in July 2013. Whilst the review does identify some areas for concern, it concludes that, on the whole, the objectives for the introduction of fees – i.e. transferring a proportion of the cost from the taxpayer to users of the...

Annual National Minimum Wage Rates

The Government has published the draft National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which are due to come into force on 1 April 2017. The revised rates are as follows: The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour; The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 21- to 24-year-olds will increase from...

Contract Administrators Must Be Impartial – High Court Cautionary Tale

Employing an impartial contract administrator to oversee major construction projects is vital. In one High Court case where that did not happen, a company was left with an incomplete housing development and an adjudication bill for almost £870,000. The company had engaged a contractor to build 33 flats and three houses. The contract administrator who was...

Inventive Employees and Exceptional Rewards – Court of Appeal Test Case

Companies are entitled to reap the benefits of their employees’ inventiveness – but patent law does require compensation to be paid to those whose ideas make an outstanding contribution to profits. In an important test case, the Court of Appeal analysed the circumstances in which such exceptional rewards are justified. A professor employed by a global...

Wind Turbines Patent Obvious and Invalid Court of Appeal Rules

Patents provide protection and encouragement to inventiveness and novelty, not to obvious developments of others’ ideas. The Court of Appeal made that point in finding invalid a patent in respect of wind turbine arrays. A company had patented a method of operating pitch-controlled wind turbines so as to gradually reduce rotor speeds in high winds in a manner...

Owners of Listed Buildings – Keep Them in Repair Or Else!

Owners of listed buildings are entrusted to keep them in a reasonable state of repair and a failure to do so can have grave consequences. In one case, a woman whose 17th century manor house had fallen into a state of near-dereliction received just £125,000 in compensation following its compulsory purchase. The condition of the architecturally important property...