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Advantage Litigation News & Updates

From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the firm and to various legal issues that may be of interest to you.

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Recent blog posts

Following a significant number of objections from within the legal profession in 2017, HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) chief executive Susan Acland-Hood has committed to re-introducing a range of pilot schemes to assess the impact of revised and more flexible court hours. This follows feedback on the original consultation in which it became clear that as desirable as it may be, the actual practicalities of extending court operating hours may mean the idea is abandoned altogether.

Recent data compiled by law firm RPC sheds an interesting light on the claims trends in the High Court. The data, covering the 12 months up till 31st march 2017, shows that the most frequent claimants using the High Court were from the Music and Professional Football sectors.

Fizzy drink giant Coca-Cola has recently been allowed to proceed with its EU trade mark application by the EU Intellectual Property Office (the EUIPO). This is the latest stage in a series of legal challenges against Mitico, a Syrian company that also produces soft drinks, mainly for the domestic and Middle-Eastern markets.

In amongst the recent flurry of political activity that resulted in last week’s phase 1 Brexit agreement, solicitors and law firms throughout the UK are generally pleased with the impact that the current direction of travel should have on UK law.

January 2018 will see the second reading in the House of Commons of the Homes (fitness for human habitation and liability for housing standards) bill, sponsored by Labour MP Karen Buck, who is also the chair of the parliamentary group on Legal Aid.

The Private Members bill, which is worked on by various housing specialists including Giles Peaker from Anthony Gold solicitors and Justin Bates from barristers Arden Chambers, is designed to ensure that landlords will have new legal obligations to repair or replace a range of hazards that pose a significant threat to the health and safety of their tenants.

In a conclusion reached earlier this year, the US Supreme Court, in the case Star Athletica LLC v Varsity Brands Inc, has stated that the ‘arrangement of colours, shapes, stripes and chevrons’ present on the cheerleader uniforms designed and manufactured by Varsity Brands are separable from the actual uniforms themselves and can therefore be protected under copyright law.

Ping falls foul of Competition Law

A recent court case has highlighted the legal position regarding sales bans in the rapidly evolving world of consumer
technology and online sales.

Following an investigation into the sports equipment sector, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in June 2016
stated the online sales ban imposed by Ping Europe Ltd, the European arm of the well-known golf club manufacturer, was in
breach of EU and UK competition law.

Casino Wins In Supreme Court Dispute

Phil Ivey, 10 times winner of the World Series Of Poker and one of the world’s best known professional gamblers, has
recently lost his bid to recover £7.7m in winnings from a game of Punto Banco (a Casino card game based on baccarat) that
took place in 2012 at Crockfords Club in London.

The Brexit effect – looming problems with patent and intellectual property law

German intellectual property lawyer Ingve Stjerna has succeeded in a court action which effectively puts the European patent regime on hold, having described the UK’s desire to remain a member of the new system – the Unified Patent Court (UPC) - as ‘astonishing’.

Contracts, Business and Alcohol – not always a good mix

Mike Ashley, Sports Direct boss and owner of Newcastle United football club, emerged victorious from a recent £15m High Court case over an alleged deal made in a pub.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue claimed that he and Ashley had agreed a verbal contract which would see Blue be entitled to a bonus based on the share price performance of retail giant Sports Direct.  Whilst Ashley admitted to making the offer, the very nature of the meeting, its setting (in a Pub) and the large amount of alcohol consumed, meant that it was quite clear that he wasn’t being serious.

F1 celebrity Eddie Jordan to pay indemnity costs

The recent High Court ruling in the phone hacking related case Jordan v MGN Ltd has highlighted the importance of making serious attempts to settle a case as early as possible in the action.

Jordan , 69, a former F1 team boss and current Channel 4 pundit, was involved in  the careers of many F1 World Champions including Michael Schumacher & Damon Hill.

Britains Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has blocked a class action lawsuit against credit card company Mastercard. The class action – which would have been one of the most complex such cases in British legal history – was based on allegations that the credit card giant had, over a 16 year period, overcharged over 40 million people in Britain alone.

Access to Justice – online and simple better than none at all

At a recent and wide ranging speech in London, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger was critical of a range of civil justice and litigation issues including ‘wrong turns’ taken in civil legal aid (or more importantly, lack of civil legal aid) and also the need for “quick and dirty” online dispute resolution (ODR) as at least a workable alternative to either “no justice or absurdly over-priced justice”.

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One of the realities of business life is that disputes will happen, be they with suppliers, contractors, customers or regulators. Whilst litigation and ‘going to court’ may well be your only realistic course of action to resolve business disputes, it can be a costly and time consuming process.  To minimise the need for such legal action in the first place, here are our top 5 business best practice tips suitable for businesses of all sizes.

31 August to 4 September 2015 is UK-China Copyright Week, when UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) representatives together with official from the UK's leading creative firms travel to China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai) to work with the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).

The UK's delegation is being lead by Dr Ros Lynch, who is the UK IPO's Director of Copyright and Enforcement.

The aim of the seven-day high profile international event is to allow dialogue between business, policymakers and government from both countries.

Those found guilty of commercial-scale online copyright infringement may soon face much longer jail terms.

Currently, the offence is only punishable by a maximum jail term of two years but the government in the United Kingdom (UK) has launched a consultation on plans to increase the maximum sentence to ten years.

The proposals, which will increase the sanctions for those who infringe the rights of copyright holders for large-scale financial gain, are designed to ensure the sanctions online copyright offences better match those relating to the copyright infringement of physical goods.

The Law Society of England has reacted to further increases to court fees, which were very recently announced by the UK government, by claiming the move is a 'a further assault on access to justice for individuals and small businesses'.

While the government increased the maximum court fee, which is payable by a claimant to £10,000 in March 2015 – they are now proposing to double this amount to 'at least' £20,000.

Insolvency trade body m R3, has called on the UK Government to reform the collective redundancy process in insolvencies, requesting, in particular, clearer Government as well as change to 'protective award' compensation regime, which means that the taxpayer covers the costs of incomplete redundancy consultations.

Currently insolvent businesses must undertake a 45-day redundancy consultation, when alternatives are to be discussed. This requirement is not practical however, as companies, which are insolvent, often cannot afford to comply – despite wanting to do so.

Electronics payments (i.e. BACS) are now the method of choice for UK SMEs, according to the Close Brothers Business Barometer.

The quarterly study, which gathers opinions from owners/managers across the UK and Ireland, shows that sixty five per cent (65%) of SMEs have stopped using cheques in the last five years; instead making use of electronic payment methods.

Insolvency body, R3's Business Distress Index, shows that 24 per cent of businesses are 'distressed' – which is a record low.

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Latest News

  • New data recently published by the The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) has revealed that complaints made against law firms in the UK have seen a 9% increase based on the previous year. The new data, based on the most recently available figures for 2019, show that there were just under 30,900 ‘first tier’ complaints received, compared to just under 28,300 in 2018. Legal sector analysts have suggested that new changes in transparency laws, introduced at the end of 2018, may have contributed to the higher numbers with law firms now being compelled to publish details of how and when their clients lodge complaints. Overall, Law firms managed to resolve 80% of all complaints themselves, slightly less than 2018 but a big improvement on 2012 data where 71% of complaints were resolved without recourse to the regulator or formal legal proceedings. Delays, advice... Read More

  • Business at all levels is underpinned by contracts. These can range from simple verbal agreements for low value transactions through to complex and detailed written agreements between corporations and governments. To save on the risk of future avoidable legal actions, writing a contract that is suitable for the transaction or agreement is key. A contract is a pledge, between two or more parties (be they individuals or organisations), that is legally binding. It is designed to the fulfilment of commitment in exchange for something of value. Whilst some contracts may be made verbally, there are some that must be in writing, such as for a property transaction. Contracts – why are they important? A contracts is designed to make sure that ensure that your position and interests are protected by law and that both parties understand that there is a clear and... Read More

  • As part of the UK government’s attempts to speed up the processing of claims that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has recently announced the location of the first ten temporary courts.Dubbed ‘Nightingale Courts’ after the emergency intensive care hospitals that were set up in record time during the pandemic’s peak, the new, temporary will hopefully be finished and in use by the end of August. The first such court, at East Pallant House in Chichester, Sussex, is due to open by the start of next week. The new locations opening soon are: • East Pallant House, Chichester – for civil litigation and family cases• Hertfordshire Development Centre, Stevenage – for civil cases• Cloth Hall Court, Leeds – civil trial work and Business and Property cases• Middlesbrough Town Hall – initially civil hearings, later to... Read More