By Nic Hart
The High Court have held in Duchy Farm Kennels v Steels that an employer cannot avoid paying out on a settlement where an employee is in breach of a confidentiality clause, unless confidentiality is genuinely a condition of the agreement.
Here, the employer agreed to pay the employee a settlement sum in instalments in full and final settlement of the employee’s employment tribunal claims. The COT3 agreement also included:
- a clause under which the parties agreed to treat the fact of and the terms of the agreement as strictly confidential (‘the confidentiality clause’); and
- a warranty that the employee had not previously disclosed the facts and terms of the agreement to any other person.
The employer subsequently did not pay the final instalment, and the (now former) employee issued proceedings for payment. The employer sought a declaration that the sums were no longer recoverable on the basis of breach of the confidentiality clause in the agreement. Continue reading “High Court Rules On The Effect Of Confidentiality Clauses In A Settlement Agreement”
By Sam Pearse
On 20 April the United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would launch the Future Fund as part of the British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The Future Fund is intended to provide support to the UK’s innovative companies with good potential, for which we might read start-ups, growth companies or emerging companies. The Future Fund was launched on 20 May. This alert summarises the scheme, eligibility and the application process.
What financing is available?
Continue reading “Covid-19: The Future Fund for Financing of Innovative UK Companies”
By Linda Crow
On 14 May 2020, the UK Government extended the temporary suspension of wrongful trading liability until 30 June 2020.
On 28 March this year, the Government announced that it would “at the earliest opportunity“ introduce legislation, retrospective to 1 March 2020, to relax the insolvency rules which can make directors of limited liability companies potentially liable if they continue to trade and incur liabilities when they knew or ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding an insolvent liquidation or administration.
The relaxation of the wrongful trading rules is to give directors confidence to do all that they can to continue trading during the pandemic emergency, knowing that they have no threat of personal liability should the company subsequently fall into an insolvency procedure.
The current laws relating to fraudulent trading and directors’ disqualification continue in full force and effect. Continue reading “COVID-19: Insolvency & The UK Gov’s Temporary Suspension of Wrongful Trading Liability”
Many hope to see an expansion in areas that stimulate growth in a more environmentally friendly manner
By Drew D. Salvest & Natalie A. Stewart
While the world is currently focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, with “COVID-19 Bond” issuance easily outdistancing the current volume of green financing, it is time to consider post-COVID-19 activities. One positive effect of the pandemic is the demonstrable improvement of carbon levels and other environmental measures. So, as national governments consider measures to reopen their economies, lenders and borrowers may want to consider how best to finance the economies’ reemergence. Many hope to see an expansion in areas that stimulate growth in a more environmentally friendly manner.
In this context, loan market groups including the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA), Loan Market Association (LMA) and Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) have recently published guidance to market participants on how to apply the Green Loan Principles (GLP) and Sustainability Linked Loan Principles (SLLP) in practice. The aim of the guidance is to develop the market for green financing, following the publishing of the GLP in March 2018 and the SLLP in March 2019.
The key difference between green loans and sustainability linked loans is that green loans place greater significance on the use of proceeds for green projects, whereas sustainability linked loans look to the sustainable nature of the borrower measured against specific targets. Loans can follow both the GLP and SLLP, but are rarely seen in the current market.
Further guidance has been given on the following aspects: Continue reading “New Guidance Documents on Green Loan Principles and Sustainability Linked Loan Principles for a Post-COVID-19 World”
By Vijay Bange
Throughout the lockdown in the UK, the construction industry has been allowed to remain open for business providing that compliance with the Public Health England measures is maintained. However, most national house builders at least had taken a decision to close sites. Boris Johnson on Sunday 10th May, in his long awaited press briefing on the potential relaxation of social distancing road map, made clear that those in construction and manufacturing should go back to work, if they could.
The distancing restrictions will require those at sites to plan their works to ensure compliance with the still in force social distancing measures, and to also consider that other safety requirements also need to be put in place. Adherence to safety at work guidance remains paramount. Sites will be a different place to how they were before. The net effect will be that works may take longer, and potentially there will be risks of delays to delivery of projects. Contractors will need to do what they can to mitigate this risk. Continue reading “Open All Hours – Greater flexibility with site opening hours for UK construction”
By Vijay Bange
“Lean Isn’t for Lockdown, It’s for Life” was a thought provoking treatise by my fellow partner at Duane Morris, Alexander Geisler (London office co-head, author, journalist and creator of the Lean Law Suite of lean practice methods). He discussed how our “New Norm” in the COVID-19 era is forcing industries to adopt Lean Thinking principles to work efficiently and effectively. This paper seeks to consider the extent to which these concepts are applicable to the UK construction & engineering industry.
Lean Thinking as a concept has its roots in Toyota’s production system. One of the primary tenets of this concept is to aim to perfect process, as continuous improvements address root causes of quality issues, and the elimination of waste. Continue reading “UK Construction & Engineering: Lean Thinking Re-Visited”
By Nic Hart
This UKGov guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who:
- continue to work
- have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
This guidance should not be treated as legal advice. Employers and workers should always check individual contracts and if necessary seek independent legal advice.
Almost all workers, including zero-hour contracted workers and those on irregular hours contracts, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. The exception is those who are genuinely self-employed. Continue reading “COVID-19: UKGov Holiday Pay and Entitlement Guidance”
By Nic Hart
Following on from the Prime Ministers statement on Sunday evening (May 10th), setting out the next phase -Stay Alert- there was a general reaction of uncertainty about how this will translate for employers and employees in practical terms.
In the time since the Prime Ministers statement we have now had a number of Guidance documents released regarding how workers will be kept safe, which is fundamental to implementing a return to work which will have industry and union support. I have given an overview of the new Guidelines and Guidance below, however I am aware that there will be sector specific queries as this Guidance is implemented which I am happy to discuss as required.
The first of the guidance was the Government paper- OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published yesterday -May 11th, which dealt with the work place in general terms. This advised that from Wednesday May 13th and for the “foreseeable future”; Continue reading “Staying ‘COVID-19 Secure’: Analysing UKGov’s Back-To-Work Guidance”
By Steve Nichol and Matthew Friedlander
Last week we discussed, in light of the encouragement from Robert Jenrick MP (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) for the construction industry to remobilise, the government’s apparent reluctance to provide confidence and clarity for the construction industry in respect of the safe operation of sites.
In the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 10 May 2020, he re-stated that encouragement for the construction industry, where possible, to return to work. Continue reading “Remobilising UK Construction needs Guarantees, not Guesswork- Part 2”
On 7 May 2020 the UK Government published its “Guidance on responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the COVID-19 emergency”. Here are some of the key points arising and our analysis of the same.
It is not mandatory. The Guidance repeatedly stresses that the Government is merely strongly encouraging compliance with the Guidance, rather than suggesting that it is or should be mandatory. However, as with previous policy announcements by the UK Government, it seems likely that public and local authorities, and indeed potentially companies such as Network Rail who are exercising delegated governmental authority, will be compelled to give greater regard and attention to the Guidance than the private sector. Continue reading “COVID-19: Review of the UK Government’s Guidance on Responsible Contractual Behaviour”