News

News, analysis, opinion, research, and events for business law in the UK and international. Please see below a list of categories of news articles available for you to look at.  Please click on the category you see a list of articles and then click on the individual article to see the full text....

Court of Appeal Solves Shipping Contracts Puzzle

ShipIn clearing up a burning contractual issue that has long puzzled shipping lawyers, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the buyers of a $22 million merchant vessel forfeited their 10 per cent deposit on pulling out of the deal. Disputes over the correct interpretation of part of the standard contract most commonly used in the sale of second-hand vessels had previously given rise to conflicting decisions around the world.

 

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Changes to Tax Rules for Community Sports Clubs

Football pitch

The Government has announced changes to the tax reliefs available to Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) which are intended to allow more clubs to benefit from the scheme.

The changes will allow CASCs to earn higher tax-free profits from ancillary services such as bars, cafés and venue hire. Where these services are provided through trading subsidiaries, the subsidiary will be able to donate a larger amount back to the sports club without tax being levied.

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Court Guidance on Health and Safety at Social Events

In an important ruling which gives guidance on health and safety requirements at organised social events, a student who was left wheelchair-dependent after diving into a paddling pool during 'horseplay' at a drama college summer ball has had his compensation hopes dashed by the High Court.

The student suffered a devastating spinal injury when he ran 15 to 20 metres before leaping, on the spur of the moment, into the two-foot-deep inflatable pool.  He sued the college, arguing that it had breached the duty of care it owed him by failing to carry out appropriate risk assessments or take other steps to guard against participants injuring themselves.

However, dismissing the claim, the Court ruled that the college owed no such duty and that, even if it had, the accident was not reasonably foreseeable. The student was himself one of the organisers of the event and no risk assessment would have prevented him from diving into the pool in the 'out of character' way that he did.

Lawyers representing the student argued that the college should have been put on the alert by 'dangerous horseplay' involving the pool that had occurred during the previous year’s ball. A proper risk assessment would have led to diving or jumping into the pool being banned and safety measures being put in place, such as supervision, signs and barrier tapes.

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‘Worker’ Status Survives ‘Watertight’ Contract

In a striking example of even the most ‘watertight’ contract drafting failing to oust the jurisdiction of Employment Tribunals, a scaffolder has successfully argued that, far from being a mere subcontractor, he was a 'worker’ within the meaning of the Working Time Regulations 1998 and thus entitled to holiday pay.

The contract between the scaffolder and the company for which he regularly worked had stated explicitly that he was neither an employee nor a worker. The contract, as well as purporting to make him solely responsible for his own Income Tax and National Insurance, stated that he was entitled to neither holiday nor sick pay.

The company eschewed any first claim on his services; he was told that he could substitute another worker to do his job whenever he pleased and the contract, which purported to embrace every facet of their legal relationship stated in unequivocal terms that he was ‘an independent business on his own account’.

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