Home > Legal Opinions from July 2011


  • When is a contractor not a contractor?

    Hayley Roberts

    In order to determine whether an individual is an employee or self-employed contractor it is necessary to look at what both parties agreed. This is typically reflected in the written terms of a contract, but may not be. In Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher, 20 valeters described themselves as self-employed, paid their own tax, purchased their […]

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  • First cull of “crackers” regulations

    Fiona Carter

    Yesterday the Business Secretary Vince Cable announced proposals in relation to the first results from the Red Tape Challenge. The Government plans to scrap or simplify around 160 out of the 257 regulations reviewed in relation to retail firms. The proposals include: removing the requirement of alcohol licences to sell chocolate liqueurs reducing the age […]

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  • Are disruptive students about to increase?

    Dai Durbridge

    The Department for Education (“DfE”) yesterday published statistics for 2009/2010 in relation to the number of pupil exclusions. The statistics show that 5,740 pupils were excluded permanently from primary, secondary and special schools during this period with there being as many as 331,380 fixed period exclusions. The DfE calculate that 900 children a day are […]

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  • Lucasfilm sees that dark side of the Supreme Court

    Ryan Harrison

    A prop designer engaged by Lucasfilm to manufacture Stormtrooper helmets for the first Star Wars film has recently won his copyright battle to continue selling replicas in the UK. The first issue addressed by the Supreme Court was to confirm that the Stormtrooper helmet was not a “sculpture” and therefore not an “artistic work”. Under […]

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  • Groceries Code Adjudicator – why are we still waiting?

    Fiona Carter

    The BIS Committee tasked with scrutinising the draft Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill today published its report “Time to bring in the referee?”. The report confirms the need for an Adjudicator but suggests various changes to the Bill, namely: the power to impose fines from the outset, as opposed to having the power only to “name […]

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  • What’s happening to teacher discipline?

    Hayley Roberts

    Following the abolition of the General Teaching Council for England, (GTCE), a consultation document detailing proposed changes to the teacher disciplinary and induction regulations have been released. As well as dispensing with a register for teachers, another of the proposed features is for employers to decide which cases of ‘serious misconduct’ to refer to the […]

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  • Have your say on local authority children’s services

    Sarah Erwin-Jones

    Today sees the launch of a consultation on changes to the inspection of local authority children’s services. Ofsted’s announcement flags the “No Notice” element of the scheme and reports that it is proposed inspection will include direct observation of services in action, including interactions with children and families. Inspection will also consider whether the quality […]

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  • Pretty woman or digital manipulation?

    Dmitrije Sirovica

    The cosmetic giant L’Oreal has been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority to stop using pictures of Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington upholding a complaint that the images were overly airbrushed. The complaint came from Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, a long standing campaigner against unrealistic images of women in advertising. Swinson is claiming […]

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  • Tragic accident or negligence? The court decides

    Jonathan Cook

    An army officer’s claim for damages for personal injuries sustained during a formal adventurous training exercise has been dismissed by the court. As the leaders of the group crossed a rugged terrace there was a rock fall from the area where they had reached. One of the group was struck on the head by a […]

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  • Insurance time-bar clause – when is a claim not a claim?

    Jonathan Newbold

    “It makes no sense to think that an insured may have become time-barred in a claim … before … he has any cause of action to bring it”. Sounds obvious but that wasn’t the High Court’s approach when it upheld a time-bar clause in McILroy. The public liability policy provided that the insured must refer […]

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  • Restrictions to student visas – at what cost?

    Dawn Lobley

    Recent changes in the student immigration points-based system have caused controversy in the education sector and MPs are accusing the government of rushing plans to curb student visas, saying it could cost the economy £3.4bn. Tighter restrictions for student visa applicants already mean tougher English language requirements and students at public sector FE colleges are […]

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  • Further education teachers in dispute over IfL’s membership ...

    Dai Durbridge

    The University and College Union (UCU) has threatened legal action if the Institute for Learning (IfL) are to go ahead with proposed plans to lapse membership for those who refuse to pay a new £38 membership fee. Under current regulations, all Further Education teachers must be members of the IfL, but the UCU contends that […]

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  • Threatening reform?

    Giles Parsons

    In its eleventh programme of reform, the Law Commission has announced it will consider reforming the laws relating to groundless threats. Currently, groundless threats of trade mark, design or patent litigation can be causes of action themselves. Sabre rattling should obviously be discouraged, particularly as just the threat of infringement can be enough to make […]

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  • High Court presses “pause” in dispute over TVCatchup

    Laura Phillips

    The dispute between broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Five and online streaming company TV Catchup has been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). TVCatchup provides a quasi-live service, relaying free-to-air TV channels to UK members. ITV (etc) claimed that this infringed their copyright by “communicating to the public”, by electronic transmission, their films […]

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  • No TUPE transfer for changes in care provision

    Hayley Roberts

    The EAT has decided that there was no TUPE transfer where residents of a care home were discharged home from the care of an NHS Trust, and who received support from two independent service providers who help residents live independently in their own homes. This contrasted with the care provided previously by the trust, where […]

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  • Badger cull to combat bovine TB

    Richard Barlow

    Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, has announced today that the government will back a widespread cull of badgers in south-west England, to help fight bovine TB. The government knows that it is certain to face legal challenges by those who insist that the scientific evidence suggests that culling badgers would not reduce levels of bovine […]

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  • Implementation of EMA’s replacement criticised

    Dai Durbridge

    The government announced back in October that the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which provided means-tested grants of up to £30 a week to help young people stay on at school or college was to be scrapped. The £180 million fund which is to replace the scheme would instead be allocated by colleges at their own […]

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  • A crossroad for the FE sector?

    Dai Durbridge

    The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) have commissioned a report from RSA Public Services Hub considering how the FE sector may look in 2020. The new found freedoms the sector currently faces come at a time of increased spending cuts. With this uncertainty the LSIS is concerned that there is a real risk that […]

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  • The EAT urges employment judges to be cautious when considering st...

    Ben Standing

    Employers often approach us looking for ways to reduce their litigation costs. One of the ways in which we do this is to get the most frivolous claims struck out, thus negating the need for a full hearing. In the future this may be more difficult due to the recent case of Reilly v Tayside […]

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  • Definition of “persistent absence” to change

    Hannah Rice

    The Department for Education announced on Tuesday that they are to reduce the threshold at which a pupil is defined as “persistently absent” from 20% to 15% in an attempt to solve truancy in schools. This reduction in the threshold is set to incorporate an additional 246,000 pupils but the move has been criticised by […]

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