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Much ink has been spilled already about the current distress of businesses all the way up and down the oil & gas supply chain, and the contagion of that distress to businesses with a heavy reliance on their oil & gas sector customers/clients.

However, an aspect of this I can’t say I’ve spotted being remarked on is the effect that current market conditions are having on the position of company directors.

Increasing numbers of individuals are working in the ‘gig economy’ engaging with business to provide their services on an ad hoc basis. There is an attraction for people seeking to take control of their own careers through choosing their own working hours coupled with the eagerness of business to avoid the perceived burdens associated with a traditional employment relationships.

The tensions and contradictions inherent in the gig economy have recently been driving litigation as well as headlines and have prompted people like the boss of a takeaway delivery service, William Shu, to opine that UK employment law needs updating and that “there are laws drawn up years ago that may be less relevant for today’s economy”.

As part of the Government’s initiative to encourage transparency and accountability for those controlling a company, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (2015 Act) will introduce restrictions on the appointment and continued use of corporate directors.

The current position under UK company law is that at least one director on the board of a company must be a natural person. Subject to this requirement, any legal person, including a company or a limited liability partnership, may be a director of the company.

Selling your home can be a stressful process. There’s no guarantee how long it can take or how many viewers you’ll attract, which can be especially frustrating when you’re looking to begin your new life in your next property. 

With all the paperwork, phone calls and meetings involved in buying and selling houses, it can be easy to overlook the process of making your current home as presentable as possible to potential buyers.

Operators are increasingly revisiting long standing contracts with the supply chain, to identify instances where financial provisions in the arrangement designed to save them money have not been properly enforced in the past. 

During better times, it appears these rebates and arrangements were sometimes ignored by the operators and contractors alike.

Until now Scotland has operated a voluntary personal injury pre-action protocol that had as its purpose the early settlement of personal injury actions.  The voluntary protocol was designed specifically to assist with cases where the value of the claim is less than £10,000.

As of 28th November 2016 a Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol will become compulsory but it will not be retrospective. Only claims relating to accidents post 28th November 2016 will require to proceed in terms of the protocol.

The law on reasonable adjustments for disabled employees has been around for some and while the statutory test for when the obligation itself is triggered remains complex and technical the concept does import the old fashioned employment law concept of “reasonableness”.

This we might think is susceptible to common sense and predictability. We also have a Statutory Code of Practice on Employment which indicates some of the factors to be taken into account in determining whether a proposed adjustment is reasonable including among others considerations such as whether taking the step would be effective in preventing the disadvantage, practicality, financial and other costs and the type and size of the employer.

These were the words of Theresa May in her first statement as Prime Minister; words which are backed up by a report this week from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on ‘The Gender Wage Gap’, which highlights the significant gulf in salary between men and women.

The report found that hourly wages of female employees are currently about 18% lower than men’s on average. The good news is that this gap appears to be closing, albeit gradually.

Chambers UK 2018

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