Property: Tenant Fees Act 2019

A number of provisions contained in the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (the Act) are coming into force on 1 June 2019. The Act introduces protections for most residential tenants in the private rented sector in England.  It will initially apply to all assured shorthold tenancies, tenancies of student accommodation and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector in England, granted on or after 1 June 2019. The Act, amongst other matters: restricts the type and amount of payments that landlords and letting agents can require from tenants of most assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs), student accommodation and under licences to occupy restricts the amount that can be taken as a tenancy deposit restricts the amount that can be taken as a holding deposit and sets a timetable for dealing with repayment prohibits landlords and letting agents from requiring tenants to enter into a contract with a third party for a service or insurance.  There are limited exceptions for utilities and communication services imposes sanctions for non-compliance makes minor amendments to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Chapter 3, duties of letting agents) and the mandatory requirement on property agents to join a client money protection scheme Under section 3(1) of the Act, a payment is a ‘prohibited payment’ unless it is expressly listed in Schedule 1. Subject to certain conditions, Read Full Article…

Charity: Guidance for charities with a connection with a non-charity

On 29 March 2019, the Charity Commission for England and Wales published: ‘Guidance for charities with a connection to a non-charity’.  The guidance specifies ‘good practice’ which is intended to help trustees run their charities more effectively, avoid difficulties and comply with their legal duties in the context of their connections with non-charitable organisations. The guidance applies to a charity if it: has set up and owns a trading subsidiary has been set up by the non-charity, for example: corporate foundations, or charities set up by social enterprises, campaigning organisations, or government or local authorities receives regular funding or support from the non-charity gives regular funding to the non-charity, for example: grant makers who regularly fund a non-charity; charities set up to support the activities of a non-charity, such as charities with a link to an NHS Trust, or other ‘friends of’ charities works regularly with a non-charity to deliver services, campaigns or other projects has a non-charity as trustee, or where the non-charity can appoint some of the trustees has a non-charity as its sole or significant member The guidance does not set out new rules but draws from existing laws and guidance to set out six broad principles for managing and reviewing a charity’s connections with non-charities.  These are as follows: Recognise the risks Do not further non-charitable Read Full Article…

Governance: UUK and NUS: report on BAME student attainment

Universities UK (UUK) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have published a report into the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) attainment gap in higher education and the action they propose is taken by universities to reduce it. The report, titled Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student attainment at UK Universities: #closingthegap, states that it was produced after consultation with universities, student unions and external bodies, and: presents sector data on ethnicity and attainment discusses factors identified during the consultation as having an effect on ethnicity attainment differentials at degree level identifies steps that the UUK and NUS recommend are taken by universities as frameworks for accelerating progress provides brief guidance on how to implement positive action and ‘positive discrimination’ whilst complying with equality law, including examples of what types of action are likely to be lawful or unlawful. A number of briefings, reports and resources on BAME attainment, including equality and diversity data, are provided by the Office for Students (OfS) here.

Employment: Internal disciplinary proceedings and criminal proceedings

In North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust v Gregg [2019] EWCA Civ 387, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal by a Trust against the decision of the High Court to grant an interim injunction preventing it from continuing with a disciplinary investigation, amongst other things.  The case concerned a consultant in anaesthetics (the employee), and the death of two patients in his care.  Disciplinary proceedings were commenced, and the police were notified.  The CPS did not charge the employee for the first death due to insufficient evidence, although it was in the process of investigating the second patient’s death. The High Court decided that the Trust was in breach of an employment contract for: failing to pay the employee’s salary during the period when he was the subject of an interim suspension by the Interim Orders Tribunal of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for proposing to hold a hearing to discuss the termination of the employee’s contract for his failure hold the requisite licence to practise with the General Medical Council because of the temporary withdrawal of his licence for the period of suspension and for breaching the implied term of trust and confidence by pursuing their own internal disciplinary process at the same time as an ongoing police investigation On the first point, the Court of Appeal considered Read Full Article…

Employment: High Court – Employer not responsible for injury at Christmas party

In Shelbourne v Cancer Research UK [2019] EWHC 842 (QB) the High Court upheld a county court judgment that an employer was not liable in negligence for an injury sustained at its Christmas party by one of its employees, nor was it vicariously liable for the actions of the individual who caused the injury. In order for the tort (or delict, in Scottish law) of negligence to arise, it must be established that the defendant owed a duty of care to the claimant.  A three-fold test has been set by case law, in order to determine the presence of such a duty: was the damage foreseeable? is there a sufficiently proximate relationship between the parties? in all the circumstances, is it fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care? Vicarious liability refers to strict, no-fault liability for wrongful actions or omissions of another person.  Whether vicarious liability can be attributed to a person (natural or legal) is generally decided on the basis of a two-stage test: is there a relationship between the primary ‘wrongdoer’ (typically, an employee) and the person alleged to be liable (typically, an employer), which is capable of giving rise to vicarious liability? is the connection between that relationship and the wrongful act or omission such as to make it just and reasonable to hold Read Full Article…

Governance: Bribery Act 2010: post-legislative scrutiny

On 14 March 2019, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Bribery Act 2010 published its ‘Report of Session 2017-2019 The Bribery Act 2010: post-legislative scrutiny’ as to whether the Act is achieving its intended purposes.  The Select Committee was appointed by the House of Lords on 17 May 2018 to consider and report on the Bribery Act 2010.  The Act received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 and came into force on 1 July 2011. In its principal conclusions and overall assessment, the report states that ‘the Act is an excellent piece of legislation which creates offences which are clear and all-embracing’, and the new offence of corporate failure to prevent bribery is regarded as ‘particularly effective’.  The report reviews the legislation and makes certain recommendations. The report highlights that the ‘Ministry of Justice Guidance’ (guidance), published under s.9 of the Act,  is less successful in providing SMEs with the information to assist them with adopting a formal anti-bribery policy, and could provide companies considering exporting with more assistance on the point at which hospitality would begin to influence the recipient’s course of action.   It is recommended that the guidance makes it clear that businesses need to conduct risk assessments, and provide staff training on procedures (see paragraph 194).  It is also recommended that the Secretary of State Read Full Article…