Tuesday, 5 August 2014

                                                      Don't Let a Delay Ruin Your Holiday.

It has been just under ten years since EU Regulation 261/2004 was implemented in the UK therefore it is surprising how little people know of it.  There is an increasing expansion of organisations who continue to use the regulation to support aviation passengers in their claims for compensation. Passengers who have suffered delays, cancellations, or have been denied boarding due to the negligence of their airline are eligible to claim damages.

Article 7 of the regulation states that passengers shall receive compensation amounting to - EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less; EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres and lastly; EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

BBC Watchdog claims that with an estimate of the average pay-out being €430, there’s a potential pay-out of four billion Euros. This is because over ten million people are predicted to be eligible to claim. Furthermore claims can be made as far as six years after the flight in England and Wales (recently affirmed in Dawson v Thomson Airways Ltd [2014]) which means passengers can claim concerning flights flown as early as 2008.

The exemption (and main defence used by airlines) to paying compensation is ‘extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken’. The definition of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ was tackled in the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Ronald Huzar v Jet2.com [2014] where it was concluded that technical faults did not fall into this exemption. In order to be extraordinary, it was suggested circumstances would have to be outside the control of the airline with examples given including terrorism, natural disasters, political instability and hidden manufacturing defects. The exemption has been narrowed significantly making cases against airlines more likely to succeed.

Where we come in

If you think you qualify for compensation, feel free to contact us on +44 (0) 20 8805 5307 for a no obligation & no win no fee claim.

Written by Guest Blogger Imran Vazifdar

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A New EU Directive – a blow to retailers?

Since the 13th of June, a new EU directive has been enforced, heralding an increase in consumer rights regarding purchases made
online or away from a retailer’s premises. The government passed the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the UK implementation of the EU
directive on human rights. But is this bad news for retailers?

It certainly seems a victory for the consumer at least. The new directive aims to uphold the same consumer rights across all of
Europe, simultaneously providing more transparency for the consumer in regards to their rights.

What are the changes?

Under the current English Law, consumers are entitled to have seven working days to cancel an order if required, commonly known as
the ‘cooling off period’. This has been extended to fourteen calendar days, initiating from the point which the consumer receives
the goods, enabling consumers to return products regardless of their reason.

Furthermore, the period in which retailers can provide refunds has been cut from 30 days to 14 days. These refunds must cover the
cost of delivery and can be given at any time upon first receiving the goods. This slashes the time allocated for traders to check
returned stock, meaning retailers’ processes must be fast, increasing the burden on their shoulders.

The new directive further impacts the layout and interface of retailers’ websites. Buttons instructing customers to ‘buy or ‘confirm
purchase’ must be scrapped and in place of them, text of ‘order with obligation to pay’ must be inscribed. This was implemented to
prevent consumers from accidently committing themselves to an unwanted subscription or product. Moreover, automatically selected
boxes on websites designed to coerce the consumer into paying for extra deals or insurance must also be prohibited, another way of
protecting the customer.

What does this mean for retailers?

This spells difficulty and hassle for retailers, as it requires them to implement major changes to their systems; including re-
training staff, rewriting their terms and conditions and redesigning their websites, particularly the final payment screen.
Retailers must now review their entire business structure to ensure it complies with the new regulations. In an age where almost
everything relies on technology, this new directive encompasses all businesses across the nation, affecting the way in which
consumers and their rights are handled and regarded.

Where we come in

If you require any further information or assistance, whether it be reviewing the terms and conditions of your business or aiding
you in drafting new contracts, we are more than happy to help.

Contact us on 020 8805 5307 or enquiries@isolicitor.co.uk for a no obligation chat.

Written by guest blogger, Yan Lai
16 July 2014

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Legal Compliance – The Breakdown

What is Legal Compliance?
Legal compliance refers to the requirement of businesses and organisations to obey the legal laws and regulations that are in place. A few examples could be:
·         Internal policies and procedures  - staff management (problems are addressed appropriately)
                                                  - contract obligations
                                                  - employee salary, safety and satisfaction

·         External policies and procedures - treatment of consumers
                                                  - management of the business (sales & services)
                                                  - advertising
Why is it so Important?
Legal compliance can ultimately make or break a business. Complying with the rules and regulations in place will ensure that your business operates legally with minimal risks. It would also help protect your business, staff and reputation and will prevent any damages that could occur.

The biggest and undeniably most important problem that you could face by not complying with the legal requirements is facing a criminal charge. A criminal offence would:
·         Ruin the reputation and image of your business
·         Affect the sales and services that you have to offer
·         Be very costly
...and many more. All of these would have a knock on effect which could potentially lead to the breakdown of the business that you worked so hard to make a success.

The Reality of Unaddressed Legal Compliance Issues
The Legal Services Board recently conducted a study of 10,000 SME’s and a staggering 46% claimed that unaddressed issues had detrimental effect on their business with the average cost per issue being £13,812.
The report also found that:
·         23% suffered a significant loss of income
·         12% reported an increased cost
·         9% suffered damage to their reputation
·         6% reported employee numbers had to be reduced or the business had to close down completely

How to Protect Yourself

Pre-emptive Measures
The most obvious way to protect your business would be to ensure you comply with all the legal requirements. Make sure you know what laws you are bound to and how to comply with them. Dealing with issues as soon as they arise would eliminate them or prevent them from escalating and becoming a criminal offence.

Non-compliance issues
Seeking legal advice for unfortunate non-compliance issues and/or pre-emptive measures can prove to be the more cost effective solution than solving the problem/s on your own. This could help prevent or minimise the damages that are highlighted above and ensure that matters are dealt with efficiently.

How We Can Help
iSolicitor prides itself in offering a unique service to SME’s by ensuring that your needs are maintained. By turning to us, we can provide you with valuable advice and help you by:
  • Providing free assessments of your needs with no obligation for you to pursue it further
  • Provide Compliance Check Audit of your business( to ensure pre-emptive legal protection)
  • Provide ad hoc skype consultations – saving you time and money so you do not need to take                                                                time out of your day to meet us in our office
  • Offering you fixed price packages – no hidden costs!
  • Offering online services outside of working hours and at weekends

Contact us on 020 8805 5307 or enquiries@isolicitor.co.uk for a no obligation chat.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

“I Do”...Now Please Sign Here....

It is unsurprising that individuals will want to sign
marital agreements to protect their assets when entering into a marriage or
civil partnership, which for many couples won’t even need to be enforced.
So what happens to the agreement if a couple’s
marriage does break down? As it stands, marital agreements are not valid
contracts, meaning that financial settlements are subject to the courts’ orders
when couples decide to divorce. However, since the case of German Hieress Katrin
Radmacher’s divorce in 2006, whereby her pre-nuptial agreement was successfully
enforced to protect her £106m fortune, such relationship or nuptial agreements
have become more widely recognised by the British law.
The Law Commission has recently published a report
which calls for these to become legally binding, thus giving couples the power
to make their own decisions regarding their finances if they were to divorce.
In a country that is deemed the “divorce capital in Europe”, an enforceable
marital agreement would understandably be beneficial for both parties as it
would grant them greater autonomy and make the process more predictable. If the
financial agreements achieved legal finality, they would however be independent
of couples meeting each other’s financial needs and that of their children, and
the court still has the ability to implement orders if they believe the
arrangements to be unfair. This therefore answers opposing views that believe a
change in the law could be sexually discriminatory as women are regularly the
financially weaker party in marriages.
Although relationship or nuptial agreements may be
subject to further changes that were made in the duration of a marriage, I
believe that the recommendations made by the Law Commission’s report could
ultimately benefit divorcing couples. By strengthening the power of their marital
agreement, a change in the law would allow couples to cope better with the
burden of necessary financial arrangements whilst also protecting their assets. 
If you are still unsure whether you could benefit
from a marital agreement, contact us today on 0208 205 5307 for a no
obligation, confidential discussion.
By Nadia Aumeer.