Construction and Adjudication

9th September 2016

Whatever the nature of your construction development, it is important to ensure that you have ticked all the boxes in respect of the contract (whether simple, bespoke or standard) or the cost budget is in line with what you anticipate it to be or whether you are in a dispute and you need to know the merits of that claim (whether defending or bringing the action) because the failure to do so may well cause the project to be delayed or not completed – both of which may well end up costing you more money! The team at Southall Hathaway & Co LLP are happy to assist in this regard. The lead team member in this area has over 36 years worth of experience as an Engineer, Expert, Legal Adviser and Adjudicator. When embarking on a construction project, whatever your standing in that project, it is important to ensure that your position is clear. The best way to do this is to ensure that you have properly recorded and evidenced that position (whether in a simple, bespoke or standard contract). Failure to do so may well result in a dispute arising and that dispute may well cost you more than the cost of having a contract reviewed and/or prepared. Whilst important, contracts are not the only things that are needed in construction. You need to have project management skills, cost control & budgeting, estimating and tendering, infrastructure and structural design advice and management skills. Due to the joining of an incredibly experienced team member, Southall Hathaway & Co LLP are now able to offer these services and we would be delighted to assist you in the above and further matters that arise as a consequence. Services offered by the team include (but are not limited to): Construction Dispute Resolution; Adjudication & Arbitration; Claim Assessment; Cost Budgeting; Estimating and Tendering; Infrastructure and Structural Design Services; Management services

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Commercial Property

9th September 2016

We combine key sector knowledge, commercial focus and the highest technical ability to provide our clients with unparalleled service. We have experience of acting for property developers, retailers, wholesalers, hotel and leisure operators, FMCG operators, the healthcare sector and construction industries. Our team advises on all aspects of commercial property transactions and property management. We combine key sector knowledge, commercial focus and the highest technical ability to provide our clients with unparalleled service. We have advised our clients on high profile acquisitions (both freehold and leasehold), asset and portfolio management, property finance, joint ventures, pension funds, development, planning, environment and tax advice. We have experience of acting for property developers, retailers, wholesalers, hotel and leisure operators, FMCG operators, the healthcare sector and construction industries. Our commercial focus and expertise has allowed us to perform complex and unique transaction throughout England and Wales. Many of our clients are entrepreneurial and operate in highly competitive industries. Therefore, the ability to close deals is paramount in our approach. For more complex matters, we work closely with our other teams across all practice areas, such as litigation, taxation, corporate/commercial to integrate the necessary skills to deliver the necessary results for our clients. We have a deep understanding of the wider commercial aspects of our clients’ transactions as we understand that each transaction is different. Each transaction matters to us as much as it matters to you. We like to get to know what exactly your goals are and what you need in order to achieve those goals. Knowing this enables us to be proactive and driven to enable you to achieve your goals. The commercial property team at Southall Hathaway & Co have extensive experience advising across all property types including office, retail, residential, hotel, leisure, healthcare and senior living, education, student accommodation, logistics and industrial, and transport. Furthermore, we specialise in acting for lenders and our team has represented some of the largest residential and commercial lenders on a variety of transactions.

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Commercial Litigation and Resolution

9th September 2016

Whether we like it or not, this is not a perfect world and so, during the course of business, invariably a dispute will arise. At Southall Hathaway & Co, we understand that your time, your preference and importantly, your money is better spent on running and developing your business and not being involved in a dispute. In the business world, generally, business owners are able to be pragmatic and resolve differences between themselves. Why, because this is how business wheels keep on turning. If, as a business owner, you didn’t adopt such an approach then frankly, you may never get change to run your business and so, in the main, we anticipate that 7 out of every 10 potential disputes stay just that – potential because they are dealt with in the course of business. So what happens with the other 3? Well, most of the time, you go and speak with a lawyer because being involved in a dispute is bad for business [from a business management and financial impact perspective] but not half as bad as pursuing something that should never have been pursued! Consequently, it is important to find the right adviser that understands the impact of litigation and importantly, can identify the crux of the dispute and knows what it is that you want as a result. We believe that we have that here at Southall Hathaway & Co. Sometimes just instructing lawyers to offer a different perspective on the dispute can assist in getting your resolution either over the line or pretty close to it. This enables you to get back doing what you do best – running and developing your business! Consequently, when we are instructed, so that we can assist you to the maximum of our abilities, we ask you what we believe to be the key question when you are involved in a dispute. Knowing the answer to this question helps us do all we can to assist you in resolving this matter because we are able to implement a strategy, the law and common sense and we believe that this approach assists us in assisting you. We don’t use fancy legal speak because we know that you know we know the law. We believe in simplicity and being concise. Added to this, we just get things done. Whilst we love dealing with disputes and we do as much as we can for you (including advocacy at interim hearings and trials), sometimes the nature of a dispute means that we need to add, for your benefit, a couple of “match winners”. These are primarily specialist advocates from leading sets of Chambers who assist us in presenting your dispute to the Court as efficiently and effectively as possible. Litigation by its very nature is risky and by being involved in any dispute, you accept that element of risk. One of our jobs, as lawyers, is to help you minimise that risk as much and as proactively as we can. The lawyer assigned to your matter is the lawyer you will deal with. Whilst it will always be your case, it becomes our case as […]

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

9th September 2016

There are very few matters that are not capable of resolution without the Court’s involvement. Given the subsequent cost and risk of utilising the Court process in England and Wales [because we have an adversarial system and so, the successful party is entitled to recover their reasonable legal fees from their Opponent] and the increased Court fee2, there is a big preference for Parties to engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). There are few commercial disputes that are not capable of being resolved without the involvement of the Court. In reality, the involvement of the Court should be the absolute last resort. Business disputes are, primarily, about money. Consequently, it is therefore rare to find two business people who are prepared to simply pursue a lengthy and costly trial without exploring other options to the Court process. The simple fact is that if the Parties adopt a conciliatory approach rather than an adversarial approach an agreement (that is likely to be better than the one that the Court could order) is more likely to be reached. At Southall Hathaway & Co. we would say that 8 out of every 10 disputes can be satisfactorily resolved by adopting this approach. Weighed up against the cost and risk of pursuing the Court process (outside of the Small Claims track of the Court), the cost of ADR is negligible. Where the Court hears claims that are above £10,000.00, then the Claimant (in that dispute) has to pay a Court fee commensurate to 5% of the overall sum being claimed. Added to that because the claim is worth £10,000.00 or above, the principle of “Costs After the Event ” applies. This means that the successful Party is entitled to have an Order made entitling them to recover their costs. It does not mean that you do recover those costs. Depending on the financial status of your Opponent, it may well be that even if you win (from whichever position you advanced) you are simply left with a damages and/or a professional costs liability that you cannot recover.  Add this to the increased Court fee1 and a lengthy litigation, there is a significant benefit to Parties to consider engaging in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In the main, all ADR is undertaken on a without prejudice basis. This means that it is “peripheral”2 to the position that you may have adopted as part of your dispute and enables the Parties to talk more freely than when they are engaged in formal arenas. such as the Court. ADR takes many formats but the most well-known would be where a Mediator3 is appointed to try and help the Parties reach an amicable and commercial resolution to their dispute. In circumstances where a resolution is not achieved, the very least that the Mediator should do is assist the Parties in narrowing down the points of dispute (which in turn should allow the Parties to reassess their position post Mediation thereby reducing the costs being incurred in respect of the dispute). Why choose mediation? It is a voluntary process that the Parties are free to engage in at any point that is either practical for them to do […]

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Intellectual Property

9th September 2016

As a business, you shouldn’t underestimate the significance of IPR – in many cases your IPR can become a valuable business asset. Certain IPR has the ability to be exploited to help raise further finance (from the Bank or other external investors) as opposed to potentially having to provide a Personal Guarantee; it can be licensed out (enabling you to receive a royalty) to a manufacturer or used under a franchise license. The value and awareness of Intellectual Property has always been there. It allows innovation and creativity, which in one way or another benefits society (both locally and on a global basis). It has created revolutionaries such as Microsoft, MTV, Polaroid and the Sony Walkman in the 1980’s to the CD player, the first playstation and the NOKIA ‘banana phone’ of the 1990’s.  The early 00’s brought about new revolutionaries (predominately from Apple Inc.) such as the iPod, the iPhone and YouTube. The 21st century has brought even more – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google to name a few. It is now more important than ever as society continues to go through its revolutionary, evolutionary change. For as much as big business embraces the changes that these technological behemoths, it regularly finds itself fighting them. For every Spotify there is a Pirate Bay, for every genuine item you can buy online, there are ten ‘fakes’. Technology is wonderful. It is needed. It is necessary. Business cannot keep up and so, it needs Governments to create laws that can be enforced to help with protecting its Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) take many formats. As a business, you may have a wealth of IPR you don’t know about or how to properly exploit. IPR is (and should be treated like) an asset. This means that it is capable of being sold, licensed or mortgaged. This ability in itself may be just what you need to drive your business to the next level. IPR doesn’t just come in one format. There are many. There are IPR that can be registered. There are some that are obtained automatically. There are some that are a mixture. Given the various formats that IPR can arrive at, it is important to ensure that your Rights are as protected as they can be. IPR is not restricted to the commonly known IPR such as Trade Marks or Patents or Copyright but could even extend to certain methodology / processes that you may use (in day to day business) or your customer information. Undoubtedly, it will also include your reputation – your standing amongst your contemporaries and your competitors. Not only that, it is important to ensure that you are the legal and beneficial proprietor of the IPR. Certain presumptions may be affected by the nature of the relationship with the person you contracted with. To not have the correct rights and ownership in place may well be significantly more costly than taking the steps to acquire those rights in the first place. Whatever the size of business you operate, it is necessary to take the steps to try and protect and maximise your IPR as much as […]

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Insolvency

9th September 2016

Whatever may be said of insolvency, it is an unfortunate outcome that businesses and individuals alike can often suffer. The simple test for insolvency [whether as a company or an individual] is whether or not you are able to meet your debts as and when they fall due. If the simple answer is “no”, then one of the required grounds has been met and insolvency proceedings may follow. When devising a business plan and a corporate strategy, the last thing that anyone ever strives to “achieve” is a form of insolvency. Despite this, it is a regrettable part of being successful in business (some of the world’s greatest business people have been bankrupt or associated with dissolved businesses). An unknown or unexpected event can often have a huge and detrimental effect of a business (and that in turn can have a knock on effect to other businesses). Insolvency isn’t one set form. There are many varieties. However, the simplest test that a business can do is to “stress test” and see whether or not you are able to meet your debts as and when they fall due. If the simple answer is “no”, then one of the required grounds has been met. That “no” may be sufficient to evidence that some form of Insolvency Proceedings may follow. As stated above, there are many forms to Insolvency. There are the steps taken by Creditors who are owed money. There are the steps taken by Companies and individuals to restructure payments and outgoings in order to ensure that Creditors get paid and there are those who take the appropriate steps to stave off any form of insolvency action being taken against them. As a Company Director, you have a fiduciary duty to ensure that your Company is able to meet its debts as and when they fall due. In circumstances where you identify that there is a financial issue with your business, it is important to ensure that the correct steps are taken at the right time as this may well lead to your business being saved. An inability to manage and/or maintain your Company’s financial obligations may well place your business into a detrimental position that may lead to only one result. Where it is possible to avoid this from occurring, we will do all we can to assist, whether that is to put you in touch with one of the Insolvency Practitioners we work closely with or having a ‘group adviser meeting’ with an IP and your own accountant to see if we can work out a way to prevent the worst from happening to the business you have spent so long establishing. At the very least, we will speak with your Creditors and see if we can negotiate a suitable and importantly, workable arrangement to help you stave off the worst from occurring. At Southall Hathaway & Co. we recommend being pro-active as opposed to re-active in these circumstances. We also act on behalf of Insolvency Practitioners [who owe a statutory obligation to Creditors] in order to recover monies and/or assets belonging to Companies in order to allow realisation […]

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Sports Law

9th September 2016

Sports law is an amalgamation of laws that apply to athletes and the sports that they play. More often than not, Sports law is conceived to be the “glamourous” area of law and it is still growing and developing because it isn’t a bespoke, single ‘task’. As a Sports lawyer, the role covers a variety of matters – everything from contract, tort, Intellectual Property Rights, Representation (for agency and employment matters) personal injury, employment , tax issues and defamation. Sports lawyers don’t only represent players. They often also represent Clubs, Sports Agents, Regulatory associations and even the athletes’ sponsors. One day, a Sports Lawyer can be facilitating deals between sporting governing bodies and broadcasters (whether traditional media broadcasters or online platforms) whereas the next, they could be representing an athlete (or a Club) at the Court for Arbitration and Sport (CAS). Sport is a big business. Depending upon who you speak to, some people consider sport more important than life and so, as a Sports lawyer it is important to be commercially savvy, enthusiastic, intellectually astute and outgoing. We at Southall Hathaway & Co. believe that we are all of those things. Our relationship and sponsorship with the Leicester Falcons and formerly, the Youth Sport Trust helps us understand sport and the nuances that goes along with being a Sports lawyer. Our specialist team understands the business element of sport (regarding commercial exploitation, brand protection and contracts) and our team of litigators and advocates can help protect the business that you have worked so hard to create. Furthermore, to assist us with understanding the nuances of football contracts and agency, the Firm’s Managing Partner Stuart Southall is an approved FA Intermediary (approved under number IMS004174) as is the firm itself (IMSC00139). This means that we are able to represent either Clubs or Players (whatever the level) and have those transfers recognised by the FA.

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