Taking the children on holiday

A common question we get asked as family lawyers is whether a parent or a child's carer is allowed to take a child on holiday without permission. The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance on this issue. The first issue that you need to consider is whether you have Parental Responsibility for the child in your care. Parental Responsibility (PR) is defined in the Children Act 1989 as "all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation…

Employers need to fit practices to match new Fit for Work service

Employers should review their procedures and contracts of employment to match the new Government-funded initiative Fit for Work. A work-related health advice service designed to help employees stay in or return to work, the Fit for Work helpline is now up and running, with its referral services being rolled out across England, Wales and Scotland. For employers, the aim of the service is to help manage the impact that sickness absence can have on the business, by providing advice and occupational health assessments for employees who are off for more…

Service charges payable under leases

What is service charge? Essentially service charge is a payment made by the tenant to the landlord for costs that have been incurred in relation to services provided to the property. Charges may include costs associated with general maintenance, repairs, insurance, community central heating, lighting, cleaning of the common areas and gardening/landscaping. As a landlord am I obliged to provide services? This is subject to what the lease provides. Some leases will specify services that the landlord is required to provide. Others will mention which services the landlord may provide…

How to prevent summer holidays affecting your business

With the summer holidays just around the corner it is important that your business retains its productivity and that you have in place systems and procedures in order to deal with disruption during the annual summer holiday crunch. Is it time to rethink your holiday policy or, if you haven't got one, to implement one? A well-considered and written holiday policy will undoubtedly help keep disagreement, discontentment and disappointment at bay amongst employees and also allow you to effectively manage the business needs and resources during this period. Any Holiday…

Cohabitation – protecting your interests

In a recent report by the Office of National Statistics, the number of cohabiting couples was shown to have increased significantly in the 10 years to 2013 and the number of couples opting to live together without getting married or entering into a civil partnership is only likely to increase over time. A common misconception is that there exists the legal principle of “common law” husband and wife which affords cohabiting couples similar rights to those of married couples. Unfortunately the reality is that no such legal principle exists and…

When comments become advertisements

Businesses must make sure they are not breaching advertising regulations when they update their social media feeds. The reminder follows the news that Diageo’s Guinness® UK brand has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of implying that alcohol could improve a person's week, after a tweet on the brand's social media account was branded “irresponsible”. Alcohol Concern filed a complaint with the ASA when @GuinnessGB tweeted a photograph of the brewery gates with the caption, “a good week starts here” as part of a promotional campaign to champion…

Deregulation Act 2015 and what it means for landlords

Over the last few years it has been widely reported in the media that the country has a housing crisis. With more and more people moving into rented accommodation, protecting tenants’ interests against rogue landlords has been high on the government’s agenda. Lobbyists have been calling for better protection for tenants, and landlords and practitioners have been requesting clarification on landlord’s responsibilities concerning the protection of tenant deposits. We reported last month that the House of Lords were to discuss the Deregulation Bill. The Bill received Royal Assent on 26…

5 ways to improve your office space

There are a wide variety of changes that can be made to create an ideal office space and you don't necessarily have to spend a large amount of money to achieve it. Simple changes such as the following can make a big difference: 1. Comfort It is often thought that when working conditions for staff are uncomfortable staff wellbeing and productivity decrease. However, if people feel comfortable in their place of work this could lead to higher productivity. Small things to improve could include: lighting, air conditioning or climate control, even comfortable…

How to drink with colleagues and retain your professionalism

In the past, having a drink with employees was not a big deal and commonplace in almost every workplace. However, in today’s workplace going for a drink with co-workers, your boss or those you manage is seen almost as taboo with most erring on the side of caution. Having a drink or socialising with colleagues should not be viewed in this way and if done in the right manner can be beneficial to all firms, companies and business. By following a basic mantra of; ‘don’t drink too much and be…

I want it in writing!

To create a legally binding contract there must be in place the following four key elements: An offer to enter into a contract from one party to the other; Acceptance of the offer; Intention of the parties to create legal relations; and Consideration - being something (often money) in exchange for what is being offered. With the exception of contracts for land in English Law, there is no requirement for a contract to be in writing, and a verbal contract is just as valid as a written one. Verbal contracts,…