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We aim to provide practical guidance on useful areas of busness law.  

By brocs1, Feb 3 2021 07:42AM

Recently the Court clarified the position in relation to Enforcement Agent’s entering a property before entering into a controlled goods agreement.

Prior to the guidance set out by Master Victoria McCloud in Just Digital Marketplace Ltd, enforcement agents would have to physically enter a property before entering into a controlled goods agreement. Such an agreement allows the owner to keep possession of their goods as opposed to enforcement agents seizing them, on the proviso regular agreed payments are maintained. This is often a useful “middle ground” approach where creditors receive payment of debts and debtors are not deprived of their personal possessions.

With the onset of the pandemic restricting the ability of enforcement agents being able to enter homes, Just Digital Marketplace Ltd sought clarification from the court to ascertain whether “digital visits” would be acceptable in circumstances where controlled goods agreements were appropriate.

Master McCloud’s guidance stated that non-entry agreements (i.e. digital visits) would be appropriate during the pandemic, but longer term use of this method of visitation would require more in depth consideration.

This decision is another example of the Courts adapting to the challenges bought on by the pandemic whilst striking a balance between safety and enforcement capabilities.

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Civil Enforcement Lawyers & Civil Enforcement Solicitors & Stopping Bailiffs & Stopping Seizure of Goods

By brocs1, Feb 2 2021 09:52AM

Harassment is unwanted behaviour from someone which makes you feel distressed,humiliated, or threatened. It could be someone you know, like a neighbour or people fromyour local area or it could be a stranger. The behaviour must happen on more than oneoccasion by the same person to be considered harassment. If you are being harassed and youfeel you are in danger you should contact the police, it is a criminal offence to harass or put someone in fear of violence.

Examples of harassment include:

• unwanted phone calls, letters, emails texts or visits

• abuse, verbal or online

• stalking

• verbal abuse and threats

• An act of violence such as causing damage to property.

Whilst there is no strict legal definition of 'stalking', the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 lists a number of behaviours such as watching or spying on a person, contacting, or attempting to contact a person by any means, monitoring a person’s use of the internet, email, or any other form of electronic communication.

You should record what is happening, keep copies of any email’s texts or social media posts to include the time and dates and the impact it had on you. You can take screen shots to show the exact content of the messages, note any vehicle registration numbers and details of any personal encounters to include what was said, do not get into a discussion with them.

Ultimately it is for the courts to decide if something is harassment or stalking, they will consider whether a reasonable person would interpret same set of behaviours as harassment.

Online Harassment

The development of technology has created other ways for stalking and harassment to occur.There are different types of online stalking i.e., catfishing, hijacking web cameras and virtually visiting people via Google Maps Street View. You can help to protect yourself by limiting the amount of information readily accessible online and by reviewing your privacy settings and limiting your visibility on social media so only family or people you are friends with can view your account and what you are posting.

If you are being harassed on the internet you should try to stop that person from contacting you, for example by 'blocking' them in a chatroom or on a social network. If something makes you uncomfortable on a social network, you can also click the 'report' button.

Try to get evidence of the bullying by making copies of any threatening online conversations, for example by saving emails or taking screen shots.

Formal Steps

The police may issue an informal harassment warning, this informs the accused about the law in relation to harassment and if they receive any further reports in the future, they may take further action which could result in them being prosecuted . If the accused is not charged you may be able to apply for an injunction, the type of injunction would be determined by the relationship with the accused and the harassment suffered. The orders must be reasonable and relevant to the harassment. If the accused breaks the injunction they can be reported to the police or an application can be made to return to court for the injunction to be enforced. If the accused is found guilty of breaking the injunction, they could be sent to prison for up to 5 years, receive a fin or both.

By brocs1, Dec 17 2020 11:43AM

1. Attachment of Earnings

If the creditor has a CCJ then you could apply for an Attachment of Earnings Order. This would only apply if the debtor is employed. This is a court order compelling the debtor’s employer to make a deduction from the debtor’s earnings which is then paid to the court. The amount of the deductions will depend on the debtor’s earnings taking into account the protected earnings threshold. Provided an order is made, deductions will then be made until such time as the debt is paid in full or the debtor’s employment comes to an end.

2. Charging Order

If the debtor owns a property, then you may be able to have the debt secured against the property. Once a charging order is granted by the court, this is registered at H M Land Registry to protect the creditors position should the property be sold. Once a charging order has been obtained, you can consider making an application to the court for an order for sale to determine the monies owed or alternatively allow the charge to remain on the property until such time as the property is sold. The debtor may not always have sufficient equity in the property to discharge the debt but this is often a useful tool to use in pressurising a debtor to pay.

3. Statutory Demand

Statutory Demand is a demand for money you are owed under a CCJ ,which states that you intend to issue Bankruptcy Proceedings against the debtor if the debt is not paid within 21 days or you fail to reach an agreement to pay. At present the bankruptcy petition minimum amount is £5,000 for an individual and the winding up petition amount is £750 for company. This is an expensive option and there is no guarantee of any return after a bankruptcy order has been made.

4. Enforcement Officer

Enforcement Officer will attend the debtor’s property with a view to obtaining payment either by accepting payment and/or taking goods to the value of the claim to be sold at auction. An Enforcement Officer can not force entry into a residential property and therefore this option can be problematic if the debtor refuses to engage.

By brocs1, Dec 10 2020 10:23AM

The recent decision in the case of Bell v Ivy Technology Ltd [2020] EWCA Civ 1563, If anything, reminds us of how crucial the drafting of a Share Purchase Agreement can be and how the facts should marry up with reality.

In April 2019, Ivy Technology Ltd entered into a share and purchase agreement for the purchase of shares in five companies. Prior to the completion of the share purchase agreement, it was disclosed that although Mr Bell (second defendant) was not a party to the share purchase agreement, he did in fact, beneficially own 50% of the shares along with Mr Martin (first defendant) who owned the remaining 50%. This was of course significantly different to what the share purchase agreement stated, in that, Mr Martin held “all beneficial rights, title and interest in and to” the individually held shares, and that no other person was entitled to any right in and to such shares – such disclosure to Ivy Technology Ltd was not undisputed.

Ivy Technology Ltd brought a case claiming it was fraudulently misrepresented by Mr Martin; breach of warranty and a claim in restitution argument was also advanced. As Mr Bell was not named on the share purchase agreement, a claim against Mr bell was initially founded in tort rather than contract.

The claimant, Ivy, issued an application for permission to amend its claim form and particulars to include Mr Bell in its breach of warranty claim. The application at first instance concluded that the claimant had real prospect of succeeding in its contention that Mr Bell was liable for breach of the share purchase agreement, even though he was not named as a party and permission to amend was given.

The second defendant, being Mr Bell appealed this decision and the Court of Appeal dismissed each of the 3 grounds and upheld the earlier decision that the Claimant was granted permission to amend its claim to include a claim for breach of warranties against the second defendant. Amongst the reasons the CoA gave, they stated that they could not rule out the possibility of Mr Bell being held liable under the contract at trial once a factual investigation had taken place and the reasons why he was not named as a contracting party becomes known. The court contended that an explanation was required as to why the share purchase agreement failed to name Mr Bell as a party to the contract.

If you are looking to sell your shares or make a purchase and you are unsure about how you are affected or what your rights may be then do contact our specialist team at Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 0800 567 7595 or email [email protected]

By brocs1, Dec 7 2020 12:36PM

The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) issues new warnings to wedding firms in relation to their refund policies for those whose big day has been affected by Covid-19. Although only a Court can decide how the law applies in each case the CMA guidance and statement may assist as many couples have not been able to get married as planned this year.

The current guidance is that:

• Businesses should NOT make deductions from refunds unless they can prove that costs have been incurred directly for the wedding in quest AND there is proof of the breakdown of such costs. Cases should be assessed on a case by case basis however a benchmark MAXIMUM deduction has been considered to be 37.2% .If the contract relates to venue hire ONLY the CMA does not expect any deductions

• There should be no additional charges where couples voluntarily agree to reschedule their wedding to a ‘comparable date and service”, as opposed to seeking a refund

• businesses need to meet their legal obligations promptly and should not unreasonably delay or refuse to provide refunds to couples when they are due

If your big day has been affected by Covid-19 and you are facing an uphill battle to get a refund OR your venue are suggesting you should pay more to move your date, please contact our specialist Dispute Resolution team to discuss your consumer rights on 0800 567 7595 or email [email protected]

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