Your Guide to Accidents at Work

It’s important to follow health and safety procedures at work so you don’t have an accident. You will probably have had talks on this during induction when you first started your job, and perhaps on a regular basis throughout your working life.

Who is responsible for an accident?

It is up to your employer to ensure a safe working environment, and make sure you have safe ways of working which will include the right equipment and the right training to do your job efficiently. If you suffered a back injury because your employer didn’t provide a safe environment, he is responsible.

Your working environment should be safe to work in

Your work surroundings must be safe to work in, and there should be nothing you can fall or trip over with lack of proper railing or exposed wires. It’s also your employer’s responsibility to make sure whatever job he asks you to do, is carried out in a safe environment, and there must be a set of health & safety regulations covering the different activities carried out as well as a policy and set of procedures.

Carelessness lessens the value of any financial reward should you win

Keep in mind that if you are the cause of an accident, and this could be due to your own carelessness, then any claim you make will be compromised, and the amount you win could be reduced. This would also apply to things such as repetitive strain injury – e.g. if you’d caused it yourself through carelessness. These rules also apply to the self-employed or to a visitor who comes to your business premises.

If there are accidents at work

If there is an accident you must collect as much evidence as you can. Make a record of it and you’ll find that your employer must report any serious accident which results in incapacitation of more than a week (7 days) to the Health & Safety Executive. If you are an employer and you employ 10 or more, you should record injuries in an accident book. Make notes and ask any witnesses to write down what they saw at the time. Ask about any accidents which have occurred before and get your union involved and ask them to.

See a medical professional about your injuries

It’s important to go to the doctor or hospital, depending on how severe your injuries are. You’ll need evidence of injuries you’ve suffered, therefore having medical treatment is important. Legal advice is important, don’t agree to anything with your employer until you’ve sought advice and signed anything.

Compensation

Your entitlement will depend on the circumstances. It will include compensation for any pain, expenses for any private treatment, damage to your personal belongings, such as your clothes and shoes and any loss of current and future earnings.

Your claim for compensation should bring you to the position you were in before you had the accident, so don’t expect a massive win, or a massive amount of money, the pay-out will reflect what earnings you were expected to earn now and in the future for however long your injuries last. As we’ve already mentioned, your compensation could be reduced if it is decided your carelessness contributed to the injury.

Compensation and pay-outs

You should always receive the compensation you are entitled to even if your employer doesn’t have the money to pay you. Any payment you’re entitled to will be covered by Employers’ Liability Insurance.

Legal Costs

Legal costs are your responsibility, and if your claim is unsuccessful you’ll be responsible for your employer’s costs too. You should have legal expense insurance, and if you don’t, you’ll be advised to have it to cover the costs.

Currie & Co – Experienced Solicitors

If you need further advice and guidance regarding accidents at work, then please get in touch with us at Currie & Co, where one of our professional experienced solicitors will be more than happy to help you.

Employment Law Guide to Maternity Leave

If you’re preparing to take time off soon to have a baby, you’re probably wondering what exactly you’re entitled to in terms of maternity leave while you’re away. This is understandable, as employment law can be complex and difficult to understand.

Here in our handy guide, we’re going to go over a few aspects of maternity leave and what you’re entitled to and hopefully, you’ll feel a lot clearer at the end of it. This does not replace legal advice of course, it’s just a few handy hints aimed at the first time mother.

Antenatal Care – The Facts

You will be needing to take time off for antenatal care, and you may not realise that you’re entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments. However, employers can refuse appointments where necessary, you’ll also find that the father is allowed to attend two appointments with you, but they’re not legally obliged to be paid for attendance in the same way the mother is.

You can work for 10 days once you’re off, and this type of work is known as “keeping in touch days” or otherwise known as KIT. If your time away is unpaid you won’t be entitled to pension contributions. You will be allowed holiday pay.

Returning to Work – What Happens?

After your maternity period ends, you are entitled to return to the same job you had before you left on maternity leave. This may change however if you took more than 26 weeks leave, this could be due to additional time off for maternity leave, or a combination of parental and maternity leave for more than 26 weeks or four weeks parental leave taken on top of regular maternity leave.

If it’s not possible for you to return to the same job, the employer should offer an alternative post that’s suitable to you. However, the terms and conditions of this other post may not be as favourable to you as the last one.

When parents are away on leave, they have the same rights as other colleagues, but a woman on maternity leave must be offered an alternative role and be given priority over other employees. Therefore if a woman is on maternity leave she is entitled to extra protection from redundancy.

Make sure to tell your employer at least 15 weeks prior to your due date that you are pregnant. Your employer is then responsible to confirm with you the start and end dates of your maternity leave that’s been agreed with you, within 28 days of receiving the notice from you. It is best to make sure all of this is in writing.

Statutory Maternity Leave

Statutory maternity leave goes on for 52 weeks, the first 26 weeks is known as ordinary maternity leave and the second half (26) is known as additional maternity leave. You could start your time off around 11 weeks before the week your child is due to be born, and statutory maternity leave will pay you automatically if you are ill during pregnancy. But your illness would have to have started four weeks ahead of the week of childbirth.

If labour begins earlier than expected then maternity leave will start from then. You will be expected to take at least a fortnight off after your child has been born, or four weeks if you are employed in an industrial environment. Give your employer 8 weeks notice if you are considering changing your return to work date.

Maternity Pay

Your maternity pay will be provided up to 39 weeks, and for the first six, you’ll receive 90% of what you earn weekly and for the 33 remaining weeks you’d get 90% or £139.58 of your weekly earnings.

The following must be adhered to in order for you to be entitled to maternity pay:

  • Earn £112 per week

  • Be in employment

  • Offer clear notice when your pregnant

  • Provide proof that you are pregnant

  • Work 26 continuing weeks which will be completed at least 15 weeks ahead of the week you’re expected to give birth.

A letter from your doctor should be sufficient evidence you are pregnant, or you can provide one from your midwife. If there is a maternity scheme in place, you could be offered more than the statutory pay you’re already entitled to. You will be entitled to pay and some leave if sadly, you were to lose your child during labour, if the child was stillborn or was born prematurely.

Your employer should provide you with an SMP1 form if you are not eligible for statutory maternity pay and this must explain why you are not entitled to it within 7 days of having come to this decision. However, you may be entitled to maternity allowance instead.

You may also be entitled to the following benefits:

  • Child tax credit

  • Working tax credit

  • Child benefit

  • Maternity grants

  • Income support

  • Maternity allowance.

There is also a new system entitled “Shared Parental Leave,” where employees are allowed to take up to one year of their child’s life with parents sharing the 12 months maternity leave between them.

Currie & Co – We’re Here to Help

If you feel your rights are not being fully protected, then get in touch with us here at Currie and Co and we can give you legal advice. We are an experienced, trained and qualified team of employment law solicitors and we are always happy to help.

Protect Yourself and Tenants With a Tenancy Agreement

When you rent out property it's important to make sure you start as you mean to go on by making sure you have a tenancy agreement. This should set out clearly what is expected from both of you for the duration of the tenancy. That way you can both have a relationship that's as simple and straightforward as possible.

There a few other important things to remember when you embark on a landlord-tenant relationship, and we're going to go over some of these as well as other important aspects of a tenancy agreement.

Deposits

At the beginning of a tenancy it's normal for your tenant to give you a deposit, are you aware that it is a legal requirement that you keep the deposit in a safe place as set out in the Housing Act 2004? Regardless of whether the house is furnished or unfurnished, an inventory should be taken of the exact items in the house and the condition they were in prior to the beginning of the tenancy. For a furnished house it's going to contain a lot more items and if it's unfurnished then it'll just be white goods. If you know what's there and what condition it's in, you'll be able to tick them off as you go along once tenants leave, checking their condition as you go.

Tenancy Agreements Offer Protection to Both Tenants and Landlords

A tenancy agreement protects both you and your tenants. If there's substantial damage when your tenants leave, you won't be able to make deductions from the deposit they gave you without a tenancy agreement. There are different types of tenancy and naturally, you need to make sure you know what type of tenancy you're offering before anyone moves in. There's assured and short-hold tenancies and business and regulated tenancies.

Who's going to be living in the property?

You must make sure that everyone who's going to be living in the property is listed and each individual will have to sign the tenancy agreement themselves. This will include every adult living in the property over the age of 18. The dates of the tenancy agreement must be agreed upon by all parties, and the rent and deposit cleared through the bank before anyone moves in.

Currie and Co – For Reliable Legal Advice and Guidance

If you make sure you have a watertight tenancy agreement all parties are happy to sign, then both you and your tenants will have a more secure tenancy. You'll have peace of mind knowing that you've protected yourself and your tenant from any unnecessary stress and misunderstandings.

If you're unsure of how you can provide a reliable and trustworthy tenancy agreement that both you and your tenants can agree on, then get in touch with us here at Currie and Co. We have a strong legal team who are experienced in this type of law and we'll happy to help.

Tracing Business Debtors

If you're managing a business, one thing that can hold you back non-payers. Debt recovery can be a long and slow business with unpaid invoices, creating a diversion from other more important tasks. There'll always be the reliable client/customer who settles their invoice on time each month, however, there's always the one or two, who evade you, constantly making excuses and then disappearing from view, leaving you with an unpaid debt.

What Can You Do?

Unpaid debts can have a really detrimental impact on your business, if your invoice aren't paid you're going to experience a shortfall in funds, leaving bills unpaid and your own invoices delayed. Rather than put yourself through this there are ways you can trace business debtors and shorten the trail of debt collection.

Collect All the Right Information From the Start

At the outset when you're about to start working with a client, make sure you collect enough relevant information such as phone number, contact name and their full address. Then try a credit check on the company, do they pay their bills on time and do they have a good relationship with their suppliers and their own clients? If you keep in contact with the clients you'll have a fair idea when something doesn't feel right, if they've disappeared, or if they're suddenly not taking your calls.

Credit, Checks, Companies House and Websites

What happens if the debtor disappears completely and you don't know where they've gone? You can run another credit check which may give you another address where you can contact them. You can also use Companies House, you can run a search online to see if they're still active. Contact their former clients, suppliers, customers, check out their website or marketing materials such as leaflets, or handouts. They may contain testimonials from former clients, and by contacting them, you may be able to find out what's happened and where they are now.

When You've Tried Everything What Do You Try Next?

What can you do if you try all of these things, but nothing works? If after all your painstaking work you still can't trace your client then perhaps the final stop is to the door of some professional debt collectors.

Debt collectors will also try tracking and tracing former companies and private individuals who haven't settled bills, they do this every day, and they make a living out of it. They can use a variety of different reliable methods that may not be open to you. They can perhaps help you to get back in contact with them, or collect the money they owe you on your behalf.

Currie & Co – Debt Recovery Lawyers

If you find you're in this position then get in touch with us here at Currie & Co, where our team of legal experts will be more than happy to give advice, or take on your non-paying clients and help get your invoices settled.

What is Mediation and is it Right For You?

With the cost of court fees having gone up exactly a year ago, more and more couples are turning to mediation lawyers instead of heading towards the law courts. Divorce can be expensive, and if you can talk your way out of trouble it could be better for you and your family. In our post this week, we discuss what mediation is and whether it's right for you.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is where both parties try to resolve their differences instead of going to court, which can work out expensive. By resolving the issue face to face, you may be able to reach a settlement out of court and avoid expensive legal fees. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of process and both need to be considered carefully as to which is best for you.

The Advantages of Using Mediation Lawyers 

  • It can be difficult to get a court date as the courts may have a long list that comes before you do, whereas mediation can be arranged much quicker

  • If you go via the court route then your fate lies in the hands of a judge. You don't have to sign to any agreement that's ordered by the judge however, so if you don't sign it and you don't consent to anything, it doesn't have any effect

  • If mediation leads to a dead end and you're unable to come to any kind of out-of-court settlement, you can still go to court

  • All mediation processes are confidential until of course each party reaches an agreement.

Disadvantages and Risks of Mediation

  • If you think one party's stronger than the other, then this could lead to one person having more power, making mediation a stressful experience. It could also lead to unfair decisions being made to the advantage of one person, rather than both of you

  • If you can't negotiate or come to an agreement then mediation could be a complete waste of time and cost, even if it is cheaper than going to court, because if it doesn't work out, you could end up going to court anyway, with the added costs of unresolved mediation.

Only you and your partner can know whether either of you can realistically mediate with a professional and come to an amicable agreement that you're both happy with.

Currie and Co - Mediation Lawyers

Are you looking for a mediation lawyer? Get in touch with us here at Currie and Co and let our specialist mediation team help you. We've worked on a wide variety of cases, and we have lots of experience, so you'll be professionally supported throughout the process. We have a sensible, pragmatic approach and if you feel you'd like to take the mediation route, contact us today.

Insolvency & Company Directors Disqualification

Currie & Co. advise company directors in respect of their duties to the Company and to other stakeholders. This could be in respect of a director who seeks to leave the company and requires advice regarding restrictive covenants, or it could be part of a larger dispute between shareholders.

We also advise in respect of director’s duties where the company is having difficulty trading or has become insolvent. We are seeing increasing numbers of director’s disqualification actions under the Company Directors Disqualification Act.

We can provide advice and represent directors who have received notice that the Secretary of State is seeking their disqualification. Often the decision will be made by the director to give an undertaking not to act as a director, rather than go down the road of defending an action raised in court seeking his or her disqualification.

The advice which is needed in these instances is technical and complex and can relate to reports prepared by accountants and other professionals investigating the insolvent company.

Early Stages of Disqualification

Before proceeding to the stage of raising a court action the Secretary of State will, through his representative lawyers and the Insolvency Service, prepare a detailed document setting out the grounds which they believe are established and which justify disqualification.

Firstly there must be an insolvent company. Secondly there must be quite serious failings on the part of the director to fulfil the many and varied duties which may be his to fulfil. There are a wide range of possible failings referred to in the Company Directors Disqualification Act but not a complete list of all the possible failures which may lead to disqualification.

Monies Owed

Often the company will have gone bust owing monies to the Revenue. It can be difficult to argue with them after the fact as to what was in fact owed and the court might only look at the Revenues figures when considering disqualification.

Often the advice we have to give may relate to the appropriate disqualification period to accept, or negotiations with the Secretary of State to reduce the period they are seeking. But if necessary we will defend the action in court.

Periods of Disqualification

The period of disqualification can be from 2 years up to 15 in the most serious cases. There are three bands of disqualification period which relate to the seriousness of the failures. If the failures are serious enough to seek disqualification in the first place then they will justify a period of 2 years disqualification.

The lower band of 2-5/6 years relates to fairly serious failings. From 6-10/11 years is for more serious failures including defrauding the public, whereas the upper band is often described as being mainly for those who have already been disqualified once. That is of course only a rough guide and careful consideration must be given.

Get The Right Advice As Soon As Possible

If you are in the position where you think that there may be an application by the Secretary of State to disqualify you as a director then contact us now. The sooner advice is taken the sooner the situation can be managed and hopefully improved.

If you are a director who wishes advice, assistance or training in respect of your duties then speak to us and find out more.

Pothole Damage to Your Car? You May Have a Claim.

Now of course it is not the case that every time a car goes into a pothole there is a claim to be made. Whether you can successfully make a claim depends on whether the organisation responsible for the maintenance of the road has been negligent. That will usually be the local authority but in the case of some roads e.g. motorways it will be Transport Scotland. For the sake of clarity we will just refer to “the council”.

All roads eventually develop potholes, some faster and some slower than others depending on the type of material used, how carefully it was laid, what the ground under the road is doing and even the weather and the grits used to de-ice the road in winter have a part to play in breaking down the surface.

Local Authorities Responsible For Pothole Repairs

All local authorities therefore have a system for maintaining the road periodically and inspecting the road is the first step in that system. The condition of the road will be looked at and the existence of potholes will be noted and graded according to their size and depth. A view will be taken, depending on the type of road, whether they are capable of being left until the road is repaired as part of the ongoing programme or temporarily repaired on an emergency basis until a more substantial patch can be carried out in the medium term.

Have Necessary Repairs Been Undertaken?

Provided that the system put in place is reasonable and that the system of inspection is carried out properly and that any repairs are carried out properly and in a reasonable time then that would be a defence to a claim against the council. But of course the system is being operated by human beings and they are fallible. People don’t notice things they should notice, or judge things differently. That little hole will be fine for another six months they say. And then you come along three months later and drive into the hole and go off the road into a ditch.

Pothole Claim: Steps to Take

So what should you do when you have dusted yourself off? First things first, document the hole. Everyone these days has a smartphone with a camera and can take virtually unlimited photos. So take a lot of photos of the hole and the location of the hole. Don't hold back, get down and photograph the edges of the hole. Use a fifty pee piece or a matchbox to show the scale, so that the depth of the hole is capable of being gauged. If there are witnesses asks them politely for their names and phone numbers.

What If You Are Injured?

If you have been injured then it is important to document that by attendance at your GP or A & E where appropriate. Where your car is damaged and repaired keep any documentation from the garage such as receipts. It is useful to get an itemised breakdown of the work and who did the work. Photos of the damage are always helpful.

If you have been injured or your car has been damaged as a result of a pothole in the road, get in touch, we can help.

Thing to Keep in Mind When Making Injury Claims

Today we're going to share with you a simple guide on what you should keep in mind when making an injury claim. If you've had an accident at work, then naturally you'll want compensation from those you believe caused it, but make sure you look into it carefully before you go ahead, that way you'll know exactly what to expect. Personal injury claims are more common now than every before and keep injury lawyers very busy. Let's take a look at some of the things you should think about before making a claim.

It Could Be a Lengthy Process – So Be Prepared

It won't be a simple process, no legal action ever is. You'll need to be as communicative, patient and as cooperative as possible, because your injury lawyer will need to ask a lot of questions. The more you're able to help him out, the easier it's going to make his/her job acting on your behalf.

There's a Time Frame to Consider For Your Claim

There's a time frame from which to claim compensation, which is three years from the date of when your accident happened. However, you can also claim three years from when you had reasonable knowledge that your injury was as a result of your accident, this is a safeguard in case you weren't aware of the extend of your injury at the time it happened.

It's Won't Be as Expensive as You Might Think

If you don't have a lot of money and no savings, then you may be put off contacting a solicitor. However, keep in mind that most personal injury lawyers operate on a no-win/no-fee basis and if you win you'll have a percentage deducted for your injury lawyer's cost. If your claim is unsuccessful then you won't be charged anything. So you've got nothing to lose, but the service you get depends on the firm you hire, so choose carefully.

You Can Claim For More Than Just Your Injury

You can claim for more than just your injury if it's caused you lifestyle changes and you are unable to work, or you need to pay someone to care for you. You may find that you can claim compensation for these things as well as the injury itself. You need to make sure your solicitor is going to look at how your injury has impacted on your life and if it has been affected, they can make sure you claim for that too.

Negligence

No matter how severe your injuries are, you'll have to prove that the other party is responsible for your accident, and that by acting irresponsibly they caused you to hurt yourself. Evidence then, is crucial to proving negligence. So keeping in mind what we said about giving your solicitor as much information as possible at the beginning of this post, this is why. The more information you can give him/her, the better able they are to help you prove the other party was negligent.

Currie and Co - Injury Claims – Injury Lawyers

Here at Currie and Co, we have plenty of experience in dealing with personal injury claims and have achieved excellent results on behalf of our clients in the past. We can talk to you about your potential personal injury claim in straightforward language avoiding jargon, so you'll know whether you have a strong claim, and where to go from there. Get in touch if you think you may be entitled to compensation from a personal injury claim and we'll be happy to help.

Your Guide to Divorce in Scotland

As the laws are slightly different in Scotland as to how they are anywhere else in the UK, we're going to give you a quick guide to divorce in Scotland. As we are the premier divorce lawyers in Scotland we are experienced in dealing with the vagaries of divorce on a regular basis, so our knowledge bank is always full!

Let's Start With the Grounds For Divorce

There are four grounds for divorce, which are Adultery, Unreasonable behaviour, A separation for one year with consent, separation for two years with no consent. For Unreasonable behaviour you would need to provide evidence in court.

Pre-Conditions

There are pre-conditions for divorce which will involve both of you agreeing any outstanding issues that relate to the children you both have, property and money. If these things are agreed before anything starts, then your divorce will probably be a lot simply, in fact in might be easier for you to then go on to Separation for one or two years as grounds for your divorce.

Do-it-yourself Divorce Procedure

There are two types of divorce proceedings, the first is one you can do yourself. This do-it-yourself procedure is perfect for those with no children under 16 and the grounds for divorce are the two forms of separation with and without consent, with no outstanding issues with regards to money, children or property. You can get your application form from the Sheriff's Court. All it requires is for the form to be filled in with both your signatures, then swear an affidavit which should be done before a Notary Public. This can then be submitted to the court with your marriage certificate and of course your fee. This type of divorce is usually granted within days, in some cases weeks, but it doesn't take long.

The Ordinary Procedures

If you are divorcing on the grounds of adultery or even unreasonable behaviour and you have children under 16, or if you have outstanding issues such as property, money and children, then you'll probably need the court to make decisions and this option is a much more formal procedure.

Defended Actions

This can be an extremely stressful procedure as it's quite complex and there are two sub-procedures. These are known as defended actions and undefended actions. The first is where both partners cannot agree so they put the case before the court. The are pleadings, and then the case is brought before the Sheriff, there will be witnesses, and they will give evidence.

Undefended Actions

With the undefended actions, this uses the affidavit procedure, where both partners agree to a Separation Agreement. A document, known as an Initial Writ will be prepared and signed. The court will also be paid a fee and then submit this to the court.

The Writ will ask the court to grant a divorce, but does not ask for the court to award any expenses. The person raising the divorce will pay the costs. A warrant is granted to serve an Initial Writ and the action will be served upon the Defender by a Solicitor.

The Defender can accept service and then dispense with the 21 day period of notice. This is only done when either of the parties requires a divorce sooner than later. The case will then proceed with any evidence in the form of sworn statements, the Affidavits. They are then submitted to the court. If the Sheriff is satisfied with the information he has been given, there will be no need for a personal appearance to give evidence.

Are You Considering Divorce?

Now you've read our guide, keep in mind that you will still need legal advice from divorce lawyers. If you are still thinking about divorce then why not make an appointment to come and talk to us, and we can give you impartial, practical advice on what you should do next.  

What is Insolvency?

Insolvency is the business equivalent of bankruptcy. While the two are covered by different terminology and laws, they essentially mean the same thing: you can’t pay your debts. A business, even a financially healthy one, can become insolvent in a number of ways.

How can I tell if my company is insolvent?

The ‘cash flow test’ measures your ability to pay current or future debts that the business may owe, when payments are due. There is also the ‘balance-sheet test’: if your liabilities, including your uncertain circumstances at present and future liabilities, are of greater value than your assets then under English law your company is probably insolvent.

From a legal point of view your company is ‘unable to pay its debts’ if either of these two criteria can be met:

  • you have not paid a Court Order or judgement that has been served

  • you have been served a formal demand at your company’s registered offices for an undisputed sum by one of your creditors to whom you owe more than £750, and you have not paid it within three weeks

What happens if my company becomes insolvent?

A company nearing insolvency will have to be placed under the relevant insolvency procedures in order to try and repair the damage, overseen by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner. There are five options, and the nature of your business and your debts will dictate which procedure is suitable for your business. The options are:

  • Administration: where the IP replaces you and your Board of Directors. Your assets will be protected from creditors taking action so that the Administrator has the opportunity to get your business in a financial state where its debts can be settled. If the company cannot be rescued they could look for a buyer for the business, or distribute your assets in order to settle debt.

  • Administrative Receivership: under new laws it is highly unlikely that your business will be placed into Administrative Receivership, as this has been mostly superseded by Administration. In these instances the Administrative Receiver has to sell off your assets for the highest value in order to repay your creditors.

  • Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA): a CVA is a legally binding and regulated agreement between yourself and your creditors to help you repay your debts. Usually your creditors will agree to accept lower or rescheduled repayments to give your business the chance to continue trading and settle the debts.

  • Scheme of Arrangement: a more complex version of a CVA which has to be approved by court, a Scheme of Arrangement is usually only used by larger companies.

  • Liquidation: this is where a company is completely shut down and its assets sold to raise cash. The cash raised will be distributed among creditors if the company in question is insolvent. The directors of a liquidated company will have their actions investigated by the Insolvency Practitioner.

What are the consequences of insolvency?

Insolvency procedures have a big impact upon your ability to trade, as customers and suppliers could terminate the contracts through fear of being let down. Transactions from as far as two years prior to your insolvency can be reviewed and reversed, it is more likely people might make personal claims against you, and you could be disqualified as a director.

Why do I need Insolvency Solicitors?

Making the right choices is key to ensuring the survival of your company. Insolvency Solicitors can guide and advise you on all the legal issues regarding your insolvency, such as recovering and realising assets. Limit the damage caused to your business by financial difficulties by calling our experienced insolvency solicitors today.

An Overview of Employment Law

Employment law governs both employers and employees. Everyone has certain responsibilities, although these can often be confusing as employment law is a vast and complex topic.

The best thing to do is to seek specific advice from employment law solicitors. To help you understand the areas you might need assistance in, we put together a brief overview of employment law.

Hiring

When hiring a new employee, the law specifies many key points, including:

  • Discrimination is illegal. Clear records should be kept detailing why one candidate was selected over another. Interview candidates can ask to see a copy of their interview notes.

  • A contract exists the moment a candidate accepts a job offer. An employer may stipulate that in an offer of employment that the contract will be governed by terms and conditions to be provided at a later date.

  • Written terms and conditions must be provided within the first two months. These terms and conditions must cover some basic areas including job title, rate of pay, holiday entitlement, place of work and working hours.

Pay, Hours, and Leave

From minimum wage for supporting pregnant employees, it is worth getting employment law advice on the basics. There’s a lot to consider, including:

  • The maximum number of hours an employee can work (48 per week unless they voluntarily agree otherwise), how much paid leave they receive per year (a minimum of 5.6 weeks), and the right to ask for flexible working after 26 weeks of service.

  • The right to National Minimum Wage. As of October 2015 employees over the age of 21 must be paid at least £6.70 per hour. Tips, gratuities, and service charges do not count towards National Minimum Wage. From April 2016 employees over the age of 25 must be paid the National Living Wage at £7.50 per hour.

  • Employers must deduct tax and National Insurance on behalf of employees. Under a Pay As You Earn scheme it is the employer’s responsibility to deduct the necessary tax and National Insurance contributions from employee wages and pay them to HMRC.

Employee Rights

Employees have many rights, including a right to:

  • A healthy, safe, and secure working environment. Failure to take the necessary precautions required to keep employees safe could have serious financial and criminal consequences.

  • A pay statement. This must show the total gross pay, any deductions made, and net pay. All deductions must be itemised.

  • Belong to a trade union. Employees must be free to decide whether or not they wish to belong to a trade union.

  • Reasonable privacy. There are circumstances where an employer may wish to monitor employee’s calls, emails, and internet time. Whether or not they can is covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Data Protection Act.

Discrimination and Dismissal

Issues of discrimination and dismissal are two important areas which employment solicitors can assist with. Employers must remember that:

  • It is illegal to discriminate, based upon factors such as race, sexuality, gender, disability, or religious views.

  • They are responsible for any discrimination that is carried out by either themselves or their employees.

  • Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled employees to allow them to carry out their role.

  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures must comply with the Acas Code of Practice.

  • Dismissals must be fair and justifiable.

Get Employment Law Ddvice From Employment Solicitors

The rights and regulations outlined here cover just a small part of employment law. If you are thinking of hiring new employees, have a question about employment law, or are facing a disciplinary or dismissal issue, get in touch with our team of expert employment law solicitors today.

Your Guide to Road Traffic Law: Using a Mobile Phone

It has been illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving since 2003. It is not just mobile phones that drivers are banned from using, either. The law also applies to other communication devices, such as two-way radios and personal computers. Even programming your satnav what you are driving counts.

You may be aware that it is illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving, but do you truly know your way around road traffic law? For instance, did you know that it is also illegal to use your mobile phone if you were supervising someone who is driving with a provisional licence?

So what does road traffic law have to say about using a mobile phone whilst driving, and what are the repercussions for doing so?

Road Traffic Law and Mobile Phones

Road traffic law states that you should not be ‘using’ a handheld mobile phone while you are driving. The law has a very broad definition of the term ‘using’, however. It doesn’t just apply to making or receiving a phone call. You are also committing an offence if you are using your phone for activities including sending or reading text or email messages, checking your social media accounts, or reading an interactive map.

The car doesn’t have to be in motion for an offence to be committed. It is still illegal to use a handheld device if you are stationary in situations such as queueing at traffic lights, or stuck in a jam. While you are allowed to use a hands-free device to make calls whilst driving, you must still be able to competently and safely control your vehicle. If making or receiving a hands-free call causes you to drive dangerously, you can still be prosecuted.

The only times you are permitted to use your mobile phone whilst driving are if your car is parked safely, you need to ring the emergency services, or when it is unsafe for you to stop.

What are the road traffic law penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving?

If you’re caught using your mobile phone you may be given a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100 at the roadside. You will also receive three points on your licence. You may have to go to court instead of receiving a penalty, in which case you will receive a Court Summons. The maximum fine you can receive for driving what using a mobile phone is £1000.

Caught using your mobile phone? Call road traffic lawyers in Glasgow

If you have received a fine or a Summons to Court for the offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving you should call road traffic lawyers in Glasgow immediately. There may be an exemption or technicality which prevents you from being fined or receiving points on your licence.

For more information, or to arrange a free consultation regarding a road traffic law offence, get in touch with us today.

Your Guide to Road Traffic Law: Drink-Driving

Drink-driving is a serious road traffic law offence with severe punishments. If you are caught drink-driving you could be facing at least a driving ban and possibly a large fine or even a term in prison. There are several different offences covering alcohol and the use of vehicles, and the penalties can vary depending upon the severity of the offence and the circumstances in which it was committed.

Have you been pulled over for drink-driving in Glasgow? Read on to find out what could happen to you.

The Road Traffic Law Offences Involving Alcohol and Motor Vehicles

If you are pulled over by the police and found to be over the legal alcohol limit you will be charged with drink-driving. There is also a different offence known as ‘drunk in charge’, which police can use to charge you if they find you intoxicated in your vehicle but not driving.

You can also be found to be ‘drunk in charge’ if you are supervising a provisional licence holder while over the legal alcohol limit. A ‘drunk in charge’ conviction is easier for road traffic lawyers in Glasgow to overturn because it is harder for the police to prove that you intended to drive your vehicle.

A further charge, ‘driving while unfit’ covers the operation of a vehicle while you are impaired by drink or drugs (which can include prescription medication that can make you drowsy).

If you are stopped by police for a drink-driving offence you will be required by law to give a specimen of breath, blood, or urine for analysis. Failure to do so is a criminal offence under road traffic law.

Road Traffic Law – The Penalties For Drink-Driving

If you’re found guilty drink-driving you will be automatically disqualified from driving for at least 12 months. You could also find yourself hit by a large fine, the size of which will depend upon the severity of your crime and other circumstances. In the event of a serious offence, you could have to serve a period of community service, or even a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

I have been charged with drink-driving. What do I do?

It is important that you contact road traffic lawyers in Glasgow immediately. We offer a free consultation so that we can understand the circumstances of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

There are many strict procedures that need to be followed by the police when handling drink-driving cases, such as the way in which they take samples, and often these procedures have not been correctly followed. Many drink-driving cases are overturned due to insufficient evidence or incorrect procedures.

To increase your chances of avoiding a drink-driving conviction, get in touch with us today.

Your Guide to Road Traffic Law: Dangerous Driving

Aside from offences where a fatality caused, Dangerous Driving is the most serious driving offence a motorist can be convicted of. The penalties can be severe, and it can be hard for you to get your license back in the future.

So what does Dangerous Driving cover, and what are the penalties?

Dangerous Driving Road Traffic Law

Dangerous Driving is a more extreme form of Careless Driving. A Careless Driving offence is when the standard of your driving falls below what should be expected of a competent person. Dangerous Driving is more severe, and is when your driving is far below what could be considered safe and competent.

These are complex offences and it will often come down to the court’s decision whether or not a person’s driving counts as dangerous. In some cases they may decide to impose a charge of Careless Driving if they do not think your conduct was severe enough to merit a charge of Dangerous Driving.

Some behaviours that can constitute Dangerous Driving are:

  • Racing

  • Ignoring road signs

  • Dangerous overtaking

  • Aggressive driving

If you are caught driving at a speed that is greatly in excess of the legal limit defined by road traffic law you could be charged for Dangerous Driving rather than a standard speeding offence.

The Penalties For Dangerous Driving

If you’re found guilty of Dangerous Driving you will be automatically disqualified from driving for a minimum of 12 months. You will have to resit your driving test in order to get your license back, and may have to attend additional courses in safe driving. On top of the ban, you will have between 3 and 11 penalty points imposed upon your license, and may have to pay a large fine. If you are charged with Careless Driving the maximum fine is £5000 – the financial penalty for Dangerous Driving can be much higher.

The most severe penalty for Dangerous Driving is a custodial sentence. You could find yourself having to serve up to two years in prison for a Dangerous Driving offence.

Road Traffic Lawyers in Glasgow for Dangerous Driving Offences

It is important that you get in touch with road traffic lawyers in Glasgow immediately if you have been charged with Dangerous Driving. In many cases we can help to reduce the penalties you will face, such as securing a smaller number of points for your license, and persuading the courts not to ban you from driving. In some cases we can even overturn the conviction entirely.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your Dangerous Driving charges with the road traffic law experts.

Your Guide to Road Traffic Law: Speeding FAQ

There’s a lot to know about speeding and road traffic law. If you are caught speeding in Glasgow the penalties you will face will depend upon many circumstances. You might just find yourself having to pay a small fine, while in extreme cases your license may be revoked. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about speeding, answered by our road traffic lawyers in Glasgow.

What is the penalty for speeding?

The penalty for speeding will depend upon the location where the offence was committed, how fast you were going, and your past record. You could receive a fixed penalty notice at the roadside for an amount up to £100. If you request, or are required, to go to court, you could be fined up to £1000 if you then lose your case. If your offence was committed on the motorway, the maximum fine is £2500. You can also receive between 3 to 6 penalty points on your driving licence.

Will I be banned from driving?

There are certain occasions where speeding can lead to an instant driving ban. This will depend upon the circumstances of the offence. One reason you might be instantly banned is if you have exceeded the speed limit by an excessive amount. A speeding offence can also lead to a driving ban if you already have enough points on your licence that the additional penalty points take you up to 12.

Is there any way I can avoid penalty points?

In the case of very minor speeding offences, you may not be given penalty points. Sometimes you might get the option to attend a driving course designed to increase your awareness of speeding offences. You will have to cover the cost of this course yourself, but attending it could mean you avoid having penalty points imposed on your licence. This alternative must be offered to you, however: you cannot request it.

I don’t think I was speeding. What can I do?

If you believe the allegations are wrong you will have to go to court to plead your case. You will have to prove that there was some flaw in the way your speed was measured, or with the way that your case has been handled. To do this you will need assistance of road traffic lawyers in Glasgow. They may be able to find fault in the photo or video evidence, or through a legal technicality.

I already have nine points on my licence. Can I avoid being disqualified?

Once you reach 12 point on your licence you are automatically disqualified for a period of at least six months. The average time can be much higher depending upon the court. There are exceptional circumstances in which you may be able to argue that a driving ban would cause you some sort of hardship. The most common scenario is where you require a driving licence for your work, although this in itself does not guarantee that you will not be banned from driving.

Overturn speeding charges with road traffic lawyers in Glasgow

If you are being penalised for speeding you may be able to prove your innocence or have your case overturned. We are specialists in road traffic law and can help you to get the best outcome. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

Avoiding Commercial Lease Disputes

Commercial lease disputes can be a seemingly endless source of frustration for Scottish businesses. They disrupt your business and can have serious financial consequences. There are many things that could cause friction between yourself and the landlord. Knowing what these are, and how to prepare for disputes, can save you a lot of time and money.

As solicitors in Glasgow we’ve seen plenty of these disputes. Here are some of common problems, and how you can prepare for them.

Renewing the Lease

Leases that are protected under the Landlord & Tenant Act of 1954 automatically continue beyond their expiry date until either party brings them to a close. If either you, or your landlord, wants to end the lease, you will need to provide at least three months’ notice. You have the right to have the lease renewed, which is useful if rent in the market has fallen and you want to secure more favourable terms. Your landlord can also renew the lease.

Decide what the future holds for your business. If you are unsure as to whether you will still require the premises in the near future, you might be better off letting the current lease continue. A new lease, even if you end up paying cheaper rent, could bind you to the property for longer.

Defaulting on Rent Payments

If you think you will be unable to pay your rent, you should let your landlord know immediately. Don’t wait until it actually happens – your landlord may be happy to change the payment terms for a short period of time, such as allowing you to pay the next quarter’s rent in monthly instalments. You might even be able to renegotiate your lease, especially if the landlord doesn’t think they will be able to find new tenants for a long time.

Landlords have several ways of dealing with rent arrears, such as distraint and forfeiture. Distraint is where bailiffs are sent in to seize goods as a replacement for owed rent, while forfeiture involves your landlord entering the premises and changing the locks to prevent you from entering, ending the tenancy. Check your lease carefully – there should be clauses that state when your landlord is allowed to do this.

Reviewing Rent

If you have a long lease, it will likely include a stipulation that the rent is reviewed every few years to make sure you are paying a fair price. This will usually be to the landlord’s advantage, with the lease stating that rent can only go up following a review, not down. Rent reviews can be backdated, so make sure you know when it is meant to happen, as this could have a serious impact upon your finances if you suddenly find you owe a higher rent.

The best way to be prepared for this is to get the property valued by a market expert. This way you are prepared for the review, able to budget for expected rises, or negotiate if the landlord tries to raise rent above current market levels.

Service charges

The easiest way to avoid service charges is to make sure you understand what they are and who is required to pay them. You may not have realised that you were responsible for certain costs, or that you have been paying for charges that you shouldn’t have.

With any of the problems listed above relating to commercial lease disputes, the way to protect yourself is to get professional advice from solicitors in Glasgow. We can advise you on your legal obligations and help you understand your lease agreement. Get in touch with us today.

 

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Solicitor in Glasgow

Choosing the right solicitor is important. Your case could involve a very personal situation, and you want to be sure that the solicitors in Glasgow you choose are trustworthy. There are many things you need to know before deciding who to hire. It can be hard to keep all the different criteria in your mind when researching, so we’ve put together a handy list of questions to ask solicitors in Glasgow.

Do you offer an initial consultation?

You can find out plenty of information from people’s websites, but it is still important to have a telephone or face-to-face conversation. Any solicitor in Glasgow should be happy to arrange for an initial consultation, as it helps you both to understand your case and your individual requirements.

Will I need to come into the office?

Some solicitors in Glasgow may want to meet face-to-face, depending upon the case. Most cases will require you to sign some kind of document, and you will likely have to provide proof of identification. This means at least one trip to the offices. The number of times you need to visit in person could dictate how close your solicitor needs to be located.

What do you charge, and how do you expect payment to be made?

Solicitors in Glasgow charge for their services in different ways. Some may charge hourly, while others charge a fixed fee. Make sure you find out beforehand not only what you will be charged, but also how you are expected to pay. It’s no use budgeting for instalments if you are required to pay the whole fee in one lump sum.

Have you dealt with similar cases to mine recently?

Having dealt with similar cases means your solicitor will have recent experience of the relevant laws and regulations. They will be well-versed in this particular area of law. While lots of solicitors in Glasgow will have experience covering your situation, it makes sense to choose someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

What kinds of cases do you usually specialise in?

Solicitors who have recently dealt with similar cases are good; ones who regularly practice a particular area of law are better. They will have an unrivalled understanding of your case. This gives you the best possible chance of winning your case.

Do you offer ‘No win, no fee’?

For certain cases, a ‘No win, no fee’ payment plan may be the best option. It means that any solicitor’s fees will be taken from any compensation you are awarded. This can help you to secure legal help where you would otherwise be unable to afford it.

How often do I get updated on your progress?

The support your solicitor in Glasgow offers you is usually broken down into separate charges to make the whole process as transparent as possible. This means that phone calls, letters, and meetings (for example) are usually billed individually. Make sure you ask solicitors in Glasgow how often they plan to keep you updated, as their policy could make it very expensive, especially if they are getting in touch to tell you there hasn’t been much progress.

What do I do next? Simple – get in touch and ask us these questions!

Your Guide to Road Traffic Law

There are many laws a motorist has to abide by. You are taught them when you learn to drive, but with so much information to take on board, it is hardly surprising that some of them get forgotten as time goes by. Whether you are a first time driver, or have been on the road for years, your understanding of the law might be a little hazy.

As road traffic lawyers in Glasgow, we are always dealing with people who feel trapped and confused by the law. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most important areas of road traffic law that you really need to know.

Speeding

One of the more common road traffic law offences. All roads have a set speed limit, put in place to ensure the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and other road users. Travelling faster than the set speed limit is a very common offence that can have serious consequences.

The penalty for speeding depends upon where you are and how much faster than the legal limit you were driving. Speeding fines start at £100 and can go to a maximum of £2,500. You could also find yourself with 3-6 points added to your license, and be required to appear before court.

If your speeding was very far over the limit you could be automatically disqualified for at least six months, and charged with Dangerous Driving (see below).

Mobile Phone Offences

Using your mobile phone while driving has been a road traffic law offence since 2007. If you accept a fixed penalty at the roadside you will have to pay £60, while taking the matter to court could land you with a fine of up to £1,000. You will also receive three penalty points on your license. Drivers of goods or passenger vehicles could find themselves with a fine of up to £2,500. If a clean driving license is required for your work, a mobile phone offence could lose you your job.

Scottish courts also have the discretionary power to disqualify you from driving if you are caught using your mobile phone.

Drink Driving

Drink driving is a serious road traffic law offence that can have severe consequences, both for yourself and those around you. The drink driving limit in Scotland has recently been lowered, making it possible to fail a breath, blood, or urine test with a smaller amount of alcohol in your system. If you are suspected of drink driving you will be breathalysed on the roadside. If you have 22 microgrammes of alcohol or more per 100ml of breath you will be taken to a police station for further tests.

If found guilty of drink driving you could be hit with a heavy fine, receive several points on your licence, be required to attend a rehabilitation or driver training programme, or be disqualified from driving.

Dangerous Driving

Dangerous driving can be a complicated area of road traffic law, one that encompasses many types of offences. What is determined as dangerous driving can vary, but driving is said to be classed as dangerous if it falls below the standard of a competent driver, or if a competent driver would find it obvious that your driving was dangerous. You can receive up to 11 penalty points for dangerous driving, an automatic 12 month disqualification from driving, and even up to two years in prison.

If you have been charged with any kind of road traffic offence, get in touch with our road traffic lawyers in Glasgow today.