Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Pre Employment health questionnaires and what not to ask

Changes brought in by the Equality Act 2010 introduced on 1 October mean that employers are now going to have to be far more careful about asking job applicants questions about their health.

The main points to be aware of are:

• With only some exceptions, an employer must avoid asking about a job applicant’s health until that person has either been offered a job or placed in a ‘pool’ of successful candidates.

• However, employers are allowed to ask very specific questions to determine if the candidate is physically able to carry out tasks that are essential to the post in question.

• Although the legislation does not outlaw asking health-related questions, acting on an applicant’s responses to unnecesary questions may be discriminatory.

• Employers may ask health questions to determine whether candidates will be able to undergo an assessment or if any ‘reasonable adjustments’ need to be made.

• Employers may also ask questions aimed at monitoring diversity or improving disabled people’s employment rates.


Below are a few examples of the type of questions that should be avoided

• How many sick days have you had in the past year etc.?
• Have you suffered from any illness or accident in the past 3 years etc.?
• Do you suffer from depression, panic attacks or stress related illness etc.?
• Are you in receipt of an ill-health pension, or have you been compensated for a previous industrial injury?
• Any questions relating to the health of mother, father, grandparents, etc.
• Any other questions that are of the type; “have you ever suffered from…….”


If you have any concerns about health questionnaires or your recruitment process then please contact Martin Williams on 01273 775533 or email at mwilliams@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter Support Sussex Achievers

Last Sunday a contingent from Mayo Wynne Baxter were proud to be amongst the 700 invited guests at the ninth annual Argus Achievement Awards hosted by Nick Owen.

The heart-warming ceremony at the Theatre Royal Brighton gave the unsung yet deserving heroes of Sussex their moment in the spotlight.

The awards saw more individuals recognised than ever before with 18 different award categories looking for the finest of our emergency services, schools, businesses and residents.

All of the record 180 inspiring entries for the awards had been nominated by members of the public before a judging panel of Argus staff and sponsors had the almost impossible task of trying to pick a shortlist of three and an overall winner in each category.

Mayo Wynne Baxter were pleased to be able to sponsor an award for the Contribution to Arts & Culture which was won by a deserving Robyn Steer (centre) and our Managing Partner, Chris Randall (right), was on hand to present the award.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Equal Pay – not just a local government thing

In 2008-09 there were some 37,400 equal pay claims made to Employment Tribunals in Great Britain. Of these, only 200 claims were successful at the Tribunal stage. While this could suggest that an equal pay claim is unlikely to succeed defending a claim can be a time consuming and costly business. Employers of men and women doing equal work but on unequal pay need to be able to demonstrate that any differences in pay are not related to the sex of the job holders and that the different rates of pay can be justified. This is not a straightforward process.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has set up a quick-start guide designed for small and medium-sized businesses to make it easier for them to examine their pay systems to help ensure that they comply with equal pay legislation. The guide provides helpful information on how small businesses can compare pay structures for different types of work carried out by male and female workers and what can be done if pay differences are discovered.

To look at the guide visit the EHRC website by using the following link.Click here.



If you find that you are in need of advice about equal pay please contact our Head of Employment, Martin Williams on 01273 223263 or email mwilliams@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Foreign bankruptcies now enforceable

In a potentially ground-breaking case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that bankruptcy judgments made overseas can now be enforced through the UK Courts.

On 30 July, David Rubin & Partners, an insolvency practitioners, successfully convinced the Court that it should be allowed to enforce a bankruptcy judgment made in New York.

Adrian Roman and his two sons, from an office based here in the UK, set up a US company called Eurofinance SA. Relying on the relatively weak consumer protection legislation in the US, Eurofinance sought to scam American consumers out of millions of dollars. The idea was that consumers were given vouchers if they bought goods in certain shops. The vouchers could be used to get all their money back after three years. No-one ever actually got their money back. 15% of the purchase price of goods was paid into The Consumer Trust. However, the Trust only contained $9,000,000 whereas if all those who partook of the scheme successfully claimed back their money, the Trust would have to fork out $160,000,000.

In October 2007, the Trust was liquidated by the US Bankruptcy Court. Mr Roman had made approximately $8,000,000. David Rubin and Partners were appointed as liquidators. They sued Mr Roman. Mr Roman stayed in the UK under the impression that any bankruptcy judgment made against him in the US was not enforceable in the UK. At first instance, he was right. However, the Court of Appeal reversed this decision. Prior to the decision, it was possible to avoid liability established in foreign courts by remaining in the UK. No longer. It is a case which could have enormous ramifications. Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see the volume of cases in the UK which are based on foreign debts. It is a stark reminder of the care which must be taken by all those who conduct their business abroad and further evidence of how small the world is becoming.

If you have any query regarding this case or indeed any other insolvency matter, please do not hesitate to contact Duncan Wilks of this firm.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

ACAS Annual Report Reveals 13% Increase in Employment Claims

ACAS Annual Report Reveals 13% Increase in Employment Claims

ACAS, the independent employment relations service, have recently published their annual report and accounts for the 2009/10 period. The report provides an insight into the volume of disputes arising out of employment relationships.

ACAS reports that although the number of large-scale collective disputes being referred to ACAS has dropped, there was a 13% increase in the amount of individual employment claims totalling 87,421 for the year, 25% more than they were resourced to deal with. They also reported a drop in the overall rate of resolution indicating that more cases are proceeding to expensive tribunal hearings.

Over 45% of individual employment claims involved unfair dismissal, 10,000 more claims than the previous year, and more than 25,000 claims were made relating to discrimination on grounds of sex, race or disability. To put this in a financial context, the average awards made in 2008/09 ranged from £27,235 for Disability Discrimination to £7,959 in cases of Unfair Dismissal.

Whilst it is never possible to wholly prevent claims, the figures published by ACAS remind us of the fact that effective policies, procedures and employment contracts can save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds defending claims. Employers need to ensure they are in the best position to mount a defence.

If you find that you are in need of advice about Employment Tribunal claims please contact our Head of Employment, Martin Williams

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Top 10 tips for avoiding Inheritance Tax

By Fiona Dodd, Mayo Wynne Baxter

Inheritance Tax is money that is paid out of your estate to the Inland Revenue on your death. The current rate is 40% of everything over £325,000 for an individual or £650,000 for married or civil partners.

You cannot avoid Inheritance Tax if your assets exceed these thresholds but there are procedures you can put in place now which can reduce the amount that goes to the taxman.

If you would rather see your friends, family or favourite charities benefit, then follow my top ten tips for reducing Inheritance Tax (IHT).

1.Know exactly what you have got

List your assets. How much are they worth? Do you need them all? Are any in joint names? Can you transfer any to your heirs now?

2. Get married

If you are a widow or widower, you can add your deceased partner’s allowance to yours, giving you an allowance of £650,000.

3. Spend it!

Ever thought of SKIing - Spending the Kids Inheritance! However, if winter sports aren’t your thing, then round the world cruises, sports cars (assuming they depreciate in value), or even second marriages can significantly reduce your capital and therefore the amount of IHT that would need to be paid.

4. Give it away

A simple solution is to give it away now, but unless you live for seven years after making the gift, your beneficiaries will still be liable for any IHT. However, there are some exemptions:

• Regular gifts from your income (rather than your capital) are not liable for IHT if they do not affect your standard of living.
• You can gift a total of £3000 a year from your capital without incurring IHT
• Contributions to family weddings (parents can give up to £5000, grandparents up to £2500 and other family members £1000)
• Donations to charity – any amount at any anytime, providing the charity is registered.

5.Check your investments

There are a number of IHT efficient investments such as Gift & Loan Trusts, Discounted Share Trusts and shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) http://tinyurl.com/lxnpjh. An Independent Financial adviser will be able to help you.

6. Use your business exemptions

Business property is entirely exempt from IHT as is agricultural land, providing it is a proper working farm. Land used for business purposes gets 50% tax relief.

7. Life insurance and pensions

This is a very good time to look at your policies, as you may have collected a few throughout your career.

• Who receives the benefits?
• Can you nominate a beneficiary?
• Are the policies sufficient to cover your dependants’ needs after your death?

8. Make a Will

If you don’t have a will, you will die intestate. This means that your assets will be distributed according to the law rather than according to your wishes. An up-to-date and professionally drafted will:

• Clearly sets out your intentions
• Ensures all your tax allowances are used
• Avoids arguments and bad feeling among your beneficiaries

9. Take professional advice

Don’t be tempted to try and write your own will. It is a complex process and it is very easy to make mistakes which can turn into a real headache for your beneficiaries.

It’s also wise to take advice from an Independent Financial Adviser, particularly if you have complex, high value or multiple assets.

Professional advisers have specialist, up-to-date knowledge and will ensure that your estate is passed on according to your wishes. They will probably save you money through tax and other savings in the long run.

They will also have professional indemnity insurance so if you are given bad advice, there will be recompense for you and your dependants. Whereas if you make the mistake, there is no recourse.

10. What not to do

• Bury your head in the sand - death and taxes are both inevitable
• Leave it too late. Remember, anything you give away seven years before your death is exempt from tax
• Write your own will
• Believe every sales pitch. Do your research and take advice before committing to an investment plan
• Worry. The sooner you start organising your assets, the sooner you can relax

Fiona Dodd is an Associate Solicitor within the Probate, Trusts and Wills Department with Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP. For further information please contact 01273 775533 or email fdodd@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter for regular tweets on Mayo Wynne Baxter news and views!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Solicitors go back to School



One of the great things about being a Trainee Solicitor at Mayo Wynne Baxter is that they encourage you to use your initiative and take the lead on projects. Nothing has shown this better than our involvement in Local Lawyers in Schools.

Local Lawyers for Schools is a fantastic scheme run by the Citizen Foundation, a charity that arranges for solicitors to link up with local schools. When I first heard about this I was determined that Mayo Wynne Baxter should get involved.

For lots of students the thought of working in the legal profession hasn’t even occurred to them. Having the opportunity to spend time with practising solicitors offers them a great insight into a career many would never have even considered.

When I suggested to my colleagues at Mayo Wynne Baxter that they took part in the project, which would involve them teaching Law to GCSE students, some weren’t quite sure if they were ready to go back to the classroom. But a bit of gentle persuasion, and the promise of minimal homework, meant we were soon packing our satchels!

Mayo Wynne Baxter joined the scheme last year, becoming the first firm in the country to take part. Since then we have been working with the Year 10 Citizenship students at Hove Park School. We’ve covered all kinds of subjects, including police powers, drug legislation, human rights and what you have to do to become a lawyer.

The feedback from the students and their teachers has been really positive and I think they enjoyed the lessons almost as much as we did. My favourite comment was from someone who said that he thought solicitors could never get in trouble with the police because we always knew how to get away with things. Alas I had to inform him that being a solicitor wasn’t an automatic get out of jail card. He took it in his stride though and decided that a legal career was still a good idea as he liked the thought of getting paid to argue with people.

Mayo Wynne Baxter recently won praise for our involvement in Local Lawyers in Schools from the new MP for Hove, Mike Weatherley. He is going to be visiting the school this Friday (18th) to meet the students and staff and find out what they really think of lawyers and politicians. I hope they won’t be too honest!

And then, in a couple of days, we’re branching out and taking Local Lawyers for Schools to Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne. There we’ll be running tutorials for unemployed people as part of a project training volunteers for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Watch out for my next post for an update…


For further information visit www.lawyersinschools.org.uk

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Why LinkedIn is a Lawyer's new Local

Reading an excellent blog post by Matt Silverman on Mashable about social media and the legal profession got me musing about how lawyers, Mayo Wynne Baxter included, are actually pretty clued up when it comes to digital marketing. Don’t forget, less than a decade ago law firms were prohibited from doing any kind of marketing or PR. Apart from a listing in the phone book, business generally had to be built up over a few pints of claret at the Wig and Gavel.

Don’t get me wrong, we still firmly believe in “real” socialising, or networking as it’s called in the business community - you can’t beat face-to-face contact and we’re usually up for a beer or two - but we also understand the power of its digital sibling, to the extent that social media has now become as essential to Mayo Wynne Baxter’s communication strategy as traditional PR and marketing.



So, how does social media help our clients? Well, one of the big advantages social media gives us is being able to impart lots of targeted information to our clients in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks. We use LinkedIn, and Twitter to highlight news, legal updates and to direct people to the relevant part of our website that will inform them about their legal process. And it’s all so quick. For example, we can post an update to a change in the law with an explanation of its implications, then tweet the link and hey presto, the world and his wife know about it in less time than it takes to frank an envelope.

We’ve also found social media very useful for engaging with niche audiences, for example, the solicitors in our MACI Team have built up an ever increasing network of “friends” in the media and creative industries. They regularly get together for seminars and workshops and use Twitter and Linked In to keep everyone up to speed.

This brings me neatly to the obligatory note of caution as the last MACI seminar was all about social media and protecting your business’s reputation online. This is something that we are very hot on, both for our clients and also for our own firm’s reputation. Thanks to the huge potential audience, an incorrect or inappropriate post can destroy a firm’s reputation before you can say “who suggested a social media policy?”

As with all Mayo Wynne Baxter’s external communications, our social media content is always overseen by our marketing department. Whether it’s a press release, a brochure for our clients or even this blog, the content must be relevant and appropriate to the audience we are talking to and, above all, must accurately reflect Mayo Wynne Baxter’s professionalism and values.

So, you won’t find pictures of us on Facebook downing pints at the aforementioned Wig and Gavel, nor will you ever see blog posts or tweets about our clients, but hopefully you will find that we’re making law more accessible and easier to understand.

If you would like to find out more about copyright, intellectual property and the legalities surrounding social media, please contact our Media & Creative Industries team to arrange a meeting.

You can read the full Mashable post here.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Is ‘World Cup Fever’ bad news for employers?

With the World Cup kicking off this Friday (11th), patriotic employers across the country will be experiencing mixed feelings. Firstly, there will be the irrepressible anticipating and hope that England will go the distance and be victors after a 44 year World Cup drought.

However, the other feeling will be that of concern as to whether your staff will turn up during England’s fixtures, particularly the next day after over zealous celebratory drinking and frivolities. Of course we all want something to celebrate about, but not at the price of costly staff absences.

So, the fundamental question has to be: what is the best approach to managing staff expectations and issues relating to staff absence during the tournament?

Well, a large number of employers may have already made provisions for staff to watch World Cup matches at work, as well as offering flexible working hours, shift swaps or unpaid leave. However, employers may want to consider allowing staff time out to watch games in the workplace by accommodating requests to watch online to moderate disruption.

One word of caution, however, employers must ensure that non-English staff are afforded the same flexibility to watch their national teams in order to avoid discrimination claims. Also consideration should also be given to retaining some football-free areas for those not caught up in the World Cup frenzy.

Rather than ignore the festivities, employers have the option to see the World Cup as an opportunity to boost staff morale. Many companies intend to turn the World Cup into a team building event, creating “World Cup Sweepstakes”, with any entry fees going to charity. This could be an extremely cost effective way of re-engaging de-motivated staff following the recent economic downturn.

Having a clear policy sets the boundaries in terms of how far the employer is prepared to be accommodating. Employees should be made aware of the disciplinary consequences of taking unauthorised time off work without good reason, or for not performing satisfactorily or misbehaving at work during the tournament.

Like most people, The Mayo Wynne Baxter team are looking forward to the World Cup and will be cheering on various teams as part of our charity sweepstake!

Ruby Dinsmore is an Employment Solicitor with Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP. For further information please contact 01273 223286 or email: rdinsmore@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter for regular tweets on Mayo Wynne Baxter news and views!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Employment Law Seminar: making sense of new equality laws

Mayo Wynne Baxter's Employment Team have announced they’re joining forces to help employers understand a raft of new legislation.

In the wake of the Equality Act and extra rules on long-term sickness, Mayo Wynne Baxter and Martin Searle Solicitors will lead an Employment Law Update on 17th June. This informal event is part of a series run by pressure group LEADER (Local Employers Acting on Diversity, Equality and Race).

The seminar will interest those who have people management responsibilities within the private or public sector. Our very own Employment Law Specialist, Martin Williams, will be contributing his insight and wealth of experience; covering a multitude of topics, including:

PART I - What is new about the Equality Act?

- How discrimination law will be harmonised and extended
- Cover for "associative" and "perceptive" discrimination
- The concept of justification
- Third-party harassment
- The extent of positive discrimination
- The limitations on pre-employment health questionnaires
- When pay is and is not a secret

PART II - Managing ill health in the workplace and avoiding disability discrimination

- Adopting a fair procedure to any dismissal
- Ill health as a reason for dismissal
- The new Statement of Fitness for Work "Fit Notes"
- Disability and employment law
- What is disability discrimination and how has this changed with the introduction of
the Equality Act

This event is taking place at Brighton’s Holiday Inn and kicks off at 8.30am to 10.30am. The seminar is free to LEADER members and a one-off fee of £15 to £25 for non-members can go towards annual membership.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter where we’ll remind you about our seminar nearer the time, as well as regular tweets on Mayo Wynne Baxter news and views. For further information, or to book your space at this event, email liz.kite@brighton-hove.co.uk or call 01273 291577.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Thank you to those who attended our ‘How to exploit the power of social networking’ seminar

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who attended last night’s event, particularly Lighthouse for their fantastic hospitality, and of course our speakers Edward Coxall, Dean Orgill, Cristina Lawrence and Leapfrogg’s Ben Potter for their invaluable insight on social media in the workplace.

Secondly, how many of you today viewed and used your various social networking channels differently? One thing last night’s presentations highlighted was the unrelenting power of social media and how it’s gradually entering our lives, even if some are unaware of it.

The Mayo Wynne Baxter team did themselves proud by delivering the often confusing and exhausting subject of copyright in a more engaging way. It was good to see attendees enthusiastically jot down notes and nod with interest during the course of the evening.

Ben Potter, Sales & Marketing Director at Leapfrogg, imparted his expertise on how social media is integral to modern day marketing, but more importantly, how it needs to be respected and applied correctly in order for it work effectively for your business.

Networking and nibbles then followed the discussions. Smart phones were visible; however guests preferred more conventional methods of communicating, which gave the opportunity for people to ask questions, exchange business cards and generally share their experiences of social networking. It was clear that the majority either liked or occasionally dipped in and out of social networks, but overall weren’t mindful of their capabilities. The power of social media was certainly felt by all!

If you would like to find out more about copyright, intellectual property and the legalities surrounding social media, contact our Media & Creative Industries Team today to arrange a meeting.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Want to know how to exploit the power of social networking?

If you and your business has in anyway adopted social media, and by that we mean either a solitary tweet on Twitter every now and then, or persistent dabbling on LinkedIn and Facebook, but without genuine conviction, then our ‘How to exploit the power of social networking’ seminar this month will certainly enlighten you.

Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Media & Creative Industries team, joined by Brighton-based digital marketing agency Leapfrogg, will be addressing how companies can utilise the power of social media to promote their brand, whilst being mindful of the various legal issues. Attendees can expect a lively, interactive seminar where smart phones can stay switched on! Discussions will cover:

• Choosing and protecting your brand name - Trademarks, copyright issues, research and planning using community mapping tools.

• Social media as a promotional tool - Choosing the right social networking tools, establishing benchmarks and choosing useful objectives.

• Staff as your social media champions – How to integrate social media into the fabric of your organisation through employee engagement, establishing policies and procedures to promote consistency of message and brand and how to implement the right staff policies and practices.

• Brand reputation- monitoring your brand online - How to monitor your online reputation and how best to defend yourself against a breach of copyright.

Litigation specialist Dean Orgill will be speaking on issues surrounding copyright and Edward Coxall, Intellectual Property and Corporate specialist will speak on the importance of trademarks.

Employment Law specialist Cristina Lawrence will provide you with useful tips on how to draft Social Media policies and procedures for your business. Delegates will have the opportunity to consider the implications of social media in the context of the work place.

“Time and time again companies jump head first into social media with no planning or thought as to the legalities. This is shaping up to be a great event; covering every angle,” says Ben Potter, Sales and Marketing Director at Leapfrogg, who specialise in delivering integrated digital marketing strategies for aspirational brands. By combining search marketing, social media and digital content, Leapfrogg help their clients to grow and prosper online.

The evening kicks off on Wednesday 19th May from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Lighthouse and would like you all to join us after the seminar for refreshments, canapés and of course networking; to exchange twitter names and MOO cards!

Spaces at this event are limited, so to secure your place please contact Louise Clasby on lclasby@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or call (01273) 477071.

For more information on Leapfrogg visit www.leapfrogg.co.uk

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Solicitors offer free medical negligence advice

Leading South East solicitors, Mayo Wynne Baxter, are holding a free clinic for people wanting advice on medical negligence claims.

The clinic is being held on Wednesday 28th April between 9.30am and 5pm at Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Brighton office, Century House, 15-19 Dyke Road, BN1 3FE.

The clinical negligence team at Mayo Wynne Baxter has extensive experience in this highly specialised area of the law and has a range of clients who have suffered from severe brain injuries to those who have suffered an injury during an operation. They offer advice and support to victims of medical accidents in seeking redress, be it an explanation, an apology or financial compensation.

Specialist clinical negligence solicitor Rob Bell said: “We recognise that the majority of healthcare professionals want the best for their patients and do a great job, sometimes under difficult circumstances. Unfortunately things do occasionally go wrong, so when they do we’re here to help the client find out what happened and why, and help them get their life back on track.”

For further information or to book an appointment, please call 01273 223205 to speak to Andrea Roberts or email aroberts@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Leisure Industries Team launch at Eastbourne’s Towner

It seems like the winter has gone on forever, so the current spell of sunshine is a welcome boost, particularly for leisure-based businesses which need good weather to encourage customers.

When it’s cold and miserable people tend to stay indoors; however the minute the sun shows its incandescent face, suddenly we’re all out doing things, such as alfresco lunch with friends, a round of golf or taking the kids for a day out to a local attraction.

Hopefully, the long-term forecast for Sussex’s leisure industry will be pretty sunny, with not too many scattered clouds of volcanic ash! Attractions, such as the newly designated South Downs National Park, will draw in visitors from far and wide, who will need to eat, drink, sleep, shop, be entertained....

So all in all, it seems a good time to launch Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Leisure Industries Team, which has been set up to help businesses which operate in this sector. The team comprises of solicitors who have specialist skills and knowledge such as licensing, planning, property and employment coupled with firsthand experience of working with leisure businesses.

If you are involved in the leisure industry, you can meet the team at the official launch party on Thursday, April 22 for a champagne reception at the Towner in Eastbourne. We chose this venue as it has rapidly become one of the southeast’s top cultural attractions. Although it was only opened a year ago, it has been nominated for an Art Fund prize alongside such venerable institutions as the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Natural History Museum.

Apart from the obvious attraction of the venue (and the free-flowing champagne) we have also invited leisure marketing specialist, Lindon Parriss, to give a short talk about how leisure marketing is changing, which will be relevant to most businesses in the sector.

Numbers are limited, however if you would like to join us, please contact Louise Clasby at lclasby@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk for an invitation

Monday, 29 March 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter backs a winner in the ‘Let’s do Business’ exhibition in Brighton

Mayo Wynne Baxter is to be proud sponsor at the hugely popular business exhibition ‘Let’s do Business’ at Brighton Racecourse on May 13th. Let’s do Business is well known for the networking events it stages in Eastbourne and Hastings, but will be the first time that Brighton has hosted the event.

With our offices situated in Brighton and across Sussex, we are fully aware of the popularity and buzz that surrounds the exhibition having previously sponsored the event in Eastbourne. The entire Mayo Wynne Baxter team knows that the event will appeal to the business community in Brighton & Hove and look forward to mingling with some familiar faces!

“Literally thousands of people visit Let’s do Business every year and the feedback from businesses that exhibit is universally positive,” says Dean Orgill, Partner at Mayo Wynne Baxter. “The move into Brighton makes perfect sense for the exhibition and represents a great opportunity for us. We’re delighted to be a main sponsor and looking forward to meeting lots of new people in May.”

Jonathan Dolding is the organiser behind Let’s do Business and is keen for Brighton to see why the event is increasingly considered the number one networking event in the South.

“It is great to have our friends at Mayo Wynne Baxter on board. The response from the Brighton & Hove business community has been terrific and confirms our decision to launch Let’s do Business here,” says Jonathan. “There are still opportunities for businesses to become sponsors or book exhibition space. This will be a big day in the business calendar and one that I’m sure will become our biggest event anywhere.”

Dean Orgill is a Partner within the Litigation Department and will be attending the event, along with others from the Mayo Wynne Baxter team.

Please contact Jonathan Dolding on (01424) 205507 for more information about becoming a sponsor or exhibiting at Let’s do Business.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Best foot forward- Mayo Wynne Baxter support Brighton 10k Legal Walk

A team of lawyers and support staff from Mayo Wynne Baxter are taking part in the 3rd Annual Brighton Legal Walk on 21st June this year.

The event, which is organised by the London Legal Support Trust, has gone from strength to strength in recent years and raised over £10,000 in 2009.

The 10km “after work” sponsored walk will raise vital funds for legal advice charities in and around Sussex and begins at 5.30pm at Brighton Combined Court Centre.

Alan Larkin, Family Partner and ‘chief walker’ says “We were delighted with the support received from colleagues and clients last year, with one generous client even sponsoring us for £1000. Mayo Wynne Baxter are delighted to be taking part again this year and hope to raise even more money for this fantastic cause which benefits those vulnerable members of our community most in need of legal advice and support.”.

Walkers will include lawyers from firms, chambers, in-house legal departments and law schools as well as members of the Judiciary. Non lawyer colleagues and family and friends are also very welcome.

Visit our fundraising page: http://www.justgiving.com/Mayo-Wynne-Baxter

For further information please visit http://londonlegalsupporttrust.org.uk/

Monday, 15 March 2010

Daredevil Linda Sky Dives to Help War Heroes

Hats off to Linda Lamb, partner within the family law team, who has boldly undertaken to do a sky dive for the charity Help for Heroes.

Linda’s challenge takes place on Sunday April 18 when she will jump 12,000 metres from a small plane with just a parachute for company.

Talking about her forthcoming ordeal, Linda said: “My husband did a tour of duty in Iraq so I have a lot of empathy with our soldiers and their families. When the opportunity arose to do something to help them, I felt inspired to say yes. But as the date draws nearer, the prospect of jumping out of a plane is becoming increasing daunting. The most frightening thing I’ve done is an abseil going headfirst. It was terrifying but I don’t think it will prepare me for my 12,000 metre fall!”

“The important thing is to raise money for our wounded servicemen and women. I’ve had lots of sponsorship support from my colleagues, friends and family but I hope to raise a lot more in the next few weeks.”

Linda will be accompanied in her endeavour by a team of teachers and pupils from Eastbourne College. They are hoping to collectively raise £15,000 for Help for Heroes. All funds will go directly to the charity which provides practical direct support to those servicemen and women wounded in the line of duty in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you would like to sponsor Linda, please follow this link www.justgiving.com/ebcskydive

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

How to improve payment performance within your business

From our point of view there’s one simple, fundamental solution to improve payment performance: make it easy for your clients to pay.

According to a recent publication from the Institute of Credit Management (ICM), only half of all businesses offer their clients the facility to pay by direct debit. This is cashflow madness considering that direct debits are cheaper to process than cheques, and gives the business total control over the payment dates and amounts.

Cashflow is as crucial to your client as it is to you. Enabling your client to budget its payments to you reduces the likelihood of unpaid invoices. Transparency about what costs need to be paid and when, significantly lowers a business’ aged debtors and increases cashflow.

In case they need persuading, another benefit your client may not be aware includes the added protection of the Direct Debit Guarantee which protects them against payment error.

With the future of cheques in the balance (no pun intended), why not use this opportunity to streamline your collection process and eliminate the oldest and well-worn excuse for non payment: “The cheque’s in the post”!

You can contact Lucy Tarrant, Head of our Debt Recovery Team for more information, by email: ltarrant@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or tel: (01273)223226.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Private landlords hit by rent arrears

Nearly 75% of landlords have been hit by rent arrears as tenants struggle in the recession, a new report reveals. Figures recently released by The National Landlords Association (NLA) show that more than 40% of the landlord’s lobbied have experienced problems with non payment of rent within the last twelve months.

With the credit-crunch hitting last year, the property market was sent into disarray and unemployment figures soared. Inevitably this has affected the ability of many tenants to meet their rent obligations. As a result many landlords, who are themselves financially reliant upon the receipt of rent payments, simply cannot allow their tenants a prolonged period of leniency before taking action to regain possession.

Steven Holt, a litigation solicitor in Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Eastbourne office, has seen a marked increase in the number of landlords requiring advice on rent arrears and tenancy repossessions. “The problem of rent arrears and regaining possession of a property from a tenant can be a real headache, both in the procedure involved in the eviction process, and the costs involved in taking action,” he said. “Many landlords are naturally nervous of starting legal proceedings against their tenants for fear of incurring a large bill which adds insult to an already injured bank balance!”

“The decision of what to do is a bit easier to make if landlords know in advance what their overall financial commitment will be. We have a fixed price scheme for residential landlords where the total cost of obtaining possession and rent arrears is a maximum of £600 plus court costs. We hope this will help landlords recover lost revenue and keep in the black.”

For further details on the scheme or to speak to one of the Mayo Wynne Baxter team, please email ast@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or telephone Steven Holt or Carolyn Olive on (01323) 730543 or (01273) 775533. Remember you can call any of our expert and friendly solicitors in Sussex with your legal issues at anytime.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter at the Starting Over Show- “Everything you need to know about breaking up and starting over”

Many of us have experienced a painful and emotional relationship break up, and looking ahead positively can be a difficult thing to do.

Sussex Solicitors Mayo Wynne Baxter are again proud to be attending the Starting Over Show 2010. The event helps thousands of people every year in making life changing decisions after a separation, and Mayo Wynne Baxter will be offering free legal advice to visitors at the show through one to one surgeries.

The show, which was the first event in the UK of its kind, offers a multitude of expert knowledge and insight, including health tips, how to kick start your new business aspirations, financial advice, as well as being a welcoming environment for singletons of all ages and backgrounds.

Over 140,000 couples divorce each year in the UK, with the South coast providing some of the highest statistics in the country.

The separation process is often complex and emotionally draining. The knowledgeable, friendly and approachable lawyers from the Family Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter will provide expert legal advice at our surgeries during the event. Anyone with divorce, civil partnership or co-habitee issues, irrespective of your situation, can come and speak to us confidentially and without obligation or charge.

The show starts in London on the 7th March before making its way to Brighton on Sunday 28tth March. We honestly believe this is a fantastic opportunity to turn over a new leaf, start afresh and establish your personal and business ambitions, all with the support of caring and inspiring people around you.

Contact our Family Team to find out more leading up to the show, or to book your free appointment at our legal surgeries on the day of the show.

For more information visit www.startingovershow.co.uk

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Sussex Food ‘Oscars’ always leave a positive, lasting taste

I’ve been working with the farming community in Sussex for most of my career, so felt more than just a hint of pride as our food and drink producers were celebrated at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last week.

It was a real red carpet event, attended by the great and the good in their glad rags. I was there to represent Mayo Wynne Baxter Sussex Solicitors as dignified sponsor of the Sussex Drink Producer of the Year. This was deservedly won by Hepworth Brewery in Horsham. They make the delicious Hepworth Sussex, a real ale brewed only from hops and barley grown in this county.

The winners of all seven categories are real champions and have done so much to promote local produce and I applaud them for their passion, integrity and their capacity for sheer hard work.

And hats off to the chefs and staff at the East Sussex National who created a fabulous five course meal almost entirely from Sussex produce. I was amazed at the variety and quality of what we have on our doorstep – cheese, beef, seafood, fruit, vegetables, dairy produce, beer and wine. It seems we can even produce delicious red wine, something I never would have thought possible a few years ago. Now there’s no excuse for not eating local – thank goodness I live in Sussex!

For further information and some fantastic photos visit www.sussexfoodawards.com

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

VAT and Exports - Prove It or Lose It

Small items of high value have always represented a major problem for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), since they are the favoured means by which criminals commit a simple VAT fraud. In essence, the fraud works by producing evidence that goods have been purchased or imported (which leads to a recoverable VAT charge) and then exported (so they are zero-rated on sale).

The net effect is that the VAT incurred on purchase or import is recovered. Normally there is a chain of businesses involved and, at some point, one of them ‘disappears’ having not paid the VAT due. The net result is that VAT is paid out by HMRC and this is never balanced by VAT paid to HMRC. IT equipment of various sorts and mobile phones are favoured items to use in what are described as ‘missing trader’ or ‘carousel’ frauds (the latter because the same goods can go round and round in circles, being used to commit several frauds).

Needless to say, HMRC are often very picky about the evidence of exportation they will accept as valid. Recently, they brought to court a claim for zero-rating of goods which it had been claimed had been exported. The case illustrates how HMRC can create problems for businesses which appear to be innocent parties in a chain of transactions that HMRC believe to be suspect at some point in the chain, and it sounds a warning bell for businesses that export goods.

HMRC argued that the company’s evidence for export was inadequate. The VAT Tribunal agreed, partly because the company had taken no steps to make sure it was not involved in any fraudulent transactions.

“It is absolutely critical for exporters to make sure their documentation is adequate to support their claim that goods have been exported and thus qualify for zero-rating for VAT purposes,” says David Gordon, Head of the Corporate Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter.

The exporter appealed, arguing that the Tribunal was wrong. The Tribunal had concentrated on the company’s lack of effort to make sure the transactions were not fraudulent. The company also argued that as it held a CMR consignment notice as evidence of export and this had initially been accepted by HMRC as valid, HMRC could not later refuse to accept its validity. Furthermore, HMRC had not accused the company of fraud.

The court sided with HMRC: the Tribunal’s decision that there was inadequate evidence of export of the goods must stand. Case law held that possession of a CMR consignment notice could not be regarded as conclusive proof of export. If you’re looking for expert solicitors who specialise in commercial law services, in particular surrounding VAT and fraud issues, please contact us today.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Will you be attending our free seminar on Brand Protection?

I’ve been preparing for the next on our schedule of free seminars given by Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Media and Creative Industries Team (MACI). This latest is on Brand Protection and will focus on your business identity, brand and creative output can be some of your most valuable assets.

You may own the building, the stock, the office equipment and know their value, but how do you put a price on your company’s creative or intellectual property copyright? More to the point, how much would it cost if a competitor “borrowed” your innovations, ideas and brands? If you took these away would you still have a business?

We’ve invited Jonathan Hancox, a specialist Patent Attorney at The Patent House, to explain how protections such as trademarks, patent law, copyrights and design rights can be put in place before you launch your idea or product. I will be raising the invaluable issue of what recourse you have, should anyone attempt to infringe your rights.

The seminar commences on Thursday 4th February at the Lighthouse, 28 Kensington Street, Brighton BN1 4AJ from 6.00pm till 8.00pm.

Please join us after the seminar for refreshments, canapés and networking. Spaces at this event are limited, so to secure your place please contact Louise Clasby on lclasby@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk
or call (01273) 477071.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Employment Seminar - Managing poor performance: Improve individual productivity and efficiency

Whether you run your own business, are part of a team or are self-employed, performance management is integral to your overall personal productivity and efficiency. You also share the one key goal of sustaining profitability in order to thrive as a business, and with all of us looking to make 2010 a more prosperous year compared to last, knowing how to manage your performance – particularly when it’s on the decline – is more paramount than ever.

Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Employment Team is running a free seminar in conjunction with Icando Limited on the subject of Performance Management.

Join us at the Jury’s Inn, Brighton, for a lively and interactive seminar where Employment Law Specialist, Martin Williams, and Business and Leadership Coach, Janet Pink, discuss practical steps involved in managing individual performance to achieve increased productivity and efficiency.

We will also look at how to manage poor performance and your legal obligations under the new ACAS guidelines. This seminar takes a practical approach and delegates will come away with lots of ideas and tips that you can implement in your own business. Areas we’re covering include:

• What is Performance Management?
• Setting performance expectations
• Managing individual performance to get better productivity and efficiency
• Poor performance? What do I do now?
• The latest ACAS Code of Practice
• Key steps in taking formal action
• Distinguishing capability and conduct issues
• Policies and procedures
• When can you legally dismiss an employee?

If you want to raise the performance of individuals in your company, want to understand the key tools for setting performance expectations as well as getting the confidence to handle poor performance, then this is the seminar for you.

The seminar commences on the 28th January from 2.30pm to 5pm and spaces are limited, so in order to secure your place, please contact Louise Clasby on lclasby@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or call (01273) 477071 as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you are unable to attend this event but would like to learn more about this topic, please email Louise and your enquiry will be forwarded to the relevant speaker.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter, Sussex Solicitors, appointed to Headway's list of Personal Injury Solicitors for 2010

We’re proud to announce that Mayo Wynne Baxter's Personal Injury Team has been selected to join the Headway list of Personal Injury Lawyers for 2010.

Headway, the brain injury association which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, works to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and to provide information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carers. The Personal Injury Solicitors List is compiled by Headway to help people find a solicitor with the highest level of expertise and experience in brain injury related claims.

To speak to a member of our Personal Injury Team, or to discuss a claim, please contact John Lingwood on (01273) 775533 or email jlingwood@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

For more information visit www.headway.org.uk