In-house news vlog: anti-variation clauses, employment contracts and failure to prevent bribery – June 2016


Halfway through the year already and feel like you’re still trying to catch up with 2015? If you’re struggling to grab a coffee let alone keep up–to-date with the law, our monthly news vlog, in association with Radius Law, will take some of the strain off. It covers all the latest legal news and cases relevant to in-house lawyers, bringing you up to speed in a matter of minutes.

Below is a summary of the key topics and cases covered this month:

Corporate & Commercial – tune in from 0:20

  • Two recent cases, C&S Associates UK Ltd v Enterprise Insurance Company Plc and Vinergy International (PVT) Ltd v Richmond Mercantile Ltd FZC, have considered common law termination rights where the defaulting party is in repudiatory breach of a contract.
  • The Enterprise Act 2016, which has some far-reaching changes, received Royal Assent on May 4th and will be implemented by regulations that are expected to be in force by October 2016.
  • In Globe Motors Inc & Ors v TRW Lucas Varity Electric Steering Ltd & Anor, the Court of Appeal ruled against a claim for breach of an exclusive supply agreement. This is consistent with recent cases where the courts have taken a literal view of the words and have refused to interpret a contract to find the most likely intention of the parties. The Court also concluded that it is possible to vary a contract orally or by conduct even where there is an anti-variation clause.

Data Security – tune in from 04:30

  • The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 have been amended to obligate all direct marketing agencies to display their number on the phone of the person being called.
  • The political lobby group, Better for the Country, has been fined £50,000 by the ICO for sending thousands of texts in breach of data protection laws.

Employment – tune in from 05:35

  • The Court of Appeal decision in Department of Transport v Sparks & Ors has shed doubt on whether employers can claim something is not a contractual term simply because it is in a policy document rather than the employment contract.
  • In White & Ors v Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, the Employment Tribunal has ruled that regular voluntary overtime must be included in the statutory holiday pay calculation but has unfortunately left some ambiguity.
  • The Trade Union Bill became the Trade Union Act 2016 on May 4th. The Act, which brings significant changes, does not specify a commencement date.
  • The Court of Appeal’s decision in Hills v Niksun Inc has illustrated the importance of employers maintaining appropriate records to identify their decision-making process about awarding commission payments.
  • An employment tribunal has ruled in the case of Wickers v Colchester Visionplus Ltd that the company was guilty of discrimination arising from disability. This case concerned an employee who had told the employer she was suffering from depression.

Intellectual Property – tune in from 11:40

Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (which limits the term of copyright protection for industrially manufactured artistic works (more than 50 articles being produced) to 25 years) will be repealed to create consistency in copyright protection.

Bribery & Corruption – tune in from 13:00

Sweett Group Plc has been ordered to pay £2.25 million after pleading guilty to the section 7 offence of the UK Bribery Act, failing to prevent bribery.

LexisNexis In-house subscribers can delve further into all of these news articles.

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