Leading judge lays out plans for divorce reform

One of Britain’s leading family law judges is calling for changes in the divorce process that would take most cases out of the courts altogether.

Sir James Munby is the President of the Family Division of the High Court. He wants uncontested divorce cases without any claims over money or children to be settled in a national processing centre.

Sir James has written to family lawyers stating that his aim is to simplify and streamline the process to make it more user friendly.

Delays over powers of attorney causing stress for families

Delays in the process of setting up lasting powers of attorney (LPA) are causing considerable stress and expense for thousands of families, according to a report in the Times newspaper.

An LPA is a legal arrangement that enables you to authorise someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity at some point in the future.

LPAs can be extremely valuable in helping your family look after your affairs if you are no longer able to do so yourself.

PA unfairly dismissed after affair with her boss was discovered

A personal assistant who was sacked after her affair with her boss was discovered has won her claim of unfair dismissal.

The PA lost her job after the affair was discovered by the boss’s wife.

The PA, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been in a relationship with her boss who was chief executive of the company. During the relationship he had moved her into a flat in London’s fashionable Belsize Park, bought her a car and taken her on expensive holidays to Australia, Cuba and Mexico.

New salary limit set for Help to Buy mortgages

The government has announced a change to the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme amid concerns over rising house prices.

New loans granted under the scheme must now be less than 4.5 times the borrower’s income.

In a separate move, the Bank of England has told mortgage lenders that only 15% of loans they grant can be at or above 4.5 times the borrower’s salary.

Cleaning company granted injunction to protect its business

A cleaning company has been granted an interim injunction preventing former franchisees from competing with it until disputed issues can be dealt with in court.

The company made the move to block two franchisees from competing for the same business in Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire.

The franchise agreement had been terminated, although it was disputed as to which party had ended it.

New guidelines to tackle late payment problem

The problems small firms face with late payments from larger businesses is being tackled in a new set of guidelines put forward by the government.

Hundreds of large firms have signed the Prompt Payment Code but many of them don’t always meet the standards required.

Overdue invoices have been identified as one of the major problems faced by small firms and so Business Secretary Vince Cable has proposed a set of amendments to improve the situation.

He says the government will work closely with the Institute of Credit Management to revise the code.

Perils of setting up a business without a written agreement

When setting up a business venture involving two or more people it is essential to have a written agreement so that everyone understands their responsibilities and entitlements.

Failure to do so can lead to confusion and the need for legal action, as illustrated in a recent case before the High Court.

It involved three people who set up a night club together.

Two of the men were business associates who had collaborated on other projects. They bought a nightclub and brought in a manager, who helped to set up the venture from the outset.

Ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are to be banned so that employees can no longer be tied to a company that may not have any work to offer them.

Some firms, including recruitment agencies, have been using exclusivity clauses to prevent an individual from working for another employer, even if the firm has nothing to offer them for long periods.

Ministers believe this undermines choice and flexibility for the individuals affected.

Government vows to ‘help firms to start-up and scale-up’

A new Bill to help small businesses is being introduced by the government.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill contains several measures designed to make it easier for small firms to thrive. They include:

•           Strengthening the rules on director disqualifications and measures to help creditors recoup losses resulting from director misconduct.

•           Assisting expansion overseas by increasing support from UK Export Finance, making it easier to expand in the international marketplace.