Companies’ reputations matter to them and, when they are publicly smeared, the law is far from powerless to protect them. In one case, a company that was on the receiving end of an online campaign of vilification won £10,000 in libel damages.
Disregarding health and safety rules can put your liberty, as well as the welfare of your staff and customers, in jeopardy. The owner of a restaurant that served a peanut allergy sufferer with a fatal dish found that out to his cost.
Creditors of a collapsed airline will be better off after the Court of Appeal ruled that it retained its identity as an air carrier even after it became insolvent. The ruling meant that the airline was entitled to be allocated valuable airport flight slots for the summer season despite having no aircraft and no flight crew.
Investors inevitably take risks but are entitled to expect that finance professionals in charge of their portfolios will follow their instructions and manage their exposure. That certainly did not happen in one High Court case in which a businessman’s seven-figure investment shrank by more than half over a five-year period.
Before contract arbitrations even commence it is sadly not uncommon for disputes to arise as to the identity of the arbitrators. In one such case, the High Court ruled that a leading barrister had been unlawfully appointed to a panel charged with resolving a reinsurance dispute arising from the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Restrictive covenants in employment contracts involve the imposition of restraints on employees’ personal freedom and have to be reasonable to be enforceable. In one case, the High Court ruled that a clause in an engineer’s contract that prevented him from working for competitors for 12 months passed that test.
Fires can cause enormous damage in just a few minutes, but uncovering where responsibility for them lies is a laborious task that can take years. In one case, the High Court pointed the finger of blame at an electrical fault in a drinks vending machine almost eight years after a blaze gutted a college building.
Business partnerships can be created orally or by conduct indicating that an accord has been reached. However, as one case concerning a troubled medical practice showed, it is always wise to have such agreements professionally drafted at the outset.
Many people do dangerous jobs, but employers are required by law to do all in their power to minimise risks, and the consequences of failing to do so can be severe. In one case, an equipment maintenance company was served with an improvement notice under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 after a near-fatal accident.
In a decision of interest to insolvency practitioners, the High Court has ruled that an insolvent airline is not entitled to be allocated valuable take-off and landing slots, in which there is a thriving secondary market.
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