Execution of a warrant of possession coming on 6th July

Today Richard Curtin who heads GSC’s Insolvency & Restructuring department, received notification from the court of the execution of a warrant of possession on 6 July.

This shows that the Courts are now enforcing warrants of possession for residential premises and sooner than many would have expected.

As to commercial premises, the moratorium on forfeiture & winding up petitions is due to end at the end of this month.

If not extended by the Government then Richard expects to see plenty of activity on the part of landlords, solicitors, insolvency practitioners and the Courts.

If you have any questions or concerns about your business, contact Richard Curtin directly on rcurtin@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2222.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Copy Caterpillar – The M&S and Aldi cake wars

It is a case that is currently making headlines in the UK and dominating discussion over a cup of tea and slice of caterpillar cake.

M&S have brought a legal case against Aldi in respect of their sale of a Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake. That cake is noticeably similar to the well known and popular Colin the Caterpillar cake which has been so successful for M&S since it was first launched many years ago.  While other retailers have marketed similar cakes, such as Waitrose’s Cecil the Caterpillar, it appears that it is the low price of Aldi’s cake that has prompted the legal action by M&S.

The case brought by M&S is likely to have two separate lines of attack.

Trade Mark Infringement

Firstly, M&S are likely to allege that the Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake infringes their trade marks of the names ‘Colin the Caterpillar’ and ‘Connie the Caterpillar’ and the packaging of the Colin the Caterpillar cake.

M&S will argue that in each case the similarities in the packaging or the name are likely to lead to confusion in the market place and cause consumers to believe that the Aldi cake is associated or connected with or from the same supplier as the M&S versions.

M&S will also argue that as a result of the public awareness of the Colin the Caterpillar product, Aldi’s use of similar names and packaging take unfair advantage of the enhanced reputation which those marks may have acquired.

Passing off

M&S case also may argue that Aldi are passing off their Cuthbert cake as a Colin cake (or coming from the same source). Similar to the trade mark arguments on unfair advantage, M&S will rely on the significant reputation and consumer awareness of the Colin cake to allege that Aldi have misrepresented that their Cuthbert cake is associated with or connected to the Colin version.

M&S’s case on passing off may be stronger, as it will not be limited to the elements covered by the separate trade marks, but could include any and all similarity including the overall shape and decoration of the cake. However, they will face the task and cost of providing evidence of the reputation in those elements alone as opposed to the name and other packaging.

Aldi is well known for sailing close to the wind with its packaging, with recent spats with Brewdog and others making the news. They may seek to argue that their customers are aware of this practice and won’t be confused as to the origin of the Cuthbert cake.

It will be interesting to see how the case develops. It has already garnered a lot of media attention (which is unlikely to disadvantage either party) but any finding of infringement against Aldi could lead to an increase in challenges and cases being brought against Aldi by other food manufacturers.

For further questions please do not hesitate to contact Ross Waldram directly on rwaldram@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2236.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

專業法律團隊 – 為您籌劃移居英國、投資每一步

香港 BN(O) 簽證政策

英國內政部大臣宣佈英國將為來自香港的英國國民(海外)建立一條自訂移民路線。這項新的香港 BN(O) 簽證政策非常慷慨,沒有施加技能測試或最低收入要求、經濟需求測試或人數上限,並且將允許 BN(O) 簽證持有人在英國居住、工作或學習,提供了一條定居而後獲得公民身份的途徑。

該簽證的有效期最長為 5 年,簽證持有人在英國居住5 年後,只要沒有犯罪行為,在經濟上自給自足,並且遵守簽證條款,便可以申請定居身份;並可以在繼續逗留一年後申請英國國籍。

私人客戶 移民前規劃

如果您正考慮持新的香港 BN(O) 簽證來英國,您務必要瞭解在抵達英國之前、之時和之後適用的個人稅項和法律含義。

我們的私人客戶團隊擅長提供全套私人客戶服務(包括稅收籌劃),當結合我們公司完善的公司和財產部門時,我們能夠為您提供全面的、度身訂造的建議,以確保您有最佳的策略來遷居英國。我們的建議可涵蓋以下範疇:

  • 如何最合理地在英國置業
  • 建立境內和境外信託以保全財富
  • 繼任計劃,以協助確保以最有效的方式處理各個轄區的資產
  • 針對所得稅和資本利得稅的居留和匯款計劃
  • 如何安排在英國的投資
  • 多司法管轄區遺囑和授權書
在英國的房地產投資 商業或住宅

對於世界各地的房地產投資者而言,英國一直以來都是最理想的目的地。無論您是想購買英國房地產自用還是投資,我們的房地產律師都能為您提供幫助。我們是一家採用現代和商業方法來遵守財產法但保留傳統價值的公司。我們確保收費人始終在最適當的層面,以最經濟高效率的方式處理您的事務,並具備適當的資歷來確保您獲得應得的服務。

  • 商業地產

我們的客戶包括領先的房地產所有者、機構和私人投資者、開發商和建築商、銀行和其他金融機構、酒店經營者、私人業主、企業家、加盟商、具有綜合體職業租約的藍籌租戶、休閒和醫療保健物業所有者、初創企業、在英國或海外的老牌企業租戶和高淨值人士。

            他們每個人都重視我們在各種房地產交易領域的卓著市場聲譽和經驗。

我們為所有層面的財產事務提供建議,並在過去十年中為一些最引人注目的、最前沿的房東和租戶案件提供法律服務,服務案例包括具有開創性的 Daejan Investments Limited Benson 及其他人員的案件裁決,這可能是近年來法院審理的最重要房東和租戶案件,EMI Group Ltd O & H Q1 Ltd

和 GSC 的房地產團隊討論:

住宅物業

GSC 的住宅物業律師處理整個英格蘭和威爾斯的價值物業轉讓,包括皇室物業和其他歷史遺產。我們瞭解處理此類財產時可能會遇到的複雜問題,並且我們知道,只有以與您的稅務、家庭和私人財富管理無縫配合的方式來管理產權轉讓,才能最好地滿足您的最大利益。

這就是從未單獨與 GSC 進行住宅轉售的原因。與我們聯絡,您會發現您的財產律師與我們的私人客戶團隊合作,能夠確保您的所有利益都得到認真考慮和保護。

我們的財產律師可以在住宅物業法的所有方面提供協助,包括處置或獲得永久業權和租賃權、延期租賃、權利取得和優先購買權。

Ms Carey Xu

Carey Xu,律師

GSC Solicitors LLP

電話:+44(020) 7822 2231

電子郵件:cxu@gscsolicitors.com

網址:www.gscsolicitors.com

Carey 是私人財富團隊的律師。

她在和高淨值人士打交道方面有著豐富的經驗,涉及複雜的移民和財富規劃事務。她還為初創企業和公司業務提供法律服務,處理商業移民和聘僱問題。Carey 在迄今為止的所有移民申請中的成功率為100%。

她還是GSC大中華地區負責人,負責接待講中文的客戶,工作涉及移民、私人客戶、公司商業、財產和知識財產權等方面。她能操流利中文和英語。

如果您和/或您的企業打算遷入英國,請確保第一個聯絡 Carey。Carey期待盡心為您一一籌劃安排。

 

Budget 2021: Highlights

On 3 March 2021 Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the Spring Budget setting out his plans as the United Kingdom starts to ease the lockdown and revealing the goals that he is looking to achieve after the pandemic.

Presenting the government’s spending plans for the year ahead, the Chancellor announced the new measures with the intention of helping businesses and jobs through these difficult times.

The measures are aimed at supporting the country’s long-term economic recovery as well as rebalancing the public finances with the help of tax rising.

Below is a summary of the key announcements for the private client world.

Property
  • The stamp duty holiday has been extended and will now end on 30 June instead of 31 March.
  • The nil rate band will be £250,000 until the end of September. The government will return to the usual level of £125,000 from 1 October.
Tax
  •  The income personal allowance will increase to £12,570 from £12,500 for the 2021/22 tax year. The basic rate threshold will increase to £37,700 from £37,500.
  • The income tax personal allowance and higher rate threshold are then to be frozen until April 2026.
  • The starting rate limit for savings will remain at £5,000 for the 2021/22 tax year. This band of savings income is subject to the 0% starting rate.
  • The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) annual exemption will remain at £12,300 for individuals and personal representatives until April 2026.
  • The lifetime allowance on pension contributions has been frozen at its current 2020/21 level of £1,073,100.
  • The annual ISA adult subscription limit will remain at £20,000, and the annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs will remain at £9,000.
 Charities
  •  The government will continue supporting the country’s social enterprises that are looking for growth investment by extending the SITR scheme to 6 April 2023.
  •  The government will provide armed forces charities with up to £475,000 in the 2021/22 tax year to support the development of a digital and data strategy.
  • The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust will receive additional £10 million in 2021/22 tax year for charitable projects and initiatives that support veterans with mental health needs across the country.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

Budget 2021: Stamp duty holiday extended until 30 June

Delivering his Budget statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced today that the stamp duty land tax holiday will be extended.

Sunak has confirmed that the current stamp duty holiday (nil rate band of £500,000) has been extended and will now end on 30 June instead of 31 March.

The stamp duty holiday was initially introduced to boost the property market hit by the lockdowns due to Covid-19 and help buyers who might have suffered financially from Covid-19 and its consequences.

According to Sunak, the policy is to assist people to buy their own homes: ‘As the prime minister has said, we want to turn generation rent into generation buy.’

In order to ‘smooth the transition back to normal’, the nil rate band will be £250,000 – ‘double its standard level’ – until the end of September. The government will return to the usual level of £125,000 from 1 October.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Furlough extended until September

It was announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on 3 March, that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (commonly known as furlough) is to be extended once again. This time it is to be extended from 30 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

An employee on furlough will still receive 80% of their wages (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) for hours not worked.

However, from 1 July 2021, the government will only contribute 70% of the employee’s wages for hours not worked (the other 10% to be made up by the employer) and from 1 August 2021 the government will only contribute 60% of the employee’s wages for hours not worked (the other 20% to be made up by the employer).

Although nothing is certain, with the positive effects of lockdown and the vaccination programme in dealing with Coronavirus, the government probably see this as the last time they will need to extend furlough.

The law in this article is current as of 4 March 2021.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at dnathan@gscsolicitors.com or on 020 7822 2247.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

UK’s Supreme Court: Uber drivers must be treated as workers

The decision could mean thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay. The ruling could leave the ride-hailing app facing a hefty compensation bill, and have wider consequences for the gig economy. Uber said the ruling centred on a small number of drivers and it had since made changes to its business. In a long-running legal battle, Uber had finally appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds. Uber’s share price dipped as US trading began on Friday as investors grappled with what impact the London ruling could have on the firm’s business model. It is being challenged by its drivers in multiple countries over whether they should be classed as workers or self-employed. Last week the Supreme Court ordered that Uber drivers are not self-employed, rather they are workers.

This will have implications not only for Uber, but for the wider gig economy, which accounts for millions of people.

By being classed as a worker, rather than someone who is self-employed, an Uber driver will now be entitled to certain legal protections such as protection from discrimination and rights to rest periods.

The court also highlighted that in determining someone’s status, a tribunal should examine what is actually happening in the relationship and not just what is stated in any documentation.

So, calling someone self-employed in an agreement will not help if,  in reality, that person is a worker.

It is important, that employers review their contracts to ensure that they are accurate.

The law in this article is correct as of 23 February 2021.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at dnathan@gscsolicitors.com or on 020 7822 2247.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

Advising a family

Advising a family on their governance and succession planning is a skill that private client solicitors need, and, fortunately, many have.  Individuals now, more than ever, recognise the need to enhance and protect family wealth for current and subsequent generations, and avoid the erosion of the wealth (and family harmony) caused by costly disputes along the way.  Many families are developing a family governance structure as a pre-emptive strike, in order to provide practical core guidance as to how the family should operate their succession and business matters through the generations.

Succession issues within a family structure may be relatively straightforward, but equally can be emotive and complex.  These issues can be complicated by the existence of certain rules, based upon an individual’s domicile or religion, which restrict that individual’s right to leave his entire estate as s/he wishes on death.  An added layer of complexity arises where a key family member has built up a business by him or herself and is now concerned with business succession planning as well as the wider aspects of the family’s global estate and succession.  This is particularly important where some (if not all) of the core family members, or different strands of the family, are involved in the running of the business.  Different family members may have competing interests within the business, and will often have different expectations regarding the inheritance of the business.  Where a family business exists, the succession issues for the family and the business are often linked.  Ideally, these two issues should be reviewed together, with the more complex decisions regarding the management of the family business being made in light of the overall succession strategy for the family as a whole.  A balance must often be struck between ensuring the continuity of the business, preservation of the business and family assets, and protection of the family members, particularly if any are vulnerable.

Potential conflicts between siblings must also be managed – a son might expect to inherit a greater share than his sister, or a daughter might have greater business skills than her brother who may wish to simply “cut and run” with his ‘share’ of the company.  Further problems arise when a child is unwilling to join the family business when expected to do so, when family members wish to leave the business, or when children of the family marry and there is an expectation that the new spouse (who might have greater business skills than the patriarch’s own bloodline) might join the business.  What is that spouses’ interest to be, pure remuneration or an equity stake?  What happens when a child of the family leaves the jurisdiction?  What happens when there is a relationship breakdown, e.g. as a result of divorce or family dispute, or where a child of the family becomes vulnerable to third party creditors, or is simply a frivolous spendthrift by nature and needs protection from him or herself?

Solutions to any possible problems must be bespoke and relevant to the family.  No assumptions should be made.  There should be no discussion of solutions until all the issues have been identified.  It is tempting for a lawyer, when meeting with a family for the first time, to roll out a whole raft of documents designed to deal with all possible scenarios (often from a prescribed set of precedents).  Nothing is more important than the facilitation of an open forum for discussion between the family members, with a platform for each of the key family members to raise their own particular concerns and issues.

Some families may not require any formal documentation whatsoever.  The process of discussion, facilitated by the independent lawyer, might be enough to set in place that family’s unwritten, but nevertheless effective family governance structure.  Other families might simply want a basic ‘Heads of Terms’ on one page.  Alternatively a family might want a full bible of documents to deal with every eventuality that might be envisaged.  At first glance, this seems like the ideal solution, but in practice could be dangerous if the family then places too much reliance on prescriptive documentation and is then unequipped to deal with an unforeseen eventuality.  The ideal solution is often somewhere in the middle, i.e. a governance structure that is both detailed enough to provide clear and concise guidance, but wide and fluid enough to enable flexibility and change within the family unit and dynamics of the often complex family relationships.

At the very least, all of the adult family members should have a Will in place.  Trust structures are still commonly used for succession planning (and particularly where an individual wishes to segregate funds for clarity), and carefully worded letters of wishes should sit alongside these documents.  Instead of, or in addition to any trusts, a family might wish to consider other vehicles for planning, such as a family investment company with a careful division of share rights.  For unmarried couples, a cohabitation agreement might be useful.  For married couples there is an increasing use of prenuptial agreements (and often post-nuptial agreements for couples moving in and out of new jurisdictions, or who are already married when the planning takes place).  Where a family business structure is in place, there may be a number of business documents that would be useful, such as partnership or shareholders agreements etc.  It is important that these documents are not seen as stand-alone documents, but are integral to the overall family planning structure in order to avoid potential conflict and contradiction between them.

It is not uncommon for an individual to prefer that the spouse and children ‘sort it out amongst themselves’ after his or her death, and this approach keeps our dispute resolution colleagues busy, but it is without doubt best avoided.  A carefully configured bespoke governance structure, achieved as a result of continuing collaboration by the family, should be the favoured choice.

For further question in relation to  Private Client Partner Amanda Chapman on achapman@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2254.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

What is Islamic Finance?

Islamic finance is a financial system that keeps within the moral and ethical principles of Islamic law (known as Sharia) and is therefore Sharia compliant.

Islamic financial principles have been around since the advent of Islam in the 7th century CE. However, the formal establishment of a fully-fledged system was introduced in the 1960s in Egypt, with Islamic finance entering the UK markets in the 1980s.

Whilst Islamic financial institutions are able to offer many similar products to those offered by other finance institutions, the main difference lies within the practices and principles that are used. Most banks offer lending and borrowing based on interest, whereas Islamic financial institutes are not lending institutes, instead they work as trading/investment houses.

Islamic law aims to promote social justice in the economy through a number of prohibitions and requirements. The main prohibitions in Islamic finance include a ban on interest, prohibiting investments in forbidden (haram) items/activities, prohibiting speculation (maisir) and uncertainty and risk (gharar). Islam requires all Muslims to pay a mandatory almsgiving (zakat) which is a compulsory donation to charity once an individual meets the minimum threshold for payment.

Islamic law prohibits interest (riba) as in Islam, money itself has no intrinsic value and instead is seen as a measure of value, and not valuable in itself. It is a medium of exchange or a unit of measurement, but not an asset. Each unit is equal in value to another unit in the same denomination and it is therefore not permissible for a profit to be made by exchanging these units (money) with another person/entity.

Instead of promoting transactions that favour one party over the other, Islam encourages partnership. This means that, where possible, both profit and risk are shared between the parties.

There are many forms of partnership agreements, including mudarabah which is a profit and loss sharing partnership offered by most Islamic financial institutions. This form of partnership is one where one partner provides all the capital (silent partner/financer) and the other partner (working partner) provides expertise and is responsible for the management and investment of the capital. The profits are then shared between the parties according to a pre-agreed ratio. The losses (if any) unless caused by negligence or breach of contract are borne by the financer/Islamic bank.

Islamic finance products and services are available to all and not just Muslims.

If you wish to discuss Islamic finance products and the options available to you, please contact Leila Mustafa on lmustafa@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2243.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.