iLaw supports art the RSA

iLaw supports art the RSA

Our firm is focused on assisting some of the UK’s most innovative projects and companies, which is why we have pledged our support to a new art exhibition: The Enki Experience at The Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

The new art installation will be available to view for the next 12 weeks at the RSA and focuses heavily on the concept of sustainability and purpose beyond profit.

As part of our mission to invest in projects that seek to advance discussions on a broad range of topics, iLaw is excited to be teaming up with sculptor, Ellen Mulcrone, and Alex Lambie – the entrepreneur and multi-media artist behind the campaign.

The exhibition is made up of a distinctive wooden sculpture, as well as audio recordings and sounds that seek to engage guests on the issues that face the modern world, including the pressures placed on corporate entities to balance the needs of shareholders, employees and the wider environment.

Speaking about the exhibition, Alex Lambie said: “This installation opens a programme of work to engage individuals, communities and businesses with concepts, tools and practices that offer alternatives to the rivalry and greed through which consumer society has previously perceived problems and sought solutions.

“Our work shares a new prism through which to innovate with a true connection to compassion. iLaw’s support has been key to the development of this installation and further events starting in 2020”

Tom Clark, a Director at iLaw, said: “Commercially astute businesses are increasingly recognising the need to embrace sustainability and are under greater pressure from customers, shareholders and their peers to act ethically and ensure that the environment is considered in their actions.

“The Enki Experience takes a unique approach to this issue and we are proud to be sponsoring this forward-thinking and engaging exhibition.”

To raise awareness of the issues highlighted by the installation, the team behind the project hope to hold an event in 2020 aimed at organisations involved in corporate social responsibility and patrons of the arts.

You can find out more about the Enki Experience here.

Tech companies accused of discriminating against BAME tech candidates

Tech companies accused of discriminating against BAME tech candidates

London tech companies recruiting for new roles in London have been accused of hiring from a narrow pool of predominantly white workers.

The claims come following research carried out by the London daily newspaper, the Evening Standard, which found that only 3 per cent of the technology industry’s employees in the capital are black despite black people accounting for 13 per cent of the city’s population.

Many of the companies are based in areas such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Stratford, where there have traditionally been large black populations, and these areas also like to project an image of themselves as being on-trend and progressive.

In response to the findings, Tottenham MP David Lammy urged tech leaders to do more to promote diversity in their industry.

He said: “The under-representation of black workers in UK tech is deeply disappointing. Big tech corporations and start-ups must do more to find talent from all backgrounds.

“All levels of government should work to give young people from all ethnicities the skills, opportunities and ambition to get the jobs of the future.”

Ayodele Alakija, a software developer at Deloitte, told the Evening Standard that he believed part of the problem was the lack of role models in the industry for young black people.

He said: “I never did have any black role models in tech. My role model in that situation was and still is Bill Gates.”

Julian Cox, Head of Employment Law at iLaw said: “Employers need to be remember that discrimination laws extend to the recruitment process.

“Cases of discrimination can lead to unlimited compensation being awarded in an employee or candidate’s favour, which could have a significant impact on a business’s finances and reputation.”

For the latest legal advice and support on employment matters relating to discrimination in the workplace, please contact us.

Death in service rules branded ‘absurd’ after Widower loses appeal in High Court

Death in service rules branded ‘absurd’ after Widower loses appeal in High Court

A High Court Judge has rejected an appeal by a Widower and the British Medical Association (BMA) over the denial of death-in-service benefits, after a locum GP died on her day off.

Speaking after the ruling, a BMA spokesperson called the current rules on death-in-service benefit rules absurd, adding that it is clearly unfair for the family of a GP to be denied the full benefits simply because the doctor was on holiday on the day she died.

The locum GP, Dr Helen Anderson, was only 40 when she died suddenly in December 2014. Dr Anderson had worked as a salaried GP until April that year but switched to locum work to spend more time with her family.

When she was denied the death-in-service benefits, her widower Carl Sanderson appealed the decision and was backed by the BMA. In his claim, Mr Sanderson argued that his family should be entitled to the full benefits because his wife was booked in for 28 future locum sessions and was a member of the NHS pension scheme, so was ‘engaged’ under a contract for services.

The judge ruled that a locum is not engaged under a relevant contract for services “simply because he or she has one or more bookings for sessions at some stage in the future”.

However, the ruling does make clear that doctors are entitled to the full benefit in the event of death while travelling to work, commuting between practices or taking breaks, rather than solely during the session they were contracted to work.

The BMA has pledged to appeal the ruling so that locum GPs have the peace of mind that their families will get the support they are entitled to should the worst happen.

iLaw assists TV personality with launch of low-alcohol drinks company

iLaw assists TV personality with launch of low-alcohol drinks company

Spencer Matthews’ The Clean Liquor Company has released its first product, CleanGin, after seeking expert advice from iLaw.

Our solicitors worked closely with Spencer and his team on a range of issues, including the registration of the brand’s trade marks, to ensure the product was delivered on time.

The firm was excited to work with the former reality TV star who created the “ultra-low” alcohol CleanGin. Bottled at 1.2 per cent ABV and containing only two calories per 25ml serving, the drink has been designed as a new healthy choice for the growing number of people seeking alternatives to high alcohol spirits.

Spencer Matthews, the founder of The Clean Liquor Company, said: “Sobriety is a lifestyle choice I made a few months before becoming a dad. I quickly realised that the drink choices for the sober curious were limited, mainly made of sugary and unhealthy options. So, I worked with a great team to build a premium no/low brand and flagship product that offers a new option for people.”

CleanGin will be available from January in nearly 500 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK as well as being served in some of the country’s top pubs and clubs.

Justin Ellis, a Director at iLaw, said: “We work with a wide range of innovative brands that are fundamentally changing the sectors in which they operate.

“We have a passion for providing proactive, forward-thinking advice and support so it was great to team up The Clean Liquor Company, which is leading the way in the area of ultra-low alcohol beverages. We are delighted to see that the launch has gone so well and we look forward to providing ongoing support to this exciting brand.”

Tackling the unique challenges of a franchise agreement

Tackling the unique challenges of a franchise agreement

Tackling the unique challenges of a franchise agreement

Starting a business from scratch can be stressful, so it is easy to see the appeal of joining a franchise. Similarly, if you already own an existing brand and want to expand, but don’t necessarily want to take the risk on your own setting up a franchise can be an effective way of growing your business.

Of course, each of these scenarios brings with it some unique challenges that aren’t faced by those operating on their own.

To help franchisees and franchisors gain a greater appreciation of the challenges they face, Matthew Poli, a Director at iLaw, has put together a list of some of the common pitfalls that they face.

Research

Franchisees

Entering a franchise can feel like stepping into the unknown, even when it is an established brand. The level of investment required can differ greatly from franchise to franchise, so it is important to find out the total start-up and franchise fee. You need to be clear on how much you are willing to put in and anticipated returns.

Franchisors

It may seem like franchisors are willing to just let anyone join as long as they have the required capital, but this is rarely the case. You are, after all, handing your brand over to someone who is unknown and it is easy for them to devalue or compromise your intellectual property. You should take time to find out about the person looking to take the franchise; whether they have previous business experience and whether they have been successful or not. If it doesn’t feel right then it is OK to reject their application, as long as it is on legitimate grounds.

Talk

Franchisees

Franchisors will often offer to introduce you to other franchisees. This will be a good opportunity to find out more about what is involved, but take everything with a pinch of salt. They are likely to only want to introduce those who have achieved success. Ask existing franchisees what the franchisor’s support is like and if the turnover/profit projections are realistic. If possible, try to speak to less successful franchisees to find out if it is an issue with them or the franchise itself that is holding them back.

Franchisors

It is strongly encouraged that you open up a clear dialogue early on with those interested in joining your franchise. This is an opportunity to learn more about them, their level of risk and their ability to continually invest in the franchises they hope to open. You need to ensure that you can work with them regularly; a clash of personalities may be an early sign that things may not work out.

Support

Franchisees

Most franchisors offer training and support to ensure the business has the best chance of success, but this can vary in its intensity, and may be charged for. Make sure that you are being offered sufficient support and training by the franchisor to meet your needs and level of experience.

Franchisors

Training is an important element in protecting your brand and reputation. It is one area where you can ensure that the message of compliance is driven home, so ongoing support should be offered alongside a regular schedule of assessment. The most successful franchises, like of McDonalds and KFC, do this particularly well and have invested significantly in their support structures.

Be Aware of Fees and Costs

Both parties

As well as an upfront fee, franchisors tend to charge a management service fee, which will usually be collected either as a percentage of monthly turnover or via the supply of the raw materials used to produce saleable products. They may also impose conditions on the sale of the franchise, for instance the requirement to pay a fee to obtain their consent to transfer the business.

Both parties need to clearly understand the structure and level of fees and agree on them. This should include a breakdown of what the franchisee will receive in return.

Many franchisees are surprised at the cost of getting their business off the ground and tend to fail to consider the cost of training and marketing, which are often part of the fee structure within franchises.

Franchise Agreements

Franchisees

Franchises are often built around a strict set of guidelines and rules, which tend to be agreed upon via a franchise agreement. This will also include details of the fee structure that has been agreed and will often also mention expectations of the franchisee, such as not bringing the brand into disrepute.

These legally binding contracts can run for a term of five years or more. As such they can contain procedures for the early termination of the franchise relationship, similar to a break clause that will allow a franchisor to remove the right to operate under their brand.

Similarly, it may include a clause that allows a franchisee to sell their franchise or depart early, but this could result in a financial penalty.

The agreement may seek to make you personally liable (should you chose to enter into the franchise agreement through a limited company), not only for past-due royalties and advertising fees, but also any damages related to your franchise so you must have the agreement review carefully by a solicitor with experience in this area.

Franchisors

Franchise agreements are an essential part of franchising your business and will dictate how you can manage the franchisees within your group. It is, therefore, essential that they are robust and comprehensive.

Many franchisors have fallen foul of UK competition law by imposing conditions that prevent franchisees from being competitive this includes dictating the prices at which franchisees can sell their products or services or prohibiting them from selling online.

Many websites offer free templates for you to use, but these may not take into consideration the particular needs of your business, so it is best to seek independent legal advice if you are considering creating a franchise.

How iLaw can help

Whether you are looking to establish a franchise as an expansion of your own business or if you are looking to join an existing franchise as a franchisee, you must seek independent legal advice. We have helped with the creation of franchises in several sectors and can help with a variety of matters. Please contact us today to find out how we can support you.