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Huntley Legal's Blog

Employment status and IPR

Employment status and IPR

My recent article The importance of employment status, shared some thoughts on why you need to clearly and correctly identify the status of each individual involved with your business, whether they are employees, workers or self-employed. In that article, the focus was mainly on whether the payment and tax deductions you’re making would pass muster with HMRC.

This article is about the possible implications of employment status on the ownership of what may be the key assets of your business. That is, the intellectual property rights (IPR), which may be in your branding, your reports or other documents and/or in software you’ve paid to have developed by or for your business. There are other types of IPR, such as performance rights and patents, but we will look primarily at copyright here.

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Getting the best out of your NEDs

Getting the best out of your NEDs
  • Do you run a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME)?
  • Does your board include Non-Executive Directors (NEDs)?
  • Want to know how to get the best out of them?

Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) are increasingly a feature of smaller companies for various reasons.

Sometimes an NED will lend experience and professionalism to ambitious startups where the other directors lack corporate experience. Sometimes they can add a balanced independent voice among the directors of a family company. Sometimes, they provide sector-specific expertise and connections.

Including one or more NEDs on your company’s board can be a very sensible step and many of my clients successfully use the expertise and experience this makes available.

This article applies to unlisted limited companies which are not subject to the UK Corporate Governance Code that formally applies to listed companies. However, many aspects of that code have filtered into the governance culture of unlisted companies.

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The importance of employment status

The importance of employment status

It’s important for you to know the employment status of the people who work in and around your business. One key reason is that you might be responsible for PAYE and NI. If you fail to make the right deductions from payroll and the correct payments to HMRC, you are liable to back tax, interest and penalties. So there is a lot of risk if you are not absolutely clear about the status of your team members.

Rules around this have been updated a number of times. This article covers the latest guidance from HMRC.

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Will frozen GDPR keep your data flowing?

Will frozen GDPR keep your data flowing?

As far as I can recall in the run up to Brexit, data flows did not capture many of the media headlines. Perhaps understandably, topics that got more airtime included fishing, food, travel documents and queues of export lorries.

However, in our modern data-driven world, it’s just as critical to know how and where data flows between UK and Europe, and the levels of privacy and other rules that apply to that flow.

This article looks at the post-Brexit changes which cover personal data, specifically, about how and where that data can be transferred.

This matters hugely, both to businesses, and to anyone who wants to understand the level of privacy protections that apply to any given flow.

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Legal agreements: What NOT to do

Legal agreements: What NOT to do

Some people build their own legal agreements with the help of that famous author Mr Copy N Paste, using scraps they find on the websites of their competitors. Or they buy a £10 template off the internet, created by that well known provider, Mrs Graspa Cheapskate.

You never want to use an agreement like this.

The problems sparked by these two characters are often pretty serious and unpleasant – and they are wholly avoidable.

I recommend that, if you are considering their individual or collected works, you remind yourself that your business and your team deserve something better than that. What you really need is a standard agreement that has been developed around your business, to fit you like a tailored suit.

(This article is part 2 of 2.)

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Developing your own legal agreements: Big benefits for small businesses

Developing your own legal agreements: Big benefits for small businesses

Even some experienced businesspeople assume that only large companies arrive at a business negotiation with their own standard agreement in place. Or they think they can only offer their own prepared agreement to a customer or supplier that is smaller than their own business.

Not so.

No matter how young or small your business may be, there are good reasons for preparing and using your own agreement as the basis of negotiations or to record your deals.

(This article is part 1 of 2.)

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Are you ready for upcoming legislation changes?

Are you ready for upcoming legislation changes?
  • Do you own or manage a company?
  • Did you know there’s consultation underway around laws that affect you?
  • Are you aware that changes are in the pipeline over the coming year?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) along with the Financial Reporting Committee (FRC) are commencing or coming to the end of consultation around a host of potential changes.

Some of these will be of interest to anyone who owns or manages a company, so you need to be aware of what’s going on. Note that you may need the assistance of your solicitor and accountant too.

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Contracting through lockdown 3.0 and beyond

Contracting through lockdown 3.0 and beyond

We’ve been experiencing extraordinarily altered times since March 2020. Apart from wishing you and yours a safe passage to the other side, I can’t say anything new or useful about that period. So, the focus of this article is about contractual dynamics that you should manage and plan as we go forward.

Some of these suggestions may be part of your normal routines. But, if you have scheduled contract reviews, terminations or renewals over the coming months, it will be worth taking a look sooner than you usually would. This will give you extra planning time and better information.

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Keep an eye on your guarantees

Keep an eye on your guarantees

As a business, you might extend credit to your customers and get it covered by a guarantee, either from your customer’s company or from one or more of the owners.

Although these personal or company guarantees are seen as “security” for the original credit, they are themselves not secured in any way (unless the guarantor is also willing to give you a mortgage over a property or other assets).

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Debunking 3 common myths about being a director

Debunking 3 common myths about being a director

Some people give their whole life to a company. They invest a fortune into it. Yet companies can easily get into trouble, especially now because of Covid.

Company directors often make assumptions about what the role involves. In fact, there are a shedload of misconceptions. I’ll address some of them in this article and more another time, because they are really important.

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Jack Bock Limited

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