Identifying High Profile Court Cases

It is easy to identify high profile court cases; these will be given high media coverage and will often be scrutinised because they involve stars and celebrities. However, there are other criteria for the focus on the following ten. It is a subjective and personal choice. It encompasses criteria such as involving landmark legal issues, high financial stakes, topical interest and international issues but with a London bias. The ten cases selected by Vannin Capital represent a mixture of recent judgements, on-going cases and high value commercial cases; criminal cases have been excluded for the sake of simplicity. If the ten were chosen last week or next week, then they might well be different. High profile cases are constantly changing and the list must be flexible. Some will be there eternally: others may fade, to be replaced by more significant cases. Like fashion and celebrities there will be change.

Case 1: Berezovsky v. Abramovich 2012

This has been included because it involved a high claim, $5 billion, and it features the glamour of Russian oligarchs, has links with high politics and was brought in London. The subsequent, sudden death of the losing claimant, Berezovskyhas kept the claim in the news and extended the intrigue. That witness credibility seems to have been the decisive factor in the decision is significant; this is often the case. Berezovskywas deemed “an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness”: in contrast, Abramovich was judged “a competent witness”. The case did not set any legal precedent but it affirmed the reputation of the English legal system. Topically, the funding of the case was also in the vanguard. It is believedBerezovsky’s lawyers were acting on conditional fee basis, but probably had legal expenses insurance to mitigate against their losses.

Case 2: Barclay brothers victory in the Court of Appeal July 2013

The very recent dating of this case warrants its inclusion.Again  it reflects the failure of a claim in the big business world of property and finance. Paddy McKillen’s failed claim for a share in the ownership of three of London’s flagship, luxury hotels again highlights the high stakes involved in bringing such litigation. His estimated legal bill is £20 million, plus the costs of the appeal. Again the case reflects the drawn out nature of such cases: it has been running for 9 years.

Case 3: Prest v. Petrodel Resources 2013

Again the very topicality of this case secures its place in the list. As a divorce case involving a substantial financial settlement, it brings together the fields of Family and Corporate – Commercial Law. Again its complexities are reflected in its 5 year history and a final judgement in the Supreme Court. Importantly, the Court found that the husband’s companies were held on trust to him, and did not belong to the shareholders as he had contended, and therefore could be considered part of his ex-wife’s settlement. The case has given an important message to the family courts that they can be robust in challenging attempts to conceal assets behind a “corporate veil”.

Cases 4,5 and 6: Current Football Cases

These reflect the combination of glamour and international high finance in recent high profile cases.

In the case of the sale of Fulham FC, a purchase worth over£150m by the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, Shahid Khan, the seller’s profile is equally high, he being Al Fayed. The lawyer’s fees are reported to be a staggering £200m.

The next case is the £260m regeneration of Liverpool’sAnfield ground. Again it is the lawyers who have much to gain.

Another high profile football case has a slight twist on lawyer success. One worth following is that where Glasgow Rangers FC are suing lawyers Collyer Bristow, relating to their advice and handling of a takeover deal. This case is complex and is expected to be heard October 2013.

Case 8: London Underground v. Freshfields BruckhausDeringer and Herbert Smith

This is another case which sees the lawyers as defendants, against a claim of £140m over their advice re- a public-private partnership deal with collapsed transport company Metronet.

Case 9: Graiseley Properties v. Barclays Bank

If the criteria for a high profile case are a big financial claim, topical interest and typicality then this banking case must be included. This involves the LIBOR rate fixing allegations and is only the tip of the ice-berg of such claims. A decision is expected in 2013.  £350 trillion in financial transactions are suggested for future claims for compensation which could involve a wide field of consumer and home loans. Other banks such as JP Morgan and Bank of America look likely to be also defending claims.

Case 10: A high Profile Medical Ethics Case

Not all high profile cases involve multi-million claims in the Commercial courts. Many are cases of medical  negligence, such as the Thalidomide cases. Others might be appalling cases of child neglect, such as Baby P. In 2012 TonyNicklinson acquired a high profile. Suffering from locked-in syndrome, his was a landmark case, challenging the legal ban on voluntary euthanasia. His challenge failed; the Court ruled that it was a matter for Parliament to change the law, not the courts. That campaign continues.

Some Conclusions and Thought for the Future

High value commercial cases look set to be the high profile ones for at least the short-term future. Such cases will be a challenge to finance, even for individual billionaires and multi-million pound companies. The risks of losing are compounded by the huge legal fees: even winning parties must consider the cost of funding their litigation. The recent Jackson Reforms have made this even more necessary. Certainly more flexible modes of litigation funding look set to develop. These include Third Party Litigation funding, After the Event insurance and new Damage Based Awards. No one would like to be Paddy McKillen, left holding his £20m bill after losing his high profile case against the Barclay brothers.

5 Best Ways for Students and Recent Grads to Breach the Real World

Students and recent graduates who are worried about breaking into their industry or economic sector do not have to fear finding a job as long as they invest and prepare. Many students and recent graduates will undoubtedly take a while to find their ideal match for a job- mine took about a year after graduation. However, keeping positive and making the right steps toward finding the right job for you is key. There are five main ways a student or a recent graduate can really break into their industry.

1. Craft All Your Goals and Objectives

As a student or graduate, you need to self-reflect and think about what career goals you want to meet. Thinking of your life on a timetable, such as a five-year or ten-year plan, can help you micro-manage some of your thoughts. Investigating what you want to accomplish or what ways you want to provide skills to a company or community need to be seriously considered. Organizing these thoughts logically are important so you do not become overwhelmed by how many activities you may need to do. Without a blueprint to be the foundation to how you break into your industry, you may become disorganized with everything you want to do.

2. Enrich Yourself Professionally With Internships and Volunteering

Your course may not require you to complete an internship in order to graduate- this is all the more reason to get one. Being hungry for the positions and truly wanting the career is what will get you to where you want to go. An internship or a volunteer opportunity helps you gain some immense pre-professional skills and a chance to test all of your leadership and critical thinking skills in a workplace environment. Internships are indispensable tools at colleges. Colleges network students across the world with private and public sector internship opportunities. Not taking advantage of these opportunities during college could be detrimental toward your ability to stand out against competitors. Volunteer opportunities are also helpful. Volunteering shows your initiative to provide your free time to a company or non-profit and your willingness to help your community.

3. Develop Your Resume or CV

Developing your resume can consume some time, but it is obviously necessary to complete this task with appropriate details. A general resume should be developed that lists your skills, qualifications, work history, and education. After that, though, you should develop a tailored resume for each job you apply to. Each resume you send to a different company or for a job opening should be unique to meet demands. Building the resume based upon the job description is important to show you are a true contender for the position.

4. Networking

Networking is an incredible tool to get your name out there with other professionals. Professional networks include regional professional organizations and social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Appearing on a site like LinkedIn or joining local organizations or professional groups allows you to communicate and meet other professionals. Even if it is online, making initial contact is key. Even to follow an industry professional or a company you are interested in on Twitter can turn heads in your direction. Making insightful or genuinely humorous comments garner attention. These interactions can be fruitful for a number of reasons. It may lead to a follow back, therefore opening doors to the real world. It’s all about “who you know” right? Those people you know, may know of job openings in the industry, or others may become impressed by your credentials and want to reach out with an employment opportunity.

5. Invest In Professional Advice on Campus

There are opportunities to gain some advice and information on specific industries that would be impossible to find if you were not enrolled in a college program. Students who have access to unique resources must pursue opportunities in order to find the right one. Some of these resources include faculty or staff in your academic department, the career counseling department at your college, contacting your college’s alumni network, or attending the frequent career fairs that occur at your school. In order to calm your nerves a little bit, when you are meeting with a professional in the industry for the first time, look at it as YOU interviewing THEM. This is good because: 1) Takes the pressure of yourself. 2) You will be prepared to ask the right questions. Recent graduates can capitalize on the alumni network of their school, but after graduating, there are different options available. You can always invest time seeking advice from friends, acquaintances of friends, or family members as well. These talks can not only provide informal advice, but also unique techniques like practice interview sessions or job shadowing.

Tony Bradley is a career counselor specializing in helping students find entry level jobs.

Change the Face of your Business: 6 Steps to Avoid Being Sued

Accidents and misunderstandings can happen in any industry but the last thing any company wants is the hassle and stress of being sued.

Taking on a litigation case is a massive risk for any business, regardless of its size, because it requires a large sum of money to go to court.

Fundamentally, there is no guarantee that you will win, so there is the chance of losing all that hard-earned money; and you could end up paying the opponents legal fees too.

Essentially money is the deal-breaker but being sued also causes a lot of strain that is otherwise not needed. It is extremely time-consuming and expensive.

Ask any business owner and they will tell you the same thing; all they want is to get on with running a successful brand; not being dragged through the courts.

So how can you minimise the risk of being sued? Here are 6 key steps that will help you avoid the court of law.

  • Get insurance
This is absolutely crucial. Employer’s Liability Insurance is compulsory for all businesses and it covers you for any liability you may have for injury or death to your employees.

Elsewhere, Public Liability Insurance covers you for any liability or death to third parties, and damage to third parties property as a result of negligence by you or your employees.

Legal Expenses Insurance is vital to cover your legal costs, but check what your policy covers because often or not they can be limited in the amount covered, as well as the type of claims. A standard cover usually includes court costs, employing solicitors and accountancy fees.

  • Treat your staff and customers right
Customer service is imperative and it is the backbone to your business. If the customers are not happy, they won’t return to use your product/service, or worse, they could take you to court. A complaint should always be treated with the utmost respect.

If you fail to support your customers properly, you open yourself up to allegations. Be prompt with your responses and take a grievance seriously.

It is also important to retain your employee’s happiness. Employment disputes are a major cause of litigation and wrongful/ unfair dismissal are the most common types of claim. Treat everyone how you would like to be dealt with, and look after your workforce.

  • Stay above board
If your business does everything by the book and nothing illegal, the chances are no-one will sue you because they won’t have anything to back up their claim.

Know the law and your rights, as well as your employee’s rights and stick to them. Put policies in place and make sure they are adhered to.

For example; if the floor is wet, make sure your employee’s know the correct procedure to clean it up and put out a warning sign, before anyone slips. This minimises the risk of an accident occurring, and should a fall happen, you have backed yourself up legally.

Communicate to all employees what your policies are; make sure they know the basic do’s and don’ts; and comply with legislation.

  • Document everything
The statement ‘but I told him not to do it’ would not stand up in court. Why? Well because the claimant can argue that nothing was ever said. Nowadays, if you want to give the business a sense of security, you need to put everything in writing.

Even if something is said verbally and is agreed, follow it up with an email to document the important conversation. By doing so, neither party can deny the exchange at a later date. Any type of agreement, whether it is a contract, transaction or chat; get it in written form.

  • Run background checks when recruiting
What kind of staff are you taking on? You can minimise the risk of fraud taking place by running thorough background checks. Before recruiting anyone, run a CRB check and make sure that they are ‘harmless’ in terms of cons or schemes.

Have they previously taken anyone to court? Obviously if it wasn’t their fault this shouldn’t be penalised against, but you should take all court proceedings into account.

  • Pay your taxes on-time
As a business, you have a responsibility to pay corporate tax on-time and to report all your earnings. You can be sued if you are not paying the right amount of tax, and sooner or later the organisation which collects debt, be after you.

Whether it is HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they will come after you if you are untrue.

Change the face of your business and follow the steps above to reduce the chances of being taken to court. Remember- being sued is costly but there are options available that can help by offering a funding solution to the costs of running a case.

This article was provided by Vannin Capital, specialists in litigation funding. The experts provide a risk-free solution to pursuing litigation for every business.


How Postgraduate Study Can Help Land You A Job

Finding a job in the current economic climate can be difficult – with an uncertain future, many businesses and public sector employers are hesitant to employ new members of staff and are increasingly looking for guarantees that they will see a return on their investment.

However, this is where postgraduate study can come in handy: not only does a postgraduate qualification make your CV stand out, but it demonstrates to potential employers that you are motivated and dedicated to your subject.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ report on postgraduate education found that the number of people undertaking postgraduate education grew by over a third between 1998 and 2010, with nearly a quarter of students in the UK studying at postgraduate level. “The advanced knowledge and capability of postgraduates are highly prized by business and the public sector,” said the report.

“The skills of postgraduates, especially researchers, are critical for tackling major business challenges and driving innovation and growth.

The UK’s ability to provide people skilled to this level is an important factor in attracting global businesses to locate high-value operations here.”

Postgraduate degrees can be taken in almost any subject, and institutions like Middlesex University offer a wide variety of courses, from accounting and business administration to nursing and social work, these courses provide a valuable next step for those who want to specialise in a subject, or even take your career in a new direction. Not only do people with postgraduate degrees earn more, but they find their skills in demand from a wider variety of institutions: everyone from blue-chip companies to leading think tanks and public sector departments seek the expertise of people who have dedicated years of extra study to their chosen subject.

Remember that these courses are typically much more intensive than an undergraduate degree: they’re demanding, fast-paced and require a lot of time and attention, but the rewards can be literally life-changing.

If you’re interested in seeing what a postgrad qualification could do for your career, go to your chosen university’s next postgraduate fair to find out more information and see what your options are. It could well be the route to finally landing that job of your dreams – and if nothing else, the experience you gain and people you meet along the way will be invaluable.


The Data Protection Act and Secure Document Disposal

Small business owners have a responsibility to protect the sensitive information of their clientele. Even if small business owners outsource some of their work, the owners are still responsible for such sensitive information. The business owners may face repercussions if these details are accessed for the purposes of fraud, which is why it is important to consider secure safety procedures such as the confidential shredding of information.

For the information of such business owners, the Data Protection Act and Secure Document Disposal states that personal data must be:

  • processed fairly and lawfully,
  • for one or more legally sanctioned purpose,
  • specific to the purpose, adequate and not excessive,
  • accurate and timely,
  • kept no longer than the life of the purpose,
  • processed according to the rights of the individual; for the individual to be informed of the information being processed, to prevent such information from being marketed, and to be compensated if damaged by such marketing, and
  • not passed to countries outside the European Economic Area.
A description of the personal information of clients to be processed is as follows:
  • the client’s racial or ethnic origin,
  • the client’s political opinions,
  • the client’s religious beliefs or similar practices,
  • the client’s affiliation with a trade union,
  • the client’s mental or physical health,
  • the client’s sexual preferences,
  • the act or the accusation of an act of an unlawful nature by the client, and
  • an action in court of an act or accusation of an act of an unlawful nature by the client.
Secure disposal of personal information on a small business owner’s clientele is not limited to merely shredding paperwork. Computers with the latest updated firewalls and virus protection programmes are a must-have. Program the operating system to notify users of the latest security updates. Encrypt personal information held in computers so hackers can’t retrieve the information for fraudulent purposes. Keep daily backups for use if the computers are lost or stolen. Remove all personal information if business owners are changing from old computers to new ones. Destroy the hard drive or use technology for such removal. Last but certainly not least, install anti-spyware software, which is often available for free. This prevents hackers from gaining personal information.

Other security measures would include training staff not to relay personal information via email that is not encrypted, nor relay it to groups of individuals. Staff should be trained not to open spam. It sometimes contains viruses or spyware. Staff should know what to look for in persons seeking such personal information for fraudulent purposes.

Robert Dean has been involved in the shredding services for several years and believes in the importance of business security and managing paperwork. He currently works for TheShreddingAlliance.co.uk.