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Author Archive

IR35 – Government announces review

Robert Maddocks

Robert Maddocks

In our Summer 2019 newsletter, we looked at the changes to IR35 that are due to be implemented in 2020 (IR35 changes). IR35 rules focus on those individuals who operate as independent self employed contractors but actually work like employees and the rules aim to ensure such individuals pay tax and NI in line with employees. Originally the onus was on the individual to decide if they were caught within the scope of IR35.

In 2017 the government, to combat what it believed to be widespread abuse of the rules, introduced changes in the public sector which put the onus on the organisations who contracted with the individuals to decide whether the individual was caught within the scope of IR35. These changes are set to be rolled out to the private sector in April 2020.

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Sector – Education

Graduation IconChanges in funding, demographics and the nature of student expectations are forcing unprecedented change within the Higher Education sector, and the way Universities respond and re-structure in order to meet such change is going to be critical to their survival.

Whether that response involves creating an effective internal structure which balances the needs of the vice chancellor and his/her team and those of the non-executive board, deciding upon the right balance between in-sourcing and out-sourcing, addressing the complex demands of managing and improving the estate, or capitalising on intellectual property and commercialisation, our team is able to offer understandable, pragmatic and commercial advice.

Our multi-disciplinary team is focused on providing advice that mitigates risk and is led by Stephen Chalcraft who has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with the complex range of internal and external issues that affect the Higher Education sector and public bodies generally.

The team advises Universities, Colleges & Schools and Charities, and a range of public and private sector bodies on the following areas:

  • Governance and Charity Law
  • Joint ventures and partnering
  • Employment/equality and discrimination
  • FOI and Data Protection
  • Joint Ventures and partnering
  • Trading subsidiaries and spin outs
  • IP and commercialisation
  • Real Estate and Development
  • Outsourcing, commercial contracts and franchising
  • Funding and Debt re-structuring
  • Donations
  • Students as consumers

If you would like a free and confidential meeting to discuss specific issues or general strategic concerns, please contact our specialist Education team:

Stephen Chalcraft, Property – Real estate and development

Adrian Fryer, Employment – equality and discrimination

Jon Davage, Corporate – Joint ventures and partnering, trading subsidiaries and partnering

Chris McDonough, Commercial – Governance & Charity law, FOI and data protection, IP and commercialisation, outsourcing commercial contracts and franchising

David Gledhill, ABL – Funding and debt restructuring




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Cyber security – the risks to your organisation

Rob Eakins

Rob Eakins

The recent news that foreign exchange company Travelex is being held to ransom by hackers after a cyber attack is a reminder to organisations that cyber security is a business-critical issue. The gang claiming to be behind the hack has demanded £4.6m and explained that they hacked into the Travelex databases six months before the ransom demand was issued on 31 December 2019, spending that period downloading client data including names, dates of birth, credit card details and national insurance numbers.

The attack has led to Travelex taking down its website in 30 countries and turning off its computer systems. Could your business recover from such an attack asks Rob Eakins in our Commercial team?

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Free legal audit for your business

Michael Smeaton

Michael Smeaton

We frequently advise business owners on disputes that arise due to poorly drafted contracts, outdated documentation or business relationships in which the terms have never been documented in writing – leading to confusion between the parties as to what the actual terms are. These disputes can prove costly and time consuming for businesses of any size.

Once these disputes have arisen, business owners will often ‘kick themselves’ for not reviewing their contracts for years or letting relationships form without any formal written documentation but, as with many things in life, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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James Whittaker

Senior Associate

James Whittaker is a Senior Associate in the insolvency team, having joined Bermans in 2019 after practicing law at large international law firms since qualifying as a solicitor in 2012.

Prior to qualification, James studied Psychology at the University of Liverpool and then converting to law at the University of Law at Chrisleton.

James has experience acting for and advising companies, individuals, directors, creditors and office-holders within insolvency proceedings in respect of both contentious and non-contentious assignments.

Currently, James has a focus on contentious insolvency proceedings and is regularly instructed to issue and defend applications under the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Insolvency Rules 2016 including:

  • Applications for injunctions to restrain presentation of or advertisement of winding up petitions,
  • All stages of the creditors’ winding up petition process, including opposing a petition which is disputed in good faith on substantial grounds;
  • All stages of the bankruptcy petition process, including applications to set aside statutory demands and disputed bankruptcy petition hearings;
  • Full range of office-holder applications arising from the administration of insolvent estates against directors, companies and individuals (including misfeasance/preference/undervalue/void dispositions),
  • Acting for Trustees in Bankruptcy against individuals and companies, applications for possession and sale and annulment applications;
  • Administration applications include applications to challenge validity of appointment, and administration extension applications;
  • Applications for block transfers of office holder appointments.

Outside of work, James likes to spend as much time as possible outside either cycling (having recently completed Haute Route Alps) or walking/camping in the hills of North Wales and the Lake District.  James is also an avid follower of professional cycling, and Liverpool Football Club.


T: 0161 827 4605


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Insolvency Litigation

Litigation can often arise when an individual is in financial distress. We regularly advise clients on disputes in these circumstances including:

  • Creditors who are owed money by individuals and are considering the best methods to recover this;
  • Creditors where a significant debtor has entered a formal insolvency process or their next steps;
  • Insolvency practitioners (IPs) in respect of failed or challenged IVAs that they are managing;
  • IPs on litigation arising out of an individual’s bankruptcy;
  • Other stakeholders who may be affected by an individual entering into a formal insolvency process, for example a person alleged to have acquired assets at an undervalue.

Our experienced team has dealt with a large number of litigation cases over many years ranging from large, complex, high value claims to more routine repossession and asset recovery claims.

We offer practical and commercial advice in addition to our expert knowledge of the law. We appreciate that time is of the essence in insolvency litigation as assets may need to be recovered or secured before they are put beyond the reach of the claimant.

We are happy to provide initial advice as to the realistic prospects of any litigation that you may be considering. Please get in touch.


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Bankruptcy and IVAs

We regularly advise Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) in relation to individuals who are unable to pay their debts who are seeking financial relief. The two main options for individuals are:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements.


Bankruptcy is a formal process where an individual seeks a court order declaring him/her bankrupt. Once the order is made the individual will be interviewed by the Official Receiver, a civil servant who works within the Insolvency Service who manages the first part of a bankruptcy. The IP will then be appointed as the Trustee in Bankruptcy (in cases where there isn’t an insolvency practitioner involved the Official Receiver will take on this role) and will have wide powers to dispose of assets, recover assets or monies owed to the bankrupt and distribute the proceeds fairly.

Bankruptcy usually lasts for 12 months but the effects of bankruptcy last much longer. Individuals will not be able to obtain credit post-bankruptcy, and some may have bankruptcy restriction orders made against them that can last for up to 15 years.

As well as advising IPs, we also advise creditors who may seek a bankruptcy order against an individual who owes them money (must be over £5,000) and individuals in settlement proceedings relating to the bankrupt’s assets, for example a spouse seeking to buy their spouse’s interest in the matrimonial home.

We can also advise individuals who are in financial distress about the best process for them to use.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)

IVAs are a formal insolvency process where an individual will enter into a formal and legally binding agreement with his/her creditors to pay back his/her debts over a period of time.

An IVA will be set up by an IP. If you think an IVA is suitable for you, we can introduce you to an IP who can assist. The IP will work out a payment proposal that will be put to the individual’s creditors who will decide whether they agree with it or not.

For individuals with insignificant assets and less than £20,000 of debt, a debt relief order may be appropriate.


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IR35 Seminar Manchester: Limiting your exposure to an HMRC challenge

In April 2020,  new rules are to be introduced to the private sector to widen the scope of Income Tax and National Insurance deductions from Contractors.

If you are a business who engages contractors then you could be affected by the change and will then need to prepare for it.


  • Do you rely on “self employed” contractors as part of your business model?
  • Are you aware of the changes to the IR35 tax rules which come into place in April 2020?
  • Do you know what to do to prepare for the rule change?
  • Do you want to find out more?

Bermans have arranged a seminar to discuss the above and the effects the tax rule change could have on your business.

Our speakers are experts in their fields and will be able to share with you practical guidance and case examples of the tax rule change, along with best practices in preparing for it.

Event details

Date: Wednesday 5th February 2020
Time: 8am-10am
Location: The White Room, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Elliot House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WD

If you are interested in attending, please email our Marketing team –

Click here to read about the forthcoming changes and how IR35 could affect your business.

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Georgia Davies


Georgia joined Bermans in October 2019 and is currently working in our Asset Based Lending team as a Paralegal.

She graduated from University in 2018 with a First Class Law Degree, before completing her Masters and LPC with a Distinction at Nottingham Law School.

Georgia has previously spent time in London working as a paralegal in Divorce and Finance, before deciding to pursue a career in Commercial Law.

In her spare time, Georgia enjoys horse riding and sailing competitively off the coast of North Wales.


T: 0161 393 7118

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