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Statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)

We appreciate that these are unprecedented times and as such we want to reassure you of our ability to operate effectively and continue to support and serve our clients.

We are an ISO 27001 accredited business and as part of our continuing certification we must be able to demonstrate that both a documented and tested Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan are in place.

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Bermans bolsters its restructuring team with key lateral hires

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

North West commercial law firm Bermans, which is celebrating its 50th year in business, has made two key appointments to its busy restructuring team. The team, led by Phil Farrelly, welcomed Martin March as a partner and James Whittaker as a Senior Associate.

Martin has more than 20 years’ experience working in the insolvency and restructuring arena and joins the firm from Knights Plc. A well know face across the North West, Martin focuses on transactional and advisory work, acting for business owners, insolvency practitioners and other professionals in relation to business restructuring. He has been involved in a number of high-profile property related insolvencies involving distressed “investor funded developments”. His focus at Bermans will be on corporate transactions particularly property related insolvencies.

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Bermans turns 50!

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Bermans marked 50 years in business on 4 February 2020 and partner Fergal O’Cleirigh explains how the firm has gone from strength to strength and how it has adapted to the changing legal landscape.

The firm, which has offices in Manchester and Liverpool, was set up in 1970 by Liverpool based litigation lawyer Keith Berman. In 1980 Keith left the UK for New York where he established a New York office for the firm. The New York and Liverpool offices split in the early 1980s to create two independent firms both bearing Keith’s name but continued to work closely together.

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IR35 – Government announces review

Rob Maddocks

Rob 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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Dealing with an employee with drug or alcohol dependence

Sophie Robertson

Sophie Robertson

What would you do if you suspected one of your employees was struggling with alcohol or drug dependence? Does their dependence amount to a disability? Are you justified in dismissing somebody who comes to work smelling of alcohol?

We are seeing an increasing number of cases relating to drug addiction and alcoholism in the workplace. We will be hosting a seminar in the Spring aimed at employers and HR professionals focusing on this issue and how substance abuse links to disability.

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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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Universities forced to address the issue of fire safety full on

stephen-chalcraft

Stephen Chalcraft

Following the Grenfell tragedy and the recent student accommodation fire in Bolton, the pressure is on for Universities to ensure that their whole estate is “fully fire safe”.

This doesn’t just require an extensive review of University owned and managed premises, but also a review of accommodation, teaching space and research facilities owned or operated by private providers and partners.  

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North West law firm strengthens employment law offering with new team

North west commercial law firm Bermans has recently strengthened their employment law offering with a new expanded team, welcoming four new solicitors to the department throughout 2019 so far.

The firm, which has offices in Liverpool and Manchester, put plans in place to expand their employment team to cope with increasing work loads during the previous financial year.

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