The EU have published a redacted version of the Advanced Purchase Agreement it entered into with AstraZeneca AB for the supply of Covid 19 vaccine. This article considers the terms of the redacted version of the Agreement in light of the claims made by the EU Commission, the threats made by the Commission and the actions taken by the Commission.
I am a commercial contracts lawyer of over 20 years’ experience who has worked on contracts in the bio medical and pharmaceutical sector, and on Government and EU supply contracts for much of that period. I caveat the contents of this article on the basis that I am an English qualified lawyer and the Agreement is subject to the laws of Belgium. As such, some of this article by necessity is approached from an English law perspective.
In a bid to make it easier to repurpose town centres and high streets across England and Wales, the Government has made major changes to the ‘use classes’ that businesses must operate within for planning purposes.
New regulations came into force on 1st September 2020 which significantly amended the 1987 Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order. A number of classes have been abolished and moved into a more generic Class E.
In January 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government unveiled sweeping changes that they plan to implement to the home ownership rules that, according to their press release will be part of “the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, fundamentally making home ownership fairer and more secure”.
Freehold or leasehold – what’s the difference?
Owners of flats and houses in England and Wales can either own the freehold which means they own the property and land it occupies or the leasehold which means they own the property and have a legal right to occupy the land but the land is owned by a third party. These reforms are aimed at leasehold property.
When Diego Maradona passed away in November 2020, speculation was rife in the press as to whether he had a valid Will and, if he did, whether it provided for all of his children with some newspapers reporting he had fathered eight children whereas others had the figure as high as 11!
While the Maradona situation is thankfully not commonplace, sorting out the estate of a loved one when they die can be a daunting task. If they had a Will in place that should make things easier but what if the Will doesn’t make adequate provision for all of the dependants or if you are concerned that the Will has not been interpreted correctly?
As we await the Budget, still scheduled for 3 March 2021, speculation continues in the press as to whether it will bring a rise in tax and in particular Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
CGT is currently paid at a rate of 20% by higher rate taxpayers on most gains but can be reduced by various reliefs such as Entrepreneurs Relief (which allows business owners to take the first £1 million of gains at a CGT rate of 10%). A recent Treasury report recommended aligning the CGT rates with the Income Tax rates including top rates of 40-45%, a shift that would take us back to the position in early 2000s when the rates were much more closely aligned.
The latest Insolvency statistics
The latest insolvency stats have just been released by the Insolvency Service and it comes as no surprise to see the figures for the past nine months have been historically low- about 40% lower than normal- as companies continue to benefit from the Government support measures and the temporary restrictions on the ability to issue statutory demands and winding up petitions.
The rise in corporate (but not personal) insolvencies in the month of December 2020 did come as a bit of a surprise. There were a total of 1,228 registered company insolvencies, which comprised of:
On Friday 15 January 2021 the Supreme Court delivered its eagerly awaited judgment in the test case between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and various insurers. The FCA was acting on behalf of policyholder businesses disrupted by COVID-19.
To the relief of SMEs awaiting the decision, the court found heavily in favour of the policyholders.
It is estimated that 370,000 policyholders could be directly affected.
Alissa Marsh (pictured below), joined Bermans in January 2017 as a solicitor working across both of our Asset Finance and Invoice Finance departments.
L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker
As we head into 2021 and the inevitable restructure of the economy as we (hopefully) return to some sort of normality, we thought it would be useful to share details about the depth of experience in our Insolvency team and to share some of their experiences during the lockdown.
Partner and Head of Insolvency, Phil Farrelly, will be known to many of you and has been with Bermans since 2005. He is a familiar face on the North West legal scene and has extensive experience of acting for insolvency practitioners, ABL and other lenders and directors in all aspects of corporate insolvency.
The team has recently been strengthened with the arrival of two experienced insolvency solicitors.
Bermans, commercial law firm in Liverpool and Manchester, is delighted to announce that it has promoted 6 individuals to more senior roles at the firm.
Andrew Henderson (left) joined Bermans in 1985 and has developed an expertise in asset finance litigation. He has been made a Partner and joins Alex Chapman, David Gledhill and Jonathan Berkson as partners in the specialist Asset Based Lending team that is ranked in the Legal 500 London Asset Finance Lending rankings.
He deals with matters such as fraud, freezing orders, title claims, delivery up claims, guarantee/indemnity claims, shortfalls and general debt recovery for a wide range of asset based lenders.