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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Keystone Law

Keystone Law

Michelle Last explains why probationary periods can be so valuable for employers and how to obtain maximum advantage from the inclusion of a probationary clause in employment contracts

Employers often question the value and appropriateness of probationary periods for new employees. But when an employer faces the dawning realisation that their new employee may be more ‘super fail’ than ‘super star’, a well-drafted probationary period clause in the employment contract can prove invaluable.

Following Lloyd’s of London’s ban on drinking during the working day, Stephen Levinson explains the legal and practical issues surrounding the introduction of a drug and alcohol policy

The decision by Lloyd’s of London to introduce a drinking ban in working hours created worldwide publicity. Perhaps it was the public perception of how business is conducted in the City, outdated though that may be, that caused such interest. The nature of the Lloyd’s decision and the way it was implemented certainly provide some pointers, both positive and negative, for those considering a similar step. The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance to those thinking of amending their current policy or introducing one afresh. This review covers both drink and drugs.

Gillian Christian highlights a landmark Isle of Man judgment that casts doubt on Pitt v Holt [2013]

In the first ever decision in the Isle of Man courts on the Hastings-Bass principle and on the law relating to equitable mistake following Pitt v Holt [2013], Deemster Doyle delivered a judgment that demonstrates clearly that UK and Isle of Man law are not one and the same, in a trusts case that explicitly recognises differences in approach and outcome between the two legal systems. The judgment has substantial implications for professional trustees, as well as for those who advise them, as it puts the onus on trustees to take tax advice or face claims for breach of duty, but gives comfort to settlors and beneficiaries who are keen to maintain the confidentiality of their family trust structures.

Stephen Levinson looks at the latest moves by the City to curb boardroom excess ahead of an expected intervention by the government

Excessive executive pay is a running sore on the reputation of British capitalism. According to the High Pay Centre, the think tank devoted to the subject, the total pay for a chief executive in a FTSE 100 company in the UK now averages £6m a year, or 150 times average worker income. Perhaps the most telling statistic is that this ratio has doubled in ten years as worker pay has stagnated.

Steven Conway explains the recent decision in Katie Cruz v Chief Constable of Lancashire [2016] and why it hopefully signals the dawn of a new age for workplace claims

With the passing of s69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA), limitation will soon expire for most pre-Act cases, removing strict liability for breach of statutory duty.

Proposals to integrate employment tribunals into the court system and scrap lay members are misguided, argues Stephen Levinson

This article examines two recent developments in the world of employment tribunals. First, the proposal to strip these tribunals of their special identity, as made by Briggs LJ in his interim report on the civil justice system published in December. Second, the new regulations, described as unnecessary by the Employment Lawyers Association and most consultees, which will come into force on 6 April 2016 on postponements of hearings.

Important aspects of proposed new rules for the financial sector on providing job references could be unworkable as they currently stand, warns Stephen Levinson

Regulators in the City are keen to improve standards of conduct and get rid of those who infringe them. A consultation on new rules for providing references for senior bankers and insurance executives, as well as some non-executive directors, closed in December 2015. The rules are intended to prevent individuals with a history of poor conduct being recycled from one firm to another. The proposed implementation date is 7 March 2016, when the new senior managers and certification regimes come into effect.

Zoe Bloom and Hed Amitai examine potential pitfalls for international families and protective measures including nuptial agreements

International mobility is now commonplace. The globalisation of business and common economic markets allows people from every income bracket to spend periods of their lives in several jurisdictions. This often results in families made up of individuals from different nationalities, with assets spread across the globe.

Stephen Levinson summarises the response from the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) to the latest proposals on bankers’ accountability and remuneration

Employment lawyers have given a lukewarm reception to new proposals to regulate the financial sector. The ideas in two consultation papers, issued jointly by the Prudential Regulation Authority on behalf of the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), are considered by ELA to give rise to serious concerns about the way they will operate and their potential for unfortunate consequences.

Stephen Levinson considers the fallout from the EAT’s decision in the Woolworths litigation

As has been widely publicised, the law on collective redundancies has been reshaped in radical fashion. In USDAW v WW Realisation 1 Ltd [2013], the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), presided over by HHJ McMullen QC, held that a collective redundancy requiring consultation was any dismissal involving 20 or more dismissals within 90 days (now of course changed to 45 days) irrespective of where the workers were employed. The words ‘at any one establishment’ in s188(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 were therefore to be ignored, the EAT said. This article considers whether that decision was correct and also its implications for employers and employees.

Martin Goodall reviews the underlying legal issues behind the headline High Court case and asks what the decision means for the future relationship between local planning authorities and travelling communities

The ‘Battle of Dale Farm’ has attracted a great deal of media attention in recent weeks, but journalists have clearly had difficulty in getting to grips with the legal issues involved and in presenting these accurately and fairly to readers, viewers and listeners.