Expertise

Our retail & leisure team is a highly specialist group of lawyers attuned to the needs of retailers. Chambers legal directory gives our real estate and intellectual property expertise special mention in its commentary on recommended retail law firms, but we have much more to offer.

Brand Protection & Intellectual Property

Our team assists retailers with the protection, enforcement and exploitation of their intellectual property rights, such as trade marks, know-how, designs, patents, confidential information and copyright.

All companies and businesses, whether small or large, will trade under a brand or have ideas or products that require protection in order to prevent third parties from copying them. Obtaining protection also enables those companies and businesses to realise the full commercial benefit of their intellectual property assets.

We are a full service intellectual property practice providing the following:

  • Protection – trade mark and design portfolio management including registering national and international trade marks and designs
  • Enforcement – enforcing all intellectual property rights and developing effective anti-counterfeiting and parallel import strategies
  • Exploitation – drafting and negotiating licences, assignments, distribution agreements, franchise agreements and agency agreements

Our expert lawyers will guide you through the process every step of the way. Best of all you can be confident that you can control costs and work within an agreed budget.

Employment & HR

Our highly specialised team provides legal and practical help and support to retailers on all aspects of employment law, including advice on:

  • National minimum wage, working time and Sunday working.
  • Balancing conflicts between protecting the corporate image and a worker’s freedom of expression or religious beliefs and best practice to resolve disputes at an early stage.
  • Training and guidance on discrimination and diversity in the workplace.
  • Disciplinary and grievances in the workplace, including how to deal with workplace theft and sensitive issues such as employee surveillance and monitoring.
  • Redundancies and compliance with collective consultation legislation.
  • Illegal working and the legal right to work in the UK and dealing with the UK Border Agency requirements.

With the support of our HR Solutions consultancy we can provide a variety of services to meet the needs of all types of retail business.

Members of the employment team regularly speak at seminars and provide bespoke in-house training for individuals or groups of retailers. We also publish regular newsletters and ad hoc lawbites on matters relevant to the retail sector, to ensure that you and your team have a good understanding of developments in employment law

Construction

Our specialist construction team is large enough to have real depth of resource and has experience of all stages of the construction process, enabling us to offer a full service throughout the lifecycle of a project and beyond.  The services we can provide include:

Tendering and Procurement

  • Including EU procurement issues, standard form contracts – JCT, ICE, GC Works, NEC, and FIDIC.
  • Bespoke contract terms, building agreements and project agreements.
  • Professional appointments, collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees.
  • Funding agreements and framework agreements.
  • Construction elements of agreements for lease, agreements for sale, leases, licences for alteration and crane over-sail licences.

Construction phase

  • Preparing deeds of variation and novation
  • Contractual / risk management
  • Construction Act withholding / suspension
  • Loss and expense
  • Extension of time
  • Termination
  • Risk management
  • Dispute resolution

Operational and regulatory issues:

  • Insolvency
  • Tax
  • Health and Safety
  • CDM, Building Regulations
  • Sustainability and ‘zero carbon’ issues

Regulatory

The regulatory team deals with all aspects of regulatory compliance including environmental law, health & safety and trading standards.

We advise retailers on regulatory compliance; audit their policies and procedures in order to ensure that they are fit for purpose; advise and represent them with regard to regulatory offences and defend clients who end up being prosecuted following interview.

Restructuring & Insolvency

This team combines experience in contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters from business restructuring and turnaround to complex fraud investigations and asset clawback proceedings. The current economic climate can create opportunities for businesses to consolidate and emerge from the recession stronger and with potentially greater market share.

We can review your terms and conditions and supply chain and advise on ways to protect your business against the current market turmoil.  We can consider and advise on the impact to your business with regard to any insolvency related issues with customers, suppliers or other third parties.

The team acts for insolvency practitioners, companies, directors, individuals, financial institutions and other stakeholders in relation to the complete range of formal and informal turnaround and insolvency processes.

We commonly advise on a wide range of issues, including landlord/ tenant issues, business disposal or acquisition, retention of title, security reviews, enhancement and enforcement, debtor recoveries and directors duties.

Debt Recovery

Unfortunately no matter how robust your own credit control processes are, you will more than likely encounter individuals or businesses who fail to pay on time.

As a specialist debt recovery team we have the expertise, technology and experience to provide a complete collections service from pre legal through to enforcement and if necessary, insolvency.

Cases can be monitored by you through our secure web based extranet meaning that you can have instant access to the current position on your debts day or night.  In addition, regular management information can be provided to support any internal needs, audits or regulatory requirements you may have.

Quite simply, our aim is to try to ensure recovery of your debt quickly, transparently and at least cost to you.

Fast Food Retail

Our fast food team has specialist knowledge and understanding of the fast food restaurant industry, including the specific requirements of fit out and commercial seating in food courts, large shopping centres and motorway service stations. This expertise enables clients to capitalise on their property portfolios, whether they are large retail chains or start up businesses.

We advise many types of business on the property, regulatory and commercial issues that are specific to the fast food retail sector. We act for fast food restaurants and retail chains including Burger King, Wagamama, Turtle Bay and Las Iguanas; and motorway service station owners Extra MSA.

Corporate & Commercial

Our wide range of skills and experience enables us to provide tailored and commercial advice for each of our retail & leisure clients. Whether you are expanding an established business or setting up your first company, our goal is to ensure transactions proceed smoothly in order to save you time and help you to generate profit.

We work with our clients in:

  • Business and company acquisitions, disposals and reorganisations.;
  • Regulatory and constitutional affairs including directors’ duties, responsibilities and liabilities.
  • Board and shareholder disputes.
  • Strategic planning and the establishment and termination of joint ventures.

We also assist with UK and international terms of business, ecommerce, supply, distribution, warehousing, agency, outsourcing and similar agreements.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

When a dispute arises you need lawyers who are technically excellent, who understand the retail business and who can provide commercial, cost-effective solutions to the issues facing you. Our retail & leisure team provides legal expertise and the commercial understanding required in difficult times. Team members have been seconded in-house to retail clients to enhance their commercial understanding of the retail business.

We see our relationship with you as a collaborative partnership with the sole strategic aim of achieving a commercial resolution to your problem, either through the court system or through alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration. Our clients recognise our expertise in complex, high value commercial disputes.

Our team consists of members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, trained mediators and adjudicators. We also have Solicitor Advocates and Barristers who regularly appear as advocates before the higher courts and other tribunals.

Planning & Environment

The planning team has a wide range of experience on all retail & leisure issues, from stand alone stores to town regeneration projects. The team is renowned for its proactive approach in situations where retailers often face tight deadlines and speed of response is crucial.  Our aim is to make the process from inception to planning consent and beyond as smooth as possible.

The team regularly advises retailers on the following:

  • Planning policy – advice on national, regional and local policy and how it might affect plans for development
  • Planning applications and appeals – advice and assistance in connection with planning applications and on entering into Section 106 and 278  agreements, appeals and judicial review
  • Planning and environment problems – our clients often come to us to resolve planning and related problems, enforcement issues, compulsory purchase matters and environmental concerns

Real Estate

Property is one of the highest fixed costs for a retailer. It is not, however, a retailer’s raison d’être and the way in which we work with retailers reflects this. We work hard to secure terms which are important to our retail clients and do not nit-pick over matters with which they are not concerned.

On acquisitions, we understand that timing is key. A delay in completing a transaction could eat into any rent free period which a retailer has been given; it can affect recruitment and cause warehousing problems when stock is not moved into a store. Whether you are acquiring, developing or disposing of stores or dealing with management of your portfolio, we will project manage the legal issues to help deliver the result your business requires.

As a national firm, we are capable of assembling a sizeable team to deal with large scale projects such as company reorganisations and portfolio acquisitions.

Our real estate team works hand in glove with our market leading Property Litigation team to provide a seamless service to retailers.

Contact: Jonathan Morton, William Juckes, Peter Swinburn, Graham McIntyre.