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Variation – anti-oral clauses

This year has seen a series of cases in which the courts have held that a ‘no variation’ clause in a contract is not binding. What we see is a clear intent on the part of the courts that contractual agreement should be eroded in favour of ‘party autonomy’ and a greater flexibility:

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Freedom of information – vexatious

There is a general right of access to information held by a public body (FoI 2000). But, this does not apply if a request is ‘vexatious’ (s14). However, the Act does not define ‘vexatious’ although it is made clear that the burden is very high to show that the request is indeed vexatious.

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Airline flights – delay

The Denied Boarding Regs give compensation to passengers whose flights are delayed if the flight departs from an EU airport. But, there has been much argument about the situation concerning missed connections.

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Freedom of information – commercial prejudice

The Freedom of Information Act 2003 exempts from disclosure information which ‘would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person’ (s43(2)). But, this is merely a ‘qualified exemption’ because even if it applies there must still be disclosure unless ‘in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information’ (s2(2)B).

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Weblinks – copyright?

Weblinks and hyperlinks are a key part of most websites and of much social media content. But, by linking copyright content, is there a risk of breaking copyright by unlawfully ‘communicating it to the public’?

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Termination right – duty of good faith?

    If a contract contains an express right to terminate, is that subject to an implied term that it must be exercised in good faith?
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Insolvency – commercial test

Section 123 Insolvency Act 1986 includes both a cash-flow test and a balance sheet test of insolvency. However, in Eurosail [2013] it was made clear that these two tests should not be separated and isolated from each other, and nor should they be applied mechanically.
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Warranties – also representations?

Warranties were given in a sales agreement. Could they also be sued on as misrepresentations (under Misrepresentation Act 1967)?
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Wrongful trading – costs?

The High Court has recently held that liquidators and administrators are not able to recover their own costs and expenses for investigating a wrongful trading claim from the directors of a company (even if there has been a finding of wrongful trading under s214 IA 1986).
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Design fees – delay?

The design fees for UK registered designs are due to be dramatically lowered(!) on 1 October 2016 (eg an application for up to 20 designs has been reduced by c90%). Clients thinking of filing design applications may want to consider whether it is worth postponing.

 


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