Commercial Update - February 2017

Welcome to the Commercial Update - an e-bulletin from the Commercial team at S&B, containing news about recent and topical developments in commercial and trading law.

Contact our experts for further advice

Beverley Whittaker, Beverley Flynn
  1. Stevens & Bolton GDPR Seminar

    Data protection laws are about to undergo a radical change, which will affect all businesses, whatever their size, in all sectors. In March our data protection lawyers will be hosting a GDPR seminar to look at some of the challenges faced by businesses arising from the new regulation and to help you create a road map for the future.

  2. Limitations on Liability

    The meaning of consequential loss - context is key

    In Star Polaris LLC v HHIC-PHIL INC [2016] EWHC 2941 (Comm), the High Court has found that the context in which an exclusion of "consequential loss" is drafted can mean the term extends beyond its established meaning set out in the second limb of Hadley v Baxendale. Read More

  3. Reporting on Payment Practices

    New draft regulations on reporting on payment practices

    Large companies and LLPs will soon be required to report on their payment practices and policies in dealing with small businesses. In addition to the voluntary Prompt Payment Code and the requirements of the Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice (applicable to the UK's ten major grocery retailers), there will soon be a requirement under Section 3 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 for large businesses to publish reports on their payment practices.

    We take a look at the requirements here

  4. Brexit Judgment

    Supreme Court rules that the Government cannot invoke Article 50 without an Act of Parliament

    On 24 January 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the Government cannot invoke Article 50, thereby commencing the process of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, without an Act of Parliament. For the first time in the Supreme Court's history, all 11 permanent judges heard the case, highlighting its fundamental constitutional significance. The Supreme Court panel upheld the High Court judgment of 3 November 2016, by a majority of 8-3. Read More

  5. Loss of a Chance

    Court of Appeal allows a claim for loss of a chance

    In McGill v The Sports and Entertainment Media Group and others, the Court of Appeal (CA) allowed a football agent's claim for loss of a chance, reversing the High Court's (HC) decision to dismiss the claim at first instance. The case provides a useful reminder of the application of this complex principal, and that courts can and do uphold claims of this nature in certain circumstances. Read More

  6. Data Protection

    UK to implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

    The UK Government has confirmed that the GDPR will apply in the UK from May 2018 in spite of a looming Brexit. The Article 29 Working Party and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have since published guidance on some of the key new requirements and principles under the GDPR, which we have summarised here and here. Read more

    Further GDPR guidance issued by the Article 29 Working Party

    The Article 29 Working Party has issued guidelines and FAQs on Data Protection Officers, the new right of data portability and identifying an organisation's lead supervisory authority for the purposes of the GDPR. Read more

    ICO issues guidance on privacy notices

    The ICO has published a code of practice on privacy notices, which aims to help businesses comply with both the Data Protection Act 1998 and GDPR requirements. Read more

    EU Commission publishes new ePrivacy Regulation

    The EU Commission has published its proposal for new rules on electronic direct marketing and cookies. Read more

    New powers to fine directors personally for nuisance calls

    From Spring 2017, the ICO will be given the power to fine company directors if they are found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations. Read more

  7. IT

    Government gears up for driverless car technology

    We take a look at the Government's plans for regulating the development, construction and use of automated vehicles in the UK. Read more

    Select Committee reports on robotics and AI

    The legal issues surrounding the use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have been considered in a recent report from the House of Commons' Science and Technology Select Committee.  Read more

    Sale of back-up copies of software

    A recent ECJ ruling has found that physical back-up copies of software should only be used as back-up to the original software program, and must not be resold in place of the main physical copy without the authorisation of the rights-holder. Read more

  8. Consumer and Advertising

    The rules applicable to consumer sales events

    We took a look at some of the legal issues faced by retailers and how to ensure they stay on the right side of the rules when conducting sales events. Read more

    New guidance on pricing practices published by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute

    Guidance designed to assist businesses understand how to avoid carrying out unfair or confusing pricing practices has been issued by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). The CTSI has advised that enforcers are likely to give businesses until April 2017 to ensure their practices are complaint with the guidelines which cover a range of pricing practices. Read more

    Competition and Markets Authority launches campaign to help online sellers avoid breaching competition law

    The Competition and Markets Authority launched a campaign intended to help online sellers avoid breaching competition law. The campaign was timed to coincide with the start of the busy Christmas shopping season. Read more

  9. Competition/Regulatory

    The Competition and Markets Authority's year in review: 2016

    According to the Global Competition Review (published in July 2016), 2015 was "a slow year for behavioural enforcement" at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and "the CMA simply needs to do more in 2016". It appears that in 2016 the CMA stepped up its enforcement activity. Read more

    CMA secures first disqualification of company director for breaching competition law

    The CMA has secured the first disqualification of a company director found to have infringed competition law. Read more


    CMA fines commercial refrigeration supplier and bathroom fittings manufacturer for resale price maintenance

    The CMA fined ITW Ltd, a supplier of commercial refrigeration equipment, over £2 million and Ultra Finishing Ltd, a bathroom fittings manufacturer, over £780,000 for restricting retailers' ability to determine their own sale price (known as resale price maintenance). Read more

    Model behaviour: the CMA fines modelling agencies for colluding on price

    On 16 December 2016, the CMA announced that it had fined 5 modelling agencies, FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva, as well as their trade association, the Association of Model Agents a total of £1.5 million for infringing competition law. Read more


    The CMA fines Pfizer and Flynn Pharma almost £90 million for charging excessive prices to the NHS

    The CMA fined pharmaceutical company Pfizer and distributor Flynn Pharma almost £90 million in total (Pfizer received a record fine of £84.2 million and Flynn Pharma was fined £5.2 million) for charging excessive and unfair prices to the NHS for phenytoin sodium capsules, used in the treatment of epilepsy. Read more

  10. Franchising

    Restrictive covenants upheld in franchise share purchase agreement

    In Rush Hair Limited v Gibson-Forbes, the High Court found in favour of franchisor Rush Hair Limited (Rush) in upholding its application to enforce two year non-compete and non-solicitation restrictions contained in a share purchase agreement between Rush and its former franchisee, GF. Read more

    Frustration in franchising

    In Armchair Answercall Ltd v People in Mind Ltd the Court of Appeal held that a contract for services assisting with the transition to a new franchise model was not frustrated despite all of the franchisees claiming that their franchise agreements with the franchisor were void, terminated or both. Read more

Search our site