Real estate | 21 March 2016

Macfarlanes has advised property investor and developer Derwent London on the pre-letting of the entire office element of The Copyright Building, 30 Berners Street W1 to Capita Business Services Limited (Capita).

Capita has agreed to take 87,150 sq ft, comprising the ground floor reception of 1,500 sq ft and office floors one to seven.  Capita will be taking a 20-year lease with no breaks, at an average office rent of £86 psf.  The Copyright Building is located in Fitzrovia and in addition to the office space includes 20,000 sq ft of A1/A3 retail.

The Macfarlanes team was led by commercial real estate partner Steven Pitchford, with solicitors Paras Maalde and Rachael Ashton.  Partner Mark Baldwin advised on the tax aspects of this matter.

Press Release


Mergers & Acquisitions | 21 March 2016

Macfarlanes has advised Simplifydigital, the UK’s largest broadband, TV and home phone switching business on its sale to Dixons Carphone, Europe’s leading specialist electrical and telecoms retailer and services company.

Simplifydigital was founded in 2007 and its acquisition will help Dixons Carphone to bolster its position in the quad play market, covering mobile, landline, TV and broadband.  The transaction is expected to complete at the end of March.

The Macfarlanes team was led by Corporate M&A partner Alex Edmondson, supported by solicitor Khim Khauraud.  The tax elements of the transaction were advised on by partner Rob Collard, senior counsel Ian Shaw, senior solicitor Peter Abbott and solicitor Catherine Hill. Senior commercial solicitor Will Hedges, employment senior solicitor Susie Galloway and employment solicitor Tabitha Georghiou also advised.

Press Release


Technology, Media and Telecoms | 15 March 2016

Warren Buffett famously said that: ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’ If anything, that underestimates the speed at which events move in the digital age. Significant, and sometimes irreparable, damage can be done in the time it takes to post an ill-judged tweet. This article provides a brief overview of some of the options available to businesses concerned to protect their reputations online. [Continue Reading]

Dispute resolution | 01 December 2013

In PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Ltd [2013], the Court of Appeal considered, for the first time, whether a failure by a party to respond to an invitation to mediate should be treated as an unreasonable refusal to mediate – previous cases having focused on situations where there had been an express refusal to do so.

The Court of Appeal held that silence in the face of an offer to mediate is of itself unreasonable – even if circumstances exist which would justify an express refusal to mediate.
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Corporate and commercial | 01 December 2013

That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

But, however much historians and economists (and economic historians) may enjoy surveying the grand historical sweep of the development of trade and increasing prosperity, and the role of the company in that story, the practical effect of the company’s separate legal personality can cause difficult questions to arise in the day-to-day practice of law. 
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Dispute resolution | 01 November 2013

Recent cases have illustrated a growing trend of third parties, often themselves involved in litigation, seeking to obtain documents not only from the court file, but also at trial, in relation to other similar or related litigation. This bulletin summarises the law and practice in relation to the different categories of documents that are frequently the subject of disclosure requests or applications by third parties taking advantage of the policy of ‘open justice’; it also addresses the steps which a party to a dispute can take to keep those documents confidential.
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Dispute resolution | 01 October 2013

In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle’ only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement’. 
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Dispute resolution | 01 September 2013

The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Vestergaard Frandsen A/S (now known as MVF 3 ApS) & ors v Bestnet Europe Ltd & ors[2013] provides a helpful discussion of the circumstances in which an employee can or cannot be held liable for a breach of confidential information. The Supreme Court said that, ultimately, liability for breach of confidence is based upon the conscience of the recipient of the confidential information. In unanimously rejecting the claimants’ claim against a former employee, the Supreme Court made the following points of general interest. [Continue Reading]

Dispute resolution | 01 July 2013

In his final report into the costs of civil litigation in England and Wales, Jackson LJ expressed the view that:

‘… courts at all levels have become too tolerant of delays and non-compliance with orders. In so doing they have lost sight of the damage which the culture of delay and non-compliance is inflicting on the civil justice system. The balance therefore needs to be redressed.’

Jackson LJ’s solution to this problem was that the courts should adopt a more robust approach to case management. This article explains Jackson’s proposals in this respect and how those proposals were implemented when the Jackson reforms came into force on 1 April 2013. We then consider two recent cases which provide an insight into the judiciary’s likely approach to the new regime. The overall message is clear: parties who fail to comply with case management directions now run the risk of being deprived of the opportunity to present all or part of their case.
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Dispute resolution | 01 June 2013

Commercial contracts often contain provisions that allow one party to take a certain step, or to make a particular decision, which will have an impact on another contracting party. Commenting on such a situation in Abu Dhabi National Tanker Co v Product Star Shipping Ltd (The ‘Product Star’) [1993], Leggatt LJ said that ‘where A and B contract with each other to confer a discretion on A, that does not render B subject to A’s uninhibited whim.’ In other words, the court will normally imply a term limiting the decision maker’s discretion. [Continue Reading]