Employment Update

EmploymentBack in November we held the Manchester office’s Employment Law Update Seminar. This was the first seminar we have done since various Employment Law changes came in over the summer, so there was a quite lot to discuss! Amongst other things, we talked about Protected Conversations, Zero Hour Contracts and the impact of Tribunal Fees – all things that have put Employment Law in the news this year.

We would like to say a big thank you to those who came along, asked some really interesting questions and shared their own experiences. It is always good to hear how all these changes affect people and businesses on a day-to-day basis.

The Government is planning to bring in even more changes to Employment legislation over the coming months, so we will be arranging another update session for Spring 2014. We look forward to seeing as many people there as possible…watch this space.

For any queries on this post please do not hesitate to contact me at matt.fraser@freethcartwright.co.uk


Is it possible to do good work and good business?

Shopping trolly, retail, supermarket, food

I am delighted to post this topical blog by my colleague Robert Nieri.

Corporate social responsibility combined with efficient business practices – can they really go together? Well let’s use the Coop as way to examine this questions.

Unless you’ve been up in space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney for the last few weeks you’ll know that The Co-op Bank has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Having its ethical character questioned due to the proposed rescue by American hedge funds and now with the hullabaloo over its former Chairman with the possibility that they will be stripped of the right to use the Co-operative name as a result.

In response to the doom-mongers and nay-sayers who may claim that the cooperative spirit is gone forever I say “think again”. For a start the success of the wider Co-operative Group and the cooperative movement around the world is obvious.

Whilst it’s true that hard-headed American businessmen are buying into The Co-op Bank to make money are they really going to be the architects of the destruction of a valuable brand built up over more than 140 years? No very much doubt it.

Take a trip down to the Irwell in the next six months to The People’s History Museum to see the exhibition celebrating 150 of The Co-operative and how “The People’s Business” has historically provided services to support people from the cradle to the grave.

An outdated concept in time of austerity and less government support? Is protecting the environment, consumer rights and fair trade really passé? Hardly.

This has clearly been an annus horribilis for The Cooperative Bank but it will look to get back on track, without the need for a taxpayers’ bailout, in the spirit of self-reliance of the original Rochdale Pioneers.

And looking up at the skyline over Angel Square at the new headquarters of The Co-operative Group, let’s celebrate what is officially the most environmentally friendly building in the world and look forward to the continued redevelopment of the area.

So is it possible to do good work and good business? Of course it has and 150 years of cooperative history stand as testament to that belief.

Maybe even George Clooney is looking down and smiling…

Robert Nieri H&S smallRobert Nieri

Senior Associate

If you have any queries regarding this post please do not hesitate to contact Robert at robert.nieri@freethcartwright.co.uk

Belle of the Ball….

coop-charity-ballThe great and the good gathered in Manchester last night for the Co-operative’s Dinner of Dreams Charity Ball.

The evening which was attended by HRH Princess Anne as well as by Freeth Cartwright’s Ian Tempest, Richard Holmes, Michelle Upton, Gillian Pelham and myself (albeit perhaps with not quite as much fanfare as Her Royal Highness) and was compered by Rob Brydon was great fun but more importantly took the Co-operative Group’s donations to its charity of the year, The Carers Trust, to over £5 million.

The Carers Trust is a charity dedicated to improving support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. Their vision is to change the lives of all carers in the UK for the better.

Congratulations to everyone at the Co-operative for raising a phenomenal amount of money for such a well deserving cause.

If you have any queries regarding this post please do not hesitate to contact Ian Tempest on ian.tempest@freethcartwright.co.uk

Contempt of court via Social Media?

warning signThe attorney general is to publish guidance on Twitter to help prevent social media users from committing a contempt of court by commenting inappropriately on criminal cases. It is designed to make sure fair trials take place.

Anyone commenting about a case or defendant in a way that could prejudice a trial could be prosecuted for contempt and imprisoned.

The guidance which is already available to the media will now be publicised for all. Facebook and Twitter are publications subject to the same laws that in practice used to apply only to the mainstream media. The guidance will warn people about the legal consequences of commenting in a way that could be construed as prejudicial to a court case or anyone involved in that case.

This move has been prompted by a number of recent events. Some twitter users have more following and influence than the largest newspapers, thus resulting in incorrect facts and inappropriate comments being shared with thousands.

Three men used social media to breach a worldwide injunction – the attorney general prosecuted them for using Twitter and Facebook to publish photographs purporting to be of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, murderers of the toddler James Bulger, as grown ups. The injunction prevented publication of any material that could identify the two killers.

Peaches Geldof experienced difficulties when she carelessly tweeted the names of the mothers of the two babies who were abused by rock star Ian Watkins – police are investigating as the tweets identified protected parties.

We live in a world where social media users have no hesitation in airing their views, which can go viral in an instant. Furthermore, there seems to be a public misconception that the web is a place where we can exercise complete freedom of speech free from any civil and criminal law. This is not the case.

There will be hope that this move will ensure cases are tried on the evidence, not what people have found online – and will also bring more openness to the government dealings with the media so that both sides can be accountable to the public for their actions.

The advisories will be published on the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) section of the gov.uk website and also through the AGO’s twitter feed – @AGO-UK.


If you have any questions with regards to this article please do not hesitate to contact Christine Oxenburgh on christine.oxenburgh@freethcartwright.co.uk