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Changes in the law and legal process....

There have been two interesting matters relating to businesses announced or introduced. Here's the headlines:


The government has recently launched consultations on a new system of flexible parental leave, extending the right to request flexible working , amending the Working Time Regulations in regard to annual leave, compulsory equal pay audits and migration settlements.

In addition, last November the government announced radical reforms to employment law:

  • unfair dismissal – the qualifying period will increase from 1 to 2 years from 6 April
  • protected conversations will be permitted
  • compensation no fault dismissals will be permitted for businesses with less than 10 employees
  • employment tribunal reform including early conciliation, tribunal process reform, fees for claimants and fines on employers who lose cases are being considered

Outstanding Debts:

The rules are changing in respect of issuing a County Court claim for “designated money claims”.  Typically for a business, this would include issuing court proceedings for non-payment of outstanding invoices or for monies due under a defaulted loan.

From 19 March 2012, virtually all County Court claims will have to be issued through the National Civil Business Centre (NCBC) at the address below.

County Court Money Claim Centre
PO Box 527
M5 0BY.

The administrative functions are being centralised at the NCBC instead of the local County Court presumably as part of the government's drive to reduce costs.  (This may well mean a reduction in staff at each County Court!)

The NCBC will deal with the issue and service of any claim, and then with entry of default judgement of the preliminary stages up to the filing of allocation questionnaire.  Cases will then be transferred.

The rules on transfer can be simply stated.  The aim is to follow existing procedures so far as possible - where a rule already requires transfer to the “defendant’s home court” that rule still applies.  A new term will apply in other cases, namely, “preferred court”.

If the claim is a “designated money claim” the claimant must nominate a “preferred court” which will instruct the administrative centre as to which court the proceedings should be transferred if necessary.

Hope this is useful!