#GreatLegalBake 2016

I have been rediscovering an interest I long since forgot about: cookery or, more specifically, cake baking.  When I was a kid and also BWK (Before Wife and Kids) I did a lot more cooking and used to enjoy whisking up a quick cake or flapjack. Then  I got busy with other stuff; kids and family things in the main.  Also, blogging and social media until my circumstances changed and I left my City job and started working close to home.

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Out and About

IMG_0277At Crane & Staples we don’t believe in sitting at our desks waiting for the world to come to us: we like to get out and about, shake a few hands, meet some new faces and hopefully meet some old ones too.  We don’t tend to advertise in newspapers and magazines very much, which is too impersonal. Most of our promotional work is built on networking, word of mouth referrals and the occasional business expo.  

Last week a team of us from the firm attended the Hertfordshire Business Expo, in Stevenage.  It is one of the largest events of its kind in the area and we set up stall to meet the many attendees. You can usually rely on two things to engage an expo audience – a competition and something to eat, so we took along a set of quoits and some fantastic cupcakes baked by our in house legal administrator Tom, who might have had a career in cookery if law hadn’t seemed more attractive to him. The winner of the quoits received a bottle of champagne and £50 of John Lewis vouchers.IMG_0274
As well as being big, the Expo also featured an engaging, high energy breakfast presentation about the many faces of Google, as well as a speed networking session or musical chairs for business people as i prefer to call it.  There were also seminars on subjects like the value of video for your business and top tips on how to grow a business.
How to grow your business, as well as how to protect it is a theme we have been running with for quite a while.  Often businesses find their greatest challenges when they try to grow – moving to bigger premises or taking on employees all involve additional legal responsibilities.  Our Commercial Property and Employment teams can help businesses in both these areas.  For more information on how we can help you please contact us on  01707 329333.
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YDDBSOYA: My new motto

Hertford and Ware Showcase – 26th September 

This Thursday I shall be making an exhibition of myself, almost literally.  I’ll be at the Hertford and Ware Business Showcase at Castle Hall, Hertford as an exhibitor rather than as a delegate.  Although I’ve been to many exhibitions over the years, it’ll be the first time I’ve been on that side of the fence, so to speak.

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Excello Rebranded

I work for a law firm called Excello Law.  We’ve just completed a rebranding exercise; you can see the new logo to the right of this post. It’s a fresh, clean look for the business,which has been going since 2009. Although I specialise in employment law and dispute resolution, the firm covers all aspects of business law.  The aim is to be the first port of call for any SME needing legal advice.  The rebranding was designed with this in mind.


So, what do you think of it?



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Zero Hours Contracts to be Outlawed?

Over the weekend it was reported in The Independent that there is a political row developing over so-called “zero-hours” contracts.

These are contracts used for casual workers where the employer only pays the worker for the hours they actually put in and does not guarantee to give them any work at all.  However, the worker is supposed to make him/herself available to work when required. Because there is no mutuality of obligation to provide work, the individuals who work under them are workers rather than employees, which means their employment rights are restricted.

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Worker Insecurity at 20 Year High

That was a rather depressing headline in the Financial Times over the weekend. According to the 2012 Skills and Employment Survey “Britain’s employees are feeling more insecure and under pressure at work than any time in the past 20 years”.  Public sector workers are also more worried than those in the private sector about losing their jobs and status.

The reason for this is is a combination of recession and low growth, as well as “work intensification” i.e. working harder and with less autonomy over how to do the work. However, for some the restrictions on individual employment rights was an issue,

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How to Resign

Chris Holmes' resignation cake.

Employment lawyers can get very excited about clients resigning from employment.  How much notice has to be given or why the person is resigning are often key questions; legal claims may be envisaged as a consequence of resigning. For instance, when an employment relationship has gone seriously pear shaped, careful consideration may be given to resigning immediately and claiming constructive dismissal.  In most cases then the discussion is about timing, or the reason for leaving.

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C’Mon Everybody … Do the Harlem Shake


What do an Oxford Librarian, a school teacher and a group of miners in Western Australia have in common?

Answer: they’ve all been sacked for performing the Harlem Shake at work.

The Harlem Shake, m’lud, is the latest You Tube craze in which groups of people dance in a wild, unco-ordinated fashion, in fancy dress,  to a piece of music by a fellow called Baauer. It’s not to be confused with the song “Harlem Shuffle” by the Rolling Stones, a band with whom you might be familiar m’lud.  Yes, you may have seen it at the English National Ballet, m’lud.

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Something for the Weekend 2

pink socks

It’s been a colourful week for ukemplaw. A tale of  Apprentices, sharks and headmasters being sacked for wearing Hawaiian shirts and pink socks. There’s also a good deal of symmetry, with both cases below involving husband and wife teams dismissed for alleged misconduct, and both couples coming from Wales.

On more serious matters, gagging clauses in NHS compromise agreements have been abolished and the new, lighter, thinner, smarter etc Tribunal rules due to come into force next month, have now been been delayed until the summer, rather than the week after next.

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The Apprentice Gets the Wrong Headlines


This week is National Apprenticeship Week, which in an unhappy coincidence of timing follows on directly from “Ex-Apprentice’s Week” last week.  Last Tuesday The Guardian and others reported on “The Apprentice” Series 6 winner Stella English’s Employment Tribunal appointment with Lord Sugar. She complained that she had been treated as an “overpaid lackey”, her job was a sham and there was nothing for her to do. She claims to have only met the great man five times during her tenure, firstly with Viglen and then You-view, both Sugar group companies.  Her contract was not renewed and she brought proceedings for constructive unfair dismissal. For some acerbic comments by Darren Newman on English’s case read here.

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