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“12 Lawful Days of Christmas”

12 December 2013

This Christmas, we have produced a guide to help people and businesses in Gloucestershire enjoy a legal free festive season, with an edited version of the Christmas classic, ’12 Days of Christmas’, filled with top tips to keep you on the right side of the law.

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014.

On the first day of Christmas…our agriculture & estates team says:

Partridges are medium-sized game birds, and a familiar part of the British countryside. Whilst they appear as part of the first gift listed in the Christmas carol, ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, do make sure you have your partridge ready for cooking before the big day. Section 3 of the Game Act 1831 makes it an offence to kill or take any game on a Sunday or Christmas Day, or to use any dog, gun, net or other instrument for that purpose.

On the second day of Christmas…our divorce & family team says:

Thinking of popping the question this Christmas, or do you think that Santa might bring you a ring this year? A pre-nuptial agreement to preserve your assets is not the sole prerogative of the rich and famous. Click here to read how pre-nuptial agreements are becoming more recognised by the courts in England and Wales, and how they can assist in ensuring that your assets are protected.

On the third day of Christmas…our wills, probate & trusts team says:

Christmas is a special time of year, often made exceptional by the surprise marriage proposal or a decision in the New Year to add to the family. It is important to remember that marriage does revoke your current will in its entirety. If you already have a will in place and are now engaged first ‘congratulations’ and secondly ensure you make a will in contemplation of the marriage to ensure that your fiancé is provided for before and after the wedding. If you have decided a new addition to the family would be the perfect Christmas present, making a will is the best way to provide for them financially after you have gone and also gives you the opportunity to appoint guardians.

On the fourth day of Christmas…our property litigation team says:

If you are renting then, before you pack up and go on your Christmas holiday, be sure to check your obligations under the tenancy agreement as you may be required to drain the heating system to avoid liability for damage caused to your landlord’s property by any burst pipes.

On the fifth day of Christmas…our residential property team says:

With the recent boom in the property market, more people than usual are likely to be moving house just before Christmas. While it is perfectly understandable to be dreaming of a white Christmas in your new home, if you have still not exchanged contracts to fix a moving date, think carefully about whether it is wise to rush things, or alternatively, hold off until after Christmas. Moving home just before Christmas is likely to be more stressful and in the unfortunate event of there being a problem with your new home (ie if the boiler were to fail) it might be more difficult or expensive to get it fixed over the Christmas period.

On the sixth day of Christmas…our employment team says:

The office Christmas party can boost morale by rewarding staff and giving everyone a chance to let their hair down, but when things go wrong the repercussions can go far beyond the next-day hangover. While no boss wants to be the Christmas party pooper, it is important that guidelines are put in place ahead of the do and that staff have a clear understanding of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Remember that ‘over-friendly’ and unwelcome behaviour by one colleague towards another at a works event can rebound legally on the organisation itself, even if it happens outside working hours or outside the office. Bad behaviour in a public venue can damage the company’s reputation as a whole!

On the seventh day of Christmas…our commercial property team says:

Pop-up shops are in fashion this Christmas. Retailers in Gloucestershire are taking advantage of the increased trading opportunities through short term lettings and licences. While many arrangements are done on an informal basis by both landlord and tenant, licensor and licensee, or owner and occupier, we recommend a simple short term lease to prevent any disputes going “cold turkey”!

On the eighth day of Christmas…our charities & not-for-profit team says:

Charities could look to join forces with retailers to agree that a small proportion of shoppers’ money spent on Christmas gifts is donated to the charity. Be sure to negotiate commercial terms with the retailers that maximise the proportion of the sale price which gets donated and to ensure that your interests are properly protected.

On the ninth day of Christmas…our company commercial team says:

As more UK consumers turn to internet sales for Christmas shopping rather than hitting the high street, retailers should take advantage of this growing trend and develop online capabilities to compete in this ever increasing market. To avoid any dampers during the busy Christmas period, make sure your T&Cs include provisions for online sales and that you comply with UK law when selling over the internet.

On the tenth day of Christmas…our personal injury team says:

Do check your overflow pipes and lag outside taps. If you don’t take proper care under the Occupiers Liability Act you could be responsible if Santa slips and injures himself while delivering your pressies. You don’t need to wear full protective gear while pulling crackers or playing Twister, despite what health & safety scare stories you might hear.

On the eleventh day of Christmas…our intellectual property team says:

Another Christmas season is here, which means Christmas trees, presents and, of course, Christmas carols! In today’s digital age, many of us may think it is ok to download a Christmas carol onto our laptop and play it to our heart’s content. We don’t usually think about the intellectual property rights of the authors of the carols. Christmas carols are readily available for download from the internet, but this does not mean that they are copyright-free. If you are unclear as to whether a Christmas carol is in the public domain, you should check to see if the copyright has expired.

On the twelfth day of Christmas…our dispute resolution/ litigation team says:

Don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore those credit card bills when they start coming in after the festive period. No one wants to be faced with bailiffs!

For further advice on how to enjoy a legal free Christmas please contact any of our lawyers by email or call 01242 514000.

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