Is there anything I can do to try and settle my claim?
There are several options that can be used at this time to try and settle disputes. If it is not possible to settle a dispute via direct discussions between the parties then some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) might be appropriate. Mediation is the most popular form of ADR. Most people’s perception of mediation is that it needs to be in person but that does not have to be the case.
Mediation can take place online or on the telephone. Most, if not all, ADR providers remain open for business and are quickly changing their business model to ensure that mediations can still take place. Mediation can be arranged at reasonably short notice and certainly so far as the online model is concerned, it mirrors the process that is adopted when parties appear in person. Online mediation allows for joint sessions with the mediator to take place and also for the parties to break out into their respective rooms for private discussions. If a dispute settles at mediation – and the vast majority do – then the agreement reached between the parties is binding and can be enforced.
A group of senior former judges and legal academics have now called for an acceleration in the use of ADR in light of the current circumstances. They have stated that courts should promote “and where appropriate require” the use of ADR. Mediation has particularly seen an increase in growth at this time.
ADR normally results in a quicker outcome than if the matter proceeds in the courts. Due to its conciliatory nature it is a very useful process where parties continue to be in a trading relationship. Contracting parties should also consider building ADR into dispute resolution clauses in their contracts so that in the event there is a dispute the focus is on resolving the dispute as soon as possible before it escalates into litigation.”
In the event that the contractor is displaying one or more of the above signs, then it is worth considering the following actions to protect the employer’s position as far as possible:
- Closely monitor the financial and on-site performance of the contractor in order to assess the likelihood and timing of potential insolvency
- Ensure all bonds, guarantees and collateral warranties have been obtained under the building contract, and if not take steps to obtain them immediately
- Consider the terms of any guarantees to ensure that the guarantor’s obligations are not inadvertently discharged
- Bonds may require adjudication to have been commenced (or even completed) prior to insolvency so as not to be stayed pursuant to insolvency laws
- Carry out an audit of the on-site plant, equipment and materials, and evidence this (for example with photographs and written records)
- Ensure that copies of all relevant documentation have been obtained, for example drawings, specifications and anything required to comply with CDM requirements. If not, take steps to obtain these
- Review the payment position under the building contract, including whether any over payments have been made to the contractor which should be reclaimed, what retention is held or has been released, whether any payment notices may be necessary, and whether there are rights of set-off which should be exercised
- Check whether the involvement of any third party is required, for example funders, landlords, tenants or purchasers who may have rights in relation to the building contract and how it is administered
- Review the terms of the building contract relating to contractor insolvency – hopefully the parties will be fully aware of the building contract terms and have been administering it correctly to date, but if it has been hiding in a draw then now would be a good time to dust it off and ensure familiarity with the relevant provisions!
In general. there is often a stick or twist decision. If the employer chooses to financially support the contractor (for example by agreeing different payment arrangements), this may help to keep the contractor solvent and more likely to complete the project, but it also exposes the employer to greater risk if the approach is not successful. Conversely, withholding payments from the contractor may make insolvency a self-fulfilling prophecy. The precise advantages and disadvantages of the approach will be dependent on the specific circumstances of each case.
Yes probably in our opinion, even if you are not considering taking any formal action against them. Ultimately if a doctor is suspended this could be considered as causing them reputational damage and it therefore is correct that they are afforded the protections (in particular in relation to keeping exclusion/suspension under review) of MHPS. Under Part V of MHPS there is provision for excluding practitioners if they are a danger to patients and they refuse to recognise it or if they refuse to co-operate. It doesn’t refer to a particular risk for the practitioner themselves, but it would appear logical that it would apply.
Yes but the sponsor must report this on the Sponsor Management System within 10 working days and must follow normal employment law principles.
If this results in the sponsored worker’s falling below the minimum required salary the usual position is that they cannot continued to be sponsored. However the government has implemented a concession for sponsors who have ceased trading or temporarily reduced trading which allows the salary to be reduced to 80% of the figure stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower.
The Government introduced shielding in the peak of the pandemic. Current advice is that shielding is not required. However, those who have been shielding are likely to be the most vulnerable and will likely be nervous about a return to work. They may also be disabled under the Equality Act 2010. You should therefore consider any concerns that are expressed and take action to mitigate any risks. For example, it may be possible to keep these employees on furlough until the scheme runs out or they may be able to work from home. If you would like to discuss any specific scenarios then please contact one of the team.
This guidance from the Chief Coroner applies to reports of death and coroner investigations in England and Wales. It is to assist coroners in continuing to exercise their judicial decisions independently, in accordance with the law, and during the extraordinarily pressured events being faced at present.