This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 15 March 2015

This week Briefings Digest is going a bit Gardeners’ Question Time as Gateley looks at the knotty problem of knotweed. As anyone with even slightly verdant appendages will know, this Japanese infiltrator of British gardens is the greatest vegetation-related threat since the Day of the Triffids. Indeed, mortgage lenders have stated that they “will not provide a mortgage on a property with Japanese knotweed within 30 metres of a boundary”.

Gateley’s briefing looks at recent changes to ASBO legislation that mean having Japanese knotweed or other invasive non-native species within a property can result in a fine of up to £2,000 for failure to act responsibly. In addition, EU legislation related to the subject also came into force in January 2015 – click here for more information. Next week: getting the best out of your begonias.

We all have skeletons in the closet – things we’d like to forget and would rather not come to light. Generally speaking they aren’t the sort of skeletons that lead to blackmail, murder and the inevitable appearance of Hercule Poirot, but even little sins can have big consequences, especially if they’ve taken place in the workplace. Sometimes they’re long-forgotten errors of judgement – but as any good detective would tell you, that doesn’t mean they can’t be dug up again.

Addleshaw Goddard examines the recent matter of Williams v Leeds United FC , in which exactly this scenario occurred. In this case, the employer had made the employee redundant, and the employee was working out his 12-month notice period. Keen to avoid paying him for all that period, the employer called in their own Poirot, who discovered that five years earlier the employee had used his email account to send pornographic images to friends and colleagues, as well as confidential information to his personal email address. Leeds used this as a reason to fire him immediately.

The employee issued a claim for damages but the High Court rejected it, saying the employer was entitled to dismiss him on grounds of gross misconduct. Addleshaws asks: does this mean it’s time to start digging for dirt on your employees? Click here for more information.

It’s not just junior employees who have done unwise things in their past, and it’s not just detectives who will try to uncover them. “Any savvy journalist, blogger or detractor will mine [your] data,” warns Schillings in a briefing about how executives and managers can safeguard their reputation in the internet era. The standard piece of advice (‘Set your profile to private, dolt’) only goes so far – the problem for this group of people is they don’t necessarily set out to become famous, nor do they know what innocuous event might set off interest in them. Click here for some words of advice.

Top five briefings by law firm 
Dentons: To be or not to be insolvent? Download
Shoosmiths: UK company law – an update on implementation of key changes Download
Schillings: 15 minutes of fame: how to safeguard your reputation in the internet era Download
Addleshaw Goddard: Can you summarily dismiss an employee who has a ‘skeleton in the closet’? Download
Burford Capital: Exploding myths of litigation financing Download
More law firms

Top five briefings by practice area
Information Technology: Data Issues Roundup – fining nuisance callers; enforced subject access requests; Facebook’s new privacy policy; and more Download
Real estate: Increased obligations when charging for improvements could prove a headache for landlords Download
Employment: Can sickness justify an employee’s delay in resigning? Download
Company: Is a domain name a property right? Download
Litigation: Court fees rise dramatically: concern among the judiciary Download
More practice areas

Top five briefings by region 
Asia-Pacific: India tightens restrictions on foreign portfolio investment in corporate debt Download
Middle East: Financial Regulatory Developments (FReD) 6 March: including the funding of ISIS, remuneration policies, unfair terms and more Download
Offshore: BVI litigation and insolvency client update: includes cases featuring quasi-partnership, anti-arbitration and costs issues Download
UK & Europe: Japanese knotweed: knot a problem? Download
US & The Americas: US: update on the revision of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act inc. payroll cards, unclaimed shares in Apple and audit limits Download
More regions