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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Following the EU referendum in 2016 and the 2017 UK election results, concerns regarding potential changes to UK employment laws derived from EU statute remain at the forefront. Work arising from the Modern Slavery Act and Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) is emanating not only from the financial services sector, but also in other sectors. In March of 2017, the government extended SMCR requirements dictating that employers must now report on disciplinary actions as well as the date of hire. Law firms have also experienced an increase in mandates surrounding Gender Pay Gap Reporting obligations, which came into force in April 2017.

In addition to ongoing activity arising from whistleblowing claims and restrictive covenant matters, employment-related mandates regarding the ‘gig economy’ have been a strong focus among law firms following recent Employment Tribunal claims brought against major logistics businesses such as Uber, Addison Lee and Deliveroo; Addleshaw Goddard, Mishcon de Reya LLP, DLA Piper and Fieldfisher have all been active for employers in related matters, with Leigh Day and Bates Wells Braithwaite acting on the employee side.

Immigration remains a topical subject, particularly among EU nationals and businesses with a workforce comprised predominantly of EU nationals. Firms report that growing uncertainty over the rights of EU nationals post-Brexit have led to many individuals choosing against entering the UK. In addition to the implementation of the Tier 2 salary threshold increase in April 2017, the government has also introduced a related £1,000 Immigration Skills Charge for every worker on the Tier 2 route.

The introduction of the Pensions Schemes Act 2017 in April has produced a new authorisation regime for master trusts that provide defined contribution benefits, which some firms speculate may result in the closure of a number of existing master trusts. There has also been a significant push in the defined contribution and benefits market towards consolidation and the creation of larger schemes. The government recently launched a consultation in February 2017 to review current executive incentive schemes in order to meet public approvals. Pensions lawyers have also noted a steady stream of work from overseas investors entering the market. On the employee share schemes front, there has been notable growth in tax compliance mandates arising from increased enforcement.

The introduction of the 2016 Health and Safety Sentencing Guidelines has led to significantly larger fines being handed down for health and safety breaches, as well as a substantial increase in the prosecution of individuals, which has led to a growth in custodial sentences.

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Legal Developments in London for Overview

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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Press Releases in the UK

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