Amelia Denton, Author at MLP Law

Legal Considerations for Hospitality Businesses

Following the recent surge in popularity surrounding the song ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’, our team have addressed legal considerations relevant to hospitality businesses. In this article, we discuss licensing, regulations, and health and safety measures, offering insights to ensure compliance.

 

Hospitality venues, especially those that host events, must pay close attention to licensing requirements. Obtaining the appropriate licenses ensures that the establishment is legally permitted to offer live music and dance performances. Failure to secure the necessary licenses can lead to severe consequences, including fines, closure orders, or legal action. Venue owners should familiarise themselves with  licensing regulations. Different jurisdictions may have specific requirements for the type of license needed, the permissible hours for live entertainment, and the maximum occupancy of the venue. Complying with licensing obligations is essential.

 

Beyond licensing, hospitality businesses need to be mindful of various regulations governing public spaces and events. These regulations may cover issues such as crowd control, noise levels, and accessibility for patrons with disabilities. Compliance with these regulations ensures the safety and well-being of patrons. For example, fire safety regulations may dictate the maximum occupancy of a venue, and failure to adhere to these limits can have serious consequences in the event of an emergency. Establishments must also be aware of noise ordinances to prevent disturbances to neighbouring properties and maintain good relations with the community.

 

Creating a safe environment for patrons should be a top priority for hospitality businesses. From the design of the dance floor to emergency exit plans, establishments must take proactive measures to minimise risks and potential legal liabilities. Implementing security measures, such as CCTV cameras and trained staff, helps prevent incidents on the premises. Adequate lighting and clear signage contribute to the overall safety of the venue. Regular inspections of equipment and facilities, including emergency exits, can help identify and address potential hazards. In the event of an accident or injury on the dance floor, comprehensive documentation becomes crucial. Detailed incident reports, witness statements, and a well-maintained record of safety protocols can be valuable in defending against legal claims and demonstrating the venue’s commitment to patron safety.

 

By staying informed and proactive in addressing licensing, regulations, and health and safety concerns, venues can ensure a legal and enjoyable experience. Finding the right balance between entertainment and compliance is the key to avoiding legal pitfalls and maintaining a thriving and lawful establishment.

 

To seek advice, contact our Commercial Team via commercial@mlplaw.co.uk.

 

Insights from “The Traitors”

In the corporate world, safeguarding your business from potential ‘traitors’ within is paramount. Drawing inspiration from the TV show “Traitors,” we explore how focusing on protective measures like shareholder agreements and well-crafted articles can protect your business against internal threats.

 

The Threat of Shareholder Disputes:

 

Disputes among shareholders pose a substantial risk to businesses, jeopardising shareholder value, steering business direction astray, and tarnishing reputation. Recognising the diverse reasons behind such disputes is crucial for proactive resolution.

 

Types of Shareholder Disputes:

 

Shareholders falling out

General conflicts of interest

Disagreements over the company’s direction or development

Lack of transparency regarding financial affairs

Perceived breaches of directors’ duties

Performance issues by shareholders or directors

 

Prevention through Communication and Agreements:

 

Effective communication, with a focus on aligned expectations, is pivotal in preventing disputes. Shareholders’ Agreements are essential tools for defining business direction, aligning stakeholders, and clarifying rights, obligations, and expectations within the company.

 

Understanding Shareholders’ Rights:

 

In the absence of a specific agreement, conventional methods for addressing disputes include general meetings, legal correspondences, and court proceedings. Shareholders inherently possess rights such as inspecting directors’ service contracts, bringing personal claims against the company, initiating derivative claims, filing unfair prejudice claims, and seeking court intervention for winding up the company when deemed just and equitable.

 

Key Role of Shareholders’ Agreements:

 

Anticipating and addressing potential disputes within shareholders’ agreements and articles of association is pivotal. Proactive measures in these documents can save time and resources, ensuring swift resolution without detrimental impacts on the company.

 

Seeking Professional Guidance:

 

To seek advice on shareholder disputes, connect with our Corporate team at 0161 926 9969 or via email at corporate@mlplaw.co.uk. Taking cues from “Traitors” reminds us of the importance of vigilance and preparedness. By protecting your businesses with robust agreements and proactive communication, you can navigate for the challenges that may arise from within.

 

From Villa to Viral

In the world of Love Island, where romantic entanglements unfold onscreen, the behind-the-scenes realm of influencer marketing and brand collaborations adds another layer of complexity. Within this article, we explore the dynamics of social media influencers, brand partnerships, and the regulatory landscape.

Defining the Influencer Advertising ‘Couple’: Payment and Control

Influencer marketing hinges on a ‘couple’ dynamic: payment and brand control. For content to be deemed an advertisement and regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), both ‘payment’ and ‘control’ must be present.

‘Payment’ encompasses a broad spectrum, including monetary compensation, gifts, experiences, and promises of future payment.

‘Control’ refers to the brand’s influence over the content, including the right to dictate, review, and specify aspects of the influencer’s posts. The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) introduced the Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct in September 2021, establishing standards for compliance among brands, agencies, and influencers. This code serves as a benchmark, ensuring each party takes their regulatory responsibilities seriously.

Just as romantic relationships face scrutiny on Love Island, influencers’ content undergoes examination. Even without brand control, if an influencer is paid, consumer protection legislation enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes into play. Influencers are required to disclose any form of payment, and the CMA emphasises the need for content to be clearly identifiable as ‘paid-for.’

Breaching the CAP Code: A Love Triangle of Consequences and Resolution

A breach of the CAP Code initiates a ‘love triangle’ involving the ASA, the influencer, and the brand. While informal resolutions are attempted, formal investigations may follow. If a breach is upheld, the content must be altered or removed,  with potential sanctions for non-compliance.

Ownership of Influencer Content: Beyond the Contract

In the influencer relationship with brands, contractual nuances dictate content ownership. Brands often acquire extensive license rights, yet the core ownership remains with the influencer. These contractual narratives unfold with brands granted commercial and non-commercial rights in perpetuity.

The ‘De-Influencer’ Drama: Spreading Love or Negative Vibes?

In light of the cost-of-living crisis and changing consumer behaviour, a new trend is emerging on social media platforms – de-influencing. Brands need to be aware particularly when ‘gifting’ free products and have processes in place to mitigate the significant impact of de-influencing for brands and consumers.

Managing Brand Reputation

Brands approach influencer partnerships with caution, engaging in brand reputation management involving due diligence, agency collaborations, PR strategies, termination rights, and post-termination confidentiality. These measures can help protect them from potential reputational damage.

Conclusion

Finding the right balance between creative collaboration and regulation is crucial. Brands, influencers, and agencies must ensure that the  narratives they create align with industry standards whilst ensuring transparency and authenticity in an era where online influence holds unprecedented power.

If you require assistance with your brand management or collaboration contracts, feel free to contact us at commercial@mlplaw.co.uk or 0161 926 9969.

Don’t be like Logan Roy… deal with your Succession planning!

In the wake of the Succession series finale (no spoilers, we promise!), our Corporate team look at some of the key issues for an owner-managed or family business to consider when it comes to planning for the future and handing over ownership.

Running one’s own business is incredibly demanding and it’s very easy to ignore or push back the need to prepare an exit strategy and succession plan.

As much as we’ve enjoyed the uncertainty and in-fighting rife in the Roy family and Waystar RoyCo’s management team when mapping out the company’s future in Succession, in real life we don’t want drama or chaos worthy of an HBO masterpiece.

Preparing for change is best when those in power are ready to think about a future without them and are clear about what is to come. Resistance is natural and can be overcome gradually with the security of a plan, whereas denial is useless and damaging. Owner-managers need to recognise the inevitability of change and set aside time to consider their preferences, how to bring these about and how these will affect other key stakeholders. Such an exercise will highlight areas in which the business isn’t ready to adjust and give owners time and understanding to put in place the necessary structures, provisions, training etc. to ensure a smooth and productive transition.

Some important issues an owner-manager might want to consider are:

  • Personal goals – how do you want to exit? What do you want from retirement?
  • Timescale – when do you intend to leave/reduce involvement? How long is needed to prepare the business for this change?
  • Value – how much are you seeking as part of your exit? Has the business been realistically valued?
  • Vision – what do you want the business to look like without you? Do you have an identified successor?
  • Tax – have you taken tax advice on the best options for you personally and for the business?
  • Contingency – is there a plan in place for if the above doesn’t go to plan? What if you need to step away earlier due to ill health etc.?
  • Structural issues – how will your exit be financed/structured? Will you sell your shares to your successor, the company, an employee ownership trust etc.?

Succession planning is also always at its best when treated as a two-way street. If intended successors are involved in almost a ‘negotiation’ around the future, this will enhance all parties’ feeling of investment and belonging in the business and its continuing success.

For further information on Business Succession Planning, please email our Corporate Team at corporate@mlplaw.co.uk or alternatively call us on 0161 926 9969 and also refer to our previous blogs Succession Planning Part 1 – Some Exit Options and Succession Planning Part 2 – Issues to Consider