Business Law Assignment: Providing Legal Advice To Guildford Consumer Business And Advice Services
Business law assignment task:
You have secured a role as a volunteer with the ‘Guildford Consumer Business and Advice Services’ (GCBAS), which is a charitable general advice service, staffed by tutors and students from surrounding Higher Educational establishments.
The role of GCBAS is to provide legal support and other advice, free of charge, to both the public and local businesses.
As a volunteer, your role is to undertake research on the cases detailed below, so as to provide the appropriate legal advice to GCBAS.
Ameer works for ‘Surrey Architects Are Us’ (SAAU) which employs about 250 staff. The company specialises in the design and planning of new town houses and commercial office buildings.
As a consequence of the increased competition and the local authorities demand to develop wider town properties across Surrey and Hampshire, the SAAU county community planning team has been under significant pressure to turn work around quickly.
Ameer who is a leading architect within SAAU, has worked for the firm for the past three years. Unfortunately, Ameer has been absent from work through sickness on a number of occasions over the last five months. Although he has provided a doctor’s ‘fit note’ for all occasions of absence, the absenteeism is related to a number of different unrelated illnesses.
During his last sickness period, Ameer was absent for four weeks and came back for only five days before he was off work again.
Jonathan, Ameer’s team manager, was concerned about Ameer’s lack of commitment to thecompany and the extent to which the planning team’s efforts to oversee the new building and developments have been disrupted by his continuous absence.
Last week, Jonathan called Ameer to a meeting, at which he expressed his concerns about the number of absences and the effect it was having upon the planning team. During the meeting, Ameer stated that he had consulted his doctor and provided the appropriate documentation for each of the absences and that he could not be expected to attend work when he was sick. He also told Jonathan that he had a long history of depression.
Jonathan replied that he was sympathetic, however, he decided that he was going to place Ameer back on probation for the next three months and would now closely monitor any further absenteeism. Over the next month Ameer did not take any further sick leave.
During the weekly general team briefing to staff at the beginning of July, Jonathan made a number of derogatory remarks about Ameer’s poor working practices due to his continued absenteeism through sickness.
Ameer thinks that he is being ‘hounded’ by Jonathan and is seeking advice from GCBAS as to his legal position surrounding his employer.
In June 2021, Sebastiano purchased a new 150-600mm II USM Lens for his EOM 22D digital camera from the Guildford photographic shop ‘Digital Photo Equipment Are Us’.
At the time of purchase, Sebastiano also bought a ‘Digital Photographic Image Enhancer’, which was advertised by ‘Digital Photo Equipment Are Us’ as being, “...the latest innovation in superior digital photographic technology, which automatically calibrates any photographic image to produce the most enhanced reproduction picture quality for an amazing £199.00! Use on any PC, Mac or Tablet Device!”.
Sebastiano purchased both items and left his camera with the shop so that the new lens could be fitted and installed directly onto his digital camera.
On returning home, Sebastiano connected the new ‘Digital Photographic Image Enhancer’ via the correct USB connector to his home personal computer, so as to download the latest recommended software update to the device. Unfortunately, a message appeared, which stated that the EOM 22D range of digital cameras was not compatible with this device.
The following day Sebastiano returned to ‘Digital Photo Equipment Are Us’ to pick up his EOM 22D digital camera with the newly installed 150-600mm II USM Lens and to obtain a full refund for the inoperable ‘Digital Photographic Image Enhancer’.
When Sebastiano examined his camera, he noticed that the undercarriage and automatic focus device on the side of his digital camera had been damaged during the lens installation. He spoke directly to the manager of the shop to complain.
On hearing Sebastiano’s complaint regarding both the installation and purchased software, the manager pointed to a sign on the wall which stated that ‘Digital Photo Equipment Are Us does not take responsibility for any damage which may be caused to any camera installation, all products are sold as seen, and therefore as a business we do not give refunds or exchanges on any products within the shop’.
Sebastiano is now seeking advice from GCBAS for any legal remedy that might be available for the lens installation by ‘Digital Photo Equipment Are Us’, along with the purchase of the ‘Digital Photographic Image Enhancer’.
Simon owns a specialised farm and produce shop on the outskirts of Guildford called ‘Free Range Traditional Kitchen Meals of Guildford’. The shop stocks and sells his own homemade beef and onion pies and a wide variety of speciality desserts which he purchases from ‘Puddings Are Us’ a local food producer.
At the beginning of June 2021, Simon sold one of his own homemade beef and onion pies to Jennifer and a number of desserts to another customer, James.
Jennifer ate the homemade beef and onion pie and became ill with food poisoning. Whilst Jennifer made a full recovery, her illness lasted for just over a week.
Jennifer who is a self-employed, manages and operates a local book shop in the centre of Guildford. Unfortunately, due to the food poisoning, she was unable to work or make any income during her period of sickness, as the book shop was closed for a period of one week.
James invited several friends over to his birthday dinner and after a triumphant main course, served the desserts which he purchased from ‘Free Range Traditional Kitchen Meals of Guildford’. Unfortunately, James and his friends became ill after eating the desserts. On closer inspection, all of the puddings contained fragments of decomposed chicken.
Jennifer and James are considering legal action against Simon and have approached GCBAS for any legal remedy that might be available to them with regards to their recent purchases.
Matilda, a student at the University of Surrey, wanted to buy a car after passing her driving test. On the 24thof June 2021, Matilda saw an advert in the local paper placed by ‘Winning Car Sales of Guildford’, giving details of all the cars that they had for sale at their Guildford showroom.
One of the cars which was advertised, was described as ‘2013 Mini Countryman, 1.6 Cooper, 5d 122 BHP, Red, 61,500 miles Automatic, Petrol, One Previous Very Careful Owner and an Excellent Runner! Now at an amazing price of £3,765’. Matilda thought that this car met both her financial budget and expectations.
After reading the local paper, Matilda visited the showroom and enquired about the Mini Countryman. During the course of conversation, the car showroom manager confirmed the details given in the advert. Matilda bought the vehicle by paying the full amount in cash.
One week later whilst driving on the A3 near Guildford, the car started to make a strange grinding noise and then immediately veered off the road, causing Matilda to crash into roadside fencing. Matilda suffered superficial cuts and a broken arm.
Matilda had the Mini Countryman collected by the emergency relay services and taken directly to a specialist independent garage for an opinion as to the cause of the crash. The garage confirmed that the car was not fit to drive and in their professional view, the primary cause of the crash was due to serious mechanical faults with the front suspension and wheel bearings. In addition, they identified that the car had a mileage which exceeded 80,000 miles, not the 61,333 miles of which Matilda had been previously advised.
Matilda is seeking advice from GCBAS for any legal remedy that might be available to her in relation to the purchase of the car.
Having completed your research on the above problems/casework, you are now required to Write a report addressing a legal resolve upon ALL FOUR of the presentedd ‘Casework Questions’.
Your report on each of the cases should include the following:
- An explanation of the applicable law, citing relevant statutory provisions and supportive case law.
- An explanation of how the law and applicable legal principles applies in each particular situation.
- Advice on whether any legal action could be taken in relation to the case and an assessment of the likely outcomes of the applied legal action.
The issue identified in the business law assignment has been to suggest the legal position that Ameer had as a member of Surrey Architects Are Us (SAAU) against the employer Jonathan.
Working in the UK with any company, the employers and the employee are shadowed under the legal rules laid down by the Labor Law. The rights and obligations of the employees, employers and the trade unions are being subjected under the Labor Law (Kinman and Wray, 2018). Every employee as has been laid down by the statutory rights, do have the right of getting at least 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave (Guestand Clinton, 2017). The condition has been that if an employee has been working for five days a week, then the employee is entitled to about 28 days of paid holiday.Employers do have the right to take control of the decision of the employees of taking leaves (ouryclark, 2021). Working in an organization, both the female and the male workers do have the entitlement to paternity and maternity rights that is mainly for a period of 6 months. In the UK, employers will be punished with unfair dismissal as has been illustrated in the case-law of Murphy v Young's Brewery  1 WLR 1591.Under the Employment law, it has been determined that no employees can be dismissed from the organization on unfair grounds. All workers do have the statutory right of 5.6 weeks leave where it includes the agency workers, the workers on zero-hour contracts and workers with irregular hours.In the UK with the enactment of the Labor Law, it has been evaluated that under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees are provided with the right to take leave for caring for the child (Atkinson, 2018). Undoubtedly, the UK employment law has been considered to be of complicated nature (Kang and Sung, 2019). Within the employment right, the Probationary period is considered as one of the crucial stages where the decisions are in the hands of the employers and they can dismiss the employees on any ground.Before any employee could claim unfair dismissal, they need to work for a maximum period of 2 years (Beauregardet al.,2019).There are several leaves that employees are entitled to such as Sick Leave, the Holidays, the Notice Period, and Paid Leave.In Sick Leave, employees are entitled to receive the salary. However, conditions have been framed that if an employee is ill for more than 4 days then the employee would be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. In the UK, currently, the statutory sick pay would be about £96.35 per week and it is being reviewed on annual basis (Harrop, 2021).
From the scenario, it is evidenced that Ameer has been employed in SAAU as a leading architect. However, the circumstances have been worse were due to health conditions, Ameer had to be on leaves. Even though Ameer had provided the document yet the numbers of absence are related to several issues. In one of the situations, Ameer was absent for about four weeks and after he came back to work for five days, Ameer again went off from the work. Jonathan after seeking the situation decided that to put Ameer into the probation period.Under the contract of employment, the employer can extend the probationary period as long as the contract says so. The employer can decide to assess the performance of an employee. However, the employer can only do this if the contract says so that the probationary period can be extended.
In this situation before Ameer could take any legal action against the employer, he has to cross-check the contracts of employment and if there is any mention of the extension of the probationary period. Thus, under the Labour Law, Ameer is entitled to take sick leaves but here the numbers of leaves have extended the maximum number. It is, therefore, suggested that Ameer before thinking of the legal action could talk to Jonathan and provide the medical certificate that can be taken as a means of justification.
The issue has been whether Sebastiano could take legal action and claim for a remedy against the damage caused to the product by Digital Photo Equipment Are Us’ as a company.
In England and Wales as a part of the UK are subject to Part 1 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 for cases relating to product liability. Through the implementation of the Act, the strict regulations that are imposed by EU Directive 85/374/EEC have been aligned with. Under the Act, the rights are set out for the actions that the customers can take for any kind of defective products or products that are damaged (in brief. co, 2021). A customer for any kind of fault in the product can bring a legal action against the owner selling the defective product for Common law action that is due to negligence and Breach of Contract. Under the Consumer Protection Act, the customer can raise the complaint of the product being defective, the claimant has suffered damage or has discovered a connection between the defect and the damage that has been suffered (Masutti, 2017). In the case-law of Wilkes v DePuy  EWHC 3096 (QB), it was set out that the focus should be on ascertaining that the product was defective and has caused injury as a consequence of it. Another case law that focused on product liability has been A v National Blood Authority  EWHC QB 446) (Howellset al.,2017).Due to Negligence, the customer or the victim needs to show that the defendant had a duty of care, there was a breach of the duty, and the damage has been foreseeable (Khan, 2019).
On the contrary, in the dispute of Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks Limited  EWCA Civ 86, the liability for the negligence has also been highlighted (Khan and Fatima, 2020). Contracts are developed between the owner and the customer that does not needs any written format where certain specifications are mandatory such as
Goods that are sold must of satisfactory quality
Goods must be fit for the purpose
Goods must be described as well
Section of the Consumer Protection Act has determined that the liability is imposed on those who have manufactured the product, own-brander or an importer (Herlina, 2021). There are some limitations that the claimant must be knowledgeable of like the claimant need to bring the issue on the date when the cause of action has taken place, and the date on which the claimant has noticed the issue.The remedies available to the claimant has been that the consumer can claim for a full refund in the first days after proving that the other party has been liable. However, some of the remedies in such situations are
Payment of the Refund amount
Here, from the circumstance, it is evident that Sebastiano has purchased 150-600mm II USM Lens for his EOM 22D digitalcamera and Digital Photographic Image Enhancer'. He also left his camera to the owner for fitting of the new lends that will be installed directly to the camera. However, later he found out that with the Digital Photographic Image Enhancer' as he started operating came up with a pop-up message that the digital camera was not compatible with the device. The Following day, Sebastiano brought the issue to the owner but the owner showed a sign that readout that Digital Photo Equipment Are Us do not take any kind of liability with damage that is caused due to camera installation and so no refund or exchange will be given. This led to the call of the legal claim against the Consumer Protection Act. Hereby applying Section 2 of the Act, it can be evidenced that the liability relied on the management of the Digital Photo Equipment Are Us. Henceforth, they are liable to pay the remedy to Sebastiano. He can directly charge the owner with the Consumer Protection Act due to a defect in the product and also damage caused to the new camera during the time of installation and the sign reading out of no liability was not stated earlier. Moreover, Sebastiano has brought the issue within the first 30 days and so is liable for refund, repair or as needed by the claimant.
The issue is to determine whether Jennifer and James could bring legal action against Simon for defective product quality.
Consumer Protection Act 1987 in the UK comes with the concept of Negligence where it is clearly shown that with any damages caused due to defective products, the owner or the person liable will have to offer remedy (Nolan, 2018). However, the claimant must prove that the damage has been caused due to the negligence of the defendant. Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 clearly states that if any damage is caused due to a partly or wholly defective product then the person liable for it will have to compensate for the damage. On the contrary Section 5(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1987 declares the damages like personal injury or death will also have to be compensated due to the defective action (McCORMICK, 2019).The primary objective of any reward offered for the damage is to compensate the victim while the secondary objective is to punish the liable person.Product liability is one of the important concepts where products that are offered to the parties or sold to the customers must be fit for the purpose, of satisfactory quality and also should have a description of the product (Fairgrieveand Goldberg, 2020). The dispute of Howmet Ltd v Economy Drives Ltd ( EWCA Civ 847 has lighted the fact that customers bringing the claim within the first 30 days and before the defendant can ask for compensations for the damages incurred.Through Negligence, the claim of product liability could be brought against the defendant by the claimant.
Under the Common law tort, the subject to negligence can be brought as well against the owner for defective products. However, limitations are there where the compensation will not happen if the loss is done to the product itself, the damage has been to the business property and not intended for the private usage, and properties that incurred damage valuing under £275. In the UK, as stated there are two conditions for bringing the claim such as within the first 30 days or three years from the date of the injury.
From the situation, two circumstances showed the negligence of the owner. Simon has been the owner selling homemade beef and onion pies from their brand and purchases the desserts from a local food producer. Simon sold the homemade beef and the onion pies to Jennifer and desserts to James. After consuming the homemade beef, Jennifer suffered health issues like food poisoning. Even though she has recovered but due to her illness, the book shop of which she was the owner was closed for days that led to financial loss. On the contrary, James and his friends suffered illness after consuming the desserts. Here, Jennifer can bring a claim against Simon as she has consumed the homemade beef directly manufactured by Simon and claim for the damages. On the contrary, James could bring an action against the local food producer supplying the desserts. Both are subject to liabilities and should compensate the victims. However, before bringing the claim, Jennifer and James have to show that they have brought the issue to the notice of the owner within the first 30 days. Product liability does rely on Simon as the homemade beef and the onion pies were made by him while the desserts by the local food producer. The damage caused to them were personal injury and financial loss for Jennifer. It is therefore intended that both the parties could claim compensation under the Consumer Protection Act. Simon by opening the shop did have a duty of care towards the customers that have been breached hence, Simon will be liable to the remedies against the parties.
The issue has been to advise Matilda on the legal actions that she can take against the Winning Car Sales ofGuildford’ for the false advertisement and defective product supplied to her.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations has been created that ensures companies cannot mislead or display deceptive messages (Riefa and Willett, 2018). In the UK, it has been legally determined that for misleading information, the consequences can be hard. Under the Tort Law, it has been laid down that it can end with 13 months imprisonment. Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v. Heller & Partners Ltd has been one of the leading case-law on misinterpretations where it has been clarified that if any statements are made knowingly and are false in nature than the accused will pay the compensation (Gordon, 2018). On another scenario, Bradford Equitable B S. v Borders, it has been stated that the accused will be punished if statements are made that are forcing to believe the wrong statement.It has been stated that the companies are not allowed to use any kind of techniques of aggressive format or mislead the information. As reported that the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations does cover up the issue that businesses do not provide any misleading products.Alongside the regulations, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 states that marketing agencies should not provide any kind of information that are not real (Steinbrück, 2021). Under rule 3.4.1, the main characteristics of the product should be true to nature.Trade relations also take place between the customers and the owners where it is stated that practices should be fair (Clifford and Paterson, 2020). It is being determined that consumers can claim against the company for false advertising and can claim damages.For any kind of false advertising if noticed and proven then it will lead the defendant to pay fines, be prosecuted or be imprisoned depending on the loss that has been incurred by the claimant. It has been observed that under the Consumer Protection Act if any products appear to be defective then the owner will be liable for it or the party behind the manufacturing process (Kelly, 2018).
In the given scenario, Matilda purchased a car as has been described by Winning Car Sales ofGuildford'. Matilda as the claimant saw the advertisement in the local paper and went for it. The showroom manager even confirmed the details that have been advertised. However, a week later the car made a weird grinding sound and she suffered a crash that led her to suffer from superficial cuts and a broken arm. When she took the car to the garage, she was informed that the cause of the crash had been serious mechanical faults and the car had a mileage of 80,000 miles and not 61,333 miles. Therefore, the primary reason for her accident was a defective product and the wrong advertisement. The product did not match the unlawful description. Here. Matilda had the chance of bringing a claim against the company and for false advertising. Moreover, she can claim compensation as she suffered a personal injury due to the defective piece of the car.
Thus, from the given situation had the car being accurate with the definition then it would not have led to the accident that Matilda had suffered. False advertising led Matilda to choose the car that was wrongly advertised as she got confirmed by the garage specialists. It was therefore clear that the company was held responsible for the action. In the UK, with such wrong actions, punishment is given. Seeing the situation Matilda can approach the Court and seek the necessary punishment as is necessary for the circumstance. False information when laid down, the marketing communication should cross-check the information and companies should act responsibly to remain loyal to the customers (Weatherill, 2017). Here, Matilda had all the factors against which the claim can be brought against the company and the showroom manager also approved of the product quality even though it was defective from inside. Thus, there has been a breach of the duty of care of the owner and the company towards the customers and unfair trade has taken place.
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