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Sector Focus


Take a tougher stance against illegal workers

The government’s Immigration Bill has now received Royal Assent, which local law firm Shakespeare Martineau thinks will lead to a crackdown on the employment of illegal workers in UK industry. The new law is designed to improve the ability of

prosecutors to pursue criminal sanctions against individuals and businesses that do not comply with immigration policy, says the firm’s Beverley Smith, who is an employment and business immigration specialist. She said it was a ‘timely reminder to local firms of

the importance of due diligence when appointing and vetting potential recruits’.

‘Implementation of due diligence checks must occur from the top down’

She added that previously the law required evidence that a business had ‘knowingly’ employed an illegal worker, but the new legislation has reduced the burden of proof, requiring only evidence that the business had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the individual was ineligible to work in the UK. Business could be hit two-fold if found to be in

breach of the law. The organisation itself would be subject to an unlimited fine, and the individual with overall responsibility for employment, as well as the individual with day-to-day responsibility for

Patent firm is

best of the rest International law firm Gowling WLG, which has a major office in Birmingham, has been recognised by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) as one of the top patent firms in its 2016 edition of The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners. In its commentary, IAM described the practice as a ‘super-firm’ with ‘incredible global reach’ that is ‘ideally placed to help companies of all shapes and sizes achieve their objectives, no matter what their nature or scale.’ In addition, 25 of Gowling WLG’s patent practitioners were ranked among the leading professionals in key jurisdictions around the globe. IAM said that the UK arm of

the business, which achieved ‘highly recommended’ status for transactions and ‘silver’ status for litigation, was ‘deep with talent’ and seamlessly handled complex cross-border matters for the most discerning multinationals.

50 CHAMBERLINK July/August 2016

immigration, could now face up to five years’ imprisonment, up from the previous two year maximum sentence. Beverley Smith said: “This new legislation

must be viewed as a call to action for businesses in the West Midlands. Under these parameters, whilst merely carrying out a partial rather than a full right to work document check would constitute grounds for a civil penalty, it could potentially constitute a criminal penalty too. While historically business immigration law was perceived as somewhat of a ‘toothless tiger’, with these new powers in hand, it is likely that we will see the number of prosecutions rise significantly.” “Businesses must review their recruitment

processes and ensure that the required time and resources are devoted to carrying out and storing evidence of full right to work checks for all new recruits. It is important to remember that the individual liable for prosecution may well not be responsible for all day-to-day immigration-related administration. Therefore, implementation of due diligence checks must occur from the top down. Failing to do so could leave both the business, and its representative decision-makers open to crippling financial and criminal sanctions.”

Beverley Smith: timely reminder

Law firm goes for growth

lNational law firm Browne Jacobson, which has Midland offices in Birmingham and Nottingham, has delivered in excess of £64m for the 2015/16 financial year - an increase of over nine per cent in work done on the previous year. The firm, which entered the top 50 rankings for the

first time last year, has seen its work done grow by 26 per cent in the last two years alone. On the back of this year’s results, the firm has also announced a 5.5 per cent award to employees as part of its annual performance award scheme.

‘The total number of lawyers across the firm has risen from 417 to 442’

Managing Partner Iain Blatherwick, who is based in Nottingham, said: “We have had another impressive twelve months and this year’s robust set of results are in line with our expectations. We had a solid first half to the year, but really gained momentum in the second half and expect to build on that performance in the new year. All of our sectors have grown as have each of the five offices. With a strong balance sheet alongside this result, we are delighted that we are performing so well against our strategy of long term sustainable and profitable growth.” 2015-16 saw the firm attract an impressive list of new

public and private sector clients including: American Eagle, Bvlgari, Camelot Group PLC, E-ACT, 4ways Healthcare Ltd, Gala Bingo, National Procurement Service for Wales, Papa Johns, Priory Group, PCT Healthcare, Raphael Healthcare and Reach4, amongst others. Other work highlights for the firm included some

notable and high profile litigation successes including advising former JP Morgan trader Bruno Iksil, Cornwall

Iain Blatherwick: robust results

Council on its £160m IT outsourcing dispute with BT and as foreign counsel in the UK, the Commonwealth and Europe for the SIPA Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC and Bernard Madoff. As well as announcing 11 associate and five partner

promotions the firm also added a number of high profile public and private sector lateral hires. This brings the total number of partners to 109. The total number of lawyers across the firm has risen from 417 to 442 with the firm’s overall headcount growing to 823.

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