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On Sunday 10 May 2020, the UK Government changed the COVID-19 slogan from “Stay At Home” to “Stay Alert”. The UK Government has been faced with difficult questions surrounding a balance between maintaining public health and restarting the economy. What is clear from this evening’s announcement is that the social distancing measures and the current ban on public gathering is here to stay until further notice.

The Prime Minister said that some aspects of the hospitality sector may start to open in July 2020. However, it is important to stress that this is conditional on the rates of infection dropping.  In the event of a relaxation in the rules applicable to the hospitality sector, it is unclear how wide such a relaxation will go, but it could stretch to restaurants and some hotels.  The Prime Minister said that COVID-19 has had a “colossal cost to our way of life” and going forward there will be a “COVID Secure Standard”. Reference was made to a “Work Place COVID Secure Standard” and it is quite likely that the weeks and months ahead will see an “Event based COVID Secure Standard”.

At this stage, it is not clear what an “ Event based COVID Secure Standard” looks like for the wedding and events industry but possible options could include:

  1. Reduced number of guests being allowed within a certain sized venue.
  2. Discouraging high risk and vulnerable members to attend.
  3. Guests being asked to temperature test before giving their RSVP.
  4. Venues and suppliers using the outdoors as much as possible to host various aspects of the wedding or event.
  5. Extra hygiene regulations applicable to caterers and food handlers.
  6. Masks being used where a safe distance cannot be maintained.
  7. A minimum number of hand sanitisers being placed around the venue.

If and when weddings resume later in the year, the guest list may include people coming from abroad. However, we have learn that those coming to the UK by air will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Therefore, this could hinder the arrival of foreign guests or may require guests to plan their trips to factor in a 14-day quarantine period. It is understood that this only relates to those travelling by “air”. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to travel to the UK by car or train, such a restriction may not apply. More details in relation to the quarantining will no doubt follow.

Finally, we are told that different areas of the UK, may have local flare ups. In turn this could impact the “COVID Alert Level” in each area. It could also mean that the location of the event venue could have a different Alert Level compared to the town or city where many of the guests may be travelling from. Therefore, consumers and suppliers will need to ensure some flexibility and versatility is adopted in case there is a sudden change to the Alert Level as the wedding/event day draws closer. 

We will keep you updated with our commentary as we learn more about. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist with your legal issues surrounding a wedding booking.

Thousands of wedding and event suppliers from venues to caterers and photographers to music bands are feeling the commercial impact of the COVID-19 Government restrictions. For the foreseeable future, weddings and events are cancelled which has prompted both suppliers and consumers to carefully review their legal position. If you have spent much of the current lockdown managing the consequences of cancelled events, the below questions may assist your business to navigate murky legal waters.

  1. Do you have a force majeure clause in your supplier contract?

Force majeure clauses are contractual clauses which alter the parties’ obligations under the contract when an event occurs which is beyond the control of the parties and prevents one or all of them from fulfilling their contractual obligations. Whether the COVID-19 outbreak will constitute a force majeure very much depends on how the clause is drafted within the contract.

Is the force majeure clause drafted widely enough to cover the pandemic, acts of Government or events or circumstances beyond the parties “reasonable control”?

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and it is arguable that the courts will be generous in their interpretation of such clauses when parties have encountered difficulties in performing their contractual obligations.

Wedding or events suppliers seeking to rely on a force majeure clause must also take care in ensuring they comply with any other procedural requirements that may be set out in their contract. For example, there may be a notice clause that dictates how a party is to give property notice and/or require a party to give prompt notification of its intention to rely upon a specific clause.

The usual remedy if a force majeure clause is triggered is for the parties to be excused from their obligations and/or liability under the contract without being in breach of the contract and thereby being liable for damages to the other party.

  1. What if your contract does not contain a force majeure clause?

If your contract does not contain a force majeure clause, it may be possible to rely on the doctrine of Frustration. It is very difficult to demonstrate that a contract has been frustrated. It must be shown that an event, outside the control of either party, has made the contract impossible to perform or has transformed the performance of the obligations under the contract into something radically different from that which the parties intended.

Whilst, each case will turn on their individual facts, case law has shown that contracts have previously been frustrated where there has been a Government ban or lockdown. Where a contract has been frustrated, the parties’ obligations under the contract come to an end.

  1. Is it possible to postpone the event?

The party claiming force majeure is obligated to show that they have taken reasonable steps to avoid the effects of the force majeure event (for example, the event being an act of Government). As a supplier, you may consider alternative methods to avoid cancellations such as postponing the event to a later date, allowing the event to be downscaled to accommodate the current restrictions or providing a virtual means to broadcast the event.

  1. Is a non-refundable deposit non-refundable?

Given the imbalance of negotiating power between suppliers and consumers, the law protects consumers who contract with businesses. Where a contractual term has not been individually negotiated it may be considered an unfair term if it causes a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations to the detriment of the consumer.

An unfair term may include a disproportionately high sum to be paid in compensation in the event of cancellation by a consumer. This may include high deposit which could be regarded as a penalty.

Therefore, where a consumer cancels a booking, irrespective of the contractual terms, your business may not be able to retain all the monies paid by the consumer in advance. However, a supplier is entitled to hold back an amount that has reasonably been incurred to cover its net costs or the net loss of profit resulting directly from the cancellation.

  1. Have you got a reputation protection plan in place?

In a world dominated by social media and online press, damage to reputation has the potential to do more lasting damage compared to a one-off legal claim against your business. With some individuals having access to vast social media audiences combined with the stress of cancelled weddings or events, suppliers serving the wedding and events industry ought to consider what impact their business decisions may have on their reputation. After all, the consequences of cancellation or postponement of an event is more than just financial. Think carefully about drafting your responses to common questions that are likely to be asked by your clients and what steps you intend to take if you are threatened with not only legal action, but a press release ready for circulation.

  1. My supplier contract is very vague, is this a problem?

Times such as these highlight the huge importance of a clear and well drafted contract. Ambiguous terms leave scope for argument and disagreement which can lead to a dispute. Should an application to the court be required, the court will usually resolve any uncertainty or doubt surrounding the term against the party who would benefit from the suggested interpretation.

If your contract is vague or lacking in detail, a court would look at the document as a whole and consider the natural and ordinary meaning of each clause, other relevant provisions of the contract, the overall purpose of the clause and the contract as well as the facts and circumstances known or assumed by the parties at the time of entering into the contract. Court proceedings can be lengthy and costly to both parties and often can be avoided by having a well drafted contract in place.

  1. What are the financial implications for your business?

Cancelled weddings and events are inevitably going to impact your cash flow and the overall financial performance of your business.

The Government are currently offering grants to businesses that are suffering as a result of COVID-19; you may be eligible for assistance and whether this is something worth considering in the short term.

If you are a director of a company it is critical that you are clear on your statutory and fiduciary duties as set out in the Companies Act 2006 when dealing with the cancellation of an event. This is of extreme importance if you believe your business may go insolvent and you are entering the “twilight zone” to avoid any personal liability.

Contact us if you have any queries.

The Government have banned my wedding:

A three-step plan for couples

With Coronavirus being described as the biggest threat the UK has faced for decades, the Government have imposed a ban on all social events including weddings. This means all weddings and parties booked in the coming weeks will be cancelled. Whilst this news can be devastating for couples, it is important to be commercially and legally minded when dealing with your wedding suppliers.

Step 1 – Commence discussions with your wedding supplier

If you are concerned about the impact of the wedding ban, you are advised to speak with your wedding supplier in the first instance to see if you can try and negotiate an agreeable and amicable way forward.  This will certainly be the more efficient and cost-effective method of dealing with matters.

Step 2 – What does your contract say?

Is there a Cancellation/Termination clause?

It is important to carefully review the terms of your contract to see what happens in the event of cancellation. If a party seeks to cancel or terminate a contract when there is no right to do so, the cancelling party could be in breach of contract and liable to the other party in damages.

It is important to note that by law, deposits cannot be “non-refundable”, if a company keeps your money ask, for a breakdown of why it cannot be refunded.

Is there a Force Majeure clause?

Check whether the contract contains a force majeure clause which typically excuses one or both parties from performance of the contract in some way following the occurrence of certain events.

In English law, force majeure is only recognised if it is specifically provided for in the contract. Check whether the pandemic is specifically covered within the force majeure clause? If so, does the contract excuse you from performance and/or exclude/limit your liability in the circumstances?

It may be the case that a pandemic is not specifically covered as a force majeure event, however, on the basis that the Government have now banned weddings, it may be possible to rely on wording which covers a government decision or administrative action preventing performance that meets the political interference language commonly included in definitions of force majeure.

Has the contract been Frustration?

Where contracts do not include a force majeure clause, the parties may have recourse to the legal doctrine of “frustration”. This provides that a party is discharged from its contractual obligations if a change in circumstance makes it physically or commercially impossible to perform the contract or would render performance radically different.

On the basis, that weddings and parties are banned, one could argue that it is impossible to perform the contract and therefore, the contract is frustrated. The consequences of this is that it allows the recovery of monies paid under the contract before it was discharged, subject to expenses incurred by the other party.

Step 3 – Do you have insurance?

In the event of a cancellation or termination which leaves you at a loss, it is worth checking whether you have wedding insurance in place and if so whether the insurance policy will cover any losses sustained as a result of the cancellation.

It is important that contracts are interpreted carefully. For any more information, contact pbhanot@meaby.co.uk or use the chat bot on The Wedding Lawyer website.

Our appeal dedicated to Nainika Tikoo

This blog article is dedicated to Nainika Tikoo who sadly passed away on 25 May 2017 as a result of anaphylaxis owing to an allergic reaction to blackberries. We have noticed a number of wedding and event caterers who regularly fail to comply with their legal food labelling obligations. We hope the below provides some guidance. If you are an events caterer, wedding planner or couple, we are offering free food labelling consultations and best practice advice to ensure your next event is compliant with the relevant legislation. All we ask is that a donation is made to the allergy awareness campaign set up by Nainika’s parents (Lakshmi Kaul and Vinod Tikoo) (www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nainika)

Facing the facts

It is shocking to see how many caterers at weddings and events, fail in their legal duty in providing information about allergenic ingredients in the food that they serve to guests. This has the potential to cause serious harm. We have put together some tips to assist caterers with their obligations.

In the UK, it is estimated that 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children have a food allergy. This equates to around 2 million people living in the UK with a food allergy. This figure does not include the number of people who have food intolerances, which would in turn substantially increase the number of people who are impacted if they have a food allergy or intolerance.

About an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction can be produced by a tiny amount of food ingredient that a person is sensitive to. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild symptoms such as rashes to more severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and on occasions anaphylaxis. Around ten people in the UK die from allergic reactions to food every year.

What can be done?

There is no cure for food allergy, therefore the only way to manage the condition is to avoid the food that makes the person ill. When you are attending events (including weddings) it is important that caterers provide clear and accurate information about allergenic ingredients in their products. Food Information Regulations 2014 introduces new rules for food businesses relating to the labelling and provision of allergen information.

What ingredients must a caterer declare to consumers?

The following ingredients must be declared to a consumer if they are added to food (the most common ones are in bold):

  1. Cereals containing gluten namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats and their hybridised strains and product thereof, except:
    1. Wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
    2. Wheat based maltodextrins
    3. Glucose syrups on barley
    4. Cereals used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
  2. Crustaceans and products thereof (for example prawns, lobster, crabs and crayfish).
  3. Egg and products thereof.
  4. Fish and products thereof, except;
    1. Fish gelatine used as carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations.
    2. Fish gelatine or Isinglass used as a fining agent in beer and wine.
  5. Peanuts and products thereof.
  6. Soybeans and products thereof, except;
    1. Fully refined soybean oil and fat
    2. Natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherols, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate and natural D –alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources
    3. Vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources
    4. Plant stanol ester produced from oil sterols from soybean sources
  7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose) except:
    1. Whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
    2. Lactitol
  8. Nuts (namely almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut and Macadamia nut (Queensland nut) and products thereof except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
  9. Celery and products thereof.
  10. Mustard and products thereof.
  11. Sesame seeds and products thereof.
  12. Sulpher dioxide and/or sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mgL (litre) in terms of the total SO2, which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers.
  13. Lupin and products thereof.
  14. Molluscs and products thereof (for example mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, snails and squid).

Tips for caterers to avoid breaking the law with regards to food labelling

  1. Businesses should review ingredients information for foods provided by them and ensure that their suppliers provide them with the necessary information to meet their obligations.
  2. Every caterer has a responsibility for ensuring that allergen information they provide is accurate.
  3. Should you not make reference to allergenic ingredients within a menu, it must be clear to a consumer where such information can be found. In such situations, there must be a statement that can be found on food menus or food labels. All mandatory allergen information on menus or signpost statements should be easily accessible and visible, and clearly legible to the final consumer regardless of whether they have a food allergy or not.
  4. Where food is provided through a buffet format, the allergen information should be provided for each food item separately.
  5. Some catering businesses may find it difficult to ensure written menus are kept up-to-date and displaying accurate information regarding allergenic ingredients used in products. Caterers do have the flexibility to provide such information orally. In such cases, consumers must be able to obtain information from members of the catering staff. If a catering business operates this approach they will need to ensure that there is a written notice, menu or label that is clearly visible, at the point that the consumer chooses their food, to indicate information is available from a member of staff.
  6. Caterers are recommended to have a system in place to ensure that when allergen information is provided orally to consumers, it is support by that information being available to staff and others in a recorded form (in writing for example) to provide consistency, accuracy and verifiable safety procedures.

The sanctions against Caterers for failing to comply?

Wedding and event caterers who do not comply with the above, risk committing a criminal offence. If found guilty, the fine can be of an unlimited amount.

For more information: contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

Reference – https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/food-allergen-labelling-technical-guidance.pdf

 

 

You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a wedding like Pippa Middleton and James Mathews. It was dubbed the “society event of the year” with Royalty, A-List Celebrities and some of the wealthiest elite being invited to the wedding of Pippa Middleton to her long-term partner, James Mathews.

Despite the world media spectating, the couple ensured that practicality dominated every aspect of their big day to ensure it went as smoothly as possible. You do not need to be a millionaire to have a well organised wedding, so what tips can we learn from the wedding of the year.

  1. Proximity is Power – Pippa and James decided to marry at the 12th Century church of St Mark’s that was only about a 15-minute drive from their reception venue (Pippa’s home). When there is a logistical exercise involved in transferring guests from the ceremony to the reception venue, keeping the day’s proceedings as geographically close as possible will assist in ensuring everything goes according to the set timetable. Even if there is a delay incurred, the close proximity of events will assist in making up any lost time.
  2. Who said Christmas Cards were just for sending Christmas wishes –Despite the abundance of disposable income the high profile newly weds have, this didn’t stop them in taking practical steps in sending “save the dates” out to their guests. You guessed it! The couple used a practical approach and combined their Christmas cards with save the date notification to invitees.
  3. Taking Charge – Butlers, personal assistants and wedding planners were all at the disposal of the newly weds. However, Pippa insisted on taking the lead in organising her big day. The fact is, no one will be as passionate and enthusiastic about the smooth running of your big day more than you. So take charge! Sources close to Pippa mentioned that the bride took full control over the planning of her big day and had everything thoroughly organised weeks before the big day.
  4. Home sweet home – More and more couples are opting to host a wedding event at home to save cost and to create a more intimate wedding day experience. Pippa was no different. Following the church ceremony, guests were invited to a marquee event in the Middleton’s garden. Marquees do not have to be as elaborate as the one erected for the wedding of the year, however, marquees can be a cost effective and pleasant way to celebrate your nuptials. Further, quite often marquee companies can offer bespoke interior designs to match your exact requirements.
  5. Personalised touches make all the difference – Weddings become just that much more special and meaningful if you can add your very own personal touch to the celebrations. Pippa’s wedding banquet menu included her own lamb recipes from her cook book. Indeed, you may not be a budding cook, but personalising an aspect of your big day can truly add a touch of class to the whole day.

Photo credit: Rex Features

According to price Comparison website Money Supermarket, did you know over 50,000 couples have applied for loans to fund their wedding day costs so far this year. Of this number, one in ten couples have requested to borrow more than £20,000. It has also been reported that there has been a 53% increase in £30,000 plus wedding loan applications compared to last year. Since January 2017 to March 2017, collectively British Couples have asked for approximately £460 million to fund their wedding day.

Our tips before taking out a wedding loan:

  1. Look for the best deal

When it comes to taking out a loan ensure you check what the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is. Essentially, the APR informs you of the true cost of the loan taking into account interest payable, any other charges and when payments fall due. When checking which wedding loan to take out, be sure to compare APRs.

  1. Early Repayment Charges

Do not forget that it is possible to pay off your wedding loan early. Often this is desirable to couples particularly if they wish to be debt free or where paying off a loan may impact their ability to borrow further (for example, to purchase a house). Many loan providers will charge an early repayment fee if you wish to pay off your debts early. If you think there maybe a possibility that you can pay off your loan early, try and search for a wedding loan deal that comes without any early repayment fees.

  1. Check your credit rating

Wedding loan lenders are only required to offer their advertised ‘typical’ APR to two-thirds of applicants. If your credit rating is not in good shape, you maybe offered a more expensive deal than the low rate loan you originally applied for.

  1. Secured v Unsecured loans: know the risks

Secured loans are cheaper than unsecured loans but run the risk that your lender will be able to take a charge on your property. This means that if you are unable to keep up with your repayments, you risk losing your home. Secured loans generally are only offered to homeowners who have sufficient equity in their property. So do not sign up for a loan unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to meet your repayments.

  1. Check the small print

Never sign a document without checking the small print. Should you need any assistance in understanding the meaning of your loan agreement, always consider obtaining legal advice.

For any further information, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 With the United Kingdom heading towards a mini heat wave, the wedding season is on the verge of kicking off. The Wedding Lawyer has interviewed, Parita Patel who has recently been awarded “best wedding planner of the year” about some of the common mistakes couples make when planning a wedding which has the potential to ruin your big day.

Restricted to using preferred caterers

An increasing number of wedding venues are insistent that you use their preferred and approved caterers. Parita states that venues do not always make it clear from the outset that you must use one of their preferred caterers and often couples are not informed about this until it is too late and they have already contracted with the venue. Being restricted to using preferred suppliers could be problematic as they can be costly and less flexible to meet your requirements. If you must use a preferred caterer, it maybe a good idea to negotiate your catering and venue contract simultaneously before entering into a contract with either supplier.

Curfews Catch outs

From Parita’s experience, many couples fail to acknowledge the curfews that are often in place at a venue. There maybe curfews in relation to when music must come to an end or in relation to delivering and picking up supplier equipment. It is essential that both sound and delivery curfews are carefully checked and provision is made for the wedding to finish at a reasonable time to allow for the suppliers to clear up.  It is a common occurrence for suppliers to be unable to load their equipment following a wedding or reception due to a curfew and therefore, charged an additional fee for a next day collection.

Parking Practicalities

If your wedding is taking place within a busy City Centre, parking costs for suppliers can sometimes be extortionate. However, where parking is not readily available at a reasonable cost, you may wish to consider approaching the local authority to obtain a low cost parking permit. Some local authorities categorise weddings as “special events” and on this basis are willing to issue parking permits for suppliers. This will allow your supplier to park on a yellow line when loading and unloading which is often more convenient and inexpensive compared to using designated City Centre car parks.

 Using public spaces without obtaining local authority permission

Whether you decide to have an elaborate roadside wedding procession, use a photographic drone, host a pre or post wedding photo shoot in a public area or decide to park your wedding transportation on a road with parking restrictions, it maybe prudent to check with the relevant local authority to ensure there are no specific restrictions to your activities. Local authority representatives tend to be rather helpful if they know you are celebrating an important event and will provide you with relevant guidance. From experience, Parita also states that some Central London venues will ask that you obtain local authority permission if you decide to play loud music in public spaces (including on the doorstep of a Central London hotel). You can find details for your relevant local authority by visiting https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Planning a party at home?

With couples trying to save on wedding costs, it is becoming increasingly common to host a wedding event at home. If you are planning on hosting a wedding house party or pre-event, our recommendation is that you inform your local authority, particularly if there is likely to be loud music. Local authorities can send enforcement officers to houses where loud music continues persistently after 11pm. In extreme circumstances, enforcement officers can confiscate music equipment in a bid to bring the party to an end. Therefore, it is always a good idea to cooperate with your local authority. Another tip is to write a kind note to your neighbours informing them of the fact that there is a wedding party going on and manage their expectations as to when the party will be starting and finishing. Some couples even go as far as inviting their neighbours to their wedding event or a “pre-drink for neighbours” event to keep them sweet and to minimise the chances of a complaint being made.

Parita Patel was named “Best Wedding Planner of the Year” earlier this year. For more information about having Parita as your wedding planner, contact info@rishtaaevents.co.uk or visit www.rishtaaweddingsandevents.co.uk

For any further assistance in relation to this article contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

We need your help!

Dozens of brides and grooms who are due to get married have been left devastated to learn about the sudden closure and administration of bridal boutique, Dan Kerr Brides.

According to the Lancashire Post, a number of wedding ceremonies may be cancelled after a representative from Dan Kerr Brides said it has “no alternative but to close”.

For brides and grooms who paid by credit card, there maybe some recourse to obtaining their money back from their credit card company. However, for a number of brides and grooms who have paid using cash or cheque, there is a possibility that they may neither get their bridal dress/wedding suit nor their money back.

With some couples potentially losing out on between £200 and £5000, we are looking to assist those who cannot afford to purchase a new outfit.

Could you lend your spare bridal dress for one day?

If you are already married, you may have a spare bridal dress/wedding suit that is not currently being used. If so, we are appealing to anyone who maybe willing to lend their dress or suit for a day to a bride or groom who has lost out on getting their outfit from Dan Kerr Brides and is unable to obtain a refund.

How does it work?

If you think you can lend a wedding dress/suit for one day, please email Pranav@theweddinglawyer.co.uk stating your:

  1. Name
  2. Where you are based
  3. For Brides – Size of your wedding dress
  4. For Brides – Style of wedding dress – Either by sending an image or similar image of the style of your dress.
  5. For Groom – Size of trousers, blazers and shirt.
  6. For Grooms – Style of suit – Either by sending an image or similar image of the style of your suit.
  7. Contact number (optional)

We will then look to pair you up with a bride or groom who has lost out on getting a wedding outfit. The bride/groom and lender will then communicate with each other to organise the logistics of borrowing the wedding dress.

Are you are bride/groom who has lost out?

If you have been adversely affected by the closure of Dan Kerr and would be interested in borrowing a dress or suit, contact Pranav@theweddinglawyer.co.uk stating your:

  1. Name
  2. Date of wedding
  3. Where you are based
  4. For Brides – Preferred size of bridal dresses
  5. For Brides – Preferred style of wedding dress
  6. For Grooms – Preferred size of trousers, blazers and shirt.
  7. For Grooms – Preferred style of suit
  8. Contact number (optional)

We will then look to connecting you with someone who maybe willing to lend you his or her outfit for your big day.

The Wedding Lawyer

We appreciate weddings can be expensive and stressful. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring every bride and groom has a wedding day to remember. Therefore, if you can assist us, please do. For any more information about The Wedding Lawyer, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

On Tuesday 18 April 2017, it was announced that the Dan Kerr bridal boutique, which has stores in Preston and Blackpool, has closed its doors and removed stock from displays as the administrators move in. A representative from the family run bridal shop, which had been running for over 100 years stated that “We have no alternative but to close down” and that “individual letters will be sent to each customer in relation to dresses which have been ordered or paid for”. Consumers are instructed to wait for letters and to contact Leonard Curtis Recovery if they would like further information regarding the operations of the business. However, in the meantime, the below may assist you.

What is administration?

An insolvency firm has been called in to run the company, and obtain as much cash as it can for creditors by selling or utilising its assets. In this case, Dan Kerr has instructed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis Recovery to handle the administration. Leonard Curtis Recovery is likely to collect any assets and try and sell what is can. The cash raised will then be distributed to creditors in order of priority.

Priority of payments following administration

The priority in which creditors are paid is usually as follows:

  1. Secured creditors – E.g. banks – if the company have borrowed money secured on property/assets. According to Companies House, it would appear that Dan Kerr (Brides) Limited have outstanding liabilities to HSBC Bank PLC and Midland Bank PLC.
  2. Insolvency Practitioners – e.g. Leonard Curtis Recovery.
  3. Employees – Redundancy pay and wages
  4. Everyone else – including customers, HMRC and any additional money owed to employees.

Therefore, you will note that customers are low down in the priority list that could make it difficult (though not impossible) to obtain refunds from the bridal shop.

Can you get your money back?

It is our understanding that Dan Kerr have stock and it maybe the case that some of this stock has already been allocated to customers. Therefore, at this stage, there maybe a possibility that your orders have been fulfilled and it may be worth checking with your Dan Kerr/Leonard Curtis representative to what extent your order has or can be fulfilled. It maybe the case that Dan Kerr have entered into an arrangement with another company to meet their outstanding obligations to customers. You should check if this has been the case.

If you have ordered a wedding dress and the order has not been fulfilled as yet, there is no guarantee you will either get your wedding dress or your money back from Dan Kerr.

From what we understand about the situation with Dan Kerr, there is no evidence that the insolvency company will be running the company as a going concern, which means the company has ceased trading. This will complicate things as far as refunds are concerned.

As you will see from the priority list above, whilst it is not impossible, it is unlikely you will get a full refund from the administrators. If you do, it is often a negligible amount.

What are your options?

1.Did you pay by credit card?

If you purchase cost between £100 – £30,000 and you paid either a deposit or the full amount by credit card, then your credit card company is liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Please note, the £100 or more threshold is for a single item. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be protected if you bought say 5 dresses for £90.

The Section 75 protection means that whatever rights you have against Dan Kerr, you now have against your credit card provider. You are advised to contact your credit card company explaining the situation. If you have any receipts for your purchased items, ensure you take a picture/photocopy of these, as you may need to submit these as proof of purchase. Please be advised that your credit card provider may expect you to contact Dan Kerr in the first instance to understand the latest position and obtain confirmation that Dan Kerr are unable to provide you with a refund.

Click here for a template letter to send to your credit card company.

2. Try relying on Chargeback?

If you paid for your wedding dress using either of the following methods:

  • Debit cards – Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron or Mastercard debit card (any amount – even under £100)
  • Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (any amount – even under £100)
  • Credit Cards – Visa, Mastercard or Amex Credit card (Under £100 only. If it’s over £100 use Section 75 (in step 1 above).

You could try using the Chargeback system.

This is a system where your bank gets cash back from the Dan Kerr’s payment processing bank.

However, unlike with credit cards (in step 1 above), this is not a legal protection and operates based on the internal rules of banks. Therefore, you are advised to contact your bank to see whether you can rely on this system.

Please note, you must complain within 120 days of realising there is a problem (not from the date of transaction). If you heard about the Dan Kerr administration on Tuesday 18 April 2017 your 120-day time limit has commenced.

3. Did you pay in cash or by cheque? 

Things get complicated where you have paid using cash or cheque as you will not be able to rely on the protection discussed in step 1 and 2 above. Our advice would be to see how far your order had reached with Dan Kerr and check to see whether your order had been processed.

4. Wedding insurance

If you have taken out wedding insurance, it is worth checking your insurance policy/contacting your insurance company to see whether you are covered in the event of a wedding supplier entering into administration. When contacting your insurance company you should have the following details to hand;

  1. The date of purchase
  2. The amount of purchase
  3. Proof of purchase
  4. The excess on your policy
  5. Your insurance policy
  6. The date you found out about the issue with Dan Kerr
  7. Any correspondence with Dan Kerr.

Should you need any further information, please contact info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

See our online resources for a template Section 75 letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to remember that the legalities surrounding an international wedding can be slightly more complex compared to a conventional UK wedding.

Here is our quick guide to getting married abroad:

  1. Documentation – Depending on which country you are planning to get married, you may need to provide certain documentation for your marriage. The information requirements can often vary from country to country. You are able to obtain guidance if you visit the Government Website (https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad). The website has a step by step guide to assist you in understanding your obligations as to documentation.
  1. Marriage certificate – You will not be able to obtain a British marriage certificate if you get married abroad. You can still have the marriage recognised in the UK, provided you comply with the local law of the country of marriage. (See Destination Weddings – Are they recognised in the UK?)
  1. Insurance – it is recommended that you take out suitable wedding insurance in the UK which will provide cover for the wedding in the country of choice. Before enrolling onto a policy, ensure you are clear on what the policy covers and what is excluded. Click here for more information about wedding insurance.  In the event that there may be an exchange of high value gifts at the international wedding, guests are advised to check that their travel insurance adequately covers the value of the gifts in the event that they are lost, stolen or damaged. Quite often, we have noticed travellers take out a generic insurance to cover them for the whole year. Therefore, if you are expecting a high valued gift at a destination wedding, ensure your insurance cover is adequate. If need be, consider upgrading your policy. Ensure the hotel / apartment can provide you with a safe big enough to fit any high valued gifts.
  1. Contracts – It is advisable to ensure that any contract you sign for a service being provided in another country contains a “jurisdiction clause” which states that the Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. In the event of dispute, this will assist you in resolving the dispute by using the courts in England and Wales.

An example of the clause that should be inserted is as follows:

“This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. Each party irrevocably agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales over any claims or matter arising under or in connection with this Agreement”.

  1. Make provision for site visits before the big day – Where possible, aim to visit the venue at least once before the big day to gain an appreciation of the facilities which will assist in managing your expectations for the big day.
  1. Ensure suppliers are fully briefed about the wedding venue and facilities before entering into a contract – In the event of you booking suppliers from the UK, avoid entering any contracts until the suppliers have gained a full understanding of the venue. This may require them to speak with the management of the venue or in some cases going out for a site visit. Problems could occur where you have entered into a contract, only to find the contract price increases after your have committed due to additional equipment being needed which was not appreciated at the time of entering the contract.
  1. Have agreements and emails printed before your leave the UK – Much of the planning for a destination wedding will take place via email. Therefore, before departing the UK to the country of your wedding, ensure you have hard copies of all the agreements, itineraries and plans so you can ensure all agreements have been fully complied with. Do not rely on Wi-Fi or printers at your hotel to assist you in digging out such information once you have arrived at your destination.

For any more information about the legalities of getting married abroad – contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk