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UK's biggest retailer faces legal action after profits scandal

One of the UK's largest retailers may be facing a class action suit as the law firm representing shareholders who suffered from the RBS banking scandal are seeking investors to raise a claim. A spokesperson for the firm said that the class action litigation would attempt to clarify if shareholders in the retailer should be entitled to compensation for their financial losses.

A partner in the firm said that if there was enough interest by 23 Jan., they intended to begin High Court proceedings in the first half of 2015. The retailer is the subject of an investigation for Serious Fraud after a whistleblower revealed that there were accounting irregularities that led to a £263 million overstatement of profit, slashing the company's stock market value by billions when the scandal was uncovered.

Class action suit expands as 8,000 join bank battle

A class action suit against Lloyds Banking Group has seen 8,000 more shareholders sign up to join a claim against the bank for giving them misleading information. The investors say that the financial health of HBOS, who Lloyds took over in 2008, was concealed in order to gain shareholder approval for the merger.

The plaintiffs claim that over £400 million was lost by investors as a result of the takeover. These include 140 groups, including charity organisations, pension funds and asset managers, who say that they approved the merger because emergency support payments to HBOS that were made by the Bank of England, who put up £25 billion, the US Federal Reserve who put up £11 billion and Lloyds, who put up £10 billion, were not disclosed.

Former primary school head teacher wins employment tribunal

A primary school head teacher who was dismissed from her job is set to be awarded an estimated £90,000 in compensation. The 60-year-old woman won a three-year fight against the governors of the school at which she was head teacher, claiming that she was the victim of an unfair dismissal. After formally suspending the head teacher, the board of governors stated during a mass resignation that they could not ensure the safety of children if the woman were to return to the school.

When the woman took up the position of head teacher in 1986, there were 14 pupils at the school; by 2011, there were 133 pupils. In 2009, Ofsted inspectors praised the institution for, among other things, excellent leadership. In September 2011, the head teacher raised a grievance about inappropriate behaviour by two governors, including the new chairman.

Poker pro appeals cheating ruling

A professional poker player who was found guilty of cheating by the High Court has announced his decision to appeal the ruling. The man had lost a £7.8 million battle against a casino who claimed that the practice of "edge sorting" constituted cheating. A different casino has also raised litigation against the man to recoup nearly $10 million in Bacarat winnings that he won in 2012 using the same system during four sessions of the card game.

The man raised the original suit after the casino withheld his winnings from Punto Banco, worth nearly £8 million, in August 2012. The casino claimed that "edge sorting," the technique of identifying minute variations in the printed pattern on the back of playing cards, was cheating and refused to pay him. The man insists that the practice is legal and that his job as a professional gambler is to try to reduce the advantage that the house has against him.

What reasons are there for bringing class-action lawsuits?

A class-action lawsuit requires that each member of the group has the same potential claim in order for the collective action to be brought to the court. There are a number of reasons why a class-action suit is a suitable vehicle for an action, and it usually involves a claim against a large company or an employer.

One of the primary reasons for choosing to bring a class-action suit is expenses. Undertaking any court action can be very costly, particularly in cases where the company or employer being sued is large and well funded. By bringing a class-action suit, the claimants can share the costs, which are immediately reduced by needing only one set of legal representatives. This also means that there is only the need to assess one set of circumstances as the claims are the same.

Brick tycoon sues QC over incomplete purchase of mansion

A couple who refused to complete the purchase of a £3.6 million manor house due to claims of pre-existing damage is being sued by the sellers for breach of contract. The property, a 30-roomed country manor with a cinema, gym, helipad and staff quarters, was put on the market by a 56-year-old multi-millionaire brickworks tycoon and his wife.

The buyers, a 66-year-old leading QC and his wife, had agreed to exchange contracts on the property in 2011 before seeing a surveyor's report in 2012. The couple are disputing the agreement with the sellers, saying that the extensive damage to the property, built in 1853, will cost over £500,000 to rectify and are refusing to complete the sale.

West Brom sued for small-print rate hike

A campaign against a rate hike by the West Brom Building Society has been given permission to go ahead with a class-action suit. The group of landlords is fighting the lender's 2 percent point hike on buy-to-let tracker mortgages, an increase which affected 6,700 mortgages, through litigation.

The hike was announced in the autumn of 2013, although there was no change announced for the base rate at the Bank of England. Tracker mortgages are supposed to follow base rates and the change impacted landlords of multiple buy-to-let properties who raised their mortgages through a now-closed specialist lending department of the building society.

Doctor claims whistle-blowing led to her dismissal

A doctor who made complaints about the way that a number of services were run by the Worcestershire Health & Care NHS Trust has claimed that she suffered detriment after making her concerns public. The woman, who was a leading figure in Redditch and Bromsgrove family planning, contraception and sexual health services as part of the Clinical Commissioning Group, began her claim for unfair dismissal almost 12 months ago.

The case has been delayed due to panel members' unavailability and the workload of the trust's legal representative. The tribunal judge offered this information after the doctor asked for an explanation for the lack of progression of her claims, citing concerns that 'memories could be fading". The trust had originally and unsuccessfully applied to have the doctor's claim stricken because the relationship and trust between the employer and employee had broken down.

Tribunal: daughter of murder victim unfairly dismissed

A woman who was fired for making remarks on a social media site after the murder of her father has won an employment tribunal. The woman, a U.K.-based marketing representative for the Jamaican Tourist Board, made three separate comments on the social media forum after learning that her father had been murdered during a robbery in his holiday home in the Caribbean.

The court heard that woman was sacked for gross misconduct after making the posts. Her first post pledged to get justice for her father, the second criticised the police force in Jamaica for being too slow to investigate the murder, and the third stated that she intended, despite having her life threatened, to fly to the vacation home in Portland to seek justice. The panel ruled that the woman's remarks on both the social media site and to a local newspaper regarding the case did not constitute grounds for dismissal and awarded her a large sum in compensation.

Pet-nups recommended by animal charity

An animal charity has revealed that four pets every week are left at their re-homing shelters when couples split up. The organisation has entered a partnership with a law firm specialising in divorce after they saw more than 1,000 abandoned pets as a direct result of a relationship breakdown. A recent report revealed that one in four divorced couples had argued over their pet during proceedings, with 66 per-cent acknowledging that a pet-nup would have been beneficial.

In an effort to lessen stress and heartache for owners and pets, the charity has created a template legal document that allows couples to avoid litigation by documenting what will happen to their pet in the event of a divorce or breakup. The document is available for free download on the Blue Cross website and lays out the rights of ownership, as well as ongoing care, of a household pet should a couple separate. There is also an additional document, called a Deed of Agreement, which more simply sets out who would take ownership of a pet under such circumstances.

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