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Top 5 consumer rights businesses need to be aware of
Friday 6th October 2017

As the news emerged on Monday morning that Monarch Airlines had gone into administration overnight, just days after rival airline Ryanair announced that a second wave of flight cancellations would affect more than 400,000 people, many of the affected travellers needed information as to the options for recompense available to them.

Ryanair found itself in trouble with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last week for misleading its affected customers. On the CAA’s orders, Ryanair has contacted its disrupted customers to advise them of their rights under EU regulations and will be offering full refunds or alternate flights.

However, for Monarch passengers, such remedies are unlikely to be available due to Monarch’s parlous financial position. The CAA will return stranded Monarch customers to the UK (at the government’s expense), but for those yet to depart on their travels the best remedy may be found in the UK’s consumer credit regime.

Whilst it is vital for consumers to understand their rights and remedies, it is equally essential that businesses understand their liabilities and obligations. Whether you are a large airline operator or a small high street retailer, here are the top 5 consumer rights that your business needs to be aware of:

1.Liability of credit card providers

Where a consumer makes a purchase over £100 (but less than £30,000) using a credit card for at least part of the payment, and subsequently has a claim against the supplier for breach of contract or misrepresentation, the Consumer Credit Act 1974 states that the credit card provider is jointly and severally liable and that a claim can be made by the customer against the provider. However, businesses should not see this as a safety net; credit card providers will seek reimbursement from a business should the provider pay up to the consumer, with businesses likely to find that credit institutions are more rigorous in their debt recovery than the average consumer.

2.Cooling off periods for online sales

When a consumer buys goods, services or digital content online or over the phone, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 require a mandatory cooling-off period of 14 days within which the consumer may cancel the contract. The 14 days begins on the day after the date the contract is entered into (for services or digital content) or the date upon which goods are received by the consumer.

3.Remedies for defective goods

Under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, goods (including digital content) sold to consumers must be of satisfactory quality, fit for their purpose and as described. If a consumer discovers a fault with the goods or digital content within 6 months, it is assumed that the fault existed upon delivery (unless the supplier can prove otherwise). Defective physical goods may be rejected (for a full refund) within 30 days after delivery. Within the first 6 months, a consumer is entitled to have faulty goods or digital content repaired or replaced or to obtain a price reduction (which may be a full refund).

4.Delivery of goods

Unless otherwise agreed with the consumer, the supplier must deliver goods within 30 days. The supplier also retains the risk in the goods until they are delivered to the consumer (or someone identified by the consumer to take delivery). If delivery is late, and another reasonable delivery time cannot be agreed, the consumer has the right to terminate the contract and get a full refund.

5.Unfair terms

There is a general rule under the CRA 2015 that if a term in a consumer contract is unfair to the consumer, it will not be binding. Terms that are likely to be considered unfair include: those which unreasonably limit the liability of the supplier or the rights of the consumer; disproportionate monetary penalties; and those which attempt to bind the consumer to terms that they have not had the opportunity to read beforehand. Whilst all businesses need to protect their own interests in their contracts, when dealing with consumers it is vital to ensure that the scales are not tipped too far in favour of the supplier, to the detriment of the consumer.

If you would like to find out more on the topic, please contact Jack Roberts or a member of our Commercial team.


NHS Dentistry figures released
Monday 2nd October 2017

A major nationwide survey by the BDA has indicated that almost 58% of the UK’s NHS dentists plan to leave NHS dentistry within the next 5 years.

Whilst retirement will play a significant factor in this (with 2016 figures showing that around a third of practice owners and 13% of associates intend to retire within five years), the more worrying result is that over half (53%) of young and newly qualified NHS dentists (under the age of 35) intend to leave the NHS in the same period.

10% of these young dentists intend to leave dentistry altogether, and a further 10% intend to practice overseas.

Only 16% of young dentists believe that they can own their own practice within the next 5 years.

The BDA's Chair of General Dental Practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said:

"It is a tragedy that a decade of underfunding and failure to deliver meaningful reform now risks shutting off the pipeline of NHS dentists.

Government has made NHS high street practice so unattractive the next generation are now looking to the exit. These young dentists are the backbone of the dental workforce, and losing them at the start of their careers raises existential questions about the future of the service.
A suffocating contract system tells dentists from day one that government targets matter more than improving the oral health of their patients. We urgently require a new system that recognizes and rewards prevention.

The traditional career path for high street NHS dentists has gone, and until government can offer a viable alternative this brain drain will continue”

The Healthcare team at Brabners is committed to helping young dentists in their aspirations of practice ownership and we provide regular training and information to dentists with a view to helping them to get their foot on the practice ownership ladder. Despite the disturbing figures released over the weekend by the BDA, we continue to see high demand from purchasers for NHS practices coming onto the market.

If you are one of the many looking to retire, get in touch with our specialist dental lawyers. We can help you with planning your exit strategy.


European Commission Position Paper on Public Procurement
Wednesday 27th September 2017

Negotiations with the EU over the UK’s withdrawal from the Union have entered their fourth round this week. Whilst most news and media outlets are focussing on the headline topics, there are of course a number of other important areas for discussion, such as public procurement, which tend to elude the public eye.

The European Commission (“the Commission”) recently released a position paper regarding Public Procurement for discussion at the European Council’s Article 50 Working Party, which sets out three main principles of the EU’s position (as to procurement) to be presented to the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

First, the Commission states that any on-going public procurement procedures, and any procedures in relation to on-going framework agreements (including the award of contracts) should continue to be governed by national law as it stands at the date of withdrawal (in other words, in accordance with EU law).

Second, the ‘non-discrimination principle’ (in brief, that contracting authorities must not discriminate against tenderers and contractors based upon which member state they are from) should be complied with by contracting authorities both from the UK (in respect of tenderers and contractors from the other member states) and from the EU (in respect of tenderers and contractors from the UK) in relation to on-going procurement procedures and framework agreements.

Finally, the review procedures and legal remedies available in procurement matters under national and EU laws (as at the withdrawal date) should also continue to apply to any on-going procurement procedures and framework agreements. Such remedies include the requirement for member states to ensure that contracts are declared ineffective where certain rules have not been followed, and the automatic suspension of contracts upon the submission of an application to the Courts for the review of a decision made by a contracting authority.

Whilst the first two principles provide that the procedural aspects of advertising and awarding public supply and works contracts should remain unchanged (at least for any on-going projects), the final principle seeks to ensure that disappointed contractors and tenderers retain their means of enforcement against contracting authorities that do not adhere to the rules.

The position and intentions of the UK in this respect are not yet clear. The majority of the regulation of public procurement in the UK is based in national laws that were designed to implement EU Directives and, post-Brexit, it would of course be possible for the UK to repeal those regulations. However, the UK will remain a party to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as part of its membership of the World Trade Organisation, which contains many provisions that are similar to the EU regime (albeit, in some cases, in less detail).

It seems likely that the UK will eventually derogate to some extent from the position under EU law (even if only to simplify the regulations), but many of the guiding principles behind the existing EU rules (such as non-discrimination, transparency and the availability of review procedures) will remain intact, to a degree, by virtue of the GPA anyway.

At this stage, it does not appear that the EU anticipates ‘shutting out’ the UK from the benefits of the EU regime. The Commission position paper specifies that, from the withdrawal date, other member states should continue not to discriminate against UK contractors, and the Publications Office of the European Union should continue to publish notices sent by UK authorities. Before the UK considers the benefits of repealing any of the rules under the EU regime, it should certainly be considered what benefits could be lost in respect of contracts from the remaining member states.


Pharmacies - Collaboration and Joint Ventures
Tuesday 19th September 2017

Nearly a year after the government imposed significant cuts, many community pharmacies continue to struggle with the effects of reduced funding.

Reacting negatively to the funding cuts could involve pursuing options such as implementing cost-cutting measures or, more drastically, even selling the business. However, we are finding that an increasing number of independent pharmacies are instead looking to react positively by expanding or exploring collaborative arrangements with other pharmacies.

Corporate Joint Ventures

By forming a new corporate vehicle, multiple pharmacies can work together and share costs, resources and facilities. This can be useful for performing a particular function or undertaking a fixed-length project, in order to ring-fence liability. The newly formed entity could bid for enhanced and locally commissioned service contracts whilst the primary pharmacy businesses remain largely protected. However, the downside to this approach is finding a way of ensuring that each of the pharmacies has a satisfactory level of influence in the management of the joint venture company.

Contractual Joint Ventures

Alternatively, pharmacies can collaborate by entering into a legally binding contract. Administrative functions can be streamlined by sharing premises and staff, and issues of financial liability and decision-making can be addressed in the contract. Under this type of arrangement, one of the contracting pharmacies could bid for locally commissioned services on behalf of the other parties.

Whilst this method can avoid some of the governance issues of a corporate joint venture, it may increase risk for the pharmacy contractor, as liabilities under the contract will be borne by each of the relevant contracting pharmacies.

These collaboration methods allow pharmacies to cover a wider geographical scope and potentially achieve economies of scale. In a market with limited funds and tight margins, this is an attractive proposition for commissioners, who may prefer to contract with just one provider to cover a range of services.


The final option is for two or more pharmacies to merge, combining all trading activities, assets, liabilities and capital into one organisation and sharing a joint customer base. Statutory protection exists for pharmacies that choose this route, where it does not create a gap in service provision.

The cost reductions involved can make this an attractive option; fewer staff may be required and there will be more scope to increase efficiency through automation, streamlined supply chains and “hub and spoke” dispensing. However, this comes at the sacrifice of the autonomy, control and flexibility previously enjoyed by the individual parties, and governance of the merged entity can be complex and contentious.

Each form of collaboration has advantages and disadvantages, and circumstances will dictate which is the most appropriate. It is important to take advice from solicitors and accountants and reach a decision which is bespoke to the pharmacy in question.

Members of our pharmacy team will be attending the Pharmacy Show at the NEC Birmingham on 8th – 9th October 2017. We will be exhibiting at stand PG31.  Richard Hough, a pharmacist and lawyer, who is head of our pharmacy team, and David Seddon, a specialist pharmacy transactional lawyer, will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about our specialist legal service for pharmacists and pharmacy business owners. To arrange a meeting with either Richard or David, please get in touch using the details below. Alternatively, we would be delighted if you visited us at our stand anytime.

You can find out more about the event by clicking here.


Defective Work and Buying a Dental Practice – How Your Solicitor Can Reduce the Risks
Wednesday 13th September 2017

The process of buying a dental practice can be stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be. Ensuring that you have the right legal team on board can change that stress into a feeling of being well informed, and empowered. Our dental team prides itself on timely communication of appropriate, easy to understand information. Our clients in turn have a firm understanding of both the different stages of the transaction, and perhaps more importantly a real knowledge of the business that they are acquiring.

This can be particularly important when it comes to acquiring a practice but discovering that there has been defective treatment carried out by your predecessor, which may have been an ongoing issue for some years.

A specialist dental lawyer knows the questions that need to be asked when a practice is being purchased. The information provided during this process should uncover any potential regulatory or management issues at the practice. However, when it comes to the standards of care received by the patients this can be harder to unearth until after the practice has changed hands. Despite this difficulty, it doesn’t mean that there is a lot that can be done to minimise the risks.

Denplan Care patients (or patients on similar capitation schemes) can be the biggest problem when it comes to defective treatment. These schemes work on the basis that the dentist receives a set monthly amount in return for maintaining patients at a certain standard of dental health. Problems can arise where patients have either been incorrectly banded under the scheme, or the standard of dental health promised has not been achieved or maintained by the outgoing dentist. The biggest worry is that you will spend many hours after acquiring the practice remedying issues with patients only to receive the standard monthly amount. 

Denplan recommends that, when Denplan Care patients are transferred, a sum is kept aside equating to 10% of annual Denplan turnover. The idea behind this is that the retained sum can be claimed by a buyer if any additional work is required. A purchase contract can make provision for this retention and then clearly set out the circumstances in which a claim on those funds can be made.

For purely private patients, arrangements can be made either for the seller to carry out appropriate repair work, or for you to step in and remedy the defective treatment and for the seller to reimburse you for the cost of the work. 

Where defective work has been carried out by a previous practice owner on the NHS, then remedial work will be carried out under the NHS guarantee scheme and, for the most part, any repair work would be eligible for you to claim UDAs.

You should therefore not be out of pocket if you are required to carry out remedial work.

Even if funds are set aside for potential claims, it is important to remember that there may be some limitations on the amount you can claim. Sale agreements often include minimum values before a claim can be made in order to avoid disputes over small sums. Contracts often also have a maximum limit of either the full purchase price of the practice or the price paid for goodwill and equipment at the practice. Sale contracts will also set out the timescales for making claims under any defective work warranty. It is important that you are aware of these, as a claim will not be allowed if it is brought too late. 

If claims are made against a seller for defective work, a sale agreement may also set out a process for either: i) the seller to carry out remedial treatment themselves; ii) the seller to examine the patients to ascertain whether the work is really required; or iii) the seller to have an independent third party examine the patients to verify the claim. The seller and the buyer would negotiate on these points and agree to any suitable options in the circumstances.

Although a solicitor can do a lot to protect a buyer financially, there are some risks that are more difficult to safeguard against. The poor dental health of your patient base may mean that during the first year of practice ownership you spend all of your time remedying problems left by your predecessor, rather than concentrating on new business and growth. You should consider whether you will have enough staff should extensive remedial work become necessary. Where the practice is staffed by associates, are they the right people to help you fix the problems of the past, given that they may have been aware of, or worse, part of the problem in a failure to maintain clinical standards? Patients may also simply dislike the practice, or it could have a poor reputation in the community which can take years to bounce back from.

An experienced dental lawyer can do a lot to protect you financially from the risks associated with purchasing a practice and discovering a catalogue of defective treatment. However, owning and running a business is an inherently complicated and risky world. The practical implications of taking over a patient base which has been poorly treated shouldn’t be downplayed. Proper and careful consideration of any business you are looking to acquire, with the help of expert advice, will always put you in the best possible position to deal with any challenges you uncover as a new business owner.


Considering the least risk of injustice in automatic suspensions in public procurement cases
Wednesday 13th September 2017

The recent case of Sysmex (UK) Limited (“Sysmex”) v Imperial College Healthcare Trust NHS Trust (“Trust”) [2017] EWHC 1824 (TCC) has again shown  the Courts applying and developing the American Cyanamid rules in order to determine whether or not an automatic suspension should be lifted.  The case arose as a result of a procurement by the Trust for a contract for pathology services.  Abbott Laboratories Limited (“Abbott”) won the tender.  Sysmex (who came second in the process) challenged the result of the procurement, triggering the automatic suspension on the Trust’s ability to enter into the contract.

The Trust applied to lift the suspension. Sysmex argued that the suspension should remain because damages would not be an adequate remedy for them, due to the size and prestige of the contract and the related reputational damage being unquantifiable in monetary terms.

In considering the application, the Court considered the usual principles as set out in American Cyanamid.  The Court considered that it only had to be satisfied that there was a serious issue to be tried, and that no trial of the issues would be necessary; Mr Justice Coulson iterated that other than in exceptional circumstances where one party had a “knock-out point”, such action is inappropriate as a matter of principle.  The Court also added that, if damages were an adequate remedy then this would normally (but not in all instances) be sufficient to lift the suspension.  In addition, the Court added that, when considering the practical application of these principles, considerable assistance can be taken from the judgment in Nottingham Building Society v Eurodynamics Systems, particularly that ‘the overriding consideration is which course is likely to involve the least risk of injustice if it turns out to be “wrong”’.

The Court deemed Sysmex’s arguments in relation to the prestige of the contract and their reputational damage as speculative and lacking supporting evidence, and that damages would be an adequate remedy and that it would be just to confine them to that remedy.

Regarding the Trust however, the Court determined that damages would not be adequate. Whilst the Trust may be able to quantify its loss of profits during the period of the injunction, the Court determined that, due to the nature of the contract, in considering the balance of convenience, it was apparent that damages would not be a suitable remedy.

The Court determined that there was overwhelming evidence to lift the suspension on the contract.  Due to the nature of the services, the Court found that “where there is credible evidence that patient care will suffer if the suspension is not lifted, it will usually be the case that the least risk of injustice will favour the lifting of the suspension”.  The Court balanced this point against those raised by Sysmex’s arguments that the procurement had been significantly delayed and that it is in the public interest to ensure that a procurement is ran correctly.  However, it deemed that the delays in the process were understandable given the size and complexity of the contract awarded and that, whilst the public interest is important in relation to the procurement process, patient care was of more importance in this case.

Unusually, another point raised by Sysmex, was that the suspension could be lifted in relation to certain parts of the contract.  While the Court deemed that this would not be workable in this instance, it did allude to the fact that this route could be explored in future disputes.

The key issue for the Court in this matter, despite the claims from Abbott, was the importance of the American Cyanamid principles and the willingness of the Court to apply them practically to avoid an injustice, particularly in cases such as this which revolved around patient care.

For further information, please visit our procurement page or contact a member of our procurement team.


Brexit: Calls to Simplify Public Procurement Law to Promote Local Growth
Friday 25th August 2017

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents English and Welsh councils, has called upon the UK Government to simplify the public procurement rules for local authorities after the UK has left the European Union in order to promote local economic growth.

Procurement Regulations
Currently, councils are required to comply with EU-wide public procurement legislation, which stipulates strict advertising and award requirements whenever they purchase goods, works and services and also restricts changes to live contracts. The LGA says these rules have caused difficulties such as:

1. The EU-wide approach can conflict with a council’s desire to support its local economy;
2. Procurements that are subject to the OJEU regime can take between 3 and 18 months, typically twice as long as those undertaken in the private sector; and
3. Despite these safeguards against localism and member state protectionism, very few contracts are actually awarded to companies based in other member states: only 20% of English councils even received an expression of interest from companies in other EU countries, and across Europe only 1.6% of public contracts are eventually awarded to companies in other EU states.

A New British System?
The LGA, which remained neutral during the referendum campaign, has called for a simpler procurement process and adoption of a “lighter touch” approach after Brexit.
Such simplified system could then allow councils the flexibility to use procurement to boost their local economies, e.g. by:
1. Granting councils greater freedom to use local suppliers;
2. Allowing councils to impose additional social requirements on companies which are awarded contracts, such as specifying a local minimum wage or employing or training a number of local people; and
3. Permitting councils to procure using shorter timescales thus lowering administration (and associated costs) to councils and businesses. This may assist small and medium sized local firms to bid for contracts in the first instance.
Though councils would no longer be required to advertise contracts on an EU-wide basis, the LGA argues that local councils should retain the ability to do so, if they so wish.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chair of the LGA’s Brexit Group, explained that though any new regulations for public procurement must continue to “demonstrate best value for money and ensure effective and fair competition”, introducing “more local flexibility” post-Brexit could provide “more community benefits and growth opportunities for SMEs”.
Set against this are the expectations of the private sector for a framework for fairness and transparency in public procurement, and remedies where this is not the case. In an international context, trading with the EU or on World Trade Organisation terms would most likely require a system not too dissimilar to the current legal framework.

Changing Post-Brexit Landscape
The adoption of new procurement rules is just one of a number of regulatory changes that could occur after Brexit, albeit, as we have considered previously there is limited room for UK Government to manoeuvre. We consider Brexit is an opportunity to provide a more flexible public procurement regime, not only in terms of the LGA’s request but also in other areas, such as ease of seeking recourse for flawed procurements. It is important that clients keep abreast of any changes in public procurement law and seek appropriate legal advice, whether they are a contracting authority running a procurement procedure, or a private sector supplier bidding for a public contract.

For further information please visit our procurement page or contact Michael Winder.


Selling a Dental Practice - Preparing Your Legal Due Diligence
Monday 21st August 2017

When it comes to selling dental practices, one of the key requirements of our clients is to ensure that the practice sale completes expeditiously. Delays are often not in the best interests of either buyer or seller.
The dental team at Brabners constantly look for ways to speed up the process. A well prepared seller and buyer, who understand the process, always goes a long way in ensuring that the practice changes hands sooner, rather than later. Our website contains a guide to buying and selling a dental practice, which can be downloaded free of charge and should be of interest to any dentist looking to buy or sell a dental practice. As specialist dental lawyers, we also provide specific guidance to sellers on the documentation that is likely to be requested during the sale process, much of which can be collated even before a sale is agreed. 

If you are considering selling a dental practice, it is likely that the buyer’s solicitors will request sight of the following documentation. It may be useful to ensure that these documents are in one easily accessible location:

Documents showing the practice complies with appropriate laws

  • Pressure vessel inspection certificates
  • Pressure vessel insurance
  • X-ray testing certificates
  • Evidence of compliance with HTM01-05
  • PAT testing certificates for electrical equipment
  • CQC registration certificate and copies of any CQC assessment/inspection reports
  • Fire risk assessment
  • Asbestos risk assessment
  • Legionella risk assessment/report
  • Evidence of maintenance of fire extinguishers
  • Evidence of maintenance of emergency drugs
  • Evidence of compliance with tax laws
  • Data protection registration
  • A PRS licence if you play music or listen to the radio
  • A TV licence if you use a TV on the premises

NHS documents

  • Paperwork relating to the GDS contract (for example, copies of breach notices)
  • Copies of reports following any NHS practice inspections

Employee documents

  • PAYE and National Insurance records
  • Copy statements of terms and conditions for all staff
  • Copies of any staff handbooks or manuals
  • Health and Safety policy statements and a copy of your accident book
  • Work permits for any non EU staff
  • ID for all staff
  • DBS checks for appropriate staff
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance for qualified clinical staff
  • GDC registration for qualified staff
  • Evidence of employer’s liability insurance dating back 6 years

Although this list is lengthy, it is not exhaustive. The actual enquiries that may be raised will depend on the solicitor that represents the buyer, and the buyer’s own specific requirements.
If you are considering selling a dental practice early discussions, before even placing the practice on the market, with a specialist lawyer can ensure that the process runs smoothly. Our expert team can help in preparing your practice for sale.



Statement of Intent on the Data Protection Bill
Wednesday 9th August 2017

The latest on the Data Protection Bill as the Statement of Intent is published 

The Government yesterday released its statement of intent in relation to the forthcoming Data Protection Bill. In his foreword to the statement Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said that “We already have the largest internet economy in the G20. This Bill will help maintain that position by giving consumers confidence that Britain’s data rules are fit for the digital age in which we live”. The Bill needs to be implemented by 25 May 2018 in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) as discussed in our previous blog.

Under the Government’s plans individuals will be able to exert more control over their data by having “the right to be forgotten”. They can also ask social media companies to delete their personal data. How this will work in practice and what steps social media providers will take to comply with the Bill remains to be seen. The Bill aims to make it easier for individuals to withdraw their consent for use of personal data. It also provides for parents and guardians to give consent for their children’s (under 13) data to be used.

Organisations are now required to obtain explicit consent before sensitive personal data may be processed. The definition personal data will also be amended to contain IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA. The Bill retains close links with EU’s GDPR which applies to anyone handling European’s data anywhere in the world. This will allow UK and European businesses to exchange data easily despite Brexit.

The Bill will see the Information Commissioners Office gain more teeth, being furnished with powers to impose greater fines with a maximum of £17m or 4% of global turnover. The statement proposes a new criminal offence of intentionally or recklessly re-identifying individuals from anonymised data. A further office of amending records with the intention of withholding documents from data subject access request will also be added.

For more information or advice on data protection, the GDPR or how to best prepare for the new Data Protection Bill please contact a member of our Commercial Team.


A Dental Lawyer’s Thoughts on the Need for an Expense Sharing Agreement or Partnership Agreement
Tuesday 1st August 2017

All too often when I am speaking to dentists I hear the words “We don’t need a formal expense sharing agreement because…”. This is of course followed by a myriad of reasons; they have worked together for many years and never encountered any disagreements, they are working with a spouse or family member, their practice isn’t very large, they can’t afford one, they don’t like dealing with lawyers. As a lawyer specialising in the dental sector it may seem obvious that I will tell those dentists that they would be best protected in getting one, but it seems prudent to explain why.

To those dentists who have been working together for many years without any formal agreement and have not encountered any problems. Firstly congratulations, on successfully maintaining your relationship and ensuring that the business is profitable. You are the exception rather than the rule if you have never encountered a dispute or underlying resentment for the business decisions of your partners or expense sharers. However, the very fact that you have worked together for many years may now be the very reason you need to start formalising your relationship. If you are considering retirement how will this affect your relationship? Will you both wish to retire and sell the business at the same time? What if one of you wishes to buy the other out, how will the price be ascertained? What if your retirement is blocked by a co-owner who doesn’t wish to work with an incoming partner?

To those dentists who are working with a spouse or family member; I firmly believe it is you that will benefit more than any other in formally documenting your business relationship. Disputes with colleagues can be fraught; disputes with colleagues with whom you also have a close personal relationship can tear families apart. A formal document detailing the nature of your business and working relationship will make it clear from the beginning where each of you stand, it can ensure that each of you pulls their weight and avoid the need for arguments in the future.

To the dentist who believes their business is not sufficiently large to justify a formally documented expense sharing or partnership agreement; most dental businesses are a significant asset to their owners. Whether you spend one day a week within the business or whether you work in that business full time it is likely that the business is a significant part of your life. It makes sense to ensure that small businesses can run smoothly, and if problems within a management of a business arise for these to be settled quickly and efficiently by reference to a pre-planned procedure as documented in a partnership agreement.

To the dentist who feels that they can’t afford to put a formal document in place; give us a call it might be less expensive than you think. It is also worth bearing in mind the potentially massive costs you could encounter should a dispute arise, or whether your partner starts to incur liabilities on your behalf for which you are held responsible.

To the dentist who doesn’t like lawyers; we aren’t monsters. The healthcare team at Brabners pride ourselves in being approachable, with a genuine understanding of the needs of our dental and other healthcare clients. We don’t try to baffle you with language and our pricing represents true value in terms of the benefits to yourself and your business.