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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have a 6-months fixed term contract with a Maltese company,

Customer Question

Hi. I have a 6-months fixed term contract with a Maltese company, where the contract is billed to my Hong Kong address. The contract states that it is governed by English Law. During my contract I was primarily based in UK though. I now have a dispute regarding unlawful deduction of my pay. Which country has jurisdiction over this contract and where do I take them to court? ACAS says since it does not involve a UK entity I am not covered by the employment law here.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What deductions exactly were made and why and also what is the amount in dispute?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

See attached agreement here In section 2(c) it states that "The Consultant (me) will be available not only during normal working hours, but to a certain extend also after working hours and during weekends."

However, the person I was working with within the company (Vertical Capital), Jacob Agam, clearly abused the ambiguity of the clause and makes me work all the time during non normal working hours during weekdays as well as most weekends. In my opinion they were already in breach of their contract. I can ask my phone company to provide a list of all incoming and outgoing calls, as well as all email communications with time stamps.

One Tuesday night, I did not answer his calls from 7pm to 8pm, before coming back online and send him documents requested at 9:30pm. He gets upset and decided to terminate the contract.

There is a one-month notice clause. In my opinion this means that the need to pay me one months' notice PILON. See attached their response here

Uwe, the admin guy who signed the contract, also called me on the phone and said in a sarcastic way that they wrote the contract to be governed by English Law and as a Maltese company billing to my Hong Kong address, there is no protection and no legal recourse.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience whilst I looked into your query. It is incorrect to say that just because this is a foreign company Uk laws and jurisdiction would not apply to it. They can still be subject to these and there are a couple of ways that this could happen under.
First of all you have a formal contract in place which specifically states that your relationship is governed under English laws. Secondly you were primarily employed in the UK and there is likely to be sufficient connection between your employment and the UK for local laws to apply and for UK tribunals or courts to have jurisdiction over hearing a claim relating to your contractual relationship with them.
However, the issue is not whether local laws would apply or not but how would you pursue them if they refuse to take part in any claim or you win and they refuse to pay. Even if you are successful in court that does not guarantee you payment. The court will order them to pay you but it still relies on the company agreeing to do that. If they refuse it is then for you to try and pursue them using various enforcement methods. This is where certain issues would arise because you would have a UK judgment which you are trying to enforce abroad. You are likely to have to register to transfer that abroad then will have to use the local enforcement methods that may be available to you. I cannot comment on what these are as they would be under Maltese laws. So you would need to engage lawyers here or over there to transfer the judgment first then most likely approach Maltese lawyers to try and see what enforcement options are to pursue the judgment over there. All of this will not be cheap and will take time. So it is not that UK laws will not apply to them in the first place but there is quite a risk that you may struggle to enforce whatever decision you get in your favour if they refuse to cooperate. So consider all of this before deciding on whether to initiate a claim against them.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi. I'm surprised that you have chosen to avoid ALL the questions / issues I had despite the long response.

I know there is a claim since the contract clearly states one month's notice with no provision on "breach of contract" resulting in termination without notice. My question remains:

1. Is this covered by employment law? or a business contract? What type of laws should I be referring to in this instance?

2. And my question on how I can enforce it. I did some research and it says:

  • Judgments from any country can be enforced in local courts provided the established procedure is followed.

  • For EU states, the Brussels I Regulation is applied.

  • For the UK, specific statutory provisions apply.

Please answer #1 and let me know what statutory provisions would apply here. Also, if I were to take them to court, which court in UK do I do that?



Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
1. This is covered both by employment law and contract law, so you are able to make the claim either in the employment tribunal or the county court. But generally it is a breach of contract claim so it is not a specific law, breach of contract is based on common law, not statute. So your best bet is to submit this in the county court. 2. This will explain your options in some more detail - I know it refers to 'nationals' but it would also apply to foreign companies: Hope that clarifies things a bit more for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

#1 - how do I do that? Must I be represented by a lawyer?

#2 - This is almost an academic paper length that non legal professional surely won't understand. I need premise answers on how the county court would be able to enforce it and if the Malta company chooses not to pay what are the options which the court would do e.g. block them from doing businesses in UK?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
1 you do not need a lawyer to make a claim and can do that yourself. However due to the complex nature of the claim in trying to enforce it against a foreign company it is best to engage a lawyer to deal with the more technical aspects of the claim
2 there is no easy way to make this more comprehensible for a non-lawyer. This is complex technical law and it is not really something which can be broken down in non-legal speak as such you would need to engage a lawyer (civil litigation one) to deal with this cross-jurisdictional enforcement
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.