The case of General Motors UK Ltd v The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd concerned a licence agreement which allowed General Motors to discharge surface water into the canal for a modest annual fee of £50.
Professional in the Hot Seat - Jonathan Rathbone
We caught up with Jonathan Rathbone, Hughes Paddison’s new Director tasked with growing the Company and Commercial Department. Jon joins Hughes Paddison from international law firm, DAC Beachcroft, bringing with him more than 14 years’ experience.
Why the move to Cheltenham?
We have been living in the countryside for the last 10 years and wanted to move back into a town as our kids will soon be teenagers. Cheltenham seems to have it all - great schools, nice bars and restaurants and a friendly but active business community. It certainly beats Bristol, where I started my career.
In a nutshell, what type of work do you specialise in?
I help people buy and sell businesses and anything to do with owning or investing in companies. I also advise people on all commercial agreements, whether that be their general terms and conditions or bespoke agreements for buying or selling complex technology or equipment or outsourced services.
Rumour has it that you are a bit of an entrepreneur. Any substance to these rumours?
I designed an innovative child’s potty back in 2009 and we now sell children’s products to the likes of John Lewis, Boots and Amazon. The potty is one of the bestselling potties in the UK and we also sell our products in Germany, China, Japan and the USA. My wife runs the business full time, but I stay involved with some of the key relationships and strategic decisions.
If you were given an opportunity to have a pub lock-in with any stars, fictional characters, villains, celebrities, or losers of your choosing – alive or dead- who would you pick?
That’s a tricky one. I have to admit that I am a big fan of David Mitchell and Lee Mack for comedy and I hear Lee Mack is quite good with the darts. If I am allowed another, some music from Adele would round things off nicely.
Having just nailed your dream job at Hughes Paddison, it might be difficult to consider other dreams but what would your dream job entail if it were not to involve the law or other business activities?
I love trying out new activities or experiences with friends or family, especially if there is an element of adrenaline involved. My dream would be to run a hotel in the mountains with a lake, where we would offer lots of ridiculous sports and activities during the day and fine wine and food in the evening. I am not sure it would be particularly good for my longevity though.
Brexit – nightmare or opportunity?
I like to find opportunity where I can, but I think in the short term it is going to be a bit of a nightmare. In the long term, I think as a nation we are hard working and innovative and so that should see us coming through this in good shape. Personally, Brexit has been a bit of a nightmare for the potty business largely due to the depreciation of GBP against USD as we buy in USD from China. As a result, we have now moved half of the manufacturing from China to Droitwich, which must be a good thing. However, it’s going to make more than a few potties in Droitwich to counter the troubles ahead for the financial services sector in the City.
This article features in the Hughes Paddison Property Disputes Update. View the newsletter here