Catherine O’Riordan

Associate

Catherine trained and qualified with Shoosmiths, and joined Spratt Endicott Corporate & Commercial team on the formation of the firm in 2002. Catherine became an Associate in 2013. She is a Recommended Lawyer and Rising Star in the Legal 500 UK 2020.


What clients have said...

  • Spratt Endicott have provided me, as a first-time-client, with first-class service coupled with excellent time-management and responsiveness. I would and will recommend their services to friends, family and business associates alike.....

    Tim Mallard at Mallard Productions Towcester

Case Studies

Data Protection

We recently advised a substantial company on its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.  The company particularly needed guidance on the appropriate wording to be used on its credit account application documents and on the order forms enclosed with its hard copy catalogues.  

This involved a careful analysis of precisely which individuals the company might wish to credit-check and from whom prior consent would need to be obtained: these might include, for example, directors and guarantors (who could be directors’ spouses) of an applicant company, individual partners of a partnership and sole traders.  

We prepared a form of Data Protection Act consent to be signed by those individuals and amended the company’s existing credit application form to cross-refer to the consent.  We also made changes to the company’s order form to make it clear that anyone wishing to apply for a credit account would be required to sign a Data Protection Act consent.

The work had to be done within a tight timescale because the company was operating to a deadline.

Sale of Care Home

We were engaged on the sale of a successful care home. 

Our clients were confident that there would be a number of parties interested in purchasing the home but did not want to commence negotiating with all of them before deciding which one to proceed with.  The Selling Agents were instructed to prepare and circulate a sales memorandum and a share sale contract to selected interested parties, who were invited to make an offer on the basis of those documents. 

The share sale contract was drafted by us in advance in an even handed manner but on the commercial terms on which the client was going to sell.  This saved the clients a considerable amount of time and money as it avoided unnecessary professional time in negotiating the terms of the transaction. 

Parties interested in purchasing the home were invited to submit a price and payment terms they were prepared to offer, and a return copy of the draft share sale contract with their proposed changes.  

The successful bidder had made very few changes to the final share sale contract and only a single all party meeting was required, which was the final completion meeting.  Usually transactions of this nature would involve numerous meetings prior to the final completion meeting. 

The transaction was headed by Hitendra Patel (Corporate Partner) who was assisted by John Spratt (Commercial Partner), Carol Shaw (Employment Partner), Andrew Woods (Commercial Property Partner), Catherine O’Riordan (Commercial Assistant) and a Trainee Solicitor.

E-Commerce

We recently advised a substantial company on the legal requirements for the operation of an online shop.

Working closely with the client’s sales and marketing personnel, we put together website terms of sale, terms of use of the website, and a privacy policy. This involved careful analysis of the client’s obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations, the E-Commerce Regulations, and data protection and privacy law.

Although it was clearly important that the online shop be fully legally compliant, it was also critical for it to be user-friendly, easy to navigate, and free of the clutter of pages of small print. We worked closely with the client to ensure the website made best use of hyperlinks and tabs.

Financial Promotion

We have advised on the contents of a shareholders’ agreement to be circulated to potential investors in a private limited company.  We were required to consider very carefully whether the circulation of the document would constitute a financial promotion for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and, if so, whether there were any exemptions the client company might be able to take advantage of.  If there were no exemptions then the document would have to be approved by an authorised person at considerable extra expense.  

Our detailed research indicated that the potential investors were all either high net worth individuals or sophisticated investors, as defined by the legislation, and that the company could therefore rely on the exemptions for promotions to those two groups of recipients.  We prepared the required high net worth and sophisticated investor certificates and the Board minutes and other ancillary papers documenting the completion of the shareholders’ agreement.  It was important that the company could satisfy itself that the relevant certificates had been signed and returned before it proceeded to issue shares, so the order of proceedings on the day of completion had to be expertly managed.

There were subsequently several further rounds of investment in the company and we were able to draw on much of the material we used in the first round to ensure that these proceeded just as smoothly.  

Company Secretarial Work

Our Corporate team regularly deals with company secretarial work for a number of organisations, both voluntary and profit-making.  This can vary from routine updating of statutory registers and submission of annual returns to rather more substantial projects, for example the transfer of the assets of an unincorporated charity or members’ club to a newly formed company limited by guarantee or the wholesale updating of a company’s constitution.  

Timing is always key: deadlines may be dictated by a client’s internal requirements or by external bodies such as Companies House, but with access to the firm’s comprehensive suite of standard documents and electronic filing resources, those constraints can be managed easily and cost-effectively.  

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