Category Archives: Legal

Volkswagen Faces Piling Charges Over Year-Old Emissions Scandal

Motorists across the United Kingdom piled class action lawsuits against Volkswagen due to its emissions test manipulation. About 35,000 motorists in England and Wales have filed their cases against the car manufacturing giant.

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Harcus Sinclair partner Damon Parker said a small number of individuals concerned with their Volkswagen cars emitting more pollution as indicated in the news were falsely advertised to them. The number had began to increase as many said they would never purchase the vehicles upon understanding the harm it introduces in the environment.

Recently, the German car giant had pled guilty to all US charges against the environment. An estimated 600,000 vehicles were installed the emissions test-defeating software, which earned VW charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the testing scheme.

VW was fined $4.3bn by US courts for civil and criminal penalties. Meanwhile, the UK has yet to penalise or punish the carmaker for its crimes in the United Kingdom. According to UK lawyers handling VW owners’ cases against the carmaker, their clients would ask for compensation from the car company as they paid more for the cars thought to have new engines that had less emission — a major selling point for most car buyers.

Paul McCartney And Sony Locked In A Legal Battle Over Beatles Catalogue

It is not always about the music as evidenced by Legendary Beatles Member Paul McCartney. Outbidded by Michael Jackson who had passed away, Paul is fighting against Sony who received the entire catalogue of songs Paul wrote with John Lennon after Michael had to pay off £610m in debt from his estate.

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The songs in the list included “Yesterday”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be.” McCartney is pushing Sony to enable his establishment of “copyright termination” against the publishing company. The lawsuit is filed in New York and uses the US 1976 Copyright Act to regain control of their masterpieces.

However, if Michael Jackson sold Sony the rights to The Beatles’ catalogue in the UK, it may mean that Sony can control the copyright until 70 years after the artist’s death — well-beyond the point McCartney wanted to achieve. McCartney’s legal statement includes not challenging the exercise of his termination rights until the resolution of the Duran Duran case.

The latter involving the duo of musicians had lost their case in the British High Court as their UK contracts are held in higher fervor over their rights in the US as artists. The signing of their contract happened in the United Kingdom, which further invalidates their right to claim copyright.

UK Legal Industry Calls On Unified UK Action To Ensure Sector Security Upon Brexit

Fearing losing access to the EU’s single market that could guarantee huge losses in the UK’s legal services sector, the industry has called for unilateral action to protect the pre-eminent global role of its dispute-resolving courts and legal services before the Brexit. Britain is known for Europe’s dispute resolution central between commercial contracts second to the United States as it English law is commonly used in most commercial contracts.

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As the UK votes an exit from the European Union, the choice of English courts can be less attractive to European businesses. Legal firms in the UK wish that the choice of English law is a package as “the same law and jurisdiction is chosen.” According to the report of TheCityUK, the government should apply the Rome I and Rome II rules including choice of law for non-contractual obligations simply by turning them into domestic law.

The Rome I and Rome II are EU rules that require EU member state courts to respect a party’s choice of law for their contracts. The negotiations of the Brexit may single out the choice for English law and the choice for English courts by separating them — much to the disadvantage of UK legal firms.

Aside from the UK, the United States and Singapore are also famous places for dispute resolution for new commercial contracts. The failure to secure the UK’s legal sector interests in the EU after the Brexit could overshadow Britan’s legal services — namely with the trade surplus from financial services-related functions.

‘Snooper’s Charter’ Backed By House of Lords

The ‘Snooper’s Charter’ – also known as the Investigatory Powers Bill – is set to become UK law before the end of 2016. The approval of the bill would mean approved mass surveillance permitting the hacking of devices, networks and services for anyone in the United Kingdom.

Once approved, the bill allows authorities to access and maintain large databases of personal information collected from intercepted calls, emails and chat logs. Phone and Internet companies will be allowed to store consumer records for 12 months. Authorities will also have free reign to access these information with an instant request.

Security and encryption companies would have to build decryption keys on off-limit information, putting an end to the infinite use of end-to-end encryption typically used in messengers such as Apple’s Messages App.

During her years as Home Secretary, Prime Minister Theresa May had strongly vouched for the bill to ensure maximum security for the United Kingdom against possible terrorist attacks.

The legalisation of the bill guarantees immediate interception of possible terrorist activities in the country through tapping intelligence inaccessible currently without the new laws.

According to Scottish National Party’s Joanna Cherry, Britain is closing down democracy faster than any other Western country.

Ms Cherry adds that the IPB is quite honest with its allowances and permissions.

Organisations including Big Brother Watch and Privacy International had condemned the legislation of the bill as it would breach the fundamental human right to privacy.

The Effects Of Brexit on US Businesses

The Brexit was not as bad as analysts thought. But indeed, trouble still looms and the UK and EU still have lots to discuss about EU and UK employers in each other’s soil.

For US businesses in the United Kingdom, the employment laws may differ immensely after Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union finalise the exit of the United Kingdom from Europe.

This would mean a plethora of changes from the United Kingdom itself. While the specifics may still be far, the UK would enter a flexible and less regulated regime. EU regulations that once applied to US business employees could change.

These include:

  • limits on working time and weekly maximum limits on working hours;
  • certain complex and technical aspects of statutory holiday rights (including the European requirement that workers on sick leave and maternity leave continue to accrue holiday) and in relation to on-call time and compensatory rest time;
  • the Agency Workers Regulations;
  • certain aspects of the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations; and
  • certain provisions relating to collective consultation requirements, and obligations in respect of works councils and information and consultation bodies.

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UK Lawyers Are Moving To Ireland Due To Brexit

For many UK lawyers an understanding of both the British and European laws is imperative. With the Brexit, the need for European legal issues is in high demand, but not in Britain.

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A ‘magic circle’ of legal firms register their solicitors so that they may practise in European law by moving to Ireland. Some of these legal firms include some of the UK’s largest including Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, Slaughter and May, and Allen & Overy have voiced out that their applicants join solicitors in the Republic of Ireland.

Slaughter and May had first funded their Brussels-based competition partners to join in the Republic of Ireland. Meanwhile, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells encouraged some of their partners to follow suit.

Eversheds also plan to launch their own Eversheds Consulting in Ireland with a Dublin team led by litigation partner Pamela O’Neill.

So far this year, 219 English solicitors have been admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland — compared with 70 in 2015. The Law Society says the vast majority of lawyers have cited Brexit as their primary reason for seeking admission in Ireland.

Under the rules, solicitors who have qualified in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can undergo a two-step process that allows them to practise as solicitors in Ireland.

Merkel Warns The UK: You Can”t “Cherry Pick” Laws

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the United Kingdom is welcome to re-negotiate its relationship with the European Union. Merkel stressed the United Kingdom cannot “cherry pick” laws whichever it wished.

She said all 28 nations of the bloc agreed the British government would not receive acknowledgement for negotiations until Article 5, the formal process for leaving the European Union is triggered.

“The decision has been taken … and the next step is and Britain will do this only when they have a new prime minister to invoke Article 50,” she said.

“I expect that to happen. I deal with reality and I firmly expect that application will be made.”

She added: “We have spoken to Britain and made clear there will be no negotiations with Britain until they have made their application, and there will be no cherry picking.”

“We have spoken to Britain and made clear there will be no negotiations with Britain until they have made their application, and there will be no cherry picking.”

In the United Kingdom, about 1,000 lawyers have written to British Prime Minister David Cameron saying the EU referendum result must be criticised because it was influenced by misrepresentations of fact and promises that couldn”t be delivered.

The barristers also said the referendum”s decision was only “advisory” and not legally binding.