Latest updates

Onus on party seeking to limit liability to provide all information at early stage
AKD NV
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Netherlands
  • 12 December 2018

A recent decision by the Rotterdam Court regarding a major oil spill in the port of Rotterdam emphasises the importance of assessing at an early stage which liability regime applies when a party seeks to limit its exposure to claims in the event of an oil spill at sea. The court held that in procedures concerning limitation of liability, it is the responsibility of the party seeking to rely on limitation to provide all of the information available at an early stage.

Seven top tips for employers at Christmas
Mason Hayes & Curran
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Ireland
  • 12 December 2018

With preparations in full swing for the festive season, this article reviews typical workplace issues which are commonly faced by employers at Christmas. In addition to health and safety considerations, employers are advised to draw up rosters in early December to confirm with employees the days that they will be required to work over the holiday period. This should be done to avoid confusion or upset among staff and to comply with the Organisation of Working Time Act.

Federal Court finds that Air Canada violated Official Languages Act
Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP
  • Aviation
  • Canada
  • 12 December 2018

In a recent case that dealt with Air Canada's duty to serve passengers in both of Canada's official languages (English and French), the Federal Court held that the airline had violated a passenger's right to be served in French. The court found that Air Canada had failed to serve a passenger in French during an incident where the passenger had been involuntarily removed from a Canada-bound flight from Fort Lauderdale and when the airline later sent him a copy of its tariff in English in response to the incident.

Guidance on contractual sanctions clauses in commercial maritime agreements
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 December 2018

The High Court recently considered the wording "exposure to sanctions" and ruled that the underwriters of a marine insurance policy could not rely on that wording to avoid a claim on the basis of a "risk of exposure" to the US-Iran sanctions. Rather, for underwriters to do so, there would need to be an actual prohibition on paying the claim in question. This latest judgment deals with a number of key points for drafting effective sanctions exclusion clauses in commercial maritime agreements.

Minimum social wage rates set to increase
Castegnaro
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Luxembourg
  • 12 December 2018

Bill 7381 modifying Article L 222-9 of the Labour Code was recently submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. The bill aims to amend the minimum social wage rates to reflect the average salaries of 2016 and 2017. If the bill is passed, the minimum social wage would increase by 1.1% as of 1 January 2019. The Governing Council has also decided to increase the social inclusion income and the income for those with severe disabilities by the same amount.

Strikes and right to strike
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Austria
  • 12 December 2018

It is widely understood that the Austrian concept of 'social partnership' (ie, the system for cooperation between the two sides of industry) has largely contributed to peaceful industrial relations. The social partnership recently agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement for the metal industry. However, negotiations in several other trades and industries have followed, and in a less constructive atmosphere, further strikes may be forthcoming.

CMR versus Civil Code: five or nine percentage points above basic lending rate?
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 12 December 2018

The Verden Regional Court recently sentenced a forwarder to pay full compensation plus interest calculated at nine percentage points above the basic lending rate under the Civil Code. Upholding the forwarder's appeal, the Celle Higher Regional Court held that the interest rate should be reduced to five percentage points above the basic lending rate, which is more in line with interest claims under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road.

OSHA issues guidance memorandum on employer safety incentive programmes and post-incident drug testing
Mayer Brown LLP
  • Employment & Benefits
  • USA
  • 12 December 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a guidance memorandum clarifying its position on workplace safety incentive programmes and post-incident drug testing. Employers should review this memorandum, including the specific examples of lawful policies and programmes, in evaluating whether their policies and programmes are likely to have a negative impact on employees reporting workplace injuries or illnesses.

Adequate causal link between delay and further disruptions required in code-share damages claim
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 12 December 2018

The Hamburg Local Court recently dismissed a passenger's claim for damages based on denied boarding after the delay of a previous flight which had been operated by a code-share partner. The court was of the opinion that a code-share partner is not liable for every further disruption along the course of transportation. Rather, the right to claim damages requires an adequate causal link between the delay and the further disruption.

A step forward in Alitalia sale process
Studio Pierallini
  • Aviation
  • Italy
  • 12 December 2018

Alitalia is a leading Italian airline that has faced financial difficulties and related restructuring projects. Following the government's extension of the deadline for completion of the sale of Alitalia, three prospective investors have presented more structured offers. This run of offers represents a step forward in the sale of Alitalia's business, even if negotiations must still be carried out over the next few months.

Exculpatory clauses in towage contracts: limiting exposure in light of Bisso doctrine
Fowler Rodriguez
  • Shipping & Transport
  • USA
  • 12 December 2018

In Bisso v Inland Waterways Corp the Supreme Court held that clauses in towage contracts that release the tug owner from all liability from its own negligence are invalid as they contravene public policy. Since then, the courts have struggled with the extent to which Bisso precludes exculpatory clauses in towage contracts. However, Bisso has been widely criticised and the courts have circumvented it by creating various exceptions.

Employer NICs on termination payments delayed again
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 December 2018

The government's plan to make termination payments in excess of £30,000 subject to employer national insurance contributions has been delayed for a second time and will now take effect from April 2020. Initially this change was expected to be introduced from April 2018; however, the Autumn 2017 Budget announced that it would take effect from April 2019. The further delay is welcome news for employers as it will help to keep the costs of settlement payments down for another 12 months.

Ryanair aircraft arrested in France
Odi-se Avocats
  • Aviation
  • France
  • 12 December 2018

While developing its French network, Ryanair received support from various regional airports, including the Mixed Syndicate of Charente Airports (SMAC). The European Commission ultimately found this financial support to be illegal and, as a result, Ryanair had to repay the illicit subsidy to the SMAC. When Ryanair failed to make the payment in full, the SMAC requested the Bordeaux court to order the arrest of a Ryanair aircraft on its arrival at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport.

Medical investigations: can regulation keep up with technology?
Sanchez-DeVanny Eseverri SC
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Mexico
  • 12 December 2018

It is well known that the law often struggles to keep up with new products and activities. In many cases, the legal provisions which apply to regulated activities lose their applicability due to the speed with which technology enables parties to operate outside the scope of the law or the jurisdiction of the relevant authorities. This is particularly true for physical research involving humans, as advancements in communication and the transfer of data have significantly broadened the scope of such research.

Breaking up is hard to do: court awards more than C$112,000 to employee terminated for breach of trust
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 12 December 2018

A recent British Columbia Supreme Court's decision is a cautionary tale for employers that terminate employment first and ask questions later. It is a reminder that failure to conduct a proper investigation into employee misconduct can undermine an employer's case for termination for cause. When considering the appropriate level of discipline, employers should consider all mitigating and aggravating factors before deciding on the appropriate discipline.

Private M&A deals: recent case law strengthens shareholders' agreements
AyacheSalama
  • Corporate Finance/M&A
  • France
  • 12 December 2018

In the context of the acquisition of group companies, the parties will carefully select what to insert in the bylaws of the company, whereas in separate private agreements, which are confidential, the parties may include further, more detailed information. If the advantage of such private agreements is their confidentiality, the drawback is their lack of enforceability against third parties. The Supreme Court recently held that a sale made in violation of a shareholders' agreement was void by application of the bylaws.

Employee termination payments: how long do you have to pay?
Lander & Rogers
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Australia
  • 12 December 2018

In its four-yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission has varied nearly all modern awards to require that employers make termination payments within seven calendar days of the effective date of termination. Employers should be aware of the requirements for termination payments, which now appear in the majority of modern awards, and amend their employee exit procedures accordingly.

Onus on party seeking to limit liability to provide all information at early stage
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • Netherlands
  • 11 December 2018

A recent decision by the Rotterdam Court regarding a major oil spill in the port of Rotterdam emphasises the importance of assessing at an early stage which liability regime applies when a party seeks to limit its exposure to claims in the event of an oil spill at sea. The court held that in procedures concerning limitation of liability, it is the responsibility of the party seeking to rely on limitation to provide all of the information available at an early stage.

Listing sovereign-controlled companies in the United Kingdom
  • Capital Markets
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 December 2018

The listing regime for the United Kingdom's Official List is divided into premium and standard listing segments. For admittance to the premium listing segment, an issuer must meet higher UK-specific standards that are intended to provide additional investor protection and promote shareholder confidence. The UK Financial Conduct Authority recently introduced a new category, but issuers have yet to avail themselves of the new regime.

British Columbia court looks past unregistered trading in ordering payment to investment finder
Dentons
  • Litigation
  • Canada
  • 11 December 2018

For many junior resource company executives, deciding whether to engage investment finders can be like considering whether to breathe air. Such companies tend to have early-stage projects that do not warrant debt financing and therefore need equity injections, but lack the profile needed to attract traditional investment dealers. However, working with finders entails navigating the 'exempt' market, which can be hazardous to the ill-informed.

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