The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed a brief in the Supreme Court arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The brief underscores the DOJ's sharp disagreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Until the Supreme Court provides more clarity on this issue, employers should consider reviewing their employment policies and hiring practices to ensure that they are treating transgender status as a protected category.
Voyaging in West African waters, particularly the Gulf of Guinea, is considered dangerous and raises the question of whether shipowners are entitled to put armed guards on board their vessels to protect them from attacks by arms-bearing third parties. Considering reported attacks of armed robbers at sea, kidnappings for ransom and other criminal occurrences in Nigerian waters, shipowners and operators have explored how to optimise the protection of both ships and cargo.
The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate recently published its report on its investigation into the quality and permissibility of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre's (Amsterdam UMC's) pharmaceutical compounding of its cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis drug, which contains the active substance chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA). According to the inspectorate, the small-scale preparation of CDCA on prescription by Amsterdam UMC is legally allowed based on an exception under European and Dutch law.
The Corporate Finance Department at the Israel Securities Authority recently issued its Staff Legal Bulletin on dual-listed companies. The bulletin is a summary of the most up-to-date information on the issuance, reporting, listing and delisting of dual-listed companies and is intended to clarify and reflect these processes for dual-listed companies and companies considering dual listing.
According to a recent budget speech, the government has abolished the private finance initiative (PFI) for future projects. Given its complexity, political sensitivity and knife-edge financial arrangements, it is hardly surprising that the PFI has proved to be so problematic and it is highly unlikely that anyone will be sorry to see it go. However, the question remains as to what will replace it.
A recent Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta decision provides clarity amidst the conflicting jurisprudential landscape regarding whether the assessment of damages for a termination without cause is appropriate for summary judgment. The court supported a master's finding that an assessment of damages for pay in lieu of reasonable notice for wrongful dismissal is inappropriate for summary judgment.
The Law regarding Procedures for Initiating Legal Proceedings for Monetary Claims deriving from Subscription Agreements, which introduces a mandatory mediation process for commercial disputes to the Commercial Code, was recently published in the Official Gazette. Mandatory mediation will apply to all lawsuits that fall within the scope of the new law; however, it will not apply to lawsuits pending before first-instance courts, regional courts of justice or supreme courts.
New provisions amending the Patent Act recently entered into force. The revised act includes two additional exemptions from patent protection that aim to safeguard the professional use of pharmaceuticals in favour of patients. Further, patent owners may now request to extend their patent protection for six months if they conduct clinical studies concerning the paediatric use of a pharmaceutical.
The Energy Regulatory Commission recently confirmed that certain business models used by retailers of refined products (eg, diesel and gasoline) are valid and stimulate competition in the market to the benefit of customers. As such, retailers can develop loyalty programmes based on bonuses, credits, subscriptions, memberships or exclusive offers, among other things, to be offered by various petrol stations. However, these programmes must be made available to all customers and cannot be discriminatory.
The Constitutional Court's recent judgment decriminalising the private use of cannabis has garnered significant attention in South Africa. As predicted, the judgment has encouraged a number of existing and potential companies to create a brand for their business in order to grow and distribute cannabis in South Africa. Unfortunately, most of these businesses must delay their plans for their brand's trademark application – although possibly not for long.
The reorganisation effort of distressed companies often requires new funding. This has led the Italian insolvency system to abandon punitive solutions in favour of incentives for companies in distress. An interesting aspect of this change is represented by the new rules adopted in recent years with regard to financing granted by shareholders of companies in crisis.
Two joint administrators recently applied to the Royal Court of Guernsey seeking an order that it issue the High Court of Justice of England and Wales with a letter of request to act in aid of and auxiliary to the Royal Court in recognising their appointment as administrators of a company. While the Royal Court has dealt with incoming letters of requests, in making the application, counsel was unaware of any case where the Royal Court's jurisdiction to issue a letter of request had previously been considered.
The South African Revenue Service recently published the fourth issue of Interpretation Note 64, which seeks to provide guidance on the application and interpretation of Section 10(1)(e) of the Income Tax Act. With the rising prevalence of complex developments, security estates, shopping centres, wellness compounds and high-rise flats in South Africa, body corporates, homeowners' associations and share block companies are commonplace and clear guidelines as to the taxation of these entities is imperative.
The Law for the Reduction of Cash Use, which came into force on 1 January 2019, imposes certain restrictions on the use of cash and cheques that do not name the payee. The law aims to reduce cash transactions in an effort to fight financial crime and money laundering and foster the use of more modern and efficient payment methods. Violation of the law may constitute a criminal offence, resulting in financial penalties and imprisonment.
In view of the challenges faced by the food and drink sector in 2018, businesses across the supply chain may want to make some New Year's resolutions to ensure that they are fighting fit and ready for the year ahead. This article posits a number of key issues for food and drink businesses to consider in this regard, including supply contracts, allergen labelling and food crime.
The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District recently held that individuals can be held personally liable for civil penalties under the California Labour Code. The decision serves as an important reminder for employers that compliance with wage and hour laws should be a primary concern. Under the decision, employees can hold individual owners personally liable for penalties associated with wage and hour violations, in addition to attorneys' fees and costs.
The Hong Kong Insurance Authority (HKIA) will take over the regulation of insurance intermediaries from the three self-regulatory organisations in mid-2019. Given that there are several sets of competence standards across these organisations, it is necessary to consolidate and update them in line with the statutory requirements to improve protection for policyholders. As such, the HKIA recently held a public consultation on two guidelines under the Insurance Ordinance (Cap 41).
A recent case examined the apportionment of liability for damages between multiple defendants where at least one of them is statutorily immune from liability. The court considered whether an employer can be held vicariously liable for damages caused by its employee's negligence when the injured party, the employee and the employer are subject to the Workers' Compensation Act.
Construction project schedules often generate disputes between project owners and contractors. These disputes commonly become the subject of claims that assign fault for delayed project completion to one party or another. When delays occur and float is available, each party may assume entitlement to the float on the project schedule and subsequent exemption from liability for damages relating to its delay; however, merely assuming float ownership can lead to unfavourable outcomes.
The latest amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act introduced a new provision prohibiting unfair competition in connection with 'idea theft' – the unfair use of the ideas of another that were acquired as part of a business negotiation or transaction. The purpose of the amendment is to provide additional protection for creative business ideas that may not be as easy to protect as typical forms of intellectual property, such as patents, copyright or trademarks.