Legal Updates

New York law lets PR firms do their jobs

On June 17, the New York Legislature passed into law Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ethics package. The bill, which is primarily meant to curb ethics abuses by state officials, explicitly excludes communications between public relations firms and the press from the definition of lobbying.

In so doing, it reversed a much-publicized, and much-maligned, advisory opinion from the New York Joint Committee on Public Ethics. Many had believed, and justifiably feared, that the previous wording expanded the definition of lobbying in the advisory opinion to encompass many routine public relations activities and exposed PR consultants to significant regulatory and enforcement action.

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Breaking News: Province Announces Increase in Property Transfer Tax Payable by Foreign Entities

Earlier today, the British Columbia government announced that the property transfer tax rate payable by foreign entities on purchases of residential property in the Greater Vancouver Regional District will increase to 15%. This increase in PTT payable will come into effect on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and will be payable regardless of when the purchase agreement for the property was entered into. The additional tax applies on a foreign entity’s proportionate share of any applicable residential property transfer, even in certain circumstances when the transaction may normally be exempt from property transfer tax. 

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NLRB Requires Specific Waivers During Bargaining – Employment Law This Week

Featured on the new episode of Employment Law This Week: Employers must have specific waivers to make unilateral policy changes when bargaining with a union.

That’s according to the NLRB, which once again clarified its “clear and unmistakable” waiver standard to restrict employers’ midterm changes. In this case, an employer relied on a broad management rights clause in its contract with the union to make unilateral changes to specific policies. The NLRB found that the union had not waived its right to bargain over those changes because the contract did not refer to the policies with sufficient clarity.

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Supreme Court Unwilling to Reject Canada Labour Code’s Unjust Dismissal Scheme

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its decision Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. 2016 SCC29.  This case involved the question of whether an  federally regulated employer could terminate the employment of a non-unionized employee without just cause.

In this case, the appellant Joseph Wilson worked for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (“AECL”) for 4½ years until he was dismissed in November of 2009.  He had a clean disciplinary record.  Wilson filed an unjust dismissal complaint under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) claiming that his dismissal was in reprisal for having filed a complaint of improper procurement practices on the part of AECL.  AECL said Wilson was terminated on a non-cause basis and was provided with a generous dismissal package. 

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Decoding the Arbitration Amendment

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act of 2015 seems to be an optimistic leap towards making India an investor friendly state.

InfrastructureToday-Decoding Arbitration-July 2016

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Liberalizations in the FDI Policy – Unshackling the Manufacturing Sector

  1. Introduction

1.1.         The Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) policy has been in a state of flux since last year, with sweeping changes being brought in with respect to FDI vis-à-vis various sectors. One such sector has been the ‘manufacturing sector’ which was defined and elaborated upon in the FDI policy, vide Press Note No. 12 of 2015 (dated November 24, 2015), last year (“Press Note 2015”).  

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Insol Europe: Country Reports Summer 2016

Italy: New Provisions for Banks in Difficulties

On 3 May 2016, the Decree Law no. 59/2016 containing “Urgent measures on enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings, in favor of investors in banks in liquidation” was published in the Official Gazette.

The Decree Law no 59/2016 is intended to reduce the duration of the insolvency proceedings and to speed up the payment of creditors.


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Estate planning with an international element

What type of Will do I need if I have foreign assets?

If you own foreign assets, then you should consider putting in place a foreign Will in the jurisdictions in which you own those assets, in addition to a UK Will.  The advantage of this is that on your death, probate can be obtained more easily in each country if you have separate Wills to cover your assets in each jurisdiction.  This could be an advantage, especially if your executors would like to use your foreign assets to pay any UK Inheritance Tax, as obtaining probate in a foreign jurisdiction first would enable your executors to have access to those foreign assets.

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NLRB Finds “Discharge” is an “Actual Discharge” and Violates the National Labor Relations Act Even if it is Immediately Reversed and Employee Suffers No Harm

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has reversed the findings of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) who found that an employee who was told he was fired and then almost instantly told by the owner of the company he worked for that he was not fired and continued to work without any loss of compensation or working time had in fact been unlawfully discharged in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”). It would seem that if “discharge is the ‘capital punishment’ of employment,” this case presents a rare example, in the Board’s eyes of an out of body after death experience, in which the executioner is held liable for killing someone who is unquestionably still alive.

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Residential land withholding tax in New Zealand from 1 July

Recent changes to New Zealand’s tax laws have resulted in a new tax being imposed with effect from 1 July 2016.

The “Residential Land Withholding Tax” (“RLWT”) imposes a tax liability in respect of residential property sales made by “offshore RLWT persons” within 2 years of purchase if such properties were purchased after 1 October 2015.

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