Legal Updates

Premium Processing Reinstated for FY 2018 Cap H-1B Petitions

As of September 18, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing service for H-1B petitions filed as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 cap quota, which includes 65,000 regular H-1B filings and 20,000 additional petitions for candidates holding a U.S. Master’s degree. Premium processing is not resumed for other types of H-1B filings, such as normal-course H-1B Extension of Status or Amendment filings. The H-1B nonimmigrant category allows for the U.S. employment of skilled workers in specialty occupations, such as information technology, academic research, and accounting, and requires candidates to hold a minimum of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent.

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Can you disinherit your children if you want to?

You may recall that, a couple of years ago, the English press was full of reports of the Will case of Ilott v Mitson.  (For some background on the case, see my 2015 and 2017 blogs about it.) 

The case was of interest to any testator who is considering cutting out children from their Will.  However the Ilott case has now been applied in the more recent case of Nahajec v Fowle [2017] EW Misc 11 (CC), in which another impecunious child applied to the court and was successful in obtaining provision from her father’s estate, contrary to her father’s express wish that she should receive nothing.  So what can the Nahajec case teach us about whether it is possible, even, for parents to successfully exclude adult children from receiving any inheritance from them?
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ACCC taking measures to protect small business against unfair contract terms

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against two companies in a bid to protect small Australian businesses from unfair contracts.

One of Australia’s largest, privately owned waste management companies is the first to be taken to task by the ACCC over alleged unfair contract terms with small businesses since changes to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) came into effect in November 2016.

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Anchors dropped! Safe harbour now open for directors

On 11 September 2017, the Commonweath Parliament passed the Treasury Law Amendments (2017 Enterprise Incentives No.2 Bill). The new legislation:

  • introduces a ‘safe harbour’ exclusion from civil liability for directors faced with insolvent trading claims and
  • makes unenforceable ipso facto clauses in certain contracts which allow a party to terminate the contract for the sole reason of an insolvency event.
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Trump’s Branding Problem

Donald Trump came to the White House with the lowest approval rating ever for an incoming president. From a branding perspective, things have not been getting better. On the 144th day of his presidency, Trump hit a 60% disapproval rating, giving him the dubious distinction of being the fastest to ever reach that mark (beating George H.W. Bush, who took 1,290 days to get there).

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Dispute resolution clauses: When the road to a binding determination is paved with non-binding options

The recent case of Contract Control Services v Department of Education and Training [2017] VSC 507 provides further clarification on what constitutes a ‘method of resolving disputes’ for the purpose of satisfying the requirement in section 10A of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Act). The case makes it clear that it is possible to mandate a process of dispute resolution that includes non-binding steps, so long as it culminates in a binding determination.

Contract Control Services (CCS) entered into a construction contract with the Department of Education and Training (DET) in 2013 for construction works and related goods and services for the construction of the Bendigo Senior Secondary College Theatre Project.

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New rules regarding disclosure of material act or fact

On September 11, CVM Instruction 590 was promulgated, promoting specific changes in CVM Instruction 358, which provides for disclosure of a material act or fact, and CVM Instruction 461, which regulates regulated securities markets.

There were no fundamental changes in the principles governing procedures for disclosure of material acts or facts, but rather specific changes.

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CMED opens public consultation on draft resolution regulating sanction procedures

The Medication Market Regulation Chamber (CMED) opened yesterday, September 13, 2017, public consultation on a resolution that provides for the administrative process for the determination of infractions and the application of penalties arising from conduct that violates the market regulatory norms of medicines.

The proposed resolution defines the applicable infractions and penalties, including specifying how fines are determined, through the use of predefined formulas. The intention is to optimize the management and analysis of administrative processes, outlining the steps of establishing and instructing sanctioning procedures, as well as providing for the possibility of voluntary reparation prior to the initiation of administrative proceedings and subsequent redress, important innovations of the CMED. In addition, this resolution also institutionalizes the Commitments for the Adjustment of Conduct to be concluded on the initiative of CMED itself or at the request of the interested party.

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Latvia: Inese Hazenfusa comments on the Regulatory Sandbox for Fintech Companies

On September 5, 2017 in the newspaper Dienas Bizness Inese Hazenfusa, Partner at TGS Baltic, comments on the regulatory sandbox for financial technology companies or fintech companies. Among other things, Inese states that the regulatory sandbox is a safe place, where an entrepreneur may try one’s innovative ideas and solutions in real life within the existing regulatory framework and in close communication with the state supervisor of the respective field. Thus, it creates possibility to identify potential risks on time and to prevent them.

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Lithuanian regulation has been finally harmonized with the market abuse regulation

Mantas Gofmanas, TGS Baltic Senior Associate

As the Board of the Bank of Lithuania adopted new Information Disclosure Rules (the “Rules”), the Lithuanian national regulation in connection with prevention of market abuse, disclosure of inside information, disclosure of information about managers’ transactions, also regulation in connection with persons in possession of inside information, etc., has been finally fully harmonised with requirements of Regulation No. 596/2014 on market abuse (the “MAR”) and related regulatory technical standards and implementing technical standards.

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