Legal Updates

Important Amendment to Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Act

Amendment 3 of Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Act, the Organic Act on Counter Corruption B.E. 2542 (1999) (the Act), came into effect on July 10, 2015. The amendment was influenced by the U.K. Anti-Bribery Act and by the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its enforcement agencies. Under the Act, Thailand now complies with international standards for anti-corruption. The amended Act covers offenses and punishments relating to bribery amongst state officials in Thailand, foreign countries, and officials from international organizations. The National Anti-Corruption Commission can now investigate and file suits in Thailand and in foreign courts against Thai and foreign state officials, individuals in the private sector, and international organizations. A major objective of the amended Act is to compel Thai companies to draft and implement anti- corruption policies that will help prevent corrupt practices before they can happen.

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New law: where does the new client fit in?

Amid the potential for new technologies to transform legal delivery, the most exciting change we are currently seeing is clients who expect more.

So much of the talk around innovation in legal services misses the one vital element of the whole equation. Technology is and will continue to play a huge role, but something bigger is happening: focus on the client.

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What happens if you are from the UK or own assets in the UK?

Beware of the dreaded inheritance tax and changes to it from April 2017!

Approximately 1.3 million Britons now live in Australia and Brexit may only increase this number! Many think that moving to Australia means they no longer need to worry about UK tax, but often they are not fully aware of the tax and in particular the inheritance tax (IHT), implications of moving here.  Similar issues can arise for Australians owning UK assets, which has become more attractive because of the exchange rate and individuals working abroad. With information sharing between tax authorities now the norm, it is no longer possible to ignore this.

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Third Circuit Holds Medical Residents May Bring Title IX Claims

In a decision with significant implications for private hospitals, on March 7, 2017 the Third Circuit held in Doe v. Mercy Catholic Medical Center that medical residents may bring private causes of action for sex discrimination under Title IX against private teaching hospitals operating residency programs, and are not limited to claims under Title VII.

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Latvia: New law encouraging volunteer workers

A new law regulating unpaid volunteer work has recently been adopted in Latvia. The law as originally drafted envisaged that only non-profit entities would be allowed to organize volunteer work, ie:

1. Non-profit associations and foundations (including trade unions).

2. State and municipal institutions (and political parties).

It has now been proposed that social enterprises (for-profit businesses with a social or environmental mission) be added to the list of organisations that are permitted to employ volunteers. The change is expected to come into force on 1 January 2018. Social enterprises should bear in mind that they will not be permitted to rely solely on volunteers – at least one member of staff must receive a salary.

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Recent Executive Orders Have Immediate Immigration Impacts, but Overnight Overhaul of U.S. Immigration System Is Unlikely

It is no secret that the new administration under President Trump brings with it a fundamental shift in executive attitude with respect to both legal and illegal immigration. The transitional period leading up to January’s inauguration left employers and their foreign national employee populations mired in uncertainty regarding the future of former President Barack Obama’s largely immigration-friendly reforms. Shortly after entering the White House, President Trump made headlines by signing a series of controversial EOs that created a travel ban on nationals “from” seven primarily Muslim countries, eliminated visa interview waiver programs, suspended refugee programs, expanded removal grounds, eliminated federal funding for “sanctuary” cities, and directed the design and build-out of a wall at the United States/Mexico border. These EOs created discord among the government agencies that are charged with executing the EOs but were largely kept out of the drafting process. In addition, the EOs left employers scrambling to identify and support their impacted employee populations and cemented notions that the Trump administration has initiated a new immigration dialogue that will focus on enforcement and the impact of immigration on U.S. workers.

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Talking Tax – Issue 69

ATO guidance

Residency test for companies – central management and control

Australian business groups with overseas operations are reminded to take care following the outcome of the High Court decision in Bywater Investments Limited & Ors. v Commissioner of Taxation; Hua Wang Bank Berhad [2016] HCA 45, and the recent release of Draft Tax Ruling TR 2017/D2 by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The draft ruling sets out the Commissioner of Taxation’s view on the application of the central management and control test for companies following the landmark High Court decision.

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Cross-Device Tracking and Consumer Protection: Is There More to the Story?

In 2017, we are seeing an explosion of online marketers engaging in cross-device targeting, where data is used to identify users on one device to serve ads to them on a different device. This enables advertisers to pinpoint their consumers as never before. Now, they can capitalize on key moments of a consumer’s purchasing journey to keep the consumer engaged and, more importantly, to piggyback on those purchases. For example, a consumer purchasing a department store dress on her laptop may be seamlessly served an ad for matching shoes on her smartphone only a few minutes later.

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Marijuana in the Workplace: the Stakes are Getting Higher

If you’ve noticed a pungent aroma wafting in the Massachusetts breeze, chances are it is coming from marijuana use.

Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational use and possession of marijuana on Nov. 8, 2016, and on Dec. 15 the law went into effect alongside the already-adopted medical marijuana scheme.

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New draft law introduces a variety of changes to the Federal law “On joint stock companies” implementing a system of inner compliance in a joint stock company

Text of draft law initiated by Russian Ministry for Economic Development of the Russian Federation (hereinafter – the “Draft law”) was posted on January 25, 2017 on the federal Internet portal for the draft laws (http://regulation.gov.ru).

According to the publicly available information1 Draft law has undergone the stage of public discussions. The Draft law is expected to be soon introduced to the State Duma review.

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