Legal Updates

Will the largest agreement in the World be achieved?

Swedish lawyer Jan E. Frydman analyzes the background for the on-going negotiations between the EU and the United States to create a transatlantic partnership on trade and investment (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or “T-TIP”), focusing on the challenge of regulatory convergence.

The purpose of the T-TIP is to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the two economies. The idea is by no means new. Already back in 1995, both sides started an effort towards a kind of free trade agreement between the EU and the United States (the New Transatlantic Marketplace, or “NTM”). The reason was as obvious then as it is now: more trade leads to more growth and more jobs, which of course both politicians and the business community on both sides of the Atlantic wished for. A dialogue between political leaders and the business community – the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (”TABD”) – also started to identify the most important barriers to trade and investment and present annual recommendations to the European Commission and the United States Government. Removing unnecessary barriers sounded obvious, but unfortunately it was – and is – not so simple. More…
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Mental Illness in the Workplace Must be Recognized and Supported

In response to the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual report, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has agreed that employers should be recognizing and supporting the effects work can have on mental illness.

Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, published a report released 9 September 2014 that asks employers to recognize the importance of mental illness in the work place, and offer support to employees suffering from it.

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Scotland: Currency and constitution

Fladgate has taken a close interest in the legal issues that will arise if Scotland becomes an independent nation. Our previous offerings on this subject include“Scotland and Independence – currency, banking and financial Issues” (April 2013) and “Scotland – a sterling nation?” (February 2014).

However, the referendum date – 18 September – is now under two weeks away. During August, two televised debates took place between Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, and Alistair Darling, Chairman of the “Better Together” campaign. During the course of these debates, it became abundantly clear that the currency is to be one of the key battlegrounds between the two sides in the run-up to the vote. Both sides have put forward their arguments on this subject in great depth and new issues are unlikely to arise at this late stage. This would therefore seem to be an appropriate time to reflect upon and summarise both the existing monetary arrangements and the legal options available to Scotland in the event of separation. More…

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Japanese knotweed – what’s the problem?

Japanese knotweed was originally imported from Japan as an ornamental plant, admired for its attractive white flowers. The plant’s aesthetic qualities, however, have long been overshadowed by its reputation as an invasive and destructive species, which can outmuscle other vegetation and cause serious structural damage to buildings.

In view of its possible impact on a property’s market value, as well as potentially expensive and protracted remedial works (its eradication from the 2012 Olympic site in Stratford is thought to have cost £70 million), it pays to address any knotweed growing on your land at the earliest opportunity. But what can you do if the problem is posed by knotweed growing on a neighbour’s property? More…

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: This Week in Washington — September 12, 2014

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled details of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating through Dec. 11. The temporary solution includes money to fight the Ebola outbreak, reauthorizes the controversial Export-Import Bank through the end of June 2015, and extends the moratorium on taxing the Internet.

The Export-Import bank’s current authorization is set to expire on Oct. 1. And though generally supported by Democrats, conservatives led by Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have opposed its renewal. Critics say it is a form of “crony capitalism,” that it interferes with the free market, and that it puts taxpayers on the hook for loans.

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Forskelle i tab af erhvervsevene

A, der var lastbilchauffør, var i forbindelse med sit arbejde udsat for en ulykke, hvor et lastbildæk eksploderede under oppumpningen af dækket på et værksted. Som følge af dækulykken fik A hovedpine, øresmerter og nedsat koncentrationsevne. Efter ulykken fik A konstateret en lungelidelse samt lænde- og knægener, og A blev tilkendt førtidspension. Skaden blev anerkendt som en arbejdsskade, og Arbejdsskadestyrelsen vurderede As erhvervsevnetab til 20 % efter arbejdsskadesikringsloven.

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State of the Creative Series: Interview with the CEO & CCO at StrawberryFrog

For the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, 360i, and R/GA.

For my final post, I turn to StrawberryFrog – a New York City Advertising Agency – to get there thoughts. Drum roll, please…

In my final post regarding the “State of the Creative,” I sat down with StrawberryFrog – a New York City Advertising Agency – to discuss the state of the creative today with the agency’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Goodson and Chief Creative Officer, Kevin McKeon.

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D.C. Circuit: Private Settlement Unenforceable Because Plaintiffs Did Not Know They Were Entitled to Overtime

In Sarceno v. Choi, the defendants operated a supermarket in Washington D.C.  Three of the defendants had previously been sued by different employees in a proposed collective action (“the Munoz suit”) under the FLSA and other statutes.

The Munoz suit was resolved through settlement decrees approved by the District Court.

At approximately the same time they were settling the Munoz suit, the defendants presented five other employees (who performed activities similar to those of the Munoz plaintiffs) with “settlement agreements” purportedly releasing the defendants from any claims under the FLSA.  The agreements stated that a bona fide dispute existed between the parties with respect to the total hours worked and amounts due.

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Choosing trustees? Not so fast!

What is the key decision which repays very careful thought when setting up a trust or a will containing a trust?  Is it who can benefit from the trust (the beneficiaries)?  Of course, that is very important.  Or whether it is a fixed interest or a discretionary trust?  Absolutely, money in the right hands at the right time, naturally.  But I would argue that there is one matter that trumps even both of these.  No prizes for guessing (the clue is in the title!) – the No.1 spot has to go to choice of trustees.  Poor decision-making on this front can lead to big regrets all round as it is far from easy to force trustees to retire once they have accepted the position.  Read on if you require further persuasion.   
Some clients prefer to appoint family members as trustees and indeed in theory there is no problem if a trustee is also one of the beneficiaries of the trust.  The potential conflict of interest that this situation creates is tolerated under English law.  However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s good!  The skills and personalities of the family members must be honestly considered.  For example, if one child shows no interest in managing money or another likes to lord it over his siblings, trouble can ensue if parents appoint them as trustees.
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Multistate Tax Update — September 11, 2014

Taxing professional athletes presents unique issues and creates opportunities for revenue officials due to the visibility of professional sports. In Part I, we discussed taxing resident athletes, while Part II, focused on the issues surrounding taxing nonresident athletes. Taxation of the same income by a taxpayer’s resident state and non-resident states can lead to concerns about double taxation on the same income.

Fortunately, most states generally provide for a system of resident credits and reciprocity agreements to diminish the effects of taxing the same income earned in nonresident jurisdictions. By claiming state tax credits and deducting expenses, athletes are able to alleviate the impact of multistate tax. The athlete faces challenges in complying with his or her multistate tax burden. Mitigating the impact of multistate taxation is critical because many states place an emphasis on enforcement. While athletes are used as an example, this same issue applies to other taxpayers working in multiple states.

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