Legal Updates

Same-sex marriage Bill makes progress

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill has passed stage one in the Scottish Parliament after MSPs voted 98 to 15 in favour of the legislation, with five abstentions, reports the BBC.

The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 26th June 2013 and covers the following key matters relating to marriage law:

  • the introduction of same-sex marriage,
  • putting belief celebrants on the same footing as religious celebrants,
  • the arrangements for authorising celebrants to solemnise opposite-sex and same-sex marriage,
  • civil partnerships changing to marriage,
  • the authorisation of Church of Scotland deacons to solemnise opposite-sex marriage,
  • allowing civil marriage ceremonies in any place agreed between the couple and the registrar, other than religious premises, and
  • allowing married transgender people to obtain full gender recognition without a requirement to divorce.

The Bill also introduces the religious and belief registration of civil partnerships.

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SEC Reports Increasing Number of Complaints Under Whistleblower Bounty Program

By Jason Kaufman

The Dodd-Frank Act created a comprehensive whistleblowing program by amending the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to include Section 21F, entitled “Securities Whistleblower Incentives and Protection,” and establishing the “Office of the Whistleblower” to enforce its provisions.  Individuals who voluntarily provide the SEC with original information that leads to a successful SEC enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions greater than $1 million are entitled to an award of between 10 and 30 percent of the total sanctions collected.  According to the SEC’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, the incentives are working.

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Multistate Tax Update — November 21, 2013

From a tax perspective, November has been a good month for Boeing. Lawmakers in the State of Washington have been hard at work securing the production of Boeing’s next-generation 777X airplane in the state. In effort to secure Boeing’s future production, lawmakers passed an incentive package containing nearly $9 billion in tax breaks to the aerospace industry, including extending aerospace tax breaks through 2040 that were set to expire in 2024. This deal “is notable for being the biggest package ever in history,” according to Greg LeRoy, Executive Director of Good Jobs First in a recent Washington Post article. Good Jobs First is a Washington D.C. advocacy group that tracks state subsidies provided to companies. 

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A Fresh Perspective on the Importance of Making a Will

Given that Friday is still a couple of days away, you may enjoy reading this amusing article: Top Ten Reasons You Should Never Make a Will.  While we often delay thinking about or making a will because our own mortality is a difficult subject, this article outlines in a humourous way many serious consequences to dying intestate (without a will).

As an estate litigator, I have seen too many difficult family conflicts resulting from a loved one dying without a valid will.  For that reason, I urge you to make sure your will is up to date and that your chosen Executor knows where you keep the original. 

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Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference – The Reasonable Consumer

This week, leading lawyers, legislatures and marketers attended the 35th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA I gave a presentation titled, “Journey to the Center of Advertising Law: Knowledge, Insights, and Practical Tips on The Most Important 2013 Advertising Developments.” Over the next few days, I will share with you three video clips from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

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Reform of Company Registration System

On October 25, 2013, Premier Li Keqiang hosted an executive meeting of the State Council and issued a series of specific instructions for reforming China’s company registration system, with a view toward easing market access and stimulating the market. To implement these reforms, China will need to revise a large number of current laws and regulations, including many of the rules governing foreign direct investment. If the policy shift is fully implemented, however, it should be much easier to register a new company, including a foreign invested enterprise, and the basic information on, and particularly the financial activities of, a company will become far more transparent to the public. The most important and highly welcomed changes in this round of reforms involve the rules on registered capital for newly established enterprises. The minimum registered capital requirements will be abolished, and China’s traditional company registration regime will shift from a system that tracks paid-in capital to a system that tracks subscribed capital. Shareholders and promoters will be entitled to freely agree on the amount of subscribed capital and the methods and timing for contributing capital. Significantly, paid-in capital will no longer be included in a commercial registration. The reforms also will relax the limitations on the places that qualify as the registered domicile and premises of a company. In addition to the company establishment requirements, the reforms also will affect the on-going reporting requirements for companies and increase the content of publicly available information. The annual inspection system will be changed to an annual reporting system, and China will develop an enterprise credit system that will publish registration information, annual reports and qualifications, as will a “black list” of discredited companies. More…

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New Horizon for Foreign Investment in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone

The foreign direct investment policies in Shanghai’s new China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (“CSFTZ”) offer a variety of new opportunities for foreign corporate and individual investors. Zhong Lun partner Dr. Helen Zhang has compiled a summary comparison of the new policies in the CSFTZ against current PRC law across nearly 20 industry sectors, including medical institutions, health insurance, engineering design and construction, human resources, educational and professional training institutions, financial leasing, commercial banking, investment and holding companies, value-added telecommunications, travel agency, entertainment venue operations and performance agency services, among others. Taken together, the new policies represent a significant step in China’s ongoing efforts to liberalize its economy and to promote Shanghai as a regional and global hub. More…

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Amended Trademark Law Enhances Protection of Trademark Holders’ Interests

After years of discussions, the eagerly anticipated amendment to the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China was passed on August 30, 2013 and will come into force on May 1, 2014. The amended law aims to curb infringement and simplify trademark registration in China and is widely regarded as a positive move that enhances the protection of trademark holders’ interests. It also reflects China’s determination to create a fair and orderly market. Some key revisions include: More…

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PR firms navigate the attorney-client privilege

Public relations pros are playing an increasingly important role in helping organizations deal with crisis. Their work is done in tandem with legal and business executives. Due to the sensitive nature of crisis situations, along with the potential for litigation or government investigations, many PR firms are being retained by their client’s internal or external legal counsel. This is done in an effort to extend the attorney-client privilege to the work product of PR practitioners. More…

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Waiting period as provided for in the Annual Holidays Act has been amended

The amendment to the waiting period as provided for in the Finnish Annual Holidays Act entered into force on 1 October. According to Section 25 of the new Annual Holidays Act, the employee is entitled to have his/her annual holiday postponed as of the first day of illness.

If at the beginning of or during the holiday the employee is incapacitated because of illness, accident or childbirth, he/she is entitled to postpone the annual holiday, should the holiday coincide with the incapacity period. More…

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