Divorce and the media: the courts, the pay-outs and the speculation

Technology, Media and Telecoms | 01 February 2010

The rising divorce rate and some well-publicised settlements running into tens of millions of pounds have focused attention on a growing issue in divorce cases: just how far can spouses go to obtain information about their partner’s financial affairs?

Uncertainty about legal outcomes adds to the temptation for well-heeled spouses to disregard their obligation to provide full and frank disclosure in divorce and ancillary proceedings. Meanwhile, the ease of copying electronic data from a partner’s laptop or accessing online bank accounts is prompting some spouses to actively hunt evidence that their estranged partner has the wherewithal to fund a sizeable settlement. [Continue Reading]

New opportunities under Ontario’s Green Energy Act 2009

Canada | 29 December 2009

The Ontario government recently announced several new regulations and programs to give effect to some of the major components of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act 2009 (the 2009 Act). The 2009 Act is designed to provide a legal framework for the establishment of an attractive investment climate for green power developers, generate certainty in the market, and make Ontario a leader in renewable energy and energy conservation in North America. As of 24 September 2009, the following key features of the 2009 Act have been implemented:

  • Canada’s first feed-in electricity tariff program began accepting applications as of 1 October 2009;
  • the new Renewable Energy Approval (REA) required for renewable energy projects is now available;
  • the province has announced several incentive programs to help with the costs relating to developing a renewable energy project in Ontario;
  • the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO) has been established; and
  • a C$2.3bn program for major upgrades to Ontario’s electricity transmission grid is underway.

[Continue Reading]

Dispute resolution clauses in IT contracts

Technology, Media and Telecoms | 05 December 2009

Given the relatively frequent occurrence of disputes over contracts for the supply of software and IT services, dispute resolution provisions are an important feature. In the recent case of Ericsson AB v Eads Defence and Security Systems Ltd [2009], the High Court had an opportunity to consider such provisions and their relationship with rights of termination and remedies under the contract.

[Continue Reading]

High Court finds that ‘subject to contract’ banner does not necessarily prevent parties being bound by agreement

Corporate and commercial | 01 December 2009

IN JIREHOUSE CAPITAL & ORS v BELLER & anor [2009] the parties were conducting settlement negotiations and although they had not expressly lifted the ‘subject to contract’ banner (in fact both sides used it fastidiously through their various exchanges) the High Court found that, on the facts, the parties’ negotiations could only be understood to have been conducted on that basis (ie not intending that any formalisation was required for the parties to be bound). As such, the banner having been lifted, the parties were bound by the terms agreed despite the absence of any more formal contractual agreement.

[Continue Reading]

Public disclosure of mortgaged lands

India | 01 December 2009

To afford a home of your own is every person’s dream. But did you know that attachment proceedings can be initiated by the bank, in respect of your dream home, because your builder or developer has mortgaged the property to the bank and has defaulted in repaying the loan?

[Continue Reading]

Litigating in the DIFC: some initial guidance for the unaware

UAE | 01 December 2009

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a 110-acre free zone that was established by the government of the Emirate of Dubai in December 2004 to promote Dubai as a fully-serviced ‘onshore’ capital market, constitutes an autonomous jurisdiction within the UAE. It has an independent judicial system, with its own courts and an independent judicial authority, which deals with civil and commercial transactions arising from and within the DIFC. The DIFC judicial system is modelled on the common law and inspired, in particular, by the English legal tradition, which explains why the procedure before the DIFC courts is very much akin to the procedure before the English courts. To facilitate its implementation, a whole series of laws, such as DIFC Law No 6 of 2004 on contract law, DIFC Law No 6 of 2005 on implied terms in contracts and unfair terms and DIFC Law No 7 of 2005 on damages and remedies, have been adopted, governing civil and commercial transactions that are carried out within or have a qualifying connection with the DIFC.

[Continue Reading]

Limiting lease liabilities

Real estate | 01 December 2009

Previous articles have discussed the effective exercise of break clauses, thereby bringing the existing lease liability to an end (p63, IHL170) and former tenants being held to account for their historic lease liabilities (p56, IHL174). This article deals with how to minimise the cost of lease liabilities for premises that are currently in use, especially during a recession.

[Continue Reading]

State aid risks involved in real estate transactions and public-private partnerships

The Netherlands | 01 December 2009

Private undertakings that engage in commercial transactions with public authorities located in the EU should be more aware of the risk of unlawful state aid. This is especially true for construction or development companies, as well as real estate funds, when participating in projects with public authorities involving the sale and/or finance of buildings or land. In many of these transactions the risks of state aid are either ignored or overlooked. In general, state aid is forbidden and any unlawful state aid including interest is to be recovered from the recipient undertaking. The recipient undertaking therefore bears the risks of unlawful state aid. Hence the importance for undertakings to determine whether a risk of state aid exists in relation to commercial transactions with public authorities. If so, appropriate steps should be taken to seek compliance with rules on state aid or to notify such aid to the European Commission.

[Continue Reading]

Stop the press:the Reynolds defence

Technology, Media and Telecoms | 01 December 2009

Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd & ors [2001] established a new defence for libel claims in which the story is in the public interest and the publisher acted ‘responsibly’. The Reynolds defence is designed to protect serious investigative journalists acting in good faith and reporting on matters of public interest. Even where allegations are false and hugely damaging to the subject of the publication, publishers can make use of this defence. However, Reynolds has also provided a useful tool for subjects to delay, if not prevent, publication of defamatory allegations.

[Continue Reading]