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Showing posts from 2020

The "bad bosses" of the legal profession

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By George Kazoleas, Lawyer, Director at Legalpost.euIt is well known that employees resign not because of their job, but because of their boss. According to a recent survey, half of the employees who quit their jobs did so to escape from their bosses, while in another survey this percentage was 75%.Evaluating the research data, it is concluded that the employees who leave their jobs are useful employees, good employees, those who value themselves and their abilities and consider that they deserve better behavior and treatment from their superiors or that they deserve more opportunities and more active participation in the activity of the company.Data is similar for legal professionals working in law firms. Looking at publications and studies, one easily realizes that the younger mainly lawyers become a systematic target of bad behavior of their employers-lawyers. In fact, the bad behavior that goes as far as verbal abuse and moral harassment, has prevailed to be considered as part of …

The Court of Justice upheld the judgment of the General Court authorising football player Lionel Messi to register the trade mark ‘MESSI’ for sports equipment and clothing

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The Court of Justice dismissed the appeals brought by EUIPO and a Spanish company against the judgment of the General Court authorising football player Lionel Messi to register the trade mark ‘MESSI’ for sports equipment and clothingIn August 2011, the footballer Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini filed an application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for registration of a figurative sign as an EU trade mark, inter alia for sports and gymnastics clothing, footwear and equipment.In November 2011, Mr Jaime Masferrer Coma filed a notice of opposition to the registration of the mark applied for by Mr Messi Cuccittini, alleging a likelihood of confusion with the EU word marks MASSI, registered, inter alia, for clothing, footwear, cycling helmets, protective clothing and gloves (the rights to those marks were transferred in May 2012 to the Spanish company J.M.-E.V. e hijos). [1]In 2013, EUIPO upheld the opposition. Mr Messi Cuccittini lodged an appeal with EUIPO again…

Arrest of 48 lawyers, 7 trainee lawyers, 4 purged judges and a law graduate, for being “members of a terrorist organisation” in Turkey: Joint Statement

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Through the new “alternative bar associations” legislation and President Erdogan’s own words “Those who act as the lawyers of terrorists may not act like terrorists themselves. If they do so, there must be a price to pay”, which he said in the presence of judges and prosecutors in the new judicial year opening ceremony, the Turkish government had already signaled that a new phase in the persecution of lawyers was about to start.Only a few days after President Erdogan’s speech, today (11 September 2020), the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor has ordered the arrest of 48 lawyers, 7 trainee lawyers, 4 purged judges and a law graduate, for being “members of a terrorist organisation” According to the report of the state-run Anatolian News Agency, their arrests were sought for no other offence than representing those whom the government considered dissidents and who were accused of being involved in “terrorism”. The arrested lawyers were not to be allowed a conference with anybody and would be…

Reform of the EU Court of Justice: The CCBE adopts comments on the functioning of the General Court in the wake of the 2015 Reform

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The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) contributes to the ongoing debate on the Reform of the judicial framework of the Court of Justice of the European Union by adopting comments on the efficiency of the General Court, the necessity and effectiveness of the increase to 54 Judges, and the further establishment of specialised chambers and/or other structural changes.The Reform process commenced in 2015 following a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council to double the number of judges at the General Court. The Court of Justice is currently preparing a report on the functioning of the General Court which is expected will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission before the end of 2020. The CCBE underlines the importance of ensuring all litigants in the European Union may enjoy effective access to justice and quality of justice, as well as the handling of cases in a relatively short time. The CCBE acknowledges that it is a comple…

Following the tragic death of lawyer Ebru Timtik, the CCBE calls on the EU and Turkish authorities to take urgent measures to prevent the death of lawyer Aytaç Ünsal

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The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is deeply shocked by the death of Turkish lawyer Ebru Timtik on 27 August after a 238 days hunger strike.Lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, respectively sentenced to 13 and 6 months and 11 years and 6 months in prison, decided to go on an unlimited hunger strike to denounce their unfair trial as well as the unfair trial of several dozens of Turkish lawyers. (Read more here)Since 2017, several Turkish lawyers belonging to the Progressive Lawyers Association and the People's Law Office, among which Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, have been victims of judicial harassment. These lawyers who have fought for Justice and the Rule of Law have defended, among others, persons considered to be opponents of the Turkish government, families of miners massacred in Soma and Ermenek, populations expelled from their homes as victims of urban transformation, families of citizens killed under torture in police stations and prisons as well as pers…

Protection of persons who report breaches of EU law

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Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of EU law establishes rules and procedures to protect ‘whistleblowers’, individuals who report information they acquired in a work-related context on breaches of EU law in key policy areas. Breaches include both unlawful acts or omissions and abusive practices.KEY POINTSThe directive covers reports on:breaches of rules in the following areas (listed in detail in Part I of the annex)public procurementfinancial services, products and markets; prevention of money laundering and terrorist financingproduct safety and compliancetransport safety in the railway, road, maritime and inland waters sectorsprotection of the environment, ranging from waste management to chemicalsradiation protection and nuclear safetyfood and feed safety, animal health and welfarepublic health, including patients’ rights and tobacco controlsconsumer protectionprotection of privacy and personal data, security and information systems;breaches a…

Death penalty: key facts about the situation in Europe and the rest of the world

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Capital punishment: facts and figuresBy 2019, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, leaving 56 countries still using capital punishment. There were 657 recorded executions in 20 countries (excluding China, where thousands of executions are believed to have been carried out), with more than 25,000 people on death row. The number of executions in 2019 was at the lowest level in at least a decade, down from 690 in 2018 and 993 in 2017.Some 86% of all recorded executions in 2019 took place in just four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt. Figures are unknown for China, since this data is a state secret. (Source Amnesty International)There is strong opposition to abolishing the death penalty in Asia, the Arab World and the US. However, four fifths of the 55 African countries have abolished capital punishment or operate moratoriums.How the EU fights the death penaltyAs part of its commitment to defending human rights, the EU is the largest donor in the …

THE CONCEPT OF WORKER (IN ARTICLE 45 TFEU)

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By Mpia Tsolaki, Lawyer** Freedom of movement for workers is founded on Article 45(1) TFEU and enshrined in fact in the abolition, set out in its second paragraph, of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment[1]. That prohibition has been regarded since the beginnings of the establishment of the single European Market as an indispensable corollary to its full integration since it has crucially promoted mobility of the workforce throughout the European Union (hereinafter EU)[2]. From that point of view, it is therefore of outmost importance for ascertaining its ambit to determine at the outset the concept of "worker", which is not defined by neither the primary nor the secondary EU legislation. As expected, the Ariadne’s thread has been offered by the European Court of Justice (hereinafter ECJ) that has been constantly producing an ample case-law, which keeping pa…

Court rejects complaint about conviction for homophobic hate speech

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In its decision in the case of Carl Jóhann Lilliendahl v. Iceland (application no. 29297/18) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final. The case concerned the applicant’s conviction and fine for homophobic comments he had made in response to an online article. The Court found that the applicant’s comments had amounted to hate speech within the meaning of its case-law. It accepted the Icelandic Supreme Court’s finding that the comments had been “serious, severely hurtful and prejudicial”, and that the decision which had originally sparked the debate, concerning measures to strengthen education in schools on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender matters, had not warranted such a severe reaction. The domestic courts’ decisions in the case, taken after an extensive balancing exercise between the applicant’s right to freedom of expression and the rights of gender and sexual minorities, had therefore been reasonable and j…

Indefinite retention of DNA, fingerprints and photograph of man convicted of drink driving breached his privacy rights

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An important decision was issued recently by the European Court of Human Rights regarding the indefinite retention of personal data (DNA profile, fingerprints and photograph) of a man who had a spent conviction for driving with excess alcohol in Northern Ireland. In the case Gaughran v. the United Kingdom (application no. 45245/15) the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court underlined that it was not the duration of the retention of data that had been decisive, but the absence of certain safeguards. In the applicant’s case his personal data had been retained indefinitely without consideration of the seriousness of his offence, the need for indefinite retention and without any real possibility of review. Noting that the technology being used had been shown to be more sophisticated than that considered by the domestic courts in this case, particularly rega…

EU law does not preclude Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation which are unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence (ECJ)

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The European Court of Justice in its Judgment in Case C-234/18[1] ruled that EU law does not preclude Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation which are unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence. Such proceedings are not covered by the Framework Decision on the confiscation of property. BP, the Chair of the supervisory board of a Bulgarian bank was subject to criminal proceedings for having incited others, from December 2011 to 19 June 2014, to misappropriate funds belonging to that bank in the sum of approximately €105 million. The criminal proceedings are pending and have not yet given rise to a final judgment. Independently of those criminal proceedings, the Bulgarian Commission for the combatting of corruption and for the confiscation of assets found that BP and members of his family had acquired assets of a considerable value whose origin could not be established. That commission therefore brought civil proceedings before the Sofiyski gradski sad (Sof…

Seeking justice in multi-jurisdictional fraud, creditors must be prepared for the long haul

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By Chris Iacovides and Andri Antoniou- joint Liquidators* According to a press release issued by the Cypriot police, on 31st January 2020, a 42-year-old Ukrainian national had been arrested in Budapest pursuant to a European arrest warrant, extradited to Cyprus and remanded in custody, in connection with financial fraud totaling $92m, orchestrated through Cypriot-registered companies. The individual arrested was the CFO of Mriya Agro Holding Public Ltd (“Mriya”), the Cypriot holding company of what was once one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural groups. Others wanted in connection with this matter are in hiding in Switzerland, where the authorities are known to be slow in executing international arrest warrants. This is the outcome of a lengthy investigation by the Cypriot police following a criminal complaint made by the Liquidators of Mriya 4 years ago and vindicates what has recently been identified in a report of the Council of Europe’s anti money laundering body, Moneyval, publishe…

ECHR: The pre-trial detention of a judge breached the Convention

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Ιn its judgment (3.3.2020) in the case of Baş v. Turkey (application no. 66448/17) the European Court of Human Rights held: by six votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards the alleged unlawfulness of the applicant’s initial pre-trial detention; unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention on account of the lack of reasonable suspicion, at the time of the applicant’s initial pre-trial detention, that he had committed an offence, and unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention) on account of the length of the period during which the applicant had not appeared in person before a judge. The case concerned the pre-trial detention of Mr Baş, a judge at the time, following the attempted coup of 15 July 2016. The Court found that according to the case-law of the Court of Cassation…

Coronavirus as force majeure event - The impact on contracts

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by George Kazoleas, Lawyer LL.M The rapid spread of coronavirus worldwide has crucial effects in social and economic life. The regularity of transactions has been disrupted and the normal evolution of many aspects of economic and commercial activity has been reversed. According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause disease in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses cause respiratory infections, influenza and more serious illnesses such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes COVID-19. Coronavirus as force majeure It depends on the circumstances if the spread of the virus can be regarded as a cause of force majeure that prevents or inhibits the fulfillment of contractual obligations. The European Commission states that there is force majeure if the incident or its non-fulfillment "is due to circumstances other than tho…

New Insolvency Measures Introduced by the British Government Bring Relief to UK Companies and their Directors

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By Chris Iacovides & Andri Antoniou* Whilst the UK is taking proactive measures to aid ailing companies and businesses from the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, one cannot help but wonder what the Cyprus government will do since the Examinership regime introduced as part of the rescue culture in 2015, failed miserably. The UK may have been slower off the mark than many other countries in their fight against coronavirusnevertheless, the authorities have now ramped up the speed and scale of the measures being implemented to protect their national health system and the economy. On Friday 27 March 2020, the British Government went to the extent of introducing more flexible insolvency procedures to help businesses. According to Alok Sharma, UK’s Business Secretary, the following measures will take effect retrospectively from March 1st for 3 months during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plans, new restructuring tools will be added to the UK’s Insolvency Framework including: A morat…