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Showing posts from 2019

Airbnb is not required to hold an estate agent’s professional licence as it did not notify the Commission of that requirement in accordance with the Directive on electronic commerce

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ECJ: Airbnb case- France cannot require Airbnb to hold an estate agent’s professional licence as it did not notify the Commission of that requirement in accordance with the Directive on electronic commerce.
By its judgment of 19 December 2019, Airbnb Ireland (C-390/18), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice held, first, that an intermediation service which, by means of an electronic platform, is intended to connect, for remuneration, potential guests with professional or non-professional hosts offering short-term accommodation services, while also providing a certain number of services ancillary to that intermediation service, must be classified as an ‘information society service’ under Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce.[1] Secondly, the Court found that, in criminal proceedings with an ancillary civil action, an individual may oppose the application to him or her of measures of a Member State restricting the freedom to provide such a service which that individual p…

Unfair and illegal terms of loan agreements used by banks

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Article by George Kazoleas,  Lawyer LL.M. (Banking & Capitalmarkets Law) It is well known that loan agreements contain terms and conditions that disturb the balance between the parties to the detriment of the borrower and are therefore legally and judicially  diagnosed as contrary to law. Despite this, most banks insist on including them in their new contracts, refusing to comply with court rulings even by the European Court of Justice. Especially, foreign currency loan agreements (such as the Swiss franc) contain many unfair and opaque terms. Particularly: The Bank had to inform the potential borrower of the foreign exchange risk and explain in detail the relevant clauses before concluding the loan. It is very common, that the loan agreement does not mention anything about this risk, nor does it appear that the borrower has been effectively and properly informed by a competent bank official. According to Cypriot and European legislation and case law, the loan agreement must set o…

The Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the new Regulation on Virtual Currencies

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By Soulla Dionysiou, Lawyer, Founding Partner at Dionysiou & Partners LLC Τhe Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) which was adopted by the European Parliament on 19 April 2019 will need to be transposed into National Law by all Member States by 10 January 2020, i.e. 18 months after its adoption. Although some Member States have already done so, the rest will need to follow suit as the deadline is fast approaching. The directive incorporates for the first time a regulation on virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) and introduces their definition, according to which: “virtual currencies” means a digital representation of value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or a public authority, is not necessarily attached to a legally established currency and does not possess a legal status of currency or money, but is accepted by natural or legal persons as a means of exchange and which can be transferred, stored and traded electronically (Article 2 d (18)). Of note i…

Early repayment of the loan: Borrower's right to reduction in the total cost of the credit and bank's compensation right

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By George Kazoleas, Lawyer LL.M. The right of early repayment of the loan by the borrower is enshrined in both European law and national legal systems. There are essentially two main effects of this right’s exercise: On the one hand, the consumer/ borrower is entitled to a reduction in the total cost of the credit consisting of interest and charges for the remaining period of the contract. On the other hand, the bank shall be entitled to reasonable and objectively justified compensation for any costs directly linked to early repayment of the credit, provided that the early repayment is made within the period for which the borrowing rate is fixed. (Article 16 (1) of Directive 2008/48). Bank’s compensation The relative clauses used by most banks regarding the issue of early repayment of the loan are vaguely worded and non-transparent and have therefore been repeatedly declared illegal, unfair and abusive. It is commonly stated that compensation includes any costs, expenses, losses, or liab…

Late notification of hearing date: applicant was unable to reply to opinion of advocate-general at Court of Cassation

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Αn important decision on the right of the arrested or detained person to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention has issued on 22.10.2019 the European Court of Human Rights. According to Article 5(4) οf the European Convention of Human Rights, “everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful”. Systematically the above provision is subject to the more general right to liberty and security (Article 5) In ECHR’s Chamber judgment in the case of Venet v. Belgium (application no. 27703/16) the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned proceedings in which the Applicant unsuccessfully challenged his pre-trial detention. He complained that he had been unable to attend the Court of Cassation’s hearing on his a…

Conversion of CHF mortgage loans within the EU is a fact. At what cost though?

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Article By Paris Hadjipanayis, Lawyer Ιn a recent high profile case (C-260/18) adjudicated by the first instance court of Warsaw, Poland, a preliminary question was forwarded to the European Court of Justice on the 03/10/2019 to decide on a number of questions regarding the effect of abusive consumer clauses inserted in a mortgage loan, specifically with reference to the issuing of a loan in Swiss Francs (CHF) currency and released in national (PLN) currency. The question concerned the fate of such a consumer clause, whether it could be enforceable and if not whether abolition could grant the right to a National court to insert provisions from national (domestic) applicable legislation to fill in the gaps and protect the contract as well as the consumer. The matter of interest rate also became relevant to this question as the interest imposed originally was the one based on the reference point of LIBOR CHF 3M and the usual marginal profit of the lending bank. The applicants alleged that …

Holocaust denial is not protected by the European Convention on Human Rights

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Ιn the case of Pastörs v. Germany (application no. 55225/14) the European Court of Human Rights held on 3.10.2019, unanimously, that the applicant’s complaint under Article 10 (freedom of expression) was manifestly ill-founded and had to be rejected, and, by four votes to three that there had been no violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the conviction of a Land deputy for denying the Holocaust during a speech in the regional Parliament. The Court found in particular that the applicant had intentionally stated untruths to defame Jews. Such statements could not attract the protection for freedom of speech offered by the Convention as they ran counter to the values of the Convention itself. There was thus no appearance of a violation of the applicant’s rights and the complaint was inadmissible. The Court also examined a complaint by the applicant of judicial bias as one of the Court of Appeal judges who had dea…

European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

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European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the new disciplinary regime for Polish judges, requesting an expedited procedure. On 3 April 2019, the Commission launched this infringement procedure on the grounds that the new disciplinary regime undermines the judicial independence of Polish judges and does not ensure the necessary guarantees to protect judges from political control, as required by the Court of Justice of the EU. Specifically, the Polish law allows ordinary court judges to be subjected to disciplinary investigations, procedures and sanctions on the basis of the content of their judicial decisions, including the exercise of their right under Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to request preliminary rulings from the Court of Justice of the EU. Moreover, the new disciplinary regime does not guarantee the independence and impartiality of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is c…

Fine EUR 150,000 to multinational company in Greece for GDPR violations

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The Greek Data Protection Authority has imposed a fine of 150,000 euros on PWC BS A.E. for violations of the General Data Protection Regulation. In particular, the Personal Data Protection Authority, upon a complaint, investigated on its own motion the legality of the processing of the personal data of employees of PWC BS (PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS BUSINESSSOLUTIONS SA) pursuant to which the abovementioned employees were forced to consent to the processing their personal data for three (3) distinct purposes. The Authority considered PWC BS as the controller: 1) has undergone unlawful processing, in breach of the provisions of Article 5 (1) (e); a) of the GDPR (principle of legality), the personal data of its employees, as it applied an inappropriate legal basis under Art. 6 (1) a GDPR (consent) instead of the appropriate legal basis for the performance of the contract, compliance with a legal obligation and the superior legal interest (Art. 6 (1), b, c' and gGDPR). 2) in an unlawful…

Silence of suspect or accused person in criminal proceedings: Right and not weakness

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By George Kazoleas, Lawyer LL.M.
The silence of a suspect or accused person in criminal proceedings is a right enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 6 (1)). Unfortunately, in some legal systems and in their criminal practice, the defendant's silence is regarded as confession or acceptance of the charge, a practice that is fundamentally affecting the core of his defense rights. The right to silence is an important aspect of the presumption of innocence and its usefulness lies in protecting the accused person from self-incrimination. Monitoring compliance with the right to silence, as well as the related right of self-incrimination, is particularly critical for the offense, that a person is suspected or accused of having committed, but not for example in matters related to identifying a suspect or accused. The essence of the right to remain silent is to prohibit the suspect or the accused person from speaking, answering questions or providing information to the i…

Removal of a mother’s parental authority and adoption of her eldest son by foster parents: Violation of the right to respect for private and family life (ECHR)

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In Εuropean Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Strand Lobben and Others v. Norway (application no. 37283/13) the ECHR held, by 13 votes to four, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of both applicants, a mother and her son. The case concerned the domestic authorities’ decision to remove a mother’s parental authority and let foster parents adopt her son. The Court found in particular that the main reason for the authorities’ actions had been the mother’s inability to care properly for her son, in particular in view of his special needs as a vulnerable child. However, that reasoning had been based on limited evidence as the contact sessions between mother and son after his placement in foster care had been few and far between and the psychologists’ reports out-dated. In addition, a review of his vulnerability had contained barely any analysis and no expla…

An e-commerce platform such as Amazon is not obliged in all cases to make a telephone number available to consumers before the conclusion of a contract (ECJ)

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According to the Judgment of ECJ in Case C-649/17 (Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände - Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. v Amazon EU Sàrl), an e-commerce platform such as Amazon is not obliged in all cases to make a telephone number available to consumers before the conclusion of a contract. It is however obliged to provide those consumers with a means of communication allowing them to contact it quickly and to communicate with it efficiently. The company Amazon EU offers the sale of various goods, exclusively via a website, in particular, in Germany, via the site www.amazon.de. It was sued before the German courts by the Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände - Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. (Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations) (‘the Federal Union’). The latter seeks to have it declared that Amazon did not respect its legal obligation to provide consumers with an efficient means to enter into co…

Member States' compliance with EU law in 2018: efforts are paying off, but improvements still needed

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The Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of EU law sets out how the European Commission monitored and enforced EU law in 2018. The online Single Market Scoreboard, also published today, evaluates the performance of EU/EEA countries in the EU single market and identifies the shortcomings where the countries and the Commission should step up their efforts. Citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the single market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. In November 2018, the Commission presented a fresh assessment of remaining barriers in the single market and called on Member States to be vigilant in implementing, applying and enforcing EU rules and refrain from putting up new barriers. For instance, from car emissions to e-commerce, from social media to the services sector, and much more besides. The Commission continues to ensure that EU rules are properly applied and enforced. For instance, in 2018, the Commission acted firm…

Virtual Law Firms VS Traditional Law Firms: Let’s Hear From the Virtual PROs

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By ADAM Global Τhe power of technology has always been incredible to all of us by simplifying our everyday lives. In order to stay in track and ahead in today’s fast paced competitive world, an increase in productivity has become a vital necessity. This, of course, must be aligned with rapid advancement in technology as traditional businesses are getting more and more familiarized with adapting digitization. But who would have thought a decade ago, that we will have a wonderful opportunity to have “virtual law firms”? YES, that’s right virtual law firms are the highlight trend of 2019.
Legal cases can be a very hectic journey for both client and attorney. Hassle of time spent travelling, overhead costs and nerve-racking traditional environment can take a toll on the client. The virtual law firm is the solution to all these problems. Connecting to the desired lawyer, documentation transfer and other legal procedures are available online in the comfort of clients home or even remote are…