Showing posts from April, 2019

Ombudsman suggests further anti-harassment measures for EU institutions

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has drawn up a list of good practices after reviewing the anti-harassment policies in 26 EU institutions and agencies. The practices cover awareness raising, workplace risk assessment, regular policy monitoring, mandatory training, swift procedures, and rehabilitation measures. “While the EU institutions generally have good anti-harassment policies, my report shows that more can and must be done to bring them into line with the legitimate expectations of a post #MeToo society.” “The aim of this mapping exercise is to assist in the standardising of these identified practices across all EU institutions,” said Ms O’Reilly. Other important measures include allowing trainees to make formal complaints about harassment; regular training for confidential counsellors and the setting up of a pool of independent investigators, which institutions can draw upon during formal harassment investigations. The Ombudsman notes harassment cases can involve a sig…

Swiss franc loans and borrowers’ rights in the light of 4 important judgments of the European Court of Justice

By George Kazoleas, Lawyer LL.M. The EU Court of Justice has issued important decisions in recent years on the issue of bank foreign currency loans, essentially in Swiss francs, which has created significant case law useful for defending the interests of borrowers who have been “trapped” by credit institutions in contracts with abusive currency risk clauses resulting in undue overchargings.
In summing up this case-law, the European Court of Justice has reached the following main conclusions:
1.The loan agreement must set out in a transparent manner the exact functioning of the foreign currency conversion mechanism and the exchange rate clause so that the consumer can assess the financial consequences of this mechanism.
2.The borrower must be clearly informed by the bank that, by concluding a loan agreement in a foreign currency, he / she is exposed to a certain foreign exchange risk that he / she may find it difficult to cope with in the event of a devaluation of the currency against …

How Brexit will affect UK trademarks’ use in the EU

By Paris Hadjipanayis , Lawyer  The EU Trademark Regulation grants no express benefit to any trademark registered outside the European Union. Effectively, in the post Brexit era, UK national trademarks shall no longer enjoy protection from third-party counterfeiting, passing-off, unauthorized use, and distribution as well as licensing vis a vis exploitation by similarly confusing goods, services and intra-trades within the Union. This is partly because the European Union Intellectual Property Office [EUIPO] holds a database (art.112) via its online platform (eSearch plus) with all filed and registered EU marks for effectuating its checks and controls on a preliminary stage to either grant registration of a mark for the corresponding class of goods and services (as per the Nice Classification) or file an objection and/or reject the application. What is the tort of passing-off and why registration of a Trademark through EUIPO will become essential to UK holders who deal in the EU post Br…

A revolutionary decision for crypto fans has emerged by the Berlin Court of appeals

By Soulla Dionysiou, Lawyer * Transactions in Bitcoin do not constitute a bank transaction and certainly such transactions are not a criminal offence. This was ruled by the Berlin Court of Appeals in its recent decision which criticized the authority of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (BaFin). Αccording to a report published in the website of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (, the case concerned a 16-year old who created a digital platform in cryptocurrency, without being licensed by the Central Bank. BaFin, found a violation of the Banking Act and the Berlin Court then imposed a fine. The decision, however, was overturned by the Berlin Court of Appeals, which ruled that Bitcoin is neither a financial instrument nor a unit of account, and it is not an alternative currency or considered as electronic-money. In this very important decision, BaFin’s authority and competence for this type of transactions becomes questionable, as according to the decision,…

Extraterritorial Scope of GDPR: The effects of the Regulation on non-EU businesses

By Ioanna Michalopoulou, Lawyer LLM* The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is not explicitly a global law, but it might be on the way to becoming a de facto law beyond the boundaries of Europe, at least for a number of businesses. GDPR, which was enforced on the 25th of May 2018, affects all businesses based in EU territory acting as data controllers or data processors of personal data of data subjects who are located within the Union, similar to the previous European data protection law (Directive 95/46/EC). An important question, then, arises as to whether businesses that are based outside the European Union and process personal data, fall under the GDPR’s scope. The European legislature, in an effort to protect data subjects from the arbitrary processing of their personal information by non-EU businesses, expanded the territorial scope of the Regulation. Article 3 GDPR states that the “GDPR applies to the processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the Union by …

Brexit: Reciprocal visa-free access for EU and UK nationals

UK nationals would be able to enter the EU visa-free for short periods after the country’s exit, provided EU nationals enjoy the same conditions when travelling to the UK. With 502 votes to 81 and 29 abstentions, plenary backed on 4/4/2019 the draft law exempting UK citizens from visa requirements to enter the EU for short visits after the country leaves the European Union. The legislation will apply from the day following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. From that date, UK nationals who are British citizens will not be required to get a visa for stays in the EU of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The United Kingdom will be included in the list of more than 60 third-countries and territories whose nationals do not need to request a visa to enter the EU for business, tourism or to visit relatives or friends. The visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU. The EU will grant the visa waiver to UK citizens unilaterally, but on the basis of reciprocity…

Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, judge in respect of Greece, elected President of the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights has elected on 1.April 2019 Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greek) as its new President. He will take office on 5 th May 2019. Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos succeeds Guido Raimondi (Italy). Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos was born on 9 May 1960 in Athens, Greece. He is Judge of the European Court of Human Rights since 18 May 2011 He was elected as President of Section of the European Court of Human Rights since 1 February 2017 and Vice-President of the Court since 1 May 2017 . Mr Sicilianos is also author of five monographs, editor or co-editor of 14 books and author of about 100 articles and studies in general international law and the international protection of human rights, in French, English and Greek. Read more here

Student’s arrest and detention for allegedly filming a dance and uploading it to the Internet was not lawful

In judgment in the case of Rustamzade v. Azerbaijan (application no. 38239/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned a student’s arrest and detention in 2013 for allegedly filming some friends dancing in a park and uploading the video of it to YouTube. He was charged with hooliganism and spent one year in pre-trial detention. He was convicted in 2014 as charged, as well as of mass disorder and arms offences which had in the meantime been added to the list of charges, and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. The Court found in particular that the facts relied on in the domestic proceedings could not reasonably be considered to constitute criminal behaviour as defined under domestic law or as interpreted by the higher courts. Mr Rustamzade had therefore been arrested and detained without a reasonable suspicion that he had co…