Increased yields to cause only minimal losses to CMBS

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Yara’s Libyan fertiliser JV progresses

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XT-1000: a new range of sensors for OEM and end users

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Shell and ITM Power open H2 station

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Mass Flow ONLINE launches new technology

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US eyes Bahrain project, shampoo maker listing, and Plymouth Argyle Football Club stake

first_img In the air: Magic circle firm Clifford Chance advised GKN, the helicopter designer, on a £423m rights issue. GKN said the extra capital will give it greater flexibility in current market conditions, reduce its reliance on debt financing, and allow it to take advantage of growth opportunities. Clifford Chance provided UK and US legal advice. Fired up: National firm Beachcroft advised John Laing and Shepherd Construction on securing private finance initiative contracts, worth £35m, to build five fire stations and a headquarters for three fire authorities in the north east. Newcastle firm Dickinson Dees advised the fire authorities. Powerful project: US firm Shearman & Sterling advised more than 20 lenders, including the US Government, on arranging $2.1bn (£1.3bn) of financing for Bahrain’s Al Dur water and power production project, which is expected to yield 1,230 megawatts of energy. A mix of commercial bank loans, export credit direct loans, export credit covered loans and Islamic financing instruments were used. The Bahraini government was advised by magic circle firm Freshfields. Pilgrims’ progress: City firm Simmons & Simmons advised Japanese businessman Yasuaki Kagami and Kabushiki Kaisha K&K Shonan Management, and City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse advised Mastpoint, on ­acquiring a controlling stake in Plymouth Argyle Football Club. The selling shareholders were advised by Plymouth firm Wolferstans.center_img Hair today: City firm Herbert Smith, alongside Chinese firm King & Wood, advised herbal shampoo maker BaWang on its $215m (£133m) listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Magic circle firm Freshfields, alongside Chinese firm Commerce & Finance Law Offices, advised HSBC and Morgan Stanley as joint bookrunners. Share issue: City firm Norton Rose advised investment bank Jefferies International as sponsor on a share issue by investment company JZ Capital Partners, which raised £140m. City firm Ashurst advised JZ Capital Partners, while Guernsey firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune advised on Guernsey law.last_img read more

Developments on the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

first_img Jonathan Goldsmith is the secretary general of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, which represents around a million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies This story does not have Rebekah Brooks in it, nor details of high-wire acts to save the dollar and the euro. There are no wars or celebrities in sight. In other words, it is perfect summer reading. I have written before about the European Union’s efforts to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is required by the Lisbon Treaty. When I wrote 18 months ago, I listed the problems that needed to be tackled. Well, here is the summer good news: a provisional agreement has been reached. The bad news is that complicated manoeuvres are still required. For instance, the draft will need the backing of the Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. At the same time, the commission is expected to ask the European Court of Justice’s (EJC’s) opinion, after which the EU’s Council of Ministers and MEPs will have to give their approval. Only then will the draft be sent for ratification to the Council of Europe’s 47 member states and the EU’s 27 member states, many of them the same countries twice over. Phew, it must have been easier to obtain phone-hacking clearance at the former News of the World. The first problem I highlighted 18 months ago was the appointment of a judge by the EU to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). There has been no mechanism to date for the EU to appoint judges like this. The proposed solution is that a delegation of the European parliament will be entitled to participate, with the right to vote, in the sittings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (and its relevant bodies) whenever it exercises its functions related to the election of judges. The European parliament will have the same number of representatives in the assembly as a state with the highest number of representatives, in other words 18. After all this, one judge will be appointed on behalf of the EU – and so democracy is saved. The next problem I outlined was the relationship between the highest court in the EU, the ECJ in Luxembourg, and the ECHR in Strasbourg. Which would govern when adjudicating on the same convention? Here the procedure is also complicated, for the following reasons. Normally, a claimant must exhaust domestic remedies before applying to the ECHR. Where the claim involves the EU, though, parties before the national courts may only suggest a reference to the ECJ and not enforce it. Therefore, this procedure cannot be considered as a legal remedy that an applicant must exhaust before making an application to the ECHR. However, and here comes the complication, without such a preliminary ruling, the ECHR would be required to adjudicate on the conformity of an EU act with human rights, without the ECJ having had the opportunity to do so first. This situation is expected to arise rarely, but an internal EU procedure will be put in place to ensure that the ECJ has the opportunity to review the compatibility with the convention of the provision of EU law which has triggered the participation of the EU as a co-respondent. This review procedure should take place before the ECHR decides on the merits of the application. The parties involved – including the applicant, who should be given the possibility to obtain legal aid – will have the opportunity to make observations in the procedure before the ECJ. The ECJ will not assess the act or omission complained of by the applicant, but only the EU legal basis for it. The subsequent assessment of the ECJ will not bind the ECHR. In order not to delay proceedings unduly, the EU will ensure that the ruling is delivered quickly. An accelerated procedure before the ECJ already exists – the ECJ is able to give rulings under it within six to eight months. Wow, that’s it – and I think the collapse of the euro, although more devastating, is easier to follow. All of this is important because, among other things, accession by the EU to the convention will give credibility to the EU when calling on its neighbours to adhere to the convention; it will give citizens of the EU the same protection against actions of the EU as we have against those of the member states, which is all the more important given that substantial powers have been moving towards the EU in recent years; and it will lead to more harmonious development of the case law on human rights between the Luxembourg and Strasbourg courts. Such progress makes a welcome change anyway from the rest of the summer’s dismal developments.last_img read more

Are you being served?

first_imgMuch of the current workload of the Technology & Construction Court judges involves deciding whether adjudicators’ decisions should be enforced. Enforcement proceedings require the issue of a Notice of Claim in the High Court, to be followed by an application for summary judgment pursuant to Part 24 of the Civil Procedure Rules. It will be necessary to persuade the judge that there is no defence to the adjudicator’s award which should be enforced. Whereas the parties are free to refer the dispute to an arbitrator or judge in due course, the principle of “pay first, litigate later” is well established.  But is it always necessary to obtain an adjudicator’s decision as a pre-requisite to demonstrating there can be no defence to a claim for outstanding money?  Reference to the recent case of ISG vs Seevic (December 2014) suggests that adjudication is not always a pre-requisite. This was where a payer had clearly failed to comply with the payment requirements of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (LDEDC).ISG made an interim application for payment (Application No 13) in the sum of £1,097,696.  An adjudicator held that ISG was entitled to this sum as Seevic, its employer, had not served a payment notice or a pay less notice.  Four days before the adjudicator made that decision, Seevic served a notice of adjudication hoping to obtain a decision that the value of ISG’s works was less than the amount of its application, as previously awarded in the first adjudication.  The same adjudicator, in the second adjudication, indeed found that the value of ISG’s works was less than the amount already awarded and sought to reduce ISG’s entitlement.  If the employer in this case had failed to serve any notices, it had to be taken to be agreeing the value stated in the application rightly or wronglyHowever, the court upheld ISG’s claims to the greater sum, concluding that the adjudicator had no jurisdiction to decide the value in the second adjudication process.  If the employer in this case had failed to serve any notices, it had to be taken to be agreeing the value stated in the application rightly or wrongly.  In the second adjudication, Seevic was really asking the adjudicator to value the work when it had already decided the amount of ISG’s entitlement.  To find otherwise, the court concluded that the statutory regime imposed by the LDEDC Act would be completely undermined. This decision demonstrates the importance to all paying parties of serving valid payment notices within the requisite time limits. Any failures invites the payee to despatch a default notice and as seen, the courts will not be influenced by any suggestion that the payee’s valuation in its notice is excessive, leading to it being overpaid.A payee with such a valid claim, if pursued by an adjudication, will at least have incurred his own legal costs which will be irrecoverable. Why not then refer the matter directly to the court? There is no requirement to comply with any Pre-Action Protocol where it is contended that there is no defence to the claim.  It is true that the courts have now substantially increased the fees scale when commencing proceedings. For example, the court fee payable on commencing an action in the High Court is £10,000 if the amount claimed exceeds £200,000 and the fee for a summary judgment application is £155. These fees are effective as from April of this year. These are large sums, but costs do follow the event. Thus if the claim succeeds, and summary judgment is granted, not only should the successful party be reimbursed these fees but it should also have its own legal costs assessed and paid. Also, by eliminating the adjudication process altogether, this produces an even bigger saving. Thus whereas the initial outlay may be greater than adjudication, there is certainly far greater recoverability. Litigation was once referred to by an eminent judge as like betting on the horses but without the same degree of certainty. This does not include situations where a party has clearly failed to comply with the payment notices procedures. ISG vs Seevic, as supported by the following decisions, makes clear that the payment claimed in any payee’s default notice has to be paid whatever the actual value of the works may be. In such a situation the payee should apply to the court for summary judgment which should provide it with a speedier and cheaper solution and avoid the additional costs of an adjudication.Jeffrey Brown is a partner in the London office of Veale Wasbrough Vizardslast_img read more

NASA balloon recovered by BNSFL

first_imgThe balloon itself, which had been launched in New Zealand, was relatively easy to get to, but accessing the payload proved more challenging, said BNSFL.Experts from BNSFL determined that the local terrain and single lane road that dropped about 2,000-3,000 ft (600-900 m) were too precarious for both the equipment and personnel needed for the operation, so a helicopter was brought in. After the team managed to recover all the equipment, everything was transported to Lima and flown back to Houston.BNSFL represents the Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) in the USA. Photo credit: NASA – Bill Rodmanwww.bnsflogistics.comwww.wwpc.eu.comlast_img

Online courts will cut need for lawyers – IT guru

first_imgSolicitors will inevitably be phased out of low-value claims work with the advent of online courts, the architect of the digital scheme has predicted.Professor Richard Susskind – author of a 2008 book entitled The End of Lawyers? – today called on the government to implement a new system of online dispute resolution, HM Online Court. The scheme would involve ‘facilitators’ working with litigants to prevent their dispute going any further, with judges ruling online – possibly through video conferencing – for cases that cannot be settled.Susskind (pictured) revealed that the scheme’s facilitators are unlikely to be legal professionals and he admitted there is going to be less work for solicitors as a result of the drive to online dispute resolution (ODR).‘What we are saying is for certain categories of dispute if they are going to be sorted out at a reasonable cost it is hard to see how lawyers can be heavily involved in the process,’ said Susskind. ‘With a dispute of several hundred pounds is hard to see how you can engage a legal team.’Susskind, who was commissioned by the Civil Justice Council, which today published the report, recommended ‘automated negotiation’ to help parties resolve their differences without the intervention of human experts. This could involve so-called ‘blind bidding’ in trying to come to a settlement.Master of the rolls Lord Dyson, who appeared alongside Susskind at a press conference to announce the report, agreed that fewer lawyers will be involved in lower-value cases in future.‘Lawyers have been eased out from considerable areas in which they used to operate,’ he said. ‘The growth of litigants in person is just another example of that.’‘This is not the end of the lawyer in litigation, it is just a recognition of the fact there is not much scope for lawyers to play a part in these low-value claims.’Susskind said the second part of the CJC’s work, after the report itself, is to convince the government to take on the plans. A website was set live this morning with interviews from experts explaining how the scheme would work in practice.Dyson insisted the online court proposal should receive support from all political parties and will also be seen favourably by judges and litigants alike.‘There is no reason to believe litigants prefer to have to go to a court and have the panoply of a hearing before a judge – for most people that is a pretty terrifying experience and the last thing they want to do.’The Bar Council, however, sounded a sceptical note about the proposals. In a statement today a spokesperson said: ‘Like the authors of this report, we are deeply concerned about the rise in litigants in person in many areas of law. Making processes easier, more accessible, and simpler are laudable objectives. But we must be wary of creating a system which is over-simplified and does not do justice to the circumstances of particular cases.’Justice will not be served if people with complex claims find themselves funnelled down routes that are designed for a quick result at the expense of proper consideration of relevant facts in their case. Dispute resolution, online or in court, must deliver the same quality of justice as more traditional routes.’A Law Society spokesperson said: ‘This is an exciting and interesting proposal that clearly calls for further detailed consideration. Starting with a blank sheet has merit but there are also lessons that should be learned about existing systems from experienced practitioners. Proper consultation and proper investment would be essential.’last_img read more