Brexit-shattered-glass

UK trying to convince EU Irish backstop is illegal under its own treaties

British Brexit negotiators are trying to convince the EU that the controversial Irish “backstop” the two sides agreed to, is actually unlawful under the bloc’s own treaties.

Speaking after a tour of EU chiefs in Brussels and Strasbourg on Tuesday, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay said he believed the indefinite backstop was in fact not legal because “Article 50 under the European treaty says that it must be temporary”.

He said this argument was “very much the message that we’ve taken to European leaders” – the latest glimpse inside the UK’s frantic efforts to try and extract a change in policy.

“The key issue is that we need to deliver an outcome that is legally binding on the backstop,” Mr Barclay told reporters after his meetings.

“That’s the key issue because Article 50 under the European treaty says that it must be temporary and yet the advice from the UK attorney general sets out a concern that it could be indefinite.

“So this link between what is legally temporary under the Article 50 but what the UK attorney general has said could be indefinite is the key issue and that’s very much the message that we’ve taken to European leaders.”

The EU has previously expressed legal doubts about whether the withdrawal agreement can be used to set the future relationship with the UK – thought here is no section of Article 50 that expressly says any of its provisions must be temporary.

Mr Barclay is among ministers and officials to have gone back to the continent to try and extract changes to the withdrawal agreement – after Brexiteer MPs instructed the government to ditch the backstop.

The EU says it will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, and that the UK should shift its red lines if it wants a more ambitious future relationship. Both sides say they are preparing for no deal.

The Brexit secretary would not answer whether he thought the changes he sought could be made without reopening the withdrawal agreement, saying only that “we’ve started a process”.

Asked whether he thought a deal could be sorted out before the March summit of the European Council he was also unclear, stating that “we’ve been very clear that time is of the essence”.

Speaking after his meeting with Mr Barclay, Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit chief cast doubt on the value of talks.

Multiple wins for A&O at Global Transport Finance Awards

Allen & Overy took home the headline award, Transportation Law Firm of the Year at the recent Global Transport Finance awards which recognises the leaders in aviation, shipping and rail finance and the most innovative and complex deals in the market.

Global Head of Structured & Asset Finance, Mario Jacovides comments: “We are very proud to be the winner of this year’s Transportation Law Firm of the Year award which recognises the market leading, complex and innovative deals that we have worked on throughout the year across the whole of the transportation sector. This accolade is a further testament to the global expertise we have in aviation, shipping and rail, which allows us to meet our clients’ needs.”

The team also picked up six individual deal awards. They included:

Aviation Portfolio Deal of the Year – advising the secured parties on a USD700m facility relating to the financing and refinancing of a portfolio of 19 aircraft for CDB Aviation;

JOLCO Financing Deal of the Year, Latin America – advising UKEF and ING on the JOLCO financing of a Boeing 787 aircraft which was the first UKEF-supported JOLCO financing to a Latin American carrier;

Cruise Ship Deal of the Year – advising SACE and a syndicate of lenders (BNP, Unicredit) on the pre- and post-delivery financing of two new Fincantieri-built LNG powered cruise ships for TUI Cruises GmbH which are the largest ships ever to have been built in Italy;

Shipping Portfolio Sale of the Year – advising Oak Hill and Värde on the acquisition and USD1bn financing of the Project Lioness portfolio of shipping loans from Deutsche Bank;

JOLCO Deal of the Year, Middle East – advising Investec Bank as junior lender and BNP Paribas and DekaBank as senior lenders on the JOLCO financing of one new Boeing 787-9 aircraft for El Al Israel Airlines which was the first JOLCO financing in Israel and for El Al Israel Airlines;

Tax Lease Deal of the Year – advising the AFIC insurer group on the French Tax Lease financing of a Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 737 aircraft for Royal Air Maroc.

For further information, please contact Susanna Robinson, susanna.robinson@allenovery.com​, on +44 (0)20 3088 3918

handshake deal

U.S. legal/tech provider Elevate acquires NewLaw firm Cognatio in HK

Elevate, a U.S.-headquartered provider of legal and technology services has acquired Cognatio Law, a Hong Kong-based contract-lawyer firm.

Cognatio Law was founded in February last year by Lesley Hobbs, previously the head of client solutions in Hong Kong for Lawyers on Demand together with Tim Fawcett, formerly the interim COO of boutique family law firm CRB. Elevate provides consulting, technology, tech-enabled managed services and flexible lawyering support to the legal sector. ‘

It recently also acquired legal AI technology consultancy LexPredict, contract lifecycle management provider Sumati Group, UK NewLaw legal resourcing firm Halebury, and Yerra Solutions, company providing consulting, technology and managed services.

LL PHOTO

Linklaters launches employment platform for tech start-ups

Linklaters has launched an innovative platform aimed at helping tech entrepreneurs turn their small business into a company with the potential to grow. TechLinks, a new online resource, will offer a select number of small and start-up technology businesses access to key employment documents and resources from one of the leading magic circle firms, providing them with vital company guidance on how to legally protect and enhance their business when building a workforce.

TechLinks offers an interactive site where tech businesses can download employment contracts and other resources which are the essential building blocks of a secure and stable company. It will also provide insights and trends on the current market and a glossary of terms to make it accessible to those without a legal background.

David Speakman, Counsel at Linklaters commented:

“We have found that start-ups and small technology businesses have a need to protect the value in their business. Key questions need to be addressed at an early stage of their development, such as what happens if their key employees (often the founders) leave before the business gets to a sale or how to properly protect the business’ unique IP. This is also important when the business seeks investment, as investors will look to see if these protections are in place. We hope that TechLinks will help companies get the basics right from the start.”

Laurie Ollivent, Practice Development Lawyer at Linklaters, has been working alongside small and start-up technology businesses at WeWork. She said:

“By working alongside small tech businesses we have gained a real understanding of the issues these businesses face during the early stages of their development. We are able to bring together this insight with our longstanding experience of working with large, multinational tech companies to provide small and start up tech businesses with the guidance they need in the early stages to enable them to build their teams the right way from the start, attract and retain talent, avoid future disputes and appeal to investors.”

Byron Romain Joins White & Case as a Partner in Houston

Global law firm White & Case LLP continues to expand its Houston office with the addition of new partner Byron Romain. Romain will be part of the Firm’s Global Project Development and Finance Practice and will work closely with its Global Oil & Gas Industry Group.

“Byron is a highly skilled and experienced lawyer who has an impressive track record working on significant projects across the oil & gas industry,” said Philip Stopford, Co-Head of White & Case’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “His arrival coincides with the first anniversary of the Firm opening our Houston office, which signals our commitment to expanding the leading capability of our oil & gas expertise within the region.”

Romain’s practice includes representing major and independent oil & gas companies, sovereigns, quasi-governmental agencies, private equity sponsors and portfolio companies in the acquisition, disposition and development of oil & gas projects in the upstream and midstream sectors. He also advises on asset and equity deals, joint venture/development arrangements, equity investments and financing/lending arrangements.

Romain joins White & Case from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was previously the head of its North American oil & gas A&D practice.

“Expanding our industry expertise across the oil & gas industry is a pillar of our 2020 strategy,” said Jason Webber, Co-Head of the Firm’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “Byron’s arrival reinforces this goal, and his sophisticated technical skills and extensive knowledge of the oil & gas sector will play an integral role in further enhancing our client offering in Houston, and across the wider Americas region.”

Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin

Leader Announcement

Me Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin is shortlisted by Global Law Experts for the following award:

Sports Law – Lawyer of the Year in France – 2019.

Russia court upholds restriction of foreign ownership of media

The Russian Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the restriction of foreign ownership of media is legal.

The court upheld a law restricting foreign ownership of media to twenty percent.

The case came to the court “after arbitration courts declared a dual Russian-Dutch citizen’s 49-percent stake in a radio station illegal.” The court stated that the reason for this ownership limit is “to prevent the strategic influence and control of the media” because this influence “may threaten the state’s information security.”

The court also ordered lawmakers to make certain portions of the bill clearer.

HONG KONG HK

KMW expands in HK with partner duo from Mayer Brown

King & Wood Mallesons has hired two partners in Hong Kong: Ashley Wong joins the firm as its local aviation head from Mayer Brown, while Wang Yu joins as a partner from Morrison & Foerster, where he was of counsel.

Wong, has over 15 years of experience in aviation matters, advising airlines, leasing companies, maintenance and repair organisations and other market players on aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals, pre-delivery payments financing, sale and lease-back arrangements, acquisitions and disposals of new and used aircraft and engines, dry leasing and wet leasing of aircraft, long-term airframe and engine maintenance arrangements and other commercial arrangements.

Wang has more than 10 years of experience advising on securities offerings, private equity and other corporate transactions. He represents corporate clients, investment banks and private equity funds on transactional matters including capital markets, private equity and financial derivative products.  Wong and Wang join KWM a couple of months after the firm hired Ling Huang as a partner in its Beijing office.

London City

Crowell & Moring plans London training contract after Squires hire

Crowell & Moring’s new London managing partner Robert Weekes has set out plans to launch a training contract in the City office, having joined the US firm today from Squire Patton Boggs.

Weekes’ move was revealed by Leaders in Law last November, months after it was revealed that Squires’ global head Stephen Mahon would be relocating from the US to lead operations in London.

As head of Crowell’s London office, Weekes will be filling a similar position as before, having been a former City managing partner of Squires.

Now in his new role, Weekes said he plans to bring in a training contract to the London office from September 2021. His plans for the London office also include a pledge to triple its headcount by the end of 2022; Crowell currently has nine partners in London and six fee-earners.

To grow, Weekes has highlighted expansion in litigation, followed by the corporate group and regulation practices. Banking, insurance and financial regulation will be part and parcel of this growth plan. Weekes himself is a litigator, specialising in the financial disputes and investigatory work.

Litigator Weekes will take over from partner Jim Regan, who shares his time between the London and Washington offices. Regan had served as the point of contact between the firm’s head quarters and the London office.

Founded in 1979 by a group of 53 breakaway lawyers from Jones Day, Crowell totals more than 500 lawyers around the world.

Weekes said: “The firm wouldn’t have hired me if it didn’t want to grow. I have a reputation for expansion. I see myself as a person who knows how to grow teams that work well together across practice groups to find innovative and commercial solutions for clients.”

Crowell currently counts Microsoft, BMW, Siemens and BlueCross BlueShield among its clients.

Increase in share capital (football club – by extension)

The French Supreme Court related to private matters (Cour de cassation) ruled as a ratio decidendi on 28 November 2018 that the single vote on the resolution related to an increase in share capital reserved to employees is considered satisfactory to regularize an increase in share capital not subject to a vote on a preceding general meeting. This allows the possibility for a general meeting to ratify an increase in share capital reserved to employees (due to the relativity of the nullity – nullité relative). The legal concept that may be considered as underpinning the ratio decidendi is the French appearance theory: the ratification is being made possible by the subscribers (employees) having legitimately believed that the increase in share capital was regularly made.

This is in line with the spirit of company law to allow ratification as much as possible to ensure legal safety. In light of this, it is reasonable to think that this ratio decidendi can therefore be extended to other types of increase in share capital (not only reserved to employees). In particular, this ratio decidendi would be used (with an analogical reasoning) for an increase in share capital in the field of sports law (or IPOs), such as in football. In this respect, an increase in share capital of a football club would be subject to a ratification in the same manner.

Author: Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin