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Jonathan Goldsmith is secretary general of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, which represents about one million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies. He blogs weekly for the Gazette on European affairs The struggle over the financial limits for small claims is an issue which is traditionally difficult for lawyer policymakers, because of the apparent conflict between public and private interests. The raising of personal injury claim levels in the UK has caused a fuss, and now the topic has appeared on the EU justice agenda. I can think of two different policy areas in the past where the apparent conflict also occurred. When law centres began to be established in the 1970s, there was an argument as to whether the Law Society should waive the conditions on practising certificates to allow free advice to be given to anyone off the street by someone with the status of a lawyer employed by a third-party organisation. Privately, many feared that free advice would erode the market of high street solicitors – until it was discovered that many law firms established themselves around law centres, and were making money from their referrals. The arguments disappeared. Similarly, many countries still ban foreign lawyers from entering their jurisdictions because their lawyers fear that the big Anglo-Saxon firms will erode their market share. This is despite the fact that markets which have opened – for instance, Hong Kong or Brussels, never mind London – have found that local firms benefited from the influx of foreign lawyers, and picked up clients and expertise. Now the European Commission is carrying out a consultation on the European small-claims procedure, and one of the issues is whether the current qualifying limit of €2,000 should be raised. In the one corner, there is the pro-lawyer argument, which can look to unsympathetic outsiders like corporatism (‘consumers need legal advice if they are to be successful in a claim’) and, in the other, the representatives of consumerism (‘claiming your rights should be cheap and easy’) – although to unsympathetic outsiders that can also look like cutting costs without concerns for justice. When lawyers put arguments against raising the limit on small claims – the European consultation raises the possibility of an extension to €10,000 – it immediately looks as if we are trying to protect our market share, particularly in times of economic crisis. But it seems to me that the question of market share is irrelevant, since the outcome can go either way. That is why I have given the past scenarios above about the result for market share in different legal circumstances. Of course it might mean that citizens will not use lawyers for larger claims. But at present the European small-claims procedure is hardly used at all. The counter-argument is that, if the limit is substantially raised, more citizens might use it, and may well turn to lawyers for help in cross-border cases. Similarly, the consumerist argument about access to justice, and its counter about cutting costs without concern for justice, slug themselves to a standstill, at least until the test is tried. That is why I prefer the purely public interest argument that citizens should benefit from legal advice before making a claim. It is true, and borne out by experience. I know of two liberal countries where the courts have led campaigns to bring lawyers back into litigation, on the grounds that it is more efficient in terms of time and money, and leads to a better administration of justice. (I stress that my organisation, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, CCBE, has yet to discuss the question of small claims, and so these are purely personal views.) So what is the European small-claims procedure? It was established on 1 January 2009 in all member states other than Denmark through Regulation 861/2007. It was introduced for the usual reasons: to simplify and speed up small-scale cross-border litigation, and to reduce costs. It has the following features: there is a written procedure, but with the possibility to hold a hearing; there are multilingual standard forms; there is no mandatory legal representation; the loser-pays principle is limited to reasonable costs; it encourages the use of IT, for example videoconferences – and the use of technology will grow, since the small-claims procedure is one of those being piloted in the e-CODEX project, linking up member states’ e-justice systems, which will in due course make more electronic legal transactions a reality; it is available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and judgments are directly enforceable in other member states. After almost five years of use, the European Commission is carrying out this assessment, with a view to presenting a report by the end of the year, accompanied, if necessary, by a proposal for revision. The deadline is 10 June 2013. It is not too late to give your views – only don’t mention market share…
The solicitors’ representative body is on collision course with the legal complaints handler after refusing to support plans for a 20% budget increase.The Law Society said today that the Legal Ombudsman had given little information about why it needs an extra £2.4m for 2020/21. This would increase the ombudsman’s budget to £14.8, paid for by the profession.The Office for Legal Complaints announced in December that the increase would cover £1.2m on additional staff, £400,000 to improve feedback to the profession, and £800,000 for IT and inflation.But in its official response the Society states that it can not support such figures, particularly when many lawyers are dissatisfied with the ombudsman’s performance.The response states that the OLC is seeking a significant increase but ‘has not provided information about how the increase will be funded or any evidence-based explanation or assurance that this will result in a clear improvement in service delivery both to legal service users and providers’.The ombudsman ‘needs to address’ the profession’s main concerns, namely delays in investigation and decision-making, unrealistic time scales for responding to correspondence, inconsistent decisions and a failure to keep service providers informed.The Society points out that in 2017/18 and 2018/19 the OLC underspent its budget by nearly £900,000 in each year as the number of complaints accepted for investigation fell.The proposed need for an increase in staff levels is therefore ‘difficult for us to understand’, the Society states. While the OLC expects to close more cases in 2020/21, there is no explanation for how such a figure has been calculated.Meanwhile OLC figures suggest that staff turnover was as high as 18.5% in March 2019 and exceeded 15% for the previous two months. The Society suggests addressing this should be a priority for the service, along with reducing the backlog in cases and using existing resources to reduce delays.The response concludes that the OLC has not provided ‘credible evidence’ to support the requested increase, and the profession has little appetite for any such change.It adds: ‘If yet more costs are enforced on the profession, solicitors will be left with little choice but to pass them on to clients, which could further undermine access to justice, an outcome clearly at odds with the broader public interest.’The OLC will respond once its consultation closes. The Legal Services Board will then be required to approve any budget changes and the subsequent contributions from the profession.
URUGUAY: The Ministry of Transport & Public Works has received three bids for the Ferrocarril Central contract.The public-private partnership deal would cover the upgrading and subsequent maintenance of the 273 km line between Montevideo and Paso de los Toros. The three bids opened on May 29 were submitted by:Via Central consortium: Saceem, Berkes, Sacyr, FNG; Acciona Construcciones; C-Mec and SDHS of China.Following a 30-day technical evaluation, the economic proposals will be assessed.The scope of the modernisation works would include double tracking, raising axle loads, grade separation and the construction of a section of new alignment.
DR Congo army launches operation against militias DR Congo army donates vehicles for December election Delphin Kahimbi was found dead at his home in the capital, Kinshasa, on Friday./AFP Democratic Republic of Congo’s army is investigating the death of its head of intelligence.Delphin Kahimbi was found dead at his home in the capital, Kinshasa, on Friday./AFPDelphin Kahimbi was found dead at his home in the capital, Kinshasa, on Friday, the day he was meant to appear before the country’s security council.He was to answer charges that he was involved in a plot to destabilize President Félix Tshisekedi.General Kahimbi was on an EU sanctions list for alleged human rights violations and hindering the democratic process.Mr Tshisekedi took over from Joseph Kabila in January last year, the first peaceful transfer of power in the country in nearly 60 years – though many disputed the election result.Mr Kabila remains politically powerful and his party is in a coalition government with Mr Tshisekedi’s party.Kahimbi was undoubtedly one of the most powerful figures during Mr Kabila’s time in power, reports the BBC’s Gaius Kowene from Kinshasa.To some the military intelligence chief was an impressive strategist, who helped defeat rebels in the east of DR Congo, BBC reporter says.But to others he was a symbol of the torture and oppression of opponents of the former president, he says.It is not clear yet what exactly killed him. Some sources say he took his own life; his wife has been quoted as saying he had a heart attack. The army released a statement saying his death was a great loss.Earlier in the week, several sources said the general had been suspended because of the allegations he was facing. Related DR Congo Massacre
African e-commerce giant Jumia cuts costs, hopes for lockdown boost Related A worker uses a laptop computer inside a Jumia Technologies AG distribution warehouse in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday. George Osodi/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesRevenues for African e-commerce heavyweight Jumia slid by 10% in the second quarter, dashing hopes that lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus would lead to a flood of online orders.The company also said it would pay $5 million to settle class-action lawsuits alleging misstatements and omissions related to its initial public offering.Shares in the struggling firm were 27% lower by 1350 GMT at $11.82 per share, driven in part by a 13% decline in gross merchandise value (GMV) — a closely watched figure that tallies the total amount of goods sold over the period.Revenue for the quarter fell to 34.9 million euros ($41.1 million). The company said while there were surges in demand in markets that went into total lockdown, this only happened in four countries, which hold 24% of its adjustable market.Softer restrictions elsewhere led to “less drastic changes in consumer behaviour”, Jumia co-founder Sacha Poignonnec said on an earnings call, while the surge in some markets was offset by lost revenue due to logistical problems and closed borders. African e-commerce firm Jumia seeks to boost tourism in Nigeria African e-commerce firm Jumia plans listing on NYSE
InternationalNewsPrintSports FIFA official urges Blatter not to go back on quit promise by: Associated Free Press – June 15, 2015 75 Views no discussions Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Share Share Sepp BlatterPARIS, France (AFP) – The head of FIFA’s audit and compliance unit said on Sunday that changes at the top of world football’s governing body were “indispensable” following reports Sepp Blatter might go back on his decision to resign.“For me, the reforms are the central topic,” wrote Domenico Scala in a statement.“That is why I think it is clearly indispensable to follow through with the initiated process of president’s change as it has been announced.”Scala’s statement came after Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag cited an anonymous source close to Blatter as saying he had not ruled out the prospect of going back on his decision to resign after receiving messages of support from Asian and African federations.When contacted by AFP, FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stuck to their official positions, that Blatter had announced his resignation on June 2 and that the CAF had taken due note.On Thursday, the European Parliament called on Blatter to step down immediately and allow for an interim leader to launch reforms in the organisation.But FIFA have repeated that the 79-year-old Swiss will continue in office until a successor is designated, probably by the end of the year.An extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee will take place in Zurich on July 20, when a date will be fixed for the congress at which Blatter’s successor will be elected.It is likely to take place between December this year and March 2016, according to the audit unit that supervises the electoral procedure.Blatter was reelected late last month in Zurich for a fifth term as president, only three days after 14 FIFA officials and partners were charged as part of a corruption investigation led by US authorities.But four days after that he announced his resignation.
admin Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) Get election news and more local headlines sent toyour inbox every morning (except Sunday). Reported by First-time Farmington city council candidate Maria Taylor has raised more money during this campaign cycle than any other candidate running for a city post in Farmington and Farmington Hills.According to campaign finance reports due Oct. 27, the three incumbents running in Farmington – Greg Cowley, Bill Galvin, and Jeff Scott – all filed waivers indicating they do not plan to receive or spend more than $1,000. Farmington Hills city council candidate Mary Newlin also received a waiver.Joe LaRussa, another first-time Farmington candidate, raised $770, all from individuals.Taylor raked in $6,300, plus $1,900 in in-kind contributions ahead of the pre-election reporting period, which closed Oct. 22. She received about 80 donations, including $250 from the New York-based Launch Progress PAC, which “supports young, bold progressives from diverse backgrounds for state and local office,” according to the organization’s website.Taylor received $500 from the Farmington/Farmington Hills Democratic Club, which also supported incumbent Michael Bridges in the Farmington Hills city council race. Bridges raised a total of $1,200, well behind Valerie Knol, also a Farmington Hills incumbent.Knol took in $5,810 from more than 50 donors, including contributions from candidate committees for State Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) and fellow council member Richard Lerner, as well as the Plunkett Cooney Employees PAC and Waste Management Employees Better Government Fund.Farmington Hills candidate Samantha Steckloff took in $4,396 from nearly 60 contributors, including the Greig Leadership Fund, which supports progressive Michigan women elected officials and candidates, and Waste Management Employees Better Government Fund.Steckloff also received funds from candidate committees for State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-District 13), Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash (D), State Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), and fellow council member Richard Lerner. Farmington Hills Mayor Ken Massey, who is running unopposed, raised $3,575 from 26 donors, including Republican Oakland County Commissioner Bill Dwyer’s campaign committee.To view local campaign finance reports, visit oakgov.com.
jonihubred Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) Farmington officials decided on Monday to continue a ban on facility rentals and allowing special events on city property, but some raised questions about the delay.City Manager David Murphy recommended extending the ban and taking another look at the August 18 meeting. Rentals have not been allowed this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state-imposed limits on outdoor gatherings.A June Executive Order allows gatherings of up to 100 people outdoors, with social distancing. Officials last discussed the events policy on June 1.“The reasons then are the same now… We do not have the personnel to ensure social distancing is being observed,” Murphy said.While the City of Farmington Hills is renting picnic shelters, he added, they hold no more than 50 people, and park rangers and other personnel are available to monitor gatherings and sanitize facilities. Murphy said with numbers rising again, other cities and groups are canceling events into October.“It’s happening all across the state and all across the country,” he said.Mayor Pro Tem Joe LaRussa questioned allowing businesses expand into the parking lots but not allowing people to use city parks. Mayor Sara Bowman clarified that parks are open and people can use the pavilions.“We’re just talking about renting them out for parties,” she said. “Everything’s open and available.”So far, all 2020 rentals and events approved have been cancelled with refunds issued. The only event still on the schedule is VegFest, slated September 13 at the Walter Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park.Council member Steven Schneemann asked Murphy to keep tabs on what other cities are doing. He pointed to a recent DDA (Downtown Development Authority) initiative to create “social districts” – outdoor areas where restaurant and bar customers can consume alcohol – as “a proactive measure to try to bring our community back together again in ways that are safe.”“Those are the kinds of things that are positive, that are forward looking, and I would really like, as much as possible, our administration to be thinking more along those same lines… finding ways to bring some hope back to citizens of Farmington,” he said.Bowman said she manages an office with 75 people with 75 different levels of caution about leaving their homes for work.“I really am erring on the side of caution, only because everyone is worried about different things,” Bowman said. “I’m not comfortable yet reopening our parks to residents for rental opportunities.”“I want to say yes whenever we can,” council member Maria Taylor said, adding she supports creative solutions. “I don’t want to give the impression that Farmington is open for large gatherings. I would hate to have big groups of people coming in and inadvertently getting Farmingtonians sick.” Watch the full conversation here: farmgov.com/City-Services/Government/Agendas-and-Minutes/City-Council/2020.aspx Reported by