This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 10 August 2014

Attitudes towards equality have evolved considerably in the UK since the dark days of the early 1970s, when if you were of ethnic minority origin and/or a woman working in an office you could expect a daily barrage of jokes and lewd suggestions. Then came the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, which was followed a year later by the Race Relations Act, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and finally the Equality Act 2010, which covered age, sexual orientation and religious affiliation. However, there has been something of a lacuna around the delicate issue of caste, not least, presumably, because it is not a subject with which most people in the country are familiar. And indeed, defining caste has caused difficulties. As our commentators from law firm Gateley point out, it can mean different things to different groups. Essentially, the term is generally – but not exclusively – associated with south Asia, particularly India, and its diaspora. But despite shrouds of grey around definition, moves are afoot to amend the 2010 legislation to incorporate provisions outlawing discrimination on the grounds of caste. Click here for more information.

Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames

The image of British policing has had a pretty torrid time recently. When not being portrayed as trigger-happy paramilitary thugs, the rozzers are lambasted for infiltrating protest groups and breaking the hearts of female activists along the way. Now a recent High Court ruling will further contribute to the bunker mentality at Scotland Yard, as London’s Metropolitan Police Service has taken a hit for breaching the human rights of two rape victims. A barrister from Outer Temple Chambers explains the implications of the judgment in favour of two claimants, who argued that police failures in investigating the crimes of the ‘Black Cab Rapist’ breached provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998. The court awarded damages of £22,250 and £19,000 to the two, ruling that the Met’s ‘failure to carry out an adequate investigation into the complaints made by the claimants and other women amounted to a breach of the state’s positive duty under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights to investigate allegations of conduct amounting to torture and/or inhuman or degrading treatment’. Click here for more information.

Millions of Americans have grown up with the gurning image of Ronald McDonald seared into their childhood memories. The friendly clown is not only the purveyor of allegedly sugar-laden burgers, factory-farmed pieces of heavily battered non-specific chicken parts and large vats of sickly sweet milkshakes and super-sized fizzy drinks; he is also an astute businessman who runs one of the largest franchising operations on the planet. But a recent ruling from the general counsel of the US’s National Labor Relations Board involving the fast-food chain could have significant implications for franchising in that country. Our correspondents from transatlantic law firm DLA Piper suggest employment lawyers pay attention as the ruling ‘illustrates that the franchise model – and its underpinning that franchisees are separate and independent businesses – is under attack on several fronts’. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
LK Shields Solicitors: Back to black (and white)? Changes to the assessment of trademarksDownload
Shoosmiths: Fees for Intervention — HSE’s return on interventionDownload
Conyers Dill & Pearman: BVI arbitration — frequently asked questionsDownload
No5 Chambers: Rolling back from William Davis? A note on the significance of Dartford Borough Council v Secretary of State for DCLGDownload
Outer Temple Chambers: Police ordered to pay Human Rights Act damages for failure to conduct an adequate investigation into allegations of rapeDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: US banking regulators warn of weakening lending standardsDownload
Employment: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: some salutary lessonsDownload
Company: Everything you need to know about the new Consumer Rights DirectiveDownload
Litigation: Employment fissuring in franchising: NLRB pursues McDonald’sDownload
Real estate: Caste discrimination — the 10th protected characteristic?Download
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Top five briefings by region
Asia-Pacific: Winds of change sweeping through the employee share scheme landscapeDownload
Middle East & Africa: Iran Sanctions Update — July 2014Download
Offshore: A diverse business: Guernsey’s insurance sectorDownload
UK & Europe: Olympic Airlines — PPF entry rules amendedDownload
US & The Americas: Letter from America: NY High Court to address continuing vitality of ‘separate entity’ rule for international banks with New York branchesDownload
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