Commercial disputes are often – indeed, normally – fraught affairs, with the parties on both sides more interested in tearing out each other’s throats than sitting down for a nice cup of tea. Historically, the judiciary has actively or passively condoned that confrontational behaviour. But a recent English Queen’s Bench Division ruling is being hailed as a potential turning point, with litigants in the future increasingly likely to be obliged at least to try to play nicely with each other. Our correspondent from Edinburgh-based law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn analyses Emirates Trading Agency Ltd v Prime Mineral Exports Private Ltd  EWHC 2014 (Comm), which he reckons represents ‘a significant departure from the traditional English position’ in that it holds enforceable a contractual obligation on disputing parties to enter into ‘friendly discussions’ before commencing arbitration. Click here for more information.
It may only be the end of August, with autumn still technically another three weeks down the track, but England’s latest Premier League football season has already kicked off. And while debate rages over whether Manchester United will be relegated, whether Crystal Palace will ever settle on a long-term manager and whether Tottenham Hotspur will finally crack the top four – the real issues for lawyers hover around copyright and the clash between financial rules and competition law. Our man on the touchline from law firm Shoosmiths highlights those kill-joy Premiership administrators who aim to clamp down on internet postings of unofficial videos of goals, maintaining in a po-faced style that doing so breaches copyright. Meanwhile, a fellow sheepskin coat-wearer from Dublin law firm LK Shields turns his attention to UEFA’s financial fair play rules, claiming they may unintentionally lead to anti-competitive oligopoleagues. Try getting a central defender to define that term. Click here and here for more information.
Shocking as it may sound, lawyers occasionally get it wrong. And even more astounding, sometimes their actual conduct leaves something to be desired. In the US, slapping miscreant lawyers with financial penalties is increasingly being viewed as only a partial penalty. Far more effective, says our correspondent from law firm Dentons, are punishments that border on public humiliation. He cites several examples, including a lawyer who was directed to write, produce and appear in a training video as sanction for obstructing a deposition, and an entire law firm that was hit with a court order to attend professional education courses after its lawyers made a hash of federal court procedural rules. Click here for more information.
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