This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 18 May 2014

We’ve all done something so embarrassing that we’d like to crawl into a hole and disappear. In other words, from time to time we’d all like to invoke the right to be forgotten – or at least for part of our history to be forgotten. But in public policy terms, should we be allowed to perform a Trotsky on elements of our lives we’d rather didn’t come back to haunt us? In a controversial ruling handed down last week, Europe’s top court says we should have that right. The case involved a Spaniard, social security debts, a report in a Spanish newspaper and a tiny, little internet search engine called Google. British newspapers have spat, jumped in the air and spun around three times in fury over the ruling, which they maintain is a hammer blow to free speech. King Google is smarting because the court threw out its submission that the search engine is merely a data ‘processor’ and not a ‘controller’. Indeed, that element of the judgment could have further profound implications, not least for future allegations of online defamation. Google portrays itself not even as a newsagent, but more as the lorry that delivers newspapers and magazines to the shop. If courts start to rule that it is in fact a publisher libel for defamatory statements, Google’s business model could need a rethink. But that’s a discussion for another day. In the meantime, commentators from global law firm DLA Piper chew over the right to be forgotten. Click here for more information.

Elsewhere, a woman in Australia has won a discrimination claim for being sacked because she was pregnant. Not so newsworthy, come the cries of those who argue that in a country where men are Bruces and women are Sheilas, being given the boot when announcing pregnancy is likely to be common practice. Well, funnily enough, it’s not. Indeed, anti-gender discrimination legislation is quite tough in Oz, but this case is remarkable nonetheless for the size of the award – a whopping A$200,000-plus – and the fact that the Federal Circuit Court joined to the action the two owner-manager employers as personal defendants. Analysts from leading Australian law firm Minter Ellison assess the implications for businesses down under. Click here for more information.

London litigation lawyers have been making a tasty living out of arbitration for a fair few years. Several factors have combined to keep the gravy train on the rails – a good local infrastructure (read: posh hotels), a stable social environment and not half bad lawyers to act as arbitrators and to appear before them. Also, the London Court of International Arbitration – which can trace its roots to the late 19th century – has played a significant role. Now, for the first time in 15 years, the court is overhauling its rules, with a town-hall-style discussion held earlier this month for interested parties to chew over the ramifications. For all those who couldn’t get there, our commentators at law firm Ince & Co summarise. Click here for more information.

Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames

Top five briefings by law firm 
Ince & Co: Empowering London Arbitration – making arbitration easier at the LCIADownload
Minter Ellison: Federal Circuit Court awards more than $200,000 for pregnancy discriminationDownload
Walker Morris: Adapting to change is good business practice – but has your flexibility varied your contract?Download
IBB Solicitors: Care home fraud soaring as families attempt to hide assets from HMRCDownload
NCTM: Communication and reputation on the web: social networks have ultimately become the ‘viral’ environment for online defamationDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: Harvey v Dunbar: satisfaction guaranteed?Download
Company/commercial: Cyber risks and the impact on company directorsDownload
Employment: Professional engineer with ‘significant safety background’ who sent ‘abhorrent e-mails’ loses safety retaliation caseDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: Property is theft – R (Best) v Chief Land RegistrarDownload
Real estate: New figures show UK housebuilding growthDownload
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Top five briefings by region 
Asia-Pacific: Selling cloud computing to government: beyond the privacy and security debateDownload
Offshore: Impact of recent amendments to BVI service out rules on enforcement against BVI assetsDownload
Middle East & Africa: Group companies and the avoiding of subpoenas in terms of sections 417 and 418 of Act 61 of 1973Download
UK & Europe: EU: ECJ rules right-to-be-forgotten principle applicable to search enginesDownload
US & The Americas: Merger enforcement actions below the HSR threshold – top 10 tips in non-reportable transactionsDownload
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