This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 20th January 2014

Jonathan Ames

Not since Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy popped Katherine Ross on his handle bars and twirled round the Wyoming countryside has a cycling incident made such a media splash. The evening of 19 September 2012 – when then-government chief whip Andrew Mitchell attempted to cycle through the gates of Downing Street – has taken its place in popular and political culture infamy. Mitchell’s contretemps with the Bobbies may have lasted less than a minute, but the row has had a long wake. Part of the fallout is Mitchell’s libel action against a tabloid newspaper, with his lawyers failing to meet recently imposed civil justice budget deadlines. Our commentators from Taylor Wessing say the implications for lawyers are profound: ‘Successful navigation to trial will be dependent on good planning and a clear case strategy from the outset.’ Click here for more information.

Business leaders often moan that the weight of employment law is against them, favouring whinging staff and making it jolly difficult to sack useless wastrels and get on with the job of making piles of cash for proprietors and/or shareholders. But a recent High Court ruling in Kearns v Glencore UK Ltd will provide some succour for captains of industry and small shopkeepers alike that the playing field is at least being levelled. As commentators from law firm Nabarro explain, the court found that ‘the so-called last-straw doctrine applies to employers, as much as it does to employees’. In other words, the principle allowing an employee to resign in response to an event that in itself may be insubstantial but that – taken with a chain of earlier events – amounts to a fundamental breach of contract can be turned round so employers can also rely on it. So bosses can site an employee’s ‘repudiatory’ behaviour when delivering the bullet. Click here for more information.

Aeroplane seats can get the blood boiling. In economy class, they are crammed too close together, creating deep-vein thrombosis breeding grounds; in business, they are overly complicated, with ‘flat-bed’ status often heavily over-promoted. Virgin Atlantic Airways is currently seeing red over a ruling in a patent case involving France’s Zodiac Seats that has been running for six years. Analysts from law firm Wragge & Co point out that the saga has involved two High Court trials, two appeals to the Court of Appeal and one appeal to the Supreme Court. Virgin’s ‘loss in time and irrecoverable costs’, they say, ‘was significant’. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm
DLA Piper: SEC enforcement cases to increase in 2014 — four things public companies need to knowDownload
Mills & Reeve: Government consultation on streamlining listed buildings consent processDownload
Shoosmiths: EMI options changes: are you prepared?Download
Taylor Wessing: New costs rules: the heavy price of non-compliance — the real cost of ‘plebgate’Download
Walker Morris: ECJ endorses insured’s freedom of choiceDownload
More law firms

Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: Corporate Funding Monitor: the changing face of finance — January 2014Download
Company/commercial: Online briefing for private practice: understanding the key consideration in safeguarding your client’s information governance strategies. What are the options available?Download
Employment: Employers can dismiss for ‘last-straw’ failures: a brief guideDownload
Intellectual property: A costly administrative error: the Virgin v Zodiac case and Spain’s challenge to the unitary patent systemDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: Introduction to dispute resolution in the UKDownload
More practice areas

Top five briefings by region 
Asia & Australasia: New amendments to PRC Company LawDownload
Middle East: Law à la Mode — 2013–14Download
Offshore: The Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law: the Cayman Islands’ Confidentiality LegislationDownload
UK and Europe: Bosman: Marc II? — restrictions on ability of footballers to move between clubs ‘infringes their human rights’Download
US & the Americas : CFTC staff advisory on commodity trading advisers and swapsDownload
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