This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 9th February 2014

Jonathan Ames

Conventional wisdom runs that those in their 40s (or even early 50s) will have to work until they are about 105 before being able to afford to retire — and then only provided they live for no more than another five minutes. But some UK civil servants are still looking to take voluntary redundancy around the age of 60 — and those that fancy heading to their gardens at that relatively young age have just won the bonus of a positive Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment. The tribunal backed an appeal that labelled as unfair existing civil service rules capping severance compensation for those aged 60 and older. Our correspondent from law firm Hogan Lovells delves into the detail of Smith v Department of Business & Skills. Click here for more information.

A decade after civil partnerships swept into UK law, same-sex marriages are to be unveiled across England and Wales, with the first ceremonies set for 29 March. In addition to the history, hoopla and confetti, there is, of course, the hugely romantic issue of how to handle pension rights when one spouse dies. Analysts from law firm Nabarro point out that the legislation — the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 — gives surviving same-sex spouses similar occupational pension rights to civil partners. But the lawyers advise that ‘schemes, including those closed to future accrual, need to decide what benefits they will provide to surviving partners [statutory minimum or more generous] and consider what amendments are required to achieve this’. Click here for more information.

Yorkshire is an English county that triggers strong reactions and resonates with many who live nowhere near the region. Flat caps, whippets and puddings are just a few stereotypes that leap to mind; while Gallic panache and cycling are two images that generally don’t. Nonetheless, for some reason, the masters of the Tour de France have decided to kick off this summer’s event in … Leeds, which, for our French readers, is not the first place one would think of rushing to for a pain au raisin and a grand crème. Be that as it may, commentators from law firm Walker Morris warn local Yorkshire businesses to pay heed to the lessons of the 2012 London Olympics. Two years ago, the International Olympic Committee set loose its attack dog lawyers to hunt down with impunity any breaches of its intellectual property. Walker Morris reckons the tour’s organisers are likely to adopt an equally zealous approach to protecting its intellectual property rights. So Tour de France logo-emblazoned Yorkshire puddings will be a risky dish. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
DLA Piper: Senate tax reform proposals: ‘chilling effect’ on real-estate industryDownload
Mills & Reeve: Employing workers overseas: key issuesDownload
Shoosmiths: Cooper v Bank of Scotland: inter-spouse guarantees revisitedDownload
Taylor Wessing: What technological developments will 2014 bring?Download
Walker Morris: Healthy competition — OFT refers private healthcare market to CC for investigationDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area
Banking & finance: What can go wrong in structured trade and commodity finance — lessons for ChinaDownload
Company/commercial: Should merger control be repatriated to the UK?DownloadEmployment: Same-sex marriage: get your scheme ready for the big dayDownload
Intellectual Property: Riding on the coattails of the Tour de FranceDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: Redundancy compensation linked to pension entitlement challenged on age groundsDownloadMore practice areas

Top five briefings by region
Asia & Australasia: The Sharp End: winter 2013 — getting in the (free-trade) zone in ChinaDownload
Middle East: Building your business: a practical guide to international construction, engineering and infrastructure projectsDownload
Offshore: Why pension funds are finding Bermuda captivatingDownload
UK and Europe: European Commission legislative proposal for banking structural reformsDownload
US & the Americas : HSR thresholds will increase to highest levels for transactions in 2014Download
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