Latest Briefings

AI – Commission publishes new legal framework

I wrote last autumn about the European Parliament’s approval of proposals for the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), and the European Commission has now decisively picked up the legislative baton, publishing its comprehensive framework for an AI Regulation.

Replacing the vertical agreements block exemption: approaching a year to go

On 31 May 2021, the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (VBER), which exempts certain agreements from the EU and UK prohibitions on anti-competitive agreements, enters its final year of service before its scheduled expiry at the end of May 2022. Both the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission (EC) have begun consultations on whether to replace the current instrument and its accompanying guidelines and, if so, how the replacements can tackle some of their predecessors’ shortcomings.

Tech time out – health is wealth

Neil Lloyd, managing director at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, set up Tech Time Out with Stephanie Henson last year after noticing that a lot of noise was being made about the amount of time people were spending on tech, and certainly, COVID just made it worse.

Austria: Supreme Court rules on long-term gas supply contracts

On 25 January 2021 the Supreme Court issued a decision on long-term contracts for the import of Russian natural gas into Austria (16 Ok 3/20g). The contracts had been concluded in 2006 for the supply of unstructured natural gas. All of the contracts expired on 31 December 2027. At the time of their conclusion, such long-term commitments were common for contracts between natural gas producers and importers or wholesalers throughout Europe. The contracts contained an obligation for customers to purchase 83% of the contract volume (at least in the medium term), even if this amount was not actually taken (take-or-pay clause). In 2011 one of the buyers was granted an early termination right.


Alastair Dickson

Focus: A Farr fetched alliance

With the one-stop shop increasingly de rigueur and cross-border alliances looking like yesterday’s model, is it time for Willkie Farr and Dickson Minto to consign their tie-up to the scrapheap? Are alliances really worth the bother? More specifically, is the three-year ­association between Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Dickson Minto worth continuing with? First, some […]


Conflict forces Hogan Lovells partner off Megaupload case

A prominent US-based Hogan Lovells lawyer acting for content-sharing website has been forced to withdraw over conflicts of interest involving another client, it has emerged. It is understood that Hogan Lovells fraud partner Robert Bennett initially advised the company and several executives after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week ordered the […]


Inner Temple sets face summer chaos as Belgian Olympic Committee moves in

Concerns have been raised over the prospect of up to 50,000 visitors to the Inner Temple during the summer Olympics following a deal to allow the  Belgian Olympic Committee (BOIC) to reside there for the event. Management of chambers located in the Inner Temple were called to a meeting with the Honourable Society of the […]

Unsettling times for News Group

The Rolls Building will later today host the parties in the ongoing phone-hacking cases for a pre-trial hearing. This is a widely anticipated trial, with many media lawyers expecting it to be a crucial point in the build up to the expected full trial next month (see blog). There is still time for News of […]


Magic circle firms announce NQ retention rates of 89 per cent

Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have both announced they are keeping 89 per cent of their spring 2012 qualifying trainees. A&O has revealed that 51 of its 57 trainee solicitors have accepted newly qualified (NQ) roles, after the firm made 52 offers. Freshfields is keeping 41 out of 46 trainees, after making 42 […]

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