This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 26th January 2014

Jonathan Ames

Cinema audiences are in the dark as to whether the father of vampire child Eli in 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In availed himself of statutory paternity leave. Her taste for blood would likely have cut it short if he had. Nonetheless, Scandinavian fathers of more conventional offspring have been delighting in enhanced leave provisions for some time. And as our commentators from law firm Walker Morris point out, their UK counterparts are on the verge of being able to enjoy their own shared parental breaks. But before men start winking amorously at their female partners with an eye on some state-funded time off, it remains to be seen how close the British arrangements come to those in Scandinavia, where new Danish parents can share a year of paid leave and Icelandic fathers are entitled to three months off on 80 per cent of salary. Click here for more information.

Solicitors will be well aware of semantic games played with the words ‘acquisition’ and ‘merger’ – and not just those acting on multi-national deals. Even on the high street there are, as the likes of six-partner firm Acme Solicitors cuts a deal with sole practitioner Blogs & Co. It’s a merger, boasts the latter; it’s a takeover, mumbles the former. At the end of last year, reports law firm Nabarro, the Competition Appeal Tribunal attempted to clarify for commerce and industry ‘the line between a transaction that comprises a merger and a transaction that comprises simply the acquisition of assets’. The case involved Groupe Eurotunnel SA and Société Coopérative de Production SeaFrance applying for a review of the Competition Commission’s report on the acquisition by Eurotunnel of assets from the collapsed SeaFrance business. General counsel should pay attention to the tribunal’s findings, advises Nabarro, as the ruling will have an impact on if and when to notify regulators of a pending deal. Click here for more information.

Social media is in the dog house again, with a former England international footballer venting spleen at Twitter for not, in his view, taking adequate steps to prevent half-witted racists from using it to threaten violence. Stan Collymore may have a point, but the smart money is on social media sites not disappearing any time soon. Which raises a huge issue for lawyers, argues technology giant HP Autonomy, around disclosure and discovery obligations in corporate litigation. The techies reckon that an average employee generates enough smartphone social media communication to fill a library (although whether it would be a library worth visiting is debatable) and up to 15,000 emails a year. No more than a decade ago, discovery involved corralling some trainees in a dark room and telling them not to emerge until they had trawled through several scores of box files. Now e-discovery specialists are a necessary part of the litigation fabric. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
DLA Piper:
DIFC court determines it has inherent jurisdiction to stay proceedings in favour of DIAC arbitration
Mills & Reeve: Doctors and social mediaDownload
Shoosmiths: Practical tips for avoiding industrial actionDownload
Taylor Wessing: New rules on selling to consumers in force from 13 June 2014Download
Walker Morris: We’re all Scandinavian now — the countdown to shared parental leaveDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: Main Spanish tax issues to consider when acquiring debt in SpainDownload
Company/commercial: When is a merger not a merger? Jurisdictional developments in UK merger controlDownload
Employment: Employers should not rely unquestioningly on OH report in deciding whether an employee is disabledDownload
Information technology: Reining in escalating e-discovery costsDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: England ‘clearly’ the right forum for privacy and data protection claims against Google Inc, says TugendhatDownload
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Top five briefings by region 
Asia & Australasia: Relaxation of NDRC rules has immediate impact, but uncertainty remains if there is only ever one anointed Chinese bidderDownload
Middle East: An emerging strategic energy relationshipDownload
Offshore: Appleby Finance Newsletter, Q1 2014: Jersey consultation on Review of Financial AdviceDownload
UK and Europe: White paper — connected healthDownload
US & the Americas : Draft social media guidanceDownload
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