This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 11 May 2014

It wasn’t so long ago that Britain’s swashbuckling captains of enterprise and industry could cut a swathe through foreign parts – chucking a bung of a few quid here, a crate-load of fags there and even the odd job-lot of silk stockings when required. All by way of oiling the wheels of local bureaucracies and getting deals done. Then parliament got a dose morality and passed the Bribery Act 2010, which threw a bucket of cold water over the party for corrupt pen-pushers and customs officials around the world. But five years before that legislation hit the UK statute books, the now defunct Financial Services Authority operated its own ‘principles for businesses’. The Financial Conduct Authority inherited the code when it was born a year ago, and a historic case has seen insurance broker Besso clobbered with a £315,000 fine. As law firm Memery Crystal explains, the only good news for the insurance boys was that the penalty was reduced from £450,000 for early settlement. Click here for more information.

Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames

Where there’s corruption and other maleficence, there will be whistleblowers that try to bring the bad guys to book. Or at least that is what global regulators hope, as short-staffed watchdogs are increasingly relying on whistleblowers to report impropriety. Indeed, in the US, the authorities routinely pay whistleblowers large bounties to encourage them to come forward, with support for that practice gaining considerable currency on this side of the Atlantic. Analysts at law firm Penningtons Manches report on a recent English case involving a London Metropolitan Police officer and a ruling on whether whistleblowing resulted in his unfair dismissal from the force. Click here for more information.

Sir James Munby is not a name on the lips of many atop the Clapham omnibus, but the judge – who is president of the Family Division – has caused a stir in the heartlands of middle England. The top judge on the family bench told journalists at the end of April that divorce should be made easier by removing it from a judicial process. In place of the courtroom should be a far simpler ‘registrar’ to go along with births, deaths and marriages. No longer will stern judges issue decrees nisi and absolute, but a clerk at the local council will stamp a slip of paper before tucking into his lunchtime cheese and pickle sandwiches. Cue much harrumphing from the traditional values set, which tended to drown out analysis of reforms actually implemented several weeks earlier. As our commentator from law firm Withers points out, measures designed to streamline the family courts aim to cut delays in hearings to vary maintenance, children disputes and public law cases. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm
Memery Crystal: Avoid potential FCA fines: ensure proper anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls are in placeDownload
Shoosmiths: Making your mark at work — the great tattoo debateDownload
JPM: The benefits of doing business in free zones in SerbiaDownload
Mourant Ozannes:
A quick guide to the Cayman Islands’ Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law (2009 Revision)
Conyers Dill & Pearman: Bermuda public companies updateDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: As Guardian Care Homes and Barclays Bank settle their dispute, those in finance are left seeking clarificationDownload
Company/commercial: 2014 Public Company M&A: a short, practical primerDownload
Employment: Whistleblowing — what caused the detriment?Download
Litigation/dispute resolution: Family law revolutionDownload
Real estate: Average London house price attracts death dutiesDownload
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Top five briefings by region
Asia-Pacific: Australia’s answer to FATCA is hereDownload
Can a Royal Court blessing be given to a momentous decision by directors of an underlying company to a trust?
Middle East & Africa: New policy on the appointment of insolvency practitioners — could this be a turning point in the South African insolvency industry?Download
UK & Europe: Spotlight on Belgium — trends in the legal landscapeDownload
US & The Americas: Two months until 1 July safety awareness training deadline: will you be compliant?Download
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