How to demonstrate the value of the legal function

One of the most frequently mentioned challenges facing in-house counsel today is how to demonstrate the value which the legal function brings to the business.

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Investing in renewable energy projects in Europe

As the EU and national governments aim to use recovery from the COVID-19 crisis as a springboard for achieving ambitious new climate policy goals and building back greener, this briefing presents an annual status update on legal, policy and commercial initiatives across the European renewables sector.

Changing times: Brexit’s impact on the EU’s financial services market

Following the end of the transition period nearly two months ago, with an EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that largely left out financial services1, it is unsurprising that the UK is forging alliances elsewhere. Even less surprising, then, is that one such ally should be another European nation well known for its financial sector.

EU sanctions – a year in review

The world of sanctions policy and enforcement saw quite a busy year in 2020 – and it seems the trend will not slow down in 2021.

Guide to self-cleaning in European public procurement procedures

With the increase in governments’ stimulus packages, the principles of fairness in competition and compliance with legal rules have proved relevant, enhancing how useful the self-cleaning option is. Understanding what it means and how to benefit from this second chance is all the more key to economic operators.

Taxing the digitalized economy

The significant revenues that companies in the digitalized economy generate, in combination with the greater risk of base erosion and profit shifting due to the lack of a physical presence, mean that countries and the organizations that represent them are increasingly looking at new ways to tax the digitalized economy.

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.

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