This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 2nd March 2014

Jonathan Ames

Standard Life dropped a hand grenade into the acrimonious debate over independence for Scotland at the end of last week. The financial services giant has been based in Edinburgh for 189 years and its suggestion that it would up sticks and move to London if Scots voted to bail out of the union is guaranteed to raise the temperature to Battle of Flodden levels. Financial services generally trigger much frothing around the independence tussle, with lawyers at Taylor Wessing saying the issue of the future of state pensions in a disbanded UK remains unresolved. One of the most contentious suggestions, point out the commentators, is the Scottish government’s proposal for a single-tier pension set at a level of £160 per week, which would be £1.10 a week higher than the rate received by pensioners in the rest of the UK. How will an independent Scotland be able to afford that bit of icing – especially if so many financial services sector workers are shifted south of the border? Click here for more information.

Money is difficult to conceptualise – how can scraps of paper and bits of metal actually amount to huge value? But we are used to those representations of money. Digital cash, on the other hand, is an even bigger mind bender. Which is why law firm Kemp Little’s primer for in-house counsel on digital currencies is welcome, not least against the backdrop of the furore over the biggest of the new breed, Bitcoin. Cyber hackers forced one major Bitcoin exchange to go dark a fortnight ago, and now the Manhattan US attorney is reported to be asking some tough questions. Click here for more information.

At the risk of tempting fate, signs of a global economic recovery are appearing thick and fast. The most recent comes from Anglo-US law firm DLA Piper in its annual European acquisition finance debt report, which claims 2013 ‘was notable for a resurgence in deal activity across Europe after a stagnant six years’. The report cites 367 acquisition finance debt deals, totalling €183bn across Europe last year, a 27 per cent increase in volume on the previous 12 months. But before too many corks are popped, there is caution. New money deals remained rare with only 98 leveraged and management buyouts totalling €39bn completed last year, a three per cent drop on 2012’s figure. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
DLA Piper: European Acquisition Finance Debt Report 2014Download
Mills & Reeve: Lobbying Act — what you need to knowDownload
Shoosmiths: Stormy weather ahead for employers who ignore employee concernsDownload
Taylor Wessing: Pensions Pieces: Scottish independence and what it might mean for pensionsDownload
Walker Morris: Environmental and health and safety fines for large companies — the sky’s the limitDownload
More law firms

Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: Digital currency: a primer for in-house lawyersDownload
Company/commercial: Collateral warranties: bewareDownload
I’ve started so I’ll finish: withdrawal of flexible working was direct sex discrimination
Intellectual Property: Changes to European copyright law force the Beatles to release new tracksDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: The Family Court — one strike and you’re outDownload
More practice areas

Top five briefings by region 
Asia & Australasia: APRA’s new regime on risk managementDownload
Middle East & Africa: Recent changes in international sanctions against IranDownload
Offshore: Deferred prosecution agreements in the UK and their application to Jersey businessesDownload
UK and Europe: ESMA publishes new Q&A on the application of the AIFMDDownload
US & the Americas : New US cybersecurity framework issued: in wake of cyber attacks and lawsuits, how should organisations respond?Download
More regions