The Coronavirus pandemic has undeniably impacted all our lives in one way or another. One of the biggest impacts has been the swift move to home working across multiple industries. Working from home has now become the norm for many workers.
Page 48 of the 2019 Conservative manifesto contains this promise: “in our first year we will set up a Constitution, Democracy & Rights Commission”. When it was first written, the promise was, debatably, a precaution that Conservatives wanted to take in order to ensure that they could “get Brexit done” in the face of legal difficulties. The previous government had been overruled twice by the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) in relation to triggering Article 50 and the attempted prorogation (suspension) of parliament. Now, however, with a large Conservative majority, it is unknown what form this Commission will take. Some fear that the government will use it as a move to take revenge on the courts for these Brexit legal difficulties. Others consider it a necessary change in testing times.
Over the years, high-profile incidents such as the USS Cole bombing and Achille Lauro have led maritime security to be placed at the forefront of international concern, in order to protect trade, national security and retain stability across the global economy. However, despite significant efforts to address criminal activities across the maritime domain, the increased sophistication and capabilities of technology render the new threat of cyber-attacks a significant problem for global business. After a quick look at cybersecurity as a whole, we will delve into three key issues in the maritime security world. Firstly, we will consider the commercial impact of cyber-attacks upon global businesses. Secondly, the increasing demand for maritime insurance in this area and thirdly, how Astaara Company Limited (a maritime insurance company) has accepted the challenge to fulfil these growing demands by providing “game-changing” cybersecurity insurance services across the maritime domain. Where cybersecurity attacks are continuing to grow in sophistication and frequency, the future of maritime security law and insurance resides in protecting against such threats.
On 11 December 2019, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, hailed “Europe’s man on the moon moment”. She was referring to the European Green Deal. The deal is an unprecedented plan, spearheaded by von der Leyen and her Vice-President Frans Timmermans, to transform the EU’s 27 Member States into a region defined by its sustainable development and low carbon economy. It charts a course for the EU bloc to be carbon neutral by 2050. But for this to happen, a lot will have to change.
The UK is in the process of finding out what Brexit really means. The result of the 2016 EU referendum is being decided by talks between 100 EU negotiators and their 100 British counterparts. What will these negotiators make of Brexit? Where will there be compromises? Who will get the best deal?
Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to act as a medium of exchange. It can be used to secure financial transactions, verify asset transfers, and control the creation of additional units. The popularity of cryptocurrencies have sparked several debates on whether they can be considered “real property” in the eyes of the law. This debate is important to consider because if a dispute arose regarding crypto assets, ruling authorities would find it difficult to resolve the matter without any legal certainty or classification of cryptocurrency.
Many have hailed data as the new oil. In half a century the internet has rapidly invaded the lives of its 4.33bn users which has created a new widespread commodity: data. According to the World Economic Forum, the planet produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of it every day. As the capacity of data analytics software has advanced, so has the profitability of collecting large quantities of data. For example, personal data (information not limited to: your health records, banking providers and products, location, beliefs and personal preferences) is worth a lot to advertisers who can use it to specifically target a desired audience. Deriving value from data has helped to create powerful world tech leaders. Some of the most valuable companies in the world (by market value) are tech companies like Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon and Facebook, collectively referred to as GAFAM companies. These companies’ business models are, at least in part, driven by the monetisation of data, which they collect and sell to various buyers.
Law firms are under increasing pressure to introduce more innovative fee arrangements for their clients rather than using the traditional “billable hour” (BH) model. The BH operates by simply multiplying the number of hours worked on a client’s case by the solicitor’s hourly rate. Solicitors log their work time in 6-minute increments via time tracking software, and are expected to bill between 5-7.5 hours a day.
Whilst “Dieselgate” is old news to many, the Volkswagen (VW) scandal has recently resurfaced in the media as six German executives have been charged with “deliberately misleading” authorities and customers. Almost half a million German consumers are still awaiting compensation from the fraudulent car manufacturer for installing cheat devices to pass emission tests. The scandal rocked the world in 2015, outraging environmentally conscious consumers for the abject disregard of the environment and emissions regulations. This global case has transformed collective redress in Europe and exposed not only Volkswagen but also other car manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche.