The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 3rd January 2017

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 3rd January 2017

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.

Criminal Law

Official report proposes lifelong anonymity for child criminals

A government commissioned review of the youth justice system has recommended child criminals remain anonymous once they turn 18 to reduce reoffending rates. Currently, in England and Wales, under 18s are automatically granted anonymity in the youth and the crown courts. However, after they turn 18 the media can publish their identity.

According to The Times, Ministers are thinking about introducing legislation to ensure lifelong anonymity for children. If this legislation had been in place, child murderers of James Bulger (Robert Thompson and Jon Venables) would have had their identities kept anonymous. Charlie Taylor, who published the report, said that ‘‘once the child turns 18 years of age their name may once again be reported, which risks undermining their rehabilitation as their identity could be established on the internet even though a conviction may have become spent for criminal records purposes.’’

The Justice for Kids Law charity is promoting the idea of banning the media from disclosing child criminal’s identification and comments “being named and shamed for what they have done or accused of doing prevents them ever being able to move on.” The chairman, Penelope Gibbs, carries on to say that children must be given “maximum possible chance of rehabilitation”. However, the MP conservative for Kettering disagrees as ‘’ the public had a right to know who had been convicted of serious offences’’.

Following the report, the Ministry of Justice will “discuss these proposals with interested parties, including the Home Office, media and youth justice interest groups in order to better understand the case for change and consider the appropriate way forward”.

Read more in The Guardian or the BBC.

Human Rights Law

The New Year Attacks in Turkey

ISIS has claimed that they were behind the New Year attack in Turkey. The attack took place in a nightclub and killed 39 people. A spokesman for ISIS claimed that the act was carried out by “a heroic solider”.  The statement also read “”In continuation of the blessed operations which ISIS carries out against Turkey, a soldier of the brave caliphate attacked one of the most popular nightclubs while Christians were celebrating their holiday”.

The attack seems to have come from IS retaliating on action taken against them by Turkey in neighbouring Syria. Turkey launched military operations in August which intended to push back IS and Kurdish forces and included some of the most intensive fighting against IS in the northern town of al-Bab. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that the nightclub attack was a “message” against Turkey’s operations in Syria but that they would not be affected.

The victims killed in the attack were from 14 different countries. One witness told CNN “After the gunfire everyone started to run toward the terrace. We ran as well. There was someone next to me who was shot and fell on the floor. We ran away and hid under the sofas.”

No doubt Turkey has been facing difficult times with an attempted coup to remove President Erdogan earlier in 2016. This resulted in a state of emergency being declared in Turkey.

What does all this mean for Turkey’s economy? The coup combined with Turkey’s involvement in Syria and decline of tourism has deeply hampered the Turkish economy. During November 2016 the Lira dropped more than any other emerging market economy. Investors are also skeptical and not likely to flow in any capital during 2017 in Turkey.

Read more on the BBC, CNN or Bloomberg.

Commercial Law

21st Century Fox takeover of Sky

It has been confirmed that 21st Century Fox have made a successful takeover bid of Sky. This will be the UK’s second largest M&A deal in 2016 and is worth £18.5 Billion. The company will purchase the remaining 61% of shares that it does not already own.

This comes after a previous unsuccessful attempt five years ago by 21st Century Fox owner, Rupert Murdoch, following arguments by politicians that it would give Murdoch too much power over the British media (at the time he owned The Sun, The Times and The News of the World).

Some argue that Murdoch has taken advantage of the weaker level of the pound, which means that the price he has paid for Sky will be much less than it would have been in 2015, for example. This, coupled with the fact that the UK government is supportive of investment into the UK following the decision to leave the EU last July, has meant the deal has been given the go ahead and is likely to be completed later this year.

21st Century Fox have represented that the headquarters of Sky will remain in London, and have even said they will invest in the headquarters to make it even better. This should put aside any fears that American company will come and somewhat take the ‘British-ness’ out of Sky. The deal allows Fox to be a global leader in the entertainment sector and gives them a much wider geographical presence across the globe.

London city firm Herbert Smith Freehills advised Sky on this deal, and Allen & Overy acted for 21st Century Fox.

Read more in The Independent, the BBC and Sky News.


Apple is being sued due to use of FaceTime during a car crash

A couple in America are suing Apple for failing to implement a feature that would discourage drivers from accessing FaceTime whilst driving. On December 24th 2014, the couple and their daughters were involved in a car accident where the other driver was distracted because he was using FaceTime on his mobile phone. One of the couple’s daughters subsequently died as a result of her injuries.

The lawsuit is based on the fact that Apple applied for a patent in 2008 to install a feature which would prevent drivers from using FaceTime whilst driving. The feature has been described as a lock-out mechanism, which would prevent mobile devices from operating certain features whilst the owner was driving. The US patent office subsequently issued the patent in 2014, but the feature has yet to be implemented. However, Apple is currently under no obligation to act on its patents and it is not uncommon for companies and other patent holders to not act on a patent.

The Guardian reports that Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford law professor, has stated that if the case succeeded it could have implications for a wide array of devices, such as radios, navigation systems and perhaps even fast food, as these all have the possibility of distracting drivers. However, she further stated that the distracted drivers themselves may be a “superseding cause” which could break the chain of causation, meaning that Apple would not be liable.

This is not the first time Apple has been sued for a case of this nature. In 2016, a truck driver was checking her phone for messages when she crashed into another vehicle. In that case, the victims filed a case against Apple. At the time, legal experts stated that the suit was unlikely to succeed. A Texan magistrate in August preliminary recommended that the case should be dismissed due to it being unlikely that it could be proved that a mobile phone caused the accident.

Read more in The Guardian, the BBC, or The New York Times.


The Consumer Electronics Show 2017 Preview

The Consumer Electronics Show (“CEW”), one of the biggest technology events of the year, is taking place in Las Vegas between the 5th and 8th of January. The largest technology firms attend these expositions to reveal their new products and secure new deals. Start-up technology firms, a common trend in t

he technology market, are also present for similar reasons. Start-ups are becoming more prominent as new platforms, such as crowdfunding, begin to take effect and provide new ways of bringing products to market. Every part of the technology industry will be represented.

An example of the innovations that are on display is that of voice-activated virtual assistants. Key players in this market include Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and the Google Assistant. Some argue that Amazon is the leader for this due to developments from OnVocal and General Electric, which will link to Alexa. However, it will arguably be a competitive market since Microsoft has teased that Cortana will integrate with other interfaces such as toasters.

Moreover, CES will display some of the latest technological breakthroughs from the automotive industry. Faraday Future has demonstrated its own electric car with self-driving capabilities. The company is looking to compete with Tesla in the next generation of automotive vehicles. The car has other features too, such as being able to recognise certain drivers and adjust the driving position accordingly.

Pregnancy is expected to be a key focus of health technology in 2017. Products demonstrated from this sector include Ava, a wristband that alerts women to when they are most fertile, and Trankertility which aims to inform owners of what steps they should take to boost their sperm count. The first blood alcohol wearable, Milo Sensors, has also been announced.  However, it has yet to be seen whether wearable technology will be a success in any other industries outside of healthcare.

Another aspect of technology being displayed is televisions. An example of this is OLED TVs, which can control the light of each individual pixel. Panasonic and Sony are both expected to have announcements in this field. Other innovations include 8K TVs, which aim to be a market norm by 2020.

Other developments announced include the Blitab, a tablet that has been described as an Ipad for the blind. The tablet produces small physical bubbles above its touchscreen, which delivers double lines of italic brail. Transportation, the internet of things, smart home, virtual reality and other aspects of technology are also represented at the event.

Read more on the BBC, Time and the CES website.

Real Estate

Help-to-buy mortgage guarantee scheme comes to an end as we go into the New Year

This scheme, which was launched in 2013, has ended on the 31st December 2016. The scheme has helped over 100,000 to buy properties with smaller-than-usual deposits. However there has been some criticism received, with some saying that the scheme has led to a rise in house prices, and that it costs the tax payer to fund the guarantee. Lenders were more likely to give loans as they were given government-backed guarantees on every loan. Now that the scheme has ended, there are still alternatives, including help to buy equity loans, shared ownership, and guarantor mortgages.

Read more in The Telegraph or the BBC.


Home ownership by 25-year-olds halves in 20 years

Over the last twenty years, the number of 25 year old homeowners has fallen from 46% to only 20%. The clear reason for this is the increase in cost, with all age groups being affected. The deposit alone will cost you 62% of your annual income for the average house price. These statistics come from Savills and The Local Government Association. This suggests that, unless you want to continuously rent property, you should start saving as soon as possible!

Try this interactive tool to see where you can afford to live in the UK.

Read more in The Guardian or the BBC.

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