The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 5th June 2017

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 5th June 2017



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

Criminal Law

May to introduce new domestic violence laws

Reported by Paige Waters

The Tories have pledged to create a new aggravated offence when domestic violence is used directly towards a child. This has been pledged as a way to ensure the perpetrators are punished for longer. This is intended to be followed by introducing a statutory definition for domestic violence.

Theresa May stated “We will launch a relentless drive to help survivors fid justice and increase the number of successful prosecutions. This hidden scandal, that takes place every day in homes across Britain, must be tackled head on, and we must respond to the devastating and lifelong impact that domestic abuse has on children, who carry the effects into adulthood.”

May continued to state that the Conservatives had delivered “real steps towards tackling domestic violence”, but she intends to go further. However, saying this, the Labour party have analysed the domestic violence rates since 2009, with an increase in violence against women perpetrated by their acquaintances.

The shadow women’s minister, Sarah Champion, has campaigned against the loss of 17% of specialist refuges for domestic violence victims in England since 2010. Therefore, leading onto Diana Barran who is the chief executive of the charity Safe Lives, welcoming the decision to appoint a domestic violence and abuse commissioner. She stated that “we need a practical and visible commissioner who can work with specialist services, local commissioners, policy makers and crucially with survivors.” Furthermore, “the commissioner needs to have both the legitimacy and resources to drive forward change.”

Read more on The Guardian.

Commercial Law

Uber loses CFO

Reported by Spencer Yap

The world’s most valuable start up, currently valued by investors around the ballpark of USD70 billion, recently posted a USD708 million loss along with the resignation of its head of finance. Gautam Gupta, 37 years old, commenting on the resignation, said “I have been inspired by Uber’s deep operational excellence – so much so that I have decided to give it a try myself.” And is set to leave the company in July to join another start up which the company has declined to disclose information on when asked.

Uber does not need to release financial results as it is privately held, however it has started disclosing certain financial results in hopes of winning of Wall Street in an eventual initial public offering. The taxi company reported that it’s first – quarter revenue was USD3.4 billion, an increase of 18% from the fourth quarter. It also recorded some healthier losses with a decrease of USD283 million compared to 3 months earlier. However, the company has been plagued with lawsuits and scandals. Only this year, upwards of a dozen executives and top managers have been fired or resigned following a complaint of sexual harassment and sexism by an ex – Uber engineer. Read more in last week’s update here.

The company is also battling a lawsuit by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, regarding suspected corporate espionage by Anthony Levandowski, former head for Uber’s self – driving cars. Mr Levandowski whom previously worked for Alphabet’s self driving car unit, Waymo, has since been dismissed by Uber after failing to meet a deadline to comply with court orders to produce documents relating to the lawsuit. Furthermore, Uber is also facing a federal investigation over allegations of use of a software tool used to mislead regulators. Along with labour disputes which they are battling in courts to preserve a business model that see drivers as independent contractors, in order to prevent having to compensate for employee benefits or fuel, vehicle maintenance and other expenses.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal.


Google to allow publishers to charge users for Ad-Blocking

Reported by Ben Thatcher

Google will allow online publishers to require consumers who use ad-blocking services to either enable advertising or make a payment to view the relevant content ad-free. An ad-blocker is an online tool that allows users to view websites without adverts. Ad-blocking harms online publishers as they rely on advertising revenue. As such, the measures are designed to protect digital content creators and publishers. Recent figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau suggested that 22% of UK adults use ad-blocking services.

The new extension, named ‘Funding Choices’, provides the publishers with the tools to make users with an ad-blocker pay for viewing the content without adverts or require them to remove the ad blocker and proceed. If no option is selected, the user cannot access the website. Google is expected to receive 10% of the fee, which the publishers will individually establish.

In addition, Google is also working on its own ad-blocking services. This is expected to function as a part of the Google Chrome web-browser. It is designed to block specific adverts that do not comply with Google’s standards.

Read more on the BBC and RT.

Family Law

Judge says divorce should be separated from money battles

Reported by Anna Flaherty

Sir James Munby, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, has said that he supports online divorce procedures over the current process. The idea is that this would prevent the court being overloaded with disputes over assets. The Judge accused the government of procrastinating when there is a need for reform. Rather than strictly being a legal issue, this move for reform has a greater focus on improving administration and reducing the amount of bureaucracy involved with divorce proceedings. Munby’s response may also have been triggered by last week’s divorce settlement, which entailed granting the wife £453 million, the largest settlement agreed on in a UK court. The case was a lengthy one, and one which could have had reduced costs if only there was an online procedure.

Read more in The Guardian.

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