Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.
- European Union Law
Reported by Anna Flaherty
An update on the Brexit negotiations
Papers have been reporting that a Brussels official has said that Britain and the EU are “90 per cent” there in terms of how close we are towards a deal on Brexit. However, this is only the “first phase” of talks according to David Davis. Furthermore, May has faced attacks from the DUP, the Labour Party and from within her own party, due to the issue of the Northern Ireland border. Ireland’s European affairs minister has said that not enough progress has been made on the issue, with other Irish officials having said that there is “still a way to go”, meaning that talks may in fact be delayed for quite some time.
The issue arose when a draft agreement, concerning Ireland, was leaked to RTE. It suggested that Britain was agreeing to ensure “continued regulatory alignment” between northern and southern Ireland following Brexit. This in turn would affect the role of Europe’s highest court, and what influence it may have over laws in Northern Ireland. Part of the draft also included the option for Northern Ireland to diverge from the UK in certain regulatory areas. Irish officials in Dublin also now want confirmation from the UK government that there will not be a hard border (concerning customs checks) between Ireland and the UK.
As a result of these events, of which the DUP had had no previous knowledge, Theresa May is attempting to reach an agreement with DUP’s leader Arlene Foster over the phone in the forthcoming few days. The Labour Party have described Theresa May’s actions as an “embarrassment”.
- Commercial Law
Reported by Spencer Yap
FTSE bosses must now take into account average worker pay
High levels of director remuneration has been a highly debated topic following the 2008 financial crisis, especially when executive’s pay of listed companies are 160 times larger than that of an average worker. This sparked massive protests from shareholders of companies such as “AstraZeneca, the drugmaker, storage group Safestore and Burberry, the fashion label”. Oil giant BP came under criticisms earlier in the year and reduced their pay packages available to directors. Over the summer, the government has rolled out a series of corporate governance reform proposals, which includes disclosing the pay ratios of directors and other employees.
Most recently, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is rumoured to be publishing a proposal on changing the current UK corporate governance code. This would require remuneration committees (committees which oversee the director’s remuneration) to show a correlation between executive pay and the workforce. The increase in responsibilities are said to “significantly widen” the obligation of those who sit on the remuneration board, which allows them to “exercise far greater discretion over executive pay than they currently do”. It is also expected that the proposals include a requirement for the chair of the remuneration committee to serve minimum 12 months on the remuneration committee, before taking up the post.
Sky News reports that the plans would “reflect growing pressure from ministers for the private sector to show greater restraint at a time when the pay packets of many workers continue to stagnate amid rising inflation”. One insider said that: “the reference to wider work forces was crucial because of the growing use of contractors by some blue-chip businesses.”
Read more here.
- Criminal Law
Reported by Paige Waters
Senior police officer granted funds to defend manslaughter charges
David Duckenfield, a former senior police officer is facing charges of gross negligence manslaughter. This is following the Hillsborough disaster where Duckenfield was the match commander. The Hillsborough disaster happened on 15th April 1989 where ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death.
A judge at Preston crown court, Mr Justice William Davis, has made an order to allow Mr. Duckenfield to be able to qualify for legal representation at high court proceedings which will take place next year. This decision was made after Mr Justice William Davis heard from a lawyer, acting on Duckenfield’s behalf free of charge, that there was no funding to oppose a Crown Prosecution Service application for a stay on prosecution to be lifted.
Duckenfield, 73, faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter. However, he can not be charged formally pending the outcome of the high court proceedings.
Duckenfield is not only the only one facing charges for gross negligence manslaughter; in total there are six people who are facing charges. The future trials have been scheduled to be held at Preston Crown Court.
The defendants are yet to enter pleas but they have indicated that they intend to plead not guilty.
Read more here.