The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 18th June 2018

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 18th June 2018

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

Criminal Law

Reported by Andrew MacDonald

Audi chief executive arrested in emissions probe

The chief executive of German carmaker Audi, Rupert Stadler, has been arrested in connection with an investigation into a diesel emissions scandal. “As part of an investigation into diesel affairs and Audi engines, the Munich prosecutor’s office executed an arrest warrant against Rupert Stadler on 18 June 2018.” the Munich prosecutor’s office said.

Initially only found in Volkswagen’s cars, its Audi subsidiary also admitted that at least 2.1 million Audi cars had been involved in the well-publicised Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The scheme involved software installed in cars that would be manipulated so that emissions data would deceive environmental regulators thereby allowing the cars to pollute at higher levels than legally permitted. The Audi A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 models were implicated in the scandal.

The Munich prosecutors also said they had acted because of the risk that Mr Stadler might seek to suppress evidence and obstruct the ongoing investigation. In addition to 850,000 cars being recalled last year, last month, Audi admitted that another 60,000 A6 and A7 models with diesel engines have emission software issues.

In a multi-jurisdictional investigation, the US filed criminal charges against the former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn in May. However, he is unlikely to face the American authorities because Germany does not extradite its nationals to countries outside the EU under the German Constitution. Last week, German authorities imposed one of the state’s largest ever fines on a company with Volkswagen facing with a €1bn fine for the scandal.

The scandal has been regarded as the biggest crisis in the Volkswagen’s history and has led to increasingly tighter scrutiny over the German automobile industry. Rupert Stadler was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, in the early hours on Monday 18th June.

Read more at The Guardian  and the BBC.

Employment Law

Reported by Radhika Morally

Victory for Union in the latest battle for rights in the gig economy

Mrs Justice Simler provided the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) with permission for a judicial review of last year’s decision which confirmed that Deliveroo riders were indeed self-employed as the company had claimed.

This revisits the decision made by the Central Arbitration Committee [CAC,] (the body that addresses union recognition and collective bargaining cases) in November. The IWGB’s application to represent riders was rejected on the basis that their self-employed status meant they did not have the right to collective bargaining with the company.

The High Court granted permission, contrary to the decision made by the CAC, on the basis that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (concerning the right to freedom of assembly and association) should apply to Deliveroo riders. The General Secretary of the IWGB has since stated that the case was not just about an employment issue but extended as far as being a “matter of fundamental human rights”. He criticised Deliveroo for appearing to sacrifice the rights of individuals for greater profits.

Many, including Simon McViker, director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals, believe that this change in opinion so soon after the CAC’s decision only serves to emphasise the uncertainty of employment status and “makes the need for a statutory definition of self-employment crystal clear.”

However, it is still to be noted that although the Article 11 reasoning was accepted, Simler did reject many of the Union’s arguments related to employment status. Nevertheless, the union as managed to raise £23,000 so far in crowdfunding for then legal costs of the case, and is expected to launch the judicial review by the end of 2018.

For more information, see The Guardian and The Independent.


Reported by Jutha Cheewat

Upskirting Bill blocked by Tory MP

Earlier this week, the Upskirting Bill, aimed at criminalising upskirting, has been blocked. The Bill would allow for perpetrators to be punished with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.

After blocking the Bill, Conservative MP Christopher Chope who objected it, has been heavily criticised. He told the Guardian that he was worried “a bit more about being scapegoated over this.

“The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth. It’s defamatory of my character, and it’s very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating that in the past 48 hours.”

The Bill was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, one that the Prime Minister had promised to take on. Hobhouse told the Guardian that Chope should “make a full apology to all the women who have been harassed and degraded by this vile practice”.

The Bill was campaigned by the victim Gina Martin after her perpetrator got away without any prosecution last year. According to the Independent, Martin was told by the police that upskirting could not be classified as an offence and that nothing could be done.

While in Scotland, upskirting is illegal under the Sexual Offences Act but it is not in England and Wales.

Find out more at either The Independent or The Guardian.

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