Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:
- European Court of Human Rights Finds UK's Bulk Interception Powers to be Illegal
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Edward Snowden stated that CGHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), widely known as the UK’s eavesdropping agency, had been secretly collecting communications sent across the internet on an industrial scale. Snowden revealed this issue in 2013. The information collected included web habits, details of events, as well as the identities and location of the sender and recipient of communications. The data harvested came from many sources, including Google, Apple and Facebook.
The collection of this data was deemed by many to be a violation of the right to privacy, a view which the European Court of Human Rights has supported. The court said that as the collection of information was “untargeted”, it meant that much of it had nothing to do with the protection of national security. For there to have been no violation of human rights, there needed to be greater safeguards in place.
A government spokesperson has since said that the government will give the judgment “careful consideration”. In 2016, regulations in relation to surveillance were changed, and so the government has stated that there are now safeguards in place. For instance, it is now necessary to have a warrant to be able to use the relevant surveillance powers. Despite this, Jim Killock from Open Rights Group said that nevertheless “the UK actually has the most extreme surveillance powers in a democracy”.
- Possible Merger Between House of Fraser and Debenhams
Reported by Zara Smith
It has come to light that both House of Fraser and the rival high street store Debenhams, are struggling in the current economic market. House of Fraser was bought out of administration for £90m by Sports Direct owner, Mike Ashley. The billionaire owner also owns 29.7% of Debenhams.
A merge between struggling House of Fraser and Debenhams has been rumored. Simon Bentley, a senior non-executive director of Sport Direct, has addressed these rumors saying it has been discussed. However, after buying House of Fraser out of administration Mr Bentley stated “If any of you had the job of handling House of Fraser right now, I think you might have your hands full, and incidentally we’ve also got Sports Direct”.
Shares in Debenhams have risen 9% since the sudden spreading talk of this possible merger.
Bentley has expressed the interest in new opportunities in the future, but only when they are prepared for them. Bentley has served on the board of Sports Direct since 2007 but the company says he will not remain in the same position. The likelihood of Bentley being involved in any merger between the two stores may be slim, but the possibility of one is not out of the question.
For more information on this story, visit Sky News.
- DPD Being Sued in Connection with Couriers Death
Reported by Paige Waters
Don Lane who suffered from diabetes died suddenly in January from the disease when he suffered from a heart attack. The Widow of Lane is suing the delivery company DPD as her husband who was a driver for the company missed multiple hospital appointments as he feared the company’s practice of charging £150 for missing work.
This fear followed after Lane was charged £150 when he had attended a specialist appointment. This played an impact in Lane missing his other appointments even though he collapsed twice during his rounds; including when he was driving.
Lanes wife’s claim also highlights the pressure he faced from DPD’s system of allocating short windows for each delivery.
Lanes death was also raised in parliament where both Labour and Conservatives reacted with outrage. DPD then promised to scrap the £150 charges and offering couriers sick pay.
If the employment tribunal rules in her favour, DPD will then be obliged to change their entire business model. No longer relying on self-employed couriers, therefore they can no longer pay couriers per parcel.
Her claim states: “DPD’s refusal to give permission for the claimant to take time off to attend these appointments meant that his disability was not properly monitored and that he did not have the opportunity to receive the appropriate treatments for his disability and related conditions, ultimately resulting in his death.”
For more information, see The Guardian.
- CMS Launches its new service 'By Design'
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
The international law firm CMS has launched a new service called ‘By Design’. By Design will target the design, technology, and delivery markets as the firm bring together all their specialists to ensure the best service.
The group includes CMS global and innovation group and will be led by Partner Paul Stevens. By design will focus mainly on four client services, which are Mix, Digital Academy, Instinctive Understanding and Developers on Demand. Each of these areas will be led by different groups of specialists.
For example, Mix aims to maximise the firm’s service with the growing pool of legal project managers, designers, and paralegals from Glasgow and international units. CMS has already been very successful with this strategy as evident in HP and Samsung’s printer acquisition.
Penelope Warne, The Senior Partner at CMS believes that the firm has made the right decision as she told the Artificial Lawyer;
“Technology, processes, resourcing and new products are essential components of innovation. At its essence, however, our approach centres on how we think differently about delivering legal services to clients in the day-to-day and in more ambitious leaps forward too.”
It is crucial to evolve continuously and make the most of the ever-advanced technology available for effective and efficient service. This is one example of how technology can influence the legal world.
Read more here.