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Walkers Announces 2019 Promotions

Walkers is pleased to announce that 18 attorneys across its global offices have been invited to join the partnership. In addition, 13 associates have been promoted to senior counsel.

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Pubs, Privilege and Improper Purposes

Curless v Shell International Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 171

Privilege is very much a buzzword at the moment in legal circles. A recent Court of Appeal case in England involving a conversation overheard in a pub and a leaked email has tested the boundaries of privilege, in particular the rather delightfully named iniquity principle.

Summary
Mr Curless was an in-house lawyer working for Shell. He had raised earlier claims of disability discrimination in August 2015 and had an ongoing employment tribunal claim and an internal grievance arising out of these allegations. Due to an acquisition in February 2016, Shell was looking to reorganise its legal department. Mr Curless was placed in a redundancy process in October 2016 and ultimately made redundant in January 2017.

This is where the pub comes in – in May 2016 Mr Curless was in a well-known legal haunt in London when he overheard a conversation between two lawyers discussing a senior lawyer at their client, Shell, whose “days are numbered”. It seemed the hapless senior lawyer’s claim in the tribunal was to be handled robustly and that a redundancy exercise would be used to end his employment. Mr Curless assumed they were referring to him.

In October 2016, around the time that he was placed in the redundancy process, Mr Curless was apparently sent by an anonymous source a copy of an email from an in-house lawyer at Shell stating “this is their best opportunity to consider carefully how such processes could be applies [sic] across the board to the UK legal population including the individual. If done with appropriate safeguards and in the right circumstances, while there is always the risk he would argue unfairness/discrimination, there is at least a wider reorganisation and process at play that we could put this into the context of. I felt in the circumstances this is definitely worth considering even if there is the inevitable degree of legal risk which we would try to mitigate. Otherwise we risk impasse and proceedings with ongoing employment with no obvious resolution.

After he was made redundant in January 2017 Mr Curless, in reliance on the above facts, issued a claim for unfair redundancy and discrimination. Shell argued that both the conversation in the pub and the email were subject to legal professional privilege and could not be relied upon by Mr Curless.

 

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The Blockchain Effect on Investment Funds

Blockchain was originally considered to be the innovative technology that only supported cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Recently the technology has been garnering attention from investors and companies as an infrastructure solution capable of bringing disintermediation to all industries through the execution and recording of transactions.

Although the idea of a fully decentralised public permissionless blockchain may be miles away, in the interim, blockchain technology still has the potential to transform a wide variety of practices and products due to reduced costs, enhanced risk mitigation and greater efficiency through the use of private blockchains and trusted third parties.

The Cayman Islands investment funds industry can capitalise on this opportunity to retain its funds-sector dominance through the adoption of blockchain components such as tokenisation, digital identities and smart contracts. While the market has already seen the emergence of tokenised funds, a fully blockchained investment fund is still at the theoretical stage — but what would one look like?

 

Originally published by In-House Community.

 

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Onshore restructuring vulnerable to offshore SPV insolvency proceedings

In the prevailing economic climate, an increasing number of large corporate groups have occasion to consider restructuring their affairs, including business operations and debt obligations in order to meet the challenges of the day. Whilst the onshore mechanisms to achieve restructuring are well known, there are offshore actions which can be taken by creditors which need to be addressed as part of an overall restructuring strategy.

It is commonplace for conglomerates to raise finance and working capital by using special purpose vehicles ("SPVs") to issue bonds to foreign investors from tax neutral jurisdictions, both onshore and offshore. This can cause problems if not addressed as part of an overall strategy as part of an onshore restructuring because the SPVs may be vulnerable to hostile insolvency proceedings, including, potentially, by bondholders directly. In such proceedings, creditors might succeed in appointing liquidators offshore who may then seek recognition onshore in competition with actions being taken by management or other foreign office holders in the group, who may in turn seek to enforce claims in relation to assets within the group. This may frustrate any onshore restructuring proceedings and potentially derail the same entirely. The potential for such action may then cause considerable difficulty for corporate groups which include offshore entities as they endeavour to carry their group through the restructuring process.

 

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Originally published by Asian-Mena Counsel, Volume 16 Issue 9.

Changing the Status Quo - Women and ESG

The growth in investor demand for environmental, social and corporate governance (“ESG”) product offerings coupled with a global societal push to implement measures to promote sustainable finance has focused the minds of fund managers and legislatures alike to ensure that investment products are available that strive for alpha measured in both monetary and societal return.

In this article, we will examine the rise of global female wealth and its role in the ESG movement.

 

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Chambers Global Practice Guide 2019: Ireland Aviation Financing & Leasing

Partner and Head of Asset Finance, David McGovern, Of Counsel, Killian McSharry, Senior Associate, Michael Caulfield and Tax Of Counsel, Eimear Burbridge authored the "Ireland Law and Practice" Guide in the Chambers 2019 Global Practice Guide on "Aviation Financing & Leasing."

The "Aviation Financing & Leasing" Guide 2019 provides expert legal commentary on key issues for businesses and it covers the important developments in the most significant jurisdictions. The Guide provides expert insights across 24 jurisdictions and Walkers is delighted to have contributed to both the Cayman Guide and the Ireland Guide. Chambers contributing editor, Paul P. Jebely said: "The questions within this Guide were masterfully taken on by leading and highly experienced aviation finance attorneys from around the world."

Reproduced with permission from Chambers and Partners (Published in July 2019).

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