AllAboutLaw Blog: the Flybe rescue deal, a televised Crown Court and more

In this week’s edition of the AllAboutLaw Blog we look at the government’s intervention to save Flybe from insolvency, the decision to allow televised coverage of Crown Court judgments and the controversy of New York’s new bail reform law.

  • Last updated Jan 23, 2020 12:53:39 PM
  • Tuula Petersen
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Image by Joe Hunt / Flickr

Flybe: government intervention in a struggling airline

Last week, the government announced plans to defer part of a £106 million passenger duty tax bill and save more than 2,000 jobs following the likely bankruptcy of the airline Flybe. Flybe is the largest regional airline, responsible for over half of domestic flights outside of London, and plays a key role in connecting cities in the southwest and the north of England.

The decision to save Flybe from insolvency came after Connect Airways, a consortium of the private equity fund Cyrus Capital, Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group, acquired Flybe for £2.2 million in March 2019. The group invested £110 million into the airline carrier, however, the sum quickly ran out, prompting the most recent intervention from the government. Such an intervention is in line with the government’s pledge to create opportunities and connectivity for marginalised areas of the country.

However, the decision has been met with fierce criticism from other airlines such as Ryanair and British Airways, who accuse the government intervention of illegal state aid and have filed a complaint to the European Commission for distortion of competition. Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, stated the government’s decision “distorts fair competition between airlines, clearly constitutes illegal state aid and represents a badly thought-out bailout of a chronically loss-making airline model in the UK”. State aid is support in any form from any level of government “that gives an entity a benefit in the single market that could not be obtained during the normal course of business”. 

Under Article 107(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, state aid is legal if it helps execute a project in the “common European interest”, it remedies a “serious disturbance in the economy of a member state” and it facilitates the “development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas where such aid does not adversely affect trading conditions”.

Confusion has arisen over the decision to save Flybe, especially considering Boris Johnson’s decision to rule out a state rescue for Thomas Cook earlier in the year. The EU approved loans made by the German government to save Condor, a German airline company part of Thomas Cook.

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“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment”

Quoted from the Donald Trump legal team’s first formal response to the impeachment inquiry, released on Saturday.

 

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Firm news

Mischon de Reya is longer operating in New York following the departure of its three remaining partners.

Reed Smith has opened an office in Brussels after hiring five partners to join its global corporate group.

To cater to the demand for cheaper, tech-assisted legal services, Hogan Lovells has opened a document review centre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Apple has hired Lisa Ellman, of Hogan Lovells a drone and aviation law specialist as a lobbyist, leaving room for speculation regarding her actual role.

Norton Rose Fulbright is reported to have advised Lekoil on a fake loan with the Qatar Investment Authority.

The University of Law has a new collaboration coming up with the University of Chester, where ULaw will be offering its MA programme. 

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A new era of transparency for the Crown Courts? 

For the first time, television cameras will be authorised to film in Crown Courts in England and Wales. Contrary to the US where trials are televised in full, the UK will only allow TV cameras to film judges’ sentencing remarks in high-profile criminal cases. The legislation, which should be enacted in late spring or early summer, complements the court’s objective of greater transparency and thus improving public understanding of the judiciary. Only the sentencing remarks will be televised in the interest of protecting values, such as“the interests of justice, the primacy of a fair trial, and respecting the interests of vulnerable witnesses, witnesses generally and defendants”.

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Vacation schemes: which ones close before 31st?

26/01 - Ince London Vacation Scheme 2020 

30/01 - PwC Legal Summer Vacation Scheme 

30/01 - Dentons Vacation Schemes 

 

Make sure to visit our jobs board for the full range of vacancies. 

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A new bail reform law shrouded in controversy

New York’s new bail reform law was heralded as an end to the cash bail system allowing people accused of a crime to bond out of jail and resolve their cases upon release. However, this system has been criticised for disproportionately affecting the poor, since they cannot afford bail and thus their lives are overturned while awaiting trial. In response to this criticism, the state of New York now prohibits cash bails for most misdemeanours and nonviolent felonies. Yet, since the passing of this new law, Democrats have pushed against this new law for failing to detain repeat offenders.

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Recommended reading

An unrepresentative jury for the Weinstein case is proving to be a cause for concern for those that wish to see the film mogul answer for his alleged crimes.

A federal court has ruled that children and young adults do not have a constitutional right to be protected from climate change.

Harvard law students protested against Exxon for their affiliation to fossil fuel interests in climate change lawsuits.

A loophole in the U.S. Dietary Supplement Act has allowed for a largely unregulated industry leading to thousands of hospitalisations.

Under the government’s post-Brexit Agriculture Bill, farmers will be compensated for protecting the environment and improving animal welfare. 

The United Kingdom’s ambassador to Iran has been accused of breaking Iranian law for participating in a vigil held for the victims of a plane crash caused by Iranian missiles, potentially leading to the diplomat’s expulsion.

Turkey has lifted its ban on Wikipedia after a Constitutional Court found that the ban was a violation of freedom of expression.

The European Court of human rights dismissed the MI6 informant Wang Yam’s appeal that his trial was unfair because of the withholding of sensitive, secret information.

The Luanda leaks reveal the scale of corruption that enabled the Angolan ruler’s daughter to become Africa’s richest woman.

Protests continue in Lebanon despite the Prime Minister’s resignation last October leading to hundreds being injured over the weekend.

Following the Supreme Court’s condemnation of the Internet ban in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir governments have decided to restore a slow internet speed and access to 153 websites, which do not include news or social media websites.

 

Image credit can be found here 

 

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