25 Feb 2008

Updates till 24th Feb

Better late than never. A couple of days delay in coming up with the weekly updates, but not our fault really. There weren't enough updates to carry and so we decided to wait a while before we ran up this post. So here we go, with the updates from legal circles in the last ten days.

Reporting the views of Cyril Shroff (Managing Partner of Amarchand Mangaldas), this news-piece portrays the concern in the Indian legal fraternity from the competition offered by foreign law firms and their entry into the Indian markets. Mr. Shroff argues that the liberalization of legal services in India is undesirable at this point of time and it would do the laywers and law firms in India more harm than good if foreign law firms are allowed to practice in India. [click here to read his full views and also a critique of the same]

Equally interesting (and quiet in variance with the view of Mr. Shroff) is the news that Allen & Overy, a magic circle law firm, has entered into an arrangement with Trilegal, a quick rising corporate law firm. In what might be the starting point of long term partnership (and also an indirect entry of A&O in India), the deal is a clear reflection of how foreign law firms are eying India as a potential ridden market for them. [click here for the full post] [another news-piece on the same issue]

Coming from far West, another indication as to why Harvard is No. 1, is the Harvard Press release compiling data to show that 'Harvard Law School Professors are among the country's leading lawyers'. Traversing across the profile of these successful lawyers-cum-teachers, Harvard boasts of its industry-related curriculum and expertise it offers. [click here for the full report]

In a move, which was being widely anticipated, the Ministry of Finance has secured a huge sum for interest subsidy to exporters who have been grappling with the strengthened Rupee and have been facing fall in exports. The Ministry's proposal has been accepted by the Cabinet and $125mn have been allowed to subsidize the interest rates on loans from exporters. [click here for the full news item] However I am not sure of the compatibility of this allowance with the WTO rules, the fate of which could only be decided if another member of WTO decides to challenge this grant as violative of the WTO rules.

Writing on the sidelines of the recent Marathi-non-Marathi controversy in Mumbai incited by comments of Raj Thackrey, this post in law-and-other-things blog analyzes the legal position on the issue. Titled 'is nativism unconstitutional?', the article examines the position of such 'son-of-soil' arguments under the constitution and otherwise and gives some interesting insights in the issue. [click here for the full post]

Reviving a debate which has been dormant for a while,
Luxembourg parliament has passed bill legalizing euthanasia [click here for full text of the bill, in French]. While it has been a heated topic of debate in the late 1990s and in the early years of this decade, the allowance by law to a person to end one's life has been vociferously argued amongst on both legal and social lines, with the Church standing out sternly against the move. [click here for more]

This research article on the pitfalls of granting 'Universal Jurisdiction' to international criminal courts offers intriguing insights on the issues involved and the problems with such wide powers being divested on courts. Equally interesting are the comments on the article, which reflect the concern of the readers on the issue. [click here for the full article]

In what we can term as the find of the week, this blog is a focused solely on Legal Process Outsourcing (something very commonly known in Indian legal circles as LPOs) [click here for the blog] This recent post on the blog, contemplating the pros and cons of outsourcing in law (and thus the question 'Outsourcing or No-outsourcing' drove us to this blog and really offers some interesting insights on the various issues involved therein. [click here for the full post]

Then seeking reasons for why lawyers are one of the most hated professionals, the news item puts the blame on TV serials which portray the lawyers in negative spotlight, corrupting the mindsets of the masses who being to see them as harbingers of corruption and greed. An interesting post. [click here for the full comment]

In an interesting development in international law terms, Kosovo has declared its independence from
Serbia. Why I call this interesting is because of the 'recognition' problem, which constitutes an important facet of international law. 'Recognition' or a government and nation (mind it, these two are different concepts) are an essential factor before other governments transact or have official relationship. Therefore a nation, as such, needs to be recognized by other governments before it can be said to be possessing nationhood (i.e. ability to make laws which are respected by other nations and capable of possessing legal personality, which allows it to take official membership of international organizations etc.). On this count the declaration by Kosovo of its independence is significant as its independence has been recognized by a number of nations (including the United States and most EC countries) but its recognition has been rejected by Russia. Therefore while Kosovo is defacto an independent nation, it cannot become a member of the United Nations (UN) so long as Russia does not change its stance and for UN it will not be a dejure independent nation. [click here for the news-report]

In what promises to be a shift from a military regime to a democracy, the Constitution Drafting Committee of Myanmar has come out with a draft constitution which it says is ready for a referendum. Though the draft has not yet been published, yet it shows signs of progress atleast and this thus represents a worthwhile move. [click here for the full news item]

Quiet interesting subject for finance buffs (though not purely legal), this article in rediff tells in simpler terms 'How SENSEX is calculated'. Traversing from explaining the methodology and also giving interesting facts on the exchange itself, a worthwhile reading overall. [click here for the article]

A big new for the ever expanding law firm culture comes from Australia. The top law of the country 'Slater and Gordon', which last year became the first law firm to get itself listed on a stock exchange has fared very well in the first year of its listing, reporting a huge rise in its profits. Seems like the future of law firms lies in publicly traded corporations route. [click here for the full news-item]

This informative post entailing details on resources and guidelines for budding authors comes in the right perspective when it brings to ensure (though only in a US law journal perspective) that authors do not miss out publications only because of technical details. [click here for full post]

As Shashwat points out, there is an outcry amongst the biotech firms in India calling for reform of the patent law. Despite the massive changes brought under the patent legislation of India in 2005, this association of more than 1100 firms feels that the legislation falls deficiently short of the level which would be an appropriate mix of protection and promotion for innovation. [click here for the full news-item]

Then the news which would excite most law students. The Harvard Law School has finally come up with an online version of the Blue Book of Citations. Gone are the days when the students (and law professors equally) would be required to scroll through the thick blue book looking for the appropriate mode of citation of the article etc. they sought to cite. This online facility would really go on a long way to reducing such tendencies. [click here for Harvard Update on Bluebook]

In this quiet longish post, the author brings to fore the new trends facing the familial scenario in India and the rate at which divorce cases are coming up. Relating the changed social statuses of the Indians with the need to move on, the author does bring some interesting pieces for thought on looking at divorce as a social phenomenon. [click here for the full post]

We then come across this fully-developing-country-styled-oriented-view of the WTO's TRIPs Agreement. In this long article on SpicyIP, the background is the recent dispute under the WTO's dispute settlement understanding relating to Antigua's gambling practices. Taking cue from the fact situation of the case and the outcome handed by the dispute settlement body, the author bashes the TRIPs Agreement of its shortfalls through cross-reference of other models for intellectual property protection and on other counts as well. [click here to read the full post]

Coming from a geologist but nonetheless this article brings out really interesting facts and figures on the present and prospects of India's forest and the related paraphernalia. (and therefore a worthwhile read for all environmental law buffs) [click here for the full article] Also from the same author is another article on India's Tigers and forests. Bring to forefront the real concerns behind the falling population of tigers in India. Another worthwhile reading. [click here for the full article]

Then we stumbled across this blog, which portrays itself as a general knowledge book. Titled 'Indian Current Affairs', it comes out with one post a day to summarize and bring to light all the events which took place in India on that day across the time line. Do subscribe to the RSS feed. [click here for the blog]

Then we have the latest policy brief by CUTS (really this NGO has surprised us all by regularly coming out with such timely and befitting researched opinions on competition policy in India) on "Competition and regulatory regimes in small and developing countries". It argues for extending the main principles of competition and regulatory regimes developed in the west to be emulated in the developing countries but only by making proper adjustments for the local differences. [click here for the full report]

And we bring to you now what officially US thinks about Chinese economy. Entitled 'How large is China's economy? How does it matter?', this report by the Congressional Research Committee carries the findings which would be relied upon by the US Congressmen for taking appropriate action and thus finds a significant place in the scheme of affairs. Raising concerns on the increasing size of the economy, the Report does offer the Congressmen an idea to be cautious about dealing with it. [click here for the full report]

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