Bit depressed today, not because of the unseasonal weather (though had planned to visit the Causeway today to see the new information panels detailing its history etc), but because workmen are busy next door removing a giant mango tree (not sure why, as not near any of the neighbours’ buildings – it’s most close to us). The saddest thing is removing its shelter might mean we will miss the visits by parrots, parakeets and smaller birds to the feeders on the bedroom window. We are already missing the visiting birds in the front, as the new parking area building regulations required – for off-road parking – meant removing the bushes, shrubs and the banana tree that attracted all sorts (including a flock of chachalacas on one occasion). We wait to see what will happen once the tree is gone…
On 9 January, the US Congressional Research Service published this briefing which provides an overview of federal forfeiture law. It sketches the origins and general attributes of forfeiture, describes the distribution of the millions of dollars it generates annually, and identifies some of the constitutional issues it raises. It uses the definition of forfeiture as being the confiscation of property associated with a criminal offense. In a broader sense, forfeiture is the loss of any right—ordinarily a property right — as a consequence of a breach of some legal obligation.
On 10 January, a post on Lawfare described the Principles as a “Gentlemen’s’ Agreement”, and which aim to document the range of protections member government already have in place for individuals’ data they access. Examining the declaration, the post says that it capped an unusual 2-year negotiation among national security and law enforcement officials to capture the “significant commonalities” characterising how “rule-of-law democratic systems” regulate their access to personal data in the possession of private-sector entities such as communications companies. The post points out that the OECD notes that it is “the first intergovernmental agreement” on the subject.
On 10 January, Wilmer Hale published a Litigation Alert saying that on 8 December, the ECJ, the EU’s highest court, delivered a landmark ruling clarifying that legal professional privilege (LPP) is protected not only as part of the rights of defence but also under the right to protection of private communications. Against this background, the alert summarises the current state of play and the ruling main implications for companies doing business in Europe.
On 9 January, the Export Control Joint Unit published the response to the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) joint report ‘Developments in UK Strategic Export Controls’. This included the response to delays in the online system to replace the SPIRE licensing system. It also revealed that there are just 5 trained compliance inspectors and is in the process of recruiting an additional 3. On post-shipment verification, the UK Government says that it is aware that an increasing number of governments are introducing some form of post- shipment verification but it has yet to see any clear evidence that they are effective in reducing diversion – and cites significant costs, require additional resource and expertise, and raises legal, diplomatic and practical issues which must be balanced against any perceived benefits.