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Clifford Chance Law Firm Receives Trio Of Awards
Headline News | 2007/03/02 00:12

Clifford Chance's Asian funds and private equity teams have been honoured with three separate industry awards this week.

On 28 February, the funds team was named Best Law Firm for Asset Management in 2006 by Asia Asset Management magazine.

Today, Clifford Chance's was voted Asia's Best Law Firm (Fund Formation) and Asia's Best Law Firm (Deals) for 2006 in Private Equity Online's annual poll.

"The awards reflect the firm's commitment to building the pre-eminent funds and private equity teams in Asia," said partner James Walker, who leads the firm's Asian funds practice.

"We have been working with our clients since the first funds were established in Asia, and we're delighted that they continue to choose us as their advisors today."

Private equity partner Andrew Whan has advised on many of the year's most significant deals. "It has been a record year for private equity in Asia, with the high level of activity, arrival of more global players, and increasing convergence between the hedge fund and private equity industries."

"Our leading private equity and funds teams work closely, enabling us to provide a well-matched, full life-cycle service to our clients as this convergence evolves."

China considering reforms to labor 're-education' law
Legal World News | 2007/03/01 21:55

The Chinese parliament will consider amending a law allowing the state to send criminal suspects to labor camps without a trial during the National People's Congress (NPC) scheduled for next week, the China Daily reported Thursday. The system, called "re-education through labor," or "laojiao", currently allows the police to send those suspected of committing petty crimes, such as theft, prostitution, and illegal drug use, to jail for up to four years. Judicial review is only granted after time has been served at the jail. The changes being considered next week would limit incarceration to less than 18 months and make judicial review more lenient. The camps would be called "correctional centers," instead of "re-education centers."

Since its inception in 1957, laojiao has detained as many as 400,000 criminals. Critics say the government uses the system to detain political and religious activists. The reform being considered next week was initially added to the NPC agenda in 2005, but was postponed for two years due to disagreements about its terms. In 2005, Human Rights in China said the reform would be a major improvement but still called for the complete eradication of the entire system. Among 20 other items on next week's agenda are proposed amendments to laws involving education, corporate tax, and property rights.

Hawaii lawmakers shelve civil union bill
Legal Career News | 2007/02/28 19:06

Hawaii legislators have shelved a proposal to create civil unions for same-sex couples, indicating that the state legislature did not have enough votes to pass the law.

The state House Judiciary Committee declined to vote on the proposal after hours of testimony Tuesday without explaining the reasons for deferring debate. Hawaii was one of the first states to consider same-sex marriage when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage, but a 1998 constitutional amendment defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey each recognize civil unions for same-sex couples, while Massachusetts is the only US state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. Earlier this month, New Jersey became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage and civil unions from out of state jurisdictions.

DOJ sued for release of FISC wiretapping order
Court Feed News | 2007/02/28 16:08

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint Tuesday against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking the release of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) order that authorized government surveillance of transmissions coming into or going outside of the country where one party was suspected of association with a terrorist organization.

The EFF filed their complaint under Section 552(a)(4)(B) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which grants the federal court "jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant." The EFF complaint alleges that the DOJ denied the EFF's January 23, 2007 FOIA request seeking:

copies of all Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court...orders referenced by the Attorney General in his letter to Sens. Leahy and Specter, and all FISC rules and guidelines associated with such orders and/or referenced by Mr. Snow in the January 17 press briefing.

Gonzales revealed the existence of the FISC order in January through a letter to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Gonzales announced that Bush administration will submit all domestic surveillance requests to the FISC for review and approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. While maintaining the legality of the NSA domestic surveillance program, Gonzales said in the letter that the President will not reauthorize the program when its current authorization expires, and will instead submit all surveillance requests through the FISC.

CA appeals court upholds stem cell research program
Legal Career News | 2007/02/28 06:32

A California state appeals court ruled Monday that the state's stem cell research program "suffers from no constitutional or other legal infirmity," leading the way for approximately $3 billion in grant money to be awarded to researchers. The Court of Appeal of the State of California First District upheld last year's lower court decision upholding the constitutionality of the program, operated by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The lower court determined that the stem cell program was being administered with sufficient state control and did not violate ballot initiative or conflicts of interest rules.

The research program, known as Proposition 71, was approved in a 2004 state referendum by a 59 percent margin. In its ruling, the appeals court noted the delay in research that the litigation had caused:

The objective of the proposition is to find, "as speedily as possible," therapies for the treatment and cure of major diseases and injuries, an aim the legitimacy of which no one disputes. The very pendency of this litigation, however, has interfered with implementation for more than two years.
The lawsuit against the program was brought by the California Family Bioethics Council and two anti-tax organizations - the People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation. A lawyer for the plaintiffs said they would consider an appeal after reviewing the court's opinion, admitting that the California Supreme Court refuses to hear many appeals.

Croatia might drop lawsuit against Serbia
Legal World News | 2007/02/28 05:07

Croatia might drop its suit against Serbia at the highest UN court and seek an out of court settlement with it, a Croatian negotiator said yesterday.

The decision reflects the country's scepticism about its case after the court cleared Serbia of genocide in Bosnia.

Like Bosnia, Croatia also sued Serbia at the International Court of Justice for genocide committed here during the 1991 war, when Serbia backed Croatian Serbs' armed rebellion against Croatia's independence from the ex-Yugoslavia.

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