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heathrow and the paris agreement February 27, 2020

Posted by Bradley in : climate , add a comment
The English Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision in Plan B Earth v Secretary of State for Transport [2020] EWCA Civ 214 (27 February 2020), has found that the process for designation of the Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England, by the Secretary of State for Transport under section 5 of the Planning Act 2008 did not comply with the requirements of the Act. As part of the approval process for a national policy statement the Planning Act requires reasons to be given including “an explanation of how the policy set out in the statement takes account of Government policy relating to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.” Signing on to the Paris Agreement was government policy.
The Court goes to great lengths to explain that it isn’t expressing views about the substance of the decision, not entering into politics but maintaining the rule of law. For example, here is the last paragraph of the judgment:
Our decision should be properly understood. We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. We have not found that a national policy statement supporting this project is necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement, or with any other policy the Government may adopt or international obligation it may undertake. That is not the outcome here. However, the consequence of our decision is that the Government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the ANPS in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that Parliament has imposed.
The current Government has been bothered by the idea that courts in the UK have interfered in political decisions  and so it isn’t surprising to see these judges feeling the need to emphasize that what they are doing is normal rule of law stuff and not interfering in politics. But it is yet another reminder that we can’t take the rule of law for granted.

fintech opacity February 25, 2020

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , add a comment

The Irving Fisher Committee on Central Bank Statistics has published a Report on Central Banks and Fintech Data Issues which identifies a number of issues relating to the implications of increased use of fintech for the availability of data central banks need to address their mandates relating to monetary and financial stability and the operation of payments systems. Some questions relate to financial activity by entities that are not within the regulatory perimeter for reporting to central banks, and other issues relate to data about fintech activities by traditional financial intermediaries, such as what operational, reputational, financial issues are raised by their fintech activities.  In jurisdictions where fintech is most developed central banks are actively seeking to close these data gaps.

other umlaw events on monday February 21, 2020

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In addition to the lecture on Monday evening Claudio Grossman will also talk at lunchtime (12.20-1.50 pm) in the Alma Jennings Student Lounge on the topic Seeking Justice: Reparations to Individuals for Human Rights Violations in the Inter-American System.

At the same time in Room A110 John Barkett will Report on the MIAS Task Force on Expedited Arbitration under the UNCTIRAL Arbitration Rules.

claudio grossman lecture at UM next week February 19, 2020

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Next Monday, February 24 at 6pm in Room E352,  Claudio Grossman will give the Keith C. Wold ’17 LL.M. Distinguished Lecture in Maritime & International Law  on The Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean:  The decision of the International Court of Justice in the case between Bolivia and Chile. After the lecture there will be a  reception in the Alma Jennings Student Lounge.  In order to assist with planning for the reception please RSVP to http://attend.com/grossmanlecture .

sustainability transparency February 17, 2020

Posted by Bradley in : disclosure, transparency , add a comment

Two stories today relating to disclosure and transparency with respect to sustainability:

First, the Alliance for Corporate Transparency published a report analyzing disclosures under the EU’s Non-financial Reporting Directive which concludes that although disclosure is happening, it is not particularly useful, although there are variations:

The main conclusion of this research is that while there is a minority of companies providing comprehensive and reliable sustainability-related information, at large quality and comparability of companies’ sustainability reporting is not sufficient to understand their impacts, risks, or even their plans.

Second, the Extinction Rebellion dug up some of the lawns at Trinity College in Cambridge in protest about the College’s fossil fuel investments and plans to allow farming property it owns near Felixstowe Port to be used for operations related to the Port (a plan that seems not to be going ahead because there is other available non-farming land in the vicinity). Trinity responded that the College supports the University’s Cambridge Zero project. But the story raises similar issues to those identified  in the Alliance for Corporate Transparency report: how much of what academic and business organizations are saying about their commitments to sustainability is real? 

Trinity’s questionable commitment to collective rather than its own institutional welfare is also illustrated by  news stories about its decision to pull out of the USS pension scheme (to avoid the risk that its immense financial resources might be called on if the scheme needed an influx of funds). 

andrew p. vance memorial writing competition February 17, 2020

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The 2020 competition is sponsored by the Customs and International Trade Bar Association and the University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review.  Eligible papers provide in-depth analysis of a current issue relevant to customs and international trade law, and may be submitted until May 22, 2020 (and note there are specific formatting requirements).

university of miami law hosts two international law related conferences this week February 10, 2020

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On Thursday there is the Juncadella Corporate Counsel Group’s 11th biannual seminar on Agility and Innovation for Corporate Counsel. The proceeds will benefit Miami Law’s Rafael Benitez Scholarship Fund, which provides assistance to foreign lawyers pursuing their international and foreign LL.M. degrees at the law school.

On Friday and Saturday we have the ASIL International Economic Law Interest Group Biennial Conference co-chaired by Julian Arato and Kathleen Claussen.  The theme of the conference is “Designing International Economic Law: Challenges and Opportunities.”

In addition, on Wednesday at 6pm there is a panel discussion on immigration with the title “Brother, I’m Dying: Immigration and Detention in the US.” This is a One Book, One U event, and the panelists are Becky Sharpless and Irwin Stotzky of UM Law, with Jacqueline Charles from the Miami Herald and John Pratt form Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzelli & Pratt, moderated by Osamudia James.

university of miami distinguished faculty scholar award: michael froomkin February 5, 2020

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Amid all the bad news (Brexit, coronavirus etc) some good. Congratulations, Michael!

brexit February 1, 2020

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This morning, now that the UK has left the EU, I read this brilliant essay by Ian McEwan .