Tuesday, 7 December 2021

2021 OECD Global Forum on Competition

I had a look at the opening public session of the 2021 OECD Global Forum on Competition. The Session is very good but given it runs for three hours, I thought I would identify my personal highlights:

* the comments by UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, starting at 36 mins
* the comments by Joseph Stiglitz, starting at 120 mins; and

*  the presentation by Beata Javorcik Chief Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, starting at 154 mins.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Unfair Contract Terms in small business standard form contracts

Here is a short video presentation explaining the current laws in relation to Unfair Contract Term (UCT) in small business standard form contracts under the Australian Consumer Law 2010 and the proposed amendments which are likely to come into force early next year.

I have sought to summarise both the existing laws and the most significant proposed amendments in about 20 minutes.
Businesses need to understand the proposed amendments to these UCT laws as soon as possible as the laws are very likely to get through Parliament. This is because the proposed amendments have been signed off by both the Commonwealth Government and by each of the States and Territories through their Ministers for Consumer Affairs.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

ACCC Case Note CDPP v Citigroup Global Markets No 5 – Indictment 2021 FCA 1345

Have a look at my recent ACCC Video Case Note on YouTube - Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions v Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited (No 5 – Indictment) [2021] FCA 1345

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions v Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited (No 5 – Indictment) [2021] FCA 1345

A lot of commentators have been focusing on Wigney J's "complete shemozzle" quote from the banking cartel case (at para 9) but for me the most instructive quote is at paragraph 246:

"Those responsible for drafting the cartel offence provisions in the C&C Act – none of whom could possibly have ever set foot in a criminal trial court before – appear to have approached the drafting task as if it were akin to producing a cryptic crossword. The offence provisions, when read with the extensive definitions of the terms used in them, are prolix, convoluted and labyrinthine. When coupled with the general principles of criminal responsibility, including the extensions of criminal responsibility in Ch 2 of the Criminal Code, the complexity of the offences is multiplied. By the time the maze of provisions is worked through, it is very easy to lose sight of exactly what conduct the offence provisions are intended to bring to account and punish."

This does not augur well for successful cartel prosecutions in Australia, particularly as a jury will have to work out these "prolix, convoluted and labyrinthine" provisions in order to convict and do so unanimously.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Australian Business Law Review, Vol 49, Part 3

ABLR Vol 49, Part 3 is out and features five excellent contributions:

* Regulating a Quick Fix for Debt Problems – Vivien Chen  and Candice Lemaitre

* Autonomous Vehicles: Regulatory, Insurance and Liability Issues – Julie-Anne TarrTony Tarr and Amanda-Jane George (McBratney)

*Unconscionable Conduct under the Australian Consumer Law: Clarification and Contention – Philip Clarke

* Implications of the Victorian Class Action Contingency Fee Reforms – John Emmerig and Emily Vale

* Book Review - Reinventing Bankruptcy Law: A History of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, by Virginia Torrie (Virginia T.) – Reviewed by Jason Harris

I would again like to encourage prospective authors to consider submitting their articles to the ABLR. One significant advantage of seeking to publish your article in the ABLR is our much quicker turnaround times compared to other leading legal journals. We aim to publish practical business law articles on topical issues in a timely manner, which means we have to operate on shorter time frames.

Australian Government to file amicus brief in support of US Supreme Court appeal

Some great news – the Australian Government and Attorney General Michaelia Cash have agreed to file an amicus curiae brief in support of our US Supreme Court petition.

The Government has retained high profile US attorney, Donald I Baker from Baker & Miller to prepare their brief. Donald Baker will be well known to competition lawyers as the former head of the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
This is great news and will significantly improve our chances of the US Supreme Court granting our petition and hearing the case.
Thanks to all the people who assisted us in our intense lobbying efforts, particularly Senator Griff and Change.Org, and those in Government in the Attorney General’s Office and IP Australia who agreed to give us time to listen to our arguments.

Monday, 1 November 2021

US Supreme Court case

Our Change.Org petition has gone from 61,000 signatures on Wednesday last week to 73,000 signatures today.

There is also a function to send the AG Michaelia Cash an email to ask her to agree to file an amicus brief in support of our US Supreme Court appeal. I understand she has already received 2800 emails!

Time is running out!