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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Developments Worldwide

Articles contributed by GVZH Advocates

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Virtual Financial Assets Act and Innovate Technology Arrangements and Services Act coming into force

October 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The Maltese Government has published the long-awaited legal notices establishing the 1st November 2018 as the date on which the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) and the Innovative Technology Arrangements (ITAS) Act will come into force.

Consultation Paper on the Virtual Financial Assets Rules for VFA Service Providers

October 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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On Friday 31st August, the MFSA published a consultation document outlining the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Rules for VFA Service Providers, (which include VFA [Crypto]Exchanges). The document is the third and final Chapter of the “Virtual Financial Assets Rulebook”. The scope of the Consultation is to obtain industry feedback in relation to Chapter 3 of the Virtual Financial Assets Rulebook; and the Authority’s interpretation of the transitory provision provided under Article 62(1)(c) of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA).

Malta Ahead of the Game: Three cryptocurrency and blockchain Bills passed the second reading stage

August 2018 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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During a conference organised by the Malta Institute of Management, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri, announced that the three crypto-related bills, namely the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill, the Innovation Technological Arrangements and Services Bill, and the Virtual Financial Assets Bill will pass through the second reading in Parliament, and in fact yesterday evening the Maltese Parliament finalised the second reading stage. The bills will now move on to the committee stage and then on to the third reading stage. Once the third reading in parliament is concluded the bills will then be presented to the President of Malta for her assent and become law.

Commercial Importation Of Aircrafts

July 2018 - Transport. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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An aircraft whose owner is established in the European Union and is intended for commercial use may be imported through Malta for VAT purposes and thus enabling the aircraft to be in free circulation within the European Union.

This procedure is a full importation procedure and requires the aircraft to be physically present in Malta to undergo the necessary VAT and customs procedures. Most of the paperwork can be processed before the arrival of the aircraft to Malta therefore ensuring minimal turnaround time.

Telecoms & Media in Malta | 2018 GTDT Edition

July 2018 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Communications policy

Regulatory and institutional structure

Summarise the regulatory framework for the communications sector. Do any foreign ownership restrictions apply to communications services?

The regulatory framework for telecommunications in Malta is based on the following primary and secondary legislation:

Lexology 2018 Q&A Report on Data Security & Cybercrime in Malta

July 2018 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Jurisdiction snapshot

Trends and climate

Would you consider your national data protection laws to be ahead or behind of the international curve?

Malta has been proactive in the implementation and development of its national data protection legal framework and is fully compliant with EU standards and best practice. Accordingly, Malta is a member of the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party and actively and periodically ensures that all of its policies and best practices are in line with those established by the working party.

A holistic approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and virtual financial assets in Malta

July 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Malta’s Parliament has recently approved three bills surrounding blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. These bills were presented by the government in order to instil legal certainty in the sector as well as to address banks’ concerns in accepting companies working in the industry.

Virtual Currencies & ICOs in Malta – State of Play

July 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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It is fair to say that virtual currencies (“VC”) and initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been all the rage in 2017 and, while many of the more well-renowned VCs have lost more than 50% of their value in the first quarter of 2018, this new digital asset phenomenon has not shown any signs of relenting.

The Rights Granted To Minority Shareholders Under The Maltese Companies Act

February 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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“The rights of minority shareholders are an important and rapidly developing branch of law. It raises difficult questions of principle: the conflicts between the letter and the spirit of the company’s constitution; between the sanctity of the bargain between shareholders embodied in the articles and unfair treatment; between giving a remedy which is effective and allowing it to become an institution of abuse; between the attainment of fairness and the amount of money parties can spend on litigation”.[1]

Qualifying Employment in Aviation (Personal Tax) Rules

February 2018 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Legal Notice 378 of 2017 has amended the Qualifying Employment in Aviation (Personal Tax) Rules which were originally promulgated in 2016, and amended by means of Legal Notice 1 of 2017.

Under the Qualifying Employment in Aviation (Personal Tax) Rules, which have come into force specifically under the auspices of the Maltese Income Tax Act, expatriates holding an eligible employment and office under a qualifying contract of employment in the aviation industry in Malta may opt to benefit from a reduced flat rate of tax of 15% on their employment income derived in respect of work or duties carried out in Malta. Eligible employment and office under the Rules include the following:

Award to Employee Following Transfer of Undertaking

February 2018 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The transfer of undertakings takes place when a business or undertaking is taken over by another Company (new employer) from the current Company (old employer). Any employee in employment, with the old employer, shall be deemed to be in employment by the new employer who shall also take on all the rights and obligations which the employee had prior to the transfer of the undertaking.

Lexology Navigator: Secured Lending Trends and Regulatory Climate

February 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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TRENDS AND REGULATORY CLIMATE

TRENDS

What is the current state of the lending market in your jurisdiction and have any new trends emerged over the last 12 months?

The lending market in Malta has traditionally been a conservative one. This factor contributed significantly towards the stability of Maltese credit institutions and debt security issuers during and after the 2008 credit crisis.

New Incentives for Family Businesses

February 2018 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The Family Business Act (the “Act”), which came into effect on the 1st of January 2017, aims to regulate family businesses and the manner in which they are managed and operated. It also endeavours to ease the process of succession and transfer of the family business.  Through the Act, businesses can structure and register themselves as “family businesses”. Once registered, family businesses will be eligible for benefits available under the Act, including assistance or relief given in terms of the Duty and Documents Transfers Act (“DDTA”), Malta Enterprise Act, Business Promotion Act and in terms of any other law as may be prescribed. The legislation includes an initial set of incentives which are immediately available to registered family businesses to assist them throughout their transition process.

The European Commissions’s take on a European Data Economy

February 2018 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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MOVING TOWARDS THE CONCEPT OF A EUROPEAN DATA ECONOMY

Digital data is a fundamental resource for economic progress, job creation, citizen empowerment, competitiveness, and business development. The European Union (EU) must guarantee that data flows across borders and sectors. This data should be available and reusable by stakeholders in an efficient manner and supplemented by superior computing capabilities to scrutinise such data. Indeed, the utilisation of intelligent data supports the production of brand-new products and services, the continued development of such production, the growth of the target market, and the strengthening of research and development.

The Notified AIF – Malta’s Fast Track Fund

January 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The Notified AIF is a new fund regime offered by Malta which allows fund promoters to set up a fund within 10 working days from application to the regulator. The application is a notification submitted to the MFSA and which is spearheaded by the investment manager of the Notified AIF. The latter must be a full-compliant AIFMD manager which will be responsible for effective the monitoring of the NAIF.

Employment and Industiral Relations Law

January 2018 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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GVZH Advocates provides an array of employment-related solutions including contracts of service, dismissals, redundancies, transfers of employees between undertakings, equal treatment on the workplace and the implementation of appropriate systems and procedures for clients’ human resources.

Can your IP disclose your ID?

July 2017 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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An “IP”, or “internet protocol” is a unique series of numbers allocated to each and every device connected to a network, including and most notable the internet. Similar to your physical  home address to which postal articles are addressed and delivered, internet traffic is delivered to your computer’s address i.e. your IP address.

Leave for medically assisted procreation

July 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The recent Legal Notice No. 156 of 2017 (“Leave for Medically Assisted Procreation National Standard Order 2017”) has laid down minimum requirements designed to grant a period of paid leave to employees who undergo the process of medically assisted procreation (hereinafter referred to as the “leave”) whether in Malta or outside Malta.

When Paid Leave and Sick Leave Collide

May 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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As stated by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”), the right of employees to paid annual leave is a “particularly important principle of the European Union social law” which cannot be derogated from the competent local authorities or practices, such as collective agreements, and whose implementation by the said authorities or practices must not fall short of the minimum requirements imposed by European law.

LICENCE TO SKILL – AN OUTLINE OF MALTA’S REGULATION OF SKILL GAMES

February 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Gambling, from a legal and policy perspective, has been consistently defined by reference to the constitutive elements of involving a monetary consideration, an element of chance, and a prize having some inherent value. Although definitions can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, the general consensus has been that a game or scheme that requires players to stake something of value for a prize that is awarded due to the outcome of an uncertain event should be treated as “gambling.”

Employment Contracts Conducted Electronically

February 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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LEGAL BACKGROUND

In this digital age, there is an increased reliance on the internet as a means of conducting business in a more efficient manner. In recent years, businesses have slowly started to move away from traditional methods of conducting business, to a more online based business. This allows for innovation and development in the business sector.

European Commission Proposal Strengthens Privacy Rules for Electronic Communications

January 2017 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Following a leak in early December, the European Commission has officially published the finalised proposed new legislation which aims to strengthen privacy in electronic communications. The Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications (“Proposal”) aims to repeal the ePrivacy Directive. These rules will be updating existing laws and bringing them in line with the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), forming part of the Digital Single Market Strategy.

LEAKED EPRIVACY DRAFT: WHAT TO EXPECT

January 2017 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission has been working on reforming the E-Privacy Directive. The draft law was leaked on the 13th of December 2016. Although this is not the final version, we now have a clearer idea of what to expect in the coming months. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation is expected to be finalized by January 2017. Since this is no longer a directive but is now a regulation, there is no need for it to be transposed. It will become effective within 6 months as opposed to the normal 2 year period, which means that companies will have a much shorter time period within which to bring themselves in line with the Regulation.

The most important changes found within the draft Regulation are the following:

  • Prior consent must be obtained for cookies and any other kind of online tracking techniques (first party analytics are exempted). Nevertheless, when cookies are necessary for technical reasons, there is no need for consent. This means that pop-ups requiring consent for cookies will no longer be necessary.
  • Privacy by design – device and software manufacturers must set default settings to block cookies by third parties.
  • New opt-in requirement for direct marketing phone calls. However, Member States may choose to allow such calls on an opt out basis instead. There must be a specific marketing prefix number making these calls easily identifiable.
  • Direct marketing by electronic communications is only allowed with respect to end users who have given their prior consent.
  • Information related to the end user’s device is now protected.
  • Publicly available directories must obtain consent from end users (if natural persons) prior to including their personal data in the directory.
  • Consent may be withdrawn but only at periodic intervals every six months
  • Fines which may be imposed in the case of a breach of the provisions of this Regulation are the following, depending on the offence in question:
    • 4% of global revenues or €20 million, whichever is higher; or
    • 2% of global revenues or €10 million, whichever is higher, for providers of devices and software who fail in their privacy by default obligations.

Although a revamped privacy regulation is welcome, it is certainly lacking in two important areas: it makes no mention of data retention or encryption. Local Data Protection Authorities will be responsible for the implementation of this Regulation. “OTT” (over the top) services such as Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook and Messenger will be expected to comply, together with traditional telecommunication services providers. The Regulation will have extra territorial effects as even third country websites will be required to conform in order to ensure that website visitors hailing from the European Union will have their rights protected.

Posting of Workers: The New Proposal of EU Commission for Revision of EU Directive 96/71/EC

January 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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As a specific form of temporary labour mobility, posting of workershas been a prominent topic of public and political debate during previous decades. Several factors have contributed to the debate.

MFSA ISSUES DISCUSSION PAPER ON INVESTMENT-BASED CROWDFUNDING

December 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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With access to finance becoming more difficult for start-ups and small businesses, the evolution of crowdfunding is becoming an emerging alternative funding source for project owners seeking starting capital.

GAPSME: GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

November 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The EU Single Accounting Directive 2013/34/EU, which repealed the 4th and 7th Accounting Directives on Individual and Consolidated Accounts, introduced a simplified procedure for financial statement reporting. This Directive was transposed into Maltese law via legal notice 289 of 2015 in virtue of the ministerial powers conferred on the Minister of Finance in virtue of the Accountancy Professions Act (Chap. 281 of the Laws of Malta).

FRAUD AND INVESTIGATIONS AT THE WORKPLACE

November 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

 

Monitoring of employees at the workplace is not specifically regulated by Maltese Law. In this respect, one  must refer to the Data Protection Act (Chapter 440 of the Laws of Malta), the European Directive 95/46/EC on processing of personal data and free movement of such data, as well as relevant rulings of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) and the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”), and best common practices.

A principle common to all Member States is that when it comes to working life, employers must strike a balance between monitoring employees and employees’ right to a private and family life. In fact, on the one hand, employers have an expectation to safeguard themselves against “wrongdoing” at the place of work, and on the other hand employees have an expectation of privacy.

Therefore, as a matter of principle, monitoring of employees at the place of work must be reasonable, not excessive and not disproportionate.

MFSA ISSUES CIRCULAR TO COMPLIANCE OFFICERS OF INVESTMENT SERVICES LICENCE HOLDERS

October 2016 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The Securities and Markets Supervision Unit has recently carried out a thematic review consisting of a desk based review of the best execution policies and procedures and an onsite visit at a number of licensed investment firmsin order to access their implemented Best Execution policies and procedures.

ESMA – Q&A ON INVESTOR PROTECTION UNDER MIFID II

October 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Ahead of the deadline for the member states to transpose MIFID II into national legislation which is now set for 3 July 2017 deadline for the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”), the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published a Questions and Answers document (Q&As) with the aim of promoting common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of MiFID by providing guidance with respect to the following investor protection topics:

Putting the R in Regulation

August 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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In the years since the crisis, the financial services industry has faced a barrage of new rules - the Market in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR), European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) to name a few.

How Businesses Will Be Affected by the New Cybersecurity Directive

August 2016 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Cyber security is a prominent issue on the EU’s digital agenda. Many governments and companies are vulnerable to cyber security threats. 

ESMA – Opinion to Harmonise Loan Origination by Funds

August 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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On the 11th of April, 2016, ESMA published an opinion addressed to the European Parliament, Council and Commission (“Opinion”) in which it proposed a common European framework for loan origination by investment funds and set out its view on the elements upon which the common European framework is proposed to be built.

The Banking of Hours: To Bank or Not to Bank?

August 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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An overview of Maltese law rules governing the banking of work hours

A Maltese Solution for Swiss Asset Managers

July 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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Until very recently the Swiss asset management industry relied exclusively on self-regulation and was allowed to operate and develop somewhat independently from European regulation. It is now confronted with major regulatory changes which will align Swiss laws and regulation with AIFMD and MIFID. Gone are the days where Swiss asset managers could be independent and unregulated. Swiss asset managers will now be subject to EU-like forms of authorisations and prudential supervision which will have a transformative impact on the Swiss asset management industry and bring additional costs, most notably compliance and operational costs, which will invariably adversely affect smaller independent asset managers.

Employment on board Maltese flagged vessels – do seafarers get a fair deal?

July 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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AN OVERVIEW OF SEAFARER’S RIGHTS

As emphasised by the International Labour Organizations (ILO), seafarers are frequently exposed to difficult working conditions and particular occupational risks. In fact, since working far from home, they may be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, non-payment of wages, non-compliance with employment agreements, exposure to poor diet and living conditions.

What to Expect from the Seller when Making an Online Purchase

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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As 2015 comes to a close, the e-commerce industry is expected to make €185.39 billion this year. In the EU, the average online shopper spends €970 yearly, and these numbers continue to grow annually. EU Directive 2011/83/EU details the rights of EU consumers when shopping online and was transposed into Maltese law through Legal Notice 439 of 2013.

UCITS V – MFSA Issue Consultation on Transposition

July 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by GVZH Advocates.

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The MFSA has today launched a consultation process on the transposition into Maltese law of Directive 2014/91/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 which is known as UCITS V.