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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 Schönherr

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European Court of Human Rights: Employers have limited rights to monitor employee communications at

September 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A landmark decision was issued yesterday (Judgement Bărbulescu v. Romania), a source of debate in the media, in which the European Court of Human Rights clarified the restrictions on monitoring employees in the workplace.

Potential Hurdle for Acquisitions in Hungary by Non-EU and Non-EEA Investors

September 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Ministry of the Interior recently submitted a legislative proposal to the Hungarian Government to amend the Act on Hungarian National Security Services (the "Proposal"). The Proposal suggests an amendment pursuant to which investors from non-EU and non-EEA countries who wish to invest in Hungary would have to obtain prior permission from the minister responsible for national security (the " Minister.

If adopted, investors from outside the EU and EEA would need to apply and obtain such permission if they intend to acquire more than a 25 % interest in an existing or yet to be established company with its registered seat in Hungary, provided that this company pursues activities that are deemed sensitive for national security.

read more...

EU: High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance delivers early recommendations

August 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 13 July 2017, the High-Level Expert Group ("HLEG") on Sustainable Finance published its interim report ("Interim Report") setting out concrete steps to create a financial system that supports sustainable investments.

This Legal Insight is part of our dedicated newsletter series on the European Capital Markets Union ("CMU").

Background

The growing awareness of environmental challenges and sustainability risks as well as the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement by the EU in 2015 call for an EU strategy on sustainable finance.

Establishing an EU strategy on sustainable finance is a priority action of the CMU. In December 2016, the HLEG was established to advise on the development of such an EU strategy. The recently published HLEG Interim Report was recently presented in a public hearing on sustainable finance on 18 July 2017. At the same time, the HLEG presented an online questionnaire on the Interim Report aimed at obtaining targeted feedback until 20 September 2017, which would be reflected in the final report of the HLEG scheduled for publication by the end of 2017.

 

read more... 

Serbian Competition Authority Steps Up Antritrust Enforcement

August 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition (the "Commission") recently intensified its antitrust activities before the new Administrative Act came into effect. In one week alone the Commission initiated four antitrust cases and conducted two dawn raids.

1. What/who will be on the Commission's radar?

First Annual Privacy Shield Review to take place in September 2017

August 2017 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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One of the core principles of the EU-US Privacy Shield ("Privacy Shield") is its Joint Review mechanism, which obliges the European Commission, the US Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission to jointly review the functioning of the Privacy Shield on an annual basis, together with its national security and law enforcement aspects. The very first Joint Review is scheduled for September 2017. This first review is considered especially important, as it will be the first opportunity for US and EU regulators to closely analyse the operation of the Privacy Shield, address possible concerns about its functioning, and seek to ensure that the Privacy Shield continues to be a valid legal basis for transfers of personal data from the EU to the US.

read more... 

Hungary: Are Interim Measures Hard to Enforce?

July 2017 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Parliament recently passed new legislation on arbitration (Act LX of 2017 on Arbitration, the “2017 Act”) that will reform Hungarian arbitration law as of 1 January 2018.

The 2017 Act, considering both the shortcomings of the current Hungarian legislation (Act LXXI of 1994 on Arbitration, the “1994 Act”) and the amendment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted in 2006 (the “Model Law”), repositions arbitration by reforming the choice of arbitrators, the institutional system of Hungarian arbitration panels, and the power of the panels ordering interim measures and preliminary orders. read more...

EU: Council Introduces Action Plan for NPLs

July 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 10 July 2017, the Commission announced the public consultation on the development of secondary markets for non-performing loans (NPLs) and distressed assets. Following the commencement of this public consultation, the Council introduced its Action Plan for NPLs.

Bulgaria: Remedies imposed on fuel companies following cartel investigations

July 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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For the second time in less than five years, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition ("Commission") has opened investigation proceedings regarding prohibited agreements and concerted practices against the major fuel companies in Bulgaria and closed them without issuing penalties.

Recast of the EU Regulation on Insolvency Law Applicable as of Today

July 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The EU Regulation on Insolvency Law 1346/2000 (EIR) was considered a milestone in the cross-border coordination of national insolvency proceedings. The recast of the EU Regulation on Insolvency Law 2015/848, applicable to insolvency proceedings opened after 26 June 2017, considers substantial developments in national insolvency laws. read more...

Lessons Learned over Three Years: Amendment of the Hungarian Trust Regulation

July 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Parliament passed an act in June 2017 with the aim of improving Hungary's business competitiveness. Among other things, the amendment has changed the regulation of trusts and their management, hopefully for the better, since the past three years have shown that a lack of such experience still exists. The legal concept of trust was introduced into Hungarian law in 2014, when the new Civil Code entered into force. Contrary to expectations, however, potential market players were hesitant to launch their businesses, mainly due to crippling bureaucracy and the vague regulation of trusts. read more...

Austria: Slightly Lower Fees, a Little More Liberalisation - The 2017 Amendments to the Austrian Tra

July 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Following a year of intense political discussion, the Austrian Parliament adopted numerous amendments to the Austrian Trade Act 1994 (Gewerbeordnung 1994, "GewO") at the end of June. While the reform falls significantly short of the outgoing government's original announcements last July with the aim to liberalise market access and to cut red tape for businesses, it nevertheless introduces several material changes to business activity in Austria. read more...

Austria: Avoid Expensive Mistakes As Startup Employer

July 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As violations may lead to enormous liabilities, start-up employers are advised from the outset to comply with the applicable laws pertaining to their personnel. In addition to being an underestimated factor when it comes to financial liabilities, employment-law-related mistakes may also result in difficulties in the course of a company's sales process. For a better understanding of what can go wrong in employment relationships, three of the most common mistakes that employers make are listed below. read more...

Renewable Energy: Amendment of the Austrian Green Electricity Act Doubles Funding

July 2017 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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After four months of negotiations, the Austrian National Council has finally reached an agreement on the amendment of the Green Electricity Act ("Ökostromnovelle"). The required two-thirds majority was reached by a last minute agreement between the coalition parties and the Green Party. The aim of the new legislation is to increase the percentage of green electricity and to achieve an expansion of renewable energy in Austria. read more...

Austria: Major Changes in Personal Bankruptcy Law

July 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 28 June 2017 the Austrian Parliament passed the government's legislative proposal on insolvency law (Insolvenzrechtsänderungsesetz 2017). After lengthy negotiations, the government finally agreed to shorten personal insolvency proceedings to a maximum five years and to abolish the minimum insolvency quota of 10 % under certain conditions. The amendments will be applicable as of 1 November 2017. read more...

Significant Amendments to the Romanian Competition Rules - What's New?

July 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The newly adopted Government Emergency Ordinance No. 39/2017 (the "Ordinance") introduces significant changes to Romanian competition rules. For example, it implements the provisions on actions for damages resulting from competition law infringements, as regulated under Directive 2014/104/EU (the "Damages Directive") and sets out new provisions impacting the food/non-food retail sector, as well as the dawn-raid procedure and fines applicable by the Romanian Competition Council (the "RCC") to non-resident undertakings. read more...

The Austrian Law on the Responsibility of Associations: New tendency to prosecution authorities to t

June 2017 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Austrian Law on the Responsibility of Associations (Verbandsverantwortlichkeitsgesetz, "VbVG") came into effect in 2006, stipulating that a company can be held criminally liable for certain criminal acts committed by its employees and decision-makers. According to new tendencies of prosecution authorities, the practical scope of the VbVG could expand in the future. read more...

Croatia: Lex Agrokor - Government Intervention at the Eleventh Hour

May 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Lex Agrokor – behind the scenes

The hottest topic in Croatia right now is the Agrokor situation and the newly enacted Act on Compulsory Administration Procedure in Companies of Systemic Importance for the Republic of Croatia (Zakon o postupku izvanredne uprave u trgovačkim društvima od sistemskog značaja za Republiku Hrvatsku; the "Act"). The Act was immediately nicknamed "Lex Agrokor" because of what appears to be its main purpose.

Austria: Draft Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 in Appraisal

May 2017 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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National Room for Manoeuvre Despite the GDPR

About a year before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into full effect, the Austrian legislator officially started a six-week consultation process for the national Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 (Datenschutz-Anpassungsgesetz 2018). The GDPR will harmonise the EU's data protection laws, but numerous so-called "opening clauses" allow national leeway. Besides, EU Directive 2016/680 requires implementation into national law and provides specific regulations on data processing by security authorities for the purpose of law enforcement. The published draft implements the Directive's provisions in a separate chapter (Hauptstück). read more...

ECB Publishes Practical Fit and Proper Assessments Guide for Board Members of Credit Institutions

May 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 15 May 2017, the European Central Bank ("ECB") published a guide on fit and proper assessments (the "Fit and Proper Guide"), which reflects the result of a public consolidation launched by the ECB on 16 November 2016.

European Commission Proposes EMIR Reform that will Minimise the Clearing Obligation for NFC and Cert

May 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 4 May 2017, the European Commission published its proposal for an amendment of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The Commission calls the proposed amendment a good example of "better regulation in practice" which is "essential to the creation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU)".

Hungary: New Arbitration Legislation?

May 2017 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Ministry of Justice has circulated its initiative for improving the legal environment with the aim of increasing Hungary's competitiveness by amending certain regulations and institutions. Among other things, the initiative concerns cross-border mergers and operation of trustees, and generally aims to lighten administrative burdens. Most notably, if adopted in its current form, it will reform the Hungarian arbitration regulation. read more...

Significant amendments to Austrian Competition Law – Part I (Overview)

April 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 6 April 2017, the Austrian Parliament adopted significant amendments to Austrian competition law, as set forth in the Austrian Cartel Act ("KartG") and the Act on the Austrian Federal Competition Authority ("WettbG"). The amendments concern three main areas: (i) implementation of the EU Damages Directive; (ii) introduction of an additional transaction value test in merger control; and (iii) certain adjustments to strengthen public enforcement of antitrust infringements. read more...

ECJ Allows Prohibition of Headscarves at Workplace

April 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Employers may prohibit their employees from wearing Islamic headscarves and other religious or political symbols, subject to certain conditions. On 14 March 2017, the European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") adopted a corresponding ruling in Luxembourg and decided on two cases in this respect, one dealing with a receptionist from Belgium and the other with a software designer from France. read more...

Slovenia Adopts New State Aid Legislation

April 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Slovenia adopted a new law regulating rescue and restructuring state aid, which entered into force in mid-February. When notified to the European Commission as a state aid scheme, it will allow the Republic of Slovenia to support companies and cooperatives in difficulty without having to notify support mechanisms in accordance with the provisions of the law as an individual aid measure to the European Commission. read more...

Individual Tax Rulings Now Possible in Moldova – And They're Binding!

March 2017 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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What previously was impossible and not foreseen by local legislation is now possible. Starting 1 January 2017, the Tax Code of Moldova (the "Tax Code") was amended by Law 281/2016 to include a separate norm (Art. 136¹) on individual tax rulings ("ITR") for the benefit of entrepreneurs. Within the limits of its scope and in respect of a concrete beneficiary, an issued ITR is binding on the State Tax Service (the "STS"). The Government and the Ministry of Finance are expected to approve the secondary legislation to regulate the details of the procedure. read more...

Bulgaria: Opening the gas market for foreign traders!

March 2017 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Most recently, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator has taken significant steps towards the full liberalisation of the natural gas market: In December 2016, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator adopted legislative amendments to the Rules for Trading of Natural Gas (Правила за търговия с природен газ, "Trading Rules") and the Rules for Access to the Gas Transmission and/or Gas Distribution Networks and the Natural Gas Storage Facilities (Правила за предоставяне на достъп до газопреносните и/или газоразпределителните мрежи и за достъп до съоръженията за съхранение на природен газ, "Access Rules"). Moreover, it adopted new Rules for Balancing of the Natural Gas Market (Правила за балансиране на пазара за природен газ, "Balancing Rules"). read more...

When Arbitration Meets Insolvency in Montenegro - Can They Coexist?

March 2017 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Even at first blush, it is apparent that arbitration and insolvency make strange bedfellows.

The reason they make such an odd couple is the different underlying policies, objectives, and purposes they stand for. The heart of arbitration lies at the privity of contract and the existence of party autonomy independent from the state. In contrast, insolvency reflects a centralized and to a certain extent state-managed procedure that holds all creditors equal, within a set system of ranking – a transparent and accountable process governed by mandatory substantive and procedural law provisions. read more...

Hungary: Registration Fees for Company Establishment Abolished

March 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In an aim to simplify state administration and support economic growth, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law abolishing the registration fee and the publication cost for incorporating limited liability companies ("LLC") (korlátolt felelősségű társaság), limited partnerships (betéti társaság), general partnerships (közkereseti társaság), and sole entrepreneurships (egyéni cég). The new law becomes effective on 16 March 2017. read more...

New regulation on unit-linked life insurance in Hungary

March 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Policyholders of unit-linked life insurance products pay an agreed sum for the unit-linked insurance to the insurance company, as a regular premium, or in one lump sum. These payments cover the life insurance component as well as the investment, administrative costs, contracting fee and the commissions. The "total cost charged" ("TCC") is an indicator – calculated in line with the rules of Hungarian insurance regulations – showing all costs charged on life insurance policies having a savings element, reflected as a percentage value. The regulation of the TCC in Hungary has been amended effective 1 January 2017. read more...

Hungary: Increase of Minimum Sale Price May Affect Retail NPL Transactions?

March 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 7 March 2017, the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that increases the minimum sale price of a residential property in the enforcement procedure from the current 70% of its market value to 100% (market value to be understood as the price set by the appraisal of the bailiff), provided that (i) the claim to be enforced stems from a consumer contract; (ii) the real property is the debtor's only real property; and (iii) the debtor resided in that real property for at least six months prior to the initiation of the enforcement procedure.  read more...

Legislative vacuum filled: Czech Republic introduces comprehensive new national legislation on e-cig

March 2017 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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New legislation regulating e-cigarettes in the Czech Republic entered into force on 1 March 2017, introducing specific safety and quality requirements on e-cigarettes in the country for the first time. read more...

Bulgaria: Amendment to the pricing and reimbursements process for pharmaceuticals

March 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The amendment aims at alleviating the existing regime for pricing of pharmaceuticals for home treatment of chronic, genetic and/or rare diseases and paid by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). It affects the interests of individuals with health insurance and the activities of more than 290 authorisation holders, of the wholesalers of pharmaceuticals, and of pharmacies (as retailers). read more...

Austria: Hospital Consolidation - a Driver of M&A Activity

February 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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2016 has seen a surprising level of deal activity in the (private) Austrian hospital sector: in Vienna, PremiQaMed, a 100 % subsidiary of UNIQA insurance group, acquired a 75 % stake in the renowned private hospital "Goldenes Kreuz", and the hospitals Hartmannspital and St. Elisabeth announced a merger to form the new "Franziskus" hospital. In Linz (Upper Austria), the "Elisabethinen" and the hospital operated by the Sisters of Charity agreed to combine to form a regional player with approx. 1,200 beds. read more...

The EU Capital Markets Union - Recent developments on Venture Capital

February 2017 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 16 December 2016, the Council of the European Union announced agreement on its negotiating stance in relation to the proposed regulation amending the European Venture Capital Funds ("EuVECA") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 345/2013) and the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds ("EuSEF") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 346/2013), which is now at the European Parliament's ECON committee, scheduled to be voted on, on 22 March 2017. On 31 January 2017 the call for expression of interest for selecting a fund manager of the Pan-European Venture Capital Fund-of Funds closed; and tax incentives for venture capital and business angels are expected to be proposed in the course of 2017 to foster investment in SMEs and start-ups, close the funding gap and thereby remove obstacles to economic growth in Europe. read more...

Boost your Start-Up with an Advisory Board - Points to consider

February 2017 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Most start-ups are founded by first-time founders directly after graduation, with the founding team consisting, also in most cases, of not more than two members. Such founders are naturally not equipped for all of their business challenges. Founders thus often make mistakes, especially at the very beginning of their activities, e.g. in relation to developing and distributing their products, when and how to raise capital and developing or moving into new markets. read more...

Albania: Finally on track for a comprehensive support scheme for renewable energy?

February 2017 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Current status

Albania has one of the highest percentages of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (RES) in its electricity mix – more than 95 % of electricity generated in Albania comes from hydropower generation. In spite of that (or maybe because of that), Albania has not had a comprehensive policy on the support of RES in place to date. read more...

No Smoking: After a long battle in Parliament, the Czech Republic finally adopts smoking ban

February 2017 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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One last hurdle – the signature of Czech President MiloÅ¡ Zeman –before the so called Anti-Smoking Bill enters into force on 31 May 2017.

On 19 January 2017, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved the government bill of the Act on Protection from the Harmful Effects of Addictive Substances (the "Bill"), which is due to enter into force on 31 May 2017, subject to signature by the President. read more...

Facilitation or Liability Trap for Foreign Employers? - The Revised Austrian Law against Wage and So

February 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2017, the revised Austrian Law against Wage and Social Dumping ("Lohn- und Sozialdumping Bekämpfungsgesetz" or "Revised LSD-BG") came into force. The Revised LSD-BG applies to matters arising after 31 December 2016.

Austria: Court rules on rights in environmental impact assessment

January 2017 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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If there are two or more conflicting water use projects (eg, hydroelectric power stations), the Water Act provides for a special conflict procedure. A pending conflict procedure suspends decisions in all underlying approval procedures. As a result of the conflict procedure, the project which serves public interests best will take priority over the inferior project. read more...

2016 brought some substantial changes in Austria's Criminal Law provisions - A Review

January 2017 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In 2016, Austrian Criminal Law experienced some substantive legal developments in both, procedural and material aspects. The following overview reflects the most relevant developments in Austrian Criminal Law in 2016.

1. Material changes

1.1. Breach of trust

With effect from 1 January 2016, the offence "breach of trust" in sec 153 of the Austrian Criminal Code ("ACC") has been fundamentally revised. At first glance, sec 153 of the ACC is not a very complex provision. It states, quite simply, that whoever knowingly abuses the authority conferred to him or her shall be liable, if he or she intends to cause and eventually causes financial harm to his or her principal (eg the company). Thus, sec 153 ACC has three prerequisites: (i) an abuse of authority, (ii) financial harm and (iii) criminal intent. With the reform of sec 153 ACC the Austrian legislator finally addressed the concern that the scope of what constitutes an "abuse of authority" is not always easy to assess: read more

Austrian Supreme Court Establishes New Standards as Regards the Decisive Underlying Reasoning of Arb

January 2017 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The decisive underlying reasoning ( motifs, Begründung) is, without doubt, an essential part of any arbitral award and as such bears the potential of frustrating parties and arbitrators alike. On the one hand, elaborate reasoning in arbitral awards more often than not comes at the price of long waiting periods for the issuance of the awards, and periods of meticulous drafting on the part of the arbitrator(s). On the other hand, a lack of elaborate reasoning may likewise be a headache, since it exposes the arbitral award to setting aside. read more...

The Czech Republic joins other European countries in regulating the sale and advertising of unhealth

December 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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From January 2017, selling and/or advertising chips, soft drinks or mayonnaise-filled sandwiches to children in schools will be illegal.

European Commission releases "Clean Energy Package"

December 2016 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 30 November 2016 the European Commission published its "Winter Package" containing proposals for new rules for a consumer-centered clean energy transition. The 500 page Winter Package had been eagerly awaited by the energy industry since it was to contain the major energy regulations for 2020 onwards. As expected, the most substantial measures and amendments proposed concern renewables and energy efficiency in the European Union. In addition, the electricity market design is proposed to be amended. read more...

The Constitutional Court of Moldova has spoken: No Need for Acquirer of a Share Stake to Obtain Shar

December 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Through its 27 September 2016 decision ("Decision 27/2016"), the Constitutional Court of Moldova ("Constitutional Court") has declared certain provisions of the local Law on Limited-Liability Companies ("Law 135/2007") unconstitutional. In particular, it ruled that the operation of amendments to constitutive acts cannot constitute a condition and impediment to an acquirer registering its property right over a share stake in the State Register of Companies. read more...

Protection of new and interim financings in restructuring? - The European Commission's proposal on e

December 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Since the European Commission adopted the recommendation on restructuring and second chance in 2014, it has been working on the evaluation of its initiative and the introduction of a European legal framework. In 2015 the Capital Markets Union Action Plan included the announcement of a legislative initiative on early restructuring and second chance. Finally, on 22 November 2016, the European Commission published its proposal for a European Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks and a second chance for entrepreneurs. The proposal includes, inter alia, provisions protecting new and interim financing in restructurings. read more...

Austria: Upcoming ban on speculative financial transactions for public bodies

November 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Austrian Federal Government agreed in its 2013-2018 work programme, on the implementation of a nationwide ban on speculative financial transactions for the Federation, the Austrian Federal States, Austrian Municipalities, and other public bodies. read more...

The EU Capital Market Union - European Commission establishes expert group to develop strategy on su

November 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 28 October 2016, the European Commission decided to establish a High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance, one of the European Commission's primary objectives within the EU Capital Markets Union ("CMU").

This Legal Insight is the first part of our dedicated newsletter series on the CMU. We will provide regular updates on CMU-related topics. read more...

Slovenia: Do companies have the right to be heard during a dawn raid?

November 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Slovenian courts were recently asked to rule on companies' right to be heard during unannounced investigations (so-called 'dawn raids') by the Competition Protection Agency. read more...

Romania: New rules on labelling products that use frozen food in the preparation process

November 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 20 October 2016, new legal provisions are in place in Romania setting out how consumers should be informed of products that use frozen foods in their preparation. In this respect, the consumer protection authority enacted Order 183/2016 ("Order 183") published in the Official Gazette on 20 September 2016. read more...

Hungary: Bonus claims - evolving court practice

October 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Although performance-based compensation has long been an integral part of Hungarian employment law, neither the Labour Code nor the relevant commentaries provide a clear-cut definition of a 'bonus'. As a result, the definition and key legal principles governing bonuses have been developed by court practice. read more...

Mediation on the Heels of Arbitration - Competition or Peaceful Coexistence?

October 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Arbitration has long been the favorite of the ADR family. Mediation, however, has established an increasingly relevant position for itself when it comes to resolving (international) commercial disputes quickly, cost-efficiently, and successfully. READ MORE...

Austria: Amendments to Gas Market Model Ordinance

September 2016 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Gas Market Model Ordinance plays a major role in the Austrian gas market, as it regulates network access and the capacity management and balancing system in Austria's three market areas: the east, Tyrol and Vorarlberg. read more...

Arbitrators’ Liability: Austrian Supreme Court Reconfirms Strict Standards

September 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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One of the main advantages of arbitration vis-à-vis state court litigation, is that the parties are free to choose independent and highly specialised experts to decide their cases. Yet, if these experts negligently (or even deliberately) violate the duties that come with the acceptance of the appointment, the issue of liability arises. read more...

A new WCC department within the Metropolitan Public Prosecution Office

September 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of September 1st 2016, a newly established special department, dedicated solely to white collar crimes, has commenced its work within the Hungarian Metropolitan Public Prosecution Office (Fővárosi Főügyészség). read more...

EU: News on linking from the CJEU

September 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The CJEU already had the chance to rule on the legitimacy (under copyright law) of hyperlinks to copyrighted works in the Svensson (C-466/12) and Bestwater (C-348/13) cases. In both cases the court came to the conclusion that hyperlinks to copyrighted works freely available on another website are not "communications to the public" (ie a "new public") and therefore do not require the consent of the right holders. read more...

Bulgaria takes steps to implement Directive 2014/104/EU

September 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 2 September 2016, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition proposed a draft act for amendments (the "Draft") to the Competition Protection Act (the "CPA"). These amendments aim to implement Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 26 November 2014, on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law, for infringements of competition law provisions of Member States, and of the European Union (the "Directive"). read more...

Security for Costs in Investment Arbitration: Who Should Bear the Risk of an Impecunious Claimant?

August 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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When allocating costs, investment arbitration tribunals apply two principles: a “pay your own way” principle which provides that each party pays its own legal costs and they effectively share the costs of the proceedings, and secondly a “costs follow the event” or “loser pays” principle which provides that the losing party bears the costs of the proceedings including the legal costs of the successful party. read more

Hungary: HCA and NIPN conclude cooperation agreement for pharmaceutical consumer protection cases

August 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare suppliers have always been of special interest to the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) due to the associated public health concerns. In light of this, the HCA has concluded several cooperation agreements with other agencies to facilitate the investigation of these markets. Initially, the agreements were developed with the authorities responsible for the authorisation and monitoring of medical devices and food supplements. read more...

Hungary: Towards strengthened investor protection

August 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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After the broker scandals of 2015, the government introduced new protective measures this year to restore Hungarian investors' trust in capital markets instruments and investment service providers. In 2015, it was discovered that some local broker houses had manipulated their information systems and as a result their reports on securities were not an accurate reflection of the reality. read more...

ECJ issues preliminary ruling on cross-border mergers

August 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On August 28 2014 the Austrian Supreme Court submitted a request to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) (6 Ob 137/13 k) for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of EU law regarding cross-border mergers. read more...

#Rio2016 - A Trademark Infringement?

August 2016 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Recent media coverage has reported that it will be prohibited for companies to use hashtags such as #Rio2016, or to share official reports regarding the Olympic Games on social media. Are these serious threats? Or are they simply (unsuitable) attempts to protect official sponsors as comprehensively as possible? read more...

Hungary: A new era in electronic litigation has begun

August 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 1 July 2016, an amendment to Act III of 1952 on the Code of Civil Procedure ("Act") came into force introducing the possibility – sometimes the obligation – to communicate with the courts electronically. read more...

One and two character domain names will be available soon under the Austrian ccTLD

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

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While it has been possible to register one or two character domain names ("short domains") under several Top Level Domains (TLDs) for quite some time (eg for the German ".de" TLD, following the 2009 "vw.de" judgment), the Austrian registry operator nic.at has hitherto not delegated short domains under the TLD ".at" (to date the minimum length of domain names under the ".at" top level domain had been three characters). Read more...

Czech Republic: Real Estate Transfer Tax to be paid by transferees

August 2016 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Under the provisions of the Statutory Measure of the Senate No. 340/2013 Coll. on Real Estate Transfer Tax (the "RE Transfer Tax Ac"), the transferor is obliged to pay the real estate transfer tax (the "RE Transfer Tax") when ownership title to real estate is acquired by purchase or exchange, unless the transferor and the transferee stipulate otherwise in the purchase or exchange agreement. read more...

Austria: Shareholder Agreements - Back to Normal?

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2015 the act to amend regulations for partnerships, as defined under the Austrian Civil Code (GesbR-Reformgesetz – GesbR-RG, BGBl I 83/2014), entered into force. read more...

Czech Republic: New developments in contract registration

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The brand new Contract Register Act came into effect on 1 July 2016 (the Act). After 1 July 2016, contracts concluded with certain subjects, such as the state (the Czech Republic), state fund, etc., need to be published in the register of contracts (the "Register").If a contract is not published in the Register within three months of its conclusion, it is considered invalid from the outset (as if the contract was never concluded). read more...

Are you up to date on important Polish labour law matters?

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As an employer it is vital that you are informed on new labour law related issues that could negatively affect your organisation. In this legal insights we explore a number of these important legal points. read more...

Hungary: Amendment to the Civil Code in order to foster lending

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 13 June 2016 the Hungarian Parliament adopted an amendment to the Civil Code which entered into force two years ago. The main body of the amendment will enter into force on 1 October 2016, and reintroduces the independent mortgage (önálló zálogjog) which used to be part of the Hungarian secured transactions regime under the former civil code, and refines the rules of the security deposit (óvadék). read more...

CJEU rules on liability of marketplace operators for trademark infringements

July 2016 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Should landlords care about their tenants' IP infringements? According to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), they should!

In a breaking judgement, the CJEU clarified this point in a trademark dispute in the Czech Republic[1]: The court held that the tenant of a market hall, who sublets sales areas to market-traders selling counterfeit branded goods, is an intermediary within the meaning of Art 11 of the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC). read more...

Poland: Act on Windfarms and Amendments to the Act on Renewable Energy Sources

July 2016 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 27 June 2016 the Polish President signed a new bill introducing changes to the Act on Renewable Energy Sources ("Amending Act"). On 22 June 2016 the President signed a new Act on investments in wind power plants ("Act on Windfarms"). Both acts have been widely criticised by the renewable energy sources ("RES") industry, and on reading they suggest that the current Polish government is willing to significantly reduce support for RES. read more...

Bulgaria: The Open Tender for Sofia Aiport Concession Ceased

July 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 20 May 2016 the Bulgarian government resolved to begin open tender proceedings for the concession of the Sofia Airport which has been brought to a halt by the Bulgarian Competition Protection Commission. read more...

"Brexit" - BrexIP?

July 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Besides coverage of the UEFA-championship, news of the UK vote on "Brexit" dominated the news last week. While it is too early for an in-depth analysis of the ramifications of a possible "Brexit" on IP rights – not only because despite the vote it is not yet decided whether the UK will in fact withdraw from the EU, but also because the specific mechanisms of such withdrawal will most likely be regulated in an agreement pursuant to Art 50 (2) of the Lisbon Treaty – enterprises should also monitor the developments in this field of law. Below is a small foretaste on issues related to key IP-rights: read more...

Czech Republic: Transfer of an Enterprise: Acquisition of Ownership

June 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The new Czech Civil Code effective 1 January 2014 introduced new rules for determining the moment of legal effectiveness of the transfer of an enterprise.

For transferees registered in a Commercial Register, the ownership right to the enterprise will now transfer only upon publication of the information that the transferee has lodged an enterprise transfer deed in the Collection of Deeds of the transferee maintained by the Commercial Register. read more...

Committed Bribery in the Czech Republic?

June 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech Government recently submitted a proposal to amend the Czech Penal Code (the "PC") and the Code of Criminal Procedure (the "CCP") in respect of, among others[1], the non-prosecution of bribery under certain circumstances. The proposal[2] was adopted within a month and will come into effect on 1 July 2016 (the "Amendment").
read more...

RES in Serbia: New Secondary Legislation Package Adopted

June 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The long-awaited package of secondary legislation regarding renewables ("Secondary Legislation") was finally adopted by the Government of Serbia on 13 June 2016.

The Secondary Legislation consists of the following decrees: read more...

Finally! Some Room Left for Direct Transactions with Securities of Moldovan Joint-Stock Companies

June 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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It is no secret that the Act no.171/2012 on Capital Markets (which entered into force in 2013), together with numerous changes to Act no.1134/1997, and in addition the recent abolition of Act no.199/1998 on Securities Markets, cumulatively have significantly changed the rules of direct transactions with securities in Moldovan joint-stock companies ("JSC"). As a consequence, fears arose that such possibility would no longer exist. read more...

Serbia: New Inspection Act in effect: be inspection-ready

June 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The new Inspection Act came into force on 29 April 2015, with the majority of its provisions coming into effect as of 29 April 2016.

The new Inspection Act (the "IA") introduces several key changes: read more...

Bulgaria: Government Approves a New Draft Concessions Act

June 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 25 May 2016, the Bulgarian government approved a new draft Concessions Act. The draft remains to be adopted by the Bulgarian parliament. The new Concessions Act will replace the current Concessions Act in its entirety, and will revoke the existing Public-Private Partnership Act. read more...

Hello there, Moldova! Is there some room left for guaranteed feed-in tariffs for renewables?

May 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 25 March 2016 the Moldovan Parliament passed a new law on the promotion of the use of electric energy from renewables ("Law 10/2016"). Law 10/2016 is meant to enter into force on 25 March 2017, and its scope is officially to institute the necessary legal framework for application of EU Directive 2009/28/CE in Moldova. read more...

Austria: Hyperlinking to online-radio broadcasts

May 2016 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The relationship between hyperlinking and copyright is much debated. Although recent decisions of the ECJ have shed some light on the question, many questions still remain when hyperlinking to copyrighted content should be considered a copyright infringement. Some of these questions have been addressed by the Austrian Supreme Court in a recent judgment (Decision by the Supreme Court dated 23 February 2016, 4 Ob 249/15v). read more...

Personal Data Protection for Serbian Entrepreneurs

May 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Serbia does not currently have any separate regulations in place in respect of protection of "personal data" pertaining to legal entities. It does regulate the protection of natural persons' data, however, without any particular mention of entrepreneurs. read more...

Proposed amendments to the Czech Labour Code - Are they really important?

May 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (the "MLSA") recently submitted a new proposal for interdepartmental comment, that will modify the current Labour Code[1]. read more...

How about a New Arbitration Act in Hungary?

May 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian arbitration Act (Act LXXI of 1994 on arbitration, “the Act”) has barely “turned 22” and the pressure to replace it with new legislation has popped up. Considering the current, rapid reform of effective laws in Hungary – meaning that relatively new legislation which has been in force for only five to ten years has been set aside to introduce new legislation –the push to introduce new law on arbitration law is no surprise. read more...

A Bid for Strong Arbitrator

May 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Discussions of arbitrators’ powers have riveted the international arbitration community. Practitioners increasingly face situations where arbitrators seem cautious and reluctant to rule on procedural issues. read more...

Hungary: Update - first gun jumping decision swiftly followed by three more

May 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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This competition newsletter is an update to our previous insight on the first gun jumping decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority ("HCA"), where we set out the background to the Hungarian suspension clause and the calculation of fines in more detail. read more...

Insolvency / Restructuring in Montenegro

May 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Bankruptcy and reorganization are the two primary procedures available for solving a collective action problem in dealing with financially troubled debtors, and both are regulated by the Montenegrin Insolvency Act. read more...

Austria: Invitations to hunting trips - the criminal court's next trophy?

May 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The woodcock mating season has just ended and deer-hunting season has already begun. Are officials allowed to accept an invitation to a hunting trip, or should they be paying the shooting fees and other costs? read more...

First gun jumping decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority

May 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Competition Authority ("HCA") has imposed a fine of HUF 1 million (approx EUR 3,200) on CEE Holding Group Limited and Olympic International Holdings Limited, for implementing a concentration prior to authorisation by the HCA (cf Vj/145/2015., the decision may be found here). read more...

Turkey: First Personal Data Protection Act in force

May 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The long-awaited Personal Data Protection Act no. 6698 (Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu) (the "DPA" or "Law") was approved by the Turkish Parliament on 24 March 2016, was published in the Official Gazette on 7 April 2016, and hence came into force.  read more...

Romania: New national measures for labelling fresh milk for consumption and milk products

May 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In April 2016 the Romanian Parliament passed a law which includes additional requirements for labelling fresh milk for consumption and dairy products (the "Law"). read more...

Austria fails to implement new procurement directives in time

May 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 18 April 2016 the two-year transition period for implementing the new Directives on public procurement law 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU, and 2014/25/EU ("Directives") lapsed.   read more...

Austrian real estate transfer tax - indirect changes in shareholder structure

May 2016 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Under Austrian tax law, not only the transfer of Austrian real estate, but also the transfer or consolidation of 95% of the shares in a property-owning company, triggers a 0.5 % Austrian real estate transfer tax. read more...

EU Market Abuse Regulation Countdown - Are you ready?

April 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The new EU Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) will take direct effect across EU member states from 3 July 2016 onwards. It will not only extend the market abuse regime to issuers of securities traded on multilateral and organised trading facilities (ie non EU regulated markets), but will also have an impact on disclosure and record keeping obligations of issuers of securities currently listed on EU regulated markets. read more...

Austria: Management and Supervisory Board Liability under the new Business Judgment Rule

April 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Modelled on Sec 93 para 1 of the German Stock Corporation Act, a 2015 reform of the Austrian Criminal Code introduced a "Business Judgement Rule" (BJR) into the Austrian Stock Corporation Act (AktG) and the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG). Read more...

Bulgaria: New national measures on labelling of non-prepacked foods and indication of country-of-ori

April 2016 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Better late than never

To date Bulgaria has never adopted measures to regulate how allergens in non-prepacked foods, and other mandatory information (set out in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers ("FIR")), should be disclosed to consumers. The same applies to how this information should be presented and expressed. read more...

Hungary: Sunday Shopping Ban Withdrawn After One Year

April 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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After its introduction in 2015, the Hungarian Parliament has repealed the controversial regulations banning most retail stores from opening on Sundays. The reason for the withdrawal is grave unpopularity among Hungarian citizens. read more...

Reform of the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure Brings Improvements to Defendants' Rights

April 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Amendments to the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure bring substantial improvements to defendants' rights, but also facilitate the public authorities' access to confidential bank data. read more...

Austria: Public prosecutor will get easier access to bank information as of 1 August

April 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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1.1.    Introduction of bank account registry in 2015

In 2015 Austria introduced a centralised bank account registry (Kontenregister) for bank accounts and deposits within Austria. Read more...

Austria: Finally! Prosecution authorities will be prohibited from seizing attorney-client privileged

April 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Amendments to the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure bring substantial improvements to defendant's rights, but also facilitate the public authorities' access to confidential bank data. read more...

Competition law - First Romanian follow-on damages case

April 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In October 2015, the Bucharest Court of Appeals awarded damages in a follow-on action for the first time. read more...

Austria: Centralised Purchasing Bodies / Do Austrian courts have jurisdiction over German procuremen

April 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Cross border procurement via centralised purchasing bodies

In light of a general shortage of budget funds in the public sector, contracting authorities intend to bundle and pool their purchasing quantities to gain positive efficiency and pricing effects. According to Austrian procurement law (not having implemented procurement Directives 2014) contracting authorities have different tools allowing them to bundle their purchasing volume by cooperating with other purchasing bodies, such as the establishment of centralised purchasing bodies ("CPB") which acquire supplies or services for (other) contracting authorities, or award public contracts intended for contracting authorities. read more...

Balancing the right to employer control with employee privacy concerns

March 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Introduction

Surveillance of employees in the workplace has long been a hot topic among managers, human resources professionals and employment lawyers. The development of IT equipment used in the course of work, the widespread use of social media, the increasing level of teleworking and other flexible working methods all require employers to implement new techniques to control their employees' work. Read more...

Austria: The Responsibility of Managing Directors to Ensure an Effective and Adequate Compliance Org

March 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The likelihood of the assessment of a company’s compliance management system (CMS) by a court is high once criminal conduct within a company is subject to investigation. To prevent management’s civil and criminal liability, a CMS shall be efficient and able to identify risks as well as to control and prevent compliance-related transgressions. Read more...

- A New gTLD Targeting The Insurance Sector

March 2016 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Industry related generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") <.insurance> provides new opportunities and new challenges for online activities in the insurance sector. read more...

The Payment Account Directive - Something to Fear?

February 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Scope of regulation and implementation

The Payment Account Directive ("PAD") sets out common standards that EU Member States must adhere to in order to improve the comparability of fees linked to payment accounts collected by PSPs, to facilitate switching of a payment account from one PSP to another, and to ensure access to a generally free-of-charge payment account with basic features. PAD regulates a certain part of the payment services market, as this directive was conceived as a regulation complementary to the Payment Services Directive (2007/64/EC), ("PSD") which established the general framework for payment services within the EU. read more...

Has the European Court of Human Rights Officially Allowed Employers to Read Employees' Private E-mai

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Employers often wish to monitor how their employees use work computing facilities during office hours. In a recent judgment (Barbulescu v Romania application 61496/08, 12 January, 2016), the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") illuminates the circumstances that may justify employers monitoring employees' communication.  read more...

Energy Efficiency in Hungary: Regulatory requirements force all energy-using companies to increase e

February 2016 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Act on Energy Efficiency in Hungary (Act no. LVII. of 2015, "AEE"), which entered into force in July 2015, and its Governmental Decree on the Enforcement of AEE, encompass the main rules to be observed in the field of energy efficiency. The AEE prescribes energy efficiency targets, political energy efficiency planning and monitoring mechanisms, including the National Action Plan, obligations of the state and public bodies, as well as the detailed rules pertaining to energy audits, which is the main topic of this article. read more...

The Polish Competition Act – a year after substantial reform

February 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A year has passed since major amendments to Polish Competition Law came into force on 18 January 2015 ("the Amendment"). The reform introduced significant changes, not only to the merger control regime, but also in the area of antimonopoly practices (anti-competitive agreements and abuse of a dominant position). read more...

Participation of associations in cartels: another twist in the saga

February 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In 2014 the Competition Agency issued a decision on the Association of Orthodontists cartel –to date, one of the most controversial cases it has considered. read more...

Romania: Investment Arbitration in the Context of Renewable Energy Investments

February 2016 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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1. Preliminary considerations

There has been a lot of talk about investment arbitration in relation to the cuts in and changes to the Romanian government's support scheme for renewable energy ("RESS"). Read more...

Hungary: Can overqualification constitute valid grounds for dismissal?

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Employing overqualified employees has long been a source of debate among human resources (HR) professionals. Several practical HR aspects must be addressed when employing such workers, which often give rise to legal issues. This update highlights these issues in the context of Hungarian law. Read more...

Serbia: Draft for New Trademark Act Introduces Trademark Opposition System and Various Other Changes

February 2016 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The draft of Serbia's new Trademark Act strives to remove shortcomings in the existing trademark legislation and further harmonize Serbian laws with those of the European Union. Read more...

Transparency International Releases its new Corruption Perceptions Index

January 2016 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 27 January 2016, Transparency International released its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). ), which covers perceptions of public sector corruption in 168 countries. The CPI can be found under the following link. read more...

Hungary: The value of information – highest fine ever imposed on an association of undertakings

January 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 11 January 2016, the Hungarian Competition Authority (Authority) announced the highest fine it has ever imposed on an association on account of horizontal information exchange. The fine of ca. EUR 12.7 million (HUF 4 billion) was imposed on the Hungarian Banking Association (Association) for the Association's database, which included not only strategically relevant, but also confidential data. Undoubtedly, the continuous flow of information is one of the key drivers of business and economic growth. The more unconstrained the flow of information becomes, the more conscious undertakings must be in order to identify the inherent legal risks of information exchange and its lawful limits. The Authority's decision is one of the most recent indicators of the relevance of such considerations. read more...

EU: New Information Obligations for Online Traders

January 2016 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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1. The EU Regulation

Since 9 January 2016, traders established within the Union engaging in online sales or service contracts must provide new information on their websites. The Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 ("Regulation") on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes ("ODR") applies directly in all member states and does not require transposition by the member states (with the exception of some provisions that apply from an earlier date according to Article 22 of the ODR).  read more...

Croatia: Consumer Bankruptcy Act Introduces Consumer Bankruptcy into the Legal System

January 2016 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Croatian Consumer Bankruptcy Act (Zakon o stečaju potrošača; "ZSP")[1], which entered into force on 1 January 2016, for the first time introduces the legal concept of consumer bankruptcy into the legal system. The intention of the legislator was to release honest consumers from those obligations that remain after their assets have been sold and after the proceeds obtained therefrom have been distributed to their creditors. read more...

Hungary: VAT rates slashed for newly constructed residential buildings

January 2016 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 15 December 2015, the Hungarian Parliament introduced a new act amending the VAT rates currently applied on newly constructed residential real estate. With the start of 2016, the standard VAT rate of 27% will be reduced to 5% for the sale of newly constructed residences. Market experts anticipate a boom on the residential real estate market as a direct consequence. read more...

Hungary: Restrictions on use of temporary staff agency workers

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The use of temporary staff agencies and agency workers has increased steadily in Hungary over the past two decades. The legal relationship in this context is usually referred to as 'workforce lending', as it is understood that the agency's assignment of workers to the undertaking that uses them constitutes lending. Although the basic concept of workforce lending and detailed regulations on this tripartite legal relationship were officially adopted in 2001 as part of the harmonisation of Hungarian law with EU law, the concept had actually been in use much earlier. read more...

Poland: Letters of consent once again effective in Patent Office proceedings

January 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In Poland, procedures related to granting protection to international trade mark are regulated by The Industrial Property Law of 30 June 2000 ("IPL"). read more...

Poland: Amendments to the Polish Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code Coming into Force in 2016

January 2016 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In 2016 important amendments to the Civil Code and the Civil Procedure Code in Poland will come into force. Most of the amendments aim to modernise Polish civil law and procedure. Consequently, the new provisions are said to constitute a series of facilitating measures for civil law relations and disputes governed by Polish law.

read more...

Hungary wants to become creditor-friendly

December 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Ministry of Justice acknowledged the recent criticism aimed at the difficulties regarding the enforcement of monetary claims in the country and plans to amend the relevant laws to make creditors' lives easier. As currently envisaged, these amendments will in the near future change such fundamental laws as the Civil Code, the act on court enforcement, and the act on insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings. This article provides a summary of the envisaged amendments. read more...

Romania: Tightening Rules on Fire Safety Regulations

December 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Against the backdrop of a severe fire in a public space in Bucharest which had led to multiple casualties, the Romanian Government, at the start of November, tightened the country's rules on fire prevention through the enactment of two legislative acts, namely Government Emergency Ordinance no. 52 / 2015 for the amendment of Law no. 307 / 2006 on fire prevention ("GEO 52/2015") and Government Decision 915/ 2015 for setting out certain criteria enabling authorities to cease the functioning or use of buildings due to serious breaches of the fire prevention regulations ("GD 915/2015"). read more...

Hungary incentivizes banks to sell their non-performing project loans

December 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian National Bank would like to incentivize the country's banks to clean their portfolios, since the banks still hold over HUF 700 billion (approx. EUR 2.25 billion) of non-performing project loans, – a volume which represents a significant stability risk for the Hungarian financial system. Moreover, this significant volume of the non-performing project loans limits the banks' willingness to provide loans, which in turn slows down economic growth in the country. In order to address this risk, the Hungarian National Bank decided this October to introduce additional capital requirements for credit institutions by implementing a systemic risk buffer. read more

Serbia: New Act on Assignment of Employees to Work Abroad is Adopted

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Republic of Serbia's Act on Conditions for Assignment of Employees to Temporary Work Abroad and their Protection ("Act") entered into force on 13 November 2015, and it will be applicable as of 13 January 2016.

The provisions of this Act will not be applicable to the assignment of employees to EU member states or countries in the European Economic Area as of the day the Republic of Serbia becomes a full member of the EU. Read more...

Austria: New draft bill confirms bail-in protection for repos and securities lending transactions

November 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Legal Status  

  • Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing a framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms ("BRRD") was implemented in Austria effective 1 January 2015, including write-down / conversion measures and the bail-in tool. Read more

Croatia: The New Bankruptcy Act Aims to Accelerate Bankruptcy Proceedings and Resolve Non-Liquidity

November 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The recently adopted Croatian Bankruptcy Act ("SZ")[1] sets out a new integrated pre-bankruptcy and bankruptcy regime. SZ has entirely replaced the previous bankruptcy act that was in force for 18 years, as well as provisions regulating pre-bankruptcy settlement proceedings prescribed under the Act on Financial Operations and Pre-bankruptcy Settlement[2]. read more

Czech Republic: International Taxation of Athletes

November 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As the status of professional athletes is not regulated under Czech law, there is a need for legal interpretation on this matter. The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that athletes' work is of such a specific nature (e.g. the method of their pay, the amount of rest and other non-compliances with the Labour Code), that it is not illegal for clubs and athletes to enter into contracts other than labour contracts. Thus, at least in terms of taxes, athletes can act as self-employed persons. read more...

Austria: RPM Judgment of the Austrian Supreme Court against Austrian food retailer SPAR

November 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Supreme Court upheld a decision of the Cartel Court against SPAR, a leading company in the Austrian food retail sector, concerning collusion on resale prices (Resale Price Maintenance; RPM) with suppliers of dairy products. At the same time, the court increased the fine imposed by the Cartel Court tenfold, i.e. from EUR 3 million to EUR 30 million.Read more...

Poland: New law grants attorneys at law with the right of trademark administration before the Polish

October 2015 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The procedures governing the administration of industrial property rights, managed by the Polish Patent Office, have to date been regulated by the Industrial Property Law of 30 June 2000 ("IPL"). Read more...

Hungary: Unlawful dismissal – additional damages claims after binding court decision?

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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  • New penalty system for unlawful dismissal
  • Damages caused by unlawful dismissal
  • Lost income – calculation, amount and enforcement

New penalty system for unlawful dismissal.

The 2012 Labour Code introduced significant changes concerning the compensation to be paid by employers in the event of unlawful dismissal. Since the new rules apply to all unlawful dismissal cases commenced after the entry into force of the new Labour Code (ie, after July 1 2012), it has taken some time for these cases to be processed, and thus also for the potential pitfalls of the new regulations to be identified and conclusions to be drawn. read more

Austria: Tightening of Exit Taxation

October 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The draft for the Tax Amendment Act 2015 published today [19 October 2015] proposes an amendment of existing exit taxation rules that would significantly tighten these rules, which eventually lead to the taxation of hidden reserves in assets transferred. read more...

Hungary: Unlawful dismissal - additional damages claims after binding court decision?

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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New penalty system for unlawful dismissal The 2012 Labour Code introduced significant changes concerning the compensation to be paid by employers in the event of unlawful dismissal. Since the new rules apply to all unlawful dismissal cases commenced after the entry into force of the new Labour Code (ie, after July 1 2012), it has taken some time for these cases to be processed, and thus also for the potential pitfalls of the new regulations to be identified and conclusions to be drawn. Read more...

Croatia: Amendments to the Capital Markets Act

October 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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At its session on 25 September 2015, the Croatian Parliament adopted the Act on Amendments to the Capital Markets Act ("Act"). This Act transposes Directive 2013/50/EU and all of its subsequent amendments into Croatian law. The Act will enter into force on 21 October 2015, with the obligations regarding quarterly financial reports entering into force as of 1 January 2016. Read more...

The ruling on the field stands: The ECJ follows Advocate General and declares Safe Harbour invalid

October 2015 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Yesterday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) followed Advocate General Yves Bot's recommendations in the ECJ Case C-362/14 (Maximilian Schrems vs Data Protection Commissioner) and declared the Commission's US Safe Harbour Decision invalid. In brief, Schrems, an Austrian law student, challenged Facebook's practice of storing personal data on U.S.-based servers, a practice that allegedly allows the NSA, or similar United States intelligence organizations, to have easy access to the personal data of EU citizens. read more...

Bulgaria: Range of Eligible Counterparties to Financial Collateral Arrangements Extended to Embrace

October 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 14 August 2015, an amendment to the Bulgarian law implementing the EU Financial Collateral Directive and extending its personal scope to "any person" entered into force. The amendment was primarily meant to allow the Bulgarian Bank Deposits Guarantee Fund to serve as an eligible counterparty to repo transactions. However, the new law might have a wider impact, as it allows some SPVs set-up for particular bonds or derivatives transactions that previously did not fall in the personal scope of the law to now serve as eligible counterparties to financial collateral arrangements. read more... 

Turkey: Recognition & Enforcement of an Award

September 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Enforceability of a foreign award in Turkey requires a recognition lawsuit to be filed before the Turkish courts. The Code on International Private and Procedure Law (number 5718) (the “Law”) explicitly regulates the terms and conditions in this respect. Read more...

Europe: EU-Export Compliance – Loosening of Iran trade restrictions

September 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In order to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear programme for the construction of weapons of mass destruction ("WMD"), the UN Security Council from July 2006 onwards passed a series of resolutions by which several foreign trade restrictions were imposed on Iran. Consequently, the EU too enacted a series of restrictive measures against Iran through which the UN resolutions have been implemented and materially amended. The EU has imposed additional sanctions against Iran due to human rights infringements and internal repression in Iran. Currently, the following EU trade restrictions are in place: read more

Slovenia: New Employment Legislation Brings Simplifications for Foreigners

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The recently adopted ZZSDT, which enters into force on 1 September 2015, sets out new conditions for the employment, self-employment and work of foreigners and indirectly transposes the relevant EU Directive into national legislation. Read more... 

Czech Republic: Employee share incentive schemes – capital market regulatory assessment

September 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech law provides – under Act No. 256/2004 Coll., the Capital Market Undertakings Act (the "Act") – the obligation to publish a securities prospectus, if those securities are offered to random investors in the Czech Republic. But does this obligation also apply to employee share incentive schemes and are there any exceptions to this obligation? Read more...

SK: Did you Finish your Homework? Period for Employers to Comply with New Whistleblowing Act Ended

September 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 16 October 2014, the National Council of the Slovak Republic adopted Act No. 307/2014 Coll. on Certain Measures Related to Reporting of Anti-social Activities and on Amendment and Supplements to Certain Acts ("Act"), which is considered as the first comprehensive regulation of whistleblowing in Slovakia. The Act came into force on 1 January 2015. read more...

Poland: Changes in the Labour Law

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 21 August 2015 an act amending the Polish Labour Code was published in the Journal of Laws. The long-expected changes come into force after 6 months from publication. We would like to highlight the following changes: read more... 

Czech Republic: Business Shares in the Community Property of Spouses

August 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The discussion about the business shares of companies owned in the community property of spouses – regulated by the new Czech Civil Code and Business Corporations Act (both effective from 1 January 2014) – has recently come to a standstill over the question of the consequences of the absence of such a regulation, which was formerly included in the old Civil Code from 1964. This regulation distinguished between proprietary and management issues (corporate issues), which meant that if a married person acquired a business share it did not automatically result in membership in the company for their spouse. Read more

Serbia: New Law on Conversion of Right over Construction Land into Ownership against Compensation

August 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The long-expected Law on conversion of usage right into ownership against compensation ("Conversion Act") entered into force on 28 July 2015. Read more...

ECHR -- Internet News Portals May Be Held Liable for User-generated Comments

August 2015 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 16 July 2015, in a case of first impression, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") issued its final decision regarding the liability of a news portal for offensive comments made by its users. In the case Delfi AS v. Estonia (application no. 64569/09, the "Case"), the ECHR decided that holding an internet news portal liable for comments made by a third-party commentator to the portal’s site is not in breach of the portal’s freedom to impart information. read more...

Austria: Court confirms advance effects of the new procurement directives

August 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As sufficiently known by practitioners of public procurement law, the transition pe-riod for the new Directives on public procurement law 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU ("the Directives"), which entered into force in March 2014, will predominantly elapse on 18 April 2016. read more...

Bulgaria: The Latest Amendments to the Credit Institutions Act: the Dictates of Bank Secrecy Overcom

August 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank ("CCB")’s insolvency has resulted in a variety of changes to the Bulgarian banking legislation. Lifting of bank secrecy in cases of bank insolvency is the newest addition to the pile of governmental attempts at accountability and transparency stemming from the CCB affair. read more...

Serbia: Mortgage Act amendments adopted

August 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The long-anticipated amendments to the Serbian Mortgage Act ("Mortgage Act"), published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 60/2015, entered into force on 16 July 2015. We would like to highlight the following changes: read more...

Bulgaria: Draft Law Implementing BRRD Needs to be Amended to Provide "Appropriate Protection" for Cl

July 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 10 July 2015, the Bulgarian parliament passed, at first reading, a bill intended to implement the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). When that bill becomes law, it will provide, inter alia, increased protection for the close-out netting arrangements involving Bulgarian banks in distress. However, the bill must be amended in order to provide "appropriate protection" for close-out netting as required under the BRRD. read more... 

Hungary: Easement on Loan Portfolio Transfers

July 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Parliament has adopted an amendment to the Hungarian Banking Act (entering into force on 7 July 2015) that provides for the regulation of loan portfolio transfers.  The amendment aims to make Hungarian banks' lives easier by deviating from the general rule of the Hungarian Civil Code which normally requires a borrower to agree to the transfer between lenders and terminates all security interests, unless the security provider likewise agrees. read more...

Czech Republic: Limiting the number of agency employees - a plausible reality?

July 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs („MLSA“) recently submitted for interdepartmental comment a proposal act that will significantly reduce the usage of (so-called) "agency employees".read more... 

Austria: Reform Proposals Seek to Clarify Breach of Trust

July 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The debate around Section 153 of the Austrian Criminal Code, relating to the offence of breach of trust, is now entering the next round. The question as to whether the legislature will heed the Austrian business community's call for urgent reform could be answered toward the end of this year. Read more...

EU/Austria: Implementation of the Water Framework Directive

July 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As one of its main environmental objectives, EU Directive 2000/60/EC ("Water Framework Directive" – WFD), in concreto its art 4, requires all Member States to achieve – subject to several exemptions, such as the possibility to extend the timeframe – the "good status" of all surface water bodies and groundwater bodies by 22 December 2015. read more...

Austria: Far-reaching implications of tax reform

June 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The draft tax bill introduced in the Austrian Parliament last week will implement the most significant tax reform in the country's history. read more...

Turkey: Will the Constitutional Court's Latest Cancellation of the Provisions of the Trademark Decre

June 2015 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Trademark or/and service mark  applications can be filed in Turkey in accordance with the Decree Law No. 556 (“Decree Law”) enacted in 1995. read more...

Turkey: Law Bolsters Health Care PPP Program

June 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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For the last few years, Turkey's hospital campus programme, also known as hospital PPP's, has been one of the most discussed topics in the country's infrastructure sector and legal environment. read more...

Austria: Start-ups – Common Legal Issues

June 2015 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austria recently experienced a significant boom in start-ups(1) and has produced some major international players (eg, Runtastic, bwin, last.fm and Whatchado). That said, starting a business in Austria requires an understanding of the peculiarities of the legal system. This update discusses some of the common legal risks and issues that come along with starting a business in Austria. read more...

Austria: New Rules for Real Estate Transfer Tax on Share Deals

June 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In mid-May 2015, the Austrian government published the text of the changes in the country's tax system that will enter into force on 1 January 2016. One aspect of these impending changes that has not yet been subject to wider discussion is a modification in the rules to the Real Estate Transfer Tax ("RETT") on Share Deals. read more... 

Turkey: Recent Changes in State Aid Regulations

June 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In light of its recently revised state aid regulations, it seems that Turkey is aiming to increase the appetite of foreign investors, who have become more cautious about investing in the country on account of the lacklustre global economy. The Turkish Prime Minister announced the new state aid package on 2 April 2015; the regulations entered into force on 8 April 2015. These new measures increase the support provided for investments, in particular to those that are made during the course of the current year (2015). read more...

Austria: Aarhus Convention – infringement procedure against Austria

May 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The international Aarhus Convention was concluded by both the European Union and its member states ('mixed agreement'). The convention lays down procedural safeguards in environmental decision-making processes. The Aarhus Convention consists of three pillars: read more...

Austria: Amendments to Chemicals Act and Biocidal Products Act

May 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On March 5 2015 Austria's agriculture, forestry, environment and water economics minister presented a draft law to amend the Chemicals Act and the Biocidal Products Act. The proposed amendments are the last steps towards the final standardisation of the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures in accordance with EU Regulation 1272/2008 (the 'CPL Regulation'). The amendments simplify the term 'toxin' and shift the existing toxin purchase permit system to a simplified system of toxin purchase certificates. Read more...

Poland: Traders' Obligations under the New Consumers Protection Act

May 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The new consumers protection act ("Act") which came into force on 25 December 2014 changed the obligations that traders (entrepreneurs) have with regard to the execution of sales contracts with consumers (relating to both goods and services) and warranty rules relating to the provided goods. read more...

Hungary: Update on Rules Applicable to Executives

May 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Hungarian law differentiates between general employees and executives. The biggest difference between the two is that many provisions of the Hungarian Labour Code which protect "ordinary" employees and restrict the kinds of agreements which can be made with them do not apply to executives. This means that the law is less protective and more flexible towards executives. read more...

Bulgaria: Protecting Yourself from Company Theft

May 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Recently, the media in Bulgaria has trumpeted a new business crime - the theft of a company. In 2014, there were a number of reported cases in which companies were stolen, e.g. their ownership was changed or a new managing director was appointed by a thief without the knowledge of the actual owner, nor of the company’s management body. read more...

EU/Austria: Innovations under the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive

May 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 17 December 2014, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (the "Directive"). The initial draft dates back more than two years (5 February 2013). The Directive still needs to be endorsed by EU institutions during the course of 2015. The main modifications regard an enhancement of compliance measurements. These include inter alia: read more...

Romania: 088 Form - The VAT Registration Russian Roulette

April 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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14 April 2015 | legal insights

Since the beginning of 2015, a number of legislative changes were enforced regarding the VAT registration of Romanian companies established in accordance with Company Law no. 31/1990.

EU: ECJ rules on exploratory drilling for natural gas and mineral oil

April 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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22 April 2015 | legal insights

Facts

In August 2011 the Ministry of Economy authorised the Austrian crude oil exploration company Rohöl-Aufsuchung AG to undertake exploratory drilling for natural gas and mineral oil within the Austrian municipality of Straßwalchen. If exploration was successful, the company had authorisation to produce a total of 1 million cubic metres of natural gas in order to prove that drilling was economically viable.

Poland: Overview of New Labour Law Developments

April 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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I.      Change in the labour law. Abolishing the obligation of the pre-employment health examination

II.        Planned amendments to the labour law read more...

Romania: Cross-Border Conversions: A Realistic Way to Expand Companies' Restructuring Possibilities?

April 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In recent years, companies have consistently attempted to extend the scope of their structuring possibilities by trying to cross the borders into other member states for various reasons ranging from a more flexible legal framework to a better market environment and investment climate. read more...

Poland: Overview of New Labour Law Developments

April 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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I.         Change in the labour law - Abolishing the obligation of the pre-employment health examination read more...

CZ: Hidden Recordings of Employees may be Used as Legal Evidence in Court Proceedings

April 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In the Czech Republic, the permissibility of using hidden recordings or other similar kinds of evidence within a court proceeding is quite questionable. At the end of 2014, the country's Constitutional Court issued an interesting decision (II ÚS 1774/14 dated 9 December 2014) on such matters that is particularly relevant for employers, as it deals with a dismissed employee's use of such means against his or her employer. read more...

Hungary: Competition Authority Fines Retailer Auchan an Unprecedented 1 billion forints

April 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 23 March 2015, the Hungarian Competition Authority ("Competition Authority") imposed a fine of over 1 billion Hungarian forints (HUF 1,061,300,000, corresponding to more than EUR 3.5 million) on the retailer Auchan on the basis of the Hungarian Trade Act for abusing its significant market power. This marks the highest fine ever imposed in the sector by the Competition Authority in Hungary. read more...

Austria: Liability of Managing Directors for Inadequate Compliance Organization

April 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The fight against corruption has intensified over the past few years, causing the issue of corporate compliance to become ever more important. In step with this development, corporations are increasingly implementing compliance management systems to ensure compliant behavior. However, there is still a lack of case-law in Austria as to the legal sufficiency of such systems and their effective implementation. For this reason, a recent decision on this issue by the District Court of Munich No I (Landgericht München I; the "Court") is all the more important. read more...

Slovakia: Licensing of Entities Providing Consumer Loans

April 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In the Slovak consumer lending market, in addition to banks, an important role is also currently played by other providers, which are usually denominated as non-banking companies. read more...

BG: Emergency Insolvency Law Passed in Attempt to Recover Assets of Country's Fourth-Largest Bank

April 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 24 March 2015, the Bulgarian parliament promulgated an emergency insolvency law that makes almost all of the major effects of insolvency proceedings applicable to Corporate Commercial Bank, even as the court proceedings on the application for commencement of insolvency against the bank continue. In accordance with the new law, on 25 March 2015 the court appointed temporary insolvency administrators to that bank vested with broad powers to recover assets of the bank. read more...

AT: Responsibility of Managing Directors to Ensure an Effective and Adequate Compliance Organization

March 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In our Legal Insights edition of 9 March 2015, we already adressed the recent decision issued by the District Court of Munich No I in Germany (Landgericht München I; the "Court") on the liability of directors for inadequate compliance organizations. read more...

Initial negative market value "reloaded": The German Supreme Court clarifies substantive questions r

March 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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For the first time after its 2011 Spread Ladder Swap Judgment (BGH 22.3.2011- XI ZR 316/13), the banking division of the German Supreme Court has recently (BGH 20.1.2015 – XI ZR 316/13) dealt with the disclosure duties of banks in connection with derivative products. The initial negative market value is the core issue of the judgment, which clarifies important questions that had been left open by the Spread Ladder Swap Judgment. read more...


Romania: Shortcut to Power Supply and Trading‎ Activities for EU Operators

March 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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An updated regulation on the licensing regime in Romania's power sector was recently adopted by ANRE, the national regulatory authority. On 17 March 2015, Order no. 12/2015 on the Regulation for granting licenses and authorizations in the electricity sector ("Order 12"), effective as of publication, was published in the Romanian Official Gazette no. 180/2015 and repeals the former regulation, ie Order no. 48/2013. read more...

CZ: Payment of Profit Sharing in the Light of the Recodification of the Country's Civil Law

March 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech Republic’s new Civil Code and its Business Corporation Act are effective since 1 January 2014. These two acts represent the leading elements of the re-codification of Czech civil law, which -- apart from many other changes -- has brought changes also in the area of payment of profit sharing. read more...

Poland: New Support Scheme for Renewable Energy Sources Already Adopted

March 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Poland’s parliament recently adopted a new act on renewable energy sources (“RES”) that significantly changes the RES support scheme in the country.

After a lengthy legislative process, the final draft of the act on renewable energy sources (the “Act”) was adopted by the Polish parliament on 20 February 2015. The Act will now be put forward for the Polish president’s signature. The Act will come into force once it has received this signature and subsequently been published. Provisions relating to the new support scheme will enter into force on 1 January 2016, while most of the remaining provisions will do so 30 days after publication. read more... 

The Czech civil code: From effectiveness to amendment in 17 months?

March 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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1. Recodification of the Czech civil law

With effect from 1 January 2014, the entire Czech civil law has been re-enacted by Act No. 89/2012 Coll., the civil code (the “Civil Code”), along with Act No. 90/2012 Coll., the business corporation act (the “Business Corporation Act”), and other legislation. read more...

PL: Will EAA and Swiss Investors be able to Freely Acquire Agricultural and Forest Real Properties?

February 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 2 May 2016, restrictions on acquiring agricultural and forest real properties located in Poland by foreigners from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will cease to be binding. Does this mean that trade in agricultural real properties will be entirely free and not subject to any restrictions as of that time? read more...

Serbia: Amendments and Supplements to Planning and Construction Act

February 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In December 2014, two sets of amendments to the Planning and Construction Act were published in nos. 132/2014 and 145/2014 of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia (collectively "New PCA"). read more...

Romania: Dissolution of Rasdaq market - potential unwanted effects on companies

February 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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At the end of 2014, the Romanian parliament passed a law whose main purpose is to dissolve the Rasdaq market and unlisted securities markets. These measures must be implemented by 27 October 2015. Considering the potential significant disruptions that may occur in the activity of the companies it targets, this law is important for its addressees, but also for their suppliers, sponsors, and contractual partners. read more...

AT: "Fair procurement" - initiative requires MEAT as sole award criterion for construction contracts

February 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In March 2014, three new EU Directives on public procurement law ("new Directives") entered into force, introducing significant adjustments to the current regime such as new procedures, new provisions on award criteria, and new exclusion grounds. At the same, a discussion has been unleashed in Austria placing the issue of wage dumping and social dumping in relation to public construction contracts. Experience has demonstrated that applying price-only criteria contributes to ruinous price wars and destructive competition in the construction industry. The key concern of the so-called "fair procurement" initiative is to preserve jobs and foster SMEs by establishing the mandatory application of the best quality/price ratio (instead of only the lowest price). Against this background, the Austrian government is currently in the process of discussing/preparing an amendment to the Federal Procurement Act that is intended to enter into force even before the implementation of the new Directives (April 2016). The amendment inter alia deals with: read more...

Croatia: Agency continues resale price maintenance battle in food and retail sectors

February 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On November 10 2014 the Competition Agency announced that it had concluded another proceeding dealing with resale price maintenance, as prohibited under Article 8 of the Competition Act[1], which mirrors Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. read more...

Poland: New Consumer Rights Act and new rules of sales for everybody

February 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 25 December 2014, the Consumer Rights Act, which also amended the Civil Code and introduced several new regulations on sales contracts concerning goods and services, entered into force. The Act's regulations impose new obligations on entrepreneurs executing contracts with consumers, in particular entrepreneurs involved in distance sales or off-premises sales, but should these entrepreneurs be the only ones paying special attention to the amendments? read more...

Romania: Amendments to the special construction tax

February 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2014, the Romanian Government introduced a new property tax, namely a tax on constructions. This tax has proven to be controversial, with many deeming it to constitute a severe tax burden for any capital intensive businesses such as energy, telecom, or even retail. read more...

Czech Republic: New EIA legislation may slow down the building-permit procedure

February 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 13 December 2011, the new European Directive No. 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and projects on the environment (hereinafter as the “EIA Directive”), which codified the previous regulation, entered into force. Not for the first time, in April 2013 the European Commission initiated an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic due to the incorrect transposition of the aforementioned Directive that is carried out by Act No. 100/2001 Coll., on environmental impact assessment (hereinafter as the “EIA Act”). read more...

Serbia: Long-anticipated Act on Protection of Whistleblowers is finally adopted

January 2015 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Whistleblowers are often among the most important actors in the fight against corruption. Ensuring effective protection for whistleblowers encourages people to stand up against corruption, human rights violations, and dangers to human life and public health in their surroundings and report what would otherwise not be detected by the authorities. Until recently, the Serbian legal system has not paid much attention to protecting whistleblowers. However, it seems that the situation is now improving, with the Serbian National Assembly’s recent adoption of the long-anticipated Whistleblowers' Protection Act. read more... 

 

 

Austria: Constitutional Court confirms Constitutionality of non-Deductibility of Manager Remuneratio

January 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 1 March 2014, a restriction on the deductibility of manager remunerations for tax purposes exceeding EUR 500,000 per person and year was introduced in Austria. Any remuneration exceeding that threshold cannot be deducted for tax purposes on the level of the employer company. This restriction was subject to substantive discussions in media and legal literature, with some experts arguing that the provisions may be unconstitutional. read more

- A New gTLD Targeting the Financial Sector

January 2015 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The industry-related generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") <.bank> provides new opportunities and new challenges for online activities in the financial services sector. read more...

Poland: Latest changes to the Act on National Court Register - will it become any better?

January 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The end of 2014 brought with it important amendments to the rules for registering companies in Poland. These amendments are aimed at facilitating the registration procedure, but they also pertain to already existing companies, which will have to adapt to the new rules. read more...

Hungary: Shops Shall Close on Sundays – Against All International Trends

January 2015 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 15 December 2014, the Hungarian Parliament voted for the Sunday closure of shops as of 15 March 2015. This closure will apply to grocery, clothing, DIY, furniture, and electronics shops, as well as all other kinds of specialised retail stores. However, Hungarian consumers will still be able to shop on Sundays in pharmacies, at airports and railway stations, petrol stations and hospitals. Tourism service providers and shops in hotels also appear to be exempt for the impending closure rules. In addition, shops located in sports stadiums may also open during games held on Sundays. read more

Update on EU Sanctions against Russia

December 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 6 December 2014, Council Regulation (EU) No 1290/2014 entered into force. This regulation is the latest in a series of regulations regarding "sectoral sanctions" against Russia.

The "sectoral sanctions" against Russia were introduced on 1 August 2014 by Regulation 833/2014 (see our Legal Insight) and amended on 12 September 2014 by Regulation 960/2014 (see our Legal Insight). In contrast to these previous regulations, the newest regulation 1290/2014 does not impose additional sanctions, but rather aims to eliminate uncertainty as to the interpretation of existing ones. read more

 

Slovakia: Checkmate? New law regulates protection of employees when blowing the whistle

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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So far, in Slovakia there has not been in force any regulation specifically addressing whistleblowing situations in which employees report wrongdoings, such as the commission of a crime which they learnt about in connection with the performance of their employment, work or function. Certain partial aspects related to whistleblowing have been regulated by the country's data protection, criminal and labour laws. read more

Croatia: A look at the Strategic Investment Projects Act One Year after Implementation

December 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Croatia's sixth consecutive year of recession

The European Commission's autumn forecasts[1], published on 4 November 2014, projects weak economic growth for the rest of 2014 within both the EU and the Euro zone. This applies in particular for Croatia, which ranked at the bottom end of the list and for which negative growth of 0.7% in 2014 and only marginally positive growth of 0.2% in 2015 is forecast. Real GDP growth in Croatia is expected to pick up only gradually, reaching around 1.1% in 2016 on the back of an expected rebound in investment. read more...

  


[1]     Full forecasts for Croatia available at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu/forecasts/2014_autumn/hr_en.pdf

AT: Transparency International – Release of 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index

December 2014 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 3 December 2014, Transparency International, the leading civil society organisation fighting corruption worldwide, released its 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The index draws on surveys covering the views of business people, provides expert assessments, and ranks 175 countries by the perceived levels of corruption in their public sectors. The scale ranges from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). The CPI can be found under the following linkread more...

Austria: Telecom contracts: Electronic Bill and/or Paper Bill?

December 2014 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The amended Universal Services Directive 2002/22/EC requires EU Member States to ensure that their respective national regulatory authorities are able to oblige all providers of publicly available telephone services to make "itemised bills" available to their subscribers on a free of charge basis. Such bills identify in particular details such as the number called, date and time of call, call duration and the cost of separate calls. Thus, subscribers should be able to control the charges they have incurred and, consequently monitor, their usage and expenditure. read more...

PL: Crime of active corruption and commercial bribery

November 2014 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A conviction for the crimes of active corruption and commercial bribery, which are defined in art. 229 and 296a of the Polish Criminal Code (CC), not only brings about consequences on the grounds of criminal law, but also implies negative consequences in other spheres of law. One of these involves administrative law, more precisely public procurement law, which provides that company officers convicted for the above-mentioned crimes are to be excluded from public contract award procedures. read more...

AT: Ministry of Finance publishes its view on certain aspects relating to private equity funds

November 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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With the amendment of the Austrian investment fund regime by virtue of including alternative investment funds into its scope, the tax aspects of re-qualifications of existing (private equity) vehicles into investment funds and thus the application of the Austrian investment fund tax regime were rather unclear. With a newly-published opinion, the Austrian Ministry of Finance has now shed some light on its view on selected tax aspects of such re-qualification. read more...

CZ: Czech Competition Authority is not authorised to enter business premises without a warrant

November 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") recently acknowledged a complaint by Delta Bakery (the "judgment") and confirmed that the Czech Competition Authority (Úřad pro ochranu hospodářské soutěže, "CCA") violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights ("Convention") when entering the Delta Bakery premises without first obtaining a warrant. read more...

Hungary: What will banks need to (re)pay their borrowers?

November 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In recent years, bank customers in Hungary have initiated numerous litigations claiming that their loan agreements are illegal, invalid, or null and void for a variety of reasons. Mostly, these reasons centered on the legality of the application of spreads in FX-based loans and on the validity of the unilateral amendments applied by the banks regarding fees and interest rates. read more...

Austria: Extension of the threshold regulation until the year 2016

October 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The "threshold regulation" adjusting (raising) the sub-thresholds of the Austrian Procurement Act ("BVergG") will be extended once again, namely for two more years. This plan was disclosed in the press briefing issued in conjunction with the retreat held by the members of Austria's federal government on September 27th and 28th this year. Thus, contracting authorities will continue to be able to benefit from substantial procedural simplifications when awarding contracts below the threshold in 2015 and 2016 as well. read more...

Serbia: Insolvency Act Amendments adopted

October 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 13 August 2014, the amendments and supplements to the Insolvency Act [Zakon o stečaju] are in force, published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 83/2014 ("New IA"). The New IA shall not be implemented retroactively, and those insolvency proceedings that were ongoing on the day the New IA entered into force will be continued under the previously valid rules. read more...

Hungary: New advertising tax feels like a bucket

October 2014 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Hungary's new advertising tax, which has been introduced effective as of 15 August 2014, affects not only media companies, online and offline content providers and advertising agencies (media companies), but may also affect regular manufacturing and trading companies active in various industry segments (commercial companies). read more...

Voluntary ex ante transparency notice does not provide a clean bill of health...

October 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The ECJ has ruled that the so-called "voluntary ex ante transparency notice" under certain circumstances does not preclude review authorities from declaring a contract ineffective if it was awarded without prior publication of a contract notice. Moreover, the ECJ ruled that review authorities must declare a contract ineffective if the contracting authority could not legitimately hold that that the conditions for directly awarding the contract were in fact satisfied (ECJ 11.09.2014, Case C-19/13Fastweb SpA). read more...

Austria / EU: Latest EU Sanctions against Russia

October 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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After introducing the "sectoral sanctions" against Russia on 1 August 2014 (see our Legal Insight of 1 August 2014), the sanctions regime has been tightened further on September 12 as set out in EC Regulation No 960/2014. read more...

Austria: Judgment sheds light on joint ventures under the country’s merger control*

October 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austrian merger control continues to capture non-full-function joint ventures. Joint ventures covered by merger control are sheltered against parallel assessment under the Austrian rules against anticompetitive agreements (no dual control). read more...

Czech Republic: Mergers, or thick red lines?

October 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In its decision no. 29 Cdo 3068/2013 dated 19 June 2014, the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic ("SCCR") once again ruled on the issue of the irreversibility of the legal effects of registration of transformation in the Czech Commercial Register. read more...

HU: New advertising tax feels like a bucket of cold ice for some companies

September 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Hungary's new advertising tax, which has been introduced effective as of 15 August 2014, affects not only media companies, online and offline content providers and advertising agencies (media companies), but may also affect regular manufacturing and trading companies active in various industry segments (commercial companies). read more...

EU/AT: Austrian gas law's possible non-compliance with EU Gas Directive

September 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 18 July 2014, the Austrian energy regulatory authority E-Control released its affirmative decision in relation to the certification of Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH ("TAG") as a transmission system operator ("TSO") for gas. In its decision, E-Control not only requires TAG to be comprehensively restructured, but also takes a stance on the European Commission's ("EC") opinion on the potential non-compliance of the Austrian Natural Gas Act 2011 (Gaswirtschaftsgesetz "GWG") with EU unbundling rules. read more...

UA: New rules for conversion of FX proceeds

September 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) introduced the compulsory exchange of 100% of foreign currency proceeds. read more...

MD: Finally! Liquidating a Company is Now a Mission Possible

August 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 29 May 2014, the Moldovan Parliament passed the Act No. 90/2014 on amending and supplementing of certain legislative acts (Act No. 90). Act No.90, which entered into force on 27 June 2014, implements simplified rules on the liquidation of companies in Moldova (in particular, at the decision of their shareholders), namely by inter alia amending the Civil Code of Moldova, Act No. 845/1992 on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises, Act No. 220/2007 on State Registration of Companies and Individual Entrepreneurs. read more...

AT: German Supreme Court enacts duty for banks to disclose internal commission payments

August 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a recent landmark judgment (3 June 2014, XI ZR 147/12), the banking law senate of the German Supreme Court stipulates far-reaching disclosure obligations for banks (active in Germany) with respect to internal commission payments for investments. While the country's banks are obliged to inform their clients of such "hidden" internal commission payments as of 1 August 2014, they will not be held liable for not having disclosed such commission payments in the past. The German Supreme Court's decision will certainly have an immediate impact also in Austria. read more...

Austria: Rules for voluntary disclosure in criminal tax matters are expected to be tightened

August 2014 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austrian tax law enables taxpayers to avoid criminal tax sanctions or penalties in case of fiscal offences by submitting a voluntary disclosure. The taxpayer's exemption from any criminal tax sanctions on account of having submitted a voluntary disclosure is subject to specific preconditions. A draft tax bill on the Amendment of the Austrian Fiscal Criminal Tax Act 2014 (Finanzstrafgesetznovelle 2014) that is currently pending for vote in the Austrian Parliament is set to tighten these requirements significantly. The new rules are expected to enter into force as of 1 October 2014. read more...

AT/EU: New Sanctions Regime against Russia

August 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The European Union has recently agreed to an additional, higher level of sanctions against Russia. The new packages include (i) severe restrictions on doing business in Crimea or Sevastopol, (ii) a significant expansion of the list of designated persons and entities (see our newsletter of 28 March 2014), and most importantly (iii) severe limitations on the ability of Russian state banks to access (capital markets) financing, embargoes on weapons sales (including dual-use goods), as well as prior authorization requirements for the transfer of sophisticated oil drilling technology. pdf read more

Romania: Law 84/2014 on employee inventions

July 2014 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In Romania, a new law on employee inventions entered into force on 29 June 2014 (Law 83/2014). This new law abrogates former provisions on employee inventions set forth inter alia by the country's Patent Law (Law 64/1991). read more...

RS: Seconding Austrian nationals to work in Serbia

July 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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It is commonplace for foreign companies active in the Republic of Serbia, including Austrian firms, to second their employees to the country via their affiliates or business partners. In the practical application of such secondments, one must differentiate between secondments in which seconded employees are employed for a fixed term with an employer in Serbia, and those in which employees are not employed by an employer in the country. read more...

Austria: ISO 19600: Compliance Management Systems - Guidelines

July 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As a young and complex matter, compliance presents numerous challenges for organizations. This is partly due to the lack of global standards, which could provide guidance. As a consequence, organizations are having a hard time recognizing those compliance requirements that are necessary, appropriate and capable of serving as indicators of a functioning Compliance Management System ("CMS"). Therefore, it is highly welcome that the International Organization for Standardization ("ISO") is currently working on a global standard for CMS. read more...

EU: ECJ confirms that purely national promotion of green electricity does not necessarily violate EU

July 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The ECJ ruled at the start of July 2014 that individual EU Member States are allowed to establish renewable energy support schemes that provide for the awarding of tradable green certificates to producers of green electricity solely with respect to the green electricity produced on the territory of that State. The fact that the national promotion scheme could possibly impede electricity imports from other Member States is justifiable on account of climate change prevention and environmental protection. Thus, no violation of Article 34 TFEU. The ECJ ruling might present a setback for the supporters of a harmonized, EU-wide (common) system of renewables support schemes. read more...

Moldova: Doing business with limited-liability companies made even easier

July 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 3 April 2014, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (Moldova) passed Act No. 53/2014 on amending and supplementing certain legal acts (Act No. 53). Act No. 53 entered into force on 25 April 2014 and inter alia changed the Civil Code and Act No. 135/2007 on limited-liability companies (Act on LLCs). The effected changes have a direct and positive impact on the legal aspects which should be observed while incorporating and operating a business in Moldova.  read more...

CZ: Recorded telephone conversations - legal evidence in administrative proceedings

July 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A decision issued by the Supreme Administrative Court (the "Court") on 31 October 2013 (recently published) considered a telephone conversation between two individuals - the manager of an outdoor equipment producer and a representative of its distributor - as legitimate evidence in administrative proceedings. The decision confirmed the precedent decision of the Regional Court in Brno ("the Regional Court") which upheld the original decision of the Czech Competition Authority (The Office for the Protection of Competition, "CCA").

Romania: The Competition Council keeps an eye on bid-rigging

July 2014 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In 2013, the Romanian Competition Council finalised five investigations concerning bid-rigging infringements (amounting to almost a quarter of the authority's investigations on competition law infringements), of which one led to fines of EUR 2.8 million and the other four were closed for lack of evidence. Last year, the competition authority also launched two new investigations on possible bid-rigging infringements. The average duration for investigation of this type of infringement is approximately two years. read more...

Austria: Real estate transfer tax - new rules on the tax basis

June 2014 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The transfer of Austrian real estate triggers a 3.5% (2% in case of intra-family transfers) Austrian real estate transfer tax. In 2012, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that the provisions in the Austrian Real Estate Transfer Tax on the tax basis are not in conformity with the country's constitutional law. Shortly prior to the expiry of the transition period, new provisions for determining the tax base for Austrian real estate transfer tax purposes entered into force as of 1 June 2014.  read more...

Hungary: Will a 'bad bank' approach solve the corporate NPL problems of the country's banks?

June 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian National Bank announced at the end of May that as of autumn 2014, Hungary wishes to follow the approach taken by many other countries by creating a "bad bank". The bad bank concept is not new in Hungary: the approach was already discussed back in 2010, but was turned down due to lack of financing. A bad bank is a special institution with the sole purpose of purchasing and managing the non-performing loans ("NPLs") of commercial banks, so the overall quality of the corporate portfolio of the commercial banks will improve and to make it easier for the banks to meet their capital requirements. read more...

Austria: Recent Supreme Court ruling leaves many questions re. 'hidden contributions in kind' open

June 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a recent decision, the Austrian Supreme Court considered the validity of the payment of a cash consideration to a public limited-liability company in the course of an increase of its stated capital (decision dated 25 March 2014, file no. 9 Ob 68/13k). As a consequence of the current Austrian jurisprudence on this matter, any and all business transactions that occur in a substantive and temporal connection with a formal increase of the stated capital - including debt-equity swaps - must be made under the disclosure and examination rules for contributions in kind. read more... 

Slovakia: New rules for acquisition of agricultural land

June 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 May 2014, the transitional period during which Slovakia, following the country's accession of the EU, was granted an exception for keeping in place legal limitations regarding the acquisition of agricultural land and forests expired. With the passing of this transitional period, Slovakia was obliged to bring its legislation in line with EU laws and abolish restrictions applicable to EU foreigners. The necessary law was adopted, but - largely due to the concerns of the public that foreign nationals and entities will start buying up the country - a new set of limitations was introduced that will likely complicate the acquisition of agricultural land for everyone (both Slovak and foreign entities). read more...

Hungary: Will the security interest vanish when the underlying secured obligations are transferred?

June 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The fact that the new Hungarian Civil Code, which entered into force on 15 March 2014, at last recognized the concept of transfer of contractual position was a welcome development. Previously, a similar effect was achievable through the parallel assumption of debt and assignment of claims, but this solution was problematic in rather complex transactions (e.g. in case a lender wishes to transfer its stake under a credit facility agreement along with all security interests). read more...

EU: Commission unveils guidance for groundwater and soil protection measures

May 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Industrial Emissions Directive ("IED", 2010/75/EU) adopted in 2010 introduced more stringent measures for the protection of soil and groundwater. read more...

Ukraine: The National Bank of Ukraine extends temporary currency control stabilizing measures

May 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 May 2014, the Resolution of the Board of the National Bank of Ukraine ("NBU") "On Adjustment of Activity of Financial Institutions and Execution of Currency Transactions", dated 29 April 2014, no. 245 (the "Resolution 245") came into effect. This Resolution supersedes the Resolution of the Board of the NBU "On Adjustment of Activity of Financial Institutions and Execution of Currency Transactions", dated 28 April 2014, no. 172 (the "Resolution 172"), which is no longer effective. Resolution 245 will be effective until 1 June 2014. read more...

Romania: Termination of Ongoing Contracts

May 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Many questions arise when a contractual partner enters into insolvency. One question is what happens with the debtor's ongoing contracts when the insolvency starts? Are they maintained or terminated? read more...

Hungary: Problems with the security trustee regulation?

May 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The fact that the Hungarian legal system has now at last also recognized the concept of trust has been widely praised. The new Hungarian Civil Code, which entered into force on 15 March 2014, regulates the trust generally and also provides specific rules to the security trustee structure. read more...

Slovakia: Brief summary of fast-track amendment to personal data protection regime

May 2014 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Not even a year has passed since Slovakia introduced a new regime on personal data protection in the form of Data Protection Act No. 122/2013 Coll. However, that regime is already subject to an amendment, proving that it has paid off for businesses to cry on the government's shoulder. Consequently, as of 15 April 2014, businesses can look forward to the removal of certain substantial administrative burdens. Please read through a short overview of the novelties introduced by the amendment: read more...

Czech Republic: Trust fund as an Islamic finance alternative in CEE

April 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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With the recent introduction of a new legal instrument called a trust fund, the Czech Republic has become one of the few countries in continental Europe whose legal system can offer a vehicle with the same nature as mudārabah or mushārakah, legal instruments enabling ribā-free investments compatible with the Islamic shari'a code. read more...

Ukraine: Abolishment of regulatory permits

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 9 April 2014, the Ukrainian parliament adopted Draft Law No. 2436a on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts ("Law"), which brings about a significant reduction in the number of mandatory permit documents. The overall number of permit licences - currently 113 - will be reduced significantly on the Law's entry into force, which is expected during the next three months. read more...

Bulgaria: Decision of the Supreme Court regarding termination of a lease agreement

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In its decision (No. 24/2nd commercial department) of 12 September 2013, the Supreme Cassation Court of Bulgaria comprehensively expressed its opinion on the substantive legal aspects of the economic adverse change clause[1] and ruled on the termination of a lease agreement on this ground. According to the decision, a fundamental change of the circumstances could lead to early termination of an agreement if such change was not caused by any of the parties and neither of them was able to predict it at signing, as well as if further force and effect of the agreement are contrary to the principles of justice and the bona fide rules. The decision is of major importance, since it marks the first time that a long-term lease agreement has been terminated by court ruling due to an economic adverse change. read more...

European Union: Unitary Patent System

April 2014 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Nowadays, the protection of a patent can be obtained by using the following routes: read more...

EU: ECJ rules that Natura 2000 sites not carved in stone!

April 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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By its 3 April 2014 judgment in a preliminary ruling procedure, the ECJ has held that in certain cases, the Member States are required to propose to the Commission the declassification of a site on the list of SCIs. This is especially true for those cases in which the owner of land forming part of a site on that list makes a request to declassify that site and proves that the relevant site cannot contribute to the achievement of the objectives set forth in the Habitats Directive. read more...

Poland: Limitations of the Rules of Representation of a Company - Practical Solutions

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Limiting the rules of representation of a company is one way to secure the company against unauthorised actions on its behalf. How to do this properly? read more...

EU: Retention denied - ECJ declares Data Retention Directive invalid

April 2014 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 8 April 2014, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") declared the Data Retention Directive (the "Directive")[1], which had been the subject of great debate, invalid. The Directive required telecommunications providers to retain certain categories of traffic and location data in order to allow law enforcement authorities to access this data for the purpose of (severe) crime and terrorism prevention and prosecution. read more...

AT: Breach of trust - A recent Supreme Court ruling has broad implications for Stock Corporations

April 2014 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austria's breach of trust provision found its way back into the limelight only recently via the prominent criminal proceedings against the former management of LIBRO AG, a leading non-food retailer. 

Poland: Shale gas - recent developments

April 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Poland is widely regarded one of the countries with the most substantial reserves of shale gas in EU.

Austria: Abolishment of GmbH 'light'

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The amendments to Austria's federal tax law (Abgabenänderungsgesetz 2014 - AbgÄG 2014), by which inter alia the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG) are amended, were published (BGBl I 2014/13) on 28 February 2014 and came into force on 1 March 2014. read more...

Romania: New perspective on dawn raids and leniency following criminal legislation amendments

April 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The entry into force in Romania on 1 February 2014 of the new criminal codes implementing laws - i.e. Law no. 187/2012 and Law no. 255/2013, respectively - brought important changes to certain non-criminal laws such as Competition Law no. 21/1996 republished, as further amended and supplemented ("Competition Law"). 

EU's Ukraine-related sanctions - Are you compliant?

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Council regulations imposed by the EU
In response to the developments in Ukraine unfolded by the Euromaidan protest movement in early February 2014, the EU Council on 5 March 2014 decided to impose restrictive measures against individuals who have been identified as being responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds and/or human rights violations (Council Regulation (EU) No. 208/2014).

Austria: Corruptive behavior in public procurement procedures as a deal breaker for M&A transactions

April 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In light of the economic significance of public procurement and the respective volume of public expenditure in Europe (public sector spending accounts for approximately 20% of EU GDP) it is a well-established and unsurprising fact that public procurement proceedings are particularly vulnerable to corruption.

Bulgaria: Avoiding legal 'gotchas' in your next marketing campaign

April 2014 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Businesses have relied on marketing campaigns (including special offers and games) for decades to popularize their services and products. In these efforts, the end consumer has always been the target and the source of success.

Hungary: Will Securing Syndicated Loans be Easier in Hungary?

March 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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From 15 March 2014, Hun­gar­ian law will recog­nise the con­cept of trust, and the prob­lems with secur­ing syn­di­cated loans under Hun­gar­ian law seem to be solved.  read more...

EU/CEE: Perceptions and Experiences of Corruption in EU Member States

February 2014 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 3 Feb 2014, the European Commission released its Anti-Corruption Report (COM 2014/38 final)[1], which provides comprehensive analyses of corruption within the EU member states, national preventive measures in force, and suggestions for legislative improvements. With this report, the Commission is striving to provide momentum to a pan-European debate on anti-corruption issues and to assist Member States in identifying ways to improve anti-corruption work at the national level. read more...

Czech Republic: Trust fund - a newly-introduced asset management option

February 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The recent re-codification of Czech civil law has introduced a new legal instrument called a trust fund or simply a trust. In adopting the concept originating from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, the Czech Republic has become one of the few countries in continental Europe whose legal systems can offer this vehicle, which is attractive for both business and private use. read more...

Ukraine: Amendments to the list of financial services

February 2014 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Starting 9 February 2014, the official list of financial services (the "List") has been expanded by three new financial services.

read more...

EU: The Future of European energy and climate policy beyond 2020

February 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The long-awaited white paper of the Commission on climate, renewable energy, and energy efficiency going forward beyond 2020 was released on 22 January 2014 (the Communication).

Ukraine: Electricity market reform

February 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 24 October 2013, Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Principles of Functioning of the Electricity Market of Ukraine" No. 663-IV (the "Law"), which became effective from 1 January 2014. read more...

EU: Having problems with counterfeits?

February 2014 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2014, the new Product Piracy Regulation (EU) 608/2013 ("PPR 2014") entered into force. This Regulation is now the legal basis allowing customs authorities within the entire EU to stop goods potentially infringing intellectual property rights from being imported into the EU. read more...

Serbia: Real Estate Brokerage Agencies Act

January 2014 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Serbia's Parliament has adopted a new Real Estate Brokerage Agencies Act (Zakon o posredovanju u prometu i zakupu nepokretnosti), which was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 095/2013 on 31 October 2013 and entered into force as of 8 November 2013 ("Act"). read more...

EU: Commission issues a Communication and Recommendations on Shale Gas Exploration and Production

January 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 22 January 2014, the European Commission has issued a Communication on the exploration and production of hydrocarbons using high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the EU (the Communication) and Recommendations on minimum principles for the exploration and production of such hydrocarbons (the Recommendations). read more...

EU: New ACER/CEER Annual Report on Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets

January 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) and CEER (Council of European Energy Regulators) have recently published their Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets in 2012. This second report looks at the retail and wholesale electricity and gas markets, as well as consumer protection, in the European Union.  read more...

Austria: Comeback of the Bonus-Malus System in Austrian Labour Law

January 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In 2009, Austria scrapped the "Bonus-Malus System" for employing or terminating employment relationships involving persons older than 50 as part of its response to the financial crisis. After more than three years during which there had not been any payment obligation in case of a termination, a levy was reintroduced with 1 January 2013. According to the government programme of Austria's newly-installed coalition government, this levy shall in turn be replaced by a new "Bonus-Malus System" fully effective with the start of 2017. read more...

Bulgaria: 20% fee on solar and wind power plants challenged before the Constitutional Court

January 2014 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 14 January 2014, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, addressed the country's Constitutional Court, claiming that the 20% fee on solar and wind power plants does not comply with the Bulgarian Constitution and should therefore be revoked. read more...

EU: New Public Procurement Directives adopted

January 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 15 January 2014, the European Parliament adopted a package of three new public procurement directives ("Directives") replacing the Public Sector Directive (Directive 2004/18/EC) and the Utilities Directive (Directive 2004/17/EC) and introducing a directive on concessions. The new Directives represent a far-reaching reform of the regime by shifting to full e-procurement, introducing new procedures, and focusing on strategic use of the procurement rules. read more...

Czech Republic: Last chance to apply for more favourable investment incentives

January 2014 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In January and February 2014, companies considering investments in the Czech Republic will have a last opportunity to apply for investment incentives under a more favourable regime that allows for a ceiling of regional investment aid for large companies of up to 40%. New guidelines, issued by the European Commission and applicable to national regional aids, will come into force on 1 July 2014 and will lower that ceiling to 25%. In addition, the new guidelines will also come with a higher administrative burden placed on applicants for investment incentives, and with stricter rules for their granting. read more...

Serbia: Retrospective Building Approval Act

January 2014 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Serbia's Parliament has adopted a new Retrospective Building Approval Act (Zakon o legalizaciji objekata), published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 095/2013 on 31 October 2013, which entered into force as of 1 November 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act"). read more...

Czech Republic: Major amendment to the public procurement act

January 2014 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Czech Public Procurement Act will be amended as of 1 January 2014. The aim of the Amendment is to minimise the weaknesses identified in the current application of the Act and to further simplify, clarify, and streamline the public procurement process and enhance its transparency. The purpose of the Amendment is also to incorporate into Czech law changes in EU law in the field of public procurement. read more...

Bulgaria: 20% fee to be imposed on solar and wind power plants

December 2013 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Bulgarian Parliament has approved a controversial 20% fee on the income of solar and wind power plants, as well as a restriction -- for all renewables -- of the amount of electricity produced that can be purchased at preferential prices. read more...

Croatia: Defining public authorities' role in market price negotiations

November 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In one of the last sessions convened before the expiry of three Competition Council members' mandates, the Competition Agency terminated the proceedings against undertakings operating in the dairy products market on the grounds that there were no longer any legal grounds for further conduct. read more...

Czech Republic: New collective investment vehicles under the new Civil Code

November 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The New Czech Civil Code (Act No. 89/2012, Coll., the Civil Code) will become effective as of 1 January 2014 and will practically rebuild the entire area of civil law in the Czech Republic. 

Poland: Protection of employee workplaces - new anticrisis act

November 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 21 November 2013, the new Polish act on special solutions related to workplace protection will come into force (the so-called "new anticrisis act", hereafter "Act"). The main purpose of the Act is to provide financial aid to those employers whose conditions of conducting business activity have temporarily deteriorated in order to protect the workplaces of the employees. read more...

EU: Public Intervention in the Electricity Market

November 2013 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 5 November 2013, the EU Commission published its long-awaited Guidance to Member States on state intervention in electricity markets. read more...

Austria: Major reform of administrative jurisdiction system takes effect as from 1 January 2014

November 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Under the existing system in Austria, legal review against decisions and acts of authorities is normally granted by one or more - higher ranked - authorities. Only afterwards do the legal subjects have access to the Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof) or the Supreme Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof), both of which are restricted in their power to scrutinize the contested administrative decisions.

Hungary: Changes to Competition Act on the horizon

October 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian competition act currently deviates from the EU competition law regime in several noteworthy aspects. However, Hungary is about to take a further step to bring its rules in line with EU rules.

Romania: International secondments - how to apply the law

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Employee's mobility is on many employers' agenda for a wide number of reasons, including limited qualified resources and a need to access new labour markets, requirements for experience exchange, focus on encouraging cultural diversity, exposure to the global market, and entering new territories. read more...

Romania: What we know - and don't know -- about the VAT reverse charge on electricity supplies

October 2013 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The reverse charge mechanism is a means by which, in certain circumstances, the liability to charge VAT on a particular transaction shifts from the supplier to the beneficiary. In most of the cases, this liability arises at the same time as the beneficiary's right to claim input VAT credit for the same amount of VAT. read more...

Slovakia: The New Act on e-Government

October 2013 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 November 2013, the new Slovak act on the electronic performance of powers of public authorities - the Act on e-Government [1] ("Act") - will come into force. As the general legislation for the entire public administration, judiciary included, the Act brings new ways of exercising public authority electronically and introduces electronic delivery, guaranteed conversion of documents, and electronic payment of all administrative and court fees. Nevertheless, these fundamental changes will be implemented gradually. read more...

Austria: Human brands - the growing field of Personality-Merchandising

October 2013 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Just recently, media around the world reported about the Spanish football club Real Madrid spending the incredible sum of EUR 100 million to acquire the Welsh midfield star Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. This caused a flurry of excitement and many people were left wondering whether it is justifiable to spend such amounts on a single human being playing football. However, one has to bear in mind that football has become an entertainment industry and that clubs like Real Madrid are in fact not only acquiring further employees, but also brands with great advertising values. Such advertising values may be comprehensively exploited eg by means of Personality Merchandising. read more...

Czech Republic: Reservation fee as contractual penalty in connection with property acquisition

October 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic has expressed its opinion on the practice of real estate agents with respect to so-called reservation contracts, under which prospective buyers are bound to pay a contractual penalty to the real estate agents corresponding to the reservation fee if a property purchase agreement is not finally entered into for reasons on the prospective buyer's side. The court's decision is crucial for those property developers who use an intermediary for the sale of their real estate projects, as well as for buyers and real estate agents. read more...

Poland: New support scheme for renewable energy sources

September 2013 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Poland's Ministry of Economy ("ME") has stated that the support scheme for renewable energy sources ("RES") in the country will be completely changed and has presented the general rules of a new support scheme. The proposition put forward by the ME will affect not only future investments, but also the existing ones. read more...

Czech Republic: Decision of the Supreme Court regarding lien on receivables

September 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In its decision of 11 July 2013, Reference No. 21 ICdo 21/2012, the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic comprehensively expressed its opinion on the substantive legal aspects of re-pledging a receivable burdened by a lien and the possibility of negotiating a contractual waiver of re-pledging receivables. According to the decision, the pledging of a receivable does not preclude the possibility of establishing another lien on the same receivable. This decision is crucial for pledgees, typically financing banks. read more...

Romania: Managing the tax pitfalls of contractual partnerships structures

September 2013 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Contractual partnerships (such as joint ventures, consortia, etc.) are a viable structuring alternative for large scale projects in most market sectors, and in particular for infrastructure projects. Despite the encumbrance of having to deal with many and at times, inconsistent, compliance requirements, contractual partnerships can also bring certain tax benefits if they are rigorously and correctly planned from the beginning of the project. read more...

Amendments to the Competition Act - Update part II

September 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Amendments to Croatia's Competition Act that entered into force at the beginning of July 2013 ("Amendments") inter alia aim at removing the procedural loopholes that had been observed over the past few years (see our legal insight of 27 August 2013 on the changes to the Croatian merger control regime). Some of these amendments significantly influence the procedural rights of undertakings. read more...

Croatia: Amendments to the Competition Act

August 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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At the beginning of July 2013, the Republic of Croatia acceded to the European Union and thereby completed its two-decade long endeavours to attain EU Membership. 

Poland: Amendments to the labour code. New working time provisions.

August 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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An amendment to Poland's Labour Code regarding changes in the organization of employee working time will come into force on 23 August 2013. The new regulations introduce changes that have been long-awaited by employers with regard to the organization of employee working time. read more...

Austria/EU: European Commission tightens the deadline: Data breach notification within 24 hrs

August 2013 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A new EU Regulation forces providers of public communications services to notify data breaches to their regulators within 24 hours. This Regulation will be directly applicable in the Member States as of 25 August 2013. At first glance, Austrian telecommunications law would seem to be in line with this new Regulation, but the difference lies in the details. read more...

Poland: Amendments to the Act on payment services

August 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Polish government's draft of a bill amending the Act on payment services ("Bill") was signed by the country's president on 1 August 2013 and will shortly come into force. The Bill is intended to fully implement the Directive 2009/110/EC ("Directive") and clarify the rules governing the business activity of entities operating on the payment services market, especially those issuing so-called "e-money". read more...

Shale Gas in Europe - Soon in a jurisdiction near you?

August 2013 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Shale gas confronts Brussels with the challenge of recognising its potential and future role in the European energy policy. 

Slovakia: Substantial changes in public procurement - Every detail counts

August 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Over the past few months, two substantial amendments to the Act No. 25/2006 Coll., on Public Procurement, as amended, (the "Act") became effective, namely as of 1 February 2013 and 1 July 2013. 

Czech Republic: Public registers after 1 january 2014

July 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2014, the new Civil Code No. 89/2012 Coll. (the "NCC") shall come into effect, bringing about a number of changes, including general principles of private law, the introduction of new juridical institutes, and changes to terminology. 

Austria: Tax court extends scope of goodwill amortization to acquisition of shares in EC subsidiarie

July 2013 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austria's group taxation regime enables the taxpayer to claim goodwill amortization for shares acquired in an Austrian subsidiary under specific conditions. By virtue of applying the EC Freedom of Establishment, Austria's Independent Finance Tribunal has extended the scope of such goodwill amortization to a corporate taxpayer's ac-quisition of shares in subsidiaries in the European Union. read more...

Hungary: Easing administrative burden on companies filing for merger clearance?

July 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Competition Authority ("GVH") has amended the documents - including the merger filing form - related to merger control proceedings, with the declared aim of further decreasing the administrative burdens placed on market players. Read more...

Austria: New regime for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions

July 2013 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On Friday, 5 July 2013, Austria's National Council (Nationalrat) adopted a draft bill proposed by the Government introducing a new statute regarding bank recovery / resolution (Bankeninterventions- und -restrukturierungsgesetz - BIRG) and an amendment to the Austrian Banking Act regarding early intervention. 

Reselling Used Apps?

April 2013 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a recent decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that the resale of used software generally cannot be excluded in licence terms. The judgment, which aimed at the resale of used business software, may also affect the app market. Read more...

Austria: New Law Makes Establishing a GmbH Easier and Cheaper

April 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On Friday, 22 March 2013, a draft new law (Gesellschaftsrechts-Änderungsgesetz 2013 - GesRÄG 2013) was revealed by Minister of Justice Beatrix Karl and Minister of Economy Reinhold Mitterlehner. The GesRÄG 2013, which is expected to come into force on 1 July 2013, aims at facilitating the establishment of an Austrian limited liability company (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung - GmbH). This article provides a summary of the draft. 

Mergers & Acquisitions 2013. Chapter 6: Austria.

March 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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This guide provides corporate counsel and international practitioners with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of mergers and acquisitions. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Mergers & Acquisitions; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk.

EU: Genuine Use of Community Trademarks Changes due to recent CJEU decision C-149/11

March 2013 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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EU-wide protected Community Trademarks (as well as national trademarks) have to be used for the claimed goods and services in the course of trade within the EU in order to maintain their protection and enforceability. A (partial) lack of use, however, does not automatically result in a (partial) lapse of the trademark registration. On the other hand, after an initial “grace period” of 5 years beginning with the registration of the trademark, genuine use of the trademark would have to be proven when enforcing such trademark against third parties; furthermore, anybody could request revocation of such trademark in so far as it had not been genuinely used for goods and services covered by the registration (Art 15, 51(1)(a) CTMR).

Real Estate 2013. Chapter 4: Austria

March 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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This guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of real estate. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Real Estate; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk.

Real Estate 2013. The End of Extend and Pretend: Non-Performing Loans in CEE/SEE

March 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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This guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of real estate. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Real Estate; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk

Client Alert: Amendments to Austrian Competition Law

February 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In December 2012, the Austrian Parliament adopted changes to the Austrian Cartel Act as well as the Austrian Competition Act that will enter into force as of 1 March 2013 (Austrian Cartel and Competition Law Amendment Act; KaWeRÄG 2012). Although the Amendment does not lead to a major overhaul of the current system, several changes are noteworthy: 

EU: European Commission releases Action Plan on European Company Law and Corporate Governance

January 2013 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Action Plan is titled "European company law and corporate governance – a modern legal framework for more engaged shareholders and sustainable companies" and was made public on 12 December 2012. Its key elements are presented in the following summary.

Austria: New laws on Hiring-Out of Labour

January 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Based on directive 2008/104/EC, Austria's hiring-out of labour laws have been amended (BGBl 98/2012). According to the directive, the implementation into national law should already have taken place by 5 December 2011. After a first failed attempt in February 2012 to implement the directive effective 1 July 2012, the implementation has now taken place belatedly, effective 1 January 2013. Furthermore, the new laws on the hiring-out of labour not only implemented the directive, but also stipulated further regulations for temporary work. This text provides an overview of the most important amendments in the new laws.

CEE: The Corruption Perception Index 2012

January 2013 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Transparency International ("TI") released its Corruption Perception Index 2012 ("CPI 2012") earlier today. The Corruption Perception Index ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. The index, which reflects the views of observers from around the world, offers a yearly snapshot of the problem of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe. The index covers issues such as free access to information, bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws. The CPI 2012which is available at: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012/results/ ranks 176 countries.

U.S.: Highly Anticipated FCPA Resource Guide released

December 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice recently released a "Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" re-garding the application and enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") The Guide is available at: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/fcpa/fcpa-resource-guide.pdf

While the FCPA Resource Guide ("Guide") does not represent a change in FCPA en-forcement, it includes an extensive discussion of the FCPA. It provides useful exam-ples and consolidates the relevant existing case law and the Guiding Principles for the enforcement of the FCPA in the U.S. In practical terms, the Guide provides helpful guidance on the set-up of a com-pliance program by companies.

AT: Act on Presentation of Energy Performance Certificates

November 2012 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Based on the new EU directive on the energy performance of buildings, the Austrian legislator revised the Act on the Presentation of Energy Performance Certificates ("Energieausweis-Vorlage-Gesetz", BGBl I 27/2012); the new act will come into force on 1 December 2012.

Austria: New Anti-Corruption Law per 1 January 2013

October 2012 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 1 January 2013, a new anti-corruption law will enter into force in Austria.

Hungary: Extended austerity measures to further increase taxes levied on financial sector

October 2012 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian government will double the rate of the transactions services tax introduced in July 2012 to 0.2% from 0.1 % from 1 January 2013, National Economy Minister György Matolcsy announced today when introducing the country's new austerity package. The expected halving of the rate of the "crisis tax" introduced for banks in 2010 has also been postponed.

Industrial site contaminations likely to be-come more transparent in M&A transactions in near future

October 2012 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 7 January 2013, certain industries will become subject to more stringent envi-ronmental investigation and reporting obligations. From that date, the operators of those industrial installations that are subject to the IPPC/IED regime will have to draw up so-called "baseline reports" comprising site-related soil and groundwater information. Drawing-up that report will go hand in hand with investigating the en-vironmental state of the industrial sites concerned. Any contaminations will become transparent to national authorities and supervisory bodies. This possibility should be duly considered in M&A transactions.

Commission proposes new ECB powers for banking supervision as part of planned European banking union

October 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 12 September 2012, the European Commission ("EC") published its proposal for a single supervisory mechanism ("SSM") which covers the granting of far reaching supervi-sory powers to the European Central Bank ("ECB") over the Eurozone credit institutions starting 1 January 2013. In addition, the EC has submitted proposals for a single rulebook on capital requirements, harmonized deposit protection schemes and a single European recovery and resolution framework, all aiming at full implementation of an integrated banking union.

Megatrends Insurance 2012

September 2012 - Insurance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The insurance industry is facing serious changes in market conditions and in the legal environment, especially due to the new Solvency II regulations. Here are some legal issues we see dominating 2012.

EU: Commission proposes new ECB powers for...

September 2012 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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banking supervision as part of planned European banking union

On 12 September 2012, the European Commission ("EC") published its proposal for a single supervisory mechanism ("SSM") which covers the granting of far reaching supervisory powers to the European Central Bank ("ECB") over the Eurozone credit institutions starting 1 January 2013.

Treasury Shares – Austrian Takeover Law Aspects

September 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Post financial crisis, many listed companies used their excess liquidity to invest in treasury shares. In addition to corporate law aspects, listed companies and shareholders of listed companies must be aware of implications under Austrian takeover law.

Austria: The Legal Effects of the Approval of Management and Supervisory Board Members’ Actions

September 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Is the approval of board member actions an effective relief from liability or a mere formality?

Austria: Corporate Governance in the Context of Corporate Restructurings

September 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Who calls the tune in corporate restructurings – managers or shareholders?

Overcoming so-called “agency problems” occupies centre stage in corporate law. Generally speaking, whenever an agent acts on behalf of a principal, the problem arises that the agent does not necessarily share the principal’s interests or act accordingly. 

Czech Republic: Statutory Body v Employee

September 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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It is a common practice in the Czech Republic that the statutory body or member of the statutory body (executive in a limited liability company and board member in a joint stock company)1 is at the same time employed as a director.

EU: Industrial site contaminations likely to be-come more transparent in...

September 2012 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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M&A transactions in near future

As of 7 January 2013, certain industries will become subject to more stringent envi-ronmental investigation and reporting obligations. From that date, the operators of those industrial installations that are subject to the IPPC/IED regime will have to draw up so-called "baseline reports" comprising site-related soil and groundwater information. Drawing-up that report will go hand in hand with investigating the en-vironmental state of the industrial sites concerned. Any contaminations will become transparent to national authorities and supervisory bodies. This possibility should be duly considered in M&A transactions.

New anti-bribery regime in Austria

August 2012 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 1 January 2013, a new anti-bribery regime will be effective in Austria. The amendments of the Austrian Criminal Penal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) basically broa-den and intensify the prosecution of corrupt behaviour and strengthen Austria's fight against bribery. The following summary outlines the the updated approach to com-batting bribery and bribery-related offences in the amended Korruptionsstra-frechtsänderungsgesetz 2012 (Federal Law Gazette No I 61/2012).

EU: ECJ rules on cross-border conversions

August 2012 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a series of landmark cases, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has shaped European company law by exploring the scope of the freedom of establishment with regard to companies. In its latest decision, VALE (Case C-378/10), issued on 12 July 2012, the ECJ had to rule on the possibility of so-called cross-border conversions.

Austria: To Transfer or Not to Transfer: That is the Question

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austria has two systems of statutory severance payments. One applies to employment contracts that started before 2003 (Abfertigung Alt; old system) and one to contracts that started in 2003 or later (Abfertigung Neu; new system). Mixed systems or total transfers from the old system to the new system are possible, but not for long.

Hungary: The Three Most Important Changes Introduced by the New Hungarian Labour Code Effective...

June 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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 as of 1 July 2012

A new Labour Code will enter into force in Hungary on 1 July 2012. The New Labour Code is much less employee-friendly than the current legislation. Below, we summarise the three most important changes the new Labour Code will bring about.  

Austria: Second Stability Act 2012 improves Corporate Governance

June 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Second Stability Act 2012 (2. Stabilitätsgesetz 2012; 2. StabG 2012) also amends the Austrian Stock Corporation Act (Aktiengesetz) and the Austrian Commercial Code (Unternehmensgesetzbuch). The changes will enter into force on 1 July 2012. The most important amendments are presented in the following summary.

Poland: Dealing with balance sheet insolvency in a limited liability company

June 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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According to article 11 of Poland’s Bankruptcy and reorganisation law as of 28 February 2003 (Journal of laws 2009, No. 175, position 1361, as amended), a debtor who is a legal person (including, in particular, a limited liability company) is considered to be insolvent when the value of its liabilities exceeds the value of its assets, even if the debtor continues to pay its liabilities (balance sheet insolvency).

Poland: Civil Procedure

May 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 16 September 2011, the Polish Parliament adopted a significant amendment to the Polish Civil Procedure Code (the “Code”). Most of the changes comprising the amendment came into force on 3 May 2012 (the “Amendment”).

Mergers & Acquisitions 2012 - Serbia

May 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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M&A transactions and all forms of corporate reorganisations (e.g. mergers, de-mergers, transformations, contributions in-kind) are governed by the Companies Act (CA).

Mergers & Acquisitions 2012 Austria

May 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Public bids are regulated under the 1999 Takeover Act (TA), as thoroughly amended by the 2006 TA Amendment Act. The TA applies provided the target is a joint stock corporation (AG) based in Austria and its shares are admitted to trading on the Vienna Stock Exchange (Wiener Boerse; VSE) at a regulated market.

Austria: Employers have to pay EUR 110 for each termination

May 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In the course of the second stabilisation package 2012*, the new § 2 b Labour Market Policy Financing Act (Arbeitsmarktpolitik-Finanzierungsgesetz – AMPFG) was agreed upon.

Czech Republic: Major amendment to the Public Procurement Act

May 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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As of 1 April 2012, the Czech Public Procurement Act (Act No. 137/2006 Coll.) has been significantly amended.

The Bulgarian Parliament marks the first anniversary of the Renewable Energy Law of 2011

April 2012 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Bulgaria: The Bulgarian Parliament marks the first anniversary of the Renewable Energy Law of 2011 with its first amendment

The Bulgarian Parliament approved the effective Renewable Energy Law in April 2011. A year later, the regulatory framework introduced by the law underwent its first serious revision, as the amendment of the law, which had been discussed for months, entered into effect on 10 April 2012.  

Slovakia: A new subordination rule entered into force: the role of related party creditors in...

April 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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bankruptcy post Amendment to the Slovak Bankruptcy Act

As of January 1, 2012, the Slovak Act on Bankruptcy and Restructuring (Act No. 7/2005 Coll.) has been amended to introduce a statutory subordination of claims of related credi-tors (Section 95(3) of the Slovak Bankruptcy Act).  

Austria: Claim Management

March 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Construction projects are expensive, and they usually end up being more expensive than agreed. The principal often tries to mitigate this risk by concluding a lump-sum contract.

Schoenherr's Italian Desk: La vita e' bella nel centro-est Europa

March 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Schoenherr's Italian Desk was established in April 2008. It is headed by Daniele Iacona, based in the Bucharest office. Legal Insights spoke with Daniele about the Italian Desk in 2009 (see www.schoenherr.eu/news-publications/legal-insights/qua-head-of-schoenherrs-italian-desk). Here is an update.

Romania: New Rules of Arbitration as of 2012

March 2012 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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New rules of arbitration (the “New Rules”) of the Court of International Commercial Ar-bitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (the “Court of Arbitration”) were published on 23 January 2012.

Austria: Financial Market Authority Tightens Insider Rules In New Compliance Regulation

February 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 31 January 2012, the Financial Market Authority (FMA) amended the compliance regulation (Amendment to the Emittenten-Compliance-Verordnung 2007, ECV 2007) introducing the concept of „compliance-relevant information“. The new concept not only includes inside information but also captures any information which may be “confidential and price-sensitive”. By extending the scope of the EVC 2007, the FMA aims at ensuring that the compliance regime under the ECV 2007 kicks in at the earliest stage possible.

Austria: Advantages of Establishing a Company's Headquarters in Austria: Part 1

February 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Choosing or changing a multinational company's headquarters involves considerations of quality of living and political stability in addition to economic and legal issues. This arti-cle, in two parts, outlines some of the advantages of and basic information about choos-ing Austria for a company’s headquarters. Part 1 is an overview of Austria's social and political background and of some legal forms to consider for a holding company. Part 2 will introduce Austrian tax law and provide additional legal information.

Hungary: Why is equity protection ineffective in Hungary?

February 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Companies Act ("CA") and others have long contained provisions to protect creditors. One provision prohibits a limited liability company from paying dividends to its shareholders if it does not have sufficient funds.

Austria: Termination of contracts after initiation of insolvency proceedings

January 2012 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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One of the primary objectives of the reformed Austrian Insolvency Act ("IO"), which entered into force on 1 July 2010, has been to increase the number of successful corporate reorganisations and to facilitate the continuation of business operations during financial crises. After the initiation of insolvency proceedings, the creditors of an insolvent debtor shall not be entitled to revoke or terminate contracts that are essential for continuing the debtor’s business operations.

Environment Romania

January 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Romania

Bogdan Ionita and Nicolae Mihu SCA - Schoenherr si Asociatii

Main environmental regulations What are the main statutes and regulations relating to the environment?

Environment Bulgaria

January 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Bulgaria

Vesela Mirkova and Elena Andonova-Rangelova - Schönherr

Main environmental regulations What are the main statutes and regulations relating to the environment? 

Environment Austria

January 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Austria
Christian Schmelz and Bernd Rajal - Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Main environmental regulations What are the main statutes and regulations relating to the environment? 

Austria: Mandatory declaration of minimum remuneration in job postings

January 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The latest amendment of the Austrian Act on Equal Treatment (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – GlBG; in force since 1 March 2011) sets into force a provision requiring the declaration of minimum remuneration in job postings. As of 1 January 2012, any infringement of this provision may lead to sanctions.

Bulgaria: VAT re gulations on construction right transfers amended

January 2012 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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From 1 January 2012, the transfer of a construction right will be VAT exempt only until the construction permit is issued. The previous regime had allowed the exemption until the completion of the rough construction.

Austria: New Approval Regime on Acquisitions of Austrian Companies...

December 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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in Certain Industry Sectors by Non-EU/EEA and Non-Swiss Persons

An amendment of the Austrian Foreign Trade Act (FTA), in force since 08/12/2011 subjects the acquisitions of relevant interests in enterprises in specific industries, including telecoms and energy, to review and approval by the Austrian Ministry of Economic Affairs

CEE: Court of Justice of EU: Freedom for the Peer

December 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has deprived the audio recording and movie industries of one of their main instruments against the sharing of illegal internet content – the possibility to impose an injunction against an internet service provider (ISP) that requires it to install a system to filter electronic communications, especially those involving the use of peer-to-peer software.

Austria Business Crime 2012

December 2011 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A practical cross-border insight into business crime

Published by Global Legal Group, in association with CDR, with contributions from: Schoenherr

Slovakia: New regime for merger control regulation in Slovakia

November 2011 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In July 2011, the Slovak Competition Authority (“SCA”) launched a public consultation concerning changes in the Slovak merger control regime. The law amending the merger regime was adopted on 19 October 2011 and will be in force as of 1 January 2012.

Austria: Amendment of GmbH-articles introducing pre-emption rights no longer requires...

November 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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notarial deed form

Prevailing Opinion in the Past
Pursuant to Sec 76 of the Austrian Act on Limited Liability Companies (GmbHG), agreements on a transfer of shares in a GmbH must be drawn up in the form of an Austrian notarial deed. This form requirement applies to both the legal title (i.e. the underlying obligation) such as e.g. a share purchase agreement, as well the transfer deed. The form requirement also applies to agreements on future (potential) trans-fers such as e.g. option agreements or agreements on rights of first refusal (Vor-kaufsrechte).

Austria: Constitutional court lifts minimum thresholds for merger valuation review

November 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Right to review of Share Exchange Ratio and Cash Payments
Pursuant to Sec 225c of the Austrian Stock Corporation Act (AktG), shareholders may file an application for a review of the share exchange ratio determined or the cash compensation, if any, paid in the course of a merger if either of these were not adequate. However, so far, only (a) shareholder(s) who (at least taken together as a group of shareholders) held a minimum stake of 1 % or a participation in a nominal value of EUR 70,000 in at least one of the companies involved in the merger had the right to file such application.

Legislative proposal on new European insider dealing and market manipulation framework

November 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The legislative proposals by the European Commission of 20 October 2011 aim to replace and to extend the existing legal framework based on the Market Abuse Directive 2003/6/EC and to adapt it to market developments since 2003.

Austria and CEE: Cybercrime: Victims watch out!

November 2011 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Being a victim of a cybercrime attack not only has a negative impact on the image of the hacked company but may also lead to damage claims against the company.

Challenges in designing compliance programme in countries with anti-corruption laws

October 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Demand has increased for crime prevention programmes to help companies estab-lish proper control mechanisms. Incentives to commit fraud or act unethically re-main high, and the risk of non-compliance with legislation has never been higher. The development and implementation of an international compliance programme must be the initial step to avoid liabilities. Understandably, multinational compa-nies are becoming more and more concerned about compliance because of the in-creasingly stringent legal requirements and rising efforts to indict individuals and companies.

Legal Insight: New Guidelines for the Detection of Bid Rigging in Public Procurement

October 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In June 2011 the Commission for Protection of Competition issued Guidelines for the Detection of Bid Rigging in Public Procurement.

Social Elections 2012 - Publication of the modified Acts!

September 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Today's Belgian Official Journal contains the two Acts implementing a number of modifications to the Act concerning the social elections procedure and to the Act regulating the court procedures in the event of disputes.

The ceiling of 100 employees for the establishment of a works council remains unchanged

September 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Today's Belgian Official Journal contains the Act confirming that all companies ("technical operating unit") that usually employ in 2011 on average at least 100 employees (including certain categories placed on the same footing like for example temporary employees), have the obligation to organize social elections for the establishment (or renewal) of a works council (as well as obviously for a committee for prevention and protection at work for which the ceiling remains at a minimum of 50 employees).

Country Reports

September 2011 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Serbia
SERBIA POWERS UP: NEW ENERGY ACT ADOPTED
Hungary
THE NEW HUNGARIAN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT
Poland
POTENTIAL PRACTICAL PROBLEMS WITH TRANSFERRING ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS IN CASE OF ACQUISITIONS AND RESTRUCTURINGS

Application of long disclosure rules on derivatives

September 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Under Section 91 of the Stock Exchange Act, persons that directly or indirectly acquire or sell the sh ares of an issuer whose shares are admitted to trading on a regulated European Economic Area (EEA) market must immediately (or no more than two trading days later) inform the Austrian Financial Market Authority, the exchange operating company and the issuer of the share of voting rights held after the completion of the acquisition or sale if their proportion of voting rights reaches, exceeds or falls below 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 75% or 90%.

11Hungary is implementing REIT concept by new legislation

September 2011 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Based on the Hungarian government's proposal, effective as of 27 July 2011, the Parliament passed a new legislation introducing the concept of REIT (Real Estate In-vestment Trust) in Hungary.

New Act on Data Protection Adopted

August 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Hungarian Parliament has passed a new Act No. CXII of 2011 on data protection, which will enter into force in January 2012. The new Act retains the basic elements of the present Act, while providing extended rights for data subjects and new sanctions against infringers. It also introduces a new authority competent to replace the Office of the Commissioner for Data Protection.

Is it legal to post employee photos on the web?

August 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Under the provisions of Polish law employers are entitled to obtain their employees’ per-sonal data. Art. 22¹ of the Polish Labour Code specifies the scope of this data, but ex-cludes photos of employees. It’s not unusual, however, for employers to acquire an em-ployee’s photo during the recruitment process and to then post it on the company web-site.

Mail order of drugs

August 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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GEORG ADLER

Branches of one of Austria’s largest drugstore chains have been distributing brochures recently that advertise drugs by a pharmaceutical company established in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Hungary: Bad news for debtors – it pays to enforce even smaller claims

July 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The competence to issue "payment orders" was shifted from the Hungarian courts to the public notaries approximately one year ago. At the same time, the possibility was introduced to request payment orders by email with digital signatures. As a consequence of these changes, in the first half of 2011, the public notaries have issued more than 310,000 payment orders.

Enforcement and Collaterals Act

July 2011 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Enforcement and Collaterals Act ("Enforcement Act") was adopted on 17 May 2011, and shall be applicable as of 17 September 2011, save for the provisions relating to the private enforcers which shall become applicable as of 17 May 2012. The aim of the Enforcement Act is to enhance efficiency of enforcement proceedings, which were often drawn out, complicated and ineffective.

Legal developments in the energy practice

June 2011 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Country Reports
Poland
NEW, MORE INVESTOR-FRIENDLY GEOLOGICAL AND MINING LAW TO COME INTO FORCE IN POLAND
Romania
RENEWABLES SUPPORT SCHEME LIKELY TO BE AMENDED

No pictures please! Banning photography at concerts is not so easy.

June 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Most people take photos at concerts or festivals. Many of them then upload their snap-shots to Facebook and other sites to share with friends and family.

By Wolfgang G. Tichy

Latest amendments to Legislation on Joint-Stock Companies in Moldova

June 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 15 April 2011 the Moldovan Parliament passed the Act No. 73/2011 (Act No. 73) on amending certain legal acts, among which the Act No. 1134/1997 on Joint-Stock Companies (JSC Act).

Romania: Bringing Land to Book

May 2011 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Eva Hegedüs-Brown

In last year’s Roadmap we reported on those changes to the new Romanian Civil Code that will impact on ownership and other rights in real estate.

Bulgaria: Restrictions on Construction of Photo-voltaic Parks on Agricultural Lands

May 2011 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Most renewable energy projects in Bulgaria are being developed on agricultural land. This land can be used for non-agricultural purposes, such as Renewable En-ergy plants, after a change of its designation pursuant to the Law on Protection of Agricultural Lands (“The Law”).

Barriers in developing renewable energy projects

May 2011 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Author: Monica Cojocaru

For the last few months, all attention in the Romanian renewable energy sector has been centered on the outcome of the authorisation of the support scheme regulated by Law 220/2008 on the promotion system for the energy generation from renewable energy sources by the EU Commission. The uncertainty surrounding the support scheme has led to a slowdown of investments in renewable energy projects.

Austria: Employment market to open on 1 May 2011

April 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Facts

Transnational provisions currently allowing Austria to protect its employment market from nationals of countries which joined the EU in 2004 will partly expire at the end of April 2011.

The perils of smartphone apps

March 2011 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Would you tell a stranger your name, date of birth, credit card number and address? Would you give him your email address and reveal where you work? What about the destination of your next business trip, your hotel and room number, the price of the room and your frequent flyer number? While you’re at it, why not share your spouse’s and children’s names and birthdays?

Supreme Court rules in T-Mobile dominance case

March 2011 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The end of 2010 saw the end of the litigation against the largest mobile operator in Ma-cedonia, T-Mobile. The Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Administrative Court finding that T-Mobile had abused its dominant position in the call termination market.

Competition Protection Commission investigates milk sector

March 2011 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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At the end of 2010 the Competition Protection Commission initiated an investigation into the milk sector. Its main areas of investigation were:

Bulgaria: Competition Protection Commission in-vestigates retail chains

March 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In July 2009 the Competition Protection Commission initiated procedures against the largest retail chains in Bulgaria – Metro Cash & Carry EOOD, Billa Bulgaria EOOD, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Picadili AD, Maksima Bulgaria EOOD and Hit Hypermarket EOOD – for suspected prohibited practices. The procedures were opened after the commission received several indications from the Bulgarian Confe-deration of Employers and Industrialists that the chains were engaged in anti-competitive activity.Bulgaria: Competition Protection Commission in-vestigates retail chains

EU: Present and future of the European trade mark system

March 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 16 October 2009 the European Commission awarded a contract for the preparation of a study on the overall functioning of the trade mark system in Europe to the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law. The Study has now been pub-lished and has been made available through the website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/tm/index_en.htm 

Czech Republic: A Surprising Decision to Prohibit Profit Distribution

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Czech Republic: A Surprising Decision to Prohibit Profit Distribution based on Audited Fi-nancial Statements older than Six Months

Austria: Cash-Box Import Mergers - Fictitious Distributions

March 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Inbound dividends from low-tax jurisdictions may not be exempt from Austrian corporate income tax under the Austrian international participation exemption but may be subject to a switch-over to the credit method. In the past, such profits could be repatriated by way of a tax neutral import merger instead. However, a recent amendment to the Austrian Reorganisation Tax Act may lead to a fictitious distribution in such cases.

Amendment of GmbH-articles introducing pre-emption rights no longer requires notarial deed form

March 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Prevailing Opinion in the Past: Pursuant to Sec 76 of the Austrian Act on Limited Liability Companies (GmbHG), agreements on a transfer of shares in a GmbH must be drawn up in the form of an Austrian notarial deed. This form requirement applies to both the legal title (i.e. the underlying obligation) such as e.g. a share purchase agreement, as well the transfer deed. The form requirement also applies to agreements on future (potential) trans-fers such as e.g. option agreements or agreements on rights of first refusal (Vor-kaufsrechte).

Privatisation in Slovakia – Quo vadis?

March 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Over the past 20 years Slovakia has gained extensive experience in privatisation as part of the process of transferring state property into private hands. Slovakia’s privatisation backlog started shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, continues to the present day and, apparently, will have to be dealt with for some time to come.

Austria: Corporate Restructuring and Creditors' Participation

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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While in other jurisdictions creditors of an insolvent company may swap their debts into equity, creditors in Austria are still confronted with a “take it or leave it” approach as to the proposed quota payment to unsecured creditors. The recent insolvencies of large Austrian companies show the inadequacy of Austrian insolvency law in that respect

Austria: Is an Established Model for Real Estate Transactions Now Malpractice?

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a recent decision , the Independent Finance Board Innsbruck (Unabhängiger Finanzsenat) questions a well-established practice for reducing taxes related to real estate transactions. Until the Highest Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof) issues a final decision (not expected for at least two years), parties to real estate transactions will not have legal certainty and will need to act with caution when drafting agreements.

Ukraine Lifts Limitations Introduced during Crisis

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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On 24 November 2009, the Ukrainian government introduced a number of limitations to minimise the consequences of the global financial crisis. The lifting of these limitations should signal to potential investors that Ukraine feels confident about the future of its economic and financial system.

Insolvency in Bulgaria: Downsides Creditors may Encounter

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The general legal framework of existing Bulgarian insolvency law covers the core features recognised by the international insolvency community and takes account of EC Regula-tions and Directives. On the other hand, it does not always achieve the proper balance between the need to address the debtor’s financial difficulty as efficiently as possible and the interests of the creditors

New Regulations Governing Fining and Leniency Policy

February 2011 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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New Regulations Governing Fining and Leniency Policy Bring Serbia’s Competition Law Regime Closer to EU Standards

Contingent Equity Facilities – A Good Alternative when Commercial Banks are Reluctant to Finance

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In continental Europe businesses are still highly dependent on commercial lending. While some of them have tapped the debt and equity capital markets, the reluctance of com-mercial banks to finance CAPEX or R&D absent a very strong balance sheet has left a vacuum. But the financing needs may not justify a public rights offering. In such cases, a contingent equity facility may be the answer.

An About Face in Austria: The Outlook for the Leniency Regime in Criminal Proceedings in 2011

February 2011 - Crime. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The success of a new leniency regime, as provided for in the Austrian Criminal Code as of 1 January 2011, will depend on whether it gives the whistleblower sufficient incentives to present themselves to the public prosecutor, and whether the regulation offers a high level of predictability for those involved in the case. A number of objections have been raised against the draft version.

Poland: Outsourcing of Banking Activities - Current Controversies and Proposed Amend-ments

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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According to estimates by the Polish Bank Association, 75.9% of banks in Poland use outsourcing and a further 13.8% plan to commission certain activities to external enti-ties. Current legal conditions in Poland make it difficult for banks to use outsourcing. From this year on, the possibility of using such services became even more complicated.

Albania’s new Step in Support of Foreign Direct Investments:

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Special Protection of For-eign Investors Involved in Dispute Resolutions

newsflash: banking & finance

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Czech Republic: New Regulation on Financial Collateral Law

Romania: Evolution of the Insolvency Law during the Economic Downturn

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The Romanian legal framework on insolvency procedure has been consistently improved following the enactment of Insolvency Law no. 85 (Law 85), which entered into force on 21 July 2006.

More Flexibility for Promotional Campaigns

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In a series of recent decisions, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that national provisions laying down a general prohibition on sales with bonuses are precluded under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.  The respective Austrian provision has been found as precluded by the Directive.

Austria: Interim Measures to Ensure the Enforceability of Foreign Arbitral Awards

February 2011 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Frequently, a claimant may be well advised to ensure the eventual enforceability of an award he hopes will be rendered in his favour already in the course of, or even before, initiating arbitral proceedings.

F/X Hedging: Dealing with Foreign Exchange Risk in Serbia

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Financial instruments for reducing foreign exchange risk are available but have rarely been used…until recently. The National Bank of Serbia has taken a series of actions to promote the use of financial derivates, and for the first time is loosening up its typically restrictive, formal approach.

Takeover Commission Rulings on Acting in Concert and Change of Control in Shareholder Syndicates

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Recent rulings by the Austrian Takeover Commission (TC) reflect a case by case ap-proach to acting in concert situations and changes in shareholder arrangements.

Identifying and Mitigating Anti-corruption and Anti-trust Compliance Risks

February 2011 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Multi-digit Euro fines for anti-competitive behaviour and continued press coverage of bribes have moved compliance programmes ever more into the focus of attention. They shall help prevent impermissible behaviour, but how to organise a compliance pro-gramme?

Award Procedures in the Field of Emergency Services

February 2011 - Transport. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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According to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), emergency and rescue transport services are not connected with the exercise of official authority and therefore not exempt from applicability of the Public Procurement Directive (2004/18/EC).

Austria: Bankers’ Bonuses

February 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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In autumn 2010 the draft of the amended Austrian Banking Act (Bankwesengesetz; BWG) announced restrictions of the variable remuneration policy of credit institutions, irrespective of general rules of civil and employment law.

Avoiding “Genericide” of Your Trademark

January 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Being famous is not so bad, especially for trademarks, unless it leads to genericide.

Austria: Automatic Imposition of Fines for Late Filing of Financial Statements

January 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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According to the Austrian Commercial Code (Unternehmensgesetzbuch - UGB), managing directors (Geschäftsführer / Vorstandsmitglieder) of Austrian corporations (Kapitalgesell-schaften) are obliged to file the corporation's (audited) financial statements (Jahresab-schluss und Lagebericht, if applicable) with the competent Austrian Commercial Register (Firmenbuch) within 9 months after the respective balance sheet date (cp. Art 277 para 1 UGB).

New Amendments to Austrian Data Protection Law

November 2010 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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With this year's beginning a substantial revision of the Austrian Data Protection Act (the "DPA") entered into force where the DPA was substantially revised for the first time since it became effective in the year of 2000.

Council of the European Union adopts amendments to Prospectus Directive

October 2010 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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The amendments to the Prospectus Directive aim to address deficiencies in the existing le-gal framework relating to securities prospectuses with a view of improving legal clarity and reducing burdens for issuers and intermediaries, while at the same time enhancing investor protection.

Environment 2009/10

October 2009 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Country Q&A Austria

Austrian and Ukrainian Anti-corruption Legislation

September 2009 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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Companies are often forced to acquire the services of a local partner or intermediary when starting or conducting their business abroad, particularly in CIS countries. If such local partners use corrupt practices, such as bribery, this can cause significant damage to the reputation and finances of the company.

Mergers and Acquisitions 2009 - Austria

August 2009 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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A practical insight to cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions.

Vienna Stock Exchange Revises Prime Market Rules to Increase Investor Information on Foreign Issuers

September 2008 - Finance. Legal Developments by Schönherr.

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From 1 June 2008 onwards, significant changes to the Vienna Stock Exchange's rules have to be respected by market participants listed in the premium segment of the Vienna Stock Exchange (VSE).