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um international law lecture series August 31, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : events , comments closed

Today is the first of this year’s international law lectures at UM. Niccolo Trocker will be speaking on the topic International Litigation: The Perspective of a Civilian Lawyer. The lecture will be in Room D201 in the Law Library from 12.30-1.50pm. And there’s food.

On September 14th I will be speaking on the topic Transnational Regulation and the Global Financial Crisis 2007-2010.

irresponsible consumers and health August 30, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : consumers , comments closed

The EU Parliament is concerned about health literacy (or a lack of it) in the EU. One of the issues the Parliament has focused on is doctors’ communications about prescription medicines. But it seems that parents may be quite (surprisingly) cavalier in their attitudes to giving over-the-counter medicines to their children. Although the study was carried out in Australia the authors seem to think this problem is more general.

news on egg recall August 21, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : disclosure , comments closed

Why does the BBC’s story on the US egg recall link to the US Egg Safety Center (an industry source) for information on which eggs have been recalled rather than to the list available from the FDA (a government source)? Unsurprisingly, the US Egg Safety Center’s announcement contains reassurances which don’t appear on the FDA list, such as “Less Than One Percent of All U.S. Eggs Affected” and:

The chance of an egg containing Salmonella Enteritidis is rare in the United States. Several years ago, it was estimated that 1 in 20,000 eggs might have been contaminated, which meant most consumers probably wouldn’t come in contact with such an egg but 1 time in 84 years. Since that time most U.S. egg farmers have been employing tougher food safety measures to help protect against food-borne illness. Chief among these methods are modern, sanitary housing systems; stringent rodent control and bio-security controls; inoculation against Salmonella Enteritidis; cleaning and sanitization of poultry houses and farms; and testing.

governmental securities law violations August 19, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

When I wrote about governmental manipulation of the financial markets, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. New Jersey is the first state to be charged with violation of the federal securities laws by the SEC (New Jersey settled the case), although it isn’t the only jurisdiction to have been criticized about financial disclosures with respect to securities issuance recently (e.g. the Greek credit default swaps issue). And given that the SEC’s charges related to disclosure about the funding of pension plans, there may be more such cases to come.

meaningless consultation: coalition-style August 18, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : consultation , comments closed

From HM Treasury’s website:

The public is today being asked to vote to find the best ideas from over 44,000 submitted to the Treasury as part of the public engagement through the Spending Challenge website. The most promising ideas will be taken forward as part of the Spending Review process, which will set budgets for public services for the next four years.

The “ideas” (which include, for example, many versions of leave the EU now) can be found (although they are not organized in any useful way) here. The registration process asks for part of a postcode so this would seem to discourage non UK citizens from rating the proposals, but the invitation to rate doesn’t express any limits on whop can respond, nor does it explain how the Treasury proposes to identify the “most promising” ideas.

bbc catches the grauniad disease August 15, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : language , comments closed

According to the BBC, Clegg is in charge while Cameron vacations:

Mr Cameron remains in overall control, but during his time holding the reigns, the deputy prime minister will argue for key elements of the Lib Dem agenda.

the financial regulation confidence game August 6, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

From the UK Treasury’s consultation document on financial regulation:

Prudential and conduct of business regulation require different approaches and cultures, and combining them in the same organisation is difficult. As a result of the combined remit of the FSA, participants in financial services and markets, particularly ordinary consumers of retail products, did not always get the degree of regulatory focus or the protection they may have expected or required.
The Government will therefore create a dedicated consumer protection and markets authority (CPMA) with a primary statutory responsibility to promote confidence in financial services and markets. This objective will have two important components. First, the protection of consumers through a strong consumer division within the CPMA. And second, through promoting confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the UK’s financial markets.

Whether or not the FSA was paying insufficient attention to the interests of consumers is debateable – its TCF initiative took a broader approach to the protection of consumer interests than many regulators have. But this idea that promoting confidence in financial markets and protecting consumers are the same thing seems to me to be deeply problematic. And promoting market integrity and promoting confidence in the integrity of markets may be completely separate enterprises.

categorizing consultation respondents August 5, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : consultation , comments closed

Respondents to the UK’s new consultation on doing away with the default retirement age (somewhat ironic in a time of high unemployment but not surprising – those who have will get more in the UK in the near future – those who don’t have will just have to hope) must identify themselves as belonging to one of the following categories:

Business representative organisation/trade body; Central government; Charity or social enterprise; Individual; Large business ( over 250 staff); Legal representative; Local government; Medium business (50 to 250 staff); Micro business (up to 9 staff); Small business (10 to 49 staff); Trade union or staff association; Other (please describe)

If I were to respond I’d be torn between replying as an individual or as an other.